While looking out the window thinking about an adventure to write about, my mind began to wander back to my college days and the mandatory stories I had to read. I was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Edgar Alan Poe, Christine Noble, and Ian Fleming. (James Bond) Most notable were the short stories I read by Edgar Alan Poe. When then it hit me. I’ll write a short story about one of my adventures! I’ll add some drama, suspense, and surprise. Yeah, I know a lot of bikers might read this and would rather hear about scantily dressed women with profanity. Sorry, this has to be G rated. So, without further ado, I present S-19-68 a short story.

Back in July, I signed up for the Carolina Challenge Tour Card Program with a chance to win a new 2018 Heritage Classic. The premise of the tour is to visit all 25 of the participating Harley Davidson Dealers and get it stamped by November 18, 2018, to be eligible to win.

One Sunday morning, while looking out my home office window, I was wondering where I could ride. It was high noon over the Hood house, and I was eager to ride somewhere but not the all-day adventure I usually take. Pulling out my Carolina Challenge Tour card, version 2.0 (I lost my first one) I glanced over it for a possible short ride to a participating Harley dealership. Ah, perfect! Augusta Harley Davidson had not been stamped. Road Trip!

I fire up BJ and head out the neighborhood towards Augusta.  Arriving in Batesburg Leesville, I choose to travel down hwy 23 to hwy 28 which I would use to ride into Augusta. It’s a nice ride, moderate traffic, and most of all I would only be on the interstate for a short time to arrive at Augusta Harley Davidson. Approximately 10 miles past Edgefield, the speedometer starts jumping from 60 to 0 and back until it died. Shortly after that, the engine popped a couple of times, and BJ shut down.

The sound of silence was deafening. An old abandoned mobile home from the 60’s with an old farm tractor sat to the right of me. I coaxed BJ up on to an old piece of highway that was serving as a driveway for several old mobile homes below where BJ and I sat. After a few minutes of letting my situation sink in, I think of my neighbor. He had a utility trailer and a truck and said I could call him anytime for help.

Reaching into my pocket, I grab my cell phone to make the call. No bars. Looking around, I spot a man sitting at an old wooden cable wheel that doubled as a table. The man’s head was tilted down as if he were sleeping. Nearby was a run-down camper, a variety of old lawn mowers, and several 50-gallon barrels with no lids. I decided to let this ‘sleeping dog’ lie.

I hadn’t noticed the white F150 that had pulled up behind me. A man wearing dark sunglasses, with dark black hair and beard sat behind the wheel watching me. ‘Everything ok here?’ he said as he slowly got out of his truck, ‘Well, no.’ I said. ‘My bike died, and I’m trying to reach my friend to pick up the bike and I. Seems like I have no cell phone reception here.’

‘Yep, reception in these parts of the woods is sketchy at best. Get in, I’ll take you up the road a way to find a better reception.’ My mind began racing through my options. Do I trust this dude and get in his truck or politely decline and keep trying? Glancing down at my phone, still no bars. ‘Ok, thank you. I wouldn’t want to be stuck here until night. Thank you very much.’ I said reluctantly climbing into the big Ford truck.

‘Where you headed?’ he asks as we headed away from BJ, my bike. ‘I was headed to Augusta Harley Davidson. Doesn’t seem I’ll make it now. My name is Rick.’ ‘Johnny.’ He replied. ‘Served 21 years in the Navy.’ We travel for several miles up the road. Watching my phone, I saw there were enough reception bars to make my call. As if on cue, ‘Give it try. Should be enough reception to make your call here.’ Johnny said.

After making the call to my neighbor, we head back towards BJ. ‘How far is your friend from here?’ Johnny asks as we drove past BJ. Ok, now I’m worried. Do I lie and say my friend is a few minutes away in hopes he won’t take me far? Just as I was about to answer, Johnny says, ’Going to my house to get you some water and snacks while you wait for your friend.’

I replied, ‘About an hour.’ Feeling more relieved that I’m not riding with a serial killer, we leave his house heading back to BJ with water and snacks in hand. As we approach BJ, Johnny says, ‘I’ve got some chores to take care of up the road. I should be back by here about an hour and a half from now. If you’re still here when I get back, I’ll take you home myself.’

Feeling somewhat relieved that I had been able to reach my friend and that he was on his way, I sat on my bike. I welcomed the cloud cover that helped reduce the heat of the day. Several people stopped by as I waited for my friend to arrive. ‘I’m good.’ I said waving them on. A black Nissan truck pulling a utility trailer pulls up behind me. My friend is here!

‘Hello, neighbor! What’s wrong with BJ?’ Pat asks as he’s getting out of his truck. ‘Not sure, but it’s dead! No instrument lights, no effort to crank.’ I said. As I was telling Pat about my adventure and the man in the white truck and his offer, Johnny pulls up on his white truck. ‘Just in time!’ Johnny said. Pat, Johnny, and I chat a while. Saying our goodbyes, Johnny says, ‘Hold up a sec. I got something I’d like to share.’ Reaching into his truck, Johnny pulls out an unopened bottle of bourbon and breaks the seal. Sharing the bottle for a ‘swig’ like deer hunters on a cold Fall morning, we shake hands laughing about our individual stories and head our separate ways.

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