Motorcycle cross country Trip after my amputation!
After my accident and living in a house with 3 roommates, I started getting antsy for an adventure. Around this time, my brother invited me to his wedding back in Germany and so, of course, I would return to Germany for his marriage. Perfect timing! I broke my lease with no way of return and jumped on my BMW motorcycle for an adventure to get rid of my daily dull routine, a cross-country trip to Miami where I’d catch a plane to Germany.
I already figured, there is not enough money to sleep in hotels, but I thought that is even better when I have to pitch a tent every day, it will be good exercise. Also, my pain medication can help me with that then also. I didn’t get far before I had bike problems. Just before arriving at Grand Junction, the electronic shifter on my handlebar went kaput. The Pingel Enterprise shifter allows me to shift gears with my thumb rather than with my foot. I had it installed before leaving Denver, and I immediately had issues with it—three tows to the mechanic’s garage on three separate occasions!—but I wouldn’t have left for Miami unless I wasn’t fairly sure that the mechanic had finally fixed it that third time. I was obviously mistaken. This time I got smart and had the tow truck take me to a Grand Junction BMW dealer. I paid through the nose to have the shifter repaired—thank God for credit cards—but I assumed that the problem was finally solved. Wrong again. I made it as far as Texas before the next issue arose. As I was pulling into a gas station to fill up my tank, flames started shooting out of my handlebar. My beloved BMW was on fire! At a gas station!! I grabbed the bucket of water meant for cleaning windshields and doused the flames. Holy moly, that was close! I was in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, and, once again, I no longer had a fully functional shifter. I could only get my poor motorcycle into third gear, manually by hand. Riding for several hours with a roaring engine on the interstate, I managed to get to Alabama, where I met up with some adventure riders I’d met online. We rode to a Podunk town—the name escapes me—and there I found a motorcycle repair shop. The adventure riders were a sweet couple, and they let me stay overnight at their home. So grateful! The next morning the mechanic gave me the bad news: he couldn’t fix my bike because he had to order a part from BMW in Germany, which could take months to be delivered. Once again, the adventure riders were my saviors. Jeff, who owned several BMW motorcycles that he repaired on his own, told me that the mechanic was full of s#!t. He towed my bike back to his house, where he determined that nothing was wrong, besides the electronic shifter, which needed a replacement part. It was still under warranty, and I had the part overnighted. Jeff installed it the next day, and I was on my way to Miami once again! Thanks to the top-grade pain medication in my system, I was able to ride all the way from Alabama to Florida. Because there were little traffic and very few red lights, I rode almost the entire night without needing to shift. About 125 miles north of Miami, I pulled into a gas station to buy a cup of coffee and to take a short break. I sat on the lawn next to the gas station, and I immediately fell asleep, coffee cup still in hand. When I woke up, I saw a woman peeking at me from behind the corner of the gas station. I thought she was strange, and I figured I’d better get back on the bike and push on. As I started the engine, the woman ran toward to me and grabbed my handlebar to prevent me from leaving. “I called the police on you!” she yelled. “Why?” I shouted back over the engine. “Why’d you do that?” “There’s no sleeping on the premises!” I tried calmly explaining that I hadn’t meant to fall asleep, that I’d only taken a quick power nap, but there was no appeasing her. So I resorted to nastiness. I told her that if she didn’t immediately release my handlebar, my emotions were going to red-line, and she was going to have a pissed off biker chick on her hands. That finally did the trick. She let go, and I was on my merry way. So three weeks later, I made it finally to Miami, FL to a very good friend of mine, who I meet, the first time, when I was on my two year bicycle adventurer, from 2002 until 2004.
Denali National Park