10 March, 2006 Weather: Springtime, partly cloudy
It felt so good to ride without the whole freaking spacesuit for a change. I left the rain pants and heated vest at home yesterday, and the Darien jacket kept me warm without electrical assistance. We passed the Red KLR guy on East River Road again, and waved, again… this is becoming a routine. Nice bike. Who are you?
We didn’t stop for photos, because I had to get to work early. Amy and Emily were going to meet me in the afternoon and we were all going to visit Baron HQ so the girls could shop for their new scooter. They were so excited, it was all they could talk about. My girls are finally going to see what it’s like to ride out of the box this Spring, and I can’t wait to show them the way.
Work went quickly. At three-thirty, I wrapped things up and met my girls in the parking lot. We drove over to Baron HQ in the family cage. The less said about that, the better. Amy is a capable driver, but I am a terrible passenger.
Baron Motorcycles is housed in a warehouse complex off Highway 55 in Plymouth. It is a family business, everyone who works there is related. The atmosphere nearing the beginning of Spring is a bit chaotic. However, sales-manager Ivan made us feel right at home.
Amy was interested in the VLA 150 “Classic”, and we pulled a white one out of the ranks of scooters awaiting final assembly and shipment. She sat on it, rocking it back and forth, and told me that she REALLY likes it now.
Young Miss Emily wasn’t so sure. You see, though it may be pretty, it isn’t pink. Mama Amy doesn’t do pink, but Miss Emily has been exposed to the whole Hello Kitty / Disney Princess consumer culture, and there is no other color acceptable to her.
Daddy says, “A pox on ad agencies everywhere! I want my daughter back!”
So we had our little family argument while Ivan stood patiently to one side, checking the ceiling for cracks. Finally, we asked him what other colors were available, and he said “You wouldn’t believe it. I’ll email you a color chart, and we can order one up special.” How cool is that?
Once that dispute was settled, we wandered around the showroom looking at the wide variety of scooters they sell under the Baron name, and some bigger ones that have come in from a company called CF Moto. Miss Emily found a pink scooter over in one corner, and wouldn’t get off of it until I took her photo.
Uncle Zhenya performs assembly and maintenance on Baron scooters to soft strains of classical music, coming from a small radio on his workbench. He speaks Russian, with only a few words of English, but he is a mechanical maestro on these little machines.
When our visit was over, we went across the street to a Chinese buffet. After a nice meal, the girls drove me back to Banner, where I picked up the Baron and rode a leisurely pace home. I had told Amy to follow me in the car, but they opted to take the freeway. This was a choice they would soon regret…
I had been home, pacing the floor for well over an hour, when the tow truck finally brought my girls home. AAA to the rescue once again. This VW New Beetle has been nothing but trouble from day one. I can’t fix it because the bodywork is shrink-wrapped over every critical component, and you need tools I don’t have to work on it. This time, it overheated in gridlocked traffic, and there was coolant residue in the oil. Not good at all.
I won’t bore you with the details. It has been an ongoing battle with VW service to get this thing fixed properly. Here we go again… Just another reason why cages suck.
So I didn’t ride to work today. I stayed home to try and sort out my four-wheeled nightmares. My dad came over to help me out. Amy’s Beetle is now safe enough for the local trips she usually takes. The truck is going to need a lot more work. I’ve left it sitting for far too long. That’s what happens when you commit yourself to travelling on two wheels, I guess. Do I regret it? Not one bit.