Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Operation Smokey and the Slothballs (Pennsylvania edition)

      Where to start? Do we discuss the snow? The ride? The sleet in 30 MPH wind? Or perhaps the cabins? Well, like any good story worth telling. If you don't know where to start; start at the beginning.
     There are several motorcyclists who own small 49cc scooters as pit bikes. Many scooterists have one they use around town for errands. They are cheap to own and maintain, and get phenomenal fuel mileage. When was the last time you took one on a 500 mile trip into the mountains with your friends?

   The bikes were varied, but four of the six were 50cc machines (the other two guys don't own running 50cc machines at the moment). We set out from Carlisle Cycle and Scooter on a Saturday morning and headed into the mountains. Five strong with 390cc's of raw power between the group clawing our way....wait...CRAWLING our way into the Pennsylvania mountains.
      Our first destination, Worlds End State Park offered a warm cabin, hot showers, and a place to sit down and relax, but first, we had to get there. It wasn't long till we ran into some pretty good rain near Beaver Springs,PA. So, a quick stop for lunch at Rayauda's Restaurant to try to skip the rain was a good plan.
 We picked up rider #6 and proceeded to set out on wet roads with full stomachs and cheerful hope of no more rain.

After a lot of riding, some wet, some dry we reached our first cabin for the night. I cannot express the importance enough of GOOD GEAR and the right attitude for a ride like this. The temperatures were in the low 40's and half of the ride had been wet. Yet, everyone arrived with a smile and ready to warm up over a fire and some food.

Having jumped through a warm shower, had some dinner and a good nights sleep in a warm toasty cabin. It was time to set out the next morning for our next destination.
            Our destination for the 2nd day was only about 200 miles away, but remember. The miles go by slower with an average speed of 28 M.P.H. Sure, we hit 50 MPH on the downhills, but climbing some of these mountains is an 18 MPH experience. Its all in having the right mind-set. We all own bigger, faster, machines. The 49cc machines were what we chose to ride.

We experienced our worst weather conditions on day 2. The group rode through rain. We hit snow twice and sleet at least 3 times. Good gear, calm heads, and lots of laughter kept us going with a smile.

 Sleet sideways can be fun when the fool behind you keeps honking his toy bicycle horn to keep it from filling with water. Unless along for the ride, you cannot imagine the smiles that squeaky little horn brought in the worst conditions.

                                           ^^^^ THAT is the kind of attitude that makes a ride like this fun. Both of these pics were taken while filling up in the rain. How do you keep such a good attitude? We had a destination in mind for day #2. Denny's Beer Barrel Pub offers giant burgers for those brave enough to try. We had pre ordered a 6 pounder and were on a mission to do it in.

    Not only was this thing a monster (those are full sized pickle spears on top), but it had a good flavor and there was certainly plenty to go around. It took an effort amongst friends, but...

From Denny's we headed the 26 miles to our 2nd cabin in Black Moshannon State Park  for the night. Due to a few issues with heavy rain and sleet we arrived just after dark.

The temperatures were dropping quickly and we were glad to be in a nice cabin with the fire going.
Carl did a great job getting the fire going while the rest of us "gathered" wood. We even had a superhero watching over things while we brought our gear in off of the bikes.
 A warm night with clothes hanging everywhere getting dry. A beverage and good company. The stories were varied and most were even probably  true. After a good nights sleep it was time for the ride home. We said goodbye to one rider (who was hanging at the cabin for a bit) and headed down the road.
Overall, the bikes did amazingly well. We had a few problems with water, but we were riding in conditions most folks would not have ventured outside in. The bikes did their jobs, the cold weather and wet weather gear did its job VERY well. I can't say enough for finding a good shop with the proper gear for this type of riding.
We saw a few other bikes on our ride. It was great seeing the ones that just didn't get it, and the big waves from the ones who did. 500-600 miles of roads on bikes designed to be ridden around town on errands. The weather at times was just atrocious, but we were still all smiles.
Was there an enormous amount of shenanigans that didn't get mentioned here? YOU BET. This is an invitation only ride, but we do several others throughout the year that we invite everyone along. Keep an eye on our events page for upcoming rides and come along with us and be part of the story.

For another view of this ride, have a look here @ A Scooter in the Wild

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  1. sounds like you guys had a great time. my kind of trip.
    next time maybe be a little happier, more smiles. lol

  2. Third time I'm trying to leave this comment. Hope it gets through this time. (It's not you. It's a Chrome thing.)

    What a great post! Your descriptions and pictures make it seem like I was along for the ride! Of course Marsh's ever present grin would have made the trip seem excellent even if you'd ridden through a blizzard and had to pitch tents to spend the night with nothing to eat but baked beans and sauerkraut.

  3. Looks like a blast! The 50cc scooters have a bit of a stigma in Tucson's scootering community, but a friend and I have damn near a dozen of them between us that we're repairing in order to run some 50cc-only events and demonstrate how fun they can be.

  4. Glad to hear it guys. Everyone on this ride owns bigger faster machines; we chose to ride these. And yes, we had a blast. Even with the bad weather.