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28 07, 2013

My gallery slider is broken!

2019-10-14T19:51:17+00:00July 28th, 2013|Story|0 Comments

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!

19 07, 2013

2011 Trip has been added to the Travel Map

2019-10-14T19:52:00+00:00July 19th, 2013|Story|0 Comments

Mom took some time and added our 2011 cross country trip to my travel map. It is show in little blue markers, while our current trip is all in red. Mom says her plan is to have the current year’s markers larger and assign a new color every year. This should keep the map easy to explore, so I approve.

IMG_1328Meanwhile, as she was doing so, she reminded me of some of the adventures from that trip. Early in the trip we had to stay an extra day in the little town of Waverly, IL. We arrived there late in the day on June 26, 2011. Mom had asked at the last gas station where the closest campground was and was informed that there were none close-by but that there was a park just outside of Waverly that allowed public camping. Increasingly more wary of this plan, we nevertheless  followed their directions down a little country road, through a cornfield and across a set of railroad tracks. As we entered what appeared to be a cute little city park, the local sheriff was driving out and told us that we were welcome to camp in the park for up to three nights and to just pick a spot. Thanking him, we proceeded to drive into the park and were blown away.

2011rinhammock

The park was BEAUTIFUL. I helped check for leftovers patrol the perimeter of the little bluff (overlooking the local lake) mom had picked out while set up camp. After checking the next day’s weather and seeing a massive storm was forecasted for our planned path, mom decided we would stay for two nights instead of one and set up the hammock for my comfort.

The first night we were there it rained REALLY HARD, but the tent did it’s job and we stayed nice and dry. We spent the day wandering the park we were camped out in as well as the little town of Waverly. Mom spent some time playing with her camera (she seems to think it is far more entertaining then a tennis ball, but I disagree) while I napped in the hammock.

IMG_1378The second night I slept through the night fairly well, although I do remember grumbling at mom around midnight when she opened the tent to yell at something to get off the bike. In the morning I got a lecture about being a lousy watch dog, as apparently a young raccoon had come to visit while I was sleeping. I unabashedly let my mom know that it isn’t MY job to chase off furry critters, just two legged intruders. Plus, it was her fault for leaving my dog food in the saddle bags. I have to admit, I wasn’t really mad though – with the dog food gone, I knew mom would share her Clif bars with me and they are SO MUCH BETTER then dog food.

17 07, 2013

My First Blog Post!

2019-10-14T19:51:49+00:00July 17th, 2013|Story|0 Comments

Welcome to The BikerDog Blog!
Unlike the travel map, posts here will be made in longer format, telling the stories of our trips not just where we travel.

A month ago Mom and I left Denver and our very first day out was an adventure. The day started sort of windy but I was far more concerned with the fact that my new doggles were black instead of my preferred red (Mom should have known better) and kept working to remove the unattractive things from my head.  Mom kept putting them back on me (I didn’t know she could do that while we were moving! Not Fair. She has no fashion sense).

Then about 100 miles from home, Mom gave up on my doggles (Finally!). She was far more interested in watching the very large, very dark, very unhappy cloud that was forming to Southeast of our path. The winds continued to pick up and the cloud kept getting closer. As the cloud reached us it started to spit a little and I could see Mom was anxious to find a place to pull over.  She tells me this is a challenge because a lot of places won’t let me in (I don’t understand – who wouldn’t love me!?) but eventually she saw a small liquor store attached to a convenience store.

HailIdaliaMoments after we stepped into the store, the cloud broke and the most evil thing started falling from it – HAIL!  We have ridden in a hail storm before (Mom says that our previous hail tale is a story for another day) and we both HATE hail. Fortunately the nice lady who was running the convenience store said that as long as we stayed in the liquor store, we could wait out the storm under their roof. After about an hour the hail stopped, but the rain remained and the winds doubled what they had been.

By this time Bill, the owner of both stores had arrived to take over for the clerk and had kindly looked up the weather reports for us on his computer. The storm was sitting right on our path and was forecasted to remain there for the remainder of the evening. Mom attempted to call the Motel in town, learned that the Motel is owned by a group of local farmers and you actually have to call the local bar to make reservations for a room, and then learned that there were no rooms available. Unfortunately, without a pace to stay for the night, all Mom could do was hope the winds and rain died down enough to  make a go at getting to the next town.

RinandbillFortunately, as another round of heavy rain blew in with the winds and the sun began to set, Bill proved once again to be a very kind man and said that, since he felt he could trust us, he would be willing to let us stay on the floor of the store for the night. Mom promised we would do nothing to harm such a kind offer and, upon learning that Bill’s wife was sick and they had been unable to hire someone to stock and tidy the shelves in quite some time, did what she could to lend  hand around the store for the evening.

Once Bill went home, Mom pulled out the sleeping bag and, as it had been a long tiring day we both quickly curled up and fell asleep. As morning arrived with clear skies and dry roads, we said farewell to our new friend Bill and hit the road again.

While this story happened on the very first day of our current trip, Mom says it is plenty long enough for my first blog post, so I will wrap it up here and continue the tales of our adventures in my next post. Until then, farewell!