I set about making the most of the boring, straight roads in Oklahoma by heading straight for Historic Route 66. Once on the old highway, I settled into the uneven rhythm of 65 mph open highway with 35 mph towns scattered along the way.
It was entertaining to ride through all the small towns with “The best Route 66 museum” or “The biggest Route 66 sign”. However, I wanted to hit the other side of Oklahoma to set myself up to cross the Texas pan-handle and get into New Mexico the next day. I decided to hop off the old road in OK City and jump on the first bit of Interstate since I started this portion of the trip.
Before I reached Oklahoma’s featured city, the state decided to play some games with me. It started with gusty winds that bounced me clear across my lane, only to push me right back once I got there. Having mastered the gusts well enough to stay in my lane, the storm added a down pour that restricted sight lines to a few hundred yards. I had passed the last bit of cover a mile ago, but my Klim gear was keeping me dry and I slowed down and pushed on looking for the next bit of cover.
Then the hail started.
Now, this wasn’t my first hail storm on a motorcycle, but the last hail storm played nicely and kept the hail small. This storm jumped straight to marble sized hail and brought me from 50 mph to 35 mph in a real hurry. I was looking for cover and watching my mirrors for nearly a mile before spotting the liquor store awning shown in the first picture.
I drove straight up under the awning, only to realize that the wind was blowing the rain and hail up under the awning. I tucked the motorcycle into the most sheltered corner where the hail wouldn’t hit it straight on without bouncing first and settled in to wait out the storm.
Just as I was settling in, the storm stepped up it’s game and let loose with the half-dollar hail. I guess it was angry I pulled out of the game before it had really gotten rolling.
When the storm let up enough for me to take a picture of the awning I was hiding under, I checked the radar and weather report.
Yeah… this is the kind of weather report you miss when you’re traveling several hundred miles at a time and 150+ miles on a tank. Everything looks sunny at lunch, but one hundred miles away storm clouds are grouping up in formation for an all out assault. I need to start checking a larger area radar at each gas stop.
I wish I could say this was the title story of the post. Unfortunately, this was just another interesting storm in my collection of weather related stories when road tripping by motorcycle.
The title story is that just before I hit OK city, my motorcycle stalled under power at 55 mph…
It started right back up, and I drove 3 miles to the cheapest motel in Edmond, OK in the early afternoon to sort out what variety of crappy luck I had run into on the second iteration of my summer 2017 travel plans.
The quick diagnostics were easy. Plenty of oil, plenty of coolant, fully charged battery, and good voltage while running. The FI light had been blinking while I tried a rolling restart with the clutch in and just after I pulled off the highway. It had gone away after re-starting, but I suspected some FI problem. Diagnosing the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) codes requires jumping a connection I couldn’t find with a spare piece of wire I couldn’t find. So I unpacked, did laundry, pulled out a book and some whiskey, and settled on calling motorcycle shops in the morning.