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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The adventure continues ...

My friend Marty was in town so we decided to go dirt bike riding. Unfortunately the forecast of Sunny 45F turned into rain and sleet. For lack of anything better to do we decided to go buy a motorcycle. A CB900F to match my CB1100F.

After lunch we connected with the seller in NH and arranged a meeting. The bike was close to what I expected and a price was agreed upon. We loaded the bike into the back of my pickup and were back on the road. So far, so good.

I dropped Marty off in Boston and headed back to CT on the Mass Turnpike. It was late and I was tired but the rain had quit so I was looking forward to an easy ride home.

I usually stop in Sturbridge to get gas because it is usually ~20¢ cheaper than in CT. Because I was tired and was listening to the Willie Mays' biography audiobook I drifted past the exit. $6 down the drain I thought. I also noticed the truck pulling slightly to the left. Something to check into in the morning.

At the Rt 32 exit it all came apart. The left front tire went flat and I limped into the Park & Ride lot across from the exit. The spare tire wouldn't release from the hanger but that turned out to be moot because it was flat anyway.

I was stranded. Or was I? I had a motorcycle on the back of the truck and it had turned surprisingly warm (40F). The small matter of no helmet or license plate were only technicalities that probably wouldn't interest anyone at 11:00 at night.

Getting a 530 pound bike off a listing pickup in the semi-darkness was certainly an experiment in terror. Slowly, carefully, itsy bitsy tiny moves and it was down. And just then a State Trooper pulled into the parking lot. Hmmm. Those technicalities were suddenly a little more prominent than I expected. I figured that I would just wait it out until he/she came over to ask what I was up to. Turns out they didn't care. They were "cooping", which is to say sleeping for an hour.

After they took off I zipped up my jacket, put on my work gloves, and took off for home. This was pretty uneventful. I didn't freeze but I was definitely shivering along the way. 22 miles of mostly clear roads that I took at a moderate 45mph for fear of a spot of ice. The hardest part was arriving home and tippy-toeing down the snowy driveway. I parked it and ran in to turn the electric blanket to HIGH.

The next morning I looked out on my new purchase and decided that all was well with the world. I would just go back to the pickup, take off the tire, get a new one mounted, and bring the pickup home.

Of course this was but a dream. First the jack handle broke. A nice man offered the jack from his Prius but that proved to be futile. So off to Harbor freight 12 miles away to buy a jack.

Back with the jack the truck went up into the air with ease but now the wheel wouldn't release from the hub! I tried kicking it. I tried moving the steering wheel back and forth. I tried driving around the parking lot with no lug nuts. Nothing.

So time for a call to AAA. The guy came out with a BIG hammer and he couldn't get it loose. Up on the back of his truck it went and down to the Goodyear dealer who called and told me that it would be $400. WTF!! I was waiting for him to tell me that the headlamps needed a quart of light juice while it was in the shop.

When I balked he said that it was a mistake, "Sorry, I was looking at the wrong screen. It's only $268 for two tires." Much better. I'm supposed to pick it up in an hour. I wonder what the final charge will be.

$142 for the new tire, mounting, and tax. Reasonable. Add in the $6 I lost by not getting my gas in Sturbridge and the $150 savings I negotiated from the CB900's asking price shrinks to only $2. Oh well, that's life!