The scooter that won’t start, the car that’s still awesome, and the motorcycle that turned into a scooter

I think it’s safe to say that a heck of a lot has happened since I last posted.

20190714_104508
Poor Mia. She’s been sitting like this for a week and a half while Ross and I try to figure out what the heck’s going on with her.

First off, let’s start with poor old Mia, who I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to retire.  After Scott fixed her horn, we had a pretty nasty rainy period that made it unpleasant or just plain impossible to ride, so Mia spent a few weeks in the garage. When the rain finally cleared up a bit, I figured I’d take her to work one day – but she had other ideas.  Ideas that involved her electric starter making some very, very strange noises when I try to start her. She kickstarts fine, her battery’s still in good shape, but I’m kinda leery of riding her on the off chance there’s a short in her electrical system somewhere causing the issues with her starter. What if something else shorts out and I end up with no turn signals? It’s not fun riding a scooter with no turn signals – I’ve done it before, and I don’t exactly want to do it again.

So, for now she’s in the garage until I figure out what to do with her.  I don’t know if it’s worth it to try to sell her, with her starter issue. I feel bad that I’m thinking of selling her, but since she’s spent most of this summer in the garage due to one issue or another, there’s really not much of a point in keeping her, is there?

20190705_141801
Lapis had some adventures on my friend’s farm recently – mainly involving parking on the back lawn while they had gravel delivered.

Lapis is still doing well – I hit 5000 miles on her pretty recently, and I think I might be close to 5500 at this point (I should check on that). Even in ridiculous rain and insane heat, she still handles well and is still fun as heck to drive. I actually even drove her out to my mom-in-law’s house out in Spencer, IN – it was my second time driving out to Spencer, but first time actually driving to my mom-in-law’s. Visiting her at her old house in Fishers involved driving on some terrifying highways (465 is just scary), but driving to Spencer is fun! Other than that, though, no exciting road trips with Lappy lately.

Finally, it’s time to introduce the newest resident of my garage: Stevonnie, a 2019 Yamaha SMAX 150.

20190713_135220 (1)
She’s beautiful, isn’t she?

First, a little backstory on how I ended up with Stevonnie. For a few years, I had a Honda Rebel in my garage, waiting for me to learn how to actually ride a motorcycle. I never actually rode it anywhere, the 6 miles it had on the odometer were all thanks to Ross. Recently, I got brave enough to take the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy course, and while I learned a heck of a lot, I didn’t have enough experience controlling a big bike to pass the exam at the end. (Remember, Mia’s a 50cc and barely weighs 200 pounds, and the bikes they had us on at the riding academy were 500cc bikes that easily weighed 500-600 pounds.) While taking the course, I realized that maybe I’m not entirely cut out for motorcycle riding – sure, I can now use a gear shift and operate a clutch, but mainly, I just want to twist the throttle and go. I’ve been spoiled by Mia all these years with her automatic transmission, and manual transmission just isn’t for me (at least on a two-wheeled vehicle).

However, I did want to ride something faster than a 50cc scooter, and something a little heavier than Mia. With her performance upgrades, she can do 45 mph, but it’s a terrifying 45 mph because she’s really light and really not meant to go that fast. So, I made the decision to trade in the Rebel for a bigger scooter – and ended up with the Yamaha SMAX. She’s a little tall for me, but I can make it work (or at the very least, I can see about getting some foam shaved off the seat so I can get both feet on the ground, haha). And oh, she’s so much fun to ride, even though I was a little extra cautious with her on the ride home due to not being all that familiar with her. Instead of being at full throttle all the time to get to 35-40 mph, I just have to give her a little bit of throttle and before I know it, I’m doing 45. I can’t wait to take her out on country roads and let her fly. 🙂

Lapis’s odometer reading: 5437 miles
Mia’s odometer reading: 7868.1 miles
Stevonnie’s odometer reading: 3 miles

Advertisements

The scooter that wouldn’t honk (and how an old friend helped her get noisy again)

I finally got the chance to ride Mia for the first time this riding season a few weeks ago – it took filling her with a gallon of ethanol-free gas to get her started, but once that was in her system, she fired right up. I rode her to the office and back on that first trip, which was lovely – except for when I got stuck behind a person at a light who was more concerned with their phone than they were with driving their car. I honked, or tried to anyway – Mia only let out a sad “hhhrrrrrnn” instead of the loud two-tone blast that I’m used to. So, I figured that her Stebel horn probably kicked the bucket, and a new one would do the trick!

I was wrong. The new horn made the wheezy sad noise too.

Ross dug around in her and found some corroded wiring where her deadlights were spliced into the wiring for the horn, and he didn’t want to dig around too much more for fear of doing something he couldn’t fix.

Enter my old friend Scott – people who’ve been following my rambles about Mia for a while might remember him, but for those who don’t know, he used to run Wick’s Wheels, which is where I bought Mia. He’s out of the scooter business now, and is working in software development, but when I mentioned Mia’s issues on Facebook, he offered to take a look at her and see if he could fix her up.  Given that he’s spent much more time rummaging around in Mia’s insides than I have, I rode her over to his house and he took a look at her.  Long story short: the deadlights (typically used as the turn signals outside the US) that Scott wired up into the horn relay a few years ago were drawing too much energy for both the lights and the horn to work properly – and since I’m not planning on doing any night riding anymore, we decided to disconnect them entirely and put some new wiring in for the horn just in case. That was what she needed – she honks now!

I rode her to work for the first time this season yesterday, and oh, I missed riding to work. It felt so good to be riding, even in the morning when it was still a little chilly out.

20190411_173204
At the office, ready for a quick trip across campus to go teach a workshop!

Riding her around in the late afternoon and evening was absolutely wonderful – it was 80 degrees out, and even though it was windy, it wasn’t so bad that I was getting knocked off the road. (I can definitely feel the difference of riding without the windshield – Mia’s nowhere near as aerodynamic as she once was.) Riding to work yesterday felt almost like the last nearly-two-years of car commuting never happened – it just felt natural, like an old comforting habit.

Now my body just has to get used to regular riding again.  After riding around Scott’s neighborhood with him and his dog (very, very slowly – the dog has plenty of experience riding as a scooter passenger, though!) this past weekend, I woke up very sore the next day – and after yesterday’s scooter commute, my right ankle is angry – since it’s the side I tend to lean towards when holding up the scooter at a stop light, I understand why it’s cranky.  I’d say I don’t remember being this sore when I first learned to ride, but I’m pretty sure the longest scooter rides I took when I first learned were maybe a mile and a half long – and my commute’s about 5 miles one way now, so that’s probably why my scooter muscles weren’t nearly as angry when I first started learning.

Ah well. My body’ll get used to riding again soon. (I hope.)

Lapis’s odometer reading: 4430ish miles (I’m guessing, I haven’t driven her since Wednesday)
Mia’s odometer reading: 7822.5 miles (FINALLY past the 7800 mile mark)

Happy birthday, Mia!

Yesterday was Mia’s 5th birthday – or, more accurately, five years since she got unloaded off the truck at Wick’s Wheels.  Being friends with the scooter shop owner got me some good perks, like actually being able to unbox my own scooter.

mia1
Still in her protective bubble wrap!

I remember anxiously awaiting the post-delivery inspection to be done so I could ride my new scooter home.  I’d only ridden a Buddy a few times before, the Wick’s Wheels “shop Buddy”, and really enjoyed it – and I was super excited to take my very own Buddy home.

20130920_154414
Just after her first trip home! She had so much chrome on her at that point, haha.

I didn’t realize just how attached I’d get to this scooter over the years, or how much she’d be tied into my identity.  People at the office knew me as “the girl with the green scooter”, or “wait, you’re the one who rides to the office in February?  You’re either brave or crazy!” (It’s a little of both, to be honest.)

DSCN0353
Don’t worry, I didn’t actually RIDE her in the snow – I think I was going to use this picture for holiday cards back in 2013.

You know, Mia and I even made it into the 2014 Genuine Scooter Company catalog – and for a little while, I was scooter-famous, haha.

IMG_20180921_070349
The love is, in fact, genuine.  ❤

As I rode home from work yesterday in the 90+ degree heat, and scootered past where Wick’s Wheels used to be, I told Mia that she was the best scooter in the world, and that I’m so lucky I’ve got her back.  I don’t think I’d be where I am today without her, to be honest.  She was my main mode of transportation from when I bought her in 2013 until I got my driver’s license in 2017, and she took me everywhere.  Work, doctors appointments, the mall, and even on some longer trips – like the 20 miles out to J and Kasi’s by Lake Lemon, or the 40 miles out to Nashville, IN.  (We actually made that trip before I properly broke her in, I think, oops.  Oh well, she still runs like a champ.)

I rode her to my interview for my full-time job at IT Training, with yoga shorts on under my dress to make sure I didn’t accidentally flash someone.  I rode her to the house just after Ross and I signed all the paperwork on it and got the keys, so I could drop off a tiny load of stuff into the room that would eventually become my craft room (it’s the same color as Mia, and I told Ross I’d fight him for this room, because clearly it was meant to be mine).  I put all but 325ish of her 7787 miles on her.  And I love her dearly.

I’m glad she’s back in the garage.

IMG_20180921_071423

  • Lapis’s odometer reading: 2185 miles, thereabouts (it’s harder to just quickly check her mileage, I have to actually turn her on to see her odometer!)
  • Mia’s odometer reading: 7787.7 miles precisely (I just checked)

Mia’s adventures

Something pretty awesome happened over the weekend – something I didn’t quite expect.  (Well, I knew it was happening, but you get the idea.)

nolen_scooter
Lappy and her big sister, Mia. (if we go by model years, anyway, haha)

I got Mia back!

For those of you who don’t know, back before I was brave enough to be on the road in a car, I figured a scooter would be a good way to commute places and get used to being on the road.  (In retrospect, I think I might have been a little crazy, thinking a scooter was a better idea than a car, but scootering for so long helped me be a better driver, I think.)  I started out on a little Honda Metropolitan named Scooterlou, and had her for just shy of two years before I traded her in for Mia.  I’m Mia’s first owner, and even got lucky enough to watch her get unloaded from the delivery truck and help unbox her. I’m ridiculously attached to this little green scooter, probably even more than I’m attached to Lapis (and that’s a heck of a lot!).  I rode her everywhere – even out to Lake Lemon and Nashville, IN.  I decorated her for the holidays.  I even had a ham radio antenna on her for a little while.  She was my first taste at independence, and I loved her for helping me get wherever I needed to go.  She was a huge part of my life.

omgscootercatalog
We even made it into the 2014 Genuine Scooter company catalog! (Second row of images, on the far right side by the fold – there we are!)

When I finally got my license, though, I didn’t want to succumb to the temptation of just scootering to work because it was easier, and so I ended up selling Mia to my brother-in-law, Damion.  Since Mia ended up going to family, I wasn’t quite as heartbroken about selling her as I was when I traded in Scooterlou for Mia, because I knew I’d get to see her and ride her every now and then.  Plus, Damion ended up enjoying Mia as much as I did, which made me ridiculously happy.  I knew she was in a good place. 🙂

But then Damion got a car.  And asked if I wanted Mia back, because as he put it, “Mia has been telling me lately that she misses you.”  I won’t lie – I cried.  I was getting my girl back.  Sure, I love Lapis, and I love the freedom she gives me – but driving a car isn’t the same as riding a scooter.  I feel more in touch with everything around me when I’m scootering.  I love the feeling of the wind in my face, the roar of Mia’s little two-stroke engine, the stink of scooter fumes from said two-stroke engine.

beth-nolen-bike-july-2017-3

Since I’ve got her back, I got to thinking – do I really want to have two separate blogs for both vehicles that pretty much cover the same thing, me rambling about how much I love said vehicles?  And the answer: not really, haha.  So, this blog is now going to be Adventures with Lapis and Mia – and I’ll ramble about both of them here, since I love them both lots and I plan on owning both of them until they die.

Lapis’s odometer reading: 1716ish miles
Mia’s odometer reading: 7716 miles

Lappy’s first LARP

For those of you who don’t know me all that well, every month or so I participate in a live-action role-playing game (or LARP for short).  One of the things that factored into my decision to get Lapis was her cargo space and the all-wheel drive, because I need to load a bunch of gear into a car and drive out into the country with it.

IMG_20180519_105256

Lapis has way more space than the Nissan did, and can hold a heck of a lot more stuff. We actually managed to load the giant trash can full of foam weapons into Lapis – which I never would have been able to do with the old car.  And climbing those dirt roads going up steep hills was a breeze.  Speaking of dirt roads, someone ended up very dirty after that weekend in the woods…

IMG_20180521_071633

We even got to splash around in a bunch of mud puddles, and drive through a downpour – it was an exciting weekend, driving-wise. 🙂  Today, Lapis and I are going on our first camping trip together, to Elf Fest! 😀

Lapis’s odometer reading: 642 miles

The adventures begin

Well, actually, the adventures began… what, 425 miles ago?  That’s a heck of a lot of miles for only having Lapis for two and a half weeks.

Anyway!  I used to run a blog for my old scooter, Mia, but I ended up stopping posting when I got my driver’s license and sold Mia to my little brother in law.  I missed posting about my road adventures, but the car I had before Lapis wasn’t very… adventuresome.  It was a 2015 Nissan Versa Note SV – not the most impressive, powerful, or comfortable car out there.  I was terrified of driving, though, and wanted something that wasn’t all that big compared to some of the other cars I’d seen out there.  (Ross’s old XV Crosstrek was like a cruise ship compared to Mia, for example.)

20170724_160953
There’s the old Versa.

When I finally got my driver’s license last June, I ended up driving the Versa quite a bit – I commuted to work, I drove out to visit friends, but never really went more than about 20 miles away from home.  In the beginning, it was due to my lack of confidence, but as I spent more time driving and getting comfortable on the road, I realized that the Versa wasn’t exactly the most comfortable car.  Nor was she all that powerful – she struggled to get up hills, and didn’t handle snowy weather or rough roads all that well.

Enter Ross and his shiny new Outback, Luna.  He’d traded in his 2015 Crosstrek for a super fancy 2018 Outback, in Dark Blue Pearl.

IMG_20180418_123539
Oh Luna, you’re so fancy.

I’m not gonna lie – I was jealous as heck. Luna is a beautiful car – she’s got a moonroof, heated seats (even in the back!), welcome lights, EyeSight with Lane Assist and Blind Spot Detection, and loads of other features.  When I compared his fancy new Subaru to my sad old Versa Note, I thought to myself, “Maybe I could trade it in for a Subaru…”

And so I did.  Meet Lapis.  (Or, more accurately, Lapis 2 – but she feels far more like a Lapis than the Versa did.)

IMG_20180421_123111
So shiny new, she hadn’t even been home yet!

She is perfect.  She’s not as tricked out as Luna is, but she doesn’t need to be.  She drives like a dream, is incredibly comfortable, has a wonderful sound system, doesn’t take half my commute to get warm air pumping out of the vents when it’s cold out, and handles bumpy roads easily.  And oh, she’s powerful.  It’s hard to keep myself from going a little too fast in her.

I took her out for our first long trip together this week – not just her first long trip, but the longest drive I’ve ever done – 102 miles, up to Lafayette, IN for a conference.  And we both did just fine!  (Except for the tiny scratch she ended up with on her front bumper by gently booping the wall of a parking garage as I was adjusting her in a parking spot.  Oops.  Then again, I’d done way worse to my scooter, and she survived!)  There were some scary stretches of open plains combined with windy weather that weren’t exactly fun, but we made it.

And I swung by my office on the way back to snag something I had a fellow UITS co-worker make up for me…

lappy-on-lappy
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a bit of a Steven Universe fan.

Yep, Lapis has a Lapis decal now, which makes me super happy.  (I need to get her a Peridot decal soon!)  That was our little treat for traveling over 200 miles in three days. 200 miles that involved some 4-lane highways, some twisty back roads, and a fair bit of construction.

Maybe I’ll finally be brave enough to deal with the construction on IN 37/I69.  Maybe.

Lapis’s odometer reading: 425ish miles (I’m too lazy to go out and check at the moment)