I got off to an early start before daybreak as it was a long way to my first stop (Midland, TX), But ….. Best laid plans ….
There was an extremely heavy fog and I only made it a short way down the road before having to run around and wait as a station for daybreak with hopes that I would be able to see the road by then.
At daybreak I try again. The fog is still so thick that I have to make several stops along side the road to wait hoping for the fog to thin.
According to the weatherman on TV earlier this morning, the worst of the fog was to the north, so I figured that the sooner I could get west, I would ride out of the storm. Unfortunately, the fog gods did not confer with this weatherman because the blanket of fog got worse.
I continued this stop and go until about noon. I’ve never seen fog this thick and remain this long. I kept stopping at stations and having a cup of coffee waiting until the fog cleared. I had so much caffeine in my system by noon I was about to jump up and slap someone. At long last the fog clears and I can see my way, so I’m off and running.
I’m trying to make up a little time and perhaps pushing the Russian a little too much, and then …
And then …
Yup, that is my beloved Lyekka being loaded on a tow truck.
I was going along, all was good, life was good and then I hear a strange noise from the engine and look down and see the engine is spewing smoke. I’m not a mechanic, but I know that this is not a good sign.
I see than my crankcase vent seems to have broken (or melted), so with some handy-dandy bailing wire, I reattach said vent and check oil. Along then some nice folks (Riche and Dora) come by and inform they thsy just live down the road and offer assistance. By then the engine had cooled down so I asked if they would just follow me a while so I could try to ride into the next town. But when I try to start the Russian , she sputters “nyet”, she isn’t going to start. So, Riche pulls out his phone book and helps me identify some motorcycle repair shops in San Angelo (the nearest town of any size, about 35 miles away). While Riche was not a rider himself, he knew which shops had been in business for a long time. So I call ACE motorcycle shop and he agrees to see what he can do. So, I contact my roadside assistance to request a tow truck and haul myself and Lyekkas to ACE.
BTW: My Roadside assistance cost me $30 a year. The towing charge was about $150, that I did not have to pay. So, sure glad I had roadside asstance.
The owner, Charles, stayed past normal working hours and attempts to diagnose the problem I was hoping he would just tell me I got some bad gas, needed spark plugs or something else simple. Charles did not tell me that, instead he told me I nneded to find another way home other than Lyekka to get home. Lyekka was very sick. No compression on left cylinder, and very little on right. Blown rings, hole burnt in pistone, ?. Bottom line, not an easy fix.
After closing shop, Charles offers to take me to a Motel 6. On they way I describe to him that I have not had a good day and would he mind stopping somewhere that I could get some wine. Charles willingly goes out of his way to find a liquor store for me then to the motel. That was certainly above and beyond the call.
I get to the motel and I’m hungry but too exhausted to go find a place to eat. I call a Pizza Hut and order a small pizza. I’m told that the minimum order for delivery is $10. I tell the young lady that’s fine, charge me $10 for a small. She has some difficulty with that so I acquiesce and order a supreme medium pizza so get over the $10 minimum problem. It arrives (burnt and greasy) , I eat what I want and save some more for breakfast. Yes cold pizza for breakfast is as bad, if not worse, that you would image. I’m too exhausted to drink mush wine so I leave the bottle as a tip for the maid.
Now my problem. How do I get Lyekka and myself home. I was exploring options such as taking a bus home so I could get my truck and trailer until my sweet wife suggested I post my dilemma on the Two Wheeled Texans (TWT) forum. The motorcycle community continues to amaze me and the “brotherhood” of TWT is fantastic. It didn’t take long before offers of assistance started coming in. A TWT friend, Mark, offered to come up all the way from Thorndale with truck and trailer to bring us home. Problem solved!
The picture does not properly show the detail of the art. I was very impressed. There was not any profanity and in fact, some scripture quotes. Nicely done artwork that I assume was done by local graffiti artists.
I make it to the shop. Charles has not had second thoughts about something cheaper and easer to fix Lyekka, so I still have some time to kill.
But before I continue with this story, I need to take a moment to identify Charles and his shop. He seems to really know his stuff, vary friendly and the kind of guy that will bend over backwards to try to help you. If any of you guys are ever in San Angelo and need some help with your bike, this is the place to go.
Anyway, I have some time to kill; Charles takes me next door to another cycle repair shop called Jim’s Cycle Service. This is a very unusual cycle shop. It consisted of a bunch of old guys sitting around drinking coffee and discussing politics, the weather and motorcycles. There was a motorcycle up on a lift, but no one was working on it and no one seemed motivated to do anything (my kind of folk) except jaw. They accepted me as a visiting guest to their unnamed club and we visited and exchanged various lies.
And homeward we go. Mark drops Lyekka and I off at my house then continue on his way home. This was a full day out of Mark’s life plus use of his truck and trailer, yet he would not accept payment. Best I was allowed to do was buy a tank of fuel and pay for lunch and that was met with some disagrement from Mark. Many in the motorcycle community practice “pay it forward”, obligating the recipient to help some other motorcyclist in need sometime in the future. I accept this obligation, but I have been rescued and assisted so many times that my “pay if forward” account is in the negative. If anyone of you ever need assistance, please please contact me. I need to work off some of my “pay it forward” account. Thank you Mark!
Well the Tour of Honor quest is over in regard to being able to earn the pin and certificate of completion. The deadline is the end of this month and there is not enough time for me to get Lyekka fixed or get my GS and try to finish this in time because of other plans. Because I was so close (completed 5 out of 7), I plan to complete this quest someday just for the fun of it. I don’t like unfinished mission. Besides I need to come back through San Angelo again so I can say hi to all my new friends. So, to all the gang at Jim’s Cycle, keep a pot of coffee on and I will return someday.
End of trip