Ruckus Scooter Love

Ruckus Scooter Love
Scootin' For A Slower Pace of Life...

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memoriam...

You may have seen them out in front of a storefront or on a street corner: veterans selling little red paper poppy flowers.

They are asking for a donation to veteran's organizations and in exchange, you receive this little red poppy in remembrance of the veterans who gave their lives for their country.

But many people do not realize the significance of the little red poppy flower and why it is tied into Memorial Day.

It comes from this poem, "In Flanders Fields", by Lt. Colonel John McCrae, MD, (1872-1918) serving in the Canadian Army.

He was serving as an Army field doctor during World War I and was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier, Alexis Helmer.

Hastily scribbled on a scrap of paper, it was thrown away by him and later retrieved by another soldier, who eventually promoted it's publication in the London newspapers of the day:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Ride That Refreshes...

I've got a favorite local back road route that I scoot when I just want to get in a "quickie refresher" ride at the end of my at-home work day.

In fact, I rode it Thursday afternoon...

It is a rather short ride that loops through the Amish farm community right outside my door. I've ridden it many times, and I know it like the back of my hand, so to speak.

At the end of my gravel driveway I take a right and scoot slowly (this is key, averaging 20-30 mph) up the road, passing my Amish neighbor's clean, white farm houses and brightly colored flowerbeds.

I might see someone out in their garden or pass Amish children on their scooters. Everyone is friendly and waves a greeting. They are used to the weird English woman on her scooter!

I pass fields where sheep are grazing, cows are swishing their tails or nursing their young, and peacocks are strutting along fence lines flashing their plummage. There are soybean fields and ponds interspered along the route, as well as wooden fencelines and stone walls.

I get up to the end of my road and hang a right again. Then I am on the main road through "Amish Country" where families have lumber yards, buckstove stores, antique shops, bakeries, saddlery shops, a bird feeder supply shop, and a furniture market.

There used to be a little grocery store, run by an elderly English man, but he passed away two winters ago. I used to scoot up to his store for ice cream and just to say hi. The store is closed now and no one lives in his house anymore. Occasionally I see his son (an older man himself) stopping by to check on the house. Meanwhile it just sits there as it has for over 70 years.

Sometimes on that road I will stop by the little community cemetary and just sit on the stone wall, watching the cars, buggies, scooters, and Amish ladies stroll by. People are always waving or chatting as they pass.

On Thursday I stopped at an Amish nursery (flowers!) and picked out some hanging baskets which I will go back later and purchase.

I've been known to carry along a paperback and stop at the little Presbyterian church along this road and sit in the picnic grove there and read or just relax with a cold drink.

Once I pass through this area I scoot along a 2 lane rural road of open farm land where a particularly beautiful hill top view of the valley awaits. Here I stop and simply drink in the view. I never tire of it!

Passing through there I come to our covered bridge, which has recently undergone a bit of restoration. It is fun to scoot along the old board platform and see the creek between the slats and hear the clackety clackety clack!

From there I turn down a one lane paved road which winds through more Amish farm land. Here there is a buggy maker and wheelwright shop. I'd love to stop sometime and see how the buggies are made by hand here. He is one of the last few Amish craftsman doing this service across the country.

Once I pass that shop I enter down into a little ravine where a bubbling creek passes under the road. Here is my favorite place in the county! I love to stop here, turn off the engine, and just sit and listen to the creek tumble down through the rocks on either side of the road. It is especially delightful to sit in that leafy canopy in autumn, covered by colors.

I then motor up the hill, out of the ravine, and enter onto a flat single lane road that will eventually take me to a 4 lane divided highlway or up a very steep hill and back among more Amish farms and businesses.

I usually take the steep hill and then I find myself back at the location of the little grocery store and cemetary.

From there it is 6 miles back to my place and I watch out for deer and bunnies who love to dart across my path as they make their way across fields and hedgerows.

And THAT is my "ride that refreshes"!

By the time I come back from this little ride I feel newly invigorated and the cobwebs of the day have been blown out of my mind and carried away in the wind that washes over me as I ride.

Sometimes that might be the only ride I get in for that day, but it is a a good one!

(I will add some photos later this week...)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday ride to the one-room school house...

Page One-Room School House, 1827-1941

Sunday was sunny, clear blue skies and temps in the 80s. What a day for riding! And everyone else in the county thought so too! Whoopee!

So I headed out down some backroads toward the Page One-Room School House. This school opened in 1827 and closed it's doors in 1941. Since then it has been purchased and preserved by the county retired teachers association.

They open it up from time to time and host re-enactments of a typical day in a one-room school house of the 19th and early 20th century. My neighbor is a retired teacher and she dresses up in period costume and gets into all of that. She really enjoys it!

Anyway, part of my ride out entailed my riding on a two lane road with a posted speed limit of 55 mph. Of course I was not going that fast and everyone else was going around 70 mph. (I have driven this road in my car and been almost run off the road when I was doing 60 mph!) Needless to say, this part of the ride was not fun and I found myself riding in the break down lane in order to play it safe.

The rest of the time was gently curving, quiet country roads covering farm land and winding through shady curves and deep green foliage. It was a pretty ride and the scooter did not hesitate on any of the hills.

I went about 25 miles and it was comfortable over distance. It does hit 35-40 mph pretty quickly, then seems to slug off. To push it to 53 mph, it's supposed top speed, would have been a force and I was mindful of the break-in period so did not go there.

I am on bigger wheels than on the Ruckus (12/10" vs 8/8") but I feel less stable. The wind really catches this scoot like a sail too. I felt a bit wobbly riding at higher speeds and avoiding the windy rebuffs of the cagers as they flew by. Never saw so many cars along this main road!

Motorcycles passed me and I got "the wave". No one had any safety gear on, not even helmets. I am talking about 20+ motorcycle sightings. No scooters sighted, as usual. Again, I was the geek riding in the break-down lane like on the Ruckus. It was either that or become a hood ornament on a pick-up truck! I'll take the break down lane anyday...

So far I like the fit, comfort, and power boost of the bigger scooter over the Ruckus. I am not a fan of the "tupperware" and it's occasional vibrations. I also have some rear brake squeal and that needs to "shush up" right now!

We'll see what's next...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Upcoming Ohio River Scenic Byway Travel Posts

From the website:

"This history-rich byway meanders along the banks of the Ohio River, hugging its shoreline and offering almost continuous views of the river. The history of the Ohio is found both in rural landscapes and quaint river communities, covering periods from Native American habitation through western settlement, affecting transportation patterns and industrialization."

This 943 mile road runs from Charleston, West Virginia to Nashville, Illinois. There are three sections: Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I am located about midway on the Ohio leg of the run, just across from Maysville, Kentucky.

In the coming months I will visit some of the little river towns along the Ohio section and highlight some of the history and natural beauty of the Scenic Byway as it runs through my state.

This is absolutely my favorite place to ride. You are traveling along the Ohio River and the views are breath-taking. Occasionally you will see a river barge hauling coal, grain, or other goods. Some of these boats are historic in nature and yet still offer passenger rides from Cincinnati to Portsmouth. Some offer scenic cruises all the way down to New Orleans via the Mississippi River!

This area is also filled with history from the Underground Railroad houses to the Civil War raids. There is even the site of a sunken Civil War frigate along the way! Ullysses S. Grant was born in this area as well as other colorful historic characters such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Roy Rogers.

Among my favorite places to explore are the many "mom and pop" eating places from historic inns and wineries to dairy bars and dives. So much good stuff to eat along the way! A biker's culinary paradise, just waiting for samplings and reviews and maybe a few homemade recipes!

So from here on out, some of my upcoming posts will highlight my scooting experiences along the Scenic Byway section found in Ohio.

I hope to get "up close and personal" with some of the fascinating people, landmarks, and villages found there and offer you some photos and stories about my ride experiences.

Who knows-some day I might organize some group rides along these routes! It's in my mind to do something like that at some point.

*The tag, "Ohio Scenic Byway" will lead the title of related posts~

**A link to the national Byways website is listed under Web Sites.

It's no wonder...

On Saturday I got up in the morning to a bright, sunny, DRY, and absolutely gorgeous late spring day. Temps in the upper '70s. Just perfect for riding.

I fed the 6 dogs, swept out the garage, poop-scooped the yard, mowed the yard, raked the yard, washed the 2 cars, vacuumed out one of the cars, drove to Subway for sandwiches, assembled a weed eater, "pet sat" my neighbor's 4 dogs all day, took photos of Maxine, washed the dishes, did laundry, and snuck in an afternoon nap.

It's no wonder that I DID NOT SCOOT TODAY!

Hopefully tomorrow....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Gettin' sitchy-ated"...(or the mundane musings of a truly anal-retentive geek girl)

Now I'm not whining, really! This is only a semi-amusing "rant" about how it is to adjust to a new scooter and "get situated", if ya know what I mean. If nothing else it will work just like a cup of warm milk before bed time! Zzzzz....sweet dreams...

Well, what I mean is, after 5 years of riding the same machine, a Honda Ruckus, I find myself on a scooter that has different "stuff issues" on it. Like, where you put your "stuff". An old girl like me gets used to certain amenities and when they are swapped out, it "unrocks my world". And I might be just a tad OCD here, but "I yam what I yam", and these issues are staring at me as I speak (write). Woe is me, what to do?

If you've seen my past posts about all the bags and other attachments that I had set up on my Ruck, then you will easily understand it when I say that on the Elite framework, there is "no place to put nothin'"!

Well, yeah, there is this "cavernous underseat storage spot". That is super and I can't say enough about that. But, hey, I've filled it up with a rain jacket, maps, rain paints, hi viz vest, gloves, bungees, first aid kit, blah, blah, blah and it is FULL. I had all this stuff in the underseat bag on my Ruckus.

Grocery shopping? On the Ruckus I had canvas saddlebags. I am not going to use them on the Elite as they won't fit on it and would look goofy if they did. Not that I mind "goofy", but hey, let's "grow a little class here", if ya know what I mean. Like "lipstick on a pig" in reverse. That makes me laugh, and I don't know why, but ha ha! looks like "top case time" is coming...but let's ponder more...

Then there is that acclaimed "glovebox" on the Elite. It's huge and it locks and it's cool. Looks good in theory, except that as soon as you open it the stuff falls out! So I am going to have to figure out how to velcro some little soft camera cases or something inside so that my stuff like keys, cell phone, camera, wallet, comb, ETC have a place to be while I am riding.

On the Ruck I attached a handlebar bag. Well, there is no "handlebar" on this machine. Just two grips sticking out there.

Let's talk waterbottle. On the Ruckus I had a bicycle water bottle cage attached to hold my iced tea while I rode. No place for such an attachment on the Elite. Or I haven't figured it out yet! (And I will, eventually!)

Toting extra fuel bottles to extend my range of travel? On the Ruck I bungeed them onto the underseat. No way to do this on the Elite.

Everything on the Elite is slick and shiney and pretty, but not so functional. Or not as utilitarian as on the Ruckus where almost ANYTHING could be toted along if one was creative enough!

The Cortech tail bag looks good in theory, but it is not working out either. You have to bungee it underneath something on the machine or attach it to something and the "something" is just not there on the Elite.

Running the bungees under the seat makes for maddening inconvenience as every time you need into the seat compartment (which seems to be constantly!), you have to disconnect the whole gizmo and it falls off! Plus the seat lock mechanism does not engage properly and that is a bummer.

Oh, land sakes, here's another one: where to attach the Gremlin Bell? I finally found a place and really, it is the only place. I looped it around the left hand grip. That was ok and I can live with that. I have to, don't I? Gotta ring my bell while riding to warn off those pesky buggers...

What I see coming is a top case and I shudder at the thought. I've ridden a few test ride scooters to the creak and squeak of a top case. But it will likely come to that, creak or not.

Then there is the "tried and true" black wire basket that has traveled all over the county on the back of both my Rucks. Darn functional, but truly "a la geek". But then, I am a geek, so it might just work out!

With the basket I could: save $50-$150 on a top case; carry extra fuel bottles; attach a water bottle holder; attach another bag or two; fly a hi viz flag so my geeky butt does not get run over on these backroads; and basically look like the eccentric "old broad" that I am riding a Honda Elite around these sticks instead of a Honda Ruckus, and flying a funky ol' flag over a wire basket full of STUFF. (George Carlin, anyone?)

AND...this would free up the "cavernous underseat storage spot" (CUSS) for grocery runs!

The other alternative is to get a locking top case which could tote around the fuel bottles, rain gear, first aid kit, maps, bungees, and allow the CUSS to tote groceries and hold a pitcher of sweet tea for those stops at scenic overviews. Maybe even a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken! Nummy!

With the top case I wouldn't look "so geeky" and some passers-by on "real motorbikes" might give me a nod laced with a bit of respect and good will which I think Maxine deserves 'cause she is so pretty...

But then again I LIKE that old basket! It might do until I can save up for that top case or get the money from the Ebay sale of the Cortech tail bag which just isn't working...or did I already say that?!

As they say in the South...lawd, lawd!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Introducing Maxine...

She is posed in the driveway, chomping at the bit:
Her gorgeous hindquarters:
Her "cyclopsian gaze" (compared to the Ruckus!):

Even with the generous stowage under the seat and the tail bag, I may add a locking top case for grocery shopping and for carrying extra fuel bottles.

Closer to autumn I may add a windshield for cold weather riding.

She goes up to around 53mph and is supposed to get around 100-110mpg out of a 1.6 gallon tank. It is nice to have a fuel gauge, which the Ruck did not. She's looking like she is going to be a lot of fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rain, rain, go away...hope you had a happy Mother's Day!

Sunday was to be a day of riding, but Mom Nature decided differently!

Hope all you moms had a happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Maxine" is riding the backroads, so watch out!

Today I named my Honda Elite 110 "Maxine" after my oldest Bichon, Maxi, who has been shown on this blog as "co-pilot extraordinairre"!

The name just popped into my head and it felt right!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What's in a name?

I am not going to ramble on and on about this, but I am considering a re-name of this blog from "RuckusScooterLove" to something more appropriate.

Especially since I no longer own or ride a Honda Ruckus (for now, anyway)

I am pondering all that. But then again a Ruckus got me into riding scooters in the first place, so maybe I will keep it.

Then arises the arduous and daunting task of naming my new Honda Elite. I get goofy about this subject. Just thinking about it "wigs me out".

Mostly I realize that a scooter name has to "perk". That is, it has to emerge. But I am not patient with these sorts of things and I have been pondering names for the Elite since March. But we'll see.

I've got some ideas for the blog, so don't be surprized if the heading changes. As for the scoot, time will tell...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Scooter Blues and Ride Report

Well today I picked up my 2010 Honda Elite 110 scooter. Same date 2 years ago that I picked up my 2009 Ruckus, same dealership, same salesperson.

Anyway, we went over to the Honda dealership and got the Honda Elite 110. The weather was threatening thunderstorms, but it held out until the last ten minutes of my ride home. More about that later.

I rode it from Maysville, Kentucky, over the Ohio River bridge, into Aberdeen, Ohio, and up Rt. 52 along the Ohio River to my access roads up into my county of residence.

Do I sound "unenthusiastic"? I should because I feel "unenthusiastic". And I'm not sure why. Once I get to blathering here I may finally understand why. Or maybe it's just a need for sleep, or the weather, or whatever. But I feel "unenthusiastic".

So here's my ride experience, for what it's worth, which ain't much:

First off, the Honda dealership on a Saturday was swarming with people buying big, expensive motorcycles. If they weren't buying them they were riding them in and out of the parking lot flashing their rides. Everyone was "geared up" to the hilt and most of their attire cost more than my scooter itself.

"Bitter, party of one?" Maybe. It gets worse...

So my partner followed me out of the dealership in the SUV and insisted riding behind me to "make sure I was safe". Hey, I can't complain about that! That is SO sweet, ya know?

I was fine with it because the area was swarming with so many damn cars that my head was spinning. A six lane highway, busy as rush hour, none of which I am used to riding in. (Yeah, ends in a preposition, so shoot me.)

Now the scoot has 6 miles on it (and I put those there when I test rode it) so I am not wanting to "gun it" right away, but traffic is fast and heavy. I am already hating riding like this and I pull over into a parking lot after two miles and have a "hissy fit" (see below).

Before it's all over I am riding on the side of the road because these idiots are doing 60mph in a 45mph zone. We get down the hill to the river and go up over the bridge to Ohio.

Now it's getting better, right?

Should be, anyhow. The road is a scenic 2 lane rural road alongside the Ohio River and cars are once again in great abundance. Not usual for this road, but it's Saturday and it's not raining. Not yet anyway.

Everybody wants to pass my ass. I am up to 40mph and fighting side winds and feel the scoot about to take flight. Every buffet of wind moves me along and not in a good way. I am not having fun.

All I am thinking about is that I want my Ruckus back and that I am really only a slow, solitary, pokey-along sort of rider and why the hell am I out here with these cars?

Then here come the weekend "bikers" in mass quantity. Fully dressed out Harley-Davidsons with riders (once again) wearing gear that costs more than my scooter. Heck, their saddlebags cost more than my scooter. Doctors, lawyers, CEOs out trying to look like Peter Fonda in "Easy Rider", yep. They are getting on my nerves!

"Bitter, party of one?" Shut up, Conscience!

I feel like a worm, like a nerd, like a loser. I am ready to cry and give up this scooter and scootering forever. Any aspirations to ride a motorcycle in the future fade away into oblivious, hollow, laughter.

I just want this ride to be over and I want my Ruckus back!!!

I'm not supposed to feel like this, right? I am supposed to be all happy and excited and enthusiastic about being able to go 53mph now, have more storage room, have more power, have more range on my rides, etc. But I am not.

So we mosey along this road and eventually come to a side road that heads up the grade into the heart of the county. It is 7 miles of twisty ups and downs that snake along a creek bed and farmlands. Very few cars.

It is nice and the Elite is pulling the hills pretty well.

The Ruck would be struggling at 20mph tops and the Elite is staying at my now-average-cruising-speed of 30mph. I can't seem to go faster than that and have to admit that even though it "feels like 70mph" it feels just a tad less like that on the Elite over the Ruckus.

That is not saying much, but there ya go.

Hey, I'm 40 miles into the ride and my butt is not hurting as much as it would have on the Ruckus.

That's something, isn't it?

Once up all this we are into town and heading down the 12 mile home stretch. I get to a particularly steep hill in Amish country and the Elite zooms right up it. I am starting to like her a little. Just a tad.

Then the sky opens up and it is raining like all get out! I am not wearing rain gear and I am getting soaked to the skin. The rain is coming down so hard it feels like little hail stones. I pull over on the side of the road under a big bush to keep some of it off of me. The scooter is easy to manipulate and drag into the bush's protective undergrowth.

Hey, that's something, isn't it?

All right, so 5 miles later I get to the driveway and pull it into the garage. It winds down and shuts off and it smells like a new engine smells. It's black skin is glistening with water droplets and it sparkles like fine jewelery.

That's nice. I like that.

I look at it and I think, there's nothing to do to it. It is "just perfect" and not rough and tumble looking like a Ruckus. I can't even find a spot to hang my Scooter Diva Gremlin Bell!!

I miss my Ruckus. I wish I did not have to sell it to get this scooter too. I know that's it. But I had no choice. So I already have it in my head to save up for a used Ruckus to keep the Elite company.

I want to give the Elite a chance. I really do. I just had a day of fighting traffic, my own inner demons, and the weather. I am miffed that I feel the way I do and I am not sure what it means or why it is.

I don't think it's "buyer's remorse" as this is a really nice scooter!
Right now I think I will like the positive things that the Elite offers. I am going to try to do so.

It's just that this blog is called "Ruckus Scooter Love" for a reason: there's scootin', then there's ridin' a Ruckus!

But tomorrow, if the sun comes out and it doesn't rain like it has been doing all week, I am taking the Elite out for another long spin.

Now, that's something, isn't it?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gettin' Pissy, Havin' a Hissy!

And you Southerners know what THAT means!

And I'll tell you why...I am ready to go and pick up my Elite 110 and ride her the 50 miles home but the forecast is for nothing but thunderstorms, thunderstorms, and more thunderstorms through next week!

I am really hoping to be able to get a ride over and pick her up on Saturday!

Sure wanting to ride-I miss it so much!