I volunteer DJ at a local radio station. That means I show up in my free time and in exchange get the pleasure of picking tunes and spinning discs for a large audience here in Northern Minnesota. Tonight was my last night doing the whole disc jockey thing before I set out on my trip. I had a blast. Three hours of great music on the air, plus two hours of music before hand in preparation. I was sad that it was the last time for a while, but happy with the experience. However my over abundance of cheeriness was dampened by the reality of the road; a flat on the bike.
I was done at the studio about 10:15 and that’s when I noticed the flat. I sat down on the bike and the handlebars did not want to move. It took me a moment to diagnose the new found immobility as a flat, but when I did I freaked out just a little bit inside my head.
There is a Holiday gas station right near the radio station so I headed there knowing they had free air and more light. It turns out neither of those commodities were much help to me. I could not spot any obvious hole and the air just seemed to be shooting out all over the place. It was like a large whale expelling water out of its blowhole; a spout of air that went further than the eye could reasonably see. Taking with it many small fishing boats and crying fishermen (and women) high into the atmosphere before coming down and crashing the dreams of a young independent motorcyclist. Dousing out any remaining hope of riding all the way through Montana with the original front tire. Or something like that. Seems like a semi-accurate account of events.
I guess it had to happen sometime.. and I guess sometime just had to be two days before I take off.
Though to look at the bright side (the side my eyes generally stray towards anyway) it happened within a few blocks of Holiday, which is conveniently located near The Hawg Pen. A bike shop, and the work place of some pretty cool mechanics. As long as I didn’t bend my rim tonight when riding it the few blocks that I did it shouldn’t be to hard to change the tire right there. And as long as some passerby doesn’t feel the need to rifle through my belongings, I should have a fully functioning traveling machine soon.
Another advantage of popping a tire right here in the town I am currently still living is the roommate and her wonderful boyfriend who answered the phone at about 10:30 even though they were headed to sleep. I wasn’t stranded, I had a convenient place to park Little Wing, and I had a great night of listening to music. It would almost seem like a perfect night… except for the fact that I had a flat two days before departure.
No, I want to see the bright side. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. It means the adventure has officially started. All I have is Little Wing for a vehicle right now, and all Little Wing has is me. That right there seems like a reason to be bright about the situation.
Nah, it ain’t a big deal. Two days to go and a flat tire makes for one less thing to surprise me on the road. Two days to go and a flat tire makes for a better tire on the bike for when I travel the mountains. Two days to go and a flat tire makes for a good story. Two days to go and a flat tire makes for a good job tomorrow…or the next day.. or the next.
I think I have more than two days to go now.