Warm and Worrisome Welcomes

“Is it all black? Is it a Midnight Special?” asks the Customs Officer at the Philadelphia airport while his colleague is taking my zipper-stuck carry-on apart to get to the computer inside. “Yes it is”, I answer. Broadly smiling he says: “I have one, too”. What more warm welcome to the US can a triple owner get? He’d spotted my helmet and the motorcycle jacket I was wearing. “Ï have a 1980 Yamaha triple” I had answered to his first question what kind of motorcycle I was riding. And yes indeed, the CO is aware of this Forum.

Then walking to the gate. Pretty lady starts walking with me. Long blond hair, my favorite. “You’re riding a motorcycle?” is her rhetoric question. “You ride safely now” and off she walks. She immediately reminds me of the blond Indiana Fairy who in her pick-up pilot guided me through Southern Indiana on the final leg of the Dixie Highway trip – see day 14 in the ride report on page 2 of the Ride Report forum. Was she the same guardian angel?

Next day after a jetlag night I went to get MS from Fox Yamaha In Bloomington first thing in the morning. Walk into the shop. The very experienced old hand who serviced MS in 2007 and 2008 was still there. In his southern Indiana speak: “You’re gonna ride that old horse again? I wouldn’t trust her”. That really boosted my confidence for the >3000 miles I expect to ride in the Lincoln Highway adventure. As antidote his younger colleague who did all the work this time said MS was in good shape. Owner Gene Fulton who sold triples when they were new reported he took MS out test riding and concluded she was up to it.

All in all a positive welcome. Confirmed by my own first test ride to roughen up the new rear tire over curvy country roads and a stretch of high speed 4 lane. MS after 3 years of hibernation is purring in her rough way. The slightest move of the right wrist sends her flying. It was over 100F. Idle when hot is just about 800 RPM, perfect. Starting when hot: no problem. She runs better than ever before. My mind totally at peace.

Then this morning. Panic? Yes I confess, a bit. MS on her side stand is leaking fuel…..we find out. The dreaded petcock problem? MS has her original vacuums and the manual shut-offs I had asked to be installed weren’t. On the center stand: no leaking. I eased MS slowly to the dealer. First inspection: gasoil? Sigh: no. Comes to rescue the old hand as to the fuel leak. “It’s probably the needle seats. She has been sitting still too long. Just start riding and they will settle, so the more you ride the better it gets.” That’s the spirit I need.

This LH expedition is getting wide exposure amongst LH fans. LH guru Brian Butko put out a press release on his newsblog at brian.butko.wordpress.com about this Dutch guy going to ride LH on a motorcycle. A promise of on-the-road meetings? BTW one of my friends has re-baptized MS as Mistress Special. That is the perfect wording of how I feel.

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