Stuck In the Mud

After a pleasant morning and getting some work done, I had a lunch meeting with Mike, one of the admins of the New England Riders group on Facebook. No, I wasn’t in trouble. He works about 15 minutes away from where I’m staying in Jaffrey, and wanted to meet up and buy me lunch. (Thanks!) The last time we dined together was during a group ride last October. Soon afterward, I crashed and took an ambulance ride (no serious injury, fortunately). I was hopeful this wouldn’t happen again. It didn’t.

Since it won’t ever stop raining, I decided to take the van instead of the bike. That was when I realized one of my back wheels had sunk into the wet dirt overnight, and I couldn’t get out. I tried to be gentle as I rocked back and forth, but ended up digging myself in deep. After telling Mike I’d be late, it was Allyson and Chris to the rescue. We pulled my bike off the back to lighten the back end. Ironically, we didn’t even need the ramp. The carrier had sunk down to ground level and we could just roll it off. Chris got a couple of strong straps and pulled me out with his Toyota Tacoma. So much for being kind and parking off the pavement so people could still drive past me.

Sorry about the mess.

The extrication had pulled the already damaged tail light on my motorcycle carrier completely off. Since the bike was already off, the van’s own tail lights were visible, so it was still safe and legal to drive, and I went on to have an enjoyable lunch with Mike.

Afterward, it was time to fix the tail light damage. After perusing Jaffrey’s auto part stores, I punted to an expensive, but easy, set of magnetic-mount trailer lights that I could stick to the carrier. I completely removed the lighting I’d installed myself and switched over to these. They were so dim you couldn’t even see the brake lights or turn signals in overcast lighting. Back to the store I went, and bought a pair of LED bulbs and some chrome spray paint. While I had the lenses off to replace the weak incandescent bulbs with LEDs, I sprayed the inside of the housing chrome to reflect better than black plastic. Then the lights were nice and visible.

Another bright idea.

I tidied up the wiring, grabbed a shower, and dealt with my mail that had just arrived. This included my accumulated mail from Escapees, as well as my Mobilinkd TNC3. I went through that, and got APRS working through my radio instead of only on the internet. Then a bit more work, a wonderful steak dinner with everyone, and a shared beer on the porch afterward. It was a busy day, and I fell asleep early.

I’m leaning much more strongly toward buying an enclosed trailer for the bike sooner rather than later (despite my investment in new auxiliary lighting). The fact that the carrier got hung up in the mud, and keeps scraping on pavement, is only part of the equation. The other part was just how well the van rode and handled without a 415-pound motorcycle hanging off the back. The rear felt more stable, and while the suspension handles the weight just fine, it simply felt better with a lighter load. So I’ve started seeing what’s available for a 5 by 8 or 10 foot trailer locally. If I can get one and a temporary license plate, that’ll give me enough time to get it registered properly while I’m in Maine after NEFR.

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