16 March 2011


I made it. More later

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60 miles to go. Thanks everyone for the emails an texts urging me to
be careful. I am taking extra caution and lots of breaks.

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Beautiful riding, all day

Feeling good

I'm up north, but just cleared the Houston line. Not far now....

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42 miles from the Texas border

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Abbeville, LA

Good morning 2

Good morning

14 March 2011


So sad...

This trails about 100 feet from where I'm staying and no bike to ride with...
I can't believe, literally can't process, the fact that I am sitting in Destin and not on my long anticipated road trip.

I am so grateful to John and his family for putting me up, feeding me, driving me around...everything they have done. And I am grateful that I broke down where I did and not 3 hours earlier in the middle of nowhere.

And I have read many ride reports of waiting for parts to be shipped. Of the sitting around while you await the package that contains the key to you getting back on the road. But none of that seems to be able to convince my brain that I am still on the ride, and that this is just a temporary stop.

I feel very disconnected from reality, like I am on the ride, but have stopped time and stepped out of reality into an alternate universe. it makes no sense to me, literally, that I am sitting at a Starbucks, in clean clothes, in Destin. I don't know what I am doing here. I can't relate it to anything planned, or prepared for.

It's difficult to walk around the mall, it's tough to sit at the house, it's hard to watch TV. All I can do is re-check my email, keep updating the UPS site, go look at my bike and randomly polish some part.

Everything else makes no sense.

This is Ella

She doesn't know anything about clutch cables, but knows a thing or
two about being cute.

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.

no luck

Apparently clutch cables are not something that motorcycle shops keep in stock.

I waited nervously as 8:30am Monday approached so I could begin to call the very very few shops open on a Monday. At 8:31 I called Racetrack Powersports, a full-service dealer of KTMs, Hondas and other brands.

When they answered, they told me clutch cables are an order item and they only had one in stock. A short one for a sports bike. I was placing all my hopes in Powersports and it was a crushing blow that they didn't have what I needed.

The only other option was Jerry's Motorcycle repair, which was recommended by Powersports. They usually aren't in on Mondays, but Powersports said they were today. I called, they aren't answering....

So as of now, I am stuck until tomorrow. Delivery is scheduled for before 10am, but we'll see.

This is killing me.
I miss my wife, terribly.

13 March 2011

update / summary

At about 2pm Saturday, as I was riding through Panama City, Fl, I pulled in my clutch lever and the cable snapped right where it connects to the lever. An uncommon but not unheard of failure.

I quickly pulled over and was conveniently next to a large parking lot. I was on my way to meet my co-worked and friend John Hunt, who lives in Destin, Fl, about 55 miles away from where I was. I called John and he immediately left to come get me.

In the meantime, I called around to find a replacement cable. After many calls, I found one in stock in Georgia. The problem was it was late Saturday and no one could ship until Monday, so I wouldn't receive until Tuesday at the soonest. I ordered the cable for Tuesday AM delivery.

I then set about trying to figure out a way to get the clutch working so I could get the bike to somewhere safe. I managed to get some Vice Grips to secure the cable to the lever and tested riding the bike around the parking lot. Success! I could probably ride the bike to safety.

When John arrived, I had him follow me and I rode the 55 miles to his house in Destin, only having to use the clutch 4 times the entire ride. I shifted with care without the clutch, only using it at stop lights.

Today, Sunday, most motorcycle shops are closed. I am going to try to track down a cable from another bike or another manufacturer that might fit the bike. That way I could be on my way Monday afternoon instead of Tuesday afternoon.

Wish me luck....

At work

12 March 2011

Vice Grips and Misery

broken down

Everything ground to a sudden halt today when my clutch cable snapped.

I have made my way to my friend John Hunt's house in Destin, Florida, about 55 miles west of where I broke down. He and his beautiful wife have graciously allowed me to stay with them until the replacement part arrives Tuesday.

Basically the trip is over now. Once I get the bike fixed it will be a headlong rush straight to Austin.
I just gained an hour. Boy did that help. I lose it tonight, so it all
evens out, but I needed it today.

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Florida Panhandle