Posted by: mckenzie68 | August 6, 2010

The curse of Frankenbike! Aug 4 or day 108

I am not sure what it is, neither of us is sleeping very well, and it is not good, especially considering the fact we are riding motorcycles.

We packed up and were on the road early, topped up the bikes with fuel (it is nearly twice the cost for gas in Canada) and headed to the border crossing only a few miles away.

We reached the border and had no problems with the guards, although a motorcyclist behind Rae tried to squeeze by causing a huge uproar from the guards who were yelling for him to stop!  Always a little adventure regardless of what we are doing.

We reached highway 401 and started our westbound journey towards my parents place in Oshawa, ON.  The traffic was n0t too bad and we were making good time.  Rae pulled up beside me and motioned for us to stop for a quick refueling of the humans, since we had not eaten or drank much this morning.

Shortly afterward I heard intermitent radio communications from Rae, although it was not clear I did hear “something wrong”.  I immediately pulled right off the highway onto the shoulder, and noticed that Rae was struggling with the motorcycle.  She was trying to get it to turn off the road and it was not responding fast.  I noticed a tractor trailer coming, clearly Rae did not (still missing a mirror from the crash in NS) so I frantically yelled and waved for her to get off the road to no avail.  I looked helplessly as the tractor trailer continued to come right at her in slow motion.  The tractor trailer driver just missed her, by inches…unbelievable.

I noticed that her rear tire was as flat as a pancake, which explained her not being able to control the motorcycle very well.  The curse of “Frankenbike” was beginning to reveal itself…and…the tractor trailer was the messenger.  Rae was very, very lucky.

We set to work trying to find a way to get the bike level, and on it’s centerstand in super soft soil of the 401 shoulder, in 32 degree celsuis heat, with no shade  and vehicles ripping by at 100+ kph.

We finall got her bike up on it’s center stand and examined the tire.  We looked and looked, but there was no sign of a puncture.  This was odd.  I set up a work area, removed the rear tire, then fought the tire from the rim.  It became immediately apparent that the tire tube had failed in an explosive manner, ripping off the valve stem!  Plus, the rubber lining protecting the tube from the spokes had ripped and delaminated!  There was no way I could fix that on the side of the road, so I put in the spare tube, put everything back together so we could get the bike on a flatbed tow truck.

Rae called AMA who dispatched a tow truck, which took about 2 hours to get to us.  Keep in mind that we had been on the road side for about 2 hours before Rae even called…with no water.  It was brutally hot and we were both surprised that no one had stopped to even see if we were ok.  Especially considering the fact that I had the rear wheel completely off Rae’s bike resting on a tarp!  Suddenly a van from “Dave Murray Heating” stopped and an absolutely amazing guy hopped out and asked if we were ok, he had observed us as he was travelling east over 2 hours prior and knew things were not going well when he saw us on his trip back west.  I told him our names and all about what had taken place, showed him the parts and he introduced himself as “Brad”.  He noticed that Rae and I were suffering in the heat and offered his air conditioned van so we could cool off.  Rae jumped in first while Brad and I chatted. (Rae says, I was so overwhelmed by getting into the air conditioned van I started to cry.  Then I thought, I can’t cry!  I can’t afford to lose the water!  So I stopped and just reveled in the cool air, dreading the fact that I would eventually be put back out into the wicked heat.) I eventually jumped into the van to cool off which was a god send, I was really feeling the effects of the sun, and humidity.  Brad stayed with us for about 45 minutes until we saw the CAA tow truck go by.  We thanked him for his kindness and off he went.  Brad is another example of a person who showed that he cared enough about people he did not know, for no other reason that it was the right thing to do.  (If your reading this thanks again Brad!)

The flatbed tow truck showed up just as Brad was leaving and in short order the “Frankenbike” was being loaded.  Rae and I were both emotionally spent, the heat and humidity had taken a toll on us.  She went with the tow truck taking the bike to Durham BMW in Ajax, ON, while I rode ahead to get some fluids, we were both super parched!  Of course once I reached the Bellville interchanges  there was a huge traffic jam, just to test my ability to endure pain.  I took the closest exit and headed south to highway2, taking an alternate route through Belleville and Trenton then back to the highway!  The ride took me back to the mid 80s when I was posted to the military base in Trenton, and amazingly it was very much like the way I remembered it, very cool and a good distraction.

I stopped at the rest plaza near Brighton, and drank lots of fluids, with people in the parking lot staring at me, it occurred to me, that I was still quite dirty with grease from Rae’s bike.  I chuckled a little bit, jumped on my bike and headed off to Ajax.

(Rae says, my ride to Ajax with Kevin of Larry’s Towing was excellent.  Kevin is one of the most interesting people I have spoken to in a long time!  He has had adventures that you and I can only dream about.  I told him he should write a book about some of what he’s done, he’d have a best seller for sure!  LOL.  A super nice guy that made that 2 hour drive a pleasure.)

I found Durham BMW on Achilles Rd, it is a huge facility housing both BMW cars, as well as, motorcycles.  Despite my detour and stop for fluids, I still beat the tow truck.  I spoke to Brent the service manager to get everything set up.  Now picture a greasy, dust covered motorcyclist in a top shelf BMW dealership, I was out of my element looking as I did.  Brent did not even blink an eye, got me some cold water, and assured me that everything was going to be OK.  It was reassuring for me that we would be taken care of with a minimum disruption of our trip.  I explained the trip that Rae and I were on and provided him information to find our blog on Google.   Brent, the Service Manager, was so great, he dropped what he was doing when he saw me come in and help me out.  It is not very often that a Service Manager takes the time to make sure that everything is ok with clients, that is quality service.

Rae arrived with the tow truck and I brought her some cold water as she still appeared to be dehydrated and feeling bad from the heat.  I completed the service documents while Rae obtained a rental car so we could take all of our gear to my parents house in Oshawa.  It was also time for a set of tires for my bike.  It looked like we would be taking a break from riding until both were fixed.  As it turned out, it was just the break we needed.

As we began to unload the bikes it started to rain like crazy, and I thought, where the heck was the rain a few hours ago?  LOL.  We were on our way shortly thereafter, happy to be off the bikes.  What a day, probably a little too much adventure for one week though!  LOL.

Ray

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