Scoot Commute

Rice-o-Rama 2010

Honda CB350 at Rice-o-Rama

Honda CB350 at Rice-o-Rama

Ahh, Sunday. I don’t sleep that well when camping, or maybe I do, but I certainly wake up “at the crack of dawn.” I’m sure it’s because my bedroom at home is kept pitch black; super dark paint on the wall, block out shades and thick curtains over them, and the door kept mostly closed (except for a small crack for the cats to come in and out). I can sleep well into the afternoon if my body and brain is needing it. But in the woods, the first hint of sunlight and I’m awake.

On this morning it was a good thing I awoke so early as we had to get to Rice-o-Rama first thing to meet Brendan with the BMW clutch cable. We got up and set about to the morning camp routine. I got the water boiling for coffee because neither of us can function without coffee, and then set up the next pot for hot cereal (farina for me and maple sugar & apples oatmeal for him).

After we get our caffeine jolt and a little bit of food in the belly (including a banana each because protein, protein, protein), we take on our respective break-down duties. I would say that we were packed and ready to go in 30 minutes which is really, really good for us. Getting the sleeping bags into the stuff sacks and the sleeping mats deflated and packed seems to take the most time.

We got everything packed on the bikes, and we each had a bag with trash and recyclables to be dropped off before leaving the campground. After that we swung onto Podunk Highway and toward North Brookfield, Massachusetts. The ride up was ok save for the not one, not two, but three pick-up trucks being driven by jerks. Look, it’s not my fault that your town decided the posted speed limit should be 35 MPH on this stretch of road and you’re late for church services, but to pass on the double-yellow is just jerk behavior. I do hope that you made the homily because you might actually have learned something.

When we pulled into the North Brookfield Sportman’s Club, we were behind a couple, each on their own bikes, as we rode into the grassy field to park. The guy parked first, having to pull around and then walk the bike in backwards. The woman with him started the same but was having some difficulty backing the bike in on the grass. I kept yelling “You got it, take your time” but then the folks behind us went around and started to park. Sheesh, let the woman relax and park already. She was on a low cruiser thing. They all look the same to me. I know, I should pay attention.

BMW R75/5 and DR-Z400 SM with Renazco seat in pink and black

BMW R75/5 and DR-Z400 SM with Renazco seat in pink and black

I pulled in next and then /5 next to me. I guess we make an odd combo because people stare. Oh well. I love my pink DRZ and he loves his vice-gripped r75/5. We got comments like “looks like you came from far way” because of our camping equipment. We got comments that people loved the toaster tank and liked the customization of my bike…I think they like that it’s customized, but maybe not how it’s customized. It’s so hawt looking, I don’t know how cars stand it!

We wandered over to the main vendors area and found Brendan not long after we parked. He had the clutch cable for us, which we immediately took back over to the bike. As loads of bikes are parking, we’re working together to replace the cable. I’m sure it’s a sight to see!

We wandered around the show for a while, probably about 2 to 3 hours. I got to see Dave, who was the former owner of Erik’s Honda Dream once removed. I really like him and it was great to chat and catch up. He really is a super nice person.

There was a guy selling DRZ plastics and a rad guard. While I was tempted by the yellow plastics (it would match my custom yellow seat that the two of us made and the Ortliebs to create the travelling BumbleBee), I only bought the rad guards. I didn’t even bargain with the guy because his price was so fair. [They’ve since been installed on Elsa; she’s got so much bling that I blow Escalades off of Broad Street!]

This Yamaha wasn't even entered in Rice-o-Rama 2010

This Yamaha wasn't even entered in Rice-o-Rama 2010

The entries in the show were pretty shallow. I think it may have had something to do with the weather which was threatening rain. I really only pay attention to the Hondas or a Yamaha if it’s yellow and black. I was also looking for the Kawasakis that were in Mad Max, having watched it for the first time this summer (the KZ1000). I know, lame.

I didn’t see one scooter entered. Sad. There was a freaking awesome battery-powered monstrosity and a BMW sidehack. I didn’t see one CB750 that I was ga-ga over. Loads of CB350s. One that looked like mine, except it was nicer than mine. I sorta get making them look showroom, but I don’t really. Just ride the damn thing.

KTM 990 Adventure S and me...wouldn't I look good on this?

KTM 990 Adventure S and me...wouldn't I look good on this?

As we were getting ready to leave, having had my hamburger and used the ladies’ room in the clubhouse (a new addition this time), I noticed KTM 990 Adventure Sguy by his bike. I covet his bike in a way that isn’t natural. I don’t even want a 990 but it was in the Nassau County orange and blue that is, well, oh soooo beautiful that seals the deal. I ask him about inseam and flat-footing, hoping he’ll let me on it, but he doesn’t offer. Oh well, I’m not going to ask.

I go back over to our bikes as Erik is getting ready to go. I get all geared up and as I’m sitting on the bike, a guy in a hi-viz jacket walks up to introduce himself. It’s “hi-viz sportbike dude“. Are you kidding me? Some random rider who passed us in March of this year comes up to say hello. Shout out, duuuude! I sorta wished we had met earlier to have a chat.

Now we’re both ready to leave and Terry and Connie come over to say hello. I felt really bad not getting off the bike and spending some time checking out the scene with them since they had ridden in from Rhode Island, but we’d already been there about 3 hours and I was ready to head out. I had a plan for the way home.

As we headed along some lovely roads toward Sturbridge, I realized we had a huge convoy of bikes behind us. The only time I’ve ever gotten to ride with that many bikes was a Wednesday night scooter ride. We crossed Route 20 where our convoy of vintage Kawasakis split off and we headed south toward Connecticut.

Roseland Cottage, Woodstock Connecticut

Roseland Cottage, Woodstock Connecticut

Riding along Route 169 I suggested that we stop at Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, CT. I’ve always wanted to tour the place; an 1840’s “cottage” built as a summer home for a Woodstock-born resident who lived (and made a boatload of money) in New York. I know this ride pretty well because I’ve done it a bunch of times, including when I first brought Elsa the DRZ home. It’s rolling countryside with lots of farms and cows.

During most of the ride I had a pick-up behind me at a respectable distance. At one point I noticed the pick-up had been overtaken and there was a bike behind me with a hi-viz rider. I said to Erik over the Cardo, “Um, there’s a guy on a sportbike behind me wearing hi-viz. Should I pull over to let him pass or what? I want to stop in Woodstock.” We decided just keep riding our to the speed limit pace and pull over at the house.

In Woodstock we pull over to turn into the Roseland Cottage driveway (now a museum). Sportbike dude pulls up behind me. “Hey, I’m not stalking you!” he yells. Um, yeah you are. But in a sweet way. He hands me a link of velcro for the collar on my AST so that it will close properly over my fleece neck gaiter. “Are you kidding me?” I yell. “Why didn’t I think of that?!” I’ve been using it on and off as the evenings have gotten nippy and it’s great. Thank you!

I hope to meet up with Sportbike Dude and Mrs. Sportbike Dude in town. Stay tuned.

The tour of the cottage was great. It’s under the tutelage of Historic New England. It was in the same family from build in 1846 to sale to the non-profit in 1968. That’s crazy. It has loads of original furniture and features and some of the wildest original stained glass I’ve ever seen in a house from the 1840’s. Wild!

Our tour guide, Roseanna, was very interesting. At the beginning I thought she had a prosthetic left arm. I’ve never actually met anyone who didn’t move their arms while walking. She was like a robot, spewing information about the house but not really engaged with the interaction with guests. Erik says that she was like someone who goes to library school and wants to be a cataloger. Shy and should be kept away from others.

The DRZ400SM and the R75/5 at the gardens at Roseland Cottage

The DRZ400SM and the R75/5 at the gardens at Roseland Cottage

That said, she did look up information after the tour in response to one of my questions. I tried to keep the questions/comments down as there were others on the tour, but as someone who lives in a Victorian, has been on a lot of house tours, and knows a lot about old houses, it’s difficult. The bowling alley in the back was brilliant! She even overheard me saying that the Gropius house was next as it’s a nice ride, as she handed me the brochure.

We got home and pulled the bags in the house. Parked the bikes and basically chilled. I missed my cats.


One Response

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  1. Eric said, on 2012/05/31 at 1:13 pm

    when is the next rice o rama???? i have a 65 ca i want to sell

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