Friday, May 2, 2008

Scooter Rosa 2008

It's not quite as large as the Laughlin River Run, but it may be someday. It's a three day event sponsored by Revolution Moto in Santa Rosa, a local scooter dealer that sells Piagio, Vespa and Aprilia. The Big Three of the scooter world.
On the first day, which I attended, they block off the street, there is a bike show, barbecue and an outdoor scooter movie. The next two days are scooter tours, first through the wine country on Saturday and to the coast on Sunday.
As I have said I like scooters, but scooter people sure do dress funny. I didn't see any black leather jackets or chaps, no fringe, silver conchos or do-rags. There were hardly any beards in the crowd. I did see shark skin suits, narrow black ties, mohawks and cloth jackets with enough patches to satify any boy scout.

The scooters were very cool, one looked so much like a target that I think I would be a little worried riding it. Seems like some scooter riders are really worried about where they've been. Others either ride a lot at night or are afraid of the dark. I wonder if the charging system on a scooter can handle all those lights.


There was also a Piagio MP3, the odd scooter with two wheels at the front. I have written about this oddity, but I had never actually seen one move about before. The owner rode it about and did a series of "S" turns and figure 8's. I guess if you had one of these, you would be doing turns and figure 8's just to prove the thing would actually do those things.

In the motorycyle world there is a type of bike called naked bike or a hooligan bike, these are bikes that have the fairing stripped off and are "naked." I believe there is a similar type of performance oriented scooter that makes up a subset of the scooter crowd. There was one bike at Scooter Rosa that fit that moniker. When the guy rode it in he put his jacket over the scooter, I though that was a trick like the dirt track boys do to hide some exotic engine mod. So when the guy took the jacket of his scooter, I was there to photograph those exotic modifications. I was surprised to see that there was a seat under the jacket and the engine, in typical scooter fashion, was nowhere to be seen.

All and all I had a great time at Scooter Rosa 2008. I saw the future, I'm sure scooters sales are going to explode. The scooter culture is alive and well. I've poked a little fun at them but believe me it was from a glass house. After all I didn't see dozens of police officers, no traffic stops, no one was wrestled to the ground and no one went to jail.

No one went to jail?...
OK, scooter people it's time to pep it up a little!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Laughlin, The Dark Side

Laughlin, Winding Down

On Saturday we were back at Laughlin and slept in late. Around noon we headed into town and hit a few vendors we hadn't seen yet. I think next year I'll start at the south end of the strip and work my way north to the Riverside Casino. We again, imagine that, found our way to the Casa Serrano for Mexican food and Margaritas.

Marie won some money playing video poker and she wisely decided to walk away with the winnings. We did a few laps of the strip and watched people who were watching us. About 10pm we decided to gamble some more and Marie won a few more bucks and surprise, surprise, I won a few. Gary and Sherrie reported, no joy, and we called it a night.

Sunday morning said goodbye to friends and rode away.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grand Canyon Side Trip

Friday we had breakfast at Katherine's Landing Coffee Shop and headed for the Grand Canyon. The weather was warm and it felt like it might be a warm ride. There is no helmet law in Arizona and Sherrie and Gary didn't wear helmets. Marie and I got new helmets with visors and we wore them to keep from getting too sunburned.

It's about 145 miles to Williams on Hwy 40, then another 60 miles on Hwy 64 to the Grand Canyon. Even though the ride was over 400 miles round trip, what the heck, we're tough, right? We got into Williams around noon and had lunch at the Pine Country Restaurant. The food was really good, and they make good pie. After lunch we headed on to the Grand Canyon.

What can I say about the Grand Canyon that hasn't been said. It's beautiful on a scale that can't be completely comprehended. Just looking down off the cliffs is so disorienting that you sometimes can't tell if you are actually looking down or off into another canyon. There were other bikers at the overlook, Asian tourists were posing with some good natured bikers for snapshots.

We left at sunset and started to notice how cold it was, Williams is about 6500 ft. and the ride was freezing. Sherrie and Gary had their sweat shirt hoods tied tightly around their heads, but I knew they were suffering. Marie and I had left our chaps but were fairly warmly dressed, but I was still cold. When we got to Williams we went back to the Pine Country Restaurant and had hot soup and coffee and warmed up. No one was looking forward to the ride from Williams to Laughlin, but when we got on the road it was not as cold as the ride from the Grand Canyon to Williams. There was no moon and the night was really black. We got back to Laughlin about midnight.

Did I mention that it was grand?

Laughlin, Let the Games Begin

Thursday morning, the weather is fine, there's a little wind, but after breakfast we head for town. There are huge parking lots full of motorcycles and more arriving all the time. We find a parking spot at the first casino, The Riverside Casino. The first vendor is the Harley Davidson Motor Co. exhibit. They have all their bikes to show and offer test rides. Marie likes the new Sportster called the Nightster. I like it too, I like it a lot.
Next we hit the shopping areas. There are hundreds of vendors in each of the casino parking lots all along the strip. I am looking for an LED taillight, a hat and some t-shirts, but there is so much to look at.

When we start to get hot and tired we end up at a Mexican restaurant across the street from The Riverside Casino called Casa Serrano. From there we can look down at the main street and watch the bikes and assorted entertainments while sipping cold margaritas. Life is good.

As night begins to fall we head back out, there is nothing so good as riding on a warn desert evening.

Tomorrow I'm thinking a little ride to the grand canyon.