Karma chameleon plaid
Isn’t that a great view? You
can could only get it on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, at the turnout near Safeco Field (until that part got torn down in 2011 —Ed.). You’re not supposed to park there unless your vehicle has broken down. In that regard, the GTS was totally legit.
Just like last time, Wednesday evening it was running fine, then just quit. Must be karma again, because there’s no shoulder on the Viaduct, just little turnout spots that were intended to be ramps that connected directly to I-90. Didn’t happen, of course.
The Viaduct is not a place you want to hang if you can help it. I decide to sit tight for a short while. The GTS is well away from from traffic, and if I can get it started again, it’s not far to the Seneca Street exit. If it won’t start, I can call AAA and enjoy the sunset (that would be about all I can do, since there’s no way to walk off the roadway).
About 10 minutes pass. I crank the throttle hard and hit the start button. It starts!
To be safe, I get off at Seneca. Things seem okay going north on 1st Avenue, and nothing happens at the Denny/Western/Elliott kinks.
Approaching the Magnolia Bridge, it quits, exactly the same way it did before. Ughhh!
I can shuffle into the parking lot of a business that’s closed for the night. Hello, AAA. The representative says it’ll be at least two hours, possibly three, before someone can fetch the GTS and me. The tilt-bed wreckers are busy this evening, she explains.
Okay, not much to be done except go to the Starbucks down the street and get a mocha. And an apple fritter.
Two hours later, I get a call from Bill, the AAA wrecker guy. He’ll be at the bike in 10 minutes, he says. I will be there to greet you, I say.
Bill tells me he has the biggest tilt-bed wrecker in AAA’s fleet. I always get a chuckle thinking of a little scooter tied to a gigantic truck’s bed. Tied down it is, and we’re off. Home, James… er, Bill.
In no time at all, the GTS is off the wrecker and tucked into the garage. And there’s no co-pay. The decision to get AAA Plus RV was a good one. Still, I’m bummed. An ailing GTS is something I don’t need right now.
Thursday morning, I go to the garage, insert the key, turn it, and hit the starter button.
It fires right up.
Okayyy, let’s take a spin around the block. It’s more like five or six blocks, but everything seems okay. How ’bout we go down to Alki, then?
It quits right where Admiral Way curves downhill. Crap. At least I can coast into a cross street and park. And it’s not too long of a walk home. I’m thinking, this is something that might only happen when the bike is warmed up, so letting it sit for a few hours might at least make it possible to get it close enough to home to push.
I return to find the GTS upright and intact, though honestly I wouldn’t have been too upset if it were missing, or had been creamed by an errant SUV. It starts on the third attempt, and runs the whole way home. Perusing Modern Vespa showed a consensus—disconnect the battery and let it sit for a half hour or so, which should reboot the ECU.
I disconnected the battery and went to run my errand at IKEA. That should take at least an hour, especially since I had a meatball craving.
It’s still light at 7:30 pm, so I reconnect the battery (it’s under the trim piece in the floorboard hump, in case you were wondering) and fire it up. It starts on the first hit.
First lap around the block(s), everything seems okay. I’ll try another lap around some different blocks.
But it fires right back up. I do a third lap, and everything seems okay. I head toward the view of Terminal 5, all seems well. Not wishing to press my luck, I head back to the garage.
Several Modern Vespa posters mentioned bad gas, but the most recent tankful came from a place that has been trustworthy before. Still, it might not hurt to pick up a bottle of STP Gas Treatment. Among other things, the stuff is supposed to purge moisture.
I got HEET (it was cheaper), and put just a splash in the tank. One 12-oz. bottle treats 20 gallons, sez the label, so it probably isn’t a good idea to dump the whole thing into a 2.4-gallon tank.
Had to make a trip early this morning, so I decided to take the GTS. It fires right up, and runs just fine the whole way. After sitting for two hours, it started right up. Feeling somewhat confident, I take the long (long) way home. No hiccups here, either.
Time for a longer ride. From home, south on California to Uptown Espresso, then down Erskine Way and 48th to Beach Drive. Dodging the potholes and patches, the GTS runs just fine. On the short bit of smooth pavement, I crank the throttle hard. The GTS accelerates strongly, no hiccups.
Let’s stop at Alki Tully’s. It’s time to read the paper. Just one now. *Sigh!*
It now takes longer to drink a tall decaf mocha than to read the Seattle Times. At least the vending machines still dispense a copy for 50¢, even though the cover price is 75. I wonder if they’ll ever figure that out.
Coffee consumed and paper read, I turn the key and hit the starter button. The GTS fires right up. Okay, now what?
After briefly considering a short run on the Spokane Street Viaduct, I head for 35th Ave SW. Apparently it’s known in the neighborhood as “I-35,” due to the near-total disregard for the 35-mph speed limit. The pavement is smooth, and if the GTS craps out again, at least I can walk home.
Throttle cranked hard, the GTS climbs the hill from Avalon Way with gusto. When the roadway levels out, I crank it again. The speedometer needle swings past 50 mph, briefly. No hesitation, no problems.
The trip north on California is uneventful. Must’ve been a bit of undigested gruel.