So H2Oi is over, and it’s been about a week of reality since. My body has finally recovered, for the most part at least..
Did we make it?
Yes. Yes we did. On just shy of two hours of sleep, we showed up casually late (4:15am) to the rendezvous point at a local 24 hour gas station before starting this endeavor. We were pretty stoked the couple days leading up to this point, as the weather was supposed to be around 80* and sunny. However we didn’t take into account what a dense 60* fog in the pitch black would do to the early part of our venture. In the couple miles we had ridden to get to this point, we were already soaking wet. It was not a great start. We pulled out of the gas station a minute shy of 4:30 with intentions of riding straight through until the New York border, 75 or so miles westbound. To save you the long-winded and graphic description of what sitting on a moped seat for 15 hours does to the backside of the human body, I’ll just give you the sparknotes by state:
CT: (left at) 4:30am
This was the most miserable part of the trip. We were absolutely soaked from the fog, as we all wore jeans instead of some water-resistant pants, which proved to be a powerful mistake. We got almost nothing for GoPro footage, as the water pouring off of the lenses made them pretty useless. We also learned that the far west part of CT is made up of drastic elevation changes and third-world quality pavement, and navigating this in the pitch black with dense fog was actually terrifying. A couple close calls happened in this first stretch. This was by far our least favorite part of the whole ride.
Once we crossed into New York, things started to improve. It was still foggy and cool at the beginning, but we could see now. That was a plus. Also the road conditions improved dramatically. We crossed over the Bear Mountain Bridge, which was probably the coolest 15 minutes of riding I have ever done. It was foggy on one side of the bridge, bright and sunny on the other, immediately followed by a long stretch of winding mountain roads, overlooking the Hudson valley shortly after sunrise. This was awesome, and I think all of us would gladly make the trek back out here to ride these sections again.
For being such an awful state, New Jersey was almost as beautiful to ride through as New York was. Our decision to stay west of Newark certainly paid off here. We had no traffic issues at all, and the backroads that we were riding were just awesome. A nice mix of suburbia and rural New Jersey. However, by the time we were about 2/3 of the way through New Jersey, that nice mix had faded. We became all too familiar with US-202, which is a strange lovechild of a full-blown interstate highway and an over-commercialized state road. I also didn’t realize how long we were going to be in New Jersey. For some reason, I had this idea that we were just passing through a corner of the state, but really we were stuck here for a full 60 miles, which translates to an eternity on a moped.
This 202 disaster continued into Pennsylvania. We found ourselves being directed off of 202, weaving through a maze of suburbia school bus stops (due to the time of day); just to end up back on 202 again. This was the most traffic we had experienced on the whole trip, which was drastically bringing down our average speed, and pushing out our arrival time. It also began to get hot. Up until this point, we were riding with jackets and had no issue with it, even in the direct sunlight. But eventually, the sun combined with the hours of stop-and-go traffic started wearing us down. This is about where Ben and I began experiencing CVT problems. His being an audible rotational squeal, mine being a tick, accompanied with a drastic decline of top speed, which would worsen from this point forward. More on this later. We made the decision not to pull off the CVT covers on the side of the road, not like there was anything we could do anyways. So we just kept riding.
Delaware was long. We bounced between Route 1 and Route 13 for the entire state of Delaware, northern tip to southern tip. This was literally 100 miles of full-throttle, on flat roads, lined with Jesus billboards, splitting hundred-acre corn fields. At first this was mind-numbing. We had been on the scooters for 12 hours at this point, and while the stop-and-go of PA was cumbersome, it kept us awake. By the time we were halfway through Delaware, we did get to see an awesome farm-country sunset over the fields. The temperature had come down a little and it began to be enjoyable again. We decided to forego our last planned stop and went 2.5 hours straight from our last fill up. We were falling asleep, but passing Rehoboth and Bethany Beach restored some excitement, as we were getting close.
We crossed the MD line as we rolled into Ocean City. MD barely counts as part of the journey, since you cross the DE/MD state line at 146th street in Ocean City. We literally just rode 99 blocks from the line to our condo, probably totaling less than a half hour. Thus the MD stretch was great, because it didn’t really exist.
47th St: 7:40pm
Although exhausted and sore, we were in better shape upon arrival than we initially anticipated. We also beat our estimated arrival by an hour, and we even beat our predicted fuel mileage by 10-15mpg. General rule of thumb with strange endeavors like this is that it’s going to take way longer than you anticipate, 100% of the time. I guess we broke that rule.
Nothing, really. However, both Ben and I suffered from self-inflicted inconveniences. His CVT squeal was caused because he used a small amount of grease to lube a variator component, which eventually flung some onto the belt. Audibly irritating, albeit no impact on performance. Mine was a bit worse. I replaced a cracked clutch shoe two days before we left on this trip, and like an idiot, I pushed the new shoes onto the pins, and never put the retaining clips back on. I then rode 400 miles with no hardware holding my clutch shoes to the clutch mechanism. It backed itself out a ways and caused a substantial drop in top speed, and eventually wore a good grove in my drive-face. A quick trip to Ace on 68th street and we were back in business, though this required some more work once we got home. Morgan also got a flat, but that was a bit different.
Over the past week and a half, I have been going through almost 11 hours of GoPro footage from this trip. I am putting together a not-so-short video that covers our ride down and daily-driving Ruckuses for the week in OCMD. This video will better encompass the undertaking than any explanation that I could type up.
Expect to see this posted on Monday 10/16.
Moral of the story: You can take a 50cc Honda Ruckus from CT to Ocean City, MD, average over 100mpg, look cool as shit, and have a blast doing it. If this isn’t a testament to Honda reliability, I’m not sure what is.