Scoot Commute

Honda goes to the Enchanted Forest

Posted in BMW R75/5 (Mackie Messer), Honda CB750 K3, Pleasure Ride by sbahn on 2009/07/23

What’s a girl to do on a beautiful, sunny Saturday? Why, get the current RI/CT photo tag on ADV, that’s what!

After seeing Tommy on Friday at Trinity, we all decided we should do a ride together on Saturday as a practice run for the ride out to Unadilla. I called him around noon to meet up for 1:00pm and then head down to the abandoned Enchanted Forest. Erik had mapped it out all the night before.

Enchanted Forest, Hope Valley, Rhode Island

Enchanted Forest, Hope Valley, Rhode Island

So it’s 1 o’clock. No Tommy. It’s 1:15, no Tommy. And it’s hot standing around the driveway. It’s 1:30, no Tommy. Ross the neighbor stops by as he’s walking to Brooks and we chat about the ‘hood and how his brother Seth may be working for Providence Water and wants to buy a scoot, and other such local nonsense. Still no Tommy. Erik goes back into the house and there is not one, not two, but three messages from him. He left our address at home and is at Trinity waiting.

Erik calls him and we head into town. I managed the bike ok, but stayed on it while Erik went it to meet Tommy. I hit the kill switch and turned the fuel tap off because I didn’t know how long they were going to be inside. They were out in less than a minute, Sean in tow who had his Jeep.

Tommy and Erik got started and we had decided we would head back up to Broad Street and then onto Elmwood Avenue. I was inbetween them both as we went down Empire Street. We’re cruising along ok, and I’m not worried about Broad Street because, even though it’s insane whack-a-doodle crazy, I ride it every day on the scoots so I’m used to it. I know which lights I’ll most likely have to stop at, I know where the potholes and big bumps are, and I know which areas people are most likely to cross without looking. We come to the light at Pearl Street, Erik in the lead, Tommy and me next to each other, a RIPTA bus behind us. I’m certain I’m in first, the light turns green, and the bike dies. I press the starter, nothing. I try it a couple of times, but by now the bus driver is growing impatient and starts to honk.

I push the bike to the side of the street and Tommy comes over next to me. I’m remaining as calm as I can in the 85 degree heat, but I say, “I’m not getting anything…it’s been fine, but I don’t hear anything.” So I stop for a second to think. I look down at the fuel tap…I can feel the red spread up my neck and across my cheeks. I burst out laughing and turn my head to look at Tommy, and yell over “fuel tap”. He responded with laughter and said he’s done that tons of times. Now he just doesn’t bother turning it off.

We head off and meet up with Erik who had pulled over further along. At the next light I pull up next to him and tell him how stupid I am. We swing over onto Elmwood Avenue, and I’m doing ok in the stop-and-go traffic. The light at Adelaide turns red and we coast into it. Suddenly a AAA pick-up pulls in front of Erik and all three of us have to stop short. I kick down and I’m no longer certain if it actually clicked into first or not. I think this uncertainty then lead to me stalling at the green. Again, I had to paddle myself to the side, get it started and ride off with Tommy.

Part of the issue, I think, is that I was nervous riding with Tommy. I ride with Erik all the time, and we have a very good rhythm. We know how each other rides, and we’re comfortable with each other (even if he goes a bit too slowly). But Tommy has donkey years of experience riding and I didn’t want to mess up in front of him, which of course led me to mess up.

We continued down Elmwood and then onto Post Road, heading down to Razee’s. We pull into Razee’s and Tommy says to me, if you can handle what we just went through, you can handle the ride to Unadilla.

We wandered around Razee’s, looking at the Ducatis and BMWs and trying to find the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic that I wanted to show Tommy. We headed upstairs to the parts department to pick up some oil filters for the CB and some oil thingey for the BMW that would then allow the oil light to work so Erik will know if there’s a problem. The guys are the parts desk are always a riot. The guy helping us was fairly sarcastic when Erik asked if they would have whatever this part is for a ’71 BMW…the guy next to him, donning a bow tie(!) said that they don’t often offer parts to someone wearing Rukka. I shot him a look and said, “We got it used”, to which he replied, “oh, that’s ok then.” It was very funny.

We crossed the street to the picnic area (which of course, was just being closed up because we got there so late) to ogle some of the rare bikes they keep hidden away (BSA, Triumph, etc.). It was all very masculine.

We got back on the road, Tommy in the lead now, and headed to 138 to go to Hope Valley and snap our pic. Boy, 138 is a great road. No traffic, no stops, just great. Passed by URI (Erik gave a big thumbs up to his current school), the only Waldorf school in Rhode Island, lots of fields with cows and corn. It was really tranquil and I was getting comfortable riding.

We turned onto Route 3 and shortly thereafter passed by the Enchanted Forest. Tommy pulled over to the side of the road to make a U-turn, then Erik pulled over and started to turn around, and so I pulled over, but I came to a stop. There was no shoulder, just the tar of the road and a drop into a gulch. The roadway was also uphill. Tommy finishes his turn and heads down into the abandoned parking lot. Erik turns and I ease up on the clutch and give some gas but the bike starts to roll backwards and off the tarmac into the little bit of sand and down into the gulch. I pull the front brake sharply and the bike starts to tip. Somehow, and I really don’t remember how, I managed to keep it upright. Erik is looking over and I’m screaming, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.”

He parks his bike by the side of the road (thankfully no traffic has come!) and he runs over. I keep saying, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this.” I say, “please, you get on, you turn it around” and he says there’s no way to do that, it’ll fall down the hill into the gulch. At this point a guy on a Harley with his woman on the back comes riding by. They stop and he asks if we need help. Wow, I thought to myself, is that not super-nice? We both say we’ll be fine. He takes off, she smiles at me and waves. I’m sure they’re thinking, how the hell did they wind up in that direction? It looked like I had been riding through the woods and coming up onto the roadway.

Erik got behind the bike to support me and I gave it some gas. He pushed me back out on the road and I just headed up the road to find a driveway to turn around. I just couldn’t pull a U-turn on that narrow of a street. Seriously, the CB is like driving a steamboat. I found an autobody place up the street with a nice crescent driveway and was able to turn around.

I got down next to the Enchanted Forest sign for the pic, both with and without Tommy’s Triumph. I still think he has no idea why we were at this place. We then tried to get into the place, but it was all fenced and there didn’t seem to be too much stuff left.

We then decided to head down to the beach, and Tommy took the lead again. At a park-n-ride we pulled over and checked Google Maps on Tommy’s iPhone. It was a real novelty riding with someone who had access to a map. We looked up directions to Misquamicut Beach and Tommy led the way. At one point we got on a highway, I think Route 71, and it was pretty fast. The fastest I had ridden that day, and it’s single lane each way with Jersey barriers inbetween oncoming traffic, so I had to keep up.

We got down to the beach and Tommy asked the cop if we could park with a bunch of other bikes, for free. Score 1 for the two wheelers! We grabbed some food. Both Tommy and I have to eat regularly or we become mean, angry, unbalanced grouches. After our snack, I persuaded the boys to walk on the beach. We started down the path with our boots on, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to work. We all took off our boots and stashed them in the tall grass between the parking lot and the dunes. Walking in the sand felt so good and it was a hot day, so we walked in the surf as well. Poor Erik’s Rukka trousers got soaked. The water felt so nice and the walk felt good. We walked and walked, and then finally turned around to walk back. Tommy joked about riding home in Crocs if our boots were not there when we returned. Fortunately our boots were all there.

Bikes at the beach

Bikes at the beach

The sun was getting low in the sky, and we decided to head toward home on Route 1. We stopped at Narragansett Beach, parked on the street next to a Suzuki V-Strom, watched the sun sink lower in the sky and the folks surfing. I took off my mesh jacket and discovered that yes, indeed, sun does get through mess and I had nice red shoulders. The rest of me was fine as I had put sunblock on my neck, face and the little bits of skin that peek out between my jacket sleeves and glove cuffs.

A bunch of people walk by, looking at the bikes, and some Triumph people get into deep conversation with Tommy. I keep looking at the V-Strom and it grows on me. I start wondering how much it weighs (yes, there’s a theme here). We start to get ready to leave, and Erik nudges me and points out that the V-Strom owners (man and woman) have appeared. I guess after a long afternoon of riding in the sun broke down some of my shyness and I walked right over and said, “That’s a great looking bike. Do you know how much it weighs?” They’re very receptive and we start talking about bikes and stuff. The woman was like, “That’s your CB?” She said she really wants to learn to ride and the next week was taking the BRC at CCRI. [Hopefully she passed!] The guy actually let me sit on the bike and move it around. It is much lighter than the CB, that’s for sure. He also had Givi panniers that I absolutely loved, but they’re made specifically for the V-Strom. We had a nice chat, and then we all geared up and headed out.

It was getting late and Tommy needed to get back to let his dog out, so we decided we’d take I-95 back. I wasn’t so thrilled with this, but I didn’t want to have Tommy go his way and Erik and me to take our wimpy Route 1 way, so I went with it. We got onto Route 4 which is the main highway from the shore to 95 and the highway I absolutely hate riding with my scoot. It’s posted at 55 but people routinely drive 80. Tommy led, then me, and Erik was the clean-up. We stayed in the slow lane (it’s a dual carriageway) and we were going 70. I really didn’t like it as people would come up so fast and then pass on the left. And Erik was waaaaay behind me, and I was worried that we might wind up with a car between us. I don’t know why he hung back so far. I was doing my best to keep up with Tommy and only had one moment of “this is really not fun” when we took the banked curve up into the merge with 95. It felt like the bike didn’t want follow the curve. I really have to work on the curves with this bike.

We merged onto I-95 and Tommy kept us in the slow lane. We got behind a white car that was going soooooo slow, but Tommy kept us behind it. I’ll have to let him know we could have passed because were going about 55, and it was a little bit slow.

We had agreed that Erik and I would break off at Exit 16 as we live in Providence and Tommy lives in Seekonk. I gave a couple of honks and he gave a wave, and off we drifted to the Roger Williams Zoo exit ramp. The two of us feel into “riding in crazy South Providence” mode and made it home in one piece.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the most ridiculous part of this whole trip. When Erik and I got home, he immediately opened his laptop and brought up the tag thread. I was in the kitchen taking off my gear (don’t we all de-gear in the kitchen? well, that’s where O’Malley was lounging in his Strongbow box and I wanted to pet him), and Erik walks in, carrying the laptop, and just looks at me and says “I’m so sorry…”

Not only did one inmate beat me to the tag post, but two did. So I was double-bruced! And then another guy came as triple-bruced. The crazy thing is, we all went on the Saturday yet none of us met.

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