The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Sep 04 Day 15 - The Old Spanish Trail - John Skinner's Motorcycles

Today would be like a day off for me, I had a 9:00 am appointment at Skinner's Motorcycles to have the new tires installed plus an oil change. I'd already removed the panniers which stripped the Bonnie down making access to the rear tire easy. 

I left the motel early so I could stop and buy batteries for my camera and arrived at Skinner's right on the money. No one was there yet but just as I shot a picture of the empty street Allan the technician pulled up in his van and a couple of minutes later John and his wife (she does the books, etc) arrived. 

Angel, John's 3-year old Golden Retriever was there too, ready to get to work in the tail wagging department.
Hey,  anybody see my toy? Huh? wag wag wag
Seeming oddly out of place, a small Sears scooter sits on display in the showroom. John collects scooters with a special liking for old Sears branded machines, most of which were made by Puch, an Austrian maker in the 40s -60s. 
Allan and John confer on the day's scheduled work. I'm first up.
While the Bonnie is being worked on John tells me to look around the shop, he's got three huge rooms full of vintage bikes and replacement parts for them, all focusing on early British makes, especially Triumph and BSA. 

Small collectibles abound, Triumph restoration projects need these items
The morning wears on, tail wagging takes its toll making a nap mandatory
As soon as he's free from phone calls John takes me on a tour through the treasure troves in the rest of his building. He has three large areas filled to the gills with bikes and goodies. Restoration shops from all over the USA and Europe shop at Skinner's for special hard-to-find items.

John raced flat track motorcycles professionally for years before retiring. More recently the AMA invited him to return to the sport, this time for vintage trophy races. He's done so and is having a ball.
John's flat track bike

A room full of old scooters

This is a "Twingle" head, rare as can be
Hidden away in his most inner sanctum are mementos of his early days of racing. I asked if he could still wear his leathers and he said "Sure". I believe him, he's trim as a 30-year old. Good diet, exercise.... I'm ready to move along now.

With the tour completed it's time for lunch and John's wife goes to pick up Chinese food and Allan sets the table on the front sales counter. We all sit down for lunch but business carries on and John tends to two customers while we eat. You can tell everyone is accustomed to this, it's a very informal relaxed way of doing business.

I think guests should be the ones who clean up. Mmm?

Several used bikes for sale are rolled out in front of the shop during the day
With lunch finished it's time to get back to business. John takes the Bonnie out for a short ride to make sure everything is as it should be, then returns to the shop and we settle up. While there I decided I had to own one of their T-shirts and added it to my account. When I review the charges I noticed it isn't listed and ask John about it. He smiles and says "It's on the shop". How nice is that? Great hospitality, competent service, lunch, & a free T-shirt!

My cool new shirt

I head back to the motel and re-install the panniers making ready for tomorrow's ride. The new tires feel good, the bike's gassed up and ready to go. Tomorrow should be a great day.

The new front tire
The tread design is supposed to focus on touring. I like it.
Just for drill and the sake of cleanliness I throw my jeans into the tub for another washing; it's hot outside and they should dry in plenty of time for tomorrow's ride. I've no idea where I'll go for dinner tonight but if I get lazy and don't want to venture out there's always the Cliff Bars stashed in my bag.

See ya,


1 comment:

  1. Skinner's looks like a good place to do business. Glad you had a day to rest up. xox


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