Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday sunset, Oregon City

Took a meandering ride tonight south of town, got a little lost but ended up in downtown Oregon City.  Not a bad way to spend an evening.


Monday, July 10, 2017

A beautiful ride to Hagg Lake on a hot, sunny Sunday

What's amazing about living in the Pacific Northwest is that no matter how many rides you do, it always seems to be that there's another beautiful bit of nature yet to discover.  I'd never even heard of Hagg Lake before yesterday's ride.

I met up with the Portland Scooter Social Club in Northwest Portland.  We started with six bikes - at first, the Vespa/Piaggio contingent was in the majority, which made me happy. 

Ready to ride.

Our fearless ride leader, Gina, with her trusty 250cc Piaggio, had helpfully posted the turn-by-turn directions of the ride on the group's Facebook page.  


Twisting forest roads gave way to open farmland dotted with picturesque country churches.  We kept a pace of about 40-45 mph, slower than the Oregon Scooter Club generally goes, but Gina has a different philosophy - she wants to see the landscape and enjoy the ride, and her approach leads to a more relaxed ride that's just as fun as when the OSC pushes the throttle around the twisties.  

We followed this route until we got to Dave Hill Road, which suddenly ran out of pavement and left us on very unpleasant gravel.  We stopped, regrouped, found a way around that involved Highway 47, and made it to Hagg Lake.  (There was a closed road that we had to get around, which necessitated the detour to Dave Hill, but Google had mentioned nothing about the road being gravel, thus the detour from the detour).  

Who the heck is Dave Hill and how'd he get a road?  And why wasn't he good enough for pavement?

"Hey, Dave Hill, you want a road?"  
"Sure."
"It'll suddenly run out of pavement for no reason, is that ok?"
"Whatever."

Before we got to the lake proper, we stopped for refreshment at a cute convenience store and waited to meet up with two more riders.

A convenience store.  How convenient.

A Burgman and an automatic motorcycle joined us (and the people riding them, of course), and the Vespa-Piaggio majority was lost.  Sad days.  

From the convenience store it was a quick and beautiful ride around the rim of Hagg Lake, and then we stopped in at a parking area and took in the vista.  

I love doing panoramic photos on my phone.

There were dozens of people enjoying the lake, camping, hiking, riding jet skis, playing with pets. A scene both bucolic and idyllic, and a nice break from what had been a beautiful but very warm ride.  

After a time, we adjourned to McMenamins Grand Lodge for lunch, sitting in the shade for good food and conversation.  From there, it was about an hour from Forest Grove to home.  

Random musings:

-At one point we were two miles from Kansas City.  I didn't think we'd ridden that far. 

(Oh, that Kansas City).

-The parking area at Hagg Lake was called the "C-Ramp Recreation Area."  I wasn't sure I wanted to recreate my cramps.  

-I continue to have a huge smile plastered all over my face when I ride my new scooter.  


-I unlocked an achievement while riding to meet up with the group before the ride.  I took the top deck of the Fremont Bridge across the river, which is a wide highway far above the river that's always been a little scary to me.  Never would have done that on my previous scooter.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

This blog has been upgraded. As has my scooter.

Just traded the Fly for a gorgeous new Vespa GTS 300, and I am loving the absolute pants off this new scoot.  The Fly was fun but very limited in how fast it went - especially up hills.  It's frustrating as heck to try to keep up with a scooter crew going up a hill, pinning the throttle and not going faster than 35 while the rest of the group pulls away.  I had a really scary moment last summer where I was on a highway in central Oregon and the Fly refused to go faster than about 40 through the mountain passes.  Luckily I was surrounded by a good group of scooter friends, and they made sure I was as safe as possible.

I feel much more stable and grounded on the Vespa, and it just goes so much faster!  Group rides are now an absolute and effortless pleasure.  I've put 1,100 miles on the Vespa in just the first month since I bought it.

The new scooter's name is Sapphire, after the character in the Steven Universe cartoon, because our foster kid adores that show.  Every one of our vehicles is now named after a Steven Universe character - my GTI is named Ruby, because it's red, and my husband's Passat is named Pearl, because it's white.  So we have Ruby, Pearl, and Sapphire.

So in an effort to be cute, and a little cheeky, I've renamed this blog "The Adventures of Sapphire, Queen of Cascadia."

Here's my new blue friend now!


I took her to the Oregon coast the other weekend - something I never would have done on the Fly - riding Highway 26 to Highway 6 all the way to Tillamook.  Beautiful ride.  Spent the weekend riding around the coast with some scooter friends, and I covered 300 miles in 3 days total, including there and back again.

Basically, this blog is back in action as much as it ever was, and I'll be posting more ride reports as I have rides to report.  Which I will.  Lots of them.

Here are some more pictures of Sapphire from the day I bought her.  Isn't she pretty?




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Oregon Scooter Club welcomes me with a lovely post

Glad to be joining such a friendly, welcoming group.  Ride on, scooter friends!


Hey scooter friends, in case you're interested

My other blog, Sinister, contains snippets of my current writing projects.  I just posted a chapter from the novel I'm working on, and there are other bits and bobs down the page.  Read and comment if you wish.  Cheers!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

So many rides, so little blogging

Over the last few weeks I've done some really fun group rides - two with the Portland Scooter Social Club, and one with the Oregon Scooter Club.  Riding with people is an entirely different, and entirely delightful, experience.

A few things I've learned: the Fly can keep up with most scooters unless we're going uphill, in which case it tends to bog down a little.  I also need to work on my confidence in corners, and stop putting a foot down when I corner a little too quickly.  Well, stop cornering too quickly, really, is the lesson there.

I've also been amused by how many other scooterists insist that in a year or two I'll be pining for a big bike, something in the 250-400cc range, so I can go on the really long, really fast, much more dangerous rides.

It might happen,  but right now I'm pretty content with the little 150cc Fly I bought.  He's a good scoot, serves me very well around town, and mostly holds his own on the highway as long as I can swallow my pride and hang out in the slow lane.  And it's not like I'm yearning for a really long ride on a 70mph highway - frankly that just sounds exhausting and terrifying all at once.

Still, on to the reports!

The first group ride I did was a simple trek out to the Gorge, and that was a lot of fun.  We had a nice lunch at Multnomah Falls and then came back.  Simple stuff, but a great intro to group riding.



Crown Point

Lunch at Multnomah Falls



Yesterday I did the 'Pressed Penny Ride.'  Well, I did half of it - I had to bail partway through to go to a writing meetup.    It was another great group ride around town stopping at tourist spots that have those machines where you put perfectly good money in and get a squashed penny with a souvenir stamp on it that you can't spend.

Lined up at the Portland Rose Test Garden


Finally, today I took my first ride as a member of the Oregon Scooter Club.  We started off having breakfast at an adorable country breakfast place that had some connection to a bomber airplane - I couldn't be bothered to read the whole story, even though I brought a pamphlet home about it that I will promptly lose - anyway, big plate of corned beef hash and much coffee was consumed.

The ride went...somewhere near Estacada, to a restaurant across the road from a stunning view of Mount Hood and the Clackamas River Valley.  There were about twenty riders, more or less, riding everything from 125cc Zumas to huge three-wheeled thingies called Can Ams, which sound like a soda you'd get on a defunct airline.  Can Ams seem like a lot of fun to ride.  The Fly was in fine form everywhere except the hills, where he struggled to keep up with the 200cc Kymco in front of him. There really is a difference in the 10 or so ccs separating the two scooters.  Still, I have very few complaints about the Fly, and I expect to be riding him for some time to come.


The gang's all here.

An intimidating bunch of scooters.

This is a thing called a 'Can Am.'

A fly on the wall.  Well, a Fly on the tarmac.  Pavement.  Whatever.

That's a viewpoint.  Hello, Mount Hood!

Not sure why this photo came out with a double rainbow effect.  WHAT DOES IT MEAN??

What my phone camera calls "zoom," I call an impressionist painting made of pixels.


Today's ride finished off at a place in Oregon City where they keep all the scotch whisky and potato bugs.  I don't think the potato bugs were actually on the menu, but they were everywhere.  Very tasty beers and good conversation, and ride leader Rick gave me info on a great route to the coast that avoids the big highways.  Might try that soon, although with the preparations Matthew and I are making for the impending arrival of a mysterious foster child, my weekends may become too busy to do much serious riding for a while.  Plus, the weather's about to get bleah.

A beautiful fall day, a gorgeous weekend of riding, and back to work tomorrow.

Hasta la scooter.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A rainy Sunday means no ride

After a packed Saturday that had me busy from morning till night, I had hoped to take the Fly to the coast today.  The weather, however, had other plans - after a hot, dry summer, the rains have come back with quite a vengeance.  There was a period around noon when the roads had dried out enough and the sun was out, and I thought to myself 'Self, maybe there's an opportunity for a ride today after all.'  Unfortunately, the sun stayed out only long enough for a delicious brunch with my husband at an outside table, and just as we were paying the tab, the drops started falling again.  Since then, it's been alternating between bright sun and torrential downpours.

No ride next weekend either - we're taking a little Amtrak trip to Seattle for Labor Day.  Maybe I'll take it out on a weeknight.  We'll see.