Missoula to Moose Butt & Back Again: Rudi Breaks Brakes

Posted on August 3, 2010


This Is An Accurate Relfection Of Rudi's First Day On The Road Home To Atlanta

Yeah, it’s a moose, but not quite the way you want to see one. But that’s what Rudi saw on his first travel day back home to Atlanta. Well, not to Atlanta just yet, rather a northerly detour of 200 miles to Glacier National Park and a visit with his wife, Celeste, and her mother, Scottie, who arrived there last night on the train for a five day visit.

Typical "Going to the Sun Road" view in Glacier National Park: What The Girls Are Seeing

What Rudi Is Seeing Instead: That's Brake Fluid On The Ground Under Bertha, And That Ain't A Good Thang, Podner!

About 200 miles into his first day’s ride, Rudi pulled into a favorite eatery in Hungry Horse, a small town about 15 miles from Glacier Park. He noticed something felt funny when he grabbed a handful of front brake, but it had been feeling funny since leaving the Cassier Highway in British Columbia about 1,500 miles ago. Thinking it was just a little air in the line, Rudi ordered an elk burger and went back to Bertha to get his maps.

The Flexible Brake Hose Spews Forth Caustic Fluid When The Lever Is Pulled: Rudi Needs A Double Grog Now!

Without beating a dead horse (loyal readers will get this reference) a leaking front break spells the end of a ride, usually on a tow truck. The front brake on a motorcycle provides about 70% or more of the stopping power, say when a deer or teen driver darts in front of you. Rudi discovers that he can get one weak stop before the fluid in the reservoir needs replenishment.

Necessities For Fools Who Ride With Lousy Front Brakes: Rudi Defines The Category

Rudi can fix many things that go wrong on Bertha, but a busted brake line isn’t one of them. A quick call to the “Only BMW Dealer In Montana” as the ads scream, brings a “never heard of this happening before and we don’t have the parts to fix it” response. Rudi gives the service manager a short lesson in pungent Anglo Saxon invective and is now told that, if he can get the bike back the 200 miles to Missoula, the part can be ready to put on Bertha the day after tomorrow. It now starts to rain in Hungry Horse. No brake and now rain, and with the sun going down the deer on the Swan Valley Highway will be getting active.

No, Rudi Is Not "Putting Bertha Down" In Anger: This Is Two Days Ago Back At Jesse's House, And Is Being Used Here To Illustrate Rudi's Mechanical Skills, Such As Changing A Tire. But Rudi's Skills & Tool Kit Are Limited.

Nothing for it but to text Celeste on the train and tell here that her heart will be broken yet again as Rudi will be a “no show” at the train station. She and Scottie will have to have fun without Rudi who hopes to make it back up to Glacier by Wednesday evening. Rudi made the trip back to Missoula OK, with just a few sketchy moments (one when a herd of Rocky Mountain sheep got in the road in front of him), and he never touched the front brake at all!

There And Back Again: Courtesy of SPOT: Here is my present location in Missoula down at the bottom. It's not in real time so Big Bertha can't be seen, but check out the next SPOT screen grab.

SPOT was on the window sill of my room, and this is shown within five feet of a direct hit. Rudi doesn't like SPOT.

Home Sweet Home: Cheap, Clean, Food and Drink Near At Hand, Plus "Motorcycle Friendly"

Brakeless Big Bertha Basking Beautifully, But What's In That Box?

A hose and shop rags are left out for motorcyclists: Rudi knows this is a theft prevention device as he has left countless greasy towels either behind in the room or cleverly placed in his tool kit to be fooled by this bit of marketing blather!

So our hero awaits the arrival of parts, supposedly by late afternoon, and will take Bertha over to the BMW dealer ( BMW stand for “Break My Wallet”) at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Go to this URL for SPOT tracking of the trip. Use “hybrid” view for best results.


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Rudi G  & Jesse