Friday, July 06, 2007

Accidental Ride Report

The PLAN(tm) from last week, was to take the Sprinter to South County Dodge in Gilroy. Matt says their service department is MUCH MUCH better than Hartzheim by my house. HOW much better? well, enough to talk me into driving 45 minutes, when the other dealer is < 5 miles from my house.

The sprinter's brakes have been squealing, it does not idle well, and the fuel economy has dropped to around 20MPG. Something IS wrong

I called South County and spoke to Tiffany or Bethany or Paris, or whatever the phone sex girl's name was.
"I want to bring it at 8am on Friday morning. Will I be able to wait for it?"
""Sure, no problem"

but in the back of my mind? The little voice, the one that sounds an awful lot like Joe the Red Headed Menace? said "she LIES! take a motorcycle just in case"

So I am sick like hell. Gakking up the green stuff, but the fever is gone. I am committed to service, I took the day off from work. Sara is watching Tarzan.

Thursday night I loaded the brand spanky new KTM 525 EXC in the Sprinter, and put my helmet, jacket and boots in, just in case Bethany-Ann was indeed wrong. I also unload everything else, to make it easy to clean up, and unattractive to pillage through.

Driving down at 7:30 am, I cough, you know the cough. Rattle Rattle, Hach Hack, CRAP. And I have a mouthful of slimy crap that I know is green. I slow down for the 101South exit, lean out far, and spit. In case you do not know, I am a horrible spitter. I just stink at it. And there is now green gunk all over the window frame, side of my face, and side of the truck.

I pull off at the first opportunity, get out, open the back door, and get a roll of blue shop towels, I did NOT take out of the sprinter. Wipe my face, the door frame, the side of the truck, clean everything up as best I can, and continue to the Dodge house.

Jim the service writer is very friendly, takes all my info, we discuss what it needs, he writes it down, and says "ready at 4:30"

"Uhhh, Mary Lou Who in the office told me I could wait."

"You can, but it will be boring." he said it in a nice, polite, non-sarcastic manner.

"So Paris in the front office is hired for looking cute, not knowing what she is talking about, right?"

"Right. Sorry"

YAY voice in my head. I unload the brand spanky new KTM 525EXC. And everyone in the service department goes insane. They all ride dirtbikes. Oh, that is so cool. Oh, it is street legal. WOW, you are really riding to San Jose on those tires? Are they legal? etc.etc.

One guy, who is wearing the nuiform with the "sprinter service tech patch" is really drooly. Are you gonna service my truck? yep. Take the bike for a spin around the parking lot. I think he crapped himself. More on the result of this later.

I hop on the bike, WISELY attach the GPS, and off I go. 101 north to Hwy 152 to Watsonville. Watsonville road to Uvas Canyon Dam Road. Which turns into McKean road. Which dumps you onto Almaden Expressway, which eventually gets up to my house.

These are mostly tight, twisty, fun roads through the hills around a lake. I am on a dirt bike, that happens to be street legal. My last ride was at Metcalf, in the dirt. I am running aggressive but street legal knobbie tires, with 12PSI front and 13PSI rear. (better traction in the dirt.)

It's 9am, I have a cold, a miserable cough, and I want to get home to my bed.

This bike makes you feel you can do not wrong. It corrects for every little mistake. It is like having a secret helper that runs in front of you fixing things.

there are a few 35mph turns. I tried to keep a sane ride. Remember, my head is full of snot, I am tired, and coughing. None of which is good for riding. SANE PACE. 50-60mph. at 70 the front end shakes anyhow because of the knobbie tire. Thus my reasoning behind taking the back roads. no traffic, no grooved pavement (evil thing in California, 100% designed to make motorcyclists miserable)

I ran it mostly consistent 57mph. even in the 35mph corners. I did not notice them. (not because my head is full of snot and I was loopy)

what A brilliant, wonderful, and amazing motorcycle.

when I got home, I took off my helmet, cleaned all the green cough gunk out of it, put everything away, and slept as long as I could, while helping out with the baby.

4pm Jim calls, the truck does need brakes, it is gonna be about $500 more. Okay, no problem, do it. When can I get the truck? tonight, between 5:30 and 6.

Great. I think I will discuss warranty with him when I get there. 36000 miles on a commercial grade vehicle, it should not need brakes. Besides, weren't those guys at Hartzheim checking this out when I brought it in? Brakes don't just go bad.

I ride the exact reverse course, on same bike, back to the dodge house.

I STILL like this bike. WOO HOO.

Get there, and chat with Jim. The reason for the bad idle? Air Filter full of leaves. WHAT???? Reason for bad mileage? Clogged fuel filter. WHAT????

Didn't the guys at Hartzheim do ANYTHING when they serviced my truck?

Probably the bare minimum. change oil, maybe change oil filter. Did you pay for a 10k service? That's where they do everything. Uhh, Yes, TWICE. Well, no comment.

He was so polite. He did not want to talk smack about a competitor. (btw, one of my faults)

Anyhow, they should have noticed the brakes, but no, not covered under the warranty. However? $300 not $500, the service tech reported 1/2 time, cause you let him ride your bike.

Okay, $800 later, (BIG service for a sprinter is hella expensive, but not as often as a normal car) it is really zippy, and the fuel economy should be MUCH better.

I load the bike in the back. They washed it. not the interior, but enough on the exterior that I did not want to wait for the truck wash in Gilroy. I wanted to go home.

and I saw 3.5 million Harleys on the highway, all doing dumb things. either leaving or coming, or something, July 4, Hollister Rally.

bike? Brilliant!
Sprinter? Tuned up.

Cough? will NOT go away.

Hmmm, maybe I need to carry around shop towels too for such instances...DQ napkins only go so far.
Hmm, maybe I should carry around shop towels too for such instances...DQ napkins only go so far!
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