i love the RMV. the waiting not so much, but i love how the RMV is this great equalizing force, that people from all walks of life must go there every once in a while. the rich and the poor, men and women, young and old, black and white, ugly and beautiful, they're all there. where else can you go to see such a cross-section of society all represented in just one place? to say that the RMV makes for awesome people watching is an understatement.
when my number was finally called i presented all my forms to the lady clerk. she entered my data and told me the damage: $25 for the registration, $75 for the title transfer, and $181 in sales tax. "what do you got there?" she asked, pointing to the credit card in my hand with her pen. "mmm mmm honey, we only take check or cash, there's no credit card here." i think my brain shut down for a second. has this always been the case? i must've forgotten. she looked at the clock. "if you get back here with the money in 30 minutes before i go on my lunch break, i can process you." i could race home to get my check book but i wouldn't make it back in time. and i don't think i can take out that much from an ATM, even if i could find one nearby. so i left the mall and called my father. he showed up 20 minutes later with the cash. i returned to the same clerk and she processed my paperwork, saving me from having to wait another hour with a new number.
insurance policy updated. check. title transfer. check. registration updated. check. sales tax paid. check. the final thing i had to do was to get the motorcycle inspected. normally i go to riverside motorsports in union square, but they're primarily a kawasaki and yamaha dealership and don't carry any honda stuff, so i decided to go to greater boston motorsports in arlington instead. a little $15 inspection became an additional $160 repair work when they discovered dry cracks on the front wheel that needed to be replaced in order for me to pass.
so i ended up waiting another hour. i browsed their retail store and bought 3 quarts of honda GN4 10W40 motor oil ($5.89/qt compared to $4.89/qt of castrol gtx) specifically designed for 4-stroke motorcycles. i also picked up a can of chain lube ($9.95). i checked out some of their showroom bikes, and lovingly glanced a brand new honda rebel with zero miles. 10 minutes up the street was a dunkin' donuts, and that's where i had a blueberry muffin and a bottle of orange juice for lunch. by the time i went back to GBM they were done with the repair. i went to the mobile station next door and filled the tank with regular unleaded (i was already running on reserve at that point) before leaving.
i'd been riding the bike all day and it even sat for an hour under the sun in the mall parking lot, so it was pretty warmed up. i could finally operate it without turning on the choke. it was still backfiring but there seemed to be less of it once i put in some new fuel. the engine also conked out on me once or twice, but that was earlier in the day. hopefully after some more riding, the backfiring problem will clear itself up. i also realized with its white body and windshield, the honda shadow spirit looks a like like a police motorcycle.
i stopped off in belmont and ended up staying. nobody was home except the dog, who was sleeping in her living room armchair. after i let her outside, she came in and went back to sleep. my mother came home first, followed by my father. since i got the bike my father hadn't had a chance to ride it yet so he took it out for short spin around the blocks a few times. armed with the owner's manual, we examined the bike more closely, figuring out where everything was. we jacked up the bike and lubed the chains. cracking open the left side panel, we found the toolkit along with another copy of the owner's manual. actually, the real manual, for the shadow spirit 750 model VT750DC; the one i thought was the real manual was actually for the shadow deluxe/classic edition model VT750CD. they're pretty much identical, with only minor variations (such as the instrument panel and the tail pipes). there was also a copy of "you and your motorcycle: riding tips!!" published by the motorcycle safety foundation done in a comic book style. it's actually pretty informative, i'm learning a few more things i never knew before. i noticed it before, but never paid much attention to it until today, but there's a little silver bell attached to the bottom of the bike. apparently it's a bike bell, supposedly to ward off evil spirits. mine says "lady rider." i promptly removed it, bad luck repellent or not.
later i sat in the back as my father took the motorcycle out onto route 2 for a highway test ride. he seemed tentative, maybe because this was his first time riding on the highway with a motorcycle (i'd done it before with the honda rebel, not so fun with a smaller bike, but at least i knew what it felt like) - plus he was carrying me as a passenger. he was doing 50mph in a 55mph zone, and i really wanted him to gun it to 65mph. the fastest i saw him push it was 60mph. riding passenger felt pretty good, plenty of room in the back (especially with the backrest), and our helmets never collided, which isn't the case on the old honda rebel.
i think if i had gotten another 250cc motorcycle, i would still regret the decision because i would continue to wonder what it's like to ride a more powerful bike. now that i've had that experience, i have a better sense of what i like and dislike. each class has its pros and cons. 250cc are more maneuverable and easier to park, but they're not good for highways. 750cc are great highway bikes, but can be unwieldy in the city because of their larger size. the way i see it, the honda spirit is a rental. i'll enjoy it for the rest of the season, see how i feel about it come next spring, and then i can either decide to keep it or sell it.