Walking Nike Ad
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: New York City
SLC, UT (not much riding/good info on dealer and MEXICAN M.C. INSURANCE)
When we left off one of my dearest friends that I have not seen since he left NY a few years back and I are having a reunion. Mike, who has earned the title "Best Customer" at BMW of Salt Lake (having bought umpteen bikes in the last 3 years), calls their service department for me and suddenly I am golden.
They will take Silver in immediately, do all the work she requires, install the tires "No Problem" and if they do not arrive in time, they will pull a pair out of stock for me and keep the set coming in from Capitol BMW in Raleigh. Wow.
We drop my gear at Mike's other office (Pusher and S7, they manufacture climbing gear and clothing) and one of Mike's crew, Dan, leads me over to BMW of SLC.
Tarik and Chad in the service department are two of the nicest guys you could hope for. They patiently go over the long (and sometimes frivolous) list of ailments, real and imagined, and take Silver in under their professional care.
The dealership is pretty amazing... BMW NA must love these guys...
Dan gives me a lift back to Mike's office; we pick up my gear and I follow Mike back to his house in the mountains outside Salt Lake central.
Mike takes "The Back Way" and I can see why he moved here... best commute a motorcyclist could ever hope for. As we break free of the traffic and into the twisting hills, Mike rolls on the throttle and puts some quick distance between himself and Dan and I, leaning hard right into a sweeper, knee waaayy down.
(I see your skills have improved young Jedi, Obi-Wan has taught you well)
At his home I am reunited with his better half, Kirsten and I am welcomed like a long lost brother. Their children, Sasha, 4 (whom I haven't seen since she was a wee baby) and Jack, 2 are fantastic. I expected nothing less from these two. I am also introduced to Mrs. Anderson, Kirsten's mother, a teacher, blunt honest and strong. No BS from this lady.
Mike gives me a quick tour of the 8000 sq ft castle he and his family call home and all I can say is wow. Downstairs I am shown into the guest room (read Guest suite, this place is bigger than my apartment) and I get to settling in.
The house is remote and overlooks an unspoiled canyon on protected land. The moon is high and approaching full... very bright in the starry night sky. I hear the cry of an eagle off in the distance... while I stand silent, just taking in the fresh air and enjoying being alive, truly alive, I hear a stag stomping in the clearing below. I can just make out the beast in the moonlight. He is wooing a female, also barely visible. They are less than 75 feet away. No words.
The back way... how would you like to have this for a commute???
Off to bed, asleep at 268 miles today, 6499 total on Silver to date. Mike and Kirsten have made me feel totally at home and all is right and perfect in my world.
Wednesday, October 16th
It is cold and clear in the morning, warm and balmy in the afternoon. SLC proper sits at 5000ft, Mike and Kirsten's place at 5800 and the temperature difference is noticeable.
I wake up at fully rested, see Mike off at and wait for the rest of the house to rise. On the porch, the eagle is still calling. I sit on a chair in the dining area, off the huge, well appointed kitchen and quietly watch the light of the false dawn spread across the top of the canyon through a monstrous picture window.
A morning star appears on the horizon and as I watch it rise, as the light slowly grows, I become surrealistically aware of the earths rotation. In another Zen moment, it's almost as if I can actually feel the earth spinning towards the star and the sunrise instead of the feeling of it rising to us. (Or it could just be the coffee, wink)
At , the house starts to stir (read the kids wake up) and the moment passes.
Mike has left me the keys to his Suzuki Hayabusa (Japanese for "2 wheeled rocket ship") and as afternoon approaches I mount it to follow Kirsten into the Valley and run some errands.
The bike feels small and foreign to me. It's been 5 years since I've ridden a rice racer and I am not comfortable at all.
Whithin one hundred yards away from the house I decide that discretion is the better part of valor and signal Kirsten to lead me back to their garage. I have no desire to reacquaint myself with this style of ride on roads that I'm not familiar with on a bike that is not mine and I can't afford to replace.
Pick a bike, any bike... ok... not the BMW... take the Suzuki
Now you know why BMW SLC loves him... (there are 2 more)
I get infected with laptopitis...
Kirsten drops me at Mike's and I set about my errands. First order of business, you guessed it, dump the pics off the memory cards and burn them to CD. What's this? Mike U. doesn't know what a burner is let alone have one???
Ahhh Mike, you have changed! ... just kidding baby.
This is where I make a big mistake...
Best Buy is across the street and I take a stroll over to look at voice recorders, to make it easier to keep road notes as I sometimes end up going a couple of days without journaling.
Next to the voice recorders, I see CD burners. Uh oh... next to the burners are the laptops... and among them is an amazingly small Sony Vaio, model R505GL. The salesman lets me know its zero percent interest for a year and I run like hell.
Back at Mikes place the thought of the luxury and convenience of having a laptop has me in its grip and is squeezing me hard. I do a little internet research and find out that the Sony is exactly what I need (aside from the Mac at twice the price). Give me strength, I can't afford this!
The work day ends and I ride "bitch" (ask your biker friends) with Mike back to his house. Kirsten produces another exquisite meal and we call it a day at .
Out on the deck again, as the house goes to sleep, the moon is bright and high over the canyon, throwing long shadows across the clearing below.
I here a yelp on the mountain and it turns into a howl. Another voice joins in, and then another... the coyotes are howling at the moon! This place is too much. J
Thursday October 17th
Sunny and warming up. Around BMW of SLC informs me that Silver should be ready by . Kirsten drives me into the Valley with Sasha and Jack (these kids are a riot) and Dan gives me a lift over to BMW.
I find Silver and don't recognize her at first. Whats this? She's CLEAN! And purring like a kitten! Thanks guys! After a slight adjustment, she runs at least as good as she ever has. Hey Mike (BMW SLC owner) you have a great crew, kudos.
Chip at the parts counter owns a custom yellow 1150 RT and I notice an amber headlight shield... all the bikes in this area have headlight shields as broken ones from kicked up rocks are common and expensive, but they are all clear, not amber.
Chip lets me know he has one set in his possession that will fit Silver. He parts with it willingly (thanks Chip, the effect is awesome) and I warn him that when Mike sees it he's going to get a call, chuckle (he does).
A fellow rider/service customer and I chat for a while and, on hearing my intended itinerary, gives me some recommendations on great roads to travel on. He also stresses that if I can find a few spare hours, that I should not miss a run on The Burr Trail, out of Boulder, off 12south.
I meet Todd, the former owner of this dealership, now the very satisfied (and successful) sales manager, great guy, very down to earth and comfortable with himself.
Mike, the owner welcomes me and sets me up with a coffee or a latte or whatever out of a very complicated looking machine, friendly and personable, it was a pleasure to meet him (and the coffee was excellent).
To the whole crew at BMW SLC, great job and great meeting you all. Thanks.
My Laptopitis gets worse... and I discover that Comp USA sucks!
On the way back to Mike's office (Pusher/S7), I stop in at Comp USA to check out their laptop section and prices. This was not a good experience. At the front, I ask a clerk, if I purchase a laptop, will you let me load the software disc from your demo Creative MP3 player? (This should be a non event)
He talks to the store manager for 5 minutes, comes back and says, and I quote "Due to the danger of virus contamination and warranties, Comp USA does not want to be responsible for any damage, but my manager says that if you purchase the laptop with our extended warranty he will let you use our Creative Install software."
What a crock of bullshit!
"You know what that is?" I ask the clerk, "Thats flat out extortion."
How the hell would i get a virus from your install disc and what would you care if i did?
Back in the laptop section, I find that their prices are, in general, higher than everyone else. Comp USA replaces K-MART on the "This place sucks" list.
Back at Mikes Pusher/S7 warehouse, Mike tells me he has got something for me and tosses me an acid fleece climbing pullover that they produce.
This thing is awesome and I am instantly enamored with it. Thin, light warm and easier to pack, my Mountain Sports Fleece goes into the purge for shipment home pile.
Mike's got a school/kids thing with Kirsten so I head back into the hills on my own. I'm having a little trouble getting around now, I am keenly aware that Rose, back at the house, is an invaluable asset when navigating new cities.
Laptopitis goes terminal... i succumb to the cure...
Oh look, there is a Circuit City right in front of me... lets check them out.
As most of you have figured out by now, I broke down and bought the damn laptop and I am glad I did (monetary donations will be accepted when I return home... chuckle)
No more searching for computer shops to help with downloads, CD burns, email, internet access and DCA card programming. I will attest though, I have met some of the nicest people during those stops, you know who you are.
Jason at Circuit City won me over instantly because he knows his sh**. I buy the laptop at zero percent financing for a year and make my way back to Mike and Kirsten's place.
On the way, I pick up a few bottles of wine and arrive to find Mike and Kirsten setting up a steak dinner ala outside grill. Kirsten has picked up some Portobello Mushrooms for me after hearing me mention how much I like them grilled.
Dinner and wine and good conversation make for another great evening. Retire at 10 (the coyotes are howling again) to my room and check out the laptop. Everything is great and it fits perfectly the saddle bag.
Friday October 18th.
Good info on finding insurance for Mexico (Found a great Ins. Co.)
I sleep late (up at ) and zip down to BMW SLC for that slight adjustment.
Todd sets me up with internet access while I wait and I go online to locate an insurance company that will write a policy for me in Mexico. This is not as simple as I thought it would be. I have contacted Sanborn Insurance, recommended to me by Cameron here at BMW SLC. They have been a mainstay for BMW motorcyclists (and others) for insurance south of the border for years. Their policies have changed (for reasons unknown but the possibilities add to my fears) and they will not write a policy for less than 5 (count 'em, five!) bikes.
More searching leads me to a site that lists possible candidates and I check some of the links, heartened by one in particular, I play phone tag with International Insurance Group/Mexico Insurance Professionals (internationalpro.com & mexpro.com) over the next few hours.
Eventually I speak to a wonderful woman named Nancy and its smooth sailing from then on. The quote is $276 for $20k worth of coverage for 22 some odd days (my window is Oct 27th through Nov 17th). I thank her and will contact her on Monday to close the deal.
I spend the bulk of the afternoon purging my gear and prepping for the next leg.
Mike has supplied me with more lightweight clothing and anything that I haven't used for more than two weeks goes into the pile to be shipped home to NY.
I repack my bags, the load lightened significantly (as a newbie to "The Long Ride", I have made the common mistake of bringing much more than I needed) and get Silver ready to leave early tomorrow.
Dinner out with Mike and Kirsten and we finally get to really talk (sans children and the need to get up for work).
Off to bed. Tomorrow I am back on the road!
6649 Miles on these Conti Knobbies... not too shabby...
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Frank Herbert , "Dune"
"I never drive faster than I can see... other than that it's all in the reflexes..." BTILC
"Remember the face of your father." Roland the Gunslinger
"T.A.L.R. Redux 2007" HAS BEGUN!!! Visit the "I once was lost..." Website
Rogue 1 screwed with this post 08-12-2006 at 01:14 PM
Reason: two guesses and the first one doesnt count...