Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tough, Rugged...Almost Military

When I posted the image of my Big Ruckus at the snowline a few days back, I had breezed over the image shown above, and after going back and having another look, realized what an almost military look this tough little scooter has.

Being perpetually broke, I haven't had the cash means to buy the Kenda tires that would make this scoot an all-season ride. Rolling on the stock skins is the only way I can roll now, and come replacement time I'll upgrade to a more aggressive tread.

I have been taking a look at some vintage military Cushman's online lately. I have a chance to buy one, but as I stated in the previous paragraph, I am strapped for cash. So, now I have to get creative in finding a way to afford all of these little things in life that I want, but cannot reach. Maybe my Federal gift of income to stimulate the economy can be wisely used to put me on an ex-military Cushman scooter. If nothing else, it will be "stimulating."

But its the rugged, tough, utility look that the military scooters had, that has got my interest now. That with the fact that being Winter, I have a little time in the evenings to research things like this, and finding that picture of my Big Ruckus from last week, I realize that my scooter has the same "rugged, tough, utility look that I am so excited about. Now if I only had those darn Kenda tires!

Have fun,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Riding To The Snowline

There are no clouds to be found in the sky for the first time in I don't know how long. This is probably the nicest day since late fall, and if you don't mind your temperatures in the twenties, then its perfect.

I had the itch to get out and ride, and I figured that a run up to the snowline would be just right.

The process of layering up with cold weather gear was necessary, and much appreciated once I got to where the above photo was taken. I figured the temps to be roughly 24 degrees or so, and my choice to wear the fishtail parka was the right one. My mittens didn't quite do the trick though, as I had to warm my hands the old fashioned way above the tailpipe. My helmet let in enough cold air to sting my cheeks a little, and it became a bit distracting. Unfortunately, the balaclava doesn't wrap far enough to cover my entire mug.

My turnaround point was at the 2nd turn-out on the Hurricane Ridge Road, and this is where I first found a real covering of snow. This road has been maintained by the Park Service for the past few months, as the snow has been consistently covering the road from the one mile mark and above. I guessed my elevation at around 800 feet at this point.

I could have gone further, but at the point that I stopped, the layer of gravel and sand was covering the entire road surface. It wasn't until I stopped that I realized that the sand and gravel also covered some fairly thick ice in the shaded spot just behind where my Big Ruckus was parked. That made for one of those, "Whoa, that could have sucked" thoughts to cross my mind. I had crossed from a sunny spot into the shade, and totally missed seeing the ice in the time that it took for my vision to adapt to the shade. Lucky for me that I was rolling in a straight line and not hanging in a curve.

I pretty much knew at this point that I was going to turn back toward the ranch. I meandered around for awhile on the way home looking at the boats at the marina, and watching the construction crews that are tearing up the downtown streets for the umteenth time in recent history, and finally puttered into my backyard chilled and satisfied.

As I type this post, my cheeks still sting from the chilled air sneeking in my helmet, and I don't mind a bit. It's finally sunny out and I was on my scooter. Not much better than that in mid January I think.

Have fun,

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oh, To Be A Bastard Again

A few years back I rode with a "social" club by the name of "Dirty Bastards." It was an AMA sanctioned one-piece patch club with a handful of dedicated members. Times changed and so did the club, and the time for this bastard to move on came too. All for the good, as the social club disbanded in the months after my departure.

I did think that it was a cool name though, and missed the association with some of the original members. I have remained friends with most of the guys from the early days,and we run into each other now and then, and the feeling is always good. There was something about being a "Bastard" that I liked though.

It was that name then, that caught my eye when I was hanging out at Dave Mangano's site that had me looking into the "Royal Bastards Scooter Club" website.

It didn't take me a long time to get a good feeling from the way the club presented itself on the site, and I started getting hooked on the idea of wanting to join. Membership interest is encouraged, and I took the idea to my pal JayBee before looking into it further.

Even though we were getting a handle on the idea of being a looseknit band of "Geezers," there was a brighter spark of interest in the idea of becoming members of an established club. I took the genuine excitement that JayBee and Mod Kevin displayed at becoming potential Bastards and ran with it.

I e-mailed "Zippy" Bastard in Seattle to provide us with information about whether or not we could be considered for membership. I was impressed with the prompt reply from Sarah, and was encouraged to contact Lucky from Sacramento about what to do next.

Sarah, aka Zippy, is a "Lone Wolf" in the Seattle area, and she will at this point be the person to make the decision as to if we can, or cannot become members. After some back and forth e-mailing to Lucky, we received a positive vote from the "Ten" in California, and we'll now need to make contact with Sarah to receive her thumbs-up for membership.

I spoke with both Mod Kevin and JayBee yesterday, and we're all pretty excited about this chance to "patch up" with the Royal Bastards." We look at it as a chance to further promote scootering in our area as members of the Royal Bastards, and an opportunity to support the Seattle members as well.

Now we wait to hear from Zippy before we take the next step. Hopefully next time I post, I'll have some news to share.

Have fun,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Spit-shine Sunday

Walking out to the shop this morning, I was amazed at how wet my yard is. It's like walking on a loaded sponge. In the Summertime, I'll dink around with my motorbikes on the pad just outside my shop door. It gives quick access to my tools, and still allows me the chance to be in the sunshine. Well, this isn't Summer, and there isn't much in the way of sunshine, so I'll be doing my dinking around inside today.

My project for today, is to do a spit-shine cleaning job on my Vespa. I had placed a small order with Scooterworks for some rubber bits, and after getting the parts and putting them on, I decided to take some time to get everything cleaned up again. The Big Ruckus really needs a bath too since its seen most of the mud and grime over the past weeks, but the Vespa comes first.

I'll probably wait to bathe the Ruckus till next weekend because we're supposed to get some honest to goodness nice weather this week. From Tuesday through Sunday we should see sunshine every day. Aside from cool mornings and some fog to begin each day, the weather hottie is predicting sunny days. This translates into consistant riding for me. I'm stoked!

One twist in my commuting situation that I didn't have before, is that I have taken on some different job duties that I didn't have in my job description. My role as a Retail Sales Manager has been defined a little differently since we began more of a "team management" direction within our 3 stores. I will have more of a crossover role between the different store staff groups. Basically, I will spend time running around a whole bunch more, and working with a lot more people.

Oh yeah...and I carry around this briefcase looking thing to keep all of my files and stuff in. Lucky for me that my bride hooked me up with a messenger bag that she found on eBay. It should do the trick I hope.

One cool thing about this new role, is that our other store is close to home. I will be able to use the Vespa for this commute, since I won't have to deal with having to run at highway speeds. My Vespa will get me to around 42 mph, but thats a little slow for the route I take to my everyday job. I've done it on the Vespa, but its a bit butt-puckering. The dirty Ruckus will handle this part of the job.

The bottom line is that even though my job is changing for the better, with more challenges, the one constant will be that I can remain a scooter commuter. It might take some creativity on my part to make sure that I can take everything that I need with me each day, to wherever I end up, but I'll be riding, and thats all that counts.

Have fun,

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunshine Instead Of Snow

Today we were supposed to get snow. Although its cold enough, we have sunshine instead. Then again, after the way the weather has been over the past few days, a sunny day is apprieciated. Basically, the weather has been pretty poor for a guy that rides a motorbike.

If you caught the news about the West Coast getting pummelled by the "Big Winter Storm" that kicked California and Nevada in the teeth, well then I might add that we took a few shots in Oregon and Washington too. This storm stretched from Canada to Mexico, and the leading low pressure system skirted Washington, staying over the Pacific before slamming into Northern British Columbia. Being a bit of a weather junkie, I liken it to having a really angry elephant stomping down your street intent on doing some damage down the road, but only giving your place a slight glance as it passes by. Damage in its wake, damage to come, but no damage here thank you.

Folks are really talking now about how much our weather has changed over the past few years, and how "the good old days" were only a few years ago. We aren't used to 964mb low pressure systems and barometric readings of 28.66 around here very often. Maybe it'll be the norm from now on. I hope not.

The foothills above town did get a fresh layer of snow this morning, but the forecast was for a wider area of snow, and for accumulations at sea level as well. Thats fine though, it was sketchy enough dealing with the black ice this morning, no need to add a layer of snow to make it trickier.

The bottom line is, that as much as I want to make two-wheeled commuting a full time gig, I end up taking the weather into consideration before my commitment to ride. I haven't regretted my decisions either. I still ride every chance I get, but I don't get the chances as often as I would like, if that makes any sense. The calmer days will come soon enough, so for now I'll practice patience.

I still get my fill of scooter related adventures, even if I'm not riding all the time. I spoke with a guy I know that scored on three 1943 Cushman military model scoots that he is in the process of getting in running order. These are the Cushman's that the U.S. Military used in WWII as dispatch motors, and would be dropped in by parachute. Not only can I not believe that he bought them for a hundred bucks each, but he offered me one of them in running order for $600.00! I will hopefully get to see these scoots soon. I need to find six hundred clams first.

Even though I have a real nice head cold right now, I think I might get outside and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Now...where is my parka?

Have fun,

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