Ashes, Ashes, We All Break Down

And it’s always good when there’s someone there to help.

Relaxing on a city bench in Utica (or North Utica, depending on whom you ask), Illinois, we watched dozens and dozens of motorcylces come and go through town. We’d heard the bikers like the town, and we’d heard correctly. At one point, the street was lined with bikes:


We haven’t missed Robert’s bike much — we sold it a few years ago when we started working toward full-timing. We’d looked at the toy haulers, but the space needed for the “garage” part of the rigs left little living area, which is important to us. We considered trailering it, but some states have laws about the length of the full unit and ours would have been past the maximum. So we decided we’ll just rent a bike if we want to ride.

In his forty-plus years of riding, Bob has plenty of stories, but the one that came to his mind on this particular day was when he was 150 miles from home when his bike broke down. A Honda Gold Wing group helped him out by loading Bob’s Harley into the back of a pickup (they did make him “ride” it back there — both for fun and to keep the bike anchored), taking it to a local repair shop, and  — if that wasn’t enough — taking him all the way home.

So when we saw a man on his Victory start his bike then swear when it stalled, we looked up from our bench to see what the matter was. To make a long story short, his clutch was gone. He had some of the tools he needed, but not all, so Bob offered up some that we’d been carrying in the truck. Eventually they got the clutch rigged enough so he could ride it to a nearby relative’s house, but not without a good portion of teasing. When he looked at a friend and said, “Do you think that’s it? What else do you think I need?” the friend grinned in his Sturgis T-shirt and said, “A Harley.”


They were so grateful for the use of the tools and we were just glad we were around to help. The beauty of our new lifestyle is that we didn’t have to be anywhere at any time, so when someone said, “Can we finish with these tools so they can go on their way?” we told them to take their time — we had all day.

And we did. All we had to do that day was help someone out, the way others had helped Bob with his bike, all those years ago.

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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2 Responses to Ashes, Ashes, We All Break Down

  1. Randy says:

    Looks like you are having a great time. Thanks for posting so those of us who are still working 9-5 can imagine we are free too.

  2. Ellen says:

    Hi, Randy! Thanks for reading along!

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