Over 8,000 miles for the 6,000 Service

The Motorcycle Shop, Anchorage Alaska
The good news about the Day’s Inn was the free wireless internet. The bad news is it sucks. Barely works. I tried to iSight (video chat) with Angie early this morning. This turned out to be a frustrating experience so we gave up leaving both of us grouchy and grumpy.
The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage is the only dealer in town. And they sell practically everything. Kawasaki 4x4s, KTM, BMW, Yamaha – just about anything. I was the second biker in line when I arrived here this morning. With 8,600 miles on my Dakar, I hoped to do a quick 6,000 mile service, check everything out and get on the road in the early afternoon. I’ve got a couple days (today is Tuesday, Ferry leaves Thursday night) to get to Haines which is about 800 miles from Anchorage. This plan would prove to be fruitless as I was still sitting against the concrete walls of the service department with my gear strewn in the parking lot. With the dealership closed and my mechanic dying to get home and the manager pacing with his keys in his hand. Why is it that I seem to be the last person to leave a motorcycle dealer. Same thing happened when I was in Seattle at RideWest BMW.

Turns out that my chain has seen better days and while I’m replacing the chain may as well go for the sprocket. I’ve not been good at maintaining the chain. Partly lazy and partly my bad foot. It’s much easier to lube a chain when the bike is on the center stand. Unfortunately, I cannot get this bike on the center stand with my broken foot. So lubing becomes a messy operation with oil spraying everywhere, including the tires, no matter how careful I try to be.
Motorcycle dealers are congregation points for travelers. Today I met an elevator mechanic from Minnesota and a computer programmer from Herndon, Virginia and a aircraft mechanic from Anchorage. Each with glorious stories of Iron Butt rides, near collisions, crashes and maintenance and packing tips. At least part of my 9 hour prison sentence at The Motorcycle Shop was occupied with idle chit chat. But I was anxious. The sun goes down sooner each day. And I’d rather not blast at blazing speeds to Haines. It’s about enjoying the ride.
Mike the mechanic bolted on the last plastic cosmetic piece to my bike, ran it for a quick test ride, commenting as he started the engine, “hmmmm not idling too good” but then sent me on my way.
I had hoped to make it to Tok before dark, so I hopped on the highway and made for the road toward Valdez. Even if I wanted to stay the night in Anchorage, I don’t think I could find a room. So it was road trip toward Glenallen and Tok, leaving this place at 7pm.
There was no way I’d make Tok. And getting to Glenallen tested my endurance. The weather turned biting cold and as it turned dark I found myself on a winding twisty road with no lines to help me guide through its meandering way. I don’t like to ride at dark, and it was dark. A skittish red fox ran out in front of me and just a fraction of second before I plowed into him and perhaps sending us both eating pavement, he takes a rapid u-turn — I’m sure hearing the roar of my Adventure Pipe exhaust. Sometimes a slightly louder exhaust CAN be helpful.
I pulled into Glenallen and took a Room at the Caribou Hotel. It’s after midnight. And I’m only a couple hundred miles outside of Anchorage. Looks like tomorrow is going to be a long day.
Anchorage, AK to Glenallen, AK 8-16-05
Moving Average: 55.4 mph
Maximum Speed: 83.5 mph
Moving Time: 3:13:38
Total Miles: 183.3
(1) Doing what I seem to always do at motorcycle dealers on this ride: waiting. Trying to catch up on biz while my gear is strewn everywhere.

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