Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busy December

As the title implies, December has been a busy month, and I'm not referring to Christmas and all of its associated busy-ness. I'm talking scooter rides and the like. One of the great thing about Arizona is a near year-round riding season. This does, of course vary somewhat from person to person. We routinely get temperatures around freezing in our short winter and this is too cold for a lot of people. Additionally, when temps climb about 105 or 110 degrees that is too hot for some people as well. I try not to think any less of people who prefer not to ride in Arizona's extremes, I just don't happen to be one of them.

On to December's scooter events: We started with our Ride of the Month (ROTM). I had been wanting to ride to Arivaca, AZ. I prefer riding loops to the "Out and back" type of ride, so we had breakfast (partly to let it warm up a bit) then rode out Highway 86 west to Three Points, AZ, turned south driving through the Tohono Ohodam Indian reservation about 40 miles then east to Arivaca where we stopped for fuel and coffee.

The first photo shows us as we were preparing to ride out of Jerry-Bob's Cafe near the airport. It was 38 degrees when I left my house for breakfast, but the temps climbed rapidly to the low 50's as we rode out and I think it was mid-60's by the time we finished the ride.
One thing I have to be more aware of (apparently) are more precise distances from gas pump to gas pump on some of these longer rides. Three points just seemed to be too soon to stop, so we rode one toward Arivaca. Hwy 286 aka Sasabe Rd through the reservation has some incredible scenery. I had never been down that road and now I can't wait to go back. I believe my map calls the mountain to the west of 286 the Pozo Verde Mts, the northern end of which is where Kitt Peak Observatory sits.

Well, we took a short rest break at the Sasabe-Arivaca Junction, then noted it was another 35 miles to Arivaca. By the time we rode in, my Buddy was pretty low on fuel and so was everyone else. As you can see above, Arivaca is a small community with a grand total of 4 fuel pumps. Our thirsty scooters gathered round for some much needed refreshment. We then rode to a local coffee shop and had some of the best coffee I've ever had outside of my own kitchen.

On 12/12, we participated in Tucson's annual "Parade of Lights." The scooter club has always been well received at this event and it's popular among the riders as well. My camera was stolen as we were preparing for the ride so I'm sans photos. 22 scooters and riders participated and this equaled last years record breaking attendance.

On 12/15, we rode to Winterhaven's "Festival of Lights." this is a neighborhood that goes all out in decorating. There are hayrides and other activities there every year. They only allow motorvehicles 3 nights of the season, so we had a ride. As it turns out, only 3 of us made it out. I'm not sure if I'll include it next year or not.
A few days later, I found out the one of our newer members wanted to ride out to Sonoita, AZ. I love riding out there, so we agreed to ride out there on the 21st. Four of our wound up going on short notice. Some of the more well know (i.e. more expensive) restaurants were closed on Mondays, but the Four Corners Cafe was open. The picture above is taken as you walk into their courtyard. Isn't it beautiful. The mountains in the background are spectacular! It was a bit breezy but the ride went well. Because I had just replaced my Buddy's variator rollers with new sliders and hadn't yet test ridden it, I decided to take the Stella.

Between the mountain grades and the head wind, I was down to 30 mph in places. To tell the truth, it's refreshing to have the slowest bike on a ride sometimes. I don't have to keep looking back, afraid that I'm going to inadvertently leave someone behind. We stopped in Sonoita and had lunch. I highly recommend the burgers at the Four Corners Cafe. Mine was very tasty, additionally, my creamy potato soup with ham and green chiles was also very good. the coffe was good, but not a good as Arivaca's.
The area around Sonoita is in the heart of Arizona's wine country. It was still early when we finished lunch, so we rode a 20 mile loop around through Elgin, AZ and back to Sonoita. We gassed up and headed home. The photo above is take at the rodeo grounds/race track in Sonoita. We had a tail wind home, so the ride went much faster.

How many people in other states get to ride so much in December. I love riding my scooters! I hope you get to ride as much as you desire,

Ride on,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scooter Tag

I had a great time on the scooter today. It's the day before Thanksgiving and the weather was sunny with a high near 70. In other words perfect riding weather. I find riding the scooter to be so therapeutic. Some of the folks on say that because you have to focus so much on riding, that you leave your worries, etc behind. I don't rally have any worries right now, but I still agree with that philosophy. I decided, for no particular reason, to take the Buddy 150.

So today, I was playing some scooter tag. I have seen several versions of it around on various scooter sites. It goes by different names as well. On our board, we have several game threads going on at any one time. Currently there are five. So if you go to and find the "tag" section in the forum, you should go to the most recent post. When you get there, you'll find a picture of someone's scooter, at a specific location here in Tucson. Your job is to ride there, snap a pic of your scoot at the same location, then return home and post it on the forum.

If you are the first person to find and post that location, then you are in charge of the next tag. Ride somewhere, take a pic, ride home and post it. That is now the location for everyone else to find. There are some general guidelines and I included boundaries, so people wouldn't drive 100 miles from town for a tag. The purpose of the rules is to keep the game alive and keep people out on their scooters. I tell everyone to use locations that people can find, after all if no one finds your tag, then the game dies. We try to add hints to our pics if they aren't found in a few days as well. I am including some recent tag photos in this post.
As of this morning, one of the five tags was mine. I was off, the weather was fantastic, so I decided to try and claim the remaining four tags. I looked at the photos and wrote out where I thought they were on a sheet of paper and planned a tentative route that would get me to those locations in a somewhat logical order. Also, I had to be on the lookout for new tags of my own, to replace those that I found and tagged.
My journey took me from the west side of town to north central, to west to southeast. I managed to find all four tags and find four new locations to use as new tags as well. I travelled about 100 miles and it took me about 5 hours total. Included in that time was stop at work to see what Friday's paycheck would be. Of course, that resulted in a 30-45 minute visit with my co-workers.

Also included was a visit to Scoot Over, my local scooter shop. I like to hang out there sometimes. In this case. I had ordered some pieces to repair my helmet and they were in, so I picked them up and installed them. I also took a test ride on the new KYMCO Venox 250cc motorcycle. I will be posting my thoughts of the Venox on Come by and check it out.

It turned out to be a beautiful, relaxing day. I love my scooters.

Ride on,


Monday, November 23, 2009

Driving the Devil's Highway

My wife and I took a little 3-day getaway last week. We went to the mountainous, east-central part of AZ. Neither of us had ever been there and it was quite a treat. From a scooterists perspective, the drive home was best. We drove down US 191, formerly know as US 666 aka "the Devil's Highway." It is 90 miles of winding, climbing, falling, twisting 2-lane blacktop with no shoulders and no guardrails. The first photo is of one of the many curves with no guardrail and, although you can't see it, there is several hundred foot drop.
If you look in the background of this second picture, you can see the road winding up the side of one of the smaller hills. This road goes from about 2000 feet in elevation to 9000 feet, more than once! No vehicles more than 40' long are allowed on parts of this road because so many of the curves are so tight. LOTS of 180 degree , or more, curves.
This hairpin is just one of many. I'm estimating that this is probably about 200 degrees. I would really love to have the scooter on this, wouldn't you?
In this pic, you can some of the windiness of much of highway 191. The scenery on this road is simply breathtaking. It was a little less than 200 miles from Show Low, AZ back home to Tucson. In that distance we saw the largest continuous stand of Douglas Fir trees in the world, snow, lakes, stands of Aspen, a Bighorn sheep, fields of cactus and incredible views of mountains and desert. The temperature went from 18 degrees in Show Low to about 80 degrees in Tucson.

This is an incredible road to ride. The bad part about it is that it is so far from civilization. It took us 10 hours to drive home by that route. Of course, much of the reason it took so long is because the speed limit is 15-25 mph for miles because of how twisty it is. It is still about 130 miles or so to get to the southern most part of 191 and you HAVE to take interstate highway to get there. Maxi-scooters can get there easily enough, but not my 150cc scoots. I guess maybe there is a maxi-scoot in my future, hehe,

Ride on,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Off Road Scooting

I enjoy going on little adventure rides. The only vehicles I have to do this kind of thing are my scooters, so that's what I use.

The October issue of AZ highways' Drive of the Month, was a ride up and over Box Canyon, in the Santa Rita Mountains. It looked like fun, so I took off this morning to ride it.

Scooters are unlikely off-road vehicles, but I have found them to do well on dirt, gravel, sand etc. You must go slower than a dirt bike would go, but you can still get out and see some great sights and not be limited to what you can see from the pavement.

I started off going south on Scenic Highway 83 toward Sonoita, AZ. This first pic shows the Santa Ritas in the background. It was a little windy this morning, so there were times I was only going 45mph. This highway also has some decent hills, so nature was conspiring to keep my speed down, today. There was very little traffic on 83, so I had no difficulties with traffic.

I turned off on the Madera Canyon road. This is rough, two-lane asphalt, which gives way to dirt after 2 or 3 miles. The second photo is taken on the paved part.

The third photo is of a warning sign. I found it to be quite sobering. I was hoping my scooter didn't sound like a patrolling Boarder Patrol vehicle.
There were some of the worst wash-boards that I have ever ridden/driven, but over all, the road was in good shape, it's usually wide enough for two cars to pass each other and it's fairly well maintained.

A few months back, I rode up a fire road which goes up the northern side of Mount Lemmon. It wasn't as pretty as this, but the ride itself, was very challenging. Here is my post on Modern Buddy, where I talked about it. There are some pics, too:

As I was coming down the west side of
the mountains, toward green Valley, I
saw a sign that said "Helvetia 8 mi."
Helvetia is a Ghost Town, that I read
about, so I decided to make a detour
and go there. I found the cemetery,
but was unable to find what is left of the

I'm sure I was very close, but I began
running low on fuel. I knew I didn't want
to run out of gas out in the boonies, so
I headed for home.

I had a great time, and now that I have
a better idea where Helvetia is, I'll be
going back that way, before too long.

Scoot On!

ps - I apologize for the crappy formatting. I'm still
trying to get the hang of this thing. It's definitely

Monday, November 9, 2009

Scooter Cannonball

I met with one of the other scooterists in town tonight. We were having a planning meeting regarding our first rally in May 2010. More on this soon.
In talking with him, he and his wife just decided to ride the Scooter Cannonball Run next September. It is a coast-to-coast ride. They will be riding from Vancouver to Portland, Maine. I had been fantasizing about riding in this next year, but couldn't see how I could make it happen. Tonight, it made a big step toward being reality.
We are going to try and get at least two more Tucson scooterists in on the CBR. This would make mechanical support a bit easier for everyone.
Pretty exciting stuff,

Boring Background

Several years ago, I was given a '76 Honda Goldwing by a friend at church. I was attending a "Biker Church" (Heart of God Fellowship in Buckner, MO for those of you keeping score) at the time. Before getting the bike, I had created a lot of expectations in my mind about what it would be like to own and ride a motorcycle.
Quite frankly, I was let down by the whole experience. It was nerve wracking to ride it to work. (Not the 'wing's fault. I had a 50 mile, high-speed, bumper-to-bumper commute.) At 35 MPG, it barely got better gas mileage than my Hyundai. And, I'm not sure what I expected from riding with the bikers from church, but my expectations were too much.
Fast forward to about 3 years ago. We had relocated to my childhood home of Tucson, AZ. While moving in to our new house in 2003, I had started admiring this orange colored scooter called a Stella. It's owner apparently worked at the Home Depot at which I was spending considerable time.
In early 2008, my son and I were both thinking about scooters. I was doing a lot of research online.
One day, we went to our local scooter shop, Scoot Over. Shelby Stirrat is the owner and she runs a fabulous business. My son and I accepted their offers of test rides. I fell in love with the things. More research for several weeks test find the best value with our limited funds. My wife graciously let me have the entire tax refund. What to buy, what to buy?
Everyone has heard of Vespas, so I went to their dealer. Vespas are great scooters, but too expensive. Went back to Scoot Over to look at the Stellas. Nope, couldn't afford that either. But wait, what was that? I discovered the Genuine Buddy line of scooters. Nice line, good acceleration with my big carcass on it. Price was right. I went home a did a bit of brand specific research. I also found an amazing website,
In mid-April of 2008, I brought home my first scooter! An '08 Genuine Buddy St Tropez, 150cc scooter (pictured above). Since then, my love for all things scooter continues to grow. This a long post and the history of scooters and I is not yet complete.

Scoot on!