I know I promised last time that we will tell you the story from Washington but we can not move on without writing a few lines about how we got to visit Vancouver while we were staying at Traian’s place. Initially I was going to include this part in the last post but I guess it has to have it own space.
So, back at Traian’s house, having a free day on my hands I decided to change the oil and filter of the VStrom. While working on that, I get to meet Bill, Traian’s neighbor how offers to help with a funnel and a tool to easily remove the filter. After I finish the work I return the tools to Bill and he invites me to see his Harley Davidson bikes. He has 4 or 5 of them in the garage. We get to talk some more and Bill tells me that if I would like, I could go for a ride in the town with one of his bikes. I say thank you but I couldn’t. He tells me that I should try it. I decline again and start heading back home. On the way though I am thinking “And exactly why can’t you do it? He seemed honest when he was offering you one of his bikes. You are done working for the day so what better things do you have to do now? Staying in front of the laptop? I turn back and tell Bill that if he is really OK with it, I would like to have a ride on one of his Harleys.
And ask Andreea if she wants to ride a Harley and sure enough we are ready to go in no time.
We giggle at the idea that we are so “wrong” on this bike. Not only that we do not have any Harley apparel, we look so “off” with our touring suits and full face helmets on… Well nevermind. Bill encourages us to just go and he points out a place from where we could see the city.
The thing beneath us is a beast. V engine of some 1800 cc, it is so different that our easy and slow going Gunnar. And I like it. The sound, the power the grunt. On the road Andreea is trying desperately to hold on as her seat is very small and there are no luggage cases no bars, nothing that she could support herself. She just has to hold tight on me. This brings back memories from our first ride together, when she was holding as tightly on an SV650. Who would have belived that in some time she will end up taking pictures, eating and even sleeping on the bike. Not on this one though.
We reach the top of the mountain, in a small parking lot and we check out the view.
After moving around for half an hour we also relax on the grass, take in the views and the nice sunset. Everything is going great. We are soon ready to roll and enjoy the ride back home. Wooo hooo that will be fun, I am really looking forward to try the power of the big V engine some more.
But wait, something is not quite OK. The bike is somehow clumsy. What’s the matter? Andreea tells me from the side: we have a flat tire!
Wait a minute. That was not part of the Harley Davidson advertisement brochure. What to do now? We were relaxed enough to leave home wihtout our tire repair kit (it was going to be only a 10 miles ride… and we couldn’t possibly have a tire flat so close to home on such a short ride, right? hmmm)
By pure chance I wrote down Bill’s number before leaving home. (Just in case I thought) And we had a case now! I call him and sure enough, he is not answering and the voice message comes in. I leave him a message, being careful to start with “Hi Bill, do not worry, we are OK, the bike is OK” and telling him where we are and that we have a flat tire.
OK, now what? There was no point in just waiting there in the parking lot so we start thinking about our options. I figure that if I manage to pomp some air in the tire maybe it would hold enough to get home. 10 miles are not that many. So let’s see, do we have a compressor around here? We look wishfully at the bike from all the angles, we go around it a few times, we examine here and plead with her. To no vain. No compressor miraculously appears near it. Well, lets try to find one here. We are in a parking lot after all with quite a lot of cars. So it begins my first awkward part of “Operation rescue”. Imagine you take your girlfriend or your wife to a nice romantic ride with the car. You reach the top of a nice mountain with a nice view of Vancouver. Then a guy in a strange suit comes along and asks with a foreign accent if you have an air compressor.
But amazingly enough a guy did had one and was willing to lent it. I return enthusiastically at the bike with the compressor in hand.
Great! we have a compressor. Let’s use it. Wait a minute, this bike for sure has a power plug, right?
We start again to “dance” around the motorcycle, examining it and pleading with all the odds to find a power plug. Again in vain. That’s all right, we will not give up. Here goes episode two of our “Operation rescue” mission. I push the bike near the entrance of the parking lot and wait for cars to come in. Again, imagine yourself driving to this romantic spot with a lovely lady in your car, and then, just as you about to arrive and your mind is already racing towards hmmm nice things, bam, a guy in a strange suit waves at you to stop the car and lower your window. I try to compensate that with a really nice smile and my best “I am not a bad guy” look. Eh, again we are in luck. A guy helps us with power from his cigaret lighter and we put the air compressor to good use.
Perfect. Now we are in business. Go go go!
We thread our way back on the road we came, rushing a little bit to cover the distance quickly. But just 2 or 3 miles on the way, on a stretch of fast road with only forest around us, I notice the tire is flat again. All the air is out. Mmmm so now we are on the side of the road, with cars swhisshing by, no air compressor, no tire repair kit and the night is settling. But for some reason we are not worried and we are still having fun. It was like a quest to reach back home. And we felt rather safe as we weren’t that far out of the city. Worse case scenario we could have walked back the remaining 7 miles but we didn’t want to leave the bike there in the forest.
We watch the cars passing by in speed. They must hurry to get back home. Sure, they do not have a flat tire. We try to wave and stop some but with no success. I guess a smile is not enough anymore as the nights descents on the road. To make things even better, some cyclists pass by and tell Andreea “That’s what you get for riding a Harley!” … what can I say… “That is not ours, bu still, it is not nice to say that…”
Not long a taxi stops by. I guess the smell of money is more powerful than the fear to stop on the side of the road in the dark. We decide to send Andreea back home in order to find rescue and to let people know our new location. I remain with the motorcycle. In the mean time during our stay there for almost 2 hours, from all the cars and motorcycles and bikes that passed by, only 2 guys on SS motos stopped. They didn’t have a flat tire kit with them but one of them was living near by and he offered to go home and bring it. Thank you!
After a while help comes from multiple ways. Bill comes with a car in the same moment as the 2 motorcyclists return from their home. I thank the 2 guys and then I put the knowledge acquired in Nakusp about how to fix a tire to some good use.
So the story has a happy ending with all of us returning safely back home.
Despite the small incident with the tire (or maybe due it) we had excellent fun in that ride. We thank Bill again for his kind offer and also for coming to our rescue. Harley Davidson makes some nice rides. I wouldn’t take one (at least not the particular one that I’ve ridden) on a long trip. But with a little setup, any bike can go anywhere.
From tomorrow, we are back in Gunnar’s saddle and we will ride the “American dream”.