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4.21.2015

Tales from the Battle Wagon - how a slightly broken BMW repaired a part of my heart.

I may call myself the Two-Wheeled Tourist, but I wouldn't be where I am now without a little help from my four-wheeled companion, a 1999 BMW 528i (E39) wagon in Oxford Green Metallic.

I acquired this vehicle in May 2011 as a replacement to my beloved 2003 Subaru Outback that found its demise in a collision in the middle of Columbus, Ohio after an impromptu makeout session with a 1993 Honda Civic hatchback at the hands of a roommate. Luckily, I wasn't the one driving the car when this happened; however, the things that did happen to me not much long after the acquisition of this BMW were a clear sign that my time inhabiting the Midwest was coming to an end.

Here's the wagon the day I bought it. I set it free, and it would return the favor several years later.
I was the third owner of this wagon, inheriting it at 102,000 miles on the odometer. It was far from perfect; several hundred dollars from the remainder of my insurance claim check were invested to replace broken pieces, the radiator, and other minor details (thank you eBay and Bavarian Autosport). At first, I didn't like this car very much, but the reasons were more emotional than logical. I missed my Subaru and was quite bitter about the way that car met its end - like in many aspects of my life in Ohio, out of my control and without a satisfying solution or conclusion. This "replacement" of a wagon took a little getting used to because of its larger frame and heavier handling than the nimbler Outback that took me through college and my first foray into a teaching career. The new (to me) car had a large set of tires to fill; replacing what was my escape vehicle before I became a full-fledged motorcyclist was going to be a tough undertaking.

3.27.2015

Long-Term Product Review: Sena SMH10 Bluetooth Headset

Disclaimer: This is an unpaid, independent review on gear that I use on a daily basis. However, if you'd like me to real-world test other pieces of motorcycle apparel or equipment and write about it, e-mail me a private message!

When it comes to answering phone calls while on the motorcycle, riders have various preferences. Some want to be left alone to enjoy the ride, while others feel the phone buzzing in their jacket pocket or on the phone's screen as it's mounted on their bikes, finding themselves wishing they could hit "answer" and take the call without pulling over to the side of the road. For those riders whose phone is vital to work or for those who need to be connected to the world while on two wheels, the in-the-helmet Bluetooth headset is the practical answer to those needs.

For many years, I've taken the corded route when it came to receiving audio into my helmet, whether it be GPS turn-by-turn instructions or music for the commute and the long-distance trip. After a while, being tethered by a wire to my bike and having to remember to disconnect myself every time I'd walk away from my ride became a bit cumbersome, especially with the frequent mounting and dismounting that comes with motorcycle courier deliveries.

With the unique position of using my motorcycle for actual paid work, I've learned that having access to my phone without having to remove my full-face helmet* or stopping saves me time and energy. As a result, my on-the-bike nights become a lot more efficient and profitable.  *I do not wear a modular "flip-face" helmet out of personal preference.

So I went shopping for an easy-to-use, glove-friendly in-the-helmet Bluetooth unit, and weighing in my personal preferences and needs as a rider, I chose the Sena SMH10 Motorcycle Bluetooth® Headset & Intercom. This is my feedback after two months of daily use while on the job and on recreational rides.



3.16.2015

Quick Bites: GEN Korean BBQ House (Torrance, CA)

Torrance's GEN Korean BBQ House serves up an all-you-can-eat delight at a very reasonable price and will definitely have you coming back for seconds.

Now, all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ is just one of those things that has to be experienced. You're sitting there at a table in front of a giant grill with all this food ready to be cooked. As you're munching on a few side dishes, everything cooks in front of you. This is a great group activity and I suggest doing this with friends who have huge appetites. I'll let the photos do the talking.

Ready to fire up the grill!

3.09.2015

PVC Pipes and Gerbils Straight Outta Hawthorne: A Cautionary Tale (NSFW)

This is a first on Two-Wheeled Tourist...a post that I will warn you in advance may not be suitable for prying eyes at work. Considering that I'm now on the sixth year of this blog, I've pretty much thrown caution to the wind to a certain extent when it comes to what I decide to write about on here. I will have to admit though, this made my pre-hockey game dinner on a breezy Friday night in El Segundo quite hilarious as the final part of this story this went down while I was in between bites of grilled catfish, rice, and zucchini at California Fish Grill and reading through Fifty Shades Freed.

So allow me to place some context on this story. I returned to online dating several months ago and so far, I've had my share of small successes and busts. I've met some interesting people and quite a few jerks. I had been out of the dating game long enough that I forget that many use the anonymity of what I call the "online curtain" as an opportunity to simply be disgusting as it's very easy to appear and disappear with no consequence.

Many of those types of messages I usually receive I'll avoid, block, and forget. However, after receiving several messages from this user from the pits of Hawthorne, CA who had several inappropriate, probing questions about my derriere - the pun was intentional. I figured it was a good day to throw the verbal ax at him and humor myself at the same time. (I will be nice and not reveal his identity...unless you ask me directly.)