So Kawasaki came through and gave me a new shock on warranty, although my warranty explicitly states that shocks are not covered. Thank-you, Kawasaki.
I arrived on Friday afternoon, from Presidio, and drove straight to the bike shop. They confirmed I needed a new shock, but by the time we got on the hop it was too late to get Kawasaki warranty people on the ball. So they basically said come back on Monday.
I had a rather down tempo weekend in El Paso, hanging about my hotel (Coral Motel, just as glam as it was in the 70s, but now the pool is a giant sand box) trying not to spend money, tinkering on the bike and changing the tire, oh, about twelve-teen times. Seriously, I have no idea how I managed to pinch the tube every *&^%^%$^%$ time. I also broke my watch, a few of my tools, and I broke the visor on my helmet. And my bike shock was still broken, don’t forget. I wasn’t in a great mood.
On Sunday I walked over to the Dick Poe Toyota dealership next door, and one of the mechanics was in there working on his own truck (place was closed) and he graciously helped me with my tire, using the proper tools (tip: cheap carpentry prybars from K-Mark may seem like a clever cost saver, but they’re not). We whipped the new tire on and pumped it up and … pfffffft. I’d torn the tube AGAIN! His wife and kid were keen to get moving, so I lugged my tire the block back to my hotel and decided I’d just pretend the day never actually happened.
Monday morning I was back at Dick Poe’s fine establishment and the same mechanic spotted me right away. This time he had to clear it with the boss (insurance…man, these Americans are paranoid). I’d patched one of the tubes (again) and we managed to get the tire on, without another puncture. Thanks, shaven-headed tattooed mechanic with “love” tattooed under your wedding band (I think you said your name was John?).
Then I rode over to Edge Kawasaki, where David, a pony-tailed mechanic with a fair number of years of wrench-bending under his belt (he doesn’t bend them under his belt…I don’t think. I didn’t ask) jumped on my bike and said “yea, she’s shot alright”. He then called Kawasaki and told them where things were at and what I nice chap I was and how he’d feel awfully sorry for me if I didn’t get a new shock on warranty. They said ok. I think a rather sweetly-sinister letter from me to the warranty people, as well as pressure from Jill Ruth at Headingly Sports may have helped as well. Within 30 minutes he had a new shock installed (we had it over-nighted from the warehouse on Friday/Sat night already, just in case we’d get coverage) and I was on my way. I then rode up to another bike shop to buy myself some proper tire tools (they’re only $5 each. Ugh) and rode up the Franklin Mtns to get some nice panorama shots of El Paso. By then I was bright red (t-shirt riding. Yes, with a helmet) cause it’s 93F/34C here and everyone is begging to go to hell just to cool off. So I stopped at a 7-11 and bought the largest jug of water they sell and a tube of sunscreen, and slathered it on while standing in the middle of the shop in a helmet with a GoPro mounted on the top. Then I went to my hotel and drank said water. All of it.
A note on the GoPro mounted on my helmet, and this is for Stephen Burns. You are totally right about making yourself stand out and the added safety in that as a motorcyclist. Every kid in a passing car points at me and goes “Mom/Dad, that guy has a camera on his head!” and that Mom/Dad is far less likely to cut me off. I wave at so many kids in passing cars my wrist is getting sore. It works great. Hopefully the gangsters in Juarez see it the same way. I’m looking for a suitably garish plush toy to mount on the rear of my helmet for added safety.
So I will meet a distant/sort of cousin tonight (Kelvin Kroeker) and then plan to cross the border into Mexico early tomorrow morning. I should be in Cuauhtémoc by Tuesday night.