New Motorcycle (and a Capped Bust Half Dime trade!)
Why am I posting about a motorcycle here on the Coin forum? Well, because @pursuitofliberty told me that a trip report was expected!
Having just reached one of those birthdays that's evenly divisible by ten, I decided that it was time to relive a bit of my youth. So I set about looking for a classic Kawasaki motorcycle. Found the right one - a 1974 Z1A 900 - that checked many of my boxes. It was in Knoxville, TN - just barely inside my "I can ride it home to Kansas City" zone. And I've got coin friends in Knoxville! After working with the seller and chatting with my coin buddies, I had a plan.
I flew down to Knoxville on Friday, arriving in the mid-afternoon. The seller picked me up at the airport and took me to see the bike. It was smaller than I remembered the 900 to be... or maybe I had just gotten a little bit, um, wider. The deal was struck and I headed down the road. However, the speedo wasn't working - so I called the guy and he invited me back up to take a look. A few connecting bolts tightened at either end of the cable, and it looked like I was golden! (Spoiler alert: no.)
I checked in at the Quality Inn and unstrapped my gear off the back seat of the bike and tossed it inside. Apparently, when there's a college football game in Tennessee, hotels fill up. This was the last place I could find a room that didn't require me to sell a kidney. And now I can confidently say, if you ever need to go to Knoxville and are considering a stay at the Quality Inn on Campbell Lakes Drive, buy a tent and locate a quiet grove to camp in instead. The best thing I can say about this place is that I didn't find bedbugs, so they got that goin' for them.
Headed out to meet "JRCS323" and "Paleofiles," who aren't members here. These are two of the pre-eminent capped bust half dime collectors in the entire galaxy, and they happen to live in the same small town! I parked the bike in 323's garage and we took a more civilized mode of conveyance to get to Chesapeake's where I could gorge on tasty seafood. At dinner, I was able to inform Paleofiles that I'm gaining on his PCGS registry set. Check these links out:
Paleofiles set. Bikergeek set. I'm convinced that we aren't competing against each other; we're merely competing against ourselves, both of us trying to improve our sets when the chance arises.
After a nice meal and conversation with the guys and their lovely wives, Paleofiles and his missus went on home and I went to talk half dimes with JRCS323. I'd recently acquired an 1836 LM-6 half dime in NGC MS64. These are tough to find in nice Mint State. But a week or so earlier, when I'd told him about this coin, he reminded me that that's one that he'd been really looking for, to upgrade his NGC 61. So, after looking at some of his other recent acquisitions, including a SUPER nice, very scarce, 1831 LM-1.1 in MS64, we got down to brass tacks. His 1836 LM-6 was also in an NGC holder, and I've found that it can be hard to predict how an N coin will cross to my preferred plastic. But he is happy without needing to cross, and I wanted to help my friend, so we struck a deal for a trade. I'll still have to cross my new MS61 LM-6, but no hurry on that as I have a decent set piece in lower grade.
My friend drove me back to the Quality (lol) Inn. My bike spent the night in his garage. The next morning, JRCS323 and his missus picked me up and we had a lovely Cracker Barrel breakfast - and then I was off! He snapped this pic before I left his home.
Epilog: I made it 3.6 miles before the speedo cable broke once and for all. Not a show-stopper, just a small thing to fix later. But I only made it 100 miles that day, instead of the planned 500, due to a rough engine that could have been caused by a number of (mostly small) things. I decided not to try to debug those things on the road, and rented a pickup truck to get the bike home. I'm not mad at the seller (who thought, as many did, that it was crazy to ride a 50-year-old machine across four states). The issue will be resolved soon, and I was going to do some upgrades and tune-ups anyway so this isn't anything that I wouldn't have touched in the first place. All in all, a pleasant trip!