Monday, October 20, 2014

The Great Bike Trip - Day 6

Florida was already much more of an adventure than I'd anticipated, so I was ready to make my escape. My sixth day was set to be a leisurely trip to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to stay with some more friends from my newspaper era.

When I finally arose from my slumber, I threw in a load of laundry and took a nice, long shower... both were badly needed. When the laundry was done, I got my things together and let myself out.

By now, I had over 2,000 miles on that used tire I'd picked up in San Antonio, and from the looks of things, tryin' to get the rest of the way home on it wasn't the best of ideas. As it was just after lunchtime, and I only had around 400 miles to go that day, I decided to nip it in the bud and get another thrown on. I jumped on the internet, made a few phone calls, and found a shop just north in Jacksonville that could take care of me. I loaded the bike back up, and off I went.

I found Jacksonville Powersports with no problem, as it was right off I-295. Within 15 minutes, they had the bike on the lift, and I was walkin' out a happy customer 45 minutes later.

Then, once again, the day went to shit.

I'd no sooner got back on the interstate than I started to feel a wobble. I yanked the bike to the shoulder... sure enough, the new tire was flat. I called the shop and explained my dilemma, and before long they had a runner there to pick me up.

With the bike back on the lift back at the shop, they quickly found the problem... somewhere in the nine miles of the new tire's life, I had picked up a staple, and it had punctured just enough to shred the shit outta the tube.

The old heads of the shop got together, and decided that the tire could probably be resurrected, although there was a little bit of damage from the tube spinnin' around inside of it. Twenty minutes later, I was on my way again.

Except I wasn't. I felt one helluva rear tire wobble as I left the parkin' lot, so I turned around and went right back. By now, they were officially closed for the day, but I managed to catch the service manager and the mechanic as they were leavin'. We yanked the bike back in, but after pokin' around for a half-hour, we couldn't find anythin' that would be causin' the wobble. I decided that I could live with it to get home and that I'd take my chances, so we hemmed it up and off I went.

Well, this time I made it about eight miles, then... flat again.

I weighed my options, then finally called my insurance company's roadside assistance for a tow back to the shop. In hindsight, I shoulda just pushed the damn thing. By the time the tow truck got there almost three hours later, it had long since been dark and the skeeters were feastin' on me somethin' fierce.

After gettin' situated back at the shop, I finally came to the realization that in all the excitement, I'd never really had anything to eat or drink all day. With that thought in mind, I bit the bullet and walked up the street to a Waffle House. As hungry and thirsty as I was at that point, I'da paid a million for that junk food. It was phenomenal.

After gettin' my fill, the only thing left to do was to wait 'till mornin'. I didn't really want to draw any undue attention to myself to the local gangbangers or law enforcement, so I set up shop in the bed of the parts truck out front, where I couldn't be seen. With a saddlebag for a pillow, I commenced to gettin' a surprisingly good night's sleep after a purty much worthless day.

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