Thursday, October 29, 2009

Besting the Motorcycle Demons

Had a lucky moment this morning at the gas station.

As I left home, I knew I needed to put gas in the tank really soon. As I approached the main road, the engine already started sputtering. "Come on!" I said, imploring the bike to just get me a half-mile further to make the gas station.

The night before, I left home with "161" reading on my odometer, on my way to the tavern to hang out with some friends. It's about 15 miles from my house to the tavern. So that's 30 miles round trip. I knew I usually get about 200 miles on a full tank of gas. So I knew I didn't have to stop at a gas station that evening.

But after leaving the tavern, I went to a friend's house which is just another 3 miles further away. So that technically made the whole trip 36 miles. "No problem" I thought. That'll still leave me with about 4 miles left in the tank for tomorrow, and the gas station is just 2 miles from my house.

So when I returned home last night, I chose not to stop at the gas station, and instead planned to do so the next morning.

So back to where I left off. I turned down the main road towards the gas station, the bike would find some gas and go, and then it would sputter again. I got to about 1/4 mile from the station and the bike was sputtering more than it was going. Finally, the engine stopped, and I pulled in my clutch lever to keep the momentum going.

I tried pushing the starter button to get the engine started again, but it just wouldn't start. It'd find a few drops of gas and sound like it was going to start, but it just wouldn't start. I finally lost all momentum and came to a stop on the road. I hit the starter button again, and found just enough fuel to get it running.

I was able to build up enough momentum that by the time the engine petered out again, I was able to coast into the gas station, and came to a stop right at the pump.

"Yes!" I smiled. The odometer read 199.something. I managed to calculate my mileage accurately to within one mile, and justified myself not getting gas the night before.

I reached into my pocket to retrieve the key to unlock the gas cap on my Electra Glide, only to discover that I left the key at home!

"God Damn It!" I thought.

And it's not like I could jump on the bike and ride home to get it either!

Thoughts raced through my mind on what to do. First, I was going to call up the friend whom I was going to meet that morning, and tell him I'd be late. Or better yet, just have him meet me at the gas station instead.

I thought about calling my wife, but I knew she wasn't home. She was out grocery shopping. But then I remembered that she keeps a spare key on her key ring. I called her up, but she didn't answer.

I wondered, "What the Hell, did she leave her cell phone at home, or did she leave it in the car?"

I decided to call her again.

This time she answered.

I asked her where she was. She said she was having breakfast at IHOP. "Cool!" I said. Because IHOP is right next door to the gas station where I was. I told her my predicament, and she walks outside the restaurant and waved her hand at me. Then walks over and hands me the key.


I originally thought I had defeated the motorcycle demons when I coasted into the gas station. But then it seemed they had gotten the best of me when they made me forget to bring my key. However it turned out I one-upped them, and sent them home with their tails between their legs!

I filled up, and sped off to meet up with my buddy. And on the way, I kept thinking I'm going to remove that lock from the gas cap. This wasn't the first time I found myself at a gas station without the key.


  1. Yup, sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes the bug.

  2. Hmmm... glad to know that SOMEBODY... is whuppin' them demons!:-) They got me... last Tuesday night... in the rain that started off this last lil' snowstorm in Colorado... I was figurin it snug, but not as close as you... Normally get 'bout 175-180 between fills... and usually have a gallon left! Thought I'd had plenty... but ran out... 10 miles from anything, in the rain... that'd soon to turn into snow! ... and only had 149 on the odometer... That just ain't right!

    Just be glad YOU didn't have to call the 'Boss Lady' out, into the bad weather... to haul you back down the road, to get enough gas, to ride home in the snow! :-)

    You keep on whuppin' them Motorcycle Demons... for the rest of us! :-)


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)