Fun in the Sun?

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.

I wanna ride!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.

Old World CraftsmanshipThere is one tranquil space in this warehouse where the chaotic atmosphere fades away. Up towards the front of the showroom is Uncle Zhenya’s Workshop.

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.

15 Responses to “Fun in the Sun?”

  1. Kurt Layman Says:

    Where does Emilly get her looks? (Not from you?). She is a sweety pie! You must be one proud papa!

  2. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Kurt,

    Ever since she could talk, we used to ask her these questions:

    Emmy, how did you get so smart?

    “Daddy, YOU made me smart!”

    How did you get so pretty?

    “MOMMY made me pretty!”

    Self-esteem is not going to be a problem…

    Ride well,

  3. Steve Williams Says:

    A family outing at the motorcycle cycle store—-how great is that! I hope one day to get Kim sitting on a scooter in the store. Both my girls are grown and out of the house so I missed any riding with them. My oldest has started posting on my blog so she is following it. Who knows, maybe she’ll get one herself.

    I have a VW Jetta—1997 and it has been pretty bombproof with the exception of a recurring electrical problem with the cruise control and alarm system. I got so fed up with the dealer screwing around changing parts and telling me it was fixed that I just went off one day. They had done another 300 dollars worth of parts changes—nothing was fixed. I wasn’t as bad as I was in the local BestBuy when I was getting a screwing over an air conditioner, but I did let them know in a high decibel voice that I was not going to ever give them a nickel and they could f*** off. I started the car in their garage, screeched to the door, layed on the horn until they opened the door and sped away.

    I never heard a word from them and never paid them a cent. Idiots.

    I went to an independent place. They found a ground problem and fixed it for 30 bucks. Has run fine ever since.

    Anyways, sorry about the rant—its still infected after almost two years but not as bad as the way I feel about BestBuy. In my frustration I used a technique Bubbles has employed on “Trailer Park Boys”. It all happened while Kim was out of town and she tells the story ever chance she gets. I think she likes having an off-balance husband….

    But I digress.

    You need to get that pink scooter and you need to ride it Gary. All this winter riding stuff is sort of child’s play compared to riding a pink scooter. I have a pink mountain bike and I can tell you people really notice. I made the mistake of going out one saturday for a ride down the valley and stopped at a little reddened neck store for a drink and the guys out front really gave me the skunk eye. It wasn’t until I was riding away that I realized I had on one of my daughters t–shirts with a little pink kitty on it.

    Riding anything pink mean you really have to be comfortable with who you are….

    Your little girl looks like she’s ready to roll.


  4. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Steve, no sweat on the rant. We all need to do that once in awhile.

    As far as the pink scooter thing goes… Well, I will ride anything that needs development work and has a quality issue. That was the deal. If it has to be pink, so be it. But then I may have to take advantage of Minnesota’s Concealed Carry law. “Watch out for that guy on the pink scooter… he’s packin’ HEAT!”

    Emily was ready to roll the day she was born…

    Ride well,

  5. jim Says:

    Your little girl on that scooter is priceless. My nine year old grandson will be a perfect angel when I am around just to get a ride on my Valk. He loves it.
    Going on ride today but severe thunderstorms forcast for this afternoon. Will be back before they hit. I am so spoiled living here, if the sky is cloudy I complain. Heck it this were Iowa I would look at grey sky and say, look no snow, whoopee lets ride.
    Someday maybe I’ll tell about the early spring ride to Mankato Mn. on a 72 or 73 sl350 honda and the ride back with a female college student.

  6. Mad Says:

    How cool will that be when the whole clan is scooter mounted? We need a picture of that day too!

  7. Jim Says:

    Bro, That is one sweet picture of your little Princess. I have got to have a pic of that for my album. (You still have the touch of photography.) You know, she could do well for the marketing ads for the scooters. Go for the pink though cuz she says so. I can’t wait to see you all on the scoots. Ride safe and enjoy!!!!

  8. irondad Says:

    Came across an interesting piece of pertinent trivia. Mickey Spillane turned 88 last Thursday.

  9. jim Says:

    here’s another one.
    The Paycheck Pilgrimage…

  10. irondad Says:

    Add to Jim’s comment:

    “Scoot for the Loot”

  11. Seagullplayer Says:

    Little late getting in here.
    Good read great pics. She is going to be a ball of fire, whatever
    troubles you have had in life will seem like nothing. Your worries
    really start when she turns 16. Good luck dad.
    Here in Southern Indiana the word for today is; mud!

    Rubber Down.

  12. Dave Eakin Says:

    I test drove a turbo Beetle and had great fun, but I had heard of (continuing) problems with the New Beetle (finger pointing to the Mexican assembly) and it being inferior to other VW products (there are none shipped to Germany - apparently they are less inclined to buy products due to nostalgia) and I did see the “shrink-wrap” drive train you refer to. I’d recommend trading it for a VW Diesel Golf or Jetta.
    You need a pink sidecar for one of your (new, pink) scooters for Emily.

  13. jim Says:

    We got hammered with baseball size hail and tornadoes last night, 3-12, at about 10:15. It was spooky.

  14. mnscooter Says:

    Hi Folks,

    Looks like I’m getting behind on my replies here. I’ll have to make these brief, because we had a big day for the next blog entry. I took several pics of our biggest blizzard of the season, as I was riding to work in it.

    Jim, I would very much like to hear about your long ride on the SL350. I always liked those bikes. The ride back sounds interesting…

    Brother Jim, I will email you a full-size copy when I get a spare moment.

    Mad, that’s the plan. We will be doing something over on the Baron site called “Baron Family Scootering”, which will be totally separate from my commuter blog over here.

    Mark (SGP) - Oh, don’t I know it. She is already a little spitfire. I can’t EVEN imagine what she is going to be like in ten years. What is it about redheads?

    Dave, I’m not sure what the next cage is going to be, but I’m thinking Honda because I’ve had such good luck with their motorcycles, and I hear nothing but good about their cars. Can’t swing new, so we have to look at a lease return or something.

    jim - I saw the news reports of your foul weather. No damage, I hope?

    Ride well,

  15. jim Says:

    Unsure how many homes were flattened. We hid in closet with our bike helmets on. I was sure our home was going to get roof tore off, but all shingles are in place. It was the wierdest sound I’ve ever heard. Some people were hospitalized, but thankfully no deaths. Some baseball sized hail here in Centerton also. Susan and I didn’t see anything bigger than golf ball size.
    It was bizarre in the fact that some houses were totalled and a block away little or no damage.
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