Dead Bike on the Mountain
The Notier Notes
Our Sunday Scoop
In our last blog post, we were stuck near the top of a mountain in New York state, and the bike was dead. The road had gotten pretty rough, and after a few too many falls, the motorcycle would simply not start again. It was the old gremlins resurfacing once more, but this time we were in a particularly bad spot.
To make matters worse, the skies were getting darker and darker, not just with the approaching evening, but the deep rumblings of a thunderstorm could be heard brewing not too faraway.
"This is bad," I just kept repeating over and over again to Tim as he tried repeatedly to get the bike going again. I didn't know what to do, as my brain was fresh out of ideas. I felt helpless, and a part of me just wanted to plop down on the ground and wallow in misery for our situation, but that wouldn't have done any good.
"We'll get through this," Tim reassured me. "We always do."
But things at the moment felt particularly bleak.
A couple hiking along the trail came up to us and asked if everything was all right. We gave them the rundown of our newest woes, and they told us that they were parked at the base of the mountain. If we could get our bike down there, after they finished their hike, they'd meet us and try to get us a tow truck.
"Well, we can't go up the mountain with a dead motorcycle," I told Tim. "So I guess down is the only way we can go."
Tim agreed, and we decided that I would walk down while he rode the bike using momentum alone. That way there would be less weight to prevent him from falling, but also, I could push him whenever he got stuck.
So Tim headed off with a silent motorcycle, clicking and clacking its way over the stones and down the trail. Until I could no longer see him.
I walked and walked and walked. But apparently, Tim had not gotten stuck (it was pretty steep, so the momentum was good), and he made it all the way down without me. As I trekked, still wearing my helmet and all my gear, with my big clunky boots squeaking over the rocks, I took a rest on a log by a tree. I removed my helmet, and sat there for moment just to collect my thoughts. And I wondered why I had felt so hopeless before? Certainly, Tim and I had been in worse situations in the past. At least here there were people hiking this road, and the paved part wasn't too far down the slope. And at least we were in America where we could speak the language, and call for help. Things may have seemed dire in the moment, but I reminded myself that we were going to be fine. We had not hurt ourselves, and we had each other, and that's really all that matters.
With higher spirits, I made it down the mountain and saw Tim and the bike parked next to the hiking couples' van. He had taken off the seats and was unplugging and replugging in the battery in an effort to reboot the bike's electrical system. It had been electrical problems before, and so we figured it might be an electrical glitch again.
Once the battery was plugged back in, and Tim hit the ignition... VRRRRRRRM! The bike started!
Just as that engine roared back to life again, Tim and I looked at each other with excited eyes. And it began to rain.
The rain started off just as a few massive droplets, but very quickly turned into a plummeting patter of thick, heavy globs of water.
"Let's get to the nearest hotel!" Tim shouted over at me. I quickly Googled some hotels, and the best option seemed to be a half hour away. "We can make it," he said. And with fingers crossed, we got on the bike.
We hadn't really had enough time to prepare ourselves for the torrential downpour that was suddenly upon us. Tim still didn't even have his jacket zipped up, and had to pull over to get that fixed and his gloves on. But we soon realized that it didn't matter... we were going to get soaked.
That ride to the hotel was one of the worst storms we've ever been in. It was Barranquilla, Colombia bad. It was cats and dogs bad. The streets became rivers, and the streetlights became blurry mirages of colors through the grey, watery world. The cars next to us splashed us like they were hosing us down, and our front tire cut through the flooded streets like a ship carving its way through the ocean. It was cold, and we were drenched.
At last we arrived at the place we'd marked on the map, and pulled up to a very welcoming hotel that had a roofed section in front under which we could park the bike out of the rain. They gave us a key to the room, and we stepped in with squelching boots filled with water, dripping right over the carpet.
We stripped off all our wet gear, piled our soaked bags by the front door, and reveled in the warmth and dryness of our room. We even ordered a pizza, figuring we deserved it after everything we'd just been through. But soon, the conversation turned to more serious matters.
I asked Tim, "Now that the bike is working again, should we continue on down the BDR all the way to Mt. Washington, or even to Maine?"
He didn't give me an immediate answer, as we both just contemplated it all. It hadn't been more than a couple of hours ago that we were thrilled to just keep going... we were having the time of our lives. But now that the bike had this hiccup, and it was reminiscent of our earlier motorcycle malfunctions, we were worried this wouldn't be the last time it would happen.
"We've been riding more than 80,000 tough miles all over the world on this motorcycle," I finally said. "I think it's expected that it's going to have some problems now, and I think it would be foolish of us to believe that this won't happen again."
Tim said, "Yeah, we need to give the bike a good refurbishing before we head down any remote mountain roads with it again."
We both looked at each other, and with a sadness heavy in our hearts, we knew that this was probably the end of the line... at least for now.
Stay tuned, because in next week's episode, we make the journey back home, which unfortunately requires a visit to the hospital.
In the meantime, check out our latest video on a day that had equally terrible weather, but this time it was highly unusual - a sandstorm.
Have a great week, and we'll see you next Sunday for the final installment of our summer/fall adventures!
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