Re: Poll: Getting Stranded, Recovery and Prevention
2 stories, the first not an LT story. The first is long but fun to reflect on...
I went away for the weekend in Australia with my then girlfriend (now wife), on my Suzuki GS425E. I had just had the bike serviced by a Suzuki dealer and the guys messed up the camshaft seals (put them in backwards) which caused a very substantial oil leak - bad enough that my girlfriend and I are literally covered in engine oil from the waist down.
After a long day on the road, I realized I was low on fuel, and had t switch to the reserve tank, about 30 miles from he nearest town. The reserve only goes 20 miles, and so the bike sputtered to a halt on a very quiet highway. It was just after dark, in the middle of nowhere and not a house in sight.
We got off, and I put the kickstand down, not noticing the stand slowly sinking into the soft shoulder - and so down the bike went. Just as my girlfriend and I were picking it up, a very new looking Volkswagen station wagon pulled up and the driver asked if we were OK (I think he thought it was an accident scene). I explained the problem, and the driver said "why doesn't one of you hop on in and we'll take to a gas station - I've only got room for one".
I couldn't put my girlfriend in a strange person's car, so I opted to go, leaving my girlfriend in the dark beside a very empty unlit country highway - I can't say I was thrilled about this, but we were out of options. Sleeping at the side of the road wasn't a good idea - we had no tent, it was getting quite chilly, and snakes will slither into warmer spots at night, like up next to me or my girlfriend - in Australia my rule is "the only good snake is a dead snake".
So, after accepting the ride, I explain to the driver that I'm covered in oil and didn't want to ruin his new upholstery. He says "no problem, I have a newspaper, you can sit on that". At this point his wife, silent until now, starts objecting. They were clearly well to do, and in a very upper class accent (kind of like Dame Helen Mirren) says "Christopher - we shouldn't do this, I think it's a terrible idea". Christopher, the driver, kind of grunts and dismisses her, and so reluctantly Christopher's wife (?) jumps into the back and I jump in the front after spreading newspapers everywhere.
We begin driving, and I state how appreciative I am of the help. We had not even gotten up to highway speed when the two kids in the back seat decide to side with their mother. They didn't call him "Dad" or her "Mum", which I took at the time to be an odd kind of "well to do" thing, but it was all a bit strange. "Christopher, we agree with Jennifer - we shouldn't be doing this, it's not safe". At this point I'm thinking "you know I can hear you right....". Christopher simply says "it's not a problem - we'll just drop him a the petrol station", although stated with some noticeable tension.
For the next 10 miles, Christopher's wife (?) and kids (?) continue with "Christopher, this is a bad idea". He just says nothing. I'm not going to take sides, so I don't say a word. And so the Volkswagen full of very tense people arrives at the nearest town's gas station. I get out, and Jennifer says "well good luck!". At which point Christopher cements his fate for a bad evening and asks "how are you getting back to your bike?". I tell him that I'll walk back, because it was clear Christopher was already in big, big trouble. But undeterred, Christopher says "oh we can't have that - just grab your gas and jump back in, I'll take you back". At this point, the wife and children all very loudly say "Noooo! Christopher No! We're not doing that! Let's get going!".
At this point, I am a big fan of Christopher, but I think his wife and children are not very nice people. So I accept, and offer to put petrol in his car, which he refuses. So I go inside, buy a gas can, fill it up, pay and jump back in.
Yup, you guessed it. All the way back, it's "Christopher, this isn't a good idea. We shouldn't be doing this". And even "Christopher, what were you thinking, this is crazy". And all the time I'm thinking "you know, I'm right here and I can hear you...".
We arrive back at my motorcycle, and my girlfriend emerges from the blackness as we pull up. She seems a bit spooked after having been left all alone in the dark in the middle of nowhere, but thankfully she's OK. I again offer to pay for Christopher's gas and he refuses. So I get out, and remove all the newspaper, and thankfully the seat is completely clean of oil.
Christopher says his goodbyes, and I thank his incredible generosity one last time. As he's about to pull away I hear Jennifer saying "you never listen to me Christopher, that was a stupid thing to do", and the kids echoing her. Hen-pecked would not begin to describe Christopher's plight. If the bike was a three seater I'm fairly certain Christopher would have asked for a ride. Christopher did not say a word to the protests as he drove away. All I could think at the time was "poor bastard".
The bike started fine after a few kicks, and once running, continued to pour oil all over us. So we headed for the hotel we booked for the night.
Checking in at the hotel, the owner, a motorcycle fan, says "just park your bike on the concrete walkway outside your room - we've just put new concrete down and it's perfect for your bike. I start explaining that the bike is leaking lots of oil, and he just refuses to hear any of it and insists he'll be annoyed if he doesn't see it directly outside the room. After trying a few times and him refusing to hear any of it, I give up, and park the bike right outside the room because it was clear he was not gonna be happy with anything else.
Needless to say, by morning, there was a 2ft pool of oil under the bike. We did our best to clean it up, but it was pretty bad on the fresh concrete. So we left some extra money (as well as the fee for the room), and hit the road (office wasn't open when we left).
By this time I'm over this bike trip. So I start going a bit faster just in order to get home sooner. It begins to rain. Hard. I keep going, until I notice way in the distance behind me a car following me. Sure enough, the it's the boys in blue, and I get pulled over doing 129.8km/h in a 100km/h zone. Note that in the state of Victoria, 30km/h over the limit brings an instant loss of license for 3 months.... The cop showed no mercy despite my description of he problem (as they don't in Australia), and we got home, soaked in oil.
I took the bike back the next day to get repaired, and they weren't very apologetic which annoyed me. But I was 22 years old, so didn't know enough about the world to make a scene, and the bike was fixed properly this time. Looking back, I'd say I was lucky in so many ways. I still look back and thank Christopher. My bet is that he's divorced now. And I just kept riding and filling with oil every time I stopped before getting the bike fixed properly.
NOW to the LT story.
On a 2000 mile ride, at literally the 1000 mile point (half way - the furthest point from home), after a great night in a BBQ joint in Georgia, the bike refuses to start. It turns over fine, but just will not fire. After about an hour of screwing around trying to figure it out, one of the guys pulls out his smart phone and locates this forum. One of the posts for a similar problem suggests getting some engine start spray to see if the engine kicks (to test whether it's fuel or electrical).
Two Harley riders appear from the restaurant, and not only do they offer to go get the engine start, they offer their workshop about 10 miles away to work on the bike. You hear all sorts of stories about Harley guys not liking BMW guys - I've never had that, and this is a perfect example of the opposite. So they get some engine start spray, we spray it, and lo and behold, after a bit of cranking, the danged thing starts and runs. So I don't take up the offer to use their workshop because I was new to the LT, and therefore I would have had no idea where to even start to look.
On the trip back, several times the bike wouldn't start, but a squirt of engine start got it going every time. Including one time literally in the middle of nowhere in southern PA, a spot that my wife nicknamed "Bear Country", because it sure seemed like there would be bears there.
We rode home doing that all the way. Upon getting home and asking on this forum, I found a loose-ish fuel line inside the tank, and I also replaced the fuel pump relay which I was advised on this forum can be a bit iffy and cause this type of symptom. And I haven't had a problem since.
So those are my stories. In both cases I rode the bike all the way. Now I have roadside assistance, I might not make the same choice....
Sorry for the length of the story, hope it was a bit of a fun to read.
2005 Dark Graphite Metallic BMW K1200LT
2002 Pearl Orange Honda VTX1800 Retro
Suzuki GS425E (Australia)
Suzuki T250R (Australia)