For the last few weeks, I feel like I've been stuck in a terrible Orson Welles story! "Invasion Of The Road Gremlins." I'm telling you, we are being invaded by by these ugly little focker's and they're stalking me! Help!
It all started about three weeks ago, while Harley and I were riding home from the Bainbridge Bike Fest (Georgia On My Mind and Georgia On My Mind... Still). I was tired from a big weekend of playing, but enjoying my ride home none the less. About 45 miles from home, right after we went through Troy, AL, my engine light came on. Harley and I stopped to check it out. We checked my oil level and it wasn't really low, but could stand a little boost. There was no synthetic oil to be found in the Zippy Rip, and there was nothing around us open that would be of any help. I told H that the light would go off briefly, when I came to stops, but would come back on when I started going up the gears in acceleration. After pondering our dilemma, we decided to push on home. I kept an eye on my gages, the oil pressure looked good, and it ran and sounded just fine.
After we arrived home without any other complications, we added some oil to her and see if that took care of the problem. Harley rode it around the neighborhood but, the light would still come on and off intermittently. Hmmm. She had to go in. Monday afternoon, we dropped my old girl off at the Harley shop and hoped it was nothing serious. I got a call from T, the service dude, and he said I had a battery wire come loose. That can mess with my fuel ratio or run lean, or cause it to miss, any of which could trigger my engine light to come on. All they had to do was tighten up the connection and I was off and running again. Wow! I was pleasantly surprised that my cost was only about 30 minutes of labor. Woo Hoo! Got out of that one pretty good. Just a small "cha-ching". Life is good.... until the next gremlin finds me.
Which didn't take long. I picked my bike up on Tuesday. Thursday, while driving my car to work, my battery light came on, but my battery was not that old. I drive an old '95 Mazda 626, because we are presently supporting two Harley habits at our house. Frankly, I don't care what kind of car I drive, or how old it is, just so I have one when I need one. I called my trusty mechanic that keeps me going and asked, "What does that mean?" His response, "Your alternator may be going." So I said, "Can I just keep my battery on a charger for now and get by?" His answer, "You'll probably be stranded by this afternoon". Crap! This is going pull some more change out of my pocket. Plus, I have errands to run, to prepare for the weekend, because we are going to Panama City for Thunder Beach. Feeling a little annoyed that an ugly little gremlin, graced me with unplanned mechanical costs, I got the car to him before lunch, and rode my motorcycle back to work. I was enjoying the fact that I had backup transportation to get around. Who needs a stinkin' car anyway. Well, he called before I was off work and said I was ready to go, and yes, it was the alternator. Cha-ching!
Well, Harley and I rode to Panama City that Friday, and all this was a distant memory as we enjoyed a great weekend with our friends. A few of our pals decided to get a Poker Game together that Sunday afternoon at the Lone Ranger's place, which is about 25 miles north of Panama City off of Hwy 231. Since we pass right by there on our way home, Harley decided to go and hang out with them, while I had lunch one more time with Red Light Roxanne and Earth Mother, in town. I planned to meet Harley up the road at Lone Ranger's place when I was done, and we would ride on home.
After my friends and I enjoyed our lunch and shared goodbye hugs, I was a lone rider heading out of town to hook up with Harley. I didn't even get 3 miles out of Panama City when I started hearing something not good. It started out like a tapping, and as I tried to determine what I was hearing, it got louder and more erratic. I looked around and didn't see any gremlins, but they had to have been close by. I kept my eyes open for a place to pull off and it was about 1/2 mile before I came to a median u-turn lane. I stopped and parked the bike in a yellow striped area so I was out of everybody's way, but by the time that happened, my tapping had turned into loud grinding and grating like metal parts dancing the two step in the engine of destruction. I knew this was not good! I called Harley and he said to stay put till he got there.
As I waited somewhat impatiently, I was pleasantly surprised at the several offers of help I received. First, a Statie stopped to ask if I needed assistance. I explained that help was on the way and he made sure I had a cell phone before he left me. Nice fella. Next, a really nice man and his wife, pulling two bikes on a trailer did a u-turn down the road to come back to me to see if I needed help. Again, I was impressed that this person went out of his way to check on a fellow rider. Two more bikers stopped, then moved on when assured help was coming. All this time I was thinking how nice it is, that there are still some great folks out there. Thanks to all of you who stopped! I really appreciated that!
Harley got to where I was, in about 25 minutes. After looking at it and trying to figure out what to do, we decided to limp back to Big Ed's place, only about 5 miles away. I went slow with my flasher's on and Harley followed, till we managed to get it to the house. Our decision at that time was to leave the bike with Big Ed and he will take it to a fella there in town the next day to diagnose my breakdown. Harley and I loaded up our stuff and rode double on his Street Glide and went back home to Montgomery (Riding Bitch Again... another post will follow).
After a restless night, stalked with bad dreams of ugly little gremlins, I started my Monday with the hope that my old girl wasn't hurt too bad. I got the dreaded phone call on Tuesday informing me what the Electra Glide's injuries were. The nice voice on the other end of the phone assured me they would treat her real nice and fix what ails her, so I can come back and ride her home by the weekend. That was good news! I needed some by this time. So, when I asked the nice voice to tell me how bad she got hurt, it went something like this. Let's see... Lifters, Cams, Cam Bearings, Push Rods, Electronic Ignition Sensor, Filter, Oil... other parts, labor... ect. (Cha-ching, Cha-ching, Cha-ching!!!).
Oh, woe is me! Them dirty rotten gremlins are messing with my psyche! Not to mention all my non money! But... the nice voice called Friday and said my bike was ready, so I can go get her! By now this will be the third weekend in a row we have not been home. Albeit the first two were planned and fun, this spontaneous trip is starting to make me feel like I'm going and going like the energizer bunny... only tired.
So, we leave right after work on Friday night and we head south to Panama City, again. We were unable to secure a house sitter for all the babies, so we decided to take my Mazda since it's more fuel efficient, and the dogs could go with us. The cats will do okay for two days until we return. We were pleased with ourselves for leaving early enough so we should get there by 9:00 or so. Getting ready to settle in for a nice little ride, we were about 30 miles out of Montgomery when my engine light come on. WTF! I looked, but the dirty rotten gremlin must have been too quick for me to see it! I just had the alternator put in, so surely it must be a false reading! We pondered if we should just keep going, or turn around and get the gas guzzling Ford F150. We pondered for only a moment before we turned around and headed back to the house to exchange vehicles and get gas. Cha-ching!
At least we finally got to Panama City with no further problems, and we did get to enjoy the weekend with our friends again. I want to thank my three best amigos for helping me with my motorcycle problems last week. Thanks guys!
Sunday morning, Harley loaded up in the Ford with the dogs and headed north to Montgomery, and I followed as I rode my old girl home. It was a nice day and I enjoyed the three hour long ride, but unfortunately, she'll still have to go to the Harley shop so they can hook her up to the computer and see what else is going on. The idle is too low and I still have a tapping sound that's not usual. The nice voice told me, he couldn't get the timing to set, so they need to check that out too.
But, first I had to find out what my ugly little gremlin bestowed on the Mazda, so I took it to the shop first. My trusty mechanic had it done the same day, complete with Lube and Oil Service and a brand new O2 Sensor! Cha-ching!
Tuesday after work, I resolutely rode my 1998 Electra Glide Classic to the Harley shop for yet another round of "Let's Tap the Money Tree!" She'll probably be there till next week sometime. While they have her, she needs a 20 K service and a new rear tire. Cha-ching, Cha-ching!
So, here it is Friday again. I have no motorcycle to ride this weekend and it's going to be beautiful! This really bums me out. I suppose I could take advantage of being "grounded" so to speak, by catching up on some honey do's but, it won't be as much fun, I can assure you!
This has been a rough and expensive three weeks for me and my mechanical woes. I've been stalked, tormented, used and abused by my own personal ugly little gremlin. I think I'll call him... Cha-ching!
Ride safe and have a great weekend!