Sunday, March 8, 2020

A New Day Has Dawned

We Be Scootin!

It's a 1985 Honda Elite 250, CH250 the designated model.  In the rest of the world, primarily Europe as I understand it, the Elite's were called Spacey's.  The following year, the Helix or CN250 was introduced, wheels further apart by 14".  Much if not most of the engine/running gear is shared between the two but not everything...there are a few small differences.  I owned a black with gold '86 Elite 250 at the same time I owned my yellow Helix.  Riding both highlighted the differences, length and seat height being the most pronounced.  Anecdotally they were 'geared' slightly different and now that I've had  both drive trains apart, I can see differences.  I convinced myself that the Helix did 70 like the Elite did 65.


Still warming up and working the old gas through....warmed up, it's purring like the kitten she is!  The mirrors were not yet on to ease it's exit from the shop door maze.

 A good thing I put the Mud n Snow tires on the Elite....our driveway has been a disaster anyway and with the constant contractor/delivery traffic during our remodeling project, things have gotten much worse.  We were on the edge of construction progress being stopped in fact due to delivery trucks and worker stuckness.  A load of gravel on Tuesday and another Thursday helped but barely.  The frost is coming out and the snow is still only slowly disappearing.

Backing up a bit, the axle bushing that I was waiting for and luckily was still even available to order arrived Thursday so Friday morning at the crack of dawn I was back in the shop and finished putting the scooter together.  Some detailing ensued, sustenance for that trying experience was enhanced a great deal with a little bit of help.....

I've been so very good...we've lived above a coffee shop for 8 weeks that provides, willingly, scones that are excellent.  There's the award-winning bakery across the street that opens at 5:30 AM, a place I've only been a customer of 3 times since we've been Townies.  Friday morning I felt obligated to visit once more.  The early morning aromas emanating from that location are intoxicating enough.  There are no words that sufficiently describe the goodness and strength realized from these two beauties and they were still warm.

As the customer behind me in line reminded, "All the Recommended Dietary Allowances in one fell swoop".  I was absolutely energized!


Saturday morning at Diamond's for coffee, Steve rode his 650 Honda, just like the old 650 Honda but this is a new 650 Honda, ready to continue exactly where the other one left off.  In the distance, Jeff was in on his very nice 450 DOHC Honda.  Paul's Can-Am just beyond that.  I was there in a Chrysler Town and Country.

Four point one miles Saturday afternoon....the beginning of a beautiful friendship and it felt oh so good to be twisting a grip.

 After some other chores around the homestead, I returned to Red Wing with the hopes of another stroll along the waterfront.

Fishing the main channel's open water.....

.... and in the bay where there's still enough ice to drop the line down a hole.  These photos taken from almost the same location.

 A very pleasant early March day in Minnesota!


Early this morning I dropped off my lovely partner at MSP, her flight to NYC went well and she'll be gone a week, entrusting me to take good care of all things Home.  To that end, I took the laundry to the house, completed it and then....

The north facing gravel roads are soupy with mooshy grooves.

The lower part of Lake Pepin is losing ice....

The upper section is ice-free.....

Here's a shot of what's left betwixt and between.

Everything was going SO well!!  Idle had settled down, I stopped for some fresh gas and coffee, the machine running far better than it's high mileage and appearance justified and then....

Not 20 feet from where I stopped to take the frozen lake photos, the scooter suddenly died.  I tried everything I could think of (sans tools...I'd decided I didn't need to take them).  Switches, worked, fiddled with.  Sidestand even though I knew full well there was no switch there.  Ignition off and on multiple times.  The way it had stopped and was acting as I ran the starter seemed to be indicating no spark....I could smell gas.

Have I mentioned how much I was already missing my dear Peg??

A woman (Tracy) was out for a stroll, enjoying our incredible weather just as I had been and as most every MN rider was as well by the lovely motorcycle traffic sounds down over the bluff on Highway 61.

 "Where do you have to go?"

I told her, "maybe 5 miles...up by Frontenac."  It's exactly 5.5 by road, I looked it up and I was ready to hoof it.  I had intentionally kept my loop close to home....just in case issues developed.

"Hand me your phone, I'll call my husband Mike and he can take you."

Mike did but I didn't make him drive down our driveway, the white Ford pickup was waaay too clean for our disaster.  There will very soon be something a little special in their mailbox that wasn't accepted in that roomy cab.  Thank you Tracy for making the call and to Mike for answering a strange phone number on a Sunday afternoon.

There are 2 wires going to the igniter thing....or there's supposed to be 2 wires going to the igniter thing.  It took another trip through the shop door maze to remove the panel plastics for me to find this.

An easy enough fix, but not today.  Plenty of time for that this week.  I needed to get back to town for another walk down by the river to enjoy this CDT afternoon sun.  What weather!!

The scooter is a blast and is going to be great fun, reminding me of how much I was enjoying the black '86 while it was here.  These are definitely much more scootery than both the extra long Helix and Morphous are.  Great explorations and adventures await!!

And lest we forget, a reminder in the public parking ramp stairwell as I returned the van to its parking spot on Level C.


  1. Nice looking doughnuts! With all of the other pictures you post, that’s the one that stands out to me. Something’s broken over here.

    The scooter is looking pretty good. Are the old wires getting brittle or was there another reason it broke?

  2. The photo doesn't make the wire clear but before I actually touched it, to increase the distance between it and the spade connector, there were 2-3 strands that were the last stubborn connections. Rust and at least 35 years of grime and most likely at least small doses of road salt were all contributors. The PO, once he had the machine, was commuting daily to work in Rochester and from what he told me, it was daily.

    I have bullet and spade connectors, hopefully the coil (available at $51+)itself is OK. Too early to tell yet about the scooter's oil consumption but nowhere that I stopped were there obvious drops of coolant or oil. It ran very well while it did.

  3. Heart valve donuts.... next time I'm in Red Wimg...may have check my heart health…. As a Helix owner I wonder how this Elite handles with the shorter wheelbase compared to the Helix.

    1. Much closer to your Stella. I looked up the wheelbase for both..

      49.6" Elite
      48.6" Stella

      The repair was easy, done and running again, back to perfection. Those ignition coil wires are more susceptible to trouble than most other connections on the bike, especially so for the environment this machine has and will see. There is an inner rear fender to catch the worst of the 'weather' but those two wires are hanging there ready to catch everything else. Most other connections on our bikes are tucked up inside more protective locations. I believe some extra precautions were taken with the repair.

  4. A black and gold 86 Elite, you say? I just happen to have the same!

    1. There are photos here somewhere, it was a barely used one, very attractive and in really nice shape.