Pot & Holes.

I’m not sure what exactly you were expecting to read after checking the title – however there was no consumption of THC or marijuana. Simply a lovely recanting of what happens when those two words are put together.

Welp…. it happened. It was only a matter of time before something went wrong. I mean, there’s just no chance that I could have gone all this way, without experience, on nearly a 40-year-old bike, and have nothing go wrong.

As I pulled into Cleveland after one of the windiest rides I’ve experienced so far – going 75 mph with 15 mph winds on a busy highway with 18-wheelers galore on a motorcycle is absolutely exhilarating (and kind of terrifying) – I had a news truck awaiting my arrival.

I thought I was the coolest thing since Miles Davis as I pulled in. Then I turned around to park, and as I was looking for an available spot, I hit a giant pothole at about 15-20mph.

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*Insert facepalm emoji here*

There was a LOUD bang, and I knew immediately something was wrong.

So I introduced myself to this reporter with a slew of profanities (it really seems to be a common theme this trip, dontcha know?). After the interview I eventually pulled the bike into my cousin’s driveway. He and his neighboring duplex mates either went to school together at SUNY Maritime working on boats, or work together at the boatyard on tugboats in Cleveland – more on that later.

Regardless – they’ve done a lot of maintenance and repair work on machines (and I know what you’re thinking – the fact that they work on boats makes them the PERFECT candidates to work on my motorcyle, right?!?!).

We put the sidecar up on a jack, checked it out, and quickly found out that the bolt that holds my suspension in place, and the actual sidecar up off of the tire, snapped with one part stuck flush still inside the sidecar.

After about 20 minutes of attempting to drill a hole through the remainder of the bolt stuck in the sidecar, we decided drinking beer was a better idea. It’s not like we were going to fix the bike in the dark.

There’s a nifty little brewery a couple blocks from his place. Myself, my cousin, and his girlfriend took Kenzie to the brewery, which led to checking out his boat at the yacht club (we fancy, huh?), and finally another drink and brisket at this lovely little place.

In the morning we set off for breakfast, and came back to attempt to get me rollin’ again. I finally drilled a hole all the way through, but nothing happened. Eventually my cousin got enough of another hole drilled that he was able to use a flat-head screwdriver to unscrew it. We then set off on a journey to find another matching bolt.

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We went to a Home Depot directly across from a Walmart that is highly regarded as one of the largest gang initiation locations in Cleveland (lovely area), and they couldn’t help us out. So we went to this awesome little local hardware store. We walked in and one of the owners said hello, we showed him the bolt, he walked over the to bolt area, opened up a drawer, pulled it out, and walked us to the cash register. Pha – nominal. If you’re ever in Cleveland and are in need of hardware help – Castro’s Hardware Store.

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We came back and attempted to put the bolt on the sidecar and get me up and running, and somewhat stripped it. Which is when we had to take a trip to his work – the tugboat yard – and got help from an awesome guy named Terry. He gave us a tool that would re-strip the hole we messed up. The tugboat yard my cousin works is REALLY COOL. They’re building a giant freakin’ tugboat inside of their facility and had every tool – all worn and used – any single man or woman could ever possibly imagine needing. Plus, it was on the water. AND – you should see the GIANT device they use to pull boats in and out of the water. So cool.

When we returned to his house to try to fix the bike I mostly sat back and reported on his hard efforts. He fixed the hole, and we got the bolt to screw in. Finally. We were done.

…..Not so much.

We were missing a spacer that kept everything compact.

We made one final trip to Castro’s Hardware, found a spacer that would work, came back, took the bolt off, constructed all the pieces, screwed the bolt back on, and, finally, I was ready to roll.

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The moral of this story is that my cousin is a badass.

And that it’s really hard to overcome your problems without help.

While I’m getting a late start today, Kenzie and I are about to head off into the sunset. We’ll keep you posted as we go.

As always – thank you.

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