Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5/29 - Magnolia Tree

When my family lived here, I was waiting to be tall enough to reach the lowest branch of this tree. Still denied.

(Unrelated, boy, I really botched the layout on this drawing...but at least I got to try a cool new pen brush, thanks Brian!)


Penland with the Gratz family, Asheville, and I'm Running Away to Join the Circus, May 20-23

In this issue, our heroine lands herself in a minor case of urban shock after a weeklong immersion in the mountain life. Also, FIRE. And gypsies. In a way.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5/28 - No Scooting

Mike went above and beyond, picking me up so I could hang out with other scooterists from the Terminal Scooter Club at Midway. Also, hi Vintagemetal from ADV!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5/27 - Starlight Drive-In

Ask yourself honestly: Isn't everything better with scooters and friends? Really happy Mike came along for the movie.

Sometimes I'm still nervous driving at night, but Atlanta was cool and well lit, and I found myself singing in my helmet at 2am.

Monday, May 26, 2014

5/26 - Fobby Huck Finns of the Chattahoochee River

No riding today. Just resting, and drinking box wine on the river. 55 degree water below and thunderstorms above, but it couldn't get me down.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

5/24 - Three S's

Arrived in Atlanta, my childhood hometown of 20 years ago. The street names are familiar but I can't tell you where they go. Too tired to draw, will come back and edit this post (now edited).

It was hard to leave North Carolina and the amazing people I met there, I'll go back again soon. For better or worse, something louder calls me south, and west. 234 miles, Cherohala to 68 S into lush, green, hot and humid Georgia - scoot's 15th state.


Friday, May 23, 2014

5/23 - Motor Drome at Night

Or perhaps it should read: Motor Drome in moonshine.

Massive earbleeding thank-you's to Dale and volunteers at Wheels Through Time, and the American Motor Drome folks, for being that magical combination of kind, welcoming, awesome, and just damn themselves.

127 miles. Rode to the end of the Parkway and back. Following Harleys through the tunnels is an acoustic experience. May cause arrhythmia, but in this Bible Belt they're praying for me so heart better keep beating.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Skyline Drive, Dogwood Scooter Rally, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, May 17-20

GPS is a bit squirrely when I forget to turn it back on after staying still for a while, but actually this captured most of my routes! Also, I have a bazillion photos of sharp blue skies, fluffy white clouds, distant blue mountains, and lush green valleys - geez, why does this route have to be so beautiful?

5/22 - Culture Shock

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5/21 - Fiery like the Surface of the Sun

Taking it easy today. Breakfasting, planning, and a quick twisty ride into Penland School of Craft to poke around. In the evening, I tagged along to with my hosts to a wood firing at their friend, Courtney's, pottery studio.

Bonus drawing:


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5/20 - Adventure Riding in Multiple Forms

168-ish miles (it's cold outside and I don't want to check the odometer).

I'm so thankful Don reached out at Elk Mountain Overlook, to ask if I wanted to join him and his friends to ride The Snake. Time of my life, grinning ear to ear!

Now safe and warm by a fire, thanks to the hospitality of the illustrious author, Alan Gratz.

Rode in three states today, two of them new states for the scoot - North Carolina and Tennessee. I couldn't help but announce them in my helmet like a personal MC. I also announce animals, ie: "DEER!" "BUNNY!" "SNAKE!" (it was run over) "CATERPILLAR!" (inching across the road, several of them, not even kidding). Solo riding quirks begin...


Monday, May 19, 2014

5/19 - Arnold Valley

122 miles. Thanks to Steve from Clearwater for a chat and a photo of me here, too. This was maybe 10 miles past Otter Creek, and the first place I had cell service. Also, I have a million photos of green hills and blue mountains, thanks, Parkway. Tonight's destination: Willville Motorcycle Campground, and a bunch of nicer guys around a campfire I couldn't have met.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

5/18 - Making Parkway Friends

Mileage: A scant 130, all on one tank of gas.

Thank to Kurt for the tip to stop in Buena Vista for some serious banked curves!

Wildlife: One electric blue humingbird, the usual hawk type birds, and a tiny lizard with a bright blue tail. Yes, my first reaction was to wonder if I shoot it with an arrow, will my strength circle expand? Agro, let's go!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

5/17 - Highs and Lows of Shenandoah

159 miles today.

Seven Hills Scooter Club can throw a party. I was feeling a bit rough the next day; smoky from fire, a bit bruised from dumping Rob's (?) Rattler on the grass, pricker bush damage from a trail joyride with the rally PX200, unshowered except for the nighttime dunk in the creek, saying bye to everyone with a muddy hoody and my boots bungeed to the back to dry. Yup, another great rally. And another two days till laundry.

Also, the Skyline Drive is absolutely stunning. I stopped for photos early on, but eventually the curves had me and I didn't want to stop for anything.

Wildlife on the Skyline Drive: Three bears! One grazing deer. And a suicidal turkey.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Plan: Blue Ridge Parkway

That's 469 miles of 35mph.

So, this is when things start getting new for the scoot.

The plan, outbound from DC: Blue Ridge Parkway. One Dogwood Classic Scooter Rally, then 1-2 nights of camping either along the parkway, or a jaunt into the mountains, or Hot Springs, mood and weather depending. Then, arrive at the home of author and fellow agency member, the gracious Alan Gratz. On this map, the total is 537 miles. Possibly looking at 4-5 consecutive days of camping, and all new ground for me and the scoot.

After a bit of recouping and laundry, I'd like to poke around Asheville, NC. A motorcycle-only campspot was recommended to me, at some point Deals Gap for the Tail of the Dragon is on, and then down to Atlanta to meet old family friends and new scooter friends.

End of the first leg!

Washington D.C., May 14-16

Let me just start by saying this isn't going to read so much like a tour of America's capital so much as...Grace and I hang out and hit some bars. We know each other from middle school, and I've visited her in DC many times (even by scoot), so the 'sights' are checked off. What is DC for me then? Another (albeit slightly more uptight) urban playground that currently contains my very good friend!

5/16 - Taiwanese Lunch Extravaganza!

Grace was headed to PA for the weekend, for an epic celebration of a family member's 90th birthday. This being a Chinese celebtration, obviously obscene amounts of food would be required. I was merely lucky enough to tag along for the warm up in Rockville, MD, where there's better food than DC's so-called 'Chinatown' (as Grace pointed it, Chinatown lost its cred when Hooters moved in) due to a strong Chinese community.

So much delicious, digestion is hogging my resources now. Early morning tomorrow, to ride Skyline Drive and stop by the Dogwood Classic Scooter Rally!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Philadelphia, PA, May 11 - 14

Had to happen.

I took the free-est route out of the city: Brooklyn Bridge to Holland Tunnel, then on the Pulaski Skyway out of Newark. The Giraffe met up with me in Elizabeth, NJ, and we rode down Rt 1 till the tolls stopped, and Interstated the rest of the way. I know, not the most interesting route, but I'm still retracing old roads and it was a beautiful day regardless. Total about 96 miles.

5/15 - Disguised as Grace

This tends to happen whenever I visit, and it's not even laundry day. It's still novelty to me to have a friend I can share clothing with, especially one with a great, extensive wardrobe.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5/14 - All the Fanciness

There was only one other guy at Parkville Crabs, and he immediately zeroed in on my riding gear. He had never heard of a Vespa, but it was nice chatting while crabs steamed, and I excused myself to rush off to DC to make a reservation with Grace at Barmini. Fanciness ensued. Also, we met the Travelocity gnome.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5/13 - Nerding out in Philly

I can't seem to write Philadelphia.
Or write at all (that says, "Talking routes and rides...").

Stopped by Philadelphia Scooters earlier, to say hi to folks I met at the rally in Stroudsburg a few weeks ago. Also, this.

Providence to Brooklyn, May 5 - 11

180 miles, not including ferry. I know, really pushing the limits of my comfort zone here.

I've been thinking of how to compose this for a while, especially since it's still very close and I don't want too much overlap with the drawings. I'd like to include a map, photo, and writing post every so often, to capture more than just a moment in drawings but also to help me reflect and remember. Also, I personally enjoy seeing other peoples photos, too! Click to read on.

Monday, May 12, 2014

5/12 - Sightseeing is Tiring

Enjoying the city with the Giraffe and Adrienne. Pretended to be behind bars at the Penitentiary, had soda at the old part of Market St, posed with Rocky, and then just enjoyed a local brewery.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

5/11 - Driving in the City

Sad to leave Brooklyn, but gone to Philadelphia today! Only about 100 miles. It felt great to be back in the saddle, even navigating the 'city off-roading' combination of dodging potholes, watching for dips in pavement, dashing between pedestrians, cutting off cars trying to edge me out, and paying attention to directions at the same time. I was always too lazy to adjust the suspension for just me as a rider, but with the weight of my gear it actually feels about right, ha. Took the Brooklyn Bridge this time, just for a change. Weather: Hot, but beautiful, radiator fans kicked on for the first time this year.

I'm not sure the GTS 250 is ideal for traffic as dense as NYC. I often found myself wishing for a smaller bike with quicker takeoff, for darting around traffic. Also, more of a beater - my Vespa is too shiny for this city. Maybe it won't be after this trip, though...

Friday, May 9, 2014

5/9 - Frye's Shrine to Leather

The air inside smelled like leather. Leather belts hung from steel frames from the ceiling. Boots lined the walls. Tasteful things that 'match' leather adorned every corner, such as patina'ed card catalogues, antiqued globes, exposed steel pipework, and low, warm accent lighting. My favorite objects were the absolutely enormous leather armchairs, presumably for people to sit while trying on fine leather shoes. For me however, although I walked in with dinged up Engineer 12Rs on my feet, I wasn't there to buy... just enjoying the art and smell of a beautifully executed consumer palace.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

5/8 - Laundry in the City

Oh boy, everyone gets to see all my penmanship mistakes.

Aw, I feel like I live in the city again...except that would mean hauling an enormous load of laundry sherpa-style to the laundromat. Actually, the main reason I'm doing laundry so soon is because I don't want to look funny this weekend when meeting Matt's mom, and hanging out with normal people. It's too soon for the summer clothing I packed, but all that's currently left is sports clothing - wicking type stuff I can wear under riding gear for days before it'll be smelly, bwahaha. However, I haven't been riding since I got here, so my supply of 'normal' shirts is exhausted.

And it's Matt's birthday today, so I want to look smart-ish when we hit town! Oh, Brooklyn, you wonderful, expensive playground.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

5/7 - Street Cleaning

It was a nice day to draw at Prospect Park, then I got too cold.

Hopped back in the saddle for a couple minutes for the time honored NYC tradition: moving your vehicle for street cleaning. It's great to to ease into long-term travel by starting in a familiar place, but sitting in my Vespa seat after only a day apart just made me want to keep going. I think what I've set out to do will 'hit me' more when I've gone past DC - then, I'll be breaking new ground.

Monday, May 5, 2014

5/5 - Cross Sound Ferry

All the two-wheelers were directed to the back corner of the ferry, which meant 6 Harleys...and one Vespa. There's only one road out of the ferry terminal, so the bikes and I rode in formation for quite a ways before individual riders started to peel off. They were just coming home from a weekend ride to RI.

Current departure date

Rolling out: Monday, May 5th.

Figured I'd put a sticky up here, which can be updated as necessary. Totally nailed it and actually left when I said leaving would happen. Add 'accomplished' to the list of feelings, after 'excited', 'terrified' and 'WTF have I set into motion I'm homeless'. Adventure!

Also, I'll be departing for CORSette and WD3 on Wednesday, April 23 - Monday, April 28. I had a fantastic time at the race and the rally, and not only finished CORSette, but placed 3rd!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

5/4 - Ready to roll

First mobile post!

We're amazingly on mark at superhero HQ! Everything seems to fit into various luggages for the scoot, which is probably too much stuff, and will probably be completely rearranged in a few days. One last trip to the storage unit tomorrow with odds and ends, and I'm Brooklyn! How oddly anticlimatic to have such a drawn out preparation and build up, and the first stop is a place I used to live and still visit often. I realized recently that for the next few months, my keychain will be quite lean. It'll be my lonely scooter and topcase keys, and a padlock key to the storage unit rattling around my bags.

I have such a mix of emotions right now. I'm spending my last night in Providence with The Giraffe at our Sunday night spot, the Duck & Bunny. I couldn't have done it without his help - so many times these past few days my brain simply stalled at the immense, ridiculous task I set out for myself, and he kept hauling, packing, and driving, a couple times with a graciously loaned fantastic old Volvo station wagon. That, combined with the great people at an artichoke party Saturday night (the real reason for delaying departure date, ha!) and well...I'm just glad I deliberately made it difficult for me to back out now.

Between all the melancholy about closing a chapter of my life and leaving friends, I am very, very excited. Good thing I'm exhausted from back to back packing and partying, or it would be difficult sleeping tonight.

Song of the night: Simon & Garfunkel - America