… but on the bright side, we’ll be headed to Panama City Beach in 10 days!
With the exception of a Saturday afternoon solo ride to run a few errands on the Wide Glide a few weeks back followed by a Sunday afternoon ride over to Loco Willy’s for some hot wings, the combination of cold, wet or cold & wet weather kept the big bikes in the garage ever since we returned home from Daytona Beach way back on March 15th. In fact, I think I may have logged more miles on bicycles than Harley’s since then; how sad is that?!
Now, it’s not like I haven’t been riding. However, nearly all of my big bike time has been on my trusty BMW R1100S going to and from work. While it’s highly therapeutic and clears my head both in the early am and then the early evening, it’s no substitute for a few hours of two-up riding with my sweetie on Blue.
The BMW also had to put in some overtime when bad weather combined with a series of mechanical issues on my 2006 Tundra that put it in the shop for nearly two weeks beginning April 5th for a rebuild of the rear differential, an SLT Solenoid replacement in the transmission, a new left front wheel bearing and a rebuild of the front end’s ball joints, connecting & tie rods. It came out of the shop briefly on April 12th before going back in on April 13th and then over to a different shop on April 15th – 17th. $3,200 later, including a new transmission support bracket and cross member that I’ll be installing next weekend, we’re hoping the Tundra will be good for another 100,000 miles before it has any other costly repairs. Fingers crossed…
Thankfully, the BMW is well-suited for wet weather in that the cowls, windscreen and engine do a great job of shielding me from the rain, far more so than the Road King, even with the lowers and, never mind with the Wide Glide: it’s like riding through a car wash when it rains.
I snapped the photo above of the blue & white Beemer sitting out in the parking lot at The Red Eyed Mule on April 10th when I met Miss Debbie for lunch in the middle of a deluge. No worries, I was high and dry in my rain gear! Such was the case throughout the rest of last week for the daily commutes. This coming week isn’t looking that much better. But, what the heck, riding to work in rain gear still beats a drive-in.
I should probably note that I’ve also been going through something of a mini mid-life-crisis. We’ve been trying to figure out how to start our transition into retirement and it seems that at every turn we’ve been thwarted by new challenges. After returning from Daytona Beach I got it my head that I needed to clean up my act as it was starting to look like exiting the suit & tie world at the end of the year could be placed on hold. So, four days after the photo at left below was taken, I had my hair cut high & tight and shaved off my goatee; yikes! That was the first time that I had my hair off my ears in over two years and the first time I was clean-shaven since, well… a really, really long time ago, i.e., 2000?
On the bright side, the goatee is back and the hair is growing again. However, I’m still on the fence with the retirement thing. We thought we had a pretty good idea what health care might cost, but have since gotten real quotes. A “Silver” plan (70%) for the two of us will run about $11,520 a year plus another $3,500 a year for a long-term care plan to cover any prolonged illness or injuries: affordable care, really? That’s a few thousand more than we expected, and that still doesn’t include dental which my dear Debbie desperately needs. So, even though we’ve got our annual expenses well in hand, along with some fun money for vacations, the health care is pretty close to being a deal-killer. It’s no wonder that no one wants to retire before they can qualify for Medicare.
So, Plan A — full retirement — may be put off for at least another year while we stack our chips a little higher. Plan B is still not all that attractive, i.e., status quo… staying in the suit. Therefore, we’re starting to explore a Plan C, which would have me searching for a ‘be all you can be’ bucket list career move that would hopefully be something I could look forward to each day, provide some level of health care coverage and perhaps… just perhaps, open up some new doors and opportunities doing something that’s completely different from what I’ve done for the past 36 years.
Time to do more research and to do some soul-searching. Oh yeah, and as I said earlier, there are just 10 more wake-ups until Panama City Beach! I say wake ups… it sure would be nice if I could sleep. Here I am at 1:41am again with way too much on my mind to settle down. Well, if nothing else I can send roses to my sweetie’s office tomorrow so that she can enjoy them all week: her birthday is next Saturday.