@dominick54 avatar
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Hooked
09 MP3 500cc Reddevil, 2011 LX150 IE (Wifes) 2019 MP3 500cc Sport Nightrider (Mine)
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@dominick54 avatar
09 MP3 500cc Reddevil, 2011 LX150 IE (Wifes) 2019 MP3 500cc Sport Nightrider (Mine)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 354
Location: Colorado Springs CO
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Hey what did you do with the MP3 if your living in India?
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SilverWing 600-- 4nprevious Vespa
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Location: chattanooga tn
 
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trip
Great report....end result bike almost totally trashed?

I remember riding BC Hwy 37 about 10-15 years ago, south, Honda CB750 with KwikCamp trailer----one day 300 km mud, mud, all day standing on pegs. But Fun.

I see soft saddle bags on side of bike-----did they rub paint off? I used Rev Pak soft bags on early (too) spring trip to NorthCap in Norway---they got kind of trashed and as they licked up more and more dirt rubbed bad on bike.

Great that somebody does trip like you did----too many trailer bikers out there------but I saw deep in Alaska, 2 GoldWing Riders in their little nylon jackets and low quarter shoes, not worrying about dirt having real fun.

My trip started in Seattle, fresh tire stop, Kenda (wore like iron), ended at friend's house in Seattle again----off came the Kendas....on with other tires. Took 6 months to get bike real clean. No Honda trouble, just lots of fresh oil on chain----somedays at every stop.

For anybody interested in Alaska---to say you have ridden there, try Hyder, my trip to Hyder on return from Alaska north, lots of bears along the road waiting for handouts----I had my Stupid Jack Russel with me----he wore himself out barking at them.


I also ride rubber band drive scooters-----did Baja on Helix---GAS the idiots that design them must never been on trip in North America---gas tanks too small! Even on BMW with big tank had to carry gas going to James Bay. And scooters now do not carry spare tires, or seem to have room to strap spare set on---I once for trip to Alaska (that never happened) with Helix figured out how to duct tape a spare front on plus 2rears that the trip would have eaten up.


Once again great write up-----trip on three wheeler maybe wiser than solo.

John Grinsel
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August 07, 2010 - Ft. Nelson to Grande Prairie
I bid adieu to my new Ramada Inn friends and rolled out of town. I was low on fuel but I decided to get down the road a few miles before pulling in. After all I was back in civilization, there had to be a gas station just a few miles down the road?

I drove on out of town, and it really drops off, you're in the middle of the wilderness; I mean nothing, no houses, no businesses and apparently no gas stations. I checked the GPS and the closest gas was back at Ft. Nelson or 100 km further up the road. I turned around and went back to Ft. Nelson. I so hate turning around.

When I was fueling up I noticed the 'belt' indicator was flashing. Great, aren't these things supposed to last 50,000 miles?

I finally got around to cleaning the windscreen on the scooter. I mean for the first time. I haven't touched it for the entire trip. It would get bugs and road crap on it and then it would rain for days and get cleaned off. So I grabbed one of those squeegee-ma-jigs out of a bucket by the pump and wiped it down.

Without delay I scratched the sh*t out of it as there was something on the foam pad. 12,000+ miles and the first time I clean it, I scratch it. I just shook my head.

Now I'm going to have to look directly at it for, well forever. There's no ignoring it. It's not like walking in on your wife or girlfriend with your soon to be ex-best friend. That image will fade over time. I can't even close my eyes for a few minutes to try and get this image out of my mind. Scratched!

I headed back out staring through a haze of plastic swirls while gritting my teeth so hard I got a headache. It ended up that I didn't run across a gas station for about 50+ miles past Fort Nelson which meant I would have had to use gas from the spare can. And at this station there was a warning sign to check your gas gauge as there was no fuel for another 118 km.

It had started to rain about an hour outside Ft. Nelson and would rain, hard, off and on for hours. Good thing I cleaned off the windscreen earlier.

Further south I pulled into Buckinghorse River Lodge as I saw they had gas pumps. The low fuel light was on. As I turned into the very muddy parking lot and approached the pumps there was a huge sign announcing that the pumps were locked because of theft and to go to the lodge for the key. So I turned around and headed towards the lodge and ran into another sign that said; NO FUEL. Ouch.

I started to pull out and head on when I noticed the Buckinghorse Lodge across the road had fuel pumps as well. It looked like some commercial mining/gas/oil camp so I wasn't sure if they sold fuel to the public or to people on scooters from Florida. With the low fuel light hovering in my peripheral vision I rode on over. Thankfully they did sell gas to the public and scooter riders. I found out that the next gas stop was Wonowon a little over 100 miles away.

The guy that helped me get gas said that the winter time is the busy time for them as the dirt roads are frozen and workers can drive back to the compressor stations for maintenance. They have rooms in connected-trailers for about 200 people. Pretty austere and reminded me of what I lived in in Iraq. Less the sound of gunfire and fewer, I'm sure, rocket and mortar attacks. But this is Canada.

This area is also the 'rain band' of BC and as we were talking it didn't let me down. It poured.

I went inside and grabbed a baloney sandwich and a drink. You have to take your shoes off to go inside, similar to what I had to do at the Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake and it's just as big pain in the ass here as it was there but it does keep the floors clean and angry Canadians from yelling at you.

The sandwich was amazing! It was probably the best sandwich I've had in weeks. Who would have though baloney could taste so good, in Canada?

It was still pouring when I pulled out of the mud pit for a parking lot that they have. As I headed south I started to run across a real increase in traffic on the road. Within an hour probably 50 trucks passed me heading north. They were carrying everything from lumber, fuel bladders to what looked like the gantry for a space shuttle launch.

There were several long waits, some greater than 15 minutes, for pilot cars at construction zones. The roads in this area don't zig and zag up the mountain they, for the most part, head straight uphill so there are some long steep climbs.

As the day wore on it gradually began to flatten out and there were larger and larger farms beside the road. The weather started to clear a bit with some low clouds and only intermittent showers.

A few miles outside of Dawson Creek is the Kiskatinaw River Bridge. This is a curved bridge that is part of the old Alaskan Highway. You have to run a few miles off the new Alcan Highway to see it but it is well worth the side trip.

Then you're in Dawson Creek, the start of the Alaskan Highway. I had done it backwards!

Heading on you cross into Alberta out of Dawson Creek. There was more sun by now which was a pleasant change. The roads, for the most part, were dry.

You're now riding in rolling fields that present some very dramatic views that seem to go on forever. It reminded me of Montana or the grasslands of South Dakota on the way to Sturgis. And since it reminded me of the ride to Sturgis the wind began to pick up considerably.

I was hit by one gust of strong wind that pushed me over into the oncoming traffic lane and almost into the far ditch. Luckily there was no oncoming traffic as it took me a few seconds to gain control and get back into the other lane. Pretty scary.

Further on is Grande Prairie. The road by now had turned into a four-lane interstate and as you're approaching the outskirts to Grande Prairie you ride up the crest of a hill and there before is the city of Grande Prairie. It was like something out of the opening credits from a movie.

Quite a beautiful little town. Of course there could be a seamy underbelly that might shock even me.

I went straight to a hotel and checked in. I decided, a few hours after checking in, to stay an extra night as I was beat. I'm looking forward in getting further down the road but I've put in some miles the last few days.

380 miles
Buckinghorse.
Buckinghorse.
At least there were no mosquitoes on the longer waits.
At least there were no mosquitoes on the longer waits.
I came across more and more large trucks the further south I got.
I came across more and more large trucks the further south I got.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Kiskatinaw River Bridge.
Kiskatinaw River Bridge.
Kiskatinaw River Bridge.
Kiskatinaw River Bridge.
Backwards!
Backwards!
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
North of Grand Praire.
North of Grand Praire.
North of Grand Praire.
North of Grand Praire.
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 1 time
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Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
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Molto Verboso
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Well written and as usual.. great pictures.. the only thing missing was a snapshot of the scratched windshield.. 8)
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Re: trip
john grinsel wrote:
Great report....end result bike almost totally trashed?

John Grinsel
Scooter looks fine. Few, if any, marks on it. Other than the scratches on the windscreen. Someone let Piaggio know it's available for their scooter museum.


Here are some pics I took today. All that was done was a good hosing and wipe the grit off. To me it doesn't look too bad.

Today is the first day, well actually yesterday, that I tried to start it up since I got back from the trip. Dead, engine not turning over. Lights are on, clock works, etc. I pulled the battery and hooked it up to a trickle charge for 24 hours.

Battery back in the scooter, horn, tilt lock, lights, etc. all work fine. Engine not turning over. I pulled the fuses and reseated them (6). Fires right up and runs great. Killed the engine and tried to start it. Nothing engine doesn't turn over. Pulled fuses and reseated them, fires right up. Anyone come across this issue?
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 2 times
@dooglas avatar
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
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Location: Oregon City, OR
 
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@dooglas avatar
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
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Location: Oregon City, OR
UTC quote
Chiaroscuro wrote:
john grinsel wrote:
Great report....end result bike almost totally trashed?
Scooter looks fine. Few, if any, marks on it. Other than the scratches on the windscreen. Someone let Piaggio know it's available for their scooter museum.
This is the part of story that fascinates me. The scooter came through this expedition with nothing beyond expected wear and tear for the distance and conditions if I am following the account correctly. Not in any way "totally trashed". What an adventure!
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Dooglas wrote:
This is the part of story that fascinates me. The scooter came through this expedition with nothing beyond expected wear and tear for the distance and conditions if I am following the account correctly. Not in any way "totally trashed". What an adventure!
It doesn't even look like its high-mileage to me. Exhaust pipe is caked with mud - still - but other than some minor cosmetic nicks it looks new or slightly used. I'll try and remember to take some close-ups the next time I see it.

In fact knowing what I now know and that I've healed and have had time to rest I'd would ride this same scooter from Key West to Inuvik and Prudhoe Bay and back to Ushaila next year. It's doable. Long and exhausting but doable.

Three things would have to happen:

1) Sponsorship of some sort
2) That damn seat needs to be fixed
3)

Ok, two things. I'll comment (write) about this in a later post that I'll try and get up soon. This whole trip report is work.

I'm looking at making the run again (not the Ushaila part) next year if I can arrange the time. I hate leaving things hanging so I have to go to Inuvik and Prudhoe to close this out. However, I am looking at a motorcycle and use the scooter as a trade in this time.
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 1 time
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Molto Verboso
NC700XD
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Molto Verboso
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NC700XD
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I envy you. Thanks for the vicarious adventure.
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Re: Trip
Dominick54 wrote:
Hey what did you do with the MP3 if your living in India?
I put it in storage.
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August 8 - 9, 2010 Grande Prairie to Cochrane
August 08, 2010

I finally got my Canadian cell phone to work. The website they have is ridiculous in trying to get service or put some more time on it. I finally figured out how to add time to it by using the support number - that apparently works on the phone even if you have no time, and a credit card.

I called the dealer listed on the Piaggio website - Scooterville - Missoula, MT. They answered; "Flanagan's Motors." I immediately think this is going to be a repeat of Spokane.

Me: Are you a Piaggio Scooter dealer?

Them: Oh, no.

Me: Well you're listed on the Piaggio website as being one.

Them: Just a minute.

Some papers rustle, I hear an overhead page in the background. I bite my tongue so hard it bleeds. (That maybe wholly unrelated to the phone call)

Them (new voice): Yes sir we are.

Me: Great, I have an MP3 500 and I need a 12000 mile service. Can you handle that?

Them: No problem.

Me: I'm also having issues with the steering. It seems like there is something wrong with the bearings. I've been doing some research online - blatant plug for ModernVespa.com website at this point - and they have loads of info....

Them: Not a problem sir we have a top notch mechanic.

Wow this is great. I make an appointment. I think I'm going to get this beast sorted out finally. As a reward I slowly I lower myself back into bed, as it is after 0900 after all. Time for a few more hours of shuteye.

As pretty as Grande Prairie is there doesn't seem to be a lot to do. I walked around a bit and the distances are great between attractions; liquor store, Domino's and Tim Horton's. I finally end up back at the room pretty early and call it a day.


August 09, 2010

Another late start.

South of Grande Prairie the landscape seems significantly different with rolling hills and forests. I decide to head towards Banff/Jasper since I'm so close. I would love to spend a day or so exploring but I'm in 'head south' mode.

There is no real direct route to the parks. I head south along 40. About 100 miles south I enter into a beautiful valley that has a river running through it, really pretty.

Then, bam, you run into a coal mine straddling the river and road! I bet this isn't on the 'Welcome to wherever I am in Canada' website. What a disaster for such a pretty place. However, the local population has to earn a living and we need coal. But still it's quite a shock to the senses as it jumps out of nowhere at you after the pretty ride.

I continue on and the road crosses the river and turns back on itself. You think it's going to run back along the river in the direction you came from but it shortly begins to climb out of the valley.

As you ride to the top of the road you can see a huge mountain range out in front of you. You have arrived in Grand Cache.

A fairly small town I pulled into the first gas station that I came to. Out front were several people sitting on a bench watching life pass them by. As I was gassing up one of them asked me what 'that' was. I couldn't help myself. I told him it was a 2010 Yamaguchi. A slight pause from him, his eyes got big and he said "It is?! I've heard of them."

I had to tell him the truth. His face had lit up like a kid at Christmas. I didn't want him to go through life telling everyone he had seen a 2010 Yamaguchi roll through Grand Cache.

But this was a mistake. After spending 20 minutes explaining to him what 'it' was I gave up. So if you're ever in Grand Cache ask around and I'm sure you'll hear tales about the day the 2010 Yamaguchi came to town.

Grand Cache, the Mayberry RFD of Canada.

From Grand Cache you drop back into another valley and ride along yet another beautiful river. The road is pretty rough, not Haines rough though. There were several construction zones that I had to stop at. At most of them the stop was pretty short though.

You roll on for about 80 miles until you get to the outskirts of Hinton. It's here that you have to decide if you're going to run through Jasper and Banff, as if that was a decision you seriously considered not doing, or bypass it.

I was low on fuel at this turn off. I could head into Hinton which was just a few miles up the road or head into Jasper and hope that there was a gas station close. Once again I had no idea. On to Jasper with fingers crossed.

I immediately ran into (saw) some of the largest Elk, OK the largest, I've ever seen. I almost rear ended a camper from Michigan gawking at the beasts. They just stand next to the road grazing, not paying any attention to the 50 or so vehicles that are parked on the side of the road.

I pulled over several times to take pictures. The light would fade fast today as the mountains surrounding the valley are so high.

Within 20 miles of entering the park I found a gas station. Once again that low fuel light was on. I am one lucky SOB.

There are many ice fields here. I stopped at Athabasca Glacier. While still huge and beautiful, there are markers along the road showing you just how much the glacier has receded over the years.

I then headed on to the Lake Louise, Banff area. I pulled in at the village of Lake Louise to take a quick drive through it. Very pretty but and much smaller than I had imagined.

Heading out I finally saw what I thought was an MP3. My first. By now it was dark but I recognized the headlights and wide front stance. I'm almost 100% sure it was an MP3.

The next time I pulled off the park highway for fuel, this is one long park, I almost ate it. They have Texas gates to keep the wildlife from the highways. By now it was drizzling and I crossed it at an angle the scooter took a wild lurch but somehow I was able to bring it back upright. If I had been on two wheels I'm pretty sure I would have went down. A quick stop for gas and to check my shorts and I was back on the road.

I finally stopped in Cochrane outside the park for the night.

The USA tomorrow.

376 miles
Just beyond this bridge is a very large coal mine.
Just beyond this bridge is a very large coal mine.
Jasper area.
Jasper area.
Jasper area.
Jasper area.
'Huge' does not describe this.
'Huge' does not describe this.
Jasper area.
Jasper area.
Athabasca glacier.
Athabasca glacier.
South of the Jasper area.
South of the Jasper area.
South of the Jasper area.
South of the Jasper area.
Lake Louise entrance.
Lake Louise entrance.
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 1 time
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Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
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Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
 
Molto Verboso
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Nice touch with the name of the Piaggio.. I will have to remember that one.. great photos as usual.. inspiring..
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
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Location: Oregon City, OR
 
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I'm loving this series. Is there a plan to put all this together into a single illustrated travel journal and post it somewhere that it can remain accessible?
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Molto Verboso
MP3 500
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Location: Utah
 
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Dooglas wrote:
I'm loving this series. Is there a plan to put all this together into a single illustrated travel journal and post it somewhere that it can remain accessible?
YES: Do so and place all the accolades at the end.
Is it possible for one of the moderators to do so?
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Hooked
2007 MP3 250
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Location: Central Florida
 
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Very Cool!
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Dooglas wrote:
I'm loving this series. Is there a plan to put all this together into a single illustrated travel journal and post it somewhere that it can remain accessible?
I'm planning a website of just this trip. But at the rate it's going the riddle of Global Warming and Male Pattern Baldness will have been solved, Bernie Madoff will be out on parole.

Owning a URL does not guarantee you will ever actually have a website up and running.
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August 10, 2010 Cochrane - Missoula
Cochrane lies just west of Calgary so as I headed out I got diverted by traffic, don't ask me how, and ended up in the suburbs of Calgary. I hadn't seen traffic like this since Seattle. But I rolled on turning left or right when the GPS told me to. Eventually I got south of Calgary and out of the traffic. It was bright and clear when I left Cochrane but as I exited the southern end of Calgary it looked like it was going to rain.

As you get out past High River and Nanton, about 40 miles south of Calgary, you see a low sloping section of mountains off to your right. These are the Rocky Mountains. You ride along this for quite a few miles.

80 miles south of Calgary I rode through the town if Claresholm, Alberta. Small, dusty, dry with grain towers and the streets lined with pickups. I thought this is my 'Last Picture Show' town. It was like stepping back in time 40-50 years ago to a small Western town; a true piece of Americana. Then I saw all the Alberta license tags!

I pulled in for gas and to get rid of my Canadian money. I ended up getting something like $3.73 worth of gas.

There is a sign outside Claresholm warning if high wind gusts. I thought crap can't I get away from this for a day. However, it wasn't too bad.

The award for the sign of the day is; Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, which is located outside Ft. Macleod. I so wished I could go see the exhibit but I wanted to make some time today. I also wanted a t-shirt. If anybody lives close please PM so I can get some money to you.

60 miles south of Claresholm is Cardston another small 'western' town. It is about 25 miles from the US border. From Cardston you get off the 4-lane freeway and onto a two lane highway that winds through rolling hills with views that go on forever. By now all I could think of was greenbacks and cheap American beer just over the horizon.

I was back in 'Big Sky Country' even if it's Canada. I saw a lot of signs announcing the Blood Tribe Indian Reservation which this town borders. There are several small towns that seem attached to or in support of the local native population. There are quite a few signs announcing different services for the local tribes.

There are also some fairly large farms/ranches that I passed. There were quite a few horses grazing in fields that had chest high grass weaving and swaying around them with the wind. With the mountains in the background I could just imagine how this scene had been repeated for a hundred years or more. Really beautiful.

Right before the border crossing there was this large rain storm in the distance. You could see curtains of water drifting down onto the low lying hills. I was sure that I was going to run right into it but the road eventually turned away from it.

The border crossing into the US was pretty straightforward. Far easier than the crossing into Alaska with 'Lt. Cmdr. I've been stationed here way too long' running things.

Back in the USA. How great is that! Well I still had about 5000 miles to go but I wasn't going to let that ruin my day.

Again I had no idea where I was, I knew I was headed to Missoula but other than that I hadn't a clue. I pulled onto Two Sisters for lunch in Babb, MT.

Smart move. Fantastic food, pretty cool t-shirts. The place was packed. While there I was reading a local newspaper and it dawned on me that I was near Glacier National Park! I almost chocked on the second order of fires I was scarfing down.

Glacier? That's one of the jewels of national parks. How could I pass this up?

Sure enough just 9 miles south of Two Sisters was the entrance to the park. I stopped for some pictures at that 'Glacier' sign and ran into to some people from Lakeland, Florida. I used to live right down from where they currently call home. Small world. Even being from Lakeland they still had no idea what I was riding. I give up.

The park road is the 'Going-to-the-Sun Road' that everybody raves about. It winds for about 50 miles through Glacier National Park crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

Very, very spectacular. Amazing (have I used this a lot on this trip?), amazing vistas and amazing views. It just goes on and on.

There were quite a few construction delays because parts of the road had fallen away from the side of the mountain - you are literally riding a small trail cut from the mountain side. There are even a few tunnels that you have to pass through.

Even with the intermittent clouds the highway was amazing. It loops up and over Logan Pass where you cross the Continental Divide. There is a hiking trail that starts at Logan Pass, a highline trail that looks pretty (insert some word other than amazing here).

The road winds around with the trail and you can look up and see that the trail is literally hanging on to the side of the mountain above the roadway. Put this on your to-do list.

On the back side from Logan Pass there were quite a few goats/sheep wandering around on the road. Traffic got backed up for some time as everyone, me included, had to stop and take pictures.

This is a long road and the 35 mph zones make for a long day. I exited the park near MacDonald Lake and Martin City/Hungry Horse.

I got to Missoula fairly late in the evening. As I was unloading I struck up a conversation with few guys riding Harley's. Where are all the single women riders? Is there a national curfew, did Homeland Security issue an alert since I was out of the country? We swapped a few lies and I called it a night. Service tomorrow,

435 Miles
A few miles before the crossing into the US.
A few miles before the crossing into the US.
A few miles before the crossing into the US.
A few miles before the crossing into the US.
A storm right before crossing over.
A storm right before crossing over.
Right after the crossing.
Right after the crossing.
Right after the crossing.
Right after the crossing.
Two Sisters!  If I hadn't stopped I may have missed Glacier National Park.
Two Sisters! If I hadn't stopped I may have missed Glacier National Park.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Just inside the park.
Just inside the park.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Logan Pass.
Logan Pass.
Logan Pass.
Logan Pass.
Logan Pass.
Logan Pass.
From Logan Pass Visitors Center.
From Logan Pass Visitors Center.
Logan Pass.
Logan Pass.
Just past Logan Pass.
Just past Logan Pass.
Just past Logan Pass.
Just past Logan Pass.
Just past Logan Pass.
Just past Logan Pass.
Construction stop.
Construction stop.
View from one of the construction stops.
View from one of the construction stops.
Even though the light was bad I defy anyone to stand as I did and not be in awe of nature.  Truly amazing (yes I've used it again).
Even though the light was bad I defy anyone to stand as I did and not be in awe of nature. Truly amazing (yes I've used it again).
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 1 time
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
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Location: Oregon City, OR
 
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The next installment please! I'm hooked.
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Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
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Molto Verboso
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Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
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Me too.. Can't get enough.. All of the photos look like HDR.. realy great !
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Hooked
Joined: UTC
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Hooked
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August 11, 2010 Flanagan's
I got up early in anticipation of getting service on the scooter. I drove around a bit killing time. Missoula, which I found out later, is situated on what was an ancient lake bottom. The town is relatively flat and surrounded by low lying mountains on three sides. It's the home to the University of Montana - Go Beavers!

I went to the address on the Piaggio website but it didn't look like a scooter dealer, the lack of scooters, scooter signage, etc. was a big clue. I drove around some more and found a scooter shop! They directed me back to the same address. It was only then that I saw someone walking around inside.

I went in and explained why I was there; 12,000 mile service and the steering issue. I am positive that the guy behind the counter was the same guy I spoke with earlier on the phone. They were ready for me and checking in only took a few minutes.

They gave me ride back to the hotel and I settled in for a long day of hanging out. It wasn't too long that the phone rang. It was Flanagan's - Scooterville, the scooter was ready! Amazing! These guys ARE good.

They picked me up drove me back to the dealership a few minutes later. I ran into the 'service manager' and he said that my keys were with the cashier. So I went down and paid. $143. I just kept looking at the bill $143 - 12000 mile service. Something wasn't right. I walked outside and stood by the scooter for a few minutes: $143?

I went back in and asked the service manager, Alvin, what exactly did they do for $143? His response, oil change. I either snapped a tooth or a small portion of my frontal lobe shifted as I experienced a sharp pain on the left side of my face when the words 'oil change' finally registered.

Alvin continued, "We don't have the tools to do a 12,000 mile service. We haven't been a Piaggio dealer for three years"

Me: "Why did you tell me on the phone that you were when I called the other day?"

Alvin: "Oh, I would never say that."

Me: "Well someone did or I wouldn't have brought the scooter here."

Alvin: "I'm not sure who you talked to."

Me: The heat coming off my body is beginning to fog up his glasses. "I don't understand, I told you I was here for a 12,000 mile service and you accepted the scooter for the service. Why would you do that?"

Long uncomfortable silence for him as I'm looking around for either a sharp metal object, long heavily weighted object (preferably a bat or cricket mallet) or a loaded 12-guage shotgun conveniently leaning against a wall. I only spy an empty 5 gallon water jug in the corner. I'm amazing but even MacGyver couldn't figure out how to fashion a killing device out of that.

A couple of shrugs, a grunt or two from both of us and I'm out the door. On the way I out I try to show my disgust by slamming the glass door but they have one of those hydraulic door closers on it and all I do is break a nail and strain an already tender rotator cuff.

I slowly ride back to the hotel mulling my options. Which on deep introspection are none.

I wander about town for an hour or two feeling sorry for myself and looking for some food. The food calms me down and I begin to come up with a plan to get this damn thing serviced.

I go back on the Piaggio web site to look for some addresses that I can email to get some current information about the availability of service from an actual Piaggio dealer. While on it I get pissed so I decide to branch out and send emails to everyone at Piaggio I can find including the President, CEO and that guy named Piaggio assuming he is still with us. And assuming that I can find their email addresses.

I'm know I'm being selfish, this about me. I rode to the Arctic Circle on their damn scooter and now I want some service.

After about two hours online I have what I think are some valid addresses, including the President/CEO of Piaggio. So I blast out an email for help. Well I interpret it as an email for help. Others have said I was just grumpy.

The email:

"I hate to send out a 'To whom it may concern' blanket email but in this case I can't find contact information on the PiaggioUSA website. So I have sent this to several addresses in hopes of a positive response.

My name is XXXX XXXXX and I'm the owner of a 2009 MP3 500 which I purchased in June of this year. Shortly after my purchase I embarked on a trip to the Arctic Circle from Key West, Florida.

MP3 500 to Alaska

The postings are a few weeks behind as I'm now in Missoula Montana headed back to Florida. I was successfully able to go to the Arctic Circle in both Canada and the US (Alaska). The issue that I'm experiencing is the poor response that I'm getting from dealers when I need service and the lack of correct information on the Piaggio website.

While in northern Canada on the way to the Dempster Highway and the Arctic Circle I called ahead to Anchorage, the only dealer listed on the Piaggio website, to set up an appointment to get new front tires installed.

Surprisingly that dealer doesn't stock tires for MP3s. In order to get tires to Anchorage to meet my schedule I had to expedite an order for which I incurred quite a substantial service charge to get them to Anchorage on time.

I spoke with them about issues that I was having with steering. They said that it was caused by the tires being worn. Not having any experience with the issue I accepted that answer. The steering seemed 'better' but it was certainly not resolved by the new tires.

After having the tires installed I continued on to Fairbanks and then on to the Arctic Circle. After completing the run to the Arctic Circle I needed a rear tire. I called back to Anchorage and ordered the tire. As I was still in Fairbanks there was time to get them shipped to Anchorage and this time there would be no surcharge.

But what perplexes me is a dealer that doesn't have one tire for the brand that they have on the showroom floor. Particularly tires as they are a consumable item.

I got back to Anchorage and waited several days for the appointment to get the rear tire installed. While waiting at the dealer to have the tire change I was told that the tire ordered was the wrong size. And I would have to pay a premium to get another tire shipped overnight.

Days later I'm still amazed at the gall of a dealer who makes a mistake and then wants to pass that mistake on to the customer. I flat out refused to pay extra and eventually they agreed to get the tire without additional cost. I still had to pay for a hotel for the night, which in Anchorage is not cheap, and it put my schedule back one day.

Also, the address on the Piaggio website is incorrect for the Alaska dealership. According to the dealership they moved to a new location three years ago yet they can't get the address changed on the website.

Now I'm in Missoula, MT. I went to the Piaggio website and found a dealer listed there. I visited their website and it has Piaggio's displayed.

I called and set up an appointment for a 12,000 mile service and to have this steering issue resolved for a Piaggio MP3 500. This issue is well documented on ModernVespa.com. It is ow causing the scooter to be very hard to handle at low speeds. It can be quite difficult to control when trying to ride in slow moving traffic.

I dropped the scooter off this morning and then went back in the early afternoon to pick it up. What surprised me was that all I got was an oil and filter change. I discussed this with the service manager, Alvin, and he stated that they weren't a Piaggio dealer and hadn't been for years.

Here's the rub. I drove to Missoula from southern Canada based on information I found on the PiaggioUSA website. I really didn't want to go Missoula I could have gone to any dealer that was on my way back to Florida.

Now I'm in Missoula with several things that need to be looked at; valves, spark plug change, drive belt replacement, steering head bearings, etc. that I can't get done. And I've already paid for several hours of service and I have yet another wasted day in a hotel.

Piaggio needs to correct the erroneous information that appears on the Piaggio website. If I had broken down and got towed in I might be stuck because the information I'm getting from the website is incorrect. I might have been directed to a dealer that's closed, doesn't have parts or supplies on hand or isn't a dealer anymore. It would only take one afternoon on the phone to reconcile all this information.

Consumables like tires need to be stocked. Yes, it's the dealer's decision on what to have but a purchaser shouldn't be charged an exorbitant surcharge to order something that by any stretch of the imagination would be in stock.

Finally, can you provide me the name of a dealer, an authorized, well stocked Piaggio dealer, where I can get the proper 12000 service done and this steering bearing issue resolved so that I can get home? I can't trust the information I'm seeing on the Piaggio website.

I'm headed into Utah on 08/12/2010 towards Salt Lake City then east to central Colorado and down the center of the Colorado towards Durango, CO."

I now wait for the response that I'm sure will solve all my problems.
Obligatory India photos since I didn't take any today.
Obligatory India photos since I didn't take any today.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
CHIPs India.
CHIPs India.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Everybody likes monkey pictures.
Everybody likes monkey pictures.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 1 time
@noth avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: UTC
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Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
 
Molto Verboso
@noth avatar
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
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It's now December 30th.. I can't wait to hear what sort of response you got from Piaggio concerning their poor service..

The pictures from India were good.. a bit different than the Northwest, but good.. a Cobra? Yikes !
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
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Location: Oregon City, OR
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@dooglas avatar
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
Joined: UTC
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Location: Oregon City, OR
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Chiaroscuro wrote:
Missoula, which I found out later, is situated on what was an ancient lake bottom. The town is relatively flat and surrounded by low lying mountains on three sides. It's the home to the University of Montana - Go Beavers!.
That would be "Go Grizzlies!"

(I enjoyed the pictures from India BTW)
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Hooked
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Hooked
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August 12-17, 2010
August 12, 2010

I awoke refreshed with high expectations that all my troubles would soon be over. After all what company wouldn't want to go out of its way to help someone who is using their product on such a high profile noble endeavor? Then of course there was me just trying to find a dealer to service my scooter.

So I logged in:

'Good morning Mr. XXXX:

(The Mr. part got me; I'm already feeling better and anticipating the load of swag that is coming my way in addition to all the corporate accolades that will roll in over the next several weeks.)

My name is XXXX XXXXXXX and I'm with Piaggio Group Americas, Inc Aftersales Department.

I am sorry to hear about your product and service experience so far and would like to provide whatever assistance I can so you can continue with your riding enjoyment. We agree that our dealers should possess the necessary stock and tools to service our customers efficiently and adequately. However, we understand that this is not possible in all markets due to location and demand for our brands.

In effort to assist you, we can research authorized dealers along the routes of your current journey but need additional information from you. We understand you anticipate being in the Salt Lake City area, eastern and central Colorado around 8/12. How long will your stay be and can you provide us with your personal information so we may contact you? Also, we need the VIN information for your MP3 500 so we can look up all pertinent information for further assistance.

There is an authorized dealer in Salt Lake City that services both Vespa and Piaggio scooters. We would like to contact that dealer to verify that they are still authorized and able to provide the assistance you require for your continued journey.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions and/or to discuss your concerns further.

Thank you.'

My first reaction was to be pretty pissed. I'm on the road, I've pointed out that I feel I've been misled by Piaggio (via their website), I'm asking for some help. What I get in return is a cookie cutter response covering their ass and asking (stalling) for further information.

What really galled me was the line; 'We would like to contact that dealer to verify that they are still authorized and able to provide the assistance you require for your continued journey'. You mean you don't know who your 'authorized' dealers are? They are on your website, authorized or not go ahead take a peek. How about spending 10 minutes on the phone and call them or call the regional service manager to confirm the 'authorization'.

When faced with a situation like this I usually fire off a rapid vitriolic response that in the past usually hasn't gotten me far and has dug the hole a bit deeper that I find myself originally in. So this time I calmly shoot off a generic email to give me time to think about this and come up with a vitriolic (I love that word) response.

Email to Piaggio:

'I need service for Friday in the SLC area. In particular I need the steering issue addressed.'

And then I headed out.

Once again I went the wrong way first thing in the morning. More evidence I should sleep in until 1300 everyday. I was stubborn and refused to believe the GPS. I prefer my way of navigating; put my ear on the railroad tracks (as long as it's not too hot out), throw a piece of dried grass in the air, flip a coin.

As always the GPS was 95% correct. It kept telling me that I was headed the wrong way. I ignored it for about 45 minutes thinking the whole time the road would eventually turn south which, of course, it never did. I finally made an illegal u-turn under a bridge and headed back to Missoula.

Heading south and east I passed Jens where I tried duck for cover from some crazed truckers on the outbound leg. Still no services there.

On to Anaconda where I had to pull off for gas and ended up driving some 12 miles to the closest gas station. Further south I skirted Butte where I had stayed the evening of the 4th of July some 16 years ago, or so it seemed. Then to Dillon where I pulled in to check my emails.

Email from Piaggio:
'Thank you for your response. In order to further assist you and the dealer, we need to know the length of your stay and a number you can be reached.

Please understand that the dealer will require the appropriate amount of time to diagnose your concern and provide the proper remedy to fix your bike. I will be contacting the dealer to discuss this further but would like to pass on your information for their follow up.'

I'm thinking, have they not read the previous emails. I'm on a trip/adventure/(fill in appropriate noun of your choice) of a lifetime. I'm not staying anywhere, I'm as free as the wind.

Email back:

'This is NOT a stay. I'm NOT headed to Utah for a vacation I'm trying to get home.

This should be done in one day; 12000 mile service and the steering head issue - as the dealer knows, Unless Piaggio is picking up my hotel tab for the entire stay. I need service for this Friday with me leaving Saturday morning.

I'm leaving for Utah now and I'll try and find an Internet cafe along the way otherwise I'll check emails tonight.'

I was frustrated but not angry. Ok, I was a little PO'd. It was like Piaggio wasn't reading the emails, just blindly responding with a cookie cutter reply. I'd had enough time to think about the situation and I had already come to the conclusion I was on my own here.

From Dillon I headed to Dubois, ID passing through some mountain passes that went over 7000 feet. Not a hiccup from the scooter. I saw a lot snow drift fencing lining the road. They must get a LOT of snow here as there were miles of it.

I stopped for gas and something to eat in Idaho Falls, ID and to check emails again.

Email from Piaggio:

'I understand XXXX and will communicate your concerns with the dealer. However, we cannot make promises or guarantee that they will be able to address the steering heads concerns in the time frame you are requesting. We will do what we can.
We will monitor the services and the inspection once the bike is at Vespa Salt Lake City. Here is their information:

Vespa of Salt Lake City
361 West 9000 South Sandy UT 84070
Phone: 801.562.0100 Fax: 801.562.0237'

So I called Vespa of Salt Lake City, actually Sandy UT. I was able to get someone from service on the line even though it was early evening.
Nice guy and he went out of his way to tell me he would do everything he could for me. Except they had no parts to do a 12,000 mile service. Apparently they tried to get back in touch with Piaggio to let them know after they had looked at their inventory but they couldn't get anyone to pick up the phone. I kind of know the feeling.

West of Idaho Falls is Craters of the Moon National Monument. It would have been a great side trip if I wasn't so frustrated and running out of time.

I've told myself time and again 'don't rush back home' it's always counterproductive. But as the hours and miles passed I just wanted this to be over.
I pulled into Ogden UT about 2130 for gas. I had always thought that Utah was pretty much a dry state with alcohol (beer) sales pretty tightly controlled. But apparently the owner of the gas station I stopped at never got the memo. He had a pretty impressive walk-in beer cooler.

I ended up staying in Sandy UT, which got me past Salt Lake City. SLC is beautiful at night even with the bumper to bumper traffic I ended up in. This is another great area that I wish I had the time to explore but I'm starting to feel the miles and I still have a few hard days in front of me.

Before bed I sent off an email to Piaggio:

'After several stops I was able to contact Vespa of Salt Lake City. They have NO parts for a 12000 mile service on an MP3. Did you not ask them if the parts were available?

Is there any dealer in the US that is stocking parts for an MP3? I'm not being sarcastic I'm just wondering.

I'm heading to Florida. I'm worried about the drive belt and this issue with the steering but I have no choice.

Can you contact Barney's of Brandon for me to ensure that they will have the parts available and can fix this steering issue? I want to get this serviced and fixed a week from Saturday? This will give me time to get back.

I'm really disappointed in this whole issue.

I've really been impressed with this scooter; stock, 'out of the box', with a rookie rider and I've been places that people on the big adventure bikes rarely get to. Yet, I can't seem to get support (parts in a timely manner, service, availability - time and location) anywhere in the US.

I haven't decided on a route yet but I will probably be traveling through Albuquerque, Ft. Worth/Dallas on the way back. If there is something on the way back let me know otherwise it's Barney's.'

649 miles.

August 13, 2010

I was up bright and early. Too late for the continental breakfast that closed at 1000 AM though.

I had an email from Piaggio:

'We recommend that you contact Barney's of Brandon for the 12,000 mile service and the inspection of your bike regarding your concerns. It is best that you speak to them directly since it is difficult to communicate with you and you may better answer any of the dealer's questions.

Upon confirmation of the appointment with the dealer, we will have our Piaggio technical representative follow up and assist the dealer in diagnosing the concerns with your MP3 500 as well as locating any necessary parts not in their stock. Please contact me to confirm your appointment for our continued follow up.'

I call that the 'brush off.' I was livid but I took it in stride and accepted my fate.

Before starting on the trip I should have really thought through this whole 'how do I get service, what if I break down scenario' thoroughly before leaving. Heck, I should have thought this through before I even bought the scooter.

So I waited until I could get through to Barney's to set up service. I got what essentially could be called the run around from the service 'guy'. Essentially they told me I could bring it in but they didn't have parts or I could buy all the parts, credit card required, for the entire service even if I wouldn't be using all of them.

How about the steering issue? 'Yeah just print out the info and bring it in.' No one was going to do any upfront research or make any calls. And this was my 'scooter home.' It only reinforced the idea that I was alone. I swear I didn't cry.

So I set up service for the 21st which I thought would give me plenty of time to get back.

Email to Piaggio:

'I finally got through to Barney's of Brandon. XXX.XXX.XXXX. I spoke with XXXXX in service and set up an appointment for Saturday the 21st.

They, Barney's, are also a dealer that does not stock parts for the MP3.

How can anyone expect to travel with a Piaggio scooter because of this lack of parts? I'm riding this scooter across North America. If I had known that service/parts were an issue I would have rethought this whole trip.

I need the 12000 mile service and any parts that are necessary to complete this. I need this steering/bearing issue resolved on that visit.'

Oh and while I'm on the subject of emails I found a posting on ModernVespa from David of Thousand Oaks Vespa stating that he had email addresses of Piaggio if anyone needed them to resolve issues. So I emailed him. It's now been 6 months and I'm still waiting for a response.

I found a review of the Aprilia 850 Mana in WebBikeWorld.com that mentions Piaggio's dealer network:

'It's too bad the retail network -- at least in the U.S.A. -- is so thin. If more people had an Aprilia dealer nearby (and if I didn't have to drive all the way up to Allentown PA to find a dealer), I bet Piaggio would sell a lot more bikes, especially when the potential customer could compare one handlebar-to-handlebar in a showroom with other makes.'

Right on brother. It's the MAN that's keeping us down.

Heading out of Sandy the valley gets very narrow. The town seems to just drop off. Then right as you pass between a gap in some hills outside of town there are 10 or so wind turbines. Then you drop back into another small valley with hardly any homes around. It was hard to believe that Sandy and SLC are just a few miles north it was so desolate.

The sun was out and it felt wonderful. I would travel about 100+ miles in one small canyon after another during the day. This was some great riding with magnificent scenery thrown in. I also had several 7000' passes that I would go through on this day.

I kept seeing signs for Vegas. Hmm, head to Vegas? It suddenly jumped to near the top of my things to do on this trip list. Then I saw a sign that had Las Vegas over 500 miles away it didn't drop to the bottom of the list but all the way off it. Far too far, even for the Cheetah Club.

I pulled into Price for gas. The owner of the station had a moose head mounted on the wall behind the counter. Right next to it was an elk head that the assistant manager had mounted and put on the wall as well.

Eventually I crossed 70 which if I was heading east would have taken me to Grand Junction, then north of Snowmass, then Vail, then Breckenridge, etc. and eventually into Denver. Very tempting.

About 100 miles south of 70 I saw a sign for Canyonlands National Park and then about 2 miles on another sign for Arches National Park. I made the mistake of turning into the Canyonlands. As beautiful as it is I really should have gone to Arches.

To get to the Canyonlands off of 193 you literally have to drive for what seems like an hour to get to the actual park. It was late in the afternoon when I made the turn and I saw very few vehicles on the ride in.

Hot doesn't begin to describe the temperatures. There were some fantastic vistas and views though. But really how many caverns, gulches, and rock formations can one person take in one day. Apparently about three million by my count.

I had stopped and was looking out over one of the canyons, actually I was waiting for someone to come by so I could get my picture taken, and this couple from Ohio sauntered up.

The husband asked if I was riding that 'whatchamacallit' parked in the lot. He went on, without prompting, that he had seen one before. I had to disagree. I wasn't rude but after 6 weeks and 14000 miles I think I'm an expert on MP3 sightings. I let him try for a few minutes to convince me that in fact he HAD seen one but I wasn't buying it.

Join Toastmasters buddy you weren't that convincing. More people have walked on the moon than know what I'm riding. And he took a lousy photograph.

I headed out with the sun dipping pretty low in the horizon. Low or not it was still scorching hot.

It's something like 60+ miles from Canyonlands to Arches. By the time I got back on the 193 and headed towards Arches it was too late to get in the park. So on to Moab, legendary Moab.

I pulled into McDonald's because; well because it was Moab and you can't visit Moab without a meal at the World Famous McDonald's. At least that's how I tried to justify the meal and free Wi-Fi.

While there I checked a few web sites for a local room. Riding into town, and it's a pretty small town, I saw nothing but 'No Vacancy' signs. Online I saw nothing but 'No Vacancy' gifs. So I was out of luck. 15 more minutes at the 'all you can drink' fountain and I was headed back on the road.

I didn't get 100 yards down the road until I crashed, figuratively speaking. Something just came over me. I had to pull over I felt so bad. It was like someone had pulled the rug out from under me. I felt like crap. For some reason it felt like I had the weight of the world pressing down on me. Running through my mind was what the hell I thought I was doing here. I should have never started this journey. It was surreal.

It's one of the few times that I wished I had been riding with someone. I so wanted to tell someone how I felt. It was so weird. I sat there feeling lost. I couldn't find a room; I really had no idea how long it was going to take to get back home. I couldn't find any positives to the whole trip. And on top of that I knew that it would be several long days at a minimum until I rolled into Floirda.

I didn't cry I swear I didn't cry. On the GPS it showed that Clearwater, FL was a little over 2100 miles. I finally pulled myself together, dried my eyes (those damn contacts) and headed out. I was determined to get back in three days. But even three days seemed like an eternity at this point in time.

I finally stopped in Cortez, CO about 110 miles south of Moab. Climbing up and out of the Moab region the temperature dropped 20 degrees, still hot but not as unpleasant as the Canyonlands. I would only be riding in Colorado for about a total of 90 minutes as I skirted the southwest corner.

From Cortez, Durango, CO is only about 45 miles. And from Durango Silverton, then Telluride and then Ouray are just up the road. And before you know it your passing through Gunnsion, then Crested Butte, then Snowmass and look there's Denver and Ft. Collins!

I ended up at a Holiday Inn in Cortez. The only room they had that late at night was a smoking room. Smoking! It's Colorado for cryin' out loud! Even with a smoking room I slept very soundly.

August 14, 2010

I felt much better in the morning. Not 100% but better. The goal was a bit over 700 miles a day for the next three days. Daunting even for the optimist that I am.

From Cortez it doesn't take long to get to New Mexico, it's just down the road a few miles.

I made a quick stop for gas in Kirtland. Skirting Farmington I took 550 to Cuba, NM. The terrain began to change from desert to scrub with more green and trees the further I got south of Cuba. In Cuba I saw my one and only KTM of the entire trip. It was parked in what looked like an abandoned motel parking lot or a VERY cheap motel in Cuba.

From Cuba Albuquerque is only a few miles south. And as with all major cities in the US there was lots of traffic. I was getting 108 degrees on the scooter thermometer which pretty closely matched what I was seeing on bank thermometers as I rolled ever so slowly through The Duke City. And as we all know NASA depends upon them for accurate temps so I never doubted it.

I took 40 east from Albuquerque which is a 4-lane freeway. I would be on a divided highway for the rest of the trip. Outside Tucumcari I saw lots of signs for high wind warnings but I never really ran into any wind. They also have large signs that tell you when 40 is shut down because of the high winds, that's a lot of wind. I also saw some large wind farms that ran parallel with the road.

Early in the evening I pulled off at Cuervo, NM to make a call. It was twilight so there was just enough light so that I could see that there wasn't a whole heck of a lot to recommend in Cuervo; a garage and I think another garage. Ghost town with a couple of garages.

I stopped alongside the 'main street' and made the call. When I set out to leave after finishing the call the scooter wouldn't start. I cranked it and cranked it and it wouldn't fire. Immediately I thought this was the end of the trip. I also thought since there are only two or three Piaggio mechanics in the nation, I will never get this thing running again. I waited a few minutes and tried it again and it fired right up. Back on the road.

Just a few miles from Cuervo is the Texas border and a few miles further on is Adrian. I pulled into Adrian for gas not knowing that this is the midpoint of the old Route 66! I had been seeing an old road that ran parallel off and on to 40 for quite a few miles but until now I didn't realize it was the legendary Route 66.

I realized in Adrian that I wasn't going to be able to make my schedule of 700 miles so I called it a night a bit further on outside Amarillo.

570 miles

August 15, 2010

While there had been no wind in Tucumcari the day before Amarillo made up for it early on in the day. It was difficult controlling the scooter at times.

I was on 287 that ran southeast. In Quanah the bank thermometer read 110. The scooter thermometer read 109. Confirmed, it was hot even with the wind. I thought my contacts were going to pop out of my eyes.

In Vernon it was worse. The bank was 112 and the scooter was 110. Oh, how I wish for the days when it was only 95.

I passed through lots of 'Last Picture Show' towns today. Small dusty and seemingly poised to blow away in the wind.

As the day wore on the clouds starting building up for what I expected was going to be an impressive thunderstorm. When I passed through a few clouds the temperature on the scooter dropped to a pleasant 109.

As I got to the outskirts of Dallas I started running into intermittent light rain. So I pulled in to put on my rain suit.

Yes, an impervious garment designed to keep moisture out as well as in. Now I know how Martin Lawrence felt right before he rang the doorbell. I barely made it back on the scooter I was so hot. The visor on the helmet was steamed up before I pulled out.

Of course it never rained. I ended up pulling into a Chipolte on the other side of DFW for something to eat. I was 6 pounds lighter according to the 'big burrito' scale they have inside.

After quickly gaining back 8 pounds I headed back out towards Shreveport, LA. Surprisingly there was very little traffic in DFW.

The roads are terrible in Shreveport. You would think with all the money coming in from the casinos, which seem to be everywhere, they could afford to fill a few pot holes.

I ended up stopping just east of Shreveport in Minden, LA. A dry county so there would be no carbohydrate loading for me tonight.

It started raining like crazy as I lay down for the night. I mean a hard rain. I looked at the weather report online and the forecast was for 100% rain from Minden to Pensacola. Right along the path I plan to take.

583 miles

August 16, 2010

I didn't feel all that hot when I woke up but the thought of being close to the end motivated me. I headed east towards Monroe as I didn't want to get caught up in the congestion that I knew was around New Orleans. That or I didn't want to feel the pull of Bourbon Street in the handlebars.

I ended up stopping at Rayville for gas and something to eat. The roads between Minden and Rayville were terrible. Where is all that casino money going to?

It was crazy hazy all morning with temps in the 100s and humidity probably close to that. The rain I was promised last night never appeared. I had eaten at Cracker Barrel and all that grease did not sit well on my stomach.

Outside Mendenhall, MS I saw the largest group of scooters in the wild that I would see on the entire trip. All of them were in the back of a pickup. I'm not sure but I think they might have been Harley Scooters.

In Mobile, MS I had to throw on my Martin Lawrence Commemorative Rain Gear one more time as it finally started to rain. It brought the temperatures down about 2 degrees.

To get on to 10 East from Mobile I had to ride through a rather decrepit tunnel under Mobile Bay. From their Florida is less than an hour away.

I ended up spending the night in Monticello, FL just outside the capital Tallahassee. It was a very strange motel. New, or recently remodeled, it was run from one of the rooms in the hotel. The three guys that were the 'managers' were all dressed pretty much identically even down to their flat-top grooming choices. Kind of creepy strange.

623 miles

August 17, 2010

The last day.

Without getting into too many details when I woke up I realized that I WAS sick. Sick bad. So sick that for a few minutes I thought this may kill me. I spent 12+ years as a Paramedic and I knew that the outcome of this might not be positive for me. It really shook me and I don't rattle. So close but now so far.

I thought about going to the ER but I finally drug myself down to the scooter and headed out. It was miserable hot even in the morning. One of the early decisions today was to take US 19 down the west coast or head further east and take US 75 pretty much down the center of the state until it veers west for Tampa.

US 19 is a 4-lane road that runs through 'old' Florida; small towns, small speed limits and speed traps. US 75 is a pretty standard freeway with 75+ mph speed limits and fewer speed traps. I chose 19 as it was closest and I've come to hate US 75 after so many years of travelling it.

Wrong choice as the scenic route on the third sickest day of my life to date nearly did me in. Ok, the day Anna Nicole Smith passed was tough as well but this was super tough. It seemed to go on forever. Start stop start in 100+ degrees, 100+ humidity.

I finally rolled across the finish line barely conscious.

275 miles

That's it. 16,168 miles in total. I never got to Inuvik or Prudhoe but that's for another day.

Mike
The open road - America!
The open road - America!
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Outside Sandy, UT.
Outside Sandy, UT.
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The NO WATER part scares me.
The NO WATER part scares me.
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Less than 100 miles to go!
Less than 100 miles to go!
Done!
Done!
⚠️ Last edited by Chiaroscuro on UTC; edited 7 times
@noth avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
 
Molto Verboso
@noth avatar
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: UTC
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Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
UTC quote
Another well written installment.. but none of the pictures were visible ?? Crying or Very sad emoticon

I look forward to those too..
@heinlein avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2649
Location: Roseburg, OR
 
Ossessionato
@heinlein avatar
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2649
Location: Roseburg, OR
UTC quote
The pics work for me.
@jimc avatar
UTC

Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: UTC
Posts: 43475
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
 
Moderaptor
@jimc avatar
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: UTC
Posts: 43475
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
UTC quote
noth wrote:
Another well written installment.. but none of the pictures were visible ?? Crying or Very sad emoticon

I look forward to those too..
Bugger - that's down to me, deleting the two other identical copies of the post that had obviously been inadvertently posted. I'll re-load them.

.....

Done. I could still see them because they were in my local cache, so was able to save copies and edit the post.

Folks, if you double-post (we've all done it!) and the post contains pictures, do NOT delete the first instance, or the pics go too...
@noth avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
 
Molto Verboso
@noth avatar
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
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UTC quote
Thanks Jim.. and yes I enjoyed those pics too !
⬆️    About 2 months elapsed    ⬇️
OP
UTC

Hooked
Joined: UTC
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Hooked
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UTC quote
Dooglas wrote:
Chiaroscuro wrote:
john grinsel wrote:
Great report....end result bike almost totally trashed?
Scooter looks fine. Few, if any, marks on it. Other than the scratches on the windscreen. Someone let Piaggio know it's available for their scooter museum.
This is the part of story that fascinates me. The scooter came through this expedition with nothing beyond expected wear and tear for the distance and conditions if I am following the account correctly. Not in any way "totally trashed". What an adventure!
Here are some pics I took today. All that was done was a good hosing and wipe the grit off. To me it doesn't look too bad.

Today is the first day, well actually yesterday, that I tried to start it up since I got back from the trip. Dead, engine not turning over. Lights are on, clock works, etc. I pulled the battery and hooked it up to a trickle charge for 24 hours.

Battery back in the scooter, horn, tilt lock, lights, etc. all work fine. Engine not turning over. I pulled the fuses and reseated them (6). Fires right up and runs great. Killed the engine and tried to start it. Nothing engine doesn't turn over. Pulled fuses and reseated them, fires right up. Anyone come across this issue?
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@heinlein avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
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Posts: 2649
Location: Roseburg, OR
 
Ossessionato
@heinlein avatar
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
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Posts: 2649
Location: Roseburg, OR
UTC quote
The only suggestion I have is to take the fuses out and clean the contacts.
OP
UTC

Hooked
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Hooked
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UTC quote
heinlein wrote:
The only suggestion I have is to take the fuses out and clean the contacts.
How would I get down and into the contacts?
@heinlein avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2649
Location: Roseburg, OR
 
Ossessionato
@heinlein avatar
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2649
Location: Roseburg, OR
UTC quote
Chiaroscuro wrote:
heinlein wrote:
The only suggestion I have is to take the fuses out and clean the contacts.
How would I get down and into the contacts?
You should be able to spray contact cleaner into the area where the fuses make their connection.
OP
UTC

Hooked
Joined: UTC
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Hooked
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UTC quote
heinlein wrote:
Chiaroscuro wrote:
heinlein wrote:
The only suggestion I have is to take the fuses out and clean the contacts.
How would I get down and into the contacts?
You should be able to spray contact cleaner into the area where the fuses make their connection.
I'll try that.

I just think its odd it starts and then won't start until I pull the fuses and put them back in. It's consistent like that. The fuses aren't loose and creeping around in the holders. Even if the scooter is parked; starts up, turn it off, won't start and I have to pull the fuses, starts up. I'm thinking it's some sort of computer/diagnostic glitch.
@maynard_schweigert avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
MP3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1299
Location: Utah
 
Molto Verboso
@maynard_schweigert avatar
MP3 500
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Posts: 1299
Location: Utah
UTC quote
Wrap a fine emery cloth over the fuse and reinsert several times to scour the contacts. Brush the emery over the fuse leads as well.
@scootmn avatar
UTC

Hooked
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 129
Location: Minnesota
 
Hooked
@scootmn avatar
Piaggio MP3 500
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Posts: 129
Location: Minnesota
UTC quote
It sounds more to me like a loose connection or broken wire, maybe from the vibration during the long trips? Pulling and replacing the fuses may wiggle the connection/wire so they make contact again. Just a thought.
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Hooked
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Hooked
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UTC quote
ScootMN wrote:
It sounds more to me like a loose connection or broken wire, maybe from the vibration during the long trips? Pulling and replacing the fuses may wiggle the connection/wire so they make contact again. Just a thought.
True, but you would think that it would start up again after shutting down especially if I don't ride it; just start it and then turn it off.
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Ossessionato
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Location: Venice Beach, CA
 
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@desmolicious avatar
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UTC quote
Next time it does that try to find out which fuse needs to be pulled/replaced to make it start. Then check the fuse box diagram to see what that fuse controls.
UTC

Lurker
CFMoto Jetmax 250T-6A, BMWK1, Dragstar XS1100AVC, CFMoto 250T-Fashion (sold), JinJian Startrek 125cc
Joined: UTC
Posts: 4
Location: China
 
Lurker
CFMoto Jetmax 250T-6A, BMWK1, Dragstar XS1100AVC, CFMoto 250T-Fashion (sold), JinJian Startrek 125cc
Joined: UTC
Posts: 4
Location: China
UTC quote
blowing fuses etc
I've a CFMoto Jetmax, 6 months old. Pretty good maxiscoot, which I've written a lot about elsewhere (mychinamoto) to name but one of a few different motorcycling forums. I have had issues since upgrading the standard Halogen bulbs (H4 35/35w) to 90/100w. In hindsight I should of stepped up from the 35's to say standard 55/60w instead of going right up to the nearer the top of the spectrum. Without getting to far off track, lets just say that the local Chinese population being that they are fairly new to car ownership drive at night with the high-beams on no matter what or else is using the roads. Hence my wish to go for pretty bright lights over the poor 35/35w standard bulbs. After my swift upgrade, I started to experience frequent blown fuses (headlight/horn fuse). Instead of taking heed of the warning I persisted and after a time the fuses stopped blowing, but then I experienced erratic functioning of the headlights e.g. high beam switch no longer working, though the continued functioning of the passing switch indicated to me that the 90/100w bulbs were still good. With ongoing issues of headlight operation I did switch back to the 35w standard bulbs, but the issues remained.

I bit the bullet, and tried to order just the respective dual headlight wiring harnesses, but they came complete with the headlights too which I then fitted and the total cost was like US$20 for the pair which included both headlights, the wiring harnesses and plugs plus they came complete with new 35/35w bulbs. I had a few more little electrical glitches with the headlight fuse blowing on the odd occasion so I ordered and fitted left and right handlebar switchgear mounts complete with the respective wiring harnesses, again around only US$8 for the two sets of switches.

I do most of my own wrench monkey activities, so I swapped both switchgear clusters. All was good, and had moved down to the aforementioned 55/60w bulbs without issues, or so I thought. I had a couple of instances where the fuse would blow again, but it was not consistent which made it more complicated.
After completely changing out all the above, all was good until my last long trip for the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival vacation (this past Feb). During the trip with a mixed group of motorcycles and maxiscoots, my scoot started blowing a fuse which handled the horn and dashboard. Once started all was good, but after a moment the use would blow, but the scoot engine would continue on. Once the ignition was turned off (with the blown fuse) and subsequently turned on again, there'd be nothing. I might point out that this was not the main fuse though. On the trip I almost ran out of fuses, it was so constant, though fortunately I was able to obtain some general purpose electrical wire, which I stripped single strands of wire out of and would wrap around the small micro fuse spade connectors which provide a temporary fuseable link. Just enough to get me started.

I managed to find a place that had these hard-to-find fuses here, especially during the holiday period. While at the workshop (car auto repairs), I pulled off the left front fairing, and checked connections etc. I also disturbed the wiring loom that traverses into the front dash compartment and fuse box. After inserting a new fuse (15A), I've not had any other fuses blow, and I've ridden my scoot a tonne of times since then, and was just recently riding compete crap of a 30km trail with rocks and boulders and tonnes of mud thrown in for good measure. No fuse or electrical gremlins. I might point out that during this whole exercise I've played with a range of fuses of varying amperages etc.

I've since bought the main wiring harness which is huge and mammoth task to swap over, so that sits in a box in the garage.

What does all this have to do with the issue at hand about Chiaroscuro MP3 not starting etc after having been started. It might just be that some or one of the relevant wires might just need to be moved around a bit, even try to disconnect and reconnect everything un/pluggable etc. It might be as I suspect in my case, an errant bit of wiring that in the right conditions allows an arc or surge of electrical impulse which trips a fuse but the rest of the time seems to function without incident.

Just my ten cents worth.
⬆️    About 2 years elapsed    ⬇️
OP
UTC

Hooked
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Hooked
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UTC quote
Spotted, Mexico City Saturday. Not quite a 500 but close.
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@trirol1 avatar
UTC

Addicted
MP3 500
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Posts: 857
Location: Plano, Texas
 
Addicted
@trirol1 avatar
MP3 500
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Posts: 857
Location: Plano, Texas
UTC quote
He lives!
@sanogeo1 avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Red Mp 3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1519
Location: Norman, Oklahoma. USA
 
Molto Verboso
@sanogeo1 avatar
Red Mp 3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1519
Location: Norman, Oklahoma. USA
UTC quote
Been wondering what happen to you. Have read your story several times, Enjoyed it every time. How about more stories and pictures about your travels, How did you end up in Mexico from India. Got to be a story there. If you do not think the storys and picture would fit in with MV. Do you have a place we could go to see your pictures and read the storys of your travels.
UTC

Hooked
Piaggio mp3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 138
Location: NYC
 
Hooked
Piaggio mp3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 138
Location: NYC
UTC quote
chiaroscuro: thanks for your entertaining as well as enlightening travel stories.
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