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...

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oct 12 - Vespa 250 - Fall Sunshine Ride

Today I met up with Jerry Smith for lunch at one of our favorite haunts, The Coquille Broiler [ original name, eh? ] located in Coquille, OR. We like it because it's about half way between our homes and also right at the beginning of some great back roads riding. The food's not bad either.

Talk about diversity!
Leaving the Broiler we set out towards Fairview, located north of Coquille on some of the best twisties in the area. The sun continued to shine, the temperature was balmy, and I rode with my face shield open loving every mile. When we arrived at Fairview I decided to turn left and head west towards Coos Bay while Jerry turned his Bonneville right onto the track that would lead him to Myrtle Point.

I'd been trailing behind and Jerry was just pulling his black Bonneville away from the stop sign onto his route to Myrtle Point when I arrived. I beeped the Vespa's silly little horn and waved at him as I turned west thinking he'd seen me. Not so as it turned out.

Later in the day he sent the following email:

"When I noticed you weren't behind me I went back to the store at Four Corners and asked the two riders if a Red Vespa had gone the other way. They said yes. I wasn't sure if you were just going up for a look around so I went that way for about a mile. When I didn't find you I came back and talked to the two guys. One was riding a Honda NC700 (like Honda World Gary's). He said he thought he'd met and talked to you at the Bandon coffee shop."

Jerry and I ride together frequently and it's not unusual to become separated so he continued back towards Myrtle Point while I meandered on towards Coos Bay.

A couple of miles out of Four Corners the pavement stops and a ten-mile stretch of gravel road begins, one that I'd only experienced by car so this would be interesting to say the least. Two-wheel beasties all seem to exhibit different handling characteristics and I was curious how the Vespa would behave.

Gravel...mud...slime...what's not to like?
I have to admit I took my time running the next ten miles but it turned out I was the sole traveler on this day so my slow pace didn't matter. The scooter behaved admirably and I never once worried about falling on my head. Washboards were common and as expected they can jar your fillings out but that was the worst of it.

Helloooo......No one home?
Once out of the woodsy area I stopped to watch a small group* of mules doing their thing. Whatever the heck that is...

*Pack? herd? gaggle? Not sure how mules are accounted for.
Fuzzy buggers, eh? 
Eventually I arrived at a little burg without a name, at least one that I could see. Later I asked Jerry if he knew what it was and although he'd passed through it on a daily basis for years he didn't know either. Being non-incorporated means you're not on the map I guess.

Mystery burg...
I'd ridden by this intersection but turned back when I realized I might be missing a chance to explore new territory.

I took the road to Coos River. The GPS wasn't registering anything. Hmm...
Facing the direction I'd just came from I turned left. Later on I tried to enlarge this photo in an attempt to read the name of the volunteer fire dept but it's just too fuzzy. The mystery burg remains a mystery till my next ride through. 
Shortly after turning onto the new route I came upon another intersection, this time the choice was for the Old Wagon Road. How could anyone resist?

Hey lookit that...!

My kind of mooring....sort of sneak up on the bank and hop off the boat.
I continued following the water ways and admired the homes along the way. This area would be great to live in.
This says it all, just park your boat in your back yard.
Very private digs. I'd love to know the history of this place.
If you've never lived on or near water you really can't appreciate the term "flood zone".

The red Vespa, wot a sweetie! So easy to ride.
Coos Bay lies just around the bend up ahead; lumber mills are still a big deal in our part of the country. Timber is truly a sustainable commodity. Lucky for us.

Tidewater affects life along the river

You can see the bridge crossing over into Coos Bay on the far right...squint a little, eh?
Arriving in Coos Bay I noticed the fuel light was protesting so I gassed up and hit US 101 for the rest of the 30-mile ride home. It was a perfect day and the ride was as good as it gets. I'd guesstimate the mileage around 100, give or take.

Ride safe...LL


  1. Nice ride! I've been on that gravel road too but never did it on a bike. Geez, since I have a 3-wheeler I should give it a try.
    Is that mystery burg called Sumner?
    If you follow the signs to Blue Ridge you end up in another section of the Coos County Forest (like the C.C.Forest off 101.) I used to take Sparky hiking up there when he was a pup. There's all kinds of roads back in there around Fairview.

    1. Sumner doesn't sound quite right. I think it's more like a Polish name, something along those lines. Next time up I'll take note. You should ride your Ural up there, it's really desolate and gives you a feeling of being out in the bush.

    2. Gene you were right, it is Sumner. Now what the heck's that large white building overlooking the town? Gotta get back for another look, curiosity and all that.


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