Thursday, April 24, 2008

Final Voyage!


So this is it. My last ride on the beast before I tear her down completely and she's unrecognizable. I'm kinda sad at this moment, she has treated me well over the years and with the exception of one crash (when a dump truck traveling towards me threw a stone and hit me square in the chest ripping me off my bike) she has never stranded me anywhere. Yeah, I may have had to push start her a few times, screw with the carburetors, or jiggle the electrical around, but I have never had to do any real repairs to her. By far the best $400 I have ever spent on a bike.

As sad as it may be the emotion that is stronger is fear. What if I can't put her back together? I've never torn down a bike. I have never done a ground up overhaul of a motorbike. I can fix all sorts of industrial equipment, but I've never really had to work on something so small before. I'm more qualified to work on the Space Shuttle than I am on a 650cc Japanese engine.

I'm not too worried though. In my younger years I would never attempt to do this. Not that I'm any more skilled to do the job now. The big difference is my bank account. I know that if it becomes a complete SNAFU (if you don't know what SNAFU means Google it) I can always buy my way out. Of course that may just mean I don't get to eat on my trip and I'll be forced to sleep at the side of the road. Not that I worry about that either. I have never had any trouble feeding myself. If things get bad you can always try this. Get yourself cleaned up and put on your nicest clothes. Get to a chain hotel before 8am and they will usually have their continental breakfast going. When you walk in the lobby if you see stairs, take them. Then wait for about 5 to 10 minutes, walk up to the first floor and take the elevator down and walk into the breakfast lounge. Help yourself to a large breakfast and take as much packaged food with you (cheeses, jams, etc.). In Europe they usually have a good selection of fruit, grab lots. I've done this in many cities I've traveled to. Actually I was hungry on my way to work one day and I just pulled in to a Holiday Inn Express and pigged out on bagels and cream cheese once. As long as you don't look homeless, you don't have to starve like a homeless person.

Back to the story... I charged my battery for an hour prior to my ride and nothing. Barely enough juice to turn her over. So I once again celebrate the fact that I live on a hill with a steep driveway. I don't even have to push. She starts before the bottom of the driveway, I wait a minute for her to warm up, and away I go. It's a little fresh out, but my gear is warm enough. I'm not blasting around like I normally do and just take it easy. I plan on enjoying this ride! I leave the village I live in and head into the back farm roads. I want some privacy and some curves. I'm all alone (or so I think) in the darkness of night when all of a sudden sirens and flashers shock me into action. Oh no! I'm being pulled over. I'm not supposed to be riding at night. What's the fine gonna be? I pull over quickly and prepare myself for what I know is not going to be pleasant. At the very least they're going to call a tow truck. I just had to push my luck. Well I get to keep on pushing. The cop goes past me and starts down the road at break neck speeds. They aren't after me. He must have got a call from dispatch that Tim Horton's was almost of of jelly filled donuts. Thank God!

Now most people would be happy with that outcome and just leave the situation for what it is. My initial reaction was to turn around and go home but then it started to bug me how fast that cop past me. So lets roll the dice again. I gun the throttle and pop the clutch. My tire goes up to shoulder height and I wheelie the bike to third gear. I put the tire down for the hard left hand turn and I lay the bike right over and rub my foot pegs on the asphalt. Third gear becomes fourth and I'm back up to 9000 rpm before I hit fifth and put those flashers right in front of me. I slow down to keep up with this cop who is driving way to fast and I'm sitting around 3500 rpm when I back off and take the next turn to leave him. I feel good knowing I could have blown his doors off and not thought twice about it. I also feel good about the wheelie, which sounded better when I first described it but in reality was a complete accident. I didn't even know I could get my front tire off the ground on this bike.

I cruise into the next village, a little town called Ladner, and I turn around at the strip mall (Strip Mall? what a poor description that is). I start the slow cruise back when I feel the engine start to hesitate. I know this sound! I switch the petcock (again another poor description) to the reserve tank and she starts purring again. My job is pretty much done. I really wanted to drain the tank as much as possible before I decommissioned the bike. No sense in wasting gas by cleaning my garage floor. At least not at $1.37 per liter of high test.

I get home, park her by the work bench, and just sit on her while she runs herself dry. This is a sad day. It's kinda like sending your gal into the plastic surgeons for a mid life overhaul. It all sounds great before the surgery, but when they come out looking like on over tightened drum skin you just have to shake your head and remember the old days.

Good-bye baby.

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1 comment

Anonymous said...

Man, I actually felt for you when you said 'Goodbye Baby' and were going to tear her down. But then I remembered that you're going on a tour of Europe and then I thought 'You Suck!', no sympathy for you!
Hey Elvis, give me a call. The little one hid my cell phone somewhere, she did such a good job that I had to go get a new phone and plan and I lost all my numbers. Talk to you soon- Shannon

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