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Fire and Repairs

June 26, 2010

Our ride out from Denali took us north towards Fairbanks which would be our turning point for home. We’ve decided that we could not pass up the opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle, being that we are only currently about 300 miles away. Skies were crystal clear and it looked to be a fantastic ride, albeit short (Fairbanks is not very far away). Along the way we past through Nenana, which is the official commemoration point of the Alaska railway. Here they had a museum documenting the golden spike, and many other treasures from the time. One of the more odd and interesting one was the details about the Nenana Ice Classic which had been taking place every  since 1917. The event is a raffle which depends on your ability to correctly guess the date, and time that the Nenana River will break up for the first time in the spring. Here in the museum they had EVERY GUESS ever register in these huge books. We got as far back as 1972.

            Back on the road again we noticed a strange cloud of what appeared to be smoke in the distance, we stopped at a rest stop on top of the mountains to take a look, sure enough the forest was on fire in several places (we heard about it on the news later). We hit 8,000 miles shortly after leaving Nenana.

After a short while I came around a turn and heard a loud crunch, and my rear wheel cut loose, it felt like my tire was flat. So I pulled over immediately to inspect the damage. There was nothing immediately apparent. We checked the chain and the front sprocket, ecerything was ok, I took it for a little test, wobbly wheel was still there. We did notice a lot of extra play that hadn’t been there before… we had decided earlier week that the wheel bearings were starting to go, but they would make it to Seattle, boy were we wrong. We limped to town another 5 miles and pulled into a motel that was right next to the Outpost, the Fairbanks Honda/BMW/Harley dealer. After taking off the rear wheel, we inspected the damage for the first time:


The Outpost had the wheel bearings but not the Sprocket carrier bearing, we went to the only advertised bearing place and he said he could have em in by noon the next day. With the plan made, we dropped off the parts with the shop and had the old bearings pressed out, and the new bearings that were available pressed in. As the next day rolled around, the shipment didn’t come in so we were layed up another day. We decided to get new tires for my bike while we were here so we can be garunteed that we’ve done everything we could to make sure we survive the road to coldfoot… which is paved with rocks and even shaper rocks.. and is only just wide enough for 2 semi’s to pass with inches to spare. While at the shop we met a nice lady named Leslie –she  was actually from Vermont originally – Who was able to give us some great info on traveling in that direction as well as a connection to a nice B+B when we get there.

Armed with a new cache of information we were emboldened. The third day floats in and we go to pick up our bearings that have arrived. We were disappointed to find that although the guy in the shop had ordered the right part, the bearings sent were not the right size, Damn it.  He said we could have em by Monday which was no go we could not spend 2 more days here in Fairbanks.  We went poking around across the street at a truck transmission supply store, we happened to find some dust seals there that would go with the bearings we were lookin for. Although he was not able to provide us with the bearing itself… he pointed us in the direction of a electric motor and belt company across the street from him…. This guy had what we needed, it was a freakin` miracle. Now with all the parts in place and the tires mounted, we are awaiting the morning light so we can travel again.

That’s all for now


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Gord (RAT) permalink
    June 26, 2010 8:27 am

    Great adventures guys …. following along in spirit.

    Gord (RAT) Jones

  2. Sky Cole permalink
    June 26, 2010 11:30 am

    Maybe I’m not thinking of riding to meet you all in Memphis.

  3. Cousin Glenn permalink
    June 27, 2010 12:18 pm

    What’s that old saying – necessity is the mother of invention? Carry on and good luck!

  4. Marty permalink
    June 28, 2010 3:57 am

    I’m so glad you’ve decided to continue to the Arctic Circle cause I’d have to see it to believe it myself! What’s another all nighter, right?

  5. Jeff L permalink
    June 28, 2010 5:38 pm

    I see you are continuing to make your own luck. Well done.

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