A Hell of a beginning.

The day started off as has been the case for the past week here in
Houston. I rolled off the couch and looked around to get my bearings.
Peaked out through the window to see yet another sunny day, light
clouds and a vivid blue Texas sky.

A slightly slow start, post-boozey night, before I manged to get up
and get the day going. Scrolling through my recently downloaded ebook
service manual for the bike, I dreaded the thought of trying to figure
out where everything was on the bike and how I was going to get it
going again. I pictured myself standing there, screwdriver in one
hand, the Eee PC displaying the service manual in the other and having
bugger all idea where to start.

For those of you who don’t know the back story of how I have come
about this bike; It was given to me by Lee Winters, who set sail from
Houston and had left the bike in the care of some friends Steven and
Lillian about half a year ago. The bike hasn’t been on the road since
a little while before that and my prior expectations of being able to
jump straight on and ride into the the heart of Texas, were quashed
with an email from Lee. Thankfully the email was very thorough and
detailed as to the idiosyncrasies and quirks of ‘Mavis’, but made me
realize that this trip is not going to be a theme-park ride of sterile

Having booked a big ol’ ‘uhaul’ the day before, I was driven down to
the depot by my CS host Mona to pick up a moving truck. Also coming
along for the ride “Marcy”, Mona’s GPS who has a most pleasant and
helpful British accent. Apparently (as I was told), Houston was a test
city for major freeways (before they were everywhere) and seems to
have an obsession with intertwining overpasses and thruways. Also
having a very liberal city building code basically means; if you want
to build it, any size building, however tall you desire, wherever you
desire, you can. This makes for a very disorientating environment to
navigate and drive within, insert Marcy.

Driving down to League City (where the bike was being stored), the sun
still beaming and me, in Texas, driving in a big ass ‘uhaul’ truck on
the other side of the road, guided by the voice of British speaking
GPS, going to pick up ‘Mavis’ The Hell bike. Three weeks ago I was
sitting in a car park attendants booth, directing cars into reserved
spaces and reading books…

Enter into the driveway and there she was. One mother fucking bad ass
Hell bike it all its glory. A little more weathered than a two year
old photo I’d seen of her and with a few extras, but my god there’s
something that’s just meant to be with me and that bike. Steven and
Lillian helped me push all 300+kgs (500lbs) of her up and into the
back of the truck. As we lashed her down, the sky suddenly became dark
and thunder and lightning seemingly manifested all around. Rain started spewing
from the sky as I closed the back of the truck and jumped into the
drivers seat. Rapidly the roads became overrun
with pools of water. Continuing on, we headed back to my CS hosts
apartment. When we arrived, I backed up the truck and lowered down
the ramp. the rain stopped and the sun came back out to play. We
managed to ease her off the truck and park under the veranda.

After returning the ‘uhaul’ we came back to the apartment and I just
stood there looking at the bike. The chrome parts were dull, spotted
with rust. Paintwork a little cracked and weathered. A strange
looking fuel tank attached high on the back. The bike looks amazing!
She looks like something off the set of Mad Max.

Both Lee and Steven had told me the battery was shot and it’d need a
jump. Knowing this I blindly started to ‘chimp’ around the bike.
Poking here, poking there, prying panels off and just getting a feel
for what I have installed for me. Apparently the old petrol tank
rusted out, so Lee replaced it with a big metal tank which now sits
high up on the back behind the pillion seat. As I worked my way around
the bike, I checked out the email with all the things needing
attention. Sitting there, legs-a-stride left and right and computer
sitting on the fake fuel tank in front. I was reading the starting
procedure and thought to myself, “why don’t I just get the key and do
things properly”. I put the key in, tapped the gears into neutral and
pulled in the clutch. As I turned the key, the eyes of the skull
headlight lit up. I pulled the choke up and hit the ignition button.
“Brreummmmmmm, beummmm, beummmm” the bike bloody started! First time
in over 6 months sitting around with a ‘dead’ battery. As Mavis kicked
over, no joke, the sky went gray once again and the rain came down
heavier than before. A massive smile broke out across my face. This is
going to be one Hell of a trip.