We finally crossed back into the US and headed into Montana, back to my Aunt and Uncle's place in Bigfork. I immediately noticed how much cheaper gas had become and suddenly realized that we had spent a fortune and fuel. Wow, I still don't want to look at my credit card bill.
While staying with family, I took the time to do some much needed maintenance and made some disturbing discoveries. At some point, it's hard to say when, my Ural lost the final drive dipstick. For those of you that don't know, the piece I speak of is vented and screws into the final drive. Because of that, I have concluded that I must have checked the level at some point, and then forgot to screw it back in. Either way, a solution was to be had (thanks to some that are smarter than me).
a vent was made through the cork with a long screw.
Unfortunately, that was not my only problem. I hadn't really noticed until I reached the town of big fork, but my braking on the rig had become very odd. As I was checking things out, I found that the brake rod from the the pedal to the rear wheel was missing. Not good. I don't have a picture but a cotter pin must have broke or just come loose and released the rod and assembly to the pavement. Again, something that probably could have been avoided had I known to look there. sigh...
At this point, a decision had to be made. Would we throw in the towel or just continue on without a pusher brake (the sidecar still worked). Onward! we decided. We've come this far... So we headed into freezing Idaho.
We don't get this white stuff in San Antonio...
We eventually made into warmer temperatures as we crossed into Utah. It was a relief, to be honest.
Then, without warning, a breaking point occurred. We had been forced to take major highways for our entire time in Utah and as we became lodged in traffic, I threw in the towel. For days, a persistent, friction-type noise had been coming from the sidecar wheel. I had checked it out as best as I knew how, but couldn't seem to make any difference. This time, however, I exited the highway and stopped in a big parking lot to take one, final look. I got the sidecar jacked up and found that the wheel wasn't even turning freely anymore. As best as I can tell, a wheel bearing has gone bad or (more likely) I have done something that resulted in a wheel bearing going bad. Either way, I refuse to put my wife in danger (if the sidecar wheel locked up on the highway...yikes) so after much deliberation I called it quits. Mind you, it was not my proudest moment.
At about that same time, I got a phone call from my dad. He and my mom were on a roadtrip to Yellowstone and just randomly were headed into Utah. I told him what was going on and they both got very excited. "We're coming to get you!" they exclaimed. I have to say that I am not proud that I was rescued by my parents, but it worked out. And plus, we got to spend some quality time with them. (that's what I keep telling myself...)
We headed to some places that Kristen and I had wanted to go on our way back home while our beloved Ural rode close behind.
And so, our trip ends quite anticlimactically. I would have loved to have finished the last 1000 miles or so, but I will not intentionally put my wife in danger just for the sake of pride. I can say, however, that we did unload the bike 20 miles from my house and ride her home. It seemed only fair to our Ural.
Kristen's reaction to arriving back home:
Our trip ended as thus:
Miles Traveled: 9,378
Days Traveled: 52
Average Fuel Economy (based on random calculations throughout): 28 mpg
Worst Problem with Ural: busted valve guide which resulted in the need for a new head
Worst Gear Problem: busted Gerbing Gloves
Best Gear Purchase: Gerbing Heated Jackets -or- tinted visors
1. pack less
2. need lighter camping gear
3. need lockable cases for gear on bike besides trunk
4. straps bought from WalMart are worthless
5. air filter loves to be clean and will throw a fit if dirty
6. riding boots that are not waterproof are worthless
7. my wife is hardcore
8. Rev'it Gear is worth the money
9. being prepared for everything is worth the hassle
10. experience = healthy bike
more trips = more experience = happy matt
Thanks for reading!