Wednesday ended up not being a good day for me. Oh, it started out alright as the rain that had been falling for what seemed like days had finally ended early in the morning. That meant that my 40 mile ride to New Castle Harley-Davidson for my noon service appointment would be dry.
When I left home the sky was a brilliant blue with just a few puffy white clouds. The morning ride over was refreshing with the air clean and the trees as green as green could be. I got to the shop a bit early and had to wait a little while for my selected wrench to show up for his shift. When he comes in he looks like he’s sicker than a dog, he was.
Ever the trooper as sick as he looked and felt, he took a look at what I needed done and started into the project. After getting to the area of the bike where he would be working he looked at the wire connection, the new parts, the instructions and then me. “This isn’t going to work. The connections are different.” I’m thinking, what the …
We reread the instructions and saw that the company had sent the right parts according to the compatibility chart, but of course my bike had to be different. It had wire connections from a different, newer, model year bike. A quick check upstairs found a set of connectors that would work. Things were looking up, again, and soon I was ready to roll. It was a good thing to because the skies were starting to cloud over and looking ominous.
I headed home sure that I could make it before the rain hit again. And I would have made it except that about half way home while making a lane change I felt the bike sort of slip sideways. Thinking I may have run over a tarred-over seam I looked back and saw no such seam. Then the bike started making some more bad moves and I knew what was wrong. I was getting a flat tire.
Looking down I could see that the front tire was up so I knew it had to be the back tire that was going flat. I eased off the throttle, geared down and started using the front brake. At the same time I turned my right turn signal on, thank goodness for the LED turn signals, and frantically started motioning to a truck that was entering the highway to give me some room to pull off. Thankfully he slowed a bit and let me cross in front of him to get to the berm.
After I got stopped I took a look at the rear wheel and called the shop. “Hey guys guess what? Come and get me.” I told them where I was and they said they’d have a guy there asap. I figured it would be about a half hour so I sat back and watched the sky get nastier and nastier. You know in that half hour it surprised me that not one good Samaritan stopped to see what was wrong or render aid. It also surprised me that I didn’t see any cops or other motorcycles.
When the truck arrived we pushed the big heavy bike with the flat tire into the back of the trailer and headed back to New Castle. At the shop we rounded up some more help to get the bike out of the trailer. Just as we got the bike into the shop the heavens opened up. Now the weatherman had predicted that we would get scattered showers later in the afternoon so I figured this was a passing shower and it would quit raining by the time the tire was changed.
Wrong, in fact the rain quickly intensified and then the wind started kicking up. Pretty soon the shop’s office girls came running down the steps to the basement where the service area is and said their cell phones were going off with a tornado warning. One of the girls’ mother called and said that the tornado was coming towards the shop. Marvelous. Luckily it didn’t hit the shop but did do some damage just a couple miles away.
Finally a couple hours later the rain slowed and the lightning had subsided to where I felt it was safe to start home, again. Hey, I had fresh air in a good tire, the bike was rolling normal and this wasn’t my first ride in the rain. Heck it was only 40 miles so I took my time and made it safely home. Yes, even though I had my rain coat on the rest of me got wet and I had to dump water out of my boots when I took then off, but it was warm rain.
Post and images: Sam Kanish