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I am a pastor in a rural parish in far northeastern Iowa, north of Decorah. I make a daily trip to the local "coffee hangout" at 8 most mornings. Last winter was a bit rough, so the XT stayed in the garage for the better part of 3 and a half months, and I had to take the Ford truck. The XT handles nicely on the gravel roads around here, which is why I bought it. I also have a Honda VFR750F Interceptor which I use as much as possible on good roads. I use both bikes in my pastoral visitations, hospital calling, meeting attending, and whenever I can invent a reason to make use of them. During the winter of '99-2000, I was able to ride the XT at least two days every month. As long as you dress warmly, it's not bad for a few miles, and as long as you start it and run it at least every other day, it will start in Iowa cold. But Yamaha XT's seem to have a reputation for hard starting if the have set too long. (And since I am now 58 years old, my stamina for kick starting the XT isn't what it used to be! My VFR is a great ride for hard surface roads, and when I ride up in my colorful leathers and full face helmet, it is great for expanding some peoples' perceptions of what a preacher is supposed to look like and "drive." The Yamaha is great for short trips to the Highlandville Store, or Highland Church gatherings, since that church is on a gravel road. Also, besides the fun factor, there is the savings in gas and oil. I have been riding the XT already this year for about two and a half weeks, beginning on Thurs., March 15, even though we still have snow laying around. I was able to do something I had dreamed about. Wed., March 14, I rode my snowmobile to Highlandville for coffee at 8 a.m. The next morning, I rode the Yamaha XT, -- thanks to warm sun and a little ice chipping so that I north facing steep driveway managed to get a center line free of ice and snow. Bring on the spring & summer riding season! David H. Andreae