Saturday, May 19, 2007

Letting the Road Lead

Another Saturday morning with no plans. The day arrives with possibilities - work in the garden, clean the house, grocery shopping, ride. The sky was blue and the temperature hovering in the low 40's. I thought about pulling all my camping gear out of the closet to see how well I could pack the scooter. I struggled with the possibilities before deciding on a short ride. Like so many other mornings I sat at the end of the driveway for a few minutes pondering whether to go left or right.

What I really like about riding is the feeling of freedom. It's physical. I'm gliding through the air. And it's mental. When I am riding almost everything slips away other than me, the Vespa, and the world. At its best I am focused on the moment in front of me.

Riding north I think of the old Chevrolet jingle that Dinah Shore used to sing - See the USA in Your Chevrolet. There's a piece of Americana from another time. But that's what I am doing with the Vespa GTS. I'm seeing the world in a way I don't believe possible in a Chevrolet (or any other four-wheeled vehicle). I'm seeing what's around me. Not a trip to grand destinations but appreciating the magic that is right in front of me almost anywhere I am.

In pictures and captions this is how the morning unfolded:

Vanishing experience - local drive-in theater still operating. Shrek 3 was playing along with three other movies for a dusk to dawn experience.

Had to stop at a motorcycle garage with flowerboxes. It was closed but a peak inside the garage revealed a huge collection of old bikes. I'll be back.

Gamble Mill Restaurant in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Closed this early in the morning. Had the best venison chili at this place a few years ago.

A farmfield shortcut. You never know what kind of views you might find. The Vespa GTS handled the dirt and plants well. Has me rethinking the off-road capabilities.

Mountain spring water. It's common to find piped spring water flowing along mountain roads. What most of us pay for at the grocery store you can get for free at these places. This water is headed for the Chesapeake Bay.

Like the drive-in theaters fire towers have almost vanished in Pennsylvania. This one in Moshannon State Forest is a reminder of times past.

Some views are small.

Grander view looking southeast across the valley. Bald Eagle ridge is off towards the horizon.

Breakfast/lunch break at the lake at Black Moshannon State Park. Even in this fine spring weather I have the place to myself.

View across the lake from my picnic table. Lily pads and other vegetation starting to grow. In another month or so the lake will be thick with plants.

Heading home from Black Moshannon along Rattlesnake Road. I looked for snakes at every stop sure I would see one but no luck. With the sun out and plenty of water around I'm sure they were there. Especially up on the mountain top.

The entire ride was a visual and arromatic delight. The fragrance of dogwood, honeysuckle, and mountain laurel was everywhere as I rode through winding roads. I continue to be pleased with the performance of the Vespa GTS 250ie as a vehicle. Not only does is provide everything I need to navigate these roads and highways but it is so easy to stop and look around. I can pull over anywhere without fear I am blocking traffic or creating a huge hazard. Piaggio has really pulled together decades of Vespa work to make this arguably the best scooter ever.

So now you know my opinion. *grin*

Arrived home safely with another 64 miles on the odometer and ready to tackle the garden. I am grateful to have the opportunity to make these little trips.


Gubervino said...


What a wonderful day on your GT250.
I ride a Vino 125 and feel much the same as you do on the open road. Just like you my attention and thoughts are concentrated on the roads in front of me. Two thumbs up on your post.


Bill Sommers said...

The drive-in theater, and the old bike shop take me back to the'70's when we still had places like that around here. I miss those days.

I think that I would enjoy exploring your area quite a bit. Your "backyard" is pretty in a different way than here. I'm grateful for the photo's, they suck me in every time.

Have fun,

antonio said...

wa.....I can feel the wind that day through your words.
I like the photo setting on outside chair with breakfast on hand..that's just good! Riding in the morning is the best choice..

S u n d a n c e said...

Great blog, man. Great post. I agree that the experience is completely different than in a car. The smell of flowers in the country and restaurants in the city add another dimension to a great thing.

Bimbo said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for dropping by Vespinoy!
Great article, as usual, I'm a big fan of your site. I can only hope to have the time to do the same things you do, but if and when I do I'll be sure to try to post the pictures and tell the stories as well as you.


Steve Williams said...

gubervino: Nothing like the open road. I was just telling my wife how it is just pure unadulterated fun.

bill: It's sad to see some of the old things disappearing but I suppose that's progress. In rural areas sometimes it comes a bit slower but comes anyway.

Thanks for your words of encouragement on the pictures.

antonio: I really like sitting outside eating. Even more than inside having breakfast I think.

s u n d a n c e: Thanks! I continue to be amazed at how much you can smell while riding. Mostly good things but sometimes...

bimbo: Thanks for your kind words. I visit your site often to see how the other side of the planet is riding. And I love the yellow Vespa!

Nandu Chitnis said...

Amazing blog. Riding scooters long distance ...awesome.

I am a biker in India. Plan to visit New York March 2008 and ride to Sanfrancisco or Seattle from NY. Hope I can rent a motorcycle in NY.

Can u help me plan the ride n the logistics?

Michael said...

Hi Steve,

I'm AMAZED that with each post you write about a new part of your local area that still seems relatively unexplored from a scooter's point of view. With all your riding, you must have visited pretty much all of Pennsylvania, right? :-)


HDESQ said...

Steve: While you were sitting at the picnic table, I was across the lake at my cabin. What a glorious morning it was. Moreover, when you were in Berkeley Springs, WV a couple of weeks ago, I live only about 30 miles from there. I wish I had known that our paths were almost crossing as I would have made arrangements to meet you. Paul II

Gary said...

All that beauty lies within 32 miles of your home? Steve, you are a lucky man. And your photographs capture it so well. I like this format you are trying out here. It really plays to your strengths.


Steve Williams said...

nandu: A cross the country trip sounds like a wonderful journey! Sorry I can't help you with the logistics but I am sure if you check out the Adventure Rider forum you will find a wealth of support and information on this kind of ride. Unlike me those members are making those long tours.

michael: The places to explore here are endless. As much as I have traveled around Pennsylvania I still am surprised how much I haven't seen. I suspect it could keep me busy the rest of my riding career.

hdesq: Do you really have a cabin at Black Moshanon? That would be too weird! I guess it is a really small world.

gary: Kim and I are both grateful to live where we do. The natural landscape begins a mile from our door and we also have the amenities of a large university which often you only see in a city. When we travel and look at other places as possible future living areas we always come back here.

Biker Betty said...

What beautiful countryside you live in. Beautiful photos as usual. Back in the mid 70's I worked in a drive-in theater. Boy those were the days.

Anonymous said...

As a motorcycle rider, I've been all over Pennsylvania (all over the country acually) and it's a beautiful state. We live near Allentown.

Just purchaced a GTS for having fun on. Great little machine. Hoping my wife learns to ride and we get her a 150.