Ok, so we're at Denneys, shoveling grub down our necks & this was the only part of the night that wasn't somehow a pain in the ass, awkward, disturbing or in any other way not normal...
The girls had bailed & so had Martin, leaving Levi & the skinney kid with a disproportionately large head. They were driving a late 70's GMC van ala rapist style. Blacked out windows, folding bed / futon thing in back, shag carpeting & a stereo that could make your ears bleed from a good few city blocks away.
So we started making a plan... & it went about as well as any other plan I've tried to devise in my time. They live in a town called Wamego. Being closer to I-70 now, I was going to head out that way to make quick time & they were going to follow me since Wamego was strait north on 99 at I-70's exit 328. I figured that was best 'cause on the way to Denny's, even with them having a internet Ipod with directions we got lost on the way to Denny's for an hour while I followed their smoking & wheezing van around downtown KC! I finally pulled up to them at a light & says, 'Where the fuck are we goin'? They says, 'Hell if I know, we'll follow you!' I didn't know exactly where we were at but I knew which way we were headed & have always been a good navigator. I've done downtown KC in a rig & been to Wamego to poke a few test holes so we all voted that I take the lead.
We leave Denny's with a full gut & I find I-70 without much drama... Then the shit hit the fan. The entire time I kept slowing down as the GMC could barely carry a 60 mph pace. Then, not even out of KC yet I see the wigwags come & they pull over, great.
I make it back to them & they've got the hood up with the dipstick out & smoke is rolling out of the dipstick hole....
Oh yeah, it had already rained just a bit but that was while we were inside the Beaumont. Now it looked as if the clouds were going to open up any second & produce a Noah-like experience.
I ask them what happened, they didn't know, just saying, 'it kept losing power.'
'Did it start knocking?'
'I don't know.'
'What was your temperature? Did it have oil pressure?'
Blank stares... After a few moments Levi says he think's the gauges don't work.
As I suspected, my new friends are about as mechanically inclined as Paris Hilton & there wasn't a drop of oil in the motor. I figured the motor was screwed but to make them happy as they thought otherwise, the skinny kid with a disproportionately large head & I hop on my girl to find a station with oil. I only have one passenger peg at the moment so he had to hold his leg up off the pipe. We find a station, get oil & get back without him somehow falling off while holding one foot & a five quarts of oil in the other arm at highway speed.
I should have just hopped the median like I did the first time as there was barely any traffic but no... I had to do the responsible & legal thing, taking the next exit, three miles later, as it was a separated four lane I was beginning to get impatient & inform my amputee wannabe passenger to hold on... 'We're about to encounter some turbulence.'
I slow down, riding along the edge of the median, checking things out & make a break for it. Come to find out, it was rather deep & steep as I find myself seeing nothing but sky. This was the point that my passenger decides to throw his leg holding arm around my neck to keep falling off the bike. I almost was out of the ditch just from shear momentum until the back tire broke loose on the wet grass & I almost spilled the whole mess... Almost
Somehow, instinctively feathering the clutch just right to lessen the power to the rear wheel with someone hanging around my neck screaming like a school girl we come out of the ditch all crossed up & I get back in control of the mess.
After the initial shock of the situation left my passenger he tells me something about how crazy I am & how cool that was. I probably said something like 'I meant to do that.' Being all smooth like I always am!
So back at the GMC we dump in all the oil in, while doing so, Levi says, 'what else can God do to us?'
Smooth jackass! Never temp fate I've learned..
He gets in to crank it over & the battery is dead, plum freak'n dead. Literally seconds later it started raining.. Not any rain, this was a storm after Noah's flood's own heart.
I semi angrily explain that my girl isn't going to get rained on if I can help it so we fling the doors open, throw the subs on top of the futon & slide it all the way back. Lifting an approximately 450 lb motorcycle into the side of a van is a lot harder than one would seem to think. We get it in there with pure determination without screwing anything up & take shelter inside the GMC shortly afterwards realizing that we would soon be high as hell on gas fumes.
Apparently that tiny little leak my petcock has that I've been neglecting seems considerably larger when couped up inside a van. This fact still didn't stop us from smoking, I figure the fumes couldn't have been THAT potent. It takes us an hour to flag someone down (actually Levi stood out in the rain the entire time cause we voted that it's was his fault the battery was dead & raining.) A guy from Iowa pulls over & in the coarse of jumping the van tells us he's headed to Idaho to go white water rafting.
'I don't know, just seems weird.'
'You seem weird.'
Now where'd he get THAT idear?
So we get the GMC started & Houston... We have a problem. The problem is a very pronounced bottom end knock. Levi turns around as I'm leaning over my girl trying to listen to the motor.
'What do ya think?'
'I think your motor is about to blow.'
'Really? Wanna see how far we can make it?'
'Hell if I care! It's your damn motor!'
We had already sent off Iowa boy so Levi drops the GMC in gear & pulls out, going for broke. The GMC felt like it had the power of a lawn mower & sounded like a midget was under the hood with a two-pound sledge whacking everything as hard as he could.
'We'll just see if we can make it to exit 328 & drop you off there. Thanks a lot for not ditchin' us man.'
'No problem, I've been in a lot worse situations than this.'
I go to lay down next to my girl, which wasn't strapped down in anyway, shape, form or fashion. I take this picture just for proof,
About a minute later the motor gives a wheezing noise & locks up making all kinds of interesting noises while doing so. Pulling over to the shoulder & just about shut down something, I have no idear what, locks the rear tires up (it's an auto so I still don't know how this happened) throwing me & my girl into the back of the front seats. Whatever little latch holds the backs gave out under the weight which in turn folded the skinny kid & Levi up like pocket knives in the seats & against the dash as we're sliding sideways towards a wimpy looking looking guardrail having a good thirty foot drop to a very busy road right past it.
Levi's eyes were as big as softballs, his head wedged sideways in the top part of the steering wheel. Skinny kid was screaming again, but it was muffled because his head was crammed in his own lap. I remember seeing all this happening before me, almost in slow motion & thinking something along the lines of 'bring it on' while I reached in my pocket for another smoke. I can just see the headlines now.
"Van crashes from overpass in hurricane like weather, gets ran over by semi & somehow a motorcycle ends up right in the middle of the mess blowing the whole damn thing to bits from gas leak."
Of course since I'm still here telling you all this, that didn't happen. It does however remind me that I need to update my will!
We stop feet from the guardrail & rearrange our new living quarters, as we're going to be here awhile. They're arguing about who to call & how pissed that person is going to be because in listening to the conversation, I find out that the skinny kid with a disproportionately large head still lives at home & it's his van.
I try to go to sleep but never really remember doing so as the entire time I could hear rigs going by & feel the rock of the GMC as they did. My insomnia is getting worse. I lay there the whole time as they call people, all which were infact very pissed & after an undetermined amount of time the side door slides open. It's skinny kid's little brother, I look at my phone, 4:20am. I'm supposed to be at work in three hours, I send a message that insures I wouldn't be needed at work. I'm not going into that...
I talk to Skinny kid's little brother, he informs me that he hadn't caught rain on the way & that he tried to come up with a board or ramp or something to load up my girl & give me a lift to 99. He drove a lifted pickup that's tailgate was at least double the height of the GMC's door.
'No big D man, thanks anyways.'
We all shake hands, exchange numbers & I take off. Ny new plan was to get on the other side of the pike side, to Topeka & fuel up, maybe try to fall asleep somewhere.
I accomplish this rather quickly, or what seems quickly in my mind & make Topeka before dawn. I go to a familiar station, fuel up, grab a gatorade & a Aleve, telling the attendant that I'm going to fall asleep in the parking lot. That's when you know you're tired, when you can fall asleep in a gas station parking lot right at dawn as the rush is coming on laying on concrete with your head propped up against a wire wheel.
I actually feel asleep because I remember waking up to a kid, about 3 or so pointing at me & asking 'Are you ok mister?' His mother runs along & grabs his hand, dragging him away from what she must have thought to be a horrible sight.
I check the oil on my girl & she's low. It's monday, so there's no motorcycle shops open. I go to Wally World & buy the cheapest strait thirty weight thinking the cheaper stuff it is, the less 'advanced friction reducers' it might have to prevent total clutch ownage. I only had to add about a third of a quart & it'll be out soon so no worries!
I head out back on I-70 giving a shit less about anything than getting to the house & a good shower as I can even smell myself at this point knowing I must be a nuisance to others. I pull two hours at an easy 80mph+ as not a single anything passed me along the way. I couldn't feel my right hand most the time riding right in that pesky vibration I told you about in the first installment. Actually, I couldn't really feel anything, pretty much numb to the world at this point in autopilot. About 20 miles to my exit I get fuel again & as I'm opening the door to leave after paying a very polite, petite & attractive curly headed mid 20's gal, a bicyclist almost smashes into the door as I instinctively jump back. Stupid fucking bicyclists!
This gets my nerves going & I'm mostly awake as a result of this, she talks to me for a second, I don't remember what she said exactly but it seemed like an open invitation to flirt. I can't imagine why, as I had to look like warmed over death at this point, so being ahead for once, I excuse myself telling her something along the lines of, 'Nice to meet you ma'am but I must be going along now. Have a good day.' With a smile, I walk out & hit the road, she smiled back.
I'm going to try to drop by that same station sometime when I actually look decent & strike up a conversation with her when my mind is functional.
The sky once again looks as if a flash flood is possible at exit 233 & it begins to sprinkle, I only have to make it to 225 to head south hopefully outrunning it as the wind is picking up strong out of the north. I pull off & hide under an over pass as the sky opens up. I wrap my digi & new signed cd's in plastic bags & send out text messages to friends along the way asking about weather conditions. Replies back say sunshine but to hurry up as right above I-70 is pretty much being wiped from the face of the earth. As I prep myself to head out in the worse storm I've ever been caught in two electrical trucks & a storm spotter blow past me, the spotter had to be doing close to triple digits. The shit's about to hit the fan & I ain't stick'n around to see what happens!
I ride as fast as I can hold my girl on the road passing everything in sight like they were standing still. It feels as if I have a nail gun shooting into my skull & grab exit 225, finding out that even cheap cheng shins have decent rain traction. Her ass end broke loose for just a second around the turn, I counter steering into the slide & feathering the throttle, get both wheels back in a line. After a few miles of way prohibitive speed I find myself in front of the storm but still catching bits of it. I'm heading south west & it's heading strait south. Even when it was clear I went as fast as I possibly could, a solid KZ under me & lightning crashing frighteningly close, almost blinding. A gale force wind catches me & flings me onto the opposing shoulder, I'm leaning as hard as I can into it & barely winning the battle back to my lane.
It begins to hail, about dime size, beating me half to death, taking what little vision I have & throwing out the door. I try to stop but 32 year old brakes soaking wet apparently don't work so well. I'm standing on the brakes as hard as I can, leaning into the wind as I come around a curve pointing me pretty much strait south. What little I could see was hail literally 'falling' strait flat with the ground. The rear brake is gone, pressing the pedal clear down to the pipe, it won't go any farther. I take off my goggles as they've completely fogged over. The good news is I can see decently well as the storm is to my back pounding into my back protector absorbing most of the pain of the hail. The bad news is that I am not stopping whether I want to or not, with no rear brake, I put both feet on the ground, just trying to keep my girl shiny side up.
All four fingers around the front brake with all my strength simply steadies my speed, I let off once & sped up!
As I was now a captive on my own motorcycle with no brakes & a raging storm pushing me I try to evalute what I can do... My only choice I saw was to make it to Ellsworth, about six miles south & find shelter there as there's nothing for shelter where I was. 156 south bends back to the west as it approaches Ellsworth. Shit was blowing across the road, limbs, signs & stuff I didn't know what it was, unidentifiable because of speed or lack of clarity. This seriously could have been a scene out of 'Twister'.
I stay on top of my girl, how I did without crashing & being beat unconscious I'm not sure but I bet detirmination had something to do with it. The only way I found I could slow down once I spotted the open lean to in front of the local grocery store was down shifting as a furious rate in combination with standing on the brakes.
The entire time my girl never died, lights never flickered & God only knows how tight she was wrapping as I was carelessly banging down gears. I can't blame the brake failure on her, as it's only a result of my own neglect & simply putting her in a situation I don't think any motorcycle could have handled well. This motorcycle is simply amazing.
I slide under the lean to & standing there is the butcher. Imagine a stereotypical butcher & it's exactly what I met within a foot of crashing through the store's glass door. A scrubby, sawed off mid 40's guy standing there in a blood covered apron holding a meat tenderizer & had a marlboro hanging from his lips.
I try to keep my composure & ask if they have coffee inside. He simply nods his head yes staring at me like I'm something out of a Joules Verne novel. I walk inside, shaking & dripping wet. It's all I could do to hold a cup half full of coffee without spilling it everywhere. I suck down a few cups, scalding my tongue but warming my gut & make my way to the women's bathroom as the guys was occupied & strip stark ass naked wringing out my clothes I using the entire roll of towels in a frail attempt to dry off. At this point my feet are obviously soaked & that kiddos is when my 'give a fuck' is officially busted. I can take damn near any situation, any obstacle, anything period as long as my feet aren't wet. Once that line is crossed, stay out of the way, nothing matters, it's just my peeve.
I re-clothe myself & go outside finding one semi dry Pall Mall, slurping coffee down with it. People were staring, pointing & whispering things. I pace outside trying to gather myself & try not to bite anyone's head off that asks me something stupid like, 'You rode a bike through that?' or 'Are you ok?'
The storm clears, I head for the house under clear beautiful blue skies. Mostly calm at this point & being grateful for still being topside, about ten miles down the road there wasn't a drop on the ground... If I could have just rode a little quicker I could have made it.
Oh well, it makes for a damn good story & learning experience. My girl is more reliable than an anvil & even with my complete momentary disregards for physical well being, traffic laws, acceptable social behavior or generally level headed thought processes I haven't met a situation yet I haven't come out on top of yet...
Hope ya'll enjoyed, cheers!