Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Dreaded Kawasaki Vulcan Recall

Usually I am anxious to go out and check my mailbox each day to see what the Postman has brought me. Yesterday, he brought me the dreaded letter from Kawasaki. I opened it with reluctance.

I had been given a 'heads up' by a fellow blogger, the "Joker". He had commented last week that there might be a recall on my '07 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic. He was right. It affects all '06 to '08 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Custom, and Classic LT models.

The letter says that my bike might have a problem with the fuel hose connection to the fuel injector delivery pipe. The hose could come off, creating a fuel leak resulting in fire or explosion that could cause injury or death. Great!


Now I am to call my dealer and schedule an appointment to have it checked. I don't know how they think I am supposed to get it there if I can't ride it.

The frustrating thing to me is that I just had it into the dealer's the week before the 'official' recall date for its first oil change and maintenance. I think my dealership knew about the recall at that time, but couldn't check it then. It pisses me off that I will have to take it back in, schedule an appointment at a place that usually can't get you in for a week or more, and then hope it doesn't need a part or something that they don't have in stock. It's getting riding weather, Man.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yesterday’s Ride Is A Passing Memory

There have been few days lately that I would call days that were pleasant to ride a motorcycle. I have gotten out a little in between storms but the air is always chilly and the sun, if it’s out, doesn’t add much warmth. On Saturday it did not rain, as promised, and the temps were getting up over 50 degrees! A ride was in order, but with all the craziness lately I hadn’t thought much about where I would ride.

The day turned out to be overcast, but dry. Dave and I got a slow start, and around 1:30pm finally got the bikes out and decided we would ride to West Seattle and visit an old friend. It’s about a 40 minute ride, all on I-5 until you are actually in West Seattle. Downtown Seattle is across the water from West Seattle, which is a separate city with a small downtown and quaint views of the whole southwestern Puget Sound.

We saddled up and rode on I-5 a while. Since it was Saturday of a holiday weekend, the traffic wasn’t kind. We sat in stop-and-go traffic once we neared north Seattle, until we got through the city. For the first time that I can remember, I was actually too warm in the sun on the bike. The freeway opened up then and we flew ahead and onto the West Seattle Bridge. The views were awesome of the Seattle waterfront and the shipping barges, while on the other side Mount Rainier was ‘out’. Since it was all interstate riding I couldn’t stop to take photos. I wish I could share every ride with my readers.

We visited our friend for a while and then headed back home. As we rode on the interstate I started getting into the rhythm of the road. We rode across the 520 floating bridge which goes East/West across the southern end of Lake Washington, back over to the 405 going north. Every once in a while the wind was gusty and I would feel it fighting against the bike. It took a lot of work and concentration to overcome it.

It was a short but fun ride and I got a good stretch of fast freeway driving in. I could see getting into the smooth rhythm of the interstate, but it is still a lot more work than going on the side roads at a more leisurely speed. I like to see the sights as I ride. Today the rain is back and cooler temps too. The weather people are promising rain every day for the near future. It was a wonderful day ride while it lasted.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Vulcan and I Are One

I knew it would happen eventually. As I ride my Vulcan more and more I notice something great happening. It is really quite amazing.

When I first got the bike it fit well. That is one of the reasons for choosing the Vulcan 900 Classic. As a woman, it is hard to find a bike that feels right and fits all parts of the body. The Vulcan fit like a glove from the very beginning.

The first time I actually rode the bike anywhere, I had trouble finding first gear, had it in neutral instead, and it tipped over. Not all the way, but it seemed so huge at the time that I couldn’t get it back upright. It was a helpless feeling, but I knew it would just take time to get used to the size of the motorcycle.

Lately when I have ridden this wonderful thing is happening. I am turning easily and almost instinctively. Backing up is getting much easier. My feet go automatically to the floorboards after taking off, and shifting is a breeze (always was). I can feel myself becoming one with the motorcycle. We have bonded. The Vulcan wanted to do its own thing for a while, but now it responds to my every whim.

What a pleasure it is to ride. Spring may be here officially this week, but hasn’t happened yet here in Seattle. When the weather warms past 50 degrees I will be out on the road non-stop. Well, maybe in between making a living.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been delinquent with my writing recently. I am training a new employee at work, so have been busy every second of the work day. I have had no free time which means I haven’t even had time to check other's blogs, and keep up on what is new with everyone. I like a little relaxing time during my day at work…….they pay me for it.

The other thing keeping me busy is that I’ve started selling items on E-bay. It is like another full time job. I can’t do anything else in the evenings except list items, package items, check my bids, etc. I am obsessed with the process, and it’s fun.

So I finally decided to take the Vulcan down to the local Cycle Barn to get it’s first oil change and maintenance check. It was supposed to be done after 600 miles. I have 750 and didn’t want to quit riding it. I left it there last evening, with the promise that they probably couldn’t get to it until Monday, next week. It’s raining cats and dogs every day lately, so I was in no hurry.

Today I came home and had a message that it was already done! I think they wanted to get it done for me, particularly as a female. You can tell when people put in the special effort. I appreciated it. It was raining so hard tonight I will wait and see if it’s dryer tomorrow evening and I’ll go pick it up. They said it was being washed, and I thought that was great. I have never washed the bike since I got it in late October. I don’t ride in the mud, and just dust it off every time I ride. I’ll be she’ll look sweeeet when I pick her up.

I’ll be ready to ride for the summer after this so now I need to get off of E-bay and start planning my summer rides.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Nice 105th Anniversary Edition Harley

I saw my friend a few days ago, the one who sold us his Victory Kingpin. He had a brand new 2008 Harley Heritage Softail Classic-105th Anniversary Edition. I guess they are coming out with a new ‘special’ edition every five years. What great marketing.

The Harley was beautiful! I especially liked the two-tone leather seat, black on the sides and brown down the center. The color scheme is black and orange, Harley colors. The studs accent the seat and saddlebags, so the bike shines. Take a look for yourselves. Isn’t it a beauty?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Birthday Memories '08

This weekend was my birthday and I celebrated, of course, by taking a motorcycle ride. The sun was out but it was cool, in the 40’s. As each year goes by, I become closer to the person I really want to be. This year was a milestone for me, one I wish I could have avoided. The reality was that I was going to enjoy my life from here on out, which means taking chances and doing things that are difficult, so I can be a better person for it.

Motorcycling has become the go-to activity for solving all of my anxieties. I was having a hard time just a couple of weeks ago with my mood and winter being so awfully long. But since then the sun has come out every few days and my mood and life in general is looking pretty good right now. This also ties in with the fact that I’ve ridden my motorcycle on every one of those nice days. It’s still been almost too cool to enjoy the ride, but once I get out it is all forgotten and worth enduring the elements.

With Dave on the Victory and myself on the Vulcan, we headed out towards Fall City where we had gone before and enjoyed the scenic ride. We got as far as Issaquah, a town near the base of the Snoqualmie pass and I-90. We stopped at one of the last XXX Root Beer drive-ins left in the states, and the only one left in the Northwest. We both had a big icy mug of the creamiest root beer and some fried mushrooms dipped in ranch dressing. I said I was living dangerously!

We had a nice ride back routing around Lake Sammamish. The water had shiny ripples moving smoothly across, reflecting the blue and gray clouds above. My idiot gas light went on for the first time and I panicked. I wasn’t sure how far I could go after the light went on, and I didn’t really know where we were. It was kind of out in the country. I signaled to Dave and we eventually found a gas station. The calm that came over me once I gassed up was amazing. I am finding myself to be really high strung while riding my motorcycle. I worry a lot. I’m learning things about myself I never have experienced before. Once I had a full tank, the Zen calm came back to my ride.

When we got home there was just enough time to clean up and get ready to go out for a birthday dinner with my son and daughter-in-law. I made sure we didn’t go anywhere with a ‘senior’ menu.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The ‘Other’ American Made Motorcycle Joins the Fleet

This week was a crazy one. The weather was variable and sunny so I was able to commute to work twice during the week on my Vulcan. What a welcome relief that was. It sure cut into the winter doldrums and made me feel human again. It’s amazing how a couple of rides can change your whole attitude and outlook on life.

During the week I received a call from a former co-worker who had just purchased the 2008 105th Anniversary edition of the Harley Soft tail. He needed to sell his 2 year old Victory Kingpin within 2 days, or he was trading it in at the Harley dealer. Might I add that they were going to give him nearly nothing for the Victory on trade-in. My husband had been looking at the Victories, wishing he could have one for his next bike. I had known my friend bought the Victory new and had taken great care of it. He trailered it to Sturgis last year and rode all around that area with it for a few days. We got a great deal on the bike, since the Harley dealer was going to steal it anyway.

To make a long story short, we are now the proud owners of a 2005 Victory Kingpin with all the options to make it a ‘deluxe’. Alas, it was raining again yesterday, but Dave rode it to work for the first time, and rode home in a downpour. He is very happy with the ride and performance of the bike.

Now our garage has four motorcycles with no room for cars anymore. We are parking our other vehicles outside for now. We have my 2005 Suzuki S-40, my 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Dave’s 2003 Honda Shadow A.C.E., and the 2005 Victory Kingpin. I want to sell the Suzuki and Honda, since I know we won’t be riding them much now that we have more comfortable cruisers. Dave wants to hang on to all of them, and build more garage space. What a dilemma!