Jonny Blessing not doing well & a roadside angel


24 Aug – 28 Aug

Today is Sat 28 Aug 2021. Our most recent ride on Jonny Blessing was on Weds 25th.

Skipping a few days of riding I want to write about what is happening now.

On Tues JB was already not right but the situation was not too bad. We were getting some strange noise from the bike. Our bike is equipped with a gearbox in the rear hub. It’s expensive but it’s extremely reliable, simple to use, relatively maintenance free and very well suited to bicycle touring. It’s called a Rohloff hub and it’s a German feat of masterful engineering. Unfortunately we are having problems with it.

We stayed Tues night in a campsite at Rio Dell. In the morning we made a sound recording of the noise and sent it off to the hub manufacturer, our bike maker and also the US dealer for Rohloff. We headed off for the day aiming for Big Lagoon Campground some 30 or so miles North on the coast.

As we rode the noise became worse. The noise was so annoying that we avoided the affected gears. The other gears were as silent as normal. But riding a 14 gear bike while avoiding 6 of the lower gears is not easy at all. The lowest gear was fine but the rest of the low range we wanted to avoid as it was disturbing our ride. Riding even slower than normal, a lady rode up behind us and said “hello”.

She had seen us and waved at us earlier going in the opposite direction and since then we had not gotten very far.

She stopped at a safe place and waited for us to catch up and we chatted a little bit. 

“We are having a problem with the bike” Gale told her. She had suspected we might have a problem as we were progressing so slowly but was also struck by the fact that we were still able to smile and be positive.

Amazingly, this lovely lady said her partner is a bike mechanic and if we like he could take a look at it and we were welcome to stay in their garden for the night.

Yes, we like!

All that day the riding for me was hard. The problem in the gearbox was worrying for me and the emails from the US dealer was not exactly what I wanted nor was it helping us. It made me feel lost, stressed and helpless as I envisioned us being in the campground that night trying to figure out what was wrong with the bike. An offer of a garden to camp in and the help of a bike mechanic was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I was happy and very much relieved.

Our current home.

So we followed Elaine home. She is super fit and rides fast. There was no way we could keep up with her but she watched for us and waited for us. As we chased along behind her I said to Gale we mustn’t let her out of our sight. Almost fearing that she was not real and only a figment of our worried and tired imaginations.

Trying to keep up with Elaine..

Up and down the winding roads we followed along and finally rode into her driveway. A beautiful house on an amazing plot of land full of greenery, big trees, grass and wildlife.

We rode our bike up the ramp to their bike shed. A self standing shed made for bikes it was full of bikes and bike parts. The floor, the walls, even the ceiling was used for storing bikes, wheels and other bike paraphernalia. Danny came up to help us get the bike inside. He used to work in bike shops many years ago and is the one who looks after all the bikes in the bike shed. We had Jonny Blessing up on the bike stand but it was clear that there was not a lot we could do. We did a little tinkering, tightened the two chains and played around a bit. We could easily reproduce the sound, and just as on the road only gears 2,3,4,5,6 & 7 were affected.

Jonny Blessing in the bike shed.

We put the bike away and went back into the house for dinner.

Fresh salmon for dinner.

Danny and Elaine, just a few hours ago we had met on the road. Now our bike was in their bike shed, our tent set up in their garden and we were welcomed into their home and we sat down for a lovely meal with them.

Happy. very happy indeed.

The kindness, welcome and generosity is truly amazing and overwhelms us.

The next day we woke up and made a plan about what we could do for the bike over breakfast. We decided to put the bike in the back of their little VW camper van and take it to Eureka where there is a local and familiar bike shop that Danny and Elaine are well acquainted with. It’s not a long drive to Eureka and Danny and I had a nice chat during the drive. The bike shop in Eureka was not able to fix it. That’s the problem with Rohloff gearboxes. They are specialist pieces of equipment and not many people know how to work on them. They very rarely go wrong, but if they do go wrong it’s not easy to get them worked on.

Getting started took a while. Should have known it was not going to go well.

Bringing the bike back from Eureka something sadly familiar to me happened. 

We had problems with the RV. 

The battery was not being charged and it stalled at a set of traffic lights and there was not enough charge to get it started. We had to push it. Fortunately not too far, we pushed it to the side of the road and outside a house where we could make use of the battery charger to try to charge the battery. It was going to take us hours to charge the battery so we called AAA. This is not the first time I have been waiting at the roadside for assistance to arrive!

Now the camper van has been towed to the local garage and when they have time they will take a look at it. Most suspect is the alternator and hopefully it won’t be a big job to fix. At the garage we unloaded the bike and waited for Elaine to arrive to rescue us and take us back home. Happily the bike fits in the back of a Tesla and can still seat three people.

The kindness of strangers is amazing. We spent the evening planning our next steps. Danny and Elaine needed to go down to the Bay Area for some business over the weekend. They were willing to take the bike with them to a bike shop who had some experience with Rohloff hubs and also had the time to look at it. They also offered to let us stay in their house for the weekend on our own. Isn’t that truly a cause to be super grateful and thankful? They left their house and their cat, Bella, with us for safekeeping. Remember we had met them only two days ago on the road. Thankful does not fully convey our feelings!

Picking huckleberries for breakfast.
Lovely sweet huckleberry
Porridge with huckleberries and brown sugar.
Calling bike shops over breakfast

So where are we now? The bike shop that Danny and Elaine took our bike too was also not able to discern the problem. The US dealer has given a suggestion of what might be the problem but looking at the manual the procedure to check and remedy it is not so easy or straightforward. But now it’s the weekend so we will have to wait until next week until we can find out our next steps. The people we need to help us are off for the weekend so we will take a break from the problem as well. We are here in a big house with lots of space and a big green garden outside. We have bikes that we can use and we have ridden into the nearby town for exploration and some shopping.

Twenty fresh oysters. delicious.
Wifey in front!!
a rare view for me – the back of wifey’s head while riding a bike.
the lunch queue.

We don’t know what steps we need to take until we get a rideable bike again. Nor how long that will take. I don’t know how long we can stay here in this lovely house. We will try to make ourselves useful and helpful. As I said the other night to our new friends, I feel like I’m at home but I remind myself that this is a stranger’s home. What a blessing that is. I’m keen to ride our bike again but in the meantime we are truly happy and blessed.

Thank you Elaine and Danny. And Bella the cat.

Get better soon Jonny Blessing.

Get better soon JB.
Trinidad cove.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Rosa

    It’s interesting to read about your adventure so far – definitely a lot of challenges but also lots of ” angels ” showed up when you needed the help❣ we will be praying your bike issue get resolved and continue your journey north. We are so looking forward to meeting & hosting you when you get to Salem. I know you will enjoy the beautiful Oregon coast – Bandon, Florence, Yachats and Depoe Bay are some of our favorite places. We may even drive there to join you as you get closer to Salem – we can do some crabbing for your camp food perhaps☺! God bless you and give you strength & lots of encouragement❣

    1. 2wheels2seats

      Crabbing sounds like a lot of fun!

      1. 2wheels2seats

        Happily, I posted my problem in a Rohloff Owners group in Facebook and the post was picked up by the director of Thorn, our bike maker. The UK have a long weekend and will be back to work on Tues when he will be looking into a solution for us.
        I am much relieved that they are now taking this up and I can relax and not worry so much about it now.

  2. Sue Weber

    So happy to hear you’ve come across some wonderful kind friends that are helping. We think of you and send blessings your way every day. Can’t wait until you get to Minnesota.

  3. John

    So sorry to hear That you’re having troubles with Johnny blessing. However, I’m not surprised that you were found by a road angel. The two of you deserve kindness since you exude kindness. Since you haven’t posted in over two weeks, I get the feeling that things did not go well. Please let me know where you are. I arrived in San Francisco on August 28th, I miss being on the road and I’m riding my bike and meeting people and experiencing life on that level. Being back to “normal life“ is hard.

    1. 2wheels2seats

      Thank you John!
      We are still in Trinidad. But happily the bike is fixed now. The service centre replaced the gear hub innards and we got the wheel back. We’ve been for a couple of day rides and it’s working fine. We will be riding again in a few days times.
      We are so blessed and thankful and we are feeling so much at home that we don’t want to leave!
      And there is a rain storm heading this way so it seems like a good excuse to stay a couple of days more until it passes.

      Our first stop will be at Prairie Creek. I’m sure you’ve been there. A very beautiful spot.

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