And I must say, I am not displeased to see this year end. It was a turbulent year in my life, full of ups and downs; highs and lows. But it certainly ended on a high-note.
This weekend, the last of the year, I attended a session of the Basic Rider Course, put on by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the College of Southern Nevada. The two instructors, Larry Loyd and Rod Hahn were great. They taught the basics in a way that was gentle to the riding noob, while emphasizing the importance of doing things right. Bad judgment and lack of skill for a particular situation can be deadly, especially in turns and traffic.
Riding in the early morning Las Vegas air was chilly. Saturday and Sunday both started in the mid 30's. After moving around a bit on the bike, the coldness just seemed to fade away.
Saturday riding was fun. I discovered that I REALY liked the weaving exercises. REALLY! I was weaving in & out like nobody's business! Third gear seemed like it would be fun, but that might have been too much...
Sunday morning was more range and practice time. Fast swerving around an obstacle. Oh my. I can swerve without thinking on my Rebel, but here on this little Nighthawk, my brain just seemed to cramp up. Then there were other things that started to tick me off. The bike would skip into neutral on it's own some times. I would forget the kill switch when starting. I only turned the fuel valve partially on once. I was overly heavy on the rear brake and not heavy enough on the front brake.
I was frustrated. All of the exercises I completed were ok after a few runs, but things simply were not clicking like Saturday.
Practice over. Break time. Larry and Rod briefed us on the practice; we were doing well and about two hours ahead of schedule. While we went to the restrooms, smoked, whatever, they would set up the range for the skills test. I was first in line.
Test one – The figure-eight-in-a-box. Previously I had dropped my foot twice out of about six practice runs. I was a little nervous. What the hell. I go for it. NOT a problem. No dropped feet or bike; no wheels over the line. YEA!
Next was the avoidance swerve. After practicing the thing about two dozen times that morning, I aced it.
Third test was the fast stop. Lost three points for not stopping soon enough. Analysis: On my Rebel, the front brakes are quite strong. It doesn't take much front to stop it. So on the Nighthawk I had for the test, the front was a little weak and the rear grabby. So, I skidded the rear. Oh well. That's just three points.
Next was the 130 degree turn. It was timed. Aced that puppy, but then again, I like the curves! Even ground the foot pegs on the Nighthawk a couple of times in practice!
So, in my pocket is a little piece of paper that instructs the DMV to give me a license with a motorcycle endorsement! That is one helluva way to finish off 2007!!!