I'm sure everyone who reads my blog also reads Scooter in the Sticks by Steve Williams. Over the years Steve has maintained an awesome blog of his own. I've learned a lot from Steve about how to be a more complete person in a number of ways. There was a post, however, where I felt a different sort of vibe.
As you may be aware, Steve has brought home the family Christmas tree on the back of the Vespa for a while. This year that task wasn't possible since his faithful scoot was in the shop and waiting for a master cylinder transplant. You know me and my mouth. I wrote in the comment section that I really didn't see how this was an issue. My suggestion was to put the scooter in the back of his truck, strap the tree to the scooter, and go for it. The rubber of the Vespa's tires wouldn't actually make contact with the road, I wrote. Despite that, I was sure I spoke for all of us when I said it would count this year since the bike was out of order. We knew Steve would have hauled the tree had the Vespa been functioning properly.
At this point, you might want to go read the post. Be sure to read the comment section. Click here to go to the post and then it will make more sense when you come back.
Here's the comment I made on Steve's post:
Bummer on the scoot. Why do you give up so easily? Nothing says the scooter has to actually be in contact with the road does it?Ford Ranger, I believe? Vespa in truck. Tree on Vespa. You could even have the scooter running.Holiday cheer and holiday fun can take many forms. Ordinarily I'd encourage you to think outside the box. This time I tell you to think inside the box. Pickup box!Yes, I think I'm funny. Then again, I've always enjoyed being "different". Our club could use one more like us!
P.S. That was a challenge. Imagine the smug satisfaction and photographic possibilities!
Steve declined my challenge. He didn't want to remove the cap from his truck and decided to let that gauntlet lay. Ok, end of the matter.
Except, in the meantime, cpa3485 had left a comment:
Here's to hoping you are back up and running soon. We had snow here in Kansas this week and gaven' been able to ride since last Saturday. But I got the trusty steed out today for about 20 minutes only, just to make sure the battery stays charged up. It was still icy in some spots, so had to be careful. Sure was fun and I have really missed not riding this week. I believe Irondad has all the solutions to your tree transporting problems.
Here's Steve's reply to cpa3485. It's the crux of this blog post.
cpa3485: Be careful on those partially clear roads. It's easy to get up some speed only to find something approaching on the road surface that is going to create problems.Irondad always has ideas. I think I'll wait until I see a tree on the back of Elvira....
That last sentence brings me to the key, here. I don't know about you but that certainly sounds like a challenge to me! Maybe it's just my Warrior attitude. Perhaps it's my ego. Call it what you want. So one recent night while Katie slept quietly beside me, I was awake and thinking. Here's the result. Remember, the idea was to meet the challenge, not win a photography contest. This was Katie's first time with the Nikon. Yes, I drug her into it. I think she enjoyed it even though she shook her head at the insanity of it all. I'm also going to be the subject of supper conversations among the neighbors for a while. I'm sure this wasn't something they've seen often! When I finally got things put together, I didn't want to wait until tomorrow. We were running out of daylight. It also never crossed my mind that my tree would be less conspicuous against a backdrop of the neighbor's greenery. Duh! Anyway, there's enough here to prove my point.
Ok. That satisfies the heart of the challenge. No, it wasn't Elvira. It was a bona fide sport touring everyday ride sort of motorcycle. Same kind of bike, different model. That should satisfy the requirement. Sophie's been feeling a little left out lately. I knew she would really appreciate participating in this venture with me. Her and I still have a long history together of doing things above and beyond the ordinary. Steve, you've officially seen a tree on the back of Sophie!
I've never been one to do things halfway. There's that stinkin' Warrior attitude again. I don't merely attack. I conquer. There's never any doubt who the Master is. So, I thought, how do we take this to the next level?
With the help of some 3/4" plywood, a 6" lag screw, a couple of small "L" brackets, a few pieces of 1 X 4 lumber, and some clamps, I had my answer. Here is the result.
Anybody can strap a tree to the back of a bike. How about having the tree stand upright? These pictures were taken first so the light's a little better. I wanted to tackle the hardest part and get it out of the way. That's my 19 years and 8 months old cat under the back of the truck, by the way. You can't see it, but she's shaking her head, too. The cat has joined Katie in the head shaking thing. Katie's asking questions like "What if the tree comes loose, hits you, and makes you crash the bike? What are you going to tell the insurance company? How will you sell the bike if you drop it and damage it?"
You see, it's not enough to have the tree upright. It doesn't count unless you can ride it, right?
You can see the exhaust from the pipes. The bike's running and we're riding. I have to admit, it handled pretty strangely. Took a bit to get used to it. Imagine having a tall passenger standing on the foot pegs and leaning into the turns. I made several passes so that Katie could get several shots we could choose from. The tree stayed put but the tight U-turns in the middle of the street were quite interesting! Hey, I'm a professional rider and quickly got the hang of it. No damage to the bike. Just a whole bunch of pine needles to clean up!
It's been a fun little project. I'm pretty sure I'll do it again next year. There's got to be some 12 volt lights available!