Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Ride of 2007

One final ride to end 2007. Ms Hog planned a ride for Monday that sounded like a great idea, so I signed up. The plan was to meet at Ms Hog’s pen and travel to Mesa to connect with the east side riders. From there we planned to head out the 60 to Superior, Kearney, Winkleman, into Globe for lunch, and then back down the hill to home.

The morning was bright and sunny and the weather was glorious. I met Ms Hog and Diane at the pen and headed to Mesa just as planned. We met up with eight riders from the east side, introductions were made all around, the route was discussed, it was decided that I would be the sweep rider, we mounted up, and off we went. I pulled out of the parking lot, hit second gear, and nothing happened. I looked down and the heal/toe shifter looked like it had come undone. I honked and waved, but the other riders were in traffic, trying to merge to get on the freeway, so I made my way back into the parking lot to find out what had happened.

It seems that Petunia had decided today would be a good day for new chrome. The shift linkage had broken where it attaches to the heal/toe shifter arm. I couldn’t come up with a fix. As luck would have it I was about 1000 feet from Bikers Bay, so I manually put it into third gear, and rode over there. Damn, today was Monday and they are closed on Monday. Now, the group was fifteen minutes into the ride, they didn’t know I had a problem, and Bikers Bay was closed. Now what?

Well in ten months and 16,000+ miles Petunia has played naughty two times counting today. The first time was at the 10,000 mile service. I had an appointment to drop her off, but went on a 150 mile breakfast ride prior to that. I brought her to the shop to sign in and when the Service Writer came out to look her over he said, “You’ve got a flat.” That couldn’t be possible as I had just pulled off the freeway and there wasn’t any sign of a flat. But, I looked and it was as flat as it could be. I was in the process of shopping for tires and so I had the dealer put a set on for $600. I’ll never do that again, but when you’re sitting in their driveway with a flat and two days away from a road trip what else could you do? Then this today. As I was weighing my options I remembered I was only three blocks from a Harley Dealer. Now, I don’t know hardly anything about the east side of town, but I knew about that Harley Dealer. So, I slowly rode Petunia there and they fixed her up for $136 and an hour and a half later I was on the road again.

Now some folks would just go home, but I left the house to ride and so I rode. I went straight to Globe to see if I could catch them having lunch as by then it was 12:30. They weren’t at the place I thought they would be at, so I got gas and started back toward Phoenix. I thought if I stopped and ate they might pass by and I could catch up. I ate at Subway and no group. Just as I was walking to the bike I saw a group come over the hill and it was them. They waved and then recognized me, but in the traffic they couldn’t pull in. I hurried to get my helmet and gloves on and went after them, but got caught at every light in the city. I was just about ready to just ride home alone when I saw them sitting at a light headed back north. Long to short I followed them to a restaurant, they ate, I drank a soda, and I had a story to tell about having to go shopping for chrome. Ahh, yes chrome. Given a choice of the ugly old stock linkage with the brittle ball and socket or a nice chrome one that bolts on with a nut and bolt, I’m sure Petunia is pleased with the nice shiny part. Besides, she deserves the chrome one because she was so close to the dealer when she decided to be naughty. She takes care of me, so the least I can do is make her pretty.

The ride turned out to be as great today as I thought it would be yesterday. A guy can’t let a small bump in the road take away from the joy of riding in such great weather on the last day of the year.

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