Monday, October 11, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Yeah, the beak is a little busted up, the head guards are a little scraped, and the handlebars are a bit buggered, but nothing a little elbow grease and a little BMW cash can't fix! :-)
Same time all of this is going on I'm down talking to the fine salesmen at Ride West BMW about this new 2010 Anniversary GS Adventure. Yeah, we're talking about how there are only supposed to around 38 of these guys coming to the states with each dealer only allocated one. I'm telling him how lucky I am that I couldn't get one even if I wanted because, surely the one they had coming in was already spoken for. "Oh no" Mr. salesman says, "we just got the word that ours is on the way so, no one has had a chance to put their name on it yet." Damn, these BMW guys are tricky!
OK, I give Mr. salesman $500 to hold the bike for me so I can get a gander at it before giving it up to someone else. About 2 weeks later I go down to look this new bike in the eye and see if she's for me. Wow, she was pretty!
But, it didn't have a couple of safety options I was looking for so, as hard as it was, I turned my back on her. I look to the salesman and say "as much as I am enamored by her looks, she is lacking some key features, sorry." He says that isn't a problem, he has several other interested buyers and my $500 deposit will be refunded. So how about a non-Anniversary model? Well, that could work if we can find one set up the way I want. We get on his computer and start doing some searching. Nothing in his inventory. Hmmmm..... nothing in the western US. Oh well, just wasn't meant to be. I'll wait for the 2011's coming this fall. "But wait!" says Mr. salesman. "I think someone said we had made a trade deal with another dealer to allow us another Anniversary model". Cool, let's see what it's equipped with. Darn, still missing my key safety features. "But wait!" "It hasn't gone into production yet so WE can add whatever options we want." Oh, really!? "Let's get these changes made and get 'er ordered up!"
Born on my lovely wife's birthday:
This is the motorcycle that I wanted to replace the RT with so the RT goes up for sale in ernest. The dealer has offered me a really good trade deal (might be because of all the money they have already made off of me over the years) so if it doesn't sell I'll just trade her in when the new GS comes in. I do have a very interested party from down in So Cal that is scheming on coming up to pick up the RT though, but I don't consider it sold until I have the money in my hands.
Now the new dilemma, the F800GS. The HP2 is a far superior off-road bike to the 800 and will probably be superior on-road too. I'm thinking the 800 will have to go. I will wait until the HP2 is fully repaired before making the decision but, my guess is that it will end up being a rarely ridden bike and it is just too fine a machine to relegate to garage art duty.
So, this is where we stand..... I think.
R1200RT - To be sold, gone.
F800GS - To be sold, gone (maybe)
R1200GS Adventure 30th Anniversary Edition - coming to a garage near you soon.
R1200 HP2 Super Enduro - Broken but fixable, hopefully in my garage within a week.
I still have some time to let all of this shake out and, who knows? I may end up turning down the GS Adventure (I still can), keeping the RT and 800, and fixing up the HP2 and selling it...... Yeah - right!!!! hahaha!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
- Homes and Financing
Over the past year we completed the construction of our beautiful Edmonds home. It is absolutely amazing with a view to die for and a price tag that I almost died because of.
Immediately after completing construction on the new home, we had the comps done on the old Lynnwood home and, based on those comps, did a near complete remodel. Well, in that short time span of construction, the value of the Lynnwood home has fallen about $60K due to short sells and foreclosures in the area.
All of this was done in a struggling economy with a business that definitely suffered from the effects of the poor economy. Try getting financing for a jumbo loan with all of this hanging over your head! Yep, very challenging indeed. I am really looking forward to things actually getting back to normal.
PGS has actually done quite well over the past 8 months, considering. Profits are challenging but we are eking out small ones. We had gotten so far behind financially that it will take years to fully recover but we are, at least, in recovery mode. This has been a very difficult time and our good fortune is no indicator of the state of economy for our industry.
We are doing well because of extremely hard work combined with the fact that we are the best at mapping in our niche market. We can’t relax though….. we are just the loss of a job or 2 away from another collapse and we don’t have the reserves to survive another so soon.
What I miss most right now is leisure time.
The ability to take off and do a trip on a whim. Even 3-day weekends are hard to come by these days. The effects of all of my personal projects combined with the challenges of running a business at this time, just doesn’t leave any time for play. Not that I could afford to do much anyhow.
Training for the Vancouver Marathon on May 2 in Vancouver, BC.
Training has been going extremely well and I am at least a month ahead of my training schedule right now. This week has been a very short mileage week for me due to my hectic schedule but I’ll up the mileage again next week. I want to take it a little easy for the rest of February anyhow, just to make sure I don’t peak to early. The goal is first, to qualify for Boston, 3:35:59, with a secondary goal of finishing in under 3:30. I’ve been working on speed much more in this program than past and am feeling pretty confident right now. It helps that I have completed 3 runs in excess of 18 miles, with 2 in the 20-mile range, and haven’t bonked yet.
It is really hard to find the right one (ones). In the past 5 years I have gone through no less than 15 motorcycles. Of course 1 of those was due to a catastrophic failure (mine) resulting in the destruction of the motorcycle and a few personal structural features. It’s good to have a dedicated small dirt bike, big dirt bike, sport tourer, performance sport, and adventure tourer. I do believe that I am finally at the point where 3 bikes should be enough and have pretty much decided what those bikes should be:
- BMW R1200GS Adventure –
This bike is the Swiss Army Knife of bikes. It will do anything you ask of it and do it well. You can head off cross-country with it and ride in total comfort, carrying enough gear for months of living off of the bike, humbling sport bike riders in the twisties, all while not worrying whether the road is dirt or asphalt.
- BMW F800GS –
Great for around town and commuting but also makes an excellent big off-road bike capable of long days of asphalt to get to the dirt exploring. It has just enough of a hooligan tilt to satisfy the non-conforming side in us all.
- Performance Sport Bike –
This is probably the only bike that I’m going to have to accept as an ever changing desire depending on the latest/greatest in go-fast technology. Right now my dream bike would be the HP 2 Sport:
This bike is sooooo expensive though that it isn’t even on the list of possibilities.
The BMW S1000RR sure looks amazing:
I have got to get down and test ride this bike!
And the older BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Replica would be really cool garage art:
Any one of these would be a welcome addition to my garage.
You will probably note that all of these bikes are BMW models. Yes, I have drunk from the BMW cool-aid. It’s just that once you have driven the BMW’s everything else just isn’t as inspiring. Kind of like driving a Porsche. If you don’t get it….. you never will.
The lease term on the Jeep that I use as a business vehicle ends next month so I will be car-less. I have made the decision, in the interest of finances, to borrow Sue’s Smart Car to use as transportation in the short term. After the business finances improve I will need to come up with a different option, as the Smart will not be great for doing project recon…. Sue will shoot me if I damage that little guy! I’m not sure if I want to go with a pickup or a car right now. I do know that I hate the motor in the new Jeeps and would not go that direction again.
I really want to do a full rally conversion on a classic mini if I could find a project car.
That would make a really cool car to show up at client meetings with. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the year brings.
Enough rambling for now. I wish everyone a happy and prosperous year!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Seems I have a lot of queries concerning the whys of my life of late so I thought this might be a good blog subject. I’m kind of a dense guy, might be senility, not sure because I wasn’t real bright even back when I had a memory…. What were we discussing? Oh right, brain density. Anyway, since I can’t seem to answer my own questions I thought I would throw it out to both, OK fine, my only follower and see if you can answer these deeply puzzling questions.
1.) Why do I run? Not only, why do I run, but why do I run far?
Here I am, once again, training for one of these blasted marathons. On 1-10 I went out and ran 19.3 miles on the Sammamish Trail (at least it was flat). It felt pretty good so, instead of finishing off feeling all strong and stuff, I decided to push the last 2 miles at race pace. Yeah, that was smart. Heart rate shot through the roof and I ended the run feeling completely spent. Damn!
This morning 1-17, I decided to drop a little mileage off and limit myself to 18 miles. Seemed like a good idea, right? The route I chose was challenging, lots of big hills, but I thought I could just take it easy and run something in the 9:30 range. Yeah, right….. What I ended up doing was running this hilly route at only 1 second per mile slower than my 19.3 mile run on the really flat trail last weekend. Dense.
2.) Why isn’t it OK for a run to just be fun and not push my limits?
This one seems like it should be a simple question. It eludes me though.
3.) What’s this whole ‘over-achiever vs beach bum’ thing I’ve got going on about?
I don’t believe I have ever come across someone who was as conflicted over these two traits as I am. I tell you, all I want to do is go play but yet I seem to take on more responsibilities than Mother Theresa. If I’m not excelling at something I feel lost but if I’m not lazing around shirking my responsibilities I feel cheated. What’s up?
4.) Why isn’t one motorcycle enough?
OK, easy…. See number 3.
5.) Why don’t I ‘get me’?
Obviously if I did, I wouldn’t be asking these stupid questions…..
‘Till next time,
Friday, January 8, 2010
Good bye and good riddance to 2009. I don't regret having to endure calendar year 2009 but I am sure glad it is over.
2009 was both challenging and rewarding and, while financially difficult, it has been a year of learning and building for PGS, creating a much more secure business. I still have a lot of learning to do to understand why I was hit so hard by the current recession. It is so easy to just say "we have had a hard time because we are in a recession" but that is only partially true and does nothing to help move us forward. I really believe that a good business plan adapts to conditions rapidly and finds new opportunities in challenging economic times, foregoing the big financial hits. It took longer than it should have for PGS to adapt and find these new opportunities causing me to think that some revisions to the business plan are in order.
Things really have improved considerably over the past 5 to 6 months for the business. We are working with a reduced staff but easily keeping everyone busy and chargeable. Profits are still really meager and I need to do more to reduce operating expenses and to improve revenue generation. At this point I am really optimistic about the upcoming year but very cautious at the same time. That is the great thing about the New Year, it gives us hope and a whole new year of opportunities.
And I'm ready for it!
2009 was such a challenging year on so many levels and it is a wonder I came through mentally as well as I did. I don't even think I developed any new ulcers from all of the stress. Here's a quick recap;
- The worst financial year since starting the business…. Let's just say that I don't have to worry about an income tax this year.
- Investment portfolio was a complete disaster…. The losses would make a nice deduction on my income, if I needed it, which I don't.
- Constructed the mega-home 'El Edmonds Castillo' in the midst of my financial collapse.
- Did a full remodel of the Lynnwood home to prepare it to sell for far less than it was worth a year ago without the remodel.
- I am boatless in Seattle because I sold Allegro, my sailboat and refuge from reality, to reduce my monthly expenses.
On the other hand there were many very positive aspects to the past year and, in some ways, it has been one of my most productive years. Here's a little recap of the positives:
- It is 2010 and I am not bankrupt.
- PGS has actually been profitable since August, albeit on a very meager basis.
- PGS has developed relationships with some fantastic new clients.
- PGS has entered 2010 with the largest backlog of work in the past 2 years.
- My investment portfolio still has 'some' money in it and it is slowly getting better.
- I completed the construction of 'El Edmonds Castillo' and now live in an absolutely fabulous home with a view to die for.
- The bank may even be convinced to convert my construction loan to an actual mortgage on the new home.
- I got to do some really fun exploring via motorcycle travels.
- I am married to the love of my life…. And have been for over 30 years…. And she still likes me!
- It is 2010 and I am not bankrupt!
2010! And I am ready for the voyage. I will not allow this year to be negative and I will not dwell on my past failures. What a wonderful, privileged life I have been afforded. 2010, one more chance to get it right!!!
Happy New Year and cheers to all!