Monday, December 18, 2017

RV Trip: Day 6 - Schnebly Hill Road and my first flat front tire.

After work I had to run down to the town of Cottonwood which is located south of Sedona, about 18 miles or so.  Why?  I'd bent the key to the outside storage containers and I of course left the spare keys at home.

Note to self: carry spare keys not only for the motorcycle but for the RV too!

Home Depot was where I'd bought the replacement locks from before (replacing the ones that came with the RV since they're all keyed the same across many, many RVs).  They had the same locks but not the right key code.  Dammit.

Luckily, their key making person was able to find suitable blanks and used my bent key as a guide, success!  I got two.

I then rode back out to I-17 from Cottonwood so that I would tackle the rocky road called Schnebly Hill Road from the top and would be going downwards to the town of Sedona, 12 miles away.  It would turn out to be a long, long, long 12 miles!

Sure, I could have started on Schnebly Hill Road from Sedona but then it would have been uphill all the way.  My Ural likes downhill better.

The first few miles of Schnebly Hill Road are through a thick pine forest and the road isn't too bad, not something I'd take a regular car or the RV on but not bad.  It would however get worse, much worse.

 One's first scenic view once clear of the pine forest
on Schnebly Hill Road

I reached Schnebly Hill Vista point where others that had arrived in ATVs, side by sides, and a pickup truck were taking pictures.  By the way they were smiling and pointing at me, you'd think they'd never seen a sidecar rig before!

Or perhaps they were thinking: "what kind of fool brings a sidecar motorcycle down this terrible 4x4 road?"

 Views from Schnebly Hill Vista

I kept motoring downward, thinking to myself that I was finding it harder to turn the front wheel.  I attributed it to a failing steering dampener at  first; so I kept on going:

Perhaps less than a half mile later, I stopped Scarlett at the point below for pictures.  It was then, as I walked back to her, that I saw her front wheel was flat!

 Not a bad spot to have a flat tire eh?

On the 2014 Ural models, the spare wheel/tire is the same as the pusher wheel in that it's got the shorter spokes to support the larger stresses undergone by the pusher wheel.

So if you go to use the spare tire on the front, some adaptation is required.  First, you have to remove the brake caliper and tie it off out of the way, the pusher wheel's disk brake isn't interchangeable due to hub size. (Front wheel has longer spokes).

So I got the wheels swapped out, front brake caliper tied off by the steering dampener and everything tightened up:

 Brake caliper tied up next to the steering dampener

 No spacer needed that I could tell....

The whole swap took 35 minutes, not too shabby.  I couldn't secure the front wheel onto the spare tire rack though, so I stuck it in the sidecar.  I called Randy, the Ural dealer I go to, and he theorized one has to remove the brake disc first!  Doh!

Anyways, Scarlett and I carried on downwards towards Sedona, it would be a slow and very rough/rocky 5 miles or so down to the city!  I was a bit nervous as you might imagine, what if I had another flat!  Then I'd have to break out the tire irons and spare inner tube while on the trail!

Finally the last mile or so smoothed out somewhat, before that, it was tons of loose rock and dips and holes and dirt.  Fun.

Got into the city, and while motoring, called the local moto shop.  They wanted $75 labor plus the cost of a new inner tube (they don't use customer-supplied ones) so I thanked him and decided to do it myself.

Got back to the campsite with no issues though the steering felt a little funny, am guessing it's the shorter spokes, heavier hub.

As the sun set, I swapped the inner tube (found a small pinhole on the side of the tube but no visible damage on the tire itself) and using both the Baja NoPinch tool and tire irons, got the Duro 308 back on.  It was still light as filled up the new inner tube and did a pressure test.  Good!

Tools packed away and now resting from all this adventure.  If the tire holds pressure through the night, I'll swap it back in at my next camping location.

Schnebly Hill Road is definitely in the top five mountain "roads" that I've ridden in terms of tough conditions!  All those large and loose made for interesting times, too interesting at times.


CCjon said...

I see you are still squeezing in an adventure now and then in your travels.
Some great shots of the mountains.

Happy Holidays, drive safe!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Jan, almost to much adventure this time. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Trobairitz said...

Now that looks like a fun road with beautiful views. Bummer about the tire, but it sounds as though you handled it like a champ.

Sedona has always been on our must travel to list, we really need to go there one of these days......

redlegsrides said...

Brandy, you and Brad would like this area I believe. Especially if you believe in vortexes and their effect on the human psyche. Bring your dirt oriented bikes.

SonjaM said...

Good to see you too had an 'interesting' time. All these little adventures make for great stories later, Dom. What an extraordinary scenery.

redlegsrides said...

Those great stories later are the result of selective remembering I think, SonjaM! :)

Thanks for commenting.

redlegsrides said...

Those great stories later are the result of selective remembering I think, SonjaM! :)

Thanks for commenting.