In the morning I got a better tour of the 200 year old building I slept in, and some of the surrounding area. A lot of it was being “developed,” which meant a lot of land was being parceled out and new stuff put up. RI is a small state, and apparently people don’t like to drive more than 5 or 10 minutes anywhere – 15 minutes is considered a long drive. This has resulted in a share divsion between urban and rural around Providence, and inflated land prices.
Another thing about the North East is the Dunkin Donuts. Now, we have those in the midwest as well, but nothing like the density they have in the NE. On the way to Twisted Throttle we passed 4, and a brief discussion once we arrived showed some others passed as many as 10. Most people were sporting coffee from there, after the late night, and I bought some donuts to say thanks for having me. In Milwaukee I wouldn’t have used Dunkin Donuts for that, but when in Rome (and Rhode Island)….
I’d been adjusting my valves every morning since I’d replaced the adjusters, and checked them again before leaving Twisted Throttle and heading west. I hadnt gone west for a while, and only had a bit over a hundred miles to go before reaching my goal for the day. A few days eariler, my girlfriend had left Milwaukee and started east, traveling in our new basecamp vehicle, a 1984 Winnebago Chieftain –
We’d named him Cliff, and the idea was to use him has a base while we explored areas on the motorcycles, specifically with Sue’s two girls (8 and 10, at the time). Sue had used him a few times during the summer, and we’d all managed one weekend trip (without the motorcycles), but this was the first time Cliff had crossed state borders. She had been wandering around for a few days, and planned to meet me in Albany. We didn’t work out any further plans than that – so as the morning and afternoon passed there were a variety of messages as we tried to work out where in Albany we were going to meet. In the end we picked a Walmart lot, and I arrived not long after she did.
Now we faced the small issue of needing a trailer. We hadn’t bought on before I’d left, since back then it wasn’t clear if Sue would be coming east or not. We called around Albany only to learn non one rented trailers, especially for one way. A couple attempts to find one on the local Craigslist also failed, and with the help of the Home Depot guys we found ourselves at Trailer Supply, where we bought a trailer that was actually on sale, for less than we’d been expecting to pay to rent. It was “only” 5×8, which might cause issues later when it’s time to carry more than one motorcycle, but for now it was just Curiosity and there was plenty of room for that.
While bringing the trailer back from Trailer Suppy, one of the belts on Cliff broke. It had been squeaking some, so it wasn’t a totaly surprise. We managed to get back to the Walmart where Curiosity was parked to assess. It was getting dark, so we exposed the engine (which can be done from inside – a nice feature for when it’s raining) and confirmed the loss of the belt.
Walmart has this thing where some of them – most of them really – allow RVs to stay for free. We didn’t want to make a habit of it, BLM land has a similar policy and is generally nicer to stay in. But, since we were there, it was dark, and I didn’t want to spend hours working on the engine, we called it a night. In the morning, we found we had the correct spare already on board, and I started to adjust things to try and get it on.
While I’ve worked on engines, even car engines, before, it’s been a while. It was taking me a while, though I was pretty sure I was going to get it (I really was, it was just a matter of getting things adjusted). Sue was (understandably) getting worried about me making it to work on Monday. I was willing to miss a day if I had to, and we couldn’t find anyone open (it was Saturday) who was willing to look at Cliff.
A tow truck pulled into the lot, and I walked over to ask for a tip on getting the belt on. That guy, who was there to visit his girlfriend, grabbed my tools and had everything done in about 10 minutes. Sue called the number on the tow truck to give a compliment, and we were on the road.
Since we didn’t know when were leaving, we hadn’t thought about where we were going. While heading east, we decided it would be faster to cut through Canada and see Niagara Falls.