Trip Peek #25
Trip #59
Thanksgiving 2007

pv42This picture is from my 2007 Thanksgiving weekend trip to Nashville, Tennessee. This outing actually started with a ferry ride across the Ohio River and visits to a few spots in Kentucky including the Jefferson Davis Monument. In Nashville, I took in shows at both the Ryman and the Bluebird and ate breakfast at both the Loveless and the Pancake Pantry. I also visited two car museums on the trip but only one, Lane, was in Nashville. The other was the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where I stopped on the way home. The photo is of the Bellsouth Tower (a.k.a. “Batman Building”) taken through a large ring gear displayed in a park across the Cumberland River.

Oops! (6-Sep-14) Part way through a road trip, I realized that I did not have enough posts in the queue to cover the trip. The random trip selector came up with the 2007 Thanksgiving trip and I hastily put a post together in a motel room. But once I was home and able to pay a little more attention to what I was doing, I discovered that this had already been posted as a Trip Peek in June, 2013. At least my descriptions were similar.


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

My Wheels – Chapter 13
1966 Suzuki

suzuki1966Dates from this period are a little fuzzy but I think it was not long after the Falcon Futura breathed its last that I acquired the Suzuki X-6 Hustler. A friend had bought it new then gave me a good deal on it when he went to New York to work his way to Europe as he had done once before. The working passage never quite came together and he returned after a few months and I offered to return the bike. He declined and I’m pretty sure part of the reason was pure kindness as he knew how much I was enjoying it.

The X-6 was a rather advanced and interesting motorcycle. The ‘6’ in the name referred to the unusual for the time 6 speed transmission. The engine produced 29 HP from only 247 CCs. It was a 2 cycle but had an oil injection system so that fuel did not have to be pre-mixed as with most 2 cycles. A top speed of 90 MPH was advertised and, while I never quite reached that, I did have mine above 80 MPH.

A friendship that continues today was started partially by this bike. John Nawrocki and I worked at the same company and he had an X-6 Scrambler. The Scrambler was an almost identical motorcycle with up-swept exhaust and a few other modifications for off-road use. It seemed natural for the two of us to ride our Suzukis together despite the fact that John’s bike was bright red and mine a sedate black.

I worked downtown and parked the Suzuki on the sidewalk in front of the building whenever I rode it. After work one day, I stepped outside to see a policeman checking parking meters or something similar. Although I had reason to duck back inside, I quickly decided it was too late and nonchalantly mounted the bike. Either helmets were not required at that time or they were and I had one. Either way, I was not in violation of a helmet law. Before I could start the bike, however, the officer approached and asked, “Where’s your eye protection?”

I don’t think I even knew about eye protection being required but I sure didn’t have any and my unsatisfactory response to that first question led immediately to another. “Let me see your license.”

The license thing was what had made me think about ducking back in the building. A law requiring a motorcycle specific endorsement on drivers license had been passed some time back and I didn’t have one. I was cited but got my endorsement before my court date. That plus a promise to wear sunglasses got me off with just court costs.

I rode the Suzuki quite a bit although the longest trips were probably several sub-100 mile rides to Darke County. One day the drive chain broke and I pushed the bike just a little over a mile to a Honda dealer. I doubt I could push a dead motorcycle much more than a yard today. I bought the needed replacement link but had no money to pay for installation. I did it on the sidewalk beside the shop with tools that a mechanic, careful not to actually hand me anything, laid just outside an open door. Kindness like that is remembered a long time. Then one day the engine just died.

This time it stayed by the side of the road while I hitched a ride home then went with the band I was in to audition an organist. Once that was over, we could pick up the bike. The audition did not go well (He was much better than us.) and we couldn’t muster the energy to unload the equipment so we could fit in the bike until the next day. By then, the bike was gone.

About a year later, at something like 2 AM, the phone rang. It was a policeman calling to tell me the Suzuki had been found. I was pretty sure that, after the bike being gone for a year, I could have waited until daylight for the news but the police were so excited about recovering a stolen motorcycle, which NEVER happens, they just had to call me immediately.

I think I got the bike started — I remember something about the coils — but I don’t think it was ever quite right again. Before long, it was one of the pieces involved in a car purchase.

Trip Peek #24
Trip #44
Labor Day Loop

pv29This picture is from my 2006 Labor Day Loop trip through southern Ohio. I started out tracing the Ohio River eastward to meet some friends in Portsmouth. From there, we visited a couple of blast furnace sites from the Ohio Valley’s heyday as an iron producer. The photo is of the completely restored Buckeye Furnace. Little remains at most sites beyond a stone chimney if that.


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

My Wheels – Chapter 12
1961 Falcon

falconfutura1961The 1961 in the title is something of a guess. I know for sure it was a first generation Falcon Futura. The first generation of Falcons ran from 1960 through 1963 with the bucket-seated Futura introduced in 1961. I believe mine was a ’61 but I guess it’s possible it was a year or two newer. If, however, you judged the car’s age purely on its condition, you would be challenged to believe it was a maximum of ten years old when I bought it in 1971 for $35.

When the Dodge went off to get its transmission fixed, I needed transportation for a couple of weeks. A friend of a friend had a friend with a car for sale that might make it that long. No guarantee, of course. At some point in its life, my car must have looked like the dark blue ’61 in the photo but it wasn’t on my watch. There was no evidence of a major collision but there had obviously been plenty of small ones and rust was a major player in the color scheme. The interior was a trifecta of torn, shabby, and faded. I remember that all or most of the fancy Futura console was present but it was not actually attached to anything and sort of bounced around the drive shaft hump as it saw fit.

The first problem I had was getting the title transferred. The seller was a college student from Louisiana. He had lived in Cincinnati for a few years but, because license, taxes, or something else cost more in Ohio, had never transferred the title. When I went to a title office in Ohio, I was turned away because of some time limit. Then someone suggested that if we got the title notarized out of state, we might get away with claiming it was done while the guy was on the way to Ohio to deliver the car. We found a cooperative notary in Kentucky then got a new title in Ohio without a hiccup.

The Falcon did its job until the Dodge came back then stayed around in a part time role. At that point in my life, I knew lots of people with cars that were not 100% dependable and who might need a loaner now and then. The Falcon was almost perfect for this since it did provide the desired function but did it in such a way that no one was tempted to delay the repair of their own car any more than necessary. The car met its demise while on loan.

One of the car’s many quirks was a temperamental ignition interlock. The transmission was a column shift automatic. Like most cars of the day, the Falcon’s transmission had to be in “park” in order to start the car. More often that not, it had to be extra deep in “park”.  ‘P’ was all the way to the left; reached by pushing the lever up. When I got the car, the cast metal casing was already cracked from all the shoving on the lever to get the starter to engage. The crack grew. The car’s last driver had the lever come off in his hand as he pressed it upward. I retrieved the plates, left the signed title in the glove box, and waved goodbye to the best $35 car I ever owned.

Trip Peek #23
Trip #35
SB Rendezvous

pv23This picture is from my San Bernardino Rendezvous fly-and-drive trip to the 2005 Route Festival. I flew into Phoenix then drove north through Prescott, Jerome, and Sedona to reach Historic Route 66 at Flagstaff. The photo is of the late Bob Waldmire’s 1972 VW Microbus being returned after mistakenly being towed from the authors & artists area of the festival. Bob was pretty nervous until the bus was back on the ground without damage. Following the festival, I drove through Joshua Tree National Park before picking up US-60 to the coolest named airport in the country, Phoenix’s Sky Harbor.


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.