Help! Stranded.

July 31, 2010

Breakdown. Not a dance move.

Well, minutes after posting the last post things turned sideways.

I got my stuff, put the ear plugs in, helmet, gloves, got on the bike, contact, ignition… wrawww, wraww, wraaaaawwwrr… Uh oh…

try a few more times, it gets worse. The parking lot is on a hill so I put it in second, clutch in and start to run. BRRRrrr…. missed. Ran again push the bike, dump the clutch… BRRRrrrrrr missed again. As I was catching my breath (that thing is heavy) a man in a nice white shirt and dress pants in an SUV stops and says, “let me help you”. I get on the bike he starts pushing and running and we started a little wobbly but I dump the clutch and it went ROARRRRR! We’re on. Thank You!!! I yell.

I get to the road and I can tell this is not a fix, the power is low and the bike is wonky. Gotta find a motorcycle repair shop. I saw quite a few yesterday… I should find one around this is a big city. So I set out on the 104 and as I get to Rochester and the traffic lights multiply I cross my fingers. Third light I’m dead. Luckily there is no one behind me to honk and get nasty. I push the bike to the side of the road. “well this time I am in town as opposed to in the middle of nowhere.

I know the drill : call AAA, wait. As I wait this guy comes by.

Something wrong?
Yeah, electrical
I saw you a few minutes ago, ‘was running fine…
Yeah I know, it just went dead.
I know a shop just off dwyer… Turn right, up to the white building then turn left and he’s in the back there…

aaaahhh these directions. Gotta love them.

Thanks I said.

I push the bike a bit further, call AAA on my cell (1.50 a minute) and they put me on hold before I even make a choice of service by pressing a number. I hang up. There is a car business right next door. I walk in there ask to borrow their phone, they say yes and I call AAA again.

Triple A..

yes, my motorcycle is broken down I am at 1140 on the 104 heading West in Rochester, and as I look on the desk I see the business card for the office I was in so I gave them the “real’ name of the street

-Your phone number

-your address

-your name

-your membership number

-the make of the bike
-the color of the bike

-the model of the bike

-the year of the bike

-what seems to be the problem

I answer all of the above with conviction.

So you are at 1140 on xyz road, your name is…. he repeats everything I just answered.

Someone will be there by 3:15.

45 minutes… I can deal with that. I thank the guys at the office for using their phone and go outside to wait. Not five minutes later a guy comes down. He’s got a cardboard box in his left hand.

What’s wrong?

I tell him. Then I also tell him I got AAA coming.

“My friend has a shop, he has a bike, he knows a bit…

I’m thinking that this resembles what happened in Virginia. It is take 2, the broken down bike scene with the AAA on the way. What cards should I play this time? Last time it was the hillbillies, the crazed wife and the good ending. I figured this time I’d try the AAA so I was polite trying to say AAA was on their way.

He was very eager to help. He pushed the bike two doors over where there was another shop that belonged to the first car sales shop where I had phoned from. Another guy came out. We took all the luggage off the bike and checked the battery etc. He had a charger and a tester. So we were able to determine that the battery indeed dead the bike at that point would still start with the charger.

The towing truck arrived on this.

The man who tried to help me was Jim. Jim said “well here’s my number, if you are stuck there is my wife and and my daughter, we could help you. And here is my friend’s number and address…” I got this but I am a bit frazzled. Got the piece of paper.

We got the bike on the tow truck. The driver said :
“this is an weird bike to tow” That did not make me feel good. He’s got these broken ties… he does not seem to be totally comfortable with tying up the bike. I was up there helping him.

on the tow truck

So where do you want to take this bike? He asks.

How the hell do I know? I thought. What I said was : well I was told there is a place over by Dewey road… don’t know the address… At this point Jim comes back with a paper. He’s got PCR performance as an option, also over on Dewey road and a Honda place and his friend’s shop which is “ over thatta way”, then you turn right and it’s a white brick building… (I thought this sort of directions existed only in the country, where the hillbillies live, not in the big city…) The driver got in the cab. I got in the cab with all my luggage, helmet, saddlebags… He says Ok, so where do we go?

-Didn’t AAA give you a referrals for recommended shops? I’m not from here, I don’t know anything or anyone or where a motorcycle shop is…

He started to drive. I look back, the bike is not tied down solid, it’s moving up and down right and left. Urh… I said. He looked back, stopped, got out of the cab, tightened the nylon straps and got back in… I’m wondering if the uncle of the friend who knows something about bikes might have been better than where this seemed to be headed.

-You must be a strong person he says, with a tattoo like this…So you’re just traveling, by yourself?
I gave him the story
-Wow that must be expensive…
-Not anymore expensive than a lot of stuff I said.
-Actually I envy you.
-Yeah I’ve heard that a lot on this trip.
-I wish I could do that.
I said some people think it’s crazy.
He said : “ what I’m doing is crazy”

the beeper on his communications system keeps beeping, then his cell rings, he looks strained. We drove down the road, turned around, he does not know where he’s going… the phone rings again, directions had finally arrived. They took us to the Honda place. The owner asked me what was wrong. I told him.

-Ah, well, I can’t really help you, I’m leaving for my vacations in an hour from now.

-my heart sank.

He picked up the phone and called the Suzuki dealership and handed me the phone. I told them the story.

-Ah, well, if it is what I think it is I won’t have the parts and blah, blah, blah….
I know the routine. They don’t want to get into this one. Old bike, parts hard to find… I tried to plead my case as I am starting to feel lightheaded with worry, things don’t feel so good and I am starting to feel trapped, in trouble.
-I’m from out of town, it’s Friday, I’m stuck here and I don’t know a soul around…

During that phone conversation, the drama continued outside.

The tow truck driver wants to dump me somewhere. There is a two car accident on the freeway and his boss is yelling at him to get over there. He starts giving me a hard time.

My pressure is rising.
I said : This is not how this works, this is an AAA call, you are supposed to take me somewhere where I can be helped.

-My boss is yelling at me, I could lose my job, I got two kids to feed. He pleads

My tone rises. -Well, put your boss on the phone and I’ll talk to him. If he gets the AAA business then he has to do things properly, not just leave me stranded somewhere else and cash in.

This went on for a few more back and forth tirades. He’s freaking out in fear of losing his job and I can see the panic in his face.

I got mad.

-Fine, just dump me here, take the fucking bike off the fucking truck and I’ll call AAA and see if you boss still has that fucking contract when I’m done! Take the fucking bike down and go goddam it!

I climbed inside the cab and started to remove my stuff from his truck. I was purple. I mean, you take a job, you do it right or don’t bother. At that point I would rather figure things out by myself than have to listen to a bunch of whiners scared of losing their jobs or too busy with their holiday plans. I’m in trouble I need help so you’re either going to help or get out of the way.

The tow truck driver said : Ok, ok, put your stuff back in the cab, I’ll take you somewhere…

We got back on the road, he got on the phone, called someone. he’s driving aimlessly while the person on the phone is trying to find a place to bring the bike. Finally he got an address. Jim’s garage on Norton, about 3 miles away.

I apologized for swearing at him, I said that I realize that his boss is putting the pressure on but they also have contractual responsibility with AAA. He said that they don’t often do bikes, so they don’t really know what to do. He says it’s complicated, that his boss actually tracks their every move via GPS and he gets chewed up daily, that he’s looking for another job, He’s over-tired, stressed out, he’s been working since 5 PM the previous day (it’s 4 PM by the time he tells me that, 11 hours on the job…)

As we make it to Jim”s garage. He says, “this is a ghetto”… and it does look like a hard place. We get to the garage. I took my stuff out of the cab as the driver went inside the shop. I walked in and the lady at the counter was really nice. Seemed to know what she was doing. I relaxed a bit.

They got the bike off the truck, the driver was hanging around, I thought that for someone who had to go so badly he took his sweet time… he was talking to the owner, asking about a job, I got it. Necessity.

I gave Jim the mechanic the story, the first breakdown what was done, what happened today He took the bike inside, he knows what he’s doing. I can tell. He checked the battery, the ground, the wires, the fuses, had the charger on, off, and it looks like it is the regulator that is gone. He calls for parts and as I wait I go outside and take some photos around the place to kill time.

But there is no luck. No one has it. The quickest time to get it : one week.

One week, I felt sick. I don’t want to be here. Of all places, I just want to be out of here. The shitty motel, the big city, the stressed out people, the ghetto….

He says he will try to figure it out, he’s not going to let me down. I feel I am in good hands but at the same time I have a bad feeling about the time factor & the part factor.

Jim and his wife took me to this fancy hotel. I figured that will be expensive… $80 bucks. I get to the counter and the price is $140 for one night. I almost fainted. I guess it was obvious as the lady tried to get me a better price. I can live a week on $140 this is one night… She gave me a deal. It’s between us she said.

Oh my God.

I’m hungry. I had a light breakfast today and it’s now past 7 PM. I’m starting to feel all of it. Riding all night and day the previous day, the late night and shitty motel, the breakdown, the stress with the towing, the stress with the parts with the threat of being stuck here for a week with no transportation, now this room is way over my budget… I feel tears, but I won’t.

I get in the room, it’s very nice. Very, very nice. I immediately went out for food, take care of basics. The restaurant right next to the hotel is Ihop.

I walk in : Grease City. The smell of deep frying is embedded in the walls. The kind of places I have avoided all along this trip. The kind of places that give people hear attacks. I ate quickly. Even the salad is inedible. The lettuce tastes like fridge smells and is almost soggy. The broccoli is over done the potatoes are deep fried and the chicken breasts are not too bad. Protein…

I then walked over to the Target to get a “by the minute” phone. I need to have something I can use. Got a good deal for 10 dollars.

I get back to the hotel, I figure I will look for parts, get the phone activated, email people, get some sort of plan going. All this hinges on the wi-fi.

There is free wi-fi so this should be easy.

It’s not.

No connection. I spend 40 minutes rebooting, trying networks, again and again. Nothing. I go to the font desk, they give me a gizmo to get connected… does not work. I go to the business suite where they have a computer. Does not connect to the internet. It’s their problem, but that does not help me. They send me across the way to Tim Hortons. Free wi-fi there. I go there. I get connected. Yeah, I thought. But things are not so good when for some cryptic reason I cannot access my server. No can do. Don’t ask me why… I am stuck. Can’t contact anyone. Can’t send emails. I feel despair.

I walk back to the hotel, get in my room. It’s very nice. But I so don’t want to be here. Really don’t want to be here. I have no bike. It could take a week to get parts, this room alone would cost me 1000 dollars if I have to stay here for 7 days. I can’t afford that. I feel trapped. I tried to call the mechanic, he said to call about the parts and his phone said : this phone is not set up for voice mail. Tried to call a friend. No answer. Tried to call the cell phone to get the cell registered. Can’t do an 800 from the room without paying. I can’t win today.

I don’t know how I’ll get over there tomorrow, it’s far from here, you can’t walk there. It’s Friday… everyone will be closing for the week end. I am so stressed out. Now I really am crying and I can’t stop it.. I’m tired. I can’t see my way out of this. I have to rely on these people I don’t know to pull off a miracle, and not too many people believe in miracles anymore, they believe things are hard and make it so. I’m trapped….

If only I could email friends, someone might have a brilliant idea, a part, a place for parts, a good word, a scent of an idea.. some sort of help… but I can’t. I’m alone out here surrounded with all this technology: phones, internet, email, wi fi, sattellite and none of it works.

I could so use a hug right now.

I got to go on believing that this Jim mechanic guy will actually make it work. Pull off a miracle and get me on my way sooner than later.


3 Responses to “Help! Stranded.”

  1. Alan Says:

    Hey Danielle, just a fleeting thought…if you had a paypal button, bet you’d get lots of dollar+ trip contributions to help see you on your way.

    And, if you ever make it to Hollywood (CA) look me up, will escort you to the Frolic Room, drinks are on me. You’ll like it.

    Cheers !


  2. Mark Says:

    I hate hearing about your dilemma.
    I wish there was something I could do.
    May positive energy flow your way.

  3. peter Says:

    I hope you got going again ok ! You didn’t make it too far from here – if you need help, I’m only a call away – 585-370-1526. Got nothing to do anyway since I retired ! Thanks again for the kind words on your blog – See ya- Petey

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