Or 'what happened to me today' a few days ago.
So I've been looking for a pair of sportster cans for a while now. They're an easy fix for rotten 30-year-old Honda mufflers so I'd been watching a few on the bay that are sitting at $1, only problem is that the shipping is prohibitive. Anywhere from $45 (and that was from a seller in Ontario) to $65 just to get them here. I don't get it, we ship stuff from work, some of it quite heavy and bulky, all over Ontario and it rarely costs more than $25 for overnight. I guess everyone sticks with the big guys like UPS and Purolator etc.
I'd pretty much decided to suck it up and get the ones from the Ontario seller when I came across a set on Kijiji (an excellent site, much better than Craigslist) for $30. And the guy lived in Richmond Hill, less than 1-1/2 hours away. That just sounded like a perfect excuse for a little Saturday afternoon excursion that I could combine with my visit to Toronto to check out an '82 GL500I that I've been sniffing around. Packed my tank bag with a few diagnostic tools, my camera and my phone and I was on my way. The dramatic storms from this morning had cleared the air, the sun had made an appearance, the roads were dry and the highway was wide open.
Awesome, I live for this stuff..
About half an hour later I'm booming east at about 140km in the fast lane of the 401, the blatting thunder of my el cheapo slash-cut pipes urging my eardrums towards the promise of sane decibel levels ever faster, when the Fish starts to stumble and fart. When I passed the first service station the ghost of reason sternly recommended that I top up but the miserable little speed freak perched on my left shoulder reminded me that reserve would get me to a gas station along this stretch of highway with plenty to spare. White line fever. No problem, I reached down and flipped the petcock and slid over to the middle lane until I picked up speed again. I didn't. I pulled in the clutch and confirmed the worst. Wind and highway static at 120km and little else. Luckily there was no one around me so was able to get over to the slow lane and to the paved shoulder. And confirmed that I'd indeed left the fuel valve on reserve after my last fill up.
I laid the bike over on the left side to get all the fuel over the hump, a trick that used to work on my old CX, giving me a few extra kilometers, and that got me a couple hundred feet further on one cylinder before gasping to a halt. Apparently the slimline Silverwing tank just doesn't measure up to big old square CX tank. So I walked the bike down to the bottom of the hill, locked everything up and started walking towards the overpass about 2 klicks east of me. Wasn't really thinking clearly so I probably got about a kilometer before I realised where I was; ahead of me an overpass but the nearest gas station was about 7-8 km north of it but somewhere behind me was a service station.
Turned around and walked back to the bike. Finally remembered my phone. Called CAA to see how much it would cost to get a gallon of fuel dropped off. After being on hold for about ten minutes on the side of an incredibly noisy highway the guy gets back on the line and says that it would be about the same as an annual membership and could he sign me up now? Choking back the angry demons, I asked sweetly how much would that be. Only $85 he replied, without laughing or anything. I thanked him and told him I'd sooner walk to the gas station.
So I did.
Nearly six sunburnt and sticky kilometers later; having been passed by countless bikes (most of whom waved or nodded), several towtrucks and not one single godamn travelling gas salesman I staggered into the service station, bought a can of gas and a bottle of water and headed back out. I tried to call the guy with the mufflers to tell him what he already knew - that I'd be late, but apparently I'd used the last ergs of battery while on hold with CAA.
Holy freaking dammit.
As I'd really really hoped, I got a ride before I'd left the onramp by a guy who obviously recognised my prominently displayed shiny new red gas can as being the badge of a clearly sane yet foolish traveler and not that of a deranged head stabber (I once walked many miles one day long ago due to my ignorance of the presence of a deranged head-stabbing freak hitch-hiking in the same area). And then, just after I'd gassed up and was puttering along the shoulder waiting for a gap in traffic, two bikes pulled over in front of me to make sure that I was ok. That totally made up for everything else so far and I told them so.
Us bikers can be some of the coolest people.
I zipped to the next gas station to fill up and slide the petcock to 'on' and then I fed some change into a payphone that smelt of vomit and old vegetables and called the guy. I admitted my stupidity and he just laughed and said he'd had more than his share of 'senior' moments. He was decent about it and I promised to get there in 45 minutes. Made it there no problem, although I drove through the town of Maple where I used to live (aka a small town I used to live in), and didn't recognise a thing. I couldn't even tell where my house used to be. Dave was a cool older biker guy who'd bought himself a decker when he'd retired and was selling off all his old sportster bits. Turned out the pipes were exactly what I wanted. He tried to talk the price down when I told him about my day but that just made me insist on paying the full asking price. Hell, the guy waited for me and didn't even start drinking until I got there.
We talked for a bit; pretty interesting guy. He rides harleys but just likes bikes in general. He even admitted to putting Honda accessories on his old Sportster.
Then he pointed out the GL's attributes to his biker buddies when they showed up to play *SPAM* and ask him what the hell a Honda was doing in his driveway.
Turned into a plus-type day.
Got home, fed the doggies and 'rehydrated' myself.
Never made it to Toronto. More apologies followed.