This is the story of my '64 Vespa 150 - how it became mine and how it has given me a new vespatude.  I'll be recording the neat places I visit, the different things I do to make the Vespa my own, and - oh yeah - those reactions I get from both friends and strangers.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Can you believe it?
Yesterday I thought I would be brave and use Heebie to transport myself from my university office down to the Worthwhile office in downtown Greenville. Things had been running relatively well - even if the engine would flatline at around 60 kph (about 37 mph). It was such a beautiful day and I figured the guys would get a kick out of seeing me pull up on the scooter.

Bad move.

I started out okay and nursed the bike down East North Street toward downtown Greenville. I was just passing through the Overbrook neighborhood when the bike stalled. It kept coming and going until I got to the ramp that leaves Park Avenue and goes up to Church Street. At that point, Heebie just said, "I'm not going any further!"

I fiddled with that. Pulled at that wire. Tugged on another one. I moved the fuel line back and forth and sloshed the tank. Finally I just opened the fuel lid and started the bike with it open. Hey! Heebie was talking again. I started off toward Main Street. No stall.

I turned on Main Street in stop and go traffic. No stall! While going down the street near the Hyatt, I saw the guys I was supposed to be having lunch with. They had given up and were headed to the restaurant. When they saw me they got my attentiona and then decided they didn't know me. Who wants to be known as someone who knows someone who drives a scooter!

I parked at the office and joined the guys for lunch. It was pretty neat being able to park up near the building in a mulched area. No need for a parking place.

After lunch I went back and it started right up! I made it all the way home without stalling -- though the engine was still flatlining. The difference now from before was that I was not tightening the gas cap. The gas cap - can you believe it?

After work I came home and switched out the spark plug. I figured it was fouled and sure enough, now not only was the scooter not stalling, it was reaching speeds of 85 kph (around 52 kph) even while going up gently sloping hills. On my test drive I didn't stall once.

Best I can figure the tank wasn't breathing and when the carb started really sucking the fuel, it created a vacuum that started sucking the fuel OUT of the carb. Loosing the gas cap released the pressure and negated the vacuum. This allowed the fuel to flow more freely.

Oh, one other thing, while stopped at the light at East North Street and Church Street I had a car of teenagers pull up beside me. "Wow, what is that?" the driver asked. "An Italian scooter," I replied. "It is forty-one years old," I continued. "Wow, that old? How fast will it go?" he asked. "It is supposed to go about 55," I said and then hoped that I wouldn't stall when the light turned green.


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