Day 7... Lulu, MS to Hot Springs, AR. Great morning. Ready to roll. I'm riding alone except for Mongo one of the "Side Car Dudes" who trails us to make sure we aren't left out stranded in case of problems. My riding partner Jim Petty, from SC broke down again yesterday and limped in around midnight. He's still trying to fix his valve this morning and it looks like I'm alone today.
Bike seems to be running better than yesterday, as my crew adjusted my valves last night. Too much play in the pushrods again. Athena and Laura work so hard every evening getting Effie ready for the next morning. Plus, they have been running sweep in my van, helping other riders with mechanical issues. These are not motorcycles you can just run for a few hundred miles and park them like new bikes and ride again and again. They go over the chains, check tire pressures, fill oil and gas for the next morning's scheduled take off. Every nut and bolt must be checked to make sure it hasn't losened during the bumpy ride. There is very little suspension on these!
We must check in and show our numbers every morning 15 minutes before our set starting time. This morning I checked in at 8:30 and was on my bike heading out at 8:45.
Right after I left the hotel I crossed over the Mississippi River and headed in Arkansas. The bike was running good and it was still cool enough to feel good before the heat of the day set in.
About 15 minutes later, the bike started losing power. I looked down at the exposed rockers and noticed the rear rockers weren't moving. Oh, oh... running on one cylinder. I pull over and Mongo pulls in a few minutes behind me. We let her cool down and notice the rear push rod seems lose. Soon, my crew pulls in behind us and we take out the tools and see if we can tighten it up. The threads on the pushrod are old and worn, the rod looks a little bent. Hmmm.... a few other sweepers pull in and we try a few things, but can't get her tight. Oh well.... that's it for me for today. Not a horrible breakdown, just a pushrod, which we can probably find from someone who has a spare later tonight. I'm disappointed as we load the bike in van. It's 99 degrees and the air conditioning actually felt pretty darn good after sitting on the side of the road trying to fix the bike. Though I missed out on some miles today. I can get her going and ride again. Not too tough of a repair. We have a day off here in Hot Springs tomorrow. We will have all our bikes on display in the Convention Center here tomorrow all day. It's also laundry day tomorrow!