Bike Down

Disappointment and anger were my Hannibal at the gates, eager to destroy me from the inside. But I resisted, and even though I knew I was in way over my head, I was determined to try and get the machine started again. I striped the entire bike down, all the gear and all the plastic. I took out the unfamiliar maintenance book from its Ziploc bag for the first time and started looking for clues. Page after page, chapter after chapter, hour after hour; but nothing. After the reading proved fruitless, in desperation, I started to pick at things utterly unrelated to why the machine wouldn't start hoping that the sight of grease on my fingers would at least trick me into believing I was making progress. I was on my knees in the 107 degree heat, with bloody knuckles and sweat dripping down my brow when suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge gray Honda Gold Wing rolled up right next to me. I looked up to the dark figure geared up in armor like a black Storm trooper and from inside the helmet I heard a voice shout, “You need some help?”

....Fattened up from my gluttonous few days in Jackson California I was eager to continue on. I slept well in the shared hotel room for a change and was full of energy after that quick touch of civilized life.

On Tuesday, July the 5th I woke up extra, repacked the bike, had one more assault of the continental breakfast and off I went with the plans to spend the night somewhere on lake Tahoe a few hundred miles to the north-east. The morning was fresh, the sky was clear and beautiful, the temperature was starting to rise and I was in great spirits, very eager to once again be on the road.

I had only ridden but a few miles when, suddenly, the motorcycle just died in the middle of the road. It simply died! I rolled to a stop on the shoulder in order to assess the situation. Being that nothing electrical worked, I soon realized that gas wasn’t the issue. If it were the battery the problem would not have been so sudden. So when the street cleared I pushed the bike a few hundred meters uphill to a gas station. Keeping a 400+ pound bike with another few hundred pounds worth of gear upright while dodging traffic deserves to be an event in the MetRx World's Strongest Man contest, right up there with log lifts and anchor dragging.

Winded and sweaty I sat down in the shade and started to contemplate my options. I could immediately sense that the problem was serious, however there were no motorcycle shops in this town. Being that the issue was electrical and not mechanical, I knew it was way out of my league and that diagnosing and resolving it would take days at best, so I looked around and started to analyze my surroundings for potential camping spots behind the station, water and restroom being available inside. For a while I quietly sat on the curb with the dead bike in front of me and my head heavy with disappointment.


I was determined to fight off the panic that desperately tried to creep in. “This was it!” I remember thinking to my self. Moment of truth! The problem was seemingly beyond me, large enough to potentially sabotage the entire project. How was I going to handle the situation and overcome this Goliath of an obstacle? The first true test had just begun

Disappointment and anger were my Hannibal at the gates, eager to destroy me from the inside. But I resisted, and even though I knew I was in way over my head, I was determined to try and get the machine started again. I striped the entire bike down, all the gear and all the plastic. I took out the unfamiliar maintenance book from its Ziploc bag for the first time and started looking for clues. Page after page, chapter after chapter, hour after hour; but nothing. After the reading proved fruitless, in desperation, I started to pick at things utterly unrelated to why the machine wouldn't start hoping that the sight of grease on my fingers would at least trick me into believing I was making progress. I was on my knees in the 107 degree heat, with bloody knuckles and sweat dripping down my brow when suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge gray Honda Gold Wing rolled up right next to me. I looked up to the dark figure geared up in armor like a black Stormtrooper and from inside the helmet I heard a voice shout, “You need some help?”

And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship…..
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