Sunday, May 6, 2007

Scooting into summer

Above: My 1987 Honda CH-150 Elite scooter.

Below: The dashboard. On a flat surface, the scooter can achieve speeds of 60 mph. It gets about 80 miles per gallon.
For the past nine years, May for me has marked not only the start of spring, but also the beginning of scooter season.

In 1998 I purchased my first street-legal motorized vehicle, a 1987 Honda CH-150 Elite scooter. I bought it out of necessity: I was working a summer job as a prep cook at a restaurant in a neighboring town, and needed cheap and reliable transportation to work.
I was able to score the scooter for $1100. It paid for itself in about a month, as I was making $8.50 per hour, pretty good money for a temporary gig.

Before the scooter I owned a 1978 Puch moped (pictured below).

The Puch was great for getting to school and friends' houses, but with a top speed of 35 mph my range of travel was limited.

I had bought the Puch off a friend for $125. It served me well during high school, offering relatively reliable transportation for reasonable cost. When something broke, I was usually able to fix it myself. I knew how to change its tires, replace the throttle cable, take apart the carburetor, and clean the engine.

I eventually sold the Puch for $100 to a friend's younger brother.

As for the scooter, it is, for all intents and purposes, a motorcycle, as it requires insurance and registration. With that extra expense and responsibility comes added speed, power, and freedom. I ride it when weather allows, and each November put it into storage, eagerly awaiting the turning of the calendar.

Last weekend marked my first scooter ride of 2007. After charging the battery, giving the tires some air, and pouring in 2 gallons of fresh 87 octane, the scooter coughed, sputtered, and purred its way to a smooth idle.

Within seconds I was enjoying an idyllic ride down back roads past farms and trees. Later that week I drove the scooter to school, although the ride was rather frigid at 6:15 in the morning. Despite a pair of quality leather gloves, my fingers almost lost sensation as the 45 degree air felt like 35 as the wind and cold tried to have their way with my extremities.

In about 6 weeks the school year comes to an end, and summer will be upon us. July and August are already filling up. There are two weddings to attend, a grandmother’s 100th birthday party, a 50-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail, a week at the beach, a few scheduled days of professional development, and a stack of books begging to be read. There’s also the day I’m scheduled to have my wisdom teeth removed, assorted friends’ birthday parties, and my own wedding planning (slated for sometime during summer ’08).

And don’t forget the annual lesson and unit plan tweaks, additions, and subtractions in preparation for the following school year. The summer will fly by as it always does. Hopefully I will be able to find a few days to fire up the scooter and find a road I have yet to travel, leading to an unexpected watering hole or scenic vista. Summer – and life – should still have room for exploration and unplanned discoveries.


Lara said...

enjoy the exploration and unplanned discoveries! i can't wait for summer to come, even though i have no job lined up and no forseeable income... ahem. i'm sure that'll work out somehow...

Mr. B-G said...

Yes... yes... You're resourceful, intelligent, and curious. You'll stumble into something stimulating and sustaining, I am sure!


Mr. B-G