Sunday, November 16, 2008

The learning curve improves...

So its about 50 miles between Tucson and Casa Grande and I am about 10 miles into this stretch when my next adventure began. The other bolt connecting the rack to the bike frame broke and I started wobbling all over the road again. But this time I knew what it was immediately, because I fixed the same problem on the other side in Abilene (by the way Mike. So far so good on our fix... NICE!)

When we fixed the bolt in Abilene, I had the foresight to buy duplicate parts in case the same thing happened on the other side of the rack. And it did, so I felt prepared. However, the bolt was broken in the housing and I had no tools to get it out. So I scratched my head and looked out over the landscape, realizing that I was on a service road and quite far from anything other than intermittently passing traffic. So I did something I have emotionally prepared myself for on this tour and I stuck my thumb out and starting hitchhiking for a ride.

I only thumbed at trucks that were heading in my direction and I would guess I was seeing one every couple of minutes. After about 15 minutes and no one stopping I started to wish I had boobs.

Then Dave and his son Dave Jr. stopped. Thanks guys. I told them an auto parts store would have what I needed and they drove me about 5 miles to Napa Auto Parts. Of course, it was 5 miles backwards towards Tucson.

Dave mentioned he felt a little weird just dropping me off. What a guy. I reminded him that I started in Tampa and that I did this to myself, so it was my own fault. He laughingly agreed.
It started out rough at the auto parts store. The men working were very nice, sympathetic and helpful but just didn't have the tools to get the broken bolt out of the housing.
Then Tom, one of their customers came in and everything started to come together. Here is Tom working away. Thanks a lot to everyone who helped me get back on the road.
It was sundown by the time that I biked back to the spot where I had broken down. But I was determined to make it to Casa Grande. 40 miles later through another 2 1/2 hours of night riding I made it to Casa Grande... SWEET!!!

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