Friday, June 24, 2011

First Impressions, First Ride

22 June 2011
After not sleeping for about 38 hours, i managed to get a blissful six hours sleep before jet lag woke me up at about 5:30AM. My body was yearning for some exercise so i walked a few miles along Charles Rock road in St. Louis. It had been about seven years since i'd had a close look at a major USA urban setting and i was curious about how it would look and feel.

Signs of economic hard times were apparent with commercial properties only about 50% occupied and the public infrastructure showing signs of neglect. It was a beautiful mild morning and commuter traffic was just getting started. The trees are in full leaf and there is a lot of lush green. There is certainly no drought in this part of the world. It felt good to be back in Missouri.

After breakfast and a long hot shower to shake off the jet lag i drove Bob's pickup to Gateway BMW, all the while telling myself to "keep right" and mostly doing it.

I spent the morning at the dealership getting the paperwork settled, getting checked out on the bike operation and systems, transferring my stuff from a large airline bag into the bike luggage and being surrounded by mid-western American accents. Do i really sound like that? Everyone at Gateway BMW seemed competent, passionate about what they are doing and were very pleasant to deal with.

I rode away from the dealership about noon chanting "keep right, keep right" and after about half a mile, realizing i had been on the left the whole time. I gave myself a good scolding and proceeded with extra caution.

The ride to my sisters house in Centralia, Missouri, took just under two hours. On the way i passed through my old hometown of Mexico (the city, not the country, in spite of what my NZ passport says), riding through the streets of my childhood. It was a good feeling.

I think i am going to really like this bike but it is early days and time will tell. It rides and handles well, has all the right features for long distance touring and looks and feels good. My only complaint thus far it that it has a tendency to want to turn onto the left side of the road instead of the right. I'll have to see if the dealer can do anything about that when i take it in for the break in service next week.

I finished off the day hanging out with my sister Sharon, her husband Fred and their daughter Katherine and her fiance Michael. There is a lot of buzz in the house due to Katherine's upcoming wedding in a couple of weeks. It feels really nice to be back with family.

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