Post #14 - Canada....NOT

The route above was to be our exciting ride through the Montana and Washington mountains to finally cross the border into British Columbia.  But at a stop light in Spokane, the transmission on the BMW broke and would only shift upwards, eventually locking up in 6th gear.  After many trying to help on a post on ADVRider, I decided there would be no easy fix.  The transmission would have to be opened up to find the issue and likely, extensive work.  If the local BMW shop had been open on Monday morning, I would have allowed them to take a look, but they were closed on Monday.  I decided to rent a Uhaul, bag the trip and haul the bike home.  So here we are on the Wyoming border, having driven half way home, with Colorado Springs in my sights for a Tuesday arrival.

Bummed.... Yep, I am very disappointed that I was not able to experience Alaska, but these things happen sometimes and we just have to go with the flow.

Oh well.....Alaska 2017.

Post #13 - Onward to Missoula

With the bike in great working order, we awoke with excitement to continue heading north.  Busting out of Pocatello at 8am, we rode northwest through the Idaho National Laboratory (Click), which was a bit like White Sands in southern New Mexico, except a bit greener.

After the long ride through the flats, we bent north and started running the amazing valleys on the Salmon River for over 200 miles.  There were 2 or 3 small towns with towering peaks leaning over the valley where Audra and I both said.... "Wow, we could live here."

Eventually we found ourselves at the Montana border and Audra was able to celebrate visiting another state for the first time.

Getting closer to Missoula, the Bitterroot Range was incredible.

A shout out to my colleague, Keriann, and her husband, Alex, who live in Missoula and took us out on the town.  We enjoyed a top brewery and the best pizza in town, but the company was 'tops'.... Thanks Keriann and Alex!!!

Post #12 - Oh my goodness....

444 miles on the odometer

This generally isn't how you want to end the second day of riding, on a trip to Alaska and back!

We departed Craig, CO, in the early morning hours to get a jump on our 440 mile day.  We knew it would be a big one, but we had no idea.....  By 8am, we had completed nearly 100 miles and arrived at the Utah state line.  

It was under the sign with the dinosaur that I noticed Audra's left boot was covered with a thin coat of oil.  I said to myself.... "Oh this isn't good at all!"  We put the bike on the center stand and I crawled under for a look.  All around the left cylinder was a thin sheet of motor oil and the oil also covered the left rear box.  It appeared that I had lost a quart or two, but my fears were calmed, when I discover that the oil sight glass stilled showed full.  Maybe 4 oz had escaped.  So on to the investigation.... After removing a couple of plastics parts and pulling the spark plug (yes, still out in the middle of nowhere and under the dinosaur sign), it was apparent that the oil was coming from the vicinity of the spark plug.  I instantly knew what the issue was.  I was certain that I had crimped the gasket, when I reinstalled the valve cover, after doing the valve check the weekend before.  I was just puzzled that the oil leak didn't reveal itself on the test runs, or the 266 miles from day one.  I mentally measured the distances for the rest of the day and realized we still had about 350 miles to ride to Pocatello.  I decided we would play it by ear, after buying a quart of oil in the next town.

First time for Audra in Idaho!
Except for the constant oil leak, little as it was, we clipped away at the riding day, stopping every 50 miles or so to check the oil level.  The Wyoming border came and went.... and then the Idaho border was celebrated and before we knew it, we pulled up into the parking lot of our hotel in Pocatello.  Then the work began.  I laid the bike on its side, resting on a hand towel on the engine guards.  After removing the valve cover, I instantly found the spark plug housing gasket floating freely in the bit of oil in the head..... undamaged!!!!  I was able to fit it back on and button everything up and it was all good as new.  Of course, Audra was sitting beside me the whole time, cheering me on with her encouragement and prayers.

As you can imagine, I "played it calm" for Audra, but I was twisted inside with stress the whole day.  I was really looking forward to the area around Flaming Gorge, but just couldn't find any joy or peace, wondering if we could make it to our destination or get the bike fixed in short order.  Yes we encounter challenges but thank God for His help and protection, despite my stupidity in not fixing the bike properly to begin with.

Riding down into Flaming Gorge