Sunday, June 25, 2017

End of a Bay Era. April 8 - 10, 2017.


Often the best stories are forged in adversity, and by that measure this is not really a great story. It is, however, a story about good times. Pete had long wanted to gather a group of scooterists to camp out, and this would be his first... and possibly last in California, because he'd just accepted a position in New York.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Two Days of Obsolescence, the Wormholes of California. April 6 - 7, 2017.


Gina had three months to ride around the country, and for her first day I would be seeing her off. How novel, I get to be the sendoff party!

As with so many journeys down the coast, we met at the morning standard, Devil's Teeth Baking Company.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dialing in Alaska from Outer Sunset. Jan 10 - April 5, 2017.

Ocean Beach, a quick scoot from my SF spring home.

Alaska was in my sights, but it wouldn't be ridable for months yet.

On Jan 10, 2017 I landed in San Francisco from Hong Kong, solo again after a whirlwind month traveling with Fred. The weariness of jetlag shared space with the ache of separation, while gale force wind and driving rain rattled the panes of my aunt's home. Of course I'd landed during one of the many storms that season that would eventually collapse Californian spillways and put an end to their five year drought. Normally, I poke fun of what California deems 'weather' but as I hiked to the grocery store, flimsy umbrella held in front of me against a wet, windy protest, I allowed that this was indeed serious. Every few steps a gust snatched the whole thing and flipped it backwards, and as I blinked away raindrops I noticed two spokes were already broken.

What the fuck am I doing here?

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. In Seattle.

Stage 1: San Francisco, CA → Seattle, WA (~1k miles)
April 26: Launch! Camping with Pete at Russian Gulch State Park, CA.
April 27: Motel with Pete at Willows, CA due to road closures from mud slides.
April 28: Fieldbrook, CA courtesy of Lisa and Rob of the Humboldt County Slugrockets.
April 29: Motel with Pete in Gold Beach, OR.
May 1 ~ 4: Portland, OR with the illustrious Sara Ryan.
May 5 ~ 8: Seattle, WA with Gwynne. Last stop for service.

Seattle will be my last big service stop. Big People Scooters will hopefully put a tire on for me (I hate wrestling with spoons). I'm seeking a well-appointed garage to do the rest of it myself, will trade stories for tools and space!

On May 9th, 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 9: Port Angeles, WA with Laura. Must resist oversupplying at Swain's.
May 10 ~ 11: Vancouver, BC with Rob, Vespa Club of Canada's website designer.
May 12: Whistler, BC with Neil the Cannonballer.
May 13: Lac la Hache at the Rangeland Motel, owned by Ruckus former prez, George.
May 14: Vanderhoof, BC. Motel.
May 15: Hazelton, BC with Pamela's friend, Phil and Peggy.
May 16: Stewart, BC. Camping.
May 17: Boya Lake, BC. Camping.
May 18 ~ 21: Whitehorse, YT. Beez Kneez Bakpakers.
May 22 ~ 23: Dawson City, YT. Hostel.
May 24: Tok, AK, via Top of the World Highway!
May 25 ~ 26: Fairbanks, AK. Billie's Backpacker's Hostel.
May 27: Coldfoot Camp, AK.
May 28 ~ 29: Return to Fairbanks, AK by plane. Huge thanks to Billie's Backpacker's Hostel.

On May 28th, my bike went down as I was returning from Atigun Pass. I flew to Seattle, WA with a broken collarbone. Serenity is currently stored in AK. Huge thank you to everyone who helped me towards recovery!

Stage 3: Mending in Seattle, WA
May 30 ~ June 28: Convalesce in Seattle, WA with Gwynne and Tom.

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!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Serenity Launches Again Tomorrow

A slow day at Scuderia makes for a shiny bike.

Tomorrow is launch day. In light of my irrational panic, here's a moment of reflection.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Gear Talk: Alaska Expedition Serenity


The launch date for Alaska is closing in, and you may notice that Serenity looks a bit different for this leg of her journey. Click on for a rundown of work done!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Patreon: Creating Adventure Comics on a Vespa

250Superhero on Patreon is live!

It's finally happened, I set up a Patreon page! For those unfamiliar with Patreon, it's a internet-based platform where creators set up subscription content service. In other words, it's a way you can help me continue making ridiculous journeys on an Italian ladies shopping bike!

This blog will always be available for free, but if you like what I do please consider contributing. Please check it out, or just pass it along. It takes a bit of stress off me to make ends meet, and helps me keep me doing what I do and bringing it to you!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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

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.


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.


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.


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.

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 24-25: 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.


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.


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.


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.

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.