Tuesday, June 30, 2015

6/30 - Solo Dining Jackpot

You know what's great in this town when you want to go out for dinner solo? Ramen. I had a hankering, and I heard Men Oh had a spicy tonkotsu and buttery chashu. Oh so delicious.

I did catch up with some company for lunch earlier that day, though. Remember John of the Norge and mustache? We arranged for some lunch at classic dimsum joint, Golden Dragon, followed by some wandering around the street markets of Chinatown.

Monday, June 29, 2015

6/29 - Day Off

A rest day! I spent the morning leafing through a beautiful interior design book. Like a kid, I love oversized books with big pictures. Also, I can see how her tasteful, comfortable, and beautifully curated home is reflected in her book. I have a latent love for interior (and industrial) design. I wonder for the day I'll curate my own home again?

The rest of the day was pleasantly frittered away blogging at Woodcat, streaming Netflix, and musing about work and purpose. Cut for the latter.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

6/28 - Touring With Gudetama

Another day at work... We blanketed the tourist spots on the branded Vespas, which I thought was an excellent way to see LA. I wouldn't have gone to those spots on my own, since I don't like to deal with the tourists and crowds. I'd probably still be in a coffee shop.

Tigra had plans for the next couple days, which makes this is the first night since Houston that I've had no housemates or social obligations. 44 nights, now that I counted. Wild. I relished in the quiet of an entire house.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

6/27 - Dinner Outdoors with Tigra

Long work day today, but I'm scootin' for money! Tigra and I walked to a vegan place, Sage, for dinner to go. The evenings are so pleasant here, we took advantage of Vivian's farmer-size porch table and dined by tea light outside.

Friday, June 26, 2015

6/26 - Sunset over Vivian's House

381 miles.

A long-time Chinese extended family friend, Vivian, generously shared her home with my colleague and I while she's in Italy. She has a truly beautiful space.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

6/25 - James and Tai Li

92 miles.

Hello to Jim, Margaret, Tai Li and Quin Lin again!

Shortly after landing in California again, Pete set me up with his spare helmet and brand new white 300 GTS Super (only 470 miles on it...but not for long). I'm headed down the coast!

It's so weird, it handles like mine but everything is super stiff and tight...

I'm still around! I just hopped a plane to California

Infinite Stephs in seat 12E.

Apologies for slow updates; I'm still alive! Just like last year around this time, rally season began and I've fallen behind. Not only that, but I have an exciting paying gig...in LA! Slagheap Cycles is giving my home a temporary home in Pittsburgh, and I've hopped a plane to San Francisco. I'll be in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between for a bit of work (and play!) for the next few weeks. With any luck, sometime in there the blog will get some attention.

If anyone happens to be going to Anime Expo, just going to say keep an eye out for a fleet of Vespas...

Borrowing Pete's sweet new 300 and bubble visor for the ride down to LA.
It's not my bike, but it still sure is fun along Skyline Blvd! 450 miles is going to blow by.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6/24 - Best Airport Shuttle Evar!

Thank you to Slagheap Cycles, for giving my home a home while I'm away in California for a work thing! And thanks to Eileen for putting us in contact!

Jack was my shuttle to the airport for my flight to San Francisco. And Pete was there to pick me up on a scooter. I hate flying, but bookending it with bikes makes it so much better!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

6/23 - Pittsburgh Foodie Friends

I didn't know this but PA is actually pretty chill with the gun control, so Matt and I looked up a firing range. We shot several papers full of holes, huzzah.

In the evening, we met up with Eileen and Kellen for drinks and dinner and at Pusadee's Garden. The night was so beautiful, and the Thai was fiery and tasty. I think the last time I'd seen them was Block Island, RI. Super to see them again!

Monday, June 22, 2015

6/22 - Enjoying Matt's Rental Cage

Matt rented a car! We ran errands, watched Jurassic World (pah ha ha), and worked at a coffee shop (okay, Matt read a book patiently while I caught up on blog stuff).

Back when Matt still lived in Providence, our first road trip was to Pittsburgh. I have fond memories of paintball, good food, and more whiskey. We revisited Union Pig & Chicken for a BBQ dinner, with a little less residual whiskey.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

6/21 - Classy in Carnegie

78 miles.

I'm feeling a little worn out, my gear is trashed, and I have this nagging, unplaced sense of shame. Yup, sounds like a successful Bandcamp!

The sticky mud did its best to keep us all, but it was time to part ways. Myke stopped by to say bye, but I wasn't quite awake. Davide rolled out early, because he had many miles to cover back to Richmond, VA. Jack and I rode most of the way to Pittsburgh, and chilled at a skate park until he turned north.

Matt just arrived in the city by bus when I caught up with him. I felt a bit bad; I had smelly, muddy boots, my laundry situation was desperate, I was covered in bug bites and found ants living in my helmet (I shook most of them out). But boy, was I glad to see him again.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

6/20 - Jack in the Mud

The rain broke sometime in midday, which meant Jack was going to ride his first twist-shift!

I think he had fun. Everyone watching certainly did.

Friday, June 19, 2015

6/19 - Delayed

174 miles.

Who would have thought, the BMW would break down. Thankfully, two different people recommended a shop nearby in Warren, NY, and Paul of Slagle's Speed and Sport showed up with a trailer to save the day. It took 4 or so hours, but they isolated the problem in the fuel pump. A single wire had gone stray. Thankfully, the repair worked, saving Davide the need to order a new pump. Jack and I caught up while the bike was put back together.

We arrived at Bandcamp around 9pm – at least an hour of improvement on last year's arrival time.

Once the tents were all set up and we were all settled, I predictably drank too much.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

6/18 - Ragtag Two Wheeler Party

210 miles.

The time to leave Toronto came too soon. We bid Wally farewell and many thanks, and made tracks for Buffalo. While Davide was detained at the border for attempting to smuggle maple syrup (just kidding), I caught up with Jack! Remember him from Austin, TX?

Alas, Buffalo was stuck in a thick fog and we couldn't do much sightseeing in Jack's hometown. Fueled by some buffalo wings, we pressed south.

With him on his DRZ-400, Davide on a F650GS, and me on a Vespa GTS 250... we made a ragtag party. Destination: Bandcamp XVI.

Whatever happened to the whole solo scooterist thing?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6/17 - Crepes Before Bos

Ed, another member of the Toronto Motor Scooter Club, invited Davide and I for breakfast in his shop. I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn't have predicted this anyhow. Ed has rented the boiler room in the back of a storage unit for years, and converted it into an epic shop-loft-cave. You'll just have to wait for the photos, it's hard to explain. On a hot plate and from a mini-fridge, Ed prepared a gourmet brunch of crepes with a buffet of ham, cheese, strawberries, blueberries, banana, shaved dark chocolate, apricot jam... the list goes on. A renaissance man for sure, he also showed Davide and I some of his old hand-crafted bo staffs. Of course, you can't give us sticks and not expect us to play with them...

In the evening, Wally took us on his own personally crafted scooter food tour. Poutine, Korean food, fried chicken, and gelato and wine in Little Italy for dessert... Toronto is delicious and Wally knows how to eat! He should do more food tours, maybe there's something here. I mean, after the deliciousness of today, I suspect Davide is ready to sew a maple leaf to his 7 Hills patch and open up a Toronto chapter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

6/16 - ADVers at Timmy's!

Super exciting day today, Davide and I rode up to a KTM demo ride to meet Neda and Gene of RideDOT! They've been traveling by motorcycle around the world for three years, and blogging it.

We also met up with fellow ADVer, Brent. Between all of us, we couldn't run out of things to talk about and were hanging out at Tim Horton's for hours! I kept drinking coffee and water but my tongue was going dry.

Also, the trip nearly came to an end in the parking lot of Tim Hortons when a lady pulled out without looking. Ha. I promised Gene I'd at least get across the border before having my bike totaled.

It's difficult to sum up the impressions of that afternoon (I mean, besides awesome). It's hard not to feel creepy, like you know someone already based on their blog, but still have so many questions and not know what to expect when meeting in person (you exist outside of the internet...woa). In many ways, we found things in common; even on the road a person needs hobbies, and Neda picked up needlepoint because it keeps her hands busy and also packs small. My hobby is knitting, for the same reasons. Also, in many ways, I admire Gene and Neda (because they're so cool!). They have a unique perspective on the world, and someday, I would like to travel farther by motorbike too. I'm just not sure I want to go it solo...Gene mentioned I always seem to be surrounded by people – I guess I just don't show the quieter moments as much, but also I wonder if traveling solo makes you more open to being absorbed into social circles? If I had a partner, would we be a more self-contained unit?

It's hard enough to find people who can take their life on the road, I feel lucky to have Davide and Chris and anyone else I had the pleasure of sharing the road with for a few days. Also, for all the people I've met who have shared a bit of their lives or their homes with me.

Anyway, I loved meeting them and getting the inside scoop, and look forward to following them on their continued travels. What an amazing afternoon!

Back in town, Wally suggested Guu Izakaya for dinner with Ed, who showed up on his sweet old K series BMW. The meal was fantastic but it was the environment that struck me – in that windowless building, with all the chaos and shouting, we could very well have been in Japan.

Oh, and the Duke 390 is pretty fun. It's powerful for its weight. I can stand flat footed, which is nice. The vibration might be too much for extended riding though, and you know I always think of that when trying out a bike.

Monday, June 15, 2015

6/15 - Wally-Style Welcome to Toronto

298 miles.

Davide and I poked around the Heidelberg Project a bit before heading east. Wally had reached out to me a while back from the blog, and we were aiming for his home. Progress was slow, getting turned around at the tunnel and then stuck in traffic on the Ambassador Bridge. Davide was overheating in all his gear, and we needed to wait it out at the nearby McD's before getting back on the bikes. We ended up getting a small dinner in Hamilton as dusk settled around us, we were quite behind.

When we finally rolled into Wally's, we were tired, sweaty, still vibrating from the road, but so glad to arrive. He sat us down in his cozy home, heated up some homemade fried rice (lap cheong!) and had a Radler to share. We watched the some Canadian religious program on TV (Stanley Cup) and talked about the Cross Egypt Challenge. What a welcome, I feel so lucky and couldn't be happier to be here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

6/14 - Cruise Assist

266 miles.

Back on the road with Davide! The roads to Detroit are long, straight, and empty, so we got to play and I got to test out my new throttle lock.

We found an unfurnished room on Airbnb for $20/night, and I introduced Davide to indoor camping.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

6/13 - Scooters on Break

Today, I scooted in the pride parade and then on the Indy Speedway track! We were limited to 35mph though...

I met Addison last year when he worked at Indy Hostel, so it was cool to run into him again. After the Amerivespa banquet (they didn't even argue furthest ridden...I was hoping to meet some other long distance riders), we hit up the Thirsty Scholar, where his friend was playing piano. Myke and Brittany even joined. Hotel parties were raging, but all this socializing had me pooped and I enjoyed the quiet venue and early night.

Friday, June 12, 2015

6/12 - Cat Nap

Us crazy rally goers... are taking it easy today. Indy Hostel has some great huge bean bags in the common room.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

6/11 - Backup Fuel on the Long Ride

144 miles.

I enjoy the long rides at rallies, and this year about 300 scooterists went to Shelbyville. I'm not sure why I still enjoy this after pretty much 300 miles of the same scenery the day before...it must be the people. That being said, fuel stops are pretty epic for that many scooters.

At the raffle, tablemate and fellow ADVer, Matt, won a gift certificate for the Cross Egypt Challenge. He couldn't go, so he bestowed the voucher on me! I don't know if I can make it this year, but thank you, Matt!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

6/10 - Illinoiana

344 miles.

It's sad to leave my sister, but I'm excited for Amerivespa! I rode the entire stretch from Madison to Indianapolis in one go. I gave Davide a huge hug at the hostel, and Cassi arrived from Memphis shortly after – let's get scooter rally season started!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6/9 - Slimey Cruds

I ended up staying a day longer than I planned, which meant I could crash the Slimey Cruds Tuesday meet at the Blue Moon. Great evening, hanging out with these people! Jeff thought it'd be funny to switch bikes...

Monday, June 8, 2015

6/8 - Indoor Day

Sorry, Ben, my sister and I decimated the box from Greenbush Bakery.

In spite of the allergen count, Madison is beautiful this time of year. Today, everything was already handed in and the blog is pretty much up to date. My biggest accomplishment was putting all those stickers I collected over the course of the year on my scooter. No longer will it enjoy the relative anonymity of being a mostly blank bike, my scoot looks traveled now (instead of just kind of beat up).

Truly a rest day. Glorious.

Las Vegas High Rollers Rally. Feb 25 - Mar 4, 2015.


Anyone expecting thoughtful travel insight in this post will be sorely disappointed. It's rally time!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

6/7 - Throwback...Sunday

I followed Ben and Moni on shopping errands (Menard's, Target, and Pre Played: a used videogame store), and got some drawing done while thunderstorms passed outside. I couldn't help but wonder when, or if, an errand Sunday would be in my life again? Days of the week already lose meaning to a freelancers, and take on even less significance on the road. Shopping for supplies is limited to only things I can carry onboard, and without the structure of the standard 9-5 forcing you to lump your errands together on the weekends, I just pick up supplies as I go.

My sister and I took a trip down memory lane at Pre Played. It reminded me of the musings below, cut for extreme nerdry.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

6/6 - Feelin' Lazy

Around 2pm, all three of us were struck with an acute case of The Laze. Had you walked into the apartment, you might wonder if there was a gas leak. Thankfully, there was some leftover Fire Basil Beef from last night, and the spice roused me enough to commit to a walk around the UW Arboretum with Ben and Moni. The weather was too good not to be in it. Ben stalked some wild turkeys, and we were eaten by mosquitos. Feeling accomplished by our outdoors endeavors, we changed scenery to the Sett at Union South to share some pitchers of beer, and watch the sun set over a drunken wedding party.

Too lazy...I don't want to leave...

Friday, June 5, 2015

6/5 - Fiery Taste

I have what would be considered (in some places) a high tolerance spicy foods, but Sujeo's Phat Thai Basil definitely tested my limit for heat. But it was so tasty, and so many banchan, so delicious...

It's great sharing meals with Ben and Moni, and Madison has a diverse selection of food establishments. Asian fusion with fancy cocktails tonight? Sure!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

6/4 - Dining Table Studio

Thank you to my sister for her patience with me taking over the dining table... for days.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

6/3 - Movie Night

Mad Max: Fury Road is a fantastic movie! The last time I saw a movie was also with my sister too, but in California.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

6/2 - Canoe City

Tagging along with my sister's friends...again! It was a provolone moon for the Full Moon Paddle. Bats flitted across the surface of the water, doing their gluttonous best, but the bugs were still out in force.

I had a haircut with Jin this morning, and spent the evening with my sister's sewing kit, repairing the various holes worn into my clothes. Especially that right jacket pocket. Been losing change and keys in that for over a month.

Bonus, I ran into the Slimy Crud Motorcycle Gang at the Blue Moon!

Monday, June 1, 2015

6/1 - At Rest

Being back in Madison feels oddly like coming home. I suppose it's a combination of my sister being here, and already being familiar with the city. It's lovely to see the life my sister and Ben have built together.