When my son decided to return to Houston for school he’d left the Sports City at my brother’s house in Fallbrook, California. It wasn’t doing anyone much good there so I flew out to bring it back to Houston. Headed out on California 79 following more or less the 2012 Scooter Cannonball route in reverse which reminded me of many of the roads in Colorado and Texas’s Twisted Sisters.
My biggest shock on the first day was the huge scooter shop in Prescott, AZ
Who knew you’d find a Genuine, Vespa, Piaggio and Ural dealership in a smallish Arizona mountain town. When the shop owner saw me taking a photo he invited me in for a Coke since he was out of coffee and told me the story of how he came to be a scooter dealers. Seems back in the last recession before the current one he was strictly a used vehicle dealer, primarily selling work trucks. When guys got laid off they couldn’t afford both their truck payments and gas to go job hunting in vehicles with 12mpg. So he picked up a container of Chinese scoots and made a deal, they could have the scoot for their job hunts if they made their truck payments. That turned out to be a good business proposition and from there the scooter bug bit the area. As the economy got better folks started looking at better quality scooters and he branched out. Said he’d carried a few other brands but had more or less settled on the ones he now carries. The other thing that interested me was the number of scoots he had with sidecars. I guess that’s a spinoff from the Urals with sidecars he also sold. While there I was told that I “had” to ride Oak Canyon to Sedona before I left the area.
My original plan when I arrived was to go a bit further before stopping for the night but I spent too much time at the shop which was getting too close to dusk for riding in an area full of deer. Just as well because it wasn’t too long after I left Prescott in the morning that I found myself riding with snow on each side of the road.
And then there was Jerome, AZ with its switchback streets where Lost Boater got his Cannonball ticket in 2012.
Next stop Sedona
If you get a chance I can highly recommend stopping for some exploring in Sedona. Coffee on a terrace is where I took the photo above. Not long after leaving Sedona you enter Oak Canyon.
Since I had lunch with a friend in Flagstaff before turning east on I-40 and hauling ass to make up the time spent loitering in Sedona enjoying the view.
Unfortunately, the small town I had picked on the map as my stop for the night turned out not to have any hotel rooms available due to a very large family reunion that was going on. So it turned into a much longer day than I had anticipated with well over 500 miles from my early morning departure to pulling into a motel for the night. Would you believe that the sports bar/beer pub closed at 9pm on a Friday night? I couldn’t believe it when I walked over after checking in and dropping off my stuff in the room. Sure had been looking forward to a juicy burger and beer. Instead I ended up at Dennys since getting back on the scoot to ride someplace else to eat just didn’t seem particularly appealing after a 14 hour day. Besides, there wasn’t any guarantee I’d find anyplace better than Dennys after discovering the Italian place also closed at 9pm.
Back on the road the next morning it was a short hop over to Roswell where I had to stop at the UFO museum and the colorful mural across the street.
From here I was back on the 2012 Cannonball route to Abilene where I spent the night before a leisurely ride home to Houston the next day for a total of 1738 miles in 4 days on a Sports City 250. I had anticipated that I’d find the Sports City uncomfortable to ride for hundreds of miles each day after day but I was pleasantly surprised to find that even on the longest day while tired I was not in bad shape. Okay, it felt very good to walk a few blocks in an abortive attempt to have a craft beer but I could easily walk.
Would I do a long trip on the Sports City again? Yes, while it wouldn’t be my first choice out of all the scoots we’ve owned or I’ve ridden frankly I preferred it to the more touring oriented Burgman in many ways. I’ve known for a long time I prefer the more upright seating position of the traditional Italian scooters to the foot forward cruiser seating position of the maxis like the Burgman, Silverwing and Kymco Xciting but the Sports City has a shorter wheelbase than our other Italians which always made me feel too forward on the scooter. Maybe it was the addition of the windshield or just a different frame of mind but I didn’t feel like I was leaned as far forward as when I’d ridden the Sports City in the past but for whatever reason it was a much more enjoyable ride than I had anticipated. So I’m glad I decided to be the one to bring the scoot back from California.