I had started the Midnight Riders, AMA sponsored, “Political Tour” earlier this year. I got within three photos of being done, and put that tour aside for many other riding events — a Blue Knight convention, the Blue Butt Rally, and a SS2000.
With a month left to finish I figured I’d better get back to the Political Tour; it wasn’t really a very creative theme this year, but I’d gotten this far I might as well finish.
I had toyed with the idea of an overnighter to the southern end of the Gold Country. I considered a ride down 49 (AKA: the Little Dragon) to Coulterville, Mariposa, and then maybe through Yosemite to see the fall colors. There would be towns along the way I could use for the tour. But I opted to wait another week or so for that route, and see if Kay and I could get the time off together for a fall color trip. Instead, yesterday, I decided to do a day ride up around Lake County; there were three towns up there that would work for the tour as well, and I could get it wrapped up in one day.
I fired up the GT and take off up 121, to 128 to Knoxville-Berryessa; over to Pope Valley, through Butts Canyon, and into Middletown for lunch at Perry’s Deli. My plan from there was the get photos of the town limit signs for the city of Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks, and Capella. After which I’d take 101 south to 128, and cruise on home. However, I was soon to discover that my best-laid plans were at the mercy of German engineers.
On SR 53, at the south city limits of Clearlake, there is a wide asphalt shoulder. I pulled off a good 10 feet from the travel lane. As I was soon to find out I’m glad I did. I turn off the bike, got my camera and rally flag out, got the photo of the city limit sign, and put everything away.
I saddle back up, turn on the ignition …
Crap. I take the key out, wait, and try again.
I yelled at the bike, “This is the same key I’ve been using for 6,000 miles!”
I tried again, the bike’s only response was — CHECK EWS.
I called Ted in the hopes that he knew the super secret BMW incantation to re-set the ignition. And you know what? He didn’t.
Fisher Towing was there in less than 30 minutes after my call to BMW Roadside Assistance. The boss came out in his pick-up and assisted in working out the details. The closest dealer, Santa Rosa BMW (actually now in Windsor) wouldn’t be open until Tuesday morning. They’d load the bike on a flatbed, drop me at a hotel, pick me up in the morning, and take the bike and me to Windsor. BMW Roadside would only pay for a tow to the nearest dealer. I’d have to pay out of pocket to get it back to Napa — at $6 per mile. Then I’d still have to work out something to get the GT back to Santa Rosa, or A&S. The hotel idea was a lot cheaper, and this ride really could have been an overnighter, so what the heck.
The flatbed driver, Marty, did an excellent job of loading the bike — he used my tie down loops that I always carry, and his heavy duty, ratchet tie down straps, and a good front wheel brace. The bike was solidly on the flatbed. He dropped me a the Best Western in Clearlake, got my cell number, and said he’d call in the morning before he came to pick me up.
I walk inside; the hotel is decent place, a restaurant and lounge on-site. Cool. But at the counter I’m told they are booked. On a Monday, in October, here in Podunk, Lake Co., and they’re booked.
I wondered if German engineers owned the place.
With Kay out of town, I called my Dad, he’s getting up there in years, and I hate to have him drive too far, but he was there in less than two hours with no problems.
I got up this morning, talked to Marty on the phone. I told him I would meet him at the dealership. I drove to Windsor, and I got there just as Marty had unloaded the GT. Dennis, the owner of Santa Rosa BMW, suspected the antenna ring was the problem. One of his techs will get on it, and they’ll call. So, depending on what Santa Rosa finds, it might be the little GS for me this weekend.
If there are any German engineers at Manchester this weekend, I’m going to TP their campsite.