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Motorcycle Adventures: Stranded Twice in One Week

Breaking down on a Can-Am, then a Kawasaki Concours

By Mary Taylor, Portland, Oregon
11/20/2018

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motorcycle adventures stranded twice in one week mary taylor
Mary rides this Yamaha V-Star—a very reliable motorcycle.

“If it weren't for bad luck we'd have no luck at all.”

These lyrics from the Hee-Haw jingle, “Gloom, Despair, and Agony” is what came to mind at midnight one Saturday while stranded on the side of Highway 84 with my husband, Doug. It was very dark and I could hear myself laughing despite the circumstances. Doug joined in and we had a good guffaw at our current situation. Who would've thought we'd be stranded twice in a week! It was only last week when the Can-Am broke down on a hot day in Sublimity, Oregon. Now we are stranded near Multnomah Falls, Oregon.


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After the Can-Am died our friend Bob let Doug borrow his Kawasaki Concours. After a few short rides, Doug figured he’d be good to go on our Friday night ride led by friends Gene and Debbie. It was a marvelous ride. There's nothing quite like the feeling of riding in the dark. The moon was full and lit up the sky. I hoped the deer and other critters heard my pipes from a long way off and therefore didn't dare cross the roads. With five bikes in our motley crew we puttered around among the hills and wheat fields just outside of The Dalles.

When we finally reached town Doug had to find a gas station pronto! July in Oregon is hot so he was steaming (so was the bike). The borrowed Concours appeared to have an issue with the radiator. Gene wasn't done riding yet so he took the rest of the gang to explore a bit more. So Doug and I got a few bottles of water for the bike. Down the hatch that water went, steaming more than we liked. After a quick break to cool down, we took off for home hoping the bike would make it.



motorcycle adventures stranded twice in one week water
These empty water bottles weren't used to quench our thirst—the Concours was drinking more than we could!

Since the speedometer wasn't working on the Concours, yours truly got to lead and set the pace. I was really excited about the opportunity. I can't see very well at night and it was a bit windy to boot. We had a heck of a time as I was constantly looking in the mirror to make sure Doug was still behind me. Staying within speed limits, I held steady cruising along at 70 mph. Granted, we probably could've gone a bit faster but no way was I going to push the envelope and Doug wasn't in a hurry to blow up the bike.

Finally Doug started to disappear further behind me. The bike refused to cool down to a reasonable level so we pulled over to the side of the highway. The area where we ended up was pitch black with no nearby streetlights or cars. We had a tiny flashlight to help see but other than that it was a spooky scene; the full moon shone over us as we tried to bring the bike back to life. We only had two bottles of water and those were steamed away as fast as we could pour them into the radiator. (Please don't tell Bob that we also used a bottle of diet Mountain Dew, but that didn't help either!)



Around 12:45 am we finally saw the arrival of the posse. Since the bike had almost a few hours to cool off it happily drank the water donations from everyone and it managed to limp back home. The next morning we purchased radiator fluid and filled up the radiator one last time. We were pleased that no water leaked while the bike was turned off. We discovered that when it's running it does leak so it's best not to go on any more adventures until the leak is repaired.

Why we drew the short straw with Doug’s luck and bikes from this week and last, we'll never know. Was it just coincidence that Doug’s touch gave the bikes the heebie jeebies? Only the Shadow knows. All I can say is, “Dude, stay away from my bike!”

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