Alaska Ride – June 18th – Day #24

Before we go to bed at night, we stash the bear canisters away from our tents. We stack them up so that they will (hopefully) make some noise if something is getting into them. Well, I dreamed that we had a bear in our camp last night, and when I got out of bed, our canisters were knocked over. Was the dream real? or was gravity just asserting itself…I guess we’ll never know…

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Another sunny morning start…beginning to think that it never rains here (although we did run into some rain later in the day). Today’s beautiful mountain ride was along a large inlet just South of Anchorage, on the way to the Kenai Peninsula, then up over a small mountain pass. We stopped for gas and talked to another rider who was worried about snow on the pass (it was 65F at the gas station at sea level). So we made sure all our heated gear was plugged in, tank bag covers were on, etc – got everything tightened up for some potential bad weather – well, the pass was just over 1000’ and it wasn’t even raining.

We stopped at the Sunrise Cafe’ in Cooper Landing for lunch.

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Had myself a patty melt. I figure I could use the extra calories since I’ve been eating so light on the trip so far 🙂

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After lunch we continued on toward Homer. I quickly noticed that my rear tire pressure had dropped to 34psi (it usually runs around 46psi once the tire is warmed up). Oh no, my plug is starting to leak! We pulled over to pump the tire up to see if it will start to hold. A guy comes over from a nearby building to ask if we need any help…he says there is a Harley dealer about 40 miles away in Soldotna. We decide to test the tire and see if we can limp in to get some help. The tire still has a slow leak and we had to stop one more time to add air.

We finally made it to Kenai Peninsula Harley-Davidson. These guys rocked! Neither one of us are riding Harleys, but the crew at the shop didn’t care and were a ton of help getting us fixed up and going again.

They did not have a tire that would fit my bike – which doesn’t surprise me because my bike uses a wacky tire size. They also do not repair tires, but they did call a bunch of tire shops in town for me to see if we could find someone who would. That was a no go. Next, they called the KTM dealer in Anchorage and found a tire that would work! The KTM guys (they actually carry a ton of brands, BMW, Kawasaki, Husky…) have a huge backlog of work, but if I show up tomorrow morning about an hour before they open, they would take care of it for me.

Now the problem was getting my bike back to Anchorage. Well, the last plug held for 400 miles or so, so I figured I’d just try again. They let me bring the bike into their shop so I could work on it. We sprayed soapy water over the plug and it was clearly leaking. So I popped it out (or really into the tire) and put in a new plug. Did the soap test again and it looked like it was holding! So we high five all the guys and head next door to the gas station to top off our tanks.  In that short ride, my tire pressure dropped by 4psi, so we aborted and went back to the Harley shop.

I have a roadside assistance program for my RV, and it covers all of my vehicles. So I called them up to see if they would tow the bike back to Anchorage. The lady on the phone started working the problem for me. After several calls back and forth, it seemed like we were about to be done when an issue popped up. My plan covers me for a tow to the nearest service center – which for a motorcycle was the Harley dealer I was already at! I tried to weasel around that by telling them that the shop would only work on HD bikes, but they would just tow me to a different tire shop in town. So this plan was a bust.

The next plan – take the wheel off the bike, rent a car and drive it to Anchorage. The shop was cool with us leaving the bikes inside overnight while we made our run for the tire (did I mention these guys rock?). Not only that, Si, the shop manager, was willing to drive me to the airport so I could pick up the rental car. One of their regular customers overheard, and was heading in that direction, so he volunteered! While I was getting the rental car, my dad took the rear wheel off the bike.

Here are the bikes sitting in the shop. IMG_0494

Next came a two hour drive back to Anchorage. We did see some Buffalo on the way back (we hadn’t seen any of those yet). We pulled into town about 9p. We stopped at a couple of different hotels and they were full. So, we started calling around, and every place was full. We called at least 10 different hotels. We finally ended up hat a Hotel 6 in a nasty smelling, smoking room. Ugh.

Grabbed some late dinner and went to bed. Feeling good about tomorrow.

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