Monday, September 28, 2009

Hard Headed Me Does Something New

I've always been pretty hard headed and motorcycling has not been any different. I've always ridden standard bikes, upright seating, lots of plastic and very little chrome. The seating position kept my feet under me and my arms close to my sides. Sitting on a cruiser always with my feet out in front of me and my arms spread apart always made me feel out of control.

Standard motorcycles can be great around town and for short trips. Unfortunately, unless you go up to a large sport touring bike, they aren't very comfortable on long trips. Knowing I didn't want a large top heavy touring bike, I started looking at ways to make my Bonneville more comfortable for the touring we are planning in the next year or so. For years, my friends and partner had been saying "you need to try a cruiser". But noooooooo..........

After our return from Durango a couple weeks ago, Deb again suggested a cruiser as being more comfortable. This time, I must have been more more receptive to the idea because I started looking at them and sitting on them and ..... hey, this wasn't so bad after all. It's different but just a matter of getting use to it.... maybe. In my head I could feel the shift as I started to consider this as a real possibility.

We were planning to visit a local dealership where I could ride a couple of bikes I had seen online. But before we took the bikes anywhere they really needed to be washed since they still bore the road grime from our trip to Keystone. I was home early so I decided to go out and get things started. In order to do that I had to move Debbie's Mean Streak first. In the past I had been intimidated by the bike and had never moved it. There's a first time for everything, so I threw my leg over the seat, stood her up and cautiously started to back her out of the garage. Whoa.....this is much easier than I thought.....easier than the Bonnie even. I think it was in that moment that I knew the wind of change was truly blowing.

Saturday we head over to the dealership where I had identified a couple of 1100 cruisers to try out. They were having an grand opening celebration and when we got there the bikes I had in mind were all gone. The sales guy shows me a VTX 750, really sweet already decked out with bags, shield and stuff but I didn't want to go down in size. The other option was a 2007 VTX 1300, a real beauty, bigger than I wanted but I decided to give it a try. I was a little anxious about the size but I knew that if it felt too wrong, I would know immediately and I would just make a quick turn around and bring it back. I wasn't quite ready for the "yeah....yeah" feeling of knowing it was right. I took the bike down the street a few miles, pulled into a parking lot to turn around and headed back to the dealership.

Debbie did exactly what she was supposed to do, by making sure that I wasn't acting in haste and that the I really felt comfortable and good about the bike. That's one of the reasons I love her, she always looks out for me. When it was all said and done, we said farewell to the Bonnie and hello VTX.
I can't wait to start putting miles on her. The different riding position is going to take some getting used to so, I'll be taking it easy for a while. We will be getting to know each other, learning each other, becoming a team.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bring Back My Bonnie To Me

So, my Bonneville, which broke down in Cortez, CO on the way home from the AMA conference in Keystone, CO, was finally repaired and ready to come home. Last night Deb & I drove up to Cortez, spent the night at our favorite Super 8, then got up early this morning to pick up my bike at Handlebars in Durango.

We were there almost before they opened the doors. The folks there were really nice and very helpful. We even looked at highway pegs, unfortunately there weren't any available to fit my bike. The woman who works there was very friendly and said she was interested in learning how to ride but wasn't quite ready. We chatted about the taking the MSF course, first bikes, Woman Rider Now and it's section for new and potential riders. I ended up giving her my email address and offering to forward information.

It was a bit chilly as we headed back toward Cortez on our way home. As I got my wheels under me and a few miles down the road, I was feeling better and better. We took a brief bio and check in break in Cortez. Then off we went, it was a great ride. We turned off towards Kayente and Four Corners. Earlier we had discussed stopping at the Four Corners monument since we were right there. For some reason, it wasn't what I expected, for some reason I thought it would be somewhere in a city, or something like that. Instead, it was in a little cul de sac surrounded by dozens of native american booths, most of which were vacant since the tourist season is pretty much over. Of course, the low number of people visiting the monument worked in our favor. We cruised a few booths, took some pictures and were back on the road again.

It is often said that on the reservation, speed limits are strictly enforced but I've never seen too many on the road and those I have seen were usually occupied by other things, accidents, road construction, etc. Well, I'm feeling really good on my bike, enjoying the ride when I looked in my mirror and saw one of the reservation officers come flying around Deb with his lights flashing. Now I know that I am going about 20 mph over the posted limit, so I am mumbling a few choice words, expecting the officer to pull in behind me and signal me to pull over. Obviously he had more important fish to fry because he went flying past me too. Several miles down the road was a terrible accident that appeared to be a small sports car which had rolled over.

When we arrived in Kayente we had lunch and I asked Deb to spell me a bit and ride to the next gas stop in Tuba City. On the road again for another 70 miles or so. When we got to the first gas station in Tuba City Deb pulled in and exclaimed "I have got to get off this bike." It seems that the Bonneville just doesn't fit her well and the seat, well, the seat is less than comfy. We had already planned to stay the night in Tuba City and head home in the morning, neither of us got much sleep the night before and were exhausted.

Word to the wise, if you stop in Tuba City, be safe and eat at Burger King, McDonalds or Taco Bell. The place we ate dinner was not the best in the world. I was tired of sandwiches so I ordered meatloaf, but they were out of that, so then I went for the lasagna. I swear, I have never seen, much less been served a loaf of lasagna. If it wouldn't have made a scene, I would have taken a picture. Unfortunately, it didn't taste any better than it looked.

We also took a brief drive around Tuba City. The economy here is so bad, many of the houses are boarded up and those that aren't barely look fit for human occupants. I swear, I don't know how these people survive.

Tomorrow it will be on towards home.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Free Water, but is it needed?

Each morning on my way to work I pass a nice middle class public high school. Since school started this week there's been a great deal of activity around the school which is located at a major intersection. This morning on two of the corners of the intersection there was a group of teenage boys wearing fluorescent green shirts which said "Free Water" on the front and the name of their christian academy on the back.

It actually took me a minute to realize that these boys were actually handing out bottles of water to the students going into this school with air conditioning and water fountains, at the very least. Now, I respect that these students from the christian school felt they were doing service work, however, wouldn't it make more sense and have a bigger impact if they were giving away water downtown where the homeless people could really use it? A bottle of water isn't going to save a teen walking into an air conditioned school where there are water fountains and possibly soda machines. On the other hand, a homeless person on the streets of downtown Phoenix might just have their life saved by someone handing them a bottle of water.

I have to wonder, what exactly is this christian academy teaching their student? It's OK to do pseudo service work, just don't get your hands dirty? It's much safer to give water to these middle class kids down the street, those bums downtown might contaminate them. Hmmmm.... Jesus didn't hang out with the middle class, he surrounded himself with all the undesirables and ministered to them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Responding to Online Classified Ads

Online classified ads are one of those things that have made it possible to buy and sell almost anything to or from almost anyone anywhere. Ah, the wonders of technology. More often than not, things go fine - seller posts ad, potential buyer contacts seller, seller responds and buyer either buys or advises the seller that they are no longer interested.

Sometimes, things don't quite go that way. You respond to an ad for something and you wait..... and you wait..... and you wait. The seller doesn't respond for several days. Now maybe they are out of town, sick, or have some other reasonable excuse for not responding to my email which is absolutely more important than anything else they could be doing right now. Seriously, I know I have a bit of an instant gratification issue. However, how long is reasonably long enough?

Maybe it's because I have recently responded to four different online ads from 3 different online sources several days ago. Not one of those people has responded. How long would it take to a) remove the ad if the item is sold, b) mark the item sold or c) hit "reply" and type SOLD? It's all about closure, I need closure people. Wouldn't it be common courtesy to respond? You know their mamma's taught them better.

Impatiently yours,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Female Urination Devices

So, last night on the 10 o'clock news they had a piece on this product One of the comments in the piece was that other countries have been using FUDs for years. As a result, I decided to poke around a bit.

Of course there is the which has been around for a while, now there is also the P-mate, My Sweet-P, SheWee, Urifemme and several more. Who knew?

With so many to choose from, how is a girl to know which is the best? I wonder if Consumer Reports has considered doing a report on these. After all, wouldn't it be helpful to know which one is easiest to use, sturdier, less likely to leak, etc?

I can see where these would come in handy during camping or road trips, even at the doctor's office when you are kindly requested to pee in a cup. Maybe I'll have to try one of these before my next motorcycle trip. For the most part, our bio-breaks resulted in reasonably clean restrooms but a couple were, well, in sore need of cleaning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What to wear to the Grand Canyon in August?

The answer seems quite obvious to most people, the coolest thing possible, like maybe shorts. That's what I would wear, I'm betting that's what 80% of the people visiting the Grand Canyon in August wore. But wait! If you happen to be Michelle Obama, mother of two, on vacation with her children and husband, who just happens to be the President of the US, it seems that shorts are a huge faux pas.

I guess since I was traveling, I missed this HUGE event of national importance, the First Lady wore shorts in Arizona in August. God forbid! Not only that but some people think her shorts were too short! Really now, isn't that pretty petty?

When visiting the Grand Canyon in August, or anyplace in Arizona in August, most people are going to wear shorts. Face it, the days of women being covered neck to ankles is long behind us, even for the First Lady. Wear what you want, Michelle, you are the first First Lady who actually acts and dresses like someone the average Jane might run into at the PTA.

Those of you who have a problem with Michelle's shorts, get over it.