Scoot Commute

How to not pay for your gas

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2009/10/10
GPS to Southbridge from little Rhody

GPS to Southbridge from little Rhody

It’s been awhile since I posted because it’s been a bit crazy around here…school is nuts and we closed on the house! Yippee! But no one from the bank and the seller’s agency told the management company that we bought it and someone went in and winterized the entire place. It took an entire week to get someone to come back out and unwinterize the place, so now there is hot water. The rest of my weekend is cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

But back to commuting…

On Friday I had to travel to Southbridge, MA to attend a workshop at the Southbridge Conference Center. I awoke to a grey day and a forecast of rain so I donned by Olympia AST and my FirstGear Escape pants. So you don’t have to read to the end, these two items are amaaaaaazing in a chilly rain. Get yerself some.

I rode a back way to Southbridge, but then again, I think you can only get there “back way” from Providence. I went out on Route 44 and then straight up Route 169 in Connecticut. I knew the ride was going to be beautiful as the trees are about in mid-turn and 169 is this lovely, twisty country road with a posted limit of 35 to 40 mph. What I didn’t know was that good ol’ Franz was going to act up.

The scoot lost power after about 30 minutes going about 55 mph on Route 44 out in Glocester, RI. I pulled up and it was still running. I feathered the throttle and it grabbed again. It did this two more times on the ride out so I arrived late in Southbridge.

I got to see one Belted Galloway in Burrillville. I love Belties so it made me happy and forget the issues with the scoot. I didn’t have time to snap a pic as this was on the ride out and I didn’t want to be late.

Again, Connecticut did not disappoint with its outstanding signage. Under Route 395 overpass and then, bam, there’s the sign for Route 171. Go through town and bam, there’s the turnoff for Route 169. Rhode Island DOT, why don’t you ride around Connecticut and learn how to sign properly?!

The third time the scoot lost power, I pulled over and played around with the fuel filter. It seems like a gas starvation issue, and I’ll look at it over the weekend. I checked the time and I still had 15 minutes before the workshop began. But, I had no idea where I was in relation to where I needed to be. I got back on and immediately saw a sign for “Southbridge 7 miles” so I opened up the throttle and flew down the road.

I came into Southbridge and tried to follow my directions but wound up on a road headed toward Sturbridge, which I knew was above Southbridge. I turned around and pulled up to a police officer directing traffic through a stop light (road works). He was sooooo nice, telling me all about the renovations to the conference center where I was headed. He gave me perfect directions and I found the place with no issues. Turns out I had already passed it. I did think, “wow, that place is really sweet”, not realizing it was where I was supposed to be. The center is in rehabbed mill and they kept the facade to the street. I thought it was a converted loft/living center. Doh!

As I pulled into the parking lot and parked, my colleague from school was just getting out of her car. We were both running late, me because I got lost and her because she didn’t realize how long she was going to be on rinky-dink roads.

The workshop was very good. Getting ready to leave, I re-donned my pants and screaming hi-viz jacket and one of the sign-in people, a considerably older than me woman, says to me “Did you come here on a motorcycle?” I answered in the affirmative, shocked that someone actually put 2 and 2 together. She then says, rather accusingly, “Where is your helmet?” I laughed and said “Oh, it’s on the bike. I do have a mother.” She didn’t miss a beat and replied, “Ah, but you don’t always listen to us.”

Me in Southbridge, MA

Me in Southbridge, MA

I walk out to the parking lot with my colleague and she graciously volunteers to take a snap. I get ready to head out and need to stop at a gas station. I pull up to the pump and look all over it and don’t see a slot for my credit card. There’s a guy dressed head-to-toe in camouflage and he gestures that I should just started pumping. He then walks over to this wooden box thing so I walk over to him and peek at what he’s doing. Ahhh, I discovered, he works there and is pumping the fuel for everyone. He says, “Pump yourself then pay.” Double doh! This station has the nozzle that you have to use two hands to pull the plastic nozzle protector thing back in order to get the fuel to flow. I had to take off both gloves (it’s raining!) just to pump $1.61 in gas. The scoot was only on 1/2 but I knew the route back has no stations until I got back into the Providence area and didn’t want to get caught out in the backwoods of Rhode Island without gas. I originally had my Paypal card out, but for $1.61 I fished around in my wallet and pulled out two dollar bills. I handed them to the attendant, and he gave me two quarters in return. Sweeeet! I got 11 cents of gas for free! That’s like 20 miles.

Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT

Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT

On the way back I stopped at the Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, CT. I didn’t go on the tour because I want to return with Erik. It’s an amazing Gothic Revival house that’s now a museum (sadly…how cool would it be to live in this place?!).

Buddy at the Scituate Reservoir

Buddy at the Scituate Reservoir

The scoot crapped out three more times on the ride home, but since I was heading home, I wasn’t that stressed about it. But, it was raining so that added some fun to the ride. I headed back onto Route 44 and then onto Route 102. I absolutely love 102. It has great hills and dips and snakes through the woods. I was debating to take Route 14 or Route 12 across the reservoir, and decided on 14 as that road is surrounded by water on both sides (Route 12 has the land dam on one side).

I got home a little after 5pm after getting a little bit lost in Silver Lake. Not so much lost as I didn’t really know how to get from point A to point B, but I knew where I was.

Needless to say, I didn’t see any other bikes the whole day. Cold and rain has that effect.

All in all, it was a great ride and I’ll definitely do it again. I like that it is a backway to get to Sturbridge. Three times a year the vintage textiles show is in Sturbridge to kick off Brimfield Week.


2 Responses

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  1. polianarchy said, on 2009/10/13 at 2:30 pm

    i wonder if you’ve got the vapor-lock dealie-o happening with your gas tank?

    love the pictures here.

    • sbahn said, on 2009/10/14 at 1:29 pm

      I’m sure it’s not vapor lock. After talking it over with my Erik and Ryan, one of the mechanics at Javaspeed, we’ve decided there’s water in the carb as I rode in a crazy rainstorm two days before this happened. Erik replaced the fuel filter and drained the bowl this weekend (all I did was clean the new house and prep my eBay items for sale). I’ll have to take it on a fast ride and see what happens. And thanks for the kind words on the pics…leaves are a-turnin’

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