Time Spent Doing…

Pretty much nothing related to the bike.

I’ve been waiting for my tax return to come in, so I’ve left the BMW bits just sitting around my house collecting dust (and dog hair) since my last post. My return still has not arrived, but I’ve decided to stop waiting and start being proactive about things instead.

Over this past weekend I gathered up all of the bit going to get powder coated and cleaned and loaded them all into the back of my car. This morning I drove everything down to the coater’s to get an estimate.

I’ve never had anything painted before, so I was expecting to spend at least a grand, but I was budgeting for closer to two thousand bucks on the powder coating process. I still have to find a painter for the tank and fenders, which I’m estimating to be around $500, hopefully shooting high.

The powder coating, on the other hand, will cost me $500 plus tax. A huge drop from what I was expecting. My tax return looks like its going to be about three grand, which means I’ll have plenty of money left over from the coating to buy replacement parts.

Tomorrow I’ll be calling Alan and seeing if I can sit down with him this week to figure out what I need to order first so I can put those parts on order while the frame gets cleaned and coated. Given that my goal is to have the bike ready for riding by July, I want there to be as few hangups waiting for parts to come in as possible.

To that end, I’ve started a range of spreadsheets (with help from Autumn, who is a master at spreadsheets) listing what I need to fix, what I need to buy, what I need to decide and what I need to do. The lists aren’t just for the bike rebuild. I made some for equipment needed on the trip—from riding gear to camping supplies to a roadside repair kit—some for stops on the trip—national parks, monuments, capitals, etc—and for miscellaneous information and costs, such as getting a passport, shops and places to avoid, things like that.

The spreadsheet for parts I need order is in the process of being set up to correspond to the list of work which needs to be done (divided into sections based on reassembly, the order of which can be adjusted). So as I see what is next in the rebuild process (engine tuning, rewiring, etc) I can look at the corresponding parts required, the relevant microfiche pages (which will tell me all of the nuts and bolts I need). I can then gather all the parts I have and order what’s needed while work is still being done on the previous step.

The biggest issue with this plan that I currently see is, of course, money. Parts are going to get expensive and I imagine they’ll quickly exceed my tax return. I may be able to get ahead in the ordering process with the return, but I certainly won’t be able to order everything I need with it. Saving money from my paychecks is critical at this time. I’m notorious for being bad at saving, though. This is another use for the lists. If I see the ordering of parts in smaller pieces (I need to order $300 worth of stuff for complete the next piece of the project, for example) it becomes less of as task of saving up gobs of money and more of a task of spending money on the bike before I spend it on something less significant. I’m pretty good at prioritizing spending (bills first, groceries, then blow through the rest of it), so I’m fairly confident this plan will work.

There’s other news in my life, as well. A couple weeks ago I took my car into the shop to have an overheating issue looked into. After a couple days with my car the mechanic diagnosed a blown head gasket, estimating the repair to be about $1500. After talking with Autumn about it over a weekend, I decided that being without a car was the best option for the time being. While my car still technically runs, and can drive a couple miles without overheating, this isn’t really sustainable. Rather than spending the money on fixing my car, or on looking for a replacement car, I’ll put the money into the bike and into weather gear so I’ll be safe and dry rain or shine.

Since being without a car means walking to work almost every day, I bought some hiking boots and have given them test rides on Joel’s bike a couple times, as I’d really like to have a boot that works well for hiking and for riding when on the trip. The boots are the same model as a pair I had a few years ago and are lightweight, comfortable and waterproof.

While I may get another car at some point, I’m looking at this as an occasion to invest in more weather gear, to start getting myself into better physical shape and to refocus on getting the BMW running as soon as I can.

To all of those ends, I’ve also set down the video game controller for the month of March. Call it giving them up for Lent, if you like, or just call it going on hiatus, the point of it is to focus on spending my waking hours working more towards my main goal of going on this trip, rather than accomplishing some small feats in whatever game has entranced me at the moment.

I’ll be back on Friday with an update on my tax return, the spreadsheets and my conversation with Alan.

Have a good week.

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