ADVENTURES OF RUNNING OUT OF GAS: OK. I did it. I ran my bike out of gas last week. It’s silly. It’s stupid. I was riding out in the country. The gas station was some 4 or 5 miles away…and I didn’t make it.
But that’s not what this rant is about.
What it did give me was an opportunity to try out the roadside assistance coverage provided by the manufacturer of my bike. The actual service is administered by a company called Road America.
Not having the card with me, I called directory assistance from my cell phone to get to the manufacturer and followed many phone prompts to Roadside Assistance (I’d like to say I’ve become inured to phone prompts, but it’s not true: I just don’t like them!).
Anyway, after the initial pleasantries, I waited on the phone for over 10 minutes while the Road America operator handled whatever administration was needed to ensure that I was a real person in their system.
Once my existence was established, I was asked the question: “What zip code are you in?”
Hmmmm. I have ridden many hundreds of thousands of miles on motorcycles including coast-to-coast several times. And most of those miles were particularly pleasant. But, other than where I lived or worked, I have never identified my location by zip code.
Fortunately, this operator didn’t insist on my zip code. She was willing to accept an address.
As my internal tolerance meter was rising into the red (I hate running out of gas, and I hate waiting on hold and I don’t like phone prompts), I told her I was out in the country and I didn’t know the address, but that by whatever stroke of good fortune, my tank ran dry in front a major landmark: a college. I assured the operator that anyone in this area would likely know where this location was based upon that landmark. She assured me she could not help me without an address. Since I was not at home on my computer and able to look up the college address (or the address of the farm field next door), I asked to speak to her supervisor.
The supervisor was courteous and efficient. She took my landmark and asked for any other landmarks. I told her that there was a highway nearby but that I was not on it and gave her the nearest exit. She said they would have someone enroute in 30 minutes.
Which is what happened.
Friendly Roger showed up half an hour later with a truck big enough to relocate the college. He pulled out a gas can and brought it over to my bike. I asked if he had any trouble finding me. He said he was new to the job (and he came from further away than I figured), but he had no problem finding me since there was only two roads in this valley, including the highway, and he knew I wasn’t on that. (I’m not sure if he was familiar with the college or not).
Well, I was never so happy to pay $10.00 for 2 gallons of gas, and gladly signed his papers, and gave him a big “thank you” before we were both on our way. Well, actually, we helped a marvelous 74-year-old-man and his wife who stopped for directions. The gregarious gentleman could have kept me entertained for the rest of the afternoon telling me even more about all the famous classics he rode during the 50s and 60’s, and how he raced in the Isle Of Man TT. But alas, we all had other places to be….
“Hurray” for roadside assistance.
“Hurray” for folks of any age who like to talk about motorcycles.