Monday, July 18, 2011

The Montana Trip - Last Day

I had a bit over 500 miles to do today to get from Sandy, UT to Centennial, CO with a stop in Edwards, CO for lunch with a fellow Uralista.  So I left before dawn at 05:00AM, rode and froze through the mountain pass that is US6 from Provo, UT to it's junction with I-70.

I was glad when the sun finally came out and I was out of the shadows of the canyon walls that border both sides of US6, makes for some nice sweeping curves with some twists and turns thrown in for good measure but I was just feeling the chill.

As I got into the flatter portion of US6, I tanked up at the Green River exit on I-70 and posed Vikki against this large rock formation nearby:

Near the Green River exit, off of I-70 in Utah.

I met with Dana, a fellow Uralista, in Edwards, CO at around 12:30PM and we had a nice lunch.  He lent me a chain breaker tool so that I would be able to swap out the chain for the new one I'd bought in Boise, ID.  

Heading home after lunch, I ran into atypical stop/go traffic eastbound as folks were coming down off the mountains into the Denver Metro area.  It was heavier than usual, with the backups going all the way past Bakerville!

I started working my way down using frontage roads but these were full of traffic as well, resulting in a lot of stop and go traffic.  Then, it started to rain to top it all off.  

As I went past the town of Downieville, and turned onto the overpass over I-70 (Stanley Rd).  I had myself a near-miss with a SUV who'd started crossing over the middle of the road, while swerving hard right to avoid, I heard a big metallic bang and lost all power on the motorcycle, and the ignition cut out.  I coasted to a stop past the overpass and onto the side of the road.

The damn chain had come off the rear sprocket and jammed itself up in the front sprocket area!  Dammit!  Still, I thought I could self recover if I could free up the damaged old chain and put on the new chain.

Initially, it looked repairable....

As I removed the front sprocket cover to try and unjam the old chain, I found more damage caused by the flailing chain.  It had broken off at the mounting holes where the engine side cover mates to the engine.  I also found a sheared metal tube which acts as the clutch actuator so there went my plans to self-recover.  

The ignition had cut out because the flailing chain had cut the wires leading to the sidestand switch which checks to see if its up or down before allowing a rider to turn on the engine.

The wires are for the sidestand safety switch, I had thought I could "link them" together
to regain ignition, that was before I found the busted clutch actuator rod and knew
I could not repair with what I had with me.

The hole above is where the rod that acts as clutch actuator goes into the transmission case
You can see where the side cover has broken away from the lower mounting holes
I am really hoping there was no internal damage to the transmission, just to the actuator bolt.

I called my insurance company and due to the weather and accidents closer to Denver, was told an ETA of 3-4 hours before a tow truck could come get me!  So I called my friend Oscar, who true to form, dropped everything, got his trailer hooked up and was standing by me around 6:15PM or so.

His trailer was too narrow though to take on the sidecar rig so we had to separate the sidecar from the tug, which while not complicated, took some additional time.  We then muscled Vikki onto the trailer, and then put the sidecar on backwards and Oscar tied everything down tightly.

A long ride into the evening, traffic was still crap, we finally made it to his home at around 9:15 PM.  He generously loaned me his truck with trailer still attached so I could take it home and await the dealership's opening on Tuesday this week.

Dammit, an over 3000 mile trip and I almost made it home without major issues!  Still, I guess I should be thankful the accident happened close to home and ready help and that I was going slow at the time the chain came loose!


SonjaM said...

Oh, Dom! I am so glad that nothing worse happened, and you came to a controlled stop. Sorry to hear, that there might be more damage to it, but at least it happened on the last leg of your journey, and not in the middle of nowhere or at high speed... and lucky you got 'an Oscar' (with trailer no less) at the ready. You must have had a very busy Guardian Angel that day.

Unknown said...


thank goodness for Oscar. He is indeed a friend in need.

I wonder if the loose axle bolts caused the stretching in the first place, before Ron came to the rescue. Hope the damage is minimal

At least you were close to home

Riding the Wet Coast

KEN PHENIX said...

Plenty of things to be glad for Dom, like staying rubber side down and healthy the whole way, and that the breakdown occurred on the last leg of the trip rather than the first. This rig will likely be hard on chains. I'd go with no less than 10,000# tensile and if you still experience excessive stretch, I believe Krause/Sidewinder has a 13k tensile chain. $$

Barron said...

Glad to hear you are ok. Must have been quite a shock when it happened, but like you said, good that it was relatively close to your home.

RichardM said...

As the others have said, fortunately it was on the last day and the rear wheel didn't lock up at speed or in the middle of nowhere.


redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, yes indeed my guardian angel was working hard that day....prior to getting to the slowdown portion, I'd been zipping along at 70mph plus....

Bobskoot, I am very thankful for Oscar...the loose axle nut I am sure didn't help things. One pays for one's stupidity.

Ken, thanks for the comments. The chain I got in Boise is rated for 8850lbs, we'll see how it does. I think keeping correct tension will help things tremendously. I should have had you teach me chain maintenance when you visited. Oh well.

Barron, yep, got to look at the silver lining for these events don't we?

RichardM, yes, locking up the rear at high speed would have been quite bad. Which is why I don't understand folks who don't ATGATT....thanks for commenting.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Dom, you do have the luck. You break down, but it seems to either be something you can fix or it is in the area patrolled by the now famous superhero: Oscar.

Glad you are safe. Like you, with all the things that can go awry, I don't understand folks not wearing gear.

Even with this speed bump at the end, it certainly seemed to be a most wonderful vacation.

Joe said...

That snow in your masthead photo looks mighty inviting today!

Bluekat said...

Wow, what an ending to your trip! I'm glad you're okay. I hope the damage isn't too bad, and fortunate that you were close to home. Scary stuff.

Chris said...

an exciting end to your trip. glad you were unhurt. hopefully you can get everything repaired soon.

looking at your photos reminds me of my SV650's sprocket/clutch actuator setup. I'm going to do the swap ont he chain/sprockets tonight for that bike.