The 600 Mile Service in 50 pics or less
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GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:43 pm quote
Now that I have had Vespa #3 for a bit over two months it was time to drive back to Sherman Oaks for the 600 Mile service.

It was in the 100s yesterday and our power went out for seven hours. Not fun. I decided, well, if I am going to broil I might as well do it on two wheels around various bits of LA county.

Left just after 9 am from Fullerton. Part one was a freeway ride 5 to 101. I hit 600 miles at Ventura Blvd and 101. I few minutes later I was parked in the back of Vespa Sherman Oaks at the 40 mile mark. That was a mistake. Pulled around front, talked to the always awesome Kyle, and I was off across the street to get an additional blue key cut. Now, what to do for an hour and a half while waiting...

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:57 pm quote
Across the street was a cafe Petit Trois. It was ideal as I could look down the sidewalk and wait to see if my GTS rolled out.

It was also...pricy. Let's just say it was not McDonalds prices but at least the tip was included along with a statement on the menu "Thank you but there are no substitutions." I was starting to think I wasn't high roller enough to eat next to Vespa Sherman Oaks. But it was almost 100 degrees at this point and no where else to go so fancy French breakfast it was.

And it was delicious! I ate some poached eggs with ham, pickles, bread, and fancy french butter along with some very good coffee. Pro tip one - don't order hot coffee when you are sitting on the sidewalk in 96 degree heat.

I watched a few Vespas buzz by including a green one it appeared was just bought. No sight of mine so I ordered the beignet. Man it was delicious with hot coffee even if it was like eating inside an oven.

Still no Vespa of mine so I went in to use the restroom. It is an incredible feeling to walk from super hot to nice and chilled. I didn't want to go back outside but Covid lockdown so...

Then my phone buzzed. It was Kyle saying come get it. My wallet lost a few ounces and then it was back across the street to pick up my freshly relubricated GTS.

Blue arrow is Vespa SO from cafe.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:06 pm quote
Talked to Kyle, paid $298 for the service and the key. Ouch #2 on my wallet for the day. It looked like someone else was buying a new GTS in a nice color as well. They rode off down Ventura Blvd as a couple and I would follow shortly thereafter.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:10 pm quote
I did a quick uturn to get a pic of the French restaurent then down Ventura for discovery #1.

I read Sherman Oaks was named after General Sherman and he had a nice house at the corner of Ventura and Sepulveda. I decided to check it out.

Well, those of you that live around there probably already know there is no nice house at that intersection. Turns out there is the Sherman Oaks galleria and a few office buildings. Sorry General Sherman - time marches on. But at least you have a large indoor mall named after you.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:25 pm quote
I am pretty sure we were above 100 degrees at this point. It was hot.

On the day I bought the GTS I started off by driving the canyon road over the hill to UCLA. This time I decided to go past again and look around. Up hot Sepulveda to Montana to Veteran to Strathmore with a ride around Westwood.

I went to UCLA in the early 1990s and graduated in 1993. I was wondering how much memories would come back. Well, some, but it was on the blury end of things. I guess I am getting old.

Part of the time I went there I commuted up the 405 from Lawndale and would park by the Veteran's Cemetery. it was a miserable drive and always a challenge to find (free) parking. Seeing those rows and rows of crosses every day always maked me wonder about the people there. Who they were, where they went, what kind of lives they led. For a rather solemn and grim place it always gave me comfort that there are good people out there willing to do what it takes to make this a great country.

I drove past the dorm I lived in for a quarter (not a fan) Rieber Hall. The past my old apartment on Strathmore where my motorcycle and bicycle were both stolen in 1992 (not fond memories). Then a loop around the campus.

I saw the big athletic fields I walked past daily almost 30 years ago. Then the sculpture garden where I used to relax and do homework. Then the iconic Royce Hall where I actually had a few classes. UCLA is a nice school.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:36 pm quote
Occasionally while at UCLA I would ride my EX500 down to Santa Monica and the 3rd Street Promenade. I think of it as the place where Pee Wee's bike got stolen starting his big adventure.

Time for a nice stroll down memory promenade with scant crowds due to Covid. Maybe follow that up with a walk on Santa Monica pier and end with an English beer at the Kings Head (if it was still there).

Boy was I wrong about this segment. To say it was crowded was an understatement. It was teeming with tons of people. After circling the block several times and spending about an hour to drive a very short distance I gave up on the promenade, the pier, and the beer.

I did manage to get a weak pic or two before escaping to the 10 freeway.

Did I mention how crowded it was? Big time. Crooowded.

But...Kings Head still there! A survivor of decades and Covid.

The view from a side street:

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:46 pm quote
I wasn't sure where to go next so I decided to see if I could remember how to get to Stolichnaya bakery to get some bread for my wife. Got off the 10 at Fairfax and just kept driving. Past Cantors. Through Little Ethiopia. Past Museum Row. Past Miracle Mile? Just when I thought I was lost and didn't remember I pull over and google it. Turns out it is only one block further.

Go in and buy some Borodinsky and Stolichnyi bread. Yum.

Go next door and buy a phone charging cable and a water. This turned out to have consequences. I chugged the whole bottle of water (106 degrees now) and plugged the phone into the jack in the glove box. I thought of running the cable through the door but decided that may pinch it. Instead I locked it in the glove box.

Huge mistake!

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:11 pm quote
I decided to drive to DTLA and see if GCM was open. I kept driving down Santa Monica hoping I would hit a freeway at some point. Then I saw Vine and figured I must be close to Hollywood. Sure enough it was just a few blocks away and I decided to go up and down Hollywood Blvd.

Like Santa Monica a lot of people. Covid and high heat doesn't seem to keep the crowds down today. There were a lot of people at a BLM rally near Hollywood and Highland. Drove past and saw the Chinese Theater before looping back.

I stopped in the loading zone across from the protest and took my phone out of the glove box. It was so hot I almost couldn't hold it. Apparently if you leave something in the glove box on a very hot day (the fan was on quite a bit today) it turns into an oven.

My phone had a high temperature error message and wouldn't turn on. Then it was just black for a while. I started waving it around trying to cool it down. After a few minutes of that with no success I took it out of the case and waved it some more. All the while the rally is going on across the street and I must have been an odd sight with all the waving and gesticulating at my phone. Finally after about ten minutes it came back on.

I hit record and then hear "Hey, he's one of them!" followed closely by "Get him out of here!" I wonder who "he is" and who was going to "get him out of here?" Then I realised "he" was me. Pro tip number 2 - the BLM people don't like to be recorded. Phone goes in pocket, scooter on, time to go. In hindsight that was probably not the smartest place to stop.

A bit further down the street I talked to one of the protestors. They had already been there for a while and they were going to march down to Vine shortly. I thought for a second about watching it but then decided I like my Vespa to much for it to go through that.

I am not into BLM but I admired that they were out there in such heat. It's a poor pic because their big bus is in the way but there were a ton of people packed into that plaza chanting and singing and yelling. Still in the low 100s. Hot.

Back down Hollywood to 101 South!

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:18 pm quote
After another freeway ride (while the GTS seems perfectly freeway capable it is not fun for me) I get off in DTLA and stop at Grand Central Market which surprisingly is still open. I grab a beer down below from where my work building is. Haven't been there since early March. Probably won't be back there until after the election.

I park below Angels Flight and acquire my pilsner at the BBQ place. Ohh so good and cool! Still in the 100s and I have no appetite at all. Just a thirst for liquids of one type or another. Hot hot hot hot hot!

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:31 pm quote
While enjoying my Pilsner I think of somewhere else I haven't been for 30+ years. Back in 1988 I stopped by Watts Towers to check them out. They were interesting if a bit ugly to my 20 year old self.

Time to see if they are still there and if I can still find them. I cruise out of DTLA on surface streets, then 101 - 5 - 710 - 105 - Wilmington. I stop and get gas in Lynnwood and manage to spill some even with the hold over pet carrier and pump super slow method. Grrrr.

As I am driving down Wilmington there is some kind of parade or procession with black cowboys on horses in front of a motorcycle crew, followed by a long line of cars. Don't see that every day.

I see the towers off in the distance and make my way there on side streets. This neighborhood feels quite different than Westwood or Fairfax or Hollywood. But still roasting hot.

Many years back when I went to Europe a few times I had a thing where whenever I went to see some historical place there was a 50/50 chance it was in scaffolding.

Guess what? The towers were wrapped in scaffolding. The place also seemed much more run down then I remembered. That said, I found the deign of the towers much more pleasing this time. I guess your sense of what you find attractive architecture-wise changes over time.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:42 pm quote
It is so freaking hot I am starting to lose mental focus. I decide to head towards water. Beach, Ocean, something. Something cooler. I get back on a freeway (ugh) and find myself going towards San Pedro. Then I see a sigh and detour.

Lomita Train Museum. Another place I went as a kid. Still there? Ok, lets check it out. I lived in Lomita in 1978-1979 and went to Lomita Fundamental Magnet School. Still there? Who knows?

Turns out my memories of how to get around in Lomita in the late 70s is even worse than my memories of how to get around UCLA in the early 90s. That said, I found them both!

So I started my 600 mile service journey just after 9 am and now found my self a few minutes after 5pm at the museum that closed at 5. Bummer. I did remember it though.

Then down the street a ways I found my old school with a new name. Now they are the Lomita Leopards and it's Lomita STEAM magnet or something like that. Still remember that place as well. It's odd what you remember as a kid and what slips away.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:49 pm quote
I continue my quest for water. I decide to go somewhere else I went a long time ago. I will head for that big Japanese memorial bell in San Pedro. Continue down the 110, then a long stretch of Gaffy and I find the bell. Fenced off. Bummer.

What I thought was a Japanese memorial bell in 1984 is actually the Korean Friendship Bell. Still there, just cant get to it.

Further down the road is a park. 6pm now? It's packed. Lots of people. Guess I am not the only person trying to get close to water.

I head back up the hill and pull over at the lookout lot. I look down and see the harbor and the bridge. That will work.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:55 pm quote
To the Harbor!

I go back down Gaffy to 22nd St. I remember it from when I used to fish a lot before I got married.

Cruise around and look at boats. Cruise some more and pull in Ports o Call or whatever that place is called. Huge line. Must be 200 people or more in a line. And it's still hot! Not having that.

Cruise a bit further down and see a big boat. Probably a ship actually. It kind of dwarfs my GTS. It is an awesome sight.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:01 pm quote
Now that I am on the topic of big boats I decide to go see if the Queen Mary is open.

I get to the on ramp of the bridge but it is blocked by CHP cars and a filming crew. Eventually I cross the bridge and ride through all the containers and cranes and tanks. It is a fascinating ride through the infrastructure that keeps the country going yet few people see.

Unfortunately I am getting quite fatigued and worn out by the heat. I miss the turn off for Queens Way and end up out in the periphery of the harbor. Still hot but not as bad as earlier.

Sadly no pics of the harbor.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:11 pm quote
I decide to take one last try and get a pic of Queen Mary from across the harbor by the aquarium. If there is one theme of the day (other than Hot!!!) it is that everything is super crowded in time of Covid. It somewhat defies logic to me but that it what it is.

Pierpoint landing is packed. Shoreline Drive is packed. Ocean Avenue is packed.

I give up and hit side streets hoping to escape. It's no longer fun. I surrender to the heat and the crowds and the traffic. I give in and bail out.

In the middle of a residential area my phone starts buzzing in my pocket. I see flashing lights ahead so slow down and pass what looks to be a bit of an unfortunate accident. I pull over and get the "bring us home some food order from the family. The trip is officially over. Time to head home.

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Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 124
Location: SoCal
Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:18 pm quote
One the last leg. Find the freeway, get the burritos, and get home.

It gets dark and I feel like I am driving through a convection oven as I head back inland towards home. The heat drys my eyes and throat. A long stretch of freeway, four cups of ice water while waiting for food and then a few miles later the great 600 mile service day ride draws to a close.

180.6 miles

$350

Constant 100+ degree heat.

Was it fun? Oh yeah!

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Molto Verboso
2006 LX150 (carbed) | 2007 GT200
Joined: 29 Jun 2016
Posts: 1063
Location: Toronto
Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:06 am quote
Fun series of posts! Thanks!
Hooked
lml 2t 150 with sidecar, Vespa ET4 150cc
Joined: 21 Jan 2018
Posts: 269
Location: Wales
Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:00 am quote
Enjoyed reading that.
Hooked
Piaggio Fly150 Vespa GTV250ie
Joined: 30 Mar 2013
Posts: 156
Location: Urumchi,China
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:20 am quote
joe register wrote:
To the Harbor!

I go back down Gaffy to 22nd St. I remember it from when I used to fish a lot before I got married.

Cruise around and look at boats. Cruise some more and pull in Ports o Call or whatever that place is called. Huge line. Must be 200 people or more in a line. And it's still hot! Not having that.

Cruise a bit further down and see a big boat. Probably a ship actually. It kind of dwarfs my GTS. It is an awesome sight.
Iowa battleship

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