I was determined to make today’s ride work after yesterday’s misadventure in which I stayed out too long in the scorching sun and almost set myself and Blue on fire. I’m delighted to report that it went swimmingly according to plan. For the most part. Except for the bit pictured above 😛
Gas! The thought woke me up with a start.
My eyes flew open and I was wide-awake at 5:50 a.m., ten minutes before the alarm was set to go off.
I hadn’t filled up after yesterday’s ride. It was too hot. For sure I needed gas and the Esso on the corner didn’t open until 7:30. Shit. My be-on-the-road-by-seven plan was in danger of falling to pieces for a second day in a row.
Francis Fuels? Nah. Sometimes it doesn’t open at all. The Ultramar at the roundabout? Nope. Wrong direction. I wonder what time Karson’s opens?
I started to formulate a revised loop. I could go to Pakenham to fuel up, take the newly paved Waba road to White Lake, then Burnstown to Calabogie, the 511, Perth, Tennyson, Blacks Corners, Franktown up the freshly resurfaced Derry side road to Appleton side road and be back in Almonte before noon as I had pledged to myself.
I reached for my phone on the side table, googled Karson’s. Six! He opens at 6:00 am. Yippee. I got up, geared up and was rolling down the driveway a few minutes after 7:00. Yay me.
There was no rushing this morning. Instead of the 29, I took the back road through Blakeney to Pakenham. I had decided to stay relatively close to home so I could easily make it back if and when it got too hot. The air was cool and fresh, the harvest colours crisp in the rising sun. Blue and I rolled happily along at about 70 kph.
I small-talked with the young attendant at Karson’s as he filled Blue’s tank and then thoroughly enjoyed riding an ebony and silk-ified Waba road, which had been nightmarishly rough in early summer.
The guy at the goat farm on the corner of the 2 and the 23 waved as I went by (as he always does) and I responded in kind (as I always do). We’ve never met and I have no idea who he is but this little ritual between strangers makes me smile. I puttered through White Lake (no need to stop to cool off at the park this morning) and turned left at Burnstown. The lakes and rivers en route were all perfect mirrors.
When I got to Calabogie, I noticed a couple of riders whom I’d met yesterday at White Lake; they were turning into the Bogie General Store parking lot. I followed them to the pumps. Having just filled up at Karson’s I didn’t need gas, just wanted to say hi.
“We stayed in Arnprior last night,” the taller one said. We chatted for a bit before I bid them farewell. I pulled away from the pump and started into a U-turn; I wanted to check on the roadwork down the 508 toward Centennial Lake road.
U-turns aren’t my specialty to begin with (#massiveunderstatement lol) and the fact that Blue is quite a bit heavier and more difficult for me to manoeuvre means u-turns are even more challenging for me than they were with TheFox or TheTwin. I will master them eventually. Unfortunately, ‘eventually’ wasn’t today.
To make a short story even shorter: down we went.
Blue was flat out on the ground and, having as yet not practiced lifting her, which I am able to do with the smaller V-Stars, I was unable to right her. There she lay ‘belly up’ in the middle of the parking lot. On the plus side, it wasn’t Saturday when the place is like Grand Central Station. It was early morning on a Wednesday and the lot was deserted except for the two other riders and the Bogie gas guy. Naturally, they all came to help.
The tall rider, who was easily six foot two, lifted Blue using the same technique I employ on the littler bikes. I will learn how to do it with Blue. I will also get her a bigger and wider crash bar that will result in a better angle and more leverage.
As Blue stood up, gas poured out. Uh oh.
“That’s dangerous,” said Tall Rider. “It could have gone into your air filter. Better wait for awhile before you try starting it.”
“Okay,” I said, and off they went.
What to do now?
Call the cavalry of course.
“Hallo,” the voice coming out of my airpods after five or six rings was as gravelly as Waba road had been mid-July.
“I know you were asleep and I’m sorry to disturb you, but…” I explained the situation to my friend, motorcycle mentor and riding coach James (aka Jim) A.
“Okay,” he rasped. “I’ll come up and we’ll see what needs to be done.”
It’s a forty-five minute drive. At least. Gotta’ love angels in disguise.
“I could call the CAA,” I said as I looked more closely at the chrome bubble that Tall Rider had said contained the air filter. It sits just below the gas tank. There’s a matching one on the other side. They have screws; I have a tool kit in my saddlebag.
(Aside: I have no interest in wrenching. Zero. None. Nada. I will never do it. Not because I can’t. If I wanted to learn how, I most definitely could. It’s not that I can’t do it. It’s just that I don’t want to. More about that here.)
I retrieved the tool kit from the left saddlebag and dumped the contents onto the ground. I found the Phillips screwdriver head and the other piece into which it fits to make it functional, put them together and removed the chrome bubble. No air filter. Just air. The left bubble is cosmetic. The other one contains wires and stuff. Everything on both sides was dry.
“I don’t think you need to come up here, James,” I said.
He walked me through checking for gas drips and when it looked as if all the spilled fuel had evaporated, I started her up. She growled into life. Success. I topped up the tank before going to check on the roadworks.
The rest of the ride was relaxing and uneventful and I was home before noon as planned. And hey, it was only 29 C when I got back.
So I managed to beat the heat in the end (despite the drop), and learned more new things in the process. It was another good day.
That said, thank heavens tomorrow will be cooler.
© 2023 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.