Friday, August 20, 2010

Carolina on my mind

This will undoubtedly be my longest post to date. I have let a lot of time pass since my last blog post so I have much to talk about.
I have returned to visit my "roots". Well, some of them anyway ;)
I grew up in Asheville, NC and by "growing up", I am referring to my teen age years and a few more beyond that. As you can imagine North Carolina has a place in my heart and many of my closest friends and relatives live in the state.

So, after leaving my oldest sister, Beth, and her daughters in Florida, I made a "B" line for Asheville. My destination would be the home of Ivan and Melissa. Interestingly enough, I met them in Michigan and not in NC :) But they live there now and kindly offered me a nice comfy room to live in while I visited the area. I was interested to see the improvements that they had made to their home since i left Asheville in 2003, and to see Ivan's new motorcycle service shop, Motorrad Unlimited. My Multistrada was due for a major service from all of the miles accrued during my adventure and I hoped that I could convince him to help me get it taken care of. Turns out, he was happy to help and we knocked it out together. What at first seemed like a daunting job turned out to be pretty easy and actually fun!

Before arriving in Asheville, I realized that money was getting tight. When I left Oregon I had determined that I would need to cut and run if my baking account was reduced to a certain level. It was very close now. I needed to make a decision of trying to find some work or calling it quits and heading home... more on that later.

Ivan's shop was really cool! It is very well organized and set up similarly to how I would do it if I were in the position of owning an independent moto shop. I ended up spending a lot of time there. Mostly due to the fact that I begged Ivan to let me work for him in exchange for a few dollars ;) Many of my friends came to visit there since it is located in a central part of the city. Even my other sister, Aimee, came by.
Eventually, we tore into my motorcycle, replacing Ducati specified parts and checked valve clearances and stuff. I was glad to have Ivan's experience in doing the technical "stuff". There is no way that I would have done that on my own. In the end the bike was more snappy and running like a top.

After "working" during the day, nighttime was playtime and I got to hang out with lots of my old buddies! YAY!
Shelby and I were pretty tight in high school, well actually, more so after high school but the past is a little blurry... ;) Interestingly enough, our 20 year class reunion took place one weekend while I was in town. So naturally Shelby and I went together. It was cool seeing people that I hadn't in very long time.
Dave was the person responsible for helping me take my interest in motorcycles to the next level.
And although he doesn't live in Asheville, Brad was one of the "boys" back in the day. Definitely worth driving to Winston-Salem to see him. Good times!

Kenny is another important person from my past. He is from North Carolina but we didn't meet there. Kenny and I met in Atlanta back in the late '90s and those were some damn good times! He has done well for himself, both in career and in love. I truly respect this man. I drove to Apex, NC to visit him and his family and even though I only stayed with him for one night, it was great to catch up.

As I spent more and more time in Asheville I began to get comfortable with it. I mean, much has changed but a lot has not. It was easy to slip into a grove. I enjoyed going to work with Ivan every day. We started a pattern of getting up early, going to the shop, dealing with "stuff", going to lunch and then when the day was done... beer-thirty :)
I know it sounds great, right? Well, something was missing... I really wanted to pedal. Then one day a miracle happened! One of Ivan's customers came in and Ivan asked him if he had any loaner bikes at his workplace... It turns out that this guy is the owner of Cane Creek Bicycling Components!!! :D and yes, he did have a mountain bike that he was willing to let me borrow. Ivan and I drove out to his office at the Cane Creek facility, which just happens to be right around the corner from the house that I grew up in (SWEET!!!) but it's brown now instead of blue. Brad, the Cane Creek owner, ended up loaning me his personal bike. That thing was fricking AWESOME!!! We started riding just about every day. Man, it was great to be out there again. I didn't realize how much I needed it :) Happy Days.

So.., now for the confession...
My Ducati peeps are gona flip over this! Remember me saying that cash was getting low? And that I had to service my Multistrada?
Well.., when I went to the dealership to pick up parts for my Ducati, another motorcycle caught my eye. Doh! And it was a BMW. It seemed like it would be a good runner for this trip but low enough in value where I could come out with some cash in my pocket.
...and I did just that :)
Ryan and Scott at Touring Sport BMW/Ducati were a pleasure to deal with and got me on the road with my new toy. If you live in the South and are thinking of buying a new bike, I'd go see them!
I'm now the owner of a '96 BMW 1100GS. It is waaaaaayyyyy different from the Multistrada but seems to be perfect for what I'm doing. Being that it is an "older" model, Ivan and I thought it best to go through the whole bike and also give it a major servicing before I left Asheville.

Now it's ready to go!!!

I rode out to Eastern NC to visit my sister and some relatives. This was the maiden voyage and all went well :)
It was good to see my family!

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