MP3 500 to Alaska
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Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:17 pm quote
Thunder Bay, ON to Winnipeg, ON

Early start and I think I was one of the first out the door. Fairly cool so I left on my warm weather gear from yesterday. I saw a one-man tent set up with a bicycle leaning against it in a ditch just as I exited the city.

Right away out of Thunder Bay I didnít stop for gas so I had to cross my fingers that I could find something. Found it at Upsala a kind of an out of the way place that caters to fisherman and people looking for a quiet place to bury bodies.

Two fisherman approached me in the parking lot. Iím going to assume that they were fisherman as they were carrying live bait and asked a few questions about the scooter. They were from Wisconsin and it was then I realized that I hadnít seen a US place for 2-3 days now. Even though the border isnít that far away.

Got my first pilot car to day outside of Ignace. It only looks like a small section of the road needs to be repaired but the amount of equipment and material that is there looks like there going to be there all summer.

Pulled into Kenora for gas and a quick bite to eat. As I was following traffic in I noticed that the mini van in front of me was from Florida! Kenora in the middle of nowhere has a 3-D theater. Playing ĎSan Andreasí this week

There were quite a few cross country bicyclists out on the road going both directions.

I got quite by surprise at the Manitoba border for two reasons; I thought the border was further down the road and I though that Saskatchewan was next! My bad.

The wind started to pick up closer to Winnipeg that you get. At times it was pretty brutal. Closer and closer and the land becomes flatter and flatter reminding me of the West in the US.

I pulled over to the side of the road take off my inner liner for the jacket outside of Winnipeg as it was so hot. As I was on the side of the road a van pulled over. It ended up being Len Telewiak from Winnipeg. We talked about the trip I was on, the trips he had made, etc. Great guy for stopping. In the end he gave me his email address and phone number. If I had any issues while in the area give him a call. Fantastic!

In Winnipeg I pulled over to look at something off the road and when I got back on the road the GPS wanted to take me to a different route. Again, I let technology take me down the rabbit hole. Eventually after a fight I ended up on 1 West. My next turn was a left in 545 miles!

I was in the city center and it was stop and go traffic. Most of the lights are camera monitored so Iím probably going to have to give up my license at the Alaskan border.

Finally I gave up and pulled into a Motel 6. Just a little bit less than $150 for the room. I caved and stayed.

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It all goes downhill from here.

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Taylor/Sierra I'm sure your parents are proud of you.

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I saw at least 20 of these along a stretch of the road. Pretty sure a major 'refresh' is in the works.

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Another 'baited bear hunt'.

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My first 7-11 in Canada.

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Kenora waterfront.

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Not so sure about this one. Phone not working could someone call and see if the issue IS a criminal record or you'd LIKE a criminal record?

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Caught me by surprise.

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Ossessionato
Scarabeo 500GT(hers), `07 250 MP3, `09 400 MP3
Joined: 13 Oct 2008
Posts: 2592
Location: Kingman, Az.
Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:29 pm quote
Can I assume you work for an oil company located in Alaska or affiliate co.?
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:42 pm quote
norCal Randy wrote:
Can I assume you work for an oil company located in Alaska or affiliate co.?
Not even close.

Last edited by Chiaroscuro on Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:44 pm quote
The End
Calgary

Well after some hard thought and contemplation itís over. I got service yesterday; tires, oil change and they cleaned out the air filter box but did not have an air filter to replace it. I got tires front and rear even though in Toronto I got a new (expensive) rear tire. I felt this would allow me to maximize my chances of not having tire issues in NW Canada and Alaska.

For the past several days Iíve had the issue with the horn blaring every time you put the tilt lock on. Itís a pain in the ass especially if you pull up for fuel or at the front of a hotel. Until today the locking mechanism has been firm but things have changed.

I got up early, before 0400, for the start. I wanted to make Dawson Creek the start of the ALCAN highway. However, after 125 miles on the road, most of it in the rain I pulled in for gas and something to eat. When I came back out there was oil leaking again from the oil filter, and the tilt lock was soft. Locking and relocking didnít fix it and it felt like you could push the scooter over.

So my options were to return to Calgary, but probably could not get service for several days as they are so busy. Also, they donít stock parts for the MP3 because they just donít see them. I happened to have an oil filter with me and that was the only reason that I got the oil change.

So driving South from my 250-mile breakfast jaunt I decided to head to Seattle. I know that the shop there, Big People Scooters (Vespa Seattle) would have the parts and be able to work through these issues. It was just under 900 miles away. It was also South of where I wanted to be.

On one of the stops something else went wrong. As you may know you start the scooter by holding in the brake lever and hitting the start button. I hold in the left brake lever when I start it. However, on one of the stops the scooter no longer starts by holding in this brake lever. Dead silence when hitting the start button. Kind of panicked but then held in the right lever and it started. Something else to get fixed.

Then a bit later while riding the engine light came on. Screw it Iím done.

So I decided to try and get to Vespa Salt Lake City, just under 900 miles but in the right direction Ė home. I was going to call them from a hotel and see if they could squeeze me in on Tuesday. Theyíre closed Sunday and Monday so it was imperative to call to day to schedule this.

Now for the clincher. Later that day I was in Montana when IÖ wait for itÖ ran out of gas. I ran out of gas 100 yards from the ramp that would lead me to the town that had the only gas station around. Right at the ramp. I couldnít believe it. The gas gauge has been broke off and on the entire trip. Iíve been using the trip odometer and was sure I had and least another 20 miles or so.

So no service because itís too late to call.

I know Iíve put the scooter through a lot. Itís an urban scooter thatís been up the big adventure roads doing far more things than probably ever imagined for it.

The engine is strong and has never let me down even over 10,000 foot passes and 14 hour days of hard riding but everything around it has failed; steering bearings (twice), the tilt lock function, the gas gauge, the oil in the filter issue, the variator/rollers/belt, that damned seat that made me sit on a pillow for more than 34,000 miles, wind protection, the controller for the turn signals has been replaced, mirrors replaced, etc. Oh, yeah the parking brake is locked and I canít break the nut loose so Iím forced to do a dance of holding the brake lever while trying to get the gas compartment open and then pump the gas and do everything in reverse all the while not letting the scooter drift away across the parking lot.

With the service Iíve gotten, including parts Iím spending almost $85 a day on the scooter just to keep moving forward! And Iím still facing more bills for the issues outlined above.

I had big plans for this trip, big ones.

It was fun but thatís it Ė 2500 miles to home.

Gas (1 of 1).jpg
That's the ramp that leads to the town that has the only gas station in the area!

Ossessionato
Scarabeo 500GT(hers), `07 250 MP3, `09 400 MP3
Joined: 13 Oct 2008
Posts: 2592
Location: Kingman, Az.
Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:46 pm quote
If I were you I'd look at renting a car and trailer and get it home that way. Rent a U-Haul PU. Or leave it somewhere and have it commercial trucked back home later. Rent a car or take the Greyhound to get back home, or fly.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37673
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:42 pm quote
Bugger.
Ossessionato
2016 MP3/500 Sport ABS, 2009 MP3/250, 2012 GTS Super 300ie
Joined: 08 Jul 2011
Posts: 4238
Location: Marietta, GA
Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:17 am quote
I was wondering the MP3/500 was holding up for your Trip.
I always considered the MP3, a "Maintenance Nightmare".
But, I love the Bike and enjoy working on them as much as riding them.

I bet a trip like this on a Burghman may have been less Maintenance on you.
My friends who have them swear by them.

I have enjoyed watching the Posts.
Sorry I missed you when you were in Savannah.
I happen to be there visiting family, but didn't know until after I saw your post after you have gone on your way.

Keith,
Marietta, GA
Hooked
2008 Piaggio MP3 500ie
Joined: 02 Nov 2012
Posts: 363
Location: Folsom, CA USA
Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:09 am quote
I hope you find the issues are just some loose connections.. The deal with one brake not allowing start is probably an adjustment or replacement of a cheap microswitch.

If you have the time, energy and inclination I would like to hear about your luggage for this trip. I was trying to see what saddle bags you are using.. Your thoughts would be appreiated.

I still think you should turn your posts into an ebook. I would buy it!

Take care.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 5487
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:18 pm quote
Ouch
Bummer, sorry to hear about it.

Seems to me, even if you do get all the issues fixed, it would be difficult to trust that scoot for such a trip again. (Though from my own perspective, I'm a glutton.)

I've really enjoyed reading about your trips, and hope (perhaps against hope) you can continue this one.

Cheers,
Sully
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:58 pm quote
bigbadger wrote:
I hope you find the issues are just some loose connections.. The deal with one brake not allowing start is probably an adjustment or replacement of a cheap microswitch.

If you have the time, energy and inclination I would like to hear about your luggage for this trip. I was trying to see what saddle bags you are using.. Your thoughts would be appreiated.

I still think you should turn your posts into an ebook. I would buy it!

Take care.
I just bought some cheap saddle bags that fit the frame - no intention at the time to get them but saw them on a store visit and got them. I used a North Face waterproof duffle strapped to the back. Inside divide items up into smaller bags for easier housekeeping. In 2010 I grabbed a Cabelas duffle. Big mistake because it was top loading and a nightmare to find anything.

The frame doesn't lends itself for attaching items like a motorcycle with hard panniers.
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:00 pm quote
Re: Ouch
Madison Sully wrote:
Bummer, sorry to hear about it.

Seems to me, even if you do get all the issues fixed, it would be difficult to trust that scoot for such a trip again. (Though from my own perspective, I'm a glutton.)

I've really enjoyed reading about your trips, and hope (perhaps against hope) you can continue this one.

Cheers,
Sully
In 25 years the engine will still be running. It will be at a grist mill in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia happily doing it's thing. The frame, electronics and other bits and pieces will have been placed in the dust bin of history.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 5487
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:29 pm quote
Re: Ouch
Chiaroscuro wrote:
Madison Sully wrote:
Bummer, sorry to hear about it.

Seems to me, even if you do get all the issues fixed, it would be difficult to trust that scoot for such a trip again. (Though from my own perspective, I'm a glutton.)

I've really enjoyed reading about your trips, and hope (perhaps against hope) you can continue this one.

Cheers,
Sully
In 25 years the engine will still be running. It will be at a grist mill in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia happily doing it's thing. The frame, electronics and other bits and pieces will have been placed in the dust bin of history.
Member
GTS250ie, MP3 250ie, MP3 500ie
Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 23
Location: Canada
Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:12 pm quote
HI Chiaroscuro,

Are you still in Calgary? I have a MP3 250ie parts.
Addicted
2007 MP3 250(retired) C650GT
Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Posts: 708
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:34 am quote
Last stop was in Great Falls, headed south.
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:34 am quote
fpt wrote:
HI Chiaroscuro,

Are you still in Calgary? I have a MP3 250ie parts.
Thanks headed South.
Ossessionato
Scarabeo 500GT(hers), `07 250 MP3, `09 400 MP3
Joined: 13 Oct 2008
Posts: 2592
Location: Kingman, Az.
Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:02 am quote
Chiaroscuro wrote:
fpt wrote:
HI Chiaroscuro,

Are you still in Calgary? I have a MP3 250ie parts.
Thanks headed South.
The saga continues ?
Member
GTS250ie, MP3 250ie, MP3 500ie
Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 23
Location: Canada
Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:25 pm quote
Re: French River, Ontario
Chiaroscuro wrote:
1080p minimum, sound, full screen.

What is the brand and model # of the drone you are using? Great shot!Merry Christmas.
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:04 am quote
Re: French River, Ontario
fpt wrote:
Chiaroscuro wrote:
1080p minimum, sound, full screen.

What is the brand and model # of the drone you are using? Great shot!Merry Christmas.
DJI Phantom 3
Ossessionato
Jeep 4dr. Rubicon, Hard Rock
Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 2530
Location: Olympia, WA
Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:37 am quote
R U In FL.?
Chiaroscuro.................good to see you're still out there! What are you riding these days and where are you?
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:52 am quote
Re: R U In FL.?
Turkman wrote:
Chiaroscuro.................good to see you're still out there! What are you riding these days and where are you?
North Carolina, 'riding' my car. Scooter is in storage in Florida. Hope to trade or sell before Summer 2016.
Ossessionato
Scarabeo 500GT(hers), `07 250 MP3, `09 400 MP3
Joined: 13 Oct 2008
Posts: 2592
Location: Kingman, Az.
Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:09 pm quote
What fuels your drone, battery or...................? Be nice if you could do this over/in the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, but may be prohibited.
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:58 pm quote
norCal Randy wrote:
What fuels your drone, battery or...................? Be nice if you could do this over/in the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, but may be prohibited.
http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-3-pro


Flew back to Alaska in October and drove around:

Ossessionato
Jeep 4dr. Rubicon, Hard Rock
Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 2530
Location: Olympia, WA
Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:31 am quote
Re: R U In FL.?
Chiaroscuro wrote:
Turkman wrote:
Chiaroscuro.................good to see you're still out there! What are you riding these days and where are you?
North Carolina, 'riding' my car. Scooter is in storage in Florida. Hope to trade or sell before Summer 2016.
What are you thinking about getting next?
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:52 am quote
Re: R U In FL.?
Turkman wrote:
Chiaroscuro wrote:
Turkman wrote:
Chiaroscuro.................good to see you're still out there! What are you riding these days and where are you?
North Carolina, 'riding' my car. Scooter is in storage in Florida. Hope to trade or sell before Summer 2016.
What are you thinking about getting next?
Heading to Alaska in two weeks. Spent a few weeks there in October past. Going to sell, I hope, the scooter soon and get a motorcycle.

Fairbanks.png
North of Fairbanks - October, 2015

Ossessionato
Jeep 4dr. Rubicon, Hard Rock
Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 2530
Location: Olympia, WA
Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:47 am quote
??......
.......what motorcycle(s) R U considering?

U probably noticed I bought '16 MP3 500, from Vespa Seattle aka Big Peoples Scooters. They R the best!
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:05 pm quote
Re: ??......
Turkman wrote:
.......what motorcycle(s) R U considering?

U probably noticed I bought '16 MP3 500, from Vespa Seattle aka Big Peoples Scooters. They R the best!
Congrats. Hey, you can take over MP3 500 to Alaska!

Looking at the Honda Africa Twin. However, the Kawasaki is at a pretty sweet spot on price and reputation.
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Ossessionato
Jeep 4dr. Rubicon, Hard Rock
Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 2530
Location: Olympia, WA
Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:42 pm quote
Re: ??......
Chiaroscuro wrote:
Turkman wrote:
.......what motorcycle(s) R U considering?

U probably noticed I bought '16 MP3 500, from Vespa Seattle aka Big Peoples Scooters. They R the best!
Congrats. Hey, you can take over MP3 500 to Alaska!

Looking at the Honda Africa Twin. However, the Kawasaki is at a pretty sweet spot on price and reputation.
Sold my '16 MP3 500.
Took my Jeep to Alaska in August
Ossessionato
LXV 150 3v ie. Midnight Blue (Sold)
Joined: 06 Dec 2010
Posts: 3003
Location: Bangkok
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:22 pm quote
Turkman. Just wondering if your first name is Stan
Hooked
Piaggio MP3 500 2016
Joined: 20 Jun 2017
Posts: 104
Location: Chicago
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:37 pm quote
Wow, just wow. This was an incredible thread. What great pictures, narrative, and incredible journeys. Good luck.
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:36 pm quote
greenspam wrote:
Wow, just wow. This was an incredible thread. What great pictures, narrative, and incredible journeys. Good luck.
Thanks, looking at getting back on the road this Summer.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 5487
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:20 am quote
Chiaroscuro wrote:
greenspam wrote:
Wow, just wow. This was an incredible thread. What great pictures, narrative, and incredible journeys. Good luck.
Thanks, looking at getting back on the road this Summer.
Good news!
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:02 am quote
Spotted in the wild; Mayfair, London, UK - 30 minutes ago.

thumbnail.jpeg

Molto Verboso
Red Mp 3 500
Joined: 08 Dec 2007
Posts: 1513
Location: Norman, Oklahoma. USA
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:20 pm quote
still around
I see you are still around, just started rereading your post of Alaska for the second time. been a few years from the first time. enjoying it again
Hooked
Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 291

Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:19 pm quote
Re: still around
sanogeo1 wrote:
I see you are still around, just started rereading your post of Alaska for the second time. been a few years from the first time. enjoying it again
Thanks!
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