Tuesday, July 7, 2009

AK '09 - Day 17

What a wild day. I've had disappointment, excitement, frustration and more. I'll start at the beginning.

I awoke around 6:30 after a decent night's sleep. No A/C made it a little warm but I slept fine none the less. I discovered I could log onto history.com and stream Ice Road truckers on the computer just like turning on the TV. So that's what I fell asleep to and it did the trick just fine.

After I awoke I watched a few episodes of Kings on Hulu then showered and ate breakfast. I was trying to give the shop a few hours to look at the bike and call me. Well they didn't open until 9 and by 10 I was really ready to go up there. Finally I got up there just after 11am.

When I arrived there were lots of people in the service area all trying to get service. One fellow, his name was Rich, who I met on Sunday evening at the Super 8 had gone to the Arctic Circle after hearing me talk about the road. On the way back his bike's transmission failed to run in 4th or 5th gear. No it was not a BMW but a Sporty. I overheard the service manager tell him that they didn't have the staff to tear transmissions apart and rebuild them. Crap! I new that's what my transmission needed. Why didn't he tell me that yesterday. Grrrr.

The mechanic hadn't ridden my bike when I got there but the mechanic and my bike were no where to be found so we figured he was out test riding it. A little bit later Scooter called me from Trails End to say he had checked out the bike. I told him I was in the service department so he came on up and we talked. He's a pretty cool guy from Waco, TX and seemed to be pretty genuine. He told me he simply didn't have the time or man power in the shop to tear down my transmission until the winter and doing so would take weeks even if he could. So my choices were to ride the bike until the tranny locked up or ship it home. I was sick to my stomach. I called Reagan to give her the bad news and being the wonderfully supportive wife she mentioned if there was a GS on the showroom floor that I could always buy it and ride it home then sell one of them. That was tempting but a stock GS for 6,000 miles just didn't seem like something I wanted. So I was going to get the quote on the shipping and Reagan would help me with the flight home.

Since it was going to take the rest of the afternoon and maybe tomorrow morning before I knew what the shipping cost would be I decided to leave and possibly go get drunk waiting on the guys to come into town. Of on a whim I went across the street to the Can-Am dealership to see if they had any Spyders. As luck would have it they had an '08 demo unit with 2,100 miles in silver. It had a larger windshield and the passenger backrest. And it was priced to sell. At first I blew off the salesman but then I got to thinking that in it's stock form it could probably work for the rest of the trip. Maybe...

I left the dealership and called Reagan while I was in the car. She seemed genuinely excited about the prospect although it wasn't the automatic version. She was going to check on the prices while I went back to look at the storage trunk and talk the salesman again. While I was talking with Rodney, Reagan messaged me with prices and it was clear I was getting a fair deal. I told him I needed to be able to get through Canada and back into the US on my way home without issue and he agreed to investigate how to go about doing that. Then he told me he would call me back by 4pm with an answer. This was the sort of can-do attitude I was missing in Alaska.

Just after leaving the dealership I got a call from Fred saying they were in town and having lunch at a taco place. I drove over and had lunch with them while talking about the state of the GS and the possible new acquisition. Afterwards we ran to the grocery store for alcohol and tried to check them into the dive they were going to stay at. I should have taken pictures, it was pretty bad. Things didn't go so well and the clerk tried to rip Fred off with an extra room charge. I'm sorry $129 for a double was ludicrous. You could get a Super 8 room for that and that's what they did in the end.

Just about 4 o'clock I got the call from Rodney saying he had things figured out. So I went over to test ride it and complete the sale. After the ride I knew I didn't have much bargaining power since I was grinning from ear to ear but I casually asked if he could install a power outlet on the bike before I got it. He said he could if I'd pick it up in the morning. So we did the paperwork and he knocked off a few hundred dollars and included the installation of the outlet to boot. I felt like it was a good deal over all. It turned out he was from Wisconsin and even after 10 years it still bugged him that people in Alaska didn't have a Can Do attitude when it came to things getting done.

I went back to the Super 8 to visit with the guys and go to dinner. The Denny's next to the Super 8 in Fairbanks.... STAY AWAY!!! Piss poor service and that was with the manager waiting on us. After dinner we went back to Fred's room for some libations and a little route planning. It was decided that John and Jerry will stay behind to help me pull some things off the GS and mount them on the Spyder so I have GPS and comms. Fred and Dick will ride down the road to Delta Junction and secure some rooms. Then we'll ride down tomorrow evening when we are done with the bike and have the GS crated up.

So by Thurday morning when I wake up we'll be right on schedule just as if this whole debacle had never occured. Except I'll be on 3 wheels instead of 2 and I won't have my comfortable Russel Day Long seat. But I'll be riding again and Reagan is getting a new bike out of the deal. In trip presents, I think this just might beat the Rolex she got when we went to Germany. At least in size it will.

It's not bright yellow as I would have liked but the black and silver combination should lend itself nicely to some pink accents. Maybe some ralley stripes down the middle or something. One thing for sure, there is a massive aftermarket for this thing. It's almost as bad as a Harley.

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