We started early applying sponsor decals and giant Magento logos to our bikes. We look like a real adventure team now. Chad, our photographer borrowed from Kuru, followed us around Salt Lake City to capture some video and photos of the team together before we headed out.
We followed the mountains out of Salt Lake into rolling farmlands until a fateful fuel stop at the “Middle of Nowhere” restaurant, which was closed. After fueling up, Bret and Brendan switched motorcycles and a touch of death from Brendan knocked out Bret’s bike. It’s not a good sign when the starter clicks, the display flashes, and you’re 40 miles from the nearest town.
The next hour we spent Googling for probable causes, considering diagnosing ourselves, and weighing the time setback of a tow. Also we hadn’t eaten and only had Powerbars to hold us over (thanks <a href=”http://dotmailer.com”>dot mailer</a>).
We settled on the “quick” test of swapping batteries, which involves unscrewing multiple body panels and components. Slightly more annoying than popping the hood. After another half hour we had Steve’s BMW battery out, but it didn’t fit in Bret’s bike. D’oh! Through some careful angling we held the battery outside the bike and stretched the terminals to connect.
After a triumphant test, relief set in that it was only a battery failure. The issues suggested by Googling were much less promising. Luckily the phantom restaurant provided a steady stream of cars we could ask for jumper cables, but no dice. We cut off some battery tender leads and converted them to jumpers to bridge the two batteries. Soon it was charging and so we called ahead to the Autozone in Burley, Idaho for a new battery and sped off.
In Brendan’s words:
I was in front of the group going 95mph when I made eye contact with a state trooper parked in the median. He didn’t pull out to chase us so it seemed ok, but about 5 minutes later I looked back and saw an unusually marked Charger behind me. I looked again and the lights flashed.
Now apparently he caught up a while ago, pulled behind me, and started flashing his lights — I didn’t see him and just kept cruising ahead. My headset wasn’t working, and the guys were getting alarmed that I wasn’t moving over.
So I noticed him and pulled over, meanwhile the rest of my crew flew by. Before the officer even shut his door he yelled, “IS THAT YOUR GROUP?” It was actually good the left me to be eaten. He wanted to ticket all of us but since I was behind he gave me a hard warning to relay to the group, and let me go to catch up with the others.
The group reconnected heading to AutoZone for a replacement battery. Long story short, they didn’t have the right size battery but Bret’s bike had charged enough to start itself. We continued on another 145 miles to Boise through the vineyards in south Idaho as the sun fell onto the horizon.
It’s good to get the wrinkles out early.