I was seriously remiss.
I borrowed camping equipment for my July trek to the Adirondacks, and hadn't yet returned it to Marlene.
The weather gods are holding off the snow, at least for the time being. So today I made good.
The first order of business was to winterize the Vespa.
It took less than twenty minutes to install the tall wide windscreen, and the Tucano Urbano lap apron, and just like that, a winter-ready Vespa was born.
With the heated grips set on high, I set out from home, headed to Marlene's, 38 kilometers away on the south shore. On the cusp of winter's merciless icy grip, you have to be confident in your ride to set out on in mid-afternoon when the sun is already beginning its slow descent to the western horizon.
It never ceases to amaze me when the warm flow from the Vespa's radiator fills the lap apron enclosure. It's downright cozy. With the windscreen deflecting the blast of arctic air away from my upper body and hands, the heated grips bathe my gauntlets in a toasty aura. Sailing along at expressway speeds slightly in excess of the 100 kmh limit, my mission to return Marlene's camping equipment is... rather blissful.
Siri confidently reminds me how to get to my destination, speaking to my on my helmet headset "In one kilometer take exit 8...". I was the only motorbike out and about. I'm sure that many motorists were struggling to make sense of what they were seeing. He's on a Vespa on an expressway, in the fast lane, it's freaking cold out, and he looks like he's headed for a camping trip... Yup, it fairly boggles the mind.
On the return trip there was a weather front approaching from the east. In the west the sun looked tired and spent. Having done its best to warm the city, it was giving up, slowly sinking out of the clear blue sky into a band of low lying cloud on the horizon, dying in a blaze of glory. In the east a thick cover of grey-tinged cloud high in the sky was drawing westward like a blanket over the city. It was as if old man winter was tucking us in for a winter sleep. It was magnificent.
By the time I pulled into the driveway it was dark.
I love the glow of the instrument panel, the GPS and the iPhone set against the swath of warm light cast by the headlight as it lights up the garage door.
And that my friends may well have been the last ride of the season.
Who knows? The Vespa is winterized.