By the Helping Hand of the Motorcycle Community: Riding in the extremes

By Zee Traveler

Even though it was Texas, December was still a cold month when I took a ride down to Big Bend National Park. The trip from California was going pretty smoothly until the morning before I got to Big Bend. From out of nowhere, my bike developed a front end wobble at higher speeds. I looked all over the front, checking my tire pressure, forks, triple tree, everything I could and nothing seemed wrong. It was worrisome but being the hardheaded woman I am, I continued on.

The day warmed up as I crossed the park entrance and headed for the furthest point in the area, which was recommended as the best spot for views, Santa Elena Canyon Overlook. As I stopped at a few other spots along the way, I noticed my bike handling worse and worse. I was racking my brain trying to figure it out. It was when I got to that last spot, I stepped back from my bike to look for good photo angles that I saw shiny on my rear tire. The wire was showing and the tire was slowly losing air pressure. Not only was I mad at myself for not noticing before getting so far from a sizable town, but I also realized how close I came to having it blow out while I was riding. Oh boy.

I get on Facebook, lucky I had reception that far out. I posted in a couple different groups and my own timeline, looking for someone who could pick the bike up and myself. I got myself a nice spot in the shade while waiting and chatted with people who stopped by. Every passerby tried to help, one even took me on their hike, but an air compressor and tools just wouldn’t get me out of the stupid situation I got myself in. About 3 hours in, a very nice follower of mine told me she knew a guy in the closest town with a truck.

He wasn’t on social media much so she called him for me. He said he would come get me and I just had to hold tight. I was ecstatic that someone was coming because I had been preparing myself to sleep in the parking lot that night if it came to it.

Mike got there with his truck and ramp about an hour later, loaded my bike and I up, and we headed back to his place. My next issue was finding a tire and there were no motorcycle shops in a hundred miles, plus it was Sunday. I had a date to get to in three days so I couldn’t sit around forever, and I was stressing out a bit. Then I get another phone call, someone has a tire for me that’s exactly my size, and they’re right down the road! Mike and I run down there, pick the tire up, and take it back to his place. He was so nice that he installed it for me and then took me to dinner at his favorite local spot. He set me up in the guest room for the night and the next morning, wished me off for more adventures. It’s people like Mike that remind me how much I love our two wheeled family. And it’s adventures like this that remind me to this day to check my bike over more thoroughly on a daily basis.

I started out to ride across the country in August of 2016 with no more than having ridden 3 hours at one time. Since then I’ve stayed living on my motorcycle, traversed 43 states and 3 Canadian provinces. 20,000 miles is the most I’ve done in one year of adventuring (excluding commuting miles) but I’ve totaled 45,000 adventure miles in all and another 10,000 in commuting while I stop for work. I’ve got one official Iron Butt ride with 1,056 miles in 19 hours plus a couple unofficial long hauls I did to get somewhere in a hurry. I never imagined I would be here three years ago so I know anyone can do what I’ve done if you just start. Feel free to contact me thru Facebook or my website if you have questions or feedback. Thank you!

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