Charley Barnes Recounts His 10,000 Mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride – Leg 7 [PICTURES]
Another big day for Mike and I. First thing on the agenda was to head for Copper Mountain Harley-Davidson to see if they had the part that I desperately needed.
Leg 7 – 613.0 Miles
(Author’s Note: Our ride coordinator, Erik Jon Barrett, trying to lighten the moods of Mike and I and turn the ride fun again, designed a “delay wheel” (picture in the gallery below) for people to guess what would be the next ride delay since we had so many and was almost a joke by this point. We had stopped saying “what could go wrong today” day earlier. The comments on the ride page were hilarious.)
Mike and I started the day with our daily routine of morning coffee and calisthenics. OK, so maybe the stretching and calisthenics was a bit overboard since neither one of us has done those in probably three decades but let me tell you, I NEVER lie about coffee!
I jumped on the back of Mike’s bike, again, and off we went for Copper Canyon Harley-Davidson with fingers crossed they would have the tour pack bracket I needed. I even brought up the idea that we should load a gas can on his bike so we didn’t look so obvious riding 2-up but that wouldn’t work because he already had the 2 jugs on the back of his bike so I just sucked it up and jumped in the rumble seat. We had even considered renting a car if we had to go back to Bozeman to get the part there if they had one and Copper Mountain didn’t.
As we approached the Harley dealer, I saw the worst thing two guys like us could ever see. The parking lot was getting full of riders who were assembling for some kind of event that day with event tents etc. going up.
We pulled into the parking lot, parked the bike and went inside making a direct route to the parts counter where we found a young lad behind the counter who was eager to hear of our problem.
After looking up the part we needed he told us it was a ‘special order’ item and would be 7 days before he could get one. 7 days? Well, that simply wasn’t going to work and Mike then handed him one of our ride flyers to let him know that there must be another way of getting us back on the road…FAST!
He looked at the flyer and noticed one of our stops was to have been in Union Gap, Washington coming out of Canada. He was immediately blown away and said that he had grown up in the Yakima valley and it was just a couple weeks earlier his Uncle, who still lives in that area, was telling him about two guys who were doing this monster ride and actually coming through Union Gap and staying the night there. In fact, his Uncle had told him the only way he knew about it was because one of the local radio stations up there had been talking about it.
Wow, small world! I”m sure the last thing he expected was to see the two guys his Uncle was talking about walk up to the parts counter during his Saturday shift in Butte, Montana.
He told us to wait a minute and that he would go find the parts manager and see if there was anything they could do. It was less than a minute when David Hicks came to the counter, read the flyer and told us to wait and he’d be right back.
Less than 5 minutes later, he came walking back to the front desk with the tour pack bracket I needed in hand. I couldn’t believe it. There it was…my lifeline to getting back on the road. I asked David what he wanted for it and he told me I could have it for $20!
$20! Turns out they took it off a trade-in police model bike.
Again, the demons that had jumped in front of us the day before were stomped into submission by all the Angels that surrounded us on this entire ride. I jumped behind the counter to give David a big old man hug (pictures in gallery below) and then he went directly to our fundraiser ride page on Facebook to give it a like and sent me a personal friend request as well.
The parking lot was now getting real full but I had my part in hand so back into the rumble seat I went, making sure to hold my tour pack bracket in plain view, and we throttled out of the parking lot and back to the hotel where the parking lot doctors would bring my iron steed back to life, again.
We got busy right away putting the new part on and getting my bike put back together. We had missed breakfast so one of the gals who worked there at the Super 8 brought us out some muffins and pastries. Mike and I gobbled them up, and put the finishing touches on my bike.
As we were putting my tools away, Mike noticed that the lid on one of his saddlebags was about to fall off. Turns out 4 of the 5 screws had wiggled their way out and the whole assembly was being held by one screw. He tried to use zip ties but they were too big for the tiny holes so I suggested he wire them up with the spool of wire I had brought along which would be good enough to get him home. (The picture in the gallery will come into play on Leg 8 and I will explain that tomorrow.)
We gathered all our stuff, checked out of our rooms and slathered on more sunscreen knowing the day was going to be another hot one as we made our way South.
With the bikes loaded, we finally got on the road somewhere around 1:00 p.m. local time wanting to get as far South as we could, stopping around midnight. The bikes were again running great but the headwinds were ferocious as we rolled out of Montana, through Idaho and into Utah.
We hit North Salt Lake City around dusk and seemed like it took an hour to get through the city from the North end to the South end…probably 40 miles or so. The winds had finally died down and we stopped once more for gas and liquids before riding once again with the plan to stop in Fillmore for the night.
Once we got to Fillmore the news wasn’t good. There was no room at the inn for two weary bikers because as irony would have it, there was a big American Legion event going on there and every room, at every hotel, was booked. Erik Jon Barrett got back on the phone, worked his magic, and found us a couple rooms in Beaver, Utah so off we went.
We got to Beaver, Utah around 11:00 p.m. local time, found a couple rooms, unpacked the bikes and hit the rack for a few hours of sleep. Tomorrow would be a big day as we had the “desert” leg of the journey with Las Vegas, Nevada, the Mojave desert and the bowels of California to deal with to make our way to Barstow, California to meet up with the SoCal crew.