Today I Learned: How to get your motorcycle license (endorsement)

A long winded guide to getting your motorcycle license in NJ from the Lodi DMV.  I particularly wanted to write about this topic because I found the process a little confusing and I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to find any detailed instructions.

Here’s an overview of the path I took (I realize there are other paths available).

Sign up for and take the Basic Rider Course
I took it at the Riding Academy of NJ.  The course set me back 300$ and a weekend from morning to afternoon. I just needed a driver’s license and the ability to ride a bicycle to be eligible.  The instructors I had were great- patient and funny.  When you complete the course, you will receive a waiver for the motorcycle exam.

Go to DMV, get a motorcycle permit
This is the part I was a little lost on.  You still need to get a motorcycle permit, the thing you get to start practicing without a full license (which, along with the examination, you skip using the waver).  Take your 6 points of identification, take your waiver just in case (I don’t think it’s necessary but it’s a sheet of paper, it won’t kill you to have it), and head to the DMV.  There’s 2 or 3 lines out front of Lodi DMV, you want the license line.  People will come out handing forms early in the morning.  The permit looks like a sheet of paper, I think you’re meant to fold it in half.  There’s a small section that looks like a card.  Just to clarify, you don’t get any card-like objects at this point.

Eye exam + get your permit stamped / stickered
I was REALLY confused at this part.  You take your blank permit, and you have to have it stamped and have a holographic sticker put on it.  I… don’t know what’s the real term for it.  Certified?  Approved?  In the Lodi DMV, there’s an entrance in the back, opposite the main entrance where everyone is lining up for license renewals and what not.  There’ll be signs that say something about ‘Testing.’  That’s where you need to go, there’ll be a shorter line there.  Take your permit to the desk, and show your waiver and identification.  There’ll be a small eye-test machine on the desk, she’ll ask you to read the first line.  They stamp your permit, put on a sticker, and send you on your way.

Get your motorcycle endorsement
You’re finally there!  Take your stamped/stickered permit, and go back to licensing in the main entrance.  The lady that gave me the permit told me I could skip the line, which felt incredibly awkward to do, but it was nice.  I’m pretty sure that’ll not always be the case.  You will need another form, your 6 points of identification, the permit, and 25$.  (It costs slightly less than that).  They’ll ask if you want your picture done again, do whatever you want.  They hand you back your stuff, and you go home.

My morning
I just came back from the DMV, with the long process of getting my motorcycle license finally complete.  I suppose in a strict sense it really only takes 2 days to go from nothing to motorcycle license in NJ, but for me, it took a few days shy of half a year.  I was incredibly close to just saying “Forget it, I don’t want to do this anymore” this morning.  I meant to wake up at 6AM, but slept in until 7AM.  The DMV opens at 8AM.  I made my final resolution to go in and forfeiting the next 3 hours to the licensing process, and made my way to Lodi DMV.  Now I’m free! 😀

Pretty sure I’m not going to actually get a motorcycle in the next 2 years.  I’ve been just hemorrhaging money lately, and while I COULD afford it, I’d rather save money for now.  It’s the insurance payments that are warding me away.  It’s winter, anyhow.

When I do muster up the courage to do it though, I’d probably get a Honda CBR250R, because I’m a pussy, I guess.

even I feel a little dry


Today I learned: Fishing Bags are Nice

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yu shang fishing?

Alright, strictly speaking, the bag came in Friday so I didn’t really learn this TODAY.

As it turns out, fishing bags work pretty well for my purposes.  Since first getting into the very ‘murrican past time of firearms, I’ve been looking for different ways to bring them from the front door to the trunk of my car without startling neighbors, all of which seem to be families having children from 3 to 14 years old.  It doesn’t help that this state isn’t pro gun.

At the very beginning I went with Pelican hard cases, but I thought those were a little too on-the-nose in terms of appearance.  I quickly decided I wanted to stay away from big, black, serious-looking cases.

oh gee I wonder what this is supposed to hold

Same issue with anything shaped like typical soft gun cases, or anything with MOLLE straps.  I also decided I’d want something I could sling over my shoulder so I could bring them without giving up one hand.  Lastly, any non-gun branding on it I thought to be a plus.  No Ruger logos and what not.

definitely not a gun right?

I came upon a couple solutions.  For rifles, I came across ski bags and sword bags.  The ski bags I found were a little long, but sword bags were sometimes too narrow.  But it might work depending on the dimensions of the firearm.  There’s also yoga mat bags, which work for things up to around 30 inches.  The one I have was a little flimsy, but I thought that was as good as it was going to get for long guns that break apart.  When I got a Beretta over/under, though, I wanted to do one better.

This is where my search took me.

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cz75 just happened to be around

The long pockets’ interior measures 35 inches long, which will fit any (I think?) shotgun barrel.  It has 3 of these long pockets, and each pocket has 2 zippers, which is great because you can stick a padlock on the loops where the zipper handle meets the zipper head.  I used towels for padding, and you use 2 pockets for 2 shotguns, 1 pocket for plenty of shells.  I was able to fit 8x 25-shell boxes in there, but I’m sure you could fit more if you found a box that utilized the unused height in this picture.  The picture looks like seven, but there’s an eight not pictured on the far right, behind the zipper.  What I had in mind was that I could bring myself and 1 other person trap shooting, with all the gear in one bag.  2 guns, 100 shells each.

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revealing i’m the guy that shoots clays with buck JK JK

I’m too lazy to bring the bag out again, but on the other side there’s 2 more side pockets you can put hearing protection and cleaning supplies in.

I’ve only had the bag for a day but it feels sturdy enough.  I’m pretty pleased with construction and the size/number of compartments, but beyond that is the appearance.  Outdoors-y green, blaze orange, yellow.  The Chinese lettering on the front adds to it (Subliminal message: China doesn’t typically allow people to own guns, why would this bag have a gun in it?).   Moreover, it says fishing on it.  Given those two factors I feel like this is a pretty solid way to walk across the lawn to your car, or have it lying on your bed without making anyone panic.

Well, save for when someone decides to ask why your fishing equipment is covered in locks.  (It’s uhhh… really expensive?)