Thursday, October 21, 2010

Amarillo Fly-By/Arlington Axle Fix

So, I got a late start on Wednedsay, the 13th, getting out of town for Texas. Ended up riding about five hours in the dark. But, if there's one good time to travel across Oklahoma and North Texas, it's night. Flat and boring, except you have to avoid the wildlife.

Didn't even get out of town and had problems. I use tool box rubber liner-material to protect the paint on my back fender when packed down for a long trip. Stuff comes in a roll, costs nothing, and works great. Had three layers down on the fender when I packed my stuff. Somehow, this padding jimmy'd its way out from under my gear and went right into my chain, getting eaten up and clogging my chain in the process. Had to pull a quick triple lane-change to get off the road. Picked it out of my chain and noticed the chain had gotten a little loose. Wasn't that bad, so I opted to wait until Amarillo or Mike D.'s in Arlington where I'd have a garage to work in. I forgot a lot of tools on this trip for some reason.

I hit the road and got onto 287 South where construction slowed me way down. Ripped across the Oklahoma panhandle and North Texas in darkness, seeing a coyote, and two huge deer on the way to Amarillo. The half-moon was off to my right and there were a lot more stars out than I'm use to seeing, living in the city. At one point, I was howling at the moon while tearing down the road(who knows how fast). Some people might see that as weird, but that's how I feel when I'm on the bike, getting the hell out of town as fast as possible with no traffic and endless two-lane highways. If your motorcycle doesn't make you feel this way, well, then sell it to someone who might. I was on my way to a great part of the country to get rowdy, I felt like dancing like a fool.

Riding at night doesn't bother me, I'm a bartender, so my average bedtime is around 4:30a.m. No reason to stop for the night, get a hotel room or campsite, and sit up all night - just got to be a little more alert riding in the dark and not let the little white lines mesmerize you. There were times that I was staring up in the sky while riding - had to remind myself to get focused.

I made it to Amarillo, got some junk-food, a hotel room, and parked the bike inside next to the bed. I hit up a hole in the wall saloon called The Spotted Pony next to the hotel, but there must've been a sausage party going on, so I left and got some sleep.

The people you meet and stops you make on trips is another thing that makes it fun. Truck stops are a trip, and I've been to some gems. You feel like a normal person around these places until day three or four, when you smell and look just as bad - It's great.

Got out of Amarillo in the late morning on Thursday, the 14th, and made it into Arlington in the late afternoon. Went straight to Mike D.'s and unloaded. Was gonna adjust my chain in his garage when things got messy. When I turned the nut, the whole axle turned with it, while the nut on the other end of the axle was held still. The threads had loosened from the red locktite and the nut came off. So, I made a call to Irish Rich since he's always the guy I turn to. I've worked part-time with Rich for over four years and I haven't seen the guy get stumped once. Hard or easy fix, it doesn't hurt to have this guy on speed-dial. I'm sure he was thinking, "what now?", but the guy is always there to talk me through things. He's the man.

There's a good story I like to remember about Rich - we were at the Biltwell Bash at Lake Skinner in So Cal outside of Temecula in April of 09'. Jeff Holt, and the guys at Street Chopper, set up a Bike First Aid tent and some guy was in there with a front end that seized up on him. Everyone was giving their advice to this guy on how to fix his problem, while Rich kind of sat aside and stayed out of it. Finally, he chimed in and the guy wasn't hearing a word that Rich had spoken. Jeff Holt gets the guy's attention and says"hey, bud, if there's 20 guys in the room telling you how to fix your bike, you listen to this guy" pointing at Rich. Jeff is a cool mo fo and he's been around - he hit it on the head.

After wrapping the axle in tape and placing it in a vise, I heated the axle nut, spun in off and tightened the other one with a bunch of red locktite to let it sit overnight.

Mike took me down to Dallas for the night where we met up with some of his buddies, hit up his friend's tattoo shop(ironically called Death or Glory), and a bar near-by. Ended the night with a late-night bite to eat at some small twenty-four hour diner, then headed back to Mike's for the night. Mike is a damn cool guy and I owe him for hooking me up - thanks again dude.

Got my back-end put back together in the morning and my chain adjusted for the ride down to Austin and back. A few bumps so far, but the weekend was about to start...

Check out some of Mike D.'s shit at his blog(Cheap Thrills and Good Times) - link on this page.

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