What’s that old saying about the best laid plans?
My gear was packed. The motorcycle was ready to go with new plugs, air filter and front brake pads. It was cleaned, the chrome was polished and everything was ready for my brother Mark and me to leave Saturday morning for a week-long motorcycle trip to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.
I was sitting in my comfy front-room chair watching television when the phone rang.
“I think I have problems,” Mark said on the other end of the line.
“What do you mean…’problems?'” I asked.
“Well, I was wanting to hook up some new running lights,” he said. “I hadn’t hooked anything up; I was just running the wire down to the battery when the engine started smoking.”
“I took off the seat to try and find out what was causing the smoke and I reached down and touched this wire and it was really hot — too hot to touch. Hot enough that it was starting to melt the rubber coating,” he said.
“I’m going to follow the wire and see what it goes to; I’ll call you back,” he said.
Now, I had heard this story before. About three years ago, the same thing happened and riding buddy Pete and I not only put in a new stator on Mark’s bike but also replaced the voltage regulator.
“The trip’s off,” I said to my wife Terri after hanging up the phone and then explained what Mark had told me.
The phone rang again.
“It goes to the stator,” Mark said. “Is it supposed to be that hot? But that’s not what was causing the smoke. There’s a small coolant leak that was dripping down and getting on the head.”
“Well, that hose is going to be easy to replace, but…” I started to say.
“I don’t want to mess with that,” Mark said. “I’m afraid where the hose hooks into might be cracked and changing the hose my break it completely and make it worse. I can try to replace the stator, maybe the regulator, too. I checked into renting a motorcycle and that would cost $1,000 for the week. But I probably could borrow my brother-in-law’s bike. I’ll call you back.”
I shook my head.
“We’re not going,” I told Terri and sat back down in the chair.
A few minutes later, the phone rang again.
“I can borrow my brother-in-law’s bike,” Mark said. “But there sure isn’t a lot of room on that thing. I’m not sure where I’m going to put all my stuff. I need to buy a new motorcycle.”
This was to be Mark’s first motorcycle trip. I told him less was best, but I also remembered my first trip, an 18-day adventure to Seattle, and I packed, well, I packed way too much. I also was skeptical about anyone borrowing someone else’s motorcycle. Just not a good idea, in my mind.
“Think about it overnight,” I told him. “Call the service folks in the morning and see what they say about your bike and then we can decide what to do.”
The next morning, he called and said it would cost at least $90 to fix his bike.
“Maybe I could just buy a new bike today,” he said.
“You don’t want to rush into something like that,” I said. “Let’s postpone this trip until next year. I don’t like the idea of you borrowing a bike. Get your bike running and sell it and then use that money and save the money that you would have spent on this trip and apply that towards a new motorcycle. This way, you can take your time getting a new bike.”
He agreed that was probably the best thing to do.
But for now, I think I’m going to go fishing for a couple of days after I get a Grange Pup from Old Settlers!