September 18, 2005

        My intention was to head towards Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon and I left my aunt’s house pointed in that direction.

        The bike had been making a funny sound. I heard it as I was leaving Georgia the day before, but didn’t think much of it.

        It didn’t sound catastrophic and Libertad was giving me no other signs it was in distress, so I pushed on towards Florida.

        When I started the bike up on Sunday the loud pitched whirring noise had increased and I knew something needed attention.

        My first thought was primary fluid. I have a small leak and thought maybe it was low enough to make metal grind and produce that tone.

        It only happened when I accelerated and came from the right side of the bike. The primary chain is on the left, so I ruled that out.

        The Harley Davidson shop in Orlando was open on Sunday and the mechanics took a look at it. Apparently I had a clip on my cam chain that had broke and needed to get replaced.

        The first emotion usually emitted after hearing this type of news is anger. How could the bike fail me like this after I have taken such good care of it? The anger rises when the mechanic tells you it is going to cost $500 to repair.

        But that wasn’t my feeling. The part is manufactured to last for 30,000 miles and I have 48,000 miles on my bike, so I figure I am well ahead of the game.

        The guys at the shop were great and actually two mechanics worked on the problem so they could get me out quicker.

        By the time they finished it was around 5 p.m. and I didn’t really feel like riding three hours to Jacksonville so I decided to stay in Orlando for the night.

        There is a row of cheap hotels on International Drive, near DisneyWorld and I found one in a fairly quiet location.

        This time of year the families have left and hotels are fairly sparse, sans the occasional convention that might pick this area.

        My hotel was $39 and had wireless and a pool. It was one of the better places I have stayed at.

        Though I didn’t want to ride to Jacksonville, I did want to toodle around on Libertad to make sure she would be ready for the morning’s excursion.

        We popped up to International Drive with the intention of getting something to eat. I was in the mood for a little exotic food. Thai was in my mind, or maybe Indian cuisine, it was just a hankering I had after days of diner fare.

        That is not possible in this town. It is an area built by Disney and individuality is not encouraged. There is nothing in the area but chain restaurants.

        It is what people who come here want. They have left home, but don’t want their surroundings to drastically change. They want adventure, but only to a point. The adventure is calculated, manipulated and above all, safe.

        Watching people walk down the strip I noticed one constant; no one was looking around. They all walked at an after dinner pace, leisurely and somewhat relaxed. The perfect time to let the eyes wander and take in the surroundings, but they just stared straight ahead. If they had eaten, the hotel was the only thing they were looking to find. It was after 8 p.m. so most had already dined. It was time to go back to their room, talk about the exciting day at DisneyWorld, Epcot or Universal Studios, and plan where they were going to eat breakfast.

        The Ponderosa has a breakfast buffet for $4.99, so I am gathering that is where a lot of people were fixing to go in the morning.

        Eat at the Asian Super Buffet for dinner, gorging on egg rolls, Orange Chicken and puny crab legs until you can barely move and exhale painfully in triumph that you got your $7.99’s worth of food.

        The challenge will be there again at breakfast and the sausage and bacon will fill the arteries of all who attend, giving them inferior fuel for the day of experiencing the theme park of their choice.

        I never did find a suitable restaurant. I ended up at Sizzler, eating a piece of Mahi Mahi that was overcooked and wondering how quickly I could leave in the morning.