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43 degrees and cloudy

December 29, 2008
41st Ave SW & Admiral Way

Orin O'Neill photos

Finally, finally, the temperature was above freezing. Forty-three degrees Fahrenheit felt downright tropical.

Saturday was cloudy and breezy. The coin toss went the PX’s way. It was a bit cranky, having not been fired up in over two weeks. I expected this. While gas goes bad when left sitting for a long time, two weeks isn’t long enough to think about adding fuel stabilizer. Better to burn the gas than treat it.

In no time at all, the PX was warmed up and idling contentedly. I needed a Spud fish ‘n chip fix; a scouting expedition the day previous showed Admiral Way to have a good, clear path all the way to 63rd. And I found a great parking space next to the building.

Scooter parking at the Spud

Better still, Alki Avenue was bare and dry.  The wind helped. Traffic was exceptionally light, possibly because people aren’t back from their Christmas travels. Or maybe it’s because they still can’t get off their side streets.

Taking the long way home on Harbor Avenue, there are still piles of slush on the margins, but a wide, wet path otherwise. The Zippy 1s work well in these conditions. But I’m still wary of loose sand.

The pavement on Avalon Way looks even worse than usual. I don’t know if it’s the moisture or actual damage resulting from the snow and freezing temperatures. It’ll pay to be cautious.

Sunday morning, the sun was shining, but there was still a strong chill in the air. It’s the GTS’ turn today. It fired right up and idled at 1500 rpm, just as it’s supposed to.

I decided to do breakfast at the Luna Park Cafe, but took the long way, via Admiral and Alki/Harbor Avenue. I can’t help riding by Alki Beach, now that I live so close.

Following breakfast, I’m off to Queen Anne Hill and Top Pot Doughnuts on Galer. I’d meant to stop by before the move, but never got around to it. They sell the Seattle Sunday Times/P-I, and their doughnuts are great. Especially the chocolate old-fashioned.

The GTS at Queen Anne Top Pot Doughnuts

Even the ads were sparse today, so reading the paper killed minutes. I needed to go to Ballard, so I went south on 6th to McGraw, then down 3rd W to Nickerson. I used to ride this route all the time. Since the move, I have not accidentally headed back to the old place.

Traffic had swept the sand to the edges and the middle of each lane, making the pavement resemble what mountain bikers call doubletrack. The city says they’re going to clean it up. They don’t say when. Seattle does no regular street cleaning, apparently thinking the rain will take care of it.

Let’s hope that’s true. I head for home going south on 5th Avenue. There’s a bunch of sand, and the doubletrack is quite narrow. I hear cars’ wheels spinning as the lights change, the sound creating visions of the GTS falling out from under me in slow motion as I put my foot down to stop. That almost happened. Twice.

The wind had picked up considerably as I turned onto 5th at Denny. The gusts between the buildings were pushing the GTS hard, inducing snaky deviations in our forward motion. More visions of slow-motion falling on sand.

The sand

SoDo and East Marginal Way pass uneventfully, but if it’s this windy at ground level, the high-level West Seattle Bridge will be worse. And the GTS needs gas, so the low-level route is a better way to the 76 station at California and Andover.

The low-fuel light isn’t shining, but the price of gas seems to be creeping up. Yeah, it doesn’t make that much difference when you’re only buying about a gallon and a half, but who knows what random event might send gas prices skyrocketing to infinity and beyond?

A woman on the other side of the pump who’d just finished filling her Pontiac Sunfire asked me how much it cost to fill the GTS. “Three twenty-four,” I replied, adding that the GTS gets 75-80 mpg (your mileage may vary). She asked if I needed a special license to ride a scooter. A motorcycle endorsement, if your bike’s engine is over 49cc, which she could get by taking a class (this varies; check your local laws).

This is the point where most such conversations end with the other person saying something about the class being a deal-breaker, but she asked where to sign up. I told her about Endorse Your Sport (in the blogroll under “Resources”), the Department of Licensing’s one-stop motorcycle licensing and instruction site. Good for her. I wish more peoples’ thought process went like this.

A few more blocks, and we’re home. At a red light, guy in a Kia Spectra said the rear tire looked soft, but it’s fine. Probably the pavement ruts.

Neither of the bikes showed any ill effects from sitting around for two weeks. My experience was the same with the ET4, which sat for two weeks between rides for over 3½ months. If your scooters will need to sit for many weeks or months, then definitely use fuel stabilizer and get a smart battery charger. I have to believe storage out of the weather will make a big difference as well; I’d hate to think what might have happened if the PX and GTS were parked on the street during the Snopocalypse.

Wouldn’t you know, half an hour after I get home, it starts raining. Favicon

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One Comment
  1. December 29, 2008 11:33 am

    Fortune favors the bold. And the crazy; chocolate doughnuts? And there I was dreading getting diagnosed with diabetes….

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