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szurszewski

Bakery Quest - 2016/17 Hacking the US with the kid and dogs

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szurszewski

Thanks Tim :)

 

Final drive arrived today, but I think we must have been the last stop for the truck and I'm too lazy to install it tonight. Tomorrow though!

 

Been looking at commercial properties for sale in Vermont, Maine, etc today - got a couple of ideas...

Edited by szurszewski

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greiffster

Been looking at commercial properties for sale in Vermont, Maine, etc today - got a couple of ideas...

 

You couldn't find anywhere further from the house your stuff? :grin::wave:

Edited by greiffster

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szurszewski

I realized this morning, looking at shipping times while waiting on the phone with MAX to see if they had in stock the FD shim I needed, that today is the anniversary of our wedding :)

 

So, happy 14 years to us - and happy anniversary to any and all of you who might be remembering a summer wedding.

josh

 

 

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TEWKS

Congrats on the anni! :clap: Hey, you /were/are/gonna be/ one heck of a K bike mechanic by the time this ADV ends. :grin::thumbsup:

 

Pat

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szurszewski
Congrats on the anni! :clap: Hey, you /were/are/gonna be/ one heck of a K bike mechanic by the time this ADV ends. :grin::thumbsup:

 

Pat

 

I don't know how skilled I am, but learning had definitely taken place - and that wasn't even on the goal list for the trip :)

 

...and I did spot a GT for sale on the MOA site for $3500....hmmm.... ;)

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greiffster

Happy Anniversary, Josh and Laura. :wave:

 

I think "final drive shims" is on the contemporary list for year 14 of anniversary gifts. :grin::dopeslap:

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szurszewski

Oh man - dang it! I should have asked for the gold shims!

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szurszewski

Got an email from Max this am that the shim which I was told would ship on Tuesday was in fact shipped today. Called, and it hadn't gone out yet - gentleman offered to overnight it, apologized and also said he'd actually measure the shim before it shipped.

 

This was around noon.

 

Got a call back at 5pm to tell me the shim they had in stock, and the one they received this morning, sealed in the bag direct from BMW, were both mislabeled. They had one in stock that was smaller and two larger sizes. Oh, and also the FedEx driver is here so if you want me to ship something today, it needs to go NOW.

 

Now all three sizes are on their way, and I'm hoping between them (and the two I have, one from each FD in the garage) I can find a pair that will get me an overall preload of .150mm greater than what's in the FD now.

 

If any of you have a pile of money you want to do something with, maybe consider opening a BMW dealership here on Long Island - certainly would have been handy for me this week ;)

 

 

Edited by szurszewski

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szurszewski

We lucked out:

The goal was to increase the thickness of shim in the drive by 0.150mm; I had a 0.450 from the disabled drive, and got a 0.100, a 0.200 and a 0.300 from MAX (call caps? I dunno).

 

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What I did not know was what size shim was already in the drive (don't ask why I knew it needed to be a particular amount thicker but didn't know why - I don't have a good explanation for that; I hadn't opened the "good" drive yet because I wanted to open it and close it at once to lessen the exposure to my potentially mucking it up somehow). Turned out it was 0.400, so with the used one on hand from the broken drive and the extremely thin one from MAX, we were set to go.

 

The drive actually came apart and went back together pretty easily (crap - probably shouldn't have said that - it probably just blew up sitting in the driveway...). We've taken a few test rides, finished up some things we wanted to do here, and are almost feeling back our usual selves health wise.

 

The pups have noticed we're starting to organize and pack up, and as such are keeping a very close eye on Laura - they don't seem to much care if Jeremiah and I abandon them though.

 

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Now that I'm looking at the next picture I want to post, I realize I mistyped earlier - WE haven't taken some test rides; I (<--that "I" is capitalized for emphasis - kinda hard to tell though I suppose) have taken some test rides. Also, THIS guy got to go for a couple of rides.

 

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Which brings me to the pic from today I was going to add before I realized Hooch was the only one but me to have taken any rides on the newly rebuilt final drive (and that's not all - new oils all around, fuel oil and air filters, throttle cables, rear brake pads, and grips with "custom" end caps (because I accidentally ordered open ended grips and don't have bar ends or anything on the bike). Right - the picture:

 

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That is the first time either of them has worn a helmet since before Memorial Day weekend. Yep - we've been on Long Island a long time (hmm...); quote from Jeremiah: I wonder if I'm going to remember how the strap works. (He did.)

 

We set out early to meet Hilary, with whom we stayed our first week or two here, for breakfast. Leaving the driveway required a left turn across a small by busy street during morning rush hour; all clear to the right, lots of traffic to the left. There's a gap coming and I'm thinking without the trailer I can make it fine, but decide to wait for a larger one...and that larger one comes, and I move about a foot before stalling. Crap. I blame the tiny slope up to the road and that the bike has only been running a minute or so at most. Yeah. Not an auspicious start though; in the eleven or so miles to breakfast I nearly run a light (even by Long Island standards - though not even close by NYC standards) and then make up for it by almost stopping at a flashing yellow outside a fire hall. Oh my. We do make it and I do better on the way back to the house. Hopefully tomorrow I won't accidentaly miss a ferry ramp and drive us into the Atlantic or something like that.

 

 

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tallman
:lurk:

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szurszewski
:lurk:

 

Thanks Tim - good to know it's not just crickets!

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greiffster

Glad to see you guys back on the road. :thumbsup:

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szurszewski
Glad to see you guys back on the road. :thumbsup:

 

Good to be back on the road!

 

Hey - since you're here and reading, how much of a hassle do you think it would be to build out four floors of a narrow five story building in the middle of downtown Albany? Probably a lot, yeah? ;)

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tallman

"Build out"/

Don't try in winter, I think...

 

Anything is po$$ible with the right wallet, and/or grit.

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szurszewski
"Build out"/

Don't try in winter, I think...

 

Anything is po$$ible with the right wallet, and/or grit.

 

Did I forget to mention it would need to be done by the end of this calendar year? :)

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greiffster

Not sure of the current construction "climate" in Albany. But, if it its like Nashville, you'll need to throw a bunch of money at it to meet that schedule.

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szurszewski
Not sure of the current construction "climate" in Albany. But, if it its like Nashville, you'll need to throw a bunch of money at it to meet that schedule.

 

My uneducated guess based on driving around for a day is that the construction climate here is nothing like Nashville (or Portland!) - haven't seen one crane, let alone a forest of them.

 

There arw a host of reasons, money being only one of them, that this particular spot doesn't make sense, and I can't imagine us actually putting an offer in on it - it just looks cool to me - and how awesome would it be, as my mom might say, to get to build out your own loft apartment from scratch?

 

 

I can't figure out how to get a usable link from Flickr on my phone , so you'll have to click if you want to see.

 

35696227866_36235b6d53_b.jpg

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Chris K

Wow, that is a great building!

 

 

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szurszewski

There's a whole back story too - the "newsstand" has been there 100+ years with a deli counter added recently. I don't really want to run a deli (and Laura certainly wouldn't be into that, so it would be my job), but I'd feel bad about buying it just to close it.

 

I guess we could put the bakery on the second floor...

Edited by szurszewski

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szurszewski

That is a VERY nice looking spot - but a bit out of our budget.

 

Suggestion greatly appreciated though - so Please don't hesitate if you, or anyone else, has more!

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szurszewski

I hope you're all having a good summer - we've been enjoying ours (mostly ;) ) - a few pics and such from our recent travels:

 

 

Heading away from Long Island we took advantage of its island nature and caught a few ferries

 

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eventually ending up in Connecticut and then traveling on to Rhode Island where we had two invitations from ADV bakery owners (they must be up to something!) to visit their shops:

 

The Bakery (<--yep - that's the name) in Charlestown,

 

 

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and Seven Stars in Providence.

 

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After loading up on our carbs, we meandered up the coast into Massachusettes where we enjoyed the sunshine, dropped in on some more bakeries, and hung out with some birds that very recently - apparently - belonged to Steven Tyler.

 

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Crossing back into New York we came to roost near Albany for a few days to hang out with some family for the holiday. While we were there, because why not, we checked out a few potential properties.

 

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This one was my favorite:

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Of course there had to be some fireworks -

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and we even got Laura's mom to try out a vegan sandwich shop - you can see in her eyes just how much she loves it (I think this sort of makes up for the time Laura's mom and I took Laura out to Texas Roadhouse...)

 

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From New York we rode into Vermont - it was a great place to catch up on our reading and our ice cream intake..

 

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and we checked out a few towns and properties as well, but nothing really popped out at us.

 

 

I felt a bit bad for not realizing the nights we'd spent in Vermont were only a few minutes from one of my Dad's two undergrad colleges - but we did make a quick exit from the highway to grab a few pics - here's one:

 

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That and a drop in at MAX's to drop off the unused shims were about our only stops in New Hampshire before moving north into Maine.

 

We spent our first night in ME with a great ADV family,

 

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who told us about this weird soda that's really from New Hampshire but apparently big all over New England - they said it was pretty ...uh, well they didn't talk it up too much let's say... but we had to try it anyway. As you can see, Jeremiah really likes it ;)

 

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I think in our minds we'd been (and by we I mean Laura and I) waiting for Maine to really start looking for our new home - and so we did:

 

 

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I think our two most likely candidates were in Stonington,

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and Blue Hill.

 

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There were a number of other towns we liked along the coast, but most were small and already had an operation similar to what we want to do that was being done well. That doesn't put them out of the question of course, but it does require some extra study.

 

Maine also afforded us the opportunity to drop in on a couple we'd met staying in Weeki Wachee Florida. They said they had some trouble getting the URL I'd given them to work, so Jeremiah loaded up our ADV ride report and proceeded to read it out to Pat - I let him get through the intro and then we moved on to something else - I was afraid he'd read through all 44 current pages! (And I'm pretty sure she would have let him...)

 

35146947993_5c775c133d_z.jpg

 

We also got to just enjoy being in Maine - if you haven't seen it, it looks like this:

 

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That's the parking lot of one of our favorite random restaurants - vegetarian entrees are thin on the ground but this place did a nice job mixing in some veg options alongside amazing seafood and more traditional meaty items. Great name too!

 

Oh - Canada! We hopped across the border from Lubec ME to Campobello Island New Brunswick for a few hours - this is what Canada looks like:

 

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and this is what Maine looks like from Canada:

 

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That's Lubec, ME in the background. I found a picture taken from a similar spot back in 1932 and you'd be hard pressed to point out the differences - other than the herring smoke house looking a bit better off in '32. If we didn't have to make a living, we'd probably have bought a place there. In Lubec, I mean - not in 1932.

 

 

What else has happened? Well, Jeremiah picked up yet another Jr. Ranger badge at the very quaint (and tiny) St. Croix Island International Historic Park.

 

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We had the end of an exhaust header stud fly off (I'm pretty sure we heard it happen - sounded a cross between someone taking a pot shot at us and a....uh....something metal breaking - wow - the imagery!),

 

35146947243_51b985e4e2_z.jpg

 

and I figured seven was good enough so we rode around like that until the bike started sounded too much like a Harley - I was lucky enough to find a replacement stud in the very well stocked Lubec Hardware Store, and fortunate enough to be able to get the old stud out with some vice grips (though not until we'd made it back into Vermont).

 

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Back in Vermont Jeremiah got the chance to try rabbit for the first time (well - not his first opportunity, but the first time he took said opportunity) - I know he likes it but I think he's trying to figure out if it's "OK" to like eating bunnies),

 

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Eddy continued to guard the trailer from just about everyone including me,

 

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and flowers started turning up all over the place.

 

36001902556_330f8573f9_z.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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szurszewski

Tonight we're back in Albany with the intention of taking a few days off to review where we are and where we're going. It's sort of felt like we're spinning wheels but not covering much ground the last week or so - if you want to read me whining about that, you can pop over to page 42 or so of ADV thread - but I'll spare you from it here.

 

 

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tallman

The gams is afoot, methinks...

:wave:

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Whip
That is a VERY nice looking spot - but a bit out of our budget.

 

Suggestion greatly appreciated though - so Please don't hesitate if you, or anyone else, has more!

 

You can live there, work there, and rent parts of it out.

 

The numbers work

 

But I AM kinda partial to Colorado

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szurszewski
That is a VERY nice looking spot - but a bit out of our budget.

 

Suggestion greatly appreciated though - so Please don't hesitate if you, or anyone else, has more!

 

You can live there, work there, and rent parts of it out.

 

The numbers work

 

But I AM kinda partial to Colorado

 

 

You are going to get me in trouble - if not now, one of these days :)

 

 

 

 

that's probably why I like you ;)

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szurszewski

Almost monthly update time again. A few days in Albany has turned into nearly a month it seems. There's a buidling downtown we're trying to buy, and that's about all we've been doing. I did take the rig (-trailer) down to Max BMW in CT today (actually I took it to both locations because I didn't think to double check that I was heading to the proper one first) to have them look at the bike and probably replace the clutch.

 

Great day for a ride - and a good thing as it turned out to be a bit longer than expected - and they were kind enough to let me move one of their bikes from CT to NY for them so I only had to get a twenty minute ride back to Albany instead of 150 minute ride.

 

Mostly phone calls and a few meetings with financing folks - that and a lot of screwing around with spread sheets and business plan stuff... not many pics taken, but here are a few:

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36298163442_392541b288_z.jpg

36466146525_8b0ab65a8c_z.jpg

36298118002_80f7896702_z.jpg

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greiffster

Somebody got a haircut. :jaw:

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szurszewski
Somebody got a haircut. :jaw:

 

 

What? Should I infer that you have NOT had a hair cut since last we say you?

;)

 

 

(You'll have to ask him about - grandma took him to sport clips - style has a name and everything... and he requested, and received, gel so he can "keep it styled" ... This, I suppose, is how it begins. Sigh.)

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tallman

Living in state capital has been good for us.

Hope it works out.

:thumbsup:

 

Took 4 yo and 2 yo for haircuts today, that time of year I guess.

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szurszewski

Well we are way overdue for an update - but with one notable exception, we have really not done much of interest (which is to say I swear I've not been holding out on you!).

 

So, here's the interesting thing:

 

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and since we didn't happen to be in path of totality up here in upstate NY, we thought it would be a good time to get back on the road...

 

But, before heading out, finally swapped on the rear tire we'd picked up on the Outer Banks,

 

36466157735_80fb486318_z.jpg

 

...and as long as we were doing that, figured it was time to replace the clutch. I considered pulling it all apart in our cousin's garage but the idea of doing that on my own with only the tools we were carrying "inspired" me to chicken out and take the bike to Max BMW. The shop up here near Albany didn't have time, but one of the Connecticut shops did, so I turned the rig over to them:

 

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They were nice enough to offer me this to ride back and forth between CT and NY, which was a pretty good time :)

 

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I even had a chance to do a little shopping for Bud while I was waiting for the work to be done ... (but he ended up buying something else, I think - maybe a couple somethings else...)

 

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Eventually (and by eventually, I want to be clear that I mean, on exactly the day they said it would be ready) the bike was all re-clutched and I happily rode the XR back down to pick it up. The clutch felt great, though their ability to rehang the sidecar was not inspiring (no complaints there - I should have checked more thoroughly before setting out - it's not like they are a sidecar shop).

 

37226610071_f58ac68a03_z.jpg

 

With the bike back from the shop, we had a few days to get from NY to TN, but decided to stick to the interstate and make it two long (for us) days. We woke in Cleveland to a beautiful sunrise

 

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which unfortunately had turned to a thundershower by the time we'd finished breakfast and loaded up...

 

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After a brief rain delay and a full day of riding, we found these folks -

 

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(looks like Nicol has an idea...)

 

Mike and Nicol were once again great hosts, and since we'd pushed the miles on the way there we were rewarded with a day to just hang out, before the big show in honor of my birthday:

 

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We had a great time watching the event, and I think even it's-not-going-to-be-that-great-Mike was duly impressed.

 

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Eventually though it was over -

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and despite being saddened by the end of the spectacle, Nicol pulled herself together long enough to bake me a birthday cake :)

 

The next morning the Greiffs had to go to something they called "work" - that sounded pretty scary, so we took off to make one more visit in Tennessee - after a very hot and humid day of riding, followed by a welcome dip in the pool, we were treated to a fantastic rain shower,

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which was fine as it was a good excuse to eat, drink, chat, play games and hang out with some of our ADV friends.

 

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As much as we'd have liked to stay and play or just ride around for a while (it's weird waking up in the same place for this many days in a row...) we opted to get back to Albany for a meeting with some bankers. On the way, in a parking lot near a gas station just outside of Pittsburgh, this happened

36516926844_0cebdc6ce1_z.jpg

 

which led to this

 

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(you know when you're loading your broken down bike onto a trailer and you're thinking, well at least it's not raining?)

 

You'd think with a big old truck (and by old I mean brand new - the thing had less than 2500 miles on it when I picked it up) you'd have MORE room for four than on a bike...but it was a little crowded...

 

36516922824_631c63dcbb_z.jpg

 

We got to stay and see some cousins in Pittsburgh that night, and then had a rather enjoyable for those of us not crammed into the center of the cab between the seats (hey - I offered to let her drive) ride back to Albany.

 

36972160740_5eedf3744a_z.jpg

 

Where Jeremiah and I built a little coffin er, crate, for the FD which turned out to have been shimmed just fine in the first place last time...you know, before I was told it was undershimmed, took it apart, added some shim stock....sigh.

 

36556885743_b916204938_z.jpg

 

Maybe because of that, I did a little birthday shopping for myself....

 

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We had what seemed to be a really great meeting with a banker and some SBA folks, and celebrated with gin and juice and tiny pies :)

36972162680_78482d1c17_z.jpg

 

...and then it was time to wait.

 

 

Edited by szurszewski

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szurszewski

...and there is a whole other post that goes below the one above and and above the one starting just below this line, but it's going to wait. Because. This morning (if the bike doesn't blow up when I press the button) we are heading two blocks north and then turning west onto US 20.

 

If all goes according to plan we will spend tonight in Pennsylvania, the next couple of nights in Ohio, and then keep working our way west until we come up with another plan or we get to another ocean.

Edited by szurszewski

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tallman

Hanging a side car is fun.

 

We had a bunch of customers and even so, it could be a challenge even w/experience.

 

So, Albany, si or nyet?

Best wishes.

 

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szurszewski

 

So, Albany, si or nyet?

 

 

Nein.

 

Long drawn out process with a number of positive sounding bankers and several requests for more forms, paperwork, tax returns etc and then a short, curt series of nos.

 

Maybe / probably could have gone another route but by then we were pretty burned out and felt we'd been stagnating for months - didn't want to spend another two months at it. That's what the follow up post should have been, but since no one said anything after my post three weeks back I just sort of didn't bother. I'll fill it in soon.

 

Tonight we are in Erie, PA headed to see family in Ohio and probably Illinois, maybe some friend along the way, and then west. We will get back to the PNW to visit my family and maybe hang out there/work a few months/half a year if we don't figure out something else first.

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greiffster

Well, it sucks it didn't work out in the NE area. :P I know you guys kind of had your heart set up there. New opportunities will present themselves as you head west. Safe travels.

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Dennis Andress

Just out of curiosity, what are your criteria for a place to settle?

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greiffster
Just out of curiosity, what are your criteria for a place to settle?

:lurk: :lurk: :/

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szurszewski
Just out of curiosity, what are your criteria for a place to settle?

 

 

Hi Dennis! That's a fantastic question, and though I used to have an answer, I don't know that I do anymore. Primarily we were looking for a physical location that would be both our home and business, in something like the center of things, and in town/city/place that had enough people to support the business but not so many that we wouldn't be able to really interact with the community at large. Other than that we had a sort of nebulous wants list that included things like a college or university in town, proximity to water (preferably an ocean) at least some inkling of a food scene or at least clues that locals were interested in quality food and maybe a decent school for the boy.

 

At this point I think we may have "re-thunk" the whole idea and are kindling an idea for something smaller and more flexible, but during our first two days back on the road I did notice that we were still profiling each of the towns we went through, mostly based on the criteria above.

 

Also, several of the places we liked and thought of as potential homes in the first year of this thing didn't meet the list above very well if at all...so, yeah - maybe that's why we haven't found what we're looking for ;)

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Dennis Andress

I am a wanderer. Maybe not by intention, but certainly by living a rather full life. One of the big life defining lessons I learned while on active duty was to leave all expectations behind when going to a new duty location, a new place to live. An assignment to frigid North Dakota sucked. Living there and being miserable because the area didn't measure up sucked even more. Success, happiness, meant adapting to, and learning from, a new place.

 

Might I suggest turning your list around? Find a place with decent schools and build up from there.

Edited by Dennis Andress

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szurszewski

I absolutely get what you're saying. In this instance we're pretty flexible on every aspect other than finding a place that we thought could sustain the business we want to run - not because that's the most important thing in our world, but because that's what we're looking for at this time. If it doesn't work out, and so far it hasn't, we'll come up with something else. :)

 

 

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Dennis Andress

Cool. Got a business plan? What did the bankers think of it?

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szurszewski
Cool. Got a business plan? What did the bankers think of it?

 

 

We do - a few versions really with one specifically tailored to Albany with local costing and all that. Your second question is harder to answer - ultimately since we got several rejections and no offers, I think it's safe to say they didn't like it. However, we had two very enthusiastic bankers when we made the initial rounds, as well as having the local SBA people on board. We carried on through a very - it seemed to us - slow/drawn-out courtship and application process at the end of which we were rejected. Laura got a very curt phone call from one (actually, that's incorrect - Laura had to call a few times to get one of them on the phone) saying the person with final say thought our profit margin projections were too high compared to industry standard. Other than that, once saying "no" we were not able to get very much information or even contact from either bank, and the official rejection letters very boilerplate and not helpful. In the end, we were pretty emotionally drained (and starting to be financially drained as well) having spent more than two months on the process. With that in mind we decided to move on and regroup/reimagine our next steps.

 

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Dennis Andress

Sounds like ya'll have it together, even after rejection sucked the life out of your dream. Refine the dream and try again when you are stronger.

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szurszewski

Thanks. I wouldn't say rejection sucked life out of the dream, but it did suck a lot of the enthusiasm for that particular property/town out of us, and the waiting gave us lots of time to reexamine exactly what it was we were looking for.

 

I'll throw an update on here with some pics next time we have good wifi. We're visiting some relatives a bit northwest of Chicago today, then heading down to St. Louis tomorrow - an old friend there has asked us to come and talk to a couple of her classes (she's a college professor now but of what I don't know!) about our trip...gotta put a mini slideshow together for that before I do anything "fun"...

;)

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szurszewski

Alright - let's get this thing caught up ... or closer at least...

 

I'm thinking I left off in the pictures shortly after returning to Albany from our eclipse trip to Tennessee (you have no idea how hard my brain has to work to spell that correctly!) - yeah? Yeah.

 

We got the rebuilt, again, FD back and expertly installed, by me...

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...and then I got to take it off, put the boot on and install it again, and that worked pretty well.

 

Max BMW hadn't quite lived up to expectations and we had a couple of go rounds and ended up having them take the back end off again (as you probably recall they had just replaced the clutch before our trip to TN) to trace an oil leak that I was worried might be the new rear main seal. It actually turned out to be coming from where the bell housing mates to the engine case, so not related, but because of some issues with the first repair, they covered most of the cost of this one. Here's a hint as to what the issues were that first time.

 

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Apart from those spots there were several other more minor fastener issues - I don't really know if the person putting the outside parts (seat, body, etc) back on was the same as the one who did the more technical stuff inside the clutch, etc., but ... let's just say I was left with some doubts, which is not a fun feeling having spent about $3,000 with more than half of that being for the labor.

 

When I picked the bike up the second time, I checked the sidecar mounts more carefully - the struts were all tight this time, which was great, but this was a little loose:

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Yep - that's the same mounting bolt that fell out on my way back to Albany from picking up the bike from them last time, after they'd just put in the clutch. Now, I don't really fault them for this - they're not a sidecar shop in any way (though, I do think something that obvious should have been noticed - especially on a bike a customer had brought back in largely because of the way it had been put back together that last time it had been worked on).

 

On the other hand, I DO expect them to be great at BMW drivetrain stuff - can you see what's missing from this picture?

 

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Yep - the fancy stainless clamp on the front/large end of the boot. Sigh. They were friendly and all, but I can't say I'm planning on having any service work done there or buying any bikes from them... (but then the list of dealers I've bought bikes from is very short and the list of places I've had work done is not much longer, so maybe not much of a loss to them).

 

 

And while all that was happening we were still waiting to hear from the last of the bankers. Since you already know how that turned out, here are some things we did to occupy the waiting.

 

A little light hauling,

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a refresh of the dog-box hardware,

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new intake boots,

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little hands help greatly in this endeavor,

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but you can't work on the bike all the time - sometimes you've got to do a little school work

 

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Did I say you can't work on the bike all the time? Well, maybe some of us can - the bike came back from Max without cruise control; it had worked on my way to drop it off, so that was a bit of a surprise. When they put the tank back on they were a little, uh, creative in their routing of the throttle cables and I think that contributed to the problem, but I believe the crud built up inside the twist grip was the main culprit - only had to take like everything off to figure this out ;)

 

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Eventually, we did run out of bike problems to fix and took our last couple of Albany days to rebuild a ramp at our cousin's place - little less steep now and with a handrail (this was mainly for selfish purposes and I wanted to stop having visions of her dad, who has vertigo issues, pitching sideways off the original ramp).

 

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And that was about it. Well, we did make one more stop by the Max store in NY - to pick up some small parts I'd ordered a few weeks ago, and then called a week ago to check on and was told they thought they had them but couldn't find one.... well, they were all there. Picked up an extra seal and o-ring for the FD as well...just in case.... and took a few minutes to look over their wares before moving on.

 

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szurszewski

...and, so, yeah - in case you were wondering, we did in fact make it - largely alive - across the country :)

 

for any who might be interested, here's a quick recap:

 

 

On our way across New York, with the fall colors just teasing that they might be peaking soon, we made one last stop for hot drinks and pastries,

 

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stopped in Pennsylvania for a quick dip,

 

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took a couple of days to do some baking with our cousins in Ohio.

 

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We could tell we were leaving behind the long settled, cosmopolitan east coast and heading back into the newly settled frontier when we crossed the Indiana border and found the interstates to be a little less refined than what we were leaving behind.

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Being out in the wilds, fuel became a concern, so we were quite pleased to find such a modern station on offer in Illinois.

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We got a chance to catch up with an old friend in Missouri - she's so old she's got a kid even older than ours and he was happy to take us exploring

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We met his mom, Michelle, in very rural Alaska when we were teaching there, and I think she may be the first friend I had - made through non-motorcycle meetings - who also rode a BMW; not surprisingly, she jumped at the chance to take the rig out for a ride.

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I don't want to say that brought us to the middle of the country, but there is a big Arch there for some reason, right along side a big river. I says to Laura, hey - should we ride down into the river a little bit, you know, just for fun? Sure, she says - why not? ...and then she gets off to take a picture and I say, you're going to have to get closer to the water, and she says why, and I say so you can get a picture showing the sidecar wheel in the water, and she says what do you mean, in the water, and I say, you know, actually in the water, and she says, that's a terrible idea! and I say, I just asked if you thought we should and you said yes, and she says that's not what you said...that's ridiculous!

 

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...I assure you the wheel (and a good portion of the sidecar) were in the water - but it was really windy and there were waves and apparently "someone" wasn't willing to either stand in the water or be in charge of driving the rig into the water to get a good picture.... sigh

 

;)

 

 

soon to follow: the left half of the westward leg!

 

 

 

 

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Bud

Good to know you didn't fall off the edge of the world. You had Nancy worried for a while. Now all is well again!

 

Happy New Year. :wave:

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szurszewski
Good to know you didn't fall off the edge of the world. You had Nancy worried for a while. Now all is well again!

 

Happy New Year. :wave:

 

Thanks, Bud! Happy New Year to you and Nancy and the rest of the family as well.... as it happens, I was just thinking about you, because....

 

 

After Missouri we made a quick detour back into Illinois to drive through one of Laura's handful of "hometowns" (O'Fallon, IL) and to see some folks in Nashville - maybe some of you recognize this old guy:

 

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It was already starting to get when we left New York, and it was even colder in Illinois. Too cold for watersports, some would say. Others would disagree; in fact, some would insist on a sunrise paddleboard...every morning.

 

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Did I say it was cold in Illinois? Yeah - about that. It wasn't. Or it didn't seem like it anyway once we spent a day riding across Kansas.

 

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At least it wasn't windy. (That's a joke - yeah? ALLLLL day there was a great north wind blowing, and the best thing I can say is that the rig usually pulls a little to the right on the highway and the wind more than compensated... if the rig pulled to the left instead I would have given up early on, or just let the wind turn us south ;) ).

 

After a full day battling with a cold hard wind across Kansas, followed by a really cold morning doing the same, reaching the start of the curves, the hills and relative warmth of eastern Colorado was fantastic; if there's a better way to cap fantastic than with a sunset like this, I don't know what it is.

 

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Things started to warm up a little (during the day at least) in Utah,

 

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and we splurged - finally using some hotel gift cards Laura as a going away gift from her boss at the bakery - on a nice room overlooking Lake Powell in Page, AZ.

 

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Fully back in the desert the days might still be warm but the nights came early and the temperature dropped quickly crossing Nevada. Looking at our fuel range and lodging options (a bit cold for camping, said some) with the idea to cross the middle of Nevada and avoid the interstate I did something I'd only done maybe one other time in the year before: I booked a room a full 48 hours in advance!

 

If you've never been to Rachel, NV or The Little A'Le'Inn , well shame on you - next time you have the chance, check it out. Cheap, clean, friendly and a great diner type bar/restaurant.

 

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We didn't see any aliens, but we did meet some fun folks and spotted a pic of the fancy hospital in my hometown - complete with an alien ship in the background (pic was mislabeled as being in Canada - probalby by visiting goverment operatives trying to keep the conspiracy theorists busy).

 

We stopped in Toponah - found the town to not really be our style with the exception of a fantastic used book store,

 

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and made it to almost the Sierras in time to put toghether a quick Halloween costume.

 

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Our ADV host for the week leading up to last Christmas was kind enough to invite us back (well, sort of back - in the time we'd be trapsing around the country he'd moved from CA to NV) and Jeremiah was pretty excited about it.

 

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In addition to trick or treating and taking some great walks up in the hills with our host, his pup, our pups, his neighbors and all their pups, I also decided the hack tire was maybe in need of replacement. Maybe. You think? I'm not saying we ran it a couple of days across the desert with duct tape covering that exposed steel, but I'm also not saying we didn't....

 

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With new rubber mounted we got a tour of the mountains, we saw Lake Tahoe for the first time, and found some good spots for cocoa.

 

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Laura found out throught the magic of something she called "Facebook" that our friend who'd hosted us in Mexico was at the very moment in Reno for a couple of days, so we made a quick detour up that way, had a very nice Peruvian dinner like you do in Reno, and enjoyed the local meteorological displays.

 

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After that there was only one mountain range remaining between us and the Pacific.

 

 

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szurszewski

After crossing some of the quieter bits the middle of the country has to offer, it was a bit of a shock to be around so many people again. This place, where we had our first "west coast" meal in almost a year, for instance, had a particularly large restroom.

 

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We had a great night in the bay area and woke up to something that always makes feel at home -

 

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By the time we got on the road, after breakfast and a good hour or so of BSing, the fog had burned off

 

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and we were able to find our way to the ocean - some of us waded right in, boots and all.

 

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I think we must have looked pretty amusing, all bundled up and heading out into the water, as the only other human on the beach insisted on taking a picture of us.

 

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We spent that night in the same Arcata motel we'd been in a little over a year before. Heading north on 101 the weather did a great job of marking the state lines - CA looked just like the pic at the beach, but within miles of crossing the Oregon border I could barely see the road and we were riding at barely double digits for the better part of an hour before it cleared enough to get back up to the speed limit.

 

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We spent one night in Oregon on the beach and were chagrined, chagrined I tell you, that the only restaurant within walking distance was a pretty fancy one right on the water - we were quite sad to drink fancy drinks, and eat delicious fresh fish and a really good dessert. Awful. Laura even had a good dinner despite the menu being devoid of vegetarian entrees; turns out there is a secret vegetarian menu you only find out about by asking, and she had what she says was a really good housemade bean burger something or other.

 

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You might recognize this from our first pics - it's my dad/stepmom's driveway from whence we officially started out. We unpacked a little,

 

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warmed up by the fire and had hugs with the grandparents,

 

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(some of whom weren't apparently so cold)

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and even a great-grandparent.

 

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At one point we planned to be in WA for Halloween, which clearly didn't happen, but we did make it in time for Jeremiah's birthday, celebrated at the Space Needle,

 

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and we even had a white Christmas!

 

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Edited by szurszewski

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