Seattle: Sunday

Not surprisingly, on Sunday we went to retrieve the KLR.

At the previous night’s party, Colleen and I had quizzed Glen about the mysterious stoppage-of-KLR (he was amazingly mellow, also, about learning that we’d left his motorcycle behind a bush in Port Orchard). Turned out that the trip odometer of 8 miles when we left Colleen’s….wasn’t. The bike only had half a tank of gas on Saturday morning, and with no fuel light to warn me…well, you can guess the rest.

The ferry schedules didn’t work out with our timing, so we decided to take Colleen’s BMW R1150GS down around Puget Sound and back up to Port Orchard; a one-way trip of about 60 miles. We strapped a 2 gallon gas can to the Beemer, I hopped on the pillion seat, and away we went.

The pillion seat on the big GS was pretty nice, but clearly made for normal sized people. Colleen is thin, and I’m a hobbit; by sitting even on the front edge of the pillion seat, I had to lean pretty far forward to get my arms around her. And then it started getting cold.

About 15 miles in, I thought, “huh, my fingers are a little nippy”. Colleen was of course blocking the wind to my body, but my hands were right out in the wind. By 30 miles, I was actively miserable, and by the time we reached the KLR after 60 miles, I couldn’t really move my hands at all.

We poured the gas from Colleen’s gas can into the KLR, but thanks to the miracle of a shorted fan switch that wouldn’t turn off overnight (we’re guessing), the battery was now also completely dead.


Fortunately, Colleen’s friend William lives about 2 miles from the KLR Dump Site. Back into the bushes went the KLR, back onto the Beemer pillion seat went Carolyn, and off we went.

Turning onto William’s driveway, I noticed it was steep, uphill, muddy, and slippery. I was halfway through thinking “wow, I hope we make it” when the rear wheel slid out and down we went. “Are you OK?” I asked Colleen. “Yep. Are you OK?” she asked. “Yep.” There was a pause as we looked at the 550 pound bike on its side, angled downwards in the mud. Colleen stood up first. “Let’s go get William.”

William was thus duly retrieved, the bike righted, and his industrial-strength airplane battery and jumper cables borrowed. He drove me in his car back to the KLR where the three of us jumped the bike and finally got it running again. Huzzah!

Once again, the ferry schedule was not our friend, so we headed south again towards Tacoma to ride around the Sound back to West Seattle.

60 miles of solid freeway lets me wax poetic about the KLR’s high speed handling for a moment. I found it more comfortable from a wind buffeting perspective than my F650GS, probably due to Glen’s aftermarket windscreen. What it DID do, however, was vibrate …. not surprisingly as it’s a thumper….but the vibration was exactly the right frequency to then make my helmet vibrate on my head. 60 miles of BZZZZZZ of helmet buzzing against my skull was enough to make me pretty much want to kill somebody.

We arrived back at Colleen’s right around 12:30pm…just in time for me to throw off my riding gear, shove it all in my suitcase, and jump right back in Colleen’s car to go to the airport for a 2:30pm flight.

And thus was my weekend in Seattle. Every day is a new adventure when ST.N gals get together. 🙂

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