Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good/Bad Luck On the Way Home

After 4 days of hanging with the family (which I'll post about, later), I loaded up and headed home. Once again, the weather was nice, and the bike was running fine.

About 6 hours after leaving my parents' place, I was in Wentzville, Mo, just west of St. Louis. I pulled into a QT Mart, and filled up with gas, then went inside to use the bathroom and buy a drink. As I walked out, I noticed that the rear tire on the bike looked a little odd.

I had debated with myself about the tires before leaving Denver, since the rear tire was showing some wear. I finally decided that it looked like it would make the trip, and I'd rather wait until I got home to replace it. Well, I should have replaced it, I suppose.

The odd look of the tire was due to a strip of steel belt showing through the rubber. I could see a portion of the belt about a quarter-inch wide and 8 inches long. So, back into the QT to use the phone book.

After a couple of calls, I finally saw the Yellow Pages ad for Donelson Cycles, in St. Ann, about 30 miles east of where I was.

I called them up, and told the lady who answered the phone what was going on. She told me to come on down, and they'd get me a tire mounted up ASAP.

Long story short, I babied my poor old tire back to St. Ann, got a new one, and was back on the road in about about 2 hours. With the added 60 miles of riding, the tire cost me 3 hours of daylight.

So, rather than riding until 8:00, as I planned, I ended up riding through until 11:30, when I finally stopped in Junction City, Kansas, and spent the night in the biggest, emptiest motel room I've ever been in.

I checked in, and asked for a non-smoking room. The only one available was on the 3rd floor, and it was $5.00 extra because it was a "large room", according to the desk clerk.

That was fine with me, so I paid, and unloaded my bike, then carried my stuff upstairs. As I opened up the door, I thought that the hours on the road had affected my ability to judge distances.

The room had a couch, a king-sized bed with side tables, a small coffee table and a dresser with a TV on it. Those six pieces of furniture were in a room that measured about 25 feet by 20 feet. The square footage of that room was close to the same as that of my house! You could have set up a game of croquet on the carpet between the bed and the TV.

Took a shower, and finally got to bed at 12:30. At 5:30, I was back on the motorcycle heading west. I figured that, if all went well, I might be home by 1:00 or 2:00 PM.

If all went well..

About 4 hours later, I was looking for a gas station to make my second gas stop of the morning. (I stop every 100 to 150 miles to fill up with gas and stretch out a bit.) I saw a Sinclair station, and pulled off of the Interstate. After removing my helmet and gloves, pulling the tank bag off of the bike and opening the gas cap, I saw that the station only had Regular gas. The Trident really requires Premium, so I put everything back on, and headed across the Interstate to a Shell station.

The Shell station had Premium, but the pumps decided to not work just as I started filling up. I got 8 cents worth (not a lot of gas, by the way). So, after trying two other pumps, at the urging of the station clerk, I gave up and headed on down the road.

I stopped at another Sinclair (Regular only), and pulled back onto the road, once again, without filling up.

As I rode, I noticed that I had a headwind, blowing at an angle across the front of the bike. It was actually making it hard to steer the bike. So hard, in fact, that it felt almost like...Dammit! I had a flat on the front wheel!

A BP station sat off to the left of the next exit, so I pulled off, and rolled into the station parking lot. There, I saw the "Out Of Business" sign on the wall.

Unsure of what to do next, I inspected the tire and found what I figured to be the hole where a nail had penetrated it. Probably happened at one of the Sinclair stations, I suppose.

I marked the rim with a Sharpie, so that I could easily relocate the hole, and looked around the abandoned gas station. I finally spotted a hand-written notice that read

"Fuel Available 24 hours 1/2 Mile North, Credit Cards Accepted"
I looked north, across the Interstate, and I could see a group of buildings, but no gas station sign.
"What the hell?" I thought, "Might as well see what's there."
So, I started the bike, turned on the emergency flashers, and crept up the road at about 5 mph, rolling on the flat tire. The bead was holding, so I was hoping it would work out.
It did, and I pulled up to the "24 Hour Fuel" stop, the local Farmer's Co-Op. As I pulled up to the building, there was a fellow in the service bay fixing a flat on a pickup truck.
"Think you could patch my motorcycle tire?" I asked.
"Don't see why not."
Ten minutes, and five dollars(!), later, I was on the road again. I bought a gallon of fuel (Regular) to get to the next town where, I was told, there was a station with Premium fuel.
I was a bit nervous riding on a plugged tire, for about the first 100 miles, then I just figured it was going to hold and I quit worrying about it.
I rolled into my driveway at 3:00 PM, unloaded the bike, and took a nap.
I'm always amused at how my luck seems to run. Was it bad luck to wear through my tire on the way home, or good luck to do it near a shop which could replace it quickly?
Was it bad luck to have a flat on the front tire, or good luck that a. it wasn't my brand-new rear tire that picked up the nail, b. I didn't dump the bike at 80 mph on the Interstate when the tire deflated, c. I pulled off at an exit where a tire repair was available almost immediately?
Ah, well. Maybe luck is like Karma: It's neither bad nor good, it just is.
Either way, I'm satisfied with mine. It keeps things interesting.


At 10:21 PM , Blogger Phatatude said...

Bravo! and by the way, Im in Nebraska... Im the same Phathead that was talking to you about the Raleigh Twenty and the F1 via email a while back... Glad you're safe, and all the Flat business worked out for the better!

At 6:37 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Yeah, I knew who you were, just couldn't remember where you were. Any news on the F1 front?

At 10:35 AM , Blogger Apertome said...

Sounds like quite an adventure. I try to look at it as being lucky when something bad happens but it isn't as bad as it could've been.

Like when I injured my finger. It sucks -- a lot. But I'm lucky that was my only major injury. It could've been so much worse. Or when our car broke down,b ut we got it fixed the same day and were on our way.

At 12:15 PM , Blogger katina said...

yeah, it's gotta be that luck just "is"


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