Catching up on the past week! I got word the bike would be ready Thursday so I booked a flight to Spokane. Wednesday night I got word that it wouldn’t be until 6pm Thursday, so I got to the shop at about 1pm. I sat down with shop owner and he said “we have 36.5 hrs into this thing” at $100/hr.” With tax the bill was a little over $4k. I said that was a problem because when I dropped the bike I was told 10hrs and given assurances that if it exceeded that estimate, they legally had to get my permission to proceed. The rub is the mechanic that started the job left for another shop mid-way through the engine. The owner says he called that guy (John) and nobody has recollection of telling me 10hrs, and there’s nothing in writing. (Nor any waiver of written estimate)
By this time it was dark and really cold so I called a friend and asked to spend the night. I told the shop owner I’d need to get some legal advice and come back in the morning. I didn’t want to ride back to Seattle 5hrs in the 37° F darkness. I’d prefer to wait till it’s light and 38° F!
So I spent some time in Spokane drinking and researching WA state consumer protection laws which were pretty clear regarding mechanic estimates. I should have got it in writing, and now I know!
I decided that the next morning I’d take out $2000 cash and go back to the shop and say “look, either accept $2000 cash or charge me what you want on a credit card and just know I’m going to do everything I can to get it back”. Friendly ultimatum! Before I could get my take-no-prisoners game face on, Bill the shop owner said “Josh, sit down I tried to call you last night. There was a miscalculation of hours the job should take- the total for the engine was 14hrs, plus the other work is 17hrs. With fluids and taxes it comes to $1955.” Now THAT’S how you negotiate!
So I happily paid and rode quickly back to Seattle where I packed up the bike while listening to Rachels dad’s band rehearse for their upcoming show.
The next couple days were always supposed to be a rush through the cold wet weather. I was very fortunate to stay dry, and the heated gloves and vest I had came in very handy!
Saturday night I stopped in Jacksonville, OR. For my first ever Couchsurfing experience. My host, Mary, was working at a bar in town so I planned to meet her there and get instructions. After setting that up I realized I had a friend Anna in nearby Ashland, and we agreed to meet for a beer at the same bar. She showed up with several of her friends from nursing school and we had burritos and played Cards Against Humanity and Yahtzee simultaneously. Really great crew!
Turns out my CS host Mary knew several of the people in Anna’s group- small world! My stay at Mary’s was great and she was a terrific host. We had coffee and a great talk before I hit the road in 30° weather.
It was another long freeway day, but I made it to San Francisco and met Rachel at our friends Irene and Yves’ downtown SF apartment- now the real fun begins!!
PS we hit REI on the way out of SF, but Rachel got overwhelmed by the packing cubes and had to take a seat: