Saturday, September 17, 2011
Today our 4 mile long rural road came together at a neighbor's house for our annual picnic and social. About 10 households turned out, half of them Amish, so I did not take any photographs. Sorry! This was in respect to their aversion to being photographed.
What I can tell you is that we had a beautiful day with perfect weather. Crispy air and brilliant sunshine while we all sat out under the trees and enjoyed home cooked vittles and home made bread and desserts. Some of our new neighbors also came and it was nice to meet them. The kids played volly ball and bad minton while we lazy adults sat in the shade and ate and chatted away.
Homemade fresh bread, sweet potato casserole, trail slaw, ham, potato salad, beans, fudge brownies, coffee cake, and lemon merinque pie were some of the delights enjoyed.
Scootie was on the move, up and down the road from my house to my neighbor's house helping to set up in the morning and shuttle food and chairs back and forth.
At one point she had a lawn chair, tub of slaw, plate of food, loaf of bread, and box of zucchini bread loaded up on her as she scooted up the lane!
We had pick-up trucks, SUVs, and about 5 Amish buggies pulled up and parked so Scootie was able to navigate all that and park up near the picnic area.
Interestingly her parking companion was a 2 wheeled Amish scooter! Pretty cool!
It was a great day of socializing, eating, and meeting new neighbors!
Friday, September 16, 2011
....for me to move on to a bigger scoot.
There, I said it! It's hard to say it out loud, but I am getting bored ONLY having 49cc to ride. I am tired of not being able to ride longer distances to really GO somewhere on it as it takes too long. I am tired of only being able to ride the back roads all the time. Just "meandering" is getting tiresome.
Plus, I get tired of riding alone all of the time. If I had a bigger scoot I could keep up to go on (or get to!) scooter or motorcycle rides or rallies.
I find myself not just jumping on the Ruckus to run to the store because the store is 8 miles away and it takes too long and I have to ride along the side of the road.
There ARE limitations on a 49cc scooter! And after 4 years of scooter riding I am ready for a new level. Maybe in a way I have put it off too long! I think I need to start doing some serious "research", which means trying to get some test rides in.
I don't think I can afford to have two scooters, so it is likely that the Ruckus would have to go first and then that funding be put down on the next scooter. I'm not sure about that. Not sure I could part so easily with my beloved Ruckus either! Maybe two could work out all right. It's a bit down the road, so no pressure to decide.
I am thinking of a few specific scooters that interest me. All are "medium size" and that appeals to me for a number of reasons:
First and foremost, maneuverability-being able to park and move through traffic easily and being able to negotiate village streets and winding country roads with ease.
Secondly, manageability in terms of handling it on turns, getting it on and off the stand, and just plain picking it up should it go over. Not planning on that, but it happens.
Thirdly, I want a floorboard. I know this may seem like an odd requirement, but I like a floorboard for a utility/commuter scoot. Plus it is part of the personality of a scooter. A good floorboard can haul just about anything!
Mainly, I need to feel comfortable and confident in the handling of it so I do not want to go right off the bat to a "maxi" scooter, meaning 250cc plus. I do believe that at some point I will be one of those riders who will have a medium and a larger scooter as an ideal combination. But I want to upgrade to a medium commuter first such as a 125 or 150cc.
Scooters that I have researched a bit include: Genuine Buddy 125 and 150; Yamaha Vino and Zuma 125; Kymco People 150; and the Honda Elite 110.
All of these would seem to meet all the criteria that I have laid out. I have actually only test ridden two of them, Zuma 125 and People 150, and that was 2 years ago.
I plan to try to ride some of the others, if possible. Truthfully, I am most drawn initially to the Yamaha Vino 125, and in a following blog post I will elaborate on why that scoot appeals to me. It might all disintegrate once I test ride one, but I am doubting that. But sometimes it happens!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
My name is Maxi and I am a Bichon Frise. I am 10 years old. I am the second child after Whimsy, mentioned below.
I absolutely LOVE to ride in the car as co-pilot, but so far on the Ruckus I have only "appeared" to be a co-pilot as Mom is not so sure that I am safe actually riding along. But a pup can dream, can't she?
Anyway, wanted to get my two cents in as I did a lot of hard posing for these blogs!
Under the seat is a small (20 inch) black nylon cargo bag that came from Target for $8.00. It zips from the top and holds a ton of stuff. I have rain jacket and pants in there plus a first aid kit and cargo net
Under my basket to the rear of the seat are 2 Fastbak Designs nylon strapped on bottle cages which hold 2 32 oz. MSR fuel bottles. These bottles of fuel give me extra range on a ride. I am estimating another 50 miles, which is added security miles from home. 2 more of these could be strapped on the Sun basket and increase my range another 50 miles which would give my Ruckus a 230 mile range. A definite need for touring.
I've got a reflective bicycle handlbar pouch on the front of my Ruckus and this carries bungees and a small bike lock for those times when you're a little leary of theft in certain parts of town. I am planning to upgrade this to a camo version as soon as I find one.
Finally, I have my Gremlin Bell stapped onto the bottem of my handlebars. It tinkles merrily as I scoot along and reminds me of my "sisters" on ScooterDiva. com who ride with me in spirit!
I continued on with my Sun bicycle wire basket cable-tied to the rear rack as I have so far found nothing that beats it for convenience and fit. Plus I can strap on a "seat back" bicycle handlebar bag to the front of it and haul a jacket inside. It doubles as a seat back when parked and is quite comfy.
The basket can also support a flag, which I created from the bottem half of a fishing rod, and which offers me higher visibility when going down the road at only a top out of 40mph on the Ruck. Right now my flag is red with black puppy paw prints and doggie bones on it. It is actually a kerchief found at Wal-Mart and it has flown over my scooter for 4 years with little sun damage. Go figure...
I then went on to look for other camo cases and settled on 2 camo camera pouches to attach to my handlebars. These have 3 zip pockets and can hold keys, cell phone, camera, small binoculars (love to bird watch), sunglasses, and snacks. Perfect match to my saddlebags as "Mossy Oak" is a branded design. Now I am lovin' it! Crazy for camo!
Who isn't always tweaking the set-up of their scoot? Well, maybe it's only me! During those fickle months of April and May when I can't really count on the weather much, I find myself out in the garage oggling, or tweaking, the accessories on Scootie.
First thing I tried to accomplish was to set up a pair of panniers (saddle bags) on the scooter. I started out with bicycle saddle bags from Nashbar, thinking I could adapt the hardware attachment to the side seat rails of the Ruckus. It didn't work out. I just could not get a snug (and safe) fit. Sent them back to Nashbar.
Then I looked at the Cortech saddlebag and tailbag combination in soft weatherproof nylon. Loved it, but it seemed too big and bulky for the Ruckus and a bit out of my budget reach.
One day I was perusing all the "Mossy Oak" camo gear on Ebay and ran across an ATV bag that had 3 straps on it to attach to an ATV rail. Perfect! I bought 2, one for each side of the Ruckus, and they were just the right size! I am also a bit crazy for the "camo look" (no, I do not hunt!) and then and there decided to add some other "camo touches" to my Ruckus. Afterall, I AM a "country girl"...well, sort of!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
A week after this last post on March 6th my life changed in a horrid, totally unexpected way. On a sunny Saturday afternoon we came home from grocery shopping and found that our oldest Bichon, Whimsy, age 12, was missing from our house. In shock, we tried to figure out where she could be. We had left the doggy door accessible to the fenced in back yard as it was a beautiful, "false spring" sort of day. A day that brings a sigh of joy to the heart, in most circumstances. An "ending of winter" sort of day. Or so it began...
The following 2 months were filled with agony, exhaustion, tears, and pain like I had never known. We searched for her everywhere. We put out fliers over a 10 county area to every vet, groomer, pound, Humane Society, pet shop and up and down all the roads in our county. We even consulted a pet psychic who sent us on an agonizing "wild goose chase" after a fictitious "man in a 4 door white older model car" who supposedly had come up on the property and stolen her off the porch.
I fielded calls that led me out into the night at all hours: 3 am, walking a nearby road where someone claimed to have sighted her; 6 am near a school bus stop where a woman swore she saw her; 20 miles across the county where a man claims he had her and she got away. I got prank calls, calls asking me to adopt another found dog, and calls were made, often 20 a day, to follow up with pounds to see if anyone had turned her in. I began to feel that my crushed heart was giving out and if I did not stop I was going to die. Literally. And I wanted to, so I was ready to lie down and get it over with.
I rode the Ruckus all over country roads. Putting up posters on telephone poles, sticking fliers in mailboxes, parking alongside wooded areas and culverts and climbing down to pipes and streams looking for her body. Her poster was fixated on the front of my scooter in neon green with a photo for all to see. My car was plastered with same. Nothing.
Then in early May, after storms had come through I was out in my back yard with my other dogs and happened to look down and see a clump of brown and white hair. Then another one. I picked them up and knew that the white hair was a Bichon curl. The brown fur was not that of my Walker Hound and I googled on-line to see a photograph of a coyote's fur. It looked the same. I recalled that a week after she disappeared a neighbor came to tell me that she had seen 6 coyotes down by a creek a mile from our house, though back in the woods. Reality hit me.
I had looked in the days after she disappeared for signs of any predator fight in the yard and seen nothing. I had not been looking properly. I remembered then that a stack of bricks along the porch had been toppled, as if a dog was trying to crawl under the porch. It made sense now. I saw a slight bow in the fencing with pine branches near by. That seemed like where the "exit" from our yard had happened.
Then I discovered a website called Nashvillecoyotes.com. I read everything on there. When I got done reading everything on there I knew without a doubt that our baby had been taken from our yard by a coyote. The physical evidence pointed to that and the information about the physical prowess of coyotes from the website had been clear.
The night she was taken I remembered crying and screaming and looking out into the woods and calling her name. I always felt that she was out there. But now we had a sense of closure. Now the grieving was to begin after the exhaustion and agony of not knowing.
I've lost my mom, mom-in-law, and grandmother, plus others over the years. I have to tell you that there is no hurt as deep as losing your "child", be they human or furry. The "not knowing" is the hellish part. I can't even begin to tell you how it hurts and I feel a compassion and sorrow for anyone who has lost anyone, human or animal, in this way. I tell people that "our daughter was abducted and murdered" and that is what it is to us.
Go to Nashvillecoyotes.com to see Whimsy's in memoriam photo and read about ths in the comments section if you like. Learn about coyotes. If you have pets or small children just know that these predators are on the rise and are everywhere, city or countryside.
This post and blog are dedicated to Whimsy, Jan 30, 1999-Mar 12, 2011. May she rest in peace and be waiting on the other side for me, frisbee in her mouth, love in her heart, for our next playtime together.
I love you and miss you, sweet Bichon girl.