It's been a while since I've been around these parts or blogland in general, over two weeks - which feels like a long time to me. I guess it's because - and this may sound weird - so much and very little have happened in that time. Let's catch up, shall we?
Part I: Flying
Just after my last post, Sean and I took a trip on the Vespas that we'd been looking forward to for months. We rode our scooters up to Lake Tahoe to join up for a scooter rally with a local club. This was to be our longest ride together, and the farthest away from home on the scoots.
We were a little nervous about the trip, safety on the road is something I take very seriously. There's no protection between you and the road, or other cars when you're traversing the roads, highways and streets on two wheels. You've got to be on your game and keep your head on a swivel. The road to Lake Tahoe is a long way over some pretty high mountains. Luther Pass has an elevation of 7,740 feet, and Carson Pass is 8574 feet!
Here I am with our scoots, packed and ready to roll. You'd be surprised how much you can pack onto a Vespa. We each had three days worth of clothing and other necessities (hello, flat iron & flip flops) and we weren't even fully loaded. What a great feeling to know I can set out on the road prepared for several days journey on my scooter. I love this thing, I tell ya.
The ride up was fantastic! Very little traffic, it was hot, but not miserably so, and in the mountains, riding a Vespa feels like flying, they are so smooth, and quiet. You don't hear the machine, all you hear is the muffled sound of the wind blowing around your helmet. It's amazing.
We took Hwy 88 from Lodi to Lake Tahoe. It's a very windy road, through some gorgeous scenery - my favorite kind for scooting. After you've ridden for a while, you gain an understanding of leaning on your bike so that moving in and out of turns and is pretty darn fun. Straight roads bore me to tears.
We had a great time at the rally, the folks we met up with are terrific, funny, generous people who just enjoy each other and riding. The theme of the rally was Luau At The Lake, so there were lots of tropical touches, like this backdrop thingy, I had to include this silly picture of Sean and I.
As a guest, of the club I didn't feel comfortable taking a lot of pictures of the group, and while you're riding you can't, but here are a couple from our stop at CalNeva when we road all the way around the lake which was fabulous. I'm looking forward to riding there again, just Sean and I, so we can stop along the way whenever we see something interesting, and there's lots to see.
I think there were somewhere around 35 people on all different types of scooters riding together around Lake Tahoe. What a gorgeous ride, and what a great time!
This place is really neat, and has some very cool history if you're into Frank Sinatra & Marilyn Monroe.
Another big reason for this trip is because it coincided with our nephew's 11th birthday. He's getting so big, starting 6th grade in a couple of weeks. Crazy how fast that happens.
I was happy to get to spend some time with him. I miss them all so much since they moved to Tahoe. This boy is such a special kid. Kind and smart. Adventurous and fun (and funny!). Brave and sweet. Athletic and bookish. He has the best laugh, when he laughs really hard his whole face crinkles into a humongous smile. I love him so.
Every time I see him I trap him in an vice-like Auntie hug and hold him tight until he wriggles free, giggling and squirming. I'm sure it's totally embarrassing, but I won't be able to do that forever, he's not going to stand for that kind of thing when he's 16, or ever after, so I'm getting all the squishes I can while the gettin's good.
His birthday party was held on Pope Beach, just north west of South Lake Tahoe.
It's a beautiful beach, could it be more lovely?
It's also a great place for families.
My little niece is getting big too. Such a funny girl, this one, she has the cutest, quirkiest sense of humor.
My sister-in-law, Apryl makes the neatest pinatas! She's made one just about every year for J's birthday.
They take a real beating before the loose their goodies.
And then it's every man (or little girl) for themselves to grab for the plundered booty.
This little skull cap was all that was left of the pinata :)
It was a good time.
Until we got some sad news.
A friend of ours was killed the night before. Hit by a careless driver who made a left turn in front of his motorcycle and smashed into him. The accident was one block from the hospital, which didn't matter, the damage was too great. Carl passed away in the operating room as surgeons tried to save him.
The rest of my time in Tahoe that weekend is a bit of a blur. We finished up at the scooter rally on Sunday morning, had lunch in town, then got on the road mid afternoon. Our ride home was subdued, and extra cautious. It was not lost on me that we were doing exactly what Carl was doing when his life abruptly ended, taking a ride on his bike, enjoying the summer...
The news of Carl's death has shaken me, angered me immensely and set my mind drifting, I'm planning to write a bit more about it in my next post.
Please take care out there, friends. Please look twice for bikes on the road. Like I said earlier, for those of us on two wheels, be they Vespa, Harley-Davidson, or anything in between, there is no buffer between us and the road apart from our safety gear which doesn't stand a chance against cars and trucks. And even if we're doing everything right, some don't make it home from a ride.
I know this subject is heavy, and not my usual blogging style, which I prefer like to keep light and bright. But this is me real life, and something that has affected me which I feel I must share.