09 April 2017

Trying To Be Safe

At some point a few years back my love of bein' up on two wheels rubbed off on my son.
He changed jobs, and found himself driving from Casa Grande, AZ into Phoenix daily.
After he got his motorcycle license, to help him save gas and money I gave him my old BMW R80RT. One of the reasons I gave him this old, reliable motorcycle was my hope that he'd learn minimal tinkering on the machine-
Change/check oil. Keep sparkplugs clean. Gap the points now and then. Keep an eye on the tires.He's never had any curiosity about how machines other than computers work, and it was my hope he'd learn from this grand old bike.

His relationship with the old Boxer didn't go well.
After a particularly harrowing breakdown on I-10 on a 115 degree day I decided he needed newer, less "needs tinkering" equipment. I loaded my Suzuki SV650 up, drove to PHX, and traded him for the BMW.
Electronic ignition. Disc brakes front and rear. Nothin' much to tinker with except checking/changing the oil and the chain, which I showed him how to keep adjusted and lubricated.

He had the Suzuki a year when we returned to visit him. I took the bike for a spin around the block and found the chain in such bad shape I feared it would break, jam itself against the engine case, and spit me off like a buckin' bronco.
Chains are better today than they've ever been, but under extreme conditions they're still not foolproof.
We sold the Suzuki.
He needed something "chain-less".

I had been looking at adventure bikes.
The BMW GS1200 was getting raves from all the experts. But WOW, at $20,000+ optioned the way I wanted it, a new (no tinkering necessary) one was economically impossible. I started watching for a used one at the local AZ BMW dealership.
A salesman there quizzed me about what I wanted and how the bike would be used.
"Have you considered the Yamaha Super Tenere?"
This was in January. He'd had one sitting on the showroom a few months and wanted to move it.
This one was the "E" model with all the bells and whistles:
Side (hard) bags. Top case. ABS brakes. Traction control. Cruise control. Electronic ignition.
He made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
Did I mention this bike also had a drive shaft instead of a chain?

I've always been leery of the first few miles on a new motorcycle
I was INSTANTLY comfortable on this machine.
Thankfully, so was my son.

He got tired of being gouged by the dealer when he took the bike to them for routine checkups.
"Dad, will you show me how to change the oil and filter?"
I bought the filter from Amazon. The motorcycle specific oil (to protect the wet clutch) was purchased at Autozone. YouTube was a comfort showing us there was not one but TWO places to drain the oil on this bike.
I pointed while he did the work. When the job was done his comment was-
"Is that all there is to that?!!"
He'd been paying the Yamaha dealership over $300 to do the routine checkup.

In my old age I'm getting lazy.
I like all the bells and whistles.
And I REALLY like a machine without a chain.
It's so easy these days to buy something with either a belt or shaft drive.

It's enough of a worry just thinking about my boy driving in Phoenix's rush hour traffic.
Giving him the safest bike possible reduces his parents' worry level.


05 April 2017

Destin, 2016-'17

I'll pack the scooter in the truck, then stuff every nook and cranny around it Sunday. Yes, I'm worried it will all fit... we've been here since October, and in the three trips we've made to our real home we have brought more "stuff" down to make life better here.
Thank God for an extedend cab truck and heavy duty garbage bags! We've learned to double-bag weather threatened stuff going into the bed, and wrap duct tape around those to keep wind from fatiguing the plastic... that works fine for our drive home.

We've had a pretty extraordinary Winter; our fourth spent at least partially in Destin.
Less rain here than in previous years, of course we watch the weather at home and compare what we're experiencing with what our neighbors are "suffering" through.
Weather back home has also been mild... we've been about 10 degrees warmer most of the time in Destin. Several times we've wondered if the premium cost has been worth it, then thought about eating fish caught in the ocean yesterday...
Yes, it's been worth it!

Forty+ trees on our property back North... inevitably it takes us several days to straighten up our yard there. Thank God there's no burn ban where we live. We just drag branches back by the pond and light 'em up. It's a good excuse to get reacquainted with neighbors with weiners, marshmallows, and beer when the bed of coals settle down.

The world is a mess.
But our little corner of it looks pretty good.
It's my hope you ALSO can look around at what's happening in your life, and
SMILE.