Things seem to be looking busier on the motorcycle scene lately. The dealer where I bought Elvira is telling me there's a three week wait for service appointments. Hey, I couldn't wait that long so I did the intitial service myself. I may be doing a lot more of them in the future.
Right now I'm seeing a lot of bikes and scooters on the road. Weirdly enough, the vast majority are waving. That brings up an interesting little story. It will digress from my point but what the heck. Not all who wander are lost.
I recently taught a class in Central Oregon. A guy was taking the class to get his endorsement. He'd already been riding for a while with a learner's permit. He asked my why all these other people on bikes were waving at him? He didn't know any of them, after all. Some of his fellow students filled him in. Anyway, where were we?
Oh yeah, right about here. Besides the long wait time at the shops, the other sure sign that more folks are turning to two wheels is the increase in our student counts. Demand is up 20 percent from last year. More students mean more instructor assignments. Most of us have actual full time jobs aside from teaching. A few, like me, have no life and teach almost every weekend. So we're running around panting for breath with our tongues hanging out. Fun, but exhausting.
A side thing most folks might not be aware of is parking lots. Yes, we need parking lots in which to make painted marks and hold our classes. No, we don't personally own any. So we're at the mercy of schools, businesses, colleges, and so on for space. There's several facilities that are kind enough to let us have more or less permanent space. So what's the big deal? Since the lots don't belong to us we can't control who parks on them until we arrive and secure them for our use.
When I ride to a range for the first time early in the morning, one of the first things I do is scan for parked vehicles. Over the years I've had to call tow trucks a number of times. We don't cause the cars to be impounded, mind you. We just have them moved to a place close by but out of the way. And we pay the bill. Still, though, it can take time to get a truck to respond. It's also something we'd just rather not deal with. I always breathe a small sigh of relief when I see clear space.
Recently I was teaching in Roseburg. I think I've hit upon the perfect solution. Let me introduce to you my new parking lot guardians. Never again will I have to worry about towing cars.
So you think you want to park here? Well, let me introduce you to my boys. If parking close to brand new riders doesn't scare you enough to leave, my boys surely will. You see, we don't need no stinkin' tow trucks. When my boys get through with you we'll just stick a stamp on your car and mail it home to you.
I'm quite pleased to report that my new program is working well. This parking lot is at the end of the Douglas County Fairgrounds. There was a Nascar event, some local circle track action, and a huge classic car show. Everyone seemed to be camping in the place next to us. Yet, not a single soul dared intrude upon our space. Now that's what I'm talking about!
I was actually feeling pretty good and even downright boastful. I dared anyone to come mess with us! Sedan, SUV, truck, motorhome, or whatever. Bring it on. Then I sort of started looking past the trucks at the bikes.
Hmmm, they do look pretty small compared to the trucks. What if the trucks suddenly go wild like some sort of rampaging elephants gone berserk? What then? Who or what do I save first? Do I try to save the students or the bikes? What's that? You wonder how I can even ask such a question in the first place? You're right. Shame on me. Everyone knows you have to save the bikes first. What was I thinking?
Fortunately, I remembered I had the magic black box in my pocket. You've seen those, haven't you? Ever watch a Monster Jam night? If it looks like the monster truck is in danger of getting away from the driver, the officials push a button, shutting down the truck's systems. Better than that pinching thing Spock used to do. I wouldn't even have to get close to the beasts. I found myself pulling the black box out of my pocket and letting the trucks see it once in a while. Oh yeah, they behaved themselves, let me tell you.
Come to think of it, there's a thousand uses for such a device. New rider getting out of control? Click. Shut them right down until I can mosey over and fix it. Really annoying loud pipes? Click. Squids and stunters? Click. You're starting to see the possibilities, aren't you? Whatever the Monster Truck Boys can't fix, the clicker can.
Think of the non motorcycle uses. Mother in law getting a little intense? Click. Boss droning on and on? Click. American Idol wannabe's that hurt your ears? Click. Go ahead. Dare to dream. Think up your own examples.
I suddenly feel my life's going to start being a lot more fun!
Miles and smiles,