The Ural guys are very nice, very solid guys. The owner (Steve) got in on the ground floor with Ural when they were first really taking off here in North America. Of course, they've always had this goofy little store with virtually no proper signs, advertising, or even a web presence. But great guys.
As for Howard...he's a Bellingham icon, a solid old-school guy, former flat-tracker, knows everyone, and yes, he's still as enthusiastic as ever. His little shop has done very well with the Triumph line. I first met him in the mid 70s when he was working at Duke's Outboards and there was a Honda CL350 in there that he'd been working on for a mutual friend. That turned out to be my first bike. Howard sold me a bikini fairing for it.
As for Al's...yeah, nothing good to say about them. They were a far cry from the old Honda shop that used to be down by the post office. Years ago, when the fire department was developing a water rescue program for Lake Whatcom, we approached Al's about working with us. Yamaha would supply Waverunners AT NO COST, and Al would do the paperwork and the maintenance. Al's Honda didn't want anything to do with it. And the guy lived on the lake! So he blew it, and Skagit Powersports became our heroes (thank you, Bill!), happily helping the fire department develop a really great water rescue program.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this new business grow. I miss my Ural! Maybe, just maybe....
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
-the Dalai Lama