June 7, 2012
It was my first zero day. I enjoyed sleeping in with no destination in mind. I didnít have to pack up the bike in the cold. I didnít have to ride in the rain. I could just lay there. My only task of the day was to replace my chain and change my oil.
It felt a bit odd waking up in a lush featherbed warm and cozy with the smell of brewing coffee. It made me feel like a princess. Gary made some delicious gourmet oatmeal with fresh fruit. It was far better than the instant crap I had been eating the last couple weeks.
He said we should get to the Yamaha dealership soon as they were often slammed with repairs and hopefully would have time for mine. He offered to load the bike in the back of his pick-up truck since the chain was so bad. It wasnít far however to the dealership and it wasnít raining, so I decided to ride.
It was the first time I rode the bike with no gear since I left Virginia. It felt so small and light I thought I would flip it over. I remembered in comparison to the first time I ever rode it. It was just as naked as it was then but I was wobbly with my stops and wide with my turns. It felt heavy and big to me on that first ride. Now it just felt like a toy.
When we got to the dealership I spoke with the tech about the chain. It didnít look good. He said they were three weeks behind and there were 100 people ahead of me. He didnít even want to look at the bike. He had no time.
Gary and I explained to him of my trip and that I was just passing through without time to wait. With some hesitation, the tech said he would look at it but couldnít promise anything. It just wouldnít be fair to everyone else that had been waiting. I was thankful he was willing to squeeze in just a quick look.
He came out to the parking lot and glanced at the Radian. It was still covered in tracks and streaks of dirt and mud. I apologized for its condition and said I hadnít had time to clean it. He asked where I had ridden from and when I said Virginia he shook his head. That explained a lot.
He said because I was traveling he would squeeze me in but couldnít get to it until tomorrow. I couldnít believe he was willing to do it. I thanked him and went inside to buy the chain.
I was still concerned about waiting another day in Anchorage. If I was going to see Denali and ride the Denali highway before making it to my ferry in Haines, I would have to push my miles. When I mentioned this to Gary he suggested we bring the chain home and he fix it himself. He had a lot of experience and had all the tools necessary.
It sounded like a great idea to me. That way I could watch and learn.
I spoke with the tech again, and thanked him generously for his consideration, but I think he was probably relieved we decided to just take the chain home.
It was a fun afternoon working on the bike with Gary. He showed me how to file the links and push the pins out to disassemble the chain. We counted the links and removed the extra ones on the new chain before attaching it to the old one and using it to thread over the front sprocket.
Once the new chain was on the sprockets we detached the old chain and finished connecting the new one with a clip masterlink. Then Gary showed me how to put a safety wire over the clip so it wouldnít accidentally come off or get lost.
The chain was done and it was time to change the oil. I pulled out my manual for reference and Gary talked me through every step of the way. Iím so thankful he was there to support me through it. Iím always so worried Iím going to mess something up.
We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon pleased with our accomplishment of the day while loitering in Garyís garage surrounded by bikes, racks of gear, and shelves of tools. Feeling that satisfaction of achievement was so rewarding. Now I can see why people like to work on their own bikes.
A couple friends of Garyís came over that were interested in seeing the Radian. He had told them about me and said they wanted to see the vintage Japanese bike that made it all the way from Virginia. It wasnít a bike people commonly saw going through Alaska.
I insisted on taking Gary and Deb to dinner for their incredible generosity. My only request was to go somewhere I could eat fresh Alaskan salmon. They knew of just the right place.
We went to Simon and Seafortís and it was a beautiful venue with windows overlooking the Cook Inlet. The sun even started to peek through the clouds a bit and I could see the mountains on the other side of the water. I had Silver salmon (also called Coho) from Copper River near Cordova. It was the best fish I ever had.
After dinner we had some Brandy ices that were deliciously rich and smooth. Gary had been ranting about how amazing they were. I can see why.
We went back home with Buddah bellies full of food. Deb and I went for a walk to exercise a bit of it off and she told me about Geocaching, a global outdoor treasure hunt played by using a GPS device.
She carried her I-pad to get coordinates of geocaches and weíd walk to that location in search of something mysterious. It set an exhilarating goal to our walk and thereís something so captivating about finding something thatís been hidden by somebody else.
I was shocked I had never heard of such a thing and even looked up some geocaches in my hometown. I couldnít believe how many there were. I have yet to play the game on my own, however think it would be amusing to cleverly stash a cache or two in my own secret hiding place.
We walked back home after feeling our bellies go down and enjoyed some wine while looking at pictures from my trip. What a splendid day it was. I was seriously looking forward to sleeping in the feather bed again.
(Deb on her DR650. I want this to be my next adventure bike)