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Yea, it doth suck mightily

December 15, 2012
On the hook

Somewhere north of Lynnwood, Wash. (Orin O’Neill photo)

The sun was out, traffic on southbound I-5 moving quite a bit better than one might expect on a Friday afternoon, especially this close to Seattle.

The Fourth Estate was humming along as it usually does. But then the engine started losing RPM. What? It started losing RPM even faster when I goosed the throttle. OMG!

Luckily, I was in the far right lane (which is where you’re supposed to be, unless you’re passing someone), and there was a nice, wide hard shoulder. Easing the Fourth Estate out of traffic, I brought it to a stop.


Well, I guess I won’t be going to the Motorcycle show, I thought as I fished the phone out of my pocket. Good thing I have AAA Plus—the best reason to upgrade from their standard plan is the 100 miles of free towing (In most cases, you can upgrade on the spot, if necessary. AAA Plus RV includes motorcycles and scooters.). I was about 70 miles south of Bellingham, so I told the dispatcher I wanted the Fourth Estate towed back to the foothill villa. No problem, we’ll have someone there right away.

And they did. The Fourth Estate was safely back home at 4:00 pm, just as the wrecker driver’s GPS said it would be.

It’ll be sometime next week before the problem (I’m thinking fuel pump, or maybe fuel filter) can be resolved. In the meantime, a grocery store, drug store, hardware store, even a good Thai restaurant (not to mention the Wi-Fi hotspot that is making this post possible) is within walking distance. And it’s too warm for snow.

Still, being without wheels is a pain. Not having a scooter sucks even more now than it did during the summer. While it only costs a buck to ride the bus, and Bellingham has way better public transportation than most similarly-sized cities, the college students have all gone home, so the buses don’t run as often.

I’m hopeful the Fourth Estate’s problem can be resolved this week. Cheaply. Favicon

  1. December 15, 2012 2:37 pm

    I’ve lived without a car. Years ago, before I had my bike, I lived close to several bus stops and within walking distance of various things. My car died and I was stuck without the money to pay for repairs. What started out as a serious issue quickly became a lifestyle choice. For about 6 months my girlfriend (later wife) and I managed without a car, even after we were able to get the car fixed. It sucks but it’s possible. Give it a shot, you might surprise yourself.

  2. December 15, 2012 2:57 pm

    Rob, I did try it, when I was in Portland (which is the only city in my neck of the woods with public transportation useful and convenient enough to forego car ownership). I didn’t like it.

    The GTS turned out to cost way more per mile to run than a car (savings in fuel and insurance were more than canceled out by expensive, much-more-frequent service and component replacements), and the only competent scooter tech in Bellingham is moving to Tacoma. Amtrak and Greyhound are both pathetic; I like Bellingham, but I need to get out of town once in a while, and anywhere on the I-5 corridor, that can be done more easily and cheaply in your own car. As I say, I’m betting the repair will be easy and relatively cheap. If not, well…

  3. December 17, 2012 7:43 am

    I wish you luck. I am plagued by multiple mechanical issues but I keep working my job to keep them running. I found the GTS unreliable and expensive. The Stella was dreadful . I hope my P200 will be here in a couple of weeks restored and running well I am led to believe. Hoping for the best I wonder if it will be as competent and reliable as I remember. And not as slow as the ghastly Stella…

  4. December 17, 2012 12:47 pm

    Had it towed to the garage this morning, and the tow truck guy guessed timing belt, based on nothing but the starter spinning when turning the key (I noticed that, too). It was way overdue for a new timing belt, actually…

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