When you ride a motorcycle all day for several days in a row, you get tired. I was drinking five hour energy drinks all the way across the country. In the morning after a good breakfast, I would feel great, but after about fifty miles down the road I would feel exhausted. The tiredness from the days on the road accumulate, so when I pulled in the the clubhouse where they held the rally in Alabama, I was ready to relax and party. Thursday night we partied at the clubhouse and had a great time. Friday morning we went on a short ride for lunch and ate at a restaurant that was a combination micro brewery and restaurant. After that we went to a park where there was a scenic area where you could stand at the railing and look at a majestic looking water falls that flowed down into a canyon. The scenery was green and pretty. Is was much different than the high desert of Southern California where I am from. It surprised me how many of these big burly bikers, and their wives who were following my post on Face Book that wanted to get their picture taken with me and the toy chopper. Some of them I knew before hand and some of them I was just meeting. After we finished at the park we headed back to the clubhouse and partied. And believe me, the Alabama brothers and their old ladies know how to let their hair down and party. I was having a good time feeling now pain when I turned in that night.
The next morning, it rained and it rained hard. If you’ve ever been to northern Alabama, you know what I am talking about. I learned a valuable lesson. Do not, and I repeat, do not leave your helmet hanging over the mirror on your motorcycle by the strap with the inside facing up. Our ride that morning was delayed by the rain, but it let up a little and we were about to head out. I went our to get on my bike and my helmet was full of water. I emptied the water out of my helmet, took it back into the clubhouse to dry and rode with someone in a cage. Our club has a few chapters in northern Alabama so we spent the day visiting other chapter clubhouses and hand a great time. That night we had the big party and we partied hard. I had a great time and it got pretty wild. Sunday morning everyone started for home. Shaggy and Burnout started west for California and I headed north. Some of the brothers from Alabama rode with me part way and we stopped at a park that had a scenic view point that over looked the Tennessee river. We took some pictures, shot the shit for a while and then said our final good-byes. I headed north and they head back to the clubhouse. For the first part of my trip that day the weather was good. I rode through Chattanooga Tennessee passing through a portion of Georgia then hit Interstate 40 east and then took the 81 north and headed up into Virginia. The rain started up an hindered my progress so I found a motel and spent a night in Virginia. The next morning I headed north once more. In northern Virginia. I stopped in Staunton Virginia for a while and stopped on Donaghe street and took my picture under street street sign bearing by last name. At one point I saw a dark cloud ahead of me and got slammed by rain. It was coming down in buckets. I pulled off the interstate looking for somewhere to get out of the rain and the only place I could find was a hospital. I parked the bike in their parking lot and stood under an awning and watched the rain come down. The storm passed and I headed north once more passing through a portion of West Virginia and then crossed the border into Maryland. For the most part, the weather was good that day. I headed up through Pennsylvania. The roads in Pennsylvania were full of potholes. I had just crossed the border into New York, when the engine on my Triumph Rocket three shut off.
I pulled over to the side of the interstate on the shoulder and turned the ignition off then tried to restart the motor, but the battery was dead. There I was standing on the side of the interstate calling my insurance company to get a tow. They told me that they would call me back. They did and said that the soonest that they could get a tow truck out to pick me and the bike up would be in about four hours. I was on the phone with them when the state police showed up. First it was a woman by herself. I was on the phone with the insurance when she pulled up. I hung up my phone so I could deal with her. They wanted me off the interstate. A short time later another New York State Police car showed up. This one was a man. I told him what my insurance agent had said and he told me that he could have a tow truck there in twenty minutes, so I told him to call them. The woman left and the male state trooper stayed until the tow truck showed up. When the tow truck arrived the State Trooper left. The bed of the flat bed tow truck was covered in oil so we had to be careful pushing my bike onto the bed. The nearest Triumph dealership was in Syracuse New York, about fifty miles north of where I intended to head east. We arrived at the Triumph dealership about a half hour before closing time. They took a quick look at my bike and told me that my battery was toast so I bought a new one. They installed it and said everything checked out fine, so found a motel and checked in. I knew that Syracuse must be close to the Canadian border because the flag pole out front flew both the American flag and the Canadian flag. While I was there I met some people from Canada. One was riding a Can-AM Spider another guy was riding a Triumph and a couple of people were riding Harley’s. I went out side to smoke and found a set of keys on a table. I turned them into the front desk. Later I found out that it belonged to the guy riding the Spider. He was very happy to get them back. I went out for dinner, bought some munchies and beer for the room and then settled in for the night, and of course I took a picture of me and the chopper.
The next morning when I woke up it was raining. After I ate at the motel’s Continental breakfast, I packed up my gear and checked out. When I left the motel it was just drizzling a little bit. I took an alternate route, headed south for a bit and then caught a turnpike heading east. I had no sooner got onto the turnpike when the rain started coming down hard. It was raining so hard that I didn’t feel safe to be on two wheels. There were no underpasses or bridges to get out of the weather so I took the first exit I could find and pulled into a McDonald’s restaurant. I stepped into the McDonald’s, soaking wet, dripping water and feeling like a drowned rat. Sitting at a couple of tables was a group of old men. The youngest must have been in his seventies. They looked like the regular McDonald’s crew. One of them looked up at me and said, “Buy yourself a cup of coffee and pull up a chair.” So I did. I sat there talking with these old guys for about forty five minutes drinking coffee and listening to their stories. I told them about my trip which they thought was cool and they told me stories about what was happening in their lives. Finally the rain stopped, we said our good-byes and I got back on the turnpike heading east. The rain started up again so I pulled under a bridge to get out of it. While I was sitting there under a bridge I took out my cell phone and checked my Doppler Radar App. There was a big storm, but it was moving away from me. I spent most of the morning riding until I hit rain, then waiting for the storm to move on and then riding until I caught up to it again. I stopped at one rest stop and this guy walking toward me asked, “Did you get caught up in that big traffic tie up?”
I said, “No.” He told me that an eighteen wheeler crossed over into the east bound lanes and tipped over. He said that the driver was okay though and no one else got hurt. I guess I had just missed it. As I continued on, the rain stopped but I still had my rain gear on. I was just about to cross into the state of Massachusetts when the gages on the bike started to act up so I pulled off the interstate. I was no longer on a toll rode. On my side of the interstate, was an old abandoned gas station so I pulled in, turned off the bike had a smoke and a butt break then I tried to start the motor, but it wouldn’t start. My brand new battery was dead. Back on the cell phone, I called my roadside assistance and they said that they would call around to see if they could find a tow truck to come get me. They called me back and said that no one wanted to look at the bike. He said that all the shops were swamped with people servicing their bikes for the riding season and the nearest Triumph dealership that would take a look at my bike was down in New York City in Manhattan. That was at least a hundred miles south of where I was going and in the wrong direction. When I had talked to my daughter Jess, after my first break down, she said that if I broke down again, to call her and they would come pick me up and put my bike in the back of her old man’s truck, but they were one hundred and ninety four miles away, so it would be a while for them to get to me. I called her and told her about my second break down and asked if her offer was still on the table. She said it was and that they would come get me. After talking with my daughter, I looked around me taking in my surroundings. Someone had left an old Lazy Boy chair in a grassy area beside the abandoned gas station. I still had my rain gear on and I wouldn’t get my butt wet, so I sat down to wait. I tried to stay positive and not let things get me down. I walked across the bridge over the interstate to a truck stop and gas station that was open and bought some munchies and something to drink and then went back to where I had left my bike and spent the next two or three hours waiting around sitting in my Lazy Boy. Finally, Jess and her old man along with two of my grand kids showed up. We loaded my bike up into the pickup and tied it down. Climbing into the back seat, we hit the interstate heading east. My plan had been to head to Boston and take the 95 north up to New Hampshire, but I was leery of the big city traffic around Boston. Jess’s old man took a different route. I think he took Interstate 91 north off of the Massachusetts turnpike, headed up into Vermont and then took a two lane highway east and crossed into New Hampshire. I figured to take the same route on the way home. We finally arrived at Jess’ place late that night. I was tired and ready for bed, but I had reached my destination. Even if I rode the last one hundred and ninety four miles in the back seat of a truck. (Coming in a couple of days My 2019 Grand Motorcycle Adventure Part III new Hampshire.)
The McDonald’s Crew
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