Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Interesting Fourth

The plan sounded good...we were going to head over to my parent's around 3pm, hang out with them for a while, eat around 5pm, hang out some more and then go see the fireworks at 9:30pm. We arrived shortly after 3:00 and enjoyed relaxing, talking and telling my parents about our trip to the lake yesterday. We had what has got to be the perfect dinner...grilled hamburgers, corn on the cob, chips and ice cream for dessert. It was just after dinner the our plans went south.

Brooke said, "Hey, let's got for a motorcycle ride." I was up for that and said "sure". Amanda Kay heard about this and wanted to go, too, so I told her I'd take her for a ride right after Brooke and I got back. Dad's bike is a 1977 Honda, so Mom (in typical mother form) said, "Take your cell phone in case you have any problems with the bike." We certainly didn't expect any problems, but took the cell phone anyway.

We headed out and swung by Scott and Tanya's house to say "hi" to the fam. Scott and Natalie were out shopping, the boys were gone and only Tanya, Jason, Tanya's mom and grandma were home. We stayed for a while and then headed back toward Mom & Dad's. Coming up to a light, I put the clutch in and thought to myself, "Hmmm...did the the thing die? It's awful quiet." Then I downshifted and heard the engine and thought all was well...until I put the clutch in again and all went quiet again. I realized the engine had died. The light was red, so I stopped, put it in neutral and switched to reserve tank thinking perhaps I had run out of gas even though the trip mileage counter said I should have plenty. It was then that I noticed none of the lights were on...as in the electrical system was out. I pushed the bike to a safe corner of the intersection and tried to kick start it. Nothing happened, so I called Dad.

The first thing I told my parents was, "We didn't have a wreck or anything, but the bike has died." Dad got on the phone and we went through checking to make sure I had not bumped the kill switch, checking to make sure the ignition switch was OK and then on to the fuses. Sure enough, the bike had blown a fuse. Dad grabbed some fuses from the house and came to where we were. We replaced a fuse and turned the ignition switch on. Before I even had a chance to start it, the fuse blew again. Dad had seen this problem before, so he knew what to do. He unplugged the lights (figuring that is where the short was), replaced the fuse and we tried it again. Sure enough, the lights stayed on this time. So Dad got in the car, Brooke got on the back of the bike and I hit the starter. The bike turned over, then the lights went out again (not the unplugged headlights, the engine lights on the "dash"). Oops. So I yelled for Dad (who had not left us yet, fortunately) and we started over. This time, we decided it would be best to kick start the thing so as not to short it out again until we could get it home. We popped another fuse in, turned the key on and I kicked the kick starter. There was no engine sound...the lights just went out again and we had blown another fuse.

Now we had to decide what to do with the bike since it would not start. We talked about towing the thing home as Plan A, but that seemed dangerous since we were a ways away form the house (just a few minutes ride, but too far to risk towing the bike...one would not want to run over the rope that is towing you!). Plan B would be to borrow the motorcycle trailer Dad's neighbor has. That might have worked if the neighbor had been home! So, Plan C was to take Dad's glider off it's trailer, set it in the garage, go get the bike, roll the bike onto the trailer (this thing is HUGE and HEAVY), unload the bike at home and put the glider back on the trailer. Sounds simple enough, right? If you said "yes", you've obviously never taken a glider off it's trailer! Dad has a great system and can even perform this stunt on his own if he has too, but there is really nothing quick and easy about taking the glider off it's trailer and setting it in the garage. Oh yes, did I mention it was starting to get dark by this time? Remember, we were going to watch fireworks, too.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention one of the best parts. I had pushed the bike to safe spot in the intersection, but we weren't sure how safe it would be to leave it there. A hundred yards or so from where we were was a nice side street where it seemed the bike would be safer, so I decided we should PUSH the motorcycle to this side street. Dad was a bit more hesitant since the side street was up a slight hill, but I was sure we could do it. He wanted to push from the side of the bike while I pushed from the back, but I insisted he sit on the bike and let me push. Again, this thing is HEAVY and I didn't want us to lose the balance and drop the thing. Dad protested, but I insisted...then I found out why he protested! Did I mention this bike was HUGE and HEAVY? I started out at a slow jog trying to maintain momentum up the hill. By the time we were turning onto the side street, I was sucking wind like a fat guy! (If you know me, no comment, please. If you don't know me, you are overweight and were offended by that comment, I, too, am overweight, so get over it!). As it turned out, it was MUCH more difficult to push the bike to that spot than I had pictured in my mind when first suggesting it.

So then, we headed to the house and ended up taking the glider off the trailer. And it started getting dark. We talked to the girls and decided that Mom, Brooke and Amanda would head on out to the fireworks and we would meet them if we got done in time. Dad and I got the glider off the trailer and headed out to where the motorcycle was. I was a bit concerned about getting the bike onto the trailer. Did I mention that the bike is BIG and HEAVY? I did not want to go through all of this just to drop the thing getting it onto the trailer. I'm thinking Dad did not really want to watch his BIG and HEAVY bike going crashing to the ground, either, and neither of us wanted to have the neighbors come out and say, "Ooohhhhhh..what happened?" as the bike lay in three or four pieces on the ground. Fortunately, the bike went on (and off) the trailer with relative ease.

We strapped the motorcycle down, got it home, took it off and put the glider back in place without too much difficulty. The fireworks started just as we were getting the last of the glider onto the trailer. We finished up, called the girls to see where they were and were told the fireworks would be over by the time we found them. So Dad and I headed in the general direction of the fireworks, found a place where we could see them, pulled into a parking lot and watched what was left. When they were over, we beat the girls home by a good 10 minutes because we did not have to fight traffic.

So things did not really go according to plan yesterday, but it's OK. As it turned out, Dad was going to ride the motorcycle to the glider port Tuesday to tow. Had we not ridden the motorcycle when we did, it would have died on him on the way to the airport. Would have been a bit more difficult to get it back to the house then. So everything turned out for the best...even if it was an interesting Fourth!


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