DMV, pirouettes, and the last few days…

October 31, 2014

The days started with the joy of having the SV start like a champ. New battery, fresh gas, turned the key and roar it did. I was so happy. I rode it up and down the street, all systems running fine. the next step was the plates.

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I had the “pleasure” to experience the California DMV. I had been told that I could easily get a plate and insurance here, which would have allowed me to ride around. I had ideas of going to Joshua Tree, to Felton, to the coast… it took three visits to realize that it wasn’t really a good option. Each visit had it’s “Huh?” moment and each visit left me dealing with people that couldn’t or wouldn’t explain to me what the whole process was.

First visit. Get inline, realize that I should have made an online appointment. Get to the desk, I am handed a form and told to go fill it and come back. I fill it. Line up again wondering if I should go directly to the desk or line up. A guy cuts the whole line, barges in at the counter, another does it… but good mannered Canadian that I am I line up again… I get to the counter. Here’s your number sit and we’ll call the number. I sit. For a long time. I feel my stomach tighten. For some reason I am stressed by this setting. I wonder if I am doing the right thing. My number is called after close to an hour.

“Where is the bike?”

“I’m supposed to have the bike?”

“You’ll have to come back with the bike, take an appointment and bring it for the inspection.”

“what kind of inspection? What is the process I must go through.”

“Just bring it.” I try to tell her that I have not a clue as to what we are doing and would like more information, she gives me a phone number to make an appointment and said it’s the VIN number inspection.

“All right, thanks.”

Second visit. This time I have an appointment. Steve gracefully helped me by loading the bike on a trailer and driving it to the DMV. He waits outside as I go in. I get to the counter fast with my little form filled from yesterday.

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“Here’s your number, have a seat we’ll call you.”

“All right thanks.”

I sit about 10 minutes this time. They call my number, I hand in the form. They ask me to unload the bike from the trailer and bring it to the inspection spot.

“All right, thanks.”

I go outside, tell Steve who was sitting in the truck. He comes out to unload the bike. He gets on the trailer, which is about a foot and a half from the ground. Undoes the ties. Then tells me:

“I swing the bike back and forth a bit to get it off the stand…” then, within an instant, the bike is suddenly lurching towards me on the ground, Steve desperately trying to straighten it. I am watching this thinking ‘my baby is not going to get hurt and I rush to hold it up, stop it from crashing on the trailer and possibly on the road. I get my left hand in there and I feel a crush, I push back as hard as I can… then impossibly… Steve is catapulted over the bike, which I am still holding the 500 and some pounds of, I see him pirouette in the air, I am horrified that he will smash his head on the pavement, I keep looking at his head… he hits the ground and… bounces… lightly, like a soft ball… his head safe from harm… and he springs to his feet. My attention turns back to the crushing pain I feel in my arm and the bike resting on it and on my body. A guy that witnessed the whole scene runs to us.

“You need a hand??”

Steve is now on the trailer with the guy and they pull the bike back up and roll it off the trailer, unburdening my body. The pain is incredibly intense, there is a small spot of skin that is lightly scuffed, but my hand is completely numb and I have pain from the wrist to the shoulder. But strangely I just breathe. “I need ice” I think to myself. There is a Denny’s restaurant right across the street. I head in there.

“Do you have ice? I just hurt myself.” I must be white as a sheet and I shake a bit holding my left arm with the right.

“Would you like it in a bag?” She asks.

“That would be great.” She hands me the ice.

“Do I owe you something?”

“No, that’s fine.”

“thank you so much.” and I head back to Steve and the bike.

After a while the inspector comes. She looks at all the numbers on the bike. We wonder why we had to take the bike off the trailer… but that is protocol I guess… I go back in the office, go back to the employee that had seen me. And then she nails me:

“That will be $746.”

“Uh?”

“For what? The inspection?” I realize I know NOTHING of this system and that I could be already over my head and sinking deeply in the dark waters of motor vehicle rules and bureaucracy.

“Well you have these penalties… you had the bike parked for all this time.” In California they have fees if you park a vehicle and do not renew the license. I tried to explain that this is a Canadian bike that was duly insured and plated in Canada so why should I pay California taxes? She just brushed me off.

“Your next step is to go for the CHP VIN inspection they can wave fees there…”

“I don’t have to pay this now?”

“No, when you come back with your CHP inspection you pay the fees.”

I walk back to the bike and Steve. We load it back up on the trailer and head home discussing this. I call a friend, get a few more information but all and all I feel this is not aligned. I felt the “mis-alignment” the minute I entered the DMV and this is proving to get more and more out of correct alignment. I get home and I cannot close a Ziploc bag with my left hand, it’s not good but I trust that it will be minor, I kept icing, then hot bath, then electro magnetic field machine. Then I ask Steve:

“Aren’t you hurt? Anywhere?”

“Nope. I’m good.”

I kept running the incident in my mind all night long. This was impossible… this was a massive disaster that morphed into a comedy scene in a film… and the other thing is that when it happened, we were laughing at the stupidity that can be found on some Youtube videos, guys trying to ride Harleys up a ramp in a truck only to realize there is nowhere to put their feet as they get to the top and then they crash to the ground pitifully… I mean, I saw Steve do a pirouette… over the bike, trailer, curb… landing softly, bouncing softly and going back to the bike as if nothing happened… and I… was holding 500 lbs of machine for… I don’t know how long!? a minute? I still don’t understand it..

We’ll do the CHP tomorrow and see, is the agreement. To soothe the stress of the day, we drove up 90th street in the middle of nowhere and had a most excellent meal of Mexican food.

Third appointment. Up early, my alarm does not ring and it is the sound of Steve getting the bike on the trailer again that wake me up. Urh… go go go … we head out. Meet with the CHP officer who is very courteous. I ask him about the fees.

“Oh they tell you that to get rid of you. We cannot wave any fees.

“All right, thank you so much…” we head to the DMV. I go in. No appointment. Get a number wait 45 minutes bored out of my skull. Finally it’s my turn. I explain to the desk person the situation, I was in Turkey for the last 17 months, the bike was parked.

“You have the customs forms?”

“Ugh?”

What is she talking about now??? I rode in as a tourist, you don’t get custom forms for a vehicle you own and drive when you cross a border. We discuss for a while.

“I’ll get the manager.”

The manager comes, she mumbles under her breath, does not make eye contact, looks super annoyed and I have to pull every answer out of her like trying to pull a worm out of an apple.

“I can wave these…” The total is over $500 dollars.

“We’ll have to send the documents to Sacramento and we still have to wait for the answers…” To me this sounds a bit of a nightmare. I’ve already spent 3 days and everyone’s time and efforts on this. And the feeling is not good. 500 bucks to ride two weeks is too much. I grabbed my papers and left.

The Gods spoke. I am not to ride Arkadaş this time. I have to figure out how I’ll get it to Seraphim’s where I was going to store it for at least the next 6 months. The plan was to make a beautiful ride up there hang out a few days and park it, then come back. I made a last ditch effort, to see that I really tried everything and called a number of insurance brokers in Ontario asking for a short duration policy but as usual the answer is a stiff “We can’t do that.” In an instinctive way, I think this is OK. I really wished to ride but all along something was not going to let me do this licensing process here. The bike is, like me, to remain Canadian.

***

IO, Remember IO, my Suzuki GS 750 ES that changed my life and took me all over the continent. Well, he too was parked at Steve and Sunny’s and I had to figure out what to do with it. I put an ad on Craigslist, a couple of days ago. A first buyer who wanted to turn it into an electric bike, came today to see it but suddenly he was not sure anymore when I told him about my DMV adventures and the fact that it may cost quite a few dollars to license since it is a Canadian vehicle…

“I need to think about it…” he pondered and he left.

A second guy had been emailing me for the last few days telling me he really wanted the bike… we finally managed to talk tonight.

“I really want it! I’ll give you a deposit on Paypal… I have one of these bikes that I’ve renovated and won awards …” I tell him about the Canadian papers, the DMV…

“I don’t care about that stuff. Not a problem for me. I work in a motorcycle salvage place, I fix these things… I want to take this bike and rebuild it. I have an engine with 15 000 miles on it waiting.”

That made me smile… this bike will not die yet… so cool. So I said OK. I’ll take the ad off of Craigslist. He will pick it up sometime next week. IO will get a rebirth.

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***

What else? Well, every object that was packed in those boxes is slowly finding a new home. Be it the trash or a new owner. I came to get this big job done and it’s getting done. Tomorrow and over the week end, I’ll have a bit of a break and I’ll go see friends. I saw Forrest yesterday and it was an intense meeting. They are all intense meetings. Friends… I am blessed.

I find myself looking at this continent with new eyes. There is a naivete in the way people live do politics on this continent… In Canada on the heels of the shooting on parliament hill, there is a big debate about what is terrorism. Many people are not seeing that they are taking the exact same stance that Bush’s America, America took… and the consequences of that stance still ring an ugly sound. Reading comments online and seeing many defining terrorism as “what terrorizes people”. If this is the case we can say that: any driver scaring someone by going too fast, any person getting angry, the tax department, school teachers are all in fact terrorists, since they terrorize someone…

A man with a gun is not a terrorist. He’s a criminal, but not a terrorist. Using the word terrorist allows our politicians to bring us to war where we have no business being. It also allows our politicians to diminish our rights and liberties. To abuse of their power over the citizens of this country. But we’ve be so conditioned by the fear mongering media that the majority is willing to lose their rights for the illusion of safety. Ah there is so much I could say…. I shake my head. Canada is sliding down a dangerous slope and its baby faced, comfortable, gullible citizenry has not the faintest idea about what it means to try to live under an abusive government, their rights abused and stomped. The majority still blindly believe that the powers in place are there to help them. I’ve been witnessing abusive government in Turkey for 1 and a half year. It’s not good. It destroys lives and dreams and just simple joy. And contrary to what I hear too often, it doesn’t just happen “over there” and is not only committed by “these people” it is being done by this very proper looking, all fatherly, prime minister. This is for real…

***

On the other side of this, there are friends. What I am experiencing here is the incredible goodness, generosity, endless heart of my friends over here. I am overwhelmed and I am not sure how I can really express my gratitude for all their support. I came here with nothing but this mission to accomplish, with no financial means at all, and very little else than my intention to solve all this the best I can. Thank you to all of you.. you know who you are… thank you so much.

I will be visiting some friends over in the Valley in the next few days, thanks to Sunny’s little blue Yamaha I will be able to move around nimbly and cheaply. I am looking forward to that

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One Response to “DMV, pirouettes, and the last few days…”

  1. Joe Says:

    Danielle I will leave $ this afternoon Thanx again , Joe


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