OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
I rode to Amerivespa from Atlanta on my GTV. This was my route (all interstate):

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From my house to The Alamo is just over 1,000 miles so I decided to break up the ride into two full days and a few hours on a third day. I have family I could stay with in Montgomery, AL so I decided to leave after work and knock off the 170 miles to Montgomery, making it around 800 miles left to go to San Antonio. The midway point was Lafayette, LA leaving me with around 400 miles each day.

Packed and ready to go:

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Before I left, I set my blackberry up with http://www.instamapper.com so my family could keep track of where I was at. The link to my trip ended up going viral between my family, their coworkers, friends, etc. I ended up having several people following me - most of which I don't even know - and pretty much killed the productivity of several businesses as multiple people were actively following "the guy riding a Vespa all the way to Texas". Several times when I made extended stops for lunch, fuel, etc. I would get emails asking if I was ok, etc. For anyone thinking about a long ride, I suggest trying instamapper - your family and friends will love it.

The first day from Atlanta to Montgomery was uneventful. I started out the second day (Montgomery, AL to Lafayette, LA) with my sites set on Biloxi, MS for lunch. I had visited Biloxi before and found what I consider to be the best shrimp po'boy on the planet at The Ole' Biloxi Schooner. It just so happened Biloxi was the midway point of my trip that day so it made the perfect lunch stop.

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I decided to ride around Biloxi a little bit and see if it looked better than the last time I was there a few years ago (when Katrina damage and debris were still present) and it does. I took a little ride up Hwy 90 to Gulfport and back before heading back on to I-10.

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The remaining ride to Lafayette was uneventful and I hit my hotel just in time to beat an oncoming storm. It rained a good portion of the night that night but had cleared up by the morning. I hit the road headed toward Houston for lunch as it was the midway point between Lafayette and San Antonio.

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A friend of mine that lived most of his life in Houston recommended a Mexican restaurant called The Last Concert Cafe. An old tradition there is that you knock on the door to get in.

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The food was great and I was back on my way to San Antonio. I hit The Alamo for a quick picture as soon as I arrived in San Antonio.

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⚠️ Last edited by Karmann on UTC; edited 2 times
@stanny avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
 
Molto Verboso
@stanny avatar
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
UTC quote
That's awesome! Was your route and stops about the same on the way home too?
@scootergirlinal avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
2012 BV 350
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2091
Location: Vestavia Hills, AL
 
Ossessionato
@scootergirlinal avatar
2012 BV 350
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2091
Location: Vestavia Hills, AL
UTC quote
I enjoyed reading your report and viewing your photos. Looks like you had a marvelous ride!
OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
From there it was on to my hotel to check in and drop off my gear. Big thanks to skyjumper for providing me with locked storage for my stay at his hotel. As this was my only ride home, I was a little concerned with security at night and he hooked me up with my own little garage.

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That night I headed over to Vespa Alamo Heights for the meet and greet and then the El Tropicano to check in and get my rally bag. The next morning was the ride to The Alamo

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And group rides all afternoon

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I hooked up with stdave at the dinner and we rode to the Lucha Libre match that night.

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Saturday was the Concours, etc. Big thanks to Ruby Slippers for organizing an unofficial group ride to Big Lou's for pizza that afternoon. It was a great time.

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⚠️ Last edited by Karmann on UTC; edited 1 time
OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
After lunch, stdave and I decided to do some sightseeing around San Antonio. We hopped on the river taxi at the El Tropicano and made our way to the Alamo and did some looking around downtown.

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From there it was on to the banquet and back to my hotel to get ready for the ride back.

I followed the same route going back and decided to do a little sightseeing in Houston on the return trip. I consulted with my friend again for a lunch suggestion and he set me up with some brisket barbeque.

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From there it was on to San Jacinto - a memorial to the battle that was fought there for Texas' independence from Mexico.

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They have a car ferry that takes visitors from the park across the port of Houston. It worked out great for me since it drops you right at I-10 on the east part of town. I hopped on without having to wait thanks to my small size.

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That afternoon I ran into what weather.com referred to as a "Significant Weather Event" in the town of Vidor, TX. I pulled on to I-10 after a fuel stop to see what looked like one of the worst storms I had ever seen directly in my path. The wind kicked up so hard it almost stopped me dead in my tracks. I bailed out at the next offramp and parked under an overpass. As I was pulling out my rain suit, 15 or 20 cars showed up and parked with me. A few minutes later it started hailing. At that point I decided to wait it out. After about 30 minutes I was back on my way with rain gear on. It stopped raining about 20 minutes later and eventually cleared up as I got further into Louisiana.

The next day it was lunch again at the Biloxi Schooner and I headed north toward Montgomery. It drizzled off and on a few times, but nothing bad until I ran into this:

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The weather was bad up ahead and a major accident held up a few miles of traffic. We were at a standstill for 45 minutes or so. From there it was on and off traffic all the way to Montgomery.

The next day I was on my way back home and at my desk at work by noon. It was a great trip and I'll be on the road again in June 2011 headed to New Orleans. My aunt has already told me that people in her office are marking it on their calendars so they can follow me again on Instamapper.
@stanny avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
 
Molto Verboso
@stanny avatar
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
UTC quote
That's just amazing. I'd love to hear more about what you packed, what was important and what was not. What rain gear did you bring?
@that_l_do_pig avatar
UTC

Hooked
2009 Vespa GTS250ie 'Constance'
Joined: UTC
Posts: 344
Location: Marietta, Georgia
 
Hooked
@that_l_do_pig avatar
2009 Vespa GTS250ie 'Constance'
Joined: UTC
Posts: 344
Location: Marietta, Georgia
UTC quote
yep, I shoulda/coulda/woulda.

that's some serious interstate time. Big props for that.

Glad you did Last Concert Cafe - that blows away San Antonio Tex-Mex any day.

*edit* and the stalking via instamapper worked great. "0 MPH? Is he dead?"
OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
Stanny wrote:
That's just amazing. I'd love to hear more about what you packed, what was important and what was not. What rain gear did you bring?
All of my clothes were in the two waterproof bags you see in the pictures. I left my topcase relatively empty except for the myriad of chargers I needed for phone, GPS, intercom, MP3 player, etc. Under the seat were tools (including enough to do a complete belt and roller change), spare belt, rollers and graphite exhaust collar, rain suit (lives in there year round anyway as I commute daily) and my armored cable lock. In the glovebox are my 12V tap and something usually charging.

Re: what I packed - I wore my leather jacket, gloves and boots on the trip (for maximum protection on the highway) but packed my mesh jacket and sneakers for the rally. To reduce the size, I removed the back armor from the mesh jacket and just switched it out with the leather one when I got to San Antonio. As it turned out, I didn't end up wearing the mesh jacket much at all and could have probably left it at home. I was glad I packed sneakers though. The three most important pieces of equipment on the trip were the GPS (Nuvi 500), modular helmet (Nolan N103) for the heat and a cramp buster for the long highway hauls (best $10 I ever spent).
@ruby_slippers avatar
UTC

Hooked
Vespa GTS250
Joined: UTC
Posts: 109
Location: Midwest
 
Hooked
@ruby_slippers avatar
Vespa GTS250
Joined: UTC
Posts: 109
Location: Midwest
UTC quote
Atlanta to SA
Love, love, love the pictures and your story! Maybe I should check into the instamapper thing so my family can follow me on my adventures. Great idea! And remember, we all had 5 Big Lou sightings and a great time! Now I need to start studying for New Orleans . . .
OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
that L do pig wrote:
yep, I shoulda/coulda/woulda.

that's some serious interstate time. Big props for that.

Glad you did Last Concert Cafe - that blows away San Antonio Tex-Mex any day.

*edit* and the stalking via instamapper worked great. "0 MPH? Is he dead?"
Hah! My Houston connection chimes in. If you ever need to know where to visit or eat in Houston - that L do pig is your man. Next year I'm dragging him to New Orleans no matter what it takes.
@that_l_do_pig avatar
UTC

Hooked
2009 Vespa GTS250ie 'Constance'
Joined: UTC
Posts: 344
Location: Marietta, Georgia
 
Hooked
@that_l_do_pig avatar
2009 Vespa GTS250ie 'Constance'
Joined: UTC
Posts: 344
Location: Marietta, Georgia
UTC quote
Karmann wrote:
that L do pig wrote:
yep, I shoulda/coulda/woulda.

that's some serious interstate time. Big props for that.

Glad you did Last Concert Cafe - that blows away San Antonio Tex-Mex any day.

*edit* and the stalking via instamapper worked great. "0 MPH? Is he dead?"
Hah! My Houston connection chimes in. If you ever need to know where to visit or eat in Houston - that L do pig is your man. Next year I'm dragging him to New Orleans no matter what it takes.
Yep, from Banh Mi to Burritos, Houston has the best food in the world.

Tell us about the GTS on the extended runs - wind, tires, other vehicles, weather, heat, dangerous insects (lobbing that one to you).
OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
that L do pig wrote:
Tell us about the GTS on the extended runs - wind, tires, other vehicles, weather, heat, dangerous insects (lobbing that one to you).
Good idea - Tires I started with a brand new belt, rollers and tires. I wasn't sure about the rear tire. Being that they normally run 2,800-3,000 miles with normal use and I was going to have 2,000-2,500 on it when I got back, I was fearful that it was going to be showing cord by the time I hit the Georgia line. I figured all the heat and high speed running would wear it out even faster than normal. What happened was the complete opposite. This may be the longest lasting rear tire I ever have. With 2,200 miles on it (Michelin Pilot City), it still has a lot of tread left.

Wind - After a few hours you learn the tricks as far as aerodynamics and drafting (or as I've started calling it - "hitching") off other vehicles. 18 wheelers are great but only if you're dangerously close. The best I found are large SUV's (Yukons, Expeditions, etc), 1/2-3/4 ton pickups (there is no shortage in Texas) and flat bed 18 wheelers. You can ride inside their aerodynamic envelope and cruise all day with less wind and less strain on your engine. And your top speed and gas mileage increases significantly. There are other tricks, but I would have to demonstrate or need illustrations.

Insects! Something I didn't expect. I ended up getting stung twice and came close to a third. I expected and received bug hits on my chest and facemask (which can feel like a bullet hitting you when you're at 70mph). What I didn't expect was a wasp/bee hitting my back collar, dropping into my jacket and stinging me on the top of my back or having a bee fly into my helmet. I escaped a sting on that one by flipping up my facemask and grabbing it before it stung me on the eye. And I somehow got stung at the Alamo group ride by a hornet or yellow jacket.
@dannyh avatar
UTC

Resident Gentleman
--------2008 LX150-------- Sold
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5045
Location: Brady, TX
 
Resident Gentleman
@dannyh avatar
--------2008 LX150-------- Sold
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5045
Location: Brady, TX
UTC quote
Great pics. Thanks.

So, we must have been on the mission ride and at Big Lou's together. But did we meet? If so, I'm not putting a face with the name (Karmann).
@stanny avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
 
Molto Verboso
@stanny avatar
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
UTC quote
Karmann is not the hot babe in the avatar, which was the 2nd sentence out of his mouth when we met in line for the Alamo ride! Danny, he's the 2nd one to my left at the pizza place in the white shirt.
@midnight_rider avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
09 GTS (sold) 2014 NC700XD
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5016
Location: Charlotte, NC
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@midnight_rider avatar
09 GTS (sold) 2014 NC700XD
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5016
Location: Charlotte, NC
UTC quote
Ahh, another great ride report and I feel restless and wanting to ride. Can't wait for AmeriVespa 2011.


Thanks for the pics and great narrative!
UTC

Ossessionato
GTS 300ie
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
 
Ossessionato
GTS 300ie
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
UTC quote
I thought I remembered meeting you. It looks like you had a good trip. I am determined to go to New Orleans from Austin. Several people think I am crazy, but it's not nearly as far as you went. I might have the hubby bring a truck and trailer just in case though.

I think when you have a GTS, going alone is almost better. I went with Maribell from Austin on her Stella. It took us 4 hours to get to San Antonio on the back roads. It only took 3 hours getting home, but we had a lot of fast scoots with us to bring up the rear. Your trip looks really awesome. Glad you made here and back okay.
@dannyh avatar
UTC

Resident Gentleman
--------2008 LX150-------- Sold
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5045
Location: Brady, TX
 
Resident Gentleman
@dannyh avatar
--------2008 LX150-------- Sold
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5045
Location: Brady, TX
UTC quote
Stanny wrote:
Karmann is the 2nd one to my left at the pizza place in the white shirt.
So, is this him?  I'm guessing since your seat is vacant you took this pic?
So, is this him? I'm guessing since your seat is vacant you took this pic?
UTC

Ossessionato
GTS 300ie
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
 
Ossessionato
GTS 300ie
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
UTC quote
I believe so.
OP
@karmann avatar
UTC

Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
 
Hooked
@karmann avatar
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: UTC
Posts: 485
UTC quote
Yes - that's me. And that's stdave on my right in the grey shirt.
Quote:
Karmann is not the hot babe in the avatar, which was the 2nd sentence out of his mouth when we met in line for the Alamo ride!
Hah - yeah, some people are sorely disappointed when I show up after they've seen that avatar. That's a Piaggio press photo from back in '07 when the Avio grey GTV's came out. I didn't even think about it when I first started using that avatar how it could match with my generic/feminine sounding handle (which comes from my other hobby - restoring Karmann Ghias).

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@cipote avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Current: 1976 150 Sprint V Previous: VS5 GS 150, 1974 Rally 200, 2005 GT 200
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1946
Location: Oakland. 1000 posts, only 10 of any value
 
Molto Verboso
@cipote avatar
Current: 1976 150 Sprint V Previous: VS5 GS 150, 1974 Rally 200, 2005 GT 200
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1946
Location: Oakland. 1000 posts, only 10 of any value
UTC quote
Awesome ride! Real impressed by the mileage you racked up. Most have been a real treat to spend that kind of alone time and to mix in the excitement of a rally as well.
@skyjumper avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
2007 Vespa GTS 250/2009 Buddy Various Stellas 1960 VBA
Joined: UTC
Posts: 97
Location: San Antonio Texas
 
Enthusiast
@skyjumper avatar
2007 Vespa GTS 250/2009 Buddy Various Stellas 1960 VBA
Joined: UTC
Posts: 97
Location: San Antonio Texas
UTC quote
I'm glad the container worked out for you. I was commuting to another of our properties in Corpus Christi that weekend between Amerivespa events. I did stop by a few times at the hotel but never got a chance to meet you. I'm sure we crossed paths at Vespa A.H. and most of the other events too.
We will have to make it a point to catch up in NOLA.

g
@stdave avatar
UTC

Hooked
2009 GTS Super
Joined: UTC
Posts: 105
Location: Irving, Texas
 
Hooked
@stdave avatar
2009 GTS Super
Joined: UTC
Posts: 105
Location: Irving, Texas
UTC quote
Hey Karmann,
What was your average speed on your trip. Did you run wide open most of the way?
It was good meeting you and I'll get you some night pics of my scooter soon. I have been extremely busy catching up on work around the house since I avoided anything not Vespa related prior to Amerivespa.

David
@sergeibelski avatar
UTC

Hooked
2010 Vespa GTS 300 Super
Joined: UTC
Posts: 475
Location: Airdrie AB
 
Hooked
@sergeibelski avatar
2010 Vespa GTS 300 Super
Joined: UTC
Posts: 475
Location: Airdrie AB
UTC quote
Great trip! Thank you for posting a wonderful writeup!

Sergei
@himfilth avatar
UTC

Addicted
2008 Blue GT200 (Cringer)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 686
Location: Wilson NC
 
Addicted
@himfilth avatar
2008 Blue GT200 (Cringer)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 686
Location: Wilson NC
UTC quote
Sounds like it was great adventure. Thanks for sharing
@georgiagirl avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
 
Molto Verboso
@georgiagirl avatar
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
UTC quote
Very cool! Hope you had a great time. Enjoyed your report.
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