It is now the 28th of June. Temperature control and a queen size bed did not release me from a far away place until 7AM. All my chores, including cooking up oatmeal on the stone sink in my hotel room (my cheapness knows no limit), were done by eight.
I checked out, filled a bag with anything I could eat that wasn't tied down in the hotel lobby , and returned to my preferred space: outdoors. Next challenge was to try to get a charge on the battery followed by a jump using cables off a car or truck etc. Out of perhaps 35 or 40 cars in the Hampden Inn parking lot only one, a full-size van, was built prior to about 2002. My guts suggested that NONE of the majority would have or be willing to utilize jumper cables. These folks were also hidden somewhere in the hotel; likely eating breakfast in the lobby. However, the van owner and his son were shifting gear. Eureka! Old auto = sense enough to carry jumper cables and a willingness to assist strangers (not walk quickly away and call the police if they follow). The van owner was not an exception to this rule. After twenty minutes, I tried the bike and it started easily. Almost immediately, I sped off towards MR Motorcycle. Enroute, and running with all fuses pulled, I ran more traffic lights than I have in 33 combined years. Felt good.
Unfortunately, I did not write it down and have forgotten the man's name that helped me out in the parking lot at the Hampden Inn. His contribution to bailing my butt out in western North Carolina, though brief, was significant.
Myriapoda, North Carolina
The next part of the story is the only downer of the entire experience. Imagine I'm riding full outlaw style directly at a massive Honda motorcycle dealer. My thoughts are get there and quick and celebrate if the tires roll onto the oil (asphalt) outside MR's service area. I felt each mile rolled on the odometer; about 8 all together.
Directions provided by a local woman working the counter back at the hotel were exceptional. I am in her debt for leading me quickly to a bike shop. MR is a big dealer with an equally large service department (6 mechanics rings a bell). I may have bet my life that I could not lose at a facility with so many options. However, if I had done this, I'd be dead now. Feeling a great deal of satisfaction, I slipped off the motorcycle and strolled a few steps up to the service counter.
I explained my situation...something like: "I'm on the last leg of a month-long motorcycle tour. So far, I've covered about 5,000 miles riding between Boston and Ft. Collins, south to Oklahoma, east to Cherokee and north to Asheville and [their] shop. Also, I'm riding a 1982 CX500 Honda; in the last ten years, I've visited 48 (later I realized I had missed Delaware) states and 5 provinces and accumulated about 50,000 road miles doing it. At the moment, my motorcycle is DEAD and just outside your service door. The bike isn't charging...not sure what the problem is and I was hoping you could 'squeeze me in' for a diagnosis of the problem?" For the record, I have never been turned away by a bike shop anywhere in North America for any reason.
His reply: "We don't work on bikes that are older than ten years and even if we [could make an exception], we could not squeeze you in for a week and half".
I admit, at this point I was likely speaking poor English. So, any further attempts by me to talk sense into him were inefficient. The only assistance provided by MR was a suggestion to try Strick's Cycle Shop (888-592-2283; 180 Patten Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 -- write info down for future use!). I took directions and walked back to my motorcycle, which was in full view of the service desk. I put the bike in second gear, squeezed the clutch, and leaned heavy on the bars to get the bike rolling up a slope and around to start a run. Just before I began my push, he asked, "Do you need a hand pushing the motorcycle?"(!). Amongst other things, I thought to myself "I do not want to soil his immaculate clothing, clean hands, and baby face". He was by far the tidiest motorcycle shop service man I'd ever run across (in hindsight, this was screaming trouble from the start). In fact, his appearance suggested all his talents may have been locked up in getting dressed in the morning. This would also explain his desperate lack of common sense. I replied, "I don't think so", followed this with a few unfriendly comments, and started running.
Text & photos © André Breton