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On being official

May 23, 2010
SH150i at the ferry

The Madeline Island ferry landing is in the background (Photo by Karen)

On Friday I finally put the last piece in place by going to the Motor Vehicle Department, taking the written test, showing the waiver I received in the BRC and getting my new drivers license with an “M” on it.

I felt an immediate sense of freedom but I’m still taking it slow, getting the feel of riding on the highway and county roads. I find myself analyzing, rating and comparing my beginning riding skills and what’s happening on the road to the things we discussed in the Basic Rider Course. Tonight a chipmunk, two squirrels and a turkey ran across in front of me!

It’s a strange feeling to be riding on a road I’ve been on in a car many times, feeling myself going over that same pavement on two wheels, unprotected, unrestricted but very focused.

This past week several people have related Scary Motorcycle Riding Stories, i.e., 92 year old woman drives her car into a group of motorcycles, injuring several, a neighbor who bought a motorcycle even though he was a doctor and had worked in an emergency room. He proceeded to crash his motorcycle three times before selling it after only two months—and so on.

I really wish people would restrain themselves from telling a new rider all these stories. Most of us who have made the decision to ride on two wheels already understand the risks and don’t need to be reminded of them. It serves to undermine confidence and I think it is dangerous to ride without it. I try to put all that out of my mind and just enjoy the the ride with complete mindfulness.

Today I rode downtown for the first time and went to the ferry landing. Even though I’ve ridden the ferry many times I wanted to see what it would be like to take my scooter on it. I’m a little nervous about getting in line with the cars and going up the ramp but I plan to do it sometime in the next week.

Madeline Island is flat, about fifteen miles long and has a road that circles the whole island so I think it would be a good place to ride the scooter. The far side of the island looks out onto Lake Superior, which is more like an inland sea than a lake. There are lots of places I want to go now that I’m official. Favicon

  1. May 23, 2010 10:19 pm

    Karen, on Washington State Ferries motorcycles and scooters get to go to the head of the waiting line, and are first aboard. Does the Madeline Island ferry let you do likewise?

  2. Karen permalink
    May 24, 2010 8:52 am

    I’m going to check on that. It certainly makes sense. The Madeline Island Ferry Line is privately owned so they make their own rules and rates. I just checked their website for rates and it ‘s $11.50 round trip per person PLUS $14.00 for a motorcycle! I guess I won’t be doing that ride more than once 😦

  3. Dan permalink
    May 24, 2010 10:04 am

    I’ve really enjoyed following your progress with your scooter and seeing the great pictures of the Bayfield area. Madeline Island and Bayfield are two of my favorite places, such a beautiful area. I only wish that I didn’t live so far away. I took my written test last week and got my learner’s permit on Friday. On Saturday I rode home on my first motorcycle, a new black Honda Elite 110. I looked at the SH150i too and was really impressed with it as well. Thanks again for your very interesting comments.

  4. May 25, 2010 10:32 am


    Here in BC, motorcycles can load at the front of the line and unload first off the boat too.

    but in the interior of the Province where the ferries are operated by private companies under contract with BC Ferries, this is not the case and you must line up with the other vehicles and do not get priority loading. All of these inland ferries are FREE. The longest free ferry ride is across Kootenay Lake from Crawford Bay and the voyage takes 45 minutes.

    Wet Coast Scootin

  5. Karen permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:42 am

    Dan, Have fun with your Elite! I’m taking it slow on the roads around Bayfield and loving it. It’s nice how other people on scooters & motorcycles give each other a wave or nod when they pass. In fact last night a guy on a bicycle hollered out a reminder to turn my signal off and I was grateful for that.

  6. May 25, 2010 7:49 pm

    Karen, congratulations on passing your motorcycle test and attaining your endorsement. There is a real satisfaction in having that “qualification”!

    Take it easy and follow your instincts. You do know when the situation is right for you … you’ll feel it.

    Most of all, enjoy the experience and the ride!

  7. Karen permalink
    May 26, 2010 6:54 am

    Bob, Wish our ferry operated like the ones in BC – Free! I love to ride the ferry and would like to do it more often.

    Chuck, Thanks. Having the endorsement is a validation of sorts but is really just tje starting point. You’re right about following your instincts. Things usually work out better when we do.

  8. May 26, 2010 10:23 am


    I wasn’t sure you were the same Karen over at “Heels”, as your profile doesn’t link back to Here.

    Not all ferries are free, only the smaller routes like our recent ride to Barnston Island.


    are you planning on coming to Redmond, or Corvallis for our IBC2010, Blogger re-union ? seeing that you reside in the area.

    Wet Coast Scootin

  9. Karen permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:10 pm

    Same Karen.

  10. May 27, 2010 8:33 am

    Hearty congratulations to you!

    Here’s a tip for scary stories from a professional. I think that would be me, but some days I’m not sure.

    When people tell you these stories, as they will, compare what happened to them with what you learned in class. For example, how was their scanning and prediction process? Did they know to swerve around something by countersteering, or did they try to “steer” which would actually propel them towards the obstacle instead.

    Here’s a classic that I hear. “I was whipping through this corner, was surprised by gravel, and crashed. It wasn’t my fault, man!”

    So ask yourself these questions. If you can’t see through a corner what do you do with your speed and line? Slow down and stay outside, of course. If you do see gravel, what do you do? Slow down and ride around it, if possible.

    If a rider is “surprised” by gravel, who’s fault is it? Apply that to stories and you will find that most crashes are directly the fault of the rider. Sure, sometimes crap just happens, but there’s an awful lot you can do to take care of yourself out there. Apply what you learned and life won’t be too scary out there. 🙂

  11. May 27, 2010 10:22 am

    bobskoot, I won’t be attending because I won’t be living near there by then. In fact, I’ll be living close enough to you that we can go on rides…

  12. Karen permalink
    May 28, 2010 10:33 am

    Irondad, I’ve been thinking about your post on my last couple of rides, looking through the turns and remembering the MC manual saying “there are no ‘accidents’ preferred term is crash or collision and most always preventable”. My husband was a UPS driver and they told the drivers the same thing – there are no accidents. If you had a crash you weren’t doing what you should to avoid that situation.

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