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Friday, January 25, 2013

Now back to the real world grind...

Now where did I park my bike?
It's been over a month since the proverbial excrement entered the rotary air moving device.  The timing could not have been worse, being so close to Christmas and the New Year's Holidays.  My insurance agent went on vacation  then I went on vacation   It doesn't give you much time to work on the things that have to be done regarding titles, repairs and all the other crap that you have to slog through to replace/repair your bike.
So when my vacation, a 7 day cruise to several places in the Caribbean came around, I quickly let go of the stress of being self employed.  The  headaches of investing in a rental property (which is new territory for me).  I let go of my concerns about my future with 3M.  I threw overboard the stresses of everyday life and just simply...enjoyed it.    I loved relaxing, I loved seeing places I may never see again.  I loved eating goat meat on a pure white beach in Costa Maya, Mexico.  Swimming at a private beach in Belize.  I even picked up a bottle of Cashew wine, which peaked my interest the second I heard about it.

Roatan by sea.
Roatan, Honduras was our first port of call and  sadly I did not get any pictures of the roads.  As the picture shows however it's a rather "mountainous" island.  As we took a little tour about the island with a great driver all I could think was.   I want to ride here.  The roads were not the best, being only two lanes and there not seeming to be any "rules of the road."

Still though, nice and twisty and at times steep and crazy.  Scooters and motorcycles of various sorts zipped about us quickly in town, spilling lanes and making me yearn even more to join them.
The island itself is not very large.  Only about 37 miles (60 KM) long by 5 miles (8 KM) wide.  This gives some wonderful panoramic views as you climb to the top of the island, only to plummet down some twisting wonderfully scary roads towards the white sandy beaches.

Roatan is located near one of the largest barrier reefs in the world which creates some wonderful diving and snorkeling opportunities as well as some shipwrecks.   This blog entry however is not about my vacation   It's more to let my few readers know that I am alive and well and will be returning to my planned once a week entries soon.  I enjoy blogging.

Another view one can see from the back of a scooter.
My cruise also visited Belize, a poor and frankly not very nice place to visit. My family and I went to a private beach that was recommended to us by the crew of the ship (and not on the official embarkation list), which was nice...but for a "resort" seemed to be lacking.   The resort seemed broken down and dirty to me, much like the county itself.

The next two ports were in Mexico.  Costa Maya is a strip of restaurants and cafes on a long strip of long unbroken white sandy beaches.  It's a day full of exploring funky little shops and haggling with savy small business men and woman.  The one thing I didn't like was being approached ever 15 meters or so to stop and eat or drink at "the best restaurant in Mexico."

I want to retire here.

The last port of call was Cozumel.  I've been there twice now and each trip I fall more in love with this place.  I know that by the time I'm ready to retire, it will be beach resort after beach resort built up on each other.  The weather was overcast and cool which made lounging on the beach uncomfortable, but with camera in hand Sue and I rented a jeep and explored the island.  Scooters and motorcycles where the preferred way to get around and it was not uncommon to find mothers and fathers carrying young kids with them as they zipped about.
Well it is a blog about life on 2 wheels.

I don't know what it is about this island, it just feels like home to me.  It's main port and most of the population is on one side of the island, it's crowded and crazy and exciting like any big city.  Then you jump on your bike, or jeep in our case, and drive a few kilometers in any direction and your in the back country.  Flat and unbroken jungle fills the interior.  The main road, hell the only road, runs along the beaches...many of which are unbroken white strands.  Others are rocky beaches that reminded my of New England and in one spot the tide rolled in so strong that it carved channels in the rock, creating little geysers that reached six feet into the air. 
Sadly you don't see the geysers but it reminds me of Maine

What this trip put into my mind was a desire to retire to the islands (only 20 - 25 years to go!) and to scoot around the islands if I get the chance.  I know in September a scooter club is planning a possible ride in the Bahama's.  I've never been there, and the seed is planted.  

In the end my bike mileage was 24,811 miles.  It had 6,600 on it to begin with so I placed 18,211 miles on my bike.  Not to shabby.  I hope to finally replace my bike this weekend.  Finally, some additional pictures are available on my Facebook Page if your interested.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For Rent - a home in Florida

 Avoid the snow my Canadian friends and enjoy a longer riding season!  Available 3/01/13 I have a 1040 square foot 2 Bedroom/2 Bath modular home available in a 55+ park in Zephryhills, FL.  It's fully furnished in a very active gated community with clubhouse and all amenities.  Contact Rob at 724-992-2567 or Sue at 724-992-1409 for details.  Rent is $1000/mn + deposit.   Background and credit check required.

Pics to follow once I get back from my trip.  I'm on vacation starting today till next week.  I should return on the 21st and own a new bike at that time.

Hey, it's my blog and I'll post what I want.  LOL   :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The simple life...

Sound familiar?

Over the last few days I've been thinking about several things. One of which is of course the bike, assuming that the insurance company totals the darn thing then I'm going to need a new ride.  For a variety of reasons I would rather stay with a scooter then have a "real motorcycle."  So far I have found three possible replacements.  One is a 2009 Suzuki Burgman 650 model that was converted into a trike.  Susan wants me to buy a trike eventually, so now may be the time.  I also found a similar Burgi to the one I currently own.  The other possibility is a 2008 Kymco Xciting 500.    Some may say I'm putting the cart before the horse but I want to make sure I understand what is out there before I buy.  I don't want to put myself into any debt than is needed.
I'm finding a few different motorcycles out there.  I have only limited funds that I can work with.  We are thinking of buying a small 2 bedroom/2 bath house as a rental property.  So I'm trying, with only limited success, to find a bike for under 4K

I seem to be back in the same place I was when I started this blog.

I miss riding, I've not been on a bike since the 21st and I'm looking at passing riders with envy.

So lets put riding aside for a moment and concentrate on anther project of mine.  I was reviewing my income from my independent delivery work that I do (it is tax season after all) and I expect to make about $12,000 working just an extra 3 days a week on average next year.  That is about a third of my regular job.  I am also playing with the idea of buying a rental property as well, which may bring in another 2-3K a year.  Slowly but surely I am becoming my own boss.

My girlfriend tends to a small garden in the back of our house where we have tomatoes, peppers and strawberries all in a small effort to have fresh food on the table.  Every winter we enjoyed oranges from two beautiful trees in our backyard.  We hope to be expanding our small potted garden with something like the following photo:

Thanks to Bill Arquitt at Urban Gardening
We are trying to save money, trying to take steps to break the endless cycle of consumerism and debt that plagues most Americans.  I don't have a credit card for example, if the financial crisis a few years taught us we don't need much.

No, I'm not an aging hippie.  I just sound like one.

Everything I am doing, from getting the scooter to the urban gardening to changing my diet is about simplification.  So why does looking for a new bike have to be so hard?  Ebay and Craigslist are helpful, but again the bikes are either a lot more powerful than I want, or are customized in such a way I don't like.  I wish you could hear the frustration in my voice.

So the search continues.   At least until I go on vacation in 2 weeks.