Here are two numbers that really didn't surprise me: 540; and 36,400.
What are they? Well, I wanted to find an appropriate image for the topic of drama (i.e. Drama King or Queen) and tried Google Image search with the search string "sick of drama." The search yielded 540 images (plus or minus of course.) Then out of some morbid psychologically based statistical curiosity, I performed a web search... 36,400
Yes, I am single, divorced actually, and have little interest in searching out dates or flings or one night stands. That notwithstanding, I am a member of a biker oriented dating site, probably due to this same sort of curiosity. Over and over again, the words "no drama" or "tired of drama" or some mutation of that sentiment was associated with peoples' profiles.
Just for grins, here are a few comments from my motorcycling brain about drama...
Bikers would rather talk about compression ratios or handlebars or tire brands than listen to someone complain about how a ruined relationship 10 years ago causes them to sneeze every time they think about kissing.
A flat tire does not require a 45 minute dissertation on the choice of brands, tread pattern, or how good (or bad) a previous sex partner was.
It is irritating to other riders when someone in a riding group is trying to complain about their last girlfriend or boyfriend and their penchant for long tube socks, while riding at 75 miles per hour.
If we are camping and I say that I am going to go out and cut some wood, that is what I mean. It is NOT a euphemism for me going down to the single guy's/girl's tents and... ya...
A new set of rubber, means TIRES!
Male bikers discussing headlights, may indeed be discussing headlights!
And conversely, female bikers discussing bore and stroke are likely talking about pistons and cylinders!
If you don't like the way I am riding, then get off and find somebody else to ride with.
Just some idle thoughts from an idle motorcyclist on an idle Saturday night.
Here is the short part of the long part of the story. With the help of a factory manual, some persistence, patience, ingenuity and the folks at www.rebel250.com , my little Honda Rebel is running well again!
Mobile!!! I am Mobile on two wheels again!
And now, here is the long part of the short part of the story. While my bike sat immobile in my backyard, waiting for warmer weather, my mind wandered.
Did I push her too hard?
Can she fulfill my riding desires?
Was I simply lucky on my last trip that she did not suffer any major mechanical issues?
Over and over like an infinite recursive loop in the background, these thoughts ruminated and perked. More than once, "trade her in and get a Versys or SV650 or maybe a Sportster," went through my consciousness. It became not an idle concept after a while. The fact existed that she will always be a bike that had been repaired by an amateur with little or no experience in the science and art of motorcycle repair. And, not just any repair.
Oh, if it were that simple of a repair. By the time her engine was ready to reassemble, the saddle, tank, carb, battery, engine head, cam assembley, exhaust system, cylinders and other assorted items were neatly wrapped in well labeled bags or boxes, in an odd semblance of order under the patio roof. The most complex mechanical operation my fingers have taken part in since high school was a fuel injector replacement in my pickup last year.
Following the manual and help from other Rebel riders, she is now back together and running wonderfully again.
So, with a day off work, we ride around a bit, enjoying the sites and sounds and tactile input that only two wheel travel can provide. Off to the right, while riding South on Boulder Highway is the Ride Now Powersports dealership where she was purchased. I downshift and we pull into the parking lot.
About eight months ago I lusted after a Kawasaki Versys; even filled out the credit application and tried to trade my Rebel in for this odd, somewhat difficult to describe motorcycle. If you look back in my blog, I even discuss it.
Walking into the dealership today was more a fact finding function than an active search for another motorcycle. My Rebel is now purring along and my VX800 project will likely be consuming any spare time and money I have. No... No new motorcycles for me today.
I am there for information. Where do they take the old bikes they take for trade that cannot be resold? I am just curious. Who knows. Maybe with that information I might be able to turn up some pieces and parts for Vixen.
I start chatting with a sales person about the VX800 and how I am curious about their 'junk' bike disposal. Just when I am getting some information, one of the sales managers walk by, shakes my hand and promptly asks, "Did you see the user Versys we have?"
I thought, 'Nope, can't see that red Kawasaki resting there right behind you,' but I simply say, "Oh yes. Not interested in one right now."
"Well, how much do you owe on that Rebel? Just give me your Social Security Number and I will go back and see if we can make a deal."
I decline and he walks off with the intention of 'getting some numbers together.' Not interested at all, but if he wants to go run some numbers or watch motorcycle porn on his computer... whatever.
The sales person starts calling some other dealerships to see if they might have any old VX800s littering their garages. Roughly 10 minutes later the other fellow returns with a smile. "I have a great deal for you. I can get you on that Versys for only $6,500. We will take the Rebel in trade and roll it all into the loan."
I was getting ticked off. "I am really not interested right now. Maybe in the Summer."
"Well, if you would give me your Social Security Number, I will look at your little Rebel, get a payoff amount and move you on up to a bigger and better bike."
Stress was building... "I just spent a month repairing someone elses' screw-up on my bike. I am good with it right now."
"Well, I can get you on that Versys and it is in great shape! There is nothing wrong with that bike."
This is where the unexpected happened. Something just snapped. "Look, someone here or at the factory over-torqued one of the low torque head bolts and it pulled out of the engine case while in Kansas. I get it back here and Honda will not touch it for warranty service. SO, I spent a month tearing apart that engine, putting it back together and tuning it. Prior to that we spent three weeks together traveling to North Carolina and back. 5800 miles! I am not going to trade her anytime soon, if at all. Period!"
Ever the sales person, "Well, if you do change your mind, let us know, OK?"
He walks away and the sales person tells me that by some rare chance a VX800 shows up he will give me a call. I am not holding my breath.
My reaction still seems suprising. This attachment to a motorcycle, and the emotional response generated at the somewhat pressured prompting to trade her in for a different bike still suprises me.
A person I met on the ADVRider forum enjoys long trips on her motorcycle. Her situation is somewhat enviable from a rider's perspective. Every two years or so, she can build up nearly three months of vacation. Three months to ride her motorcycle where she pleases.
She does work hard for this opportunity. Works her ass off, actually.
Alas, not everyone has the opportunity to take three months off for a ride and still have a job. Personally, my limit is three weeks, and that is a rare maximum, granted to very few where I work. As a matter of fact, I am unsure the opportunity will be there again. If not, there will be no tears. The opportunity to do it once was fantastic.
So, where to? Assuming a maximum of two weeks with a slim opportunity for three, what direction should I point my motorcycle this summer? Some of my friends have mentioned the East Coast again, some suggest riding some West Coast highways. Texas maybe? Spend a couple weeks riding around Colorado and Montana? Maybe back to the Midwest.
A motorcycle rider's version of "Cabin Fever" seems to have taken over my winterized brain. Two motorcycles in different states of repair or disrepair (as the case may be) and the temperatures warming up is indeed difficult to bear.
Just as a short note about my little project motorcycle. Yes, I bought what was left of a rather uncommon motorcycle, a 1991 Suzuki VX800. (my original post) It was a motorcycle that was a bit ahead of its time and was only sold in the United States for three years. Other parts of the world were more accepting of the concept this motorcycle put forth. It sold for nearly nine years in Europe and Australia.
She is a hybrid of a Cruiser (V-Twin Engine); Sport Bike (Styling and performance); Standard (Seating position) and Touring Bike (Range and highway riding performance). On many websites it is classified as a Standard/Sport, Sport/Touring or Naked Sport.
To me, she just looks sweet, even if she is in a poor state of repair. For those inclined, browse over to my Project Vixen blog. Updates there as necessary. I think it needs more pictures...
For three days, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, after a bit of confusion, I kicked back and relaxed my sore back. CL, if you ever read this, a million thanks to you, your beautiful boys and your boyfriend for the hospitality and the down-time. It was very much appreciated!
So, Saturday Night I was invited to "Girl's Night". This little event is usually a little loud and hosted on a rotating basis by people that work with my friend. She promised that there would be a very nice, single woman there to give me a back rub.
Well... As luck would have it, most of the people that are usually at these events were participating in a wedding, and as such, were not at "Girl's Night". What did that mean to me? No single women and no back rub. :-)
Friday. Without a doubt, this was the most beautiful riding day of them all. I can see why there are many motorcycle riders on the East Coast of the US. Even on the superslabs, the scenery is wonderful!
The camera was still causing me all sorts of grief. But, on the bright side, I confirmed that my paycheck was deposited so when the opportunity presents itself, acquiring a new camera will not cause financial hardship.
Here are the few pictures that were retrievable from my camera. They were taken at a scenic area in Ohio or West Virginia. As is typical, the camera does not do justice to the spectacular colors and textures. I arrive at my friend's house at nearly 10 PM. I really dislike riding at night. It's the visual stimulus; the feedback; the input.
North Carolina roads are fun... during the daylight. At night when I don't know where my destination is, in traffic, the roads are twisty and just a little unpredictable. I am not good enough yet to trust what I need.
Maybe that is something I need to do; learn to trust what I need.
This was a long ride. New Castle, Indiana to Burlington, North Carolina. And, it was a beautiful one. Leaving Indiana there was a wonderful scent of pine and strawberries. Wonderful.
Ohio had the most friendly riders.
West Virginia, Virginia mountains were breath taking.
With out a doubt, Winston-Salem has the worst traffic anywhere!
Yes, I will finish this ride report. There is a Vixen in my life now that needs a little TLC and I have offered it to her. She has quietly accepted. I must admit there is something obsessive about this relationship. The calls, the e-mails the late nights, the early mornings, the waiting for lunch time to make a call. Sitting through meetings thinking of her. Driving, and thinking of her.
So, you may be saying something like, "Who is this other person?" or "NO, Don't get wrapped up in a difficult relationship!" or "Man, I am never going to date you, Mr. Obsessive!"
Well, here is a picture... This isn't my Vixen but it is the same model. A 1991 Suzuki VX800. Mine is, shall we say, temporarily inoperative.