Thursday, July 18, 2013

2013 Blogger to Blogger Tour - Fun and Games in State College

My day was off to an early start, as usual. There are peacocks, of all things, in proximity to our campsite. If you listen to the sound track of that video carefully you'll hear them. They lent an exotic air to our stay that complimented the large number of fireflies that were everywhere we looked. It reminded my of those forest scenes in Avatar. Very peaceful, very nice.

But there was no time for lollygagging. We had a breakfast date with Steve Williams in Bellefonte (pronounced "belfont" by the locals). When we got to the restaurant it was a pleasant surprise to find Paul Ruby waiting for us as well. It was a blogger-to-blogger tour double header.

We regaled each other with tall tales of moto daring-do, and explored our various areas of shared special interests. Steve and Paul were absolutely charming and managed to keep the Canadian jokes, jabs and jibber-jabber down to a tasteful few morsels.

Steve had to shove off for duties elsewhere, but left us in Paul's most capable hands. Paul enquired about our needs. Karen needed to get to a Wal-Mart, we both wanted to see the infamous Saints' Cafe (made famous by Scooter in the Sticks) and other landmarks of downtown State College, we needed to get to equally famous Kissell Motorsports (made famous for the same reason), and then we needed to make it back to our campsite to greet Bob on his imminent arrival (we were tracking his Spot Messenger relentlessly).

Paul fired up his red Ducati and led us on some beautiful back roads to downtown State College. Along the way at the crest of a hill in the midst of cornfields rose the very imposing Beaver Stadium. Wow, what a sight. I found out later that the stadium is the third football largest in the US. State College is a football shrine.

Paul abruptly stopped at a non-descript house (not his home), stashed his Ducati, and emerged on a blue painstakingly restored vintage Vespa to continue our tour.

He granted all our wishes, including introducing us to the owner of Saints' Cafe.

The last institutions on our tour were the Penn State campus (appropriately on College Street), and the oldest hotel in town, home to the landmark restaurant The Corner Room, which turned out to be the breakfast venue for day two.

After pointing out the Wal-Mart for Karen, Paul dropped us off at Kissell Motorsports so that we could confirm Bob's oil change for his Beemer.

As we ascended a long hill, my GTS started to misfire, and misfire worse than ever. All to say that now I not only needed to visit the legendary Kissel Motorsports, I really needed their assistance. You may recall that I opted not to address my fuel injection issue in Toronto because I needed to move up my departure for State College. I knew from a conversation with Craig Kissell last week, that he did not have my fuel injector in stock.

It didn't take much cajoling, name dropping and appealing to US - Canada brotherhood, to prevail upon them to swap out an injector from a showroom GTS for me. I decided to catch up on my blog while I waited for the repair to be done. Wow! I barely had time to figure out a suitable title for my post, and I was told the bike was good to go!!! Talk about stellar service by a Vespa dealer above and beyond the call of duty. Craig insisted that I take a run up the hill next to the dealership to see if the graft had taken and cured the GTS hiccups. Yessiree! No more hiccups! Smooth sailing ahead. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Kissell Motorsports. You saved the 2013 Blogger to Blogger Tour from one major and potentially serious trip interruption, big time.

By the time I got back to camp, I needed the pool badly. That's where I headed without any hesitation or encouragement.

The capper for this wonderful day was Bobskoot motoring up the gravel entrance to our KOA. A sight for sore eyes. We were concerned because Bob had pushed his endurance to the limit. The big Beemer really came through for him.

Once his gear was off and stowed, and his tent pitched, Bob poured himself into the pool with us. He didn't emerge until his fingers were wrinkled like a kid in a bathtub with his favorite toys. He told us of his adventures at the Buffalo Bill Museum, and the Devil's Tower, and Mount Rushmore, and so many other places I would love to see. I was like a wide-eyed Venetian listening to the tales of a returning Marco Polo. How in the world did Bob manage to squeeze all of those wonders out of his itinerary and still make our rendez-vous on time?

I have said this before, but believe me now when I say, that Bob is a wizard.

Exhausted but happy, Karen, Bob and I repaired to our tents, bid each other good night, and fell asleep to the calls of the peacocks.

Believe it or not, there is more to come.

Editorial note: My iPad has decided that it doesn't like moto-touring, and has gone off to sulk. As a result I'm content to let it have it's time out. I am now trying to catch up on the blog posts before my memory of these momentous events dims, or worse yet, I begin to improve the history of this tour with stretchers and fantasy bits that embellish the truth beyond recognition. I have paired my Apple keyboard to my iPhone, and pulled some IT tricks out of my sleeves to keep this blog afloat. I may or may not ever make it back to pretty it up. Bear with me, this is the unvarnished, and likely typo-laden truth, untouched by the ministrations of a diligent editor.


The City Mouse in the Country said...

Being a partial Penn State alum, I transferred to a smaller college because of a girl, it's always nice to hear tales of the old stopping ground. Be sure to hand feed one of the squirrels while there. The college I transferred to, and the girl, turned out to be mistakes but that's life.

Trobairitz said...

Sounds like you and Karen had a good day except for the Vespa hiccup and iPad napping. Way cool that you got to meet some moto-blogging legends.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

This is fun!

Deb said...

Awesome! Wish I could join you guys!

David Masse said...

Rob, those State College critters are resourceful. No need to feed them, they kind of helped themselves to whatever we left lying around.

David Masse said...

Trobairitz, like almost all legends, Steve is one low key, humble, classy guy. Meeting him is more than enough reward for the whole trip.

David Masse said...

Coop, you can say that again.

David Masse said...

Deb, our paths nearly did cross. For a while there it looked like they might.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.