Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Brownsville, Texas (Day 2)

10:00 a.m.

Slept until 9:30. Feeling pretty lost right now, pretty low. My confidence in the motorcycle has been seriously shaken and I question the wisdom of trying to stay the course.


A rainy morning; I guess it's better that I'm not riding after all! No luck with the high speed connection at the "Rose Garden", so I walked next door to the "Best Value Inn" to inquire whether it was worth switching motels. There I met “Sonny”, a native of India and former engineer from Silicon Valley. ("Life was too stressful in Silicon Valley".) He assured me their internet service was high-speed. His rate was just a few dollars more, and the motel appeared to be in better shape. He said he'd even drive over and pick up all my belongings.

Decided to move, explaining to the "Rose Garden" manager that I need high-speed to do my work and that their service doesn't seem to be. "Yes we do, we have hi-fi," she said pointing to the wireless transmitter. I don't think so. Behind her, I noticed a "Fed Ex" package on the desk. "I'm expecting a package." She checked and, indeed, it was the parcel from Lester.

Immediately plugged the regulator in and the bike started up on the first try. Loaded everything up and drove less than 100 yards down the street.

I still wanted to get the BMW out on the highway and give it a good test run, so as soon as I had unloaded next door, I headed out. But I didn't go far before it was clear something was seriously wrong. It was sputtering, then surging, constantly up and down. If I revved it high enough (above 4,000), it would smooth out. Went back to my room and "got on the horn" to Lester. "You either have a throttle cable that's popped out of its housing, or you might have had an intake backfire...but the throttle cable is the first thing I'd check."

Right again. I felt up inside the throttle mechanism near the injectors and the right and left sides were in slightly different positions. I gave the right one a tap and it snapped into place. Out for another test drive. This time, "smooth as silk." I called Lester back to say "you're a genius!"

So now that the bike problems have been remedied, I have to decide: am I going to proceed south or what? I have wondered if this whole fiasco was just a sign that I should be trying to in some way involve myself in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. I have nowhere I need to be right now. I could go to Houston, or Austin and help out.

I have to ponder this one...

Feeling like a weight had been lifted, decided to "treat myself" to a nice dinner. Just up the highway was the "Texas Roadhouse". I've never been to one. It's a chain that started in Indiana about ten years ago. Tried their "Ft. Worth Rib Eye Steak". I don't think I've ever had so much attention from a restaurant staff. I must have had ten people ask if everything was okay. Even the manager came around to chat. Another motorcyclist, he visited for a while, sharing motorcycle stories.

And I got to listen to great country music, such as "We're two of a kind, working on a full house." Sheee-it!

After dinner, went to a "Pep Boys" to buy those heavy-duty tie-downs, that I'm certain will be useful south of the border.

Texas highways baffle and amuse with their short "jump-ons" (that I found strange even back in 1977), Their off-ramps half-way between key intersections, the one-way frontage roads on either side of the highway. All this forces one to drive much further to get to a place on the opposite side of the highway.

Finally(!) connected with my "long-lost" daughter tonight. She has such a busy school and social life, we rarely get a chance to talk by phone.

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