September 22, 2005


        My tires had gone about as far as they could and with a little bit time and some threatening clouds above I decided to begin my morning at the Harley dealership putting on new rubber.

        The plan was to get the tires and head towards Alabama. Libertad had other ideas.

        When they got the back tire off there was a host of problems the mechanic found, so for the next three hours he attended to those.

        Libertad has 48,000 miles on her and parts are starting to wear out. The rear brake pad pins were wearing down and had to be replaced, as did the rear brake pads. This is important since I am going to be relying on the back brake more with the front brake pads shot.

        The front brake pad I can’t replace until I get home because no dealership will grind down the pads so they fit in the caliper. It was a half ass job my former mechanic did and is one of the things I am going to have to fix when I get home.

        It wasn’t like I was going to leave early in the morning anyway but sitting in the break room at the dealership does throw off the rhythm of the day a bit.

        I have settled into a pretty nice routine. I get up around 8 type for a bit, shower, pack, load up the bike and hit the road by 10 or 11. I usually ride about an hour and then stop and get breakfast and read the newspaper. I will ride for an hour or so and stop and get gas. By 2 or 3 I am looking for a place for lunch. Around 5 or 6 I am done riding for the day and looking for a place to stay.

        By the time I find somewhere, unpack the bike, check in to my room and shower, it is 8 or 9. I eat something small, do a little writing and then watch television until I fall asleep.

        Today was not going to follow that pattern. By 11 a.m. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I walked over to the hotel and told them I would be staying another day.

        Then I sat in my room and waited for the dealership to call me.

        Around 2 p.m. I got the call. The bike was ready, sort of.

        When I walked across the street the service manager was pulling up with my bike after a test drive.

        The inner primary is shot and leaking fluid all over the back of the bike. The front engine mount is broke and it is a little disheartening.

I might be able to make it home with the problems, but my confidence in the bike is gone. The trust I had in Libertad getting me to the next destination is shattered.

There is also a hesitation to take back roads. If the bike does break down it will be a major hassle to get her to a dealer. I doubt my cell phone will work and I’ll be at the mercy of whoever passes by.

When I got Libertad back from the dealer she was all shiny from a washing and the chrome winked at me in the sun. She really is a beautiful bike. I hope this trip doesn’t do too much damage to her.