Monday, July 23, 2007

Travel Day One, Sunday, July 22, 2007

We awake to a glorious sunny day. Our vacation is finally here. We discuss finally preparation plans before we depart. We are all set. Doors are locked, house is secure, and kickstands are up by 9:30 am. We are heading to route 100 in Vermont. We take 101 to Keene and plan to connect to route 9 and head over Hogback Mountain before we turn right on 100 in Wilmington.
In Keene we run into road construction. The road is torn up and there are spots that are just gravel. It’s stop and go through town. We bump along over the gravel areas and then pick up speed as we begin to climb. I’m behind Andy and a few miles from Keene I notice a slight wobble to the back of his bike. Suddenly the bike is doing some serious fish tailing and I back off a bit. Andy manages to control the bike to the side of the road. His rear tire is seriously flat. “NOT AGAIN!” We have just had this tire repaired in June as a result of a Memorial Day “spike in the tire” incident. We get off the bikes to assess the problem. Andy rolls along while I’m kneeling on the pavement for a better look at the tire. I spot something silver. It looks like a tack in the tire. Damn! I take out my cell phone and call the nearest service station five miles up the road looking for a wrecker. I get the number from the GPS. The CITGO station doesn’t have a wrecker, but they are looking in the yellow pages for someone who has a flat bed that can help us. They give me a phone number. There is no answer at the number I’m given. I realize this isn’t going to work, so we call our insurance provider. I can’t stand the options they make you wade through before you can even talk to a live person. Once I have the person on the phone they begin to ask for my information. I have already given this information in the first set of options. They want to verify who we are. I feel that their interrogation is worse than being investigated by Home Land Security. I’m on the phone for 45 minutes before they find a wrecker. During the hold times, I check the GPS and see several wreckers I could have called. I ask Andy to start calling on his phone in an effort to save time. The second hand phone I have activated for Andy is useless. He can hear everyone, but no one can hear him. Great!
Progressive finds a wrecker, Leon, who will arrive in 45 minutes. We tell her we will be towed back to Wilton. Our plan is to leave it at Souhegan Motorsports and have it repaired on Monday. During the 45 minutes I was on the phone with Progressive, not one person stopped to assist or see if we needed help. At this point, we spot another couple coming along on a Harley. Andy points to his tire, and low and behold, the couple pulls over. We chat for a bit, and the guy tells us that he believe that Keene Motorsports in Swanzey is open on Sundays. I get the number off the GPS and give them a call. I ask for the service department and I am connected. The service department is open until 3:00 and if we bring in the bike, they will fix us up. As I finish this conversation a pickup truck pulls over. The guy has a Harley in the back. He tells Andy that he broke down the day before and ended up calling his wife to come and get him. He’s just retrieved his bike. At this point the flat bed arrives. We wave the pickup guy goodbye and head over to the flatbed.
The young man is very efficient. He has the bike up on the flatbed in no time. He is familiar with Keene Motorsport, and I follow them to the shop. We arrive there at 12:30 pm. While they are getting the bike off the flatbed, I wander over to the showroom floor. I notice the rack of gloves. I’ve wanted a pair of those perforated leather gloves for summer but have not liked the prices. I spot a pair and price although not cheap is better than what I have seen. They have a pair in my size so I splurge on a pair of new gloves.
They finally have the bike in the shop. At some point I decide to rest a bit over by the parts department. There is couple of chairs there, and I take a load off my feet. The young guy from the shop comes in and goes into the stock room. He emerges and has a chat with the guy at the counter. They both go into the stock room and come back out. A third person is called to their aid. It seems they can’t locate a tube for Andy’s tire. The third guy, Joe, gets on the phone and calls their other shop in Rindge. They chat a few moments and disconnect. The other shop will take a look and call back. The call comes in a few minutes later and they have the right size tube. It’s 1:40 now and the other shop closes at 2:00. If they are going to get it, they’ll have to hurry. I’m hungry by now and ask where it is we can walk to for a bite to eat. EJ, the young man off for the tube, drops us at the Swanzey Dinner.
The Dinner is right on route 12. As you approach there are two doors. Andy opens the door to the right, and the door opens to the kitchen. Oopps! He closes that door and we enter the left. Our waitress, Melissa, asks if we would like to cook our own lunch. We don’t get it. She explains it’s what they ask customers who enter the kitchen door. We chuckle a little red faces. Melissa wastes no time in serving our lunch and we tell her our woes as she serves us. As we pay our bill we tell her we will be walking back to the shop. She tells us that they have free refills on drinks and would we like ours in a takeout cup for the walk? Andy likes how attentive she has been and tosses and extra buck into the tip already on the table.
We get back to the shop before the tube. It’s close to three o’clock now and I know they close at three. EJ arrive and gets right to work. Andy notices that the brake pads are terribly thin and asks if it would be too much to do that since the back tire is off anyway. No problem is seems. He asks the young man to make sure and grease the splines on the drive shaft. He seems confused, and Andy explains what has happened to my bike and to make sure they are greased. The tire and brake pads are ready a little after 3:00. One of the guys in the shop, Glen, is saying goodbye as he closes up shop and hands Andy and I a company tee shirt. The guys here have been super helpful, kind and compassionate to our plight.
We are finally on the road again by 3:30 and we decide not to head back toward Keene, but to head down 12 and take 119 to Vermont and connect to route 9 there. Late in the afternoon we finally crest Hogback Mountain and pull into the parking lot of the Skyview restaurant. The restaurant is now closed, but the view is still free from the parking lot. We take a few minutes to enjoy the beautiful day and the fact that we did not have to return home after all. We still can believe that there are service departments open on a Sunday afternoon. Who knew!
We reach Wilmington and head up 100. We feel a significant drop in temperature as we reach Mount Snow. As we descend the temperatures warm. We experience this change in temperature at each rise and dip along the route. We reach Killington around 7:00 pm and decide to break for the night. We’ve stayed in Killington before and stop at the first place we stayed. No one is in the office until 7:30. I suggest we go to the Happy Bear. I had stayed at the Happy Bear three years ago when I attended the Killington Classic. It is located right on the access road to the ski area. So we make that our destination and get a room for the night. We are given room number 8. We are always sentimental about number 8 as it was my mother’s luck number. Is it coincidence that we get lucky number 8? It’s a fitting end where luck was on our side.

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