Monday, June 29, 2015

Rocket and me

Bill Leuthold is on my must-meet list of riders, bloggers, and characters.

Bill is a Cannonballer, a serial and multiple Vespa owner, and he knows how to make a 200 cc Vespa GT fly like a rocket.

Bill’s GT is so fast, it got the testosterone all riled up because he was making such incredible times on various legs of the Hyder Alaska to New Orleans 2014 Scooter Cannonball. Suspicion fell on his trusted mechanic Boris.

Remember Boris and Natasha? Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Cold war era cartoon spooks. When your mechanic’s name is Boris, and he’s got talent, and your Vespa GT blows the GTS’s away on a cross-continental odyssey, and there are points for each leg, suspicion is natural. And totally misplaced.

Bill is living testament to the wonders of the Vespa GT.

I remember when I was shopping for my first Vespa. I went to a dealer who was selling a GT. I looked at it. Very nice. Portofino green or something like that. It was on a battery tender tucked away with the other scoots and motorcycles in winter storage. “How fast is it?” I remember asking the dealer. He looked at me like I was missing a screw. “Oh, it’s fast” he said, in a kind of Seinfeld-Kramer-ish way.

In the end I didn’t buy it. It got nixed by the finance minister in favour of a somewhat less spendy dragon red Vespa LX150.

Seems hard to believe that a 200cc bike can travel like that, but Bill and Rocket are proof positive that the Vespa GT is one fast bike.

Check out his blog, and go back and follow the 2014 Cannonball. Time well wasted, to be sure.

Now what was the point… Oh yes.

I was looking in on Bill’s blog, Rocket and me, as I strive to do, making the rounds of the moto-bloggosphere, and I saw he had a T-Shirt done up to celebrate his blog.

I’ll buy one” I thought, more or less instantly. As I read on, I was gobsmacked, as they say in Blighty, Bill said he was sending me one, unsolicited.

Now it takes an extraordinary amount of time for the postal services of Canada and the U.S. to ferry mail between us, so the package only arrived the other day. But arrive it did.
I am tickled pink.

What better garb to don as I wrote the article on my retirement.
Thanks Bill! I am indebted.

15 comments:

  1. You owe no debt to me, friend from afar. You are the best contributor through comments and support for Rocket and Me, so I owed you one. I was proud of what Kylie did with the design and wanted to share.

    We will meet one of these days, maybe soon, and I look forward to that meeting.

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    1. Hear, hear! I heartily second that motion.

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  2. What a great guy. I am definitely looking forward to you guys meeting eventually.

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    1. Sonja, this an unbelievable little worldwide community, as you know well :)

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  3. David isn't it wonderful to discover the world is actually full of wonderful people. Hope that the two of you have the chance to meet up soon.

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    1. Thanks Karen. So many people to meet :)

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  4. Now that retirement is imminent, when are you going to meet up with him?

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    1. It will happen. Maybe in Florida, we're due for another visit.

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  5. Maybe we can all meet up in the Adirondacks in August? I can attest that Bill is indeed a good guy & rides like he is on a "Rocket" all the time. Enjoy the cool shirt! Jim

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  6. David, I reread your post and am very flattered that you would write such a nice piece. Thank you for that. As for the visit, I am hoping to be able to visit Jim in the Adirondacks in late summer. It would make for a nice opportunity to visit you as well, either there or in Canada. At the moment, my workload has gotten out of hand, but I can probably fix that soon, allowing me some time off. I have more shirts, if anyone else wants one. All XL now, but I can have more made. I have one that is white on black that might be more appealing for many.

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    1. Early August can work. The last two weeks of August and the last three weeks of September are already booked solid.

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  7. Ah, David, guess you won't be needing dress clothes so much any more...that t-shirt should come in handy!

    Looking forward to meeting Bill myself. He amazed (and flattered) me by planning on joining a ride I'd put together here. He's humbly denying celebrity status, but still, it's a long way to come.

    Now you're making me nervous about keeping up with him....the only hope is that he'll be Rocketless. :)

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    1. Dave, I am looking forward to visiting Wisconsin in just over a week now. Your ride appealed to me so I am making a go of it. It is equally fun for me to have my son Sam ride up from Chicago to join us. I won't be on Rocket, but Madison Sully's 250 GTS, an even faster machine. But it is not mine so I will certainly be extra careful.

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    2. I am seriously jealous guys. Sounds like a great MV get together. Have fun! :)

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