Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Very Neat Phone Call

Today I got a call from MINI / BMW asking me if I am enjoying my MINI and if I had any questions. This blew me away. They are taking the purchase of a simple commodity called a car and turning it into a memorable EXPERIENCE.

I did have a fiew questions, one was when did they start doing this and he said beginning of the year. I then asked a really dumb question, whether he was MINI or another company. Of course he said MINI, what else would he say.

I then asked him a technical question about the radio, which he did provide an answer. Not sure if it is the right answer, but it was an answer and satified me.

I usually don't succumb to such marketing ploys, but heck, I am getting older, maybe softer too. It sure made an impression on me and for now I am sold on MINIs.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Turn Turn Turn Tip Tip Tip Over Over Over

I have been remiss staying up on  my blogging. The weather has turned from winter to a cold spring and I have not felt compelled to get out on the FJR. This year our planned travels are drastically cut back. For the last 5 years+ I have had a National Park Tour on the docket and a bunch of grand tours in the works. We probably have done our last NPT for the IBA and I have scaled back the Grand Tours to one right now. I have signed up for the GLMC Z to Atour, which is finding towns beginning in Z or ending in A.  In New England there is not an abundance of these towns so I don’t feel like I need to get out there right away and start pulling down these towns. Plus I am having fun with the MINI and the camera.  

I did get the oil changed in the FJR and ordered a new riding suit from Motorcycle Superstore. I got a one piece suit so I don’t have to keep pulling up my pants. Probably much more reliable in a get off as well. Speaking of getoffs, the day I finished changing the oil, I decided to take a ride over to Giff’s to make sure the bike was not leaking and to test my new riding suit. Giff’s is located in back of a very busy gas station that always has the cheapest gas prices in the surrounding area, so the people line the street to save .03 a gallon. Over a years time the average person probably saves about $30, but will blow hundreds of dollars on some frivolous thing like scratch tickets. Do the math 15,000 miles per year divided by 15 miles per gallon (and this is on the low side) = 1,000 gallons used times 3 cents per gallon = $30.00. I am just a guilty as blowing money on frivolous things, such as riding around on the motorcycle all over the country taking pictures and gathering little round stamps in a book. Believe me this cost more than a couple of hundred dollars per year. So I am not criticizing the blowing of the money, it just does not make sense to stand in line for gas at this kind of savings per year.

Any ways I digress, so at this busy station there are always the cars lined up. In addition to the maniacal people frothing over the 3 cents, the entrance makes a rising right hand turn off the street  to get to the back of the lot. I am executing this maneuver perfecting (in the nice weather this is almost a weekly visit on the FJR, so it is not unfamiliar territory to me) when the last car waiting to get to the pumps starts backing up. I hit the brake and the car stops, indicating to MEEEEEEEEEE that I could proceed. Off the break, abit more gas and the car starts backing up again. At this point I have the steering head cocked for the right turn, giving a slight bit of throttle to make it up the ramp and I am forced and instinctively hit the front break.  

Fast forward all of 2 seconds and I am standing next to my beautiful FJR lying on its side. The woman in her late 30’s maybe early 40’s gets out of her car and says are you all right. I simply say “What were you thinking”. Her reply was “I needed to straighten out a bit so I was properly aligned to save the 3 cents a gallon because we can’t get gas this cheap in New York.”  

Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration on what she said, but she was from New York, the age was spot on and she did mention about straightening up her car. I then asked her again, because I was not really satisfied with the first answer, “What were you thinking?” To which she replied, “I did not see you”. Realizing this was probably the right answer and the most honest, I said to her, “ I am going over there to ask for help to lift the bike up and I will be back to get your information in case there is any damage.”. She immediately replied, “I didn’t hit you”. I gave her one of those looks with the tilted head and half closed eye look with a bit of sneer. You know the look

It took me all of 45 seconds to get some help and she was gone. Yup she felt the value of the 3 cents of savings exceeded the cost of what was going to happen next.  

Right after this the ambulance and police showed up. Someone had seen what happened and called them on our behalf.  

While this was not the first ride of the season, it certainly was almost the first ride. If this is this season's get off,

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meals, Minis and Maniacs

Today I left work early to pick up MeAsWe and head for Wild Willy's in Watertown, MA. There is a RTE for MINI owners, the first of the season. I caught wind of this off one of MINI boards and having just about finished up the annual audit, I felt I deserved some fun time.

Back in the day (I hear lot of people saying that these days) when I owned a BMW 2002, it was very common when we passed another one we would flash our high beams. I have tried this ever since getting the MINI (after all it is owned by BMW) and today was the first time someone acknowledged the gesture with a wave. Woo Hoo !

On the way in I caught some folks on the roads with similar interests. I decide to have some fun with the 5100. I do this all the time on the FJR, why not in the MINI.

We are almost at Wild Willy's Burgers at this point and thought this just might be another RTE'r

The group is meeting up someplace in Boston and running Storrow Drive like the Italian Job to WW's. We arrived early and decided to eat before everyone arrived.

The Choices

The Payment

The Preparation

The Wait

While the wait wasn't that long I forgot to take pictures of the food porn. It was good. MeAsWe (Crystal) selected the hamburger, I choose the more calorie conscience item. So I got 2 of them. I still can't figure out how they got the grass in them.

Then the Many MINI Maniacs started showing up.

We all went inside, the rest of the folks ordered dinner, MeAsWe and Me sat and talked.

Couple of observations
MINI owners are a lot like us riders. They talk about going thru the turns, doing the Dragon, lifting a wheel off the ground and about the things they have added to their vehicles. They are passionate about the MINI and feel a bond with other MINI owners.

They were very much younger than MeAsWe and Me. I bet they were thinking, wow those guys were pretty damn old. However, never once did I, nor did MeAsWe, ever feel out of place.

We talk about kids today how impolite, don't respect their follow person, live in a virtual world, can't communicate, have no direction, etc etc. Nothing could be further from the truth with these guys. Of course back in the day, you couldn't trust anyone over 30. The folks over 30 called me and my longhaired commie pinko hippies and we  were ruining the country. Different singer, same song, some things will never change.

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

Some Greek guy had those words to say.

So couple more pictures and we headed home. Both of us had a great time. We will be back.