Posted by: Jessie | April 24, 2012

The END of the WORLD!


On Tuesday Jeff was flying back to Chicago and Amy was flying back to Seattle.  Rob and Stefanie were taking the kids to see Winter the Dolphin, star of the movie “Dolphin Tale.”  I had the choice of going to the airport or going to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I chose the aquarium.

The plan was that Stefanie, Rob, and the kids would go to Clearwater in the car and I would follow on the bike.  After touring the aquarium we would go on to Orlando, where we would stay for a few days.  Dad and Marilyn were going to drop Jeff and Amy off at the airport, then meet us in Orlando.  I had planned to leave Friday and ride to Deal’s Gap to meet Eric, while everyone else stayed one more day in Orlando.  Then Stefanie and family were going to fly back to Wisconsin on Saturday.  That was the plan.

I started out following Rob and Stefanie, but we got separated at the toll booths.  I texted Stefanie and told her to go on ahead, that I would meet them there.  I followed the GPS on my new phone and took the exit off the highway.  As I stopped at the red light at the end of the exit ramp I heard a “clunk.”  I knew that was a bad sign.  I thought that when I saw Eric on Friday I would tell him about it.  The light turned green, I shifted into gear and let the clutch out.  The bike made a horrible grinding noise.  “Bummer.”  I thought. “It must be the clutch.”  I turned the adjuster knob a few times and tried again.  Still the horrible grinding noise.  I turned the knob the other way.  Nope.  I pushed the bike to the side of the road and turned on the hazard lights.  I took off my helmet and set it on the ground.  I took a deep breath as I gathered my thoughts.  There must be a way to search for nearby bike shops on my new phone.  It is a smart phone, after all.   But first I have to figure out where I am.

I looked up, and there, right in front of me, was a truck with “Fire Rescue” written on the side of it.  It had stopped at the red light.  I knocked on the window, when he rolled it down I said “I’m not on fire, but I sure do need to be rescued!”  He pulled over and got on his computer and found a Triumph dealership a couple miles away.  I called them and told them I was stranded and asked them if they work on BMW’s.  They said they did, but they couldn’t come get me.  The gave me the number of a motorcycle towing company.  I thanked the Fire Rescue guy, and he went back to his CEU class.  I got Mr. Happy out of the glove box, and we sat down to wait for the tow truck.  “This is inconvenient.”  I said to myself.  “But it’s not the end of the world.  They’ll fix my clutch and I’ll be back on the road by Friday.”

While we were waiting I called Stefanie to tell her to see Winter without me.  I would meet her at the Condo.  I called my Dad, who was halfway to the airport with Jeff and Amy by then.  He said they could pick me up at the Triumph dealership on their way to Orlando.

The tow truck guy was really nice.  He rides a Harley.  He knew exactly how to tow a motorcycle safely.  He didn’t say it out loud, but it was pretty clear that he didn’t think my husband should have allowed me to ride to Florida by myself.  “Don’t worry.”  I told him, “This is inconvenient, but it’s not the end of the world.  I’ll be back on the road again soon.”

When we got to St. Pete Powersports the service guy and the mechanic listened to it.  The mechanic said “It sounds like the driveshaft.”  My heart sank.  I wanted to cry.  “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!”  I thought.  I don’t know much about drive shafts, but it was my understanding that drive shaft failures are catastrophic for bikes like mine .  It probably cost more than the bike is worth to fix it.  “No no no.”  I told myself.  “It can’t be.  They’ll take it apart and look at it and it will turn out to be something minor.  I hope.”

Everybody at St. Pete Powersports was really nice.  I looked at new bikes while I was waiting for my dad to get there.  I tried on a Triumph Tiger, but it was too tall.  They let me sit on a lowered one, but it was still too tall.  They had many pretty bikes, but none that I like as much as my K75RT.

When Dad got there we took everything off the bike and put it in the van and headed off to Orlando.  The timeshare condo was beautiful.  I sat on the patio and watched the sun set over the lake, but I just couldn’t enjoy it.  I missed my bike.

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