Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 28+29: Talkeetna and Anchorage Rides

No scenic pictures for this posting.  The weather, though warm (40s) has not cooperated in providing clear shots of the mountains both near Talkeetna where we were yesterday, or Anchorage where I was today.

Bob P. aka Alaskhack, has a 2009 1200 GS Adventure BMW Motorcycle with a Dauntless Sidecar attached.  It's quite the rig, kind of like the Hummer of the motorcycle world!

AlaskaHack's Rig

We rode out mid-morning and arrived at Talkeetna shortly before Noon I believe.  The clouds had rolled in over the top half of the Talkeetna Mountain Range, precluding any good picture taking opportunities!

Instead, we went over to the Roadhouse Cafe and had ourselves a bowl of Black Bean Chili each and some cornbread.  We were hoping for the clouds to keep moving and give us a clear view of the tops of the mountains as we ate you see.

Lunch over, clouds had gotten even thicker!  Big disappointment.

We rode the 70 miles or so back to Wasilla, the skies looking darker by the minute but it never rained or snowed on us.  Bob also elected to pass up a run on the western end of Hatcher Pass as he suspected snow had fallen there.

Got our rigs home, stopped at the hardware store for some screws.  I replaced the screws that had fallen off the sidecar's tail light and we called it a day in terms of motorcycling.

I did teach Bob to do some basic video editing too:  LINK

Today, I went to Anchorage by myself, to visit with the Ural dealer there and also to pick up some ROK cargo straps to secure stuff on Valencia.

I found both places with relative ease using the GPS.  Found Mickey doing work on his main job, the muffler shop that he owns in Anchorage.  He's a URAL dealer in his remaining time so he's a busy guy as you might imagine.

He showed me his highly customized/ruggedized URAL rig which started life as a '98 Tourist and has evolved over the years into more of a Patrol model.  Mickey is very much into camping/fishing you see and his rig is outfitted accordingly.  Most of the mods he's made himself, definitely a one of a kind rig!

Mickey and his Rig

A converted URAL sidecar, that Mickey converted into a
trailer which he tows behind the above sidecar rig.  Pretty neat.

We talked for a bit, and we agreed for me to come by after returning from Homer, AK for him to check out my rig's condition; there's that slight "drag" at idle you see, when the transmission is engaged.  I am thinking it wasn't water but the clutch slightly dragging when it was raining on the day I rode to Wasilla and the rig was not idling well.

When you put the transmission in neutral, all is well.  Mickey verified I'd adjusted the clutch cable correctly, but wants me to check in with him after I return from Homer.  In the meantime, I am to be zealous about putting the rig in neutral when doing a lot of stop/go riding as in a city or town.  You're not supposed to keep the clutch pulled in when stopped, you see, as it puts strain on a piece of the clutch disengagement mechanism called a throwout bearing.

Mickey also had me procure a tension spring from the nearby
hardware store, to pull back on the clutch actuator arm and make
sure its not putting pressure on the clutch actuator mechanism.
There's still the required "play" on the cable too, 
for those of you familiar with cable adjustment.

I'm going to order one of these throwout bearings to pack along just in case.  Mickey didn't seem very worried about the behavior so I guess I won't worry either.

I went to Alaska Leathers where they stocked ROK cargo straps and will be using those from this point on to secure the sleeping bag and other articles on Valencia.  Nice shop, friendly folks.

Errands done, I motored out of Anchorage on Alaska Highway 1, noting that once again clouds had rolled in along with thick haze which made pictures of the nearby mountain peaks a waste of effort.  Sigh.

Got back to Wasilla with no issues and only a couple of wrong turns once back in town.  Valencia ran strong the whole way back.  Oh, also changed the carburetor main jets from the existing size 125 jets to 130.  Mickey said the engine's jugs might run a bit cooler as the engine is set way lean to meet EPA requirements.  As I am near sea level, there's more oxygen in the air, hence the need for more fuel to go with it into the engine.

So, we'll see.  I think I will try for pics of Hatcher Pass tomorrow, weather or not cooperating.  Then it will be time to leave Bob and Sharon's gracious company and head on down to Homer on Thursday.


RichardM said...

That rig is really something. Was there a generator packed? I noticed that the trailer is right behind the sidecar. Is that because his is one of the full time 2WD models?

GlennandSun said...

Nice rain cover for the monkey on Mickey's rig! Betcha that boat/sidecar rig gets some second looks going down the road.
Been giving a lot of thought to the rough idle on Valencia when warmed up. Engines run well when air, electrical and fuel arrive at the right place & time, so it's sure to be one of these. I keep wondering if the power arc output is changed by engine heat? Air would be constant, unless you have a vacuum leak around a carb...I've seen that a couple times, engine runs rough at idle, but usually is also hard to start. For fuel, it sounds like Valencia starts and runs ok when cold so fuel is ok unless the carbs are getting so hot to start a "vapor lock", unlikely for a CV carb. Recommend you ensure carbs are tight with good gaskets. A richer mixture would help if you are really too lean, as too lean makes the engine run hot.
I would bet the problem is electrical, because of changes between cold and hot engine. I keep wondering if ignition components are altered by engine heat. Did you have any of the idle difficulties prior to power arc installation?
I once found a spark plug do something like what you have described.....also once had a plug wire do the same. Finally, I once had a tiny nick in the ignition to coil wire that made idle rough after warming up. I isolated the problem by running the engine in the dark and picked up the tiny spark flash.
If rough hot engine idle was on one of our bikes, I would rule out fuel and air then eliminate each electric piece of the ignition system.....I have a nagging feeling it will turn out to be somewhere in the power arc system. Wished I could help you isolate the problem as I suspect it is impacting on you trip.
Sun and appreciate your blog sharing, and look forward to meeting you some day. Keep up the great reporting! GlennandSun

GlennandSun said...

I missed the part where all is well in neutral, sounds like you have the idle difficulty isolated. Please disregard my earlier ramblings. Enjoy you sharing and photos very much. Glenn

redlegsrides said...

It's all good stuff to check Glenn, no worries and many thanks for giving those pointers....

redlegsrides said...


The trailer is behind the sidecar as Mickey found it more stable there. It wasn't originally, the tug, the full time 2wd version....if I implied that, I was in error. No generator but there was a machete, ax, electric winch, shotgun scabbard, gun holster. The frame holding the canoe is quickly detachable, the monkey's space is for Mickeys dog, it looked like a Labrador.

Unknown said...


most times the weather is the luck of the draw. The mountains are still there but obscured by the cloud cover. It only means that you will have to come back.

While you were waiting for "parts", this part of your journey may be the most memorable; Friends, meeting new friends, and then there's the coffee meeting where the others are going to miss you. You are going to be a legend. Everyone's going to be talking about that foolish guy who rode up to Alaska on his Orange Rig and got stranded with warranty issues.

now all you need is the sidecar trailer . . .

Riding the Wet Coast

redlegsrides said...

Hi Bob, no trailer, am carrying too much stuff already! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm green with envy. I am enjoying following your blog and I thank you for sharing your experiences. Hope the cloud cover retreats so you can get your scenic shots. the ones you have taken so far are magnificent backdrops to you rig.
best of luck and hopefully no more bike problems.