My first road trip
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Hooked
2016 Vespa GTV 300
Joined: 26 Apr 2016
Posts: 120
Location: NYC
Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:16 pm quote
A few weeks ago I went on my first overnight trip on my new GTV 300. Part of the reason I wanted this bike was the ability to get out of town if I wanted to and be able to travel on highways for long periods of time without worrying about keeping up, so a few weeks after the first service I began to plan my escape from NYC.

I did lots of research on great rides throughout the neighboring states and decided on a trip to the mountains in Vermont. I rented a beautiful little cottage in the woods on Airbnb, got the days off from work, and began to plan. Now almost everyone I work with has a Vespa, and the ones that don't have or have had motorcycles, and every one of them said traveling all that way on a Vespa was crazy and dangerous. I take a highway to and from work every day, and have taken some small day trips out of town before, so the speed didn't bother me. But what did begin to bother me was everyone else's concern for my safety. I had full riding gear, an extra liter of oil, perfect tire pressure (I check it once a week), but everyone's comments about how insane that was started to get to me, despite reading countless ride reports on here and knowing full well my Vespa was more than capable of handling the trip.

The night before my trip I was walking to my bike to head home after a long day at work and saw a man at the stoplight next to my bike. He also had a GTV 300. I said "Nice Bike", and he said the same. He said mine looks new. I said "It is, two months old. I'm actually taking it on a little road trip tomorrow up to Vermont." And then something magical happened. As if somehow sensing my apprehension brought on from all my coworkers and friends he said "Don't worry. I did the whole of Route 66 on this bike. You're gonna have a great time." Then the light turned green and he was gone. This confidence booster was literally the last person I spoke to before heading out on my trip the next morning and I'm so thankful for him. All of my fears melted away and for the first time in weeks I began to feel incredible excitement.

The next morning I loaded up my bike with a small bag of clothes, a few tools, some emergency snacks, and a wilderness survival kit for some reason. I got a later start than I had wanted, but around noon I pulled away from my street and started off. The route I chose was to take 87 to get out of NYC until I could switch over to the Taconic Parkway for about half of the journey, then 22 the rest of the way. It was a hot day and there was a lot of afternoon traffic for no other good reason than that its New York City and there is always traffic somewhere. By 1:30pm I had taken 2 breaks, could barely walk from being so sore, had already consumed most of my "emergency snacks", and was barely out of the Bronx. My spirits were low and I thought that maybe I had made a terrible mistake. How could I go another 5 hours when it was so beaten up after a little over an hour?

I got back on the bike and headed towards the parkway. Turns out the reason I was so tired was because of the stop-and-go traffic in the heat. Long stretches on the highway were much easier than what I had done so far. My back hurt like hell from fighting the wind and I'm sure the GTV seat wasn't making things any easier. The Taconic Parkway was nice, lots of trees, some beautiful views, no large trucks, and very nice roads. But my breath wasn't taken away until I hit Route 22. Gorgeous winding roads that wove through the countryside, over hills and through some of the most picturesque little towns I'd ever seen. It was as if every village had been painted with a fresh coat the day before I got there.

The thing that struck me most were the roads. I knew NYC had bad streets, but I didn't realize how bad until I experienced hours and hours of perfectly smooth roads. Here in the city about 70% of your perception is devoted to potholes and other violently jarring obstacles, and other things like cars swerving in and out of lanes, street lights, other hazards, are mostly periphery. So that's how I spent the first half of my ride, scanning the road ahead for potholes. Once I realized that wasn't the primary hazard I was able to actually ENJOY THE SCENERY on longer stretches. That was a completely new feeling for me, and very liberating. It was about that time I began to really smile, for no reason, for long periods of time.

When I arrived at my destination for the night the hosts of my Airbnb came out to greet me. The husband wanted to come out and shake my hand and meet the guy who came all the way from NYC on a Vespa. He was a Harley rider who couldn't believe I had done that. In town the next morning I stopped at a local store to pick up a few souvenirs for the lady back home. In the parking lot a man walked by, looked at my license plate and said "You came all the way from NY state on that thing?" Which was only about an hour away. I said, "Actually, I came up from the southern tip of Manhattan." He shook his head and began to walk inside. Then he stopped, turned around and came back. "You rode that all the way from New York City!?" "Yep", I said. "...Wow.." Was all he could muster.

After my night in Vermont I worked my way back down through Massachusetts and Eastern CT, before making my way back. I even extended my trip another night and got a cheap roadside motel. When it was all said and done I did just over 700 miles in 2 and half days, and it was an experience I'll never forget. My Vespa performed beautifully and I think just LOVED those long drives. I felt the moment that the engine really broke in and loosened up around 1500 miles and became truly a powerful beast. At one point the speedometer hit 90mph, which I'm going to guess is really more like 80 actual. I guess my Vespa friends are more like motorcycle people, they just don't know what these babies are capable of!

Can't wait to do it again! And to that mystery man that restored my confidence, I can't thank you enough. You were right.

Last edited by PaulTBach on Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:08 pm; edited 4 times in total
Hooked
2016 Vespa GTV 300
Joined: 26 Apr 2016
Posts: 120
Location: NYC
Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:18 pm quote
Pictures below

Last edited by PaulTBach on Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
Hooked
2016 Vespa GTV 300
Joined: 26 Apr 2016
Posts: 120
Location: NYC
Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:28 pm quote
Here we go

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Addicted
2016 Sprint S 150 (his), 2016 Sprint 150 Blu Gaiola (hers), 2006 GTS 250 Excalibur Gray (hers), 2006 GTS 250 Black (his), 2012 Kymco Downtown 200
Joined: 21 Oct 2016
Posts: 884
Location: Vermont
Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:38 pm quote
Nice report. Looked like the Dorset Quarry in one pick? Not sure if a seat has to be broken in also as I am new to this also.
Hooked
2016 Vespa GTV 300
Joined: 26 Apr 2016
Posts: 120
Location: NYC
Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:45 pm quote
You nailed it with the Quarry! Also I don't think the seat will break in much. These seats are notoriously uncomfortable, though I generally don't mind much. The nice thing is that with a Vespa you can change your feet positions often. Sometimes I would swing both feet to one side to ease some tension on my back
Ossessionato
73 & 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 61 Ser 2, 65 Silver Special, 86 & 96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3781
Location: Oceanside, CA
Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:31 pm quote
Nice pics! Congrats on taking the plunge and doing the trip. Where's the next place you want to head to?
Hooked
2016 Vespa GTV 300
Joined: 26 Apr 2016
Posts: 120
Location: NYC
Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:37 pm quote
I'm changing directions now and heading down to New Hope PA next weekend for a quick night. After that who knows! So many directions to go, so little time!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 9416
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:09 pm quote
Paul, your first mistake was not coming to MV for encouragement. We would have told you could ride to Patagonia on your scooter. Lots of enablers here....

As for the seat, when I picked up my GTS for the first ride home, the seat was pretty uncomfortable, and I kept comparing it to the comfort of my seven year old LX seat. Now, after 6K miles, I hardly think of it. I have a sheepskin cover, but most of the time don't think of it.
Hooked
Primavera125
Joined: 21 Feb 2017
Posts: 136
Location: Thailand
Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:47 am quote
Really nice to read Paul!
I'm also learning about how to make longer rides and how to get the most out of it.

It's very much about the time format, isn't it, how to fill the non-riding hours.
This is so far what I learned, please help me to improve:
In the morning I start generally to move very slowly, have a few cups of coffee and make then if possible
a long walk looking around and sniffing the 'couleur locale' and eat something on the way, enjoy the sights
of the morning market and so on and eat something like a noodle soup for instance, light and filling anyhow.
Then I walk back to the hotel for a shower and packing the bag before check out time.
Because I worked in that particulare field I will freshly shaven visit a gallery or museum or monument in the beginning
of the afternoon and after a chat with the staff I will ask them in what direction to go and start rolling.

I drive slowly, as I only have a Primavera 125 cc and thus avoid risks as much as possible as I realize I'm not an
Old Shatterhand anymore. I know I shouldn't drive in the dark, because then I don't see good enough.
I look for a basic hotel when the sun slowly goes down. I like Fellini films and I'm not picky.
Thai truck drivers and salespeople are friendly people and they know what's going on in the neighbourhood.
I lay down for a while, have a few beers, take a shower, comb my part in the middle and when it's dark off I go.
I will often eat something, hit a pub, have a massage and tired but satisfied I will walk home.
The only English language programme is often football (soccer in US) and I will look at it until it looks at me.
On purpose I don't take a laptop or iPad with me, just a smartphone to kiss my princess goodnight.
I want to confront myself with the reality of travelling, lying on my back and studying the ceiling instead.

I am still in the experimenting phase so I desperatly need tips to vary and enrich my program.
I'm getting addicted, I feel it. The Vespa is like a needle

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Ossessionato
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 2086
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:21 am quote
Great report, thanks. Glad to see you have broken the code and found out that traveling on Vespa is better than drugs.

I just did a four day, 900 mile trip this weekend. The highlight was attending President Carters Sunday school class. The downside was 4 hour of torrential rain I rode through to get back to FLA. But even riding in the heavy rain was fun, just tiring.

I hope you have more trips and more pictures for us to see.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Literider Envy
Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 7270

Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:51 am quote
Sounds like a great trip!!

I rode the Taconic to get down to Long Island last year, and it was a blast.
Hooked
Primavera125
Joined: 21 Feb 2017
Posts: 136
Location: Thailand
Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:11 pm quote
lostboater wrote:
Great report, thanks. Glad to see you have broken the code and found out that traveling on Vespa is better than drugs.

I just did a four day, 900 mile trip this weekend. The highlight was attending President Carters Sunday school class. The downside was 4 hour of torrential rain I rode through to get back to FLA. But even riding in the heavy rain was fun, just tiring.

I hope you have more trips and more pictures for us to see.
I had to look it up and read that a few times a year Jimmy Carter, 92 in the mean time, still gives classes by himself.
Even if this was not the case when you went I still think that it must have been an inspirational travel destination.
Four times 360 km a day is rather tuff though...

PaulTBach By the way: Nice pictures of a nice machine but also of a great area to travel through!
Feels good such a brief encounter at a red light isn't it?
700 Miles in two and a half day, uh..., 280 x 1,6 = almost 450 km per day !
That's from Amsterdam to Paris in one day...

You have both big engines so I can't compare as I have a little Primavera 125, but I notice that I start to feel at ease with 200 to 225 km a day (120 - 140 miles).
Average speed 30 miles as road conditions are not always good here and passing villages you must watch out for children, dogs and chicken.

My Thailand pictures can be found in 'Thailand Tour' under Ride Reports.
When coming back from a trip and seeing this big statue (Guanyin) I know that I will be home in a few minutes

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Hooked
2012 Vespa GTS300ie
Joined: 06 May 2016
Posts: 307
Location: California
Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:34 pm quote
Nice report in a beautiful part of the country. I am about to make my longest ride ever from Sacramento to Seattle on my GTS for Amerivespa and I come here often for encouragement! I have never gone more than 110 miles in a day...pretty excited!
Hooked
2018 GTS300 Touring
Joined: 17 May 2014
Posts: 130
Location: Boulder, CO
Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:42 pm quote
You're going to have a blast! I just got back from roughly a 1k round trip from Boulder, Colorado, to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and back, taking three nights and four days for the whole tour.

My tips for you would be to plan plenty of stops (that tiny gas tank will force you to stop anyway), pack a spare fuel pack, and take scenic roads...after all it's about enjoying, not just surviving your trip!

All along my trip, I kept a running Google Maps diary, dropping pins as I went and including pics and notes on all my stops and side trips. Here's a link to it, so enjoy it! Be sure and click on the individual markers for lots of images and text!

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ldlNnGbscwb4J1GG0rekA74VPO0&usp=sharing
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