Des Moines, IA: Struthers Brothers
Well, it's not exactly new. But with 2,700+ miles on it, and nary on scratch on her, she's new for all intents and purposes.
Struthers Bros. is a motorcycle dealer in Des Moines, IA specializing in Kawasaki, Suzuki and Triumph motorcyles. However, they happen to have an extensive inventory of used bikes from a wider selection of brands, including several V-Stars of varying sizes.
We were actually there to put a new chain on Katie Scarlet. But while perusing the inventory of new and used bikes, Sash spotted a beauty.
It was a red 2009 V-Star 650 sitting on the front lawn of the dealership. She had a windshield, saddlebags, sissybar, and tail rack already on her, meaning she was ready for a ride across the country. After talking about prices and terms, Sash signed a deal for 3.2% interest, and turned in the keys for Katie Scarlet.
Throughout the 11,000+ miles she rode the 2006 Ninja 500R on Road Pickle, and even in the months she practiced riding her in San Diego, her love for Katie Scarlet grew. This was her bike, this was her first bike, yet still had the mental toughness to make good on her opportunities.
"You're going to take good care of Katie aren't you?" Sash asked Joe, the sales manager. "Absolutely!" he remarked with encouragement.
I saw several vintage Kawasaki bikes sitting in the showroom for display purposes, including an old GPZ750 Turbo. I even spotted an old KZ900, which reminded me of my first bike, a 1979 KZ400, and how much I wished I still had it.
But this is Road Pickle. We don't accumulate stuff. Road Pickle is about stripping away the facade, letting the world see us as we are, and feeling good about it. To hold on to multiple things, excessive things, gets to the point of needing things and wanting things. And for many decades, in our previous lives, Sash and I did just that, and somewhere along the way we lost touch with our souls.
"I don't know", I said. "They might just add her to their collection of vintage Kawis. After all, she's the famed Katie Scarlet of Road Pickle."
Sash didn't have the original title for Katie with her, because after all, she never planned to trade in her motorcycle midway through the trip. But through some generous negotiation with Struthers Bros, Joe the sales manager made it happen.
|Struthers Bros, Des Moines, IA|
I actually advised she get the Ninja 500 because it's still about 110 pounds lighter than the V-Star 650, making it easier to manage, and a shorter wheelbase of about 8 inches, making it easier to steer. However, the Ninja 500 still has a taller seat height, by about 2 inches. Still, Sash was able to get a decent amount of footing with her thick-soled boots.
And Katie Scarlet was a great learner bike for Sash. Being chain-driven, she got to learn first hand how chain maintenance is so tedious and frequent, and can now truly appreciate the shaft drive on the V-Star 650. She also got to experience first hand the difference of seating position from sport bikes to cruisers, riding a parallel twin versus a v-twin, water-cooled versus air-cooled, 6-speed versus 5-speed, et al.
But the experience of buying a motorcycle out of state was made all the more easy and hassle free by the folks at Struthers Bros. They managed to look up all the rules and regulations of bringing the new bike into California and getting it registered there, and advised Sash on what needed to be done.
The idea that Sash could ride into a dealership with one bike, and ride out with another, in the middle of a road trip, is kinda liberating, perhaps even dangerous for a couple of motorcycle enthusiasts. It's almost like getting married, then going on a honeymoon, getting divorced, getting remarried, and arriving back home, all in a couple of weeks.
"So when do you think you'll be ready for a new bike?" Joe asked me.
"I still love my Honda ST!", I told him. I wasn't ready to trade in Blackbird just yet.
"Katie really needed a break", Sash said of her Ninja 500, while calling her insurance agent. After taking her 11,000+ miles in four months, across the country through wind, rain, hail, dirt roads and bumps of all kinds, people continue to be impressed that Sash could tour the USA on a little sport bike.
"She's really reliable, and she'll make someone else happy."
Get yourself down to Struthers Bros. in Des Moines, IA right now, ask for Joe or Tom, and tell them you want the Road Pickle bike. Sash would love nothing more than to have a Road Pickle reader take her home.
5191 NW 2nd Ave
Des Moines, IA, 50313
|Sash with Tom (left) and Joe (right)|
|Sash bids a quiet goodbye to her friend Katie Scarlet who took her coast-to-coast and halfway back.|
|After completing the deal, Sash loads up her new bike, heading to Minnesota|
|Sash riding her new V-Star 650 north along I-35, northern Iowa|
|Welcome to Minnesota!|