Sunday, November 22, 2009

Edmonds Through the Back Door.

I went to Edmonds, Washington for the day to hear Rick Steves do some travel lectures. Packed house, with tons of people taking notes as he spoke. Couldn't believe it when I bumped into him on the street later in the day. Nice guy and he graciously snapped a photo for me.

Here's his new Italian phrase book & dictionary with Vespa on the cover

If you're ever in Edmonds, you should definitely go to the Edmonds Historical Musuem.

The first floor is currently housing a collection of residents' playthings.
I loved the wall of cameras.

In the basement, there is a huge assortment of historical collections-everything from washing machines, typewriters, switchboards to nautical dodads.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Hot Rod Christmas

Bumpstart friend and contributor, Al Drake has added a new book to the Flat Out Press Catalog.

Christmas at Ed's Richfield (and Other Stories for Guys) is a collection of stories that recall memories of childhood Christmases during World War II, to the teen years in the 50's, and holidays with children and grandchildren.

Here's an excerpt from Christmas at Ed's Richfield:
I got to Ed’s Richfield shortly after dinner, and I was surprised none of the guys were around. It was already dark, and I was thinking about the impossibility of snow at Christmas, just two days away. It never snowed in Portland at Christmas, but my mother, who was from North Dakota, yearned for snow. It was just not Christmas without snow, she always said. She had a small glass globe with a farm scene, and when she shook it white flakes appeared in the solution to remind her of what she had left behind. Now, as I got out of my car, I noticed that the air had a metallic sharpness, but it was too warm for snow, almost as if the weather hovered between seasons.

I had expected some of the guys to be at the station as well as a bunch of customers, people out Christmas shopping, but the place was empty. From the office Ed saw me pull up and he waddled out the door to his car, calling over his shoulder, “Guide me on the rack.” Less than a month earlier he had traded his pristine ’53 Mercury in on a new ’55 Mercury Monterey hardtop, charcoal and salmon. As Ed backed the car up and maneuvered it into the building, the salmon paint glowed pink under the station’s fluorescent lights. I gestured him forward, guiding him onto the lube rack, although I wasn’t sure he needed help. It was typical of Ed, giving me something to do. I worked in a garage all day, but had to take a second job nights and weekends and Ed was good enough to let me work about 20 hours a week. I hoped that, with the extra money, I could buy some Christmas presents for my mother and sister.

Pick up a copy for your dad or favorite grease monkey here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Those handsome Men of Scootering.

I've been wanting to do a scooter calendar for a couple years now, but never seemed to have the time to put one together. Recently while I was cleaning, I found the Vespa Club of Canada's 2000 Calendar (i.e. "those handsome Men of Scootering") that a friend loaned to me for inspiration. The VCOC always does a great job with their club merchandise - I'll be breaking out my VCOC scarf pretty soon that fall is here.

They did a great job on the calendar and the photos and bios are keepers. Let's go back in time and take a look at Canada's handsome Men of Scootering 2000.

Mr. January - Mike Sexsmith

Mr. February - Psychic Sphincter

Mr. March - Garth Cox

Mr. April - Jay Croft

Mr. May - Colin Bates

Mr. June - Christian Jahrsdoerfer

Mr. July - Joe Drechsler

Mr. September - Gift Enchantment

Mr. October - Ford Madison

Mr. November - Glenn William Daigle

Mr. December - Ska-t

Friday, September 25, 2009

Emily Rocks CF

When Emily Schaller was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis; doctors told her parents that she wouldn't live long enough to graduate from high school. Now 27 years old, this native Detroiter proved them wrong. When not playing drums in her band, Hellen, she is busy raising awareness and funds to help fight cystic fibrosis through her foundation, Rock CF. I talked with Emily as she headed out on a cross-country bike/Vespa ride from Detroit to LA, where she hopes to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and raise awareness of CF with a national audience.

Karen: Hi Emily. Who came up with the idea to ride cross country to the Ellen Show to promote Rock CF? Could you talk about your organization?

Emily: Hey Karen. I've been trying for years to get on the Ellen show to share my story and to help bring cystic fibrosis (CF), which I have, into the mainstream. CF is an orphan disease only affecting 30,000 people but it is the #1 genetic killer of children and young adults. With the help of friends, family and many others, we launched a campaign to "Put Emily on Ellen." You've got to have a gimmick.. so riding cross country from Detroit to Burbank, CA spreading CF awareness and raising funds would be the best way to do this. Anyone can fly or drive. Why not ride a Vespa and bicycle?

Karen: Have you heard from the show?

Emily: I have a good feeling that Ellen's producers know who I am...

Karen: You were originally going to bicycle cross country, but your doc nixed that. Is he ok with you riding the Vespa on the trip instead?

Emily: Everyone's feeling good about my decision to take the Vespa cross country. After I injured my achilles tendon on the Detroit to Chicago ride I was devastated, but immediately I thought a Vespa would make a great and fun substitute. Luckily physical therapy has been paying off so I should be up to riding 30-40 miles each day.

Karen: How far are you riding each day? How long will the trip take?

Emily: Each day I'll be traveling 180-250 miles. The trip west will take 14 days total but of course weather can change that.

Karen: What route are you taking? Do you have designated city stops?

Emily: I have planned stops along the way. Major cities will be Lincoln,NE, Denver-CO, Salt Lake City-UT, Vegas and into LA. We'll stay at smaller towns along the right now I am in Davenport, Iowa! The major cities coordinate with one of my sponsors, Lululemon Athletica who has stores in each of those cities.

Karen: Do you have a support crew/truck for the trip? Will it be difficult to manage your CF during the trip?

Emily: My mom and dad graciously donated their Chevy pick up truck to use as my support. It's perfect because we can load the Vespa, my bicycle, food coolers, all my med equipment and luggage in it. Plus the truck allows us to hang banners and advertisements for CF and my adventure. One of my uncles from New Jersey will be driving the support for the first week and a half. My dad is flying into Denver to meet us and finish off the trip. A great daddy daughter bonding experience will be fun! Luckily we will be staying in hotels every night so I can keep my daily CF routine under control. Loading and unloading all of my luggage and equipment will be the hardest part of the trip! Keeping up with my nutritional needs will also be very important since I'll be biking a few hours a day, every day.

Karen: Have you ridden scooters before?

Emily: I'd never ridden a Vespa or any scooter prior to deciding to buy one! When I was a kid I rode mini bikes a ton. That was fun!

Karen: How did you choose that Vespa to ride?

Emily: I have always had a thing for Vespa scooters. A few years ago I was nosing around for a vintage Vespa to ride around town but it never came through. When I was in Europe last year I saw tons of Vespa's and it made me crazy for one. Things happen for a reason, so my dream came true and I am now the proud owner of "Gesundheit Blitz", an LX 150!

Karen: Is there a website where people can follow your trip progress or make donations?

Emily: There are a few websites that will have blogs, pics and video updates each day. Donations can be made at the Emily to Ellen website. Let's Rock CF will host my blog and some pics. Spin Magazine is hosting a page that is tracking me too. I'm all over the world wide web.

Sidenote: Before Emily and her crew left Chicago, they helped track down a mugger. In Emily's words, 'Good start to the day.'

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When Old was New

In every subculture there are divisions or groups that we, as individuals naturally gravitate to. The scooter community is no different. We have the vintage scooter enthusiasts and there are the modern-styled scooter fans. There was a time, however, when vintage scooters were the new kids on the block.

In the latest issue of Bumpstart, I feature a scooterist from that time, Vern Lee. Vern is a walking, talking piece of scooter history and a helluva of a nice guy.

Above photo: Vern with his Vespa GS, San Francisco (1960's)

He's also an excellent professional photographer, who documented that time. Vern generously supplied me with photos of the original Vespa Portland dealership, where he bought his first scooter. I don't know anyone else who has any photo documentation of this. Luckily, Vern kept all his photos and Vespa artifacts in such pristine condition. Today we have the privilige of viewing them. Thanks Vern.

Photos: Vespa Portland (circa 1960's) was located on Sandy Blvd. across from Colonial Mortuary.

It was owned by the Meyer Brothers, Gordon and Bob. I was told that Gordon also owned a Vespa 400.

Pick up a copy of Bumpstart # 3 to read the rest of the story....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Portland 'Zine Symposium '09, July 24 - 26

'Zinesters from all over the world will be heading to Portland State University this weekend for the 2009 Portland 'Zine Symposium. It runs Friday - Sunday and admission is FREE! Besides a ballroom full of great 'zines to check out, there will also be free workshops through out the event's run.

I'll be there! Be sure to stop by the Bumpstart table and say Hi!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

P-town's Show & Shine - July 25th

Portland, it's time once again to spit and polish those scoots and mopeds!

P-town Scooters will be hosting their 2nd Annual Show and Shine on July 25th.

Show categories include:


To enter your scoot or moped, please contact Jim Smith via email: or call the shop at 503.241.4745

Hmmm, wonder if the Simson Schwalbe could make it to P-town.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Burning the Midnight Oil with the Jewel T Man

Years ago when Mom and Dad first heard I got a scooter, they weren’t too happy. No one in my family ever rode motorcycles or scooters. Even though I’m a grown adult, being overprotective parents they were afraid I would hurt myself. The “s word” wasn’t mentioned unless I broached the subject. Whenever they came to visit me in Oregon, I’d make sure they saw me ride my scooter to break the ice. See, I scooted and lived to tell the tale. Gradually, they became more receptive to the idea - I also never bothered to mention dumping my Kymco, landing a teeter-totter jump during a gymkhana. I can hear my Dad now, ‘Who do you think you are Steve McQueen in The Great Escape?’
I know they still worry, but now whenever my Dad sees any kind of scooter photo or article he’s quick to send me the news clippings instead of lecture me.

I’m up late many nights working on Bumpstart and occasionally I’ll call my Dad, as he’s a night owl like me. One night I was having trouble with a story, so I took a phone break and called home, knowing he’d be awake watching Law and Order re-runs. He’s not much of a phone person, but that night he was feeling chatty. I told him the ‘zine was taking longer to complete than I had hoped and I was feeling anxious about the reaction it would receive when it saw the light of day.

For some reason, he launched into a story about his days as a Jewel T salesman. During the mid 70’s, Dad had a route selling the Jewel T product line, which featured everything from cleaning products to clothing, food, and china. His brown delivery truck parked in our driveway was a veritable general store on wheels. Mom had to literarily keep the kids out of the Jewel T cookie jar as to prevent profits from being eaten. The company was mainly known for their Autumn Leaf china pattern, but in the Winter of ’74 Jewel T came out with their unbreakable china line. You could drop it, smack it against a surface and it wouldn’t break.

Dad went out to show off the new product to his clientele. The housewives will just love it he thought. Right out of the gate, first house the unthinkable happened. The unbreakable china broke. In fact, it shattered. Dad had left the box of china in his delivery truck overnight and being winter, it froze. Surprisingly, he actually got the housewife to buy the product even though it actually did the opposite of what he had previously touted. I don’t know how he did it, but he let any embarrassment he may have had just roll off and made the sale.

Ok, it’s a cute story I told him, but how is this suppose to help me? What’s the moral to the story?

“I never said there’s a moral,” he replied. “I dunno, never leave china out in the car during winter months.”

Great, thanks Dad. Words to live by.

I said goodnight to him and went back to the story I was having trouble with. I kept thinking about my Dad’s quirky story with no moral. It made me to rethink the direction I was going in and I actually finished my story.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garage Sale Rally

When I was in Victoria, British Columbia for the 25th Annual Garden City Rally, I hung out with the Apocalypse SC. Their club drove all the way from Calgary with a trailer full of 10 Vespas to attend the rally. It was quit a sight watching them load and unload their scooters in The Surf's small parking lot.

Over the course of the Garden City Rally they pretty much adopted me and I can't thank them enough for their kind Canadian hospitality. This summer they are having their Garage Sale Rally in Calgary and you all are invited. I know it's a long way to Calgary (15 hrs from Seattle, 20 hrs from Portland), but Apocalypse President, Kory Haggert told me they'll billet any Americans willing to make the trip. I'll be there and hope to see all you Pacific Northwest scooterists at the Garage Sale.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Monkey a Day...

Kevin Cross is drawing a monkey-a-day in preparation for the launch of his new Monkey Mod web-comic. He was kind enough to draw a fantastic Tiki monkey just for me. Mahalo, Kevin!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thanks Stumpy!

Stumptown was as fun as usual, but this year I was super-geeked they let me ride my scooter into the event BOTH days. On the first day of the comicfest I dazzled the attendees waiting to get in, as I scooted past them...and through the Doubletree doors, wearing my "Kickstart Karen" superhero essemble. It was hilarious to see the looks I got. Second day, I left the cape and boots at home and came as the mild mannered publisher of Bumpstart.
One of the many highlights of Stumptown was meeting the creators of other scooter-related publications. It was nice seeing other scooter enthusiasts in attendance.

Otis Singletary and Nate Murphy, creators of The Two Percent Solution and fellow scooterists, stopped by the Bumpstart table to say Hi. See you at Monkey Run; there better be Monkey bingo this year!

Kevin Cross and the Monkey MOD table. The cover of Monkey MOD was printed on a Gocco! Kevin is also co-host of The Big Illustration Party Time podcast. Be sure to check it out on iTunes.

David Lasky, the creator of Urban Hipster stopped by the table. Thanks for the copy of UH, David!

On Sunday, I took a break from my table and did a quick walk around. I wish I had more time to look around. It was a weekend of sensory overload at the Doubletree. Towards the end of the day, I had the pleasure of meeting Gail Simone, writer of Wonder Woman. I gave her a copy of American Scooterist's "Beat Issue", which she just loved. I recently became the new publisher of the Vespa Club of America's magazine and I have to say that this double-issue is going to be a tough act to follow.

Thanks for a swell time, Stumpy. Stay cool, see ya next year..

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stumptown Comic Fest '09!

Hope to see you all at Stumptown Comic Fest this weekend. I'll be sitting at table # 89. Be sure to stop by and say Hi!

I will be twittering Stumptown updates throughout the weekend.