Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, a day late, lol! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. For the 1st time in 20 years my wife and I celebrated Thanksgiving without traveling and without our sons. While it was different, it was kind of sad as well, not having our sons around on a holiday is going to take some getting used to. There are so many things to be thankful for, I have a wonderful family, friends, regardless how I feel about my job at least I have one, there are so many things, too many to list. One thing that gets forgotten is our troops, don't forget these brave men and women, without their sacrifices we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms we have. My youngest son is learning that first hand. He's a sailor and while folks were enjoying Thanksgiving yesterday he was on watch. While it did kind of get him down, he's proud to be a sailor and even prouder to be Seabee. We're very proud of you too Jayson!!!

Black Friday. I'm not one to go shopping today, I just don't like shopping and the crowds get to be too much on a day like today. However, I'm going to break my tradition of not shopping today, since I've settled with the ins. company over the wreck, I'm going bike shopping, lol! I've got a couple bikes on my short list, but one of them is total surprise, one I never thought I'd be looking at. A Harley Davidson. Now, I've never had anything against HD's, they were always out of my price range, except for the 883, and after riding a friends 883 I knew it wasn't for me. After alot of searching I came across an'08 Sportster 1200 Custom, black(my favorite color), 1100 miles, and remaining factory warranty for $6500. It seems like a screaming deal to me. Here's where the problem is, I've never owned one and have no experience with HD's. So suffice to say I have alot of questions. I guess my biggest question would be, how does it handle 2-up riding, lots of it? My wife rides with me alot, almost 15,000 miles a year. How will the Sporty handle that? Being air cooled how will it handle those 110 degree days? If anyone reading this owns or has experience with the 1200 Sporty's drop me a message and enlighten me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What a f'ed up day. After spending way too much time on the phone with ins. agents here's what I'm looking at, the bike is totaled. Official estimate= $7758. State Farms value of the bike= $7500. By Kansas law if the damages exceeded 75% of the value of the vehicle or if there's a safety issue the vehicle is totaled. Well, we exceeded the 75% . There's a couple other things that the ins. co. must pay me for, taxes and registration, bringing the grand total that they'll give me $7993.

Option 1- Buy it back and fix it myself. Buying it back will cost me $2000, leaving me with $5993 to fix it up. There are 2 things that bother me about that option, there's a very good chance the frame is tweaked, there is spot on the frame on the left down tube that took some of the impact and bent the left front engine mount. There's also a chance that the input shaft from the shifter is bent, the left foot peg mount and shift lever are bent to hell. If there's any internal damage to the tranny then that'll eat up a chunk of the 5993. Other considerations are that once totaled it must be re-registered with a salvaged title and in order to do that it must be inspected by the Kansas Highway Patrol. While this may or may not work to my advantage, I'm not real comfortable with the cons or continuing payments on something I'm not sure of.

Option 2- Pay off the bank and put the remainder as a down payment on another Mean Streak. The dealer has an '08, red, 800 miles, pipes(V&H I think)hypercharger, aftermarket grips, vista-cruise, sissy bar, windshield(not sure what kind) for $7500. I haven't even seen it yet, but I ran the numbers by my banker and she said she'd do it.

Option 3- Pay off the bank, save what's left, add to it over the winter and have a good chunk of change for a Mean Streak come spring. It also saves me from having payments for a few months. I can feel fortunate in the fact that I still have my VN900 I can ride on the few nice days we'll have between now and spring.Right now those are my options, I haven't committed to anything, more options may present themselves. I also have a few more calls to make.

I'm beyond pissed right now, words can't begin to describe it. You work hard, put a lot of time, effort, money, and yourself into something and to have it taken from you in an instant and get screwed. The ins. industry is the largest unregulated scam in America(like we didn't know that already). They told me on the phone, "We just want to get you back to where you were before the accident" EXCUSE ME? WTF kind of statement is that? I told them then find me a bike exactly like mine or repair mine to what it was before your client hit me. Response=We wish we could but we can only give you fair market value, blah, blah, blah. The conversation went back and forth for 45 minutes. I stayed calm, didn't yell or cuss, but heatedly debated everything. Finally, when she couldn't answer my questions she basically said that by law they're only required to go so far and that's all the farther they're going.

Sorry for the rant, but I just had to vent. I've been down before, but never in this situation and had never had to deal with ins. like this, talk about an eye-opener.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crashing sux!!!!

WARNING! This post contains foul language and a hatred for old blue-hairs that have no business driving. If that offends you, oh well, don't read any further.

Well, it happened. Anytime we get on our bikes we know the risks involved, we know that there are 2 kinds of bikers, those that have been down and those that will go down. The crash is inevitable. I can't say that before this incident I'd never been down. Growing up on dirt bikes and getting into sport bikes before my hiatus to raise a family, I had tasted my share of dirt, mud, gravel, and pavement. Since my re-entry to riding in the spring of '08 I have been fortunate, a couple close calls, but no crashes. Last Friday morning, November 6th, at 9:06am that all came to a screeching halt....literally.

It was a beautiful November day, it was supposed to top out at around 75 degrees with little or no wind(a rarity in Kansas)so I figured I had better take advantage of one of the few wonderful days we'd have before the cold settled in. I had a general route in mind. Head east to Kansas City and check out highway 5, from rumors I've heard it's considered one of the twistiest, most challenging roads in the state. I've been wanting to ride this road for well over a year but never had the chance. Today was my chance, my wife just wanted to sleep in and relax, so I got up and headed out at 8am ready for a good 400 mile day.

About an hour east into my ride I was rolling though Seneca, Ks, doing the speed limit(35mph) minding my own business when a westbound Buick decided to turn right in front of me, no signal, nothing, just turned into my lane! It happened so fast there was no time for anything evasive, I grabbed a handful of brakes, thought "fuck, this is going to hurt" and then impact all within the span of about a second. I remember going over the handle bars, twisting a bit, and hitting the windshield squarely with the back of both shoulders and the back of my head. After that things got blurry for a couple seconds, I don't remember hitting the pavement, my last clear memory was hitting the windshield, then I was on my feet heading towards the car from about 20 or 30 feet away, I was pissed and I was ready kick somebody's ass. Then I saw the driver of the car getting out, an old blue haired bat of at least 80 years. Not wanting to go to jail for assaulting a senior citizen, I stopped in my tracks and the verbal assault ensued, I made sure to keep a good distance between us so there was no way she could say I physically threatened her. Me(screaming)- "You stupid fucking bitch! What the fuck is wrong with you!!
Her(stuttering)-"I didn't see you"
Me(still screaming)-"That's bullshit! You didn't look! Stupid fucking cunt! You shouldn't be driving!"
At this point, even though there was at least 20 feet between us and I was making no move to get closer to her, she took off running. I guess she thought I was going to kill her and she ran and hid in a bank near the scene until the police arrived. There was a couple sitting on their front porch having coffee and saw the whole thing, along with several other motorists that saw the accident all came over to make sure I was ok. They also waited for the police to get there so they could make a statement that I did nothing wrong and she was completely at fault. One of the witnesses was an EMT so she did a quick check to make sure I wasn't more seriously injured than I appeared. The willingness of the locals to stop and help a total stranger, a biker none the less, was awesome and very appreciated. The police responded very quickly and were at the scene in what seemed like just a few minutes. After taking pictures, statements, doing his report, and getting her insurance info, the cop came over and gave me his name, badge number, and phone number, and said, "if her insurance company gives you any shit, just have them call me, you did nothing wrong and she is completely at fault".

At this point a gentleman of probably 55 or so came up to me and asked where I was from and how I was getting home. I told him about an hour west of here and I have no idea how I'm getting home yet. He said, "I'll take you and your bike home, I used to ride, my dad still rides, and I have a motorcycle trailer, I'll go get it and be right back." I thanked him and he said, "It's the least I can do, that was my mother-in-law that hit you." Talk about irony!!

I'm relatively ok, stiff, sore, bruised up, but no bleeding and nothing broken. I am so thankful my wife decided to stay home! The cop that was on the scene looked at my bike, looked at her car, then looked at me and said, "That your bike?" I reply,"yup". As he's shaking his he says, "you've got to be one of the toughest SOB's I've met, you shouldn't be walking." I say, "not tough, today I'm one of luckiest SOB's alive." My guardian angel was definitely riding with me that day.

My Mean Streak got beat up pretty bad, although I don't think it's totaled. I've looked it over several times and I can't find any obvious frame, fork, or triple tree damage. All the tins are fubared, so new paint is definitely coming. So far the damage list includes, tins, mirrors, left side foot peg, left side motor mount, left side rear cylinder spark plug, and headlight are all I've found so far. I called her insurance company and they told me to take it the shop of my choice, so this week it goes back to the dealer I bought it from as they have a good mechanic and they had the custom paint done before I bought the bike. For now I feel very fortunate to have walked away from that, thankful that my wife was not with me, and thankful that I have another bike to ride while my Mean Streak gets a make-over.

While I'm at it I may as well put up some pics of my Nov. 1st ride. It was a beautiful Sunday morning so I was to meet up with another member of the Southern Cruisers for a nice 350 mile day trip. To make it to our meeting point on time I had to leave the house at 6:45am which led to this pic of sunrise on a back road in Kansas-

My trusty steed for this ride was my '07 Vulcan 900 Classic-

Our lunch stop was in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. They have and awesome little cafe that has the best chicken fried steak I've ever had. The main drag in Cottonwood Falls-
Ride safe!!