Posts from the ‘California’ Category

Scooter Love: Vroom Vroom


As you probably guessed, by seeing some of the links on the sidebar and my avatar, I LOVE scooters. You know, the two-wheeled, gas-engine kind. Think Quadrophenia and Roman Holiday with the wind in your hair (or rather rushing past your helmet, of course), and feeling more in contact with your surroundings than a “cage” (aka four-wheeled vehicle) could ever allow you to feel…ever.

My Scooter Love affair started when I was sixteen-years old and never died. But the love affair had to be more of a crush, a fan-based crush, for twenty-four years, as I wasn’t allowed to obtain a scooter for various reasons. First, my parents feared, as any good parent would, that I would kill myself on two-wheels. Then, as I grew into adulthood, my worry replaced theirs and financial reasons got in the way. I drooled over others’ scooters, the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head. And I could only dream about owning and riding my own. Or so I let myself think. The power of thought is a fantastic tool, for good or evil.

I had been to scooter rallies in the U.S. and the U.K., rode pillion (on the back) of scooters and motorcycles for years and then, finally, at forty-years old, I met a few local scooterists and decided that it was “now or never” time to purchase my own scooter. I had to or I felt like I was going to regret it until the day I died.

My cousin, Barb, lives her life to the fullest. While I was going through a personal crisis in my thirties, feeling like I was wasting my life, she told me that forty was even better and not to worry. She truly lives her life: rides a motorcycle; became the president and CEO of her family company; the first female president of the local contractors’ association; and goes on adventures when she can fit it in her busy schedule. She is an inspiration and an incredible woman. She was correct about turning forty.

Maybe my love of two-wheels also was ignited by my mother. I remember my parents going out into the wilderness, when I was a child, to ride dirt bikes with their friends. Mom’s dirt bike was purple, if I recollect correctly — with a matching, sparkly helmet, of course! Hey, it WAS the 70s! She often would let me ride on the back of her bike during short, slow, and safe rides.

Only having flashbacks of standing in a dusty clearing of the woods, waiting for the other riders to return, I had forgotten all about the riding along part. But one day — during my drive-everyone-to-insanity scooter search — she smiled, kind of chuckled and reminded me of those rides. Laughing, she said it was probably her fault that I had such a passion to find my OWN scooter, not just ride on the back.

Fast forward to 2004, I met and fell in love with a mod/scooterist in England at the first ever Modstock, while on vacation. He owned (still owns, hopefully) two beautiful scooters: a P-series, T5, 172Vespa and a Lambretta 200 Special (SX200),  both faithfully restored and GORGEOUS. Sadly, I only was allowed a few rides on the Vespa, as a pillion, before we parted ways. There are not enough words to describe riding through the English countryside, your arms wrapped around a cute guy, feeling connected and alive with everything whizzing past you. You can smell everything, feel the wind on your face, the rumble of the scooter below doesn’t hurt, and people SMILE at you as you ride by. Now try that with about a hundred scooters riding together, during a rally, and people stop and take pictures. It’s magic!


To be fair, my first ride on a scooter, as a pillion, was on my friend Nick’s Vespa. He named her “Vicky”. Cute, eh? Nick and I took off from his flat on a crisp, English morning and rode down some narrow, ancient streets, onto the motorway and made our way to a scooter get-together in the town centre of Birmingham. I still remember one stop where we had a quick snap taken by a couple of men standing on the sidewalk, and he leaned back a bit to yell over the engine’s loud putt-putt-putt, “Don’t you just love being a Mod?” I had the biggest grin on my face at that moment. Scooter LOVE! (Check out his amazing scooter art here. He takes commissions too!)
– Update 2012: Links broken – trying to get new info to link-up. If you would like the info now, remember Google is your friend.)

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Audrey Graffiti Art


Now, this is my kind of graffiti. I usually frown upon destruction of personal property, though I appreciate good graffiti art, but this little gem caught my eye, a year or so back. Audrey!, Napa, California
Originally, I was there for a scooter club meeting. I waited for a few members to arrive; nice people, good environment!–but AUDREY demands attention. The club members were friends from the start; such nice people. The Napa Valley is a great place!

One of my favorite places in the Napa Valley is Hall Wines. (There is a link to a scooter enthusiast here, but I am not telling.) The Rutherford location is exquisite! Definitely, take a tour of the caves if you can. The artwork on the property is a fun touch.The views and the house are breathtaking.

My friend, John Curnutt, is a great, wine consultant!.
(Plus, he is a scooter rider, too!)

If you are visiting Napa County, definitely check out:
Scarlett’s Country Inn
Gott’s Roadside (click on St. Helena, for the cool, local spot)
Napa Valley Scooter Club

!Audrey Photo ©Carol A. Bourns, 2007