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08/14/2001 Entry: "Ride West--Day Three (Wednesday, Aug. 8)"

Begin: Tulsa, OK
End: Vega, TX
Distance: 410 miles (20086-20496)

After waiting around anxiously all morning and calling the dealership several times, my bike was finally ready at 12:30pm. I caught a cab up to the dealership to pick it up. According to the mechanic, there was an air bubble in the line and they had simply bled the line, put in new fluid and everything was the way it should be. Relieved that my worst fears had not materialized, I paid the $57 bill and took off at about 1:30 in the afternoon. The clutch released reassuringly high in the pull of the handle.

I hopped back on I44, this time heading west to OK City. Within 100 miles, before even reaching OK City, the clutch release had again moved to the bottom of the pull. Remembering what the guy at the dealership had said, I pumped the clutch handle vigorously several times to see if the pressure would build back up. It did and remained usable for a little while. At this point, I could see a little hydraulic fluid leaking out from the master cylinder at the clutch handle. I theorized, incorrectly it turned out, that there was possibly a pinhole in the gasket on the master cylinder and that over time the pressure in the line leaked out. I decided to keep on going, on the assumption that turning back wouldn't do me any good and with the hope that I would be able to pump up the pressure in the line when necessary.

Other than worrying about the clutch, the drive was completely uneventful. In OK City, I transferred from I44 west to I40 west and continued out across Oklahoma and into the Texas panhandle. My little adventure in Tulsa had put me 120 miles and many hours behind schedule. I had planned to make this one of my longest days, going all the way from OK City to Santa Fe. Instead, I stopped in a very small town off of the I40 called Vega, about midway between Amarillo and the New Mexico border. There is absolutely nothing to recommend about Vega other than the fact that it has a gas station and an overpriced hotel.