As I pulled out of the driveway, in the dark, and rode down the block headed for the Falling Leaf rally, I noticed a blinking light in the road. I stopped to see what it was. It was a phone. Not a cell phone, someone's cordless handset phone. Hmmm. Two houses are nearby, I see lights on in one and go knock on the door. Before I even get there, I can see someone standing in the window next to the door. The door opens and its the owner holding his son. I introduce myself as the neighbor down the road. He said his son told him "Daddy, there's an alien outside" before I'd come to the door, which was why he was looking out. Cute. It wasn't their phone. I went to the other house across the street. No lights on, but their garage is open. Someone does come to answer the doorbell. No, its not their phone either. The display indicates no service, so its base is not nearby. I place the phone out by the mailbox in case someone comes by looking for it.
The ride down to the rally was nice. Excellent weather and only one traffic jam on I255 approaching St. Louis because the DOT closed two of three lanes of traffic. After getting to the rally I learned my buddy Mike's drive shaft broke within an hours drive of the rally and he was getting a lift home. The week before, my buddy Jim had a drive shaft or final drive failure on the way to the Shiloh rally.
On the ride home, riding along I70 amidst a bunch of trucks, I look over to the shoulder and see my buddy JJ stopped. I got over as quick as I could and stopped. I put the side stand down and got off the bike. Then I picked up the bike. The shoulder was too steep and the bike didn't lean enough and over it went. Sheesh. Another rider stopped to help me pick up the bike - before they could make it over to me, I had it upright and moved forward a bit so it would lean properly and told them everything was OK.
In the meantime Roc had stopped between JJ and I to assist. We walked back to JJ's bike and apparently his driveshaft failed. It makes a really nasty 'knocking' noise when moved (forward or back). It does not appear to the be the final drive. We got an Anonymous book out and made a few calls. Roc knew the area and the closest towns (we were just East of Vandalia IL). Of course, it was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, so no one was home. I called Brian Burdette, who was still back at the rally grounds, and he started to make some calls. Gateway BMW was still at the rally, they were not available to pick him up. I called Mandy to see if she knew anyone who could help while Brian tried Marilyn Roberts. Marilyn called me and was able to get in touch with her friend Fielding (sorry, can't remember his last name!) who was also still at the rally grounds. They were about to go riding. He offered to go back to Eureka, get his truck and trailer and come get JJ to take him back to Gateway BMW. Roc had gone off ahead to fine a tow truck. We called Roc to let him know a truck was on the way to get JJ back to St. Louis, the tow company had called JJ while I was on the phone with Roc.
It was going to take a while, so JJ and I headed for some shade under a tree - it was getting HOT this October afternoon! A trooper finally came by and JJ went to talk with him, told him we had a tow coming. There wasn't anything else the trooper could do, so he left. A number of bikes rode by, a few slowed down to assist and we waved them on. One of the anonymous people we called, Steve (sorry, can't remember the last name) called back to see if we were still in need of assistance. We explained someone was on the way and he left a cell number (he was headed out for a ride) in case we needed anything. Mandy also called back to see how things were going and offered JJ a sofa to sleep on as guest room was already claimed.
Marilyn and Fielding showed up in good time and it took all of us to get the bike up onto the trailer. We started by trying to drive the bike up onto the trailer slowly, but an ominous 'clunk' stopped the bike in its tracks. Rocking it back and forth freed whatever was jammed up and allowed us to push it along again. Up, onto the trailer, and secured, they headed back to St. Louis. I donned my helmet and headed for home myself.
BIG thanks to both Marilyn and Fielding for making the trip out and hauling JJ and his gear back. Its amazing to see how a call or two can activate a network of people and how willing everyone is to help another rider!
That phone I mentioned at the start? It was still there next to the mailbox, red light blinking away in the dark still hoping to find its way home.