Scoot Commute

I’m all legal

Posted in Bike Buying, Suzuki DR-Z400SM (Elsa) by sbahn on 2010/02/22

I brought the new DR-Z home on Saturday, albeit it with paper temporary plates. Why couldn’t I just register it properly as I had the title, bill of sale and tax form? Oh, because Rhode Island has some weird thing called a VIN check that requires the new owner to take the vehicle to the local police department to have someone confirm that the VIN on the vehicle is the same as the VIN on the title.

Having spent over three hours at the DMV last week, I didn’t want to have to go back again this week (many offices have closed so the wait at the main office is excruciating). The clerk gave me a “don’t have to wait in line again” card last week so I would be able to simply walk in and receive assistance. I went to the VIN check office first thing this morning (at 7:05 in the morning!). The old entrance isn’t the entrance anymore and I was riding around all over the place trying to find the door. A friendly DPW guy pointed it out (hey PVD, some signs would help, beyond the “this is not the door” that greeted me at the old door).

VIN Check Guy
Ok, let’s talk. This guy was exactly what I was expecting. Well, he wasn’t chomping on a cigar, but everything else was perfect. He opens the huge bay door (the place is a gigantic, hangar-like DPW warehouse) and has me push the bike up to a Jersey barrier. I take a seat on the other side of the barrier while he looks something up on his computer. I comment that the floor is wet and he said he had just washed the floor down. I then noted how it was pretty cool having a Jersey barrier as his cubicle wall. He then tells me a story about how it used to be plastic, but an older gentleman smashed through it when he was having his car checked. Use the other reverse.

VIN check guy says there is a bike with a very similar VIN that is in the database as stolen. He wanted me to know that my bike is clean but that I should hang on to the print-out he gave me if there was an issue at the DMV. I said I bought the bike from a fireman so I doubted there was a problem.

I then rode into work. Man there’s a lot of traffic in the morning (it was about 7:30 in the morning). I had an enjoyable ride in and parked in the Vespa’s usual spot. At midday I went back out to the DMV in Pawtucket. Again, uneventful ride.

I knew the DMV was going to be bad because there was no where, literally, no where to park. I slipped the bike into a sorta half spot and walked into the old Apex building. Unsure of how to use my “don’t wait in line” pass, I found the security guard guy who is always there and asked him. He told me to wait near the counter and when one of the two open windows was free, just go up to get help. The next number was called (I can be slow on the uptake) and a woman walked up with number. Then another woman walked up, holding the same number. Just like Thursday when I was at the office, the numbers looped. One woman’s slip was time-stamped 8:30am. It was about 12:45pm. The other slip? 11:48am.

The clerk who waited on me was very friendly and surprisingly cheerful considering how miserable it’s gotten at the DMV. She wanted me to be careful and commented that it’s not my riding I have to look out for, but all the other people. At least one non-rider gets it. She also thought it was good that the bike is “small…a 400.” If only she knew how stupid this bike can make me.

Back to campus…almost took the wrong route as I was heading home! After work I rode over to RIC for a class. No proper parking so I parked in the slashed section where I usually park my scooter (not a handicapped slash area). No one molested the bike.

I left campus about 7:00pm for my first night ride. I felt very un-hi-viz. I’m going to need some 3M reflective stickers. I took Atwells from Mount Pleasant toward downtown as I wanted to ride on Dean Street. Much better than the scooter, but still pretty crappy.

I was on Elmwood near home and I heard sirens and saw lights  in my mirrors. My heart was in my mouth (the pipe is very loud), but as I moved over, the police van went flying past me. Woo, got passed that one. Turned onto my street and pulled up in front of the garage. I pushed Elsa into the garage between Erik’s Honda Dream and my Buddy.

What freaking fun bike to ride!


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