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In my last post I vowed specifically not to purchase a vehicle with the proceeds of my tax return. In this post I will detail how circumstances can conveniently make the less responsible thing to do become the more responsible thing to do!

My husband has been doing the job search thing after being laid off from Cisco a few months ago. I am pleased to announce he accepted an offer at The Gap’s corporate office last week; he starts on Monday. The problem with this? We live in San Jose, San Francisco is at least an hour’s drive in traffic. There’s a train that’s nice and fast, but the closest place to get on it is 6 miles away. He and I share my RAV4 as our only car. I think you can see where this is going.

California is a beautiful state with a spectacular climate that includes almost no weather at all. Here we are, in the middle of February, and the average high temperature over the past two weeks has been 65ºF. It’s the perfect place to ride a Motorcycle year ’round. In my previous post, you may have noticed the “Smashed, being fixed” subtext on the my 1990 Concours. Well, there’s a story behind that.

Last year, crashed it. The causes were fairly simple; I forgot to put the kickstand up before leaving, and the motorcycle’s killswitch failed to engage. I bounced off the kickstand until it pushed me into a curb. I broke off the left side foot peg, smashed the main fairing, tooke a chunk out of the windsheild, and destroyed the left mirror’s support structure. It’s been sitting in our garage ever since, waiting for me to decide what I wanted to do with it.

Over the weekend, I took it apart and found the main fairing was really wrecked! I was upset; that fairing cost $750 to replace with a new one. The main issues were broken and missing tabs that hold the side fairings on; which is pretty important. The engine was in good shape though, so I ordered a foot peg and put it on the bike, removing all the broken bits to see what I had.

All in all, the damage was almost entirely purely cosmetic; except for that mirror. The knuckle was broken, and a replacement was another $100. I didn’t want to spend more than absolutely necessary on this bike, as I was planning to replace it as soon as I found cycle worthy of the cause in my price range. So… I fixed it as best I could with what I had!

I dremmelled what was left of the knuckle joint on the mirror off, drilled a hole through the aluminum on the mirror, and dremmeled the metal away from it enough to get a bolt through, then dremelled a piece of steel, drilled holes in it, and bolted the two together! Once firmly attached, I angled the mirror by clamping a C-clamp to one side and gently bending it until it was aimed just right.

It looks hilarious. One of my roomies told me to put some spikes in my jacket and go to work as “Mad Maxine” or something. I think… I’ll definitely be buying a new motorcycle in the near future. ;)

2 Comments Written by at 10:53 am

Every year around this time, those of us fortunate enough to have steady stable employment submit our 1040s to the IRS to collect a refund for taxes we’ve paid more than our share of. This year, mine was rather a bit larger than usual thanks to the Making Work Pay tax credit. I was reflecting on the subject of what I had spent previous years’ tax returns on and came to an amusing discovery: Almost every tax return I’ve received since I moved to California in 2006 has been applied to a vehicle purchase. Let’s review.

2007: White 1987 Toyota Supra Targa Turbo (Sold in 2009)

2008: White 2007 Toyota RAV4 Sport V6 4WD

2009: Red 1990 Kawasaki Concours (presently smashed and being repaired)

Now it’s 2011, and I’m about to receive the biggest tax return I’ve ever received. Do I have my eyes on a new(er) toy? Of course I do! …but there’s also a whole laundry list of things that I’ve been putting off in wait for funding. Things like proper riding gear, new tires for the RAV4 and a credit card that isn’t going to pay itself off.

So this year, I’ll be good. Despite the pressing urge to do otherwise. I think.

2 Comments Written by in Life at 8:49 am