Few phrases tempt the universe like: “Just one more.”
For example, saying “just one more run“ at the ski hill is asking for a torn ACL, and “just one more wave” at the beach is begging for a bad wipeout.
So I should have expected something to go sideways on Oct. 24 when blue skies lured me out for just one more motorcycle ride on a remote road before winter weather arrived.
The route along the White River Road and beyond — much like the road around the north end of Gravina Island — is a hoot to travel on a dual-sport bike. And the ride out on Oct. 24 was typically fun, made even more interesting by the ice-glazed potholes that had frozen the night before.
I’d planned to go as far as possible. However, a few miles past the gate that’s been open this summer and fall, my front tire went flat.
“Of course it’s flat,” I thought. “You had to take just one more ride.”
Surveying the situation, several positive circumstances were evident. The road in that spot had dried in the sunshine, so there wasn’t any mud to wallow in. There was daylight left. I was carrying a new tube, tire irons, and, I thought, all the tools needed to get a wheel off and on the bike.
I hadn’t done a roadside tube swap before, but it looked doable.
As I pondered how to proceed, an outbound pickup truck approached and slowed to a stop. The driver asked if I could use an assist.
Yes, I could.
We balanced the bike atop a rock and a tree branch, and set about removing the front wheel. Turned out I didn’t have the right allen wrench to loosen the axle’s clamp bolts. Without that wrench, the wheel wasn’t coming off and I wasn’t going anywhere.
The driver went to his truck and returned with the right-size wrench.
With the wheel then removed, the next step was to change out the tube. Turned out I didn’t have a wrench for the tube’s rim-lock nut. The driver had that wrench, too.
Soon, the wheel was back on the bike. I thanked the driver, and he continued on his way, saying he’d keep an eye out along on the road when he returned, in case there was a further problem.
There weren’t any more issues. And the long ride back to N. Tongass Highway gave me the opportunity to fully consider how the kindness of a passing motorist had changed my situation from a potentially major headache to just a mild inconvenience.
It reminded me of similar kindness shown a couple months back when my car battery expired in a local parking lot. Generous help from Westside Service and a motorist with jumper cables resolved the issue, much sooner and simpler than if they hadn’t helped out. They might have thought it was no big deal, but I deeply appreciate it still — the same way that I will long remember the unselfish assist from a pickup truck driver on a remote road.
Don’t know whether I’ll take another “just one more ride” this year. But if so, I’ll be packing a full tool kit — checked and double-checked this time — and a heart full of gratitude for good people.