Wisconsin to the East Coast.
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Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Fri May 20, 2011 1:31 pm quote
I'm packed and ready to go on my first long scooter trip. I'm going from Madison, WI to Philadelphia, PA on my GTS250. The route will take me through Chicago, Columbus, and DC. On the return I'm going to head straight north to Montreal where I'll turn west and follow the Ottawa river to Sault Ste. Marie. I'll cross Michigan's upper peninsula and return down the center of Wisconsin.

The plan is to maintain an ambitious pace of 275-300 miles daily. Unless the weather is really nasty, I will camp every night.

I'll be dropping in during the trip with some short updates and pictures because I would like to share my travels with the community. I have always loved reading all the other ride reports. I'm going to be keeping a blog as well but it might be just a duplication of what I post here. We'll see how the trip progresses.

timcc-timcc.blogspot.com

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I over pack.

Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Sat May 21, 2011 3:23 pm quote
Made it to the far side of Gary Indiana. I had a short visit with my brother. He had to leave for work soon after I arrived. It was nice to ride the scooter down Lakeshore Drive. The Chicago skyline on my right and Lake Michigan on the left. Still another hundred miles before I get to my intended campground. I needed a coke bad so I stopped at the arches.

It always seems to rain on me when I travel to Chicago. There on and off rain is done now and I'm resting, lying on my back, and soaking in the late afternoon sun. In the mcdonalds parking lot.
Addicted
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 791
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Sat May 21, 2011 4:17 pm quote
I will drop you a PM. We may cross paths on our adventures.
Check out the google route and see what you think

[url]http:/scooterdiaries2011.blogspot.com[/url]
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Sat May 21, 2011 6:40 pm quote
It's still warm and muggy as I sit in the tent. Put up by the light of an idling Vespa.

I didn't make it to the target campground. I was losing the light so I stopped at a gas station and asked an attendant for a suggestion. Bad idea it turned out. I'm camped in a field surrounded by monstrous RVs. So big that my camp neighbor has a goldwing for his "run around" vehicle.

The campers are noisy and I can still hear the highway. I just couldn't do any more miles today.

I'm somewhere in the area of Plymouth, Indiana. Around 300 miles today. I'll sit down with the laptop tomorrow to run some pics. Anyone know of an iPhone app that will size my photos for posting here?
Hooked
.....GTS300 Super..... LX150 (SOLD)
Joined: 18 Mar 2011
Posts: 231
Location: Apple Valley, MN USA
Sat May 21, 2011 7:09 pm quote
Thanks for sharing your travels...I'll keep an eye on your blog
Molto Verboso
04 GT200 & 2005 PX150(sold), 2005 Bajaj Tuktuk
Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 1763
Location: pa
Sun May 22, 2011 3:53 am quote
I'm in western Pa...in Johnstown, if your gonna be close, I'd love to meet a fellow MV'er and possibly ride a bit with ya......I'll pm you my cell...
B
Ossessionato
2012 BV 350
Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 2084
Location: Vestavia Hills, AL
Sun May 22, 2011 4:29 am quote
TimCC wrote:
Anyone know of an iPhone app that will size my photos for posting here?
I have not tried the email token at the top of each topic, but if I'm not mistaken you can use the icon and it will automatically size the photos for you.

I'm enjoying your thread and look forward to reading your post as you travel. My mom is from Colby, WI and we spent many a summer there. Beautiful country to begin your travels.
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Sun May 22, 2011 6:48 am quote
Thanks for the tip on the email icon ScootergirlinAl. I'll give it a try soon. I've got a moment over breakfast at Bob Evans to take advantage of free wifi. So here's a few pics, but it's time I hit the road.

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Molto Verboso
04 GT200 & 2005 PX150(sold), 2005 Bajaj Tuktuk
Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 1763
Location: pa
Sun May 22, 2011 7:43 am quote
also Tim in the top right of this thread, there is an '@' button, it will pop up an email addy to post to this thread...would be a good way to update/post pics here...
B
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Sun May 22, 2011 3:06 pm quote
Brody, my route is going to be pretty far south of you. I'm headed southeast to hit the south side of the Shenandoah park.

Right now I'm sitting down for dinner in Logan Ohio. When I started, i had intentions to avoid chain restaurants and seek out interesting places to eat. I'm tired and just want something familiar.
Molto Verboso
04 GT200 & 2005 PX150(sold), 2005 Bajaj Tuktuk
Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 1763
Location: pa
Sun May 22, 2011 3:46 pm quote
thats cool.....maybe on your way home?

I think Dutch from here is from Logan Oh.....
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Mon May 23, 2011 3:57 am quote
When I called the campground last night, the ranger told me that the storm that was following me was expected to bring hail. I wimped out and got a hotel. I covered up the scoot the best that I could, made a call to my wife and crashed early. I don't think that the hail actually hit so today I'm feeling a little silly and worried about my budget. I think next time I'll tough it out in the tent.

I'm going to be in the rain most of today, but I'm happy to be back in hill country.

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as dull as any hotel anywhere

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might not do much to protect from hail

Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Mon May 23, 2011 4:20 am quote
Rain
I guess there's no sense in delaying any further. Time to get out the rain suit and hit the road.



Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Mon May 23, 2011 4:20 am quote
Near the end of day one. Outside of Gary Indiana and feeling a little tired.



Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Mon May 23, 2011 9:30 am quote
BBQ at the border.
Crossing over into west Virginia. Finally out of the rain. Had a great ride on 555. It's crazy hilly and twisty. I've had enough of divided highways. I'm checking the map for a two lane route. The scoot looks like a clothesline with the rain gear draped over it. I tried some waterproof over gloves but took them off. They were too clumsy. In the rain, I'd prefer to have control than have dry hands.



Molto Verboso
04 GT200 & 2005 PX150(sold), 2005 Bajaj Tuktuk
Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 1763
Location: pa
Mon May 23, 2011 9:43 am quote
I'd imagine your gonna be on 2 lanes thru WVa.....enjoy it....WVa is very pretty, and hilly=twisty
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Mon May 23, 2011 5:15 pm quote
End of day three
After the rain ended, the weather was nearly perfect. My neck is a little redder. I should have stopped to reapply the sunscreen.

I tried to make more stops today. With today's late start I realized that I won't make it to Philly tomorrow night. That will ease the pressure to put in large distance days. Maybe I'll roll a little further south and ride some of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On the west side of clarksburg I had been trying to keep near the speed limit of 65 but the scoot wasn't liking it at all. When I pulled into West Union to get gas I saw the check engine light wink at me. I did a quick check of oil and coolant. Both looked good. I didn't hear any abnormal sounds or vibration so I decided to proceed. After that, I followed a personal speed limit of 60mph. The traffic was light and the cars and trucks had no problem getting around me. I didn't see the engine light come on again so I think were ok.

I climbed a few mountains today. Those roads are fun. The locals drive so fast on these twisty roads. I thought I was going pretty quick for being on unfamiliar roads but there was a minivan on my tail all the way up and down the mountain.

I'm staying in the Blackwater Falls campground. I love it. This is what I was hoping to see. Three deer passed within 100 yards of where I put up the tent. Time to study the map and plan for tomorrow.



Addicted
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 791
Location: St. Pete, Fla
Tue May 24, 2011 5:57 am quote
Looks like you may get wet again today, but sounds like you're still having fun.
I find impatient drivers to be the biggest danger on the road, so I do what it takes to let them get around, even if means pulling off. Keep riding safe.
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Wed May 25, 2011 5:30 am quote
The view is definitely worth the drive. Skyline drive, Shenandoah.



Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Sat May 28, 2011 1:50 pm quote
Hello from Philly
It's been a busy few days since I got here but today my sister has other obligations so I'm taking a few to update everyone on the progress so far.

On Monday morning I took the time to hike down to the falls at Blackwater Falls. It's such a beautiful spot but enough of a hike to start the day a little sweaty. I got the camera out and snapped a few pics then hit the road again.

I turned south thru Seneca Rocks headed toward highway 250 under a sunny sky with clouds gathering on the horizon. The roads for the rest of West Virginia were fast and winding with a little bit of a washboard ripple to the asphalt from the trucks. I climbed one mountain with a tanker truck behind me and when I saw the sign that said 10% grade next 3 miles it made me nervous to know he was somewhere back behind me. With the good weather, I had my gps out. It's a car gps so it sits in the glove box when it rains. It's a headache to enter routes into it but I love having it on a windy road to get a glimpse of what is coming around the next corner.

As soon as I crossed into Virginia the clouds rolled in. I suitied up and rode in the rain for the next few hours. I drive a lot more cautiously in the rain and with the reduced visibility I was pleased to find myself behind two dump trucks. It's great to have a pace car for the turns and twists of the mountain roads. I don't think I would have dared to go any faster than they were going.

The sky cleared by the time I made it to Staunton so I wandered to town to find some food. Shenandoah Pizza had a table outside and I had a great slice of pepperoni and a sandwich while watching people walk by. Staunton has a nicely preserved historic downtown.

The theme for the day is underestimating how long it takes to cover the miles in the mountains. I made it to the entrance of the Shenandoah park at around 4 in the afternoon. With 105 miles to cover and more than 4 hours until sunset, I thought I would have no trouble making it to the Big Meadows campground and have the tent set up before the sun set. I did make it, but there were a few complications. First, I had forgotten to get cash before going into the park and didn't have the $20 in cash for the late registration. Second, I saw the warning signs about bear country and the need for proper food storage. Something I hadn't considered when cramming clif bars in every available gap in the luggage.

The nearest exit from the park was another 10 miles or so down the road so I pushed thru. The original plan was to find my way to the town of Luray and an ATM then return to set up the tent by headlight again.

I spotted a bear crossing the road less than half a mile from the campground. Headed towards the campground. Right then changed my plan to blow the budget one more time and find a dive hotel for the night. On the way out of the park, I had to stop for deer in the road at least six times. I had to slow down for them at least another dozen times more. One of them didn't move even when I stopped five feet away from him. I yelled BOO and he got a little skittish and I got spooked realizing I was out in the open near a very big wild animal. Luckily, he decided against confrontation.

I found a crappy hotel in the Luray valley for 50 bucks. It smelled of smoke and was a bit run down but it didn't hurt the budget much.

I got an early start on day five and headed back up into the park. The weather was great again and this time I made sure to put on plenty of sunscreen. I love that park and made a point of pulling off at every overlook.

I headed northeast to DC. I had plans of a photo op parked at the national mall with the Washington Monument as a backdrop. The heat, the crowds, and the construction dissuaded me from my plans and I continued on down highway 50. I snapped a few pics as I crossed the bridge over the Chesapeake Bay and headed north up the Delaware peninsula. The ride was fairly uneventful but very hot. Why, why, why did I leave my mesh jacket at home? I was prepared to ride all day in the rain at 50 degrees but hadn't considered that I would see the temp readout on my dash to creep up to 104 Fahrenheit.

Things turned a little bad when I took met rush hour traffic outside Wilmington and went a little worse after a wrong turn. Garmin was trying to direct me to highway 95 and I was determined to avoid it. To my misfortune every road I tried seemed to be creeping along at less than 5 mph. I probably could have gotten to my sister's apartment an hour earlier than I did If I had obeyed the gps and the rush hour traffic would probably have been going at speeds that I could manage. Oh well, I made it, tired and dehydrated, but I made it.

The first day was mostly recovery. We had a nice picnic at Valley Forge park and toured the grounds. Yesterday, we took the train into the city center and checked out the Philadelphia Art Museum. Very nice. We then took a walk into the local Chinatown for dinner, checked out a bakery and a gift shop.

Today I was on my own. I took the scooter into the city and visited the Philly Vespa dealer. They had a lot of scooters in inventory and were pleasant to chat with. I had thought about getting an oil change and a new rear tire but I think that both can wait until Montreal.

With the holiday weekend, I don't have confidence in finding an available campsite Sunday night. I'll wait to leave on Monday morning.

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Fun place to go.

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Philly skyscraper.

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Bay Bridge over the Chesapeake

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Can you spot the Washington Monument?

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Riding in Shenandoah, second day in.

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BOO

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Misty evening in Shenandoah.

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West Virginia mountain riding.

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Blackwater Falls

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On the way to the Blackwater Falls campground.

Ossessionato
2010 Orange S150
Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 2834
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Sat May 28, 2011 2:04 pm quote
Sounds like a fun trip. Don't let the bears scare ya. They are scared of us. I've done a lot of back country camping & I find that bears completely ignore my campsite so long as the food is stashed. They are beautiful creatures to watch & quite safe to be around so long as you don't do anything foolish & they aren't starving to death. If you camp in bear country on the way back stow that food under the seat.
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Mon May 30, 2011 3:25 am quote
Back on the road.
Time to head north.



Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Tue May 31, 2011 10:58 am quote
New York
I got an early start yesterday morning to try and beat the heat. Philadelphia was expecting 90 degrees with high humidity. I skirted the edge of the Poconos as I headed toward Allentown then thru the Delaware Water Gap park. When I got to the other side, in Milford, PA, the temperature and the traffic had increased considerably. When I turned north on 209 at least the traffic decreased.

Just outside of the Catskill park I turned onto county road 3 and found some nice twisty bit of road. There were three full size harleys behind me and they seemed to have a tough time keeping up with me. Having the curves on gps in a heads up position really gives you confidence in what is coming up ahead. They gave a honk and a wave as they turned north on 28 where I headed down t take a look at the Ashokan Resevior. The Catskill park is beautiful and I had a good time trying to get lost. I found a seasonal only road, county road 16, that approached Platte Cove from the south east. It's a challenging climb up a ravine. Watch out going up that road, in some places its only 10 or 12 feet wide. I had planned to stay at the Woodland Valley campground outside of Phonecia, but it was only 2:30 and I was still wanting more so I made a push north to the Adirondack.

Once out of the Catskill park I left almost all of the holiday traffic behind. I was getting very hungry and drooling every time I passed the smell of a backyard Memorial Day BBQ. I decided to stop at an Applebee's in Johnstown and get my own holiday burger.

When I made it to the campground on the Sacandaga River the ranger station was empty but for a note to stop by the caretaker's site for any permits. They were having a campfire out back and told me to pick a site and they would register in the morning. They'd be open at eight. I picked a spot, set up the tent, snapped some pics of the river, and set the alarm for 5. So another early start, another beautiful day.

The temps started out cool at 55 and didn't really start to rise until ten. The roads in the Adirondack are not as challenging as the roads I saw in West Virginia but the views were just as beautiful. I wound my way thru the park. I met a big turtle that refused to be saved from the road, he would crawl back onto the road each time I pushed him onto the shoulder. I gave up and let him take his chances basking in the sun on the asphalt.

I'm typing this up in a Starbucks in Plattsburgh. I think I'll check the map now, make some calls, and decide if I'm going to Vermont or skip it and try to find a hostel in Montreal.

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Olympic Ski Jump at Lake Placid. I wasn't ready to pay to get any closer.

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Breaking camp early.

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Sacandaga River, about 20 feet from the tent.

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The water was a little loud, but I slept fine.

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One of the bigger reservoirs in the Catskills.

Enthusiast
Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 62
Location: SW Florida
Tue May 31, 2011 11:32 am quote
I lived in the Catskill arwea for 38 yaers and road motorcycles on all those beautiful roads. I'm now in Florida, the land of sand and straight roads.

Here's a few point of interest for youPoints of interest:

http://www.hudsonriver.com/node/49

http://www.rondoutinn.com/index.html (a must do forgreat place for lunch/diner and a cruise on the Husdon)

http://www.walkway.org/ (for a beautiful view of the Hudson River)

http://www.oldrhinebeck.org/ (see a show on the weekend, inexpensive and fun for all have lunch or diner
in Rhinebeck, Chelsea Clinton had her wedding there.)

http://www.ciachef.edu/ (Yummy.. Have a budget lunch in St. Andrew Cafe the or a 5 fork meal in the Escoffier Room)

http://www.zagat.com/r/gypsy-wolf-cantina-woodstock (Have a great mexican meal,visit Woodstock and see the old
burned out hippies in the town sruare)

http://www.gildedotter.com/home.htm

http://www.mohonk.com/index.cfm

http://www.huntermtn.com/ ( Do the Summit Skyrider Tour...... )r consideration:

Regards, Paul
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:45 am quote
Montreal!
Begin forwarded message:


> When I arrived in Montreal I was already hot, tired, and had been defeated by a pay at the pump in French. It took some work to even manage to prepay. This feels more foreign than Italy did. There my limited Spanish made most of the signs intelligible. Here, I'm maxed out at deciphering the cardinal directions on highways. I was having trouble finding my intended hostel for the night and frustrated by being cut off from my cell data. The McDonalds I stopped at last night was even blocking google maps from their wifi! I was about to give up and blow town, try to find a campsite. I'd have to set up the tent in the dark again. A man and his kids walked by and he said "your a long way from home aren't you? Do you need anything?" I told him I was looking for a place to sleep and he offered these fine accommodations. I graciously accepted. I didn't sleep well. I worried that the neighbors would call the cops about the homeless man sleeping in the van and I'd have find a way to explain to a French speaking only cop that I was there by invitation. Again I'm on the road early. I took a swing thru town and grabbed a few pics but I'm done with this town. On to ottowa.
>
>





Last edited by TimCC on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:44 am; edited 1 time in total
Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:43 am quote
I'm not sure why I've felt compelled to cover so much ground so quickly. maybe if I had brought more to entertain myself at camp I would stop for the day earlier.

Today was a very long day. I bailed out of the Van at 5 and was on the road in less than half an hour. I snapped a few pics on the way out, but I was so over Montreal I couldn't wait to get out. Which of course wasn't easy. I left town by a southern route being the nearest exit from the area. When I started to turn west, I got jammed up in the traffic headed to the west side of Montreal. It took a long time to get to open countryside and weave my way back to seventeen. It was still hot and humid from the day before and by the time I made it to Ottowa I was sweaty and still smelly. I didn't want to intrude on van man's family to take him up on the offer of a shower.

The first priority on getting into Ottawa was to find a Vespa shop and get a new rear tire and an oil change. The oil change possibly could wait, but it's never a good idea to leave it too long. The back tire couldn't wait. It had a few hundred miles left and I needed more than a thousand. The crew at Gearhead had me back on the road in a little over 2 hours. I have a Kenda tire on the scoot now, a little more rugged tread than I'm used to but it feels great to ride on fresh rubber.

Ottawa has a nice parkway along the river that the guys at the shop told me about. It takes you down by the old town and head of state buildings, all very pretty. I sat down for a map check and a few pictures of the river. I had a chat with a lady who pulled into the lot. She was waiting for her boyfriend who had ridden his bike into work but didn't want to fight the wind on the way home. She was lean and muscular, reminded me of friends who are training for an ironman. I told her about my night in the four wheeled hotel. She had a fun travel story about staying in a rich man's shed in Lima, Peru. He offered nicer accommodations, but they came with a price she didn't want to pay. Her accent sounded very strong to me.

I picked a rural route and a campsite destination that was a little ambitious. I was headed to a campsite called Driftwood park. It was on a man made lake just west of Pembroke. I was in Pembroke about ninety minutes before sundown to grab some dinner and wifi access and had a fun talk with two couples that I guess were all in thier eighties. The prime talker, a white haired matron prone whose dentures were not very convincing as teeth, told me she grew up in the thirties. Everyone had been poor, no one had money or much need for it. They were all farmers and mostly self sufficient. Now, she says that it's sad that there is now such a separation between those with a lot of money and those with little. She's been in the same community for more than 60 years and seen it change a lot. To my eyes, the town was more rural than any I have lived in.

I broke off the conversation and hit the road. The wind had been strong all day long. The weather channel website said twenty five mph but it felt worse than that. It would roar down the river vally and swirl and gust. It added to the fatigue and increased my gas consumption. I made it to the campground and set up the tent in the fading light. The sunset over the lake was very pretty. I hope the pics turn out. Even though there was no attendant at the park, I did the self registration. Provincial parks are expensive, forty bucks. I payed it because I planned to sleep in. I slept very well even though the temps dropped to the mid forties and the wind continued to blow.


Showers. Thank god finally showers. I'm surprised I didn't use up all the hot water I stayed in there so long. I lounged around the campground until eleven thirty soaking in the sun and the sights. I was camped right on the shore.

The wind wasn't as bad today, but I was starting to develop a hot spot of muscle ache below the left shoulder blade. I think it was from having to always be alert and ready for the next gust no matter where it came from. It may also have something to do with sleeping in a van the previous night. I casually passed a gas station because the trip meter said I had only gone eighty miles since the last fill up. Foolish. I usually fill up every 120 miles. It would be another 60 miles to the next gas station. I have to thank the people of the Modern Vespa forums for reminding me to buy a spare fuel bottle and keep it filled. It wouldn't have been a show stopper, but it would have eaten a lot of time if I didn't have it. I spent a little quality time with my scoot on the side of the road. When I gassed up, I stopped by a full service gas station. The lady there was nice but she overfilled both the scoot and the fuel bottle. The pump flow was too fast. For those that don't know, the fuel tank access is under the seat and when it's overfilled, the gas often flows into your underseat storage. It isn't anything that I haven't done myself so I wasn't angry. I was mostly overcome with the novelty. I can't remember the last time I saw a full service station in the states.


Sudbury is cool, the basalt bedrock is cresting thru the topsoil everywhere and the city is built on those sparse bits of soil in between. I wandered around town for a while, unsuccessfully looking for free wifi access. Really Canada, get with it. How do you expect anyone to visit. Clear skies and vast wilderness... Is that all? I stumbled across the Vespa dealer and town forty five minutes after they closed. Bummer. Before I had my next destination plotted though, Perry had spotted me out of the window as he was closing up shop for the night. He came out and chatted with me for a while. Great guy. I told him a little about my trip and we talked a little about Vespas. He has a trip in mind too, to ride out to the west coast for some training from Vespa ( I think that was the reason). He gave me a business card and offered any asssistance if I needed it going down the road. He gave me a die cast model of a 1953 Vespa 125 for being the "kick ass rider of the year". The model is gorgeous. I have a photo of one as desktop background at work. The suggestion of taking old 55 was nice too. People drive a little fast on the Trans-Canada Highway.

I made it to Chutes Provincial Park. Again, just as the sun sets. A quick tent set up and some typing before the netbook battery dies on me. I think it will be another early start in the morning. The mosquitoes are hungrily watching me and I think there is a small critter sniffing around the scoot. The clif bars are safely stashed under the seat.

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this is where I ran out of gas

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sunset at Driftwood Provincial Park

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they got me back on the road quickly

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good bye Montreal

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the view from my 4 wheel hotel

Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:48 am quote
I did another camp and dash. I just couldn't afford another 40 bucks for a campsite. Sorry Canada.

My first stop for the morning was for coffee and breakfast at a Tim Hortons in Blind River. I couldn't believe how busy that place was. It was like every single person in town had breakfast there. The morning started in the low forties and very slowly crept up to 60. No problem, I was ready for this. It was a fairly uneventful drive to the border and a straightforward crossing. I stopped again for coffee in Sault Ste Marie and thought about swinging down to the locks but there weren't any ships coming thru.

I followed the road along the Lake Superior coast up to White Fish Point. It's a beautiful ride with a lot of pull offs and views of the Lake. The skies looked threatening so I tucked everything away and strapped the rain gear under the bungee net for quick access but the rain never came. I did get a few interesting pics of the dark sky over dark water and sand.

I rode up to the lighthouse and then back toward the Tahquamenon Falls park entrance. My family came to this park when I was young. My dad, sisters and I hiked to the upper falls and lost the trail somewhere along the way. We were pushing our way thru deep brush and across creeks. I remember leaches being involved.

The park wanted $8 to get in. I decided that I had seen enough waterfalls on this trip that I didn't need to pay to see this one too. I turned back south to meet up with hwy28 and made it to Newberry. I camped next to some wetlands. So many mosquitoes.

Today I took some time to see the sights around Munising after a crushingly boring drive along 28. There are some great rock formations along the lake shore. The temps in the mid sixties made for great weather for hiking down to this little gem. Miner's Falls.

Last night's campground was full primitive. Outhouse, no showers. So after seeing the sights I stopped at the Munising County Campground where they let me use the showers for $5. Money well spent. I even shaved and did a little laundry in the sink. It's hanging off the scooter to dry right now as I'm stopped for coffee and a snack in Marquette. It's going to get hot now as I turn inland to Iron Mountain. My brother went to school there and I'm interested in driving about and having a look before heading south. I should be camped tonight somewhere around Rhinelander, WI.

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Miner's Falls

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trying to keep myself awake on a long straight stretch of M28

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heavy skies over White Fish Bay

Enthusiast
GTS250
Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Madison, WI
Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:53 am quote
It was a long hard push to get to Ironwood, MI. I'm not sure what I expected to see when I got there but my overall impression is that it wasn't worth the drive. I did find the school that my brother went to. It's just another community college but with a big hill behind it. There was an aging two person lift chair servicing what would be generously considered 150 feet of skiing.

I stopped for dinner at a Subway and nearly fell comatose from the carbs. I sat around for nearly an hour before I felt I was ready to proceed. While hanging around the parking lot, sitting in the shade of the scooter, I chatted with a guy who told me that Ironwood was quite a hopping town in the 60's and 70's. There were 60,000 people in the town and surrounding area. When the mines closed, most of the people moved away. The population now is more like 6,000. I rode down around town and it feels like a ghost town. A lot of dark brick buildings with boarded windows were falling into disrepair.

The scooter shop that I was praising before I was now beginning to curse. The exhaust gasket was crumbling away. The exhaust and the noise were totally bypassing the muffler. The scoot was starting to roar like it wanted to be a Harley. I wouldn't be anywhere near a dealer until I made it south to Stevens Point and by then, I figured I would just push thru and have it fixed at my home shop. I might just do the repair myself. There is some risk to the engine running with the gasket blown out, but the scoot is water cooled and the temps held steady and I kept my mind on the rear brakes. Before an exhaust retrofit, when the gasket blew it had a tendency to burn thru the rear brake line.

On my way out of Ironwood I was fussing with the gps and pressed the 'go home' option. It gave me an estimated arrival time of 2:22 AM. Visions of my own bed, shower, and clean clothes gave me the crazy impression that I could just push thru. I tried. I made it as far as the town of Irma. I forgot that the car gps that I'm using doesn't take into account that you might need to take a break once in a while or that you might not be able to travel at the speed limit. The thing that really made me stop was seeing a cardboard box in the passing lane of the highway. As I passed it, I realized that if it had been in my lane, even with my high beam on, I would not have been awake enough to respond and avoid it. I pulled over and searched for the nearest campground.

7 miles off of the highway I found myself driving down another dirt road to another swampy, empty campground. I think there were 12 sites. I was honestly happy that it was empty. I was rolling in at about midnight and would have been so embarrassed to roll in to camp on my noisy noisy scooter and wake everyone up. It was another night setting up the tent by the headlight of the scoot. I was rushing to minimize my exposure to the hundreds of mosquitoes that came out to greet me. I was getting pretty good at getting the gear and myself into the tent while allowing very few bugs in with me. I still can't figure out how there can be a food supply that can support so many of them when I'm not around to be on the menu. I fell asleep to the sound of buzzing and the fun burbling noises of raccoons trying to find a way under the scooter seat where the cliff bars were.

I paid for that campsite. I had no idea how long I would sleep. It had been such a very long day of riding. The site cost $10 for the night. The only ten I had was a Canadian bill so that is what I gave them. At the time, I was just too tired to care. I woke around nine and hit the road, still not seeing anyone near the campsite.

I think seven days on the road was too much when covering so much distance every day. On the last day I didn't find much joy in the ride. I just wanted it done. I stubbornly set the throttle assist to keep me around 60mph and let the cars stream around me as I traveled south on highway 51. I didn't stop much and made it home at about 1:30 in the afternoon. First priority was a shower, second was a nap.

I've been back at work two days now. At first it felt so strange to be in a familiar place and I struggled to reacquire the rhythms of my desk job. I covered about 3600 miles on the trip. I visited 9 states and 2 provinces. I took about 600 pictures. All in 16 days on the road. I'm very happy that I did the trip and I'm already dreaming up the next. I'll toss up a few more pictures as I sort thru them, and some more details as I mull them over.

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happy 16th birthday scooter. engine light isn't really on, just some sunlight reflecting off the led

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Molto Verboso
150 Super, C70. CB400, Duke200, DRZ400SM
Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 1034
Location: singapore
Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:34 am quote
Enjoying your pics .. Thanks for posting n ride safe

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