We were in high spirits when we set off on the 24 mile ride back to Talahina. It was sunny and warm, and the bikes were purring along nicely. We were looking forward to taking some fine photographs in the mountains, and planned to stop for a snack at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge just short of Mena.
All of a sudden John waved his hand violently to indicate a problem. At the same instant, Brigid (about 100 feet behind) felt something warm, wet, and vaguely unpleasant, splattering her bare hands. A gushing fountain of oil had erupted under John’s seat, saturating his trouser leg, and covering Brigid, her bike, and the road, for several hundred feet until he came to a standstill on the shoulder.
Even to an untrained eye, the cause was plain to see. A small jagged hole had appeared in the engine casing of the Tiger. This was clearly not going to be a quick (or cheap) repair.
It was 10am on a Sunday morning, and we were still 6 miles from Talahina and the nearest phone. Leaving John with his crippled bike at the side of the road, Brigid headed into town to find help.
Burrell Kennedy, the operator of the local tow truck, was in church, but two helpful girls in the gas station managed to track down his colleague, Dale Daney. By midday John and his bike had made an ignominious arrival in Talahina, once again loaded aboard a tow truck.
After some hasty negotiation with Kennedy, it was agreed that for a fee of $400 Dale would drive us both back to Dallas. He secured Brigid’s bike behind the Triumph, and the three of us squeezed into the cab. Dale is a half-blood Choctaw, until recently a member of the local Indian council, and a baseball coach, and we were glad of his company on our return journey. While we might have wished to meet under different circumstances, he proved to be a mine of information. The 200 miles slipped by quickly, and we arrived in Dallas enlightened about many aspects of Indian life. Without wishing to upset Dale’s weekend any further than we already had, we were quite sorry to say goodbye as he dropped us off at the Super 8 motel in Plano.