Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Never Say Never Again!

I guess you can never say never!
My intention when I purchased my Yamaha Vmax was for it to be the last bike I own. I guess that in hindsight that was a crazy idea. Motorcycle owners are notorious for swapping and trying out different bikes. I do love riding a Vmax, but I realize that riding with the people I hang out with, a sport bike is really the right set up for me.

As for the Vmax (Sharky's Machine) I was most attached to two things, the insane amounts of raw power and the fact that it had connections to my daughter Ariel (1989 model and her birth year, teal is the color of our hockey team, the San Jose Sharks). When I chose to swap it out, she was surprisingly unsentimental to those facts since she likes sport bikes more anyway. Oh well!

How I came into getting the bike is where I think that God showed himself. During us having a garage sale, I ended up delivering some patio furniture to a neighbor. Inside their garage was one of my all time favorite bikes: a Kawasaki Ninja 650r. I offered up my compliments: "Nice bike." What I wasn't ready for was his response, "You want it?" He then went in to the details. It was his son's bike and that it was a 2009 with only 2500 miles that was sitting in his garage for two years. His son was unhappy with it because he laid it down rashing the right side, breaking off the right rear view mirror and bending the back break peddle (all cosmetic damage). The price was shockingly low. So low, I could sell the Vmax and get it for about the same amount. I told him I'd work on things and see what happened.
I put an ad for about the amount of the Ninja for my Vmax. I got two calls. The first was very interested but said he'd need a couple of days before he could get back to me. The second rode it that same day and said he'd think about it. Here's where things got weird. He came back the next day and rode it. What shocked me was that the Vmax died while he was riding it! I thought we had a deal and I could get my cool Ninja bike and it looked like things were falling apart. Anyway, he said he'd think some more about it and get back to me. Ugh!
This is where I see the difference that God made. In the past, I would have taken my frustration to anger and then complain to God. Why show me such a cool bike? Why did this stupid thing happen to my Vmax? What's going on here? Instead, I talked to him about my frustration and then, I realized there's peace here. Do I need a 650r? Am I content with my Vmax? Is God trustworthy? The answers were all obvious. I could then just pray that whatever happens happens and I'm good with that. I tested the battery and it was bad so I went out and got a new battery for the Vmax. I was told by the battery salesman that the guy who was looking at the bike actually called as well. That was a sign he was still interested. He did call me to say he was still interested and that he knew that I had replaced the battery. He appreciated that. Anyway, we ended up doing the sale! The next day, with cash in hand, I bought the 650r! God is good!

My mark is still there!

This past weekend I got to take it out on my favorite ride: Foothills Parkway, to Deal's Gap and then on the Cherohala Parkway. This was a group ride with the Knoxville Rockets. It's always nice to be around others who loves sport bike riding. First comments from them were admiration for the new bike and then surprise at what a great deal I got. Riding with the group pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and try to ride more aggressively (not crazy) which pushes me to become a better rider. I really appreciate that.
As for the bike, it's great! Compared to the Vmax it's a lot smoother. The raw power isn't there, but it's so smooth that I was easily hitting the 90 MPH range without much effort. I felt a little awkward going through the Parkway and the Gap mostly in terms of getting used to the bike (it also helped to pump up the tires which I forgot to check!). By the time I got onto the Skyway, I was really starting to get used to the handling. I know I need more seat time to get really comfortable with the bike.
I got the perfect gift for my new grandson!

Anyway, my best gauge for the bike is that I'm getting anxious to ride it a lot. That means I'm loving the ride. The lighter frame, better handling and sleeker look wins over the insane raw power of my good old Vmax. I don't regret having it, but I realize I'm probably a sport biker at heart. God has a way of getting us to figure things out. His direction is always good so getting back to a sport bike is part of His process. So here's to another season riding!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Number Two Is Also Number One

Your first picture!

Mom And Dad Hanging Out.
I hope that we have lots of times hanging out as a family!

To My Second Grandchild,
Hello, this is your grandfather or Jiichan as you will likely call me. I want you to know that it was such a great surprise to hear that God had created you. Your mommy texted me with the great news and since I was on the road, we spent an hour on the phone, talking about the exciting thought of you coming into our lives. You have made me twice the grandpa (as your mommy has said) which is truly an amazing thought.
Your Mommy On Her Wedding Day. Isn't She Beautiful?

Mommy Is Carrying You In This Picture

I want you to know that I love you even though we haven't met just yet. Why do I know this? Because you are part of a very special and beautiful person (your mommy). I loved her so much as a little girl and love even more that she's a grown woman. Also, you were created by God as a special blessing to the whole family. I know that you will bring us all joy and happiness just because you are who you are.

Some Great Times With Your Mom: Motorcycles And Gun Ranges!

I want you to know some things about your Jiichan. Unlike your mommy and daddy, I am not an artist. They have both taught me a lot about art and beauty that God has created but I'm mostly into sports (basketball, hockey, baseball and football), geeky things (Star Wars, Star Trek, engineering) and motorcycles. Your mommy and I love to ride motorcycles together and go to gun ranges. I hope that we can do the same when you're a little older. As Jiichan know that there will be many times when we can spend together doing things that you like and I'll be sure to spoil you with lots of gifts. Most of all I hope to share with you the love that God has shown to all of us. He has the greatest gifts for all of us since He is our Father. Like all good Fathers, He loves us a lot (actually more than your parents or me).
Mom In Her Prom Dress

A Cool Portrait Mom Drew Of Our Dog Mazie

Mom And Jiichan At Homecoming

I wanted to especially write to you since you are my second grandchild. Sometimes it sounds bad that we are second. As your great grandpa used to say about poker, the worst hand is the second best one (I'll explain that some other time, but that has to do with the Nakamura tradition of playing poker at all family gatherings). Anyway, I want you to know something very important: number two is still number one to me. What that means is even though your cousin Maddie was born first and I love her, I love you just as much as I love her. Your mommy is my second child, but I love her just as much as her older sister, Auntie Ariel. They are both my daughters and are very special to me. In the same way, you are very special to me and I love you just as much as Maddie. Because of that, you're still number one (ichiban)!
So look forward to times when we can share stories, eat baked cookies and laugh together. I can't wait!