Pictures: Day 20 - End

Day 20 – End / July 1 – July 4, 2008

The bike trip officially ended the next day when auDRey and I took a small spill on a wet construction stretch and ended up in a ditch. I was totally fine; it was slow speed but auDRey ended up upside down and the engine finally gave out. This was close to the US-Canada border and I figured my only option was to try and make it to Fairbanks, back to the Suzuki dealer. One last dose of luck as this family of Peter Jacobs was heading to Fairbanks and offered to give me a ride.

Peter and Tracy here took me under their wings until I figured out what to do about my bike and transport for getting back home to Chicago. They were taking their son to the local motocross races and I really enjoyed the time spent with the family.

This is their son Jake on the bike and dad, Peter on the quad. Peter is an ex-professional snowmobile racer and he's seeing if his son has it in him. This was my first time to a motocross track and Jake told me all about how the races are run and how to ride the track.

Getting some air on a Kawasaki 250 2-stroke.

Northern Powersports Suzuki tore down the engine and showed me the damage: a ruined piston head, piston rings, cylinder head and valves. Repair estimate was around $3,000. I called up my insurance and thankfully I had full coverage on the bike and they said they would take care of it for me. I believe the water in the fuel caused the engine to run hotter than normal (lean conditions) and this might have lead to detonation that destroyed the piston head and the rings allowing oil to be burned in the combustion chamber. Water is the biggest enemy to internal combustion engines.

The damage to the cylinder head inside the engine. I think many things contributed to this catastrophic problem. The DR650 is known to have a very reliable engine, but I think too many variables were working against it - the bad muffler that lost its packing material, the water damage from way back on the Dalton who knows what else. She definitely put up with a lot before finally letting go.

Stripped off her touring guise, she’s still shows her dirt-bike heritage. Knowing that my insurance would now be totaling the bike, I tried to salvage as many aftermarket additions that I installed in preparation for this trip and future trips.

I bought her with 4,000 miles on the clock and we had an excellent time through Mexico last year and up till now, a wonderful time up here in Alaska.

A sad ending to a fantastic trip. I was totally bummed to be leaving auDRey behind because as cheesy at it sounds, I felt we had really connected and I really enjoyed riding her. Hopefully someone buys her for cheap and fixes her up.

After shipping my luggage home through UPS, I used some airline miles that I acquired from my numerous trips to China to get a one-way ticket back to Chicago from Fairbanks. What a bummer to be ending the trip this way, but hey, at least I'm getting home safely without too much of a financial ding. What a great adventure!

Taking pictures of planes in Seattle, while waiting for my connection.

The Seattle airport terminal.

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1 comment:

Patty said...

Awesome trip! I actually took the year off from work and life in the States (2007-2008) and moved to Anchorage to 'see what I could see'. Great trip too!