Scootin Sydney

sydney2After getting lost a few times in Sydney Steve and I finally made it to the rental place to meet Bobo from Modern Vespa and pick up our scooters for the day. sydney8(Who knew that they would restart street numbers every few blocks in some sections of town?)

sydney3First taste of Sydney traffic as we head out. You won’t miss the bright red buses as you go around town.

After a stop for coffee along side the ocean in one of the bays we took a leisurely ride through some of the neighborhoods. sydney-1-11

Nice to be out of traffic for a bit before we crossed the bridge and headed to where we could get a photo of Steve and I with scoots and both the Sydney Bridge as well as the Opera House in the background.

Hung out there with Bobo for a bit.

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While we were at it we attempted to fix Steve’s lose mirror without any real success before we moved on. sydney10)

Back into traffic across to the park area with the botanical garden.

 

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Where there was a nice bit of curves with glimpses of the Sydney skyline behind us. sydney14 sydney16BTW, these are the two scooters Steve and I had. Mine was the red GTS and Steve the Portofino LX.sydney13

If you look closely you can see the Opera House next to the bridge behind Steve and I.

sydney-1-14By the end of the day despite traffic we all agreed that exploring Sydney by scooter was the best way to see the town.  If you visit Sydney and Bobo offers to be your guide, take him up on it. You won’t regret it.sydney4

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Sydney Arrival

sydney-1-4Arrived in Sydney at sunrise to discover that the cruise ship dock is between the Opera House and the Sydney Bridge. What a great first view of the city. Our friend John picked us up and took us to Bondi Beach for a look at the sculpture exhibit.

Some of the sculpture aren’t ones that I consider to be art but more political/environmental statements like the fishing net full of trash or the front loader that had a bucket full of an assortment of bottles and cans. Those I frankly didn’t bother to photograph or spend any time looking at. Instead here’s some of the more interesting ones.

sydney-1-9sydney-1-6 A little perspective demonstration though it really reminds me of nesting cookie cutters. While this chrome purse did really reflect the sea and its surroundings. 

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sydney-1-10Others played with the light like the art glass that has to be my favorite of all the pieces we saw. None of my pictures really did it justice.

I will admit that I’d love to swim my laps this close to the ocean.

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FWIW, not all of the sculptures we saw were part of the  temporary exhibition. This dinosaur is a full time piece of work.

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Finally, what visit to Bondi Beach and its surrounding coves would be complete without seeing a few surfers?

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Hawaii

hawaii-1-2Today marks a milestone. Not only is it my first ever visit to Hawaii but also the day I complete my United States ride map by adding the last state for me to ride a PTW (aka scooter or motorcycle) in.  The plan was to meet up with Judy who kindly offered to give us a tour of Oahu when our shipped docked in Hawaii.

hawaii4Things started off very well as we walked off the ship when Steve said, “I see a Vespa.” When I looked the same direction I saw it was Judy coming to meet us riding Leo her LX and wearing her colorful Diesel helmet, yeah.

So we grabbed a cab with Judy following to take us to the place we’d reserved a pair of scooters. A Buddy 125 and Vespa GTS 250 for our tour with Judy. hawaii1When we arrived there were plenty of scooters and several “t-rex” aka little 3 wheeled 50cc “cars” but no body at the place. We tried calling not only the number I had on the reservation confirmation but every number on the building and on any of the scooters or t-rexes parked around the lot.

The guy who lived next door even came out and asked if we had called the owner. When we said we had with only voice mail as the result he tried a number he had with no more success than we had. So on to plan B. We found the next closest scooter rental shop and headed over.

hawaii2Unfortunately, they only had 1 125cc and the rest were all 50s so we got their “premium” 50cc which was supposed to go 45-50mph and set off. I was riding a Cali and Steve had a Sym Jet 50. As we headed  out on the two scooters following Judy we saw what almost has to be the iconic scooter set up for Hawaii, a red scooter with a red longboard attached via a surfboard rack. That’s when you know you are near the Pacific Ocean.

First stop was for a view of Diamond Head which was on Steve’s must see list.

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We took the coastal road just over half way around the island stopping for lunch after the Cali decided not to start when we stopped for gas.

hawaii6 Fortunately it turned out to be a bare wire at the kill switch that if it came into contact with metal wouldn’t let the scoot start. Thankfully Steve found it and we were able to get back on the road after a bite to eat.  Scenery was as fantastic as you might expect despite the rain and over cast.

hawai10In a couple of places the road was so close to the surf that you could easily get wet from the spray. In fact the scooter seats did while I was taking this photo.

Between the delay in getting scooters and troubleshooting the problem with the Cali not starting when we made our first gas stop we didn’t get to see as much of the island as we originally hoped. Since the scooters had to be back by 5pm Steve and I said goodbye to Judy and hopped on the road through the center of the island back to Honolulu.

hawaii-1-4hawaii9There we saw that scooter theft seems to be as big of a concern as it is in London if the size of the locks we saw on parked scoots is any indication.

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hawaii8Last stop before retuning the scooters was Waikiki Beach where renting a surfboard was even easier than renting a scooter.

The Cali might is a whole lot cuter the modern styled Sym but when it comes to performance there was no contest. The little Sym 50cc  would go 45 and even reach 50 on occaison but the only time the Cali even got to 40 was downhill with a tailwind.   Going uphill it wouldn’t even maintain 28mph which was a serious disappointment. If we go back to Hawaii I’ll will try again for at least a 125.

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Yesterday’s extra long day left me with only 225 miles to our house in Breckenridge. Many of the roads I’d be taking are ones that I’m familiar with and I had two options, one from Garmin and one from Apple maps. I elected to use the Garmin route.

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Seriously, Garmin? What part of no offroad, paved roads only didn’t you understand? I had successfully managed to avoid almost all dirt road riding during the cannonball with less than 2 miles total only to get to the end of the pavement and see 22 miles to the next turn. Knowing Wyoming and Colorado dirt I was reasonably certain I wouldn’t see pavement before then. What the heck, in my experience many of these graded dirt roads are hard packed, smoother than many paved roads and with a posted 45mph speed limit it looked like this would be one of those and I didn’t want to backtrack 30 miles to avoid it.

Came to the intersection with the next road only to discover that not only wasn’t it paved it wasn’t in anywhere near as good a shape as the one pictured above. Narrower, not as smooth and with a 25-30mph posted speed limit and 27 miles to town. In for a penny, in for a pound so off I went. True to my foreboding the road was much worse than the one I had left. Not only did it have washboard surface in many places (ever skied in cat tracks early in the morning before the sun has softened the frozen tracks, if you you know what it was like) but also a lot more gravel. Worst part was a turn at the top of a hill just after a cattle grate with several inches deep gravel and no warning of either the turn or the gravel. For a moment there I thought I wasn’t going to make the turn even though I wasn’t even going the posted speed limit. Have I mentioned that I hate gravel even worse than dirt?

While I had seen a few vehicles on the first dirt road the only one I saw the entire time I was on this one was one truck hauling a trailer full of hay. I have to admit I was glad when after 17 miles I started seeing the occasional ranch house. Another 5 miles and I saw pavement. Then once I reached the town I was able to fill up and saw signs that said 72 miles to Steamboat. Figured I’d get lunch there before the final ride down Colorado 9 home.  That too was not to be because the next intersection showed me to be south of Steamboat and Rabbit Ears Pass. Had I known that I’d had stopped at the café about 20 miles back. I knew there wasn’t really any place in Kremling I wanted to eat so started trying to decide between a very good burger at Mountain Lion in Silverthorne or a Rueben at Smiling Moose in Frisco.

In the meantime there was more road construction and dirt. Seems Colorado has decided to line 9 with game fences and provide several game crossing overpasses. The first one south of Kremling was complete. The second one partially in place but from just before that until well after where the third one was going in the road had been scraped down to, you guessed it dirt. With sections down to one lane and flagmen making you wait for a pilot car in between two way sections of dirt.

IMG_5171That gave me a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do about lunch. By the time I got to the Mountain Lion the skies looked like they were about to let loose so it was really an internal debate about whether to just head home and get something from the freezer or stop for a burger.

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Burger won which turned out to be a good thing since before my burger arrived the skies opened up, not with rain but hail. While it was small hail that isn’t what I want hitting me especially when I was wearing a mesh jacket. By the time I finished the hail had stopped and while the sun wasn’t out it wasn’t raining either.

A quick stop at City Market for some perishables I tucked the Sports City into the garage with its sibling scoots.

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2013SCB-Homeward3

cb-16Today I made it to Yellowstone going in the North Entrance. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of the Roosevelt Arch but unless I wanted to wait until the afternoon that wasn’t going to happen without a tripod.

This time I was a bit more prepared re road construction having determined that there were two places with 30 minute delays while they resurfaced the road. So I elected to go to east on the circular park road and see things I missed on my last ride through as well as avoid the road construction. I figured I’d exit out the South Entrance and depending on what time I left I’d figure out whether to bit the bullet and pay Jackson, WY hotel prices or head on down to Pinedale, WY where I usually ended up stopping after visiting Yellowstone.

It didn’t take long to see my first critters. A small herd of antelope were grazing and taking a water break. Followed almost immediately by my first buffalo.

I had turned my GPS off since I didn’t want to listen to it as I rode around Yellowstone and rely on signposts to get to the Southern Entrance. That turned out to be a mistake when I got to a junction that said “Jackson →”. That sent me right into the construction by Old Faithful, sigh.

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Oh joy, so then I revised my plan and headed to the West Yellowstone Entrance and figured I’d head to Idaho Falls for the night. That wasn’t to be since as soon as I left West Yellowstone I was confronted with a sign that said “expect 1.5+ delays”. Wholly carp, so a U turn and back through Yellowstone. This time at least there wasn’t a hold up at the construction zone just a 25mph speed limit due to the “chip and seal” operation with a warning to motorcyclists to take care. You know I think chip and seal is worse than plain old dirt roads.

cb-39Anyway, made it back to junction and took the road to the South Entrance. I had set my GPS to take me to Breckenridge which put me on US 287. I’d never taken that road but it looked interesting and there were definitely some scenic views.

cb-42Some mountain views I hadn’t seen before. I was really enjoying this route.

cb-43That is until I started seeing smoke. Followed by signs that said “do not stop”. When I came around a long curving section and saw a pair of Chinook helicopters filling their buckets from a pond and river next to the road.

That’s when I really wished I could stop and get out my good camera. I tried taking some photos with the little Nikon point and shoot I used for checkpoint photos on the cannonball but most of them were useless. This was the best of them and it only had one of the two Chinooks in it. None of the ones with both of them turned out.

I would have loved to have stopped and watched but with police in view I figured they could see me and with the no stopping signs all over the place it didn’t seem like a good idea.

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So I continued on and the first town I had considered stopping in was full of firefighters plus smoke which I didn’t particularly want to spend the night breathing.

cb-50There were some colorful mountainsides that the dehaze filter in Lightroom lets you see.

I rode through the Wind River Reservation part of the time along the Wind River listening to Longmire short stories some of which were set along the Wind River so that was sort of cool.

By the time I was out of the smoke filled area the nearest town large enough to have hotels was Lander. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a hotel/motel room available so I used Hotwire to get a motel in Rawlings. It was shown by my GPS as 126 miles away which meant I better take it easy since who knew if there would be a gas station open. There were supposed to be two on the route. One at Sweetwater Station (38 miles)  and the other at Mud Gap (80 miles) but I didn’t want to have to count on them after dark. cb-49

The scoot started doing the same “bad fuel” type sputtering about 15 miles into the route when the crosswinds kicked up. Sweetwater was dark when I got to it, so much so I could barely make out the one pump at the trading post so nothing to do but continue at a sedate pace to maximize mpg as I was being passed by what few other vehicles on the road. Thankfully, the gas station at Mud Gap which closed at 7pm (it was now almost 9) had a 24 hour card reader. I should have had enough gas to make it but better to fill up when you can. This did mean that I no longer had to ride sedately and I was now turned into the wind instead of a crosswind. Not only more comfortable to ride in but also has less negative effect on mpg and speed. This road also had more traffic and I was able for much of the time to stay with the traffic and make use of their better headlights.

Reached Rawlins after a 529 mile day where the only place I could see that was still open to eat was McDonalds. So I elected to eat one of my Kind bars from my cannonball stock it was straight to bed.

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