Sunday, July 27, 2014

a tiny touring machine

I'm home now. After crossing back into Washington, I took state highway 20 east over the Cascades to catch Highway 97, where oppressive temperatures approaching Hell's Furnace and hazy air from wildfires made me not want to stop anywhere for long, least of all to blog. After Crater Lake, I worked my way down to Weaverville, then west along 36 until I once again reached Highway 101 on the California coast.

I was going to do a little write-up of the scooter en route, but that obviously didn't happen. Still, it's worth a few words to review its capacity as a touring machine. It's a 2009 Aprilia SportCity 250 that I picked up off craigslist, second-hand but virtually brand new. It had only 228 miles on it when I bought it, and I put on another 500 around town before leaving on this trip. According to my odometer, I covered 5350 miles. That seems a little suspect to me, but I wasn't carrying a GPS, so have no other means of measurement.

The Good
~80 miles a gallon.
No mechanical problems whatsoever. I took it in for a minor service when I reached Victoria, to make sure all was in tiptop shape for the return trip. The last note of the completed checklist read: Test Ride - Good Ride!!
So that's only two items in the Good column, but when it comes to motor vehicles, it doesn't really get much better than that.

The Could Be Better When Used For Touring
A sidestand, more under-seat storage, and possibly a windshield would all have been nice.
The dashboard is poorly designed, and is illegible under certain circumstances. Admittedly, my farsightedness is partially at fault here, but a font and color scheme that is small, light gray numbers on a dark gray background is just crappy design.
The second odometer only goes up to 999.9 before resetting to zero. I don't know if this means that Aprilia didn't anticipate riders taking this for 1000+ mile trips.
And the kicker - the gas cap is located under the seat. This meant that every time I gassed up, I had to unbungee four bungee cords and unload my luggage from the back seat. Motorcycle-specific luggage instead of a backpack would no doubt have helped, but still, would have been nice to not deal with luggage at all until the end of the day.

I dare say this little scooter held up better than I did on some days. Whether I was tired, hungry, kinda lost, a little frustrated, white knuckling through windy and rainy stretches, try to pass or being passed by big rigs on the highway, it always got me somewhere safe at the end of the day.

There are two items I wish I had taken on this trip - a helmet cam, and a gel seat. Lessons for next time.

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