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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Rocks, Heights, Lonely Highways, and Armani. LA to San Francisco, CA. November 2-5, 2015.


It was time to return Endy2 to his keeper in the city of fog. I rarely like to double back, but fortunately, for those with time it seems there are endless ways to slice the LA-SF run.

Notice how the first leg of this is quite short compared to the haul to San Francisco. I guess I discovered that November is not the ideal time to be riding in the mountains, but more on that later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Lazy Egging, San Francisco to LA. October 13 - November 1, 2015.


Another elaborate logistical dance of airplanes, friends, work, and borrowing Pete's bike was about to go down – you know, the regular drill now. By the end of it, I believe I'd be responsible for about 3/4 of the mileage on Endy2. I count myself extraordinarily fortunate to be able to get to know the Pacific Coast Highway so well. All in the name of working for a lazy egg... Or just a great excuse to visit friends in California!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Adventures in Philly, Wedding Crashing in Richmond. October 5-12, 2015.


I've sliced Connecticut east-west so many times, I already had a clear favorite route in mind: pass by the Scituate Reservoir, route 14 into CT, smaller roads (Machine Shop Hill Rd) aiming for CT-16. Once west of Hartford staying quite far south, I could decide how to proceed. It's my favorite for peaceful wooded roads, but also because friends live right at the intersection in Windham!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New England Again, the Adventure Continues. July 28 - October 4, 2015.

A lot of squiggles on this map.

I was afraid that upon returning to Providence, I would find myself hugely changed against a static landscape. In truth, time does move differently on the road. The events of a few days easily expands to fill the space of what might otherwise be a month of fixed-location human experience. I'd been holding off travel fatigue for what felt like months, but I couldn't tell months apart anymore (I didn't experience seasons, only changing climates). I needed to let time stretch to fill itself, and was grateful Tim had room for me in his life in again.

Rest, finish some paying work, get some regular exercise, hang out with friends, and figure out what's next. Conceptually, it sounded like a good plan.

But New England still had some surprises for me.

For the cliff notes version of this time period, I made a totally adequate and more concise post in October 2015 about my return to New England. For more photos and backstory, read on.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ski's Shrimp Run, and What's Next. July 24 - 27, 2015.


The morning came too soon. I wished I could stay longer to celebrate, but life for this full-time scooterist is rarely easy. However, it's rarely dull, and often it's beautiful and fun. It was a new day, and I had many miles to cover for an appointment with a new rear tire in Brunswick, and a scooter rally in Topsham!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Descent on Lubec. July 21 - 23, 2015.


New England is a creaky floorboards kind of place, home to history, turned wood furniture, quilts, and closets that make me wonder if monsters dwell within. There's something a little magical here, but it's a salty, old-world kind of magic. It's where a younger version of me first found romance, which I followed to break free from the inertia of New York City. It's where I first experienced anything close to a 'real' winter (and then proceeded to endure 7 iterations of it). It's where I learned to ride, and attended my first rally. It's coastline and woods and winter. Now that I was full of the tastes of the rest of the country, I'd come back, maybe in part to see if that magic still held.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Scooters, Spiedies, and Blogging from the Adirondacks. July 19 - 21, 2015.


One of the silliest hobbies for a live-onboard scooterist must be rock collecting. However, I quickly regretted leaving my massage rock on Tim's dresser, as the pain in my shoulders showed no signs of responding to anything but the firm hand of Vitamin I. Oh well, I have scooterists to meet!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dumptrucks and Tractor Pulls, still a Long Wade to Go. July 16 - 18, 2015.


The red eye flight back east was predictably punishing, exacerbating the soreness between my shoulder blades that rafting failed to banish, but there were two things I was very much looking forward in Pittsburgh: Jack was back, and I'd soon be reunited with my own bike!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sanrio Surprise! Return to California. June 24 - July 15, 2015.

Sanrio Surprise! Return to California. June 24 - July 15, 2015.

What a contrast, arriving at San Francisco airport to be picked up by bike again, but this time on Pete's new 300 Super. I hadn't seen him since the two weeks following the collision and was skeptical of his condition for operating a bike, but you can't keep a good man down.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Plan: Spring 2016 Edition of Where The Hell Is Steph Now?


Last I left you, I was undecided whether to go back east or head west after an epic two-scooterist ride to the Vegas High Rollers Rally. You may guess which way I ended up from the video, but let's recap anyhow!

February 29 - March 6: Las Vegas, NV → San Francisco, CA
Feb 29-March 3: San Diego, CA. Hanging out with Steve, and meeting the Vespa Motorsport guys.

Steve snapped this photo of my bike by the Pacific...again!

Keep an eye out for a podcast on Vespa Motorsport's Youtube channel...

March 4: Northridge, CA. Meeting epic scooterist Karen and her mom.

The guys in San Diego guys put me in touch with this cool gal, Karen, who has nearly 70k on her GTS250!
This was taken at her mom's place, just outside of LA.

March 5: Cambria, CA. Bridge Street Inn, great hostel and inn in a cute town.
March 6: San Francisco, CA!

Currently until March 24, 2016: San Francisco, CA

Pete and Marco for a Petaluma loop. Green hills after weeklong rain.

So I've continued west and north, and have been hanging out in San Francisco with the usual cast.

Moose (distinctive yellow GTV not pictured) and I explore Bernal Heights hilltop in San Francisco.

Pre-Delivery Inspection ninja.

In an unexpected twist I picked up a temporary gig, PDI-ing bikes for Vespa SF as they move to Scuderia. This is immensely good timing, as Pete is occupied at the new location and still in a cast, and I’m quite happy assembling bikes at the old location while catching up on podcasts (good to meet you again, Night Vale!). Sometime between putting bikes together and seeing all you awesome SF peeps, the plan is to catch up on blog entries.

But the bigger twist is yet to come...

Added some lines to my map.

March 25 - May 3: Atlanta, GA
In a huge and daring development, I found a place to store my scooter in SF, so it’s going to sleep there until the northwest gets warmer (sorry to cancel on you for now, Portland and Seattle). You read that right, Serenity is going dormant. It's a tough decision and I question what it will be like to be without my bestie bike for an undetermined amount of time, but the geographic positioning is about right for future travels, whether it's Utah or Alaska...

I’ll be airplaning it to Atlanta to buy Michael’s PX150/200. Some assembly is required, so it's a good thing Fred (remember him?) is flying down to help! Fingers crossed that comes together smoothly, just in time for what should be a beautiful time of year in Atlanta to go on some rides with the Terminal Scooter Club. I’ll be back at the Siaks home, and have some time to blog and work on the children’s book I’m supposed to be working on (oh right, can’t forget that). But really, let’s just admit: I want to build a bike with a boy, not freeze on rides, and go back to Alliance for all the jiujitsu! Woohoo, save me some arm bars?!

I may find resources for a roundtrip to PAX East (also, to see aforementioned boy). Mostly, I'm gearing up for chokes and pinch bruises in the Big Peach, and equipping my new old ride for touring.

Yes, after years of watching my bike numbers dwindle, Serenity will be getting a sibling. I'm looking forward to learning a different bike (I trust Michael's long-haul riding spirit already lives within this one), and have a way to get around on the east coast.

No home, but one bike for each coast. What luxury!

Speaking of the east coast... The plan is below.

May 4 - May 22: Atlanta, GA → Richmond, VA
May 4-6: Scooter camping along the Blue Ridge Parkway! Slow is the new fast.
May 7-8: Richmond, VA. Hey 7 Hills Scooter Club!
May 9-16: Roundtrip flight to Madison, WI. My sister’s gonna have a PhD, this is cause for celebration!!
May 17-18: Richmond, VA. Rest and recover. Ha.
May 19-22: Stanardsville, VA for CORSette and Dogwood Classic 13. Fred has promised a smallframe and a trailer.

May 23 - ??: Richmond, VA → Boston, MA/Providence, RI/New England thereabouts.
I have a storage unit to sort out, and a Fred to spend time with. Additionally, research indicates June is the best time to motorbike to Alaska, and my sleeping bike is waiting. I know I'll find plenty of new places to ride.

That's as far as I have for now! If you're wondering where I am most currently, my Instagram (@quezzie) is probably the most updated.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pittsburgh: Pause for Recovery. June 21 - 24, 2015.


A whopping 78 miles covered today, all of them painful. At least I kind of knew what to expect this year, and I had this guy to ride with for a while.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mud and Maple Syrup: The Road to Bandcamp II. June 15 - 21, 2015.


Prepare yourself for mud you only discover months later in places you didn't think were ever exposed, and shenanigans on small motorized vehicles. We're going Toronto, ON to Toronto, OH, with a crazy Milano and a Buffalo kid, and the answer is yes you drank that many muddy tiki drinks.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Plan: Atlanta to Vegas, for TWO Scooterists?!

It's been a grand time wintering in Atlanta. I can't say thanks enough to my host family, the Siaks. I've known them since I was little – they are my Atlanta roots, and it's an unbelievable luxury to come back from Alliance Jiu-Jitsu to still-warm home-cooked meals. Also, yep I took the opportunity of staying still to do the thing I missed most being on the road: martial arts, 4-5 times a week. Thanks, Alliance, for improving my game and helping me stay sane through work. Catching the diehard Terminals that come out in winter on Wednesday nights was also super fun, and dropping by Vespa Marietta and Scooter Mercato. I'm going to miss my HQ in Atlanta! I feel well-rested and ready to hit the road again.

In February, I'm headed west on another long haul. This time, the adventure is two-fold: my sights are set on Vegas for another round of the High Rollers Scooter Rally, and I'll have company for the trip!

Details below. Instagram is probably the best way to follow what I'm most recently up to (username: quezzie), and as always, say hi if you're along the way.

Stage 1 (solo): Atlanta, GA → Austin, TX
Feb 4: Farewell, Atlanta, the Terminal Scooterists, Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, and the Siaks! Off to Pensacola, FL, to meet Jami (jamisea on MV).
Feb 5-6: New Orleans, LA, with Jeremy and Caitlin.
Feb 7-9: Houston, TX, with Uncle and Auntie 3. Happy Chinese New Year with family!
Feb 10-12: Austin, TX, with Fred.
~1,168 miles.

In Austin, I'll meet up with Fred, the guy I got involved with in Boston (oh right, I'll catch up the blog someday). We've been cooking up a plan to ride to Vegas, him on his 1965 Vespa GL with a PX200 engine, me on my bike as expected. Assuming all goes to plan, his GL will arrive in Austin by trailer by Feb 9, and we'll have a couple days to poke around this super fun city. Serenity can get a once-over at AF1 Racing. Then, we'll load up on breakfast tacos and we've got 11 days to cover about 2,000 miles to Vegas, on all secondary roads!

Stage 2 (with a Fred!): Austin, TX → Las Vegas, NV
Feb 13: Junction, TX. Maybe as far as Del Rio, TX depending on how much we're slowed by BBQ. Actually ended up being Kerrville, TX, in a motel.
Feb 14: Seminole Canyon State Park, camping.
Feb 15-16: Home of Voni and Paul Glaves!
Feb 17: Bonus night in Marfa, TX, Tumble In RV Park.
Feb 18: El Paso, TX, fancy hotel. Thanks, Fred.
Feb 19: Las Cruces, NM, motel, and a visit to White Sands National Monument.
Feb 20: Rodeo, NM, Rusty's RV Ranch, just outside Portal, AZ.
Feb 21-22: Tucson, AZ, Roadrunner Hostel.
Feb 23: Salome, AZ, motel.
Feb 24: Rally! Downtown Grand in Las Vegas, NV.
~1,926 miles.

Gearing up a 1965 GL with PX200 engine, currently in Boston, MA.
Snowball passenger not included.

It's a new kind of adventure for both of us. For me, this is next level riding partner territory (I'm excited to have him for two weeks!); for Fred, it's multi-day touring on a 50 year old bike. Plus, I definitely want to scoot by some terrain I missed last time, and see friends along the way. We plotted the route together, slowing the pace to just around 200 miles per day – for once, my bike may not be the runt of the litter (heh heh), and I want to make sure there's room to figure things out and hopefully not break anything. We've scouted out the local U-Hauls just in case, but come hell or high water (which maybe I shouldn't say in light of my last pass through Houston) we're going to Vegas!

After the rally shenanigans, there will be an empty crate that held the raffle bike which will take Fred's scooter back to Boston. From there, I will decide: Do I continue west, or turn back east? But I don't need to decide yet...

See you at the Rally!

Raffle bike. Hope the crate works out.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Indy 35mph and Amerivespa. June 10 - 14, 2015.


It's scooter party time! Skip this post if you're sick of seeing photos of a bazillion scooters, or Davide's face. Yep, it's round two of rally-to-rally riding with the crazy Italian on a Beemer. Besides seeing people, the big draw for me this year at Amerivespa was that we'd be allowed on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?! Rally on...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Return to Mad-Town! May 31 - June 9, 2015.


Sometimes it surprises people to learn that in all my trekking across the U.S. I hadn't ridden more than 400 miles in a day – I just don't really want to if I don't have to. I know other GTS riders who have, and a few riders have even suggested the Iron Butt challenges. I do count mileage, but I do it in the same way I track all sorts of things, like places I've slept and food I've eaten.

That being said, it was only a matter of time until I tipped the 400 mile mark. From Saint Louis, MO to Madison, WI, I just didn't feel like stopping for an overnight.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Arch Friends and My Favorite Museum Ever in St Louis. May 25 - 30, 2015.


I was too tired and missed visiting Saint Louis the first time around when I was headed west. This time I reached out to Myke, and he had a place for me to stay a whole week!