I headed north out of Tarvisio, end destination being the town of Hallein, Austria so that I might explore the mountains around the Eagle's Nest tomorrow.
Those plans are now changed.
Enroute there, a pretty major rainstorm caught me just south of Mautendorf on the B99 highway going towards Salzburg. It rained pretty hard and I was soaked even with my rain liner in place. Still, the weather looked good once the storm clouds moved on and I spotted this nice little castle in Mautendorf so that's where I headed to dry out a bit.
Just as I was pulling into a parking area, the rental rig died. I thumbed the starter button and nothing, not even a click. I checked to make sure the BRS or Big Red Switch hadn't been accidentally turned off, nope.
I got off the rig, pushed it into a nearby parking spot and started troubleshooting in the on again, off again rain (much lighter rain though)
Some diagnosis later, I looked at the relays and found the middle one with a loose blue wire just hanging there. After some experimentation (there were two empty spots in the relay), I got the starter to work again!
Trouble is, now the fuel pump wasn't working. Didn't seem to be getting power. I tried all the remaining wires on the relays, no luck. She's dead, Jim.
So I called up Hari, the Ural distributor/dealer I had rented the rig from. This took a bit of effort as I didn't have a sim card for Austria, but managed to locate a wifi access point that wasn't locked so I could make a VOIP call.
Hari said he'd sent one of his guys with a trailer to bring me and rig in. The dealership was 250km away, glad this didn't happen in Switzerland!
I think Mario, the guy Hari sent, showed up around 2:30-3PM About three hours after I called, pretty good don't you think?
Above is Mario, who works for Hari, prepping the
trailer for the rig
One hell of a tow vehicle eh? It's the company car
that's used for trailering rigs!
For the record, the number of Kilometers I racked up
since I picked up the rig on 01JUL15
It took till almost 5PM for Mario and I to get back to Marchtrenk, Austria with the rig in tow. It rained lightly most of the way there too. Mario is a sport motorcycle rider, with racing skills and training, so conversation flowed easily the whole ride back to Marchtrenk. I learned a few things about life in Austria from Mario:
- You are charged a tax rate, based on the horsepower of your car's engine. Mario's Audi has 190 HP so he gets to pay around 200 Euros per month for the privilege of driving a big engine. Sounds unfair doesn't it?
- In Germany, your type of car drives your insurance rate. If its a model/brand that has more accidents, then you get charged a higher rate. Kind of makes sense in a way.
- If you import an American car with a big engine, lots of HP, the additional taxes involved can likely double the original cost of the car.
Hari was waiting for us and he and Mario unloaded the rig from the trailer. Michaela, his daughter, hooked me up with a couple of nights stay at a local Gasthof in Marchtrenk where they like to have lunch. The rate they got me was way better than booking.com had been getting me at that point.
As I still have one more day left of rig rental, Hari let me take this GearUp, though here they call it a Ranger for tomorrow's riding. I'm to check in with him at around 8am for some nice routes to try out tomorrow.
The rig is older than the Retro I had been riding, but seems to run fine. I rode it from Hari's place to the Gasthof with no issues. The rig has been to the Nordkap (polar circle monument) Hari said and he seemed confident of the rig so I am as well.
Cost to me? The non-refundable room fee for the booking I'd made for the room in Hallein. So, all in all, not too bad.
I'll ride tomorrow, return the rig in the evening, and then catch the train Friday morning back to Frankfurt airport.
9JUL15 Update: Hari's mechanic Gunther walked up to the Retro this morning, and damn if it didn't just start right up! He turned it off/on several times, took it for a test drive, no issues.
So, cause unknown as to why the fuel pump wasn't turning on with the ignition switch turned on. The were thinking perhaps the starter switch got wet but I told them I could crank the engine, it just wouldn't catch. Sigh. Hari did ask me if I use the BRS, Big Red Switch, to stop the engine....I told him that's how I was taught at the Basic Rider Course. He said no one does it that way in Europe, the BRS is for emergency use only. Must look into this.
Anyhow, the Retro I had earlier is deemed fine. Something on it, dried out overnight, the thinking goes, and it's now fine.