Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Pepper Potts in the Desert
Last week on Wednesday, I went through my habitual routine of puttering through the KSL ads [online local classifieds] in search of used motorcycle deals. I never really have any intention of buying anything on these excursions. I just like to read and dream about things that will take me years to acquire, if ever.
However, on this particular occasion, I came across something that made my jaw drop and my fingers race for my cell phone.
St. George, UT
USED KLR 2005: $1500
Sun-faded Fairings [the plastics that cover the bike]
Good Mechanical Condition
Let me put this into a little bit of perspective for you. KLRs from 2004-2007 go for $2,500-$3,000. So naturally, you can see why I was excited.
In spite of my initial worries over impulsive shopping and the possibility of a scam [KSL has recently fallen victim to those kinds of listings], I finally dialed. The ad had only been up for a half an hour, but the owner said he already had a couple of offers. I told him I had cash in hand, but I couldn’t make it down to St. George until Saturday morning. He finally agreed to hold it, when I told him I lived in Salt Lake and was willing to transport the bike myself. We agreed to meet at 7:00 on Saturday morning.
Thus, an adventure began.
Friday night, after work, I got everything ready to go. I packed my sleeping bag, one of my many blow-up mattresses, a brand new mattress pump [thanks, Mom], a lantern [thanks for that too, Mom], a thermos of piping hot tea and oatmeal water [minus the water, Mom also], two boards for getting the bike into the truck [thanks, Professor Cheney], and tie downs for the trip back [Mom]. (Obviously this trip might not have been possible were it not for my Mother and Father’s excellent taste in camping equipment and gear, and their admonishing advice on always coming prepared.)
I left Salt Lake at around 20:00 (8:00 pm), drove four and a half hours, and decided to bunker down about 20 miles outside of St. George city limits. I figured I wasn’t paying for sleep in a hotel, when I could get sleep for free in the desert.
I pulled off at a ranch exit, and as I set everything up in the bed of my truck, I couldn’t help but feel excited. Here I was in the desert, on my way to possibly becoming the owner of my very own KLR. The air was warm; the sky was full of stars; my life felt full of possibility. I took off my shoes, crawled into my sleeping bag, and felt certain that sleep and opportunity were fast approaching.
Then a hoot owl hooted. He wasn’t more than thirty feet from my truck. I was pretty tired, so stupidly, I tried ignoring him. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop until two in the morning. That’s right about the time the coyotes got going. I decided to leave at about 6:00, with a grand total of three hours of sleep.
There’s a lot to be said for “free” sleep.
I arrived at the guy’s house early. Everything in his front yard (camper, cars, the house itself) had a “For Sale” sign on it.
He never said, but the set up reeked of divorce or lack of work. And since he said he would have been at work were it not for the sale, I assumed divorce.
It also didn’t take me long to discover why he was selling the bike for such a small price tag. After looking at it for a few minutes, I had a laundry list of replacement or upgrade to-dos.
Oil & Filter $45
Shift Lever $45
Back Tire $100
Brake Pads $120
It needed roughly $500 worth of “get into fighting shape work.”
I also had a list of things I needed for the bike regardless of how much I had to pay for it.
Lowering Links $200 (KLRs are built for taller people)
Valve Adjustment $200 (For peace of mind)
Doohickey $300-$500 (Kawasaki engineering flaw…I’d have to replace it, anyway)
The idea of getting the bike so cheaply did have a few perks, however. I could afford to license, title, and register it for a much cheaper price. I also realized I could slowly do the upgrades, while waiting for spring, summer and most like early fall to arrive.
It didn’t take much more “thinking about it.” We put her into the back of my truck, and I drove the whole way, wondering how I would make this project work for me.
She’s at the shop right now. She’s still there, waiting for her slew of initial work and aftermarket parts to arrive.
I’ve decided to call her Pepper Potts (Iron Man Reference for you fanboys out there), because she’s red, and she comes from a piping hot desert.
PS The Beast will soon be sold. I’ll be sure to write a solid obituary when she finally goes.