Monday, October 10, 2011

Tour for the Tata's

Over the weekend I did a little different type of riding for the cause, breast cancer awareness. The best part was I talked my family into donating five dollars each and covered most of the sixty dollar entry fee. A win win for everybody.

This was a 24 hour ride held at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapid, Iowa on a banked half mile asphalt oval. I was in town for family business so I couldn’t spend a lot of time riding. My plan was to ride for one continues hour nonstop to see if I could do it with an average of 18/19mph. Somewhere during the hour I came up with this silly idea of one hour plus a lap.

I rode to the event about five miles to get warmed up so I would be ready to go. With my support team (thanks Shelley!) at hand I clipped in and rolled on to the track. Oh, did I mention the 20+mph head/side wind for about half the track? No? Heading down the back straight wasn’t too bad but banking in to turn three and four I got the full brunt of the wind. Than as you come out of four the front straight has a slight rise until the start finish line where the grand stands would block the wind. Pass the start finish line was a dip leading into turn one that was slightly downhill then the wind would kick you in the butt and you could really get some good speed built up to get ready repeat it all over again. I learned in short order to sit up in that part to get the full benefit from the wind and get a little rest time in.

On the track I quickly fell into my normal cadence and thought the two guys in front of me might make a good pace line. I soon found out the only thing they had in mind was staying on my wheel, not that I really cared because I had my own agenda. After 15 minutes or so Merle had enough and peeled off to ride at his own pace muttering something about I have a good pace going. At about the half hour mark my half full water bottle ran empty and I tossed it to Shelley as I went by her standing in the gate. I felt this smile come across my face as I watched the bottle skid across the pavement and then laugh as I thought to myself, that looked so Pro. A few laps later Shelley is jogging to hand off the now full bottle of ice water and I take a big swig happy to have it back.

All of this time I have really no clue of my average speed since I have the computer in clock mode only. I do catch a glimpse of the pace arrow at times but can only tell I’m close to my speed goal. The hour mark comes up as I’m heading into the back straight. Pulling around turn four I raise my left arm in the air with one finger held up. I hear these two ladies sitting with Shelley and her give me a great big cheer and it really give me a big boost. I apply rule #5 and pull as hard as I can for the last lap, no taking a rest in turn one this time around. I’m going to give it every last bit of effort I have left and stomp this last half mile. I’m not quite sucking wasps as I turn into the wind of turn three one last time but I’m really starting to suffer!

Crossing the finish line I sit up and throw my arms in the air thinking I did it as I hear the ladies clapping and cheering. I hit the brakes and pull into the center grass as I unclip and stop laying the bike and myself in the grass. Several minutes go by as I lay there wondering if I hit my speed goal and if my legs would work to walk. I stand up to take a look at my computer.

Total time was 1:01:28 with an average speed of 18.84mph and a top speed of 26.6mph which if you do the math means I did 37 or so laps. I feel that smile cross my face again as I look at Shelley showing her the results to which she says “good job!” Walking on limp legs and still breathing deeply I say to her, “damn that was fun!”

Later in the evening we go back to listen to some of the bands that are playing and to watch some of the other riders. Standing there I say to Shelley I should get the bike back out and just cruise around for a while to which she replied “you should.” I think about it for a minute than I look at her and say “I better not, I know me and that cruise would turned in to let’s see if I can beat my last hour.” At that point the music comes back in to focus as I bask in the satisfaction of my effort as I think once again, damn that was fun!

Tour fo the Tatas 1

I’m the one in the black still going…


Friday, June 3, 2011

Warning: Mobile Device Protection Association (MDPA) is a Scam

First off sorry but this is going to be long.

I bought my phone from Wire Fly back when the DX came out. I was offered insurance from this company through them and not knowing it wasn’t the same insurance that Version offered I bought it since I was a new Version customer.

So over the past weekend I lost my phone while riding my bike on some trails here. I make a claim knowing it’s a long weekend and I won’t hear from them until Tuesday. No big deal but I can’t be without a phone so I head over to my local VZ store and buy one outright figuring when I get my replacement phone I will just sell it and recoup some of my money. The guy at the store cuts me a sweet deal and I continue enjoying my weekend of golf and what not.

I wasn’t prepared for what follows. This is a copy and paste from my contact with this company.

Lost my phone last night. I need my phone replaced please. Thank You.

On 05/31/2011 @ 9:02 AM MDP wrote:Please provide details as to the how and where the loss of your cell phone occurred. Once this information is received, it will be forwarded to your Account Manager for processing.

On 06/01/2011 @ 6:37 PM you wrote:I lost the phone while riding my bicycle on some bike paths in xxxxxx.I had the phone in the pocket of my cargo pants. Once I noticed it was gone I tried to use the App Plan B to find it's GPS location on my PC. Going to that location I could not find it.

On 06/02/2011 @ 9:05 AM MDP wrote:We’re sorry to hear about your phone. You provided information on how and where your phone was lost, but please provide details as to WHEN the loss of your cell phone occurred. Once this information is received, it will be forwarded to your Account Manager for processing.

On 06/02/2011 @ 3:12 PM you wrote:It was lost 5/28/2011 around 10PMish. Not to be a jerk here but this information wasn't asked for in the first response or I would've provided it then.

On 06/02/2011 @ 3:13 PM MDP wrote:The additional information you have provided was received and has been forwarded to your Account Manager for processing. Please allow 24 hours for a reply.

On 06/03/2011 @ 1:33 PM MDP wrote: I'm sorry to inform you that your Request for Service (RFS) has been denied. A letter with further details has been forwarded to you via your email address of record.

(Reason of denial of claim)

This letter is in reference to the above captioned request for service (RFS). The loss was reported to our office on May 29, 2011.

As stated in your Request for Service: I lost the phone while riding my bicycle on some bike paths in xxxxxx. I had the phone in the pocket of my cargo pants. Once I noticed it was gone.”

Therefore, the following exclusion applies to this request for service:


MDPA requires that reasonable care and control be exercised at all times. Based on the above listed exclusion, we cannot consider this Request for Service for payment.

Should you have any questions, edited as not to give their contact info…

We regret any inconvenience you may have been caused.


On 06/03/2011 @ 2:18 PM you wrote:You can't be real on this! How is having a phone in my pants pocket be "unsecured and negligent"? Just how do I carry my phone would you suggest? OK you guys got my first 90 bucks but I promise you you will not get another dollar out of my pocket! And you can bet I will not recommend your "service" to anyone I know. But I really want to know how I am to carry my phone?

On 06/03/2011 @ 2:48 PM MDP wrote:In accord with your request the MDPA Membership has been cancelled. A full refun of your Member Fee is forthcoming.

On 06/03/2011 @ 3:48 PM you wrote:You people take the cake! I don't see anywhere where I asked for cancellation of my contract and asked for a refund, which BTW is spelled wrong in your canned message!!! I want a phone with the insurance I paid for! My have brought this to the attention of my states attorney general office. I've printed all of this for their information. I ask again, where am I to carry my phone so as not to be "unsecured and negligent"?

I haven’t heard a thing out of them since. Of course after the fact I did a search on this company and this is SOP for them. Just do a search about them and the complaints are all over the web. One of the posts even had a person claiming to have once worked for them and this is how they handle every claim.

A few things here. First since I told them right off the bat I lost the phone why was even any need for these days of back and forth crap and just told at the start that I wasn’t getting a replacement because I lost it? Second why keep asking for more details with a 24 hour delay in each response? This company makes you log in to their web site to see if they have responded instead of sending you an email to tell to log for their response. They knew good and well they were not going to replace my phone and all they did was delay and drag it out.

So anyway that is my warning about this company. If anyone is insured by this company I would ask for that refund NOW because you will not be getting a replacement phone if/when you make a claim.

At this point I’m just going to laugh it off and make their life hell by posting this all over the web starting with my blog and any other web site like My 3 Cents that I feel like.

Oh lest you think this isn’t covered here is a copy and paste of the terms which they sent me with the denial email.

What is included? The entire phone and original electronic accessories provided in the phone box, not including aftermarket accessories purchased. The protected device and original accessories are covered up to the repair or replacement value or up the limit of liability, with no deductible. If a covered device cannot be repaired, MDPA will replace with the same or similar model if the same model is unavailable, at no additional cost, to the member up to the limit of liability depending on your membership plan. A police report may be requested for a lost or stolen cell phone.

What is excluded? The loss, real or perceived of data, time, financial opportunity, or any other consequence arising from the loss of the use of the wireless device, normal wear and tear, inventory shortage, dishonest or malicious acts, cosmetic damage (ex. marring, scratching), negligent loss (editor: their loop hole), liquid damage, pervasive corrosion, loss or unexplained disappearance or voluntary surrender to a third party, loss in a body of water, theft from an unattended premises or vehicle not reasonably secured, in transit either through postal or courier services, or incidences occurring outside the US or Canada are not included with this service.

(emphasis added)

There so much double talk here it makes my head spin. And before someone says you should have read the terms before you bought it, if you go read it it has more of the same double talk and isn’t even the same terms that I posted above. And while I’m at it Wire Fly can kiss my ass too for dealing with such a company!!!


UPDATE: So today (6/10/2011) I get a check in the mail from these clowns for $35.00 and not the $69.99 I paid them for this headache. I don’t know about you but that is not a full refund that they stated I would be getting. Needless to say I have not and will not cash this check until I get a replacement phone and am done dealing with this company. Of course by then I’m sure the check will bounce anyway.

Oh yeah and our local police have nothing better to do than come to me to file a “lost phone” police report. Please spare me from going in to just how stupid that is.

One other note Verizon has already blocked the ESN of the phone so if someone did find it and try to activate it it won’t and it is  Verizon who will know if and when that ever happens not this joke of a company!

Filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau too. They’ve been a member since 3/2010 and have 119 complaints files against them in that time.

Here is the latest email from these clowns.

We would be happy to further review this matter of your lost/stolen phone. Your case has been forwarded to our Fraud Protection Unit. In order to expedite your request we require you get a police report and forward it to us by fax xxx-xxx-xxxx or email us Once this is received we will be able to flag the ESN/IMEI number of that phone so if someone is using your phone, or tries to activate it, we will be notified. At that time the phone will be confiscated and the person holding the phone will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. All police information must be received within 30 days of this notification.

We are here to assist you the quickest way possible. We appreciate your assistance with this matter and if you have any additional questions, please contact Fraud Protection Unit’s liaison, xxx-xxx-xxxx or email at

Best regards,
MDPA Membership Committee

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

F&B Go Nitro Harley Racing

This is an old post I wrote back in March of 2003 on a private forum I belong to that I was reminded of today. Since I know it has never been posted here before I thought would offer it up for your reading. As most of you know my friend Frog is no longer with us and is enjoying that great drag strip in the sky where the track is always perfect and the sun always shines. I’ve got more stories I need to write about racing with my friend Frog an the Buffalo’s. Enjoy.

After raining out Saturdays qualifying Sunday woke all bright and sunny. Frog, Buffalo and I got the bike ready for the first of two qualifying runs. The last time we ran "Strip Tease" it ran ok at a 6.17 seconds. Frog had did some work to the carburetor to allow it to pass more fuel since than. We hoped for better this time out.


His first pass was a blistering 5.276 seconds at 140.71mph, Frog’s carb work was indeed paying off in a big way. We ready the bike for the last pass of the day and hoped for even more improvements. After the second round of qualifying Frog said he didn't feel the clutch worked like it should. He was right cause it slowed to a 5.596 at 133.61 mph. So Buffalo worked on it installing some more plates and resetting the "clutch pack” height. He sure knows his clutch and what it takes to make it work and it would show on the next pass.


We push up to the line for the first round of eliminations up against the same guy who we lost to last time out (Frog red lighted… another story for another time). Frog yanks the throttle late at the line giving the other guy a slight lead. He is already about 3 or so tenths behind before he finally gets it moving. Buffalo's clutch is right on the money allowing Frog to run him down from behind. We hold our breath as we watch Frog slowly pull up from behind and then the score board flashes our side first with an amazing 5.059 @ 140.99mph. The other sides lights up a split second later at 5.114 @ 134.00 mph. The racers are asking each other who won cause it was so close they couldn't tell. Buffalo and I look at each other with that same “who won” look on our faces. No win light on our side of the scoreboard. What the?


Back to the pits and we ready the bike for the finals to see if we can win the event. We are all set to go when we ask the starter how much longer before we run?

He looks at us and says with a puzzled look on his face, "You are in the finals?"

It is at this point we feel like something is for sure not right. We dig out the time slip to add up the numbers and see who won. The whole crew stands there in disbelieve. We was so excited at the performance of Strip Tease no one bothered to look to see who had won on the time slip. The ticket clearly states, "left lane 1st", we were in the right lane.

Are happy kick butt mode was all lost by a mere .052 of a second. We had nothing to be ashamed of, after all Frog did set low E.T. of the event for his class as well as top speed. Not to shabby for a 60 years young guy and a 13 year old Harley!

It will be awhile before we can go racing again. Frog is getting is knee worked on June 17th so it will be a good while before he can get back on the bike. If ever you get a chance to go to an AMRA Harley Drag Race by all means go. They are so much fun and exciting. Just
remember to park in the proper place!



Epilogue: To this day we still don’t really know how we lost that round. On paper everything says we won but the timing system says another. Such is racing. Some days it’s a cruel sport. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Insert You Are Old Joke Here

Go ahead and let’em rip if you must. But I must warn you…


I also want to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friends Chris and Sonya (she’s the better looking one of the group clearly) too!



Monday, February 28, 2011

Phil “The Mercedes” Mangan

Buy a Mercedes-Benz from Studebaker? Yes you can. 


My mentor and best friend Phil Mangan was there at the start of that partnership. He was working for Handler Motors that was a Studebaker dealership in Des Moines, Iowa at the time. He told me that story many times.

When I moved the shop a few years ago I found his certificates that Award 1he had earned from Mercedes-Benz dated from 11/58 to 10/76. It was shortly after the last testing, working for the dealership who took over selling Mercedes-Benz, Dave Osterm Imports, that the union crew went out on strike. The strike was short lived as people crossed the line and broke the union in the shop. All of these striking workers joined up and started an independent shop that was also short lived. All
of these guys went on to open their own shops with Phil partnering up with Bob Altamari to open A&M Imports. This is when I would meet Phil and my life, as they say, was changed forever.

Award 2

Of all of his awards from Mercedes-Benz his "Meister Mechaniker Award" that he received on 3/23/64 was his most prized. It's unknown to me just how many ever received this rare status but I'm sure there were very few. Along with the award came a cap proclaiming his status that he wore on special occasions. I always told him that when he passed on I would like to have that cap. After years of working side by side with Phil (15 years by this time) I got the surprise of a life time. It was during Christmas one year that I opened my small present from him to find my own Meister Mechaniker cap with the very same patch. It seems he had a couple extra patches that I never knew about. His statement to me at the time was "I think you've earned this now." Needless to say I was blown over and even though I don't wear caps I do wear this one when I go for independent Mercedes-Benz training. Of course everyone wants to know how I got such an award and I proudly tell them of my friend Phil “The Mercedes” Mangan and how the award came about.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos but I didn't want to take them off the wall here in the shop and remove them from the frames just to get the shots. When I was getting the awards framed I was trying to figure just where I was going to put them. After some thinking it hit me, I would hang them in the shop area where Phil belongs. So he may be gone now but he still is in the shop with me looking over me making sure I do it right. And every now and than I look up at him and ask “Phil I could use some help here.”


PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! and yes I know I've been gone awhile... more on that some other time