Joined: 15 Sep 2010
Joined: 15 Sep 2010
It wouldn't be Vegas without the 'Arches'.
This guy, I'll update later.
Isn't he making enough money off of NutriSystem?
Glad that whole American Idol thing worked out.
Window washers are in short supply even in this economy.
So tempting, so tempting.
Piaggio MP3 400
Joined: 02 May 2012
Location: Greenville SC
Such awesome stories and pictures. Your trips are incredible.
As I was looking through, I saw the Dillard house, and my stomach rumbled. Ive eaten there before. The amount of food you get is borderline stupid.
Thank you for helping me remember some great trips Ive had when I was younger.
I got up at what I thought was 0830, early for me, but I discovered later that I had crossed a time zone and gained an hour or maybe lost an hour, not sure. Anyway it was an hour earlier than I thought. I'm still pissed about missing that hour of sleep.
The hotel/time share/rip off estates was just a 10-minute walk form Harrah's Casino. So I headed and did the breakfast buffet. These buffets aren't cheap. Oh, occasionally you'll get one under $10 bucks at a Pilot truck stop but there is always some hidden catch; kidney donation, first born, etc. The breakfast was $19.00 but I have to admit it was pretty amazing with an impressive array of choices. I went to Harrah's several times for the food not the gambling.
After I finished, an hour early, I wandered around the casino a bit and then hit up the bathroom. As I entered I saw a pair of legs sticking out from under the stall. Someone was lying on the stall floor. At first I thought man what a suck job to have to lie on the floor to repair toilets. Then I realized the guy's shoes were too nice. Uh, oh.
While I was doing what I had planned on doing I heard him start to cry. It wasn't a manly cry either sort of a 10 year old girl whose parents won't let here date a Senior in high school type of cry. Lost, forboding and high pitched.
This confirmed to me that he wasn't an employee because I had heard they get great benefits at Harrah's so there is no reason to be crying that early in the morning. Must be some poor soul who thought Las Vegas was the answer to his problems and found out that wasn't the case.
I went and found security to let them know and then headed out on the strip. Not sure of his specific problem but he had on some nice shoes.
Vegas is all pavement and hot. I wandered up and down the strip for a few hours taking pictures and then headed back to the room to kill the rest of the day and drink beer.
Up incredibly early to get out of this town. I wasted WAY too much time here. The temps are crazy high and look to get higher in the coming days. Even though rolling out way before the sun came up was smart the streets were still hopping. Isn't this the 'City That Never Sleeps'?
Out along 95 NW I saw a sign for Death Valley! Hey what could possibly go wrong dressed in black, full-face helmet on a scooter in Death Valley.
Even at 0730 it was well over 100 degrees. Very little traffic but in the end not so 'deathly'. Very cool ride (no pun intended) and highly recommended.
After crossing Death Valley I took 395 North stopping at Bishop, CA a kind of hybrid Western small modern town.
From there I went North to Mammoth. Pretty amazing area and given the time I'd like to return to visit at length. Then on into Yosemite. What can I say you could spend years exploring this park. A real American jewel. Stunning views, stunning. Very little traffic in and out of the park.
I ended up at the Marriott Merced. Chaos ensued as they have a small restaurant bar in the lobby area. Apparently if more than one person orders anything the entire plan spins off the wheels. There was seating for 30 and only about 8 people were there but I still had to wait an hour for a sandwich that in the end tasted like crap. Marriott Merced - avoid.
Las Vegas early in the morning.
The classic sign.
Death Valley approach.
If I had A/C you can bet I wouldn't turn it off!
MP3 400 "Orion"
Joined: 01 Jul 2012
Location: Northwest Ohio
'09 Mp3-500 - Gone Now
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon
Absolutely love revisiting this thread. Your photos and ongoing story are eloquent and engrossing, and it's hard to get enough. I just got home from Alaska visiting my son and duaghter in law, got to hike on to the terminus of the Matanuska Glacier, visited Seward, up to the Exit Glacier, on up to Talkeetna, in to Hatcher Pass - but nothing like the venture you accomplished. What a feat. After my quick visit your effort really stands out - thanks for continuing the post!
. . . .
Got up early and experienced the catastrophe that is the Marriott Merced again. Apparently 2 people ordering breakfast is one person too many. However, not being the second person I got a quite tasty breakfast quickly.
I headed north towards Bear Mountain and then onto the Eastern side of Lake Tahoe. This is a BIG lake. Not as big and the big lake Gitche Gumee but big. I tried to get down to the lake but parking was insane. I did do a quick drive through after answering about 20 questions about the scooter. I should have charged him and just grab some shots from the Internet. Then onto Carson Nevada just up the road. Pretty good day with some great riding. Motel 6 for $50 and change, not too bad.
Joined: 29 May 2007
Location: Sacramento, NorCal
Long day today. Lot's of miles with quite a few of them with some headwinds. And hot.
The left mirror is loose and no matter how hard I try and tighten it it still flops around. I finally broke down and bought some duct tape to keep it in place.
I'm heading to Seattle for service at Big People Scooters. Recently I've noticed that it as if the throttle cable is stuck. The scooter won't go over certain speeds no matter how hard I crank the throttle. I then ease off and back on and everything's fine. A few minutes later same thing.
Also, there is some sort of clattering at low speeds. At first I thought the engine might be missing but it runs smooth. The noise goes away and higher speeds and the scooter, with the exception of the throttle issue runs fine.
I briefly tagged Idaho and ended up in Baker City, OR for the night. 500+ miles.
Really cool sunrise.
Duct tape - don't leave home without it.
Not sure what's going on here? Grapes?
Joined: 29 May 2007
Location: Sacramento, NorCal
MP3 500 - Black Sunshine
Joined: 08 Oct 2011
Location: Shanghai or Ventura
84 then 82 North through Yakima. Mary Z. I still think of you from time to time!
Early on I pulled into Pendleton, OR for some fuel and stumbled across the Pendleton Round-Up arena. This rodeo has been going on for more than a 100 years. Sadly the place was locked up so I couldn't get a peek inside.
Later in the day on 90 at Cle Elum, WA traffic came to a standstill. Very slow stop and go. So I pulled into the Homestead Bar-B-Q for some...wait for it... Bar-B-Q. Very tasty.
There were a tremendous amount of modified Jeeps all over this area. There must be some off road trails close because almost everyone was driving a Jeep.
After the eats back on the road. It was still slow until we got through Snoqualmie Pass and then it picked. I headed strait to the Holiday Inn for a much-needed rest.
Home sweet home.
Not real crazy about the view though.
Vegas is all pavement and hot. I wandered up and down the strip for a few hours taking pictures and then headed back to the room to kill the rest of the day and drink beer.[/quote]
Hey, we have something in common............that's what I do in Vegas too..................drink beer in a Vegas parking lot until I have a good buzz or in the room, then hit the outside. My wife doesn't understand.
A lot of the places you rode by I have too, but I don't bother to stop and take a pic. Stopped in Markleeville many a time to get gas and may do it again this summer heading north or south on 89.
I've always wanted to go out and see this Whidbey Island that I always hear about when anyone is talking about the Seattle area. So up early and out heading north. I planned on entering by the north end then heading south taking the Ferry back to the mainland.
Traffic in the late morning was light most of the time. Temps started in the mid-80s but felt cool with the humidity.
I eventually ended up on 5 and made the turn towards Whidbey at Burlington on 20. I realized that I'd been this way before in 2010 as I passed that cool building that has a crane integrated into it. I didn't turn around this time to take a picture. Pulled off at 532 for fuel. I was looking for a salad but there was a small burger shop attached to the gas station that pulled me in. Johnny's Gourmet Burgers. Well worth pulling in, excellent burger.
I ended up at Anacortes which was right on the water. It has a pretty cool historic district that quite a few people were out and about on a really beautiful day. South again I crossed the Deception Pass Bridge. It looked like it was going to be pretty dicey with The 'Severe High Wind' warning sign out.
It ended up fine and I got across of the bridges with no problem at all. It's quite the tourist attraction as the parking lot was full and the bridge had quite a bit of foot traffic on it. You can access the underside of the bridge from the parking lot. There are also several beaches that are accessible from here as well. It's quite a hike down to them though.
Whidbey is big. In fact it's the second largest island of the contiguous 48 states. Yeah, I know Google. There was some fog and a bit of wind particularly the closer to the ocean you got. What surprised me were all the working farms that lined the roads. And the fact that it wasn't overbuilt - at least in the areas I rode.
On the north end I looked to my left and saw a Navy jet flying about 100 feet above the ground. What was even more shocking was the second one that came by about 10 seconds later. Of course I had forgotten about the naval air station that was here.
I turned around and found a really good location to take some pictures and discovered that the battery had died in the camera. All the while the planes made another touch and go landing.
Quickly I put in new a new battery. And then I'm sure the word went out 'Cease All Naval Air Operations Until That Guy With The Scooter By The Fence Leaves'. I waited and waited and no aircraft. I drove around a bit and came back but I was to be denied.
Lots of little enclaves of beach homes. A few of them were pretty impressive. I'm wondering how it is during the winter with that cold air blowing in? There were quite a few places where a lot of ocean debris - driftwood, was piled up along the road and several warning signs about debris in the road after high tide. The driftwood here is huge like complete trees.
I finally got closer to the south end and starting to notice signs for the ferry. Several miles out there were overflow parking areas that lined the road. I'm thinking that if you have to wait this far out you're going to have a long wait because I don't think the ferries are that big.
It costs a little more than $4 for the 20-minute ferry ride. I was the first on and first off, which was pretty cool.
This low speed shudder I'd been worrying about suddenly got worse. There's no power at all until I get to about 15 mph. Doing turns is almost impossible in parking lots or U-turns because I had no power at low speeds. And the motor is a lot noisier at idle. At anything faster than 15 mph it runs smooth with a bit louder noise coming from underneath.
Coming back was a nightmare as I got stuck in traffic several times on the freeway. A few of those times were on a grade and getting back up to speed from a stop took a long time. I eventually dropped into the HOV lane and rode the last few miles at 50+. The hotel iw on a small hill so I timed the light so I could make a high speed approach.
Service is scheduled for tomorrow. I'm hoping this is something that can be sorted out quickly.
A few days ago I got the idea that maybe I can take the ferry from Bellingham to AK. This cuts quite a bit of the distance through NW Canada. It is also easier on the tires. Originally I wanted to do the 'full monty' and go all the way to Whittier. Whittier to Fairbanks is just a bit over 400 miles as opposed to 2100+ from Seattle.
Denied again as space for vehicles were sold out until August. Damned tourists. However, I can get a ferry to Haines. It has limited space for vehicles but no cabin so I'd have to sleep on the deck. Now I have to wait and see if the scooter can be sorted out soon and there is still space after I'm sure I can continue on.
A great day but I'm worried about the scooter.
Found this old barn beside of the road on Whidbey.
Up early, as I'm worried about the scooter. Hopefully I can make it to service.
It sounds just as loud as it did yesterday. I had held out that a little rest would make everything all right but I was wrong and should have tied one on.
It's 35 miles or so to Big People Scooters. I managed to stretch it out to over 40 by making a few wrong turns and of course all the course corrections involved a slow U-Turn across heavy moving traffic. I'm sweating. My GPS hasn't been updated since 2010 and the roads in the area have changed, Frightening.
I made it and no one is sure that everything can be fixed today. The assumption is that the clutch assembly is bad, a spring holding the rollers is broken adding to the vibration and some do-hickey io the muffler is broken. I found all of this BEFORE we got to the scheduled service. I grabbed a newspaper and started scanning the help wanted ads.
The belt had completely delaminated. There were no cooling ridges on the outside. Very strange looking. All the rollers were damaged and most were missing their rubber coating. They all had wear marks on them. The variator which housed the rollers had bits of broken metal floating around in it.
The drive pulley had grooves worn into it. I had been experiencing issues where the scooter would not accelerate and seemed to only want to max out at one spped.. No matter how much gas I gave it the scooter would stay at the same speed. Try again and it would speed up. I was thinking the throttle cable was hanging up but it was the drive belt stuck in a groove. The muffler had a broken bracket that contributed to the noise.
At the end of the day I have to hand it to Big People Scooters they got me on the road again. They worked all day on it. I still need a drive pulley though the one I'm running is grooved significantly. They did not have one in stock so I'm going to have to plan ahead for this one. As an aside they let me know that I should have the front bearing re-torqued at 5000 miles. The tech who does this is out for the week so the gamble is wait a week or so at $100+ plus a day or move on and hope the notch doesn't return before I get back to Seattle. It's been three years since I had the front end rebuilt and I've haven't heard a peep from my dealer about the re-torque recommendation.
What disappoints me is I paid big dollars to have the scooter serviced after the last trip and it appears it was done incorrectly if you look at all the damage. Or it was not done at all. Very disappointed. $1400+ and I was back on the road.
I went for a new mirror rather than trying to dick around with it anymore. It was amazing having it on the scooter. I almost lost track of where I was looking at that damned thing.
I wonder if they still have the 'scooter' discount?
The only thing I did on the 4th was go to Wal-Mart and get a haircut.
Headed out to Bellingham for the ferry terminal at about 1030. It's a 120+ miles even though on a map it looks like one city. This place is really spread out.
It was a bit cool even at 1030 and riding at 60+ it seemed downright chilly. There was traffic all the way up.
I almost pulled into Johnny's Gourmet Burgers at 532 the same location I ate lunch at the other day going to Whidbey Island. I resisted the urge and continued on my way.
Before heading to the terminal I gassed up in downtown Bellingham. I got a feeling that gas prices are about to spike through the roof.
Bellingham is a pretty cool harbor town with what looks like a vibrant, has a small time downtown district. I'm sure that a lot of the business is the ferry traffic. The ferry terminal is literally less than a mile from the downtown area.
A thing to note the ferry system is on Alaska time - one hour earlier than Bellingham time. It sails at 1900 Bellingham or 1800 ship time which is Alaska time.
You have to check in the main building before you can get into line with your vehicle. Pretty straightforward: ID and Itinerary number and you get a ticket in return.
After receiving a ticket you pull around and check in again for the vehicle line. You're given a sticker for the vehicle windshield that has an abbreviation of the stop you're going to. In my case it's HNS for Haines.
Scooters/motorcycles have a dedicated line. I got there at 1330 and there were 8 cycles in line and probably 50 other cars and trucks waiting.
It appears that you loaded in the order of debarkation. So it's possible that you could be in line first but load last. It was a hot day in Bellingham and one group of the motorcycles would not board for over three hours or just before we were to depart.
Loading started promptly at 1500. I'd say I was the 5th vehicle to board. Before boarding you'll need the ticket you received initially and your ID. There are no signs that I saw that clued you into to this beforehand so there was a bit of stopping and starting for the boarding process. The group I was with was placed off to one side in a little cubby hole at the front of the ship.
After you park you're expected to tie down your vehicle. Closest to the hull about 5 inches above the deck is a metal pipe that runs the length of the ship with breaks for the openings. You are to secure one side of your vehicle to this with the straps you brought. Hopefully you brought them. I've done some research online about Alaska ferry travel but I've never read anything about this. I did have straps though.
We parked in a sort of staggered two by two. On the inside of this line where we parked they ran a chain that was tensioned with a block and tackle. You run a strap to this for the other side of your vehicle. However, it is a distinct possibility because of the two by two parking that you might have to move your scooter to reposition to get a straight shot for the straps. Some literally ran their straps through other motorcycles to get to the attachment point. The crew wasn't a whole lot of help in this procedure.
I did one tie down and then carried some gear up to the solarium in order to grab a deck chair. Even in the relatively short period of time that had elapsed since the boarding started there were already people setting up tents and grabbing chairs. It was filling fast.
Oh, it's a LONG way from the lower car deck to the solarium; a long way. If your thinking of a trip on the ferry starting working those quads. I almost had a stroke in the heat.
Back down to finish with the scooter lashing. Then I had to haul my big bag all the way up to the solarium. It's a long way. And those damned stairs are so narrow. I was drenched when I got done.
The solarium sits on the back of the ship. About a third of it is in the open air with no cover, this is the location that people set tents up if they want. I had a tent but shoes to use a deck chair. The rest of it is covered by 2' x 2' glass ceiling panels and opens onto the area that the tents are set up. There are many electric heaters hanging from the ceiling in the glassed area. Eventually the area filled up and all the chairs and most of the deck space were taken.
The ship has a small snack bar, a dining room, a forward viewing area with pretty comfortable seats, a 'movie' theater that shows movies on twin LCD screens and a fairly large bar.
We rolled out promptly at 1900/1800. It somewhat chilly but still tolerable. They turned the heaters on in half the solarium after about two hours but of course not in the half I'm in.
I had dinner in the dining room. The salmon was pretty good but nothing special. There's no tipping on the ship as everyone is an employees of the state and also there is no state tax. All a bit disconcerting when you look at the check. The price on the menu is the price on the check. What a concept.
I finally crashed before 2100. Still no heat on my side but tolerable.
Cars waiting to board.
Home sweet home!
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