Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day 8: On to Carson City, Nevada

We made it to Carson City, Nevada near Lake Tahoe tonight. That stretch of Route 50 is known as "The Loneliest Road." We had a couple of breakdowns, but it really pays to ride with the guy who trained all of the new Vespa mechanics in the USA!

All four of our scooters are the same model, but the hills proved that my scooter was slower than the others by a little bit. Peter could pass me with no effort. I was also getting about 15% less mileage on a tank. Rich and Rolf suspected that I had a dirty air filter, but it was not easy to check.

Around lunch time, we stopped for gas in a cute Nevada town, and Peter noticed a nail in his rear tire. So Rolf got out his flat repair kit and went to work. In 20 minutes, the tire rode like new.

We were on the road again ... or so we thought. Riding out of town, I was really lost in the groove of riding. It seemed like I had only been riding for a moment when Rolf passed me and motioned for me to pull over. Oil was coming from everywhere on Peter's scooter. We sensed a catastrophic breakdown. On closer inspection, the oil dipstick cap had been loose when we used oil to lubricate the tire plug. It was now lost. Rolf sent me back to town to get oil ... and to look for the cap. It was 12 miles back to town, and I knew there was no realistic chance to find the tiny dipstick cap in the scruffy desert. I pulled into a truck repair shop outside of town, figuring they'd have oil, and they might be able to figure out how to cap the oil fill tube in some jury-rigged way.

Rich was our savior. As I dismounted at the truck repair shop, he pulled up with a big grin and the dipstick cap. He'd been behind Peter. He saw the cap come off and went looking for it. Though he knew exactly where it flew off, it was hard to find in the roadside sand. When we found them and presented the cap, Rolf took a few minutes to clean Peter's scooter off and to make sure there was no apparent engine damage from the loss of oil. In the process I learned how to check the air filter, which was good. One has to take a lot of pieces off to get to the air filter.

We rode off, and had no more scooter misbehavior. We made it to Carson City by dark. We stayed at a hotel with a casino but we were too tired to gamble. What Nevada hotel doesn't have a casino, I wonder?

The pix up top are of the "shoe tree" on US 50 in Nevada (I'd never heard of it, but it was magnificent with several thousand pairs of shoes dangling like leaves), and Rolf fixing the flat tire. No rain today!

Miles Total: 3424
Miles today: 489
Song for the Day: Heat Wave (Linda Ronstadt version)


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