Trains, planes, and automobiles – and motorcycles!

Trains, planes, and automobiles – and motorcycles

No trains, actually, but I could not resist the title.

There’s an annual “fly-in” of mostly vintage planes at a small airport behind Concrete Highschool on Highway 20.  I am not all that fascinated by planes, but some of my friends are, and it is a great ride there and back.

Six of us met up at the usual I-5 rest area just north of Smokey Point, and we would join Bellingham resident Rick at the event.  We featured three BMWs, one Honda, one Kawasaki, and my faithful Triumph Bonneville.

The day started well at the rest area, as an Austin Healey club had also paused. One of their members strolled over and handed out small candies in wrappers to each of us, for a reason I did not catch. All the better for me, as three of my friends did not want theirs and later gave them to me.  Great!

In addition, friend Marv had recently scored some leather gloves on a local no buy, no sell social media group.  None of them fit him and he was looking to give them away. One or two pair for Donna, and two pair for me!

Then it was up Highway 9, and then east on Day Creek Road to the old Skagit highway and a lovely romp of 25 miles or so.  North at the T to Concrete and we were there.  A bigger event than previous editions I have attended, so my plane enthusiast friends were very happy. Rick even brought a folding chair on his Ducati Multi-Strada so he could sit by the runway and watch various iterations trundle by, land, an/or take off.  Lots of food vendors on hand, so I supported the local Lions club with a burger, fries, and a can of pop.

There was also a small car show, but the coolest vehicle there was a recumbent bicycle. We had passed the rider/driver on the old highway and had a chance to talk to him. It had two wheels about a third of the way back and a third at the rear, enclosed in an extremely sleek body.  What I thought were “aero humps” at the front to cover the wheels were actually there to provide room for his knees when pedaling.  It had three different gear changes and some unimaginable number of speeds.  The owner had great tales of catching groups of riders on “normal” bicycles and passing them with ease and pedaling ahead, no matter how hard they tried to keep up.  It was spectacular.

Now for the unexplored part.  There was a bigger car show in Lyman (maybe), a small town I had never heard of.  Turns out there are several towns between 20 and the Skagit River, most of them obviously much smaller than in times past.

I found Hamilton-Lyman road, which none of us had ever ridden. To find a road that neither Marv or I have ridden in three quarters of a century of combined local riding is rare!  After getting just a tad lost in what turned out to be Hamilton, we came to an intersection where a left turn would lead us to Lyman. True, my cell phone in the tank bag could have made things more direct, but what fun would that be?

Across the street was an amazing building. A solid three-story block of concrete with no windows, now obviously no longer in use.  At the top, large concrete letters proclaimed it to be the Hamilton Gymnasium.  I imagine it would have been the pride of the community when it first opened.  The high school basketball games, theater productions, dances, concerts – it must have realty been something.  Turns out it was built in 1930.

A few miles west we came to Lyman, and it was easy to find the car show.  Fellow car nut Bob and I toured the three blocks with astonishingly cool stuff parked on both sides of the street, while our friends relaxed on a bench and waited patiently for us.  When we returned, I had a nice chat with a fellow who had purchased a brand-new Bonneville in 1969 – the very model the Triumph boffins tried so hard to replicate, with all the modern stuff hidden, on my 2016.  He paid $1,300 for his in 1969.  Mine cost about ten times more.

Eventually we rode away and returned to Hiway 20 and then south from Sedro-Wooley on 9 and a pleasant ride home.

Lovely day!

Copyright 2019              David Preston

Posted in Cars, Motorcycles, Travel | 2 Comments

First Motorcycle Trip of 2019

Canada Tour 2019  July 5-8                                      2018 reversed! 

Weather looks superb. Good roads, fun places to stay, and 5 good friends. Awesome

David Preston,  Brian Hardy, Rick Pannemann, Robert Okrie, Wil Wen, Pat Cordell

Friday, July 5th

7am Brekkie and then leave at 8:15am

I-405 to I-5 to Smokey Point Rest stop            30 miles

I-5 to 530 to Arlington to Rockport                   70 miles

SR 20 to Marblemount (fuel)                               15 miles

SR 20 to Winthrop, Twisp, (fuel, lunch)          100 miles

SR 20 to 153 to 97 to US 2                                   73 miles                    288 miles

Waterville Hotel  102 E Park St   (509) 745 – 8695

One single (Okrie) $69,  5 beds to be arranged later at $55 each (roughly)

Saturday, July 6th

Brekkie in town?  Leave at 9am?

East on 2 to Coulee City                                      55 miles

East on 2 to Creston                     (fuel)               30 miles        

Left on  Miles-Creston road to 25                      35 miles        

25 to Kettle Falls                                                    63 miles                    

East on 20 to Colville                    (fuel)               12 miles                     195 miles

Selkirk motel in Colville, WA  369 Main St.     (509) 684-2565

1 single (Okrie)  $70  2nd single (?)   two bed  ($75) two bed ($100)

Sunday,  July 7th

East on 20  to Tiger                                                           33 miles

North on 31 to Canadian Border                                   25 miles

North to 3 to Salmo                                                           10 miles

West on 3 to Castlegar                 (fuel)                           40 miles

West on 3 to Osoyoos                  (fuel)                           126 miles

South on 97 to US Border                                               15 miles

South on 97 to Oroville                                                     5 miles           254 miles

            Camaray Motel  1320 9th St, Oroville (509) 476-3684

One single (Okrie) $67 

One three bed ($83) One two bed ($78)          

Monday, July 8th

Brekkie in town – fuel – leave at 9am?

South on 97 to Okanagon                                               55 miles

West on 20 to Twisp                     (fuel)                           30 miles        

West on 20 to Marblemount (fuel)                                 130 miles                                         

West on 20, South on 530 to Darrington                     26 miles

West on 530 to Arlington and then home                   100 miles                  341 miles

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Selling Motorcycles With Sex

Selling Motorcycles with Sex – the Saga of MV Agusta

In case you missed it, because you have a real life or something, motorcycle company MV Agusta created a sensation recently by creating a video ad showing a naked female on a new MV Agusta.  The video was shot in near darkness, with strategically placed spotlights and dry ice smoke to make it sort of a tease.

In the resulting furor over the horror of such a thing, the ad was pulled from the company web site.  Cynics will opine that this was the plan all along. But this is 2019, so the ad is already on YouTube, where it can be seen by millions, and probably will be. This may also have been planned.

First take: For me the ad is a failure because I can no longer remember the model of motorcycle being promoted.  Or – for the cynical, the ad is a success because MV Agusta sells so few motorcycles that getting the brand discussed in the twitterverse and other social media is a huge win – even if the discussions are negative.  When was the last time you saw an MV Agusta being ridden?

But seriously – really?  People are shocked and horrified that a company is using a scantily clad (or in this case non-clad) woman to sell a product?  Hello?  I know the world has changed, but this is not new.  Compared to a few decades ago it is even sort of tame. The woman is never shown in the light from the front, and most of what you see is her rear end (and a lovely rear end it is), and some dark shadowy shots of breasts and hair and face. Back in the 1960s it was common for manufacturers to use female models at shows who were wearing almost, and sometimes literally, nothing. 

Harley for several years produced promo posters with the same woman, always dressed in alluring outfits on a new Harley model. They were extremely popular.  Motorcycle ads have featured attractive men and women since the machine was invented, in various stages of dress. For decades, Pirelli car tires produced calendars that featured naked women (and tires) that were so popular they became a significant profit aspect for the business, and instantly collectible. And on and on.

But what of men?  Well, there is a thriving industry that uses attractive men and women to sell all sorts of products. Shall we put all of them out of work?  Are we just upset about the nudity?  OK, I can sort of see that, but the most powerful man in the world brags about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it, and we are appalled by some naked flesh?

What about the woman in the ad?  I assume she was paid.  It is likely her face and figure will be desired for future campaigns, at an increased fee, so is she a victim?

Are the men who work for Chippendale’s being exploited?  Are male actors who seem to be cast in pictures where they will be shirtless most of the time being taken advantage of?

Here’s an example.  Almost 50 years ago I worked as an Underground Tour guide in Pioneer Square.  One of my colleagues was a nice guy who was very good looking.  His wife was also gorgeous, and they were both sweet and kind to each other and to everyone else.  He could also sit down at the grand piano in their living room and entertain you by playing the score of several musicals and singing along, while his wife made the coffee and served dessert.  It was like being in a movie.

Anyway, one day we were chatting in the sun outside the Yesler building, waiting for the next tour.  A guy came up to my friend and asked him if he had ever done any modeling.   My friend had not, so the guy gave him a card and told my friend to contact him.  As he walked away my friend asked “What would I be modeling?”   The answer was…. “Penis jewelry.”

Neither of us knew such jewelry existed, and he decided not to pursue that sort of modeling.  A few minutes later it hit me. We were both fully clothed.  How did the guy know which of us had a better-looking penis?  Totally unfair.

Men and women have been interested in the appearance of other men and women, in various combinations, since fig leaves were the apparel of choice.  Marketing mavens have been using this basic law of nature to market products for centuries and more.  Do we now ban all attractive people from using their gifts to make money?  Will we ban people born with math skills from becoming CPAs or CFOs?

It gets silly pretty quickly.

Another example. Years ago, I was returning to Cycle Barn from an event aboard a gorgeous metallic green Triumph Sprint ST, which I owned.  I was clad in my custom made black and blue Vanson leather pants and jacket adorned with Cycle Barn logos. I had on new boots and snazzy gloves, topped off with a yellow Arai helmet with a dark tinted shield. Probably the most attractive I’ve ever been, but of course that is a low bar.

At a stoplight there was a car next to me with several attractive young women. I could see by their faces and gestures that they were discussing the “stud” on the motorcycle next to them. As the light changed, I thought about flipping up the visor so they could see that I was 58 years old, but I demurred, fearing that the driver might scream in horror and careen into a telephone pole. Or me.

If I were a “brand manager” or “media consultant” for MV Agusta, (frightening thought), I would have bade two versions be prepared.  The second would have been the same ad with a naked male model, focusing, as with the first one, on his butt, his chest (in shadow), and his face and hair. I would have placed that one on the web site a day after the first one, and watched the media hit score climb.

To be really adventurous, it would have been interesting to lead with the male version.

Off to ride my Triumph to an event today.  To the relief of all, I will be fully clothed.

Copyright 2019                      David Preston

Note: if you are reading this on your phone, you may not be seeing my full website. For several years-worth of articles on all sorts of things  (plus links to my 8 books available from Amazon), please go to www.davidpreston.biz

Posted in Marketing, Motorcycles | 1 Comment

The Strange Journey to my new used car

First of all, I did not really need to trade in my Fiat 500 Sport. It’s a fine example of a 2012 model with 43,000 miles and no issues at all. It has been reliable, and always fun to drive.

But… now divorced and in a rented duplex, I only have one car, and the Fiat is a tad small once in a while, like when I need to take the power mower in for repair. Secondly, I have a significant chunk of cash that resulted from the divorce, the upside of…not owning a house any more. The ex kept the almost new VW Tiguan in the divorce, while I retained the Fiat and the Triumph Bonneville.  True, these two do not come close to the value of the Tiguan, but there were a lot of items to divide, and it worked out pretty equally.

I am a car and motorcycle enthusiast, so with the (rare for me) ability to write a check for anything within reason, I was able to dive into one of my favorite parts of the car and motorcycle nut experience- shopping!

What was unusual this time was that I really did not need to purchase anything, and the sensible thing to do was… nothing.  Who wants to be sensible all the time?

My options were wide, constrained only by shreds of practicality fighting a war with wants.  I wanted something a tad larger than the Fiat, equipped with a sun roof, and a manual shift, and something that would make me smile every time I looked at it.  I also wanted to purchase from a dealer using the Fiat as a trade-in.  You can get more by selling on your own, but when you trade in you pay sales tax on the difference, and that brings the cost comparison close enough to be able to ignore the (many) perils and hassles of selling on your own.

I have found over the decades that I do not really need a test drive until almost the end of the purchase experience. Often, merely sitting in a vehicle will remove it from the list.

A 2013-16 or so Mustang appeals for low cost and sporty driving, and I prefer the looks to the new model. So…

First up – Harris Ford had a used Mustang that would do. A 6 speed manual, reasonable miles, sunroof, and puke green – I love lurid colors.  I was thinking that perhaps this was fated, as I bought a new screaming yellow Ford Focus there in 2000, a wonderful car that served me well for over a decade.  Actually, I agreed to purchase a black one, but when I came to pick it up, three of the just released yellow models had just arrived, and one of them was optioned exactly like what I was to purchase. A swap of VIN #s on the title and the deed and deal was done.

This time was different.  I parked and wandered around the used car section.  Eventually, a salesman appeared.  I asked if the green Mustang had sold, and indeed it had.  No worries. I explained that I merely wanted to sit in a Mustang of that vintage, and he said they were all unlocked. As I had already tried that, I disagreed. He then tried to open the same doors I had and inexplicably, they were still locked.  Instead of summoning the massive energy required to locate a key, he merely directed me to go across the street to the showroom.

As I suspected, the showroom held only new models, most of them $70-90k Shelby examples.  Oh well. I found one with open doors and got in – and fell into a deep well.  Egad!  The seat was really low, and the interior a black cave you could not see out of.  I am sure the seat could be raised, but no sales person was around.  So, I used their men’s room (take that!) and left.

I had a brief dalliance with a brand-new Ford Fiesta ST at Bickford, and a very nice chat with a salesman whose first name was David with a middle name of Preston!  Alas, the car in question was not there yet, and was the (far) lesser of two Fiesta ST models. Later I decided it was too small anyway – why trade a too small car for another too small car?

I’ve always lusted after the 2003-2006 Chevy SSR pickup truck.  This was a concept vehicle that got everyone so excited it made it to production.  The “retro” styling appealed, as did the full hard cover over the bed, and the Corvette engine, but the icing on this tasty cake was a metal hard top that folds and disappears behind the seats. Most of them were yellow (terrific!) or red (ok). A manual was only offered in 2006, the last year, along with 50 more horsepower, but I could manage without both. This would not be a performance car.  But cool!

Alas, turns out most of them were sold in less rainy climates – there are few available around here.  True, I could fly somewhere and drive it back, but that would remove the option of a trade-in. I did find one in Auburn, but with a lot of miles and in silver with black stripes.  However, it did have a zippy custom red and grey interior, and it was a 2006 with the manual and the extra power, so I put that aside for now. Then I found one in Everett, and decided to look at it. Also silver, but I just wanted to sit in it and check it out.  Salesman Russell at Bayside Auto Sales was happy to accommodate, and the SSR passed the seating test. This could work! Alas, this particular one had been used hard and then ignored. The paint looked as if it had been parked outside in Arizona sun for about ten years. The paint was virtually burned off the horizontal surfaces, and the stripes were peeling away. Foggy and scratched headlights, bumps and bruises all over – this one would need about 15k put into it to be nice.  But Bayside also had a 2015 Mustang for sale. An automatic, but again Russell was kind enough to fetch the key and let me sit in it.  Much better than the new ones.  Point to ponder.

Then I motored north to Chevrolet of Everett to check out a 2016 Ford Focus ST.  The ST is the pick of the litter, with upscale bucket seats, a 6 speed manual shift, sunroof, lots of bells and whistles, and a turbo 4 engine belting out 252 horsepower, which is a lot in a front wheel drive car, necessitating some fancy front end engineering in a (mostly successful) attempt to keep it from torque-steering off the road.  It would have been quite pricey in 2016, and was probably mostly used by dealers as a “halo” model to entice buyers into a more reasonable Focus.

My hopes were not too high, as it had 52,000 miles. And then I got there. 

Holy tire smoke, Batman!  The deep dark blue metallic paint appeared to be perfect.  The interior looked fine.  New tires.  Hmmmmm…

Salesman Noah introduced himself and we started the dance.  A month ago, they put it on the lot at $19,000.  Now they offered it as an “easy purchase – no negotiating needed” price of $17,500.  Noah explained that they liked to set the price at a fair amount and skip the usual negotiations drama.

OK.

As we chatted, he asked me what I thought. I explained that a well-optioned Fiat 500 Sport like mine would retail for $6 to $8,000, maybe $9,000 if you tried hard. Dealers would offer $3,000 to $5000 for a trade-in, so if I was interested he would offer me $3,000 as a trade-in, and I would counter with $5,000, and he would come back with $4,000 and then I would say that if he wanted a quick sale I would write a check for a $3,500 trade-in. This would amount to $14,300 or so.

At this point he stared at me and said “I think you are the most knowledgeable customer I have ever dealt with.”  Of course, a good salesperson will always find some way to compliment the customer, but I enjoyed it all the same.  I explained some of my background in the business, and off we went to begin the negotiations he had stressed they do not do.

His first offer was, as expected, a trade-in of $3,000, plus all sorts of other fees, all of which had explanations and most of which I ignored.

I pointed out to him the $150 “documentation fee,” which dealers are allowed by law to charge, is voluntary on the customer’s part!  Most people do not know this.  I would not be willing to pay that, and also, I did not need to pay $550 in RTA tax because in my new location it is not collected.

We went back and forth a few times, with Noah returning to his hidden sales manager to get approval.  At the end, I was at $13,000 plus tax and license – about $14,300 – which is exactly where I began.  He got all the way down to $13,800, which was a fair offer.

I explained that I was happy he had not taken my offer, as I wanted some time to think about it rather than rushing in to a mistake.  I pointed out that of course, he could sell it to someone else that day or the next, or I could find something else, so my leaving was a bit of a gamble for both of us.

What I did not explain was that I was pretty sure this would be a tough car for them to sell.  Most people do not know what an ST is in the first place, and most people shopping for a used Ford Focus would not want to pay anywhere near that price, and last, most people these days do not want to and perhaps cannot drive a manual transmission.

And so we parted. I went off to tour the hot rod show in Everett and eat unhealthy food in large quantities, and then went home.

I sort of expected that he would call and offer to split the $500 difference, and I would have agreed to that.  As the afternoon wore on I began to think I’d negotiated my way out of a deal, and after doing some research on my computer on reliability records and owner reviews and such, I wanted the car more than at first!

Finally, at 5:15pm, Noah called. The deal had been approved at my price, but only for today.  They closed at 6pm, but he would wait for me.  OK!

I got there at 5:50 and it took awhile to do the paperwork.  I think the finance guy was exhausted from a long weekend, as there was no sales pitch for an extended warranty or underseal or magic fairy dust or anything else.  I wrote a check for $14,298.00 and was driving home.

Initial impressions?  I will stop here, lest I gush!  Really a hoot and a half to drive, and the shift is about the best I’ve ever experienced, including a Porsche 911 and several dozen Mazda Miatas, usually considered the best out there.  If you see me sometime you probably do not want to ask me about the car, unless you have an hour to spare.

Let’s see how long the honeymoon lasts!

Cheers!

Copyright 2019                      David Preston

Posted in Cars, Equipment, Marketing | 2 Comments

Enjoying a Double Automotive Fantasy

Enjoying a Double Automotive Fantasy

‘Tis a pity that the word “fantasy” has such a negative connotation for so many. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a fantasy, as long as you recognize it for what it is – something unlikely to ever happen.

In my case, my fantasies often revolve around motorcycles and vehicles I would like to own and operate. A deep-seated ineptitude with tools means I need to rely on a lottery ticket to fund my dreams.

I don’t expect to win the lottery, and spend my shekels for the simple enjoyment of playing “what if” in my head.  This leads me to real estate listings as well.  The current realty fave is a house near me for a paltry 2.2 million that features, among other delights, a 7-car garage. One slot would be taken up by two or three motorcycles, and another by a Jaguar XJS that belongs to a woman I think I can connive into living with me. That leaves 5 slots for cars and trucks.  I can cope.

Today I indulged the fantasy side further by attending an open house at “Top Secret” customs in Arlington.  This featured a live band, an astonishing show of customs and hot rods, fine food, and the opportunity to wander through a huge facility that houses separate areas for frame construction, metal work and fabrication, machining operations, and a modern paint booth and prep area – all of this with a few dozen vehicles in various stages of completion spread throughout. It was stunning.

Strictly for fantasy, I was also shopping for a shop to build a car for me.  These folks could do it. Not just any car, – one I designed.  For my novel “Triathlon Ride” I created a resto-mod International Harvester pick-up, created by a fictional Bartholomew Chance III in a fictional business in Cofus, a fictional small town in Kansas.  How cool would it be to have created for me that vehicle, replete with the logo of the fictional shop on the doors?  What a fun conversation piece that would be, as well as being an utterly usable machine.

“Daphne” also appears with Bartholomew in “Farrier Ride,” the 4th of my “Harrison Thomas” novels, all of which are available as e-readers or in paperback from Amazon.  Cheap commercial plug, I know.

Anyway, here is the section of the novel that describes my truck.

“He gazed right, and the penny dropped. “Daphne” was a pick-up truck. An International Harvester long bed pick-up truck of early 1960’s vintage, if my store house of mental trivia could be relied upon. 

Dark metallic green, with an oblate spherical cream area on the door with the company logo and Bartholomew’s name.  On the hood, a reverse hood scoop from a Camaro drag racer from years back, and on each side of that the word “Daphne” in small but elegant pin-striped cream italics. 

“Has to be a story with this one,” I offered.

“Well, I’d been thinking of doing a truck for some time. The ride to and from Oakland is getting a bit old for one thing.  For another, been planning on expanding the business into customs of the four-wheel variety. They’re actually easier to create because you have more places to hide equipment you don’t want on view. They sell for more, too, which is nice.”

“So far I follow,” I interjected.

“Along the way I met a neighbor lady at church.”

At this I raised an eyebrow.

“Everybody goes to church in Kansas, Harrison. If you don’t, you’re suspected of all sorts of things, and with my great tan and artificial leg I’m already out of the ordinary. Doesn’t hurt me to talk to folks once in a while, either.  Anyway, one day I was getting back on my bike – that burgundy bagger I had – and this elderly woman came up to me.  She was about 85 years old, and all dressed up in her Sunday best, complete with hat.  She walked up to me with pursed lips, staring at the bike, and I figured I was about to get some sort of lecture.

Instead she looked e me straight in the eye and said “My, what a lovely motorcycle.”

(This part, like many of the events in my novels, comes from real life. I met a lovely woman like this outside a diner one morning in Montana, 40 years ago on a motorcycle trip)

“Once I recovered from that we began to talk, and soon became good friends. Daphne was one of the purest souls I’ve ever met. She was still living on the wheat ranch she and her husband had built, although he’d passed away years ago.  Kansas is not an easy place to live by yourself, especially in the winter, and especially if you’re over 80. I did some favors for her from time to time – putting up the screens when I arrived in the spring, prepping her house for the winter before I left, fixing this and that. I liked doing things for her, and we enjoyed each other’s company.  She was a one hell of a cook as well.”

His voice slowed and his ebony face grew darker. “She passed away last year, and willed her truck to me. Been in the family for 40 years, after its first career with the Kansas State Agricultural Bureau. It’s a 1961 and it’s been around the block a time or two. Seemed like it was meant to be my first custom, and naming it for her was only right. I got it done just in time for the 4th of July parade.”

“Cofus has a parade?”

“Yeah. Goes back 50 years to when it was a real town. There’s no organization other than what a few volunteers from the church provide. It just sort of starts at the old school at about 11am and it’s all over by 1pm. Then most people go into Langford for the afternoon and then the evening fireworks, for those that enjoy that. I don’t. Anyone can enter anything in the parade, from a rusted 1965 Pontiac to dance groups, a combine or two for reasons I don’t understand, that sort of thing. We put some kids from the church youth program in the back of Daphne and used her in the parade, with kids tossing candy to the sides. You can still do that in parades in Kansas.”

(This is also real, based on a parade south of Pullman on July 4th at a grange in the middle of the wheat fields)


“That must have been fun.”

“Turned out to be more than that, Harrison. Daphne was very well known in the area, and when folks saw what I’d done to her truck, and how I’d named it for her – it was amazing.  When a grizzled 70-year-old white Kansas wheat farmer comes up and puts his arms around an ugly big black man and then bursts into tears as he remembers Daphne… makes me think progress is possible.”

“That’s amazing.”

“Less so every day.  I’ll tell you Harrison, I wasn’t too sure of the wisdom of spending 5 or 6 months a year here. Didn’t think I’d fit in very well, although Marilyn and her friends made every effort to blow me up as some sort of hero.”

“Ironic use of phrase, considering.”

“Oh yeah, that.  In any case, Kansas votes in some of the most idiotic conservative politicians you can imagine, and proudly too. The current governor has pretty much bankrupted the state by slashing taxes to where even minimal services create massive deficits.  People here also turn to froth if any mention is made of gun control. You know I’m familiar with guns, and never travel without one, but even the concept that a person who has been declared mentally disturbed and violent might be denied access to machines guns sends people off the deep end. And of course, almost all of them are white. 

Against that, my experience has been that if you just don’t talk all that much, do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it and stick to the truth, people treat you like you’re the finest person they’ve ever met. In fact, I think I’ve run into less racism here than I deal with in California.  It’s kind of confusing.”

For Bartholomew this pretty much amounted to a speech.

“What conclusions have you drawn?”

“You don’t really know people until you really know people.”

“That sounds like something I should write down.”

“Didn’t patent it. Be my guest.”

“Back to Daphne. Knowing you, I’m sure there’s more to this truck than meets the eye.”

“I’ll give you the tour. The paint I did myself, now that I have my own spray booth. See that dark finish on the bumpers and headlight surrounds and body trim?”

I nodded.

“That’s a technique known as “Parkerizing,” named after a guy whose name you can guess. It’s sort of like black chrome, and you take care of the finish by oiling it once in a while.  Used on a lot of antique guns and weapons, but I’d never seen it applied to a vehicle.  It makes for a good starting point when talking to customers.”

(Parkerizing is also real)

“Starting point?”

“Oh yeah, the Parkerizing is just the beginning.”  Bartholomew was not one to brag, but I could feel his enthusiasm for what he had created.  It oozed out of him like fresh sweat. He pulled something that looked like a TV remote control from a front pocket of his coveralls.  “We shall commence the tour.”

He pushed a button and Daphne’s engine rumbled to life, murmuring peacefully through big exhaust pipes.

“Chevy small block?”

“Excellent guess, Harrison.” He punched another button on the remote and the hood rose silently, revealing a modern fuel-injected engine with “Camaro” announced on the valve covers in red.  A 3rd button push popped open the driver’s door to reveal the leather interior.  Although the dash appeared stock, I could see that a lot of the more modern controls, such as cruise control and the stereo, were close to hand on the leather steering wheel. Daphne also sported power windows and door locks.

But wait, as they say, there’s more. Now we get to Daphne’s real party trick.”

We’d strolled to the back, where the extra length eight-foot bed glistened with varnished wood pieces separated by aluminum slats. The center slat was wider, with a slot running down the middle. It seemed to sit several inches higher than normal, so I asked about it.   Bartholomew produced a wry smile and punched yet another button on the remote. The bed split in half and rose up vertically on each side, jutting above the original body sides. As this was going on, a second layer was exposed under the wood, this one all aluminum, but with rubber traction surface areas up and down both sides. A shallow notch ran down the middle, and as the sides raised a chock for the front wheel of a motorcycle popped up in place. The tailgate began to move to the rear an inch or so and then slid down until it was vertical behind the Parkerized rear bumper. The entire aluminum bed panel then began to slide backward. As it cleared the back of the truck it gradually leaned down until it rested on the cement floor. The last bit of it was beveled.  When all was said and done Bartholomew hit the kill switch on the remote, and now he had a pickup ready to be loaded with his bike. He could easily ride the bike up and into the wheel chock, and then get off and walk back down to level ground.  Then the remote would reverse the process.  A couple of tie downs could be added for security, although they were probably not needed.

There was a soft click as the hood, released by the kill button, settled back into position.

Slick.

I said as much, and Bartholomew responded “Getting a bike into a truck can be a bit dicey for a man with an artificial leg. For most of the people who want something like this, it’s just being able to show off. Whatever.”

I just stared at Daphne in silence.  What a stunning vehicle, starting from an old farm truck.”

So, there you have it.  I have the truck in my head, and I have found the shop to build it.  Just need the correct lottery ticket!

Copyright 2019                     David Preston

(for more, feel free to go to my web site at www.davidpreston.biz to peruse several years of my stuff – some of which you might like!

Posted in Cars | Leave a comment

The Statistical Anomaly That Is The Seattle Mariners

The Statistical Anomaly that is the Seattle Mariners

I’m not much of a baseball fan.  Despite my starring role as a pitcher on a Little League farm team in my youth…  Nor a Mariners fan.  But…

With the Mariners recent success, I thought I’d give them a try, in the most casual way possible. Record the games and then watch them mostly on fast forward, pausing when something of interest occurs. Lately, that has meant watching most of the game.

Baseball on TV is different now.  It is still too slow, but fast forward helps with that.   The big difference is the amount and depth of the statistics displayed on the screen.  It is captivating, especially for anyone (like me, for example) with math nerd tendencies.

When a pitcher enters the game, the screen will tell you what pitches he throws (fastball, curve, slide, change-up) what percentage of the time, depending on the balls and strikes count.  This info is available to the teams as well, I’m sure, and what an advantage! If the numbers tell you the pitcher throws a fastball 93% of the time when behind in the count, and the count is 3 balls and 1 strike, guess what pitch the batter will be looking for?

The screen is filled with sidebars of all sorts of arcane statistics that only the obsessed would collect, but I am happy to see the results without doing any of the work.  For one thing, this allows baseball to bring to the viewer the history and tradition they want to market in an open and interesting way.  As an example, there is one statistic displayed that shows that in one area the Mariner’s offensive success was last equaled by a team with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig playing!

For the casual fan, nothing creates more interest than offense and home runs, and here the Mariners are rollicking along at a pace that cannot possibly be sustained. They have hit at least one home run in every one of the first 15 games, an all-time record, and are averaging over two home runs a game and over 7 runs a game.

Frequent statistical records show you how they are comparing (favorably) with teams from the past 100 years, in a cornucopia of other categories I did not know existed, but are fascinating.

They do not show, at least so far, negative numbers, such as the number of errors committed, which is not a Mariner bragging point.

Their success is even more fun because the team is comprised of a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of most likely.  One (Edwin Encarcion) is probably ending a long and successful career with the Mariners, and unlike most of his end of career predecessors he is eating the opponents alive.  The rest of them, for a fan of my low standing, are literally “who are these guys?”  You have to like the underdog.

The Mariners currently lead all of major league baseball in a slew of statistical categories, and it is not just one or two players doing all of the heavy lifting, but more like a dozen of them and all are having career years.  On a long road trip, the manager has been blending in different players each game.  This provides a day of rest for a player who does not want it because he is doing so well, but also allows another slavering beast to get a turn or four at bat and join in on the feast. It’s interesting to observe.

Today’s game added a new wrinkle. The Mariners were behind by several runs for most of the game, finally tying the score in the 9th inning and then scoring the winning run in the 10th – on another home run.

They are now 13 – 2.  Can this continue?  No. Certainly not at an average of almost 8 runs a game, nor almost two home runs a game.  The Mariners bandwagon has emptied so often before it does not bother with seatbelts, but still they are great fun to watch.

I have a suspicion they are not going to dry up and blow away.

Copyright 2019                                       David Preston

Posted in Marketing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Modern Triumph Bonneville Experience

The Modern Triumph Bonneville Experience

I purchased a 2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 in April of that year.  The following situation has occurred so often that I almost laugh when it starts…again.

Someone, usually a man, notices the bike, whether at a stop light or when I am parking it at the store or getting ready to leave from some place.  A long stare commences.

Then comes the first comment, and it is almost always one of the following,

“Wow.  When was that restored?” or

“I did not know Triumph still made motorcycles.  What year is it?”

I respond with a smile; “It’s a 2016.”

The person usually looks a little astonished, and then goes on to relate their personal connection to the Triumph Bonneville.  They had one, or Dad did, or Grandfather, or a relative.  The stories are always slanted a bit with the golden rays of reverie.  Evidently none of the originals ever broke down, crashed, or leaked oil!

Then there will be a remark or two about how beautiful it is, and then my favorite part – the questions!

“650cc?”

“1200.”

“Really?  I think the originals had 48 or 55 horsepower, something like that?”

“This has 84.”

“Really!  4 speeds?”

“Six.”

Then I start reeling off the improvements.  “It also has ABS brakes, triple discs at that, fuel injection, ride modes, heated grips, several instrument displays, an easy clutch pull, and 10,000-mile oil change intervals.” And sometimes I gush more.

“Must be great for around town.”

“Oh, it’s wonderful, but I’ve also taken it on several rides of one to two thousand miles.”

By now the person is back to staring.  They usually wish me a good day, and then wander off, turning back a few times to gape at the bike some more.

Sometimes they’ll add, “I’d love to get one, but I’m too old to ride motorcycles.”  Every person who has said this is younger than I am, often by a lot.  (I am 72)

Why do people react this way?  For one thing, the Bonneville is a beautiful bike in the mode of classic bike looks.  Jay Leno is reputed to have said “A real bike you can see through.”  But there are lots of beautiful bikes.

I think Triumphs have a look that communicates fun and adventure and friendly.  People assume the rider is friendly.  Lot of Harleys are beautiful, but they can also look intimidating or unfriendly depending on the example. I used to ride a lot of Harleys as part of my job at a dealership, usually showing off a new model at an event, and while people did talk to me (which was why I was there), it was much different and more restrained.

I owned a scorched yellow Speed Triple for eleven years, and it was a fantastic bike that hardly anyone ever commented on.

I go on lots of rides with small groups of friends.  They all have nice motorcycles, but none get the reaction mine does, except for the friend with multiple old – Triumph Bonnevilles.  My friends often make amused comments about the delays in our ride when we stop or go to leave, because of these conversations.

Certainly not the reason to purchase one, as there are many better ones, but a pleasant little sidebar.

Ride fast, ride safe, and ride often!

Copyright 2019                              David Preston

Posted in Marketing, Motorcycles | Leave a comment

Technology In Your Ride – Need vs. Want

How Much Technology Do You Need – Or Want – In Your Ride?Eons ago, when I first got entranced with cards and motorcycles, in about 1962, “technology” rarely surfaced in discussions of cars and motorcycles. After all, most motorcycles of the time were basically a reinforced bicycle frame with an engine and fuel tank bolted on, telescopic front forks, rear shocks, and drum brakes.  Most cars of reasonable price were at about the same level of sophistication.

In those days, most drivers and riders wanted, in a word, more.  More power, more brakes, more handling prowess, more reliability, and on and on.

My first motorcycle was a 1965 Yamaha YDS-3 250cc two stroke.  It had drum brakes, 24 horsepower on a good day, and handling was handling.  It was a fine motorcycle for its time, and I rode it for thousands of miles, including a camping ride from Minneapolis to Seattle and back in 1968.

In the 1970s things began to improve in so many ways.  Horsepower levels for motorcycles increased exponentially, often far beyond the capabilities of the chassis. The Kawasaki 750cc two stroke earned the name “widow maker” sort of by accident, and by that, I mean a lot of them. Cars had seen major increases in horsepower in the 1960s. This peaked in 1970-71, and then fell back in 1972 – 1973 as the emissions standards came into play.  It would take years for cars to become exciting again, which is why you will see very few late 1970’s performance cars at collector car auctions, particularly of American manufacture.

In 1977 I purchased my first brand new motorcycle.  It was a 1977 Yamaha XS750D triple.  Three cylinders, shaft drive, triple disc brakes, self-cancelling turn signals.  At the time, a state-of-the-art machine.  Of course, the shaft drive made it heavy, the rear shocks were built to a price, and it made, 64 horsepower.  S&W rear shocks, a copy of a BMW R90S fairing, lower and narrower bars from a European Norton, and K&W air filters turned it into a fine machine. The triple points ignition was a pain to fiddle with, but all in all I rode it for 21 years and almost 50,000 miles with virtually no mechanical problems.

In the 1980’s came more improvements in both cars and motorcycles, and the word technology began to appear in articles and road tests.

Obviously, I am skipping over a lot of detail.  I will get to my point…eventually.

In the early 2000s things began to change, as the intrusion of electronic and computer improvements began to radically alter the design and performance of both cars and motorcycles.  The Kawasaki 1200 Ninja I owned turned 165hp at the rear wheels on an honest dyno, and was still at 160hp with 98,000 miles, according to the guy who bought it from me. It could accelerate in 2nd and 3rd gear so hard my eyes and brain had a hard time keeping up.  Electronic fuel injection, Akropovich titanium exhaust, a Power Commander, and on and on.  In the space of 35 years, the crank horsepower available to anyone with some cash had gone from 24 to almost 200 – roughly an 800% increase!

But then things began to change. Motorcycles and cars that were to be used on the street no longer had the need for “more,” except in the egos of the owners.  I had a colleague at Cycle Barn in the early 2000s, a Harley enthusiast, describe to me what he was going to have to do to his next Harley, and how much it would cost, to get the engine to 100 horsepower.  I replied “Or, you could just buy a Honda 600cc sport bike for the same money, and all the rest of the bike would be free.”  He was not amused.

As engineer boffins learned what could be done with electrical circuits, sensors, and ever smaller computers, their attention turned away from mere horsepower to gizmos and gadgets designed to improve the driving experience (their words) or find new ways to build cost and profit into vehicles with things that were never needed in the first place (my words).  Do I need a light in the outside mirror to tell me another car is there?  I had a rental car that created the worst of two worlds – a light that came on in the mirror if a car was detected in the next lane – some of the time.

I once had a pedestrian Hyundai rental car of perfect utility – with paddle shifters.  Really?  Why?

In 2009 I had the opportunity to turn some sort of fast laps at (then) Seattle International Raceway, with an SCCA race instructor riding shotgun, in a new Mercedes Benz 500 AMG convertible. The Mercedes had a veritable “suite” (marketing hype) of safety technologies. None of them could be turned off.  Of course, it was an automatic.  On a racetrack the car would resist any attempt to rotate in a corner. It would apply the brakes at the wrong time, because the little molecules of its brain were convinced I was crashing.  It was frustrating, and I began to wonder what someone would have to do to actually crash the car.

In about 2011 or so the US Navy discovered that more personnel were perishing in motorcycle crashes then from any other cause. World wide. Young men and women were being highly trained in the maintenance and operation of extremely sophisticated and expensive equipment. When they came home on leave, flush with cash, they would saunter in to their local dealer and purchase the fastest bike they could find, usually ignoring advice to take a rider class, which was not required at that time. Their thinking was that if they could maintain or operate a fighter plane or aircraft carrier, how tough could it be to master a 500-pound machine with a mere 165 horsepower? 

This proved to be a fatal error in judgment far too often.,

As the Navy moved to correct this, a motorcycle safety instructor and I were invited to go for a group ride with sailors from the Everett Naval Base.  It was utterly appalling!  All nice young men and women, but almost all of them clearly had no idea of what they were doing.  Their cornering lines were all over the place, braking far too early or late, no concept of body positioning, and on and on.  It was amazing. The Navy has since mandated motorcycle rider training, and the other branches have hopefully followed their lead.

And now to today. One of the problems is that while technology had transformed many forms of transportation in the last half a century, most of the road infrastructure is unchanged.  You can now purchase many cars and motorcycles that cannot be driven anywhere near their limits on public roads, to say nothing of the talent of the owners.

I once knew a nice man who owned both a new BMW S1000RR and a new Porsche 911.  His wife joined us at a track day at The Ridge in the 911, and I was pleased to see it had a manual transmission.  Both of them drove the Porsche at car track days.

He explained that his friends wondered why he had not purchased the much faster Porsche GT3. He explained that at a track day at Pacific Raceways, Don Kitsch, a pro driver and operator of a racing and track day school, had done a few laps at full chat in the 911 with the owner as a passenger.  This taught the owner that he was 5 to 10 seconds a lap slower than the car was capable of.  Why would he need a faster Porsche when he did not have the talent to extract even close to the maximum capability of what he had?

Did you know there is a group known as “Save the Enzos”?  There are a lot of You Tube videos of Ferrari Enzos coming to an ignominious end when the driver wrote a check neither his talent or the road could cash.  And that is only with a rare and incredibly expensive car.  There are tons of other examples.

Now we are faced with an ever-expanding menu of driver “aids,” as well as electric cars and motorcycles.  This may or may not make the car safer, depending on your point of view, by turning over more and more functions to the widgets in the electronics systems. How much technology do you need?  How much do you want?

You first need to define for yourself what a car or motorcycle is.

For me, all electric vehicles are not cars or motorcycles.  (Your results may vary).  I refer to them as “TD” s – transportation devices. Many of them are supremely capable, equal to the performance of a car or motorcycle. In the near future they will probably surpass the capability of vehicles powered by the rotten and compressed remains of dinosaurs.  A Tesla set to “ludicrous” is evidently an amazing experience. Matters not a whit to me. 

For some, driving or riding is an experience, and one to look forward to.  Electrics offer seamless performance with little or no sound and (usually) no need to shift or do much of anything but sit back and enjoy the ride.  They do an admirable job of getting from point A to B with a minimum of hassle and stress. And involvement.

Most of my friends are gaga about the present performance and future potential of electric motorcycles. I rode one once, and it did everything it was asked to do perfectly. So does my vacuum cleaner.

So, let us choose to turn back to “normal” vehicles.  Am I suggesting a return to the technology, what there was of it, of my youth?  No.

Instead, it might be better to think about what technology you want and what you do not want, and purchase accordingly.  For me, I want every drive or ride to be an event. Nothing too dramatic required, but I want to be aware that I am operating a machine, and not just sitting in a pod having all of my needs attended to my unseen servos and sensors.  

Here is what I want, and what I do not want:

I am in favor of technologies that make my car or motorcycle safer to operate, more reliable, more efficient, and/or better looking.  To that end, computerized fuel injection, water cooling, cruise control, triple ABS disc brakes, traction control, light pull clutch levers (motorcycles), and air bags (cars), are all things I want.  These days, of course, it is almost impossible to find a vehicle that does not have all of these.

Most of the technology that I do not want comes from engineering and marketing departments looking for new fripperies to differentiate their product from others.  Unlike 50 years ago, it is very hard these days to purchase a truly bad new car or motorcycle.  Most vehicles today are well made and have performance at least adequate for the roads they will be used on.  The problem for marketing mavens:  How to make your product stand out – add-ons that you can tell the consumer are super important. Are they?

I do not need the latest thing in GPS directional systems in my car or on my motorcycle.  Neither do you.  If you have the money for a new vehicle, you own a cell phone. The technology of cell phones evolves much more rapidly than a vehicle production cycle.

My (now) ex-brother in law has a company car. This vehicle can parallel park itself and also maintain a safe distance to the car in front when in cruise control. This has had two affects. He admits he is now losing his ability to parallel park. Worse, when he is driving one of his other cars in cruise control, he expects the car to slow itself when traffic slows in front of him. The other two cars do not have the speed adjust technology, and a couple of near accidents have been the result. So are these two technologies a gain for the majority of people in America who operate more than one vehicle?

How many cup holders do I need?  Actually, none, but any car will have at least two of them.  OK.

I do not need blue tooth or whatever tech in my helmet to inform (interrupt) me while riding. One of the reasons I ride is to be away from the latest breaking news, and phone calls, etc.

I do not need or want any piece of technology that makes noise to warn me of something that should be obvious.   Lane departure warning systems, warning lights in the side mirror, a steering wheel that shakes if it thinks I am in error, a beeping sound when the car is in reverse, or a gong that tells me the car is moving and the seat belt is not fastened.

I do not want or need a complex stereo or entertainment system that accepts all devises and syncs to my phone.

I do not need or want a CVT transmission on anything, or an automatic unless the vehicle is a mundane SUV or truck.

In short, I want to experience the vehicle I am operating.  I want to be engaged and involved, and I do not want technology to be used to separate me ever further from being connected to the whirring bits that are propelling me down the road.

The proof is in the pudding. What do I own, you ask? A 2016 Triumph T120 Bonneville and a 2012 Fiat Sport with a 5 speed manual transmission (of course). Both are examples of what this essay tries to point out.

How about you?

Cheers!   Ride fast, ride safe, and ride often!

By the way… It has come to my attention that if you are reading this on a smart phone my entire website does not display.  Among other horrors, this prevents you from clicking on and ordering any or all of my 8 books available from Amazon. You must go to www.davidpreston.biz on a computer to slake your thirst for essays and novels that feature (mostly) motorcycles and cars.

Copyright 2019                     David Preston

Posted in Cars, Equipment, Marketing, Motorcycles, Rants and Raves | 2 Comments

Kids Today!

Kids Today…

I’ve been hearing this expression since I was… a kid, usually uttered by adults with a shake of the head, followed by a litany of complaints.  Kids have no respect, they do not listen, they have no work     ethic, they are lazy, their music and clothes are terrible, and on and on and on.

I first noticed this when I became a junior high teacher and noticed that the remarks of adults sounded remarkably like the remarks of adults a decade earlier, when I had been in junior high.  And the exact same remarks are still heard today, more than half a century later.

There are many reasons for this, which I will not bother to enumerate, but it has always been curious to me that so many adults do not hear themselves repeating the words of their parents or grandparents.

I had the terrific opportunity last week to be a guest speaker at a high school marketing competition and convention.  My topic was on how to communicate more effectively in any situation.  I did not invent this, but in short form it looks like this:

S.     =      SUBJECT – your responsibility

A.     =      AUDIENCE – who, exactly, are you trying to reach?

P.     =      PURPOSE – what are you trying to get done?

        I.      =      Inform – they will learn what you know

        E.     =      Entertain – they will have a good time

        P.     =      Persuade – their opinion will align with yours   

                E.     = Emotion – use their emotions

                L.     = Logic –  let them think their way to agreement

When I first walked in to the large church complex being used as the convention center, I thought there must be some strict form of dress code. The young men and women were clad in outfits that were almost uniformly black and white.  Turns out that today, for most young people, dressing up means black slacks and a sport coat and white shirt, and a black skirt of slacks with a white blouse and maybe a black sweater. In any case, they all looked very nice.

The speaker before me was an FBI agent talking about careers in the FBI, and I amused myself noting his mistakes. For one thing, he was very soft spoken.  The coordinator had noticed this when he met him and had offered a mike, but the agent thought he would be fine. He was not. Even with my hearing aids in I could not hear a word. Then he went over his time. By quite a bit. A lot of the students had to leave to enter a competition or get to the next speaker, so by the time he was done he had lost at least half of the crowd.

When my audience arrived, I was immediately impressed. The first three were young men who passed the wait time poring over a biology book.  Once I began, I immediately noticed that all were paying attention. I am a good speaker, or so I have been told, but this was for an adult they had never seen before, which is usually a tough teen audience.

At one point, for an example, I asked if any of them played any sports for their school. Several raised their hands, and the girl I selected said she ran track.  I asked if she was good at it, and she nodded yes.  I found out later that she is one of the best runners in the state- good selection on my part.

The example had to do with thinking about your audience, and how different your essay would be if you were communicating to an audience of third graders about track, or college seniors preparing for the Olympic trials.

As time ran out there were a couple of intelligent questions, and two of the students paused on the way out to tell me mine was the best presentation they had heard that day.

I took the time to talk to a few students, especially the rebels wearing other than black. Every student I talked to looked me straight in the eye (this is often difficult for teens) and answered me with enthusiasm and wit and humor.

You could argue that this was not a typical group, and to some extent that would be correct, but not much.  These are not rich kids from an exclusive private prep school – just high school kids who happen to be in a business class or after school marketing club.

With all the fears we have for the future, given the gang of immoral scoundrels trying to ruin our country, I think we will be OK.  The kids are just fine.

Copyright 2019              David Preston

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Seattle Snow – Cause For Panic?

Why People in Seattle Lose Their Minds When It Snows  

This is written especially for all of my friends back in Minnesota, land of my youth.  They must wonder what collective insanity seems to hit people in the Seattle megalopolis when snow hits. But there is a bit more to it.

Snow is not snow. I recall reading decades ago that Eskimos have 97 different words for “snow.”  I have no idea if that is true, but it makes sense to me.  The snow we have here is far different than the snow I grew up with.

I have fond memories of driving in the snow in high school. The car I got to drive was a 1959 Hillman, equipped with studded snow tires.  To leave my home on Libb’s Lake Road you drove about ¼ of a mile to the main road.  Just before the stop sign there was a short but steep hill.  The technique was to romp up the hill and then pitch the car to the right as you reached the stop sign, as the car slowed.  If you did this correctly, you could look to your left as you reached the top, and if there was no traffic you could let the car ease onto the main road and turn right (I pretty much never needed to turn left).  If traffic was coming you would stop, and then rely on the studded rear tires and the 60 or so horses of the Hillman to get going again.  I never had an accident caused by snow, which is not to say I never had an accident…

When it snows in Seattle the temperature is usually close to freezing, and often meandering a few degrees above or below, often several times over a two- or three-day period. And sometimes there is rain. This creates multiple layers of ice and snow and water and ice and snow – a cake that reduces traction to where even walking down your driveway is perilous.  Because this does not happen every year, people seem to drive faster than they should, as if reducing the time spent driving will make it safer.  It does not.

Today the majority of people have at their disposal a four-wheel drive vehicle, often with AMS brakes. Because they have 4WD, they think they have traction anywhere, and if trouble occurs, they can simply stomp on the pedal and the ABS brakes will stop the car.  Neither of these is true on glare ice, so times like these must be the high holy days for repair shops.  Probably a migraine for insurance adjusters, who are not allowed to tell a client “if you had a clue about driving on snow and ice this would not have happened.”

There are other issues that impact us as well.  The snow that falls tends to be extremely moist, and thus heavy.  This leads to power outages and downed trees all over, and some of the trees have the poor taste to penetrate the roof of the house.

Because snow is not an annual occurrence, local governing bodies cannot justify massive sums of tax dollars in infrastructure.  There are few snowplows, and a sanding truck might get to your street – never.

So, there you have it. Today the locals are trying to find an excuse to leave work, as the snow is about to begin… again.  Grocery stores yesterday were pretty much stripped bare of milk and bread and eggs and beer – the basic food groups. 

The amusing final touch is that our weather is extremely hard to predict.  Great weather forecasters want to work here for the challenge. Others opt for Los Angeles, where the weather forecast resembles a looped film.  As a result, the “snowmageddon” that everyone talks about at times never arrives, and then people vent their fury at the hapless weatherfolk, fooled by Mom Nature again.

I can hope for that this time…

Copyright 2019                     David Preston

PS: Use your computer to access my website at www.davidpreston.biz, as I am told the entire home page will not show on many cell phones.  There you will find all sorts of things, and links to allow you to purchase any (or all) of my 8 books from Amazon.  If you are home-bound for a bit, this would be a good way to spend your time. Spring is coming…eventually.

Posted in Cars, Travel | Leave a comment