Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5th (Dave W): End of the line...

I stayed the night in Salina at the Friendly Inn and got an early start as my plan was to make it to Eureka in one day. That had been the next agreed upon meeting spot with Dave, and I was still hoping he'd get his clutch issues straightened out. I took a wrong turn somewhere on the way to Richfield and my GPS seemed to be acting up, because the trail I was on didn't match anything in particular, but I was on dirt and sort of on a trail, and generally headed towards Richfield, so I stayed on it. The weird thing was that my GPS told me I was crossing over a major highway in a couple of instances, where there was no highway within 1000 or more yards. I restarted my GPS once I made it to Richfield and all was fine after that. I had to stop to get some fresh lithium batteries for the SPOT. It turns out I hadn't been broadcasting my location for a while, and the folks back home were about to send in the Utah National Guard or something.

Heading out of Richfield, I was immediately in Fishlake National Forest along the Paiute ATV trail. This was some seriously FUN riding. The trail was often burmed, with whoop-de-whoops and some nice scenery along the way...

All was great. The weather was warm, but not yet hot, the dirt was packed, but not dusty. I was really enjoying myself and cruising along at a decent clip. It crossed my mind that Dave must really be bummed to be missing out on this, and that it would have been nice to have had him there to talk about the sweet jumps I was going off. My mind began to drift to all of the mechanical issues he had been having, and just how reliable my bike had been throughout the entire trip. I was in the midst of my own, personal KTM is awesome moment, when suddenly and without warning, my rear wheel completely seized up... I must have skid/slid close to 100 feet or so...

I managed to keep the bike up and come to a stop. My first thought was that something, somehow got wedged such that it forced the rear brakes closed, but the weird thing was that my clutch lever simultaneously went all spongy on me. My 1990 BMW K75s' master cylinder once failed, which froze the brakes, but that wouldn't explain the clutch. I tried to wash some of the dirt of the rear pads, to make sure there was clearance, which there was. It wasn't until I took off the sprocket cover that I realized what had happened...

Somehow, the chain-slider had come loose, or failed, and got sucked between the chain and the sprocket. You'll also notice that this forced the chain outward, which pushed the chain into the clutch slave cylinder. Game over. This was the end of the line. While I've pulled off many a MacGyver in my day, there was no way to jimmy-rig a fix for this. I was 12 miles from Kanosh and hadn't seen anybody in a good hour or two...

I packed up all of my water, trail-mix, my gps (marking my bike) and the SPOT and started the long walk to Kanosh. By now it was getting close to noon and it was heating up. I had given my running shoes to a friend to drive home after the music festival, so footwear-wise, my options were flip-flops or motorcycle boots. I opted for the boots.

I'm in decent, not great shape. I struggled through a half-marathon back in May, and knew I'd be able to hike my way to help, but after about 6 or 7 miles, my feet were blistered and the mid-day Utah sun was beating down. I was really, really ready for help, and just then, I saw a couple of US Forest Rangers about to get into their trucks. I told them my situation, and they were able to give me a lift to Kanosh, and actually recommended a little shop in Fillmore that might be of more help. Fillmore is a thriving metropolis next to Kanosh.

Once in Fillmore, I text'ed Dave that I was broke down, and we might need to look into bike transportation to get us both back to SF in time for our friends' wedding. Meanwhile, a local mechanic named Dwight took me back into Fishlake National Forest in his 70s Blazer with a trailer to rescue my bike. We had to cut the chain in order to free up the rear wheel to be able to move the bike and get it on his trailer. Dwight was a good dude. I'm not sure how I could have gotten my bike out of there without his help. I settled in for the night at the Best Western knowing Dave would be there in the morning...

 

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