Timber Me Ginger's Solo Cross Country Scooter Adventure!

SarahBlessington

Sarah Blessington
I just want to start by saying THANK YOU to all who have already reached out to me and helped me plan this trip!!! From gear to roads, pies to campsites, everything has been wonderful.

A little about me: I'm 26, just quit my job, have previously traveled in custom adventure camper things for two years, but am ready to finally do something just for ME.

What I'm doing: Driving a SYM HD200 SCOOTER (named Jolene) across the US and taking about a month to do it. I plan to stay with friends, couch surf and camp.

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How this happened: A friend who has been storing my stuff, such as my birth certificate, for the last almost 4 years is selling her house and suggested I come get my things. And the way my brain works... a Scooter-venture was born!

I will do my best to update here as regularly as I can, but as good internet can be hard to come by on the road, I will be updating my Facebook (Timber Me Ginger) to let people know I'm still alive through my InReach most frequently.

Anyhow... IT STARTED. I have spent the last two weeks in San Francisco (after flying here with all of my stuff from the Big Island of Hawaii) searching for a scooter, finding said scooter, then outfitting it with everything I think I will need for this month long(ish) crazy scooter adventure!! Then yesterday happened. I was all prepped, loaded down, and ready to test out the weight and head on to my first destination!!

UGGG I have read so many posts about properly weighting your ride... AAAAND, I didn't. I made it a good 10-15 feet from my friend's driveway and got to experience my first wobble. HOLY CANNOLI that is awful. It went away, I went another few feet, experienced my second one.... then casually laid down the bike... (YES! I am going to admit all the stupid, inexperienced things I do here, 'cus that's who I am.) Luckily there was a very nice guy, and my friend's roomie to help me lift up the bike and get her parked on the side of the road. Oh yes, did I mention we are on a 45% grade? I promptly got rid of HALF OF MY STUFF. I honestly don't even know what I got rid of... but let's just say hopefully I don't need it :)

After letting the fear boil down to a dull throb, I repacked. I actually tested the weight of each pannier, put the heaviest stuff down low, and made what was left fit. Then, in order to see if I could do this at all (my ego was sorely battered), I loaded the top box, then took a lap. Came back for the panniers, then took a lap. No wobble, a little less fear, and came back for my computer bag.

Load secured, I took off, for REAL this time. Doing my best to remember to breath, I listened to my in helmet directions on how to avoid major highways, and went. Lo and behold, the shiny side stayed up! I battled the horrific winds, rush hour, insane lane changing busses and squashed the fear demon that was dancing at my heels. With a short two hour ride to send me on my way, I made it to my traveler friend's house in Redwood City, greeted by a delightfully full glass of wine.

I can only imagine what each day will teach me, and I'm looking forward to learning it!!

If you're curious about more backstory (as I will try to keep this just a trip report!), you can also check out my website at www.sarahblessington.com.

Happy travels to you all!!

-Sarah aka Timber Me Ginger
 
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SarahBlessington

Sarah Blessington
SO! A brief update. 267 miles for my first real day was... LONG, but wow did it put some important things in perspective. I was only 99.99% sure I was going to die for about 45 minutes of the trip! Not bad, I'd say, out of a total of about 9 hours on the road!

I took all sorts of winding windy roads up to the Tahoe area that offered some of the most beautiful and eerily vacant landscapes. Eventually, while fighting like hell against the wind, my back was begging to give out. Hoping to give some needed relief, I "scooted" back, and by golly, I found Heaven. It was as if the wind had ceased to exist. I had found the sweet spot! While not the most dynamic for slow tight turns, it saved the remaining 5 hours of my trip. Pulling up to my friend's house right as dusk was taking hold of the hill tops, I was greeted with a hot meal and a hot tub.

Yep, life is good!

Now off to find some camping, enjoy some beer and pizza with friends, and RELAX for the next few days until the wind takes me up again!

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Here's Jolene all saddled up :)
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
65,000 miles riding the Silverwing 600cc beast SF to work. Your one tough scooter groupie to take on that trip on a little 200. I lashed a duffle bag behind me for a few trips, made for a nice back rest. Though fully loaded my scoot would do 85mph cruise all day long.

Have a great trip!
 

rocktaco

New member
Let us know if you find yourself in Arkansas - the wife is a mean cook & likes a challenge! Looks like an adventure - have a great time!
 

SarahBlessington

Sarah Blessington
65,000 miles riding the Silverwing 600cc beast SF to work. Your one tough scooter groupie to take on that trip on a little 200. I lashed a duffle bag behind me for a few trips, made for a nice back rest. Though fully loaded my scoot would do 85mph cruise all day long.

Have a great trip!
Thats awesome!! Should be an adventure eh?! That's awesome you could cruise at 85! I'm keeping her around 60-63 max for necessary situations, but happily around 50! I have now learned to situate my thermarest as my back rest :) SOOO GRATEFUL haha.

Thank you!!
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Thats awesome!! Should be an adventure eh?! That's awesome you could cruise at 85! I'm keeping her around 60-63 max for necessary situations, but happily around 50! I have now learned to situate my thermarest as my back rest :) SOOO GRATEFUL haha.

Thank you!!
500cc,s will push a giant scooter well past legal limits ;-) Have a great trip
 

SarahBlessington

Sarah Blessington
HEY GUYS!!! I did not fall off a cliff, haha. I did however, get totally sucked into Truckee, CA and how amazing that place is for about a week!

The wind has been following me like crazy on my last bits of travel, and on my first try of leaving Truckee, IT SNOWED. So... I decided to stay another two days and soak in a hot tub :). I guess, it really hit me that the whole reason I'm doing this isn't to prove to myself how much of a badass I am, but to enjoy every bit of the ride, and to make it to my next destination. Not a bad idea, huh?


Not a big update, but I am headed up to South Lake for tonight then off into Yosemite area for the next few days :)

I have a few blog posts up about my first time driving over the Golden Gate and starting my rack build if anyone is interested in checking them out.

I will update with more soon!! But yes, I am alive, Jolene is still kicking it, and the adventure is still in motion!

Cheers,
Sarah
 

SarahBlessington

Sarah Blessington
Hi ALL!!

So.... I got lost in the mountains (again)... And by lost I mean stuck. For those who haven't spent time exploring the Sierras, I SINCERELY recommend it :)

So as far as my scooter update goes, here's a great little story for you all about me entering Yosemite National Park last week (I put this on my Facebook page, but ran out of internet before posting it here, sorry for the delay!):

"After traveling for about an hour in almost 100 degree heat, climbing up to Yosemite on 120 from the west side yesterday, my little Jolene decided not to start after getting gas. I pushed her over to a parking spot, unloaded her, and got to work problem solving my issue. Within the first minute two road workers got out of their truck and helped me take apart the front end (it's helpful to have someone hold onto all those silly plastic parts while disconnecting things). We walked through some issues, but the bike still wouldn't start. I wished them well, as they needed to get back to work, and I continued to work in the sun, reading through my manual, and trying to get her to turn over! I reached out to my mechanic savior from the Bay Area (seriously, I am the luckiest person ever that I have this guy on speed dial), and then he walked me through some different possibilities of what it might be specific to the SYM scooter. After following up on his advice, SHE STARTED!!! In the midst of my happy dance, a Harley came up to park in the gas station. Walking over, he asked if he could help. After relaying my story, he insisted that he travel with me a bit, to make sure that my bike would keep starting. Finally getting my EGO to shut up, I agreed to accept his help, and we ended up having an AMAZING ride through Yosemite!! On breaks he would offer up his knowledge of the road, how to handle specific things that we came up against and overall he was patient and kind. No rush, no judgement, just appreciation of the day. Thank you Motorcycle Gods, you are the best!!!"

But Seriously, Mike (that's his name), was a gift from wherever you get the nicest people ever. He was just out for a ride, with no particular destination in mind, and he took the time to watch over me. So, there's a way that some people will join your trip where they have opinions on everything, a secret checklist of things they want to do, or just are actually wanting to be doing something completely than what they are doing. (If that makes sense). Mike was the complete opposite. And, I'll throw some more personal stuff in here, I have hardly ANY experience spending time with anyone that actually wants to just be supportive to me. No agenda, no creepy vibes, nothing. It was one of the most liberating experiences ever. The best part? He would get so excited about everything with me. I would start emphatically pointing at another grandly incredible vista and he would start flagging me to pull over saying, 'if this makes your heart happy, please stop and enjoy it'. As I kept pulling over for more photos, even as I'm just taking off my helmet, I can see him almost jumping for joy at whatever new beautiful lay before our tires. Here was this stranger who was so content to share overwhelming joy over everything we were seeing. How amazing is that?! I know I'm speaking to the choir here that on a bike, you have the ability to experience nature in a way that you just CANNOT do in a car. I don't care if you have a convertible, it's just different. As that new slice of sent comes curving under your helmet and into your nostrils, you just fill with that perfect joy of pine needles and high mountain air, or what have you. MAGIC.

AND here's the next part, NIGHT TIME:

Ugggg.... So my experience with night driving on the mainland (one night) was crossing from Berkley to SF with A MILLION street lights. I didn't even think how this would have padded my experience. Duh! SO, after my 10/11hrs of adventure for the day we stopped to have some dinner in Lee Vinning, before he continued to escort me to my destination in Mammoth Lakes (he insisted he would not leave me until I was in good hands). After BBQ, it was PITCH BLACK. Awesome... So turning on my bike, I saw my little puddle of a light before me. Even turning on the brights I was looking at a slightly larger spread of puddle. Swallowing my fear, I pulled out and had him follow behind me. There were some hills I could barely go 45 and was just using the force to determine if there were deer thinking of running into my path. BUT the wind played nice, which probably saved me from having an anxiety attack. And by golly, I survived. I was just thanking my lucky starts that he had insisted to go with me as I am not sure if I would have made it otherwise in the dark with the semis hurtling past me. When we arrived at my friend's He turned me over, barely human form from the long day, to my girl. He gave me a big ol stiff hug, and told me to text him every once in a while to let him know I wasn't dead. With a bold smile hiding under his white handlebar mustache, he waved goodbye and the Harley roared into the night.

And now: The Sierras are AMAZING!!! I have been just adventuring all over the place, meeting amazing people and have FINALLY given myself a date to leave California, as the jokes of 'when are you getting a state ID' are starting to sound more like reality, and I so look forward to the continued magic of new destinations! So, Wednesday I will be heading out into Nevada for a few days and venturing down to Las Vegas to stay with an old friend.

Anyhow, that's what's going on. Sorry for the long delay: "The mountains are calling..."

<3 - Sarah
 
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