Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gear Talk: GTS Touring Tool Roll

My prized tool roll from CORSette 2014. Thanks, Nikki!

Who doesn't like a peek into someone else's tool roll?

After many miles, I think I've dialed in a field kit arrangement that's portable and can handle all the regular maintenance jobs on the GTS, and then some.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Serenity Revived! Summer Plans 2018

She's alive!

I know this is jumping around a bit in the overall narrative, but I wanted to get my summer riding schedule posted for anyone who might want to say, "Hi!"

Suffice to say, Serenity's engine swap was successful, she's all in one piece again, and running great! A huge thank you to everyone who chipped in for the GoFundMe, and Fred for tolerating the grouchy mechanic that is me. Click on to find out where I'm planning to be in summer 2018.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Convalescence in Ballard. May 30 - June 28, 2017.

Seattle Recovery
Bling on my sling, thanks to Gwynne and Fred.
"I wear black on the outside, 'cause black is how I feel on the inside" patch is available here!
Felix on a blue scooter pin is not available. ;)

Home was always a conundrum for me. Is it the place you're born, or the place where most of your stuff is kept? Is it a feeling, a state of mind, or certain people?

Where does someone without a physical home go, when they need to recover from more than just travel fatigue?

Between the cloudiness of painkillers, I made the verdict for where I wanted to spend a month recuperating. Not San Francisco or Providence or Boston, though I'd find my way back there eventually. The summer wasn't over for me. My boxes from Fairbanks were shipped to Boston, but I knew where I wanted to make my memories of healing: Seattle, near Gwynne and Tom.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Dalton vs My Right Clavicle. Fractures in Arctic Circle. May 27 - 30, 2017.


The Top of the World Highway had given me some confidence taking my Vespa on rougher terrain, but from Fairbanks I wanted to ride at least to the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway. I anticipated the stretch ahead to be the most challenging – the sheer distance without a soul in sight was intimidating. I went back and forth as to how far north I would travel, and to this day I'm unsure what informed my final decision. Maybe it was sleep debt. Maybe it was FOMO. Maybe it was hubris.

As you may have guessed from the title, this doesn't end particularly well.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

On Top of the World and back on American Soil. May 24 - 26, 2017.


From the Midnight Dome Viewpoint, if you looked on the other side of the Yukon River you could see a pale line etched into the green hills. It climbed in a straight line up the river-facing side of the mountain, then turned in a squiggle that wrapped the crumpled terrain like a dropped a piece of spaghetti. That was my first look at the Top of the World Highway, and that was where I was putting my bike.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sourtoes and Shipwrecks. Dawson City, YT. May 22 - 23, 2017.


Dawson City is a destination in its own right, though the usual attractions – Klondike gold rush history, gold panning, cabaret, and other old mining town and frontier sales pitches – were not what drew me there. I wanted to ride the Top of the World Highway, which started at the landing point of the George Black Ferry.

But a stop at a historic mining town along the way was swell, too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Indoor Life in Whitehorse, YT. May 19 - 21, 2017.


Nothing in Whitehorse is more than 10 minutes away, because if you've gone any farther you're pretty much in the wild. The town was just big enough to have what I sought: a large grocery store where I availed myself to some produce (and gasped at the prices), and a cozy hostel with blackout curtains.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Boya, That's Beautiful. Stewart-Cassiar to Alaska Highway. May 17 - 18, 2017.


I had a few campgrounds (recreation sites, as they're called) along the Stewart-Cassiar in mind for the next stretch. I knew I would be riding through some remote places, and figured I'd just go until I felt ready to stop. It's a supreme luxury, the freedom to go till whenever, with no one expecting you anywhere, anytime. I suppose it depends on the person whether they find that freeing or concerning.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Scooter Holiday Cards are back!

Whether you missed them last year or simply want to grab another round, I've opened up my holiday card sales again.

Check it out – markdowns apply, while supplies last!

I promise, I'm working on catch-up posts for Alaska too.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

How To Care For Your Overlander: A Stuff-Free Guide

Want to give a gift that won't weigh them down?

The holiday season is upon us, so what better time to do a gift-giving guide?

This post has been kicking around in my head for a while. It's not a run-down of newest riding gear or hottest bike farkle. Chances are, if someone has been riding this long, they probably already have everything they need and don't have room for more. My list was born from being asked, "What do you do to treat yourself, when you can't carry gifts?"

So, in a season inundated with messages of rampant consumerism, what do you do for someone without giving them stuff?

Whether you're thinking of your minimalist motorbike traveler or someone who's just simplifying their life, here are some ideas for awesome gifts that won't clutter the closet or the topcase!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Touchdown on Alaskan Soil. May 16, 2017.


Putting on all my layers in the morning felt like dressing for battle. Today, I would touch Alaskan soil, albeit in the tiny tourist town of Hyder, AK. I had a low mileage day ahead of me, to give myself time to explore Kispiox again and see how far I got up to Salmon Glacier.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Into the British Columbian Wild. May 12 - 15, 2017.


This was it. My last stop for urbanity before I went into the British Columbian wild. I always dubbed this trip as an Alaskan adventure, but in actuality the largest portion of miles would be Canadian. Indeed, British Columbia alone proved to be expansive, rich in history, and absolutely packed with jaw-dropping natural beauty.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Ferry Fancy Life, Port Angeles and Vancouver, BC. May 9 - 11, 2017.


In case you haven't picked up by now, I love taking ferries with my bike. I go out of my way for ferry rides, and found a route to Vancouver that involved very little actual riding. Sure, it would be almost $70 in ferry fees, but did you miss the part about how I love taking ferries?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pit Stop Seattle. May 4 - 8, 2017.


It's a straightforward ride along I-5 from Portland to Seattle, but I'd find a way to dress it up. I hustled out the door early to give myself plenty of time to meander and catch the Bremerton ferry.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friends and Food and Floating! Portland, OR. April 30 - May 3, 2017.


Time had come to part ways again. Pete had pushed his dog-sitters to the limit, and he would have to slab it all the way back to San Francisco in a single day (480 miles, blasting my day record out of the water on his first overland haul. Aw). I had a more moderate 300-ish mile day ahead of me to one of my favorite cities, Portland, OR.

In the morning mist, our farewells were brief and without fanfare; we were eager to tackle our independent miles. For my part, maybe I hustled a bit to get my gear on because in your helmet, no one can tell if you're crying.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Champagne Asphalt and Mudslides. San Francisco, CA to Gold Beach, OR. April 24 - 29, 2017.


It's been a while, but if you're wondering what happened to those missing dates between the last entry and this, I flew to Boston to see Fred and take care of some life back east. It seems my current style of nomadism is six of vagrancy and a half dozen homes? Anyhow, fast forward to the end of April and we're back on the west coast, on that north-bound agenda.

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.