Cross Country Trek - Vermont to Los Angeles!
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nothing at all
Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Posts: 9657
Location: westla
Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:01 pm quote
where's waldo, i mean wangta!!!!!

are you close

you rock harder than anybody i know right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member
PX150; smallframe 90 (project)
Joined: 22 Apr 2009
Posts: 37
Location: wherever the road takes me
Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:57 pm quote
jimmyb865 wrote:
where's waldo, i mean wangta!!!!!

are you close

you rock harder than anybody i know right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Trying to think positively but it is hard not to worry.

Wangta, hope you and your companion are just having too much fun to post an update.

Cheers, Terri
Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:29 am quote
Day 15 Jackson, Wyoming - Idaho Falls, Idaho – Brigham City, Utah

Took off from Jackson early so we could make our scheduled appointment at Vespa Idaho Falls for the GTS rear tire replacement. We checked air pressure before taking off and rode very carefully – never exceeding 45 miles/hour, which was sometimes a challenge on route 26, which was quite busy. We got accustomed to pulling over to let cars pass so we could continue at our speed. We were just 20 miles away from Idaho Falls and had pulled over for a bathroom break at a rest stop when a guy in a town truck (who had been following us for a couple miles) came up to me and informed me that there was a minimum speed on the road. I apologized and told him that we were unable to ride faster due to the back tire on the GTS – and pointed to it to show him, explaining that we were on our way to get it replaced. I wasn’t sure if the guy was trying to sincerely help me or show a “tourist” how things are done in Idaho.

Got to Vespa Idaho Falls, aka Spinners around noon and waited around for the mechanic to get back from lunch. Spinners is a nice store – they have a good number of Vespa, Aprillia and Motto Guzzi. I drooled a bit at a few of the Moto Guzzi motorcycles…someday. Head mechanic finally arrived and took the GTS. Since the GTS tire was being changed, I figured I might as well rotate my PX tires as well – the rear had been on since Cleveland and was showing more wear than the front, which still looked new.

The GTS tire change would take a couple hours, so we headed down to Sears to buy a ratchet set (which I have been meaning to buy anyway), and setup shop in the corner of the mall parking lot. Getting the front tire off was pretty easy, but the back tire proved to be more difficult. First off, the rear jack that I used to lift the rear of the scooter seemed to be too short – it didn’t raise the back of the scooter enough to get the tire out. Second, the Zippy tire barely fits into the wheel well - removing/replacing it took some maneuvering and some brute force. To overcome both of these issues, we had to lift the back of the scooter ever so slightly so the stand didn’t contract and collapse, and used some maneuvering and brute force for both removal and replacement of the rear tire.

All in all, it took us about 30 minutes to complete the job. Should we have to do it again, I think we could cut it down to 10-15 minutes. While I’m thankful there were two of us, this experience made me wonder if I could do a rear tire change by myself. The jack that I used (pictured below, made for Stella and picked up at POC Scooters) doesn’t seem to provide enough clearance to remove/replace the rear tire – am I using this wrong? Do I need to put something under the jack to increase clearance?

Returned to Spinners about 2 hours later to find my GTS fitted with a new Michelin Pilot rear tire – what a nice sight to see. Completed the paperwork and took off on Interstate 15 South toward Brigham City, Utah – 160 miles away. We normally prefer to avoid highways, but it was getting late and we wanted to stay on schedule. Everything seemed great for the next couple hours – the GTS ran great and we passed into Utah without problems. About 5 miles away from Brigham City, the GTS exhaust suddenly becomes ridiculously loud (think Harley) so we pull over and I immediately wonder if there is a problem with the exhaust gasket that has plagued so many 2007 GTS scooters. I look under the scooter but can’t see anything of concern, and since we’re only 5 miles away from our destination, decide to keep going so I can look at it at the hotel. WRONG decision – 2 miles down the road, the rear brake ceases to function and resembles the clutch lever on the PX. We pull over again and I look underneath to find the brake line is melted. This confirms my suspicion – this has got to be an exhaust gasket problem. It’s about 9 pm so we decide to just ride carefully the remaining miles to our hotel. Tomorrow, we make a bee-line for Vespa Salt Lake City to see if we can get this resolved. While I’m confident they can fix the exhaust gasket issue (and the sound), I’m more worried about the breakline, which will need to be replaced. Do Vespa dealers usually have pare GTS brake lines lying around? I’m guessing not…and if they have to special order it, it could take days…

Total Miles Day 15: 250 Miles







Vespa Idaho Falls (Spinners)


New Stock Sava Tire


GTS Sava at 2,000+ Miles


New Michelin Sport


Rotating PX Tires








On Route to Utah








Last edited by Wangta on Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:42 am; edited 2 times in total
Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:31 am quote
Day 16 Brigham City, Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah – Orem/Provo, Utah

Woke up early and headed toward Vespa Salt Lake City (Vespa Utah) so we could be at the store when they opened at 10 AM. When we arrived, we met Ron and explained the situation and I told him my suspicion that there was something wrong with the exhaust gasket – either it broke or was not replaced correctly when it was reinstalled during the tire replacement. Unfortunately Vespa Salt Lake City does not do any service (although the store is very nice!), so he sent me down to Vespa Orem, which was about another 50 miles south.

Before heading down to Vespa Orem, we took I80 West 15 miles to take a look at the Great Salt Lake. The temperature was about 90+ so we did a quick stop and click at the lake. The lake was surprisingly calm – very few waves and zero boats on the water. I guess nothing lives in the lake (fish, etc) besides microbes, which produce a very interesting smell…

We arrived at Vespa Orem about 3 PM and met with Rick, the service manager. After taking care of a couple bikes that had arrived before me, he took a look at the exhaust and brake line and determined that the failure was indeed due to the exhaust gasket. First off, the bolt for the exhaust gasket was MISSING. Second, the graphite ring that seals the connection with the exhaust and the exhaust pipe was almost completely burned away. Third, my scooter did NOT have the recall kit gasket installed. The result was the exhaust gasket fumes escaped and burned the rear brake line – just as the recall was supposed to fix!

Per the guys at Vespa Orem, I learned the following things:

1. Going back to the beginning of my adventure, I brought my GTS into Eddie’s Motorcycle Shop in Keene, NH to get serviced and brought in the Piaggio recall notice and specifically asked them to install the recall gasket, which they confirmed when I picked it up. However, it appears they NEVER actually installed the recall gasket as requested – Vespa Orem looked up my warranty information and it showed my bike never had the recall applied.

2. When the exhaust is removed for tire replacement (or any other reason), the exhaust should NEVER be taken apart at the first joint where the exhaust gasket is located. This even applies to new Vespa GTS or GTS Supers – the exhaust should always be taken off higher up where the exhaust meets the engine. The reason for pre-recall GTS – the graphite ring can not be re-used and thus, when the exhaust is removed once, a new graphite ring must be used and carefully installed to ensure a proper seal. Thus, my exhaust was fine from Vermont to Idaho/Utah because the exhaust had never been removed, thus the seal was ok.

When the guy at Spinners (Vespa Idaho Falls) replaced my rear tire, he removed the gasket (pre-recall) and took off the exhaust at the gasket joint and reused the same graphite ring when he put everything back together, and did not correctly tighten down the bolt for the old gasket – which resulted in the gasket falling apart 100 miles down the road.

First off, he should have known to NEVER take off the exhaust at this joint. More importantly, he should of realized I didn’t have the recall gasket and either installed it or told me to get it installed ASAP (he could do this by looking at the gasket or looking up my warranty history on the computer), while replacing my tire by taking off the exhaust higher up by the engine, thus preserving the original graphite seal.

So I’m not sure who to exactly “blame”. First and foremost, I blame myself – not that I’m a mechanic, but shouldn’t I be able to notice when things like this are or aren’t addressed correctly? Second, the guys at Vespa Keene should of told me they didn’t install the recall gasket – I would be fine with that and could have had it done at Vespa Hartford or Boston easily. Third, the Vespa Idaho Falls guy should of known better.

People wonder why this situation could be so dangerous? Besides obviously needing brakes when barreling at 60+ mph down the highway, the exhaust fumes are so hot they could of set the scooter on fire! Wow!

So continuing, Rick had two issues to fix – the exhaust (the cause of the problem) and finding another brake line. Unfortunately, Rick didn’t have any more recall exhaust gasket kits, so we were out of luck – which was discouraging because it was the cause of the problem. Also, they didn’t have an extra brake line lying around and could only get one in on Tuesday - it was Friday and their parts store in Atlanta was closed for the weekend. At that point, I truly thought I would be in Orem for at least 3 or 4 days.

However, Rick and the Vespa Orem owner Charlie bent over backwards to get us back on the road. First, they dismantled a new 2010 GTS and took off the entire muffler, which included the new “joint” which replaced the old gasket arrangement. They also ripped out the rear brake line from the new GTS – which is a complete pain in the ass because you have to take off the glove box, headset, etc to get to the brake line. Second, they called Vespa Tech Center and explained the situation (apparently Vespa Orem is one of the top 5 dealers in the USA so they have pretty good relationship with Vespa USA). Vespa tech center agreed to pickup all costs for the repair and I end up paying nothing to get the situation resolved. Side note – Vespa Tech center was not impressed that Vespa Idaho Falls took off the exhaust at the gasket joint – I guess this is a big no-no and something that all Vespa dealers should know. They left the impression they will be making a call to Vespa Idaho Falls in the not too distant future to relay this message.

The bad news – we would have to stay the night as it was already 6 pm. The GTS would be ready for us tomorrow late morning sometime. However Charlie graciously let us borrow a Dragon Red LX150 and suggested we go check out Sundance, home of the Sundance Film Festival. Tired and exhausted, we happily accepted his offer and found a hotel for the night.

Total Miles Day 16: 150 Miles

Great Salt Lake


Vespa Orem




















GTS on the Doctor’s Table









Melted Rear Brake Line


Stock Exhaust Gasket Prior to Dismantling – Notice How Loose Gasket Is (Screw is missing)!


Stock Exhaust Gasket and Graphite Seal






Rental LX150




Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:32 am quote
Day 17 Vespa Orem - Torrey, Utah

Took PX and the borrowed LX150 and spent the morning at Sundance – ate lunch at the lodge and took the lift up to the top of the mountain. Sundance is a very nice place (town?) – but much smaller than I expected. I cannot imagine what the roads must be like during the film festival – the roads are tiny, they remind me a lot of the roads back in Vermont!

Dropped by Vespa Orem about 1 PM and was happy to find the GTS in one piece. Rick and Charlie walked me through the fix for the exhaust – since they installed a brand new exhaust, I know have a better than recall fix – I basically have a 2010 exhaust!

I owe a huge thanks to Charlie, Rick and the rest of the team at Vespa Orem. Not only did they patiently explain the cause of the situation, they also explored all options to get us back on the road and let us borrow a new LX150 so we could at least enjoy our unplanned stay in Orem.

After thanking Charlie and his team, we hit the road and headed south and rode 200 beautiful miles, crossing mountainous terrain (again, scaled up to ~9000 feet) to Torrey, Utah. The ride was really interesting – we traversed through city/suburban landscape, then entered forest and mountainous areas, and also passed through some very dry desert, sandy areas. Given the late time of our departure, we arrived at Torrey late, exhausted but thankful the GTS was finally fixed.

Total Miles Day 17: 190 Miles

Sundance (With LX150)




















New Exhaust with Upgraded Joint


Vespa Orem Team and Fixed Up GTS




Little Hot Today…


On Route to Torrey, Utah
















Last edited by Wangta on Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:52 am; edited 1 time in total
Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:45 am quote
Day 18 Torrey, Utah - Calf Creek Falls, Utah - Tropic, Utah (right outside of Bryce National Park)

We didn’t look at the terrain before plotting our route, so we were surprised to find the ride between Torrey, Utah to Tropic, Utah to be so mountainous. Again, the PX found itself climbing multiple mountains that hit 9,000+ feet! PX was not too happy, becoming quite sluggish higher than 7,000 feet, but powered through without issues.

Again, we rode through a number of different terrains that included red canyons rocks, mountains with forests, and deserts. Pretty incredible ride with some amazing scenery.

Temperatures today were 100+ degrees for most of the day. Given the heat, we stopped by Calf Creek Falls for a break, and walked a 1.5 mile trail to an amazing waterfall. The hike weaved between towering red canyon rocks, and demanded that we traverse over huge stones, sand and massive stone hills/mountains. When we got to the waterfall, I was surprised to find the water EXTREMELY chilly – perhaps 50-60 degrees! Imagine walking through 100+ degree temperatures one second, then swimming in hypothermic water! While the water was fridgid, it was very very refreshing. We jumped in with all my clothes on – by the time we made it back to the scooters, our clothes were completely dry. What an experience.

Tomorrow, we explore Bryce National Park!

Total Miles Day 18: 110 Miles

Preparing to Leave Torrey Hotel – What a View!




Calf Creek Falls


@ 9,000+ feet


On Route to Tropic


























Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:57 am quote
Day 19 Tropic, Utah – Bryce Canyon National Park – Hatch, Utah

Spent most of the day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Again, very hard to explain in words the beauty of this place. Just look at the pictures – some very unique rock formations exist here.

Left Bryce and headed toward Hatch, Utah, a town that is in between Bryce and Zion National Parks. We raced to Hatch under some serious thunderstorms. High winds and lightning – we were just waiting to get hit by a downpour of rain. As we rode, we could look to our left and right and see dark clouds dumping rain – and at times, it seemed like we were riding right toward such a cloud. I was surprised to encounter such a situation – I was under the impression that Bryce and Zion, both classified as desert national parks, did not experience much rainfall! It is desert after all!!! Anyways, we made it to Hatch safely, and was surprised to find such a small town. However, our hotel room was REALLY nice (and cheap), and we had dinner across the road at this tiny steak house, where I had one of the best T-bones I’ve ever had in my life! Went to sleep fat, and happy that night. Tomorrow, we explore Zion National Park!

















Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:02 am quote
Day 20 Hatch, Utah – Zion National Park – Kanab, Utah

Like Bryce, Zion National Park is spectacular but in a very different way. While Bryce was impressive with its seemingly artistic, sculpted rocks, Zion overwhelms you with its sheer size and grandness. On the ride into Zion, you’re surrounded by enormous, towering rock mountains, some with really unique rocky surfaces. I’ve never felt so small and insignificant in my life. The mountains were so enormous, it was difficult to take pictures and capture everything. I tired my best to capture the sheer magnitude of the mountains, but alas, I feel the pictures don’t do justice to what you experience in person. Couple cool things about Zion. First, there are a number of hikes that you can take that will take you to the top of these mountains. Not suggested for those afraid of heights as a couple have you walking on 3 foot paths with sheer rock ledges on either side while taking you to overlooks with ridiculously high ledge overlooks of the park (one of these hikes took you to “Angels Landing”, a rocky overlook 1500 feet above the canyon floor!). Because of time….we decided not to go on such hikes Zion also utilizes a unique shuttle system, so we could not ride our scooters into the later half of the park. The shuttle system is pretty efficient – one comes every couple minutes to each viewpoint, and we found it very convenient. I wonder if the Yellowstone experience would benefit from such a system.

We left Zion after having visited every viewpoint, and rode 40 miles to Kanab, Utah – a small town on the border of Utah and Arizona. Tomorrow, we will explore our final park of the trip – Grand Canyon National Park!









































Last edited by Wangta on Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:10 am; edited 2 times in total
Ossessionato
07 GTS250(RIP), 13 GTS300, Several Lambrettas
Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 2695
Location: Raleigh, NC
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:02 am quote
Great ending for your bald tire adventure. We don't always get to hear the good stories about customer service. What an exciting journey, keep the pictures coming.
Addicted
09 Triumph Bonnie, 06 Kymco P250, (Retired: 05 Stella , 08 Piaggio Fly150, 02 Yamaha Vino50, 07 Yamaha C3)
Joined: 11 May 2009
Posts: 525
Location: Brookline, Mass
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:07 am quote
I keep looking forward to updates from Wangta.

Awesome Pictures. I think my wife and I will take a trip like this this coming year through a few states.

It feels good to be inspired.

Last edited by DaniFly on Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:09 am; edited 1 time in total
Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:07 am quote
Day 21 Kanab, Utah – Grand Canyon National Park – Kanab, Utah

Visiting Grand Canyon from the north is somewhat difficult for a couple reasons. First, there are only a couple towns to the north of the Grand Canyon. Second, these towns are very far away from the park, partly because the park is so big. Kanab, approximately 80 miles away from the North Rim, was the nearest town we could find decently priced lodging, so our morning commute to the North Rim took us a couple hours.

The ride to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon surprised me – again, I was shocked at how high we had to climb. Grand Canyon is about 8,500 feet above sea level, and Kanab is about 5,000 feet, so the ol’ PX had to climb 3,000+ feet (again)! Needless to say, the ride to the Grand Canyon was slower then expected, however it was comforting to know the ride back would be “faster”.

The Grand Canyon is stunning, as you all probably expected. It is an extension of Zion National park – it simply overpowers you with sheer size and magnitude. The canyons are enormous, and drop down thousands of feet. I walked the Angel’s Bright Trail, and at times, was clinging to the trail side rails as the edges dropped down a LOOOONG way (I didn’t even want to look – I don’t do well with heights). While the Grand Canyon is enormous, there actually isn’t much you can really do there in a day – there were only four view points, which we thoroughly enjoyed, but besides taking a mule ride into the canyon (I would never want to put a poor mule through that), you basically relax and enjoy the scenery. The lodge on the north side is very nice – we had lunch (decently priced – they could charge more) overlooking the canyon, and enjoyed a coffee while relaxing in lawn chairs on the deck.

The bluish/grey haze you see in the pictures is smog that blows into the canyon from Mexico and Los Angeles. . Sad to see smog so far east from Los Angeles. It made it difficult to take good pictures but we did the best we could

After visiting all the viewpoints, we headed back toward Kanab, Utah for the night. Unfortunately, there is no other roads from the North Rim that lead west, so we had to backtrack to prepare for our next journey – tomorrow we head for Las Vegas!














































Banned
Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 2919

Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:12 am quote
Great reading kudos to Vespa Orem.

Wayne B
Ossessionato
'10 GTS 300 Super, '79 Vespa P200E, '04 Vespa PX200, 2011 SportCity 300 Cube [Sold]
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 2919
Location: San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:35 am quote
Day 22 Kanab, Utah – Las Vegas

Today’s ride was absolutely BRUTAL. We decided to take Interstate 15 partly because it is the only way to get to Las Vegas from Southern Utah. First part of the ride was ok – temps were in the high 90s and we passed through really cool looking (and enormous) mountains. Suddenly, we came out of the mountains and it was desert – and the temperature spiked well over 100. GTS thermometer showed 122 at one point – insanely hot. I opened up all my vents and was surprised to find the heat searing my skin – it literally felt like someone was using a hair blower on my skin (didn’t hurt, but man, it was hot!). We made plenty of stops as we tried to keep hydrated and cool. First time during the trip that I had thoughts of “wow, an air conditioned cage would be nice right now”. Good news: I was really glad that my armored suit performed as advertised (it is a summer/hot weather suit) – I actually managed ok. Bad news: It was too darn hot too stop and take pictures – sorry guys.

I was initially worried about how the temperature would affect the PX, but was surprised to have her run as usual and maintain 60 mph on the highway. Everything was great until we were about 5 miles away from Las Vegas. I heard this really weird, feint sound (I barely heard it over the wind) – it sounded like there were a couple nuts (or metal of the like) loose somewhere in the body and they were rattling around due to the vibration. However it was coming from the engine (I think). I put up my visor and ducked behind my windshield to try and really hear the sound and isolate it – at that moment, my gf noticed a puff of smoke coming out my exhaust. I was about to pull over when she said it stopped – so I kept going. I rode very carefully from that point – my number one concern was a seize of the engine, so I had my hand on the clutch just in case. Zoomed for a couple more minutes without any issues (and no smoke) but still heard the noise (again, very faintly), then boom – my engine turns off and I have no power. I immediately grab the clutch and I coast to the emergency lane. I take a second to collect myself, and try to restart it – the PX fires right up and I carefully get back on the highway. This happened a total of 2 more times before the traffic slowed (construction) and we exited – from that point had no problems.

We made it to Las Vegas in the late evening – and swore to never ride in the afternoon in the desert again. WAY too hot. Tired and hot, we checked into the hotel, and got some much deserved R&R. We’re planning to stay here for at least a couple days to relax before completing the last leg of our journey to Los Angeles.

Couple questions for you guys:

1. Anybody know of a “nice” route to get to LA from Las Vegas? I’d prefer not to take the highway, but also would like to minimize the time we’re in the extremely hot weather. Given our experience today, we’re thinking of leaving in the very early morning and riding until late morning or until it gets too hot. But we’re not sure of the “best” scenic route we could take – any suggestions on routes and towns to stop at/stay over would be greatly appreciated.

2. Question for you 2stroke experts – do I have to worry about damage to the piston or engine? The engine died only when I was really hammering it – full bore in 4th gear. Is it possible the engine simply overheated – it was over 120 degrees out after all. It fired right up after I pulled over, and the third time it happened I coasted and jump started it into third. The PX ran fine around the streets of Vegas after we got off the highway. Is there anything I can check before we take off? Any thoughts on the sound?

Total Miles Day 22: 205 Extremely Hot Miles



After Coming Through These Mountains – HOTTTTT!








Last edited by Wangta on Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:51 am; edited 1 time in total
Hooked
2009 Vespa GTS 250ie
Joined: 12 Jul 2009
Posts: 108
Location: Melbourne, FL, USA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:41 am quote
Wangta wrote:

WOW! WOW! WOW!

Thanks for posting your itinerary. I'm taking notes. I will do a similar trip very soon.

What a way to see the diverse American landscape ... the only way is on a Vespa (and a close second is on any other scooter).
Ossessionato
No Vespas, but I gots some VW's
Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 2018
Location: Springfield, Illinois.
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:52 am quote
Again, GREAT to keep us updated and Awesome pics.
Molto Verboso
GTS Vintage Red
Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 1028
Location: Scarsdale, NY
Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:04 am quote
Trip
Amazing trip - Glad you guys are doing OK...Once again, the photos are fantastic!

Have fun in Vegas!

Ride safe.

Gianni
Hooked
'07 GTS250IE
Joined: 08 Nov 2008
Posts: 150
Location: Batavia, IL USA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:05 am quote
Wangta + partner, I've been following your
epic adventure and I await each new post.

Your commentary and photos are simply outstanding...
thanks for sharing with us all! I know it takes a lot of extra effort!

It was also good to hear of your great experience
at Vespa of Orem...hats off to them!
Ossessionato
ET2, PX150
Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 3410
Location: Denver CO
Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:11 am quote
Vespa Orem rocks! Can't believe they canniblized a new bike for you. I've never seen a dealer do that....ever!

I'll post a link to this on the not-so-modren side, see if anyone has anything on the PX.

Consider riding out of Vegas early, like 1am early, less heat, no glaring sun and traffic would be better.

Last edited by nigelthefish on Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:15 am; edited 1 time in total
Banned
Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 2919

Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:14 am quote
You may want to consider doing the desert at night.

Wayne B
nothing at all
Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Posts: 9657
Location: westla
Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:30 am quote
wangta, i'm on the quest

i know many riders who have done the vegas run on shiftys and twistys, i will call you with info.

i only know the 15 to the 10west straight to the beach. i beleive you can go via palm springs but don't think it will make much of a difference.

be careful,the la to vegas run is full of stupid people and extreme heat.

do not do that run at sunrise or sunset, drivers windsheilds are dirty and they will not see you!!

i rode my motorcycle to vegas and find HIGH NOON is the best time of day for visibility.

it will take you about 3 hours, leave vegas after a b-fast and coffee and you should avoid the swarm leaving vegas.

i will have tank(ken)call you,he is our club pres and a very experienced rider on both styles.

i was worried about you which explains the long post

Last edited by jimmyb865 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:36 am; edited 1 time in total
Moderator
1965 Vespa SS180, 1963 Lambretta LI150
Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Posts: 6973
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:33 am quote
You've got an air-cooled engine on that px... doesn't help things when the air is like 120 degrees

Sounds like you've soft-seized a couple times, which means you probably have some scoring on your top end - jug / piston / rings. As a result, you may lose a little compression, and thus a little power from the thing.

That said, i wouldn't go swapping out and putting in new rings and stuff until the whole ride is over, as you don't want to break in a top end with such a trial-by-fire situation. ( i wouldn't, anyways )

A handy thing in hindsight might be to upjet your main a point or two on your main to richen up your mixture ( and thus increase your cooling ) on the PX... also, switch to a B8 or B9 if you hadn't already. I mean to say, that's what would have prevented the soft-seizing in the desert ..but i wouldn't go doing it now unless you are going to have more days of desert riding ahead of you.

Your jetting was also what was killing you in the mountains when you got up above 7000 feet. You need to alter your jetting to offset the thinning air. You were running too rich in those high altitude areas, and so your bike was dogging out from too much fuel and not enough air.
Ossessionato
LX150, GTS300(black & white), GTS300(red)
Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Posts: 2467
Location: Menifee, CA. (Land of the Dirt People)
Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:37 am quote
If it was me I would take US 95 South to California Hwy 62 West. It may not be cooler.....( It will be hot anyway you go) But, it is not on the Interstate and there are a lot of places to stop and take a cool dip in the Colorado River...
Enthusiast
'09 BV 250 Tourer
Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 79
Location: Pennsylvania
Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:09 am quote
Wangta,
Good to hear from you, was starting to be a little worried. Your pictures are magnificent. I want to plan a trip now! (Although I think I would trailer the scoot out west and ride from there.)
Safe travels and keep cool
Hooked
S125
Joined: 09 Nov 2008
Posts: 414
Location: Reykjavik, iceland
Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:29 am quote
Wow! Thanks for the amazing photo's! Your country is beautiful!
Ossessionato
Temporarily Scooterless... :(
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 2117
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:08 pm quote
Awesome trip Wangta and Partner...!

From Vegas, consider the EARLY AM starts for sure. I used to race bicycles when I lived there and we would do training rides from 1AM to 6AM in the summers and would nap in the afternoons.

I know it won't be cooler, but you may want to consider driving through Death Valley via Pahrump and then coming into Southern Cal. through the Sierra Nevadas. If you go this way - do it EARLY in the morning, can I say EARLY again...?! Just DON'T ride in the afternoon in Death Valley if you know what I mean. It would be a pretty route with much nicer traffic than the Interstate.

Good luck with the rest of your journey,

Desi B.
Ossessionato
2010 Vespa GTS 300, 2007 Vespa GTS 250, 2007 Vespa GTV, 2010 Stella 4T #3, and a bunch of broke down vintage scoots
Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 2870
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:34 pm quote
Rover Eric wrote:
Sounds like you've soft-seized a couple times, which means you probably have some scoring on your top end - jug / piston / rings.
Yup, I agree with Eric. One thing you can do is remove the spark plug (while the engine is cold) and inspect it. If you see tiny little dots or blobs on the end of the plug, that's a pretty sure sign that it's seized. It may run a bit rougher than it used to, but if you keep riding, it will slowly get better as the rings and cylinder break themselves in again. Take it easy though and try to keep it under 55-60mph, or the chances will be greater that it could seize again. Upjetting wouldn't hurt either, but if I recall correctly, you mentioned that you didn't bring any other jets with you. If there's a shop nearby that caters to vintage Vespas, you should pick up some larger and smaller jets than the one you're currently running, to be on the safe side.

However, there is another factor to consider. With all the ethanol used in the midwest, I'm concerned that your flywheel seal may be developing an air leak. Ethanol is known to soften the flywheel seals, and they will flatten out when the temperature gets very hot. I learned this the hard way on the Cannonball in 2006. I would recommend changing the flywheel seal as a precautionary measure ASAP. Also, pick up a spare or two to take with you, along with a flywheel puller tool, the next time you're at a vintage shop.

Also, I'd like to offer my two bits about the GTS exhaust. First, I knew I was right about the exhaust header not being swapped out for the recall (the warranty part is the header itself, not the gasket), if the brakes failed that soon after the exhaust gasket blew. You should definitely have a word with your shop at home about that, to make sure they take care of this on every bike they service from now on. Same goes for Vespa Idaho Falls, although I imagine you may have already mentioned this to them.

Secondly, I disagree with the opinion that the exhaust should be removed at the cylinder head. Frequent tightening and loosening of the exhaust studs in the head can eventually weaken them, especially if a torque wrench is not used to prevent overtightening. Besides, it is a royal pain in the ass to remove the exhaust that way. I learned this lesson the hard way, when an exhaust stud broke on my GTS 250. To replace the exhaust stud, the engine has to be pulled out of the bike, the fluids need to be drained, head has to be removed, then the center of the broken stud (made from hardened steel) has to be drilled out with a special super hardened carbide steel drill bit, and the remnants of the stud then have to be extracted from the head. Only then can you install the new stud, put the engine back together and reinstall it in the bike. That's a job that takes at least 8-10 hours for a professionally trained mechanic to do, and that's not cheap.

Instead, it's much easier and cheaper to remove the muffler at the joint - it's $40 for a new exhaust gasket if it's getting worn out vs. up to $1000 in parts and labor to replace a broken exhaust stud. It may not be the best design in the world, but that's the reason why the exhaust was designed with the joint in the first place. If you're careful when removing and replacing the muffler, you can make that gasket last for a while. Just carry a spare with you, in case the old one decides to go out. With the right tools, you can swap it out in about 10 minutes on the side of the road if needed. Hope this helps!

In any event, it sounds like you're heading straight to LA. Are you planning on heading up to SF afterwards, or just heading home? If you're coming up this way, I highly recommend taking the Pacific Coast Highway, it's a fantastic ride. If you do, definitely let us know when you'll be coming into town so that we can prepare a warm welcome for you. In the meantime, have safe travels and more fun adventures!
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37588
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:00 pm quote
bagel wrote:
Secondly, I disagree with the opinion that the exhaust should be removed at the cylinder head.
Likewise. Not recommended by anyone here! 3-4 removals and careful replacements of the exhaust at the union should be just fine.

The real problem is not the collar on the GTS, it's the placement of the rear brake hydraulic line. Rather than change downpipes etc here, some people have merely extended and re-routed the brake line (as it has to be replaced anyway if it gets fried). Job completely taken care of, exhaust left as standard.
Hooked
2009 Vespa GTS250ie 'Constance'
Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 344
Location: Marietta, Georgia
Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:27 pm quote
jimc wrote:
bagel wrote:
Secondly, I disagree with the opinion that the exhaust should be removed at the cylinder head.
Likewise. Not recommended by anyone here! 3-4 removals and careful replacements of the exhaust at the union should be just fine.

The real problem is not the collar on the GTS, it's the placement of the rear brake hydraulic line. Rather than change downpipes etc here, some people have merely extended and re-routed the brake line (as it has to be replaced anyway if it gets fried). Job completely taken care of, exhaust left as standard.
Bagel and JimC - thanks for this. I've been debating this exact point with another MVer in real life and we were thinking the same. When I saw the that the dealer was pulling the header off risking those bolts that is alarming. It seems like we should use the collar as designed for rear tire changes and other reasons that require the muffler to be removed. As I approach my first rear tire change, I have been watching these types of comments closely. When it comes down to it, it seems like having another exhaust gasket lying in wait (I do not) is as important as having another CVT belt lying around (I do).
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37588
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:31 pm quote
Absolutely - a spare collar is essential - and any competent dealer should have a box-full of them, as they are a 50:50 replacement item if the exhaust comes off at a dealers when they know the customer won't be checking it in the interim.
Beer Fairy
GTS-"Cannonball Bettie" Member Iron Butt Association
Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 851
Location: Seacoast New Hampshire USA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:26 pm quote
Wangta,
super job on the pictures and details of your wild ride,thank you.

As For getting to LA>>>>>>>
The climb out of Vegas will be the very best IMHO at 3:30- 4:00 am start.
The skies will be lightening up , the air under 100 and the sun at your left rear. Earlier if you feel like it. Just beware the jackrabbits and all-nighter sleepy/drunk drivers.You can do the access road (LV BLVD So.) until out of town, and follow it to Jean, NV. ( 'bout 15 miles)where you will most likely need to get on the I-15.
Ride 15 through the border at Primm and climb up over Halloran summit then Down into Baker CA. 100 miles south.( home of the Mad Greek Diner and the World's TALLEST Thermometer)
Do a gut check in Baker. Consider finding a motel with pool for the day and read a good book. IF it is still early you can head on to Barstow.
THIS WILL BE THE HOT AND SHITTY RUN if it is after 10 am and before 9 pm.
In Barstow you are almost there and have two choices, stay on the small roads that wind along off to the right of the 15 ( through Hodge and Helendale) to VictorvilleOR head south out of Barstow on 247 to Lucerne and up 18 up into Big Bear! Big Bear will be a cool climb and some twisties on the way up and down into the LA area.
NOTE: IF you choose to stay on 15 south the portion just past Victorville will be all down hill! The Cajon Pass!
Once down the hill near Rancho Cucamonga I would take the new 210 and head for Pasadena, Somewhere near LaVerne you can catch Colorado BLVD and you are in the San Gabriel Valley. look up The Wholigan Manny.
Hope this helps
Murray<<<< Lived in Vegas from '81 to 99
nothing at all
Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Posts: 9657
Location: westla
Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:50 pm quote
wangta, you have many options.

i want you to have breakfast and coffee and leave around 7 or 8.

get's you in la around 11. out of the desert by 9 or 10

sun will be on your back but not directly in the eyes of on coming traffic.

also there will be trickle traffic out of vegas that will keep you at a lower speed.

if you leave to early there will be nobody and the few cars that will be on the road will be hauling a--.

your trip - you do what you want

be safe - see you sunday

bbq at my house
Veni, Vidi, Posti
'80 P200E, '76 Primavera 125 ET3. '59 Vespa 150
Joined: 30 Apr 2007
Posts: 6851
Location: GT, Texas
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:01 pm quote
YOU GUYS RULE! I can't believe I just saw this thread. Where have I been?

I wish my ass could hold up for a trip like that one.

Spectacular!
Beer Fairy
GTS-"Cannonball Bettie" Member Iron Butt Association
Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 851
Location: Seacoast New Hampshire USA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:08 pm quote
jimmyb865 wrote:
wangta, you have many options.

i want you to have breakfast and coffee and leave around 7 or 8.

get's you in la around 11. out of the desert by 9 or 10

sun will be on your back but not directly in the eyes of on coming traffic.

also there will be trickle traffic out of vegas that will keep you at a lower speed.

if you leave to early there will be nobody and the few cars that will be on the road will be hauling a--.

your trip - you do what you want

be safe - see you sunday

bbq at my house
I agree about the cars hauling ass out of Vegas BUT I disagree that if they leave at 8 they will be in LA at 11
Its 272 miles by the road sign near Vegas
at 60 mph , with no stopping thats Over 4 hours and way unrealistic, I used to do it in 3 hours 15 mins THAT was haulin ass in a big block 72 Impala.
Wangta,
Leave early, be careful, trust your gut.
My 2 cents
nothing at all
Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Posts: 9657
Location: westla
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:16 pm quote
when i say 3 hours to la i mean dropping down the 15 into rancho cucamonga to the 10.

allthe way to my house, yes 4 hours.


upon further reveiw it was a little unrealistic.

none the less wangta, depart around 7 am and you will be dropping out of the high desert in a good time of day.

then it's a straight shot to the beach.

Last edited by jimmyb865 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
Ossessionato
Temporarily Scooterless... :(
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 2117
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:27 pm quote
Crap, I forgot to mention that regardless of if you do I-15, go south through Arizona, or up through Death Valley - be cautious about fuel... There are a LOT of places with 100+ miles between towns in the southwest - make sure you have plenty of extra with you.

Do the Mad Greek if you hit Baker on I-15, it's worth it...

Best,

Desi B.
Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
Joined: 21 Oct 2005
Posts: 7292
Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:36 pm quote
Wangta wrote:
2. Question for you 2stroke experts – do I have to worry about damage to the piston or engine? The engine died only when I was really hammering it – full bore in 4th gear. Is it possible the engine simply overheated – it was over 120 degrees out after all. It fired right up after I pulled over, and the third time it happened I coasted and jump started it into third. The PX ran fine around the streets of Vegas after we got off the highway. Is there anything I can check before we take off? Any thoughts on the sound?
as stated by others above (eric, bagel, etx) you were more than likely running a bit lean.

the noise you were hearing is detonation. many different things can contribuite to this: fuel grade, air fuel mixture (lean), timing, wrong heat range on the plug, ambient tempature, etx.

sounds like a textbook soft sieze. i'd be concerned about the shape of the parts, but really, there's not much that can be done at this point.

colder plug, upjet the carb and take it easy.

if you need a check up when you get here don't hesitate to call or PM me, i'd be more than happy to help in any way i can.

ride safe and beers on me when you get here to LALA land!

best,
-greasy
Hooked
GTS 250ie
Joined: 19 Dec 2008
Posts: 163
Location: Jupiter, Florida
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:38 pm quote
Google maps shows 180 miles from south end of Vegas airport to Victorville (pretty much top of Cajon pass). No mater how you look at it thats 3 hrs @ 60 mph in my book.
Beer Fairy
GTS-"Cannonball Bettie" Member Iron Butt Association
Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 851
Location: Seacoast New Hampshire USA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:49 pm quote
OneEyedJack wrote:
Google maps shows 180 miles from south end of Vegas airport to Victorville (pretty much top of Cajon pass). No mater how you look at it thats 3 hrs @ 60 mph in my book.
Your book is not the Vegas to LA road. and Victorville is not LA.
(Please don't read any anger into this ) I am smiling as I post it.

This is just about helping out a scooter Buddy get there as best he can with or without our "Pearls of wisdom"
Peace
nothing at all
Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Posts: 9657
Location: westla
Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:49 pm quote
alright alright

i am so excited that i wrote "in a good hour" meaning in a good time of day.

the trip from vegas to my house is what it is.

who gives a sh-- what it takes.

vegas to fontana is 1 to 8 hours and fontana to the beach is anther 1 to 8 hours.

i think wagnta can mapquest on his own.

MY POINT is to be safe and maybe think of getting out of vegas at 7 and will see you later in the day,period.
Beer Fairy
GTS-"Cannonball Bettie" Member Iron Butt Association
Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 851
Location: Seacoast New Hampshire USA
Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:00 pm quote
jimmyb865 wrote:
alright alright

i am so excited that i wrote "in a good hour" meaning in a good time of day.

the trip from vegas to my house is what it is.

who gives a sh-- what it takes.

vegas to fontana is 1 to 8 hours and fontana to the beach is anther 1 to 8 hours.

i think wagnta can mapquest on his own.

MY POINT is to be safe and maybe think of getting out of vegas at 7 and will see you later in the day,period.
+1 and don't scroll back but Greasy is pointing his finger>>>MAGGOTS!
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