Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Laverda 1000 Triple

I about shit myself driving down Southard Street when I saw a non Harley Davidson motorcycle parked on the street. Whoa!

Just this month Motorcycle Classics magazine had a feature on the Laverda twins from the 1970's. And here was a triple right in front of me. In Key West no less, land of the endless v-twins.

The motorcycle looked brand spanking new with just 25,000 miles on the original clock. My four year old Bonneville has almost 56,000 miles on it and looks far less pristine than this machine.

The 45-year old motorcycle has the original labels and some rather tacky stick on labels (which given Italian tastes may also be originals for all I know). The name is pronounced verda with the emphasis on the first, two letters.

Laverdas were designed for the American market with lots of cubic capacity and power to impress in the land where "there's no substitute for cubic inches."

When I was a kid growing up in Italy I dreamed of Moto Guzzi motorcycles, too expensive for me and as out of reach as the big Laverdas which were known for excellent performance and finicky maintenance and...

...tall saddles which were a killer for a teenage man with a 28 inch inside leg. Funnily enough standing next to the Laverda on Southard it didn't seem that tall now that I am 54.

What a fabulous find. I hope the owner plans on riding it for miles and miles and miles.

The editor of Motorcycle Classics, Richard Backus has an actual Laverda Jota, the hotted up version of the regular one thousand. He loves it and acknowledges its flaws and brilliance all at once.

I know Conch cottages are lovely but the Laverda made my day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Orange And Yellow And Pink

I wasn't sure if it was some giant insect trying to escape the black plastic bag or just the usual tropical foliage suddenly surplus to requirements.

Forget the bag, check out the wild orange paint job.

I thought that looked quite interesting in a new-old style Conch cottage but there was yellow also on view further up Ashe Street.

I thought it looked quite good for all it wasn't pink.

Stained glass windows for the masses.

Weird graffiti for who knows who. A Spanish mission perhaps?

Key West just looks awesome under the sunny blue skies.

Exit Realty has gone and, and be still my beating heart, the formerly yellow Exit Realty building on Truman is now...

...pink! Awesome!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Channel Widening

The City Commission meets tonight at Old City Hall at 6pm and the newspaper is anticipating a knock down drag out fight over a referendum proposal to study plans to consider widening the ship channel. At least that had been the general impression but now the wording has been released and the Citizen seems to think if the referendum is approved and put to the voters and subsequently passed by them, the channel widening will be a done deal. Oh dear, storm clouds are brewing in clear blue sky...

“Shall the city of Key West pursue
modifications to widen a portion of the
Key West Harbor Deep Water Channel
to facilitate safe navigation?”

The sentence above is proposed as the wording for a citywide referendum on channel widening. I live in the county so I will not be eligible to vote, but in this case my vote would be a simple no. The story is that cruise ship lines are building ever larger cruise ships and the Key West harbor channel will not be wide or deep enough to accommodate the mega cruise ships with their six thousand passengers. Supporters of channel widening argue that Key West depends on cruise ships for millions in direct revenue in harbor dues, as well as millions more from tourists and crew spending money in our city. Furthermore cruise ship visitors frequently become return tourists arriving by land and air to spend more time, and more money in Key West.Currently the largest cruise ships with 3,000 passengers are accommodated at the Navy Outer Mole (seen above) and the Westin Pier which pays 25% of docking fees to the city. Smaller ships also dock at Mallory Square which, if they are there at sunset creates conflicts with the Sunset Celebration organizers. Local bigwig Ed Swift, the ultimate civic booster, is urging support for channel widening saying this is the way of the future and the city needs the money and shouldn't get left out of the next round of cruise ship business. Opponents of course argue that mammoth cruise ships will be another nail in the coffin of the preferred image of Key West as a funky off beat destination already imperilled by the thousands who already disembark here. They also oppose the city spending five million dollars just to study channel widening which will require all sorts of federal permits. The fact is that the channel into Key West harbor is not a naturally deep channel currently carrying a minimum of 35 feet depth. In the 19th century the harbor approaches were quite deep enough but with the advent of modern shipping the Navy has widened the channel to accommodate warships and now the extra widening will add to the silt and debris carried to the reef and further environmental depredation will ensue.
I do not see this issue as a simple eco-mentalist anti-business debate versus economic growth. In a very real sense this decision will set the tone for Key West's sense of itself for years to come. If Walmart really is coming to Rockland Key it will be possible for visitors to ignore the box store as long as long businesses can hold out against the Walton family depredations so familiar in communities across this country. However if the number of cruise ship passengers will increase vastly Key west will change under their onslaught. in a town like key West which has little land mass and high desirability prices will always be above average for homes and rents and the threat is ever present that the community will be replaced by exasperated gentrification. However if the referendum is presented in the wording used at the top of this essay, and those words are approved by the voters, then the city will have the green light to study widening, approve and attempt to raise money to get the job done with no further public consideration. I don't want to see the city impoverished but I don't think the only cruise ships sailing in the future will be megaships only. Key West would make a great destination for small intimate cruises already popular.

Reflections In The Water

Humans leave their marks on trees and one is left to wonder what kind of a prat Chris is.

Of course I draw the line at inconvenience and when a tree falls naturally across the path I'm glad someone showed up, presumably from the government, with a chainsaw and cleared up the mess. Nature responds by bandaging the wound with sap.

For Cheyenne rainwater is found drinking water.

So, should we ask the government to build a raised boardwalk so we can walk in the rainy season and avoid the inconvenience of floods?

I'd like to think the prat Chris would say yes.

It's a conundrum for a walker who thinks. How much of a mark do we leave when we stride through the formerly pristine woods and what is our presence worth? "Leave only footprints take only pictures etc..."

I burned dead dinosaurs to get here, just to add to the damage.

She thought it was worth it. And frankly so did I.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad