The Garage:

Speed doesn't kill. That's the Monkey's job.

Current Rides

Mazda Miata LS (2001)
My fun (and I do mean fun) car

I'll have a write up on the Miata soon. I'm simply spending too much time driving it to sit down and write about it!!

I promise!

Honda Prelude Si (1993)
Melanie's car. Which is pretty sweet for not being a convertible.

Melanie's '94 Eclipse died in 2006, about a week after I got the Miata. So, in a move that was not terribly popular, Melanie drove the Miata until we could get her a car. This took, much to my dismay, about 8 months... The problem is that there wasn't anything out there that she (or I, for that matter) was really excited about. Well, not for under $25,000 anyway. All of the cars Melanie was excited about were more than we wanted to spend. Everything else was boring.

One day we were bemoaning the fact that car makers don't really make afforadable sports cars anymore. I was reminescing about my RX-7 and Melanie about her old Prelude. So I said, "I know how much you loved that Prelude, and of course they don't make them anymore. But what if we found you a nice, clean used one? It wouldn't be new, but at least it would be something that you really liked. And we could probably just buy it outright and wouldn't have to get a loan. Whatcha think?" "Well..." went her reply. She thought about it and decided that if we could find her a nice and clean one, she would love another Prelude. Well, finding cars like that is what I do!

I found this one and we went to check it out. It is a '93 but only had 68,000 miles on it (in 2006). The seller was the second owner and had babied this car. Both owners had. He had all the service records from day one. He had a car cover that he kept over the car, even when it was parked in his garage. And no kids!! The interior of this car is nicer than my 2001 Miata! It truely is just about perfect. No chips in the glass, no stains on the seats or carpet or mats. The carpet on the doors is soft and fuzzy to the touch!! He wanted $5,500 and we settled on $5,200 and drove it home. Every thime I get in this car, I am amazed at how pristine it is. It's almost like we bought her a new car. And she loves it! So instead of spending $20,000 on something she was luke-warm about, we spent $5,200 and got something she loves. Pretty good math to me! And yes, it is an older car, but at that price we can afford to fix things and still come out way ahead.

Plus, I like driving it, too!! ;-)

Nissan Frontier Pickup, Longbed (2004)

My work truck. Because you can't fit much of anything in the Miata...

Well, it finally happened. After 12 years and 175,000 miles, I decided to replace my '93 Nissan pickup. We had some good times; two massive hailstorms, getting rear-ended seven times ('cause it's so hard to see a big red truck!!!). But the time had come. Plus Nissan was running great deals on new trucks ;-) So I sold my old truck and got this one. In the past 12 years, Nissan has managed to fix the few gripes I had about the old truck and add one new one. I love this truck and am very happy with it, but if I could change one thing, it would be that you can only display the odometer OR the trip meter at one time, not both. I like having both without having to toggle between them. And that's it, my one big gripe about this truck! Terrible, huh? Oh, and I guess they could have put a real, metal bumper in the front since this is supposed to be a work truck (for me, anyway). But I installed the bumper guard/skid plate and that should be fine.

I don't have any plans to mod the truck at this time. But it is still new... ;-)

Past Rides

Mazda RX-7 Limited Edition (1983)

My first real car. My first real fun car. The first car I ever truely loved...

I miss this car sometimes...

More on it to come.

Nissan 300ZX 2+2 (1990)

See, one you have heard of! 1990 was the first production year for the second generation of the 300ZX. Why the 2+2, you ask? Well, there were three basic models of the 300ZX: the Twin Turbo (300hp), the Coupe (222hp) and the 2+2 (also 222hp). The twin turbo accelerates so hard it will pull your eyes back into their sockets! Which is a HUGE amount of fun, but because of that, they were a lot more money. Plus, the insurance on the turbo was double what it was on the non-turbo versions. Plus, finding a turbo that hadn't been completely ragged out was almost impossible. So... the turbo got scrubbed from the list. That left the coupe and the 2+2. The 2+2 has a back seat, if you can call it that, and a slightly longer wheel base. But the performance numbers are identical. So the 2+2 is a touch longer, which means a slightly smoother ride, a back seat for emergencies (I would not intentionally subject someone to that. This makes the back seat in a Porsche 911 look positively roomy!) and has a regular donut spare (due to limited space, the coupe and turbo versions both have collapsible spares that you have to inflate if you ever need to use them). So you see, the coupe doesn't have any real advantages over the 2+2. Then when you figure in that insurance is again lower for the 2+2 (must be that back seat?) and you can get a 2+2 for less than a coupe, the choice becomes obvious!

I purchased the car in 1996 with 68,000 miles on the odometer. It is a five speed manual (of course!) and has pretty much every other option available at the time. I purchased it from the most anal car guy I have ever met, which is a good thing! I have every service record, the original sticker and the bill of sale! This car is MINT! He wouldn't even let his kids ride in it! I couldn't pass it up!

I really haven't done much to the car, but there's always room for improvements! When the Bose system quit (what junk!), I replaced it with a better sound system. I am running all synthetic fluids and 'Z' rated Pirelli tires. I have also added a high-flow air intake and a kevlar clutch (better than stock and less expensive, to boot!). I do plan on doing a stainless exhaust at some point, especially since the current one is in need of some work, but we'll just have to see...


I traded the Z in when I bought the truck. She was a great car in awesome condition. But... She was 14 years old. Which meant that things, no matter how well taken care of, were wearing out. The problem isn't in repairs, they're to be expected. The problem is that there isn't a repair on the Z that costs less than $1,000, pretty much regardless of what it is. The short list of things that were starting to wear out was going to total almost $5,000!! Too much to spend on a car I wasn't driving all that much. Dallas has changed a lot in the past ten years. Finding anywhere fun to drive the Z was almost impossible. So, I let her go. Eventually, I replaced her with the Miata. While the Miata doesn't have anywhere near the power of the Z, she is a lot more fun to drive around. And a lot cheaper to maintain...

'00 Cagiva Gran Canyon
Engine: 904cc, Air cooled,

90 Degree V-twin

Trans: 6 speed
Weight (lb): 511 (wet)
Wheel Base: 60.2 in.
Seat Height: 33.5 in.
Power: 61.5hp

51 lb/ft torque

0-60: 4.07 sec.
Top Speed: 119 mph
60-0: 128 feet
Mods: Carbon Fiber Exhaust,

EFI chip,

K&N Air Filter

Nonfango Luggage,

Emap GPS,

Cagiva Gran Canyon (2000)

Yes, Cagiva (pronounced Cah-gee-vah). *Sigh* Yes, I know, you've never heard of it, but those of you who realize there are other motorcycles besides Harley Davidson have heard of Ducati, right? Ok, well Cagiva owned and operated Ducati until they sold it back in 2000. Parts, style and design wise, the Cagiva is essentially a Ducati, if that helps you. The Gran Canyon could best be described as the precursor to the new Multistrada. Same basic concept; part dual-sport, part sportbike, all Italian!

This is my second Gran Canyon, the first having fallen victim to a left turning minivan. But, I liked the first one so much that when it was totaled, I bought another. That alone should tell you how much I love this bike! The engine is a Ducati 900 Desmo with fuel injection. It's fast. Maybe not GSX-R fast, but plenty damn fast for me! I have added the Ferracci carbon fiber exhaust and EFI chip, as well as a K&N air filter. I also have the 3 piece factory luggage, which holds a lot more than you'd think. I rarely use it, but it is nice when Melanie and I want to shoot off somewhere for the weekend.

The bike handles surprisingly well for its size and is a total blast on twisty roads! Many people don't like the seat height because they have a hard time putting their feet firmly on the ground, but at 6'2", this is not an issue for me. I actually like the size because it gives me ample leg room without feeling cramped. With the leg room and upright riding position, I can spend an entire day in the saddle without feeling crunched-up or tired. Plus, there is plenty of comfortable passenger room, which makes everybody happy ;-)

Other Gear <soapbox on>

Let me start by saying that I'm not a helmet Nazi; I don't think it should be a law that you have to wear a helmet if you don't want to. However, I also think you would have to be a complete and total moron to not always wear one. Period. No discussion. And while we're at it, that applies to other safety gear as well. Road rash might not kill you, but who wants to live with the discomfort for months or deal with the scarring forever? Modern gear is comfortable, stylish and cheap, so you've got no excuses not to wear it! I always wear my helmet (Arai Quantum), gloves (usually with kevlar), an armored jacket (Fieldshear mesh in summer, Vanson Cordura Avenger in winter) and boots. If I'm just out riding (as opposed to running errands) I also wear armored pants (Fieldshear mesh in summer and FirstGear leather in winter). A good mesh jacket, with armor, can be had for $100-$130. Gloves for $20-$30. Pants for $75-$130. So shop around and you can find good gear at great prices. And I know it adds up, but my skin is worth it!

My crash - more arguments for the right gear.

I mentioned the left turning minivan that totaled my bike in the second paragraph. I was traveling at 30-35 mph when this happened. I swerved to avoid her and managed to clip the back end of the van. This pitched the bike up and sideways and threw me off into the air behind the van. I tried to protect my head when I landed, but with that much momentum there was no way to avoid cracking my head on the pavement. The impact of my helmet was hard enough that the sound made my ears ring inside my helmet. But I didn't feel a thing! The helmet absorbed ALL of the impact and the only thing transferred to my skull was the sound. My gloves and armored jacket absorbed the other impacts and did so without any damage to themselves (they're still usable). I 'm pretty sure my skin would not have fared so well in that kind of sliding impact! I was rattled and disoriented, but stood up and walked out of the intersection. So the next time someone spouts off that helmets don't do anything or that jackets, especially mesh ones, aren't worth anything in a crash, you have my permission to punch the idiot right in the mouth!


I bought my second Gran Canyon largely to prove to myself that I'm not afraid of motorcycles after being hit. I got back on the bike and did fine. I'm not afraid of bikes. I am, however, afraid of the idiot SUV drivers around here. After more close calls that weren't my fault, I decided to quit while I was ahead. And still had a head. Someday, I may buy another bike. But it won't be until I live somewhere more rural that doesn't have the congestion, or inattentive drivers, that are impossible to escape in Dallas.