Thursday, April 25, 2013

Uraling to Alaska - Day 20: Taking Valencia to the Ural Dealer and thoughts on my fortune so far.

Well, you have to admit, if you're going to have mechanical issues with your ride, I personally couldn't have picked a better scenario in to experience it.

Instead of being cold and wet and snow-covered, I was in a warm building with food/drink and tables to sit at.  The windswept view of snow-covered road and sideways driven snow were quite nice, from inside that is....

Instead of being out of cell range, I had not only cell coverage but Internet access provided by the gas station.  I could communicate with whomever, get helpful hints, relay symptoms and call for help.

Instead of the rig being in a ditch because of traction loss or mechanical issues, it was right outside where I could troubleshoot it somewhat in comfort and I know the issues will be fixed sooner or later.  "All that is wrought by man, will break sooner or later".

Instead of worrying about getting back to work, losing precious vacation time, I've time to spare due to many factors, but mainly the gift of this trip by my loving wife Martha.

Yep, it's all part and parcel of what defines adventure isn't it?  I am a very lucky guy.

Anyways, back to today:

RichardM and his son Kyle took me and Valencia over to the Fairbanks URAL dealer (he's pretty new at being a URAL dealer but he was friendly and his shop suggested others trust him with their steeds).  There were several airhead beemers being worked on in the shop so I felt confident he and his crew had experience with these older designs and their foibles.  Not to mention, he's also got on tap the resources of URAL itself in case he's got technical questions or needs parts sent up.

RichardM and Kyle made it look pretty easy, using come-alongs and straps to gently roll Valencia off the tilting trailer's bed.  I described what I experienced yesterday to Jon, the owner of the shop, and left Valencia is his hands.  Jon said he'd get right on it, to try and get me back on the road soon.

We returned the trailer back to its owner (Thanks Dave, aka SolarMoose!) and had ourselves some lunch at a Korean BBQ joint, mmmmm, it was good food too.  Sorry, no food porn shots, we were too busy wolfing it down.

Late in the afternoon, I called Jon and he informed he'd found a big difference in compression figures between the right and left cylinders!  150 PSI on the right and only 100 PSI on the left, not good!  There was also some evidence of oil getting past the left cylinder's rings which would explain why I'd been having to top her off with oil more frequently than usual.

Anyways, Jon was still taking things apart, I hope to hear of a full diagnosis and plan for repair tomorrow.

On the plus side, this hiatus gives a chance to explore Fairbanks more thoroughly.  RichardM has graciously offered me the use of his truck, but I should be able to get around without it perhaps.  I hope to visit what RichardM calls the best museum in Alaska: The University of Alaska's Museum of the North.  Should be quite interesting and hopefully I'll learn a thing or two.

I mentioned how lucky I am, RichardM and his family are the proof, so welcoming and hospitable.  I've a warm room to myself,  Internet access, and their companionship.  There's really not many better ways to wait for one's motorcycle to be fixed eh?


Bob and Sharon said...

If your going to be broke down that is the perfect way to do it.

The problems that seem to have found are better to be repaired. You would be able to repair on the road

My thoughts are with you


WheresMurph said...

Jeez Dom, thats the most fortutious type of breakdown EVER. You DO realise just HOW damn lucky you were?. Cellphone service AND internet on a breakdown?!?!. Unheard of. Disgraceful. Where's the adventure in that.....

BeemerGirl said...

Nope, can't argue with the circumstances. I'm wondering if Richard should make you set your tent up on the snow in the backyard so you'll feel a little less "fortunate". You know, like you are on the side of the road troubleshooting. ;)

Looking forward to seeing what you find in Fairbanks.

Unknown said...


You are so lucky that everything happened so close to your new home, Fairbanks. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no cell or internet service, in a snow storm would have been bad news.

I think your Rig is in good hands, as you say, what better place to experience a "break down". You mentioned extended warrantee, I hope this one of those things that is covered.

Now that you are a tourist in Fairbanks, we expect the "insider's" view and lots of photos, and of course food POrn

Riding the Wet Coast

Erik R said...

I've been following along on your adventure. Sorry to hear of your mechanical troubles. But, if you have to break down you're fortunate to be where you are and not out in the middle of nowhere. Best of luck on the rest of you trip!


SonjaM said...

Glad you have a warm spot to wait out the repairs (and the weather). Richard and his family are such good people.

FATTKAW said...

Well I hope they get you running and down the road and it's a simple fix. one thing I would look at is the switch for changing modes on your ignition. that switch is not waterproof and if it gets some water in to it with any amount of road salt it will cause a partial ground and freak out that ignition system. I'm wondering if you tried to disconnect it. Also interested to see if once the bike is in a shop and dried out if they won't duplicate it.

redlegsrides said...

Bob and Sharon...true I could have probably repaired things on the side of the road if it turns out to be what I suspect, hopefully the dealer figures it out today.

Murph...not hard core like you, I'll take my breakdowns in the "softy" conditions I mentioned every time, thank you very much! :)

BeemerGirl, lets not be floating such ideas past RichardM now! I'm trying to be a non-impactive guest. But yeah, even a tent in the yard would be fine... :)

redlegsrides said...

Bobskoot, hopefully RichardM and I will have one more chance or three at the food at the Korean place...then I shall take a sec to take some food porn shots.

Erik, thanks for the comments and well wishes...

SonjaM, truly they are good folk and truly am I fortunate.

Jon, interesting point re the switch to change ignition modes...I didn't try it. Note, in the shop with the rig nice and dry, same symptoms. keep those thoughts coming though!