The Long Way Home. Huntsville to Cleveland on a 250.

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Nice to still have you along.



    Thanks for the complements. Glad to have you following along.


    Small bikes do have a lot of advantages, and not just being easier to pick up. I haven't taken advantage of that yet with the Aprilia........and I hope not to.:D

    Many people equate touring with big bikes. Small bikes have several advantages especially if your idea doesn't involve droning down the interstate. I am willing to take a small bike places I wouldn't take a bigger bike. The Aprilia is not a dual sport bike but I'll take it down a dirt road or trail because I know that if it gets too rough, it's small and light enough that I can always get it turned around.

    If I'm riding along and see something interesting, it's easy to whip a U turn, even on a very narrow road, and go back to check it out or take a pic. I have found that I end up taking more pics when on a smaller bike.

    Then there is the fun factor. I find that smaller bikes are often more fun to ride. You may end up going a little slower, but you often "feel" like you are going faster. You can still get a thrilling ride without as much risk to your license.

    The biggest drawback, IMO, to a smaller bike, is that if you get stuck behind slow traffic, it is much harder to pass. I tend to just pull over and wait for the slow traffic to get down the road.

    Thanks to everyone who is following along. I still have 3 1/2 days of this trip to write up. I'll try to not procrastinate too much more.
    #61
  2. Gooner

    Gooner DC 43

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    Looking forward to the ride home.
    #62
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    The next two day of this trip did not involve any riding but I am including them because they are the reason I went all the way to Northern Ohio.

    To refresh your memory, I went to Ohio because my parents were throwing a party to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It would also be somewhat of a family reunion. It's been a while sine I had seen my brother and his wife and there would be other relatives who I had never met, or met when I was very young but didn't remember.

    It had been about 7 years since my last time here. I decided to take a few pics but I should have taken more. My parents are still quite active and take good care of their property. It's almost like being in a park.

    My mom backing on of her riding lawn mowers into the shed. It's one of three riding lawnmowers. They also have several regular lawn mowers. And people wonder why I have multiple bikes. It runs in the family to have lots of toys.

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    The "shed" in the pic is actually a 1 1/2 car garage which my dad built himself. Well, my brother and I did "help" but I'm not sure how much help I actually was. This was the first building on this property. the house came next and then the barn in the back. Gotta have space for all the toys.:D

    Looking back to the barn.

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    We needed to get some tables out of the barn for the party. I took some pics.

    Old Ford 250 in excellent condition.

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    It fired right up and sounds just like those old American V-8s used to sound. Not over muffled and sanitized like a modern truck.

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    My brother sweeps it out. My dad doesn't keep this as antique, he uses it to haul stuff.

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    More "toys" in the barn:

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    Remember these?

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    My parents relaxing on the back deck.

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    My dad has always been one of those people who could build or fix just about anything. Guess who built the deck?

    How about this custom lamplight switch:

    It's a working door handle which also serves as a light switch for a 3 way bulb.

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    Hanging out the night before the party.

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    Dad also built the bar and finished this room in the basement which has been the site of many parties.
    #63
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Next up, the reason I rode all the way to northern Ohio, the party. Before I get to that I’m going to talk about something that has nothing to do with riding……..but has everything to do with riding. First, take a look at my signature line. Why did I choose to put something about growing up there? For that I have to go way back to my childhood. I’m talking when my age was measured in single digits. Back then I met many of my parents friends (some of whom came to this party). My parents friends were all adults, grownups……..reeeeeallly ooooold:lol3. At least that’s what they seemed like to me at the time. Looking back, they were much younger than I am now. But they formed my impressions of “grown ups”. To me they seemed like old people who were really serious. They just sat around and talked…and sometimes listened to really boring music. They didn’t have any toys and certainly didn’t play with toys. They were just too serious for that childish stuff.

    As I got older and my parents made friends through activities like skiing and sailing, I realized that “old people” could still have fun but my original idea of “grown ups” has stayed with me to this day. Anyone out there who can relate to this??

    As I got older, my idea of “old” kept changing so that it was always older than me:D. Now I no longer look at “old” as being strictly age related. As for being “grown up”, I have never gotten to that point where I considered myself grown up because I still play with toys. The GI Joes and toy soldiers have been replaced by toys that involve two wheels and a motor, but they are still toys and are just as much fun to play with. Bottom line here; as long as you still play with toys, you never have to grow up.

    What does all this have to do with this ride report?? It ties in directly with the next part of my report which is the party. Let me cover the party then I'll try to tie this all together.


    When I arrived in Ohio it was hot with temperatures in the 90’s. Luckily a cold front passed through and the weather for the day of the party was perfect with blue skies and temperatures in the 70s. Great timing since my parents wanted to have the party outside. It was scheduled to start at 4 in the afternoon and people started arriving shortly after that.

    Here’s some pics:


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    Dad made that big round table and benches out of a cable drum. Note the thermometer on the tree...low 70s:clap


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    The "young kids" of the party.


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    Some group photos:


    Just family:


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    Everybody still left at the party.



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    Some random shots of people eating.



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    The food was really great.


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    My wife and I pigging out.


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    I had a great time. It was great seeing people that I barely remembered from my childhood. One lady greeted me and I made the mistake of saying "nice meeting you" ....oops. I did remember her after a couple of minutes. I t was also great meeting many of my parents friends that I had heard about but had never met before.


    OK, it wasn't exactly a wild party and was over by around 9:00 PM but I had a great time and will remember it for a long time.



    Now I'll try to tie this post together. There where a lot of "old" people at this party but I got the feeling that many of them had not yet fully grown up. Overall these people, like my parents, seemed to be much more active and "alive" than most people their age. Many still play with "toys". Probably the best example is here:


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    The lady on the left is a good friend of my Mom's. She is 94 years young, still goes for walks in the park and goes skiing in the winter.


    Speaking of toys, can you tell what brand of toy my "little" brother plays with.


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    This experience just reinforces and opinion that I have held for a long time.



    If you play with toys, you will stay young much longer, and you may never "grow up"



    That's my excuse anyway:evil


    After most of the people left, the rest of us headed down to the bar where we continued the party.


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    Eventually I had to call it a night since I had a long ride ahead of me the next day.

    #64
  5. Phipsd

    Phipsd Been here awhile

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    2600 miles? That's painful. I could see it if your scoot had dinky little 12 inch wheels. I put 15000 km on the stock rear Maxxis on my Citycom and it still wasn't done, but I picked up a small nail so it was time. I expect to do better with the replacement Michelin.

    People shouldn't be surprised at long distance scooter travel. There was a Canadian who rode a Honda 250 scoot around the world a number of years ago.
    #65
  6. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    I can relate exactly to your comments about age and how perceptions change as I get older. Not to mention I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be 53.

    That woman is 90? :eek1 I'd have pegged her at 65, 70 at the oldest.
    #66
  7. steveb126

    steveb126 Adventurer Anonymous

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    Love the family stuff and growing old vs growing up.

    I'm seriously contemplated buying an 09 sportcity 250 a local dealer has with less than 300 miles on it for $2,899. Haven't quite talked myself out of it yet. Told myself the next bike would be more dual sport, your ride report is tempting me to go for the scooter.
    #67
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I have worn out three different tires, a Maxxis, Kenda, and Dunlop. The Dunlop was the worst but the others weren't that much better.

    People shouldn't be surprised at long distance scooter travel but there are some people out there who believe anything under 1000cc is too small:huh


    When is was really young, being over 50 seemed so far away I didn't even think about it. Now it seems that 60 is just around the corner.




    Dual sport bikes are great, I have two of them. They are more fun than a scooter when you get them in the right environment, but I don't get the chance to do that very often. I ride my scooters MUCH more than my dual sports because they work much better for the type of riding I get to do most of the time. Besides, the Sport City does pretty good when the pavement ends. If you have never owned a scooter, I'd recommend giving it a try. But I must warn you, you'll probably end up riding it all the time and your other bikes will gather dust:D
    #68
  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Actually, I wasn't looking forward to the ride home. First, due to time constraints, I needed to return in 1 1/2 days. Second, it would mean that my trip was almost over and I would need to go back to work. :(:

    But, since YOU are looking forward to it, it's coming up next.:rofl
    #69
  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    For my trip back to Huntsville, I got up reasonably early since I had a long ride ahead and wanted to beat some of the heat. It was pretty cool here in the Cleveland area but I was expecting some heat as I got further south.

    Here I am with my wife, ready to go. Notice the highly stylish wind breaker sticking out of the bottom of my mesh jacket:lol3

    [​IMG]

    BTW, we are just over half way to our 50 year anniversary. If we have a party for our 50th, I expect to ride there on two wheels.

    Since I needed to make time, I did something I don't really care to do.

    Ride the interstate.

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    This would be boring compared to my trip up. On top of that I was on a little 244cc scooter. Actually, the Aprilia did just fine on the interstate. I rode along at around 70MPH on the speedo which reads a little high, I'm guessing about 5MPH. It used to read a lot higher but I have an oversize rear tire which and the speedo/odo read off the rear, not front wheel. This also means that my odo reads a little low, I think around 5 %.

    So I was running around 65 MPH which was right at the speed limit. This was a good thing since I saw about a half a dozen cars pulled over by the highway patrol. The Aprilia was very comfortable at that speed. If I didn't pay attention it would creep up to 75 where it was still running smooth as silk.
    Some people complain about small bikes being blown around by wind or truck on the highway but it was not an issue for me.

    Some Ohio countryside:

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    My route was I-271 to I-71 down to Columbus, then I took 270 to 70 west. I had a stop planned in Springfield.

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    Competition Accessories is one of the largest suppliers of motorcycle gear in the country. They sell most of their stuff over the phone or internet but they also have a couple of stores.

    I have stopped here a couple of times in the past and it was the only place I had ever been to with a pretty good selection of riding gear. The not only had a pretty nice showroom but also had their warehouse with all their mail order inventory in the back. If they didn't have what you wanted in the showroom, you could go to the counter and they'd go get it from the back.

    So I walked inside. At first glance it looked like a giant toy wonderland for riding enthusiasts. I started looking around but couldn't find what I was looking for so I asked a girl behind the counter. She said that everything was out on the showroom. There was no ware house in the back. If you ordered something from them it came directly from their supplier.:huh

    What a bummer. I assumed they would have a warehouse here like the last time I was here. Basically I made this detour for nothing since they had nothing I was interested in out in the showroom.

    So I continued on. I-70 to 675 to 75 south. Before I got to Cincinnati I stopped for gas and lunch. I used this time to come up with a plan for the rest of the day. Originally I thought I would take the Interstate to Kentucky and then pick up some back roads the rest of the way. I decided to just stick to the Highway at least for the rest of the day. Also, I decided to stop the same place my brother and his wife were planning to stop which was Cave City. So I got out my dumb phone, made a few calls and ended up getting a reservation at the Best Western in Cave City where my brother would be staying.

    Then it was back on the highway.

    Some random pics I took while droning along.

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    OK, it's not exactly real exciting but it was far less painful and boring than I expected.

    Cinicinnati area:

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    Getting ready to cross the Ohio River.

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    And I am in Kentucky, the 8th state of this trip.

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    #70
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    It was getting hot so I decided to stop at the Kentucky welcome center to take a break and soak my cooling vest. When I pulled into the parking lot I saw a loaded Wee Strom so I parked next to it. I pulled off my helmet, jacket and gloves and before I could walk into the welcome center, the Wee Strom rider walked up. We started talking. It turns out he is also an inmate of this forum. We ended up talking for about 20 minutes or so before we both needed to get going. I did get a pic:

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    One of the benefits of riding, as opposed to just traveling in a cage is that you are much more likely to meet interesting people, at least that has been my experience.

    Anyway, Jeff, if you see this post :wave It was good talking to you.

    Then I went in, soaked my vest, put it on and got back on the road. For those of you who have never tried a cooling vest, it's like riding with a wet t-shirt except it stays wet for hours.

    my route was 71 south to 265 to 65 south.

    Some random pics:

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    .

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    I got to Cave City sometime in the evening. Total distance for the day was 462 miles. I think that 500+ miles on my 250 would not be a problem and much more if I needed to.

    I had dinner with my brother and sister in law followed but hanging out by the hotel hot tub. They sat in the tub but after a day in the heat, sitting in a hot tub was the last thing I wanted to do. It was great to get to spend some more time with them since our time at my parents house was far to short.

    Then I called it a night. I still had another half day of riding the next day......and I had no route planned yet.
    #71
  12. Yankee Dog

    Yankee Dog Long timer

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    What brand are you using? I have a Techniche (sp) which I am not happy with. The missus has a Joe Rocket which works fine. Just wondering what other brands folks are using.
    #72
  13. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I have a Motoboss which I got off the clearance rack at Cycle gear for $10 last summer. They still sell the same vest but it's now says Bilt on it and costs around $35. I have never tried any other brand so I don't know how it compares. All I know is it makes a big difference on a hot day.
    #73
  14. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Definitely enjoying your report. :clap

    My wife and I had scooters for a little bit. She had a Genuine Buddy 125 and I had a Genuine Blur 150. At that time, I had a 4 mile commute and rode it every day to work and loved it. It was much fun to ride and like you pointed out downsizing to small bikes just lets you experience stuff you don't on bigger bikes. My wife didn't quite become as attached to her scooter, but I think it was mostly because of the 10" wheels. It was fun to ride, but it beat you up and small potholes were always having to be dodged. I would kept her's and enjoyed it myself, but it was pink and didn't matched my helmet! :lol3

    The Blur on the other had 13" wheels, handled corners like a dream and brakes that were amazing. Unfortunately the motor decided to go boom when a friend was riding it. I don't think he did anything, just something let loose. Its been siting as a garage ornament for like 3 years now. One day, I might part it out.

    My wife test rode a Vespa 250 one time and loved it, so we might have scooters in our future again. The SportCity 250 was always one I admired too and thought it would be a fun one to ride.
    #74
  15. BobRob

    BobRob Been here awhile

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    The Competition Accessories you stopped by isn't associated with the mail order store anymore. I believe that relationship fizzled out several years ago. The one in Springfield, on the surface anyway, is a giant adult toy store full of gear and bikes, but they actually have very little in the way of gear and what they do have seems way over priced. The bike selection is rather exceptional though. Don't expect any bargaining on price though, they are very firm.

    If you really want to visit the motorcycle gear mecca of the mid-west, a stop by Iron Pony in Westerville will leave you with a lighter wallet and a more satisfying experience.

    Anyway, I'm loving this ride report. :lurk
    #75
  16. Gooner

    Gooner DC 43

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    Previous poster beat me to it. The Internet/mail order Comp Acc is run out of South Carolina now I believe.

    Ok, so the 71 to 65 drone back to our fair city isn't ever going to make anyone's "Great Rides before you Die" list. :rofl
    #76
  17. Davidc83

    Davidc83 Been here awhile

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    Wish I would have known you were in the Louisville area. I work in Louisville and have made to trips to Cave City; I would have bought you a beer or two :1drink
    #77
  18. jeff_connors

    jeff_connors Adventurer

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    klaviator---

    Great to meet with you on the road. Nice trip report! You always have a place to stay in Kentucky if you make it back this way anytime.

    [​IMG]
    #78
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    The Blur is now a fuel injected 220. Time for a new scooter:evil




    Thanks for the info on Comp ACC. That explains a lot. I won't waste my time stopping there again. Maybe I can stop at Iron Pony next time.



    If not for the somewhat boring roads out there we would never appreciate the really good ones.
    #79
  20. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Thanks for the offer. The disadvantage of not planning very much and then doing the ride report after the trip is that you only meet other inmates through pure chance.


    Thanks Jeff. I'll keep your offer in mind. Again, nice talking to you.
    #80