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I’m back from the Garden City

May 22, 2007
The Coho pulls into the dock

The MV Coho pulls into the dock (Orin O’Neill photos)

Oh, my lower body is sore, I think as I climb out of bed. It’s only 60 miles, but the run from Port Angeles to Kingston was harder this time.

For one thing, the weather was more threatening. It was sunny and beautiful in Victoria as I and some other Seattle scooter folk boarded the Coho, but by the time we docked in Port Angeles, the skies were gray and vaguely threatening.

At least this time I had a riding buddy. Allstate Bill decided to stay in Victoria until Monday, instead of riding back in Mr. Mark’s truck on Sunday.

However, there was quite a bit more traffic on US 101, Allstate Bill and me getting separated a few times because his 1959 Allstate Cruisaire (a Vespa 125 sold by Sears) is, sadly, faster than my (still stock) PX 150. “Maybe you should lead,” he suggests at a stoplight. Good idea, because in a group the pace should be determined by the slowest bike.

I’m also the only one with mirrors, so I must not only deal with the aero wakes of the numerous giant trucks, but keep tabs on how many cars are behind us. On 101 there are signs reminding you of Washington’s requirement to make way for a line of five vehicles or more.

On one multi-lane stretch, a semi goes by in the passing lane, offering a wonderful illustration of the aerodynamic principles at work. At first, I actually speed up, just like the NASCAR guys. But not being able to match the truck’s pace means the turbulence bats me around as would a cat playing with a half-dead mouse. As I wobble, I’m thinking, okay, this is it, I’m really going down.

Waiting to board

There were a lot of scooters waiting to board the Coho

But I don’t, because I learned from racing that you just keep your foot in it and keep going, and look where you want to go.

Still, I’m thinking it may be time to do the upjet-Sito Plus thing, especially after a conversation on Sunday with a couple of guys from Calgary. They told me the catalytic material in the pipe is something akin to steel wool that eventually will break down and clog it. It’s just enough to pass the EPA certification test, they tell me.

I like 80 mpg and I like complying with emissions regulations. But I’m also starting to think I’d like not being such a sitting duck on highways like 101 and SR 104 a lot better. Favicon

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