Last weekend Jim Kennemore and I decided to ride up Highway 1 to Fort Bragg on Wednesday and spend the night.
Sunday I checked on the ’01 Ultra to make sure she would start. I disconnected the battery tender and gave the key a turn. She started right up, Looking Good!
Monday after making hotel reservations it was time to wash and gas her up. I had forgotten to plug in the battery tender. No sweat, she’s got a full charge. “Click, Click, Click” went the starter. This could be a problem. She had started right up on Sunday so I figured leaving her on the charger overnight would solve the problem.
Tuesday afternoon I tried again. At first the starter sounded strong but couldn’t quite get her going. She’s got some charge; she’ll be fine in the morning. Sometimes hope outweighs reason.
Wednesday morning, “Click, Click, Click”. Forty-eight hours on the battery tender and this is all I get. Something’s wrong. Pulling my SUV up to the Ultra I tried a jump start. Nothing.
It’s 9:00 a.m. and I knew that Jim and another buddy, Peter Meshot, were on their way to Michael’s Harley Davidson in Cotati to meet me at eleven. They won’t hear their cell phones. I can’t be a no show. I hop in the SUV and head for Cotati with just enough time to get there by eleven. My gas gauge is close to empty.
I didn’t run out of gas and got to the dealership with minutes to spare.
Jim has a tendency to be blunt and raunchy. I expected, and received a tirade. Peter, a gentleman, did not skewer me. Almost bleeding from the wounds Jim inflicted, I thought I would perish. But wait, I see a remedy. Outside in front of Michael’s was a popcorn machine with bags of popcorn. Two bags later I was cured.
We decided on the Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol for lunch. Good food, high prices.
Jim said, “I won’t ride to Fort Bragg with you in a cage.” I called the hotel and cancelled our reservation.
After lunch, Peter had to head home.
Jim followed me to my house. We took the battery out of the Ultra. I live thirteen miles from Livermore Harley and seventeen miles from McGuire Harley in Walnut Creek. He asked, “Whose closer Livermore or Walnut Creek?”
“It’s thirteen miles to Livermore, seventeen to Walnut Creek, let’s go to Livermore.
Those of you who follow this blog know who Jim Bob is. For those who don’t, Jim Kennemore, alias JAK, sometimes goes off the rails. When that happens, he says and does strange things. He becomes Jim Bob.
As soon as I said Livermore, Jim Bob appeared. “Let’s go to Walnut Creek. It’s closer.”
“Jim, it’s only thirteen miles to Livermore.” We went back and forth several times before in exasperation I said, “I’m going to Livermore. Get in the car.”
Harley batteries are usually good for two years, sometimes only one. Mine was four years old. For only $190 the Ultra was back in business.
For the almost spur of the moment ride, that wasn’t, we had a good day.
I have been following my good buddy George’s new writing frenzies since he began a few months ago. While I enjoy his passion in these non-fiction adventures, he oft time forgets, or even tends to bend the facts a bit…that said, I would never accuse him of outright untruthfulness. I have been trying to bring these foibles to his attention in a non-threatening way, but have not gotten any indication on his part that he will cease and desist. Therefore, with the release of his near libelous, “The almost spur of the moment ride that wasn’t.” I decided it is time I emulate Paul Harvey and provide the rest of the story…
George and his wife Cathy had spent the night at our home in Roseville last weekend following a rollicking celebration of my 70th birthday at Thunder Valley Casino with a group of friends. At breakfast the next morning I declared, “I feel the need…the need for speed…lets go for a ride”. That soon resulted in the decision to take an overnighter up the coast to Ft. Bragg on Wednesday, three days hence. I recall that at about this point that the lovely Cathy reminded George that he really should be mindful of the battery maintenance that he knew was needed.
Fast forward to Wednesday…I cleaned and serviced my Black Beauty the day before and had it mostly packed for the overnight. I’m up at 0-six thirty to SS&S (A Marine Corps acronym meaning to clean and groom oneself). Of course this early morning activity awakened my beautiful wife, Sue, who doesn’t do early mornings. Oh well, I’ll soon be on the road with the rising sun on my back and the wind in my face…just one little thing first. In an effort to avoid any additional irritation to the beautiful Sue, and my sleeping neighbors, I rolled my bike out the garage and down the driveway without starting the throaty motor. Good idea, but bad execution. At the foot of the driveway the front wheel, completely of its own volition decided to suddenly turn to the left. The result was I was caught off guard and the bike shifted its 800 pounds over onto the right side crash bar. Any of you who ride motorcycles know what my first reaction was….Yeah, I looked around to see if there were any witnesses. There was only an employee of my neighbor across the street that owns a painting company and he did not appear to have noticed. Using the technique I’d learned in “motor school” over three decades ago I attempted to upright my belligerent Harlem-Davis. Alas, it was to no avail. I could not lift it. The afore mentioned neighbor employee was gracious enough to come to my aid and I was shortly on my way.
Ten miles down a country road, ten mile South on Highway 99, then West on I-80 where I take the Mace Blvd. off-ramp in Davis to meet up with Peter Meshot at a nearby coffee shop. I go inside and find Peter just finishing breakfast. We had a cup of coffee and caught up with each other socially. Peter is an attorney and a genuinely nice guy. He is so nice that we often ask him to ride with us even though like three or four other attorneys we sometimes ride with, he rides a BMW. Soon we are back on I-80, then across the top of San Pablo Bay to North on I-101. After 133 miles from Roseville I arrive in Cotati at the Harley-Davidson dealership…45 minutes early to the appointed meeting time. I daydream a few minutes in front of the store where three Harley Davidson three-wheelers are displayed for sale. I know that will not happen so I go on inside and search out and find the ubiquitous coffee pot present at every Harley store. I while away the minutes looking at all the new motorcycles on the showroom floor and lots of shiny parts and accessories. Unexpectedly George walks up behind me and I immediately recognize that he has not arrived on his motorcycle (i.e. his hair is combed, he’s in a short sleeve shirt and his eyes are clear).
It is at this point in his story that George said I tended to be “blunt and raunchy”. In reality what happened was I had to endure a litany of whining and excuses as to why he couldn’t get his several times rebuilt motorcycle (he’s not called Crash Cramer for nothing) started. I didn’t really respond at the time, even though I was tempted to remind him of the lovely Cathy’s admonition last Monday. I went with Peter to ask around about a good place to go for lunch and lost sight of George. Ready to go, we found George out front with not one, but two of the free bags of popcorn. I think it was at this point that I told George I was not going to go to Ft. Bragg with a guy driving a car. We decided we would go on up about ten miles for lunch at a place recommended by one of the mechanics. Peter and I took off up the road on our bikes with George following in his sporty Ford Edge…BTY George: A Ford Edge is not a SUV.
We arrived at the recommended Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol just before the lunchtime rush. George sat next to me at the table and Peter sat across from us. George immediately pulled out his cell phone and started looking for a number. I asked him who he was calling and he told me he had already reserved us a room in Ft. Bragg. I replied, “Let me guess. It’s a best Western”. He sheepishly replied that it was. I explained to Peter that this was a typical Cramer ploy to obtain the “Bonus Points” from Best Western’s Riders Rewards Program, of which we are both members. I told George again, “I’m not staying”. He replied, “But they have a 24 hour cancelation policy, I’ll still have to pay for the room”. “Sorry George, I’m not staying…have a good time”. George goes ahead and calls the Best Western and starts whining to them about having to cancel the reservation. Hearing his tale of woe they take pity on him and offer to let him come another day. He whines back that he won’t be back that way for some time because his bike “broke down”. The motel relents according to George, because he is such a good customer and a “Platinum Member”. The lunch we ordered is delivered to the table and I end up splitting my $12.50 burger with Peter…pretty good burger, but over-priced”. While eating it is decided that Peter is going to take off for home via the back roads to Sacramento. He had only intended to ride with us until after lunch any way. I agree to go with George to his house and help him get his bike going. We ride there via the East Shore Highway to I-580 into Dublin. George for some reason makes a big deal of my not wanting to go to Livermore Harley out off of Greenville Road. I lived in Livermore for 32 years and rode/drove that stretch of I-580 virtually every day…I hate it! It is especially bad in the afternoons when traffic begins backing up. As that is the route I’d have to take home, I simply did not care to do it twice. But, since he is my buddy, and he usually needs supervision in cases like this, I deigned to go along with him.
So we drive down the freeway. We get the battery and go back to the house and get it installed. The bike starts right up (what I told him three days ago, “Get a new battery”). Back down the freeway to have the charging system checked out to validate the battery warranty. We part ways at this juncture and I head out East on I-580 beginning my last 120 miles towards home. I arrive home at about 5:00 P.M. where an odometer check reveals I’ve travel 331 miles…over 300 of that on freeways. The beautiful Sue is happy to see me because she now doesn’t have to cook dinner. I was a little frustrated, but I got over it, at least until I saw George’s version of the day.
As I observed at the beginning, George tends to engage in a lot of truth bending and hyperbole in writing of our adventures. I have made attempts in the past too correct some of his antics. You might remember that in one of his earlier blogs he described having a totally unsatisfactory dinner of liver and onions at a diner in Northern California. Well…I tried, unsuccessfully, to post two photos of that event. The first showed George hovering over a fully loaded plate of liver and onions, mashed potatoes, all awash in brown gravy. Since he likes nicknames I should mention that a mutual buddy nicknamed George, “Gravy Boy” on a ride to the East coast two years ago…that was because he had gravy on something at every meal…even breakfast. But I digress…the second photo shows George holding up the now completely clean plate. I attempted to put those photos on his blog but it would allow me to and George refused to do so.
I guess I’ve made my points I wanted to make. I hope you’ve enjoyed the rest of the story, and continue enjoy George’s writing. I love the guy and look forward to a lot more Spur of the Moment Rides that Are.
It has a ring of truth to it. I guess