Scootistan 2016
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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
Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:41 pm quote
Those of you who know me, know that I have a thing for going on epic scooter rides... like riding my P200 from Delaware to Québec and back for a vacation in 1993, or a couple thousand miles from PA to NOLA and back for Amerivespa in 2011, or the five Cannonballs I took part in between 2006 through 2014, including a run from Santa Cruz to Alaska that incorporated an Iron Butt 1000 just to get to the start of the 2014 Cannonball, or the French Alps in 2015. But this year I'm doing something different that I've never done before... in just over a week from now, I will be scooting through Pakistan on an adventure that I am calling "Scootistan".

Wait, what? Pakistan? Who goes to Pakistan?? And to ride a scooter, no less?!?

Perhaps its not your typical tourist destination, but by all accounts, it is a hidden jewel that is overlooked by most. For the past several years, my friend Moin Khan has organized and led motorcycle tours in Pakistan, up the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad into the Himalayas, all the way to the Chinese border and back. Several people I know who have gone on his tours have come back raving about the ride, the people, and the scenery. However, Moin doesn't just ride motorcycles, he also owns a VBB, which he rode on the same route all by himself several years ago, so it absolutely is something that can be done on a Vespa... and here's the video he made of that ride:

Ever since then, Moin has wanted to lead a whole group of Vespas on a tour there, and that's where I came in - as soon as I caught wind of that, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. We have assembled a small but intrepid group for this tour; joining me are Brook from San Jose, and Michael from South Africa, whose previous riding experience includes riding a GTS from South Africa to Pontedera, Italy and back, which was no small feat. The three of us and Moin will be riding vintage Vespa Supers and VBBs, which have been lovingly massaged and pampered by an expert local mechanic to be in fine shape for our journey. We will also have a support truck stocked with parts and a mechanic, just in case of the highly unlikely event that any mechanical issues could arise. The area we'll be traveling through is among the most secure areas of the country, so our greatest safety concerns will be traffic and the road conditions themselves, which hopefully will be decent once we get out of the city, considering that the entire length of the Karakoram Highway is paved now... although if we opt to take a detour through the Deosai plains on the way back, that will give us plenty of opportunities for some dirt riding.

Brook and I are flying out on the 4th of September, arriving the 5th, and our tour starts on the 8th. I'll post updates here as I'm able to (Internet access is kind of hit and miss in the rural areas of the country), because I want to share this amazing journey with the rest of you, and provide you with a window into a different part of the world that you normally don't get to see up close and personal. I'm looking forward to seeing what experiences await us there, and I hope you'll enjoy living vicariously through our adventures.

For more information about Moin's tours, including an hour-long film he made of one of his tours a few years ago, please visit his website, A Different Agenda:

http://adifferentagenda.com/
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1463
Location: Minneapolis USA
Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:20 pm quote
You guys are bold riders
I really would have avoided that challenging area of the
world. You truly will be diplomats of the West. Call me
paranoid. Ride well and be safe. I know their are great
people their. I hope you don't meet the few who might
not be.

Bob Copeland
Minnesota
Addicted
79' p125x
Joined: 10 Aug 2016
Posts: 573
Location: greece
Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:31 pm quote
Right.. i'm officially Jealous done some cool trips over the years but that... will be following you!
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2687
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:48 pm quote
I am speechless in your awesomeness. Have a blast and post a ton of pics when you can.
Ossessionato
2010 Orange S150
Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 3504
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:43 pm quote
Thus shall be an epic journey! Looking forward to updates.
Addicted
Bea 2007 LX150.
Joined: 31 Jul 2015
Posts: 725
Location: Santa Fe
Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:15 am quote
I wish you all the very best and am looking forward to your updates.

This will be an epic journey. perhaps to be repeated??
Member
patina SS180, tired P200E, project-on-hold VBC 150
Joined: 01 Mar 2013
Posts: 32
Location: New Zealand
Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:29 pm quote
fyi, one of my Kiwi scoot mates is just back from a expedition to the same part of the world, 3 guys on VBBs.

https://www.facebook.com/VespiditionPakistan/

I've done a few Motoretta TTs on my P200, 1000 miles on 4 days on NZ back roads, but tip my hat to anyone crazy enough to long distance scootering in Pakistan. And am slightly jealous ....
Molto Verboso
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 1969
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:28 pm quote
Go Bagel Go!!!

Man I wish I was with you. Just to many other things lined up before you hatched this egg. I am surprised that you did not have more takers. I know Michael jumped on immediately. Thought there would be more.

PLEASE post pictures when you can and ride safe.

I know it will be a blast!!!
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 29304

Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:44 am quote
Jealous. Been there but not on a Vespa. Have fun, be safe and take lots of pics.
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
Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:34 am quote
Ok, so let me catch you all up on our adventure so far. No scooters for us just yet, but hopefully they will be arriving tonight. Brook and I arrived on Monday evening after a VERY long trip, including a layover in Abu Dhabi... here's a pic of us I snapped of us there, weary but excited:



Our journey here took more than 24 hours in total, from the time we left home until we arrived at our guest house in Islamabad. During that time, I got maybe 1 hour of real sleep on the plane, so I was good and ready for some serious rest. Before turning in though, we feasted on an absolutely delicious dinner at our guest house, where I had the best chicken qurma of my life. Oh man... SO GOOD!! After that, needless to say, I slept like a log. Here's a photo of our home for the time being, until we hit the road:



Since we're the first ones out of our group to arrive, we had today free, so we went out to explore a little, had breakfast at a cafe at a nearby shopping center which was good, and made a friend who recommended a restaurant that his son in law runs in the first town we'll be staying in once we leave Islamabad. We poked around at various shops with trinkets, scarves, tchotchkies and things, and searched for a local prepaid SIM card for my phone. It turns out though that foreigners need to go through some kind of a security check before they can get a SIM card here, so I couldn't just buy one at a corner store, I had to go to the main office for the cell phone provider. So we took a cab there and got the SIM card, but unfortunately, I have to wait two days before it can be activated, because of the security approval process... oh well. Much like our ride from the airport last night, our cab ride today was a textbook example of chaos in action; vehicles going every which way, lane markers being more suggestions than anything, and cars lanespliting more than the bikes do!



After the phone store, our cab driver then took us to see the Faisal Mosque, which was absolutely gorgeous and well worth the visit:









While touring the mosque, Brook and I, two middle-aged western white guys, sure stuck out like sore thumbs and got plenty of surprised looks when people saw us. I just smiled and said "salaam aleikum" to lots of people, and we sat down to talk with a group of young men who were very excited to have the chance to meet some real life westerners. Some of them didn't speak English very well, but we managed to communicate well enough, and they seemed to be most surprised by the fact that I was 44 and had never been married - LOL!

Right now we're back at our guest house relaxing until Moin shows up tonight, and hopefully the scooters will be here soon too. I'm chomping at the bit to get out and brave the chaos of the roads here, in order to more fully experience what Pakistan is all about.

More to come soon!
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2687
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:58 am quote
Great stuff! Have a blast and keep it coming!
Lurker
Joined: 07 Sep 2016
Posts: 1
Location: USA
Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:01 pm quote
What???????????
Hey Tom, you went to my country and then to my city where I had studied and then to the mountains where I was born............come on.............you HAVE to let me know Have fun riding, eating, sleeping and playing around.
Member
2013 GTV 300, 1962 GS 160
Joined: 07 Nov 2015
Posts: 11
Location: San Jose, CA
Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:15 pm quote
Precarious ladder work seen on the streets of Islamabad

image.jpg

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
Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:54 pm quote
Update - Wednesday, September 7th

Today we had a lazy morning, had breakfast, then took a walk back to the cafe in the Kohsar Market. Along the way we saw our first Vespa, an old Super that had been... um... modified. It was rather sad and the added contraption seemed to be holding its soul captive, but it hopefully served someone well who would have otherwise had a much more difficult time getting around.













The parade of oddly-named motorcycles continued as well; most of them have to do with a money theme; apparently the idea is that the bike is such a great value that you'll be able to get your money back out of it when you sell it, and you'll be able to sell it quickly.







After we got back to the guest house, Moin arrived and took us out to lunch at a great Afghani restaurant. It is true that people carry all kinds of stuff on bikes here, including this guy with a lawnmower:



After lunch, we finally got to see our scoots and go for a ride to the Faisal Mosque!





Moin, me and Brook:


Guddu, our mechanic, with me and Brook:


The bikes were well used but recently rebuilt and rode ok, though some adjustments were still needed. The blue VBB that I rode was nice, but it seemed to be jetted too lean, as it soft seized twice on me on the way back. We let Guddu know about the issues and he agreed to take care of them before we leave on our trip the following morning. Then to end the day, we went to the Marriott to have a beer (a rare commodity in Pakistan), where we saw something quite unexpected... a 1922 Rolls Royce!

[img]
https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14207751_10153930019002219_489830731794248413_o.jpg[/img]



Afterwards, we retired back to the guest house for dinner and to turn in the night, before we start our scooter tour on Thursday. Stay tuned for more soon... Internet access willing!
Molto Verboso
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 1969
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:54 pm quote
Thanks Bagel!! Keep posting until your are out posted!!!!!
Hooked
1979 P125x, 1980 P200E
Joined: 05 Apr 2010
Posts: 397
Location: Roeland Park, Kansas
Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:22 pm quote
So you aren't shipping your scooters out, but are getting scooters when you arrive. I was wondering how you were dealing with customs.
Hooked
2015 Primavera 150
Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 137
Location: Portland, OR
Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:05 pm quote
Holy shit that ladder pic...

NOPE!
Molto Verboso
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 1969
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:45 am quote
Soloscooterist.com
Ok while Bagel is falling down on the job of keeping us informed, Michael, the Solo Scooterist, is typing up a storm. Check out his blog.

http://soloscooterist.com/
Veni, Vidi, Posti
946
Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 5798
Location: Acworth, GA
Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:00 am quote
Incredible so far... I was wondering if they'd be going through Abbottabad - and they are.

It's pretty crazy, if you think about it through only this narrow perspective, that the majority of Americans in Abbottabad over the past few years have been either CIA, Navy Seals, and these scooterists from MV.

What?!?!
Molto Verboso
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 1969
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:03 am quote
On solo scooterist looks like they made it to the border.
Ossessionato
2010 Orange S150
Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 3504
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:25 pm quote
Bagel has been posting on Facebook when he can get a connection. Here is a short quote from yesterday's post:

"What a day... I became the second person to cross the Deosai Plain on a Vespa, right behind the first one, Moin Khan! It took 8 hours of riding to traverse the 137km from Astore to Skardu, and it was by far the most difficult, exhausting, challenging, tiring and rough ride I have ever been on, filled with water crossings, dirt and rock roads, steep climbs, a minor spill or two (but without any damage to speak of), and a license plate that flew off along the way, but it was absolutely amazing."
Molto Verboso
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 1969
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:40 pm quote
Some day I will have to try this Faceslap but not yet.
Thanks for the update.
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2687
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:36 am quote
Re: Soloscooterist.com
lostboater wrote:
Ok while Bagel is falling down on the job of keeping us informed, Michael, the Solo Scooterist, is typing up a storm. Check out his blog.

http://soloscooterist.com/
Oh, thanks: this opens up a whole new world for me.
Member
2013 GTV 300, 1962 GS 160
Joined: 07 Nov 2015
Posts: 11
Location: San Jose, CA
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:21 pm quote
Scootistan 2016 short film!
We have finally released the short film about our vintage vespa ride across Pakistan!
https://youtu.be/wugm-wU9lT4
Ossessionato
73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 63 Li125, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86 Elite 80, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3188
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:43 pm quote
Great video!

What kind of scooters were those? Indian bajaj 150s? Points or CDI's?
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2687
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:35 pm quote
Wow! Literally *just* watched it via the Cannonball thread and, well, wow!

I'd read a bunch of the different ride reports over the past year and was already impressed, but that video!
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