The afternoon was windy. Not just fly a kite windy, but make sure the mailbox hasn’t flown away windy. There was a wind advisory out actually. I missed my turn and didn’t realize until I was 40 miles south of where I needed to be. Winds battering me from the northwest made for an impossible backtrack north. I tried. Within one minute my heart was pounding as a tractor trailer passed me and I blew off the road. I mean gusts up to 50 mph were happening.
The Interstate gained an appeal it has never had. I stay off “the slab,” as it’s known to hardcore bikers. Usually the views and culture are meager compared to the rich landscape on the backroads. There it was, Interstate 94, offering me the straightest shot to Fargo, with a tailwind guaranteed. Oh, and even an unexpected overnight visit in Bismarck if all went well. Did I do it? You betcha!
I wasn’t sure Bismarck would be obtainable. That was officially the most wind I’ve driven in for the longest consecutive bout. The Interstate was fine, better than fine. It curved and took me through the Badlands, the painted hills. They looked exactly like the ones in South Dakota, except with some green foilage. It was gorgeous and desolate, with a majority of motorcyclists and an occasional tractor trailer truck. It wasn’t scary and eventually, in the last two hours of the ride, the wind disappeared completely. It was one of the most exhausting 310 mile days that I ever hope to have.
Well, I’ve now visited Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, the Peace Garden state.That’s about that. I stayed in a hotel and I slept, snoozed hard. Everyone I met was there doing sales work and they were all nice but we couldn’t manage a decent conversation past, “visit this bar in such and such town.”
I set off for Fargo, only 120 miles away. 73 miles later one of the last things I want to happen happens. It sounds bad, but wasn’t as bad as it sounded. I didn’t know this at the time and was really frantic and strangely-depressed. The Interstate isn’t necessarily the best place to break down. People are going too fast to stop. The probably think, “oh, the next person will help.” On the back roads, people always stop within 10 minutes. I was there 2 hours and no one once stopped. The loudness of tractor trailers becomes unsettling and there is no where to pee in privacy.
Genuine offers roadside assistance for a year and mine has expired. The 800 number did locate a tow truck for me though. I gave it a shot on my own, even calling the Harley dealership in the next town. All options were unavailable on a Sunday. Finally the tow showed up and it was truly hysterical. A piece of chipped plywood reluctantly covered the trailer. Two threadbare ratchets were offered. Impossible. Finally, after more were delivered and I secured the scooter, we were dumped at the closest town. Then I received the $220 bill. I offered $100 and made a good case for myself, only to fall on deaf ears.
Finally the next day I made it to Fargo, only with the help of a Genuine rep who just serendipitously happened to be in Fargo and agreed to extract me from Jamestown, ND. My afternoon was spent with Greg. Somehow, he had never heard of P.E.A.C.E Scooter and he asked a lot of questions. I asked him a lot of questions. The day flew past. The Genuine crew contacted their friend Bob at Ma’s Cycles. They fixed up the clutch, which had come loose. Great guys, really helpful. Important pitcrew to have on your side.
70 miles later, I made another distress call to Greg. He was on his way to Wisconsin, and would go right through Minneapolis. He came to save me again and with the help of two construction fellas, Audre was lifted into the truckbed.
Lake Wobegon must be somewhere nearby, in the land of 10,000 lakes.
Most of the ride felt like a lecture, but I was just hot under the collar. Over and over about how I’m doing more than anyone has ever done on this 125cc scooter, weighing it down, riding it wide open throttle, long distance miles in the hot weather. My engine is air cooled, which means the oil is simmering in there. Everything made sense but wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the moment. What I focused on was the patience this guy had with me. And how happy I am that the company has stood behind me every step of the way.
Greg even drove the backroads for the 180 mile stretch. We all tried our best but there was no way to really get in there and fix her without getting to the next Genuine dealer. So I had to compromise by accepting that at least me and Audre were literally on the Peace route, together.
To be continued….Blue Skies Again over Lake Wobegon. The incredible welcoming from cool people into a cool city. And the scooter is alive again…..