Thursday, 15 March 2007

Spring Break Part 1

Ahhh, Spring Break...

Well it’s been quite a week..

On Monday, I went to the doctor to have my stitches removed - and when I asked him how much longer I had to wait until I could wear a helmet, he said, “Ten minutes.”

So, Tuesday, I hopped on the Vespa after what seemed an eternity and scooted into Vancouver.

The forecast was for cloudy skies turning to showers in the afternoon. When I left Maple Ridge, it was cloudy but behind me was a ridge of sunshine under the clouds. Twenty minutes later, when I went over the Pitt River Bridge, monsoon-like rains washed over me. The rain continued to fall but varied as I went along my favourite route into Vancouver.

Going to Vancouver is a bit of a challenge for me on a 50cc scooter. It’s about 50 km (around 30 miles) taking Route 1, which is the freeway, but my scooter is too slow and is not allowed to go on the freeway. There are some other choices, but my preferred route is to take the Barnet Highway. It’s usually pretty quiet and is quite scenic - it goes along the southern shore of Burrard Inlet which is like a fjord that is the northern border of Vancouver. It goes by some industrial sections and shipping areas. In the picture at the beginning of today’s entry, you can see some piles of yellow stuff behind the trees. Those are sulphur piles and the colour of those on a bright sunny day are like powdered sunshine.

There are a number of different places along the Barnet including a gun club (gee, do Canadians actually do that sort of thing?), a marina, and a velodrome for bicycle racing. Eventually, the Barnet changes into Hastings Street as it goes through the city of Burnaby. The road goes through a nice area called The Heights which has a number of different ethnic stores and restaurants. When I’m really cold, I sometimes stop here for a bite at Quiznos or have a latté at one of the authentic Italian coffee shops.

When going along Hastings into Vancouver, the street takes a turn for the worse. This area is the downtown east side - the poorest postal code in Canada. I don’t have to ride through this part of town, but I tend to do it to remind me that there are a lot of people who need help in this world. Then, I turn up Main Street and on to wherever in Vancouver I want to get to.

Although it was raining for most of the day, I kept dry. At one point, I wore paddling gloves under my lobster mitts and my hands stayed dry and warm. It felt good to be out riding again.

Wednesday was car buying day. I finally got rid of the Ford Taurus wagon that is falling apart and bought (leased, actually) a Mazda 3 Sport. It’s shiny and smells very nice!

Today, I had an appointment back in New Westminster. A couple of trucks honked at me while I was on the Mary Hill Bypass but that was OK. What really bugged me today was when I got to my appointment. There was a parking space that was too small for a car but plenty of room for my Vespa. As I was sorting out my pet carrier, an elderly man got out of his car and asked me, “Are you going to leave that thing there?”

He had a full metre behind his care and he didn’t sound particularly angry, so I smiled and said, “Yep.”

Then he said, “I don’t know if there’s enough room for me to back out. If there isn’t I’ll just flatten that thing.” And then he went back into his car.

At the time, I didn’t think he was serious but, as thought about it, I began to get a little worried. As it turned out, his car was still there when I left but it made me pause and think about the incident. Usually, when parking or getting stuff out of my Vespa, people who talk to me are friendly or just asking questions. This is the first time where someone was actually angry or upset about the Vespa.

Oh well, I’ve got another week to relax and think about what happened.

Ahhh, Spring Break...


Combatscoot said...

I probably would've come-back with "Well, I'll just have to flatten your head, then!"
I'm on Spring Break, too. Other than some riding, I'll probably be out looking at some schools to apply for an HVAC job.

Orin O'Neill said...

Dave, congrats on the new ride! I'm wondering, what are the orange and silver cars in the background of the picture? They don't look like anything we see in the U.S.

Steve Williams said...

Glad you are able to get back on the road Dave. I don't know what it is about some people and parking. I have once or twice had someone comment on me parking in a "non-space" space. I think they are responding to the fact that I am getting away with something and they aren't. I just smile and thank them for their concern and go on my way.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

CodyandMichelle said...

It's good to see you're able to ride your scoot again! I waited 2 months, it can be frustrating for sure.
I'm with John, if someone said that to me, I probably would of lost it, good on ya for letting a cooler head prevail!
Heck with the car, you should of bought the GTS, just like our blogger of the year :)

Dave Dixon said...

I really thought he was making a joke at first - and when I realized he might be serious, I thought, this isn't really worth getting into. Maybe it's the laid back West Coaster in me (Let's all get along), or the Canadian in me (be a peacekeeper), or, heck, maybe it's all those years of sorting out problems on the playground being a teacher.

Thanks! Unfortunately I just pulled a photo of the car off the net - I think it's a German site - so I'm not sure what the other cars are either!

I think Canadian and American markets are pretty similar - although I know you can get a City Golf and City Jetta here from VW (a new car based on the 2005 body for a heck of a lot cheaper). I also have heard that Smart Cars have been here for longer than in the states - we were sort of a test market and Canadians are just snapping them up like crazy so now Mercedes is selling them in the US. I'm sure there are variations of cars offered in the US as well.

That's exactly right - I think if people see you do something they can't do, they get a little jealous or think it's 'not fair'. I'm not willing to get in a big argument over it and would probably handle it in just the same way if this happens again.

Congrats, by the way, on your blog of the year award!

Well, as I said, the man was elderly - but I still don't think anything good can happen with me losing my cool. When somebody cuts me off because they can't see me, that's a different story!

A GTS would be nice, but the challenges of riding a 50cc scooter also make up some of thrills!

American Scooterist Blog said...

You know, the old guy probably gets a lot of grief from younger people who may not say things but make it clear they don't like "older folks" who don't move at their pace etc etc. He finally had a chance to give back a little that he was recieving. Not that it makes it right (and I would do what John would) but I think that may be part of it.

The Roadbum

Orin O'Neill said...

Dave, the deal with smarts in the U.S. is this: We are going to get the smart fortwo v2.0 in early 2008. It will be sold through franchised dealers by United Auto Group, one of the biggest car dealer groups in the U.S. (the idea being if it bombs, it doesn't take the rest of DaimlerChrysler down with it... not that it's going to bomb). As of yesterday, "insiders" (those who signed up for the e-mail list) got to pay US$99 to get a place in line to place an order later this year. No dealers or brokers, please! You actually see quite a few smarts in Seattle because a dealer in the area sells them via a company in California that buys used ones in Europe (paying full retail, apparently) and runs them through EPA/DOT certification. One of these will run you US$26,000+. The new 2008 ones will start at US$12,000. Everyone can buy a place in line in two weeks. I'm in the queue for a yellow Pure (base model)...

Anonymous said...


I've had your shock for awhile. It was hand made in China for you. Anyways, call me at the store, so we can arrange a time for you to get it installed.

I didn't have your number, and was wondering how to get a hold of you.

I've kept my eyes open for a big guy on a small scooter with a bouncy suspension, but haven't seen you yet.



Dave Dixon said...

american scooterist
Maybe you're right - he was just saying his piece - but even though I do not agree with him, I would hesitate to react in a really strong way. Respect for seniors and all...

I'm shocked that people paid 26,000 US$ for a smart - they are about 16,000 CDN$ here so I would have thought people could practically buy them here and just drive them across the border - of course, things are never that easy. Hope you enjoy yours!

By the way, I've replaced the Mazda photo with one that actually shows me and my Mazda.

I'll give you a call - I'm surprised you didn't have my number - 'shocking'!

Anonymous said...

Scott ever on my friend, 'till the ends of the world.

Love the Blog.