Highway robbery

How many times have you been hit up by a lying, cheating, stealing, change-grabbing gas-bar attendant when you’re on the road? Some of them are trying to stick their hand in your pocket while they make a show of giving you the change. Yeah, I’m fed up too.

Outside of Moosomin

I stop here on the bike for fuel on a regular basis. It's just outside of Moosomin. I always have to pay attention to my change before taking my hand off of the counter - especially if one woman in particular is behind the counter. If I don't, guess what?

It’s a good day to ride

Updated July 2011: Scooter Tramp Scotty has more to say about his riding life over on bikernet.com. Here’s a link to his description of life on the road. If you ever wanted a big picture of what it’s like to wander the highway highs and lows on a motorcycle, check it out.

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Contrary to this guy and his wrong-way Corrigan Mexico motorcycle trip, Scotty Kerekes, a long-time rider and old Mexico hand, knows how to do it right. Ignore the typos, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. I’ll listen and read about Scotty’s adventures before those of almost anyone else.

Scotty used to have a web site a few years ago, but it’s long gone now as he continues to ride across North America and Mexico on his overloaded bagger. Occasionally, he’ll stop long enough to write something and post it on the web, usually with photos.

Here’s Scooter Tramp Scotty’s Mexican Winter adventure.

And here’s another: Return to New Orleans.

He meant to say October 21

Jesus, will the fools never stop listening to those people?

Furthermore, don’t those people know that the end is coming on December 12, 2012? Personally, I’d rather get down on my knees and thank the Mayans for ending the world, rather than some bat-shit nuts, wrinkled, smelly, pasty-faced old man wearing urine-stained underwear who clutches at a book of fables.

Why does he have such a penchant for accepting a person’s life savings as a donation to the cause?

Gas bar thieves

Slime is everywhere, most notably if one is an habitué of the gas bar in a well-traveled area. I pity the poor tourist who fills his tank and wanders into the store to pay in cash. If he’s lucky, he’s rounded up to the nearest dollar, which makes counting his change that much easier.

More likely, he’s at a gas’n’go and has used his credit card at the pump, but must wander into the store for water, pop, gum, cigarettes, or a treat for his sweet tooth.

If the day is long, like mine are, then attention isn’t at its highest.

High enough, mind you, to let the teller know that I gave her a twenty.

“Oh, sorry,” she replies, sounding too practiced and too much in haste. An honest error more often gets a fumbled reply.

When the cashier is trying to take you, the cash goes right into the till before she gives change back.

If the cashier is smart, the bill is left laying on the till while she hands you your change. That way, you can’t screw the cashier by telling her that you gave her a larger bill. It evens things out.

Still holding out my open hand, I get my ten dollars added to the change in my palm. When I press the point by looking the cashier in the eye, she looks away, then turns around and pretends to do something else.

Nice try, sez I.

No response, but then, I didn’t expect one.

I waited for about 20 seconds before I turned and left.

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as she then turned around.

I waved the ten at her as I was going out the door.

I really enjoyed cheating the thief out of her ten-spot.

Roadside assistance for the distressed

I’m still on the north shore of Lake Superior.

It was cloudy and cool this morning.

Having only 140 miles to go, I took my time and got on the road by 0900. Unfortunately, I had to stop to put on the rain pants since the highway was wet. There was only the occasional drop of water on the windshield, so it must have rained much earlier.

At about the 20 minute mark I was flagged down by a kid out of Manitoba on an ’84 Yamaha two-banger. He was heading south also, but his engine died. Without tools, he couldn’t do much. I loaned him some of mine (the ones he could use, since I don’t carry metric) and he drained his two fuel bowls.

Clear and bright.

The plugs were good. The plug leads were a tad sketchy (thanks for that word, Kayla) and broke off in my hand.

That’s normal, sez the kid.

Well, okay, I guess. It’s his bike.

He’s done all the work on it to date. He’s got a nice hand-made spiderweb lower fairing. It’s not actually a fairing, but if it were covered, it would be.

Eventually, he manages to get to the fuel filter. It has fuel in it, so he thinks it’s okay.

Not necessarily, I tell him. Why not pull it, drain some into that empty Tim Horton’s cup and see what it looks like?

I’ll do that, sez the kid.

Hmm. Grass. How did green lawn grass get into the fuel filter, I ask?

Dunno, sez the kid.

The fuel line gets reconnected, the kid engages the starter, and away we go.

Problem solved.

During this series of events, an interested OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) officer drives by a couple of times, passing in both directions and obviously on his highway patrol, giving us the eye. Finally, he can stand it no longer and pulls in behind us to see what the hell is going on.

He turned out to be a pretty nice guy, actually, giving helpful advice and offering clean gas to the kid.

I don’t know if the kid accepted or not, because once the motorcycle turned over, I collected my tools and got back on the road.

It poured for the remainder of my 100 mile ride.

My thanks to Aerostich and their Darien rain gear. It’s kept my ass dry for decades now.

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Not too many riders stop for a motorcycle by the side of the road any more. There are too many RUBs out there who think a cell phone and a trailer can solve all the problems one might encounter.

Even if one of those guys were to stop, his assistance would be limited to going for gas, or to make a phone call. Mechanical help wouldn’t be an option, I’m certain. Tools? Why carry tools? I have a five-year warranty.

Unfortunately, in the boondocks (believe me, the north shore of Lake Superior is the boondock nation), a rider stopping to offer help and support is a welcome relief. The look of gratitude on the kid’s face when I pulled over was all that I needed to see, even without his immediately knowing whether I could help or not.

Fortunately, this time, I could.