Wednesday, April 13, 2011

JR Motorsports

I saw this four cylinder Kawasaki KZ750 probably from the 1980s and the words Universal Japanese Motorcycle popped into my mind. I was over at Jiri's motorcycle repair shop on Laurel Avenue, Stock Island just to pay a visit and I was looking for bikes to photograph.Jiri's new assistant was organizing the next repair when my eye fell on this R100S by BMW in a shade of purple my wife would approve. When I was a youngster I rode motorcycles as my only wheels and a BMW with shaft drive and easy maintenance with secure luggage and a reputation for longevity was what I wanted...but could never afford. These machines still look good to me even though many boy racers think they are staid. I have more miles on my 2007 Bonneville but at least this machine has been ridden a bit. My romantic view of elderly BMWs got a re-write in the excellent English website called Real Classics. http://www.realclassic.co.uk/profiles.html I like the symmetry of the design, the sensible large tank and proper motorcycle proportions. Had it been a fully faired R100RS I'd have passed out... My next appointment with Jiri will be in a couple of thousand miles or sooner when my rear tire will need replacement and the bike will get it's 12,000 mile valve check, air filter change and cables lubricated and carburettors balanced. With 50,100 miles on the clock I am slightly off the Triumph schedule of every 12,000 miles plus 2,000 for the initial service but the bike is running perfectly so I am happy in all respects. Happy too to have Jiri at my doorstep. Here's another essay I wrote about towing my Bonneville with a flat tire to Jiri's shop:


Key West Towing

It was too early in the afternoon to go drinking so we drifted by, my Labrador and I, me with thoughts of Smithwicks draught and she with thoughts of I-don't-know-what.Private tows have ceased to occupy a lot of public debate about now but the situation isn't really resolved by any decree from the city commission. If you see a sign like this one below when you go to park your car expect a bill between two and three hundred dollars to get the car back. Or put your credit card in a meter machine and pay less than two dollars an hour to park at any metered spot anywhere in the city. It seems an obvious choice to me but people aren't too bright it turns out. Then, when they get towed they call the police threatening lawsuits and tears and outrage. I was admiring this narrow offset, so picturesque and so typical of cheek-by-jowl Key West living, thenI walked past the front of the house.
It looks abandoned and may very well be another of thoise bank repos that are doing so much good to neighborhoods across America. First they offered absurdly cheap credit to buy absrudly expensive homes, then they took away everybody's jobs and homes when the banks needed to vacuum up all the money to clear those ridiculous bets the banks made. And now we are told the economy is improving. Really?
Cheyenne kept going, one more lane to explore.
She wasn't around, enjoying life with me, but I did explore this lane a while back in this essay: http://conchscooter.blogspot.com/2009/06/caraballo-lane.html
Cheyenne was on the end of a chain popping puppies for some abusive military family in Key West who got reassigned according to the SPCA and dumped her for being "too old." I hope they suffered myriad private tows while in Key West.

Key West Parking

It has been apparent for some time that we are in a drought in this part of Southern Florida. Winter is typically dry season but this year's dry season seems excessively prolonged. As a result trees that are trying to bud in time for Spring are looking shriveled and others are actually dropping their leaves making it look rather wintry despite the actual heat. We are living through positive blizzards of dried leaves in the Lower Keys. Parking issues remain on the City Commission agenda in Old Town. Plans to restrict residential free parking to actual residents of Old Town did not go over well so Commissioner Weekly dropped that idea before it even made it to the Commission for debate. When I have seen scooters like this Vespa, below, parked "like a car" in a parking spot I tended to dismiss the rider as not a "real" motorcyclist. However association with a friend of mine who uses two wheels to reserve space for four in front of his Old Town home, has taught me that parking like this is a legal and smart way to reserve a precious spot... One mentions from time to time that housing stock in Key West is not only expensive but not of the highest livable quality sometimes, and people don't get what one means. This is what I mean: Key West Electric Supply, 311 Margaret Street, has had this banner flying for some time, no takers apparently. The last time I went in with one of my water cistern pumps I told them I was distraught that they were closing. "Not at all," the clerk said with a sigh of frustration. "Everyone thinks that. We just want to move to spacious quarters in New Town." They are first rate with pumps and seals and electrical motors, and losing them would be a tragedy.
I saw this innovative shade covering for an elderly VW and wondered at the wit of key West residents who treat cars as nuisances rather than status symbols.
The "roof" is a front luggage rack from a VW van. Brilliant use of a parking space.

Caroline Street

Cheyenne is slowing down a lot this time of year, the heat has turned on suddenly and though the humidity remains low, temperatures in the upper 80's are the norm, rain is a distant memory, and walking the backwoods is just not much fun for my Labrador.I took these pictures downtown, under the weird Tiki hut shelter across the street from harpoon Harry's, a place that used to be occupied by the residentially challenged and that is now posted with a very severe "No Loitering" sign. Being as how I have a home, shower regularly and was simply giving my dog a chance to rest in the shade, I figured a little harmless loitering would be okay. This guy across the street was suffering the heat too, it seemed like, though the shade was retreating rapidly across his toes. One of the odd things about Key West's population of street people is that they ebb and flow with the seasons. In summer they retreat Up North, how I don't know though I expect the Greyhound bus to Miami is one way out. I saw these kids come out of Maun's Market, now known as New Market, in the background, and they got on their scooter, pulled a u-turn and headed toward Duval. I snapped their picture out of some sentimental memory of my own youth in Italy riding mopeds legally at age 14, and what a useful tool a 50cc motor is to a teenager. Or an adult in Key West.
Harpoon Harry's was getting a fresh coat of paint. Warm work for sure. Harpoon Harry's used to be nothing more than a breakfast and lunch diner but like everything else in the boom years the diner concept expanded.

As I work nights I don't eat breakfast out much anymore- breakfast time is bedtime for me, but I sometimes miss the good cheer and eggs at Harpoon Harry's.