Monday, September 24

Anti-motorcycling chauvinist and/or fool?

(Disclaimer: This is loosely motorcycling related so feel free to skip it and come back for a soon to be posted ride report. This is mostly about an arrogant doctor hell bent on blaming motorcycling for my back problem).

On a recent early morning, I geared up and headed out to a doctor's appointment. Not my regular doctor but someone she referred me to as an "expert." I've had a nagging backache for years and on occasion it flares up. A terrible fall (not motorcycle related) a couple of years ago probably aggravates the condition. I figured it was time to check it out. Thus, the referral made by my internist. Before visiting the "expert," my doctor, whom I've had for about 20 years, tells me that this doctor has a bad reputation for his harsh bedside manners, "old school" ideas, and a brisk demeanor. She warns me that he will not spend time to talk to me but she stresses that he is an excellent orthopedic surgeon.

I've now had four visits with the "expert." Here's my take on him: If my back were separating from my body with visibly deteriorating flesh and fiber, I wouldn't go to this doctor if he were the only one on earth who possessed a cure! I would just have to say my farewells to family and friends and die!

At the first appointment, it was also a gorgeous day and I decided to ride my bike then too. I arrived in plenty of time to relax and remove all my gear for what I thought was going to be a thorough physical. I waited. And I waited. In that waiting period, I learned things I didn't like. I could hear him talking to patients from down the hall. He raised his voice a lot and I for one interpret this as yelling. His tone was dictatorial. He seemed to be multi-tasking up the wahzoo, almost as if he was holding simultaneous patient exams. I later learned that often he kept the door open during exams. At times, the place seemed chaotic. The waiting room seemed dull and signs of "No food, drink or cellphones" adorned the walls. Hunting, fishing, women, parenting, and celebrity magazines were amply spread around the room. In addition, the scent of a czarist regime filled the air.

I signed in and handed over the the images of my lower back. I was given the necessary papers to complete. I refused to fill out those invasive homeland security forms, which is within my rights. Promptly, I was told that "all" patients "must" fill them out. I pointed out the place on the forms that clearly state I have a right not to sign, which gives them the authority to release medical info requested about you--and not just to the feds. Now, I'm not naive, I know that when push comes to shove, anything and everything is fair game and will, if necessary, be released to the government. But I'm not going to make it easy for them.

The doctor hears this exchange and butts in and wants to know what is the problem. His help tells on me and he looks at me and wants to know what is the matter. I tell him, "No problem, I choose not to sign the medical release form." Mind you this does not preclude the doctor from releasing medical information to my doctor or to anyone else I designate. He says, "You have to sign the form for treatment." I nicely correct him and point out that the form is voluntary as stated in the instructions and that I cannot be denied treatment for not signing. Thus begins my introduction to the "expert." Let me add, that I am a polite person. I will, however stand up for my rights.

I wait in the examining room. His male nurse takes my history. He asks about the physical activities I now and in the past have engaged in. I tell him I lift weights but nothing too heavy; I do Tai chi; I power walk, inline skate, and am a former serious long distance runner; I bicycle ride when I can. The nurse adds, "and you ride a motorcycle." Yes, I forgot that.

The "expert" enters. The first words out of his mouth..."Did anyone ever tell you that riding a motorcycle is bad for your back?" He motions to my helmet. His tone is not friendly. I say, "No." He continues that the back problem I'm complaining about probably stems for all the jarring from riding a MC. I decide against telling him about all the physicians I know who ride. He reads my history. Then he remarks, "For a woman your age (I'm fifty-something) you're doing too much." I am dumbfounded. Not that I need his approval, but isn't it a good thing to stay in shape or at least strive for fitness?

He tells me that while I look young, the body knows how old I am. And suddenly, I'm feeling the need to bolt out of his mad house. He's surprised at my age and he states that he realizes baby boomers push themselves to the limit. When he finishes I say, "It's interesting you mention the motorcycle being bad for one's back, I had back problems for about five or more years, this is only my second season of riding. I explain how riding has not made the problem any better or worse. In fact, I tell him I think my back has improved because I now do more strengthening exercises because of long distance riding. He discounts my personal observations. I explain that I don't ride during the winter and my back soreness still plagues me. I tell him the back problem preceded riding by years only he isn't listening to me. He cuts me off several times, gets defensive and claims that he is accustomed to people like me not wanting to hear the truth. To him, I seem like a stubborn woman who doesn't act her age--whatever that means. I guess I'm supposed to shut up, dry up, and die!

His examination is cursory. That's fine as I want to leave anyway. He ends our first meeting with his "expert" opinion and orders more tests. He tells me, "You present yourself to me complaining about a back pain but you ride a motorcycle. You do Tae Kwon do... (I cut him off and say "I do tai chi." One hundred year old Chinese folks do tai chi to stay limber and mentally fit. I would need to remind him often at subsequent appointments that the two are vastly different, but he is deaf to the details). You run (I correct that too). You do all this martial arts stuff...(what the heck is he talking about?). For a woman your age... (now I'm getting really ticked, not only is he at least 25 years older than me, I am about to strike him) the back pain is probably due to this heavy activity level you follow," blah, blah, blah. I leave feeling I'd been in the presence of educated swine. I was hoping for an objective diagnosis, to know that I don't have some horrible back cancer or some freaky, rare muscular-skeletal disorder. Instead, I get an undisguised chauvinist who gives his "expert" opinion without waiting for the test results.

Before leaving, I had another exchange with his desk help when I asked for the film back. Before the woman could retrieve it, the doctor yelled that he had to keep the film (fair enough). I asked if I could get it at the end of my last visit. He interrupted and said, "No treatment without the film." That wasn't my question, but I decided to drop it before I used my helmet as a deadly weapon.

As I was leaving, he yells down the hall at me in a friendly tone, "Hey, are you going to give me a ride on your motorcycle?" Stunned, I turn and in my most nice-nasty voice say, "NO!" And just before I close the door, I add, "You don't have a helmet!" From that first visit, I learn that he's of a generation where doctors were considered God by many people and clearly he mourns the change. He allows no meaningful dialogue. His office operates with a harem, a bunch of females (one male) who seem to levitate in his presence, thus reinforcing his God-complex.

My next three appointments were challenging and gives me one more good reason for not owning a handgun. I ride to each appointment and it always gives him a reason for commenting on the evils of the physical demands of motorcycling. Now, there may be some truth to his claims but he didn't show me any. I guess I was supposed to treat his word as gospel.

At each visit, he ordered more tests. I spent much of our time trying to ask questions and get him to listen to me to no avail. He made comments each time about motorcycling, proving his ignorance. Once he picked up my book I had been reading while waiting for him. He eyed the title and did a huffy-grunt and said, "Any good?" In hindsight, I wished I had been reading something with a more provocative title, like an issue of SCUM (The Society for Cutting up Men)--which was a radical anti-male group of women in the 70s--just to get his goat.

At my most recent--and last appointment with this "expert", I left for the appointment in morning temps that were in the high 40s but the weather promised a welcomed warm up by afternoon. I donned my Kilimanjaro jacket with the zip in fleece lining. I had also remembered to put in my helmet chin curtain, which prevents the air from blowing around the front neck area of the helmet. At highway speeds in excess of 60 mph, I could feel the cold and wind against my arms and slightly against my chest; but, I remained toasty the whole ride. It was refreshing being out in that crisp morning air. I took the long way and arrived at his office by 9am. The forty-plus miles put me in a giddy mood.

I knew this office visit would be my last. With or without his "diagnosis. After waiting too long in the waiting room, I was moved to the examining room, with the door open. I sat listening to him examine an talk to other patients, knowing that when he came to examine me, they would be listening. He looked at my chart and bounced his head up and down. He says, "You're doing too much and I've ruled out any bone, structural, nerve and arthritic conditions. So you've got to make a decision. In my professional view, from a legal standpoint, I've got to say, I don't see anything wrong from the tests I've requested. Now, does that mean you making this up? I don't think so. But you're doing a lot of things." He stressed that he would be happy to do more tests on my neck, which appears, at least to me, related to the back. He thinks they are "entirely" unrelated, however. Perhaps. But he was now "willing" to turn to the neck (something he was unwilling to even consider before) and wants me to schedule another appointment. "Thanks, but no thanks." I think, "You've seen the last of me, buddy."

When the staff tries to schedule another appointment. I told them I'll call them. And, when I request all my medical records, it leads to a discussion about reproduction cost, which I tell them, "Fine, just have the records ready at the agreed time and I will pay for the cost." They want to belabor their fees and go on and on. I continue to say, "Fine. I'll pay for it--do you want me to pay for it now?" They finally back off.

After leaving, I went to my Internist's office. Her nurse, after hearing a little about my experience, confirmed that the "expert" is a "hand full" and she shared with me some humorous and maddening tales of how she has had "words" with him. Later my internist said she has heard these things before about him from other patients. Then she put me in a better mood by telling me this joke: What the difference between God and a Surgeon? Drum roll, please:

Answer: God doesn't think he's a Surgeon.

Ride on...

Sunday, September 16

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Bound!

A few weeks, back while staring at a world atlas, I saw how I could do the remaining Great Lakes in two, rather than three seasons. Simply do Lake Erie and Lake Ontario together. These are small enough lakes that together would make a nice trip of around 2500 miles. An atlas is like a dictionary. While searching for what you want, new and unexpected discoveries are often unearthed. That's how I first thought of a trip to Nova Scotia, specifically, Cape Breton Island, where I would ride Cabot Trail.

I could do the southern portions of Erie and Ontario, continue to Maine, take a ferry from there to Nova Scotia--or hook up with the Trans Canada Highway and enter by land, say, via Lake Ontario to Montreal to New Brunswick and south to Nova Scotia. On the return, I'd do the northern portions of the two lakes. A graduation I plan to attend in Vermont in August will be an extra leg to add. In VT, I'll make a major stop in Montpelier, where I hope to meet up with an old teacher. Then I'd trek down southwest to Middlebury for the graduation.

When I checked my most colorful and detailed atlas, I was hooked. I'm going to Cape Breton Island next season! It's amazing how when you start thinking of something, bits of information about that something start trickling in from seemingly everywhere. Soon after this, I ran across a DVD on motorcycling in Nova Scotia. A simple Google search put more information at my finger tips than I could absorb in several sittings. A visit to an online Nova Scotia travel site had tons of information, which I requested immediately.

Then, Friday I was thumbing through a newspaper and learned that Sept. 15-16 Chicago would host their annual Celtic Festival and along with the music, rugby, kilts, Guinness, fish and chips, there would be a Nova Scotia tent. Be still my heart! I thought I might pick up some travel brochures but I collected far more.

By the time I reached Randolph St., I could hear the signature bagpipes and my years of marching with a drum & bugle corps automatically made me step to the rhythm. I found the Nova Scotia booth easily and waited for the first layer of people to move away so I could inch my way forward. I waited on one side but it moved too slowly. I went around to the other side. The friendly ambassadors were enthusiastically giving away spongy red toy lobsters on a stick. At the same time, one could sign up for a prize that included a lobster dinner. I didn't.

Finally, I was able to move to the table, where much of it was covered by a beautiful laminated, highly detailed map of Nova Scotia. I want that map! I would occupy a special place right above my desk, to aid in "keeping my eyes on the prize." I studied the map, which I've now become familiar. I asked the woman about the ferry from Maine. It leaves from Bar Harbor, she told me. She gave me some info and we looked at the map together. I asked about travel alone in Nova Scotia. While she didn't anticipate any problems, she smartly shared a general caveat about safe travel anywhere--no place is 100% safe. However, she stressed that Nova Scotia is exceedingly safe and that I should not encounter problems. In fact, she said, the I will find the friendly citizens caring and helpful, people who will reach out and "probably just take you under their wings." Hearing this conveys great comfort. Her words confirm everything I've learned about the area. If people are half as welcoming as those I met between Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and Thunder Bay, a little bit of heaven awaits me in Nova Scotia.

When I told her I'd be traveling by motorcycle, I definitely saw a sparkle in her eyes. She told me that I'd love the beautiful roads. We chatted a little about the Cabot Trail, which she pointed out on the map. The best, freshest fish awaits me, I'm told. By then, my heart was pounding. I retrieved a travel book from the table that I wouldn't know until I arrived home was, "Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia"--how great is that?!

Before leaving, I left my name and email address with this amazingly helpful woman, whose name I stupidly did not get. She said she'd pass my info on to their "media" person who might be able to help me put together an "itinerary." I departed with a bag of goodies and a joyful heart.

Usually, I spend the winter months toying around with various trip ideas for the coming season. I'm still open to going to other places but Nova Scotia is calling me. I could do the two lakes as planned--but with a twist. The twist is: a side trip to Cape Breton Island. I did some preliminary mapping and a round trip will be well over 6,000 miles and possibly closer to 8,000 miles given the many legs I'll add to the trip.

My excitement overflows.
Let the planning begin!

Thursday, September 13

Alive and well

This must be the longest period in which I haven't posted. I wish I could say it was due to some great trip I've been on. Alas, it is nothing that interesting. With juggling multiple jobs, working late, shorter daylight, cold 42 degrees F mornings, and a bout of insomnia to boot, I've been suffering from lackoflongriding-itis. One day I came home so afflicted from my disease that I geared up and rode to a grocery store. I took an unnecessarily long route, passing up several perfectly good stores nearby. I squiggled through heavy downtown traffic, dodged the Pac-man cabbies, and pedestrians who obviously believe they have bumpers on their butts the way they absentmindedly step into traffic. The going was slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic and perhaps frustrating to others. But not to me. I enjoyed the total concentration such crazy traffic forces me to wage. I know that motorcycle guru David Hough would frown at my decision to ride in such insane rush hour conditions. Yet I know he'd understand the need to ride; and, he would give high marks for reaching my destination safely.

So, I'm posting a short note to say, "I'm alive and well" and come hell or high water, I will ride this weekend. And, in the future I will select from among the many backup posts that I keep a list of for those lean riding times 'cause I too miss my public moto journal.

Change of topic:

I came across two things recently that I'll mention here. One good, one horrible.
The good: A conference in San Francisco in 2008 has announced a "Call for papers" on motorcycling culture and myth! The possibilities are endless. I am definitely submitting a proposal. And, since DD (darling daughter) goes to school near SF, I can hang out with her as well. Take a look at the conference offerings. I'm open to suggestions on topics to write about.

The horrible: I do understand family and friends who used to go to great lengths to talk me out of riding alone. Like them, I know the dangers and like them, I have a keen sense of the racial history in American society. I am not naive; I have normal fears and more than my share of nightmares the night before a long solo journey. I could let my normal fears get the best of me and stay home. But since I have no evidence that I'll get another chance to live my life, I'm trying to make the best of the one I have. Still, here is what my extended family fear and in the dark lonely hours the night before a trip, such thoughts have visited me too. It is a hateful tale right out of some perverted novel but its true, brought to reality by some truly twisted, evil souls.

Please don't write me to tell me that there is bad on all sides--I've lived long enough to know that to be true. I'm posting this to say this is EXACTLY the kind of thing I hear as evidence against riding alone. I don't get it much anymore--they know I'm going to ride. What I get now is "Don't ride in the south (United States) alone. Although more has come out about this story that will probably preclude it from being considered a "hate crime," that won't matter in the long run. This creates additional fodder for the sick racial history that in overt and covert ways victimizes us all.

I will ride. And, pray that ancestors who have gone before me protect me as they ride at my shoulders and that the roads I travel are littered with the good.

Ride well...

Wednesday, September 5


Gallimaufry is a miscellany, a hodgepodge of things and that's what I have today. The list of future blog entries I'd like to post has now become longer than my life expectancy--seriously! So, today's entry is a melange of things, each of which I once felt warranted separate entries, probably doesn't.

Podcast Interview

Just in case you, dear readers, friends and family, have not read enough here and/or had your fill of me blabbing (and who really hasn't?) about my amazing journey around Lake Superior, there is more... Super journalist and photographer Brent Miller of Sojourn Chronicles interviewed me following the trip. I've been remiss in not mentioning it here. So, for those who did not get an email or forum announcement about the podcast, here it is. I've been told Brent did a great job of making me sound interesting. After listening, hang around Miller's site to take in some great writing and beautiful photography.

Iron Butt Rally (IRB)--11,000 miles in 11 days!

These are my people! The 2007 IRB rally ended last week. I followed it daily and absentmindedly didn't even think of going to the start and finish point (Chicago) to get a close look at these long distance riders. Sitting behind my computer screen, I read the daily ride reports and longed to be among them. Drama galore! I was particularly interested in following the solo women riders--who all did extremely well. Visit the site, read the daily reports and check out the final results. The daily reports (way too many final drive failure on the BMW R1200GS bikes??), will keep you reading to the end.

BMW F800ST (My future bike)

The June 2007 issue of Rider magazine names the BMW F800ST as the best sport tourer of 2007! Now, the October issues does another piece on this "Bavarian on a Budget," Beemer. The budget part is a joke given that the base price is $10,475. I guess for serious Beemer buyers that is considered cheap. Still, I've added some of the "must-have" items for this bike and the price leaped over $13,000--not counting taxes and those other things they tack on. I'm guessing I need a good $14,000 for a new one. My test ride on the F800ST was all good!

What worked, what didn't...

A blog on gear and equipment that helped or hindered my recent trip is probably still in the future....Here's the gist: my TourMaster Transition jacket did not work! It kept me comfy; I stayed warm, cool and dry and perhaps that's all one should ask. The color, a silver number with a tightly weave texture, got dirty way too early in the 11 day trip. By day three, I looked tacky. I spent too many evenings in a hotel, trying to clean it. A different color or taking my Kilimanjaro jacket would have be much better. I will not travel with a tripod again. I ended up mailing it back home, along with the camping gear.

I like camping. I don't like camping after 300 miles of riding. By the end of each day, I'd had enough of nature and the elements. By then, I've talked myself silly chatting with friendly natives. By nightfall, I need privacy, clean sheets, a toilet and very hot shower. Despite warnings to the contrary, I traveled again without hotel reservations (I mean, how am I going to know how much I want to ride on a give day?). I've learned it is best to call before 6pm--you will find a place.

Bike drop...

When you ride where sand is omnipresent, you are bound to be caught on precarious ground that requires your absolute attention at all times. But when the scenery is magnificent, your attention can be momentarily distracted, which is enough to create your own personal adventure. Once, I pulled over to take a picture and the transition from the road to the shoulder, which I'd been doing a lot on the big trip, this time was sandier than I expected. The front tired caught the edge of the road and tipped beyond center. I caught it and held on for dear life as it lowered near the ground. I held on, looking around, wondering what's next. I would have had no problem had the bike not been loaded with luggage. When I couldn't hold it any longer, couldn't upright it, I had to gently place it down. Lesson: even lightweight bikes when fully loaded are heavy. And, sand is not your friend when you're on a street bike.

Nolan 102 n-com Helmet

I love this helmet. But it cannot defy gravity! It suffered two major drops on the trip. Each one resulted from my carelessness. Placing it on the seat of the bike while removing luggage will result in a fall. It will happened each time you do this! It looks like a new helmet is in my future as I now question the integrity of this one. A third drop happened soon after I returned home.


I don't have one. I think it's a must on a motorcycle IMHO. Of course, a fuel gauge would be nice too. Don't have that either. Since getting the SV, I've only run out of gas twice. I wouldn't change one moment of my recent lake trip, but running out of gas on a remote section of the Trans Canada Hwy 17, not far from a sign that warns of night dangers below a silhouette of a mammoth moose, really isn't my idea of fun. Why I didn't take my MSR bottles of fuel is beyond me--simple-minded mistake. I love my bike, which is why I'll keep her when I get a second one. But for solo touring, I can't afford such oversights. I truly want something, like that sophisticated instrument panel on the BMW F800ST.

Well, this write up makes a small dent in cleaning off my blog shelf.

Before closing, I'd like to give a "shout out" Happy b-day to Ria B! I'd take you for a birthday ride if you were here!

Tuesday, September 4

Scooter Gymkhana and meet-ups--Part I

Saturday was one of those days that you just let go and let happen. In the end, it turned out to be a ton of fun. Some things I believe happen just to test my mettle and see how I'm doing with fret-freeing my life. Letting go of that which I can do nothing about isn't easy but getting more so all the time.

A long weekend loomed and somewhere in it I planned a long trip; unfortunately, not a weekender but at least one significant ride before Tuesday. First, however, I had to retrieve my gal pal. The Priority Lights were being installed--Yay! In addition, the shop was hosting a scooter breakfast and rally/gymkhana. This I had to experience.

I arrived before 11:00. The place was abuzz with activity. Outside the shop, folks and their scooters lined both sides of the street. Tables of food and beverages were set out--all this on an absolutely gorgeous day that reached the low 80s. I didn't sample the food but happy-looking munchers were ubiquitous, creating a high-spirited, jovial atmosphere. I don't know if everyone knew everyone else, but it seemed that way. Later someone said the group consisted of some "scooter club" members. Someone else told me that today was part of a gathering and events that commenced a couple of days prior and more events were planned for the next day or so. I don't know much about scooter culture, but this gathering seemed fun-loving, quirky (in a good way), with a sense of humor expressed in some of the machines. A few motorcycles also lined the streets in front of the shop too--including Queenie.

Met a couple of new people, one I'll remember and one I'd like to forget--in the spirit of "letting go." First, the one I'm working on forgetting: This guy was probably well-intentioned but he rubbed me the wrong way. As I've expressed many times here before, " my bike and you're A-Okay with me. Bad-mouth my ride and you're on my pooh-pooh list. Forever. So much for letting go...

A guy walks up to my bike looking serious and curious. When he gets up close and personal he asks, "How do you like that bike?" I know this query is meant to be an icebreaker but judging from his body language, his asking bugged me. I mean, it's my bike. Am I going to say, "Oh, I just hate it, bad bike?" For heaven's sake...But I'm detecting this guy doesn't really care how I feel about my bike. Something is pressing on his mind and he longs to share it with me.
I respond, "I love my bike, she's serves me well--she's a great bike." He hikes up one brow while simultaneously, but ever so slightly, leaning his head to the left--like he knows something I don't. When I don't bite, he says..."Yeah, great bike. I loved mine too until it quit on me, just gave out at 50 thou--just gave out--it was really bad." He looks pained but continues..."How many miles you got on it?" I tell him. He said, "Well, just be careful, monitor it when you get close to 50 thou--'cause it can give out..." I stress my happiness with the bike; I say it's in trusted hands at the shop; I tell him of my extensive research and the wealth of knowledge from exceedingly happy SVriders forum members; I tell him I know of others who have put over 100,000 problem-free miles on the bikes, blah, blah, blah. He just furrows his brow again, hunches his shoulders and really doesn't seem that interested in what I'm saying. Inside I'm thinking, "Get on your scooter and buzz off Bud." One day someone is going to get an earful of my inner thinking.


I also met motorcyclist, Larry, who walked up to me and said, "Hi, may I ask you a question...what do you do with your hair when you're riding?" Although this is Larry's first time asking me this...if I had a nickel every time I'm asked that--well, you know the rest... I give my standard retort: "It depends... blah, blah.... Larry rides a Beemer, a "K-bike" that reminds me of tie-dye. The blue and white colors convey an overall impression of blending together in a distinct pattern you won't soon forget. Larry's "K-bike" is well-ridden; in fact, Larry has his share of long trips. We talked a bit about his Alaska trip, which not only sounded like a ton of fun, but he did it solo. Two thumbs up! Later when I sent Larry a link to this blog, he sent me photos of his two Beemers. I wished I had asked permission to post them here--they are fine looking bikes, worthy of showing off. Nice chatting with Larry, who has his own stories of what it is like riding with long hair.

Scooter Gymkhana

In case you aren't familiar with the term, gymkhana is believed to have originated in the Indian Subcontinent and other parts of Asia. According to Wikipedia, gymkhana "forms the core of a social and sporting club" in some Asian countries. Later, gymkhana came to represent competitive equestrian events in English speaking countries. Now, Gymkhana is often associated with any fun-sporting events with a rally and/or obstacle course activity. It can and often is competitive. Saturday's gymkhana, although competitive, was heaviest on the fun part.

The gymkhana was a hoot! I overhead someone jokingly remark that "whoever thought of this course had to have a strange sense of humor." Scooters maneuvered along an obstacle course that demonstrated their scooter skills, such as riding with one hand while trying to insert a flagpole--with flag on it--through one of several small openings in a wooden ladder-type structure. The traditional cone weave was replaced with cans of soda, which made for interesting squirt patterns and fizzing sounds when a can was inadvertently run over.

The course also tested rider tolerance. Near the end of the course, riders navigated their scooters inside two narrowly placed parallel sticks. While doing so, they were pelted with small blue and green sopping wet sponges and an occasional bucket of water. One could either see the water works as a refreshing way to end the course or a rite of passage. Perhaps, it was a bit of both.

Some cyclists took the ending ritual in stride, buzzing through the water station as quickly as possible, head tucked and protected by helmet and the occasional jacket. Some yelled back and questioned the sanity of the water-happy throwers. A few less intrepid riders cleverly averted the full force of the throwers by making a wide left detour, which only resulted in them getting slightly less wet and missing only some of the sponge pelting. I hope it was as much fun for the participants as it was for the onlookers.

All this made me think about owning a scooter. But then, I think the fun of this gathering was the camaraderie shared among each other. Ok, so maybe this isn't my kind of thing but I wonder if solo scooter riding is the same as solo motorcycle riding? Well, perhaps I'll save the scooter riding until I'm too old to throw a leg over a 31 inches seat height bike. But if I do ever own a scooter, I want it purple with fringes hanging from the ends of the handlebar on with a sidecar to carry Bessie, the Jack Russell terrier I'm going to own one day, and a 650cc displacement so I can still travel near and far.

Part II--Queenie blows a fuse... (to be continued)