Riding through to Missoula in the cold rain morning and through heavy traffic, I arrived at Big Sky BMW and was greeted with friendly smiles, curiosity and hot coffee. Bill Vetter and his team in Missoula were professional, courteous and extremely helpful.
It took them 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong with my motorcycle. Seems that when replacing the right plastic “tank cover” in Anchorage, Mike must have let one of the wires for my PIAA accessory lights slip down and after a few miles the vibration caused it to fall into the path of the throttle on the engine. This throttle as a reset switch and when it falls beck into position the computer for the fuel injection is reset and the BMW knows how to operate. But with the wire obstructing ever so slightly, the computer was clueless and caused my bike to act sporadically but never correctly.
I had them do a routine oil change and with my rear tire dangerously losing tread, I decided to purchase a tire temporarily until I could get a new Gripster sent from my good friends and sponsors at Avon. I knew I’d be riding the hot roads and fairly high speeds through the wicked hot desert and the thought of tire failure just wasn’t worth it to take a chance. So rather than wait in Missoula a few days, I bit the bullet and bought a tire. My plan would be to get the 12,000 mile service performed in San Diego at Brattin Motors and there I’d have them change the tire to my preferred Gripsters.
For the first time on this trip I was out of the dealer before they closed. Getting on the road and anxious to head toward Sun Valley, Idaho I bid farewell relieved and excited that once again Doc was running at his best.
Though I hate to leave this town. Missoula is somewhere I could stay a while. Maybe even live — in the summer. Stopping at a local gourmet market for a sandwich and a soda, the locals befriended me with open arms. Within 20 minutes I had a custom sandwich made in my name, invited to a keg party and offered a place to stay.
“You like that?” the fit but round gentlemen asked me as I performed my ritual getting ready to leave.
“Yeah. This is treating me right. Your BMW dealer in Missoula set me right, good people,” I offered my hearty recommendation. Our conversation turned to work, goals and living.
“I used to work in New York City for a big ad agency,” he confided. One day a co-worker came into my office and hit me below the belt.” He shuffled his feet and his eyes beaded and grew serious. “She told me that when she first came to work there five years earlier that I was the nicest person there. She told me now I was an asshole like all the rest of them.”
He had my attention.
“That night I talked with my wife and the next morning handed in my resignation. Now I live here, have a small business and look,” he pointed to his watch. It’s barely 5pm and I’m going home to ride my mountain bike.” We both worked in the hectic ad business. It’ll grab you, churn you and spit you out. The old adage goes nobody wishes they spent more time at the office when lying on their death bed.
As my good friend Amar always reminds me, “at the end of the day all you got are memories and moments.” Make the most of them.
I cranked the smooth idling bike and headed out of town. My goal? Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California and Mexico. Warm weather. Here I go!