The stage was set. I would ride in from Hoboken to meet a few friends in front of the Flatiron building, take a few snaps and set off. However, just after I paid my $14 Lincoln Tunnel toll, the bike died. I pulled in between the tollbooths to check it out. Nothing seemed untoward. I put the choke on for a few secs and everything was running fine again. Odd I thought as it was the first time it had it cut out like that. I rode off into the tunnel hoping I'd make it out the other side and not be a feature on the evening news.
I got as far as 26th and 6th Ave, 2 blocks from where my buddies were waiting only to have it cut out again. This time there was no bringing her to life. "For f*ck sake!" I thought, "I've broken down and I haven't even made it fully into Manhattan yet!". I called Christian, a friend I made recently who has done a similar trip from Colombia to Argentina only last year on a KLR650 also, who was waiting nearby at Flatiron. He came by, checked a few things and asked me had I gas. Now before you write me off as a total idiot, I'll mention the KLR650 has a 5.8 gallon tank which boasts a range of about 250m/400km. I had rode about 150 miles the day before so was sure I'd enough juice to get me into the city and on the way. Apparently not. I checked the tank and it was bone-dry. Dumbfounded but mostly mortified, I flipped the reserve tank on, span around the corner and took the abuse from my mates on my first epic fail(of many no doubt). [Insert monkey of shame emoji here :/]. All jokes aside, the send off was a special moment and for the first time, I found myself missing New York.
One thing I'm quickly learning is that everything takes a bit longer than one would expect on a motorcycle. Riding at highway speeds being very exposed to the elements takes its toll a lot faster than riding in a car I've found so regular breaks to stretch and warm up with a cup of hot coffee are a godsend. With that in mind, I decided to limit myself to just Philly(originally Baltimore) for today's trip and take my time.
It was more not-so-enjoyable highway riding so I'm able to make good time however the cross-winds are horrendous and I find myself gripping the handlebars tightly to stop the bike from being blown around the lane. It was pretty terrifying at first but like riding in the rain or the cold, not much I can do but grit my teeth and get on with it.