Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week fourteen
Day 76, Sunday April 18, 1999... Cloudy, overcast and 0 c. (31 f.) but the sun is looking like it is struggling to brush the clouds aside and reign in this Northern sky. There is no wind, and my flag is hanging straight down. It sure does look like the sky is going to clear though.
I did a little walk around my 1 acre lot and now that the snow is gone I will have to start working on the gardens. I do so love to garden, but they look like a daunting challenge right now. I believe I now have 15 gardens scattered around my property. I find gardening the one thing that gets my mind off work and all the other things that I am involved with. When I get digging in the soil my mind just goes into neutral and seems to regenerate.
Another bonsai run to the Minneapolis Airport today to take Son #2 for his flight home to Phoenix. Left about 2:00 p.m. and returned home around 9:00 p.m. That included a stop at the Grand Casino Hinkley to sample their buffet.
Day 77, Monday April 19, 1999... Raining and cold this morning again so drove the car. Now it is 9:00 a.m. and I am sitting in my office watching the sun break through the clouds wishing I had rode anyway. I won't get any chance to ride this week as I will be flying to Memphis Tennessee Tuesday morning, and I will be there until Friday. I may not get a chance to post here until them.
Warmed up a little by afternoon. I had to leave work early to get to the cleaners and bank. I am off to Memphis Tennessee early tomorrow morning and I needed cash for the trip. I ended up getting home a little after 5:00 p.m. and never even entered my house. Just opened the garage door and pulled the Deco out and fired it up. Went for a nice little ride, cruising the local car lots. As I was running through Nelson Ford/Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth I happened upon a new arrival. It had just been prepped and put on the lot today. A 1999 Dodge Dakota, short box, regular cab, 2 wheel drive, V-6, 5 speed, bright red, wide tires, chrome spoked wheels, stereo cassette, and very, very nice. Just about my perfect vehicle. I was really struck by it. Went riding some more then went home to eat dinner.
About 7:00 p.m. I decided I should go back to the dealer and take the truck for a ride. It was amazing, and a huge step above all the Chevrolet S-10s and Ford Rangers that I have been driving. And certainly priced right. List was $17,965, but it had some special package pricing that dropped the price to $15,700, then there was a $1,000 rebate and they valued my old Ford Festiva at $12,000 for trade in. Which meant I would have to pay $13,500 for it. Not a bad deal. I worked up the papers and put in for the loan on the spot. Who knows, we may see another red truck in my driveway soon...
Day 78, Tuesday April 20, 1999... Leaving for Memphis this morning. Had second thoughts about the truck and am probably not going to go through with the deal. I really need to get through the summer with no car payment. I have a fairly large house payment, two Ural payments, and the usual bills laying around. Adding another big one right now would not be a prudent thing to do. If I wait until after the summer is over I will probably be able to move up to a Dodge RAM or a Ford F150 and I think I would be more happy with something that I could fit a hack in the back of.
I made another decision this morning. The Deco is for sale. If I sell it, pay off the loan, and get another one next winter I will be in very good financial condition by then. I love both the Sportsman and the Deco but for some reason the Sportsman is more dear to my heart. If I get rid of one, it would be the Deco. By next summer I will be a two Ural family again but I really have to concentrate on getting the Moto Guzzi back on the road, riding the sportsman, and getting my financial house back in optimum condition. So... Oh, yeah, and the Harley is set for delivery this fall.
For Sale: 1998 Ural Deco Classic, 900km, blue/cream, windshield, electric start, rear fender rack. Priced to sell!
Of course I will continue the diary!!! I'm not actively trying to sell the bike but will part with it. This is the only place it will be listed for now.
86 degrees in Memphis. What a contrast to Duluth weather. I was so very uncomfortable there, but the people made it up. We have a wonderful group at the Owens Laminated Flooring plant. Most of the day was spent in travel. In two trips between the plant and the airport to pick up other people coming in for the meeting I only saw two motorcycles on the road. What is wrong with these people. Don't they know there is no snow on the roads???
Day 79 Wednesday April 21, 1999... 86 (30 c.) degrees again. When you are from the great white North it is very difficult to acclimatize to those temperatures quickly. I was in misery every time I had to leave the air-conditioned office. All day today I only saw one motorcycle on the road and that was a Harley Heritage. Had a great time wading through computer problems. Solved them all, although there were a couple that almost stumped me. When you only get to the plant once or twice a year it always presents a challenge. The plants usually save up lists of problems for me to solve when I get there. And I do like a challenge. Went to dinner at "The Pier" on the river. Great place.
Day 80 Thursday April 22, 1999... Worked on computers most of the day until mid afternoon. Flight from Memphis to Minneapolis was uneventful but the plane was late out of Minneapolis to Duluth and I didn't get home until almost midnight. Left the plant at about 3:00 p.m. so that made for a long evening flight.
Day 81 Friday April 23, 1999... Slept in until 6:30 and didn't get to work until 8:10 a.m.. It seemed odd getting to work a couple hours late, and I was still tired all day. Got home about 5:30, jumped on the Deco and went out to find something to eat. Stopped at the video store and rented "My Giant", "X-Files" and "Bug Buster". Don't have a clue what the last one is but it looked really stupid and might be the perfect piece of escapism.
The ride felt great and the bike purred. This Deco sure is smooth compared to the Sportsman. I still feel a huge attachment for the Sportsman, maybe because it was my first Russian bike. I started to have second thoughts about selling the Deco but I really do need to get my finances under control until I can take money out of the business. We now have some significant monies in the coffers of the company. We are profitable already. That is pretty unheard of, to be profitable in the first months of operation. It should grow quite quickly. We may start looking for a few investors to come in though, just to give it a jump start out of the gate. But until things get to a pre-determined point I have volunteered to not take any money out of the company as pay. That means that my personal "fun money" that I had become accustomed to is going into the company instead of my pocket and I feel the pressure on to make my budget. I am by no means in trouble but I would feel better about things if I had a several month's buffer. I don't "need" to sell the Deco, I just think it is the prudent thing to do. A year or two from now I would like the company to be providing me with a comfortable income and for that I have to make a few sacrifices now. So, it really is true. The Deco is for sale... Well, at least now it is... Who knows, if you want it you better grab me in my weakness...
Forecast is for 60-70 degree (15-21 c.) all weekend, and ALL WEEK!!!! The miles are going to add up quickly on the bikes....
Day 82 Saturday April 24, 1999... Worked around the house for a while in the morning, then... Pushed the bikes out of the garage. I stood in the driveway admiring both bikes and again pushing through my mind, like through a blender, the thoughts about selling the Deco. Finally fired it up, and let it idle. It sounded so very sweet, then I fired up the Sportsman and, after some fiddling, got it to idle. The sound from the Deco was slightly more sonorous than the Sportsman. I suspect it has to do with the fact that the Sportsman has a crossover on the exhaust and the Deco has one system for each cylinder bank. I did a bit more stocking of the tool boxes in each bike, adding a new air pressure tester, an oil container spigot, some hose clamps and a few more tools. Then I shut the Sportsman down and jumped on the Deco. Did about 40km just bopping around the area, then came home, fired the Sportsman again, and took it out over the same route. I still have to track down the electrical problem on the Sportsman but once warmed up she ran great. I came home and shut down the Sportsman and took the Deco out again. The Deco is much more refined, the engine is way smoother, and she seems to have very long legs, even though still being broken in. I can't yet exceed 50mph so I really don't know what she will do, but even at those speeds she is not working nearly as hard as the Sportsman.
I came home, cooked a bit of dinner, then put the Sportsman away and headed out on the Deco for the first ever "Park Point Folk Festival". It was held at Lafayette Square on Park Point, and was a day of band after band. Probably was only 150 people or so there, but wait a couple years and I suspect it will be many thousands. Duluth is the perfect place for this kind of event. We also have the Bayfront Blues Festival which draws hundreds of thousands of people each year. This was such a good event that I can envision it having those kind of numbers in just a few years. When I left home it was 74 f. but when I got to Park Point the wind was off the lake and the temperature was about 45. Quite a difference in only about 22 miles. While there I had the opportunity to glance at the parking spot several times and there were a handful of people gathered around it each time I looked. I only stayed for an hour and a half then headed home before the sun dropped and it got cold.
As I was getting ready to leave a Honda Shadow pulled in. As the rider removed their helmet I had a hard time not staring. She was, maybe early 20's, and "if only I were younger"... of course, seeing the Ural, she had to come over with the usual questions. We stood in the parking lot chatting for about 20 minutes. Shellie is an amazing young lady who also has a new Harley on order, but expressed a real interest in Ducati and Moto Guzzi. I told her about "Last Tuesdays" at Sir Ben's Tavern on the Lake where all the European bikes meet and she may show up this Tuesday. I am sure she will make an impression on that bunch of European bike owners.
Had a nice ride home, and by the end of the day I had another 120km (75 miles) on the Deco. The kilometers are going to start piling on now that the temps are rising.
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