Saturday, November 29, 2014
This map isn't actually representative of places traveled in this post, I just wasn't able to keep my GPS tracker plugged in for the rental van because there was only one jack. So, this map only tracks scooted territory.
When I heard Tim would be in the area for vacation and he invited me to join him, I succumbed to the call of car camping. We tried to plan a route for the van remotely, but I was occupied carrying out my own scooter travels. I'd have to ride hard to make it anyhow, so for a change I asked him to plan the entire route. The Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite, Lake Mono, and Death Valley were floated about in email exchanges, so these locations will probably appear further down. All I had to do was arrive at his childhood best friend, John's, home in Gardnerville, NV by September 2.
And you know I can scoot hard.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
One of the most satisfying feelings in the world is seeing improvement. This aerials thing has been an uphill challenge, but today we reviewed a move I attempted in maybe my second class ever. I was surprised to realize I found it much more easily this time around, and perhaps even with a hint of grace. This is why I hang around (pun intended)!
Monday, November 17, 2014
Long ride back to SJ today, via the ever lovely Skyline Boulevard. I wondered whether my scoot would feel lacking, after spending all day holding back the beast of a Triumph. It was certainly not the case. Scoot was comfortable as ever, even the little plastic rattling parts it's developed over the miles. Switching back to twist and go was a bit of a relief in the city, though I did miss that feeling of immediate connection from a shifter. However, I'm used to my tiny wheels and short, flickable wheelbase. After so many miles together, I have a connection to my Vespa. Twist and go or not, I know exactly how it sounds, where it picks up, how to make her move with me.
Also, soondubu, a delicious spitting cauldron of savory lava, is the perfect warm-up meal after a cool ride. The roads don't get old, but (even in California) they can get kind of cold.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Pete offered to let me take his Bonneville today to check out the Dirtbag Challenge. He took my Vespa just in case I didn't like the Triumph, but no worries there.
What a blast! It took a few blocks to reacquaint myself with motorcycle mechanics, but after that I think I was riding around with a huge grin the whole time. That is one hot bike, way overkill for the city, and conspicuous in a way I'm completely unused to. It purrs beautifully. And it was surreal to pull up alongside my own Vespa and hear the familiar turn signal beep...coming from next to me.
Also, Dirtbag Challenge? My love for ratty bikes is reignited, and I've never seen so many burnouts in one place. Just follow the plumes of smoke and smell of burning rubber. Lots of fun today!
Saturday, November 15, 2014
After some PK gym time, I hightailed to SF to meet Pete for a fundraiser. As of this trip, I've become much more well practiced at crashing any given event knowing only one person – surely a master level skill for Class: Introvert. Much fun was had, I even 'helped' him move a Vespa around on the floor. It is weird riding indoors.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Toni from San Jose BMW and Vespa invited me to her family's home for dinner, and I was all too happy to accept. She's a firecracker, and we could have talked stories and bikes all night! I even got to try on the custom super low Corbin seat on her Yamaha (aw yeah, short world problems... I like to maintain that we're just more concentrated doses of awesome).
I had such a fantastic evening with their super nice family, I can't say thank you enough!
Thursday, November 13, 2014
I've come to realize some of my favorite atmospheres are places like cafes and bars, where I can be surrounded by the buzz of people but still do my own thing. It sounds like a contradictory dynamic, but for me it's a respite from active interaction (I'm an introvert and need to recharge often) while not being entirely solitary. I like being able to look up from reading or blogging to spy on people, watch the bartender/barista do his/her thing, or ogle a well-dressed hipster. I like picking different cafes when I feel like a different mood or soundtrack. These are my kinds of places to unwind, and I can spend a whole day scooting from one to another.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Kevin had tickets to what I can only describe as an immersive game experience, Escape the Auction House. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it would be good when I walked into a velvet lined ballroom to find 25 red covered tables, on which identical clipboards, pencils, and puzzles were arranged neatly.
We did not escape, but it was a fantastic game!
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
One of the first things I installed on the scoot was a hose clamp, to go over the ineffective stock plastic hook to hold the rear rack in the down position. When scoot's rear end started getting a bit bouncy, I knew it had finally rusted through. Nothing a little break in the parking lot of a hardware store couldn't fix.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Mike, waving enthusiastically, was easy to pick out from the forest of bikes in front of Alice's Restaurant. Background story: I ran into him several months ago in Shady Valley, TN, and kept in touch though we were going separate ways. He was headed to the Arctic Circle on his 50cc Ruckus, I was on a faster track across the Midwest. We finally caught up as he's passing through the Bay Area, and eagerly exchanged stories over lunch. Stories continue to spill out into the parking lot, where many passerby paused to ask him about his proudly stickered scoot.
For me, there was an element of relief to share insights with another person about moving through the world solo on another 'underboner.' As it turned out, Mike and I started our journeys at roughly the same time (May 5th for me, May 8th for him) and our mileage is also similar (20k vs my 19k). Are we also driven by similar things? I could have spent the entire evening going back and forth with tales, but eventually we're both moving parts to some larger drive train. It was a happy afternoon to be able to catch a fellow traveler for a few hours, and hopefully we'll find our paths intersecting again in the future. In case you didn't check it out already, you can follow his ride on Mike's blog!
Riding often inspires introspection and as I rode back, I pondered the motives of the solo rider. For me, there was never a question of who I would take off with; it was always going to be me and the bike (perhaps to the disappointment of romantic partners at the time). In my scooter, I’d found a partner that would push me as hard as I pushed her, and perhaps that's why riding took hold so well for me. Much of my life in Providence was solitary, but my bike was always there, rain or shine, ready to connect me to the outside if I just gave her the time. My bike could simultaneously challenge me and put me at ease, a treasure in any relationship.
Together, maybe we could go farther than most people would believe.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
Carrie and I share the same literary agent, and met at the agency retreat in Connecticut last year. Super great to be in her backyard and catch her for some beer! We make awkward faces for food photos, because food is great. Also we shared disappointment that 'yogalates' doesn't involve sitting around in tights sipping espresso drinks.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Met up with Jim (hdawg on ADV) today! His younger daughter came along to meet me. At first I thought she was merely embodying the typical highschool sophomore aloofness, but it turns out she had just completed an 8 mile run and was hungry. Well now, I totally get it. I am beyond unsociable when I'm hungry.
I had a fantastic time talking rides and bikes and travel with him, Margaret, and their older daughter Tai Lee. She's already considering her first bike (currently she takes the Vespa around). I can only imagine how my parents would have reacted if I even had an interest in a motorcycle license at that age... I hope they know how cool their parents are, though I understand it's the way of things to find your parents the least cool people in the world. We had a fantastic roasted chicken dinner and chatted into the night. I had a great time poking around Santa Cruz and meeting Jim's family!
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
|Sorry, only a tiny drawing today. The loveliness of the ride is impossible to capture.
127 miles, plus the 56 miles to aerials class and back.
I took an exceptionally scenic route to San Jose, via the summit of Mount Diablo, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve (lonely single lane road!), and the Calaveras Reservoir. It was beautiful, took only one tank of gas, and about 5 hours including rest stops. Mileage was low but the day was long. I was beat, but refueled and went to aerials class.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Whoops I forgot to write the location here. Rod and I met up with Joel to ride some "goaty roads" (as he described them) and part of CA-128. The leaves were changing and we hit plenty of twisties. A fantastic day indeed.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Met up with Peter to poke around the IMS. Alas, the bikes I had interest in did not have a demo fleet. Many drool-worthy motos, though. It was amazing to be able to "try on" so many bikes back to back; you get an immediate sense of contrast between various seat heights, weight distributions, handle bars styles, and positions for foot pegs. I feel like in a way, a bike should fit like clothes – comfortable, tailor for small things, but definitely has to work with your body much more than with a car. I wouldn't want to ride a bike with (figuratively) sleeves too long or a permanent wedgie.
A quick stop in Oakland to feed and water Clover the cat, and I was off to Fairfield to meet up with Rod (rodr on ADV) for the evening. He and his wife, Lucy, are a riot! Tomorrow is a big day of riding.