16 March 2016

More (And Bigger) Is Better?

Yeah, it's time to admit I'm suffering from a disease.
But like other addicts I CAN and DO rationalize it to myself.
Let me try, and you can shoot holes in my thought process-

We've been here in Destin for the Winter.
All of our grocery shopping is done within three miles.
When we need a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, we have to start the car/truck and drive about five minutes to do that. Isn't that the absolute WORST thing you can do to a vehicle?

For years we've watched as visitors zip by on the beach road on rented 50cc scooters, throttle opened wide to the point of bending the handlebars, going all of 35-40 miles per hour. Invariably they are smiling, laughing, and generally shouting at others on similar scooters.
The epiphany came to me-
Virtually ALL the trips I'm making to buy a dozen eggs could be made on one of these scooters, saving the wear and tear of waking the big Cummins diesel engine from a sleep and not quite warming it to operating temperature with the trip to buy a few needed items.
So we bought a used Taotao 50cc scooter, and I am now one of those desperately trying to avoid getting bugs in my teeth as I race to the grocery.
And I mean that...
After three months of use if the thing assumed the "dying cockroach" position tomorrow I'd still feel we have gotten our money's worth from the little Chinese Bugger.

But there IS a fly in the ointment.
At 40 mph, if I tried to get out on one of the highways... say to drive over to Ft. Walton Beach to go to Harbor Freight Tools, (make your Tim Allen sounds here), I'd be illegal and dangerous to myself and others.

Some years back my sister bought a 500cc Kymco scooter to drive to/from work and has gotten good utility from the machine. She even bragged about being able to out-accelerate her son on his Harley-Davidson to about 60 mph, even though his machine has more than twice the displacement.
I'm sure her scoot will probably go close to 90 mph.
I don't need that kind of performance... all I need is to be safe on highways where the speed limit is 55 mph.

So I did some research and found that 150cc scooters similar to my little Taotao will go almost 60, and they are quite reasonable in price.
That's what I need.

Now here is where the picture gets a little cloudy-
I rode the little 50cc machine to get a gallon of milk this week. After buying the milk I looked up and down the street and saw the sign... "Coastal Custom Cruisers".
They rent bicycles and Motor Scooters to folks visiting the beach.
I thought, "What would it hurt to pop in and talk to them?"

I walked in and met "Cameron".
"Do you by any chance have a used 150cc scooter for sale?"
Cameron smiled. I think he knew he "had me at Hello."
"Follow me, I have something to show you."
In the back room it sat... black, and strangely wonderful. It looks just like the one you see pictured above.
Italian engineering. 250cc's. I've been fascinated with 'em since I first saw one in magazines.
It's called an MP3. The last time Blog friend Cary and I climbed high up to Tortilla Flat in Arizona we followed a lady riding one of these up the mountain... she had no trouble at all staying in front of us.

"What year is it. How many miles. And how much?" I asked.
The number Cameron gave me was a shock.
"We have the machine on consignment" he said.
"Let me go home and check the Blue Book" I responded.
And when I checked, the "low retail" value was over $1000 more than the asking price, and this machine is NOT "low retail".
I bought the strange three-wheeler the next morning.

I spent much of the day on it yesterday.
It will go faster than I want to go on any scooter, two OR three wheels.
It's smooth-running, substantial feeling, and will be fine for two-up riding to Ft. Walton Beach, or for that matter, on the Interstate highways.
Cameron promises to help me load the MP3 AND the little 50cc Taotao into the bed of the Ram Diesel when we depart Destin the end of this month.

And now comes the hard part... my admission to "addiction"-
There are five motorcycles in my "hangar" already. Now when we get home there will be seven.
The 50cc Taotao has been an education and has served its purpose, so it's gone. The older GoldWing needs to go. The newer GoldWing stays.
That leaves the Valkyrie, the Moto Guzzi, and the BMW R80RT.
How do I decide which to part with?

This "Junkie" is already having trouble with withdrawal symptoms!

03 March 2016

Blood Politics

"You could NEVER do that", my wife said... (and she was correct).
We just watched Clarence Thomas' wife being interviewed on Glenn Beck's radio/TV show. She was talking about how amazing it was that Antonin Scalia had such a close relationship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two people about as far apart on the political spectrum as you can get.

My response?
"Blood on their hands!"
Hillary Clinton AND Barack Obama watched, on a live feed (LIVE!!) from Benghazi, as four people who worked for them were attacked and killed... and did NOTHING.
Worse, they then lied to cover their tracks for political benefit.

I am still in touch with folks in the military, many of whom are involved with Special Ops.
Some of those folks are dying because of poor political leadership.
If you are an Obama supporter... if you are a Clinton supporter, I'd just as soon try to beat you up as have a relationship with you.
Some of my friends are DYING. You have blood on your hands.

Antonin Scalia was smarter than me.
But I'm not sure his political tactics make the world a better place.

Still, I have to admit that Scalia beating little Ruth up would have been a bad move.
But the image it gives me makes me smile.
And I don't think progressives have any idea what they face in the future if we continue down this path.