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An Ample Account

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Favors are worth more than gold. Anyone who has received a timely favor from a stranger, or who has had to call on a friend for help can attest to this, and I doubt that leave any one of us out. If there were one thing I could teach my grandchildren, it would be this: Be known as one who does favors, because payback is rich.

So, Spring last year, a stranger from our motorcycle group heard that I was an ex long distance solo sailor who maintains an ample account in the Bank of Favors, therefore called asking for one. His 25' Corsair sailboat named Aerie had over-loaded with ice and snow that brutal Winter, and sank at the dock, down in Cambridge MD. It being a buyer's market for toys, investments are losing value, he is 74, so he figured he might as well cash in CDs and buy a better replacement, rather than refurb the wreck. Bought a Freedom 34 named Glad Tidings for a song over near Annapolis. Needed help fetching it across the Chesapeake and up the Choptank. Had never been that far across water. I jumped at the chance, because, the only thing worth more than doing a favor is doing a favor you love doing.

On the way through the Cambridge harbor, he pointed Aerie out, and said now he needed to get rid of that wreck, but couldn't figure out where you throw a sailboat away. I remarked she had beautiful lines and we ought to sell her. Next two weekends we scrubbed and painted and refurbed. Hardest part was grinding off the adhesive which had fastened the ruined foam overhead liner. We took out both boats, I had his wife take cell phone video of me sailing Aerie past Glad Tidings, posted the video, planted ads in Craigslist, and we sold her for a song in two weeks. I banked a bunk on Glad Tidings. I've cashed in several times.

Last week he called me for another favor I love doing: His 2003 BMW R1150RT developed a pesky ABS brake fault after he replaced rear disc pads. I trotted over with the GS-911 fault code reader. The widget reported his ABS pumps were busted. That meant replacing the modulator, which is a $2,700 part located about $1,500 labor away from where you stand. I told him bring it over Saturday and we'd see if we could get lucky. He did. We did. By one in the afternoon, we'd bled all four brake circuits, refurbished the 27 point connector with dielectric goop, re-seated the sensors, erased codes, so forth, stumped ourselves why she wouldn't start, took a lunch break to think about it, tried some new micro brews we'd never heard of, went back and found out why she wouldn't start, and fired her up. The fault went away. Time for a good long test drive. Cambridge seemed about the right distance. Threw a T-shirt and a book in a bag, packed a tool kit, a sleeping bag, fired up my own K75, and we set off. The RedHead is used to being suddenly abandoned. Trained her early and often.

All of this very long preamble is just to say that because we were going for a sail, I packed a Man O War for which I owe a golden favor to a BOTL. Because winds were light, I suspected we'd fire up the Yanmar, so I also brought a Diesel similarly gifted by a BOTL here. Last, because my buddy had not yet been properly introduced to the manifold blessings of the sublime sotweed, I brought a couple Cusano Xclusivos and a flask of Appleton rum. Here are my reviews.

Fired the Man O War first. We were anchored in a cove up a river, with stars overhead and a waxing crescent moon. Just a zephyr to cool the cockpit. Coke on ice. A sublime stogie in a sublime setting. It was apparent from the get go that this was a magnificent smoke. Excellent construction. Leathery odor. Uncaps easily. Tight draw. Rich leather flavor unlit, with a slight pepper. No chance to toast the foot outdoors with only a match aboard, so I had to hit the light. No problem. Rich rich flavor right away, but nothing harsh at all. Meaty. I kept thinking meaty. Just chock full of flavor. Chocolate, walnut, leather. Mellow and rich throughout. Wonderful aroma, potent cocoa and walnut. The ash would not stick more than half an inch at a time. A terrific hour and a half enjoyment. Never got stronger than the first hit, I am glad to say. I chucked it at two inches because it got bitter. Afterwards, I enjoyed a delicious stinkfinger. The morning mouth craved coffee, which we didn't have. But the morning mouth was not long lived. No wheeze. My stars, five fat stars.

Fired the Xclusivo second. And, this is going to be a second hand review. I have reviewed it glowingly as a wonderful creamy mild stick for a newb elsewhere here. It did not disappoint the purpose. Not at all. I think a cigar can be rich without overpowering, be quality and still be creamy enough for a beginner. I brought this along because my friend, despite several urgings, has always responded: "No, I tried cigars years ago, but I never liked them." Long about the time the MOW filled the cockpit with wunnerfulness, he said: "Man, that thing smells good. I'm surprised." I uncapped the Xclusivo and handed it over. Even the tapered perfecto foot is suited to a beginner, because it's so darn easy to light. "Wow, Davis, this really is mild!" first thing he exclaimed. Stars spun, moon sank, talk flowed, he put some rum on ice, and I musta heard him repeat: "Davis, this thing is good!" four times. Now, here's the best recommendation of all: Raw naked noob smoking the first cigar he enjoyed in his whole life, yet he nursed that perfecto along, and ditched the nub well after the MOW had gone overboard. That one fact right there rates loads of stars. I'm going motorcycle camping down the Blue Ridge Parkway with a half dozen guys next month. Gonna bring a half dozen Xclusivos. Call me Johnny Appleseed.

Parenthetically, let me remark that those black plastic hermetically sealed crush proof cigar tubes I get at the B&M for three buck apiece are dynamite on a trip like this. I sent one to Luke. Gonna include one in every You-Noob-Bomber bomb I send. Love the things. Every BOTL ought to have a pocket full of them.

Next morning, when wind failed and Yanmar began, I lit up the Diesel Unlimited. Funny little brown band at its foot. Dark dark wrapper. Light weight. Dry loose looking interior. Pepper taste. Smells chocolate. Uncapped easy. Drew loose. Dry pepper unlit. Fired it up. Yanmar was making wind, so I had to hit the light. First thing jumped in my mind was Roi-Tan! Gack. Two puffs, I thought I would throw it out. Like someone snuffed out a White Owl in the ashtray and I licked it next day. But I figured I lit it wrong, I might as well give it a chance. Sure enough, soon as it rested, it mellowed out. But still, the flavor was awful. If there were such a thing as a chocolate tree and you made charcoal briquets out of chocolate tree wood, they would burn like this. Fine enough, strong as heck, obvious quality, but not the least bit to my taste. Tastes like ashes. I conclude I ought to disqualify myself from rating this stick because it's a high quality smoke which turns me off. Be like me rating tofu... leave the vegans rate the tofu; I'll stick to rating real food. Would not earn a single star from me. Nice stinkfinger, though. A very persistent morning mouth which I can still taste. No wheeze.

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • HaysHays Costa del Sol, SpainPosts: 2,337 ✭✭✭
    Man, a fellow sailor, motorcyclist/biker/rider (whatever term you prefer), AND cigar enthusiast? Hell yeah brother, I look forward to hearing more from you. Great story you got here!
    ¨The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea¨ - Isak Dinesen

    ¨Only two people walk around in this world beardless - boys and women - and I am neither one.¨
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