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.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jul 23, 2015 Look what followed me home!

Whooee! A few days ago my bud Jerry Smith decided to put his 2012 Triumph Bonneville up for adoption and I took the bait. There were other interested parties but typical of so many, most were tire-kickers. One exception was a couple who wanted it but they continued to waffle non-stop until I decided it would go on forever so I grabbed it.

Not like I really need another ride but I've decided to replace my non-riding equipment with one that I'd actually use on occasion. Enter the Bonnie.

This was how it arrived

After a day of trying on different options I like this best
Jerry gave me a ton of stuff with the Bonnie, two custom saddles, one from Corbin and one from Bill Mayer, two windshields, Happy Trails aluminum panniers, two rear luggage racks, the list goes on and on.

He'd installed upgrades to both the front and rear suspension plus added several little niceties like special adjustable foot pegs, center stand, upgraded brake fluid reserve, high-rise handlebars, heated grips, volt meter, ignition key relocation bracket, even the tires are nearly new. It's about as sweet as it gets.

With a bit over 14,500 miles on the clock the bike's barely broken in and runs out better than new. I'm looking forward to doing lots of traveling on it, it's very similar in size to my Ninja 650R and one of the sweetest handling bikes I've ever owned.

Since the Bonnie's outfitted so nicely there's not much I'll be adding. I've ordered one item, a Parabellum Scout fairing windshield that's supposed to be the cat's a-- when it comes to touring screens. Better aerodynamics and increased fuel efficiency as touted by the manufacturer and if I can believe owner's reports, all true. It should be here around the 2nd week in August. The company lets you try one out for 30 days and if you don't agree with their claims you can return it (provided you haven't done dumb things to it.) Got my hopes up on that one.

Don't know what color they arrive in but it's probably something like this.
I'll also be installing a GPS, probably steal the Garmin Zumo 550 that's currently residing on the Bumblebee. I'd like one of the new-improved models but they've been having some teething problems so I may wait awhile.

Crimoney I thought maybe I'd be getting a new dog house....
So that's it, the new beastie is settled in and pretty much ready to head out on. There's lots of warm summer weather ahead that I hope to take advantage of so who know's what will happen.... Labrador is still waiting, eh? Now that would be something.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jul 18 - Day 16 2015 Tour - Bandon, OR The Final Day

I awoke early today, tippy-toed into the kitchen where I made a breakfast of Sugar-coated Mini-wheats garnished with a banana. Coffee left over from last night was still good - I'm fairly resilient when it comes to coffee, hardly ever toss any out.

The hardier folks were already doing the morning jog as I loaded up my gear. It was crisp and sunny so I chose to wear the liner inside my jacket along with heavy gloves. Even the Knox Cold Killer axeman's hood was recalled to duty. I like being warm better than being chilled. Maybe that's why the BB has heated grips.

Before leaving I checked the oil level - as expected it was down a tad but not bad so I topped it off. That's when I noticed the small spot under the bike, same as I'd seen in the past whenever it's been run hard during hot weather. It didn't worry me but I'll call the dealer and ask about it when I get home.

Today's photo of interest - an oil spot
I'd gassed up shortly before arriving at the resort yesterday so my departure was quick and easy. The ride home took me south until I reached the turn off that skirts just north of Crater Lake, then it heads west down into Roseburg, around 100 miles away. Once there the remaining route home has been done so many times it was almost like running on auto pilot for the rest of the journey.

I paused long enough in Camas Valley to remove the jacket liner - it was heating up again - and to call Jerry Smith to see if he wanted to do lunch. We decided our old haunt The Broiler in Coquille would be easy for both of us and that's what we did.

Finally home, there was no one on hand to greet me, Linda will be in Sunriver for one more day and the doggies are incarcerated in the doggie hotel so they'll have to wait till tomorrow.

This was a fun tour, the weather where I chose to ride was great. I did get rained on a few times but not all that much so no complaints. My favorite parts were riding through the Indian reservations and I think Linda and I will retrace the same journey in our little RV. Even the dogs can go along.

So that's it, I'd post a picture of the bike's odometer but you'll recall it went south several days ago. The good part is the GPS odometer worked fine and recorded 4148 total miles, a daily average of 276.54 miles for 15 days - one day I didn't ride. Altogether not a bad run on a sidecar.

I have a feeling a replacement GPS may be in the near future, this guy has been zapped way too many times and of late has developed a habit of shutting down randomly. Not good but it's lasted several years so no complaints on my part. Maybe Linda will buy me a new one for my birthday. How about it Honey, sound good? Eh?


Jul 17 - Day 15 2015 Tour - Sunriver, OR

Yesterday was such a slow process getting shed of the Salmon river environs I hoped today would improve. I needed to clock a lot of miles if I was to make Sunriver at a decent hour.

As I was loading up my gear preparing to depart some rube sauntered out of the hotel and began fiddling with his Triumph Rocket III. Last night when I checked in he'd been parked in front of the main entrance but apparently decided the spot next to me was a better choice. I caught him looking at the BB so I asked him how he liked his bike. His reply - well rehearsed from the sound of it went like this: "This here's a 2300 cc motorcycle and it runs like a dream. It rides like a cloud, there isn't another one on the planet that's even close to this."

A "motorcycle" is it I thought. Crimoney, for a moment there I thought it might be one of them snowmobiles. I felt like saying something like that but what the heck, judging from his chrome cat bowl helmet and suitcase bungee corded to the back it's probably his first bike. Er, motorcycle.

He continued his tirade of self inflating commentary which caused me to lift a hand hoping it might slow him down. I said "Right, nice bike, I'm kinda familiar with them, been riding for the past 60 years or so." "Huh? he says then turns and stomps back inside never to return. Not while I was there anyway.

This here's a motorcycle....but what's that, a chrome colander on the seat?
The ride to the OR border was fast and sweet and I was in my home state once again. I have to admit this particular entry point isn't very flattering and I'd bet folks on their first visit think we're a bit trashy. But it's home to me and I always feel good when I'm here, trashy or not.

Can you believe this is the main route heading west once you leave I-84?

Onions - You can smell 'em. Nice.
I like riding through our high desert
After suffering through a couple more construction zones and waiting for the resulting traffic jam to sort itself out I pulled off for a Gatorade break. It's amazing how quiet and peaceful it gets once the traffic rush has cleared out.

Bye people - You can see the last of them crossing the bridge

More high desert - It's understandable why some people choose to live there

Oddly enough I like all this historical stuff. Couldn't stand it when I was a student.

People went through some hard times back then.

Another impromptu rest stop along the way. Trees abound. Very  convenient.
I arrived at Sunriver around 2:30 pm or so. Ignoring the sign at the border reminding us to set our watches to Pacific Coast Time I was an hour earlier than what I expected. Linda had been there for a few days so all I had to do was move in. Sweet. The place was perfect.

Our temporary digs
Sunriver really grabs a lot of people. I kind of liked it but truthfully large crowds of humanity riding bicycles Kamikaze style aren't really my deal. Actually large groups of people doing anything tend to make me want to run the opposite direction as fast as I can. But that's just me, I know solitude isn't for everyone. I'd stay one night, enjoy the brief time with friends and relatives, then depart early in the morning.

246 easier miles today for which I am grateful. This post would have to wait till I got home, my dance card was full up today so no time for frivolity. (You wouldn't believe my attempt at spelling that one)


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jul 16 - Day 14 2015 Tour - Boise, ID

Last night I told Linda that I'd point the Bumblebee towards Sunriver, OR where she and most of her kin are attending an annual Family Camp at the resort. Like Christmas and birthdays it comes around every single year and to date I've yet to attend one, probably not due to the best efforts on my part. This year I'd do better, catch the last day if I was within striking distance.

Photo not mine, I pinched it.
With that in mind I entered Sunriver, OR into my GPS and it found it, barely 400 miles away. I figured I could make it in two days, arriving late on Friday the 17th. Nice plan Sam but I didn't reckon on the route I'd be taking. Garmin & Co seemed to like following the Salmon river west and that meant a twisting low-speed turn every other minute or so.

Regular bikes like the Ninja or even the Vespa scooter eat up curves without even slowing down. Sidecar rigs on the other hand have to be played gently with lots of body English applied, particularly in right-hand corners. The net result of this means it took me half a day to make the first hundred miles and I was already feeling pooped.

I finally realized it would serve no purpose trying to hustle the Bumblebee along any faster than it wanted to go; to do so could easily result in something really dumb happening. Slow down you old fool, stop and take some pics and if you miss Family Camp it won't be the end of the world. So I did and I managed to shoot a few of places that looked interesting..

Idaho had hermits? Never heard about that before.

If I'm seeing right I can make out what look like caves towards the tops of the cliffs in the distance. Could also be a spot on the camera lens.
I was still following the Salmon river west when I cruised into (and immediately out of) Clayton, the smallest settlement I'd been to so far. I didn't think to see if they have a post office; it would have been cool to mail a post card with their cancellation on it.

Mankind is generally a burrowing species. Am I wrong?

Clayton today ain't what it used to be. Kinda like the Ol' Gray Mare. 
My route continued to follow the tourist trail west and eventually fell in alongside the Saw Tooth mountain range. The corners that slowed Bumblebee to a crawl continued to hinder riding speed. I stopped for a roadside lunch of a Cliff Bar and Gatorade; then I put on a jacket liner as the mountain shadows were cold.

Finally after a couple of hours the temps began to rise again so I stopped at the Emma Edwards point of interest to shuck the jacket liner and put on lighter gloves. I also ditched a couple of cars who were probably glad to get around me. I'd been riding as fast as I was comfortable with which understandably didn't suit some of the car people.

Nice water by Emma's site

The road finally evolved into what would be a normal 2-lane sans all the twisties and I was able to run at 65 mph for the rest of the day's ride. By the time I reached Boise I was hot and pooped so I decided to call it quits for the day. I found a close group of motels and La Quinta won the draw, mainly because I'd never stayed in one and it was close at hand.

It's a decent place but their prices are sky high which according to the front desk gal is because of the soccer games and rodeo going on through the week end. "All of the hotels are charging higher rates because of that" she said. Like that makes it OK, right? Phoee I sez...but I know she's not getting any of it, she just gets to catch whatever flak comes her way because of it. I gave her my warmest smile and a polite thenkuvermch and went to my room.
Double shower head - now that's decadent
There's a McDonald's close by so that took care of dinner. Today's mileage was a miserable 163.5.and I'm still 255 miles from Sunriver. Hopefully the roads will be less curvy so I can make decent time.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jul 15 - Day 13 2015 Tour - Salmon, ID

Shoot, I just fumbled and poked the publish button instead of the save so my first version of today's post is the title.Good thing it wasn't a .45 acp, I'd probably be missing 3 toes and a kneecap. Hmm....maybe I should stay with that and see if anyone notices. Better not, I know at least one person who'd crab at me.

This morning when I left the Stumptown motel the brilliant Montana sunshine had returned in full force but the local temps were still on the crisp side. I wore leather with a T-shirt as I knew it would eventually warm up. Ha ha! Wrong.
What? What?
On the way out of White Fish I rode past a car dealer's place by the name of The Korner Shop. Their showroom had several really delectable bits of eye candy and I had just enough time to pull a hard right into their parking lot. Anyone who rides a hack knows how tricky right-handers are and will appreciate I did so without flying the chair.

Inside I was immediately smitten by a gorgeous '91 Honda NSX, Honda's supercar of the 80s and 90s. It was almost like Karma that it should be there as I was just fantasizing about cars I'd still like to own one day and it's on my short list.
Mamamia, and it's RED too!
Only 91K miles, hardly broken in. Bet the guys at Honda World in Coos Bay would pee their pants if one of these puppies rolled in for service.
 Besides the heart-breaker NSX there were other cool items in the showroom but none spoke to me like it.

I suppose I made a complete fool of myself as I vaguely recall babbling a lot about it but who cares, it's the kind of car that evokes that sort of behavior. I'm pretty sure I mentioned I was interested in it and I'd be getting back to them. Right LL, but when you do don't forget to eyeball your bank account first.

I sort of recall stopping to take this pic but can't place where it was. Next to a street probably. At first I thought it might an old school house or maybe even a small church or mission. Then it appeared to have someone living in it so I moved on. Quickly. Poste haste.

After that short diversion I pressed on, don't recall seeing any sites for a long, long while as my riding went into autopilot while my teeny little mind was elsewhere. Like, if I sold the boat and maybe a few of the bikes and made them an offer would it work? Maybe? How about begging, I'm pretty good at that...

By the time I returned to full consciousness I was well on the way when suddenly out of nowhere I discovered I'd arrived in Labrador! OMG, they've moved it, I thought it was way up north and a lot further to the east. My efforts had paid off, I'd found Labrador and it was in the Bitteroot mountain range!

"Pete" is a true Labrador
Right about that time I saw the first lightning followed by a really loud thunder clap, loud enough and soon enough to demonstrate it was close. Way too close. I'd just finished topping off the fuel as I was entering the Bitteroot mountains figuring gas stations were likely to get scarce. Riding with 6 gallons of gasoline between your knees while Ma Nature plays games with lightning can be a bit unsettling at times.

This was the view less than a mile from the fuel stop

The next lightning strike produced enough static energy to shut down my GPS. Luck was on my side and it came up right away when I rebooted it. With my speedometer & odometer both dead I'd be in dire straits with just a map. Map reading during intensive rain never seems to work well.

Looking back down the road it appeared more nastiness was chasing me. I stopped for a quick pic and within seconds the storm hit. This was serious stuff not to be taken lightly; my riding speed slowed to a crawl as did the few cars that were on the same route. The rain was torrential, hitting as hard as any hail I've experienced. Fun stuff. Dark too.

Eventually after 20 miles or so of twisty roads sporting 25 mile curves I rode out of it. The sun peeked out for a bit and I stopped to look at a couple of points of interest.

Ol' Lewis & Clark were all over the place.
This is Gibbonsville as it is today. No more gold rush, no big settlement, nada, it's just a nice quiet little place that's probably good to live in.

Moving on I continued to follow the tourist route. I think this would be fun to do in an RV provided it was a small one. The corners seemed like they're way too tight for big bus types.
The route I'm following
And a nice little roadside rest stop for those who can't wait.
Busy guys they were.
My intended goal for today was the town of Challis, ID but I spotted a new looking Super-8 in Salmon so it became my newest most favored place to hang out in. I've got a really nice room and there's a *micro-brewery less than a block away so I'm off to pay my respects. They probably serve food too. 224 miles today.

* Follow-up, no such place exists so I hoofed it into town and had dinner at the local Mexican place. Prices were half again as much as our home town favorite but they serve on giant platters big enough to feed two people. I ate all of mine and chugged down a brewsky.  

PS -  I was just heading out for dinner but I couldn't resist capturing what has to be the biggest "I'm a special person" shot yet. Maybe California doesn't respect handicap parking as this moron not only took up 3 spaces and a walkway, but 2 of them are handicapped. Duh....I'm special so those rules don't apply.

Anyway have a good one wherever you are. (Special persons excepted)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jul 14 - Day 12 2015 Tour - White Fish, MT

Tonight's post may have to be short & sweet; the Internet connection seems to be on a par with dial-up. I'll post pics if it doesn't take forever, otherwise this may be all you'll get. I followed a westerly route stopping at roadside signs, some of which were cool to read while others had limited interest - unless geology is your deal.

Big Sky country indeed
 Check out the tin ceiling tiles they refaced the entire wall with. Collectors must go nuts when the see it.

The Cowboy Bar in Dodson would be my personal watering hole if I lived nearby. Sadly it's kaput.
This was the best sign I can recall ever finding. I know guys who'd pay serious money for it.
 Dodson, Montana, home of the coolest sign in the world. Who'da thunk it?
 A Canadian couple screeched their tires getting their car stopped so they could take pics of it.
 Remember when I said I'd buy a roll of Gorilla Tape to fix the sidecar's cover? It seems to be holding.

If it had been a little later in the day I'd have knocked on the door to see if these people are still open for biz. I mean, how cool would it be to tell your buds you stayed at the Motel Galata way out in the sticker bushes.

 On the other hand what if it was like The Bates Motel...What if Chuck Connors was the host...Ewww....
My route took me through parts of Glacier Park and I got to hang out with the local buffaloes Actually they
kinda moved off when I advanced towards them. Odd thing that, sorta unfriendly-like. .

This part of Glacier Park is less traveled than the eastern approach and for me, I liked it better. 
 My final shot was of one of the rafts floating the rapids. There were several outfits working the rafting business and each one uses a different color for their rafts. All of them looked pretty crowded and I couldn't help wondering if they liked it; I don't think I would but there was a lot of screaming going on. Now that I think about it I can scream pretty good.

This damn ISP is driving me nuts so I'm about ready to quit. I'm staying in White Fish, MT tonight, got rained on pretty hard just as I arrived so I dripped water all over their pretty carpet in the reception area. Sorry folks, just couldn't help myself.. The room's nice albeit a bit on the expensive side. Dinner was another left over sandwich, chips, & Gatorade. Yum. After that I walked to the nearby Safeway and bought more green gargle, wouldn't want my electrolytes to run low. Today's mileage - 215 I think.

Anyway that's it for tonight, imagine that sound Porky Pig makes and it will be my close-out.
Ba-deep-ba-deep-ba-deep, that's all folks.