Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Looking At The Bright Side Of A Suddenly Dead Battery On A Hot Summer Day In The Desert

I had been worried about not having anything to post today, but my ever-faithful Triumph, as always, provided.

The heat has arrived in Phoenix. It's the time of year when I can count on sweating more or less from the moment I leave the house until just before it's time for bed. Such is life in the desert. I can deal with it.

Of course, the temperature extremes in the desert are very hard on auto and motorcycle batteries. If your battery lasts more than a year here, it's one quality battery. That's why our car has a Die-Hard in it. I'm sure there's a compelling reason why I haven't put a Die-Hard in the Triumph, but I can't think of what it is. Anyway, I've got some other battery the dealer put in there right now.

And it died again. I just got the new one in March.

I discovered the dead battery thusly: After fifteen miles of desert freeway, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up coffee filters and tortillas (why else?). Every one and their cousin had also stopped at the Quick n' Dirty at the same time. I shouldered my way through the hordes of lifeless heat zombies, got my two items, checked out, and put my gear back on.

When I thumbed the starter, it coughed weakly and asked me not to do that again. Of course, I did try again, much to the starter's irritation.

The only reasonable thing to do was to raise my arms to the sky and yell "Today? Here? Seriously?" The other parking lot denizens took this as an their cue to look elsewhere and move away slowly.

Luckily, I remembered there are two things in my favor in these situations. One, my motorcycle has a clutch. Two, a Lucky in motion has a lot of inertia on his own. Added to a rolling motorcycle, well, don't try and stop me. My only concern about push starting the bike was whether or not the thing would run with a dead battery. Some bikes don't. A modern Vespa, for example.

I got the motorcycle rolling across the parking lot, shifted into first gear, popped the clutch, and rode along home. The instrument cluster was not behaving right, of course. The displays kept going blank on me at low RPMs, but the important thing was that it kept running until I got home.

So now I just have to wait for the bike to cool off enough so I can stand over it long enough to pull the battery. Easy as really, really hot pie.

And here I was worried I wouldn't have anything to write about. See? It's not all bad.