I grew up in the New England area so flying was always a drag. As such I have adopted the policy that early is good, earlier is better, and ridiculously early is best. So, a 3:45am wake up and I was out the door and on the way to the airport by 4:30am for a 7am flight.
It seems the tiny airport of Melbourne Florida does not subscribe to my excessive approach to flying. When I arrived at five till 5am the place was dead empty.
I felt like the only person in the building for 45 minutes. They didn't even have the self-serve kiosks turned on until 6am. Guess I could have saved myself an extra hour of lost sleep had I realized that... lesson learned.
Not all was lost, however. I had this baby to keep me company.
Travel was threatening to be tricky today as there was crazy weather all across the country. I was none too happy about the prospect of flying into this:
Thankfully the flight was only 30 minutes late, which is nothing by my standards. Hell I've slept in the airport more times than I can remember during holiday travel.
I was greeted to the beautiful state of Virginia with this. Temperature read 33 degrees. I was beginning to doubt I'd be able to test ride the bike today.
I met my host, Gastone, and we set off for his place to get about the business of servicing and inspecting the bike.
Rain turned to sleet/snow by the time we made it home. Thankfully he had thought ahead and turned on a space heater in the garage. We didn't waste any time and got right to wrenching on the bike, all while swapping stories and enjoying the unique satisfaction of servicing a well-built machine.
First impressions: holy crap, this bike is huge. Okay, I know, everyone says that and its not that bad once you get used to it. Strangely enough it is lighter than my current bike, but much more imposing. My 28in inseam cannot cope, even with the Sergeant seat in the lowest position. I can only get the balls of my feet down on my K75 so I am used to one-footing it already. This will definitely take some getting used to.
Aside from the height the bike looks amazing, sounds amazing, and is very appealing overall. The owner did a great job describing the bike in his post, and I wasn't surprised by a thing.
We adjusted the valves, changed the oil, transmission fluid and final drive fluid; changed the air filter, and lubed the splines all within the span of about two hours (minus a break for dinner. Mmmm, yummy lasagna.)
Everything looked good, and there we had a great time getting to know each other in the process. I reflected on how quickly two strangers can seem like great friends when working together on a bike.
It felt great to get my hands dirty and get familiar with the bike. I feel much more confident owning a bike that I have some familiarity with already, and having someone to show me the ropes of basic service is a huge plus for me.
Above all the hospitality has been the most impressive. I have read dozens of examples of inmates helping each other out, even total strangers, but have never had the pleasure of experiencing that first hand. To be able to fly to a stranger's house, use his tools, sleep in his house and eat his food is an amazing thing to me. I would have never imagined doing something like this if I had not grown to appreciate the community that is ADV. I look forward to the opportunity to pay it forward sometime soon.
Tomorrow looks like clear (and cold) weather. We're planning on heading out for a test ride to get comfortable with the new bike. Lets hope tomorrow's post doesn't include a picture of me in an emergency room...