071209 – life is good

Life is good here in New Zealand. it’s 75 F outside and a light breeze is blowing and there’s all the sunlight and beauty anyone could want. Good friends, good tennis and, of course, my beautiful, beloved and very patient wife at home who is holding down the fort for me at the nursery – deep in the midst of the Washington winter – and all so I can be here enjoying all of this.

I am blessed – there is no doubt.

A good friend of mine here in New Zealand sent me a wonderful article this morning:

Forever young: understanding the true presence of Christ helps us become elders, not just elderly.

The truths the author talks about transcend any particular faith but I found them beautiful to read cloaked in Christian clothes as they were.

The essential truth that underlies all faiths can still find expression within them when the faithful seek substance over form and meaning and significance over dogma and conformity.

All faiths wither away over time under the onslaught of those who seek to explain and own their deep truths. But still, still, the light can shine forth from the midst of the edifice occasionally revealing the clear light of those who began the dance.


My motorcycle adventures continue unabated but I’m at peace with it all. It is all winding up towards a good completion and I am content to wait until all the wheels turn at their own pace.

When I last left off telling the saga of the motorcycle, I’d just been offered $300 USD by the shipping company as compensation for the trouble caused when they lost my title. And, I was wondering what my options were as $300 seemed almost an insult compared to the size of the inconvenience and expenses I’d been cast into.

Well, my decision was to carry the battle to the next level. I requested and obtained the E-mail identity and name of the V.P. at the shipping company who’d decided that $300 was fair compensation and I’d gotten clear on how the shipping company was organized (it’s actually five companies gathered together as one) and I’d determined who the top corporate officers were.

I told the lady who I’d been working with, who was also the individual that misplaced my title, that I was going to carry the matter to a higher level as I thought the $300 was completely inadequate.

My intent was to write to the top officers explaining my problem, mention the V.P. by name and inform them that I intended to setup a website which would appear whenever anyone searched for anything to do with any of the five conjoined companies. A website which would detail, at great length, my altercation with them and how badly I’d been used in the entire business. In the end, the bad publicity would far outweigh the cost to them of having done the right thing by me in the first place.

So, I was sharpening my knives. But, it never came to that because the very next morning, I received a voice-mail from the lady at the shipping company saying that my title, after three weeks of being lost, had been found and was going to be winging it’s way to me via DHL before the day was over.

The title shipped from Los Angeles on December 6th and as of this moment, I know that it is through customs in Auckland and winging its way from Auckland to Christchurch and will probably be in my hands by tomorrow. It’s Sunday here now.

So, that’s all good.

I had the brakes on the m/c inspected last Thursday and they were good so I will have all the paperwork together at last to register the machine here on Monday or Tuesday and be legal on the New Zealand highways. Yahoo!

But, there’s more saga yet…. (No, no, my readers scream!) Yes, yes, I smile. You may all think you saw the fat lady stand up but I assure you, she has not sung yet.

The other day when I was out riding my m/c (quite illegally, I might add), I stopped and when I tried to start it again, it would not start. After a lot of fussing, I got it going again and thought it was just a fluke.

Then, the next day, I drove out to customs by the airport and when I came out, the battery appeared to be dead again. So, I pulled the battery and walked to the local garage and got it recharged and put it back into the m/c and boom – it started right up.

And then the day after that, on Thursday, when I took the machine into the motorcycle place down in New Brighton to have the brake inspection done, I asked the mechanic to check out the alternator to see if it was actually recharging the battery or not. He said the alternator was fine but he thought maybe the battery was bad.

I wasn’t to sure of this as I knew the battery had been replaced within the last six months so I decided to take that under advisement and took off. And, when I took off, my m/c started right up – so I wasn’t worried.

I should have been worried – because 20 minutes later, after picking up something I’d bought on an on-line auction (ironically, a battery charger of all things), I walked outside to depart and the battery appeared to be flat yet again. The m/c would not start. It wouldn’t even turn over. Damn!

So out comes the battery again and off I walk to the local garage for another hour’s worth of battery charging while I wait and drink coffee. Then, I put the battery back in and try it and I get … nothing. Now, I know the battery’s charged and I can barely get a click. Now I’m deeply worried and confused about what’s going on.

Now, over the past few days, as all this has gone on, I’ve made any number of attempts to push-start the bike without success. But now I’m really really stuck so I start thinking about why I haven’t been able to push-start it and I realize what a ninny I’ve been. Like some know-nothing beginner, I’ve been dropping it into first gear and popping the clutch when I’ve tried to start it and, Duh, the engine’s resistance is so high in first gear, all that happens is that the back tire just skids and the engine doesn’t turn over. And, if the engine doesn’t turn over -the m/c cannot start.

So, armed with this semi-profound insight, I push the m/c again and pop it into third gear and VROOM! it starts. Whew, that’s a relief as I’m back on a residential street in Burnside or someplace and I am miles from home and the garage. Thank you, Jesus!

So, back to the garage I go ready to step up and buy that new $99 battery they’d offered me awhile ago. I turn the machine in and they go to work and I kill time inspecting the various m/c’s out in the display room. They’ve got quite a lot of motorcycles there that I’ve never seen in the U.S.

Fifteen minutes later, the mechanic comes out and says, “We have a problem.” Oh, oh. Back we go to see what it is.

He connects the new battery up and shows me that the full required voltage is, indeed, feeding into the starter motor and nothing’s happening. He said he gets the same result with the old (suspect) battery – which may not be so suspect now.

He pops the end off the starter motor while I’m watching and out comes various chunks of what, at one time, were my starter motor brushes. It’s a real mess. He says he can’t understand how anything in that shape could have possibly been starting and I agree. And yet remind him that just this morning, I’d started it at this very shop and rode off. Very weird. Everyone shakes their head.

So, I have to leave the bike there. it’s Thursday afternoon and he’s going to look if he has the necessary brushes and, if not, it’s a simple thing to order them in from Honda down in Dunedin down the coast 100 miles or so. Off on the bus I go.

Friday, I call several times during the day. “Nope, Mate, they haven’t come yet.” Saturday arrives and I’m calling again. Now they are concerned. They are trying to trace the courier package. My brushes and some other parts they’d ordered up from Dunedin by courier seem to have all gone astray.

I mean – what are the chances? Dunedin is 100 miles or so south of Christchurch. These are the only two relatively large cities on the entire island. Surely the courier hasn’t forgotten the way? “Nope, Mate, they’re still not here, sorry.” 3:30 PM Saturday comes and goes. That’s the last possible time they could have been delivered until Monday by courier.

Ah well. it all seems to be part of a larger pattern swirling around this entire motorcycle shipping business. I don’t know what it’s all about but I’m going to go with it gracefully – mostly because I’d look pretty silly and ineffectual shouting and moaning about it, eh?

So, it’s now 5 PM Sunday afternoon on a beautiful day here. My starter motor brushes are, hopefully, somewhere out there on the South Island and I believe my title is in Christchurch by now in a DHL office somewhere in the city. Eventually, they will all creep and crawl their way here and all of this will come together. And, until then, I will wait and enjoy all the other blessings showering down on me.

Sometime, I’ll have to tell you how much fun I’ve been having playing tennis again after all of these years.

Cheers, from paradise.

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