Scoot Commute

Labor Day with a US Marine, or what would my father say?

Still life with BMW 1200 GSA and DRZ400SM with only covered bridge in Rhode Island

Still life with BMW 1200 GSA and DRZ400SM with only covered bridge in Rhode Island

I was raised in a Navy home. We did speak to our neighbor who was in the Air Force because my father said the Air Force had as high standards as the Navy. I even babysat for them. But Army people, and even worse, “Jarheads”, well, we were just not to fraternize with such people. Except when we had to go to the Commissary at Dix.

So how did I find myself in the woods with a United States Marine on a kitted out BMW Gelände/Straße Abenteur that cost more than all my bikes together; hell, his riding outfit cost more than half my bikes!

Well, let’s see. It was Labor Day. The boyfriend was having a good weekend of doing mechanical work on the DRZ and the Buddy. He didn’t seem particularly interested in a ride. And I wanted a chance to ride with someone who I consider similar in style to me (in other words, faster).

Elsa’s Doctor Visit

The boyfriend performed the Stage 1 tracheotomy on the DRZ400SM, including the 3×3 air box mod, new main and pilot jets, new needle and upgraded fuel bowl screws. Oh, and a new air mixture screw. This was done to, hopefully, stop the “anti-surge”, my way of describing how the bike seemed to lurch in low gear.

In my defense of not doing the work, I did do all the research on what parts to get. Woe is me, having to troll ThumperTalk and SuperMotoJunkie.

She was ready to roll on Monday afternoon. I did a quick look at my little Rhody maps and headed out to meet M to try and find some new dirt roads in the Foster/Coventry area. As I left, the Buddy was in pieces.

Franz’s Doctor Visit

Franz Biberkopf, my 2008 Genuine Buddy scootah, has been getting crap gas mileage for a while now. Like 65 mpg. The horror. As I just hit 9,000 miles, I had ordered up a new belt and some gaskets. I asked the boyfriend if he would poke around and try to figure out the fuel issue. He had already cleaned carb, installed a new plug, tightened up the auto-choke (which was just sort of hanging and what I thought was the issue). Still no improvement in gas mileage.

Yesterday he cleaned out the tranny, installed the new belt, and reseated the absolutely filthy but still functional sliders. I’m hoping for an improvement back up to 75-80 mpg which is what I’ve always gotten. I couldn’t really feel any difference today because the weather was so bad, I wasn’t riding like I normally do. I was practically a granny today.

Completely random meeting place: Pig Hill Road, Coventry, RI

Completely random meeting place: Pig Hill Road, Coventry, RI

Back to the Labor Day Ride

I met M at Pig Hill Road in Coventry, Rhode Island. We took some time exploring some new roads I had looked up and eventually headed into Connecticut through one of the Wildlife Management Areas. I spent a lot of the ride looking at all the downed trees and branches, some of the trees fell over at 20 feet in the air. What a complete mess. In one area the powerlines were so low to the ground that a 2 year old child could have reached up and grabbed them while seated in the leaf debris.

Rice City Road, Rice City, Rhode Island (try finding that on a map!)

Rice City Road, Rice City, Rhode Island (try finding that on a map!)

I led for much of the ride because I either knew the roads/route or had spent some time working out a route. I don’t usually lead so that was a weird experience. I like being sweeper. I ride at the back, making sure everyone is doing ok. This leading thing, it requires you having to look in your mirrors. And when I did, YIKES! Thems some bright driving lights.

BMW 1200 GSA with the brightest aux lights I've ever seen, Cahoone Road, Coventry, RI

Yes, I see you! BMW 1200 GSA with the brightest aux lights I've ever seen, Cahoone Road, Coventry, RI

When we got to Connecticut, I didn’t really know how to get back to where I wanted to go, so I let M take over the lead as he had a digital GPS (as opposed to my analog pieces of paper). We rode by an interesting looking gravel/forest road and shortly after, he stopped. I pulled up next to him.

“Interested?”

“Uh huh.”

As is often the case, the road was a dead end. But that didn’t stop M was doing his “big stick” test to discern how deep the water was. We were greeted with two big cans of Bud Light and a torn condom wrapper. Ahh, simpler times.

Hmm, maybe we can make it across? Marines, I'm telling you...

Hmm, maybe we can make it across? Marines, I'm telling you...

I eventually got us back to where we started, after a nice ride through Audubon Society land. I think M enjoyed that bit the best as Tropical Storm Irene (see Rollie, I do listen!) had done a number on the ‘road’ so it was a bit washed out. My favorite bit, an up-and-over little rock ledge, was a bit of fun.

Neither of us had planned for food, so by the end of the day, M was really hungry. I felt bad because we were in the middle of nowhere, so middle of nowhere there wasn’t even a diner to be had. I sent him off back home hungry. If I wasn’t in the middle of start-of-semester craziness, I would have planned a BBQ back at my house. But late August and the entire month of September is just a blur for me, and I think those around me know this.

George Washington Highway, or everything that is wrong with Rhode Island, calling this a "highway"

George Washington Highway, or everything that is wrong with Rhode Island, calling this a "highway"

I actually rode back through the Audubon Society land and was going to take my beloved Isthmus Road back up to Plainfield for the ride into Providence, but I could hear the Sirens’ song of George Washington Highway. I was kicking myself for not bringing M to this short, but fun, stretch of road. I’m not even sure it is a road. I’ve only ever done it in the up direction. I want to try it in the down direction, but not alone. Not on “those silly tires” which is what the Avon Distanzias got called.

The woods, or why I ride

The woods, or why I ride

I got home around 6:30 pm, just as the boyfriend was finishing up and chatting with the our neighbor Cara and her sweet little boy Quintin (yes, it’s a messed up spelling). All in all, a good afternoon that was really needed in prep for the next few weeks.

And look what happens when I leave the boyfriend alone!

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One Response

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  1. Rollie said, on 2011/09/07 at 3:22 pm

    ;)


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