Thursday, July 2, 2009

AK '09 - Day 12

It was going to be a long day for the group so we wanted to get an early start. I sort of think we got a little bit too early of a start but that is what happens when everyone is an early riser. I stayed up late last night doing the blog so 4:30 or whatever time it was came entirely too early.

We were on the bikes and rolling by 5:41am local time. We had filled up with gas yesterday upon arriving at the lodge so we didn't have to worry about gas. We thought we could ride up to Cold River Lodge for breakfast just 20 minutes up the road. Are you kidding? It was just after 6 when we arrived, no one was even up. So we kept riding until we got to Watson Lake. By that time places were open and we could get a good breakfast. We ate at the Belvedere and breakfast was good. Afterwards we rode down the street to check out the Sign Post Forrest. Too bad I didn't think to bring a sign.

Because of our extremely early departure we were really traveling too fast to check in at Whitehorse so we had to slow things down. We stopped a few times for scenery and we stopped in Teslin at the grocery store for a break. Then we continued up the road to Whitehorse.

We decided to stay at the Best Western by the airport. The clerk was exceptionally nice and helped to accommodate our bedding needs. We actually got the room with 3 beds (2 doubles and a pull out sofa) for less than the 2 doubles that Fred and Dick stayed in. That's where the positive aspects of the property ended. Since John could drink today I wanted to buy a round of beers so we went to the lounge. Right off the bat the bar tender had an attitude and actually served 2 tables that sat down after us before taking our drink orders. I walked up to the bar to help her out which went unnoticed. I asked for a styrofoam cup and heard the excuse about some customers that needed to catch an airplane. OK, that's fine. We had our beers and I was going to buy a second round, still no cup so I went to the bar (trying to be helpful) and tried to order another round. Fred didn't much care for the crap they were trying to serve as Canadian beer and asked if I could get him a Miller. I asked the bartender about the cup and jokingly said that my friend might get so desperate as to spit in the ketchup bottle. She sharply snapped back at me that if he did that we would be thrown out immediately. I looked at her and said I was joking but she didn't seem to care. OK, I don't need to try and force people to take my money so I told her to close my tab because my money was no good her. She did and gave me some b.s. about all of these customers in here trying to catch a plane. Well how about the customers staying in the hotel?

We went across the hall and had a decent dinner, although the waitress was seriously over worked and needed some help. My salsbury steak was good and she brought me fixings for my baked potatoe so I was sastified. I tipped her well, unlike the bartender who got  zilch.

Today I also changed my tires in preparation for the Prudhoe Bay run. That was a sight, John and Jerry came out to watch and assist as needed. Other patrons of the hotel wanted to ask questions and make suggestions. Unfortunately in my distraction and haste to unmount the rear tire I dinged my rim a little but also tore a bit of the tire bead. I'm going to inspect it again tomorrow but I don't think it actually did any critical damage. If I do find cord damage though I will have to find another rear tire to get me home. That won't be cheap I'm sure. Hopefully I can at least get back to the lower 48. Nothing about the rear tire went well but I finally got it mounted and balanced (mostly) and reinstalled. The front tire went a little easier because I remembered to use lube on the demount. Spooning the tire on was really a snap. Getting the bead to seat was a challenge because I forgot to put some lube in the rim's well (distracted). Once I added a little to it though, the bead seated with less than 15 pounds of pressure. Easy-peasy. The front tire balanced in less than 5 minutes and then I put things back together and cleaned up. It probably took me 2 hours and I may have cost myself a rear tire but I can say I changed my own tires on the ride. With the help of friends of course.

After the tire change, after a drink, after dinner and after skype'ing with Reagan I finally looked at my email. OMG! 750 messages. There was an outage with one of my customers due to their data center hosting company. It's obvious that company can't seem to keep their stuff working and my customer is going to have to find a new site. That's going to mean more expenses for him but I'm sorry, he's got to have a stable network if he wants to offer the types of services he's offering. As typical my client isn't very verbose in his emails so I couldn't completely figure out what happened until I did a lot of searching. Power outage and at least one server didn't come back up. Since it was up by the time I saw the messages this evening I suspect he finally turned it on.

It's 11:30 here now and I have to be up at 5am. It's not quite as hot as it was an hour ago but this room is still an oven. At least the staff has gone inside so I don't have to listen to them talk about things and smoke just outside my window.

Sorry for any typos in today's post but I've just written it and pressed "Publish". Tomorrow will be the last post until I get back from Prudhoe Bay I expect. But I should have lots to say about Prudhoe Bay.

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