Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dead battery on an SUV, and the 2010 Russian to Ride Rally

Long time, no blog! My bad.

So here is the latest:

1) I had to buy a new rectifier for the P200E, because the brake light was really weak, the blinkers would not work, and it turns out the battery was not being charged.  After a few posts to Modern Vespa and some research, and an HP voltmeter, I found that the rectifier was not supplying proper voltage to charge the battery.

The lesson to be learned here:  NEVER try to jump start your Nissan XTerra with your 1981 P200E, because the poor rectifier can't handle the damn juice...

Enough said...

2) On August 13th ,14th and 15th, the Royal Bastards Scooter Club rolled into town to visit the home turf of their Sonoma County Chapter, to which I belong.  Camping, riding, eating and good music in Guerneville, California.

It all began with folks showing up on Friday, and an early ride (led by "Lofty Bastard", yours truly) of 30 miles looping back to the campground.  We went through Forestville, Sebastopol and Camp Meeker on the circular route.  I took the P200E with sidecar, because the pace could be nice and slow.

We then ate a good dinner (nicely worked up by some Sacramento Bastards) and headed out for the night ride, led by Sonoma County's own Wiley Bastard, a.k.a. Dan.  We went out to the coast and headed south on Coastal Route 1.  I rode "sweep", making sure everybody was in front of me, and that all were safe.

Unfortunately, some of the people were not expecting such a cold ride and did not pack/dress for such.  And, a gal broke down on the side of the road.  It seems her starter kicked in for no reason while she was going down the road, and made metal soup of parts of the engine.

We called the "rescue" van, a nice guy named Dmitri (with a very loud 2-tone air horn on his Vespa) got in touch with Dan who back tracked, and decided that I would take about 10 chilly folks back to the campground.  It was fun, and cold, and dark.  Getting into my hot tub after that ride was amazing.  I love 104 degree water...

The next day I took my Silver '06 GTS to the big ride, because it was going to be a bit faster. We ate a breakfast and then promptly pulled out of the campground at 10am, led by Boisterous Bastard, a.k.a. Ray.  We rode over Wohler Bridge, and on West Side Road up to Lake Sonoma.

We were met by the "El Colonel" catering van and all had the opportunity to eat some good Mexican food while taking in the view of Lake Sonoma and the surrounding hills.

Pictured above are JUST the Bastards - many others rode along, including some SOBs (Supporters of the Bastards).

We then rode west on Skaggs Springs Road to the coast, a road that winds quite a bit to Coastal Route 1. On this leg, I rode sweep again, and helped some 'timid' riders with negotiating the turns.  It was a great ride through the valleys and forested areas west of Lake Sonoma.  Time for a quick snack and gas-up, and off we went southward.

The coast was beautiful, the day was warm, and the riding was awesome.  Unfortunately, one of the local scooter guys got pulled over by the park police for crossing the double yellow (SERIOUSLY?), and we passed a white convertible sports car that decided to go off the road and down the steep slope around a right hand hairpin turn.  Oooops.  Sucks to be that guy.

Anyway, we rode back through Jenner and turned on River Road to head back to Guerneville and the campground.  We all got back safely without any incidents.

Next came scooter bowling.  On my first attempt I scored a strike!  I was the only person to do so, but they were counting the number of pins in a max of 2 attempts.  An S.O.B. from Sonoma 'Princess Fruitcup', a.k.a. Patrick, got a spare and we had a bowl off.  I got 8 pins, he got 7.  I win!

Here is a photo of me in action.  Notice the concentration of my follow through:

And here is a shot of my, atop my GTS, holding the 2010 "Russian to Ride" Royal Bastards Scooter Club Rally Scooter Bowling Championship trophy.

It was fun.  Later that night, we had dinner (again prepared by the Sacto Bastards) and then proceeded to the mini golf place where we golfed and listened to 3 groups play some music.  The last group featured Sonoma County's own Wiley playing the drums.  He kicked butt!

I rode home again, and dipped in the hot tub.  Man - 104 degree water feels good.

The last day featured breakfast and a raffle before everybody headed back home.  Long story short, some gal from Auburn, California won the first ticket pulled and picked a pink jacket.  She said it would match her pink scooter (which was the last prize to be raffled off).  And she won that, too.  Amazing, huh?

In between her winnings, I won a 3-handset cordless phone set for the house, 2 goggles, 1 pair of gloves (for Liz's use) a few shirts and scooter pillow cases (which I gave to Blue Ribbon Bastard)...

That was the weekend!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2010 High Rollers Las Vegas Scooter Rally

 Hello all,

Well, after 1290 miles round trip towing a trailer and close to 220 miles on the scooter, I have finally edited some video together and come up with a halfway decent video of the High Rollers Rally.

Click on any picture to enlarge it...

I put the scoot on the trailer, and drove to Santa Clara to pick up Liz who was at a meeting.  From there, we drove Pacheco Pass (from Gilroy) which was absolutely beautiful - and hit Route 5.  From there, we drove south to Buttonwillow and cut over to Bakersfield.  And then hooked up with Route 58, then Route 15 into Las Vegas.

In between Mojave and Barstow, we stopped in a little town called Boron and ate at Domingo's Mexican Restaurant.  It is the place where all US astronauts have their 1st meal after landing at Edwards AFB from their trip in space.

The owner, Domingo Gutierrez, was a personable, very kind man who showed us all of the things the astronauts brought him from their space flights.  The food was delicious, and Liz's margarita was HUGE.
Nothing going on in Boron, except that it is the home to the world's largest open pit mine, which just happens to be the largest Borax mine in the world...  Population is 2900 people.  Check it out:,_California

I was 'knighted' into the Royal Bastards Scooter Club under the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.  It's a group of people who love getting together and riding scoots.  People from different states, of all ages and backgrounds.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

I got to meet some great people and see some awesome scoots.  My favorite was a mock up of the Italian Army Bazooka Vespa, but in this case it had a PVC potato gun on it.  The dude even raced it wearing a suit on dirt against another Vespa.  He did not need to use the potato cannon though.

We rode 3 rides, one to Lake Las Vegas, the other one through the little hamlet of Summerlin, and then one to Red Rock Canyon, which was my favorite.  It was beautiful.  I always look down from the cockpit when I fly into Vegas at these blood red rocks and say "I'd like to go there."  Well, I did and it was awesome!




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It is complete!

Well ahead of schedule, (I thought it was going to be February before I was able to ride down the street), the P200 and sidecar are together and installed, and I had the pleasure of riding around the block a few times to the smell of a Sito Plus exhaust burning its factory coat of paint.

The sound is WAAAY throatier than the stock exhaust, and with the 24/24 carb and altered airbox I can definitely feel the difference from the factory setup.

This thing really hums along now - and I am looking forward to the new year and warmer weather that it brings to get out and ride!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Sidercar is here!

Well, the painter called and said the hack was complete and dry - so I went to pick it up.

He did an awesome job.  I took the fender and put foam tape in between it and the body of the sidecar.  I then bolted it in. I installed the brake light as well.  I used pop rivets to fasten the buttons for the cover onto the sidecar, and then installed the windshield with acorn nuts on the inside, to keep knees from getting scraped as one enters/exits the sidecar.  It is complete and awaits mounting onto the sidecar frame, which I rattle canned flat black, and it turned out most excellent, if I might say so myself.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Floowboards and Glove Box

I had to fit and remove the glovebox 4 times in order to get the hint that you can't have the rubber seal its sides AND the chrome edge trim installed at once.  I did some surgery on the glovebox rubber seal and removed the side portions, and installed the box for the final time.

I also added the floorboards and rubber insert.  For the plastic endcaps I decided not to use blind rivets, and drilled holes in them.  I needed to do some countersinking, but the sivler on black look just really looks neat.

I also used acorn nuts for the forward looking screws.  It really looks WAY better than a squashed rivet end loking you in the face.

Finally, here is everything so far (I also put together but did not mount the front fork, which is not so exciting to look at...).

Back From Paint!

I brought back all of the painted parts (except the sidecar, which had a run on it because of the fact that the metallic paint "moves" once it is sprayed).  My paint guy said he will sand and repaint the part and have the sidecar ready by Wednesday.

The paint is AWESOME.  The color really glistens in the sun, and with a little bit of chrome to add some shiny contrast, the bike is looking fine:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Airbox Modification


Its been a while...  Picking up the first load of parts (all of the pepper white ones) today. At least I can put together the left cowl and the front fork assembly...

The green ones are being painted today and will be picked up Thursday.

I modified the airbox (again, with the assistance of a friend) and now it is ready to accept the 24/24 carburetor.