Monday, August 15, 2011

Yamaha 250

I had previously seen this neat little café racer at thenYamaha shop on North Roosevelt.

I figured it was either a consignment or a trade. The dour operator of the Yamaha shop is known for strictly limiting himself to the one brand. I liked Yamahas years ago and I owned a couple of them over the years.

It is a relatively simple single cylinder engine with twin exhausts. I like the simple traditional layout of the instruments, no digital liquid crystal display wonders here, just dials and lights.

I was surprised to see what appears to be a compressed air reservoir for the rear suspension. It seemed a rather sophisticated touch for this little bike.

Many years ago I owned and traveled with this motorbike's larger version, the SR500 and I miss that ride's simplicity and ease of use. On the other hand my Bonneville is not exactly a complicated ride...

For round town riding this little hot rod seems perfect. I hope someone is having fun with this ride.

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Keys Pix 4

Pearl's used to be known as Pearl's Rainbow and it bused to be women only. I rather liked the idea that Key West could support such a narrow clientele but times change and now they take men as well. Times are hard everywhere and some of that filters down here too.

Papa's Hideaway was looking surprisingly busy for this the quietest time of the year.

I dare say this poor man has had more than his share of silly jokes about teeth and riveting and so forth.

And if we need a platitude to keep up our morale look no further than a mass produced plastic tire cover.

And as annoying as graffiti are... least we know this jumble of letters didn't come from China.

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Upper Duval

It comes as a surprise to some visitors but a town as small as Key West is divided into distinct neighborhoods. New Town, Old Town and even, some say, Mid Town. Casa Marina, The Meadows, Bahama Village, Truman Annex. And even Duval Street is divided, into Lower and Upper divided by the gay bars in the middle. This is Upper Duval.

I spent my formative years getting an expensive English boarding school education so I always love to see the South Duval art gallery sign. Sod You indeed, puerile humor rules.

SoBe in Miami encourages visitors to spend money in South Beach and SoMa entices the cool spenders to South of Market in San Francisco. Sod-U doesn't ring quite the same chime somehow. Around here they don't lock up their daughters, they lock up their bicycles.

Upper Duval, the end of the street furthest from all the bars on Lower Duval, which is paradoxically the north end of the street, prides itself on being a bit nicer than all those raucous noisy roustabouts making chaos before bar closing time at 4 am. So I have to ask myself how did this to go cup get left here?

There's a sign, below, one doesn't get to see too often. The first word is underlined so I am forced to wonder what the criteria are, and do impostors frequently present themselves as locals?

"When pigs have wings..." and here's one that does.

T-shirts are a vexing issue for some who visit Duval Street. Lower Duval specializes in penis jokes and drunken jollity on their t-shirts. Upper Duval does a better line in casual wear.

Cigars and t-shirts are on offer and if the 1970's were the high point of your life you too can emblazon the era on your chest.

"Let us take your picture and put on a t-shirt." Let us all take pictures and put on t-shirts.

Do owners look like their dogs? I hope I don't radiate the happy hopefulness of a Labrador.

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Bridge Closure

I have no idea how to explain to Cheyenne why her favorite bridge walk is closed. Other bridges up the highway have been getting a makeover so I'm figuring it's the turn of the bridge at Niles Channel.

Naturally I quite like the bridge the way it was/is but it has to be improved I guess. Judging by it's refreshed neighbors they will put in guardrails at regulation height so we will no longer be able to dangle our Croc-shod feet over the water. The rails will burn your hands in the sun unlike the rough cement barriers in place already.

Change is good, I keep telling myself this and I just wish I started to believe that simple truth.

I met a family 'back in the Keys' for vacation and they were going fishing. Nothing daunted they went down the slope to the water's edge and worried not one bit about the fence or the closed bridge. I immediately adopted their attitude. All will be great with new fencing and paving and so forth. Let us rejoice that there is still money in the county coffers to make infrastructure improvements!

And there, over my shoulders were a bunch of motorcyclists enjoying a fine summer day on the Overseas Highway. It's possible they were on their way to Lobsterfest in Key West.

The city needs tourist income through the summer months and inane festivals every weekend bring in vacation starved visitors. More power to them but you won't catch me standing in line in the sun waiting to eat full price lobsters while standing up when I can order them at a table in comfort in one of our fine restaurants.

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Sugarloaf Flyers

So I ask you: who the hell moves to the Fabulous Florida Keys and wants to go fly a plane? Lots of people that's who and there's a runway just for them.

And if they live in a house on Sugarloaf Key they can have an aeroplane garage underneath their living rooms. The homes actually look like regular Keys stilt houses except they may have a cavernous yawning hole covered sometimes by enormous garage doors.

Inside they keep their toys and I'm pleased to report that in between the wings and toolboxes there is room for the odd motorcycle or two.

Nevertheless it seems airplanes need a lot of wrenches to keep them flying. And lots of room to store them. But there's still enough room for a basketball hoop just to keep the suburban image intact. Fly home and launch a leather orb at a hole in the air to relax your nerves from having just flown through the same air on two wings and a prayer.

I never got into flying even though I have learned that small planes are surprisingly economical, especially considering they fly far above turns, intersections and traffic jams. Like sailing, something I am familiar with, the direction of the wind is important. Hence the roof top windsock.

You'd have to be exceptionally stupid to park your car in the path of even a light aircraft coming in to land, but I have no doubt there are some idiots who view it as their God given right to bugger up other people's pathway.

It's apparent to me that residents walk their dogs along the edge of then paved runway because Cheyenne showed enormous interest in who had gone before.

So who want to leave these lovely homes and fly away?

Not all of them have plane hangers underneath, and they may have to make do with canals and car garages like the rest of us.

If you think about it the isolation of these islands makes them ideal for aviators. A drive to Naples will take six or seven hours but a flight at one hundred miles an hour would take a little more than an hour.

Consider too that many islands in the Bahamas have airstrips so taking the time to spend a weekend in the islands is a short hop away.

The best bit of all is that general aviation, the official term for private flights, is pretty much unsupervised. No TSA fondling, no luggage inspections and no weight limits and no crating of pets. Except if you overload your little 'plane you crash and die.

Suddenly I'm talking myself into... Not in this lifetime. It's enough keeping cars and motorcycles and boats and generators going. Too many engines ruin a quality of life and I'm at my limit, past it perhaps.

Cheyenne got past her limit of exposure to direct summer sunlight so she took cover under a convenient bush.

One other thing: the view of the Keys and their surrounding turquoise waters are quite spectacular from the air. How do I know? Because for relatively little money you can take a commercial flight from Key West and spend half an hour looking out of the window while someone else drives.

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