A True "Water Cool" GSA story of Recovery and Redemption: Yukon't make it up!!

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by ExodusRider, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    I'm stuck on a project and can't make a long trip this year, my ass / heart are aching for another international adventure soon!!

    While I'm waiting for the hands of clock to hit 07/05/2020, I've been meaning to write this story up w/ details in the hope it might help a fellow inmate if/when they ever find themselves "water cooling" their GSes. It'll also help me keep the demons at bay, reminiscing over adventures of yester-years..

    This post should probably be in the epic ride section, but I'm hoping to detail technically what I did to recover the bike so probably best to leave it in the GS section of the forum?

    In 2015 as I was exiting the Yukon territory back toward British Columbia, returning from a wonderful trip thru Chicken, Alaska - Dawson City area; my brand new 2014 GSA (about 4 months old / 6k miles on OD) crashed into Good Hope Lake, northern British Columbia..

    CrashLocation.jpg
    Before the accident, I had thought the best highlight of the trip was getting lost in the woods, having to camp out near Chicken, Alaska because the Canadian border crossing was closed..only to experience my first Northern Light Show and UFO sighting. Simply amazing but of course, I didn't know WHAT I was looking at until it nearly went away..

    Campsite.jpg
    GoPro takes terrible night images unless you are parked and have tripod/shuttle open.. but you can barely make out the lit sky just below the horizon. It did change from green - orange - red.. and a fallen star that fell from the skies only to zig-zag away once it reached the bottom horizon.. was just icing on a most magical night.

    NorthernLights.jpg

    I left the next day from Dawson, utterly content and spiritually fulfilled to begin the ride home.

    In any case, here I am heading due east about 20 miles before Watson Lake, YT off the Alaskan Highway (Hwy 1) before turning right /South onto the Stewart-Cassier Hwy (37). I get 80 miles south then start this wide swing around the mountain bend.. doing about 60 mph.

    GoodLakeHope.png

    I had seen the "Watch for Wildlife" yellow signs about 4 times since heading south and thought to myself.. "yeah right, whatever dude"; nevertheless, I do slow down to 50 mph.

    Sign1.jpg

    As I whip around the bend, naturally, Murphy is standing on the left side of road by the banks of Good Hope Lake w/ 3 Dali Sheep leashed in hand, ready to release them at the point he found the most joy.

    Soon as the sheep heard the roar of the mighty boxer engine, they scrambled out of the bushes to holler in unison "Surprises Moses, Happy Crash Day!!.. Oooh he's a jolly good fellow .. oh he's a jolly....."

    My reaction to this sudden attack was exact and succinct. "OH F@#$K, not again!!!" BOOM/ BAM!!! kussshhhhh (sound of bike skidding??)

    Crashing into the herd ( well.. 3 to be exact), I was able to slow down to about 40 mph before making contact with a slight left lean of the bike. Til today, I still wonder what would have happened if I just hit them straight on instead of trying to swerve.

    When the front wheel made contact w/ two of the sheep's buttocks.. yes buttocks!! It was happening all in slow-mo..

    Their asses forever etched in my mind as their butts rose up and flipped over the front wheel. So ingrained in mind to the point that if I can't sleep now.. I count Asses.. not sheep, but I'm digressing..

    As the bike rear end lifted up and the front wheel slipped to the right, I had a violent flashback of the horrendous crash I took, blowing pass a hairpin turn on the Pig's Tail near Fayetteville, AR.

    Broke right collar bone 3 places, 4 right ribs & 1 punched lung - ahh, what a great 2014 birthday present that was -- another story/ another day of course.

    The bike slams down hard on the left side, breaking my "grip of death" hold on it while I screamed.. "Ohhh shitttttttt!!!"..

    I take a hard tumble, landing on my left foot before rolling to a stop by the bank of the lake. Takes about 5 minutes to catch breath proper. Feeling around my body to see if anything is broken. I can't believe it !! Nothing is broken.. I get up in disbelief, laughing it off; only to collapse back on the ground in excruciating pain.. Left ankle and foot now swollen and painful to the touch..

    Immediately, I start to worry that left foot is broken and all sorts of thoughts race through the mind about how to get out of this mess alive.. But after the initial shock, realized I could still wiggle my toes and feel pain on the foot if I pressed my fingers deep into the boot.. .. Oh good, probably just a major sprain or twist..


    20 minutes later w/ the adrenaline worn off, I can think / see clearly now. I stand up on the right foot and hobble around to survey the scene. I can't see the bike anywhere.. but I do see the dead sheep on the ground.. the 2nd one seems to be maimed up the mountain a ways..

    Sheep1.jpg

    DaliSheep2.jpg

    Where I'm standing, I still can't find my bike. The sheep was dead on the right side of the road toward the ditch. Lake was on the left side of highway..

    I hobbled back and OMG!! I see Alianna drowning in her own blood .. and in the Lake.. NO!!!!!! why her.. why her.. take me instead!!

    BikeLake1.jpg

    BikeWater2.jpg
    #1
  2. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

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    In
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  3. LarryGS

    LarryGS Been here awhile Supporter

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  4. Pabst

    Pabst Adventurer

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    crap.....didja keep a trophy horn?
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  5. rdbonds

    rdbonds Breaker of Things

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    Me too, Motorius...I'm IN
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  6. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    I thought Canadians were suppose to be nice folks???:

    So after crying my eyes out because Alianna had drowned to death, I found myself in the middle of nowhere.. an hour or hour & half away for any decent town.
    I sat by the bank of the lake alone.. reminiscing all the good times me and Alianna had (The Turtle's Happy Together playing in the background) .. having been together only 6 months.. we were still on the honeymoon phase so she was nearly perfect to me.

    I finally hear a car pass by about 45 mins after the crash. I sat up and looked toward the driver. Our eyes meet, she waved.. I waved.. she smiled.. I smiled. and just like that she passed me by, out of my life... WHAT??? .. I thought Canadians were nice folks !!! hmmm..

    30 mins later, another car drives by. This time though, I'm going to wave first for sure.. I smiled and waved, he smiles and waves and again.. off he goes around the bend. It then finally dawns on me, these fools think I'm just sitting by the bank enjoying the nice day / scenery ! They can't see the bike in the lake or the dead goat near the ditch. ACK!!!!!

    Okay, 3rd time's the charm.. 30 minutes later, a truck passing thru the bend, I get up and hobble to the road, waving my arms like a mad man. AHA!!! He pulls over. A local Inuit / 1st Nation "native Indian / Canadian" fella is driving home from remote site. He's heading back to Watson Lake, 90 miles North/ North East. I pointed to the bike and dead sheep, he chuckles and gets out to help me grab the duffel "not so"-dry bag on the pillion side. It's too deep / heavy for one guy to lift the bike out of the lake. She's completely submerged at this point.

    GoodLakeHope.png

    Ben was his name. He drops me off to the local hospital in Watson Lake. I get a quick checkup and luckily nothing is broken. Taxi out to the nearest hotel for the night.
    In the morning, was able to arrange CAA (Canadian's AAA) to come out and pull her out of the lake. Mind you, she has been underwater for 24-hrs so she is definitely "Water Cooled" by now..

    I ride to the scene of the crime with the truck driver. Obviously, I'm hobbling around so can't help him much in terms of extracting the bike. Besides, I'm busy documenting and collecting artifacts..

    Horn1.jpg

    He latches onto the frame and wenches the bike out of the lake. It takes him 3 tries to rig it right to pull her out. I should have shown him how to pull her out but I figured she was a goner anyhow. 1/3 way up the flatbed ramp, she takes a tumble off and hits the ground. More salt into the wound / insult to injury by my good man??

    In retrospect, I definitely should have instructed him how to recover her proper; since ultimately.. I ended up keeping her .. and the damaged he did to the bike was unnecessary.. lol

    BikeLoaded1.jpg

    BikeLift2.jpg

    We dropped the bike off to a local garage / salvage yard.. Billy Bob's of sort.. I manage to find a bus Thursday night that would take me 6/7 hrs ride back to Whitehorse, YT.. the nearest airport. We drove through the night, getting there early in the morning just in time for an early flight out.

    The flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver to Houston wasn't terrible.. and if I can recall.. $550 1-way. Since my left ankle was jacked-up, no way I could try to fix the bike or even grab/ carry my gear in the panniers home w/ me.

    WhiteHorseAirport.jpg

    All my clothes, camping equipment, tools, a groPro, cameras, collapsible Excalibur shotgun ( dual barrel.. shotgun + 22 rifle combo) were still in the panniers so ultimately, I knew I had to come back to pick her up..
    whitehorse2.jpg
    #6
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  7. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    The BeastMaster Strikes again:

    For 30 days, I'm at home tending to my bruised ego, Progressive Insurance agent tells me "we're going to pay you for the bike and $2000 reimbursement for your gear ( helmet, riding gear, Nav, upgraded parts, etc)"

    In all, I think $21,500 was paid back if I can recall. But because the bike was so far north, it was too cost prohibitive to have her shipped back, they were writing the bike off completely. Of course, all my gear was still up there and hoped they had planned to ship it back for salvage sale / repairs etc; then I could at least retrieve the gear.

    I tell the agent that I needed to go back and grab all my gear. If I paid the salvage the storage fee, would Progressive sign over the title.. and surely they agreed to do so. I could have the salvage title if I paid off the storage fee.. SWEETNESS!!

    I figured $400 for pay off storage fee, $120 for new battery.. change all the fluids and boom.. practically a new bike right??? LOL not so much..

    Well 30 days later, I fly up to Seattle to borrow a friend's truck ( actually was his dad's truck). From Seattle to Watson Lake is another 24 hours of driving. I like to drive in the evening, less traffic / heat.. So off I go around 10pm after dinner with his family.. I pass the Canadian border by 12:00 am.. quick and easy crossing.. it's foggy out so told myself I should slow down in case of animals. I'm doing 55 mph .. no more.. no less.

    Around 1:00am, I take a big yawn and see this brown blur dart across the windshield. For a split second I think it's just my imagination.. You know when you're yawning hard, that your eyes are almost closes? Well, I'm Asian so trust me.. they were completely shut for a split second, then BOOM!!!!!.. I plow full speed into something, I don't know what.

    The entire truck shakes violently as my body and gear lunge forward and whips back again.. WTF was that !!! I say. But the Truck is still chugging along. It happened so quickly that I wasn't sure if I really did hit anything.. 1 mile or 2 down the road I decide, yeah.. let's turn back around to double check.. I turned back around.. low and behold.. Yogi??

    Bear1.jpg

    bear3.jpg
    I stepped out and couldn't believe my eyes how big this thing was. 500lbs at least. I kicked it, asking "hey dude, you okay??".. even though I was nervous because he was soo large.

    bear4.jpg
    Might have not been the smartest thing to do, it could have been alive, injured, and really pissed off.

    bear2.jpg

    In any case, I plowed straight into him, full speed.. no slowing down, no swerving.. remember? I was yawning.. At least now we know.. if a Bear and a Ram went head to head.. who would win out.

    TruckDam1.jpg

    What I should have done after was taken the carcass with me and strip / sell the fur at least. Would have cover the cost of repairs ?? LOL But I think it's illegal to keep the road kill.. although in Alaska and maybe even the Yukon.. you might be allowed to do so..

    "See bear here toward end of video @ 4:40"


    As bad as the damage on the truck front end was.. the bumper barely nicked the fins on the radiator.. Which means??? She's still drive-able so off I go.. another 22 hrs more..

    BikeLift1.jpg

    I pick up Alianna and take her back to Seattle. The plan was to change out all the fluids, new battery and ride her home from Seattle to Houston, Texas.

    Truck3.jpg
    #7
  8. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

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    Bearly a dent in that Ram! Hah!
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  9. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    True, it can always be better.. but it can always be worse :p.
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  10. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    remind me never to let you borrow one of my trucks, or bike for that matter :lol3
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  11. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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  12. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    As simple as that??:

    I bought a one-way flight to Seattle, dead certain I was going to be able to bring Alianna back to life.. but should have known.. when is it ever going to be an easy one?

    Mind you, I'm an IT guy and my mechanical skillset at that point was changing my oil, airing up tires, and adjusting /lubing chains. But since I'm technically inclined, I wasn't too scared about getting my hands dirty / greasy. Though I should have done more research before proceeding to resuscitate a drowned victim back to life.

    Now before you professional mechanics and gear-heads out there thrash me, let me get a chance to describe what I did, what I should have done, and what I have learned.. then you can give me a thrashing afterwards; so hold off on the technical recommendations until I get to the point where she's fully restored. :p.

    Remember, she has been sitting in the salvage yard for over 30 days w/ lake water in her still (luckily it wasn't sea / ocean water / saltwater.. else this may have turned out differently).
    So fresh water was in the gas tank, engine, oil pan, transmission, final drive and lord knows whatever else nookes / crannies .

    The first thing I did when I got to Watson Lake was drained out the old oil.. which at this point looked like pasty chocolate milk. There was chocolate milk as well as lake water (separated from the oil) spilling out of the oil drain. Don't recall how much fluid came out but pretty sure more than 4 quarts. I put 6 quarts of cheap oil in the system thinking it would help flush out the engine / system while I was making the 24 hrs drive back.

    I can't recall if I knew about the final drive oil or thought it was integrated into the engine oil system but I didn't drain the FD oil and should have. There wasn't much working space or tools so for the most part, really wasn't the time or place to really work on her. Probably would have been good to open the cylinder head covers and let any of the retained water drain as well.

    Once engine oil was filled up, we loaded her onto back of the truck and made the 24-hrs drive back to Seattle. As I crossed over to the US side around midnight.. I CRASHED into a teenager moose. Son of a Bitch!! Thereby fully disabling the truck...

    REALLY ????? no.. not really.. I would have killed myself right then/there .. LMAO :p.

    1) Upon getting her back States side, stopped by Autozone and bought a cheap $65 battery just to see if I could get her started.

    2) Changed out the "storage" oil and added 4 quart of the normal full syn Castro stuff I use..

    3) Note: I still didn't change out the final drive oil at this point.

    With the new battery, the dashboard came alive and so did the lights, etc.
    Hip Hip Hurrah!!!! Let's ride her home....

    Well I could crank her, she was turning over, but she wouldn't start.. Was able to try a few times until battery with low. Recharged her and tried again a few hours later.. still no luck.. but now weird things were happening on the dashboards.. different errors each time. That's when I realized, stuff was still really wet / damp.. even if it had been sitting the salvage yard for 30 days.. ( it was brought indoors eventually, but not sure how long it sat outside).

    Had come to the realization it wasn't going to happen this trip.. so put her in buddy's garage for a couple of months until I could ship her home for a more thorough attempt.

    In retrospect, I should have dumped / cleaned out the gas tank, allowed the bike and connections/ components under tank and other places to dry out before even attempting to start the bike up..

    Who knows what kind of short I introduced into the system by trying to start her prematurely..

    Kinda of like putting your iphone / andorid in a bucket/ bag of rice or other medium, letting her dry completely before powering her up again.
    #12
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  13. Pabst

    Pabst Adventurer

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    WOW! You did get a horn.....and a bear! Now that's an adventure! That is one crazy story. Why do you hate animals so much?:lol3
    #13
  14. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    Get it running then sell it in the Flea Market 'Rode hard, put away wet' :D

    :1drink
    #14
  15. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    Lmao, no no!
    I love animals.. and they love me too!

    They "is" just too stupid to not wait for me to come to a full stop before asking an autograph... lol

    See @6:50 toward end where this goat wants to shake my hand as I'm speeding back to Kathmandu on a Royal Enfield..



    Pretty sure the owner ate him right after..
    #15
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  16. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    True, thought about selling her, but she runs beautifully and what a badge of honor to ride her around... gets me an occasional free beer or two when telling her story
    #16
  17. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    Brilliant thread !!
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  18. Jehos

    Jehos Adventurer

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    This thread is *epic*!
    #18
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  19. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    The Past and the Present:

    Quick photo of what she was like before the accident, having made it to Skagway on the way up.
    A victory salute to all ADVs riders having crossed that threshold to the great state of Alaska. Boooyah!
    FB_IMG_1562647552229.jpg

    Alianna, after her rebirth w/ new Woody Wheels Shoes, upgraded LED Auxiliary lamps and other enhancements.
    She doesn't look half bad either now, given her abusive husband/owner history and all.

    GSA1.jpg

    In terms of body damages to the bike, if you zoom in
    1) You can see the road rashes on the left side crash bars.

    2) I didn't bother changing out the crash bars, knowing I would be laying her down again anyways.

    3) The lower crash bar collapsed in and now offsets the mounting holes abit, so I just added 3 washers to the back mounting point to straighten it out.

    4) The offset also makes the upper crash bar difficult to reinstall after taking them off for valve adjustments, etc..

    5) The left side main air duct scoop was cracked (replaced $160 new since I couldn't find any used parts off ebay, etc)

    6) Initially, I thought the main beak was damaged too but turns out the metal bracket behind it was twisted abit so the beak is slightly off centered, but hardly noticeable unless you were trying to install / line up the holes.

    7) Finally the rear pannier brackets were also abit offset but still very usable. Left Pannier was a goner as well; used it for awhile but it could never close properly after that; and definitely no longer water proof ( like it ever was )..

    All in all though, I think the visibly damages were minimal; it was the psychological ones I was afraid of.. will she ever be the same girl.. would she have night sweats.. would she freak out during a fast turn?

    Internal damages?? We were about to find out soon enough..
    #19
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  20. cwjb

    cwjb Been here awhile

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    That's a hall of fame story there Exodus. How many miles since you got her running again?
    #20
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