Friday, December 7, 2012

555-- the Trip (Part 4)

With 2 bikes in shambles in the middle of the mountains, far from town in Virginia, we needed to come up with something strong to get us out of this mess.  The only option that presented itself was for a 3 man group of the better running bikes to make a run BACK to Tennessee to Jim's Motorcycle Sales in Johnson City.  He seemed to be the man in these parts.  Oddly enough, none of us knew about this place even though we only live an hour or two away (using a well functioning car).
From what I understand, the Hayes Boys were a force to be reckoned with.  Check out their history and old photos on the link below.
Without a blink of an eye, they easily had the unique parts that would save us.  The shop was beautiful and beyond the shelves, this place had a antique knowledge of history and vintage machines that blew our minds.  We had the head of KC's engine with us to make sure we got the correct valves, and with the knowledge that is based purely on experience, they caught a cracked valve sleave inside the head that we would have never seen.  They took it into the back to recover our fading hope. 

 Meanwhile, Jimmy, Dizzle and I (tank) got the secret tour into a hidden vault of vintage glory.  There are hundreds of amazing machines just waiting to be placed into a museum.  That is the plan, they say, so the southeast could be in store for another great showpiece collection.

 They sent us away with the saving grace of needed parts, t-shirts, stickers, and a grand tour that made us drool.  It was a perfect run, until...

 JimmyB's bike shut off and coasted to a stop, strangely similar to the way KC's acted upon its death.  This is why one 555 rider never goes anywhere alone or without tools.  Another bike down = 3.  With my bike still hanging tough, I grabbed the parts for the other engines and rode on, leaving Dizzle and Jimmy on the sunny side of the road. 

When I got back to the guys, a hopeless laugh came to me with the sight of such disaster.  The funny part was how everyone was laughing and calm, kind-of like we had just pulled off to stretch our legs.  But the thing was, the Outlaw's bike now had his engine out! Now, on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere at a gas station, there are 4 out of 12 bikes with engines in pieces (well, once Jimmy's got back to us on a truck).  I sought out that jar of shine.

 Being the only gas station around coupled with the perfect fall weather, Harley Davidsons swarmed like there was a rally just down the road.  We were a circus sideshow.  We got all kinds of curious visitors; for, if you ever wanted to see the inside components of a Honda engine, we had 4 of them on display.  The handbuilt bikes added to the mirage of road worn guys and, of course, Slim's 18 mile long Easy Rider chopper.   

This fella hung out and took Oly and I riding on a road he considered better than the famed Tail of the Dragon.  We hopped onto our steeds and pulled the throttle on some tight one to two lane twists that set us free from the slow drudge of 12 people and their derelict bikes.  I'm so glad ours didn't break down, for we were not taking it easy.

Mikey and Jimmy's dad showed up to ease our hopeless situation in his Mustang and pulled out a spare parts engine from some crack in one of the abandoned shops that we had left in the wake of trying to get our show on the road.  He was impressed.

 Night fell and the scramble continued.  The SuperStop sold more coffee and booze in those 2 nights than in over a month of normalcy.

 There is something to be said about having a workshop, or just a bench for that matter.  Working in the grass on an embankment over a creek, a tiny piece smaller than a dime fell out of the Outlaw's motor.  Thinking it fell IN, he took it all the way apart, more than I though it could be dismantled.  He broke down the bottom end, pulling out the transmission and even the no avail.  With several brains juggling ideas like a game of hot potato, the solution finally came in the act of buying a lead weight for a fishing line and shaping it into the missing piece, then crossing your fingers.


 Morning finally came. Jimmy, still twisting wrenches finally came to the realization that it his could not be remedied.  He got it all back together the night before, and in the morning, he was trying to time it only to find it could not be done.  It had to again be torn out and rebuilt.  Everyone else was ready to roll. 

 This is how we all had to leave Jimmy B.  He waited for his wife to come pick him up.  The plan was for him to return home, since in reality we weren't that far away, and he would rebuild it and truck himself and bike up to meet us in the next day.  It was rough to leave a brother behind, for that's not our style.  However, we got on the road, and it felt good.  We had an amazing day of two lane happiness in the sunshine while we covered more miles than any other day of the trip.  On top of that, it was my birthday, one of 4 along this trip.