The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

Navigating this blog is easy, just scroll down the list of posts by date to whatever interests you, click on it and you're in. Photos can be viewed in larger format by clicking on them.

Finally, if you'd care to post comments please do so, I'd love to hear from you. CLICK ON "NO COMMENTS" TO ENTER YOUR REMARKS. That seems really silly but that's how it works. The entry window is located at the bottom of each screen. Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy your stay.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jul 23 - Day 20 Vespa 250 - Wotta deluge! BC to WA

Crimoney Christmas it rained hard today! Starting out in the sun didn't fool me, those storm clouds in the west looked loaded for bear so I wore my rain gear. Good thing as it turned out. Leaving Princeton around 8:30 am I stopped long enough to gas up, then got back on highway 3 heading west. A couple of miles down the road I spotted a nice 3-point buck grazing just off the road but as soon as I stopped he bolted. No posing for him, not today anyway.

Within a few more miles I caught up with the first of many slow moving semi-trucks and joined their line of followers. Semis can really be aggravating at times; they slow down to 25 mph going up hills where no one can pass safely, then when they hit the flats instead of letting people get by they run at or over the speed limit for cars. I saw this happen again and again today and it really irked me.

The rain started within the first hour of the ride and continued all day long, getting worse and worse.Then just as the weather channel had predicted the lightning storm arrived. Yippee.

This photo looks pretty clear and maybe in a car it would be but my glasses and helmet visor were fogged up so bad I couldn't see squat and didn't dare ride any more until something got fixed. While I was stopped at this particular spot I thought I might step over the guard wall and avail myself of the bushes for a much needed pee break. Just as I started down through the weeds a reddish brown snake slithered in front of me and I decided maybe I could wait a bit longer. Stage left Dude. I hate snakes, at least the ones that I don't recognize. Evil buggers all.

Because of the intense rain, fog, and lightning all I could do was pull over to the side and try to figure things out. Finally I decided I'd try and find a motel in Hope, the nearest town. That turned out to be futile, nothing looked inviting to me so I decided to move on.

One thing I'd discovered while there was if I removed my glasses and kept the helmet's visor tilted slightly up I could see fairly well.I put on my Knox Cold Killer axeman's hood as it completely covers my head from the neck up leaving a window for my eyes or if I stretch it, my entire face. This keeps out the elements and protects my chin from stinging rain. With that new approach I rolled onto the freeway and things were pretty good albeit WET.

Nasty, nasty thunderstorm continues

Me? Hell I LOVE lightning!Ha ha ha, I spit in your face lightning!
I arrived in Abbottsford cold and wet. The weather people were fairly adamant about how nasty things were going to be for the next two days so I figured what the hell, may as well bunch it and head south, no sense in taking the ferry over to the island just to sit in an overpriced motel waiting for things to clear up.

With that in mind I set the GPS for Seattle and crossed back into the USA at Suma. I've taken this route several times and the run through Nooksak down highway 9 to Seedro-Wooley rolls through picturesque farm lands.The rain continued with intensity and since it was lunch time and I was starving I opted to stop alongside the road for a couple of quick energy bars. It was weird standing by the scooter in the pouring rain having my lunch and I expected someone might stop to see if I needed help but no one did. I think the rain was a bit much for them plus I wasn't trying to wave anyone down.

Nice cozy spot for a little lunch

That yellow thing looks like it might be Tansy Ragwort. Very bad stuff for bovines.

It was raining even harder when I rolled out for I-5. Wot fun... 
I thought I might run all the way to Seattle but the storm was getting to me; I was chilled badly and that makes for dangerous riding. I kept an eye out for motel signs and spotted one for the Quality Inn at Arlington and headed for it arriving around 3:30 pm.

Checking into a motel when you're soaking wet can be a hoot at times and today was one of them. The gal at the desk was finishing up with another guy and kept glancing at me as I went through the motions of removing gloves, helmet, and earplugs all the while dripping huge amounts of water on their nice carpet.She laughed at me and asked "Fun out there?" That was a good start and to make things better I scored the #1 parking spot right next to the front entrance. 

It only took me a few minutes to unload and put the cover on the scooter, then I grabbed two cups of hot coffee and locked myself away from the elements. After a 20-minute hot as I could stand it shower I felt almost human again. It took a fair amount of time to get the really wet gear hung up to dry but it's done and nothing else will help. The last time my elk skin gloves got this wet it took several days for them to dry out. All the stuff is hanging in various places throughout the room but none of it will be dry by tomorrow, not the main stuff anyway.

We're talking WET here. The gloves take at least two days to dry out. 
The latest weather channel report says sunshine is supposed to arrive Friday and I'm tempted to stay holed up here one more day just to see. If by some miracle they're right it would make all the difference for the ride home; at the very least I could run over to the Olympic Peninsula and ride the coast highway south, that's always a nice run. I guess I'll see what it looks like in the morning, check the weather guys one more time and then decide.

I forgot to look at the odometer but I think today's run was somewhere around 250 rain-soaked miles.Fun.


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