Friday, August 29, 2014
Here I am at the summit of Independence Pass in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
I haven’t been back for a few years and I’m really pining (pun intended) for the High Country.
The aspens will be adding splashes of golden color to the mountainsides in a few weeks and it won’t be long before the snow begins. The riding season there is short but glorious.
I shall return.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I’ve been a Sprint customer, off and on, since the early days when Sprint was an experimental project of the Southern Pacific Railroad selling long distance service at night over their railroad communication system.
They’ve had my cell phone business since I got a company-issued cell phone from The Indianapolis News. When it came time to get my own account, I went with Sprint.
I added Maria to the account when we got married in 2000 and eventually brought her two kids aboard when they got cell phones. Over the past few years, this has resulted in a monthly bill around $240, a significant hit cushioned by the fact that Morgan paid her share a year in advance about a year ago and I bill Austin monthly. Austin got a new phone last month resulting in a hefty device upgrade fee that left me to pay a $280+ Sprint bill this morning. I texted him, advising him of his share of the bill this morning and I’m confident he’s good for it.
But it left me more than a little freaked out. With MagicJack, our home landline cost is negligible, but the Sprint bill is way outside my comfort zone.
So I rode in to town and stopped at the Sprint Store where I asked the young fellow at the counter if there was a better plan available that would give us comparable service for less money.
After a few minutes of crunching numbers, he advised me to stick with our current plan because it’s the best deal we can get – such a good deal that it’s no longer being offered.
We explored alternative scenarios. The Friends and Framily plan is being phased out and wouldn’t save us any money anyway.
The only way to get our bill under control would be to drop Maria’s grown and otherwise self-sufficiently employed adult children. The result, he calculated, would be a bill in the $140-$150 range.
I’ve raised this issue before. It’s time to raise it again.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The heat index is 90 and will probably be significantly higher before I return home, so I chose to wear my Firstgear MeshTex riding pants with my fluorescent Fieldsheer mesh jacket. The effect on a hot day is like riding in shorts and a t-shirt, but with the protection of leather or heavier textiles. I chose the K75S over the K1200GT because the K75S has a smaller fairing and thus better air flow.
Hot weather notwithstanding, I mowed the lawn on Monday and weed-whacked around the perimeter of the house and blew the driveway clean of clippings and debris yesterday, so the place looks well cared-for, at least for awhile until Nature tries to reclaim the property and make it part of the woods again.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Indianapolis BMW Club used to rent a chalet in Breckenridge, Colo. for a week every summer from around 1987 to around 1999.
Except for years when the BMW MOA rally was in the west, we gathered there the week before Labor Day. The MOA rallies are in July, so in the years when it was in the West – 1990 in Rapid City, 1991 in Flagstaff, 1998 in Missoula – Chalet Week was scheduled either immediately before or right after the MOA rally.
The place was spacious and slept 19. Since it was the off-season, the rental was cheap – $60 per person for the week, if memory serves. You couldn’t stay home for that kind of money.
Tim and Linda Balough, who have since retired and moved to neighboring Alma, Colo., coordinated the rental and we always had money left over for groceries.
Most of us would head west from Indianapolis on Saturday morning, taking either I-70 or U.S. 36 and stopping for the night somewhere in central Kansas. That positioned us to arrive in Breckenridge sometime Sunday afternoon. After we emptied our saddlebags and other baggage, several of us would ride down to the City Market supermarket on the north end of town and stock up on groceries for the week, usually including some low-octane grocery store beer.
There were a couple of times when guys made the ride from Indy in one shot – Rich Nathan and Bernie Heidt come to mind. It’s 1,163 miles via I-70, which is do-able, but you end up arriving in deer and elk country after dark.
In the mornings, everyone would rustle up his or her own breakfast and plan where they would ride that day – sometimes up to Steamboat Springs, sometimes over Independence Pass to Aspen and Glenwood Springs, sometimes up to Rocky Mountain National Park. I think we rode ever significant road in that part of the Rocky Mountains at one time or another during the decade-plus that we did Chalet Week.
Dinner would be orchestrated by one or two volunteer cooks. I liked to make jambalaya, although cooking rice at close to 10,000 feet is a bit tricky. One night we might all go out to dinner at a local restaurant and one night we usually ordered Domino’s pizza for dinner.
We lost the use of the chalet in the early 2000s when the owners decided to move back in after living several years down in Buena Vista.
Tim and Linda moved into their big chalet-style A-frame about this time and hosted Chalet Week on a reduced scale for a few years, but finally gave up when interest dwindled.
It was a great time and a fabulous perk for being in the Indianapolis BMW Club and I really miss it around this time of year. If I didn’t have a commitment for this Labor Day, I would have seriously considered imposing on the Baloughs’ hospitality one more time.
Maybe next year.
The 2005 Chalet Week gang at Chateau Balough in Alma.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Here I am, somewhere in southern Missouri or northwest Arkansas, on a Labor Day weekend ride to the Ozarks with Indianapolis BMW Club friend Rich Nathan.
I was riding my 1981 BMW R100RS and Rich was on his BMW K75.
I know we camped a couple of nights, but the only one I recall with any clarity was on the shores of Northfork Lake east of Mountain View, Ark. after we rode through Branson and explored some of Table Rock Reservoir.
Here’s Rich as we left the Northfork Lake campground.
It was a fun weekend riding some extremely twisty and well-maintained state roads.
Friday, August 22, 2014
The blazing summer heat we hoped we avoided is upon us here in northeast Arkansas.
The 3 p.m. temperature is 95 with a heat index of 108 and the forecast is for hotter weather over the weekend.
So I am hunkered down in the air conditioning with no plans to go anywhere for the rest of the afternoon.
I got out early to ride down to the electric utility office to pay our bill, which was due today. I would have mailed the check earlier, but I spaced it.
After dropping off the payment, I cruised by Panera for a cheese Danish and cup of coffee, but couldn’t think of anything interesting for a blog entry.
I still can’t, but people stop reading you if you don’t post new content every day or so.
As we were drifting off to sleep last night, I got a call from my son Sean. I knew it was him because of the ringtone I’ve assigned to his number. (If you have an iPhone, you’ll recognize it as the one named “Robot.”)
He was at a restaurant and realized he didn’t have his bank debit card with him and wondered it I could shoot him some money by PayPal so he could buy dinner with his PayPal credit card.
No problem. I went up to the office, signed into my PayPal account and threw $50 into his account.
Our lawn needs mowing – one particular variety of grass in the front yard has reached about 12” in scattered spots and is going to seed – but there is NFW I’m going to mow in this weather. Maybe tomorrow morning if the dew evaporates before the temperature rises into the 90s.