Beauty On The Beast – Déjà Vu

Beauty On The Beast – Déjà Vu

Sometimes disappointment is just a fact of life.  Occasionally you just have to call it.  In this post Kathleen Fellows shares with us how and why they made the decision to do just that.
Beauty On The Beast – Déjà Vu
That’s ok though.   The universe just has bigger and better things in store for the Fellows family!

Let’s check in and see exactly how things panned out on their most recent trip.

Beauty On The Beast – Déjà Vu

You have GOT to be kidding me!

We are the greatest non-starters of all time.

July 5 – I was working on a birthday cake order due the next day. We packed up most of our gear onto our bikes. I had a nagging feeling. It was really more of an earth-shaking feeling.

You see, California had been quaking for a couple of days and our planned return route was right through the epicenter of said shaking. I still have trauma from the Northridge quake in 1994 so I did not relish riding into that mess. So I told Matt that I did not want to take the trip because I was truly concerned that something bad was going to happen. I had no idea what that bad thing was, but it was enough to have me in tears.

July 6 – I finished decorating and delivering the aforementioned cake order and returned home to finish packing for our ill-fated trip. We left home at 2:30, about two hours behind schedule.

Just 17 miles down the road we ran into traffic. My bike does not like traffic because it is air-cooled and needs to be moving for that to work. Matt decided on a detour. He is the king of back roads driving. As we were riding along I noticed that my turn signals appeared to be non-functioning. Matt passed me and saw that my headlight was also out of commission then my speedometer dropped to zero despite my continued acceleration. For those who are not aware, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a headlight even in broad daylight.

Matt decided we should pull over and he started checking all of my wiring, hopeful it was a simple fix.

No such luck!

Motorcycle on flatbed.

We could not restart the bike and had to call AAA. They told Matt it would be about an hour until a truck arrived so he rode to a nearby store to get us some sodas to go with the snacks I had packed. As soon as he reached the store, the tow truck arrived. Timing is not his strong suit.

My bike was loaded onto the flatbed and strapped down tightly. I rode in the cab and Matt followed behind. Boy, were the kids shocked to see us!

Surprise, we’re home!

At home he went to work looking for the problem and, after some troubleshooting, decided what part needed to be ordered. It would take 2 days for my regulator to arrive so I made reservations at a campground on the coast.

June 8 – A couple of the kids without jobs or other commitments came with us and we had fun exploring Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton, Oregon. If you have the chance to visit, this is a fun place with lots of military history as well as a shipwreck on the beach.

That shipwreck may have been an omen.

We had a good time cooking our dinner and breakfast over an open fire. I thought we should break camp before taking a beautiful hike along the trails from Battery Russel to the beach. This way we could just head out of town and get lunch on the way home. My timing is a little better than Matt’s. As we pulled out of the campground, rain began to fall.

June 9 – We arrived home from camping to rain and a new regulator. I went straight to work cleaning up and reorganizing the camping gear and Matt went straight to work installing the precious part on my bike then took it out for a ride. Yes, in the rain. He got soaked but was otherwise unscathed. Bikes were repacked, we had a family game night, then went to bed intent on beginning our journey the next day by 9 a.m..

Motorcycles ready to go.June 10 – There was a light drizzle about 8:00 so we took our time getting ready to leave. I made a hearty breakfast to get us through most of the day then we showered and got ready to take off. At 10:55 we mounted up and hit the road, again.

Things were running very smoothly. We were trying to gauge how far we could go before refueling, thinking we could make it 180 miles. Then my bike sputtered and I switched to my reserve tank. That, and the call of nature, had us stopping at 156 miles to fill up and empty out. For some reason, right after we parked, Matt asked me to restart the bike.

click click click

I guess he had a feeling.

He bought a jump starter and the bike started right up. PHEW! Or maybe not. We contemplated our choices:

1.) Keep going and jump start the bike whenever needed.
2.) Go home and grab the old battery which we had replaced but hadn’t been the problem.
3.) Go home and take a different vacation. No bikes and no trip to L.A.  Working on the bike.

As much as it pained us both, the California trip was not going to happen. We had kept whittling and whittling until it was a shadow of its former, glorious, wind-in-the-hair-flying-down-the-101, self.

Our AAA covers up to 100 miles for a tow so we figured if we made it at least 56 miles back we would be okay. After that they charge up to $6/mile. We gassed up and hopped back on the road, headed home. First thing I noticed was that my odometer kept switching back to total mileage even though I had it set to reflect the trip mileage. Being linked by our Bluetooth helmets, I mentioned this to Matt.

Is this thing on?

“Do you still have ignition?”
“The bike is still running,”
“Keep going.”

A little further down the road I noticed my indicator lights weren’t working when I changed lanes. I confirmed this with Matt and had him check my headlight. Nope. I told him we needed to just stay in the right lane but I wanted him behind me just in case a lane change was necessary or in case the bike stopped so he wouldn’t be so far ahead of me. No problem. He asked me repeatedly if I still had ignition.

“I’m still moving. Can you tell how fast I’m going?”
“About 68 MPH.”
“Speedometer is stuck at 60. I slow down, it reads 60. I speed up, it reads 60.”
“Keep going.”

A little further down the road I could not ”keep going.”

“You’re stopping?”
“The bike is stopping.”

I rolled as long and as far as I could as I pulled to the shoulder of Interstate 5. I stripped off my gloves, helmet, and leather jacket and just cried. My head was pounding from the stress and my Tylenol was securely strapped under layers of bungee cords and backpacks. I was able to access my hydration pack and drink some water. Matt got on the phone with AAA to arrange for a tow. When he got off the phone he told me how blessed I am.

“I don’t feel blessed.”
“Look at this.”
He showed me the map to home. 99.6 miles.Weary travelers.The looks say it all!

The cavalry arrives.

Loading up the bike. Finally our driver showed up and he and Matt got my purple baby loaded. It was a long ride home but at least we missed rush hour traffic. It began to rain about 14 miles before we got home. Matt had decided to leave his jacket unzipped because it was warm at first. Now he was getting soaked. *snicker*

Safely ensconced in the loving bosom of our family; (What are you doing here? Aren’t you ever leaving town?) we made plans for the rest of our vacation. A new direction in a different vehicle with different equipment. This time we’ll get to hike. We will have time to explore and play and still get home on schedule. We purchased airline tickets to go to L.A. in the fall. There is still family we want to visit. Matt will order the part he didn’t want to have to replace and that will be waiting upon our return.

Our 5 week, cross-country motorcycle trip was cut down to a 2 week west coast trip, which was cut down to a 1 week truck camping and hiking trip, and is now a distant memory. We still plan to do some moto-camping but maybe not this year. We still want to take the coastal bike ride and, eventually, ride across the country. I just hope we are still on two wheels by then.

For now I will enjoy what’s left of my vacation and Matt will take beautiful pictures and I may even write about it.

Be sure to read Kathleen’s previous posts about their on again, off again adventures:

Beauty On The Beast.

Sometimes Life Has Different Plans.

Hitting The Road In 4 days.

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