Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 25: Running Errands in the Snow

Folks who've lived here in Fairbanks for a while have told me that they're experiencing an unusually snowy Spring so far this year.  Not quite the record in terms of cold but a close second in the record books.

So, with snow lightly falling and about and inch or so on the ground, I set out on Valencia to run some errands and go chat with "the guys" at the College Coffee House.  It's a daily thing, and some are pretty consistent about attending, George R, the Alaska Airhead Beemer guru for example.

Got some small tools for Valencia, chocks, an air pump and a tire stem fishing tool.  I could swear I'd bought a fishing tool before I left Colorado but wasn't able to find it this morning:

 Valve Stem Fishing Tool
Saw similar one at Dave R's shop, worked great to fish the
air valve stem through the wheel from the inner tube

Left home without my plastic chocks, now have these which fold up
for space-saving storage to hold the tug in place next time I have
a flat tire.

Bicycle pump, bought more as a backup to my electric air compressor.

The main roads were slushy at first but then as things "warmed up" during the day, it became just wet roads and puddles with lots of splashback.  Valencia did fine in this humid stuff, only ran slightly rough for a teeny bit (I am thinking condensation while I was parked at the coffee house) and it cleared up after the next stop.  It's all good.  Though I am thinking perhaps a vent of sorts that won't permit water in....

RichardM joined me and George and Ken at the coffee shop, the subject of course was motorcycles and stories of past rides, good time as usual.  George, the airhead guru, even had me start up Valencia and pronounced her engine sound as "pretty good".

The new head/valves are enroute, no word yet from the Jon at Frozen Motor Works as to his taking receipt of them yet.

As I neared RichardM's place,  I turned Valencia down a side road for the following pictures, you can see how it starts overcast and slowly the sun starts coming out....by the time I got to his home, it was nice and sunny.

 Snow on Walker Way

Viewpointe Drive

There's a local store called Fred Meyers, kind of an upscale walmart/target type store.  Last night I bought a Chocolate Fudge Upside Down Cake for dessert:

Very tasty

Tonight's dessert: Marionberry Pie


GlennandSun said...

Great photos of Walker Way....chuckled at the bicycle pump, nice to have a back up, but that pump looks like a cardiovascular test of endurance!
A vent for the Power Arc to release condensation is probably a very good idea....I was thinking of a metal screw open/shut valve like those on air mattresses might work nicely. Besides the vapor/moisture problems, we are eager to hear your assessment of the Power Arc thus far...mileage, starting, power, etc. Also curious if you feel like you could self repair and reinstall the original ignition on the side of the road if you had to? We would like to hear about your heated grips and how those have worked out. Like to hear about your tire choices and recommendations too....Thanks so much for sharing...GlennandSun

redlegsrides said...

GlennandSun, hmmm, many questions.

As to the pump, yep, it'll be a workout but better than a flat tire. I have to deflate the tire when replacing the pusher and an aired up tire will not go in easily so again you have to deflate/inflate. Now that I know my bottle jack can go higher though....we'll see if that's still an issue.

As to condensation, talked it over with RichardM, we're thinking perhaps the small air filter at end of the hole through which the crankcase vents might have been frozen and thereby partially blocked. We're brainstorming an improvement currently. Then again, warmer weather is inbound as well so no big rush.

I like the powerarc. I used to have to go to reserve on the tank around 170km mark, now it's closer to 200km mark. I can keep it in fourth gear on most hills where it was always invariably having to go into third gear on most hills. No perceived difference in starting, seems a little smoother but won't know for sure till I get more miles with the new head as well.

Yes, I believe I can put the ducati back in by myself on the side of the road. The coil bolts on, the bracket is still in place. The CDI module is still in place and untouched. I would have to splice the three wires from the ducati coil onto the ducati hall effect sensor as those got cut. Then you install the sensor after removing the powerarc sensor, rotate till you see the timing mark. Of course, all this assumes the availability of a timing light which i don't have. I would, on the side of the road, get it working enough and tweak it once I got a timing light somewhere else.

I use the oxford brand heated grips, they work great, in fact anything above 50% power and my hands start burning. Only thing I dont like, hard to see the small led lights in daylight to see what setting you're on.

As to tires, that's like oil threads, so many factors are involved that clear guidance is not available really. Driving style, rider weight, cargo weight, weather, temperature, road conditions and surface texture...the list is varied. FWIW, it seems the Heidenau K37s last the longest, my front tire is still OK, the sidecar tire is still ok but worn. The pusher got worn enough to replace at almost 8200km. Now trying the Duro HF308s which is what come stock on the new bikes....they're cheap so I don't expect them to last long, especially on Alaska's rough pavement.

Unknown said...


MMMmmmm, Marionberry Pie, warmed a bit with some Ice Cream, yummy

You're nearly a local. I think they are all going to miss you at the Coffee House.

Lucky thing you have your sidecar to carry all the stuff you bought

Riding the Wet Coast

redlegsrides said...

Bob, it was good pie!

SonjaM said...

Love pies! They are almost healthy, so many fruits in there.

redlegsrides said...

They are becoming a nice way for me to top off the day....how's London?

BeemerGirl said...

Well now, it sounds like you are just starting to fit in and make some great daily routines: coffee and chats with some good guys, riding down slushy roads, taking great photos. Ahhh...sounding fun.