Zen breakdown (Thanks for the prompt, Morris.)

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My friend Morris, who originally suggested I start this blog, recently commented that I haven't posted any breakdown stories like those in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Thankfully, that's because I haven't had any. However, I did have an experience while in Big Spring, Texas, that is worth relating.

I arrived at a Super 8 motel in Big Spring about noon on a Sunday. I had seen a billboard on the way into town advertising a pow-wow at the local college and thought that would be a good way to pass the afternoon. So, I unloaded my gear, had a conversation with a man who was polishing the hazy headlights on his car, and got back on my bike to go to the pow-wow. As I was approaching the exit from the motel I didn't notice there was a curb at the exit. Well, BANG!!! When the front wheel suddenly went off the curb the underside of the bike slammed down onto the curb and the tab that attaches the side stand spring to the stand broke off and the spring was deformed beyond repair. The result was that the side stand wouldn't stay up, making the otherwise healthy bike unrideable. Now what?

I slowly moved the bike back to the area in front of the office to assess the damage and consider my options. One thing was for sure; I wasn't going to the pow-wow. Just at the moment I was despairing the man who had been polishing his headlights approached me and asked what had happened. I told him, he said that was too bad and then disappeared into the motel office. I couple of minutes later he returned and announced, "The owner of the Harley-Davidson dealer in town is on the phone in the office and wants to speak to you." Mind you, it was a Sunday afternoon and Big Spring has the only Harley dealership for many miles. Well, I could hardly believe my ears, but I wasted no time getting into the office and on the phone. I told the owner my predicament and she immediately offered to open the dealership parts department and check to see if they had the spring and a new stand. Ten minutes later she called me back and said she had the spring, but not the stand. She said she'd take the spring back to her home and I could pick it up there. So, the man at the motel took me to pick up the spring at the woman's home. Amazing!

Then at 7:15 the next morning I called one of the three welders listed in the Big Springs phone book. The man said he couldn't be sure until he saw it, but would try to weld the broken tab back onto the side stand for me. He gave me directions to his shop and I told him it might take a while to get there because I had to find a way to keep the side stand up while I was riding it to the shop.

Next I figured out how to use a bungee cord to hold up the stand, but I needed another person to attach it while I held the bike upright. I asked the morning desk clerk if she could help and she promptly came out and deftly and cheerfully attached the bungee per my instructions.

Off I went to the welding shop, the bike fully loaded with my gear. When I arrived the door was open. The man came out and removed the bungee cord, looked at the side stand and broken tab, removed the stand, took it inside while I stayed on the bike to keep it upright, and returned with the welded up stand minutes later. He attached it and the new spring and wished me a safe trip, refusing to take any money for the job! I gave him some money anyway and told him to buy lunch for himself and his assistant and drove off whole again at 8AM, headed for New Mexico.

To say that I was amazed and very grateful for the gracious behavior of the four people who turned my potentially trip delaying mistake into such a positive experience would be an understatement. It was truly a "pay it forward" event and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do so.
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Morris on

I really didn't wish this on you, John, but it's the best story yet.
Ahh, all is suffering!

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