Saturday, May 19, 2007

Its Just a Wooden Boat

Gary and I had been thinking about riding together. Some way or another we were going to meet, ride and talk scooters. The thing that held us back was the fact Gar' was having trouble getting lined up with his Vespa. Then he pulled the trigger. If you haven't seen one of these bad boy GTS's in the vintage red, All I can say is the color works. The damn thing looks alive.

We set out on the east river road toward the shop which restores the larger wooden boats I wrote about in a previous blog.

You roll along beside the river. A row of homes between you and the slow moving waters. The two lane snakes under overhanging trees and past hobby farms. There's a stable of some wealth along the way. Some day I'm going to stop there and see what there is to see there. The place seems just right nestled in between homes lounging beside the Mississippi on their outstretched lots. In a few places they were closely knit, like small seaside towns. Little buildings jostling for a few more feet of space. Everyone likes to be on The River.

But we were here for the ride and a destination. The wooden boat restoration shop.

When we got there Gary was surprised. Just as I was the first time I'd seen it. A half moon of incredible pieces of floating history, beached for now, with restoration in their futures and a chance to sail again someday.

I was still taking in the view when Gary motioned me to guide my bike into a certain angle. From there it was all about looking for the framework to catch the big boats in their glory. To find glimpses of the ghosts still aboard these vessels.

You see, when you look at pieces of history, tools of another era, you sometimes tend to imagine the people of the time, around them. You can picture what someone might be doing, or the kinds of people who might have been sightseeing aboard these boats so long ago. You wonder about the people who built the boats and the ones who were on them.

The last set of pictures Gary snapped were of an almost overlooked fire engine from the thirties or forties. A beautiful original condition machine with an honest to goodness ragtop. A convertible fire truck!

It was time to move on. We rode back down the east river road from the boat restoration shop on the outskirts of the town of Rice to St. Joseph where we finally had a bit to eat. I'll let Gary cover that for you. Its his specialty.

But the ride. To me its what its all about. The weaving lanes beside the river or past Minnesota lakes. Through farmland and pastures and little towns whose church steeples break up the green skyline horizon. Its always been the ride.



CodyandMichelle said...

Oh just great Harv, you get to see a vintage fire truck but then don't post any photos of it:( Ya know for some reason I'm kind of partial to fire trucks.
Sounds like a cool place to visit and a fun ride. How far was it from your place?

Bill Sommers said...

Kind of like that place that has all of the Cadillac's nosed into the ground.

You two dude's look pretty cool astride those Vespa's. Maybe I'll have to save up for a modern Vespa. You guys have me jealous.

Have fun,

American Scooterist Blog said...

These are Gary's pics so I didn't want to be out of line and post anything he might be interested in but he did say the fire engine shot wasn't his first interest. Gary, hope you don't mind but if you do say the word and I'll do as you ask.

Its about twelve miles as the crow flies but by the route we took you can add a little more.

Thanks Cody :)

Bill, yeah, it very much reminds me of that place now that you mention it.

The sun was in my eyes. The wind was blowing hard so I had to squint. I'm normally a pretty peaceable looking guy. When I clicked on the pic I looked all badass-angry or something which I'm defintely not.

Get a mod Vespa.. Get a mod Vespa... (says the guy on your left shoulder) I have to tell you they ride differently than anything else I've been on. If you get the chance to take on out on an extended ride, the type where you have to really get comfortable with the bike, you'll see these MV's have very distinct characteristics. Some might even say their own personalities.


Steve Williams said...

I recognize the guy on the left but the other one, wait, isn't that The Edge from U2? *grin*

You look pretty serious Harv. Nice riding jacket too!

Sounds like a great trip. Too bad I'm so far away. I wouldn't mind joining in a ride. Maybe when I retire.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Combatscoot said...

You look angry in the pic.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Steve, the sun was in my eyes. I think you would find many of the roads around here almost familiar.

Combatscoot, Sun and wind. I'm really a nice guy.