Sunday, October 19, 2008

Anniversary Ride

Today I celebrated one full year of BV250 ownership by taking an anniversary ride to uncharted territory in the boonies. Well, okay, technically it's charted, but I've never been the kind to take off on roads that I don't know or haven't studied and today I did, ending up in a familiar place with a huge grin on my face when I realized where I'd come out from the unknown zone.

I headed north from home, along a road that runs through one municipality after another as "Main Street" through the length of each of them. I was headed nowhere in particular, as usual, but after a bit of riding and thinking I knew that I wanted to make a left turn past a familiar railroad yard. It would put me on a road that I'd explored many years ago, in the car, on the kind of ride where by sheer luck you land in a place that you recognize. I wasn't counting on such luck today and figured I'd just run the road to the first curious turn and then head back.

When I got to that turn, however, there stood a sign that I know wasn't there those years back when I ventured out that far. It promised that a turn to the right would put me in Scranton in eight miles. I had to take it if only to satisfy my curiosity because I couldn't imagine how it would take me there or where it would drop me off.

It was a winding road and after a short while I realized that I wasn't on a hill but that I was slowly climbing up one side of a mountain. With colored leaves falling all about me I felt almost giddy with a childlike glee I hadn't felt in ages. I wished that my daughter who's away at school was along, or the friend who visited last summer and rode around with me because I knew that each of them would have enjoyed this ride. Eventually I made it to the crest and started down the other side. It was exhilarating as I descended the opposite side of the mountain with just as many twists and turns as the ascent had featured.

At times I could see the valley into which I was descending, though I still couldn't tell where I was going to end up in it. There was nothing I could do but keep going and wondering while enjoying myself like I did when I was a little boy driving the fire engine that rolled along just as fast as my little legs could pedal it. The aforementioned grin lit up my face when all of a sudden I came around a turn to find myself at the entrance to a park to which I'd ridden this past summer, and even before then with the Fly 50. The park features the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour and the Anthracite Heritage Museum, and stands high above Scranton proper. I headed into the park and discovered an area near the museum to which I'd not ventured before. There's an old colliery locomotive on display there - just perfect for another shot of my little scooter juxtaposed beside something much more note worthily powerful.

You can tell that it's getting later in the fall because I'm back to using what I call the "Prissy Sit" on some of my rides. Typically in the warmer weather I ride with only my heels on the running board and with my knees wide apart to savor the cooling effect of the breeze on my legs. When it's brisk out, though, I'm quick to get those knees behind the body of the bike to let it do its streamlining job of whisking the wind around my sides.

Left - the summer sit. Right - the prissy sit reserved for when it's cold.

Well, it's Sunday evening now and I have the taste for another Sheetz French vanilla cappuccino. The perfect excuse for another little ride before putting another weekend to bed and getting in the groove for the work week.

Happy ridding, all!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

Sundays are made for rides and naps, and today was a perfect day for a Sunday afternoon ride at the nap's expense. I stopped at one of the local Sheetz stations to fill the Bubba Keg with French vanilla cappuccino (Apparently I'm hooked on them now.) and an old timer approached me to talk about the scooter. We talked for nearly a half hour with me answering his questions about the Piaggio and him telling me about riding a Cushman in '53 when he was in the Army. Before we said our goodbyes he told me about a road parallel to the one I was on. In spite of my having lived here all my life and having traveled the familiar road so many times, I never knew about the other one he told me about. Of course, I had to take it to where it doubled back to the familiar one a few miles up the line.

I found this lovely pair of what I assumed were his and her scooters parked in a driveway along the new road.

I paused at this familiar place later. The foliage still has something to be desired and I'm not sure if I'm being impatient this year or if the fall colors are deliberately waiting to emerge for some reason.

When I stopped here to get this pretty shot I felt an awful pang of missing my baby. The week before she left for school we rode down this road together and I remembered hunkering down in my seat so she could experience the wind in her face and the unobstructed view. She's doing well, though, so in spite of missing her, I'm glad she's having a great college experience so far.

All good rides must come to an end, and mine generally wind down with some view of the valley spread out before me as I ride back into it. Here's one I don't get too often because it's on the other side of the river, a little farther south than I typically venture over there. The railroad bridge is, unfortunately, out of use or I'd likely camp out there now and then to catch a big freight train coming across the Susquehanna.

Another work week looms. The rain which had been predicted for tomorrow is off so I can take the cycle to the all day inservice I have to attend. I hope it's a short week (Okay, they're all the same length, but you know what I mean.) because on Friday I'll be heading to Altoona to visit the famous Horseshoe Curve again. No, I won't be taking the bike out because getting there via the back roads would take too long, but I'm looking forward to the trip just the same.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Glowing with Pride

The bike is back from the shop, and after two days and a good number of miles it's not leaking. Yet. I'm afraid to breathe, thinking that as soon as I do I'm going to cause it to drip so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and turning a little blue.

I brought it back before supper yesterday and then rode a bit in the evening to give it a good run. When I stopped at Sheetz for a French vanilla cappuccino and pressed the button to work the electric latch so I could open the seat, I was miffed to discover that the button wasn't doing anything. I used the manual latch release and got the seat open only to discover that the inside light was out of its fixture and also not working. I popped the light back into place, but didn't really expect anything because I'd already suspected a blown fuse as the culprit guessing that the guys at the shop took out the bulb when they were working "under the hood" so as not to drain the battery and then accidentally shorted it out when putting the bulb back in place and forgot about it afterwards. Sure enough, when I removed the small side panel to access the fuse block, one of the 15A fuses was popped.

I hit up Wal-Mart after work today, got a pack of fuses, and much later, after riding all over the place, I finally made it home and replaced the bad one. Ta da! My first self repair job! Okay, so it's not really impressive, but for me, it's progress.