Freakin rain all day, got soaked, got cold, saw 2 bears, 1 glacier, Mac's turn signal busted plus he lost one of his summer gloves. Arrived at Northway Motor Inn at Dease Lake around 5:00pm, took time to unload & eat dinner at the local highway robber restaurant, then back to the room to dry out the "waterproof" riding outfits. Not a bad ride but sure was cold most of the time. Did you know Mac doesn't believe in tipping? What a frugal guy he is. ( Notice I didn't say cheap?) Anyway we went to Hyder Alaska first thing in the morning, took way too many pics, then onto the road north, bump, bump, bumpety bump... Stopped for lunch at Bell 2 where we discovered the busted turn signal. A guy hauling a trailer came up and asked Mac if that was a real Ural? Like someone would make a fake one? Jesus, what planet does he live on anyway? At least he gave Mac his duc tape to fix the damn thing with. Maybe it's not real duc tape, maybe it's a copy? FYI, the Cassiar Highway is mostly paved now so all the folks from Woss can take a run up here. We met most of the paving crew at the Northway and I mentioned that all of California would soon be arriving... That's it, it's pouring outside, time for a toddy. Over and out. Oops, almost forgot...life is good.
I live in Bandon on the southern Oregon coast and I've been riding for a long, long time, years, decades. We won't go there kiddies but believe me, it's been awhile. During that time I've done most of my riding on the road with occasional off-road forays, most of which were intentional. Some weren't. Until just a couple of years ago I'd never ridden a hack - that's sidecar to those who aren't familiar with the lingo. I figure riding a hack up Alaska's infamous Haul road all the way to Deadhorse should top off my torture tank for quite awhile.
Mac hails from Robins, Iowa and has been riding bikes longer than most people have been around. He managed to torture his old BMW past the 100,000 mile mark and presently rides a Yamaha FJR. His newest ride, a 2008 Ural Patrol is waiting on the dealer's highest shelf until the flood waters recede after which they'll assemble it and turn it over to him. The fact that he's heading to Alaska for his first journey on a new rig should tell you all you need to know about him...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
What a crappy day this turned out to be. Woke up to the patter of rain on the tent so I knew it was not going to be fun. We packed up and hit the road, stopped for breakfast at a Chinese place, then rode on. Before long we emerged from the rain and things got better; at one of the rest stops we ran into the couple from Florida who've been photographing us out on the road. They're driving the same route as us for the next day or so and said they'd email pics.
Things were going smooth enough until just before the turn off at Meziadin to Stewart when the Aprilia began acting up. This time it was a sudden shudder followed by immediate recovery. It felt like I'd hit something or the engine had stopped and then started again. This happened several times in the next few miles and when we stopped for a photo op I mentioned it to Mac as a heads-up. Just after Bear Glacier I'd pulled over for a photo and waved Mac to go ahead and I'd catch up. Wrong. Wrongo wrongo.... I started after him, rode for 100 yards and the fire went out, this time it was electrical. Finding a wide spot on the shoulder I pulled over and began the tedious process of removing all the gear. Buried down under the saddle was the main fuse block and sure enough, the 20 amp main fuse was gone. I had 2 spares and elected to sacrifice one just in case the original had simply worn out - they can be like light bulbs in that regard. After repacking the rig I set off again and this time made it for 200 yards when it went south. Back to square one, I replaced it and this time decided on a strategy to limp on the Stewart. I'd run the bike up to 25-30 mph and then shut it off and coast for 30 seconds. This seemed to be working and there were lots of hills to coast down. I made it for a few miles before fuse #3 blew. Pulling off again I installed a spare 15-amp which I hoped might get me the rest of the way. Then the Calvary arrived, Mac had already ridden to Hyder and then noticing I was MIA decided to retrace our route. He arrived just as I was ready for attempt # 3 so I explained how much fun I was having and he was going to ride behind while I limped on to Stewart. This lasted about 1/4 mile. Luckily I'd brought a tow strap along so we hauled the beast into the service station in Stewart to see if they could help. Before doing so we'd discussed what the most likely response would be when we mentioned an Italian bike with a Russian sidecar.... In this we were dead accurate, in fact we probably could have lip-synced the guy's comments. Anyway, he had fuses for sale and I bought 2 packs, then went at it to see what could be found. I got lucky and located a broken fuse holder that had allowed one of the fuses with it's metal feet to flop around touching various electrical posts on a random basis. This was an easy fix and once done the bike fired right up and after a fairly aggressive test ride through some muddy potholes it seems to be OK. Fingers crossed....
We checked into the King Edward Hotel where all the bikers stay and holed up for the night. Not right away; there was the mandatory trip to the liquor store and then dinner but you get the picture. Our collective moods were on an upswing and things are looking better. We met several guys on adventure type bikes just returning from the same ride we're going on so we got the latest info on roads, etc. Sounds like fun. Tomorrow we're going to ride back to Hyder for pics - Mac's camera battery went flat when he was there today - and after that it's back on the road. This is fun.