Friday, May 11, 2007

To Moto, or not to Moto?

My bank account sure is lucky the California DMV office is closed tomorrow. I'd be $3500 poorer, and one Kawasaki Ninja 250 richer. I've been flip-flopping on this whole motorcycle purchase more than a fish out of water. The last big 'pro' for buying the motorcycle is my current mobility.

Right now I'm driving a SUV, which I needed for the winter in both Nevada City and Zephyr Cove. Without its all-wheel drive, I would have been stuck half a dozen times this winter, which could have possibly led to a lost job. Also, without the Exploder, I wouldn't have been able to move as easily as I have (everything fits in it!).

I've been extremely happy with the ol' Exploder, but looking at my summer schedule, then looking at the current price of gas... then looking back at my summer schedule... I'm in for one doozy of a gas bill.

1) June 8th-11th Las Vegas Trip (900mi round-trip)
2) June 26th-July 2nd Seattle + Coast Trip (~2000mi round-trip)
3) July 13th Ani Concert (200mi round-trip)
4) Hiking Trips (???)

By crunching a few numbers, making these trips with the Ninja instead of the Exploder will save me $505.00 (3500mi, minus the difference between doing that with the 70mpg Ninja, or the 18mpg Exploder@$3.50/gallon).

I would also stand to save over $200 on gas by riding the Ninja to work and putting around town. The way I figure, the amount of money I save on gas, is just about equal to the amount the bike will depreciate when I choose to sell it. The longer I keep the bike, the less I will be able to sell it for; but the more money I will save on gas.

Now, before tonight I hadn't really calculated these numbers, but I pretty much knew the value of the motorcycle is going to be a push unless I wreck the thing (which is no small concern). But tonight, the big thing that has me gunning for a motorcycle is that I'm starting to feel limited mobility in Tahoe, because of my gas-guzzling vehicle. Playing in Sacramento's spring league would have been an amazingly fun thing to do before I move back to Seattle, but at $50 in gas each trip--it was totally out of the question. That same trip on the Ninja 250 would cost $15.

I still probably wouldn't play in spring league if I had the Ninja, but that example illustrates a very important point for me. I'm too much of a cheapskate to be able to hop down to Sacramento for a day of frisbee and friends--knowing that it will cost me $50 every time I make the trip. I can see this issue coming up for visiting Sacramento, Nevada City and maybe even Dtran in San Francisco. I don't want to handcuff myself for my last four months in California/Nevada. Chances are I will stay up in Seattle for quite a while when I move back around September, and I don't want to look back on Tahoe as time spent wasted not wanting to spend money on gas.

I hope to go on dozens of day hikes this summer with my great part-time schedule, but I would find it very difficult to mentally block out both the pollution I'm causing and the dollars I'm burning every five miles I drive in the Exploder.

Realistically, if I do decide on getting the motorcycle, I'll probably go out more, and I might end up spending just as much money on gas as I would have without the motorcycle, due to all of these trips. I'll be able to take that spur-of-the-moment trip to Emerald Bay for picture-taking. I'll go to Sacramento and Nevada City more. But this is exactly what I want to do. It would be worth it to still spend $1000 on gas this summer if it means having an unforgettable time with friends and hiking.

The other big question I'm struggling with is what happens when I move to Seattle. With no motorcycle, I've been planning to take maybe half of my stuff up to Seattle when I go in late June. Skiis, Snowboard stuff, and all of the boxes I rarely ever use. By moving a lot of stuff in late June, the chances of me selling the Exploder down in Tahoe (where people value all-wheel drive more than Seattle), and getting a smaller car would greatly increase. I'd also likely be able to fit the rest of my stuff in the smaller car for the trek up to Seattle. I'm quite liking this little plan of mine.

Add a motorcycle into the mix, and things start to get confusing. If I have a motorcycle, I'd want to drive it to Seattle to save on money, but then I wouldn't be able to move anything up in June. I would have to either sell the motorcycle, sell the Exploder, or figure a way to get my stuff and one (or both) of the vehicles up to Seattle. Having a motorcycle as my only means of transportation in Seattle entering rainy season isn't a great prospect to me. And I guess unless I fall deeply in love with riding a bike, I'll probably be selling it when my time in Tahoe is up.

The final question looming on my mind has to do with how this motorcycle purchase will affect my living during my attempt at getting certified as a middle school teacher. Worst-case scenario is that I spend the $3500 on the bike, crash it, and have to say good-bye to that money. I'm not really sure how that will affect me. I already know I'm going to have to get loans from somewhere for school, and I'm still not sure how I'm going to make money while I'm doing this full-time school gig. If it comes down to me living on my savings while I'm doing the teaching program, that extra $3500 would be a tremendous buffer. Including rent, food, and everything else I'd spend money on, I bet I could stretch $3500 to five months.

Wow, hadn't really put that into consideration yet. Five months. Five months staying alive during my teaching program, or four months down here in Tahoe having fun? That isn't a terribly difficult decision for me, but then again, the motorcycle could end up barely costing anything at all if things work out well. Bah humbug. It feels very selfish to get this bike right now, considering how tight money will be in the near future. Hmm...


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home