This is the first of my non-TMNT-related blog posts. Well... actually, in a way, it IS kind of related to the TMNT, I guess. Let me explain...
A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to one of my motorcycles, a 2007 Moto Guzzi Norge. This is a new model for Moto Guzzi, a sleek "sport touring" style bike. I fell in love with the styling of the bike when I saw it in pre-release photographs in the motorcycle magazines a few years ago. I ordered it through our local BMW/Moto-Guzzi dealer, AJ's Cycles, and picked it up early in 2007. REALLY early -- I took delivery in January! And Januarys in Massachusetts are generally pretty darn cold... in fact, it was around 24 degrees when I rode the bike home from the dealer, about a twenty mile trip. Thankfully, one of the nice features of the Norge is the set of heated handgrips that are standard equipment on that model. Without them, I don't think I could have made it.
The Norge is a great bike -- sleek, powerful, nice luggage capacity -- but it let me down in a big way last year on one ride. I was off on one of my favorite day rides, heading up the Mohawk Trail to North Adams, a route beloved of motorcyclists for its wonderful curves and scenic beauty. Heading uphill through a series of undulating S-turns, the Norge suddenly... died. Just quit, dead... all electrical power gone. Fortunately, there was no traffic behind me at the time, and I was able to roll safely to a stop by the side of the road. As the section of road I was on did not have a wide shoulder, it would not have been very safe for me to remain there, so I cautiously rolled the bike to the other side of the road, and coasted back down the hill about a mile to where I knew there was a rest stop where I could safely examine the bike and try to figure out what happened.
It didn't take too long -- one look at the fuses under the seat told me what had happened (though not WHY). The master fuse for the bike's electrical system had blown. As luck would have it, the was a back-up fuse in the box, and I plugged that in. The Norge started right up, and I nervously rode it back home, expecting at any moment to have another mysterious power failure.
I didn't, and some weeks later, after having returned the Norge to the dealer for diagnosis and repair, I got the word -- this was not the first Norge to suffer this fate. Apparently, there was some wiring directly behind the headlight which ran too close to the headlight bulb, and the heat generated by that bulb could, over time, melt the insulation on these wires, potentially causing a sort-circuit. The dealer fixed this, adding a lot more insulation to the wires and routing them away from the headlight. So all was well.
But I guess that incident kind of put me off the Norge, and it started to gather dust in my garage. A couple of months ago, I realized that I probably was not going to ride the Norge too much, and began thinking that I should probably get rid of it. And then the light bulb went on in my head... and I got a plan.
You see, Jim Lawson -- penciller of many Mirage books (including TMNT Volume 4 and several "Tales of the TMNT" issues), and PLANET RACERS, as well as his own PALEO -- is a HUGE Moto Guzzi fan. And it dawned on me that Jim had been without a Moto Guzzi in his stable of motorcycles for over a year. So, within a few days, we had struck a deal -- Jim got the Norge, and I got a bunch of Jim's artwork.
(Here's Jim at Mirage with his new ride.)
So I don't feel bad about not having the Norge anymore, as it has gone to a very good home. Jim loves it, and has already started his inveterate customizing thing with it (he just CAN'T leave his bikes stock!). And I have a lot more pages of awesome Lawson art for my collection! A win/win situation, all around. -- PL