I effed it all up!

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azure:
Last eve was supposed to be my last here before I headed back to Boston this morning, but that's another story.
This one concerns preparing the new to me bike I just purchased so that I'd be able to take my friends from the states(you guys) riding if you show up here(sw France). I found an old BMW r1100rs, kind of a roach but with a big wonderful heart.

Once we leave here in the summer, we usually don't get back until the end of March at the earliest, so I have become accustomed to draining out all the gas in the tank and carbs, and disconnecting the battery on my other bike before leaving. No problem there, I go to do the same with the Beemer and I can't remove the fuel without taking the tank off or using a siphon, which I don't have, and it's Monday and most stores( 15 min away by car) are closed here on Monday. So I decide I'll ride off the extra fuel. Although I have no insurance on the bike, I did title it and feel at least 50% legal, and therefore entitled to ride. I had done so for about 25 kms to check out what it needed when I purchased it. One thing it does need is a fuel sensor, the head of which has probably come off and is floating somewhere in the tank. I had no idea how much fuel was in the tank as it extends down far enough( especially on the right side) that you can't see or hear how much fuel is sloshing around. I figured about 1 to 4 liters max, but who knew. It's about 6:30 pm on Monday eve, and we have to go to have a drink and then dinner and say goodbye at two households at 7:30.

I know the back roads around here fairly well but wanted to stay at a higher elevation to my home to make sure I could glide in if I needed to. I rode towards Poudenx before heading back home, but when I get close, I'm still going strong so I make another loop through my town, doing 40 kms. before having to go for the drink and dinner. I get home at 12:30, and am sure that it's going to be very rainy this morning before we leave for the airport, so I feel like I have to ride the bike dry then and there. It's dark enough to feel like you're in a cave, but I get out and start going up and down the main two lane road not too far from the village.
It's heat lightening out, there's not a living soul on the road besides me, and I'm trying to run dry uphill of my place before the rain starts. I make 12 or 15 runs and I'm still going strong. The bike is really easy to ride and very comfortable feeling at 120 km/h. I'll have no trouble going up in the Pyrenees with it once I replace the front discs, all pads, and the front and rear shocks, which are fine on smooth pavement but not so good when the road surface gets uneven.

By this time I can tell what's going to happen, and of course it does. I'm on the downhill leg as the bike dies and I coast into the rotary furthest from my house just as it starts to pour. I walk two km uphill in pitch black, turning the lights on periodically to make sure I'm still walking on the stream of a road through the village. When I finally get there, Martha's is running around in circles completely worried that I've met a terrible end and PO'd because I also have the car keys so she can't even go look for my corpse. I get her all calmed down, dry the bike off, put it away, get packed, go to bed just before 3 and get up at 7 to finish closing the house. Make the 30 minute drive to the airport and find that the French are all on strike today, including the air controllers and baggage handlers, so I get to go home and wait to do it all again tomorrow morning. Why are the French on strike you might ask? There is not enough money in their social system to allow them to continue to retire at 60. It's not enough that they get national and religious holidays amounting to a couple of months per year as well as 5 weeks vacation, they don't want to wait until they're 62!
All part of the joy of staying here I guess!
Looking forward to seeing you guys soon,
Ben

andy750:
Good story Ben and I could see the end coming a mile away ;). Good looking bike! Looking forward to seeing you on your return to sunny Boston.

cheers
Andy

azure:
You knew about the airlines not going? Why didn't you tell me?  ;D ;D

P.S. It's been wonderful here as well. Last night was the first rain since I arrived two weeks ago. The photo is from a hike last week in the  Valee d'Ossau.

All best!
Ben

UnCrash:
Beautiful photo!

Pushing bikes uphill sucks.

Travel safe.

Connito:
Great Ben! Why did you take the car keys with you? Of course Martha was worried:-)

Wonderful story with a happy ending, very Hollywood like?


Cheers,
Peter

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