Am very excited as today is the day I pick up my new bike and start the great adventure. I have been in correspondence with Rick at Bayside Harley Davidson in Portsmouth Virginia for about 3 months and he couldn’t have been more helpful or accommodating. After much deliberation and anxiety on my part, I put a large holding deposit on a 2002 Fatboy with extremely low mileage at just over 5k. Ok so it is an old bike, however resale value in the UK for Fatboys is really good and therefore I expect to get a fair portion of the purchase costs back ,so that makes it a good buy to my mind.
Arrive at Bayside and I just can’t big them up enough… so friendly, (yes I’m not that naive, I know they want my money and it is all part of the sales process), much more than I am used to from dealers in the UK – that’s not a criticism, I suspect it is a cultural thing. Rick has also got a 2009 Heritage out for me to look at, which is a much better bike and what I was looking for in the first place, but obviously more expensive. The Fatboy is really not what I am looking for, it is not in, what I consider to be, good condition, there is quite a lot of cosmetic damage on the paintwork and the bike obviously has not been looked after. I tell Rick that I am suspicious of the alleged 5k mileage, which of course I understand they have taken the bike in part ex and assume the history is correct if they have not had any dealings with the bike previously, but what gives me pause for thought is the condition of the handlebar grips, they are very well worn and my view is you would have to really go some to have that amount of wear after just 5k…. disappointed or what!!
The Heritage however is the other end of the scale, she is in beautiful condition and exactly what I wanted. Tony, the sales manager, is offering me a great deal on the price and it is just within my budget, BUT… it is too heavy… I mean seriously, you think I would have checked that out at home wouldn’t you. I am gutted.. it would be just perfect but even without my luggage it is a struggle to get it up off the side stand.
OK Rick, what else have you got, because I ain’t leaving without a bike. I’m just going to have to cut my budget elsewhere because there is no trip without a bike that’s for sure.
Rick takes me outside and shows me to another Fatboy. This one is a 2006, so newer, with just under 10k on the clock and it is gorgeous… the paintwork is custom flames by Harley Davidson and it is limited edition so has the edition number on the side of the petrol tank, 16/100 – that means there are only a 100 bikes worldwide with this paint scheme.. WOW!! It is in fantastic condition and has had a few custom touches added, such as grips and long shot pipes, which are really loud so people will know I am there.
OK so we agree to test ride this one and Rick will talk to Tony about getting me a good deal on it. It is priced at quite a bit more that the other bike, but that is to be expected.
The bike rides great, even though it is a smaller engine than my Fatboy at home, it pulls well and the pipes are awesome. There is a little bit of concern when riding at slow speed in about 2nd or 3rd gear, the engine seems to struggle and is missing a compression. When we get back I query this and suggest it might need a re-tune so they will have a look at it after lunch.
Ok, am in love of course, but at what cost?? Tony, who is also very helpful and super friendly has really come up trumps. This bike; younger, cleaner, custom paint and great condition is only just over $1000 more than the much older, tatty one. Now, $1000 is a lot of money but I think I can probably recoup most of that on resale so…. she say YES!
I immediately try to contact my insurance company to make the final arrangements to cover the bike for the next 2 months in the US. For some reason my emails are just not working, but we can get on with the rest of the paperwork while I try and sort it out.
The additional money will just have to come off the Barclaycard, so thats all done and once I have the insurance cover and have signed all the paperwork she will be mine.
To cut a long and undoubtedly boring story short, it takes all day to get the insurance sorted… in the end I have to go out to lunch and find somewhere where the wifi will allow me to see my emails. At last I have the documents from the insurance company to sign and send back, so just need to wait for the, what we call in the UK, cover note and then I should be good to go.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tony has found something truly unique in the bikes paperwork. But the first thing is, its not a Fatboy, it actually started life as a Heritage and has been customised so much that it doesn’t look anything like. Tony has found a harley ‘birth certificate’, apparently for a very short time Harley issued new bikes with ‘birth’ certificates and this bike has one…. here it is.
I mean how fantastic is that!! I am amazed, this is really a great bike. They have sorted out the engine issue… yep it needed tuning and they have changed a couple of small things so now all is good. At last it’s done and dusted and I am able to ride away with just the DMV to visit tomorrow morning to register my title, (ownership), and then its off on Le Grande Voyage proper.
Of course a Pog tour would not be complete without a balls up… yep I’ve f*^%ed up again. I bought a lockable GPS mount in the UK to go on the bike and Bayside were going to fit it for me, but I have forgotten the keys, so it is locked and therefore cannot be fitted…. OMG seriously!!! Ok so I will have to get my partner to mail the keys to me and get it fitted later somewhere on the road… grrrrr. At least I have my phone so am not without a GPS and of course I can buy maps, but what a bloody pain in the arse.
Anyway, what’s the plan… well after the DMV I am going to ride up to the very historic area around Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. Rick has given me some great places to see, starting with Jamestown ferry, just hope there won’t be any more delays… watch this space.