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June 25th, 2013 | Louisiana

And the Good News is…!!

With most motorcycle repair shops, including BMW in Baton Rouge being closed on Mondays, I was lucky enough to finally get in touch with Chuck House, a well known repairer of all things on two wheels.

I had tried to reach him on the evening that I arrived, but he was already closed for the weekend… Chuck works “normal hours”, Monday to Friday, where most others work from Tuesday to Saturday in this neck of the woods…

Chuck convinced me that he was able to take care of the Big Fella and had all the right tools to do so. David, who had very kindly come to fetch my ailing bike, agreed to run it over to Chuck’s place on Monday, and by late afternoon, Chuck had opened up the rear drive, and called me over to come assess the damage…

Up on the operating table again !!

Up on the operating table again !!

"Ah, at last you're here... Sorry about the little mishap with the drive shaft, but it'd all part of the ride, right...?? Also, May I add that I 'm feeling rather exposed in this position, and I don't like the look of that pink Ducati in the corner...!!"

“Ah, at last you’re here… Sorry about the little mishap with the drive shaft, but it’s all part and parcel of our ride, right…?? Also, May I add that I ‘m feeling rather exposed in this position, and I don’t like the look in the eye of that pink Ducati in the corner…!!”

With GiGi’s assistance, I managed to make it across town without getting too lost, nor using too much language which she had not already heard before…

Chuck House Motorsport is located at 355 Iris Street, just off the Jefferson Highway on the western edge of New Orleans.

“The good news is that it is not your clutch or your gearbox that is busted !!” , were his first words. “It’s your drive shaft that has snapped clean off !!”

He showed me the part of the universal joint that had sheared off, and how corroded the rest of the shaft and couplings were.

When I explained that the bike had been underwater during Hurricane Sandy, and that I had taken a big tumble in the salt encrusted mud on the Dalton Highway up in Alaska, he agreed that those two incidences had not helped matters much…!!

Later when he saw all the gear that went on the bike when I dropped it all off for safe-keeping,  he said that he was surprised that the shaft hadn’t broken long before that !!

“You’ve done good to run this bike fully loaded for three years and covered the mileage you have..” he said shaking his head…

The not so good news is that the new drive shaft has to be shipped in from BMW in Maryland, and at best will only arrive in New Orleans on Friday morning. For the time being, we are in the hands of Fed-Ex !!

“Go build an altar to Fed-Ex…!!”, suggested Chuck’s assistant, Rob…

Another piece of bad news was that the shaft cost an eye-watering $905.00 without shipping and all the other seals, washers, and bits and bobs that it come with it !!

And then there’s Chuck’s labour cost on top of that !! Not a cheap exercise by any stretch of the imagination.

While the Big Fella is out of commission, I also asked Chuck to go ahead and do an oil chnage and check all the other fluid levels, which will hopefully not have to be done again on American soil !!

The rear drive shaft had seen better days...

The rear drive shaft had seen better days…

Chuck has very good contacts with the BMW guys and is well known by many BMW bikers in the region, for his work and great service levels. He has kept me updated every step of the way and is doing his best to get me back on the road as quickly as possible.

Despite this, I have now lost three or four days of riding and have to adjust my route to ensure that I make it back to New Jersey by Friday the 5th of July, for Caley’s wedding.

The upside, and there is always an upside to everything, is that I get to see a little more of New Orleans than I would have, and I am able to do some work on my blog. I am hoping to get it up to date before I leave here. Check out the updates that are posted prior to this one…

It had in fact snapped off completely !!

It had in fact snapped off completely !!

There will not be much time for writing once I get back on the road, as I have to ride through 8 more states before I get back to New Jersey. And, I have a date with a fellow reptile lover in Kentucky, that I am not going to miss. Friends of Mimi’s have invited me to visit them at their Reptile Park in Slade, Kentucky, a visit I am looking forward to…

I am also due to pop in and visit Doug’s father near Little Rock in Arkansas, which is a bout three days ride from here on the route I am planning through Texas and Oklahoma.

I figure it will take me six straight days of riding if I am able to get out of town by Friday afternoon…

And while I wait, I have had to call on the help of my old friend, Khalid Kaab, to help me resurrect my Mapsource program which I lost when my laptop crashed and frizzled… Khalid is recovering from a broken knee and had to leave his farm in Castels, and drive dozens of kilometres to get to an internet cafe to assist me…

Khalid, Marie-Helene and I on the castle walls...

Khalid, Marie-Helene and I on the castle walls near his home in Castels, France, in July 2011.

Thank you very much once again, Khalid and I hope tomorrow’s final skype session will bring success !! If I look back on my ride, without your help over the years I might still be stuck in Egypt !! Something I would not wish on my worst enemy…!!

©GBWT 2013

5 comments to And the Good News is…!!

  • Mark Behr

    Good to be updated – now for the update of your time in South Africa and your plans for the future 🙂

  • Kim

    Wow!!! Just caught up on a couple of blogs and needless to say, form highs to OMG…..
    Well, as the saying goes, everything happens for a reasons and between your computer and Big Fella, with his backside in the air, I thinks it’s time to take a bit of R&R with Patricia and give the electronics a break for awhile!!
    By the way… Mr Mandela is still holding on, but the rand has died a silent death!!!
    Chat soon and BIG kisses to you all!!!

  • Carnivore

    OK, I wuz wrong. But in an(expensive) way, the demise of a UV joint is a lot better than the mashing of no.s 3 and 4 gear clusters, hey, Ronnie, old son?
    I trust that the fianl drive is OK..?

    Ja, chill out for a while here, Buddy.

    (Well, hello there, Ma’am… hope to see you in PE sometime in the not-too-distant future..?)

  • Rob !! Howzit, China !! We will most certainly be taking the Big Fella back along the route we rode out on, and would love to drop by your neck of the Bay… Hope to see you soon, Buddy ! Love to Margie and the clan. R.

  • Trev

    Shit Ronnie what’s happening???
    Went for a ride on Big Red on the weekend and I think he has been reading your blog as his drive shaft bagged out also, now he is in hospital awaiting a new part from Germany, believe it or not there are non in Canada and BMW Canada isn’t allowed to pull parts out of the USA and to make matters worse the part here is $1200.00.
    Oh well Im off sailing for two weeks so it should be done by the time I get back.
    In the mean time I have asked a friend to go sit with him from time to time while I am away.:-)

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