Work has been pretty crazy lately so I decided to take a day off and get some riding in. Let’s just say I’ve had better days. It started off like a lot of my riding days do. I hem and haw over where to ride until I land on a route I’m feeling good about that fits into the time and weather. Usually ends up pretty well. As a friend pointed out, I’ve had worse days, but I’ve definitely had better.
I decided I’d ride ACH. I haven’t been up there in a while and with the weather getting cooler I wasn’t confident I’d get another chance any time soon. While I was up there, the local riding forum was running a photo-rally, basically you grab certain pictures of particular locations and you get points, so I knew I could get a few points off ACH.
The day was going splendidly until about 7 miles beyond Big Pines. Setting up for a left-hand sweeper, my bike coughed and sputtered a little. I twisted the throttle to see if I could convince it, but no good. Thing just died. I coasted to a stop and saw in the dash “HI BATT.” Awesome. Thank you Ducati electrical engineers, once again. Turned off, and back on, and the fuel pump made a pitiful sound as it primed, and thumbing the starter did nothing.
OK. Maybe it just overheated or something. Let it sit for about 5 mins. Key on, gauges didn’t even sweep all the way and the dash lights were flickering. Great. I’m 70 miles from home, in the middle of really nowhere, with a dead bike and I know a location with spotty cell service. Open my wallet and for whatever reason my AMA card isn’t there so I don’t have the roadside service number and I don’t have my AMA membership number.
Good news. I can text. I can’t get through on the phone, but I can text. Text my Pops and he digs up the AMA number. I’m able to wander around in the turnout a little and find a spot that gives decent service and I’m able to get through. It’s a little dicey explaining where I am, “ACH, highway 2, between mile marker 72 and 73, about 10 miles west of Big Pines” but she repeats it back and assures me she’ll call in 5-10 minutes with an ETA for the tow. It’s 11:20am.
At noon a supervisor calls and says she finally found someone who would take the call. However, they had a 90 minute eta AND I’d have overage charges for my tow. I knew that part based on where I was, but whatever, not like I had a choice. An hour and a half? I can burn that off, no problem. The tow company calls a few minutes later and I try to give more details of where I am. She says someone will be there.
I wait. And wait. 1:30 comes and goes. I can’t get through to them again. I can’t get through to anyone. Finally around 2:30 I’m able to stand on one leg and get through to the tow company. “Oh, your roadside gave us the wrong location, so the driver went to Big Bear, not Big Pine. But he’s on his way.” Um, OK. Big Bear is not on Highway 2. I wait. and wait some more. I’m just about that the point where I start to feel rising panic and the flat bed shows up. It’s 4pm.
We hook up the Duc and we’re off. “Oh, we’re going to stop in San Dimas and switch drivers.” Whatever. They probably don’t want to pay the ‘day’ guy too much overtime, so the ‘night’ guy is going to take this rig and get me home.
At 6:10pm I was in the house with a beer. I realized I hadn’t eaten since 7am and nothing to drink except 3 cups of coffee that morning as well. Sunburned, famished, and thirsty after sitting in the sun with a dry desert wind blowing up the mountain.
Hopefully the bike fix is easy. It looks like the smoke got let out of the rectifier. I’ll run some basic tests on the stator-rectifier-battery to ensure that’s it, then I guess I’ll get it fixed. I still like riding ACH but I’m starting to feel like it’s got some bad mojo or something. Add to that my decreasing confidence with the duc… it might be time for a new bike that’s more reliable for day-long runs. So yeah, I’ve certainly had worse days, but I’ve certainly had better days.