14 March 2011

Saturday Timeline

Let's recreate Saturday, using my phone as a guide.

At 1:54 pm, I called John to tell him I was about an hour away from Destin, in Panama City.

At 2:18, I placed my first call to a motorcycle shop in Freeport, FL, looking for a replacement clutch cable. So I snapped the cable between 1:54 and 2:18.

At 2:29, I called a second shop looking for a cable.

At 2:31, I called a third shop, in Pensacola, which could ship one to me, arriving on Wednesday or later. This is when I began to panic.

At 2:32, I called a motel about 5 blocks away from where I was stranded and asked about a room. They had one, $50 a night.

At 2:36, I placed my first call to KTM World, located in Georgia. I have ordered from them before and I thought I had the best chance of getting a cable from them. They had one in stock. But only one. I told them I would call them back.

At 2:39, I began to call my riding buddies, looking for help and advice. I called Brent, then John Baltzell.

At 2:48, I called another dealer, still looking for a faster solution. No luck.

I was putting off calling my wife, knowing that the delay would not go over well. I was still hoping I could solve the problem and get back on the road.

Another call to John Baltzell at 2:51, hoping to figure out a way to get the clutch cable off his bike and sent to me. I called Fed Ex in Key West and found out they closed at 1pm on Saturday, so no shipping options from Key West. John was off the hook.

At 2:53, I called John Hunt to tell him I was stranded. He had been tracking me online and wondered why I had stopped moving. I told him the situation and told him to standby to see if I could solve the problem. I was 55 miles from his home and I was looking for a place to store my bike for the weekend. That was becoming a big problem.

At 3:22, I resigned myself to being stuck and called KTM World and placed the order for Tuesday delivery.

At 3:26 I called John and told him the bad news. He immediately got ready to come get me. I told him I would look around for a place to hide my bike. I wandered around the neighborhood for the next 20 minutes, looking for a place to safely stash my motorcycle.

At 3:42, I placed my first call to my wife with the bad news.

I had 2 more conversations with John Baltzell discussing strategy for hiding the bike at 3:46 and then 4:11.

I had another short conversation with Colleen at 4:21.

Over the next half hour, I took all the packs off my bike and broke out the tools. I managed to get a pair of Vice Grips to secure the clutch cable to the clutch lever and took a couple test rides around the parking lot. I thought at this point I could ride the bike to John's house if he was following behind me.

At 5:04, I had a last conversation with John Baltzell. John Hunt arrived and we loaded my packs into his car and made preparations for riding the bike the 55 miles to his house.

I was riding directly into the sun, at horizon level, so seeing traffic and stop lights was extremely difficult. My goal was to use the clutch as little as possible, by timing the lights so I didn't have to come to a complete stop. Over the 55 miles, I used the clutch only 4 times.

At 6:41, I had a conversation with Colleen, so I was at John's house by then.

By 6:30pm, bike was in Destin in John's garage, where it sits today, waiting on a simple and inexpensive part.

Much thanks to John, for dropping everything and coming to get me, and to my friends in Key West who helped me on the phone with ideas, possible solutions and just plain support while I was stranded.

And a special thanks to my wife, who puts up with my motorcycle trips and the chaos that they create.

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