Friday, May 17, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 39: Waiting in Valdez, AK

The replacement parts for the PowerArc ignition system on Valencia are showing on the USPS site as having arrived in Anchorage at 9:21 AM this morning.  Guaranteed delivery by 3:00 PM tomorrow, God Willing and the creek don't rise!  This american colloquialism is quite apropo due to all the rain we've seen here in the Valdez area since Thursday.

Still, it could be worse, it could be snow!

The constant rain has presented an ideal testing environment for all the diagnostic work I've been doing to keep my mind occupied.  In all the riding on the test runs, my winter gloves have been water-soaked so today I bought these neoprene gloves:


I bought the fishing version vice the bicycling version as the bicycling ones felt clumsier than the fishing ones.  I'll report on how these gloves do with my heated grips on Valencia, if and when I get her running again.

On that front, I called the PowerArc folks and tried a couple of diagnostics requested by them, neither action improved things, so I've managed to stump them as well.  Everyone is now hoping the new parts will do the trick.  I am to try swapping out the coil first, which is the major suspect by all I think.  Wish me luck!

During one of the test runs, I went over to the road that leads to Valdez's Container Ship Dock:

 Today is first day I've seen a hint of the mountains that supposedly surround
the bay on which Valdez is located.

On a different test run (Valencia runs OK for a short while before the rough-running symptoms evidence themselves), I stopped by the downtown dock area:

Valencia at the downtown dock

Valdez itself is a small tourist town, more pictures tomorrow if Valencia is up to it.  Luckily it is a small town, so I can cover most of the sights before having to limp on back to the inn.

Oh, and I tried wrapping the coil in a plastic bag (a great suggestion by RichardM) and went on a different test ride.  At first, things seemed to be good, no symptoms at the regular interval....was beginning to feel good about it then the symptoms returned with a vengeance!

Richard theorizes the bag caused the coil to overheat, causing a weak spark, which caused the engine to quit running several times as I limped back to the inn.  I ended up tearing off the plastic bag in order to make it all the way back!  So, as Richard says, it kind of points to the coil being the culprit in a way, as overheating it caused same type symptoms.  

Anyways, like I mentioned at first, the parts should be here tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed some snow storm doesn't cut off access by USPS to Valdez from Anchorage!

Oh, and Plan B in case the PowerArc replacements don't fix things?  Limp onto the ferry in Valdez and go to Whittier, from there be trailered to Anchorage which is 65 miles away and to the URAL dealer there, he's been given a "warning order" to prepare to reinstall the Ducati igntion onto Valencia.

Update: 8:25 PM, just met a rider from Washington State, his name is Brad and he rides a KLR650.  We had a nice little chat, he witnessed the sad running condition of Valencia's ignition.  It's good to have his company.


GlennandSun said...

Pulling for you Dom. Absolutely sure it is electrical. Hope so much the new Power arc ends all this grief and frustration. So glad you are making the best of this challenge. Looking forward to your great news of being problem free and full of confidence. Thanks for sharing....Glennandsun

Unknown said...


I hope that it's the coil and you can resume your journey

good luck

Riding the Wet Coast

redlegsrides said...

GlennandSun, I really hope the new parts do the trick too....but I have plan B just in case.

BobSkoot....thanks, keep your fingers crossed!

WheresMurph said...

Quote ¨
Still, it could be worse, it could be snow!¨.
It would have been better if it WAS snow instead of rain Dom-
Sorry to hear of all your misfortune on this trip, really sucks. So does rain. I've been building huge fenders on my own outfit to combat rain and its associated problems. On the 2004 model beemer I have, the cylinder head was designed in such a way that when it rained, water would collect in the area around the top coils, and over time the water around the coil would cause the coil to want to arc out to the water and end up splitting the cigar shaped coil. It took me over a year and 2 pairs of coils at $140 each coil to figure this out.
I hate riding in the rain, give me snow any day.......
By the time you're done with Valencia on this trip, you'll have learned a lot, about you and her.
And also have made a lot of new friends along the way. You need to plan a return visit soon as you get back home. You have to make it all the way....

Kep your spirits up...


redlegsrides said...

Murph...thanks for the words of encouragement and comments re your own riding experiences.

We shall see what happens....all options remain open except for taking the ferry to WA from Whittier, all vehicle space has been sold out since FEB!

GlennandSun said...

Is there any other ferry back to WA besides the sold out one? Geez, seems like that would be other ferry options. Anyway, you aren't going to require a ferry.......

My instinct say that the new power arc parts or the original ignition parts are going to fix this gremlin once and for all. Yep, after today, I believe you will be back to riding and photographing without a hint of hesitation. Confidence will return, and we will all be laughing about this in a few days.

I'm thinking positive, and will bet an Ike bicentennial silver dollar I am right! Dom and Valencia will have this behind them by end of this weekend. Challenges like this is just like a sunburn, endure it for a little while then it will be gone! You ARE going to make your Memorial Day gathering.

Unknown said...

I know the ferries north sell out vehicle space 6+ months in advance. I would think you could get it on going south. You should call the Alaska Marine Hwy and tell them there is always an empty area on the Starboard side rear. I know this from experience. There is a dumpster, then motorcycles backed against the starboard wall, then the rest of the wall is filled with cars. But after the last car there is a large triangular space that goes wasted. A sidecar rig pulling a tent trailer would fit there. Had I known this I wouldn't have had to leave my tent trailer in Idaho previously. The computer doesn't know this. The person on the phone may not either. The people organizing the vehicles as they load are aware though.

redlegsrides said...

GlennandSun, sorry for this late you can see, I made the sidecar gathering!

Dan, just one of the joys of adventure riding in Alaska...getting to know how things work using other transport systems.