Monday, August 13, 2018

Vanessa is Dead

Vanessa has been snake bit from the beginning.  The first time I saw her, she was owned by my friends Leslie and Maria.  Leslie was riding with the club when we turned into a gas station near Citra, Florida.  She and Geezer got tangled and both went down.  Vanessa was damaged but was repaired shortly after.

Then, when the girls moved to Italy, I kept her in my garage, riding frequently to keep her healthy.  But one day I needed to move scooters and put Sarah on her for a ride to my office.  They didn't make it.  I wrote about it here.

After that accident, I got her mostly repaired, not really worrying about cosmetics.

She looked OK and ran well until a coolant line kept coming adrift, causing overheating issues.
Then she blew out a back tire at the same time of another overheating. Then she overheated again and I almost dumped her in the river.

But I eventually got her fixed with a new water pump and hose.

It turned out that she was good enough to run in the 2016 Scooter Cannonball Run.  Together, we finished third.

Even better, we had the fastest raw time of all of the competitors.

So I left her in Seattle for two years, ready to run west to east in the 2018 Scooter Cannonball Run.

Getting to the start was spectacular with a run wit my friend Mark from Seattle to Morro Bay, mostly along the Pacific coast.

But in the Cannonball itself, we had a misfortunate accident on a dirt road in Nevada.  She was damaged again, but not nearly as badly as my leg.

After the accident, she rode in a trailer for several days.  On her second day, she fell over early in the day and rode most of the difficult day three on her right side, causing more damage.  But I got her working again and was taking her on a fun ride with Ken.

The ride started poorly when I began heading south on 301, just south of Baldwin.  While passing a car she lost some power, so I slowed and noticed the oil light flashing.  I slowed further and turned into a side street to see what was the problem.  She stopped running so I checked under the seat and the engine looked good.  I then noticed a glaze on the seat and left side panel.  It was oil.  Then I looked down further and, much to my horror, I saw the open filler hole.  No dipstick or cap and oil was everywhere.

I called for Uber to pick me up and headed to get my truck to retrieve and, hopefully, revive the stricken scooter.  I came back with oil, a new dipstick and a funnel for pouring accuracy.  She took three quarters of a quart to reach full.  I cranked her up but the engine knocked badly.  I knew then that she was dead.

All along she has been a problem, but I stuck with her through the bad moments and we had some great ones together.  But now, with every body panel damaged and now the engine toast, she is not even useful as a parts scooter.

I think I will keep her and hang her on the wall.  Vanessa is now a work of art.


  1. Well. That really is too bad. I’m sorry.

  2. Michael, Vanessa has had issues all along, but I am disappointed to finally see her off. I may one day find an engine and new life, but with the body also significantly damaged, it is probably better just to buy a used scooter.

  3. Sorry to hear of your loss. Having lost one Vespa myself, I confess an unexplainable grief for a machine. You and Vanessa have been through a lot together. I imagine it feels bad.

    My wife, not enamored of machines at all, just tells me to buy another one. Like changing a roll of toilet paper. I suppose I'm trying to get closer to her frame of mind. It's probably why by scooter doesn't have a name...

  4. Thank you Steve. Because I have three almost identical GTs, it is not like losing my only one, but it is still disappointing. Your wife is like mine. But I may get closer to these little machines than I should. I find them to almost have their own personalities. Vanessa was a wild one with big up and down swings in her attitude. I may one day find a replacement engine and get her back on the road, but it will be a while.

  5. Splatter some paint on her and we will call her "the 2nd million dollar scooter."

    1. If we can get Tyler to do that it might work. But it could mess up the carefully selected and placed stickers.