My personal history of being Impractical

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by bvardi, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    That is what I do, but mostly just to charge the phone. My GPS and camera both use AA batteries. I carry a few spares, and buy more along the way. Never tried to ride with a laptop. Travelling by motorcycle/scooter has always been kind of a primitive experience for me, that's where most of the fun is. Even the phone (regular cell phone, not a smartphone) and a basic GPS (not the kind with maps) already kind of takes away from that.
    #41
  2. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    I'm a fortunately man in my choice of spouse... my wife has agreed to do the trip on the Vespa's. (She may be less fortunate in HER choice of spouse... at least after the trip has taken place.)

    Underpowered machines.... slow.... less comfortable to ride... 30 years old with my own indifferent ham-handed maintenance on top of a not completely documented history of each bike.

    I can't think of a single thing that could go wrong.

    (Don't ask me if I can think of MULTIPLE things that can go wrong... I might have to answer where my wife can hear and realize what she is in for.)

    Hmm... time to pour over some maps and figure out the route over the winter months. US route first, or US route on the way back... hmm.

    Come next summer, we're going east! (Land values may never be the same again.)
    #42
  3. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    So I've been playing with google maps (because the one time it nearly killed me by sending me up a mountain pass road that was closed didn't quite convince me that I should stop using it.) and I came up with the following route...

    https://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=t...HEY046MwrBDQ&oq=monc&dirflg=ht&mra=ls&t=m&z=5

    1469 kilometres.... about 21 hours driving. So 3 days if we were to push it (but I think 4-5 are more realistic) Avoids most busy highways from the looks of it (though I need to dig into the details a bit more)

    Not too shabby. I think our elderly scoots could handle that.

    My wife has also expressed interest in going to St. Pierre et Miquelon... the France-owned island just off of newfoundland. So that would add a ferry to newfoundland, then a ferry to St. Pierre et Miquelon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Pierre_and_Miquelon

    Unfortunately the ferry into there doesn't carry vehicles.... there goes the possibility of driving overseas on this trip!

    Overall think this is a good starting plan for the route.... though the route is, as always for us on this kind of trip, more of a general plan than a strict rule. Gotta leave time to explore... and adjust things based on what you want to see.

    Time to start looking up things along the route, and see what might be interesting to visit along the way.
    #43
  4. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Actually another ferry to St Pierre does carry vehicles. Once a week on Wednesdays I believe. The issue being that once you are there with your machine it is there for a week. Great little piece of France.
    We had a fella last year ride his 50cc Honda from Toronto to here and back in June/July. Road loaded and camping along the way. Like a lot of visitors he did not get just how big the island is.
    If you have any questions of The Rock....feel free to fire away.

    PS...I also have the impractical gene. I rode my scooter 1350km from purchase to home after riding a 30 year old SP500 the same distance to go get it.
    #44
  5. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Thanks for the info!

    Gotta love the impractical gene - it's what keeps life interesting, and madmen going across large distances in frankly ill-advised trips. Without which, we wouldn't have this site at all really.

    With our vacation schedule staying with the vehicles for a week isn't an option really, so the passenger ferry would be the way to go. Will have to find out how secure their "secure parking" is at the ferry place.
    #45
  6. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Very secure. It is small town Newfoundland. Crime rate is pretty much nil.
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  7. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    So we are thinking now the ferry to Newfoundland then to St. Pierre is going to be just too much expense (And riding the long way around might not be practical with our time allotted for the trip.) So that might have to wait for a future trip instead.

    Which means we might do more riding around NB and NS - instead of being more directly through them.

    Might have to look at side trips along the rest of the route as well.... see if there is anything in Maine we should hit while we are on our way. (I always like to look at a bunch of options... and then kind of decide which to hit on the fly. If you enjoy something, you might want to spend extra time... and this might mean skipping something else)

    Time to hit some tourism and riding info sites I think
    #47
  8. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Planning continues on the trip.

    Currently I am pondering how well I can do the Cabot trail on a scooter/sidecar rig and just how punishing the twisties will be for that distance with a machine you need to steer, instead of leaning.

    I'll have to do some practice twisties on the sidecar rig to figure that out.... it wouldn't be an issue on the Ural (I've taken one on a french rally course before and while it was definitely more tiring, it was manageable through twists and turns for me) but the Vespa sidecar is a different beast. Especially since lifting the quite light sidecar is rather easy on right hander turns.

    On a side note, this last weekend was the local motorcycle show. My brother took the Vespa/sidecar combo in to filll a space in the "Mods and Rockers" booth - and it ended up winning 3rd in the "Vintage Sidecar" Category.

    [​IMG]

    So it's an award winning "vintage sidecar" rig I'll be taking on the trip. (And I didn't even have to bribe the judge... which is good because they've caught onto me slipping them them pieces of paper saying "I O U one bribe")
    #48
  9. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    When we rode the Cabot Trail there was a chap on a Ural rig taking photos. We passed one another off and on during the day and he seemed to have no problems. If my memory hasn't failed me, most of the turns on that route were fairly gentle sweepers for the most part with a few tight curves. One spot out on the East end on the way back to Baddeck did surprise me with a sudden 90 degree left. That and riding out to Meat Cove on loose gravel were the only "pucker" moments I recall.
    With your side car experience, I can't imagine you carrying that much speed on the Vespa to be a problem.
    Have fun!
    #49
  10. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Thanks! Good to have feedback from people who have been there. If I get lucky maybe I'll even find someone who has done it on a Vespa 2 smoke and sidecar.... though I'm not holding my breath. :)

    So the current route plan looks something like this...


    6


    [​IMG]

    And then followed by some cabot trail fun ...

    [​IMG]


    We should probably see if we can stay the Meat Cove Campground... seen many a picture of there on this site (and others) and it does look to be a pretty place to stopoff at. Have to see if they need reservations mind you.... part of this trip will be keeping timelines flexible as much as possible. We'll have a "Hope to do this by time time" plan but if that fails, or something comes up that makes up want to spend extra time someplace... that plan can be modified.

    Now doing some research on things to see from Cornwall into Maine into New Brunswick and then Nova Scotia..... up to Cornwall we'll be likely making some distance as that is pretty familiar territory. After that we get into an area I haven't been into since I was a kid.

    I have checked the map however, and found no references to "Here there be dragons" so I'm pretty sure we won't drop off the edge of the explored universe... but at least it'll be new sights for our eyes.

    Will have to look up local farmers market info along the way too. We did a small amount of that on our sidecar trip in France, and it's a nice way to get some local flavor if some interesting ones will be along the way. But given the flexible schedule we might just have to make a chart of what is happening when, and then refer to it along the way.

    *looks out the window* damn lazy spring.... arrive already! (Ok I know its a ways away... but it should hurry up darnit!)
    #50
  11. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    You will pass within 60 miles of my house.
    #51
  12. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Planning continues...

    Charted out a bunch of potential hotels. Mostly to avoid staying at the Bates motel lookalike places, while also finding out where the inexpensive places are.

    And finding the gaps where motels are scarce.... no fun to be knackered and realize that the next place to stay is a couple of hours away.

    Also we've heard the final 12km to Meat Cove is gravel...so my wife has informed me I will be riding the two wheeled Vespa and she'll be on the sidecar for that stretch. (Gotta love a sidecar when you hit gravel or sand)

    Date is looking like mid august - we set a date for the sidecar club rally we are helping to plan for the end of July.

    I'm hoping we don't have too lengthy a winter... still have to do a bit of work on the sidecar Vespa (replace front fork, shocks) and replace the exhaust on the non sidecar scoot - all of which is hard to do when your backyard is rather deeply filled with snow and you lack a garage.

    Think I'll go shake my first in an angry old man fashion at the snow outside. Maybe that'll scare winter away.
    #52
  13. MichRocks

    MichRocks Sunset Rider

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    Scootorboi-

    Just realized where you are. Before re-locating to Michigan, I lived in Maine. I don't know where you are exactly, but wanted to know if you had ever visited the Moosehead Lake region in Maine...specifically Screw Auger Falls. At the time I saw it, my bike was down, but realized what a great ride potential it had. If you ever get a chance to tour that region I would highly recommend it. It is stunningly beautiful, and will again be one of my top tour destinations once I retire. I wish I were that close again.

    Just a thought.
    #53
  14. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Well this spring has been a bit nuts (and a touch cold) but I've gotten the Vespa and sidecar out and around. (My other sidecar rig is in the shop, so it has been my drive to work for the last little bit.)

    Had some initial issues with momentary loss of power - last remnants of old gas I think (bike was sitting for a long time before I bought it and the gas wasn't exactly fresh.) I've been dosing it with seafoam, and now it runs like a champ.

    I have identified a few areas that will be refreshed shortly... clutch, front brake, and speedo cable are cracking (and front brake cable is binding a bit) so they get replaced. (inner and outer.)

    Front fork is being replaced with a good used one (pretty sure the fork is slightly bent.... not a big deal as a sidecar rig, but I'll still swap it out.)

    New brake pads (going to be a long trip this summer... and even though the brake pads last a good long time on these.... would rather have new just to be on the safe side.)

    Also have to finish the last bits of electrical work on the sidecar finally (mostly done that.... ran the wire from the bike to the sidecar, wired up the front light... just turn signals and brake light to be bolted on and connected.)

    I'll take some pics during the whole front fork/cable replacement process - after that the bike is being taken up to the cottage for a weekend runabout until we do the east coast trip in august.

    (Reminds me.... have to go over the OTHER vespa now to see if it needs anything. Am thinking just a Sito+ exhaust and some rejetting for that to give it a touch more oomph without any major work.)

    Have to look at setting up a blog for the trip I think. Gives the family a way to keep track of what we are up to while while we are gone.
    #54
  15. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    This week had a hub decided to lose all the splines.... which made things a trifle... stopped.

    Old hub combined with slightly worn axle combined with bigger CC's and sidecar - apparently not the best thing for reliability. But thanks to Biagio scooters here in Toronto was up and running again in a day.

    The rear hub was replaced and the axle cleaned up a bit (it should last a month, getting it replaced in July before the big trip... but for the moment I need the scooter rig until my Ural is also fixed... has not been a good spring for keeping things running :)

    Tomorrow will be making a run up to Barrie (with some other people) to attend the Barrie CVMG swapmeet... will be a good chance to get both vespas out for a good long 80kph run and see how things go.

    At least the other vespa seems to be running rock solid.... don't think I have to do a thing on it. (of course now that I have said it I think I just heard it spontaneously combust in the backyard... damn you murphy!)
    #55
  16. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Life has been somewhat chaotic and busy lately.

    First of all... the sidecar Vespa I was planning on taking on the trip just died a few weeks back... and then I realized it was seized solid.

    This doesn't of course bode well for the idea of taking this machine all the way out east and then back.... around 4-5 thousand kilometers. I mean, if it can't be relied upon driving around the city, going out east would be sheer stupidity. Lunacy. Madness.

    So of course that's what I am going to do. I do well at stupid and lunatic behavior.

    I was thinking engine rebuild... but then came across a p200 project with a good engine.

    Pros: Would be a stock engine with the power for the sidecar, and in theory more reliable because of this. (Anytime you kit, it can be a bit dicey since you are pushing the boundaries.... and I'm already pushing it by adding a sidecar which is a fair bit of weight and stress) Also the p200 entire scooter was just over $1000, and I can sell the p200 body and old engine as a project with a bunch of other bits for a small amount of cash.

    Cons - more initial outlay of cash than a rebuild, but should be about even once I sell the project bike. (Assuming I find someone who wants a cheap frame and title plus busted engine plus bits. Be a bargain if they want to work on it themselves. Less so if they hire someone.)

    So I decided to pull the trigger... bike should be ready now actually (had the mechanic do the engine swap, he also tested the engine before I bought the bike to make sure it was in good shape.) I'm up north at the cottage so my wife will be picking it up tomorrow.

    Am a bit behind on a couple moto related things since I got called by work to do some network training.... at our Israel office. (And of course... things got a bit... explosiony... there just as I arrived.

    Plus side of trip originally... rented a scooter and got to see Tel Aviv and surrounding area on two wheels. Down side? Occasionally having to dash for cover when the missile alert sirens went off.

    Here's the beast I rented... a Sym 125cc scooter with 54,000km on it.

    [​IMG]

    Weird experience seeing missiles exploding in air.

    I'm now back from that, but up north for a week with my daughter.... then have to get ready for a sidecar rally I'm helping to run towards the end of July.

    Which won't leave as much time as I would have liked to fully test the bikes.... (though the other Vespa is a Mad Bastard Scooter Rally veteran and is rock solid... so I have no doubts of that one.) Hopefully this won't mean any surprises along the way, but at least I'll have enough cables/bulbs/inner tubes to fix anything short of an engine blowup.

    Which, in theory, should be unlikely with the p200. It's probably one of the most reliable shifty vespa engines... heck 4 of them entered the Paris-Dakar rally in the early 80's and 2 made it to the finish line. Which might not sound impressive, but with the professional rally teams only 40 percent finished.

    All in all, I might need this vacation to recuperate from planning the vacation.
    #56