Monday, November 15, 2021

 Well another riding season has come to an end. We woke up to almost 5 inches of snow this morning. The bikes are all tucked away in the garage, they're full of non ethanol premium and Sta-bil, they have fresh oil, and they're plugged into battery tenders. They are all set for their long winter's nap. 

The Corvette has had it's last ride of the season. It also has a full tank of fuel with a bottle of Techron added to it. I covered the top with a quilt to protect it from the cat, left the hood open to discourage the mice, and plugged it into it's charger...

All I need to do is move a few things around in the garage to make the change from summer to winter... put away the lawn mower, bring out the snow blower, that kind of thing.

I did manage to get new tires on the Corvette this summer. The Michelin run flat tires that were on there were in OK shape, but they were over 10 years old! I had a set of Kumho Ecsta P51 tires put on, wow what a difference. The ride is so much nicer now, much smoother, it rides like a car should. The old run flats must have been hard as a rock!

2021 has been a rough year at our home. In January, both Nancy and I came down with Covid. She was gone from home for 88 days. Those days were split between the Abbott Northwestern CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit), Regency Hospital, and Superior Rehabilitation. 

She was at Abbott for 47 days, and was unconscious for 21 of those days while she was intubated and hooked up to a room full of machines. I was finally able to visit her after being covid symptom free for 2 weeks. When I first saw her she was several days into her intubation.  There was a bed side dialysis machine, a bed heater, a respirator, an IV tree with as many as 13 pumps running, and a Hemolung Respiratory Assist System to remove carbon dioxide from Nancy's blood. They had performed a tracheostomy and she was being tube fed. Nancy was in Acute Respiratory Failure.

One morning, I got a call at 6:40am, it was from the on-call Doctor, he told me that I should come visit NOW. They were not expecting her to make it through the weekend, but Nancy surprised everybody and pulled through!! 

The induced coma left Nancy weak and pretty much helpless, but she was medically stable. The Doctors at Abbott thought that she should be moved over to Regency for recovery. She was still pretty foggy from all the IV meds and being unconscious. I visited her several times, and on the first visits you could tell "the lights were on, but nobody was home". When she finally started to clear the fog and come around, she thought she had been moved some new place and left there to die. She didn't realize she had beaten covid. I typed up her story in large print and included all the details about what she had been through. I read it to her every time I visited and left it there for her to read. She couldn't believe she had been through so much. I reminded her that she had "slept" through the worst of it. Nancy progressed quickly and had both the tracheotomy tube and the feeding tube removed shortly after getting there. She was there only 3 weeks before moving on to the next place.

At Superior Rehab, she learned to get out of bed, get dressed, and started walking again. First with their help, then with a walker, then on her own with a cane. They worked her twice a day with physical and occupational therapy. By the time she was ready to come home, she was climbing small sets of stairs and had her full mental capacity back! 

Once she got home she continued to improve. After being home for 30 days, we drove back down to the cities for follow up visits with her Doctors and staff at Abbott. We met with several people and they gave her a complete exam. We saw three of the doctors that had been with her in the CICU, all three of them said the same thing... "We didn't think you were going to make it"... It was a happy yet tearful visit..

Everything was fine until the last 10 days of October when Nancy came down with bronchitis and pneumonia. She was in almost daily contact with the transplant team at Abbott. They had her come in for a 5 day stay. They treated her with IV antibiotics and got things under control. She came home 2 weeks ago with some oral antibiotics and everything seems ok now. 

Nancy in the Abbott CICU...

At the same time Nancy was hospitalized with her covid issues, I was at home with my own battle. I was sick for 17 days. Most days it was an off-and-on 102º fever. Half a day feeling like I'm getting better the other half of the day I was burning up. Most days, it was all I could do just to make it to the bathroom. It was rough. I lost my sense of smell and it has yet to fully return. It's weird what I can and can't smell... I can smell regular bacon cooking, but not the spicy jalapeño bacon I like. I can smell diesel exhaust, but not propane... I also have occasional bouts of Phantosmia (phantom smells)... I'd swear I'm smelling a mixture of trash fire, cigar smoke, and foul wet green wood smoke. One round of that lasted 4 days. There was nothing I could do to escape it. Going outside, taking a shower, riding a motorcycle... none of it helped, everything smelled like trash/cigar/green wood fire. I still get it but it usually only lasts part of a day now. I'm just glad covid didn't kill my sense of taste.

We're hoping for a better 2022!

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Another Bike in the Garage

 Last year, I tried to sell my Zx-14 and had no luck. I wasn't too upset that it didn't sell, and it didn't keep me from dreaming. 

Back in 2018 Kawasaki released a new 900cc bike in two different trims... the Z900rs and the Z900rs Cafe. The standard Z900rs looks a lot like the classic Kawasaki Z1 from 1972. I'm old enough to remember those days and the bikes of that era.

1972 Kawasaki Z1...

1974 Kawasaki Z1...

2018 Kawasaki Z900rs...

2019... in Candy-tone green...

The new bikes, while they may look like the ones from the 70's, are fully modern with liquid cooling, fuel injection, ABS, much improved modern day suspensions, traction control, LED lighting... All the things one would expect on a new motorcycle. I really like the looks of that Candy-tone green...

As much as I like the standard version, Z900rs, in Candy-tone green, it's not quite green enough for me. Luckily, Kawasaki's second version, the Z900rs Cafe, is even more green. It also has a lower height handle bar, a lower seat, and a small fairing 

I present to you, my latest acquisition... A nearly new, 2019 Z900rs Cafe with only 154 miles on it... In the only color available in the USA for 2018 and 2019, Vintage Lime Green.

I had been watching Craigslist and Cycletrader for a very long time. I watched as dealers marked down their existing unsold, last year's stock and moved them out to make room for the new model year inventory. I looked at "used" bikes in dealer's inventories and saw "demo" bikes with 1500 to 3000 miles on them listed for only a little off of MSRP.... So, I just kept watching the listings. There's a dealer near Milwaukee that lists several new 2020's at $8,799. I emailed them and asked about total fees and was quoted almost $10,500 "out the door". A few other dealers in Wisconsin list their last new 2019's in the mid to upper $9000 range.... plus fees.. etc.

So, when a used, very low mileage, 2019 popped up on both Cycletrader and Craigslist for a very reasonable price, I jumped. At the time of purchase, the original owner had the dealership install the OEM center stand, grab handles, and radiator screen on the new bike ($530.00 parts only). 

I made arrangements to rent a U-Haul motorcycle trailer, drive the 315 miles one way to Hubertus, WI, pick up the bike and return the same day.

Here's U-Haul's very heavy, but very nice, 4'x9' motorcycle trailer... $14.95 a day! The trailer is built like a tank, but it tows smoothly and even better with a load in it. The only negative thing I can say about the whole rental experience is that the closest U-Haul dealer with that style trailer was 72 miles from home in Superior, WI. and that style trailer is local use only, and NOT ONE WAY. It had to be picked up and returned to the same U-Haul store. So, no driving down to the outskirts of Milwaukee, getting that trailer, and dropping it off way up here in the woods.

Early last week's Sunday morning, with the truck and trailer still covered in frost, I headed out. I picked up the new bike and was home in 12 and a half hours. Steve, the original owner was a nice guy and easy to deal with. He made a few calls to verify who I was and to verify my funding. He was satisfied with a cashier's check, and he had all the documentation ready when I got to his place... Easy... I was home before dark.

Loaded and ready for the return trip...

I must have tied it down correctly as the bike never moved and the straps never loosened. I did stop after 10 miles on the freeway to check the straps, but everything was fine. 

When I was still 15 minutes from home, the traffic, all 3 cars, came to stop on County Road M. The local elk herd was grazing on the green grass along side the road. It's amazing how big they are... They make deer look like dwarfs!

I think Nancy and I will be taking some early evening car rides to get better pictures of them. There were several in the ditches and a couple on the roadway. They're huge!

A few more pictures because who doesn't like pictures...

I have no immediate plans to modify the new bike, nor am I in a rush to sell my trusty Zx-14. But, they do make hard side cases and mounts for the new one.

John, I'm waiting for my new plate and proof of insurance to show up before I drive it over to your place to show you...