PT 1: Wine Country, 70 mile Test Ride, 80cc Limited Powerking

I've had my Powerking "80cc Limited" for about a week. I have been reading alot of different stuff about them and decided to put mine to the test.
(...yes, yes, 67.9cc or whatever...)

Today with a backpack full of tools and a few bucks for gas and food, I set out to explore Wine Country. Checking my tank I discovered I was really low on fuel. When I went to get my red gas can form the parking lot, I had discovered it missing!

I looked around and couldn't find it, so I decided to ride the half mile into Yountville to the Exxon station. Being Labor Day Weekend, I was sure it would be buzzing with activity.

It was closed! I was shocked. I went to the security office at the Veterans Home and asked them if they knew where I could get some gas and an older fella told me his old Ford ranger was just up the hill and had some gas left in a red plastic gas can in the back. Enough, he said, to maybe get me to the service station in Napa, 6 miles down the road.

Sure enough there were a few drops in there. I poured them in, dropped some 2-cycle oil in and prayed that it would be enough to get me to Napa. I headed downhill, popped the clutch and off I went.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there were lots of un-motorized bicycles and motorcycles about. Everybody seemed to be waving and smiling.

At the gas station I filled her up, to the tune of $1.79. They had several Wine Country maps for sale, so I bought two. One detailed and one larger in scope.

Using the detailed map I decided to take the Silverado Trail northward.
Silverado Trail just sounded like an adventurous path to take and I could just imagine cowboys and miners riding horses and wagons up and down, doing all the things that cowboys and miners do. (drink and fornicate? not sure.)
I headed north because I had never been that way and decided discovery was better than security.

It was a beautiful ride. There are wineries everywhere and grapes as far as the eye can see. After riding about 20 miles, I stopped to check my position, and survey my bike. All good. I was at the road back to Hwy 29. I thought about calling it a 25 mile test ride, but decided instead to proceed deeper into the unknown.

The Silverado Trail hit the 128 a few miles north and I decided to see what was there, before maybe heading back. As I approached the intersection, it was plain to see there was nothing there, but a couple of road signs.

One said, "Back Home," basically, and the other said,"Lake Hennessey."
Lake Hennessey sounded like fun waiting to happen.

The road to Lake Hennessey was small and winding, with no Bike Lane like the Silverado Trail. I had second thoughts. I don't remember what happened to them, but they were gone before I knew it and I found myself winding up this narrow tree-lined road constantly checking my six.
"Get a mirror!", I told myself.

The lake was beautiful, but quiet. There were no swimmers as there is NO SWIMMING in Lake Hennessey. Turns our it's the water supply for Napa.

I still enjoyed the lake view as I wound up around it, and even met a guy with a remote controlled tugboat, that was really cool. I could tell he was on his own adventure on the high seas. He had built the boat hinself soI felt some kind of strange kinship with him and watched him go in circles and do Full Stops, Full Reverses. Looked like fun.

After a few minutes I left the Skipper, as I called him, and rode down a dirt path next to the shore and ended up at a boat launch with only a few people conducting boat launching business. There I got back on the road and followed the winding thing around the lake a few miles to what looked on the map to be a significant intersection.

To my surprise there was just the usual road signs and a 3-way stop. At this point, I thought maybe I should start heading back but didn't want to backtrack. Hoping to cut through the Lake Hennessey Municipal Recreation Area to Conn Valley Road which looped back to Silverado Trail, I pressed on.

Again my expectations were incorrect and there was essentially no park or road to speak of. Not even a turn-off. I would have to ride around the mountain or turn back. Turning back didn't seem that adventurous, so again I pressed on.

I was hoping the next major intersection would provide a gas station or I would probably have to just eat my pride and backtrack.

As I approached the next intersection on the map...you guessed it. No gas station. No nothing. Just a rock. A big rock telling a story about why the Hill was named Chiles Hill or something. I wish I had read the whole thing now.

Next time I see a rock with something engraved in brass I will stop and read what it says.

I checked my map and saw that the way around the mountain was quite a commitment, especially if there was no gas station at Pope Valley a few miles up the road. I definitely didn't have enough gas and would have to turn back.

Just then a motorcyclist on a Buell who saw me looking at my map stopped to ask me if I needed assistance. I asked him if there was a gas station up the road on the way back to the 29.

He said,"No! Not for a long ways. Not 'till Angwin, and you'd have to go OVER the mountain."

I thanked him and he sped off back the way he'd came.

I sat there looking at my map. This was the point of no return.
If I pressed forward, I could easily end up in the middle of nowhere 30 miles from home, out of gas, having to pedal back or looking for farmhouses to bum some gas from.

I thought long and hard. (like 2 seconds!) I pressed on, of course!

I tried not to worry about my lack of fuel and just enjoy the ride. This was not just a test ride but in exercise in life. The ride was a symbol. Proof of how life was to be lived.

With faith.

It only took a few miles for my faith to start wearing off a little and my mind began to wonder where I would find gas. Maybe a vineyard with their tractors and golf carts. Maybe a farmhouse with a barking dog.

I was in the middle of nowhere now. The EXACT place I imagined running out of gas.

I checked my tank and saw that I could go for a few more miles, maybe 5 or 6. I would want to start my search BEFORE I actually ran out or I'd be searching and sweating at the same time.

Just then I saw to my left what looked like a nightclub light trussing, you know, with all the colored flashing disco light on it?

I turned down the long wide dirt drive and found a Mexican family having some kind of farmhouse yard party, there was a DJ, about 15 people, corn, chicken, and carne asada. It smelled good.

I hoped they would not flip out on me crashing their fiesta.
"Hola!" I yelled, over the ranchero music.
"Como estas?"
"Do you have any gas I could buy off you?" I shouted.
"Gasolina?"
"Ci, gasolina."
"I don't know," one man said. "Ask him."
"Is he El Jefe (Spanish for cheif or boss)?"
"Ci, El Jefe!"

So I walked over to El Jefe who was bust barbecuing carne asada and chicken. In Spanish the man told El Jefe that I needed gasolina for my bicicleta.
"Bicycleta?!" He looked very puzzled.
"Ci! Bicicleta!"
"Ci Mi bicicleta!" I shouted, over the music.

He gave some orders and a guy came back with an empty gas can.
I was afraid of that. I was going to have to go to another farmhouse.

A discussion started and there was some finger pointing and the man talking with me and El Jefe said, "Maybe the weedeater."

The other man with the gas can left and came back with a weedeater half-full of premix. The dumped it into the red gas can and came over to the bike with me. He poured the whole thing in and filled it right to the top. No mixing required.

I thanked them graciously and unceremoniously sped off. They were having a surprise party after all, and the guest of honor had not yet arrived.

I don't know what they had in that weedeater, but whatever it was, 5 minutes later my bike suddenly "unleashed the fury" and I reached my top speed of the day, 29.1 mph, according to my Schwinn 12-function Speedometer. I think I could have gone faster but didn't want to risk blowing my engine during the break-in period. Especially out in the country.
 
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