Friday, August 03, 2012

Be My Path, Be My Guide (Day 6)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Chicago, IL
83,653 (312) (921)

As I was showing off pictures of my kids to Lana this morning, the BMW shop called at 11:08 to tell me my bike was ready. Lana made sandwiches and I packed my bags and loaded them into her van to take to the bike. We took our time.
When we arrived, everyone in service seemed to be on the phone or hiding somewhere, so it took a very long time to get someone’s attention, when I did get noticed it then took 30 more minutes to close out the ticket on my service because the guy who had to do it was still on the phone. Finally, they were ready to settle our account. They gave me an unbelievably high bill. All I needed to do was look cock-eyed, and the guy explained I was charged for the Hall’s Sensor, a gasket, and 5.5 hours labor. I assured them I could have done that job blindfolded with gloves on in half that time, and the guy who’d closed out the ticket said, “would two and a half seem fair?”

That was his mistake.

Now I truly felt that the billed hours were just arbitrary. So I told him I was in the shop for 30 minutes yesterday and that the diagnosis was made before I left and I’d signed that I’d approved that they order the part consistent with the diagnosis. I pointed out that they opened at 9:00am, and that he’d called me to say it was finished at 11:08. Even if the part was on the doorstep when he got to work and he called immediately upon torquing the last bolt, he could have no more than 2 hours, 38 minutes on the job. I figured the more true story was that the part arrived FedEx at 10:00am, he installed it in 30 minutes and laid a note on the counter for someone to call me, which happened after 38 minutes. The desk and telephone busyness that made me wait to pay was evidence of this theory. The guy agreed to check it again, and came back with a ticket less than half of the first one. I smiled, signed the paper and went into the parking lot and looked at the itemization. The labor hours had gone from 5.5 to 0.0. I kid you not. I paid for the part only. AND, I looked it up on the internet, and the price was exactly what I’d paid.
When I started to leave, the starter wouldn’t turn – as if the kickstand weren’t lifted. After some trouble-shooting, I got it to work, but rode it back around to service to be checked out again. When I got there, I realized that the kickstand was VERY loose and decided to tighten it. Turns out that for the first time, my bike has to be in neutral to start. This was not the case before yesterday. I’m wondering if the Hall’s Sensor controls the safety neutral switch, and that it’s been bad since I’ve had the bike.
Finally, when I picked up the bike, I looked at the odometer reading to note how far I rode today. When I broke down, the odometer read, 83311, and the address of Travis’ house to which I was towed is 3311.
It was a great day for a ride and I reached Chicago at sunset. I was still determined to ride along Lake Shore Drive, but I hadn’t the foggiest about how to get there. So I darted in from the south and rode through neighborhoods in South Chicago. That was pretty nerve wracking, but I have to say, not as bad as the Chicago Skyway two years ago.
I arrived at Abby’s apartment at the same time she did and we sat and talked before retiring. This morning, we visited some more before I packed the bike and continued north.