Friday, June 19, 2020

I'll Be Back

It's been a while since I've written here. I had had more cervical fusion last time I posted and was going through a rough time. I am doing better now. Last year I don't think I broke 1000 miles on the bike and this year so far I have. I just did a complete and total service short of the alternator belt and I replaced the rear brakes as well. I am doing some wiring for power for my phone as I bought a RAM X mount for my iPhone. At some point I will also get a Cardo Freecom +1 and a SJCAM camera. Go Pro is usually the go to, but from what I have read, the SJCAM works as well, is cheaper and doesn't have some problems the go pro does. So if you aren't wondering why I am mentioning I am mentioning all of this, I will tell you anyway.  I am starting a vlog on Youtube and possibly Twitch that will be My Motorrad in video. I will post the you tube videos here as well and possibly with commentary. 

I'll Be Back. 

Thank you for reading this blog. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Still in Hell, More Hardware Added

Well, as unluck would have it, I wasn't done with surgery. A week ago I had cervical fusion of c2-4, to accompany the already C4-6 I had done in 2012. This shit is getting old quickly. I am at home convalescing and wondering if I'll ride again or much more. I am contemplating giving it up after 33 years. Just don't know if the risk is worth it and I haven't ridden much anymore anyway with the health issues and what not. I have no guide or mentor here. Most motorcyclists I know have rode past my current age. It's one of those things that will probably be a relief and sad at the same time. Letting go of stuff seems to come with age. The older I get, the more I have to let go of: expectations, ill will and images and beliefs of what and who I was. Any advice is welcome, until then, ride safe and keep the shiney side up, I'll see you around.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Through Hell and Waiting for a Sign: New Hardware Installed

3 weeks post surgery, I am making my first post here and I am here to tell you I have new hardware in my body. A titanium cage with bone graft between L4 and L5 in the front and pedicle screws  and rods with bone graft on the back side. Looking at the pieces, they seem a little barbaric and looking at the surgery itself sort of confirms it. Surgeon said it was the second worst stenosis he's worked on. I can't discuss the worst part, but lets just say I was alone through much of this experience. The other unexpected hard part was that I got a headache from a CSF leak that had been repaired. The PT people sat me up the next day and all I can say is that it was like someone put my head in a vise. I had visions of Joe Pesci in Casino. The PT people knew what was going on and what to do. They reclined the bed head low and the headache went away. Surgery was on a Monday morning and I went home Friday afternoon. I was glad to go home as
I'd see my kids, I'd eat better and I'd sleep better. Food and sleep are a hospital's weaknesses. I am not sure that I will ride again. Some say yes I'll be able to, but I have other worries too. I've had double vision since the middle of September and we're looking into that and hopefully I'll get a sign of what is going on. I still have the stomach issues that started this shit train back in the end of May. More neck issues too that will be looked into as well. I have problems boss and I need help. I just hope I can solve all these problems and get on with things. If not, it's going to suck. Big time. It's really opened my eyes to the medical profession. Some are good, many are just like civil servants that just want to punch the clock and keep the shit merry go round going and some just want to milk it for everything they can, working in volume. Lots of intransigence and going through processes that take too long to figure shit out and if it gets to hard, pass it off to a specialist and start over. The idea of taking a step back and looking at the patient as a whole and not piece meal and parting out the detective work is anathema to many in the field. I haven't felt right for months, I am tired of it and I want answers. I am waiting for a sign and I see none, yet. Two of my kids want to go into the medical profession. I wonder if I should discourage it. Not long ago I was all for it.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sometimes, You Gotta Say, WTF

Sometimes you have to say WTF. What a difference 160lbs makes, right? Tried as I might, I did lose weight, but I could escape the effects of it. What you can't see in the picture is a grade 3 stenosis of the L4-L5 vertebra. About 6 weeks ago I started getting tingling in my feet and it worked it's way up my legs and three weeks ago I started getting foot drop on my left foot. Not good. Between going to the docs, MRIs, X-Rays, and putting in for the procedure, I won't get worked on until October 29th. BCBS has a 2 week approval period. That's a real WTF. Maybe their actuaries have calculated that enough people die waiting so they won't have to pay out claims. Who knows. All I know is that's I'm starting to walk like Frankenstein, which some would say is ok since I already look like him. I am certainly as tall.

The older I get and the more health problems I have, the less the Tribal Bullshit means to me and all the petty shit people musterbate about. Most people don't understand what they believe and why and when the world doesn't fit those beliefs, they musterbate. It doesn't matter. They're trying to convince themselves as much or more than anyone else. Give it a rest and rise above. Life is too short for that non-sense. Do what you love, make no excuses, be kind, have compassion and let yesterday and tomorrow be. No one else is responsible for your thoughts and feelings. Own them. This is the best advice I can give right now. Ride safe, keep the shiny side up and I'll see you around.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Back in the bad old days, when a problem arose that was beyond my ken or ability, I would consult the small circle of people I knew that were well versed in the problem I had at hand. Cousin Bobby, Uncle Cam (kind of funny considering he was an auto mechanic, but his name was Carmine, for which the nick name was Camanuccio or Cam for short) cousin Donna's husband at the time Donald or friends Chris or Phil that were auto mechanics too or Lenny Mastro, who was pretty good with motorcycles. As you can tell, my problems were mostly of the vehicle kind. For other problems, there others I could consult, although some of these people could do double duty. I learned a lot from these folks and in turn, I became an "expert" to others over time, although I don't know how effective I was. Sometimes I still channel Uncle Cam, sometimes I think to myself, what would Mark Zimmerman or Kevin Cameron do? Both of which have individually forgotten more than I will ever know. I imagine some might ask what would jesus do, but I don't think his expertise was cars, motorcycycles or any other technology produced since the second century.

The thing is, is that all these people have left my life in one manner or another. I moved from NY, so I don't see Cousin Bobby, Chris, Phil or Donald anymore. Lenny and Uncle Cam left this world all too soon and while I have met Mark Zimmerman, I don't move in the circles those two do, but I will read their work. So, what's left? Well, like everyone else in the world, I ask, What Would Google Do? That is to say, do a google search on the problem at hand. Something like this was incomprehensible 30 years ago, but today it's De Rigueur in troubleshooting of any kind. The thing is, sifting through the miasma of possible answers in search of some well earned wisdom is necessary as accepting the first or second solution becomes risky. Whereas there was immediate trust with friends you know, not so with the big G. Your Mileage May Vary as they say. Still, I usually can find answers to questions I have fairly quickly provided I ask the right question. Unlike your uncle or friend, Google still has a way to go in understanding what I or anyone else is trying to find. The better the question is framed, the better the results. Humans are better at reading between the lines than computers.

This of course leads me to wonder about some things though. If I can find the right answers easily, is that a good thing? Knowledge + Experience=Wisdom. Knowledge without experience or earned experience creates or possibly creates problem solvers with a shallow understanding of how things work. Call any help desk and you'll know what I mean. Experience is always the best teacher and nothing and I mean not even VR/XR can replace real hands on experience. I sometimes wonder what it will be like in 50 or 100 years. Will it be like Demolition Man where people have become feckless in their dependence on what is basically AI and automation through a centralized authority? There are days I feel like the Demolition Man, John Spartan, moving in a world of Raymond Cocteau's and Associate Bob's where I see the direct solution, barred by their bureaucratic fecklessness. On a troubleshooting level, it hit's home when I read about someone's dealership experience with a problem that a diagnostic computer can't find or fix. They don't teach old school troubleshooting anymore, at least it seems that way.

If you think I am some old codger that bemoans progress, I would tell you that you are wrong. What I really bemoan is the layers of abstraction that isolate people from not only how things work, but the lack of critical thinking and relationships with real things. Sure things have become so complicated in some circumstances that it becomes beyond most to understand all of something, but there's not as much desire to. Like a help desk. solve the problem and move on, reading from the script. What is learned? What is retained? What will be passed on? One becomes only as good as a given moment. As John Allison, my 10th grade Social Studies teach said, ideas have consequences. So do actions. I have to wonder who is at the wheel so to speak, in this company town of sorts, but that is a subject for another day.

So when you have a problem you can't solve, instead of typing in a question and hitting the return key, take a break, go back and rethink the problem. Ask a friend who knows more than you do. If they helped or not, buy them a beer or lunch. The human element is something that cannot be replaced. At least I hope not. What Would Google Do? I don't know. Don't care. I'll call one of my friends or family or just take a break and rethink the problem. There's always time to solve a problem, there's always time to learn.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fuelishness and Into The Light

I finally got the time to fix my headlights. You see, with the crazy heat here and BMW's crappy implementation of connectors for headlights,  the connectors basically crumbled. I bought a set of ceramic connectors and did some soldering as well as upgrading the stock bulbs to LED. While I didn't take pictures of doing the job, I do have one of the front of the bike:

As you can see, they are pretty white. People seem to get out of my way more often now too. Hopefully these will last a lot longer than the H7's that I normally used, which averaged 16K miles between changes. As luck would have it, the next day I went to work with the bike and on the way home I smelled fuel. Once home, I found a fuel leak coming from the female quick disconnect in the fuel pump. 

Old picture for illustration

I purchased one of these from Beemer Bone Yard and replaced the fitting. The thing that pissed me off was that the last people to touch that item was the mechanics at Victory BMW when I had the fuel pump flange issue addressed with the silly ring they install. Victory is now RideNow Chandler, but it's the same owners and people, just a different location. Anyway, the problem really was a sealant issue most likely and I called them to have them look at it. I was owed a call, but never got a return call. Emailed them and got some sales idiot that wanted to know what I would like to buy, even though in the email I explained the problem along with the VIN as they worked on that part of the bike last. You'd think with the liability of a fuel leak that they'd call me back. Nope. The sales idiot said he'd forward my email to service. After this, if I found his miserable ass in the desert, I wouldn't pee in his mouth if he was dying of thirst. The BMW dealers around here suck and Iron Horse in Tucson is too out of the way. Anyway, it's fixed now, but I'll never patronize a RideNow dealership or GOAZ (a different form of stupidity there) again. 

Anyway, that's it for now. 36K mile service is coming up. It will be thorough. I really need to get out on the road. 

Thank you for reading this blog.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

It's Been A Long Time Since I Rock and Rolled

It's been a long time since I rock and rolled...So said Robert Plant. It's been a long time since I've written here too. Life goes on, a lot the same, some changes, some changes coming. I haven't been riding much this year at all. Since the breakdown in the previous article, I've ridden very little. I guess I got used to AC in a car. In the interim, I've taken on some beasts where the outcome hasn't been finalized yet, but we'll see. More to come, so stay tuned, at least occasionally.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Unstoppable. Not

This happened back in January. Sorry for the late response. 

Unstoppable? Unstoppable. Unstoppable is the the marketing phrase or word used by BMW Motorrad to promote their motorcycles. Obviously, judging from the picture, such is not the case. Riding to work this past Wednesday I pulled away from a light and after shifting to second gear, the engine went to idle. Ok. Now what. No turn of the wrist would make the engine rev. Figuring that something in the throttle mechanism broke, I called roadside service and 4 hours later I was home. That's right. 4 hours. Luckily it was January and not July.

I disassembled the bike to get at the junction box for the throttle cables. Nothing broken there. I then got under the bike to look at the throttle pulleys and lo and behold, both were snapped off.

The offending part:

The best part was contacting BMW. The bike is out of warranty, but it's a weird problem to have, so I figured what the heck. They basically told me to have it repaired at a BMW dealer, send the receipt and they would let me know what they could do. Right. Over $1100 for the parts alone. That's right. The pulleys aren't sold separately, so the complete throttle body has to be replaced and that's X2, so at over $550 each, that's over $1100, plus labor, figure a couple hours billable. I found a pair of throttle bodies on eBay from a salvage with 20,000 miles on it for $250 plus shipping and included all the throttle linkage and fuel injection setup. The only other expense was the tool to remove the clamps on the throttle bodies and that was $35 shipped. So it was $300 total versus about $1400 at the dealer.

I was real sore at BMW for awhile and right about then gas prices tumbled so I've been driving my car to work. I just did a major service on the bike, so it's pretty much ready to go, although I have to bring it in for a recall on the rear wheel flange and it'll need a new tire in 1000 miles or so.

Life is good.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sometimes A Great Notion

It seems that good byes are getting more common and more difficult as time goes by. Today I learned that the younger of my older sisters passed away...Two months ago. Even with a recent estrangement, I have to say I feel very sad about this. My sister Paddy as she liked to be called was 19 years older than me. By the time I had any memories, she was already married and had two kids of her own. Still, having two sisters that are 19 and 20 years older than you is a lot like having three moms, especially if you are the youngest. I have a lot of fond memories of my sister, but there's one that sticks out in relation to this column. When I was about 5, I remember Paddy had a Yamaha 125. She used to come over and visit my parents house riding it, much to the chagrin of my mom. Paddy always had cool vehicles, like a 1965 442, a Jeep CJ-5 and the Yamaha.  I had always wanted a real motorcycle and when I was 18 I decided to buy one, without anyone's knowledge or consent. Well, I should say I attempted to. There was this blue 1980 Honda CB400T at Freeport Honda that I thought was just the thing. I put a deposit on it and for some reason I told my parents. What ensued can only be described as emasculating and went and got my deposit back. My sister Pat was upset and I remember her telling me that parents have their children's best interests at heart, but it's not always what's best for the child in the long run as how will we learn? She felt bad about what had happened and vowed that if she came into to money, she would buy me a motorcycle. That was never necessary as I bought my first bike some 7 years later anyway. My sister had a lot of spunk and spirit and she will be sorely missed. See you down the road sis.

Thank you for reading this blog. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

End of Day

Outside of my family I can count on one hand the people that have had a great impact or influence on me. In terms of motorcycling, one comes to mind and that is Stan Botway. You can read a little bit about Stan here as I have mentioned him before and I've also mentioned him in an article for the BMWMOA for their My First Bike column of June 2013. I had been thinking of Stan lately as I usually hear from him through email once a month and hadn't heard from him in a few months and decided to email him to see what's up. My heart sank a little when I received a rejection notice that his email address was unknown. I decided to send an email to the plethora of people that he would include on some of his emails, hoping for a quick response. In the meantime, I decided to do a simple Google search and found this. With my fears confirmed, I had wished I hadn't sent an email out asking if his other friends had heard from him. Then the onslaught began. Many of his friends knew he had passed away, but a surprising amount did not. What was more intriguing is the information passed along to me about their friendship with Stan. Some of which paralleled mine and some I had no idea existed. As Paul Harvey would say, "now you know the rest of the story." And I do now.  Stan was a colorful person that's for sure and to a person, no matter their point of view, all agreed he will be missed and he is. He did sort of have one last suggestion if not wish for me. Last year he advised me I should compile this blog into a book. May be I will take him up on it. In the meantime, here's to Stanley Leon Botway, friend. If there is an afterlife, I will see you down the road, if not, it was time well spent. Thank you.

A couple pictures of Stan in his prime:

Looks like the sidecar rig he tried to do a CC run

Classic Stan with BMW suspenders and cigarette in hand

Thank you for reading this blog