Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Be My Path, Be My Guide (Day 4)

Sunday, July 8, 2012
To Louisville, KY
83,308 (218)

So I set off from Mom’s and Dad’s, gassed up, and stopped 8 miles out for soap, and laundry detergent. While I was in the store, a tremendous storm blew in with frightening lightning and high winds, so I waited it out. After about 30 minutes, it subsided enough to ride on. I made it another 7 miles before traffic came to halt. After another 45 minutes, I started moving again and saw that trees had fallen onto East bound lane and dropped power lines onto the I-state, a rubbernecker had crashed into another car in the west bound lanes and that is what we’d been stopped for. Once we moved, I made it another 15 miles before I was stopped by another severe storm.
At this point, I’ve come 30 miles in 90 minutes and it looks like a long wait for the storm. Finally, the lightning subsides, and I ride off in the torrents from the Ashland, KY exit at precisely 4:35pm. After precisely 20 miles of extremely heavy rain, my bike sputters, shuts down, re-fires, shuts down again and refuses to go any further. I coasted to the berm and power-walked a couple hundred yards to clear the guard rail so that I could stand behind it and get the bike further off the highway. I was fairly positive something had gotten wet and shorted out and that it would only be a matter of time until it dried, and the bike would once again, roar to life.

This was not to happen.

On Friday, Steve Irving had taken his 3 year-old son, Drake, from their home in Lexington, to his parents’ home in Ashland. He had planned for a nice weekend and then to bring home an arcade game that he’d bought and stored at his parents’ house. He had his motorcycle trailer hitched to his car for the purpose of hauling the large arcade machinery. The problem was that as he was ready to leave his parents’ house at 4:30pm, a terrible storm blew in and he could not transport the electronic game in the rain, so he left Ashland with an empty trailer at 4:45pm, in a torrential downpour, with his son, Drake, in the back seat.
After traveling 20 miles, Steve glanced through the torrents toward the edge of the road and saw a soaked motorcyclist power-walking his bike down the berm as traffic roared by. Steve traveled on 6 miles to the next exit to nowhere, and turned his car and trailer eastward once again and backtracked 8 miles to the previous exit and turned his car and trailer westward back toward the soaked, stranded biker.
When Steve arrived, I was on the bike trying to get it to fire again. I didn’t hear him come up behind me. When I saw him, he was getting out of the car and offered to take me to the next exit. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the bike, and he said he had a trailer. You’re kidding!!??

After some maneuvering, we secured the bike, and drove off in the pouring rain. He took me to his house in Lexington where we tried to trouble shoot the problem. I had no spark at either cylinder, so we checked everything we could think of, but could not find the problem. At that point, he offered to take me on to Louisville, where I’d originally been headed, and where there was a BMW dealership who could hopefully get me going again. Normally, I believe, I’d never accept such an extravagant offer, but honestly, I felt the whole thing was orchestrated, and I would not only play wrong notes by refusing, but I’d cause Steve not to be able to play his right notes as well. So I accepted, and we drove off toward Louisville sharing our stories with each other. In Louisville, he dropped me at Travis’ and Lana’s house. Thus the discrepancy between my odometer reading and miles-traveled for today. I traveled 218 miles, 160 of which were trailered.
I gave Steve gas money, half of which he returned, and he drove off into the night back toward Lexington. Trav and Lana and I chatted a while and devised a plan for today, and retired. This morning, Travis borrowed a trailer from a very generous friend, and we took the bike to the BMW dealership. They gave me priority because I’m traveling, but nonetheless, had to order the part, which won’t arrive until tomorrow at the earliest. At the moment, I’m sitting on the porch listening to the birds and telling you my story. When more story unfolds, I shall relate it to you.
Meanwhile, be grateful that there are still good people in the world and don’t miss your opportunities to allow others to serve you even as you would surely serve them, and never miss a chance to entertain angels unaware.