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Thanks to the advice in this forum, I went ahead with the emergency seat release even though I've had no problems yet. It really IS as simple as it sounds:
1. remove the two screws holding the rear cover and pop it off. There are a couple sturdy rubber nipple things so don't think you're breaking the cover...it takes a bit of a tug.
2. Hex wrench off the latching mechanism.
3. Remove cotter pin and slide the wire end off the post to add your pulling wire, put the wire back in the slot and reattach the cotter pin.
4. Reattach the latch mechanism to the bike.
5. The only tricky part: I used some medium gauge speaker wire on the end of my line to get the end of the line to come out near the helmet holder on the right side. It just took a few seconds fishing around to get it to come out. No need to remove any side body parts or circuitous routing of wire. I went in at the same spot the actual wire comes into the back. You just go straight down from there.
6. Here's where I just had dumb luck. The 14" fishing lure wire is a perfect length to hang down just above the helmet holder, reachable but out of sight. I removed the speaker wire and was done with the wire.
7. Reattach the rear cover with a firm press and put the 2 screws back in.

On the JCM (Jeff Curse Meter), this rates as zero curses, so you know it must be easy. For comparison, removal of the CVT cover was a 10/10 on the JCM.

Mostly I just wanted to pass this along to reinforce that it's an easy process AND that the 14" fishing line was a perfect length for no fuss. I got mine at Walmart for under $2.
 
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