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Sheldon & Patti's 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Sport

August 1, 2006
Sometimes our lives change in ways that we don't anticipate. I had Polio as a child and for the last several years I've been battling Post Polio Syndrome. The nerves that control my muscles are going away and I'm slowly losing the use of my arms and legs and my lungs shut down on me at the most terrible of times. The pain is almost unbearable so the docs have me on a cocktail of some mighty fine drugs.

I started riding motorcycles in the early 60's but for some time now I haven't been able to hold up a solo motorcycle when stopped so I've been riding sidecar rigs for the last 9 years.   Of late the pain from even this form of riding is so bad that a ride of only 10 miles literally takes days of recovery.  The "Catch 22" is that the pain stops me from riding, but the side effects of the drugs for the pain do also.  So, after 42 years, and just shy of a million miles of riding, I no longer own a motorcycle. A gentleman from Chicago came and picked up my beloved Moto Guzzi rig a week ago.

The day he came to get it was tough, but it really hit me the next day when I was driving Patti's 2006 Buick Rendezvous SUV the nine miles into town.  We live just off a scenic road and there were hundreds of bikes just in that short distance, and there I was driving an SUV.   I actually broke down in tears, BUT... All is not lost, as last Monday I picked up my replacement and though I can't ride a bike I can still drive a car a bit.  My limit in a car is about 120 miles, so I decided I had to have something fun and needed to roll the money from the Guzzi into it fast, before it could be spent on flooring or other things that can suck a "fun fund" dry in a moment.  We now have a 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Sport. It is an awesome ride, with the AMG "sport" package, a retractable hardtop, only two seats and enough luxury to live up to the Benz name.  As long as I'm able to drive we will be out tearing up the roads.  It is six years old but only has 50,000 miles on it and it is NEW TO ME.  I've had an incredible life and just because I have to slow down a bit doesn't mean that I have to roll up in a ball, so let the fun begin...

Because of my situation it is doubtful that you will see me at any more motorcycle rallies unless they are quite close but I'll continue to attend the SKUNK (SideKars Up Nort' Klub) rallies in Cameron WI as long as I can.    See you on the road.  --  Sheldon

Click photos for a larger view:

  Sheldon & Patti in their SLK

The retractable hardtop 

Nakia out for a ride in her new SLK 

 

 

 

The first accessory that I've ordered for it is a "Wind Blocker" from http://www.windrestrictor.com/SLK170_Home.html   Similar to those in the below photos and with either blue or purple lighting.  My custom screen is ordered and the guy who makes them is sending me both colors to try and return the one I don't use.  That is "customer service" such as we don't often see these days.  I'll post photos of ours when we get it installed.

 

September 4, 2006
My Wind Restrictor is mounted an lit and I love it.  Adds tons of panache to the car and is just the crowning touch.  Last night I took the car to Stillwater, near the old bridge, and shot a bunch of photos of the car and the Wind Restrictor.  Unfortunately I didn't wash all my fingerprints from the Plexiglas before I took the photos and I forgot my tripod at home so please forgive me for these errors.

   

 

May 2006 I posted the below:

You probably are thinking, "Why is he selling off his beloved toys?"  The answer is a bit traumatic for me.  When I was a small child I had Polio, in 1953 at the age of 3, and had my last surgery when I was 18 years old.  For a long time it was not believed that I would ever walk, but I fooled a bunch of people and with the help of some experimental surgery at Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children in St. Paul Minnesota I not only walked but did many of the things that the Doctors told me I should never even try.  Do take a look at my PINS page.   I've had an incredible life having raced cars, motorcycles and snowmobiles, run racing teams, headed up a large portion of one of the biggest civic festivals in the U.S. and worked my way up in business till I was the Director of Transportation for a multi-billion dollar, multi-national publishing giant.  I've been chased through the jungle by witch doctor's henchmen, I've acted on stage, in movies and television and I've had books published.  Because of my disability I've always challenged myself and I feel that I've had about as full of a life as anyone could have.  A handicapped person who served on a fire-department for some years, ran out of air in the basement of a burning building, fallen through the fire destroyed roof of another and survived many adventures.  I've traveled extensively in all of North America and some in Central America, done white-water canoeing, and even did a 10 day "solo" in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, portaging and paddling almost 100 miles without seeing another human.  And this is only touching the surface of all the things I've accomplished in my life.  .

Handicapped?  I'm afraid I've always looked on the rest of the world as the "handicapped" ones, as they've not had the push that being different gives to one to truly experience life.  For many years now I have not regretted the Polio or any of the downturns in my life and now I have something called "Post Polio Syndrome" or "Post Polio Sequelae" and the nerves that control my muscles, especially in my arms, legs and lungs appear to be dying.  I believe it started about ten years ago but it was 1991 before I was diagnosed.  If you'd like to learn more about Post Polio please click on the link to the right.


http://www.post-polio.org/educa.html

Once of the biggest joys of my life has been my love of vehicles and motorsports. Having had Polio I could never really compete at "stick and ball" sports but put an engine on just about anything and put it in my hands and watch for my grin.  I've had well over 50 cars and 50 motorcycles and ridden motorcycles for 42 years.  About the time the first symptoms of Post Polio started to pop up I realized that I was having trouble holding up a two-wheeled motorcycle any time I had to stand with my feet on the ground.  I also didn't realize but I was getting less physical exercise because of the pain and started to gain weight and as I hadn't realized anything was going on, so I was still eating as if I were a very active person.  In 1998 I finally bought my first sidecar rig and loved it.  Since then I've slowly withdrawn from the solo motorcycle world and been riding mostly sidecar rigs.

Recently my Post Polio has advanced to the point that even riding the rig 30 miles brings on excruciating pain in my arms and legs.  There is not much one can do, although losing weight should help some and I'm now losing about 2 pounds a week, but that can only provide a very small amount of relief.  One of the problems with Post Polio is that the more exercise you get the faster the deterioration progresses and the folk getting Post Polio are often the ones who have led the most active lives.  I quit drinking many, many years ago and have never been much of a drug user.  I've always had some pain but about the strongest thing I ever took was 4 aspirins maybe twice monthly for when the pain got bad.  Now I'm on some very powerful narcotic drugs and even they have little effect on the pain.  So with no relief in my future and being stuck in a kind of "Catch 22" of; if I take the drugs I can't drive or ride at all, but if I don't the pain of riding is so bad that it is incredible torture to ride, I finally had to make the decision that has been coming for some time.  After 42 years of riding motorcycles it has come to an end.  But... not being one to say that is the end of all things I have a plan...

For several years, as I knew this has been coming, I've been looking at two-seat sports cars and other options for fun vehicles.  When we moved from Esko Minnesota to Houlton Wisconsin four years ago I cleaned out most of my other toys, and even shipped my incredibly rare Corvette Wagon to Son the Elder (Aaron) in Phoenix.  I bought the Eagles with the thought that they might work as kind of a bridge, but it turns out that the pain also makes it almost impossible for me to continue to work on cars or bikes.  So even the Eagle has to go and I've finally found a car that I can comfortably drive, truly enjoy and at a reasonable price.  In the last few years I burned up all of my savings, and even my retirement funds until Uncle Sam finally decided that I qualified for Social Security Disability so they could return some of the money I've paid in Social Security taxes for all those years.  I'm still able to do a little bit of computer and Internet consulting when the pain meds aren't kicked in, so I have a very small income from that, but by selling my Moto Guzzi sidecar rig, the Riviera, the Eagle and even selling some of my old magazines and collectables on e-Bay I'm hoping I can scrape together the money to buy a 2000-2003 Mercedes Benz SLK 230 Sport Kompressor  which is the 2.3 litre supercharged 4 cylinder that gets 30mpg, not exceptionally fast but fun to throw around and they can be had for $15,000-$22,000

The doctor bills are piling up but if money weren't tight I'd really prefer the 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz SLK32 AMG convertible hardtop roadster.  This is a two seat sports car with an automatic transmission and a massively supercharged and intercooled V-6 pushing out 349hp.  Blazingly fast, the things run 0-60 in 4.8 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.0 seconds at above 110mph.  Mighty supercars, and cheap!  New these were $55,000 vehicles but used low-mileage ones with 20,000-50,000 miles can occasionally be snagged for $23,000-$28,000.  That is the price of a moderately-priced family sedan and this for a extraordinarily fast retractable hardtop roadster.

Once I've raised the money I'm going to be patient so I can find the perfect one.  Perfect for me would be black or red with the black leather interior and either red or cream seat inserts and door panels.  The carbon fiber trim would be a plus, but any trim would do.  There are literally hundreds of them for sale at any given time but the majority of them are silver as that is the German racing color and silver has been an exceptionally popular car color for the last ten years or so.  Personally I'm not fond of it so I'll hang in there till I find the perfect one for me.

Gads, listen to me... "Poor crippled boy selling his toys to buy an old used car".  Sounds like the perfect scam for the Internet.  A new urban legend????  <grin>  Heck, if you can't buy my vehicles maybe a nice cash donation would help????  <chuckle>

I was married and divorced young, have two truly great sons and lived, and loved, the single life for many years, but I've now been married for 4 years to the most wonderful woman to whom I could ever have imagined hitching my wagon.  She's great, and I'm hoping that with this car her and I will be able to do some traveling (she can always drive) and road rallies.  She usually encourages my lunacy and really has become an anchor in my life.  I do so still want to enjoy life and I believe this will be my toy through the next segment of it.  Trouble is that with my income as it is I cannot afford to finance and I really want to pay cash, which means some overdue changes in my toy box, therefore the toys for sale.

 

August 21, 2006 Update: 
After 42 years, and just shy of a million miles of riding, I no longer own a motorcycle. A gentleman from Chicago came and picked up my beloved Moto Guzzi rig a couple of weeks ago.

The day he came to get it was tough, but it really hit me the next day when I was driving Patti's 2006 Buick Rendezvous SUV into town.  We live just off a scenic road and there were hundreds of bikes just in that short distance, and there I was driving an SUV.   I actually broke down in tears, BUT... All is not lost, as the next Monday I picked up my replacement and as I can't ride a bike I can still drive a car a bit.  My limit in a car is about 120 miles, so I decided I had to have something fun and needed to roll the money from the Guzzi into it fast, before it could be spent on flooring or other things that can suck a "fun fund" dry in a moment.  We now have a 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Sport. It is an awesome ride, with the AMG "sport" package, a retractable hardtop, only two seats and enough luxury to live up to the Benz name.  As long as I'm able to drive we will be out tearing up the roads.  I've had an incredible life and just because I have to slow down a bit doesn't mean that I have to roll up in a ball, so let the fun begin...

We've decided to keep the Eagle SX/4 Sport as my winter driver, and I've now listed the Riviera on e-Bay.

Because of my situation it is doubtful that you will see me at any more motorcycle rallies unless they are quite close but I'll continue to attend the SKUNK (SideKars Up Nort' Klub) rallies in Cameron WI as long as I can.    See you on the road.  --  Sheldon

Click photos for a larger view:

  Sheldon & Patti in their SLK

 

November 24, 2006.  
Finally received my "vanity plates" from the state of Wisconsin.  Wasn't my first choice but still looks pretty good.  I've never had vanity plates before as they were always so expensive in Minnesota, but here in Wisconsin they are only $15.

End of November and it was 57 degrees here in Wisconsin so I was able to go for a nice ride with the top down.  I doubt that there will be many more opportunities like today.

   

February 8, 2007
The SLK is under a cover outside.  Patti and I have been together for almost six years now and she has never been able to put her car in the garage in the winter because of all my toys.  So this year I finally made room for her and I was forced to buy a good winter cover for the SLK.  I still take it out on days when the roads are dry and clear, but it is deep winter now with below zero temps every night.

My publisher has been pushing me to complete three more books and I finally found a couple of writing partners who will be doing research for my coming tomes.  It looks now like "Bootleggers & Bordellos in the North Woods" should be out in time for Christmas 2007.  An historical look at the underbelly of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan in the period from about 1850 to 1930 that I think will sell well.  My historical look at Minneapolis should be out about June of 2008 and hopefully the book about St. Paul will be out just before Christmas 2008.  Busy, busy, busy...

February 16, 2007
Sheldon selling the SLK???  Buying a 2006 Chrysler Crossfire???  Click here.

February 26, 2007
Was a bit traumatic listing my SLK on e-Bay today. Item number 110096789599   but had to be done.  Can't afford to have two cars like this.  I'm loving the Crossfire.

 

March 23, 2010 Update:
Lots of water has passed under the bridge since my last update and life has certainly flowed by for us.   I lost some weight, started to feel a bit better and found a perfect brand-spankin' new 2006 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster.  You can see it here.  It was awesome and I absolutely loved it and for a time I had both the SLK and the Crossfire, then sold the SLK as I found myself driving the Crossfire all the time.  Then my health sort of crashed and I was losing the use of my legs.  By the fall of 2008 I had to rely on crutches or a wheelchair to get around.  I was in a world of hurt.  Up till then my doctors had not wanted to do surgery on my leg for fear of what could go wrong.  It was not your normal leg in that when I was ten years old I'd had an experimental surgery on my left (my good) knee that made it tough for them to predict the results if they'd started chopping.  Here is that info

In November of 2008 the docs finally figured they had to give it a try and they cut off the top of my tibia and the bottom of my femur, inserted 8 inch spikes up each and attached a bionic knee.  To me it was like a miracle!  Two days after the surgery I was walking with only a cane and two weeks later I was walking without support.  Absolutely incredible.  Unfortunately at the time we didn't have very good insurance and I had huge medical bills to pay and had to sell the Crossfire.  I was absolutely crushed to once again see one of my babies go away on a flatbed tow truck.  So my "toy score" is now just the non-running AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport.  I've been without a car now since February 15, 2009 which has been a killer and it looks like I will have no toys any time soon.  Patti still has her Buick Rendezvous but in June of 2009 Patti lost her job as a telephonic Registered Nurse and hasn't been able to find another.  It has been 9 months so we've had to pull in our belts and just try to get by.  It is tough as she was making good money and with what I took in we had our bills paid.  Now it is a struggle living month to month.  Luckily I've been able to pick up a little consulting work or some Web site design jobs for a little extra each month.  The saga isn't quite over yet and I'm sure there will be many more adventures down the road. 

 

To learn a bit more about me check out my main Web site at:  http://www.sheldonaubut.com

 


http://www.post-polio.org/educa.html

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