Monthly Archives: June 2020

Long Ride Update—More Bad News

Roadrunner Harley called today. I wish they hadn’t. “Boss, good news.” Here is where I was hoping they would say the parts are in, and the bike is ready to go.

NOT SO!

“One of the parts came in, and the other should be here in a day or two.”

Instead of telling the guy what I thought, I politely thanked him and disconnected the call.

Question: I two parts were shipped on one order from Milwaukie, how is it that one arrived today, and the other part is expected in a day or two?

Use your imagination and you will hear many of those words that would get your mouth washed out with soap.

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BAD – BORING – WORSE!

Today should be Day 9 of the ride; instead, it is Day 7 of sitting.

When Roadrunner Harley said it would take three or four days to get the parts to fix the Ultra, I was less than happy. Yesterday, almost a week later, they called. “Sorry, Boss, we won’t have the parts until Wednesday or Thursday.” You can probably imagine the words that came out of my well-known potty mouth. It appears the regulator and stator had not been shipped.

I called Mrs. Cramer and asked her to book me on the next flight home. I wanted to get the fish smell out of Mr. and Mrs. JAK’s home. As my Dad used to say: “Fish and visitors stink after three days.”

Got on a direct Southwest flight at 1:30 p.m. All the middle seats were left open. Got a can of water, dribbled all over the front of my soon to be tossed T-Shirt. I’ve flown hundreds of times and around the world three or four times. The seat was the hardest and most uncomfortable two hours I’ve ever experienced, even worse than eighteen hours in strap seats in a WWII vintage Navy cargo plane.

It’s good to be home with Mrs. Cramer.

When the bike is ready, I’ll fly back to Phoenix and continue on the ride—much abbreviated.

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Good, Boring, Bad – On two wheels?

 

Day 1- Saturday 6/6/2020 Started well with a tailwind. That was fine until I turned south, and that same wind pushed almost sideways off the road. In and out of wind tunnels for a hundred miles or so. Then running below the flow of traffic at 80+ mph on I-5. But sure ate up the miles. When I turned onto SR 138, it was a smooth ride, and a bit of scenery again had a tailwind, nice road, smooth as silk. Hit cruise control. After a couple of minutes, glanced at the speedometer, 90 mph in a 55 zone. Dropped to 75 until I the 210 and turned toward the coast, and now the wind was pushing me around again.
210 and I-10 to San Bernardino was an experience. At 85 mph, I was forced to the slow lane. The fast lane was 95 to 100 mph.

528 miles got me to the Best Western in Indio as I enjoyed the welcome dust blowing in the wind. What an experience check-in was.

What a boring day. The only positive was being on two wheels.

Day 2 – Sunday – Not as boring even without any scenery

Sgt. JAK woke me before 7:00 a.m. “You up yet?”

Hit the road and missed the turn to I-10. A mile down the road, asked a guy in a jeep, “If I keep going straight, will I hit the I-10?” He pointed straight ahead and said yes. I kept going for 35 miles. Stopped at the end of the Salton Sea in Imperial County. Checked my map, made a U-Turn, and back the way I had come for a 70-mile experience to the I-10. Trust me; the Salton Sea is not much in the way of scenery.

I-10 is not quite as boring as I-5, but not much less. Crossing into Arizona, I was feeling the heat and felt as though heat stroke was a possibility. It may have taken me 76 years to realize, when that happens, you should get out of the sun. I pulled into the first rest stop, drank two fruit juice packs, a bottle of water, and splashed water on my head a few times and sat in the shade. After a half hour, I felt refreshed and got back on the road.
Being in Arizona, I kept the speed down to 80 mph and watched those doing 90+ fly by.
About thirty miles from JAK’s place outside Phoenix, the cruise control bucked and quit working. This is usually a clue. The amp meter dropped and indicated no charging. I figured I could keep going and get closer to civilization as long as the battery had some juice. Nope, after a couple of miles, everything failed. As I pulled to the side of the road, I spied an overpass ahead. Time to get into the shade for what I knew would be a wait of several hours. I made it.

I pulled out the iPhone. Crap, almost out of charge because the GPS sucks power like the sun melts ice. I did manage to call the Harley-Davidson Road America and get the process started. Four cages and one BMW Motorcycle stopped and offered help. Four Harley’s went by without stopping.

I called JAK, and he came out and got my gear. When the two arrived, the operator was a woman. She was a character. In large letters, she had “TOW CHICK” tattooed on her neck.
IMG_7078Loading was an adventure. The bed of the truck was as slick as snot with oil. Of course, JAK had to get a photo of me sitting on the scooter on the truck. Almost a duplicate of a photo he took about ten years ago when the bike broke down on the way to Sturgis.

We get to Roadrunner H-D. No service personnel until 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. They would not allow me to lock the Ultra inside. “I’ll lock it up in front of the service door.” That was not well received, but look where it’s parked and locked.

I’ll be waiting when they open.

IMG_7080 (002)

 

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The Time Is Here

Tomorrow I hit the road, two days to Phoenix, grab Sgt. JAK and we will be on the road.

Over the years, during road trips, I’ve accumulated a small collection of T-Shirts. My wife believes I have collected far too many. We have agreed to disagree on that. However, I’ve found the collection has multiplied. In the photo are quite a few shirts. Believe it or not, I have worn one each day since Shelter-in-Place started.

After not much debate with she-who-must-be-obeyed, not much because I never win, we have an agreement. She will take one of the stacks to Goodwill. I tried to choose the one to take, but it was impossible. Each has a strong sentimental value. There’s the Sturgis one from my first trIMG_7071 (002)ip there. Santa Fe, where I earned my MFA, three shirts, from H-D, and IAIA. The Big Island of Hawaii, we traversed the entire island in one day. The list goes on. There is one shirt missing from Alaska. It was cut off by a Para-Medic just before my airlift to Medford, Oregon.

It’s a secret, so don’t tell Mrs. Cramer.               I’m going to begin restocking on this ride.

 

Take Care, Ride Safe, Stay Safe.

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