Saturday, January 23, 2010

AK '09 - Post Trip Wrap Up

OK, so I have to apologize to those folks who were following the blog as I meant to finish this trip write up back in November. Why November you ask when Reagan and I arrived home in July. Simple really, I didn't get my bike back until November 4th. Yep, I was without my beloved ride for 4 months. And then with work, motorcyle teaching, deer season, Nascar and a little surgery I found myself all the way into December with a bike sitting in the garage that still needed to be rewired following the brutal disassembly performed in the Fairbanks BMW parking lot back in July. Not to mention I had to fix a few things damaged by Fairbanks BMW when they crated my bike up.

So what happened to the bike, what was the final prognosis? In the end I got a new transmission out of the deal but it wasn't all that easy. First the the bike didn't get to Wild West BMW in Katy, TX until August 28th. Yep, it took almost 2 months to get it home, folks in Alaska don't seem to get in a hurry to do anything. Sort of like Mexico, only colder. The dealership was nice enough to help me un-crate it and gave me some space to reassemble things as I needed to repair the fuel connector that was broken in our parking lot work. Once everything was put back together Dan, the service manager, put some gas in the tank and we fired it up. When I let the clutch out in neutral Dan grimaced and I knew it was bad. He said their tech had just recently completed the training to rebuild R1200 transmissions and he'd get the parts ordered. In the days that followed I sent him the warranty info and he got the repair approved by the company.

It took a few weeks for the parts to arrive and then more time for them to complete the work. Then in the first week of October I got the news that the work had been completed but the noise was still there. It was more than just some bad bearings. It took a few weeks for them to measure all the parts and discuss the problem with BMW North America before it was decided that a new transmission would have to be installed since some of the damaged parts were not available from BMW. So Dan got the approval from the warranty company and the transmission was ordered. Finally on November 4th, I got the word that the bike had passed it's post repair inspection and I could come get it. As I was leaving town later that day, I rushed over there with John's help and picked up the bike. Dan wasn't in the office so it was unknown how much of the $5,550 bill I actually needed to pay. They let me take the bike on the promise that I would square things up with Dan. The ride home was wonderful, I had my motorcycle back finally.

It wasn't until December that Dan got back to me on a final cost for the repair work they had done. As it turns out, the warranty company (MPP Company, Inc. aka Pinnacle Protection Plans) refused to pay for the initial repair attempt but did pay for the transmission replacement. Their lack of honor in the deal was so bad, that supposedly the dealership has stopped selling their warranty plans and won't try to rebuild any more R1200 transmissions. I paid for some of the parts and Dan said he would recoup the rest of the costs by parting out the old transmission, it was an amicable deal for both of us. I'm hoping this will be the last warranty claim I have on the bike until I get a new one in 2012. I've certainly saved money with the purchase of this extended warranty, and I don't want to see if Dan is willing to take on another warranty claim with Pinnacle.

So, now that you've read about the repair saga I can finally give you the numbers about the trip.

Total Mileage: 13,183 miles
BMW Mileage: 8,083 miles
Spyder Mileage: 5,098 miles
Tires used on the BMW: 2 front, and 2 rears
Tires used on the Spyder: Still on the original set, 10,000+ on the odometer
Days on the Road: 36
Cost of Fuel: I don't want to know
Cost of Rooms: Who cares! I was on the road for over a month.

Since returning, Reagan has really enjoyed her Spyder. By the time we returned home there was no doubt that she would be keeping it. She's taken several day trips on it and we even road up to see my parents on Christmas Eve. Boy! was that a cold ride home. The Spyder is now a part of the normal vehicle choice even, since Reagan changed jobs, she's now able to ride it to work when she wants to. She even let's me ride it now and again, but that may just be so I'll put gas in it. ;)

Talk is already under way for another trip back to Alaska in 2012. The group will have some different faces and a few of the same. The key difference will be the time spent. As part of the trip, I want to take 29 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes travelling from Key West, FL. to Dead Horse, AK. so I can say I did it twice and the second time I was able to see a lot along the way. Shucks, I might even turn it into a Four Corners ride on the way up but I'll have to see how it goes. I'm putting together the paper work today to get my UCC ride certified. I'm not concerned about the time, as far as I'm concerned it took 12 days to get there. But I'd like to get the certificate saying I completed the ride.

There's no Iron Butt rides planned for this year. I'm focused on my work so we can stash some cash hopefully. I do have some fun rides coming up like next weekend's BBFO (Big Bend Freeze Out) and this summer Reagan and I are hoping to attend the BMW Rally in Oregon. And then there's the Harley Davidson CIW instructors workshop in May. So there will definitely be more trips to read about in 2010 but I'm afraid the next month plus long trip won't be for a year or two. I'm working on it though, especially now that Reagan has her on bike.

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