Joined: Sep 2007
Somewhere just past the middle of nowhere (death valley) the Beemer coughed, sputtered, then died. I was on a stretch of hwy 95 that was two lanes, no shoulder, speed limit 70mph and a head wind just this side of gale force. Semi trucks had already been passing me at Mach 4.5 when I was pushing 75mph. I quickly switched to reserve, and brought it down to 55mph. A sign up ahead told me the next town was 28 miles away. Limping along, I found myself thinking of that scene in Zoolander where they have a "water fight" at the fuel pump...dicks.
Back to reality. Reality is that the bike just died. Completely flat, nowhere to coast to, I made a quick decision and rode the bike down an 8' high 45 degree embankment into a sand pit. Awesome.
11:30am, 90* plus, no fuel. I checked my smartphone (smart, huh? why didn't you tell me there was no fuel station out here!) and it told me Beatty, NV was 18 miles in a straight line. Huh. I looked down at my motocross boots, and thought about walking a mile in those things. There's not enough moleskin in Nevada to get me to Beatty in those things. I opened up my side bag and started to dig for my flip flops. This could end up being a helluva day.
At this point I remembered all the trophy truck caravans I had seen, they've gotta have some fuel they'd be willing to part with, right? I scrambled back up the hill. Not a car as far as I could see. I could see far, by the way. I decided to give begging for fuel a shot for a half hour before hoofing it to the metropolis of Beatty, NV. Back down the sand bank.
I'd need a sign that passersby could read at 146mph. AhHa! I pulled out my Airhead Beemer Club directory and the back cover is wide open, ready for the word "GAS" to be written in sharpie. Man, so glad I joined that club! I made my sign, and scrambled back up sand mountain. I held up the sign as my first rescuer sped by. No brake lights, nothing. Next car, same thing. Huh, this could be harder than I thought. Wait..what is that? It's a Harley! He looked me straight in the eye as he passed me. He saw the sign and gave me a little wink. BRAKE LIGHTS! He pulled over about a half mile past my location. He was talking to a minivan that was following him and was motioning in my direction. He made a U turn and headed back towards me!
When he arrived, I was all smiles.
He asked- "need fuel?"
I laughed, embarrassed "uh, you guessed it."
He looked back down the road to the minivan and waved at them. They quickly made a U turn, and headed our way. I smiled, thinking that it only took 3 minutes to find a way out of this situation. I was literally holding that sign for 180 seconds. Crazy.
The minivan flipped a u turn in the middle of the freeway, and opened the side sliding door.
At this point I should mention that I don't have a lot of regrets in my life. I try to do my best to listen to that little voice in my head that says "if you don't ..... ...... you'll regret it". I hate regret. It absolutely eats my insides.
I mention all of this because I didn't FUCKING TAKE ANY PICTURES OF THIS PART OF MY ADVENTURE. I can only describe the occupants of the minivan, my Harley hero, and his 70 year old Japanese female passenger who couldn't even come close to reaching the passenger foot pegs on the bike. I should mention that not a single one of these folks had sleeves. Not the Harley dude, the geisha grandma, or the 4 meth'd out folks in the 1987 ford Aerostar minivan. It's interesting what you notice when sizing up a situation. No sleeves, funny that.
Two older men, two women in the minivan all motioned for me to get in the van. I looked around, wondered what an astronaut thinks about before entering a rocket before take off..is this safe? Am I making the right decision right now? F- it, I figured..this is definitely an adventure, and these folks seem umm..nice enough.
I grabbed all the necessities from my bike, and hopped into the van. Before I could close the side door, I was offered some kind of jungle juice in a red party cup. This is awesome. I graciously refused repeatedly, explaining that I was trying to make it to Vegas that night, and I'd need to be able to ride later (if they didn't kill me). They all laughed that no-teeth-having-I-smoke-20-packs a day-since-I-was-8 laugh. I settled in for the ride to Beatty and made the most of my situation. They were just returning from a morning at Goldfield, a nearby mining town that was having a town fair, and seemed to be really enjoying the drive home. They peppered me with a million questions, and were actually nice folks. The two phillies in the van kept trying to convince me that Vegas was waaaay too far away and I'd have to spend the night with them. (It should be noted that Beatty,NV and Las Vegas, NV are approx 120 miles apart..)
When we arrived in Beatty, I motioned at the only gas station in town and said I'd like to stop and buy a gas can. They just laughed at me and kept driving. We entered the "neighborhoods" of Beatty and stopped in front a nice double wide. They explained that they had a gas can for me to use. I figured that I'd just buy a fuel can and hoof it/hitch it back to my bike. It was at this point that Harley dude introduced himself and explained that he'd be taking me back to my bike in his truck. Wait, what? Back to my bike? Wow, I couldn't refuse their offer, the thought of walking what was actually almost 30 miles seemed unbearable.
After politely refusing the beer offered to me 6 times in the 5 minutes we were in the mobile home, Harley guy and I were off to the gas station in his air conditioned pickup. (I'm big on not refusing drinks offered by a gracious host, but even bigger on not driving drunk.) He brought one of the guys from the minivan with him just in case I needed help pushing my bike back up the embankment! We stopped at the gas station, filled up the fuel can (1 gallon) and headed back out onto the surface of the sun towards my thirsty steed. After refueling and reloading, I told Harley guy that I'd fuel up, and refill his can, then meet him back at his house. He smiled and said "Do your best to get outta this sand trap, then we will talk about gas." Ugh. No real dirt experience, a sandy embankment, and a fully loaded airhead. I did my best to moto up the sandy embankment on my bald street tires. Made it up first try and sped off with Harley dude and sidekick in tow. As I approached Beaty I couldn't help but notice that I was rapidly approaching 30 miles since refueling. Now 35. 36. 37. Shit. I was gonna run out of fuel again! As the bike began to stumble, I coasted into the gas station in Beatty. Phew.
I filled the R100GS fuel tank to the very top, and proceeded to burp/spill fuel all over my tank bags. Maybe that Zoolander scene wasn't too far off. I filled the fuel can and went into the mini mart in search of supplies. I wanted to buy a 1 gallon fuel can and bungee it to the rear rack on the airhead to avoid a repeat of the day's festivities. Not a fuel can to be purchased anywhere in that store. Grrr. I don't walk out empty handed however..
When I was in Harley dude's house I made a mental note of what kind of beer was being consumed (very quickly, I might add) and bought a 24 pack of "Lite". I headed off to deliver cold suds and warm thanks for all the Beatty gang had done for me that day.