Towed away!

As I noted in Part 2, we left the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum headed north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But my internal navigation system “honed through years of military training” (LOL) kept telling me we were going the wrong direction. The crazy GPS lady was stating we were headed in the right direction but my trust was not there.

So going against the rules of my “man card” I stopped at one of the overlooks with several bikers taking in the awesome view. After a bit of small talk they confirmed I was headed in the right direction…so much for my instincts LOL. BUT, I was not completely wrong, turns out that this portion of the parkway made a long southern dip before turning to the north. So…vindication!!!

The next day we left the hotel at about 8 AM and hit Interstate 40. WOW, if you have to ride on an interstate highway let them all be like I40. Lots of elevation changes, even more gentle twists and turns on good to great tarmac, I40 is a motorcyclist dream of how every interstate should look. The next time I head to that part of the country I will roll through there again.

That wonderful feeling you get when the bike, the road, the weather and everything else comes together for the perfect ride came apart about three hours into our sojourn when the bike came apart. I was feeling an odd tap on my boot but when I looked down there was nothing there, when Debbie looked she said my shifter looked loose. Turns out it was more than loose, the linkage had come apart!!!!

I was in 6th gear and unable to change gears! I saw an exit coming up and decided to try and baby the bike off the highway, down the exit ramp and into a gas station. I was afraid that if I had to stop that the bike would stall and I was in no mood to push. Luckily, there was no traffic at the bottom of the ramp and with a wide turn I made it through the exit and was able to roll to a stop in front of the Hartford, TN Citgo.

As soon as I was off the bike it was clear that this was a big issue around a little part. Somehow the linkage that connects to the shaft that connects to the heel/toe shift levers had disconnected. The torx screw that is used to tighten the linkage to the shaft was still there, the whole thing just vibrated right off.

The multi-tool that Harley gives you with the Ultra Limited was of no help. One bit was to small, and the next bit was to large, even so I am not sure I would have been able to fix the problem with the tool based on where I needed to be to reattach and tighten the screw.

So, as Harley Owners Group members, we called in for a tow. A few hours later we were talking with Joe at Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson of Pigeon Forge, TN. Less than 30 minutes after it was off the tow truck it was fixed and ready to ride.

From what I can tell, based on comments on Twitter, Facebook, user forums and HD techs this is not an uncommon problem. In fact I have had several people comment that, based on my roadside breakdown, that when they checked their linkage they found loose connections. IF YOU HAVE AN FLH… CHECK YOUR SHIFT LINKAGE!

Anyway, the entire ordeal lasted about 6 hours altogether. Which put us behind our semi-planned scheduled. We stopped for the night right after crossing into Virginia and then rode the all the way home the next day… through some rain of course!

The entire trip was 6 day and 1700 miles in length. We spent some quality time together even if the weather and traffic and breakdowns put a crimp in our trip. We had a good time and look forward to our next adventure. Hopefully with less rain!

  1. Doug DeBug says:

    Glad you had the HOG card and got everything fixed. Ride safe and look forward to the next installment.

  2. dray0308 says:

    Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often and commented:
    I Just Want 2 Ride!! broke232200000000


    I Just Want 2 Ride!! sent me this link about his touring vacation. What adventures await? You gotta read to find out!!

  3. Heartafire says:

    I enjoyed this! I rode the Blue ridge Mountains about ten years ago, it must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. We rode Deal’s Gap and a few other dicey spots up there. I’m so glad you shared your experience but sorry about the break down, that’s never good. We too were members of HOG but have since dropped out. Have fun, ride safe.

  4. […] Motorcycle Touring Vacation: Part 3 – Breakdown on the Highway […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.