Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jul 2014 Link to my other scooter blog. So where's Red Dog?

I haven't gone anywhere out of the area on Red Dog this year so here's a link that will take you to my current 2014 summer blog. So far I've toured the southwestern states on my old BMW Bumblebee sidecar rig, then returned home where I switched rides to my Vespa GTS 250ie scooter and headed north to Canada. Between the two of them I racked up over 7000 miles which isn't all that much but for me it's enough for now.

Since Red Dog's a scooter you may want to begin at the Day 14 Jul 17 post where the Vespa 250 part starts but if you like sidecars you can always start at the beginning of the blog. For some weird reason I'm having problems getting the link to operate which means you may have to copy it into your URL field and hit enter. Sorry 'bout that, I'll try to fix it.

In the mean time here's a few pics of the scooter that show most of the more important mods I've done to it prior to going on tour.

For the 2014 tour I elected to leave the red top bag home. The panniers, top box and front bag [not shown] provided more than enough storage for my gear. Way more than enough.
Admore LED turn signals and stop lights were added to the top box. The turn signals are amber and the brake lights are bright red. The brake lights flash rapidly when first applied, then come on steady. The scoot's stock lights are functional as well.

An adjustable windscreen turned out to be a great option in bad weather. For rain storms I raise it up to where I can just see over the top. When it's hot & sunny I lower it all the way down. This versatile windscreen is truly one of the best.

My Garmin Zumo 550 is now outdated but I still really like it. [Especially when it gets me lost!] I've used this GPS on several bikes for tours to Nova Scotia, Mexico, and all over the USA.

Touratech's locking mount makes stealing the GPS just a bit more difficult. I remove the GPS at night but leave it on during lunch stops, etc. Competent thieves can defeat the lock easily enough but it still foils the snatch & grab guys. I like that.

This RotoPax 1-gallon fuel tank reduces the likelihood of unscheduled hikes. After this shot was taken I opted for one of their security locks. You'd have to destroy the fuel cell to get it off. Maybe blow yourself up. Oops...!

So when the heck am I ever going to tour on Red Dog? I dunno, one of these days for sure but at the moment I'm really loving the Vespa's light weight. Call me lazy but it's so much easier dealing with this lighter scoot I think I'm getting spoiled. Gotta think this whole thing over maybe.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Summer of 2014 – where to go and what to ride?

This morning my first daily chore was to take care of a bit of burn barrel items and as I passed Red Dog sleeping away on the front porch it occurred to me just how wonderful and curious a ride she is. In fact all the while I was working I kept thinking about the comfort and economy offered by the strange 3-wheeled apparition. Then since I was already next to the barn I slipped the door open and looked in on the Beemer, a 1992 BMW R100GS "Bumblebee" outfitted with a vintage Ural sidecar. Like Red Dog also sporting 3 wheels but not nearly as easy to ride and certainly not as comfortable. Lots more storage capacity of course but at a cost to piloting ease and not a prayer of lane-splitting should that ever become necessary.

I thought about the two and how different and yet how similar they are and considered whether there were any places I might ride where one would outshine the other. There are some to be sure and those would likely be the deal-breakers, either way. For instance, if I were to set out for points north; ie. Alaska, then the Beemer would be the likely pick. If I decided that a ride through the great Southwest, maybe even to Key West, then Red Dog would prevail.

Today is June 7th, the sun is shining and the weather at this time of year should be favorable for long-distance touring on either of the 3-wheeled conveyances. Given that the next point to consider is how soon either of them would be ready to roll out. At present Red Dog needs only to be packed, she's been serviced recently, the tires are fresh and I can think of no issues that might crop up. The Bumblebee OTOH is still waiting for its broken speedometer to reappear and that may or may not happen any time soon. Of course the GPS would suffice for that requirement but I'd really like to leave with the feeling that the rig was 100%, no excuses.

To make things even more complicated I'm struggling with the usual "where to go" factor and that would have a definite effect on which one to ride. The answer suddenly becomes obvious...go twice, once on Red Dog through the Great Southwest, then return home, pack up the Bumblebee and head north in the general direction of Alaska.

It's been awhile since I went anywhere on Red Dog so to be fair I think I'll replicate the same ride I followed yesterday with the Bumblebee. It wasn't particularly long, barely over 100 miles but that should be enough to re-acquaint myself with any unusual quirks that I may have forgotten. That will also serve as a legitimate excuse for another day in the saddle. Yup.

Man, it's really HOT out here! Is this what they mean when they say "Dog Days?"