Thursday, August 2, 2012


…farewell, sweet Nikky. 
Our time together was so fleeting…

The conversation last Sunday went like this:

“Oh, you’ll love the Nikon point and shoot.  We have one and it takes great pictures.”

“Terrific.  How much did you pay for it?”

“Oh.  Ha.  Ha.  We found it in a dumpster out behind the apartments on Oak Street.”

“You found it in a dumpster?”

“Yeah.  All we needed to do was go on line and find the charging system and we were set to go.”

“How do you know it wasn’t stolen?”

“We figure someone just was cleaning out their apartment or something and accidentally threw it out.”

“That’s what you figure?”

“Yeah.  We find all kinds of good stuff in dumpsters.  Clean it up and take it to the Flea Market every Saturday.  You’d be amazed.”

Amazed indeed.

The following Wednesday, four days and two hundred plus miles away from the previous Sunday:

Knowing that carrying my beloved Panasonic camera in a handy pouch on my belt proved to be its demise when I dumped the BMW last month, I replaced it with a damned-nice Nikon.  The Nikky had great zoom, more mega-pixies, video capabilities and a ton of features I would have no interest in ever using.  But the price was unbeatable.  And she would live in my tank bag.

My buddy from Washington had cruised into town on his brand new ’09 Moto Guzzi Stelvio [insert photo here] and we were eager for a side by side comparo as well as a couple of hundred miles of high country blacktop.  His Guzzi is a wonderful machine.  It has the quirky character I appreciate in my Breva, with the take-on-the-world attitude of my BMW GSA.  When we swapped, I was in no hurry to swap back.  The only two downfalls I could discern were that a) the mirrors buzz enough to make what’s happening behind look as if it is smeared in Vaseline, and b) Piaggio doesn’t promote these wonderful machines nearly enough.  There is a great market for big, competent duel-sport motorcycles that don’t come with a blue and white roundel.  At least so thinketh Yamaha, Triumph and soon Honda.

I’d taken a number of shots of the red Beemer and the black Stelvio against backdrops as varied as the brick buildings of old town Auburn, CA, the black crested buttes of the highest Sierra and the deep blue waters of her alpine lakes.  They were outstanding photographs: nicely composed and perfectly exposed.  I just know it.

At a lunch stop buddy opted to leave his helmet and jacket unsecured because our bikes would be within view of the outdoor eating patio.  Seemed safe to me.  Later, at an I-80 rest stop, while off-loading some of the Coca Cola I’d only rented, I left my bike and its gear unsecured as well.

Arriving home I was eager to download my Pulitzer-quality moto-photos.  I opened the tank bag to find Nikky had gone missing.  I searched jacket pockets, the Jesse panniers and even places I knew I hadn’t been with the camera.  Within moments my heart felt two bricks heavier and my wallet about two hundred and fifty bucks lighter.  I would have a stupid tax to pay if I were to be prepared for next week’s ride into Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Somebody has my Nikon.  They will find it useless once the battery dies unless they go on line and replace the external charging system.  Short of that, I expect Nikky will end up in a dumpster and, perhaps eventually, at a Flea Market.  The perp or the dumpster diver will earn about fifteen bucks.

I’ve paid my “stupid tax,” replacing the two-week old Nikon with another point ‘n’ shoot.  I’ll need to remember that my trust in humankind does not preclude me from being smarter about the desperate or just dastardly nature of some of my species.

© 2012
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. ironic.

    Bummer about the camera.

  2. I HAD a Nikon camera I love to take pho-eo-o-to graphs, Mama don't take....

  3. I'm bad about leaving my gear on my bike if just going to be nearby.

    Last Christmas tho I saw some questionable characters so decided to lock everything up. Took my a bit to get the helmet in my bag, jacket in the pack, GPS off, etc. I go in & do my shopping & low & behold after all that Dummy had left her key in the ignition! Glad these guys didn't notice my boo boo!

    Bummer on your camera.

  4. Bummer. I do not use a tank bag much, but when I do I pull it off at stops. I also always take my helmet and jacket with me and many of my friends think I am just too paranoid. I just think leaving $1000 to $1500 of gear just sitting around is entirely too tempting for those with morality issues.

  5. Sorry to hear this. Personally, I never leave a tank bag or anything like a helmet when I leave the bike. Too many sorry assed, low life types just waiting for someone to leave anything unattended.

  6. Yikes, sorry to hear. I definitely take this kind of stuff for granted, putting too much trust in people.

  7. I too tend to leave my valuables unattended from time to time while I'm in a store or diner. Hell, I've even left the key in the ignition (disguised by my gloves and helmet - I'm so clever, the crooks will never think to look under those).
    So far so good. Nothing has been stolen, but if I don't mend my ways Murphy's Law will sooner or later bite me in the wallet.
    Too bad about your camera. If you're really lucky you'll be able to buy it back at the flea market.

  8. Yea that sucks! I carry my Canon waterproof point and shoot on top of my tank bag. Thank god for enough pockets in my jacket, when I am going to be away from the bike I always pocket it so as not to tempt fast fingers.
    In addition I put the rain covers on the tank bag .

    Sorry about your Panny and Nikky! I used to have a Panny point and shoot, and I loved it, but it died because it wasn't waterproof :) So I replaced it with a Canon waterproof.

  9. it is past time were we need to go back in time and be able to shoot to kill all thieves.

    i take all things with me when i must park someplace and walk away from the bike.
    shopping cart is full going into the supermarket.



  10. Very sorry to hear of your experience. If it helps at all, your bad experience will help others (like me) remember to lock our stuff up.

    Like others have stated, we often neglect to lock everything up because we're "just running inside for a second."

    Well, that's when bad things happen.

    Take comfort in knowing that you're helping your fellow riders be more careful about such things.

    In essence, you've paid the stupid tax for us...

    I hope your new camera sticks around a bit longer.