Scoot Commute

Pre-Thanksgiving Tradition: Solo Ride to free the mind and the body

Tentative Route

Tentative Route

My employer closes one day early for the Thanksgiving holiday, granting all of us the Wednesday as a paid holiday in lieu of Veteran’s Day (which is duly celebrated on the day as we’re the only ROTC campus in Providence).

Waterproof Ghetto GPS (ziploc bag and index card cut in half)

Waterproof Ghetto GPS (ziploc bag and index card cut in half)

Last year I went on a long ride to Twisted Throttle and through the Arcadia Wildlife Management Area. This year, I got up in the morning, sat in front of my computer with a cup of coffee, and started mapping a route with my friend, the Google. Despite the very, very crappy weather (rain, rain, and oh yeah, more rain), I worked out a ride toward the west/northwest of little Rhody that would take me through a Wildlife Management Area and a state campground.

I decided to take the Buddy and not the DRZ400SM because I figured, quite rightly, that I’d get into less trouble on the scooter. It did make for tough going on some of the trails and through some of the puddles and, oh yeah, on the ride home on Route 7, but all in all, I’d probably still be in the woods if I was on the DRZ. That bike makes me do very stupid things.

Genuine Buddy on Elmdale Road, Scituate, Rhode Island (just off Route 6)

Genuine Buddy on Elmdale Road, Scituate, Rhode Island (just off Route 6)

Veering off Route 6, I meandered through the woods and past some houses in a sparsely populated area. A short time later I found myself in a secret neighborhood of beautiful, old houses overlooking a pond. “Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind living here,” I thought to myself, especially at the road turned to dirt.

Oh oh New England (thank you Jonathan)

Oh oh New England (thank you Jonathan)

I stopped along the nicely groomed dirt road to take off one of my jackets, have some water, and a pee. I was trying out my new Joe Rocket Dry Tech Nano trousers that I got on super-duper closeout from Motorcycle Gear (formerly NewEnough) because I wanted to see how they would handle the rain. What I thought was a nice option, the suspenders, complicated the pee break. I actually had to remove my riding jacket, my rain jacket, my insulated jacket, and one of my wool shirts. Try doing this, in the rain, in the woods, as you’re searching for a suitable log for peeing. Lesson learned, put the suspenders over all the clothes.

Easy puddle (no pics of the soul-sucking, over-the-boot slime)

Easy puddle (no pics of the soul-sucking, over-the-boot slime)

Looks are deceiving...I look at this pic and thank god I didn't bring the DRZ as I would have gotten into much, much, much more trouble

Looks are deceiving...I look at this pic and thank god I didn't bring the DRZ as I would have gotten into much, much, much more trouble

Now the fun was to begin. My nicely groomed dirt road turned into a puddle-infested and rock-strewn path. I was having a difficult time seeing as my visor was fogging and it was still raining. I was trying to guide the scooter through these huge, slimey, slippery puddles and up and down the rocky trail while wearing rubber rain over gloves and with my visor up as the rain covered my glasses.

I was hot, sweating, and breathing hard as I guided the little Buddy up and down each hill. I didn’t want to turn around, and ooooops, there goes my foot into yet another puddle that was over the top of my boot. Again and again water poured over the tops of my boots, soaking my wool socks.

Sand pit or a bit of south Jersey in the Rhody woods! I cannot wait to go back on the DRZ with knobbies

Sand pit or a bit of south Jersey in the Rhody woods! I cannot wait to go back on the DRZ with knobbies

If I'm sane enough to take a pic, the puddle ain't that bad

If I'm sane enough to take a pic, the puddle ain't that bad

At one point there was a clearing to my left, a large, sandy field. I just had to see what was the deal, so I swung the Buddy into the soupy sand. I paddled the scoot through and found a very nice trail off the sandpit. A visit for another day as I didn’t want to get so lost that I would never get to the store in time to pick up some butternut squash (the only thing I still hadn’t picked up for Thanksgiving dinner).

What was I thinking bringing 10 inch wheels and zero suspension on this ride?

What was I thinking bringing 10 inch wheels and zero suspension on this ride?

Rain, rain, go away...all you do is leave slimey, slippery puddles in your wake

Rain, rain, go away...all you do is leave slimey, slippery puddles in your wake

Now the tough stuff started. I obviously didn’t register how difficult the terrain was with the scoot as I returned a few days later with the DRZ and a bunch of other riders and insisted it wasn’t that bad. I do remember my brain screaming “When will this end? When?!” and glimpsing the headlights of a passing car ahead. “Aha! A road that a car can travel on! I’m free!”

Log crossing! Blip the throttle and up and ovah!

Log crossing! Blip the throttle and up and ovah!

Finally off of Gray Squirrel Trail...never did like those critters

Finally off of Gray Squirrel Trail...never did like those critters

So I found myself on some tarmac but no idea where I really was. I decided to go to the right and yep, that’s right, wrong direction. I turned around after I realized I was headed south (I really do need a compass) and was dumped onto a major roadway, the road I was looking for as I was across the street from the campground that was on my itinerary.

George Washington Memorial Campground, or wear orange or you'll be shot!

George Washington Memorial Campground, or wear orange or you'll be shot!

I headed into the George Washington Memorial Campground park which is currently closed for camping for the season but open to the hunters. Yah! Hunters! Kill those silly deer that insist on jumping out in front of me or my boyfriend when we’re riding. Bambi be damned!

Olney Keach Trail, Washington Memorial Campground

Olney Keach Trail, Washington Memorial Campground

Puddles and rain...what a way to spend a holiday

Puddles and rain...what a way to spend a holiday

Center Trail or what a freaking blast that ended with a stern "No motorized vehicles" sign

Center Trail or what a freaking blast that ended with a stern "No motorized vehicles" sign

My handwritten directions had me on a route that didn’t exist (well, it was blocked with lots of boulders and a sign declaring the trail to be the fibre optic line) so I just sorta wandered around and eventually made it out of the park.

No idea where I was but this was across from a sign declaring the Voss Burrilleville Land Trust

No idea where I was but this was across from a sign declaring the Voss Burrilleville Land Trust

Scottish Highland cattle in Burrillville, what the hell?

Scottish Highland cattle in Burrillville, what the hell?

It was getting late (read: darkness was settling in and it was getting coooold), but I still continued on my original route to find a way through yet another WMA, except,  oh, it’s not vehicle-friendly. Oh well. I actually decided I had had enough and instead of heading into Massachusetts to check out a few other roads, common sense ruled and I pulled out my map.

Huh?

Huh?

How to get back to Providence? Barrelling through Burrillville looked to be the easiest route which would lead me to Route 7 / Douglas Turnpike / Douglas Avenue upon which I knew, as I entered into Providence, there was a Shaws in which I could warm up and acquire butternut squash.

The problem? I just couldn’t see a damn thing. It was dark and there was so much moisture on the inside of my shield that I just couldn’t see. Route 7 is posted at 40-45 mph and I opened up the throttle to keep up with traffic, using the taillights of the car in front of me as a guide.

I seriously could see nothing. I was using the movement of the taillights in front of me to determine where bumps in the road were located. I noticed I was breathing really, really hard, probably having a freak out but not even aware of it. Then I thought, “I wonder what it feels like to hit a deer at speed?” Happy Thanksgiving!

I somehow made it into Providence and pulled into the Shaws off Douglas. I actually parked the scoot in a regular car spot because, shockingly, the parking lot wasn’t totally going off. I walked into the Shaws and there were exactly two buttnernut squashes left in the display. Two.

I grabbed them both and headed to the check-out, where the self-check proved to be fastest. Standing there, having many, many people stare at the girl with the blazing pink cheeks and dazed, glazed eyes, I rustled through my wallet looking for my Shaws cahrd. Total purchase: $1.87

At this point, I had given up trying to wipe down the inside of my shield and I was only about four miles from home, so I rode with the shield up despite the mist in the air. I got home and it was only about 5:00 pm.

After pulling off my riding gear, I immediately grabbed a bunch of firewood from the back hall and started a fire. Shortly after my boyfriend walked in and found me sitting on a pillow in front of the fire, staring at the flames and mumbling about my left foot being dead. Soooo cold.

All in all, a ridiculous way to spend a day off but upon reflection, a helluva lot of fun!

Genuine Buddy scooter out for a ride in the woods of Rhode Island in the rain, in the cold, the day before Thanksgiving

Genuine Buddy scooter out for a ride in the woods of Rhode Island in the rain, in the cold, the day before Thanksgiving

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7 Responses

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  1. SonjaM said, on 2011/11/27 at 8:17 pm

    Great outing! Wonderful pics. Looks like your Buddy can go anywhere. Who needs a dual sports bike, eh? your scoot is the real deal.

  2. circleblue said, on 2011/11/27 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve been thinking a little about adding a Buddy to my stable. This adventure did nothing to make me think it was a bad idea ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the share.

    • sbahn said, on 2011/11/29 at 10:36 am

      I certainly wouldn’t recommend the Buddy as any type of ADV vehicle except for commuting year-round in New England weather. If I upgraded the shock and forks, then maaaaybe, but it was pretty stupid taking it on this ride. Too many rocks.

  3. polianarchy said, on 2011/11/28 at 5:23 pm

    You? You are cuh-RAY-zee! I’m quite thankful you blog your nutty adventures. What a trip that must’ve been! Scoot safe, lady. :)

    • sbahn said, on 2011/11/28 at 6:46 pm

      Hey poli! Great to hear from you. Everyone says I’m crazy so I suppose I must be a little bit. I went back and did most of that route on the Dizz and wound up on my ass twice. I’ve got the falling gracefully down.

  4. jgormley said, on 2011/11/28 at 8:51 pm

    Great Report.. lots of fun to read.

    Sorry I couldn’t make last weekend’s ride…

    I tried to get thru Buxton starting from the west end… but couldn’t figure out which way to go..
    and it seemed like I was on somebody’s property.

    The east end off Hill starts as a dirt road so it may be the better way to check it out from…

    • sbahn said, on 2011/11/29 at 10:33 am

      Hey j, yeah, I didn’t make it up to Buxton/Hill because it was getting pretty dark. The rain/mist didn’t help. I know that approaching Buxton from 100, it is gated so maybe it is private land the whole way through? I’ll get back there another day to do some more reconnoitering. You and I have got to finish off the northern section of this ride!


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