Day three of the journey went south, although my front fender was pointed East…
After a quick lunch stop, I pressed the starter button with intent of a fast push ahead of the rains threatening from the West.
The starter half-engaged and then the entire system went dark. Not an auspicious beginning to the afternoon. The heat wasn’t that bad, only around 115, so I’m a little baffled. After tearing into the electrical system, I can see some melted wires and a blown master fuse. It was beyond my capabilities, and the heat of the day coupled with no shade didn’t leave me wanting to stand in the sun to figure it out.
Triple A to the rescue. While waiting for my bike, and chatting with the AAA people, I was given an entire sermon on how Jesus loves me, and perhaps God was telling me it wasn’t a good day to be riding. Weird, wild, and only in America?
Next up, a tow to the local Victory shop, where the mechanic and I rebuilt the wire harness that was entirely melted due to a short in the system. Then we looked for the short in the system.
And…found it in the form of a silver solder bullet that was resting on the handlebars. Spendy problem, it cost 3 hours of road time to rebuild the starter harness and locate the short. But…the folks at the bike shop were terrific to deal with, and kept me plied with A/C, Mountain Dew, and charging juice for my cell and tablet.
Back on the freeway…nice. Droid charged, great tunes, and hardly anyone else on the road. I’m excited to see the needle hittlng high speeds once again.
The rain didn’t hit for another 200 miles, but when it hit, it hit with a vengeance. The smooth soft summer rains of the previous night were absent this time around. This was more pin-prick and pain, death by tattoo needle. Higher speeds create a bigger burble, keeping the pointy side of the raindrops at bay.
Higher speeds create a bigger burble, keeping the pointy side of the raindrops at bay. And the heat is gone.
The area I’m riding has no inhabitants near the road, the nearest hotel is 97 miles away. Speed is my savior, and I’m grateful for the massive weight of my bike, keeping it on the road in spite of slick spots. At times, the tailwind is so strong, the trailer threatens to push the bike. All the while I’m hearing “The Following Sea” in my head, drawing from the old shipmate’s blessing (similar to “Blue Skies/Black Death” in the skydiving world).
At the same time, the smell of freshly cut timothy and alfalfa rolls into my nose, a bouquet of sensory explosion, providing a high that not even a case of RedBull can match. The rain is the icing on the cake, and although it’s a bit painful, it’s also cleansing. Perhaps this is what I need in my four days of silence and reflection. Focus comes more easily due in part, to the symbolism of rain clearing my head, my body, my life.
Finally reaching a motel, I gratefully plop my bones into a cheap springy bed, open my laptop to pen the day. Although it was a day of challenges, I’m oddly not only at peace, but tremendously appreciative of the obstacles both overcome and ahead. I’m curiously filled with a powerful energy that stems from both inside and out. I’m alive, and for the moment, that’s encouraging enough. It’s been a dichotomy of a day; it started out boiling hot where I was pouring water on my pant legs merely to stay cool. By nightfall, I’m donning a long-sleeve T, clean jeans, and leather jacket just to stay warm. Life in the West. Always colorful. Awesome.
I can hardly wait til tomorrow; it’s just a blink of an eye away. Loving every inch of this road, every grumble of my pipes, and every thought of my family and friends.
With this thought of “ever colorful” in mind, I leave you with one of my favorite songs.