It took a while

This past week, I picked up a new scooter to add to my herd. Last year Genuine scooter company started importing Royal Alloy scooters. These are metal-framed scooters whose style replicates older Lambretta models. The version they imported to the U.S. is the GT150 (or Grand Tourer 150). These are 150cc scoots with all the stylin’ you need! I’ve been riding the Royal Alloy (or Gobo as it’s named) around for about half a week. I love riding this thing. It gets a lot of smiles from passersby. Gobo will not win any races, but then again, if I were wanting to win races, I’d most likely not be cruising on a 150cc scoot.

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One of my favorite rides around Johnstown is on the back roads that circle a dam. There are a lot of side roads that jut off the main artery. I have never explored any of these before today. I have lived in Johnstown for 22 years and this area of it for 17ish years and have always heard about the waterfall down by the dam. Today was a beautiful day for an adventure on Gobo, so why not?

Weaving down the country road with farms and fields on both sides, I cam upon a side road called Waterfall Drive. Well duh, this has to be it! I take a left and head down a steep hill. The road turns from paved, to gravel, to paved with potholes, to gravel, to dirt and then back to paved with potholes. So by this point, I’m having a great time piloting Gobo around all the potholes and watching for patches of gravel. This road seems to go on forever. It keeps descending down hill, weaving both left and right. At the bottom of the hill was a small pull-off and tucked behind the trees was this beautiful waterfall. When people talked about a waterfall hidden down near the dam, I pictured a small trickle of water coming off the hill, not an amazing picturesque sight. After pulling over and snapping a few pictures of Gobo posing with the waterfall background, I winded my way back up the other side of Waterfall Drive and back to the main road.

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One of the most rewarding things about jumping on a scooter is finding hidden treasures like this. Especially so close to home. I absolutely love to do a little research and discover new (to me) sights and destinations in and around my town. I also love taking a side road that I’ve never taken and seeing if there’s anything that catches my interest.

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Thanks for reading, JugRun

 

What a Snob, I mean, What a Purist.

Yesterday (Saturday, May 2, 2020) was an amazing Spring day. The weather was a sure sign that a ride on the scoot was in order. A the end of the riding season last year, I got a Bluetooth device for my helmet, whish makes navigation less distracting and also gives me the ability to listen to music while I ride.

For my ride, I went to check out another Mail Pouch barn. This particular barn was in Stahlstown PA. Leaving my house, I took Rt.271 South over Ligonier Mountain. Ligonier Mountain is a great ride. It has the perfect combination of twists and turns along with beautiful scenery. The twists and turns are the type that could almost get you sick in a car but is absolutely perfect on 2 wheels. The scenery you get of the forests and landscapes at the high elevation is also amazing. Coming down off the mountain, the town of Ligonier is welcoming. It has a lot of privately owned boutique shops that border a mid-town diamond roundabout. It was a great location for our “Buzz in the Valley” ride in 2018.

After riding through the town I crossed Rt. 30 and continued onto Rt. 711. After a few miles of country riding on 711, I came upon Rt. 130, which is where the barn lives. Turning off 711 onto 130 kept me in the country. A lot of farmland, and farmland smells. After a quick mile or so, the barn was on the right. It was well preserved and a great place to stretch my legs and take a picture.

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After a good stretch, I headed out. I couldn’t go back the way I came, that’d be ludicrous. I went back out to 711 and continued south until I met up with Rt. 31. After taking 31 into Somerset, I hit Rt. 985 (which is old Somerset Pike), and followed it back into Johnstown. After all was said and done, I put 100 miles on the Vespa and maintained a smile on my face the entire time.

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Over the 100 mile ride, I thought about some things. One that kept popping into my head was how everyone (including me) has, on occasion, had an opinion on what’s best for someone else. Or has had an opinion why someone else’s decision or tastes aren’t validated or warranted. Two of these areas that it’s common to see this in is music and scooters. I peruse scooter and music forums on a regular basis to keep informed and entertained. The great thing about the internet is everyone has a voice and can have that voice and opinion heard (or read). This is two-fold because one can hide behind the anonymity and be downright mean. In my opionion, if it’s not constructive or helpful, shut the fuck up. Everyone has enough stress in their life, no one needs unnecessary jabs thrown at them. There’s also a lot of times that I read very validated points or suggestions that are a bit brash and straight forward. I can live with this being that some peoples’ personalities are brash and straightforward. As long as it’s constructive, I’m all for it.

So, one of the topics that gets beat to death are brand preferences. If someone is a Vespa diehard, they are indeed, a diehard. This often comes across as being a complete snob. Their argument is always, “I’m a purist”. I call bullshit! What does it matter what the next guy is sitting on? Let’s take into account, people’s taste on styling, comfort, and availability and not to mention budget. I love my Vespa. I also love my Genuine scooter. One thing I love about rallies is seeing other peoples’ scooters. It tells me a little about their tastes. What I’m getting to is what’s good for you isn’t always good for the next. Be happy that people are interested in the scene and are willing to grow it. A shitty remark on their brand or model or size of cc may just be the thing that makes them not want to ride. Vintage vs. Modern…….Vespa Vs. well……everything else…..meh. Grow up and be supportive of each other. It could always be worse, it could be a Harley J. Just kidding.

While I was thinking of this, it brought me back to growing through my teen years listening and playing punk rock. Music snob Vs. Purist. Same garbage. As soon as that band you absolutely loved was loved by more people, you loved to hate them. How dare they become popular? How dare they grow and broaden their audience? How dare they make a little money to support the next thing that you’ll end up loving (as long as your scene friends don’t find out). At least this was me. I absolutely loved playing in the bands I played in and met a lot of great people. I also met and had to deal with complete assholes. People who were music snobs, I mean purists. The ones that were the first to discover a new band and as soon as you knew about “said band”, they weren’t cool anymore (even though the music never changed).

Whatever your interests and hobbies are, try to be open minded and supportive to new comers. There’s no need to be a snob….I mean purist. Everyone likes the things they like for a reason. So get on whatever scooter you want and take a ride and for the love of God, if you’re a Green Day fan, put in the Dookie album and listen to it. Is it on a major label? Yes. Is it a great album? Yes…..yes it is.

 

Normal is a weird word

 

Normal is a weird word

 

Normal is a weird word. The definition is conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. That changes every single day. Especially in the last couple months. I have seen people throw the word around so much on social media and in conversation, saying, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal”. This has really made me ask, what’s normal to me? Taking the current situation of Covid 19, normal seems to be a relative term. I’ve been getting a sense that some people’s normal is the same as routine. Doing everyday tasks (work and responsibilities) to fund normalcy. But, in the past few weeks, I have noticed new normal of the people and things that I come in contact with everyday.

Three things that have remained normal for me are: family, music and scootering. Within each of those, it is skewed day to day. For instance, music and I have an ever-changing relationship. Ten years ago, I would reach for my upright bass every chance I’d get. Now, I just look at it propped up in the corner as I walk by (and I’m ok with that). That’s not where I’m at right now. I much prefer to learn new things on a drum set and hone my songwriting. The same goes for parenting. A seven year old is the best thing to make me laugh, learn new things, learn old things (again), question my sanity, make me feel guilty when patience is lost and at the end of the day, feel accomplished as I tuck her in and hear the sincerity in her voice as she tells me she loves me. Getting to this point in the bond with my daughter has had several changes in day-to-day normalcy.

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Lastly, I am an avid scooterist and advocate of riding. This has been where I’ve noticed some changes lately. Not personal changes, but changes in my everyday surroundings.

Like I’ve stated before, Covid 19 has changed everyone’s “normal” and part of my ride turned into observing what that new normal was for folks. One of my goals for this coming year was to tour the region on a scooter and check out the remaining Mail Pouch Barns. I’ve had an interest in these for a while and what better way to visit them than on a scoot. Last weekend (April 5), I took a short ride to one near me. This particular one was on Rt. 985 between Johnstown and Somerset, (coordinates 40 11.31′ – 79 02.68′). I’ve ridden this road more times than I can remember. Rt. 985 snakes through the country and it use to be the main artery between Johnstown and Somerset before Rt. 219 was built. Riding this road and noticing this Mail Pouch Barn is what initially sparked the idea of doing rides to different ones.

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During the ride I saw families outside. I saw them riding ATVs on their property, I saw them chasing kids around playing, I saw them doing yard work and washing cars. I also noticed people relaxing and enjoying the sunshine on their front porches. For that particular Sunday, it was their normal.

I really do hope that people who are struggling with their “current normal”, is only temporary and very short lived. Hopefully, current financial and mental struggles are going to turn into a memory and something that we can all talk about in gest in the near future.

I will continue to live as normal as regulations let me right now, and I hope you do too. If you enjoy hearing about my rides, destinations, crazy kid and music endeavors, please check back. I love to write about them, so hopefully they can be a distraction for you if need be.

 

The last several weeks on a scooter

Years ago I had a motorcycle (for a minute). In 2012, I sold it and bought a scooter. I love the styling, the culture, the overall total package of scooting. This past year, I’ve really dove into putting miles on them. In October of 2016, I found an amazing deal on an amazing machine. My Vespa GT200. What a difference from my Genuine Stella. They are two different monsters completely. The past couple months, I’ve done a lot of city riding around Johnstown, rode to my hometown of Clearfield and a few weeks ago, went on my longest journey to date to Harrisburg for a scooter rally.

Riding around Johnstown is a great time. There are a lot of windy roads and hills. It makes going to work almost tolerable. There are a lot of different neighborhoods in the Johnstown area. One of the best ways to explore them is on a scooter. I’ve discovered several roads I was always too lazy (or just didn’t have interest) to take in my car. Below are pictures of my Vespa in front of a sketchy tunnel in the Woodvale neighborhood, in front of steps at the top of the inclined plane and downtown under an overpass which local artists are covering with awesome artwork.

In mid-summer, My wife’s band was playing in my hometown of Clearfield which is about 65 miles North of J-town. Me and three others thought it would be a great opportunity to ride up for the weekend and take in some different scenery for a couple days. It was a great trip. We took Rt. 219 the whole up and it did not disappoint. I haven’t been this way in years. On two wheels, it was a blast. Lots of windy roads through beautiful country. There were long stretches of road with trees on both sides that felt like we were riding through natural tunnels. Getting closer to our destination we would ride along side the Susquehanna river, which I never really appreciated the way I did that day. Growing up there, I guess I always took it for granted. After a couple days of visiting family, live music, festival food and craft beer, we set off to return home. We took a different route home. We rode Rt. 36 through corn fields and windmill farms. Although I’ve traveled this route thousands of times, this was my first experience on a scooter. I think I prefer it that way. You seem to appreciate and take in your surroundings more.

The longest ride I did this Summer was in early August. We went to our first out of town rally in Camp Hill, PA. What a great time! These guys (and gals) know how to throw a party. Did I mention it was a camping rally and I’m not an outdoorsman? Well, I was this weekend and what a camping experience it was. It stormed like crazy Friday night. It rained (and rained) and rained all night, but we all survived. I’m getting ahead of myself though. A friend and I decided to ride down from Johnstown while two others trailered. This was my furthest venture yet and I was a little nervous. That is, until we got on the road. It was amazing. We took Rt. 30 the whole way down and saw just about everything. Amazing little towns tucked away, beautiful farm land, college campuses and deserted streets galore. After a weekend of eating a lot of carbs, riding scooters all over central PA, giving my camping virginity to the gods of thunder and rain, I returned to Johnstown a happier person. If you find something that takes your mind off all the garbage that we get caught up in everyday, if even only for a little bit, take advantage and treat yourself. We deserve it and this is what I’ve found riding a scooter.

 

 

It’s all new to me

This is a space where I’m going to talk about things happening in my life and things surrounding my life. Here, I’ll talk about family, scooters and music. Those are the things most important to me. so here goes with my first post.

If you don’t know me, I am a father of a five year old. My daughter has completely changed my priorities, my outlook on the world and my exhaustion level.

Recently, she had her 5th birthday. Looking around the house, her mom and I decided there’s probably no room for anymore toys. A house which was once a bit too large for two people , over the past few years, has started to feel like a studio apartment due to the amount of accumulated toys, stickers, books and stuffed animals. So we thought we’d let her decide how she wanted to help someone less fortunate for her birthday instead of getting more toys, stickers, books and stuffed animals.

Her mom gave her suggestions like helping the elderly or hungry or animals…….wait……animals????? Well of course my daughter wanted to help animals! So in lieu of gifts, she asked her party guests to bring donations for the local humane society. This was a huge success. We delivered a carload of pet beds, food, toys, cleaning products and treats. The humane society was very appreciative and her mom and I were very proud of her.

I wish more of the world could think like my daughter. In a her mind, things like money, social status and power don’t matter. Things like telling jokes, hugs and helping animals are the most important things in the world. I’m proud of my daughter and proud of the person she’s helped me become. Thanks for taking the time to let me share this.

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