Scooter Mania

I got this scooter from China, over the Internet. It's histerical. It came in a crate - well really a cardboard box - and I assembled it. Not very well mind you, because 100 km into the odometer (yeah, I don't think they realize we're tracking things in mph here in the US) the kludgy wiring of the electrical system started coming loose and it wouldn't run if I turned the handlebars left to right. Maybe I should blame the cheap-o wiring harness that came on it, or maybe I should blame my attempts to wheelie the scooter *much* to the delight of any nearby cars... both for the twisted looks I wear on my face while trying to wheelie and for the overall rediculousness of watching a scooter wheelie. Yeah, the wheelies might have impacted the overall wire-attached-ness level. When it came in the box the engine was entirely ready to run. Oil included, just add gas. Except when I went to add gas to the tank the first time I heard something rattling around in the gas tank. I thought, "No, that can't possibly be something loose inside my gas tank, can it?" Sure enough, with a magnet I fished a screw out of the gas tank. I guess that somehow eclipsed the quality control process before leaving the factory in China. But all in all I have to admit that this is an astonishing amount of machinery and engineering and manufacturing and shipping to get this hunk-of-junk to my doorstep in California for $1000. And it's fun to ride. I'm probably going to put on my track gear and take this scooter to an empty parking lot soon and see if I can hang off it enough to drag knee, or if I can ghost ride it for a little before falling off and hopefully not breaking anything. It makes me laugh because I feel like a superlative cartoon character on it Like a power ranger or something. Hahahahahaha.



Blowing up my R1 engine and otherwise restlessness in anticipation of the warm weather, riding weekends and track days to come in 2008 has prompted me to get another bike. I think Yamaha is going to replace my R1 engine under warranty, in the meantime I have a new toy to play with. I'm excited to get it broken in, get a 520 conversion, get the Termi pipes I bought put on, sliders, damper, levers, etc. and get a 500 mile services and take it out for a beating on canyon roads around the Bay Area.

Super Duper

So at the track in December I did in fact punch a three by four inch hold in my engine case by jamming a rod through it. Which is pretty startling on a 2007 japaneese bike. It's amazing how pissed the track day organizers get when you dump oil all over their track.

Laguna Seca has a noise restriction on the track. So if you run a loud bike, you have to throttle back to keep the bike quiet enough to pass the noise restriction. Or if your dad/track technician is clever, you can just shove a redbull can in one of your exhaust pipes to make a kludge silencer like this guy did. Ha!

It's astonishing to think of 15 year old kids riding (fast) at the track. With no legal street riding experience, they know only the track. This guy with the redbull can is Shane McGowen and probably going to ride AMA soon.


Hanging Out With Familia Vargas

My grandparents in Ohio had an exchange student from Costa Rica in 1965. I can't imagine what Ohio must have been like for an 18 year old Costa Rican kid in pre-internet and Vietnam times. Guillermo still lives in San Jose with one of his two children, I was fortunately able to connect with them last night on my way out of Costa Rica. More than anything I learned that I have to come back to visit again soon. It was wonderful to get a night-tour around San Jose - Guillermo was the Minister of Education for Costa Rica for four years in the '90s and has spent his career as a University math professor. It was very interesting to tour the city and have him point out the various governmental buildings and historically significant areas of downtown, meanwhile giving me a 101 course on the history and politicial culture of Costa Rica. Then we ate dinner at his house with his family where I heard about living with my grandparents in the 1960's and saw pictures from 40 years ago of my relatives I've not seen - including a high school yearbook of my father. I was welcomed as a family member, I'm overwhelmed by their hospitality and kindness.


Happy New Year

Last night we went to a hotel recommended by Eric, Yling Ylang - who had a New Years Eve event. The food was amazing, and we were entertained by a hip local band who did covers of Gipsy Kings and a fire dancing troop (pics).

After ringing in the New Year by bonfire light on the beach looking at fireworks overhead, we meandered back into town and danced in the streets with some 500 other people - both tourists from all over the world and tourists from Costa Rica and some locals.
In San Jose tonight to catch an early flight out tomorrow to head home. Going to dinner tonight with a family friend, I will get a chance to post more tomorrow during plane lay overs, I might have ten hours in El Salvador to kill also which could be a good opportunity to check out downtown San Salvador tomorrow for a bit.