About Bob

Beagles & Bikes, two of my favorite things. Beagles are cool (we have two). Snoopy is the coolest beagle, and Joe Cool is the Steve McQueen of beagles. He just exudes cool. But my passion - traveling locally, regionally and anywhere in the country by motorbike, takes the cake. There is no better way to see the sights, smell the smells, and immerse oneself in the ways of life of the different areas you travel through. People approach you out of genuine curiosity: Where are you from? Where are you going? How long have you been traveling? Why a motorbike? By motorbike, people open up, invite you into their lives. Sports cars, particularly convertible Roadsters, generate the same kind of curiosity. And if The Beagles come along in their own sidecar, or convertible sports car, tails wagging and goggles and scarves billowing in the breeze,what conversations do you think would ensue........?

Make America Great Britain Again?

Well, yeah. If this group had their way and enough of these works of rolling art and history were tooling around, you just might think you were in Great Britain.

A ringer! Leave it to an Italian to bring an Alfa to a Brit show.

Sexy & British. Words not usually used in the same sentence (talking cars here!). But the Jaguar E-Series, that’s a different story…………..

I could tool around my town in this MG

Here’s a couple of rare Triumphs that you don’t see on display very often even at car shows. Triumph TR4 and Triumph GT6 MK3.

Well I guess Mazda did not produce the first smiley-face sports car!

Austin Healy Bug-Eye Sprite. Now that’s cute!

Not only was I drawn to this MG by it’s beautiful flowing lines (I’m a sucker for curves), but the paint job was astounding!

This vehicle was very interesting with an interesting story. I had never seen the likes of it before.

We’ll need a lot more of these gorgeous cars on our roads to Make America feel like Great Britain Again. if you think these Brit autos are old, check out the very small Made in America contingent at this show…..

Whoa! Wooden wheels!

Why indeed!

Yes, that is a crank start, and yes, the old girl is pissing fluid all over the pavement. Poor dear.

I love coming to these shows to view automotive history. I applaud the men and women who keep these cars alive for all of us to enjoy the story of the automobile, wherever the origin.

 

Peace, Tranquility and Twisty Tarmac in the North Georgia Mountains

What do you do when you feel like life is beating you down? For me, it’s about immersing myself in nature, and one of my favorite ways to do so is to hop on my motorbike and head to the mountains for a three day moto camping therapy session.

This trip was to the North Georgia Mountains, where I had three beautiful sun drenched days and bright, gorgeous moonlit nights. And of course, the motorcycle and sports car serpentine mountain roads that course through the National Forests here. Roads like Wolfpen Gap Road (passes to you Westerners and Euro folks) with it’s posted 10 MPH curves, Russell Scenic Byway carving up Hogpen Mountain through the National Forest, GA HWY 60, twisting through the trees testing your eyesight with constant alternating sunlight and shade. It was a perfect weekend of moto therapy.

HOME BASE

The roads here are fantastic. My intent on this gorgeous weekend was to bag all six gaps (passes) through these mountains. It’s only about 100 miles or so, a bit more if you do some exploring. There is an actual mapped out route that has been drawn up with a title, appropriately named, The Six Gap Loop. Neels Gap, Hogpen Gap, Unicoi Gap, Wolfpen Gap, Woody’s Gap and Jack’s Gap comprise the six mountain gaps. Don’t let the low total mileage fool you, these mountain loops will have you working it and taking a nap by the time you roll back into camp.

Lunch is a pretty big deal here at Two Wheels. Folks come from miles around on two and four wheels. Food is pretty damn good too. They serve up dinner also.

Always, always, take pictures of your bike (but not too many).

Riding these mountain roads, for me, is very Zen. Mindfulness plays a key role in all my motorcycle and sports car driving, but the beauty of these mountains and the traffic free roads just draw you into that elusive sweet spot every time.

As mentioned earlier, by days end these mountain roads had me pleasantly tired. Rolling back into camp and heading for the showers, I was greeted, sort of, by my new friend, Mr. Tee.

Play with Mr. Tee for a few moments, crack open a beer, sit in my camp chair and soak in the beauty of nature in the park-like setting of the campground while waiting for the dinner chimes to sound. What a wonderful day. Therapy complete. Life is good.

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Smiling Faces at MATG XXIII

MIATAS AT THE GAP – FONTANA VILLAGE RESORT- NORTH CAROLINA

Look at these stats:

710 Mazda Miata MX-5’s

1105 Miataphiles in attendance

Over $6000.00 raised for the Blount County Rescue Squad

(the folks that save your ass when you screw up on The Dragon)

That is damn impressive. Each one a record setting number. All this over a four day weekend in the mountains of Western North Carolina. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our trip started out with a bit of misfortune, namely a rather large size of glistening oil staining my driveway, yes, right under my car.

One week prior to our trip, I noticed this abomination in my driveway. I immediately contacted our auto technician and was told to get the car in ASAP. After teardown, they diagnosed the problem as a blown crankshaft seal, and proceeded to replace all the seals with a new seal kit.

This took us up to the day before departure. After packing the car, I rolled it back on the driveway, and, SHIT! A new oil glob bigger than previous. What do we do? We couldn’t just hop in Roo’s Nissan and go. This was a Miata MX-5 event for gods sake!

We went. I filled the crankcase with oil from my garage, and threw two quarts in the trunk. We were nervous (and quite pissed off), but we had been waiting months for this trip to come about. Roo called our auto tech and told them the situation as we rolled down the road. I had no idea how much of an oil slick we were laying down, and in a bit of levity, Roo said it was very James Bond of me. No Aston Martin here though.

Our first stop on our way north was Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina. In actuality, the state line of North Carolina and South Carolina cuts right through the mountain, but it is the highest in SC, NC having much higher peaks.

At least “Matchbox” is leaking on gravel………….

The state line of South Carolina and North Carolina

Views From Sassafras Mountain

Mysterious Mountain Girl

After checking the oil level (and topping off), We headed for one of our favorite sports car and motorcycle playgrounds: the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Crossing into North Carolina, we picked up the Parkway and headed for it’s highest point.

Matchbox is still smiling! We’re halfway there!

We traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 25 miles before exiting onto a secondary highway and motoring into Bryson City, North Carolina. When traveling in these parts, we always stop here for lunch in our favorite eatery, Mountain Perks Coffee and Café.

We ate lunch and discussed what we might do given our situation. After about forty-five minutes, we walked out to the car to drive our last leg of thirty-five miles to Fontana Village Resort. Roo got to the car first and said “Crap! Look at the front wheel!” I looked, and saw oil running behind the tire into the gutter. It was like the pan just fell off! I pulled the dipstick…….. DRY! I knew of a Napa auto store two blocks over, so I walked to it and purchased three quarts of oil. Poured them into my car which brought the oil level up to LOW on the dipstick. We drove to the store, bought more oil, filled the crankcase and drove to our cabin at Fontana Village Resort.

We made it!

Pondering our fate, we decided to salvage what we could of our vacation. I would keep pouring oil into my car as needed (almost constant) throughout the five days. The unfortunate reality was that I would significantly decrease the number of drives that we were scheduled to participate in. As a matter of fact, I only did two Dragon runs, one on Friday at a somewhat sedate pace, and a more performance oriented run on Saturday. I just did not have the confidence in the car to push it further.

Fortunately, there was lots of Miata centric activity going on at the resort itself. Miata central was where everyone could hang out when finished tearing up and down these mountain roads, or just walk around and check out all the vendors that were there selling everything from T-shirts to companies like V8 Roadster that retrofits small block V8 engines into your Miata! Want to take your MX-5 four wheelin’? Check out Paco Moto.

Miata Central

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Saturday afternoon was the time for the annual group photo shoot. We didn’t enter Matchbox, only because it would take forever to get out after the shoot. Look at all those smiling faces!

Circle the Miatas!

The field is getting larger………

and larger…………..

Hey! Where’d everybody go?

Paco Moto showing off their off-road Miata!

Photos of the annual photo. Everybody’s happy!

 

It turned out to be a great trip, and an awesome experience. Sunday morning was our departure day, and our trunk had our luggage and six quarts of oil at the ready. During the drives over the week, I ascertained Matchbox drank a quart and a half of oil every fifty miles. So, on the drive home, we stopped and topped off every fifty miles. It was an exercise in patience. But we made it. Matchbox got us home intact.

Whew! That photo shoot was rough. I need to cool off. See you next year for MATG XXIV

Postscript: Turns out the crankshaft seal our auto tech installed was defective. It was a Mazda OEM seal. He ordered in a higher quality aftermarket seal kit, and since then, no sign of oil leakage under Matchbox! All smiles!

 

 

 

So, You Say You Like Vintage Bikes?

 

Me too. But not enough to own one. I like the reliability of modern bikes. I like not having to worry about breaking down on the road in the middle of God’s elbow somewhere. I like electric start, powerful brakes, ABS, traction control, ride modes, and yes, dual clutch transmissions like I have on my Honda NC700.

I don’t wax nostalgic over vintage bikes. I wasn’t riding a 1960’s triumph when I was five years old. When most of these older bikes were new and on the road, heck, I wasn’t even interested in girls yet!

But I love the design of vintage bikes, the artistry that goes into those designs. I like the historical factor, each bike showcasing the history of motorcycling through the decades. The beauty of these machines is what excites me, whether in preservation mode or fully restored.

The venue for this vintage show was Antique Bikes on Main in Chesnee, South Carolina. Enjoy the photos and wax nostalgic if you must!

Cool, Quirky, Strange and Interesting……………..

A FEW PHOTOS OF VEHICLES AT THIS MONTHS CARS & COFFEE

MICHELIN CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA

THE BIG GUY AT MICHELIN SCHMOOZIN’ WITH THE CROWD

 

THIS ISN’T A GANG, JUST A GAGGLE OF MOTORBIKES

THE SAINT BERNARD OF THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD

THIS MASERATI COUPE AND ITS SISTER ROADSTER WOULD BE THE ONLY MASERATIS I WOULD CONSIDER IF I COULD AFFORD TO. I CAN’T, SO IT’S MOOT.

THERE’S TWO OF THESE RUNNING AROUND TOWN THAT I’M AWARE OF!

FORD GT

DOGS LOVE CARS AND BIKES TOO!

HONDA’S URBAN TRAIL COMPLETE WITH RIFLE AND SCABBARD

TRIVIATIME! WHAT POPULAR 1980’S TV SHOW HAD THE LEAD ACTOR DRIVING AROUND IN THIS FERRARI 308 GTS?

MAGNUM P.I.

UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED, BUT VERY COOL!

THE ORIGINAL

SUPERCAR SHOWDOWN

LAMBO

VS

MCLAREN

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH!