I've never been much of a water drinker. Recently, I've really tried to drink 100 oz/day. I'm supposed to have 120oz/day but at some point, it starts to bring up images of waterboarding. So I've compromised at 100 oz. To jump start that, I try and knock down 20 oz before I leave for work. And every morning, as I force myself to chug, I wonder if this will be the day I'm stuck in traffic and regret my efforts.
Since I live 10 miles away from work, it usually takes 15 to 20 minutes from door to door. On a few days, it has taken me up to an hour and a half to travel the 10 miles. This was one of those mornings. After sitting in the giant parking lot that was I-26 for about an hour, I wasn't too worried about the water I drank before leaving. I was okay. Hot. Impatient. Thinking that, unless a giant had created a giant, impassable crater in the highway, there's no reason it should take over an hour to get traffic cleared. Hospitals are minutes away. Get the victims loaded up, drag the crap out of the roadway and BOOM! Bob's your uncle!
About an hour and half after leaving the house, I had covered roughly 6 of the miles to work. Unfortuantely, with two other roads feeding into the highway here, traffic was slowing from a stop. Funny thing about air-cooled twin cam engines, if they're not moving, they're cooking. Of course, I could smell that familiar smell of hot engine for quite a distance. But it HAD to open up soon, right?
It's really a bear when your pants are wet and act as a conductor. But it's a rarity. I've gotten jammed up in traffic before and felt the heat of the engine on my legs. It's still a rarity. But it happens. And on occasion, I've seen the inside of my knees and found the big red blotches left from the burn. That's a little unnerving.
I sat in traffic for about an hour and a half shiting my legs around, trying to find a spot that was a little less toasty. A cooler part of the oven, if you will. But there eventually came a point where I could see a little smoke from my engine and I'm pretty sure I smelled what I could only guess was cooking flesh. I decided I'd roll the dice and pull over off the road and let the bike cool down. I wasn't going anywhere anyway. I pulled up under the overpass just inside the shade and next to a couple of crack pipes someone left there. I have no use for them but it's good to have options.
There was actually a pretty decent breeze and life was as good as could be expected as I struck my favorite "Cool Biker Watching The World Go By" pose. That's where my head was and I was hoping an air of confidence would let passers-by know that I had it under control. A few guys in cars still yelled out to make sure everything was alright. "She was just getting really hot!", I yelled back over the noise of the underpass. "Letting her cool down before she got ugly! I'm good. But thanks for checking!" I was earnestly grateful for their concern. But considering the number of cars backed up as far as the eye could see in both directions, not many people asked. Maybe my stance was working. Several sportbikes passed by.
After waiting for 30 or 40 minutes, traffic was moving a little and my baby had cooled down quite a bit. I cranked her over and started to make my way into traffic. I realized almost immediately that I couldn't twist my throttle. Well that's a problem. I don't recall if I did right after I started it. It seems I must have. But it wasn't moving now. I played with the cables to no avail and had no choice but to back the bike into the shade again and look closer.
"Okay, now I'm in distress!".. or so I thought. I had 2 screwdrivers on the bike. No help there. Lesson learned. "I will have tools onboard by tonight!", I muttered to myself under my breath. I couldn't figure out what the problem was other than there being some sort of obstruction to something. That narrowed it down. Throttle cable seems to be intact on both ends. I can feel the other end flexing a bit when I twist it. Huh. I might mention that I still haven't made it to work.
Calling for a trailer is, in some circles, considered the ride of shame. Real bikers know how to fix their own machines, right? I have to admit, with so many electronics interwoven throughout my engine, I leave much of the "fixing" to the dealership. It's not that I don't want to twist a wrench. But I deal with computers enough. Not only do I not know engine computers, I don't want to learn them. But, in this case, since I had no tools, I didn't have any other option but to call the local dealership to pick up the bike (and me). They informed me that their trailer was out but I could call a tow company. I voiced my displeasure and proceeded to call the tow company, who said it would be 2 hours but they'd try to get to me earlier. I called the dealership back. "Two hours!". They said they'd try to get there in 20 minutes.
While I waited, a guy in a pickup asked if I was okay. One guy stopped and backed up. He shook my hand, came back to the bike and we scratched our heads together. (Not together so much as simultaneously.) Then he bid me good luck and drove off. A guy on a rice cruiser waved. Another guy on Harley sped up and changed lanes away from me. A few more sportbikes. One guy.. who "looked" every bit the typical road chasing biker type.. slowed down and looked like he was stopping. My guess is that he's spent his time on the side of the road. I gave him the thumbs up to let him know I was okay. I appreciate him too. But the trailer was on the way. I wasn't making it to work today.
Oh.. and apparently, drinking a bunch of water before heading to work is nothing to worry about. I never gave it a second thought.