Day 8: Good News and Bad News and More Good News; I think.


Sometimes bad news turns out to be good and good news bad.  It can be hard to tell. Kierkegaard said that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.

Some of the good news is that Jeff and I made it to California! Yippee!We are thrilled about that! We’ve covered over 2500 miles in 8 days. Right now we’re holed up at the Green Tree Inn in Victorville, California. We had hoped to get to San Bernardino and we almost made it but then fate struck.

We made it across the Mohave Desert, through miles and miles of open spaces, with no exits and no places to stop. Not a place you want to break down. After we got through it we decided that our next step would be to stop at the Harley dealer in Victorville for a break. Just as we took the exit and headed up the ramp I went to shift gears and felt my foot shifter go loose. Not again! I was stuck in third! I over-revved and tried to nurse her down the road but eventually she wouldn’t go any further. I pulled over, blocking the bicycle lane, and cut the engine. I took out the tools and tried to tighten it, but it was tight enough. Not a good sign. Then I tried to manually move the shifter to get it into first but it wouldn’t work. Now it was stuck in neutral, like me, unable to go anywhere. One of the great things about being a biker is that other bikers will always stop and try to help you. I had three folks who stopped by within 10 minutes. One, fortunately enough, turned out to be the service manager at the Harley dealership and tried to fix it on the spot but couldn’t. He said he would go get the truck. I thanked him. Jeff phoned a few times reassuring me. He was at the Harley dealership; someone was on the way. After about 30 minutes the manager showed up with a truck and trailer. We had to wait until the light was green and push the bike across the road to get to his truck. After we secured it I rode with him to the dealership. Matt, my rescuer, said he would have it checked out as soon as possible

It all depends on how you look at things doesn’t it? It was bad to break down, but if you’re going to do it then a mile from the Harley dealership is better than the Mohave Dessert. I found Jeff and gave him a manly, restrained hug. He stiffened a little.

“Gene, don’t do that. We’re at the Harley dealership.”

“Yeah, but we’re at a Harley dealership in California!” I replied.

“So why don’t you just go all around here,” his arm panned the parking lot filled with bikers.

“I just might.” I laughed.

Jeff went to take a phone call and meanwhile, I had a look around. The place was amazing. It was Friday afternoon and they were having a hot rod and Harley show. They had music, food and drinks. My favorite car was the Avanti Studebaker. I got a drink, sat on a bench in the sun, watched the muscle and race cars go by and listened to the 50’s and 60’s music.

Later Matt approached with a grim look on his face. “I’ve got some bad news.” He said. “Your clutch is shot. Here, lemme show you.” I followed him back to the repair area and we walked up to the bike; easily the most beautiful bike there. The mechanic who had checked her out approached. “See this?” He said, pointing to the clutch chamber. He showed me what the problem was.

He spun the disc. “It’s not supposed to do that.”

I hate it when mechanics say that! “What about fixing it?” I asked

“We’ll have to get inside and see what the problem is, how bad it is and what parts we’ll need. But I won’t be able to work on it till tomorrow.”

“That’s fine.” I said. “Can you fix it?’

“Yes sir we can, but we’ll need to see what parts we need.”

We agreed that the manager Matt would phone me tomorrow and let me know more.

Matt said: “Sorry about this man.”

I replied. “Could have been worse. Could have been the transmission.”I thanked them and said: “Fine. Thank you gentlemen. Let me know.”

Matt said: “You’re taking things really well.”

The mechanic said: “Yeah, you’re cool. Most people would be shouting.”

I looked at the mechanic and said: “Look I figure things happen for a reason. I’ve driven over 2500 miles and just crossed the desert. It could have happened out there, miles from anywhere. And where does it break down? As soon as I turn off the road for the Harley Davidson dealership.

He laughed. “Yeah, there could be worse places. I can take it apart tomorrow and see how bad the problem is, but I can fix it.”

I laughed. “I’m just glad I’m here.” I looked at the Harley repairman who had a grim smile and was nodding. “I figure the clutch went bad,” I continued, “so that I will end up here and the bike would be put in your capable hands.”

He chuckled. “I’ll take good care of her.” He smiled.

So they would call me in the morning. Meanwhile, Jeff, bless his heart, booked us this motel. We loaded up some of my stuff onto his bike and he headed out. I walked the short 1 ½ distance to the motel. For some reason I felt relaxed and happy.

One thought on “Day 8: Good News and Bad News and More Good News; I think.

  1. Glad you both arrived safely in California. Traveling mercies and blessings.

    VI
    Sit and be still
    until in the time
    of no rain you hear
    beneath the dry wind’s
    commotion in the trees
    the sound of flowing
    water among the rocks,
    a stream unheard before,
    and you are where
    breathing is prayer.
    ~Wendell Berry, Sabbath Poems

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