MHT Day 3 (?): On the Road. Again.

I finally now seem to be securely on the road, though the early days of the Magical History Tour have been fraught with motorcycle-related delays.  Yesterday, I picked up the bike in Morristown after a new stator and new voltage regulator installed by the technicians at Colboch Harley-Davidson remedied the electrical issues that delayed my progress for three days.  My destination, as I rode the hills of eastern Kentucky and admired some of the state’s smaller horse farms, was Clarksville/Louisville, where Clark joined Lewis and his growing band of adventurers in 1803 for the final leg down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi River to St. Louis.

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There were bigger horse farms in Kentucky but this one caught my eye and had a safe place to pull off and get a picture for Sue in South Carolina.

About 30 miles from my destination yesterday, I experienced a problem I associated with a slipping clutch.  Although I continued to ride the bike through the 95 degree temperatures to the day’s target, I wasn’t sure what the problem was nor whether the bike could go another 8,500 miles without leaving me stranded.  So I tracked down the local Harley dealer, detoured to the store and pled my case for quick attention to the service writer.  By the time I arrived at the store, it was nearly 3 p.m. and the service department was backed up with Harleys in need of repair.  But, convinced of my importunate desire to continue my westward quest to the Pacific, the service writer said she would schedule my bike first thing this morning to determine what mischievous gremlins were messing with my clutch.

I didn’t post a blog last night because I didn’t know what to write.  I had seen nice country but hadn’t made the L&C historical stop that I planned for Louisville.  And I didn’t know what to say about how long the trip might be delayed again.  So I waited until today to resume writing.

When I rode the bike to the dealership this morning, I tried to reproduce the issue I experienced yesterday, but–and this is good news–I couldn’t make the clutch slip even when I duplicated yesterday’s conditions as nearly as I could.  What was different?  Yesterday the temperature was in the mid 90s and this morning it was 20 degrees cooler. Perhaps, I thought, the problem was, at least in part, heat related.  But even though the problem wasn’t recurring I decided to have the bike checked out by Donnie, the Master Technician at Bluegrass Harley-Davidson. After multiple mechanical surprises over the past two weeks, I should be pardoned if I’m a little gun shy.

When they opened the service door I drove in and the technician went through his paces.  An hour and a half later, he reported that he couldn’t find an obvious problem, though he did tighten the clutch cable and made a couple other adjustments.  He said the bike should be good for my proposed cross-country jaunt.  I paid my bill, saddled up and hit the road at noon for Paducah, Kentucky, along the banks of the Ohio.  One final note about today’s visit at Bluegrass Harley-Davidson.  While I was waiting in the service area,  John Dunn, former service writer at Adamecs in Orange Park, FL, where I bought the very bike that was then in for repair called my name and reintroduced his still-bearded self.  He is the service manager at Bluegrass and just as he took care of me in Florida, he did the same in Kentucky.  Small world.

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Repaired AGAIN and ready for the road thanks to the folks at Bluegrass Harley-Davidson.

Today was another day in the mid-90s, but unlike the previous two riding days there were no mechanical issues, no furtive sounds, no surprise jerks or jolts, no warning lights.  Just smooth sailing.  At last.

Because of the four-hour repair delay, I didn’t have time today to visit any historic sites, but I did cross the Ohio river that carried the expedition in 1803 three times today.  It’s breadth and depth must have been a welcome relief to Lewis after his painfully long voyage over shoals and rapids from Pittsburg to Clarksville.  I did have time after checking in to my motel and cooling off for a few minutes to ride to the river and take a long, contemplative look at this vital and historic waterway.

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The Ohio River at Paducah.  To the right, the Tennessee River joins the much larger Ohio.  The Ohio presented some early problems for Lewis, but at least he was going with the current.  When he reached the Mississippi his crew was rowing upstream.  Good practice since they would be rowing or paddling upstream on the Missouri for many months.

Lewis and Clark stopped for several days across the river from present-day Paducah at Fort Massac in mid-November 1803.  Their most important acquisition at the fort was a hunter/interpreter name George Drouillard, the son of a French-Canadian father and Shawnee mother.  Neither Lewis nor Clark ever learned to spell his name correctly, usually using “Drewyer” when referring to him in their journals.  Drouillard was one of only five civilians among the 33-member party who made the journey to the Pacific and back and proved to be the most reliable hunter on the expedition as well as a skilled user of sign language among plains Indians.

While I was enjoying the view of the Ohio from the banks of downtown Paducah I noticed something completed unrelated to this trip but of great interest to Marilyn back in Maggie Valley.   So I took a picture of the National Quilt Museum just so she can add it to her future travel adventures.

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I see another trip to Paducah in my future.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin with a stop across the river at historic Fort Massac, then continue down the Ohio to the confluence with the Mississippi, then turn north and follow the great river to St. Louis.  The day is expected to be hot again as a vicious heat wave swallows middle America but, hopefully, there will be no mechanical mishaps to report.  It’s good to be on the road again.

4 responses to “MHT Day 3 (?): On the Road. Again.”

  1. johnwest2343 says :

    Glad to hear you are on the road again.

  2. nuke53 says :

    Good to hear you are safely back on the road! Hoping for no more gremlins on the remainder of your trip! Ride safe!

  3. shortkid79 says :

    As you say, no adventure can be completely planned or it wouldn’t be an adventure. Be safe and continue to impress upon your loyal readers what you and how it relates to the trail.

  4. Bill H. says :

    Happy to hear you are safely on the road again! Your photos are always the best, and your descriptive writings are also on another level, outstanding!

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