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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cleared For Lift Off

Buying a motorcycle in another state is not for the weak of heart.

First you need to find a bike to buy and form a bond of trust with the seller. Ebay offers some protection, Craigslist none at all. Know a guy who knows a guy might be ok but knowing the guy is even better.

I know Eddy and I know the way he treats his bikes. In fact, it is much better than the way I treat his bike as the crash on the Transalp he loaned me will testify.

When he said he would sell me the Africa Twin I jumped at the chance. There was the added incentive that it was in CA and I was in CT. Road Trip!

This started the venture into registration hell. Connecticut was willing to give me a new title and plate if I filled out a VIN validation form. Just have it signed and dated by any law enforcement officer in the selling locale. Unfortunately, none of said officers wanted to do that.

The local (Morgan Hill,CA) town police said that it "wasn't a service they offered." As if putting down their doughnut and walking outside to look at the VIN stamped on the bike was going to ruin their karma for the day. They referred me to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

The CHP admitted that it was something that they might do but that the officer (Officer Walizer) was on vacation and wouldn't be back until the following week. The entire state of California is supposed to wait while Officer Walizer works on his tan.

Eddy called back and spoke to Officer Walizer but he stated that he didn't like to do VIN verifications because in state people might try to register their cars out of state. I was about to call him up and ask if he would either do his job or charge me with conspiracy to commit fraud. It had to be one or the other because he was not a judge and had no business making that judgement.

However, time was running out and there was no time for a pissing contest with an a$$h0le.

Although Eddy was willing to let me ride the bike back to CT on his license plate it would mean not going through Mexico because the paperwork and insurance would be too much of a hassle.

Time for Plan B.

Without revealing too much let's just say that I knew a guy, who knew a guy, who might fill out the paperwork for me. It was a last minute shot in the dark but I decided to go for it. I got all the paperwork together and gave it to the guy. Who gave it to a guy. Who filled in the relevant information and waved a magic wand. A day later I got back the paperwork with all the required forms and signatures.

This morning I went over to the CT DMV to pray that the registration gods would smile on me. The wait was relatively short but there was, of course, a problem. The clerk was willing to accept the form for the VIN verification but it seems that my town had put a hold on any registrations because of some unpaid property taxes.

Eileen, the DMV clerk, was sympathetic and suggested that I take the paperwork and go talk to the town clerk to get a release. So off to the town clerk and this silly Catch-22. It seems that the previous vehicle property taxes were underpaid. I don't remember any notice of this but who knows? When I paid the property taxes this year they used part of the money to pay off the last year's taxes, plus penalty and interest. They then assessed a new penalty and interest because I didn't pay the new taxes in full. I had to pay a penalty and interest on the penalty and interest!

The clerk said I could appeal but I didn't fight it. I just wrote the check, got my release, and headed back to the DMV. Eileen was nice enough to not make me go to the back of the line again. She waved me ahead when she was free and started the process again. It went quickly and with the swipe of my credit card I was registered and legal. When people say bad things about the people who work at the DMV I always set them right.

Not exactly a vanity plate but legal at last!
Tomorrow I fly out to San Francisco to start getting the bike ready for the trip! Through Mexico thanks to a guy who knows a guy ... And Eileen!

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