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Tue Oct 28 2014: Houseguests, Like Fish...

My clutch is fried like chicken in Kentucky.

I'm not that surprised. I've got close to 185,000 kms on the odo, which isn't bad life for a dry clutch. That's like 250,000 kms in wet clutch years!

I limped back to Lugano, taking care not to give too much throttle at low revs. I've heard clutches achieve total failure very quickly once they start to slip and I worried about making it back without a tow.

Back at home base, we surveyed our options. There was a BMW dealership nearby in Ticino, but Stefano told us it cost a lot to get their bikes serviced there. I could not have picked a more expensive place to break down! :( Stefano was in the middle of researching shops across the border in Italy to take their bikes to, and he told us that the one in Varese got good mention, so the next day, we dropped my bike off there to see what they could do.

On the ride over, the clutch started slipping at the bottom of third gear. I don't think I could have gone another 100 kms more before total failure.


My GS was a minor celebrity at the BMW dealership. It was the highest mileage bike they'd ever worked on! :D

Switzerland has four official languages, and Ticino is the predominantly Italian canton. I was so glad to have Stefano there with me at the dealership in Italy, conversing in Italian to describe my problem. They told us that it would take a few days to order the parts from Germany and another day or two to install the clutch. I also had a laundry list of other issues (10K service, broken hand warmer, leaking shaft drive) so I added those to the wishlist as well.

This meant that we were about to turn from invited houseguests into unexpected roommates...


Two-up ride to get some ice cream

Bettina's kids arrived a few days later and found their house bustling with new visitors!


What tastes better than ice cream? Someone else's ice cream!!!

I memorized the back of Stefano's helmet

We got Neda's bike serviced as well in Varese, which meant two extra trips for Stefano as he carried me back to Lugano on the back of his bike. Varese is only 30kms away from Lugano, but three trips in three days meant that I was doing a lot of staring at the back of Stefano's helmet. I'm not often a passenger, so I thought up of an invention: a periscope you could fit over the passengers visor so they could look *over* the rider's helmet as opposed to having to peer over their shoulder!

What do you think? I'm working on the Kickstarter site right now...


Look, autumn is here!

While Bettina is at work, we fill our days walking around the area, doing small hikes and picking up groceries. The weather has cooled rapidly in the time we've been here and we're surprised to see that the leaves are falling from the trees. We've not had to face an impending winter for a couple of years now so we need to formulate some kind of escape plan.


It's only been a few days and I'm already suffering from motorcycle withdrawal

Cats looooove motorcycle seats. Stefano loooooves Foo Fighters

Celebrating a Swiss holiday

One evening we took the kids outside to light some fireworks in celebration of a Swiss holiday. That night, I tried to look up on the Internet which holiday it was, but couldn't find any mention of anything this time of year. Stefano said tomorrow was another holiday and that we would be setting exotic cars on fire to celebrate. Ok!


With the kids egging us on, we all showed our hidden talents

Sneaky kids!

For someone who doesn't like birthdays, I was getting a lot of parties this year...

We're really enjoying our time here with Bettina and Stefano and the kids, but we're anxious not to overstay our welcome. The latest news from the dealership is that the fix is going to be delayed a few more days. We had originally planned to head back to Croatia because there were some matters Neda had to attend to with her mom's passing. Because it looked like my bike would not be ready for a while, Neda decided to go back to Pula by herself, while I stayed here in Switzerland.


Bettina's bike waiting for her to get back from work

I really liked hanging out with Bettina and Stefano. A few nights we played a game that I think we invented called Pass-The-Spotify. Spotify is a jukebox app on the smartphone where you can call up any song ever recorded.

You can tell a lot about a person from their song selections. Bettina played all the music I used to listen to while growing up, so I could tell that she and I were the same age: 29.

From Stefano's song selections, I could tell he reaaaaally liked the Foo Fighters.


You want a pizza me? I'll slice you!

Ticino is such a nice place to live in! I've been here over a week now, starting to get really comfortable. I'm thinking about calling the dealership to tell them to take their time with the repairs. Too bad I don't speak Italian...

It's almost *too* perfect here! I asked Bettina and Stefano if there was anything bad about their perfect little country? Bettina replied, "Well the politicians here are terrible.." What? They're terrible everywhere!


Even the trains are happy here...

They say that houseguests, like fish, start to smell after three days. So I made sure to take many long, hot showers every day. I even used Bettina's special bath soaps so I could smell extra-pretty. They looked kind of expensive.

"Hey Bettina, how do you make a Swiss Roll?"
"Well first you..."
"Wrong! You push him down a mountain! Har Har!"
"...!"


How do you make a Swiss Cross?
Ask them how you make a Swiss Roll...

Stefano has been calling the dealership three times a day for the last week demanding when my bike will be ready to pick up. That's so nice of him!

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