Sunday, April 20, 2008

Great balls of fire

Started out in Murdo, SD this morning, with the wind blowing like mad. After 50 or so miles, it was time to gas up. I pulled into Presho. The first thing I notice is all the pumps are out of order. So I get off the bike, and notice that my leg didn't bump the tail bag like usual. I turn around and look, and see the tail bag rolled over the back of the luggage rack, but still attached. Then I see the smoke. The tail bag had been sitting on the muffler for who knows how long, and it burned right through. Also, my riding overpants were stuffed under the bag, and are now long gone. I pulled off the bag, and the folks in the gas station brought me a wet rag and water to put out whatever was still smoldering.

Stuff destroyed:
The tail bag
The damn electric vest that I never did get to work
My fleece jacket
The souvenier hat from the Sci-Fi museum
The owners manual from the new bike
A towel
A bunch of anti-fog visor wipes
Hand and toe chemical warmers

My irreplaceable Held Galaxy gloves got singed, but might still be wearable. My tour books and other papers are singed, and the hotel room smells like a campfire now.

I needed gas, but all I could get there was 89 octane w/ 10% ethanol. Ick. Put a gallon of that in and headed east some more to Kennebec, which was supposed to have a big gas station. They also only had 89 octane, but not the gasahol kind. Filled up on that, and kept going east. I stopped in Mitchell for some lunch, but couldn't eat since I was feeling pretty crappy about how the day started. Gassed up on 91 again, and off I went. Made it to Rochester, MN tonight, after a few more gas stops.

The wind out here is something else. It's never-ending, and brutal. My neck hurts from pushing on it all day, trying to keep my head from getting blown off. And it tossed the fuel economy of the bike right out the window. It finally eased up about 30 miles outside of Rochester. I hope tomorrow it won't be as bad. I'm going to try and get an early start and get to Chicago to see some more friends.

At first it only looked like I lost what was in the side compartment.


I hope very fine steel wool can clean this up.

The burned up manuals, the melted thermostat for the electric vest, and the crispy Sci-Fi hat.

A closer look.

The electric vest melted, and burned a hole in my jacket.


Unknown said...

Oh man, that sucks! Tailbag flambe - Thats a new one! I can't believe nobody noticed the smoke or honked at you.

Jesse Erlbaum said...

Yeah, they honked, and Brad game 'em the finger! heh..

A fitting end for the electric vest. At least it finally got warm.

Unknown said...

Yeah I wonder how long it was melting like that? That exhaust would be pretty hot. Maybe not that long?

Unknown said...

Hey Brad, Sorry to see the damage on your bag.

A Great story would be to add you being chased by galactic empire storm troopers looking for the lost diagrams of the death star. No wait thats already been done

Ok how about a really pissed of Grandma chased your arse down the highway firing a lazer cannon at ya, and your new light speeder out ran her

Ya that will work

Glad you having a great time Brad, Ride Safe Ride Smart

John Lorenz

ajr said...

Wow, crazy burn story. I finally got the addy from Brian. So I need to catch up on your adventure now. Good luck.

The best ending to that day would have been if the gas station attendant was a hot rockclimbing babe that took you out for a cold beer and warmed the cockles of your heart with her dimples and compasion for you.

Denis said...

Damn, bad luck my friend. I'm glad you had a good time around Devil's Tower and the Black Hills area though. I had a mad driving day yesterday, and am actually in Ann Arbor, Michigan now. I'll be here for a day or two and then into Canada. Keep your chin up, tomorrow's another day!


Geo Mealer said...

+1 for rockclimbing babe and warmed cockles. That woulda been a nice end to the day.

Jeez, man, Loki is your copilot. :) I'm glad it wasn't catastrophic failure or anything (insofar as you or the bike is concerned).

I assume that big hole/cutout on the exhaust was there prior to the bag butting up against it? I'm sure the chunky bits will come off just fine. Hopefully the finish will polish out too, if such things concern you.

What actually happened, anyway? Did one of the bungees pop or something? I have that same tailbag, so enquiring minds want to know.

Unknown said...

Still lmao about Jesse's comment re: the electric vest!

I'll send you a new SFM hat. I'm dying to go back there anyway. ;)

Brad Bidnick said...

The bungees didn't pop, the wind was so strong it pushed the bag back over the top of the luggage rack. The cords held, but they were strapped side to side, not front to back, letting the bag slide backwards along the rails.

I'll be strapping the replacement one down much, much tighter.