Day 35: The Blog Falls Flat

Blue skies. Cool but decent temperatures. And a ride on a well-paved road that hugged a beautiful mountain river. The day was off to a great start.

I had ridden this road through and over the Bitterroot Mountains several times and knew we were in for a great ride. And it was. Only moderate traffic meant comfortable cruising at the speed limit. In the past I pushed past the limit, but today I was content to enjoy the mountains, the gentle curves in the road and the fast flowing river. Adjusting for the time change, we were in Montana about 1:00 p.m. and headed into another climb up the Bitterroots before turning east and descending into flat ranch land. And then . . .

Clearwater River along Highway 12.
This view lasts for several hours.

Just as we were about to enter the small town of Hamilton, Montana, I felt an odd wiggle in the bike and pulled into a convenience store parking lot. The wiggle worsened as I came to a stop and the cause became quickly apparent.

FLAT TIRE. The rear tire I had replaced in Winnepeg was flat. With no tools and fewer motorcycle tire changing skills, I made a couple calls looking for help. The woman at the Motorcycle Garage in Hamilton at first was hesitant to commit to working on the bike because their shop was covered up. But she conferred with the chief mechanic/owner/husband and they agreed to try to help. They sent the only other mechanic with an air compressor to try to put enough air in the tire to get the bike to their shop. No luck. The air came out nearly as fast as it went in.

So the mechanic went to his house, attached his trailer to his truck, returned, and we loaded the bike on the trailer for the four-mile trip to the shop. Motorcycle Garage in Hamilton is a small operation but because the mechanic is so good and the attitudes are always positive, the shop is crowded with mostly dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and older model street bikes. And they have a perfect record of five-star reviews on Google. I will add to it.

They stopped what they were doing on other customers’ bikes and, at 2:30 p.m., immediately started to disassemble mine and find the problem. The problem, as it turns out, was that the new tube inside my new tire had a large tear by the valve stem. Cause? Don’t know. Perhaps a small nail had punctured the tire somewhere else and when the air escaped and the tire was running near flat it pinched the tube. Perhaps there was a faulty installation in Winnepeg pinching the valve stem. We’ll never know.

They had a replacement tube and promised to get me out by the end of the day. I was thankful and relieved. A big shout-out to Cass, Jodie, and Louie at Motorcycle Garage for getting the job done. Removing a rear tire on a big bike is labor intensive and 90% of the cost of the repair was labor. By 5:30 we were on the road again, headed for our motel in Dillon, Montana. We arrived here at 7:45, had some dinner, and settled in for the night.

But no internet service in the room (despite advertising to the contrary) meant no blog post.

I’m currently sitting in the lobby the next morning where there is wifi service and will post this now, about 12 hours later than expected.

Not all days are good days and sometimes the adventure is not what you had in mind. But it’s still an adventure.

3 responses to “Day 35: The Blog Falls Flat”

  1. nuke53 says :

    Glad you had a mostly good ride and scenery was awesome! Glad the tire was a tube replacement and not another tire! Motorcycle Garage sounds like a great place! Ride safe.

  2. johnwest2343 says :

    Looked this morning and thought hmmmmm……no internet service. Glad that’s what is was. Sorry about the tube but turned out as good as it possibly could. And you didn’t get in very late. Good luck today.
    Ride Safe

  3. sharonjoygerard says :

    Don’t imagine that we’ll ever be travel via Harley. But, you sure weather whatever happens along the way very well. Glad they got you back to it. Great story!

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