Crunch Time

I have been sorting through a bunch of last minute details-some sneaky ones popped up. One of my sub-leasers backed out after seeing the Doberman next door, who is harmless, old and couldn’t outrun a fast turtle. So, the Craigslist post has gone back up and the house is open once again for interviews. Really, most everything I am doing is a “last-minute” detail since I only decided to do this May 23, and at the point I had absolutely no plan-other than to quit my job and make a peace sign on the U.S. map.

It’s nice to celebrate the steady progress. Yesterday the postcards came in, right on schedule and they look magnificent!
1,000 definitions

Some of you hardcore scooterists might recognize PJ Chmiel’s bad-ass stylistics. Thats because he stepped in to help with my time sensitive project. Thanks for the late night design endeavors PJ! This week everything else arrives, the topcase, REVPACK saddle packs, and stickers. By tomorrow, Friday I should be able to put up some gear pictures and detail my strategy for 2 months+ of scooter living. The bike won’t be as personally customized as I like, but I look forward to breaking her in and putting some sass on her.

the right side

She (Audre, I think) is pretty rigged out with back/front racks, bug-in-teeth protection (windshield) and a sweet cowl protector with foot pegs. She’s pimped with some chrome, people and we’ve been getting some long looks! It’s really a landmark moment-my first brand new motorized vehicle-only 12 miles when I got her! My last scooter, Margot the Metropolitan, had 323 miles on her, and was two years old at that point. Before that was the Chevy Nova (wrecked), Ford Ranger, Freakjuice-the 84 Ford Econoline Conversion Van, and my *sigh* Jetta. A side note-I loved that Jetta, but I decided to become a bicyclist, sell the car and survive without out. I am really happy with my decision to upgrade from bicycling, I have a fullblown love affair with scooters. After selling Margot, it took about 2 weeks for the Buddy125 to arrive-in which time I became reacquainted with my quads-biking in a mountain town makes you appreciate scooters even more. The ride home from Scoot Richmond was pure bliss-the bike rocks, the view is great and there were some interesting things to look at. Route 250 stretches the full distance from RVA to C-ville and this time I didn’t have to pull over to let farm trucker speed demons pass me. Halfway out of RVA I stopped to see my Moms before the big trip and we had the long “safety” talk. Safety is important, for sure, and I keep hearing a bunch of “horror stories” that I would rather not hear. Mostly, they involve carelessness-drinking, no helmet, inexperienced riding. I plan on posting some “Scooter Rulez,” when I get some time, I think it’s a good idea with all the scoots out on the roads. I’ve learned to ride defensively from my nine years of cycling and tried to reassure the Moms. Anyhow, she wouldn’t get on the bike, so I said my goodbyes and kept onward. The trip was just perfect for the first cruise, not too fast-not too slow. I didn’t want to totally open up the throttle for the whole ride, not without my full face helmet (dang bugs) and since she’s new. But, oh yes, I opened it for a bit, to see what I am working with. On a completely flat road I was at 72 (generous speedometer probably)-and the jump from 45 to 72 was remarkably smooth. I know this bike was the perfect choice for all the terrain I will cover. She didn’t loose any speed as I approached the Blue Ridge Mountains that envelop C-ville. Weighing in at only a buck+15, I won’t have to worry about any speed loss once I get her packed up. Although I can’t wait to see how she handles those West Coast climbers!

Gas Tank Aside from the speed and roomy seat I have been most surprised by the suspension. I’d gotten really used to teeth jarring, head bobbing, nerve racking moments on my Metro. But, I’m thinking that on the Buddy, bridges, bumps and dirt roads wont’ impede my journey.

Well, I have to head out to take care of all these loose strings: packing up the house, camcorder problems and hard drive, journal and sock buying. I will be in D.C. to kick off the PEACE Tour on Sunday July 15 and July 16. I am trying to meet the CODE PINK ladies, who have contacted me back, to participate in some of their daily activism and I would like to make a big human Peace sign in front of the White House. Peace-Alix

2 Replies to “Crunch Time”

  1. Hey Alix, here’s a few suggestions based on spending several long summers touring around the US on motorcycles:

    * Ride slowly, take back roads, and stop whenever you like.

    This will make the trip much more fun than if you are always pushing to make a schedule. Wave to people sitting on their porches. If you don’t see any porches, you maybe wandered onto an Interstate by accident.

    * Let your scooter break in gently. Follow the breakin instructions in the manual.

    Buddy will last twice or three times as long if you don’t push her to the limits while she’s still a baby. This includes keeping your speed down and limiting the weight you carry (sigh!) for the first 500 or 1000 miles. Underpack — you’ll find things to add as you travel. Be free to give away things you packed and don’t use.

    * Do the maintenance. “Be kind to your ass, for it bears you.”

    Riding it every day will really put the miles on it. Change the oil at the right times. I did a few minutes of daily maintenance on my tours — checking the oil, checking that all the visible bolts were properly tight and not vibrating off. Bring simple tools. Bring a national directory of shops who can check or repair it in case you have trouble. Expect to spend time and money keeping Buddy running well. Bringing the service manual wouldn’t hurt — it’s online here:

    * In rural areas, it’s easy to pull off the road and camp among the trees. Get far enough off the road so nobody will see you. (When you’re visible, you tend to attract cops’ attention.) Leave no trace that you were there, and you won’t need to apologize to the farmer who owns the land.


  2. Alix – I’m bookmarking your site and plan to add it to my daily read. I’m with you one zillion percent about safety! I’m also a cyclist, although I didn’t give it up by choice. Anyway, I’m also getting ready for a long ride and am constanty re-writing my packing list. Are you going to carry your laptop under your seat? I’m wondering if it may get too hot in there, esp if you are doing 100+ miles in a day. I’m looking forward to your post on gear. I keep debating whether saddlebags are good for me since I have such a hard time reaching my centerstand with them full. PEACE! Crystal/girlbike

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