Perhaps I should thank the service man for the opportunity to add more red light "rolls" to my outlaw list for the day. Certainly, I owe him for seeing through his normal operating "haze" and offering me directions to an exceptional motorcycle shop, Strick's Cycle.
Ms. Culpepper, my name for the Honda, once again carried me out of a bad situation. Without a hitch, or traffic violation, I parked for the second time in one morning at the service doors of a motorcycle shop.
Sweetgum, North Carolina
A few hours after arriving to Strick's, I recorded the following comments in my journal: "At Strick's I found a family atmosphere...and was immediately welcomed and brought down from my highly disappointed emotional condition. After about 1 hour of hanging around, I realized that without any doubt I had found a collection of extremely generous and knowledgeable individuals".
I pulled into Strick's at about 10AM...and out at nearly 4:30PM. During the course of the day, I settled into long conversations with Michael, a road racer and mechanic, Bob, a philosopher, friend of Strick's and operator of a 1972 (I think) Honda Motorcycle, Gene and his wife (I hope she'll forgive me for misplacing her name...she treated me like a son), these two own the shop, the owner of a coffee shop next door to Strick's, and a bartender up town where I gulped down a cattle patty, fries and a Pepsi and wrote in my journal. I recommend anyone passing by Asheville stop in and visit Strick's Cycle Shop. The collection of individuals hanging around or working is the product of many years of honest, generous, and knowledgeable service and friendship provided by the Stricks.
Mushroom, North Carolina
Recall I started this "brief account" in order to tell the story of my failed stator? As soon as I finished rambling, including some unfriendly words directed at MR Motorcycle, Mrs. Strick (forgive me) took me back to discuss my problem with Michael, the service manager. Forty-five minutes later the problem was diagnosed: stator failure. This included two complications, which my budget could not negotiate then or now: (1) part from Honda valued at around $400.00 and (2) repair required the engine be removed from the frame and set-up on a workbench (labor about $600.00). Standing in the shop with Michael and Gene, we discussed my options. Option #1, make the repair, NOT AN OPTION. Realistic ideas included using a solar panel to trickle charge the battery during daylight hours. I went as far with this one as calling Radio Shack to check on panel availability. A better option seemed to be to purchase a second battery and a 120-volt trickle charger (suggested by Gene's wife). With these items, I could easily travel between campgrounds or gas stations and maintain a charge.
At 4:30PM, after a long day of good conversation, learning and laughs at Strick's, I prepared to depart. Additional items on the bike were a fully charged Yuassa battery ($35) and Yuassa trickle charger ($25). Including these items, and 1/2 hour labor (the bike was in the shop the entire day), my bill was around 100$. Just about everyone stopped what he or she was doing and came to stand along side of me as I fingered the starter button. Finally, Michael said, "I'd get out of here [if I were you]". I took his advice and appreciated the waves and peace sign as I charged up a side street and back onto the road.
Text & photos © André Breton