Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sandbag Estate - Mural Collection

This video was made to post the remaining murals I had accumulated over the 2009 riding season for the OSJ Treasure Hunt

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turn Turn Turn

There is a time for riding, a time for resting, a time for the riding season to come to a close. It seems this weekend was the turning point for riding this season. Saturday was r ainy and Sunday was drizzly; we did not ride on either day. Instead we jumped in the car Sunday and headed for Lynn to capture some historic places with the first stop to be the Capitol Diner in Lynn. (note: click any image and they will open in a new window and be enlarged)

As we headed out and booking down the Mass Pike, I felt like I was on the FJR. I was darting in and out of the cars, and moving along at 80. I had to force myself to slow down and engaged the cruise control. I just don’t think the gray hair in a Chevy Malibu is gonna get me a break with the law. It might work on the bike, but not the car.

A quick call to the Capitol Diner to find out what time they are open until, only to find out we are going to make it there with 15 minutes to spare. Another call to the Salem Diner and we find we have plenty of time, so GPS is reprogrammed for a new location.

Now I spent the better part of the morning laying out NRHP in Lynn only to find we are gonna switch gears there too and concentrate on Swampscott and Nahant. Both towns have National Landmarks and Lynn has none.

I have searched for the Salem Diner every time I was in the Salem area and just never could find it. In the phone call to the Salem Diner, I also asked for their address. All this time I have been searching at the wrong number and maybe even the wrong street.

They are only serving breakfast at the Salem Diner and we arrive about 1pm. Parking is not over abundant spacewise at the diner and as we approached the door, seating apparently is not abundant either. The folks we passed indicated there is a wait time. Sure enough there is a line. I ask if anyone is gonna sit at the counter. No one is, we head for the stools, which in my mind, is the only way to eat at a diner, at the counter.

The Salem Diner is a very good example of a Sterling Diner and is on the NRHP. Most of the diners in Mass are. Breakfast was fairly typical for dinafare, reasonably priced and the activity completes the experience.

After breakfast we were off to our first stop Swampscott Fish House. This place is oldest active fish house in the country.

One thing I realized on this trip, it is much easier to do stop and go waymarking on the bike. You can position yourself on the bike and move around to snap your pictures away, but nothing beats the exercise you get by getting out of the car and walking around the site, but it also, at least for me, kills my knees.

The fish house done, I realize that I must have made a mistake in programming the GPS for the next few stops, so I abandon the route and simply ask to be taken to the next stop. The next stop is supposed to be the Elihu Thompson house, a National Landmark, but instead I found myself at the Swampscott Post Office and the Library. Snap some pics and off to the next stop.

Grabbing these other spots, I was not about to let the Thompson house go so easy. We brought the book with all the listings for Essex County with us. We plugged in the address and found ourselves at the Swampscott Town Hall. I had spotted this building when we were at the library and I had a sneakin’ suspicion that this was the site, but MeAsWe confirmed the location by spotting the infamous plaque by the door. She must have good eyesight.

Our travels took us off to Nahant to search out Henry Cabot Lodge’s residence, another National Landmark. Crossing the causeway, we made our way to the farthest end of this island or isthmus, climbing a hill, we rounded a corner and came to a breathtaking view. I stopped the car and got out for a photo. There is a gentleman standing by the road looking out over the scene I am about to take in. I asked “Do you get to see this everyday”, implying and asking at the same time, if he lives around here. “Yes, I come to watch the waves everyday; I have lived here all my life”. With that we struck up a 10 minute or so conversation about Nahant. He points off to a spot and says “That used to be the Lodge place over there, but the government came in and leveled it in the 20’s and then just left it. There used to be a beautiful library up there, such a shame. This used to be the summer homes for the Beacon Hill folks. Right over there is what we call Forty Steps, which takes you down to the beach”. You get the jist of the conversation. I just love meeting people this way, especially when I can say we have come to visit for historical reasons.

We found what supposedly is the Lodge residence at 5 Cliff Rd, but I have my suspicions there is an error in the information we got off the internet and the NPS site.

We grabbed a couple of more places in the smallest town in Massachusetts. If it were not for our quest to visit all of the NRHP’s in New England (as a start) I doubt we would have ever visited Nahant. We shall return on the bike to make a future TAG.

It is 3:30 and we will lose the sun very soon, our daytime quest for sites will come to an end. Lynn and its sites will have to be another trip this winter. We grabbed 2 more sites and headed home, but not directly of course. Just because we are in a car, we don’t have to take the highways. We followed RT 16 all the way into Wellesley picking up NEON signs, DD’s and some night shots along the way. It was a great day and maybe winter will be another Turn Turn Turn, there is a season for snow and a time for melting, and a time for riding again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chasin Submarines and Town Halls

That is the penalty for going too fast on the FJR. It’s Sunday, an absolutely gorgeous November day out and not many left in this year. MeAsWe and I decide to head for the Submarine Base and Museum in Groton CT.

Now we can head out RT 16, pick up I-395 South and be there in about 45 minutes, but that is not the way the FJR wants to go. We could take CT 169, a national scenic byway, but we have been on that many times, so I plot a route using Town Halls between Uxbridge and Groton as points to vary our roads. The Vanilla Bean will act as a stop, maybe see Jack and Kathy there. They did mention they were going there from Leominster on the boards the previous night.

Our travels take us first to Webster. We pass Gracie’s Diner, we decide to stop for breakfast here. This is a no pressure day, we don’t have to be anywhere at any specific time or chase those OSJ treasures. This is a ride for riding that just happens to have some photo ops on the way. Gracie’s Diner turns out to be a great little place to eat, and as a bonus I figure I can turn it into a waymark somehow. Breakfast done we head for the Dudley Town Hall.

We never did find the Dudley TH so we headed off to Thompson, then Putnam and land ourselves at the Vanilla Bean. Dismounting we wander around looking at the various bikes. MeAsWe points to a table and Kathy and Jack are just sitting down. We wander over and spend the next 45 minutes or so talking bikes, kids and other subjects.

Pictures along the way to Pomfret CT

We stop at the Pomfret TH and then head for Hampton down RT 97 and some other back roads. What really neat about using little destinations such as TH’s, you end up on roads you would never travel on. Before Hampton we pass one of those CT historical markers and of course I have to make a U’ey and capture the mark.

We find ourselves at the Abington Meeting House, the oldest meeting house in CT (see above). This just has to be on the NRHP. Scotland is the next destination, along with Samuel Huntington’s Birthplace, a National Landmark.

Continuing a southerly direction, we head for Sprague and Norwich. Sprague is a bunch of little villages combined such as Versailles, Baltic and Hanover to make up the municipality. Heading further south we hit Norwich Town Hall. This is a really neat old building and has quite a bit of history associated with it. I circle the block a couple of times to capture all of this building. When I get home something went a flooey with my camera and only captured 3 out of at least 9 pictures I have taken. This has happened to me before where I snap the picture and somehow never gets saved on the card. What a disappointment, but Norwich is really not that far away and we can return.

Anchor outside Groton City Hall

Back on the road we pick up RT12 that follows the Thames River to the Sub Base. Waymarking has a category for military installations, however the last time I took a picture of the entrance of one of these places, I had 4 cars screaming out of the entrance, surrounding me and 4 military MP’s standing around me as I stood there with my camera in hand. The military is a bit sensitive about having their picture taken.

We pull up to the museum at the Sub Base to find it closed and will resume its schedule tomorrow. Disappointed yeah, but it really is a beautiful day and we can always come back here. Adjusting our route we head for the Groton TH and then coffee at Norm’s Diner.

Norm’s is one of the first diners I visited back in 2005, and is one of the original places that started this whole chase the place down thing. Norm’s has changed hands many times in the last 4 years, but still remains one of the last 24 hours diners in New England.

Coffeed out, about 3:30,we don’t have much sunlight left. Leaving Groton we had a little side excursion which can be read at Side Bar with the Law

The rest of the day was heading north grabbing towns like Griswold, Preston and some more marks like Smokey the Bear and Gurdon Bill’s Store.

Gurdon Bill's store and major stage coach way point

The sun disappears, the temps drop 15 degrees and we make it to RT 6 hanging a right. We stop to put on additional layers and find the closest highway for home. Damn these days are getting too short.

Something Gray Something New

It’s about 3:30 in the afternoon. MeAsWe and Me just finished having coffee and a snack at Norm’s Diner in Groton CT. The sun is heading for the horizon and it’s going to be dark within an hour or so. We mount up and head up RT 184 to pickup RT 117 to Preston and Ledyard. We stop at a traffic light, wait for green and throttle up thru 1st gear, shift into 2nd and maybe, just maybe I was a bit frisky with the throttle. The FJR engine responds very
nicely as we approach 6,000 RPM's and there there there, in the corner of my eye, I see it, a quick glimpse to the speedo and GPS, eyes back on the road, eyes to the mirrors, Is there anything there, no, phew. eyes back to the mirrors, sighhhhhh, I see that all too familiar sight of chirping blue lights. DANG DANG DANG.

I pull over to the side and immediately go for the buckle on my helmet. It unfastens very smoothly and I lift the helmet off and balance it on the handle bars and dash. Mission 1 accomplished. I go for the wallet and pull the license out. Mission 2 accomplished. I tell MeAsWe sit tight until the officer is by our side.

Officer: "Do you know what I stopped you?"

Me: "No I really don’t"

in as innocent voice that I can muster..of course I really do know the reason why else did I look down a the speedo

Officer: "Sir I had you clocked at 47 mph and you were in a 25 mph zone"

Me: "Really, I didn’t know I was going that fast" ..

with that humbled voice . I am sure the officer has heard it a million times.

MeAsWe adding her opinion, "It’s a new bike and I don’t think he has adjusted to the speed and throttle yet."

The Officer asks for my registration, which I tell him we will have to dismount, it is in the rear side bag. With the paperwork in hand the Officer returns to his car and begins the process of whatevertheydo in the car.

15 minutes or so passes by, which gives me plenty of time to pray for a hall pass on this one. Finally he gets out the cruiser and hands me back my papers and says,"Have a nice day and please slow down".

A reprieve WOO HOO !!!.

So I ask was it MeAsWe's statement about me adjusting to the new bike or was it the Gray Hair or was the Officer just in a good mood?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fishing for Toys with Friends

It’s Sunday morning and my phone alarm goes off at precisely 6am. Last night I had received a voice mail from Alan, letting me know they would be at my door precisely at 9am for our day’s journeys. I didn’t call back because it was too late and Alan had left enough info. I bounced out of bed (well sorta, my knees always hurt first thing so bounce might be an exaggeration), plug in the coffee and log onto email. Alan had sent me an email just in case the voice mail did not get listened to, saying they would be there at 9. Quick check to NOAA and the weather looks spectacular, however I suspect the roads and more specifically the leaves will be wet, hence caution is the key word for the day. Wet leaves, two wheels, twisties and stop signs means things could be slippery.

With my coffee in hand (it’s really in the cup and my hand is on the cup), I open MapSource to create a route for today’s travels. Alan and Jan are going to visit a library in Western Connecticut to view some artist’s pictures. Jan showed me a brochure, so I was torn on whether we (Me and MeAsWe) will view the paintings with them or travel south for other treasures. No need to make a decision now, but having a plan (and yes I do plan some things Jan, if you are reading this) would be a good thing.

MeAsWe arises out of her sleep around 7 (well I really woke her up), so that we can be ready for 9. I finish up the plan, creating 3 alternative routes for the day. First stop is the Norfolk Public Library in Connecticut where the exhibit is being held, then Toymakers Café (Ken and Steve if you read this, yes I am still gathering points) and then off to Bridgeport for the Fish Church, then to one of the ferries in CT and a pass thru Willimantic for the frog on the a spool and home. All in all, somewhere around 320 miles. The other potential routes cuts off Bridgeport and heads across the mid section of Connecticut picking up some National Landmarks and home. Yeah I said 3 routes, T2 is just a more direct root to Bridgeport, using major roads in case we are running out of time (which we always seem to do).

MeAsWe is Bejeweling and drinking her coffee and I tell her I am headed outside to get ready, plus I need gas. I ask her if she can bring down my jacket, if she comes down before I go back up. Precisely at 9am, Alan and Jan arrive (actually I think they were a tad early), pull up and dismount. Alan thanks me for calling at 7am confirming that we (Me and MeAsWe) will be ready, Alan indicates they were still in bed, which Jan says well at least one of us wasn’t up and there was some discussion about Baroque music (or some music that starts with a B), blah blah blah. Jan says she is antsy, of course I ask her why, and she said if I knew that, I wouldn’t be antsy, to which we had a general debate about one could be antsy and know why they are antsy and remain antsy versus if one knows the reason they are antsy, that simple fact is the cure for being antsy or maybe it morphs into an other human infliction. (so have I lost you the reader yet), but I digress (as usual)(but is is my blog after all, so I can digress all I want)

I asked Alan if he has a route planned, he does, so I said we would follow them. I have to say Alan found great roads across Connecticut. If they had followed me, I would have had a far less scenic route and we probably would have stopped 20 or more times for a picture of a soldier, mural or bridge. It was nice to just ride and take in the view.

Remember I said something about wet leaves and two wheels. Well there was this one stop sign that I pulled up next to Alan and Jan, put my left foot down, which proceeded to slip forward on the wet leaves, which caused the 680 pound FJR nose to begin its left arching motion to the ground, and by the grace of some external force, enabled me to reestablish a firm grip on the ground and pull the FJR back to a upright position. No sounds of crunching plastic, no domino effect of the us falling into Jan and Alan, which no doubt they would have also toppled, no expletives from all 4 of us and the day wasn't ruined. For the rest of the day I never pulled up next to them at a stop again.

We meandered thru the back roads hitting Thompson Ct, thru Stafford Springs onto Ruby Rd making our way to Enfield CT to cross the Connecticut River. From there it’s thru Barkhamstead, Winsted and finally arriving at the Norfolk Public Library.

Since this is a way marking category, I tell Alan and Jan I am gonna take some pictures, plus the Norfolk library is a neat building (I gotta see if this place is also on the National Register of Historic Places too).

From Norfolk, it's my turn to lead and we head to the Toymakers Café in Village Falls, an OSJ treasure hunt location worth 2,000 points. Arriving here somewhere around 12:30 or so, we all decide to grab a bit to eat.

This is a picture of our meal. Oh it must have been ok, it's all gone

Alan, Jan and MeAsWe plotting something

Who is that masked woman...It's FJRLoneRangeress...

After lunch I just have fish on my mind and this place eluded me for so long and we are so close, I tell Alan and Jan we are headed for Bridgeport versus taking in the exhibit back in Norfolk. MeAsWe asks me if we will be home by 6 and with an sheepish grin on my face I say “probably not”.

We part company as Alan and Jan head for more cultural endeavors. I decide we are going to use route T1, which has us winding south on RT 7. RT 7 is a beautiful road no matter what the season and is probably a nice even if you are not on a cycle. Of course, our route is not direct and we hang a right onto RT 45 to hit Warren for some pictures of police stations, town halls and plus it is a President town worth 500 points.

Out of Warren to Washington, which yields us a bonii for a President Town and WM's for a town hall and post office.

Thru Roxbury, picking up a library photo and off to Monroe CT for another Presidential town. We are almost to Bridgeport, where we will finally head back to home.

What's so special about Roxbury. Really nothing,but it does have a library!!!

While we were taking pictures at the Monroe Police station, it must have been a shift change for the officers. The officers were all over the lot. Of course one of them sees us snapping away so he askes us if we are planning to bomb the place, are we members of Al qaeda, or do we plan any other type of mayhem on Monroe. MeAsWe handled the questions as I snapped away on the camera.

We are only 15 miles from the Fish Church on Bedford St. Most of the travel from Monroe to Bridgeport is via 4 lane highway, so we make good time. We arrive at where the Fish Church is suppose to be and I am turning my head right then left and then right, shrugging my shoulders. MeAsWe says I don’t see any churches. What a let down, something is wrong, I spot 2 neighborhood folks, so I drive up to them.

“Excuse me" I say, to which they ignore me. Being the persistent person I am, "Excuse me, can you help me. There is suppose to be a church around here with a door way that looks like a whale tale."

They give me this look that first of all I don’t belong in this ‘hood and why are you bothering me with these really stupid questions. After a brief uncomfortable moment, the guy steps between us and his wife and son, creating a protective barrier between us and them and says. "There ain’t no church like that around here." Of course I say "are you sure." (why would I question his answer doh!!). He reaches for his pocket and out comes a phone…I say "ah you got internet access, try google use fish church Bridgeport Ct." He says, "nope no fish church" I said, "it should be one of the first five hits." "Nope", reaffirming his first answer. I say "thanks" and we part, with me thinking this guy is an idiot.

We find ourselves at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and I starting making calls. Tavana no answer, Steve no answer. MeAsWe says AJ should be home, so I hand her the phone. "AJ google Fish Church." To which AJ replies "1101 Bedford St in Stamford CT." We are in the wrong friggin town. Sigh, I waypointed it all wrong. I really do need to apologize to that guy, don't I?

I turn to MeAsWe and say "What do you think?." She lets out this heavy sigh; there is confirmation to her question back at Toymakers that we are not going to make it home by 6pm, while we still have sunlight and warmth from said sun. I say, "Its only another 25 miles south, I just can’t let this one go and oh do you want to grab dinner in NYC because we won’t really be that far way", with the most sympathic (or is that pathetic) lil boy look on my face.

Plug in the address and we head out for Stamford. This time when the GPS said we were there, we were there.

Out of Stamford, we discuss having dinner at Louis Lunch in New Haven on the way home. I inform her she can not have ketchup on her burger, to which she says I don't have ketchup on burgers, to which I say that includes mustard, she says how come, and I tell MeAsWe that that is just the way it is at Louis. A quick call to find out they are closed. I said there is suppose to be some really good pizza places in New Haven, I could call EasyEd, he will know. We decide to just high tail it home.

The GPS selects the Merritt Parkway as the preferred road to Hartford. This is a very scenic road and today was no different. I point out that each bridge was designed individually by the architect. The sun is darting in and out flashing bits of light on the road and tree tops as it was setting on the horizon. As I looked in the rear view mirror, I could see the sky with a deep blue hue, streaked with purples and yellows as the sun reflecting of the bottoms of the clouds. The sun was illuminating the the tops of the trees as if they were electrified in glows of bright oranges, yellows and reds from the autumn turn. I reached for the camera to capture this surreal moment. By the time I get the camera out, charged up and pointed, I missed the photo op and that scene will just have to be one window to a memory. I placed the camera back in the tag bag and throttled up for home.

It has been a great day of riding, lunch with friends, cature of treasures and WM's and of course the company of MeAsWe. Oh we pulled in around 8:45, not really that far off 6pm, well at least in my book

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Russian Girls POTD

I maintain my pictures at Webshots. A couple months back my mailbox had a couple of entries about me having a guestbook entry on one of my photo. Opening the email the entry says People are talking about your photo, with the personal entry saying “You’re so cool” Nikita.

I kinda of turn my head to the right and partially close the left eye and say Huh. I click the photo that is embodied in the email , voilà, there’s Nikita. A young Russian girl from the Ukraine, back arched, dressed (well partially) in a black bra and panties, just waiting for me to contact her. WOW I am impressed. This girl took the time to look at my photos and wants to make contact with me. This is what she wrote

Well… let me tell about myself. I am Nikita from far far Russia. I like my country, but I am looking for my soul mate abroad. Do you think my dream will come true one day? Write me

Meanwhile back at the email box, it's filling up with entries from Nikita. She is attaching messages about how cool I am to every photo. It dawned on me, like the guy on TV that enjoyed getting viruses and spam because he was lonely. AHHHHH its SPAM SPAM SPAM at Webshots. Geez these guys will attack anything, anyplace, anytime.

Then came Anya, Catia, and Sasha. My mailbox had all this CRAP in it. I finally figured out how to disable these lovely notes in Webshots. To think I pay for Webshots and this is what I get. You would think CNET who owns Webshots could figure out how to stop this stuff.

Fast forward to this week. I hadn’t heard from Nikita and her friends for months, but low and behold I had multiple eMails saying someone is looking at my photos again. The first one was congratulating me on something. The only way to disable this stuff is to click the photo, view the person, and disable them from your account. I was ready to click away, belieeevvvve me. (of course it won't hurt to view the person just once)

When I get to the photo, I notice there are multiple people commenting on this one photo. Odd, how did the bots choose the same photo and they happen to select one of my favorite recent shots, one I had submitted for the NER calendar.

Back to the eMail and I read the body of the email again. I read the next one, which is congratulating me on POTD, the next one has similar congratulatory language. Hmmmm

I finally figure out what is going on. Somehow my picture out of thousands upon thousands was selected for Photo of the Day and these people were just sending me notes thanking me for such a nice photo

Click photo for full size

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Teaching the Son a trick or two Uh Huh ! Yeah Right !

Now that I have the FJR and still have the Connie, Sky can join us on some of our journeys. He made one earlier this summer on the Rebel 250, but he had to be feeling the pain of the ride. He handled the trek like a trooper, but at times the Rebel just couldn’t keep up and 300+ miles on a Rebel just can’t be comfortable.

I have to ride to Brockton to get my free inspection sticker and figured this would be a good introduction between Sky and the Connie. Mainly slab with some city traffic. I was quite impressed with Sky’s awareness of the environment around him on our previous ride, so I wasn’t concerned with his in traffic skills.

I have always had this internal debate going inside me of whether or not promoting riding to an 18 year old is a good thing. Am I giving him a loaded gun and then get to watch him play Russian roulette like the move from Deer Hunter. Brrrrrrr enough of the bad vibes.

I call Sky and ask him if he wants to go and take the Connie. He has not seen the FJR yet. I pick him up and tell him we are going to head to a parking lot, so he could get used to the Connie. I tell him the Connie is much more powerful, brakes much stronger, the bike is a lot heavier and he needs some practice before we hit the road.

I get the Connie started and point it toward the street. I tell him we are just going down the block and to hop on the bike and we will ride there together. He says, “Dad trust me”. To which I reply “I do trust you, but I would prefer that we just do it my way” Again a plea for trusting him (I really think he thinks his package will disappear if he is found on the back of the bike), against my better judgment, I acquiesce.

Sky pulls out onto the street and dutiful follows me to the church parking lot. I pull in and he follows right behind me.

Sky then proceeds to literally run circles around me like an Indian in an old western, tightening the circle with each revolution. To say the least I am very impressed with his slow speed maneuvers. I finally get him to stop and I say, “OK OK I am impressed. By the way be careful of the tip-over bars on the Connie. Your lean angel is so steep you are very close to hitting the tip-overs, which will take you down faster than you can spit.”

I then say, and I can say with that fatherly pride, “You just might be able to outdo me on riding skills. Very nice !!"

Couple the long trip Sky took with us on the Rebel and the skill he showed me today, I no longer have a fear of him being able to ride the Connie. However, I will continue to worry about him overextending the limits of the bike or himself or both.

Sky don't ride faster than your angels can fly !!

As an ancedote to the story, later in the day as we were getting ready to leave Brockton Cycle, Sky hopped on the Connie began a sharp turn and I saw it in his eyes. The bike rather than making the turn he expected continued to head for the ground. Yes he had a tip-over as I watched him step away from the bike in bewilderment of what happened. I also got to witness first hand just how effective the tip-over bars worked. Not one piece of plastic, front or rear, ever touched the ground, with the 2 loops of metal that so uglyily protruding from the sides of the Connie, kept the the bike looking like it was just moments before. Sky emerged with maybe a bruised ego, but physically unmarred.

I simply tuned to Sky and said, "I take back everything I said this morning", with a sympathetic smile on my face [it was borderline smirking, since he showed me up earlier in the day]. We had lunch about a 1/2 hour later and over chili, we talked about the incident. While I believe he had respect for the Connie and bikes in general, that simple incident firmly planted in his mind that one must be acutely aware that this hobby can be inherently dangerous.

Let Me Introduce Myself - I am a Ride of Speed and Agility

The Nomad has transformed itself into a new being. Meet FJR1300A

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Execution Exhilaration End Game– Ready Aim Fire

The Ready Part
It’s Wednesday, September 16th, the day I am going to unload my bargaining powers on Brockton Cycle. The night before I stopped at Giff’s garage and we talked about trading stuff in, since he does sell bikes and cars for a living and he might lend some inside perspective. Now Giff is a really nice person and didn’t want to put some H2O on my flames. I finally said to him why would a dealer want to trade a bike that had 10K on it for one that had 48K and was a dime a dozen (Read the Nomad is Cruiser) for a niche bike like the FJR. He just smiled, nodded his head, and said “My thoughts exactly” or something along those lines.

My objective in this excursion was to take an asset that is perfectly good, but I am no longer using and turn it into an asset that I might use or might be more saleable sometime in the future. With this in mind I made some adjustments as to the value of this and that, mainly getting off the point of comparing High Retail for the Nomad to Low Trade-In for the FJR and gave up my rosy outlook on this deal into the Whiter Shade of Pale of reality.

Up bright an early, put on my Draggin Jeans (Cruiser style gear), T-Shirt (used my National Park one, didn’t think Performance Cycle would be appropriate) and donned my mesh jacket and helmet, walked out the door. The Nomad, as usual, started right up. I saddled up, lifting the bike of the stand (Geez this puppy is heavy), pulled in the clutch, shifted to first with a thunk, revved up the engine, partial release of the clutch and moved off the sidewalk heading for Brockton, MA.

Made my way to 495 and hit the highway. The morning traffic is gone and I have the slab all to myself. Find myself cruising about 75. Hit Rt24 head north and then off at Rt106 and then left onto Rt28. Moving along much to fast for the speed limit and there is a LEO on the right just before I hit Brockton Cycle. Damn damn damn. Watch the rear view mirrors and don’t see a car pulling out, no flashing lights, and no one tracking me down. Phew, I would have been pissed if I got pulled over and got a performance certificate, but it sure would have made the Nomad’s Last Ride memorable.

Pulled into BC and walked in the show room. Toni, the sales guy, recognized me and we sat down to talk about the FJR. I told him I was here to buy the bike and wanted to go home with it today. I told him my Nomad was outside and I would be trading it in. We go over the price of the FJR. Now the tag on the bike does not include the Dealer Prep charge of 299 and the Doc Fee of 149. So I say then the asking price of the FJR is 448 higher. He nods in agreement. Toni then asks me what I want for my bike. I say, “I really don’t want to that game. If you want to charge me 31,000 for the FJR that just means you are going to give me more for the Nomad. From here on when we talk about price we will talk about you selling me the FJR for the Nomad and some cash which includes everything. That work for you?”

The opening salvo of negotiation is over and we move to Stage Deux. With that said, Toni asks me what I want. I open up with a low ball bid, to get him to make a move to see what is in his head. During the bantering I ask him you will let me take the bike for a spin just to make sure the ergonomics of the FJR are not really off for me. He said they can accommodate that. Toni leaves the table to go do what ever sales people go to do and this really good looking young girl comes into vision and she is wearing a really tight fitting T and jeans. What young guy could refuse to buy anything from her was going thru my head. Thank God I am not a young guy and can control my senses. At least I got something to look at while Toni does his sales thing.

Toni comes out and they have accepted my offer, matter of fact the price is $3.00 less than I offered. I said you are going to give me back $3? Yup was the response. I said we got a deal!!. My heart is beating at this point, my brain is spinning, the good looking girl has no consequence anymore. This is waaaaaay to easy. Now I start wondering what’s wrong with the FJR. Toni gets up and goes back to that salesmen’s secret spot.

About 5 minutes later Toni and another guy come over to the table. Brett is the Sales Manager and I just thought he was there to congratulate me on the purchase. I really didn’t think that and knew something was up. Brett opens “I think we may have misled you on the price. We thought you were going to finance the bike”. I said, “Isn’t cash just as good, but if it makes a difference I can finance too” Brett then goes onto explain their offer was my bike, plus the cash I offered, plus the price Toni conveyed as the total purchase price. I confirmed what they are saying and they agree. I knew what Toni accepted was too good to be true and at least this does away with there being a major defect with the FJR.

At this point I ask them for the manual to the bike, which they can not find. I wanted to see what the maintenance schedule for the bike is, to use this info as part of the negotiations. Free maintenance items can be an easy give me since the sales department doesn’t have to pay for it, and pass the cost onto the Service Dept, which is not involved in the deal. With me sitting and Brett and Toni standing, I make a counter offer, which is more reasonable plus I wanted the 2 year YES warranty (Yamaha Extended Warranty). They make one more counter and say we can do the price, but have to charge you our cost on the warranty plus $100. I ask for the price of the warranty. Toni leaves at this point to get the BOOK. Upon his return, he points out the price as 640. I say so you want 740, he nods. I point out to him he is looking at the Retail Price page and turn the page in the book to one that I find that says Dealers Cost. This one says 340, so I say we are talking 440, right? Both Toni and Brett agree. I sit silent for a moment. What is going thru my mind is not so much the price, but whether I want to carry the Nomad over the winter and try to sell next spring or just get this done now. The answer is GIT ER DUN.

We have a verbal agreement. I say I do get to test ride it before I make a final commitment. Toni says I will go get it ready for the ride. The bike is outside ready for me to ride. I throw a leg over and immediately experience that this bike is much taller than I remember. The very end of the balls of my feet are touching. I don’t remember this a week and half ago. I start the bike and it has this low purrrrring sound, very throaty and it sounds great. Clutch in, gear engaged, throttle up, release and we are on our way. Pull up to the RT28 which is a fairly busy road and come to a complete stop and then some. I almost go down as the bike starts to dip to the right in a full downward arc. Somehow I keep the bike up and become very leery of my lack of height and the FJ’s not so lack of height. One more time and we are out on Rt28. Quick run thru the gears to 3rd, nice tranny. Couple of push and pulls of the bars to initiate counter steering, responsive, but not overly active. Power OH YEAH you can tell it is there. Hand and arm position is what strikes me the most. It is very very comfortable and maybe more so than the Connie. Street coming up, back off the throttle, lean into the corner, throttle up…DRIVETRAIN LASH. Wow this thing is lashy and catches me somewhat by surprise. I don’t like this. I am now off on some side streets and I don’t want to get to deep into Brockton or I will be lost so I pull over with a bit of trepidation because of my near fall over at the start. Slow, feet down, stop. This is much better but still than the start, but still taller than what I remember. Head for the store but I make a stop first

Pull into Bank of America and head for the counter. I need to withdraw cash for the deal. Swipe card, sign the slip and the teller begins counting out the cash in $100 bills. I ask does a cashier check cost me anything. She looks at my account and says no cost to you. I get a cashier check for the amount of the purchase.

On the bike again, cross over RT28 and into BC lot. KSD, dismount and head in to finish up the deal. Toni asks me if I want some water. I turn him down. Brett shows up and says Bill the clutch on the Nomad needs to be replaced and it is gonna cost $700. And I give him that look of YOUR POINT but remain silent and then say no it doesn’t. What did you do, take it out for a ride get up to 40mph in 5th and twist the throttle and think it was slipping. Brett says, Exactly!!. I said that is not the clutch, but a known item with the Nomads clutch spring plate. He says we could split the cost of the clutch say 350. I said I am the customer and I am supposed to be doing the GRINDING not the other way around. I mention it would have been nice to have discussed this before the test ride. Brett indicates the offer was subject to the trade in evaluation and really apologizes for springing this. I go blank. I remain silent; I roll my head back and face my eyes toward the ceiling. Do I walk, do I fold my hand. I am really not thinking of anything at this point. I am not mad, I am still in control, I have no emotion at this point. I am not in love with this bike, it is just another bike. I don’t need it, the Connie is perfectly fine. The thought of carrying the Nomad thru the winter and trying to sell it next spring clearly is occupying my thoughts. The economy is not going to improve; disposable income is not going to be anymore for a buyer next March as it is now. The bike will be 1 year older. While the clutch is not a problem, someone that tests rides the bike, will come to the same conclusion as BC and either walk or grind me away. This is what I am thinking.


I say, "do I at least get a free T Shirt" Toni says, " what color do you want green or blue".


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Epiphanies – Grand Schemes – Preparation ~ Lock and Load

Mosquito bites have a way of swelling up and this one was no different. As I was thinking about the FJR, it dawned on me I have a Kawasaki Nomad sitting outside that has been for sale since April. I have gotten calls and some people appeared excited by the prospect but as soon as I mentioned the bike has 48,600 miles on it, you would think it had AIDES or some venereal disease. The phone would go silent and then they would say, well I have a few more calls to make and I will get back to you. Over and Over and Over again.

The EPHINANY –I could trade the Nomad in on the FJR. Simple enough. The Nomad plus a little cash and Brockton Cycle would be happy, I would be happy, but I doubt this would have little effect on Middle East peace, or the war on terrorism. These will have to be solved at another time. I got some research to do

The GRAND SCHEME – Quick check to NADA and KBB (Kelly Blue Book) makes trading for my Nomad for the FJR very feasible. Quick search on the internet about FJR’s and I sign up on the FJRForum, start researching tip over bars, how to mount a Streetpilot GPS to the bike.

Now I am getting excited.

One problem, I have to ride the Nomad down there and a couple of weeks ago the battery died. I have to push the Nomad back to where I live from the Getty station. So I don’t run into problems I start researching where to purchase a battery from. Wow, batteries aren’t cheap, this sucker gonna cost a hundo (HD term for $100).

OK with paper in hand using the High Retail on the Nomad and the low trade-in value on the FJR, Brockton Cycle is going to owe me money. Quick call to my friend Steve to see what is a reasonable method for calculating high mileage deduction, since it is not spelled out on the NADA / KBB. He says $.10/mile. Ouch. The Nomad for the year and CC’s is supposed to have 25K and it has 48.6K, quick math $2,300 mileage deduction.

The plan is to get a battery by Friday, put it in the Nomad and head to Brockton Cycle on Saturday the 12th.

PREPARATION – It’s Saturday the 12th, it is pouring out and I don’t have the battery. I am feeling a tad guilty about not going to Stowe for the NER Birthday Bash, but I do have this riding malaise thing going on.
Left the house about 9am heading for Auburn to the Interstate Battery store on RT 20. They have an exact much, however it needs to be energized (put the acid in it) and charge it up. Head to Upton to the garage to see if my battery tender will be go to go for a slow charge on the battery. Mark, John and Steve are there heading for the Rose Garden. I got time for one beer.

I left the Rose Garden about 3 hours later and still have the battery in the box. Home to N Uxbridge. Bring the battery up, take the battery out, read the instructions like 5 times, once in each of the languages (struggled with the Japanese ones, since I don’t know the symbols). Get the juice emptied into the battery (they actually make this very easy and minimize the chance of spilling the acid all over the place), wait the predefined 20 minutes for it to flow from tubes to the battery, and take the battery into the hall, hook up the battery tender, plug it in and go watch a movie

The next morning I wake to see the light on the battery tender has gone from yellow to green. Get out my meter, read the instructions on how to test, test it, PERFECT.

Downstairs with the battery and put it in the Nomad. Goes in like a charm. Get all the connections hooked up, turn the key on, WrrrBRRRRRR (the fuel pump winding up) and press the start, WrrrrWrrrrW rrr PudataPudataPudata, SUCCESS.

Brockton Cycle is closed on Sunday and Monday, I have a training meeting in Chicopee Tuesday, so Wednesday I will take the day off to perform EXECUTION.