Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Reaching Vermont - Så nåede vi til Vermont

Then we’ve just reached our friend in Hartland, VT. It’s literally a Milestone. His name is Miles, and second I calculated that we should be just able to keep the bikes running to this place before putting serious effort into the bikes.

It’s sort of emotional to be here, and it’s based on a complete lack of common sense. We could have done the overhaul at the west coast and avoided riding 5500 kilometers in fierce winter conditions. The case was though, that I had promised Miles to drop by and you really don’t go back on a promise, do you?

The ride across the northern states really paid off anyway. To suffer from a constant hypothermia and not being able to feel you fingers for hours per day is such a tiny price to pay for making friends with legends like Erik Buell, seeing the decadence of Detroit, catch up with my outstanding friend Jerry in Albany, experience the extreme hospitality of the American people, stay with the original few remaining Canadian hippies that inhabited Copenhagen’s Christiania in the seventies, feel the sheer join of almost get run over by trucks and see it went well, you’re still alive only because you one hell of a lucky fellow that God don’t want and the Devil fear. It really keeps you going.

I must most humbly say I am probably one of the best persons in the world to abuse, run down and beat the shit out of classic bikes in order to rebuild them. I calculated things well, the last 70 kilometers I could hardly keep the bike running.

From Jerry in Albany it’s 220 kilometers. It’s been going steadily down with The Bitter-Sweet Chariot, but in Rutland Pandora’s Box was opened, hell broke loose, Satan was furious with me. At this time the gear shift froze so I had to shift straight on the gearbox. The clutch had totally died on the very last shift and would not release. Compression was totally gone on two cylinders. There was not a trace of tread left on the tires. It was left less than one centimeter of travel in the front fork springs. Anybody may feel free to get a 500 kilogram Nimbus rolling with no clutch, a malfunctioning gear shift and less the ten horsepower left. You’d have to attend “the advanced abuse of bikes” class and practice a bit.

But still I could run it these very last kilometers, which I really never should have done. When Pandora’s Box opens it just don’t fuck up the bike. Oh no, it becomes snowstorm, it turns out you have to cross a mountain pass, the road is covered by a hellish slurry of snow and salt that eats both machine and leathers and it’s dark as inside a whale belly in a coal mine.

We should never ever ridden in these conditions though, it was beyond hazardous. We should have awaited the crack of daylight. But we just couldn’t. You been riding almost 30 000 kilometers and always been bearing in mind that at this very town named Hartland the bikes will be meeting it’s Saviour and getting push back to life, just to again meet its destroyer once more until it get put to rest in Norway next Christmas or so. We just could not spend one more day to get here.

And we did really make it, though I had the spookiest feeling so far on the trip, knowing most fatalities occurs close to the target, and under just these conditions.

And yes, there were one more thing to be said. I had to get towed the last 200 yards before we could get off the leathers, eat breakfast and finish Miles bottle of Canadian Club. The Bitter-Sweet Chariot really died on me, practically when it was meant to.



Så nåede vi frem til vores Nimbus-ven i Vermont. Det var i bogstaveligste fortand en milepæl, dels fordi han hedder Miles, og dels fordi jeg havde kalkuleret med at vi skulle kunne holde maskinerne kørende hertil før der skulle arbejdes seriøst på dem.


Det var en speciel følelse at være her, og dette grundet i en total mangel på almindelig sund fornuft. Vi kunne være blevet på Vestkysten og have givet maskinerne et gennemsyn dér, og dermed undgå at køre 5.500 km i hårdt vintervejr. Men jeg havde givet Miles et løfte om at vi kiggede forbi, og løfter er ikke noget man render fra, vel?


Turen gennem de nordlige stater havde skam deres gode sider. At lide under konstant kuldesyge og ikke være i stand til at føle fingrene flere timer om dagen var en lille pris at betale for at blive venner med Eric Buell (manden bag Buell sportsmaskiner med H-D motorer); se det forfaldne Detroit; gense min ven Jerry i Albany; opleve det amerikanske folks store gæstfrihed; bo hos en af de tilbageværende canadiske hippier, der havde boet på Christiania i 1970'erne; have fornøjelsen af næsten at blive tromlet ned af store amerikanske lastbiler OG alligevel overleve fordi man er en allerhelvedes heldig karl som Gud ikke vil have og som Djævelen frygter. Den slags holder én i gang.


I al beskedenhed skal jeg også nævne, at jeg er blandt verdens bedste hvad angår at mishandle, sønderslide og vride alt liv af klassiske mc'er, så jeg kan bygge dem op igen. Jeg beregnede det godt, for de sidste 70 km kunne jeg dårligt holde Nimbussen kørende.


Fra Jerry's hus i Albany til Miles's hus i Vermont er der 220 km. Det er gået langsomt ned ad bakke med The Bittersweet Chariot (den blå Nimbus), men det var i byen Rutland en Pandoras æske blev åbnet, Helvede brød løs og Satan var knotten på mig: Her 'frøs' fodgearskiftet så jeg måtte skifte direkte på gearkassen; koblingen døde på det sidste gearskift og ville ikke slippe; to cylindre havde ingen kompression; der var ikke antydningen af mønster på dækkene; forgaffelfjedrene havde én cm vandring. Hvis nogen andre derude vil prøve at få en 500 kg Nimbus sidevognsmaskine i gang uden kobling, fejl i gearskiftermekanismen og mindre end ti heste til rådighed, så værsgo. Men tag først et kursus i 'Avanceret mishandling af motorcykler' og få lidt øvelse inden du prøver.


Men jeg kunne stadig køre disse sidste km, hvilket jeg egentlig ikke burde have gjort. Når Pandoras æske åbnes fucker det ikke bare motorcyklen op. Nej, der følger også en snestorm; et bjergpas at køre over, veje der er dækket af en ond blanding af slud, sne og salt, der æder både motorcykler og lædertøj, og der er mørkt som inde i en hvals mave i en kulmine.


Vi burde som sagt ikke have kørt dette sidste stræk, for det var uforsvarligt. Vi burde have ventet til der var dagslys igen. Men vi kunne bare ikke. Vi havde kørt næsten 30.000 km og hele tiden vidst at netop i byen Hartland i Vermont vil Nimbusserne møde Frelseren og blive helet (for blot at møde mc-bødlen igen indtil den blever stedt til hvile i Norge omkring næste jul). Vi kunne ikke bruge endnu en dag på at nå frem.


Og vi nåede virkelig frem, selv om jeg havde den underligste fornemmelse på hele turen, bevidstheden om at de fleste dødsfald sker tæt på ens destination, og under ømstændigheder som disse.


Der er lige endnu en ting at nævne: The Bitter-Sweet Chariot døde under mig, praktisk tager hvor den skulle, og måtte trækkes de sidste 200 meter før vi kunne smide lædertøjet og tømme Miles' flaske Canadian Club whiskey.


At the morgue, awaiting the defibrillator

6 Comments:

Blogger Pinky said...

Glad you made it. Enjoy the rest in Vermont.

6 January 2010 at 06:10  
Blogger RedDog said...

I freeze just reading your travel update! Man, it's shivering cold all over the US now, down here the coldest in decades. I can just imagine being on your Nimbus up there in VT! Speedy recovery to you and your bikes!

Arild
Franklin, AR

6 January 2010 at 08:18  
OpenID irsandy said...

Had some trouble ordering one of your T-shirts, but I see that the email address has now been corrected.

Looking forward to hearing about your future adventures ! Good luck and safe travels !

6 January 2010 at 19:08  
Blogger Paul said...

Hey guys, nice adventure, beautiful bikes. My friend Greg Field mentioned you guys. I also stayed at his place. I travelled three years on a Guzzi V7 (´75). If you ever make it to Bolivia, where I live now, I've some beers in the fridge. All the best and don´t get too cold,

Paul

10 January 2010 at 03:02  
Blogger WindhamARTS said...

They made the local newspaper in Vermont. Here is a link to it.
http://murdercycles.com/v-web/gallery/album248/NimbusRidersWeb

15 January 2010 at 17:37  
Blogger smitty said...

Hey the article says you're just at the Milestone for the night. You must work fast when you're drunk!

-Dave in Korea

19 January 2010 at 02:56  

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