Aug. 8th. I get rolling about 7am and its nice and cool this morning. Looks to be a great day then! Well, as “great” as super slab can be anyway… I think Interstates should be thought of as their own entities and not as another road through a place, because invariably, no matter which number follows the “I”, an interstate is always a dull, boring road filled with nothing but people wanting to be someplace else. I think of interstates as the desolate wastelands of this beautiful country, and should be placed in a separate category of “never visit” which would also include places like Kansas, Missery (Missouri), and soon to discover, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
I stop in Memphis for a quick photo with the King (Elvis Presley), and then through Arkansas (Little Rock was a disappointment), and Oklahoma where it’s just as hot and miserable as my coming through Kansas a week ago! Gosh, a week… only a week… really? It’s unbelievable! It seems so far away! This trip is definitely turning into something where the sum of its parts are much greater than itself!
Almost 40 miles outside of Oklahoma City, my stopping point and goal for the day my butt is done. It can’t take anymore and I’ve run out of positions… At the dragon I saw a guy ride side-saddle and thought I’d give it a shot… He was on a pre-gen (1988-2007) ninja though, which as a banana seat (one long seat for both the rider and passenger), and he had not the luggage setup which I have. So, I’m going 80mph and I stand up as I’ve done at points along this entire trip. I lift my left leg off the peg and have it just over the seat in front of my right leg (and usually it goes behind and underneath) and my right foot drops out underneath me. I plunk in a dazzled state back onto the seat. WTF just happened?
Still at speed I lean off the bike and look at my footpeg. It has sheared and is dangling by the return spring. GREAT! WTF do I do now? I’m almost there, I’m hot, I’m tired, I’m sore and now I’m screwed! I’ve never stopped a motorcycle with just one leg before…. Well, I guess there’s always a first, eh? So I coast to a stop on the luckily very-wide shoulder, getting as far away from traffic as I can, just in case I fall over with the bike. My right foot drags along the ground for almost ¼ mile as I try and get a feel to anticipate what’s going to happen once I stop. I come to dead stop and balance the bike for a few milliseconds before nudging it onto my right foot. OK, this works, sorta. I stand up to unpinch my left leg and everything goes wonky. Before I know it I’m standing beside the bike clenching it tightly to keep it and myself from falling over. Well, I guess that went OK, not sure what happened there, but OK. I put the kick-stand down and take a look-see… How the hell am I going to repair this?
I can ride into OK City on my frame slider and torture my butt some more, but I can’t ride 700 miles back to CO in the same fashion. Well, get to OK City first, and then worry about tomorrow. So I strap the peg onto itself with the left-over audio wire I had from the initially chain incident on the first day. Initial tests show the repair to be an abysmal failure and just goes to show that quantity has nothing on quality! So I start limping into OK City with my right foot on my frame slider and big fat drops of rain start pelting at my helmet. I can feel them sting through my leathers.
These big fat drops of rain then turn into hail. Really? Really? Who did I piss off? And what did I do? Because as sure as I’m in pain and fed up with life, I will never do again whatever it is that I did to deserve this…. I pull into a rest stop and underneath a little tee-pee bench thing to hide form the hail. I call the parents and let them know what’s up, being that they’re waiting for my check-in call from the motel. “That’s fine, call us when you get to a motel” is my mom’s answer. WTF?! She’s not freaking out and just gonna let me handle the situation?! WIN! But on the other hand I’m a bit disappointed that she’s not freaking out, having grown so used to it and the care which it signifies.
Once the hail stopped I get back on the road and find a Motel 8 in Shawnee, OK where I crash for the night. While speaking with the parents on the phone about the situation, and having a smoke while sitting on the ground looking at my bike and thinking about how I’m going to fix this mess an idea hits me like an iron frying pan from the heavens…. A shower and I hop in bed for a planned later start tomorrow….