Thursday, July 17, 2008

Days Seventy Seven and Seventy Eight.....

Things look so much more familiar on this side of the 100th meridian.....

Left Arlington around 1PM Wednesday, planning to make an easy 203 mile ride to Pierre (you pronounce that "pier" or "pear"), South Dakota. Made a detour to The Ingall's Homestead (of Little House on the Prairie fame) in De Smet, South Dakota and rode around in a covered wagon and spent a couple hours there. Interesting place....

Sign describing a "sodbuster" style dugout home and wooden shanty house

"Sodbuster" dugout home.....was very cool inside, considering how hot it was outside....

Granpa Bob and his covered wagon

Vid of covered wagon ride....

Future draught horses for the covered wagon team....

Interesting place.......worth a go if you're ever in the area.

Headed out of there finally around, like, 3:45pm Wednesday afternoon, stopped at a Dairy Queen in the middle of nowhere for some water, and headed off to finish the remaining distance to Pierre, which was my destination for the evening.

I was on U.S. Hwy. 14, a road surrounded by wheat and corn fields as far as the eye could see. Having grown up watching
Little House on the Prairie, I was about fifteen miles East of Pierre, thinking about how the TV show totally warped the timeline of events and geographic places as opposed to what actually happened WHEN and WHERE in Laura Ingalls Wilder's life......

......when I heard this very loud *POP*

"Hmmm.....engine is not that badly outta tune to backfire......" I wondered aloud to myself...."That's a bit odd....."

Then, all hell broke loose.

Five seconds after the loud *
POP*, the back end of The Helix was fishtailing outta control, as if it were on a sheer sheet of ice......

At 65-70 M.P.H., this was almost a shit-the-pants moment.....and forra lot of people, it probably woulda been.

Except I was too busy putting my safety course riding skills to work and gritting my teeth to be bothered with involuntary deification.

To this moment, I still have no idea how I kept the skooter from rolling and crashing. It's kinda a blur.....only thing can recall is doing the Buffalo-style winter driving maneuver.....brake ON [one second] - brake OFF [three seconds] - brake ON [one second] - brake OFF [three seconds].....but THEE FRONT BRAKE

Glad I remembered that little part (mighta hadta scrape my ass off of the pavement had I hammered on the rear brake)....

I eventually get The Helix to the shoulder, and stop hyper-ventilating.'m alive.....I'm's allright....

Then I try to analyse just WHAT the hell actually happened!

OK....rear tyre died. Cool......allright.



No object found either in or near my tyre.....nor on the road (I DID go back and look), and a puncture loses air somewhat slowly (like, 30 to 90 seconds) and doesn't create a loud, gunshot-like *POP*......

Tyre tread over-wear? Remember that cute little incident on the way to The Ocean, E???

Nope....sorry. Still had healthy tread on it. Nothing even close to steel cables showing!!

Well, then....what the fuck????

THIS is what the fuck!!!! It's called a DEFECTIVE TYRE!!

Uhhhh......yeah.....looks like I'm gonna hafta have a little arrangement with the good folks at Dunlop regarding this incident.

Jesus....and, twenty posts or so ago, I was praising their tyres as being durable and very long-lasting.......

.....spoke too soon, I guess.

Hung out with Farmer Wood (whose farm I had almost died in front of) in thee absolute middle of Nowheresville, South Dakota. Offered me some water, and, as a severe lightning storm appeared to be forming, he told me to drag my skooter into his garage. No worries, though....the severe storm had just formed directly BEHIND me (to the East), so it was going towards where I had left. Sunny on the Western horizon....

Great guy, Farmer Wood...typical South Dakotan...wish I had gotten his fotograff......I was still a bit too freaked out over the whole episode to think about taking pics for this thing.

Snagged a very dodgy cell signal (somehow) and called AAA. They showed up about an hour later ('cause they were outta Pierre, which was fifteen miles down the road)....and then there was a dispute as to whether or not the dispatcher informed them that it WAS A MOTORCYCLE/SKOOTER they were picking up.

So they didn't bring tie-down straps!

This was identical to my Tallahassee AAA experience!

So they hafta take off back towards Pierre, grab some tie-down straps, and come back to git me.

Normally, I'd be quite irritated.......but I sat there and fucking laffed about it! It was around 8:00pm, getting cool (a VERY welcome thing to be rid of the heat), raining
behind me (from the severe lightning storm).......

....and, I was alive and breathing!!

Amazing how useless screaming about piddley shit suddenly becomes when you almost die.......

Couple motorists stopped and kindly asked of there was anything that they could do for me. Again, typical South Dakotans......thanked thrm profusely and told 'em AAA was on it's way.

Got my bike into Pierre, and dropped it in front of Peterson's Motorcyles in Downtown Pierre. They're the local Honda, Yamaha and Sheep-Lemming motorcycle dealership.......actually, thee only motorcycle place for, like, sixty miles.

So the AAA guy kindly rides me and some of my gear to a nearby motel. I ain't gonna mention the name, 'cause the guy at the front desk was pretty cool in not charging me after I'd been in the room for, like, 45 minutes.

But after I check in, I go to the bathroom, and there's this dead bug on it's back on the floor of the bathroom. Cool.....I pick it up with a Kleenex, toss it in the toilet, and ignore it.

Then, see a few more in the main room area on the carpet and some almonds lying on the floor!

I mean, I was ecstatic that I didn't die, and shoulda just ignored the entire thing......but I really didn't want to cuddle up to bugs in bed in a room that hasn't been cleaned since FDR's administration.

Head out to the office -

"Uhhh.....Dude, there's, like, dead cockroaches or some shit all over that room....."

"Oh.....yeah, you're door faces the heavily tree'd side......those are just beetles"

"Well, shit! They're all over my room....."

He was somewhat cool about not charging me. "Well, I gave ya this room for $39.95, and ya won't get that rate anywhere else in this town!"

"Errrmmm......actually, I passed a place whilst being towed in on the main drag called The Capital Inn and Suites that had a sign for $39.95, sooo....."

"Well, I see you've done your shopping....."

"Naw, not really......just happened to glance at it and noticed it on the way in......"

So I walk the 25 minutes to The Capital Inn and Suites. Get a room, ask if it's fairly clean, and the guy shows me some sort of State of South Dakota award for cleanliness that they'd received.

Decent sized room.....veeeerrrry clean.....NIIIICE people running the place. Don't mind The Capital Inn and Suites at all. I'm content!!

So, like, four people in Pierre that I'd told the story to of what happened all stated that Peterson's is a large place, with a big-ass warehouse, and there'd be no worries: They'd have my tyre in stock. They still stated this after I told folks it is kinda a rare skooter and I didn't think they'd carry the tyre in stock.

Nooooo dice!! Sixty buxx additional to overnight it in! (Not that I really cared much......this is all going to go on Dunlop's tab anyways, sooo......).

Soooo....stuck here in Pierre. Not a bad place, really....they DO have a
Taco John's (which, to me, is like how native Californians feel about In-N-Out Burger), and a few nice lounges, and I got a complimentary drink coupon at the local steakhouse just for staying at The Capital Inn and Suites......

It is alleged that I should be roadworthy and set to head towards Rapid City on Saturday early morning.....we'll see.....


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