On Dentists, Rain, Bad Roads, and One Worn Tire
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Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2254
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:52 pm quote
Three great things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time. - An old Navy pilot joke

I believe I've experienced my night-carrier-landing moment today.

It started with dentistry: a few months ago, with much prodding from Le Wife, I finally got the ball rolling with having extensive reconstructive dental work. This, of course, involved with dealing with more than one dentists' office–one handling the yank-and-replace stuff, the other with the surgical stuff. In the first case, I had x-rays taken and made an appointment for initial work; a day before the appointment, the office called and requested postponing till two weeks later. However, I had something come up a few days before that date, and requested postponing, which they got rather put-out about. Long story short, I ended up working with someone else, a bit closer to home. X-rayes in hand, I showed up, was re-examined, and was instructed to make a date with an orthodontist, in this case 45 miles North in Staten Island. No problem, said I: as long as I don't have to deal with heavy sedation at a given session, I can hop on Melody and get myself there, otherwise Le Wife will drive me there.

The problems started with the X-rays: My original dentist took them, and supposedly was going to scan and digitize them. Turns out they had neither the means nor desire to do any of that. Didn't get that sorted out until my first trip to Staten Island, which was…interesting. My preferred route was to take Rt. 18 for 20 miles, switch to Rt. 9 for about 8-9 miles, hit the Garden State Parkway for a handful of miles (including the dreaded Driscoll Bridge), then some equally interesting miles along Rt 440 and the Korean War Veterans Parkway (which I've joked looks and feels like it hasn't been tended to since shortly after the Korean War ended). It's a bit challenging when the weather's good.

I had to get the X-rays to Staten Island, ahem, stat, and the first possible day to do that was today. Unfortunately, I needed to do this fairly early, as there was a big, juicy thunderstorm due to arrive late this afternoon, and I'd pretty much had it with riding in thunderstorms this year. Besides, Melody, which was due for its 9k once-over, was rather in need of at least a new rear tire (both if I could swing the cost, although the front admittedly looks decent), and high-speed rolling in rain wasn't near the top of my to-do list. I decided to throw the pouch with the zip-in rain liner to my mesh riding jacket into the pet carrier, grab helmet, mesh gloves and requisite X-rays and head off to SI with crossed fingers.

So much for luck: two-thirds of the way along Rt 18 the skies decided to open rather early; I ratcheted my speed down to around 50mph and kept lots of daylight between me and vehicles in front. Rain came and went, but I maintained safe speed and distance anyway, then rolled off onto Rt.9, which is generally slower with traffic lights. Then onto the Parkway, where the rain returned…seriously hard. The normally un-fun Driscoll Bridge was now downright treacherous, with cars and trucks spraying rooster-trails of water, bringing visibility down to yards…yet everyone was still driving a good 10-15mph over the posted limit.

Things got more interesting peeling off onto 440: this is the second-worst stretch of road on the route, and there were already two wrecks being tended to by emergency crews within a minute of hitting the onramp. Thankfully, rain had let up while crossing the Outerbridge, and soon after that I hit the Korean War Vets Parkway–clearly the most squalid excuse for a highway I've ridden*, either as passenger or pilot. Naturally, the rain returned to demonstrate just how dicey this stretch was, and Melody's traction control was thankfully up to the task…seriously, this road is dangerous to drive on in the wet, never mind with two fewer wheels.

Made it to the office (in just under an hour, somehow…not bad for 45+ miles, I guess). Waited for 15 minutes while staff pored over details with the X-rays. Then, I get the news: the X-rays were utter crap, and can't be used for insurance evaluation. The Good News was that they would take new X-rays, gratis, if I could come in the following morning.

I confirm the appointment for tomorrow morning, thank them, retrieve my crappy X-rays, ask for a bunch of paper towels, briefly retire to one of their restrooms in a futile attempt to dry out my mesh gloves (fail), use the hot-air dryer for same (slightly-less fail), take elevator to the lobby where I leave my gear and walk to retrieve my jacket liner from Melody, zip said liner in, call Le Wife with all this new info, then, taking a deep breath, suit up again, hop on and hit the road home, just as the rain picks up again. (At this point, roughly 40% of my riding time this year has been in inclement weather, so far.)

The rain pretty much keeps up until I cross the Outerbridge back into Jersey, then gradually subsides as I hit Rt.9, then 35, then 34 South, then Holmdel Rd (highly recommended, BTW), then back to Rt.18/66/35 and home base.

And I get to do this all over again, tomorrow morning.

The takeaway from all this:

- A Vespa, particularly the GTS, can handle all sorts of crap thrown at it; That's partly what I bought it for., but today reinforced this point.

- New Jersey's roads, believe it or not, are improving. Took a sizable gas-tax hike (plus an ironclad ruling for the funds to be used only for road/bridge/rail improvements) for this to be happening, but it is.

- Be a vigilant mirror-checker: I truly am, but somehow missed the dude in the grey Siverado behind who decided to overtake me the same time I decided to overtake the truck in front of me on Rt 18 heading home; luckily, 18 has wide shoulders, and the driver saw me. Still, kinda close.

And: dealer appointment for Melody's once-over is booked. Baby needs new shoes, among other stuff.

(*Yes, we'll always have the FDR Drive...)

Last edited by amateriat on Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:04 pm; edited 15 times in total
Ossessionato
2016 Vespa GTS 300 i.e. ABS, 2010 Vespa GTS 300 ie Super (sold) & 2003 Honda Shadow VT750 ACE (sold) & 2006 Vespa LX150 (sold)
Joined: 18 Oct 2009
Posts: 3043
Location: Toronto (formerly Montreal)
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:11 pm quote
Well that’s the definition of commuting on two wheels: having the gear, skills, and confidence to take everything, and anything in stride.

Well done!
Addicted
1980 P200E project, 2005 Stella Malossi 166 MKIII
Joined: 20 Jul 2018
Posts: 969
Location: Staten Island, NY
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:34 pm quote
Good to hear you made it safe. I was out riding in that same storm on SI today trying to work on jetting and extremely frustrated at both the jetting and the fact that this is like the 5th time this year I've been out on a nice day and returned home completely drenched. I knew it was coming today but thought it was gonna hold off till later, then out of nowhere it hit as usual. Saw the clouds coming, turned around to get back to my garage and didn't make it half a mile before I got stuck in it.

This rain is really starting to piss me off!
Molto Verboso
2018 GTS300 Super Sport - Donatello Vespace
Joined: 22 Dec 2012
Posts: 1271
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:07 pm quote
Wow! Thank the universe it didn’t go all pear-shaped.
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2254
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:32 pm quote
swiss1939 wrote:
Good to hear you made it safe. I was out riding in that same storm on SI today trying to work on jetting and extremely frustrated at both the jetting and the fact that this is like the 5th time this year I've been out on a nice day and returned home completely drenched. I knew it was coming today but thought it was gonna hold off till later, then out of nowhere it hit as usual. Saw the clouds coming, turned around to get back to my garage and didn't make it half a mile before I got stuck in it.

This rain is really starting to piss me off!
One of my more-recent "fun" Summer activities is studying animated weather radar: I'm fascinated at how thunderstorms suddenly "pop" seemingly out of nowhere. You can't plan for them the way you could for a typical weather front. Also marveling at what a difference fifty miles makes in these parts: From last Winter till now, Asbury often gets just a brushing while Gotham gets pounded. (Nevertheless, we got hammered with rain for a few hours tonight, with more forthcoming…good sleeping weather for me, at least.)

Definitely feel your pain. Really thought I wouldn't have to deal with rain till I was halfway home, where I could just shrug it off. Tomorrow's morning's trip back into SI should be a bit more dry.

Last edited by amateriat on Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
Molto Verboso
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1503
Location: Latina (Italy)
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:24 pm quote
A bad situation but the little Vespa has done its duty ...
On the contrary I had to take the car to go to the dentist who has everything integrated (radiographs, including CT and laboratory), not the scooter because it was too hot around 38 ° and after anesthesia it is not reasonable to drive it. Bucolic path, 18 km country road to the small town of Pontinia on time (14.30 PM) with non-existent car traffic.
Rain here not even talking about it ...
Member
2019 Vespa GTS300 Super; 2004 Vespa GT200
Joined: 15 Sep 2018
Posts: 43
Location: Herriman, UT
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:33 pm quote
Very well written. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing!
Molto Verboso
2009 GTS 250, 2013 Buddy 125, 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Joined: 23 Apr 2016
Posts: 1793
Location: North Jersey
Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:41 pm quote
Reading between the lines I get that you took a scooter out needing a new tire on very bad roads and with thunderstorms expected.

It could have also easily gone bad for you.

Sometimes we need to realize we should take other transportation.
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2254
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:45 pm quote
Vintage1 wrote:
Reading between the lines I get that you took a scooter out needing a new tire on very bad roads and with thunderstorms expected.

It could have also easily gone bad for you.

Sometimes we need to realize we should take other transportation.
It was a calculated risk, albeit not necessarily with the best calculating. In addition, "other" transport wasn't available, although I might have considered pushing things back a day. Which reminds me: I did have to return today for new X-rays, thankfully under far better riding conditions, although my statements regarding aforementioned roads still stand. Mind you, I haven't run the rear tire absolutely bald, just far enough for me to know I can't fool around about it much longer. Yesterday's ride was an education in how to handle adverse riding conditions, particularly in the case of bad roads and traffic all around you.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 5465
Location: Downtown Toronto
Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:05 am quote
Most of the newer bikes handle bad weather and crap conditions very well. I ride in almost anything but snow. Even then I hav been caught a few times and have still managed to make it home. I see your rain and raise you snow . This was NOT a fun trip home but I made it.

Yesterday was also fun.. When I took this other picture I was absolutely soaking wet, storm came out of nowhere and I was on the bike when it hit.

IMG_1823.jpeg

IMG_2427.jpeg

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2254
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:54 am quote
Harbinger: Yeah, that seems to be going around, yes? (Damn, that is a lot o' rain in that photo.)

I'm now keeping both jacket rain-liner and rain overpants right where I can grab 'em if there's even a hint of possible rain next time I head out.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 7402
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:08 am quote
My rain jacket and pants are under the seat, Always.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 5465
Location: Downtown Toronto
Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:59 am quote
WEB-Tech wrote:
My rain jacket and pants are under the seat, Always.
Meh, It would not have mattered here. The storm literally came out of nowhere and no way you would have had time to get the gear on without being soaked. This day my usual set of rain gear just happened to be in my Vespa and I was on the BMW.
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2254
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:21 am quote
Harbinger wrote:
WEB-Tech wrote:
My rain jacket and pants are under the seat, Always.
Meh, It would not have mattered here. The storm literally came out of nowhere and no way you would have had time to get the gear on without being soaked. This day my usual set of rain gear just happened to be in my Vespa and I was on the BMW.
Which brings me to what I call Barrett's Third Rule: the gear you need most at a given moment will almost always be in the bag you didn't leave the house with.

Hence, I keep both stuff-sacks (with jacket liner & rain pants) prominently placed next to my helmet near the front door, as both a mental and physical placeholder. Besides, if you have the gear in the bike, but it's already raining before you can get to it…(well, Harbinger's photo says it all.)
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