Monday, July 6, 2009

AK '09 - Day 16

Today I was up early with a headache, so I took the bike to the car wash to get a layer of dirt off. $11 dollars later I had a semblance of a normally dirty bike. It was clean enough to work on but not too clean. Then it was back to the hotel for breakfast. I was really surprised to see the pitiful "Super Start" breakfast at this Super 8. It was as bad as the hotel in St. Petersburg. I got some oatmeal and 2 little muffins and went to the room.

I wanted to get to the dealership before they opened so I could hopefully get them to look at it today. A rider rode up on a Harley that had a high idle. The place was still closed and this guy was in a bad mood. Then a tech walked out, asked if it was carberated and grabbed a screw driver. A few minutes later he had the bike loping along like a Harley is supposed to. I thought this was a good sign. Then Jerry, the guy, walked over and surveyed the line of folks waiting. He went inside and got everyone to open a little early and got us taken care of. I thought this was a good sign.

Since my problem was big, they shuffled me to the back so they could get the tiny problems written up and out of the way. While waiting I discovered Jerry was transitioning from Service Manager to Finance Manager due to some medical issues and that his replacement Demetrius wasn't very qualified at his new job just yet. This was the first bad sign.

Finally, Demetrius wrote me up and took my key. I asked how far it was to the airport and if it was in walking distance. Demetrius started telling me how to get there when Jerry stepped in and said he would be happy to take me over there as it was too far to walk. Another great sign for Jerry, bad sign for Demetrius. I asked when I might get a diagnosis and when they wanted me back to remove the wiring work I had done. Demetrius said he would call me this afternoon so I left with Jerry and went to the airport for a rental car.

With rental car acquired, the next step was to get out of the Super 8 and into some more affordable housing so I called up the university and took advantage of their summer guest housing. It turned out to be $36/night since I was staying for at least a week. For that rate I can put up with the community bathrooms, no A/C, and no TV. It does include a fast Internet connection so I was happy. I found out later that I needed a parking pass which costs $15 a week but I'm still ahead of the game. Heck, the rental car cost me more than my lodging for the same period.

I checked into my new digs and started catching up on picture uploads. Pictures have been posted through today. As it got closer to 5pm I decided to go pop-in on the dealership to see how things were going. Just before I got there I realized I didn't have the keys to my bike so I couldn't get into my top case which I needed to do. So I called instead and Demetrius told me he was so busy today and short staffed that he didn't even get a tech to ride the bike. That didn't set well with me but instead of blowing up at him, I just explained that I'm sitting in his city alone, spending money that I had worked hard to save to make this trip and see parts of the country I haven't seen before. Not to sit in a room waiting on people to fix a bike that they are too busy to worry about. He was genuinely apologetic and promised that he would have it test ridden in the morning so they could start diagnosing the problem. That's all I can hope for now. He's really my only option for saving the trip, otherwise I end up contacting a shipping company and have the bike shipped home so it can be fixed locally. That too will take time so I'm hopeful I've made the better decision.

Since I was almost to the dealership when I called I stopped in at the Fred Meyer instead. This is equivalent to a Wal-Mart, Rice Epicruian, Circuit City, Home Depot all rolled into one. OMG! It was huge and  there were so many people. I got some bottle water, bagels and peanut butter for breakfast along with some snacks. I figured I'd eat breakfast in the room each morning and then I only had to figure out lunch and dinner. The total grocery bill for 6 days of breakfast plus water and snacks was $19. $3 a day for 1 meal will work. If I can find the microwave and kitchen I'll pick up some soup and crackers and that will take care of another daily meal. There just isn't much in the way of decent dining establishments here and I don't see any reason to waste money when I can save a few bucks while sitting around waiting for the bike. I make check out the Alaskan Salmon Bake one evening though, that looked interesting.

Hopefully, they'll do as promised and the bike will get looked at tomorrow morning. Then the tear down process can begin and I can do my part. That should free up Wednesday and Thursday for site seeing. I'd like to drive down to Denali and maybe run back down to the little town where Northern Exposure was filmed. If I'm really lucky and it's just a bearing then they can get it back together by Friday so I could rewire things and leave on Saturday. That would be great. I'll cross my fingers.

Well, I guess I'd better catch up on my Internet shows some more, I've got a few of them in my Hulu queue.

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