Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Plan: Yukon Ho, I'm Going To Alaska!

The cat's out of the bag, and my days of languishing in Fog City are numbered. When last I left off, the plan was to return from Boston to a bike that's packed and ready to go...but to go where? I'm gunning for the motorcyclists dream: I'm riding Alaska. The plan thus far...

Projected departure from San Francisco: Wednesday, April 26th, 2017.



Stage 1: San Francisco, CA → Seattle, WA (~1k miles)
April 26 ~ 28: Camping along the coast of CA and OR.
April 29 ~ May 2/4: Portland, OR to rest and hang out with friends. I'm looking for a place to stay!
May 3/5: Maybe camp in the Olympic National Forest and go for a hike to Cape Alava.
May 4/6 ~ 10: Seattle, WA, last stop for service. I'm looking for a garage!

Seattle will be my last big service stop. Big People Scooters will hopefully have a couple tires waiting for me, and can put some fresh shoes on old blue and check the valves. I'm seeking a well-appointed garage to do the rest of it myself, will trade stories for tools and space!

On May 11th, 2017 it's Yukon Ho!



Here's where the dates get extra flexible. Basically, I have about 40 days to ride where I feel like it!

Stage 2: Seattle, WA → Haines, AK (~5k miles)
May 11: Vancouver, BC. I'm looking for a place to stay!
May 12 ~ 14: Get to Hyder, AK. If nothing else, I can say I set tire here.
May 15 ~ 23-ish: Motor on towards Whitehorse, YT. Perhaps take Top of the World Highway, if the ferry is operating this early in the season.
May 24 ~ June 2-ish: All the stuff you can do from Fairbanks, AK. Possible trip to the Arctic Circle.
Jun 3 ~ 5-ish: Denali National Park.
June 6 ~ 15-ish: Anchorage, the Kenai peninsula, glaciers, old mining towns, rest days...
June 16 ~ 18: Point the bike at Haines, AK. Avoid bears.
June 19: Catch the ferry to Bellingham, WA.

Stage 3: Storage in Seattle, WA
June 19 ~ 22: That ferry life.
June 23 ~ 28: Return to Seattle, WA to rest. Serenity goes into storage, to wait for her next journey.

Bonus Stage: Boston, MA
June 29 ~ July 12: Fly to Peru for a family trip. Yep, you read that right, gonna hike Machu Picchu in moto boots!
July 13 ~ 16: Lammy Jammy in Lehigh, PA.
July 17 ~ onward: Rest in Cambridge, MA. Cuddle the Fred.

That's all for now!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bridging the Gaps, the Definitive Guide to Steph Sightings in 2016

IMG_7749
Pines to Palms Highway. Feb 29, 2016.

So, 2016 was a bit of a mess for the blog, and entries jumped around a bit. If you're reading from start to finish or simply want to catch up, here's my collection of events as they happened chronologically.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dos Vesperados, Part 4: The Rally Finale! Scooting into the Sunset. February 23-28, 2016.

tuscon_to_lvhr

In the past, I made a concerted effort to travel slowly and drink deeply rather than touch briefly many places over vast distances. The intention was to break the work-vacation dichotomy that compresses personal time, forcing you to rush through places for fear of missing out. I still prefer to wander slowly, but I've become much more relaxed with the ebb and flow of scheduling – sometimes (often with other people) you hustle, and other times you crawl or are at rest. It's impossible to see everything and meet everyone regardless, but the experience is still rewarding. The balance between journey and destination is a moving target.

So, our rest in Tucson was too short, but we only have one more night till Vegas!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dos Vesperados, Part 3: White Sands, Sonorans, Trouble in a Dusty Paradise. February 18-22, 2016.

marfa_to_tuscon

Early on, I wondered if I would grow impatient at GL speeds – Fred's had the bulletproof P200 engine in it, but it would still be an adjustment from my 4-stroke modern wonder (snerk, spoilers: I went on to buy a bike with a P200 engine). It turned out we fell into a rhythm for more frequent fill ups and stretch breaks quite naturally. The only thing that seemed to wear differently were us, the riders.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dos Vesperados, Part 2: The Hills, Big Bend, and I can see Mexico from my Scooter. February 10-17, 2016.

austin2marfa

The ride to Brad's address took 4.5 hours, because I guess even when I'm gunning for a place I can't help breaking for a Topo Chico. Fred and his friend (and host) Brad arrived back from a Tacodeli run shortly after I pulled up. I apologize to Brad if it took me a few minutes to notice he existed, I was busy hugging Fred to make sure he was real.

As we shuffled luggage into the house, I believe it was Brad that pointed out that although sometimes Austin authenticity means tacos similar to those available further south, this subset of Austin taco was distinguished for being in the style that 'white people eat after yoga'. He went over more local favorites as we tore into our vegan-optional tortilla wrapped lunches, from reclined positions in his kitchen bean bags (what a great place for bean bags!).

The next step to add to the joyous surreality was to pick up the GL. I repeatedly hit the rev limiter on my bike keeping up with Brad and Fred in the truck, but soon I won't be the slow one, heh heh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dos Vesperados, Part 1: The Prequel with Party Ice. February 4-9, 2016.

atl2houston
Just another jaunt along the gulf, ho hum!

It's taken so long to collect this part of the story, the events described have happened over a year ago by now. I hemmed and hawed over whether this was a storyline I wanted to keep for myself, but ultimately I'd always intended to chronicle this segment of journey. It was only laziness and brain trauma that held me back. So, here was the plan, cooked up over Christmas in Montana at Fred sister's. I will do my best to document the amazing, make-or-break experience that was riding 2,200 miles from Austin to Vegas for a rally, with a boyfriend on a 50 year old Vespa.

Don't worry, it's mostly photos.

But first, I had to actually leave Atlanta and get to Austin to meet Fred.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Gear Talk: It's Cold Out There

Stephs are like onions. They have layers.

It's still January which means most places are chilly for riding, but I had a good discussion of cold weather gear that I'd like to collect here. Much of this is from personal experience, trying out gear for riding through New England winters, in addition to living on my bike. Thus, economy of space, durability, versatility, and comfort of movement are all important to me. For the sake of discussion I'm leaving out heated riding gear – I want to focus on items that bridge the biker-pedestrian gap, and electrics can be its own post.

Anyhow, there's such a wealth of options, I'm always curious what others find works for them. Perhaps you prefer natural fibers, or all synthetic – I say wear both!

So, let's revive the Gear Talk posts and talk cold weather riding gear. Read on for my top picks!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Where's Steph: 2017 Winter and Spring Guide

Photo from West Yellowstone, Dec 2016. Thanks for a chill week of hanging out, Alice and Mike!

What travels am I getting up to between Dec 2016 and May 2017? Check below for a rough approximation. As always, dates may change, and most recent activity appears on my Instagram.
Projected Steph Sightings through April 2017 (probably)
Dec 17-25: San Francisco, CA with Fred. Festival of Lights ride with the Post Mods, and other festivities!
Dec 26-Jan 9: Hong Kong with Fred, plus a jaunt to Singapore Dec 30-Jan 3.
Jan 10-Feb 22: San Francisco, CA. Solo again, I'm looking for work and jitsu. I'm working at Scuderia, see you at the monthly PostMods group rides?
Feb 23-26: Las Vegas, NV for High Rollers Rally.

Feb 27-April 5: San Francisco, CA. Back to work, jitsu, and readying my bike for a big ride.
April 6: Sendoff ride with Gina as far as San Simeon, have a great 3-month cross country moto trip!
April 7: Pack up in San Francisco, CA.
April 8: PostMods camping rally at Lake Chabot.
April 9: Farewell, San Francisco!
April 10-23: Cambridge, MA interlude by the power of flight. Hi again, Fred, if you remember who I am.
April 24-26: San Francisco, CA. Ready for the journey north...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Here's Looking At You, 2016

Hauling my Cintiq 13HD along for work.

I wish I could say I kept up with posting, but 2016 was a tumultuous year for 250cc Superhero. I'm sorry to admit there was comparatively little in the way of extended two-wheeled travel for me to report. To catch up on the plot and other life happenings, click on for cliff notes – illustrated, even!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It' A Scooter Christmas Story


It's been quiet on the blog front for a while. A year end review is in the making (hopefully), but I right now I have something else to bring to you...

After all her travels across North America, my beloved Serenity has racked up quite a backlog of worn out parts – more than I can replace with what I have right now. I'll be seeing her in San Francisco this winter, with hopes of working on her and replacing as much as I can.



To that end, I'm holding a bit of a fundraiser for parts (and gear). Check out this page for information on cards or art that you can buy for the holiday season, and help me continue traveling with Serenity in 2017! I'd like to make my way west by December 10, which leaves plenty of time for items to arrive by Christmas. I rescued some stock from storage for my old website store so that's back online too, if you'd like some relics.

Thank you for following along, and I hope winter finds you and your bikes safely tucked away, or riding somewhere warm!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Unofficial Modern Vespa Blogger Touring Summit of White Springs, FL. December 9-11, 2015.

atlandfl

Things had been quiet since I landed in Atlanta in November. In my experience, it can take up to a couple weeks for the fernweh beast to start making noise again. Luckily, if I could hold out a little longer, a December trip to Florida was falling into place.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sea Shells and Southern Homes. Botany Bay, Charleston, and to Atlanta. November 18-21, 2015.

oaktoatl1

One last stop along the coast before turning inland: Charleston, SC. It would be beautiful. Historic. Cultural. Southern. And, according to my sources, tasty.

Friday, August 26, 2016

GTSing the Outer Banks. Richmond, VA to Oak Island, NC. November 11-17, 2015.

RVAtoOakIsland

When picking routes, often I start by opening a map and looking for nearby geographical features or land masses, especially new ones. North Carolina's map revealed a series of long, narrow islands flung far to the east of the main body of land. I would discover later they're called the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands and peninsulas connected by ferries, promising a very different view of the state than the mountainous Blue Ridge Parkway.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Plan: Serenity Reawakens!

Don't look too close, this hardly makes sense even to me.

After the accident, I was feeling pretty down. I was in quite a bit of physical pain, and had legal followup to take care of. My freshly assembled PX lovechild was fucked, and along with it my spring riding plans (Furthest Ridden at Dogwood Classic 13 was going to be mine! At least I got to ride an epic 283 miles CORSette with Fred). What is life without a bike? Going from being highly independent and mobile to being beholden to the schedules of other people, buses, and trains was not to my taste. After some court dallying back in Atlanta, I flew to Boston to burrow myself at Fred's for the indefinite future. I had paying work to take care of anyway.

I resigned myself to just getting used to feeling a bit lost and numb, when I got an email from Danni. She was asking if I would join the team for another Gudetama activation, San Diego Comic Con this time. A spark flickered. How will I arrange it? Can I get Serenity there? I texted my go-to folks in SF, Pete and Moose, to bounce some ideas around and responded shortly after. The spark had caught. Yes, sign me up!

When I broke the news to Fred, he mentioned he would be in Vegas for a convention around the same time. "I usually have a whole room to myself, want to join me?" Double yes!

The last piece of the puzzle was the BGL agency retreat, which would be held in Burlington, VT this year. A scant 219 miles from Fred's, I had intended to arrive by bike. A quick check on the calendar confirmed that I could fly back to Boston in time to ride for the retreat. By then, the Rally 200 might be assembled, or the PX would be repaired...

The fire was back. July and August will be ablaze again for me. Here's where you might find me:

Pre-Stage: Cambridge, MA/San Diego, CA
June/July: Cambridge, MA. Moose trucks Serenity to his buddy's place in San Diego, please send him fine booze. I work on work, and bikes.
July 13-18: Duluth, MN, getting to and from Lammy Jammy with Fred.
July 19: Cambridge, MA, one night to rest.


**Fly to San Diego!**



Stage 1: San Diego, CA → San Francisco, CA
July 20-24: San Diego, CA, arriving by the power of flight for another round of Team Gudetama.
July 25: Surprise stay in El Monte, CA, family home of Moose.
July 26: San Simeon Creek Campground. Dodging wildfires.
July 27-Aug 1: San Francisco, CA. Hello, Pete! Group ride with Post Mods on May 31.


**Serenity is stored again in San Francisco**

Stage 2: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 2: Yosemite National Park, camping. Cancelled due to heat wave and wildfires.
Aug 3-5: Las Vegas, NV, with Fred.

**August 6th, Fred and I catch the redeye to Boston**



Bonus Stage: New England
Aug 7-8: Cambridge, MA.
Aug 9: VT/NH border, camping with mystery bike. Fred's GL, PX is still not together.
Aug 10-12: Burlington, VT, at BGL agency retreat.
Aug 13: Thompson, CT, for 24 Hours of LeMons.
Aug 14-18: Cambridge, MA, back at Fred's.
Aug 19-21: Uxbridge, MA, for the New England Rally.
Aug 22-??: Cambridge, MA.


I have a November book deadline that may keep me from extended overland travel for a while (plus, I need time to cook up new plans), but you know I'd never be able to leave Serenity alone for long.

Friday, August 5, 2016

We'll Come Back For Indian Summer. Richmond, VA. November 6-10, 2015.

indiansummer
City rally routes.

Rally time! I landed in Richmond International Airport, full of nervous anticipation to see people, the rally, and my bike again. Fred surprised me at my gate, having landed just half an hour before me. It was all I could do not to jump on him, but with all my luggage hanging off my shoulders I thought perhaps I should spare him the additional inertia.

I don't remember if we caught an Uber to my bike for pickup, but in a blink Fred and I had gear in hand and my old familiar bike was under me again. We hit the road 2-up to the rally kickoff at Seven Hills Brewing Company.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Rocks, Heights, Lonely Highways, and Armani. LA to San Francisco, CA. November 2-5, 2015.

gude2sf

It was time to return Endy2 to his keeper in the city of fog. I rarely like to double back, but fortunately, for those with time it seems there are endless ways to slice the LA-SF run.

Notice how the first leg of this is quite short compared to the haul to San Francisco. I guess I discovered that November is not the ideal time to be riding in the mountains, but more on that later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Lazy Egging, San Francisco to LA. October 13 - November 1, 2015.

gude2map

Another elaborate logistical dance of airplanes, friends, work, and borrowing Pete's bike was about to go down – you know, the regular drill now. By the end of it, I believe I'd be responsible for about 3/4 of the mileage on Endy2. I count myself extraordinarily fortunate to be able to get to know the Pacific Coast Highway so well. All in the name of working for a lazy egg... Or just a great excuse to visit friends in California!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Adventures in Philly, Wedding Crashing in Richmond. October 5-12, 2015.

pvd-to-rva

I've sliced Connecticut east-west so many times, I already had a clear favorite route in mind: pass by the Scituate Reservoir, route 14 into CT, smaller roads (Machine Shop Hill Rd) aiming for CT-16. Once west of Hartford staying quite far south, I could decide how to proceed. It's my favorite for peaceful wooded roads, but also because friends live right at the intersection in Windham!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New England Again, the Adventure Continues. July 28 - October 4, 2015.

newengland
A lot of squiggles on this map.

I was afraid that upon returning to Providence, I would find myself hugely changed against a static landscape. In truth, time does move differently on the road. The events of a few days easily expands to fill the space of what might otherwise be a month of fixed-location human experience. I'd been holding off travel fatigue for what felt like months, but I couldn't tell months apart anymore (I didn't experience seasons, only changing climates). I needed to let time stretch to fill itself, and was grateful Tim had room for me in his life in again.

Rest, finish some paying work, get some regular exercise, hang out with friends, and figure out what's next. Conceptually, it sounded like a good plan.

But New England still had some surprises for me.

For the cliff notes version of this time period, I made a totally adequate and more concise post in October 2015 about my return to New England. For more photos and backstory, read on.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ski's Shrimp Run, and What's Next. July 24 - 27, 2015.

lubec-to-pvd2

The morning came too soon. I wished I could stay longer to celebrate, but life for this full-time scooterist is rarely easy. However, it's rarely dull, and often it's beautiful and fun. It was a new day, and I had many miles to cover for an appointment with a new rear tire in Brunswick, and a scooter rally in Topsham!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Descent on Lubec. July 21 - 23, 2015.

barre-to-lubec

New England is a creaky floorboards kind of place, home to history, turned wood furniture, quilts, and closets that make me wonder if monsters dwell within. There's something a little magical here, but it's a salty, old-world kind of magic. It's where a younger version of me first found romance, which I followed to break free from the inertia of New York City. It's where I first experienced anything close to a 'real' winter (and then proceeded to endure 7 iterations of it). It's where I learned to ride, and attended my first rally. It's coastline and woods and winter. Now that I was full of the tastes of the rest of the country, I'd come back, maybe in part to see if that magic still held.