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September 2, 2008

The Joy of Selling

Nick Diaz

          Not long ago I described to readers my adventures and thoughts on traveling to Maine to purchase and ride home a “new” 1988 Yamaha Venture.


            Buying a used motorcycle, particularly one that is neither a classic nor a recent model, is so much fun; it’s like Christmas all over again – the unwrapping of pleasant, and not-so-pleasant, surprises, one at a time. I’ve been having fun getting acquainted with this Yamaha and learning what quirks and characteristics to evaluate.


            The Venture is now legally and appropriately on the road, Maryland inspected, fully insured, properly titled and tagged. The oil has been changed, new tires have been installed, brake pads replaced, handlebar height adjusted, shift and brake pedals lowered to my satisfaction.


Many items, however, are yet to be unwrapped, checked out, and subsequently fixed, ignored, or postponed. All that is what makes the purchase of a funky machine like this 20-year-old Venture so challenging, so entertaining, edifying, and, yes – so much fun.


            It’s easy to understand why so many dedicated motorcyclists have more than one in their garages, often taking the place of automobiles, lawn tractors, tillers, and tools. Buying a motorcycle, and adding it to one’s stable, is, as I’ve been describing, a pleasant thing to do, after all. Across this great land, there are many motorcycle enthusiasts whose garages and sheds boast of two, three, even more machines.


            Why own more than one? After all, it’s rather difficult to ride more than one at a time, so I hear. Why? Simple – buying is fun.


            Selling is not, however. For two months my one-car garage housed the Yamaha Venture I bought in Maine and rode home, and my trusty old 1984 Suzuki GS1100GK. Two motorcycles, plus parts bins and tools, leave very little room for family stuff and other paraphernalia that my considerably better half erroneously, yet assertively, considers much more important.


A car? Gotta be kidding. Minivan and pickup truck belong outside. Who ever heard of using a garage for mundane, prosaic, utilitarian, four-wheeled contraptions?


            One motorcycle had to go, and you guessed it – the Suzuki. Nine years ago I picked it up in Boston, brought it home, got it fixed up, and proudly assumed its role as king of the garage. Nine years and 107,000 miles later, still running perfectly, it was time to sell it. Thirty-nine years of a happy marriage have taught me enough wisdom to determine which battles to pick, and that I’m better off not picking any at all – so the Suzuki had to go.


            So I found another funky-bike enthusiast in Dayton, Ohio, via the Internet. This young man loves buying old Suzukis, improving them cosmetically and mechanically, and hoarding them whenever possible. He has either mastered the art of riding more than one motorcycle at a given time, or he’s single. I found out, not surprisingly, that the latter is true.


            A pleasant coincidence: The young fellow in question lives in Dayton, Ohio, home of our alma mater, the University of Dayton. Our daughter is starting her senior year there. Maybe I can get away with something here…


            Those with college-age children know what a pain it is for parents to help them bring tons of useless junk and get them settled in dorm, apartment, loft, townhouse, or whatever. We had to go to Dayton and do just that. So, how about if I ride the Suzuki out to Dayton, deliver it to the nice, single young man in person, then ride home in the Caravan with my wife.


            My last hurrah on the Suzuki took place recently. Left the house at 6:30 A.M. for my beloved invisible roads, all the way to Romney, WV. U.S. 50 west of Romney is a wonderful road, which I owned that early on a Saturday. Twisties, switchbacks, hills and valleys, beautiful day, gorgeous scenery abound on US 50 up to Grafton.


            The four-lane section of U.S, 50, from Clarksburg to Parkersburg, is a good way to make up some time well spent on the invisible roads and the earlier curvy section of 50. Four-lanes are not usually enjoyable to me, but today it was. Again, I owned the road – nobody on it. Kept it at a steady 65 to 70 mph, breathed the country air, looked around, enjoying every mile of my last ride on that magnificent Suzuki.


            Crossed the Ohio River, fueled up, and hit Ohio Route 555 northwest to Route 550, then west to Athens. Terrific two-lane road traversing old farms and forests, little traffic, all mine. Around Athens I picked up Ohio Route 56, skirting the Hocking Hills section of state parks and forests. Lunch in beautiful downtown Laurelville, then on to Chillicothe. There I picked up U.S. 35, a straight four-lane, and hit Dayton from the southeast.


            Why not take I-70 and be in Dayton in seven hours? Because I’m a motorcyclist, and motorcyclists love invisible roads. I-70 is too visible; it’s not for me.


            A bit sad when I delivered the Suzuki, signed over the title, and took the new owner’s cash. Easy, pleasant transaction. On the one hand, I still had the “new” Venture to look forward to; on the other hand, someone else will have the pleasure of taking a faithful, strong, reliable, old friend and unwrapping it, one layer at a time, improving it, testing it, making it better.


            Amid the bit of nostalgia, I’m satisfied that, by reluctantly selling a young buck in Ohio this old Suzuki, I’ve provided another human being with the pleasures of Christmas in August.


One man’s nostalgic sadness is another’s source of joy and satisfaction. Life is good.


Yellow Cab
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