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July 4th, 2013 | North America

Downtime in Pennsylvania…

Doug and I spent the day driving around Pottsville, trying to find someone who was not only available, but prepared to knock my pannier back into some semblance of its former shape.

After stopping off at four different places we finally managed to locate Bill’s Body Shop, and we agreed on a price for the repair.

Looking a little beat up !!

Looking a little beat up !! I had my doubts that it would ever close properly again.

The luggage frame had been pushed back onto the muffler.

The luggage frame had been pushed back onto the muffler.

We then dropped my laptop off at a computer shop where the technician had conjured up a small miracle by finding a similar sized screen from his box of spare parts, and agreed to fit it for me.

A new screen would have cost more than double what he eventually charged me, and we would have had to wait a week for it to arrive from the agents…

The laptop is still bent out of shape, but works, and that’s all that matters !! I was glad that I had not bought a new one in Tampa, as my insurance only covered items that were attached to or part of the bike…

Back at home, we removed the parts of the luggage frame that were badly bent and set about trying to straighten them with the help of Doug’s new press, which he had apparently been yearning to add to his collection of hardware for some time…

We went into town, bought the press, took it home and assembled it, then got to work testing it out on my frame, and anything else we felt like bending… Fortunately for the cat, it remained upstairs and out of sight while we were in our “bending phase”…

We noted that the exhaust pipe, or muffler as it is known on this side of the pond, had been dented by the impact of the accident. The luggage frame had pushed up against it, but did not in any way break through the metal skin of the unit. I managed to convince Doug not to put the muffler on the press…

At the time, we did not notice that the main frame of the bike had also been bent, but the insurance assessor that came to view the Big Fella in Freehold a few days later, pointed this out to me.

The bent frame has not made the bike unsafe to ride, but is of some concern, as it would mean having to strip the bike down to every last nut and bolt to change the frame, and that will not only take a lot of time, but also cost a small fortune.

Doug deals with some pressing matters... This time it's my pannier frame that got itself out of shape...

Doug deals with some pressing matters… This time it’s my pannier frame that got itself out of shape…

It took a number of these to get the job done...

It took a number of these to get the job done…

We struggled to get thee frame bent back to the original angles required to hold the pannier properly in place, and eventually agreed that we had done the best we could under the circumstances.

Later that afternoon, we went to collect the pannier from Bill, who must have had a few beers himself while he attempted to straighten the box. While he seemed quite pleased with his efforts, for the sum of $75.00, both Doug and I thought we could have done better… Although heaven only knows how many Lime-a-Ritas it would have taken !!

The lid could not be straightened enough for it to close properly, and I resigned myself to the fact that it would never be watertight again… Which was a problem, considering how much rain I had experienced in the past few weeks.

For most of the day I had been in a zombie-like state, yawning so often I eventually grew tired of putting my hand over my mouth when I did…

My eyes were red-rimmed and bloodshot, and it had nothing to do with the beverages we were forced to consume while effecting the repairs to the bike…

My back ached, and I endured a number of nauseating moments, which had nothing to do with the…. Never mind…

This was the first time that I was able to take a proper look at the bike since the accident, and I was amazed that none of the lights or indicators had been broken off from the impact; the flirtation with the trees; or the final fall…

Not as good a job as Trevor did in Coldfoot, but it would have to do...

Not as good a job as Trevor did in Coldfoot, but it would have to do…

Although the locks on the right-hand pannier had not broken, the impact had bent the frame to a point that neither pannier was ever going to stay on without the magic of cable ties and bungee cords.

To this end, we went out and bought another packet of the largest cable ties we could find and used six of them on the left pannier and four on the right…

We could have spent the 4th of July in quiet contemplation of what America’s founding fathers had gone through to declare independence from Great Britain in 1776, but for reasons I have now forgotten, we were unable to do so, in a manner befitting the occasion…

It might have been the fact that we had to collect a replacement swing set that had been damaged by a falling tree in Doug’s mother’s garden, which I must hasten to add, Doug and his famous chainsaw had absolutely nothing to do with… (He made me promise to put this bit in…)

We drove down to the Target store in Reading, and somehow managed to manhandle the massive box into the car without breaking anything…

"How the hell we gonna fit this in the car...?? Bring me a big hammer, will you...""

“How the hell we gonna fit this in the car…?? Bring me a big hammer, will you…””

Later that evening, we sat and watched an impressive fireworks display from the little patio at Doug’s home… Some of the percussions we heard, coupled with a few minor earth tremors that rattled windows and shook leaves from the surrounding trees,  might well have come from something other than “normal” fireworks…

Doug smiled knowingly, and I wondered how many sticks of dynamite would be unaccounted for at the surrounding mining operations, after this holiday weekend…

I needed sleep more than anything at that point and after thanking both Doug and Theresa for all they had done to help me over the past few days, I hastened to bed in preparation for an early start the following morning…

After all I had been through ever since arriving in New Orleans with a “dead bike” under me, I was amazed that I had managed to get to the point where there was no longer any doubt that I would make it to Caley’s wedding in time…

There was some doubt in my mind however, if I would make it through the proceedings without falling face down on the dance floor…

©GBWT 2013

 

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