Mom is unsure why the gallery slider on the front page is broken, but she is working on it. She’ll get it – she is good at fixing. Sometimes though she worries that she has done something incorrect, especially when she has fixed something on the motorcycle. After all, she has to make sure I get to my destination safe.

On our first cross country trip, we had made it as far a New York when the bike started making a strange clunking noise. The bike had a tune up before leaving Colorado, but several hundred miles can wear things out. After checking the bike out, she realized the chain was loose. She ran by a motorcycle shop near grandma’s, but they wanted $300 to work on the bike and mom said their shop was all wrong. She said it was too clean (which is weird… mom is a neat freak!). Instead of letting them touch the bike, she got on the phone and asked a friend of her’s how to go about tightening it. The directions seemed pretty straight forward, so she decided to give it a shot.

The first snag arose when she couldn’t loosen the back tire. After trying with all of the tools at her disposal, she finally realized she needed the help of either a stronger person, a pipe or a impact wrench. She decided to see if one of the car mechanics down the road would help her loosen the tire and so we went for a quick ride down the street.

The first mechanic was a cranky guy who flat out refused to even let a motorcycle in his garage (doesn’t he know they are FAR cooler then cars?!). The second shop also said they didn’t work on motorcycles. They were far friendlier then the first garage however; When mom told them that she didn’t expect them to work on it, that she would actually prefer to just use their tools for a moment, they laughed and said sure. She loosened the tire, tightened the chain and then tightened the tire to an audience of the four guys at the shop. The fix went smoothly and she was done in moments. With a smile and a wave we were on our way!

Alas, despite the fact that things seemed smooth, and the clunk had disappeared, mom was obviously anxious when we hit the road. She kept looking down and raising her visor to listen hard, as if she would be able to hear that the chain was tightened wrong. We drove for a while like this, until we passed by a tiny motorcycle shop in perry that looked, according to mom, ‘right’. She turned around and went in the shop.

Unlike the shop we first stopped at, this shop was full of motorcycles of all ages and smelled like grease. I’m not certain why this is better, but mom was grinning when she hopped off the bike and stepped inside. I could see her waiting for the guy behind the counter as he spoke to another customer. I patiently watched her for a moment, then I decided to help speed things along and get the mechanic’s attention myself. I took a deep breath and loudly started to bark. It took a moment, and mom looked embarrassed, but the guys in the shop (finally!) noticed me. They told mom to bring the bike in and they would look it over.

These guys were amazing! They seemed bewildered by my awesome mom, my old seat and our travels. They gave me a ton of attention and gave the bike even more attention!. They said mom had done everything right with the chain, but they didn’t like the bolts that were holding the kickstand, so they replaced those. They changed the oil, topped off all the fluids, greased the chain, tightened the front fender, and generally gave the bike a once over. They checked EVERYTHING!

Much to my mom’s chagrin, when they were done they wouldn’t let us pay! They even offered to let us stay in town for the night so we could go for a ride with them the next day. Sadly, we had to get going, so mom donated to the ride (the only thing she could do in lieu of paying for the help) and we got back on the road. They were disappointed but gave us a card and told us that if the bike had any issues before we crossed the Mississippi (mom says that’s the BIIIG river we cross about halfway home), they would come get us! Mom seemed much more at ease and the rest of the drive home was mechanically uneventful.

The following Christmas mom sent the guys at the Perry shop a couple of custom chainmaille key chains (the kind you wear on a motorcycle, in my colors red and black) as a thank you. Unfortunately we don’t know if they ever got them. On our second trip, we stopped by the shop, only to find that they had closed their doors and had not left any notice on the door as to where they had gone. Perhaps we will find those guys someday and be able to say a proper thank you!