Sunday, January 21, 2007


Yesterday was cold. Lucky I had the Gerbing heated clothing plugged into the bike. I rode to the doctor, to Bob's, to the Dutch Farmers' Market on 29 & 198, and then to the BMWBMW club Tech Day where I stood around mostly outside, before returning home. All the time, I don't think the thermometer on my fairing rose above 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

It was a pretty day though, for riding. The clouds were fluffy and did not hide all the blue sky. My bike is big enough that the 30 and 40 mph gusting crosswinds only make it interesting. Still, when they talk about wind chill factor on the news, they are thinking about people standing still, not cruising down the freeway at 65 mph.

At Bob's I wanted to pick up a grommet that I had misplaced during my assembly after the welding a couple weeks ago. I was not disappointed that the wrong part got ordered. What they had for me was a metal insert for a grommet -- nothing I recognized for my bike. I was not disappointed as I did not really relish the idea of doing any maintenance in the cold at Tech Day. Now, I could just drop by then skidaddle.

I already have an appointment for next week to get a rack with additional rear lights added to the top of my rear top-box. They can have a grommet here by then. To be sure, I went back to the service department and set the planned maintenance back another day.

There, I mentioned to John, as I munched a chocolate iced chocolate donut along with a cup of coffee -- both provided free at Bob's BMW every Saturday -- that the doctor had just impressed upon me the need to eliminate such delicacies. He reached under the counter and produced a bag of nuts.

"Yeah, the doctor has me on medicine for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and I'm about to rebell," he said.

"My Dad had the same problem on that kind of medicine and did rebell," I allowed.

"He's not alive anymore, huh?"


Daryl, two seats down at the service counter razzed John about his eating habits.

John got a bit feisty with his reply: "I'm sitting six feet away from donuts and you don't see me eating a donut."

Daryl nodded.

John turned to me. "I switched to these nuts so I won't eat donuts."

"Interesting timing. My doctor also recommended nuts, this morning."

In fact, he had recommended unsalted peanuts after confirming that I do not suffer from diverticulitis, but I will gladly broaden that behavior just a bit.

John gave me directions to the Dutch Farmer's Market and the vendor inside who would sell me a weeks supply of "dieter's nuts" for five dollars.

Somehow in the course of the conversation John let slip that he had had a bought with cancer, recently. I had known that he had some health issues with his back, and more recently missed work due to some problem with his knee, but nobody had clued me in that it was anything to do with cancer.

I had mentioned, to Mark the welder who I had been told was a friend of John's, that he would not be able to reach John, on the day that I dropped my bike off.

"He's out sick today. He is having some trouble with his knee."

"That is the least of his troubles," Mark replied.

So, I guess I did have a clue.

I enjoyed how John and Mark told good stories about each other. At Bob's, John told me how he wanted to modify a bike so that it looked like a factory racer. He asked John to remove the brackets for the center-stand and to do what he could to disguise the fact that they had ever been there. It was something of a prestige thing among the racers. Well, the work was done so well that there was no way of telling at all.

When John asked Mark how much the bill was, Mark's response was, "You can't afford it."

"He never gave me a bill," John told me. I could tell by his smile that he still appreciated the help.

At Mark's, Mark allowed as to how John was a stranger, when he first came to the East Coast. "John had a lot of friends out in California, and everybody knew him there. Here, he had to start all over. He brought me some work. Then, later, when Bob's needed some work done and nobody else was available, he brought me some of their work. I did a good enough job that I've been getting their work ever since."

Both of them would switch gears and start describing their current interest in the hot rods. If you were to build your own hot rod, knowing a machinist who likes hot rods also could be a really good thing.

This morning, the next day, I woke up thinking about playing my guitar. My friend Susan has been after me about the fact that I've not been playing. She knows that, like the motorcycle, the guitar has a special place in my heart. Somehow she also knows that it's a matter of mental health and personal happiness to enjoy such things.

So, I woke up with the words of the easiest song I know going through my head: Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee."

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose"

Then I guess it was only proper that on a Sunday morning, Bob Dylan would next come to mind, singing, "I will be released."

Now, to install updates, virus protection, and all on my laptop that went South, yesterday. Better the laptop than the motorcycle.

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