26th June 2018
Last day in San Francisco and I’m really looking forward to getting back on the road again. First though it’s down yet again to San Francisco airport area to meet up for the last time here with Sylvie and Lynda. I am sad to see them go, have really enjoyed their company it has made the week in San Fran very special.. thanks grrls.
We are meeting a the iHop next door to their hotel, I like iHop, (international house of pancakes), which I first discovered in Palm Springs on my 2016 Hells Granny Tour. They have a seniors menu which is much better for me as Americans do like large portions and I end up having to waste 50% of it, or over eating, which is very bad for my reduced size pouch.
I have done most of my packing, it just remains for me to get it on to the bike… quite a feat I can tell you… how did I end up with so much stuff.. again?? I brought a cabin trolley bag over on the plane with me but everything else came with the bike. The trolley bag is supposed to be dumped, but have offered it to Sylvie and Lynda as they are pushed for space. They have also offered to take some stuff home for me, i.e. my DOB waistcoat, rainbow helmet and all my pride bike decorations (I’m going to need them for Hastings). I have also packed DOBzilla in the trolley, she needs to get back to London. Of course I now have to get this onto the bike as well… phew just about manage it, but it’s going to be fun riding it over the San Mateo bridge!
Yep, windy as hell, the bike is all over the place because the mountain of luggage is acting as a sail!! I also have a huge bag of dirty washing that I’m planning to do at some point today. I have put it behind me so it’s acting as a back support and very comfortable it is too.
I arrive at the iHop at the same time as Sylvie and Lynda. I am astonished to learn they have never been in an iHop before, they have travelled all over the States so its amazing they have missed it. They have the pancakes, which I believe they enjoyed so maybe they will try it again.
All at once it’s time to say goodbye and for me to hit the road. Have a safe flight and see you when I get home xx
I now have a choice of routes… the fastest is back up through San Francisco and over the Bay Bridge to Sacramento, however I don’t want to do that so decide to head south towards Dumbarton bridge, (haven’t crossed that one yet), to Dublin (just gotta go there, I am irish after all), and up through the non toll/freeway roads towards Lake Tahoe. The distance is about 320 miles so I decide to break at Sacramento, about 250 miles away and book a hotel there ready in case I can’t get a signal on my phone later.
The weather today is great, still windy of course but the sun is shining..yay! I am going along when suddenly the throttle grip just spins around without revving the engine… OMG I think the throttle cable is broken… luckily, although I am in the fast lane, the road is pretty quiet so I am able to coast over to the side of the road and pull up. I put my flashers on and jump off the bike. Out with my tool roll and proceed to remove the switch gear and the throttle grip. Yep, SNAPPED… the ball has snapped off the end of the cable so the grip is not pulling anything. Oh shit, what am I going to do now?? I can’t believe this, the trip has not even started and already I am having problem after problem. Ok so I am a HOG member (Harley Owners Group) and therefore have free Harley Roadside Assistance. I ring the number on my membership card, I’m put on hold.. while I am waiting I try to think if there is anything I can do to get me going, I might be able to ride back to San Francisco Harley Davidson… I check the GPS and it’s only 5 miles away so I might be able to jerry rig something. I could swap the idle cable over to the throttle to get me going, but it’s a bit of a fiddly job… I’m still on hold… 15 minutes later someone answers, when she finds out I am a GB member she puts me on hold and then I’m cut off.. un-fucking-believeable… here I am, a lone woman, on the side of a fast road and she cuts me off… I call back, I’m put on hold again, so how much is this costing me in international phone calls I wonder? I use my other phone to call Harley SF direct, the woman there says straight away ‘let me see if I have someone who can come and get you’ she puts me on hold, but is back a minute later and tells me the guy who picked me up the other day will come for me and she puts him on the line.. wow, go SF HD…. I tell him where I am and he says he will be with me very soon.
As good as his word just 20 minutes later he rolls up and is soon putting the bike up on the back of his truck with a very nifty crane… the bike is almost vertical as it is hauled up over the tailgate… am very impressed, wish I had one of those!
Once back at HD I talk to the woman in the servicing department. She isn’t sure they have a cable long enough but they will try and see what they have. If they don’t have it then I might have to stay in SF for another 2 days!! Because I have ape hangers on the bike she asks me how long is the existing cable? I think it is 6″ over, (that means 6 inches longer than the stock cable) but soon after I remember that I did try 6″ over but they were too tight so I think it might be 9″ over. I quickly look up the purchase email to check the length… that says 38.5 inches total length which turns out to be 8″ over… ok so do you have one? They are still looking.. I pop to the loo and on the way back spot a guy looking at throttle cables so I go over to talk to him. He finds one 38″ long so half an inch short; I assure him that will be fine as the ones that are on it are a little bit long. It’s silver and won’t match the idle cable but who cares, as long as I can get back on the road asap as I have to be in Sacramento tonight, (the hotel will charge a $55 cancellation fee).
Back downstairs to the woman and she tells me they have one half an inch short, I tell her I know and that it’s fine… now comes the ouch! bit. So, $50 for the replacement cable (I paid £10 in the UK… roughly $15 and it’s a Motion Pro so a good make, but hey ho), then the collection and labour at approximately 1 1/2 hours comes to roughly $250… I smile nonchalantly whilst thinking ‘bloody hell’ or words to that effect.
Ok so I decide to go get something to eat and come back in an hour to see where we are at… the iHop I was in earlier is just around the corner so I go back there, not much progress yet today then.
An hour later and I walk back to HD.. my bike is out front, all done, fab… hang on though, they have replaced the throttle grip with a harley standard grip. Oh no, why didn’t they call me, I’ve got two new Kuryakyn grips in my saddle bag, they could have used that one. Now the grips don’t match and with my hands I’m not happy with this replacement. As soon as I walk in the woman tells me they have had to replace the grip but are not charging me for it, which is very kind of them, however I don’t want it… why didn’t they ring me first.. grrr. They ask to see the new grips, apparently on the old one the hole for the cable nipple was not big enough that is why they have had to replace the grip. The mechanic takes a look at the new grip and asks me if I want him to change it, I say yes please, he says should he change both of them? Oh yes please, that would be great.
I have had to pay the extra labour for him to change the grips so the bill comes to just under $250, but it had to be done and that’s all there is to it. I’m so grateful and bloody lucky it didn’t snap in the middle of the Nevada desert!!
Just before 7pm I am back on the road at last and on my way to Sacramento via the San Mateo bridge and up highway 50 all the way to Sacramento. Well the journey was very long and extremely windy.. I am battling the side winds all the way but arrive safely at Rancho Cordova just south of Sacramento where my hotel is based just before 11pm. I am absolutely knackered.. by the time I have unloaded all my luggage it’s almost midnight… what a fucking day!