Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DAY Forty: A new adventure in Idaho

Up and on the road by 5 am, wanted to get as many miles in as possible before it gets too hot. The US is going through a heat wave this week. Temps over 100 in many states.

Crossed over a 6000 ft pass between Darby MT and Salmon ID. Out of the Bitterfoot Range into the Sawtooth range. Da'mit does fine on the mountain passes if I go at her speed, keep the rpm about 4000.

Stopped in Salmon in the downtown cafe for breakfast. Saw four adventure motorcycles parked out front, so had to be a good place. Never did find out if it was good. After the one cup of coffee and thirty minutes later, the food had not arrived and never got a refill on the coffee. Told the waitress to cancel my order, I need to be back on the road. No charge for coffee.

The road out of Salmon is straight and flat through fields and pastures, a nice change. Rolling along at a steady 50-55, suddenly I hear gears grinding, metal on metal. No loss of power, but rapid heat build up. Quickly pull in the clutch and roll off the throttle. Coast to the side of the road, the engine quit before I stop. No banging sounds, no blue smoke, Da'mit doesn't try to throw me. Just the metal on metal grinding, engine is hot and dead. Try to restart, click, click, click. Nothing.

Put in neutral, push Da'mit on to a driveway going into a hay field, to get further off the pavement. A safer place to diagnose the problem. Check oil, level fine. Pull spark plugs, are white. Ran lean?

Try the electric start, get only clicks. Engine does not turn. Try kick start, won't budge. Call Mr. Cob to walk through the diagnostics with me. A calm mind NOT on the side of the road will think of things that are not obvious to me. He suggests I pull the starter to see if maybe gears messed up. Have to disassemble airbox and left carb to remove the starter. Is working fine.

Transmission seems to be working fine, shifting, into neutral, first gear, reverse, no problem. Bike rolls okay in neutral with clutch out, or in gear with clutch pulled in.

From the description of the noises and how it is acting, we suspect an engine bearing has failed. Hopefully is something minor. The dealer will figure it out.

Now to call AAA for towing. The nearest Ural dealer is in Boise, 260 miles away. I have a 100 mile limit on towing. Bill the wrecker driver/owner is very nice and helpful. He arrives on schedule. By now I have set up shade, chair and water for the hour wait in the sun, surrounded by mountains.

We discuss my options. For him to take me to Boise on a flat bed wrecker, the cost is roughly $600 after my 100 free miles.

Da'mit looking downcast on the wrecker.

We decide to take Da'mit to Salmon and check out renting a UHaul truck. The better option. Cost is $300 for a 14 ft UHaul to Boise. Bill helps me load Da'mit from the wrecker into the UHaul. Then he gives me exact directions on how to find the Ural/BMW dealer in Boise. Thanks Bill, you were a great help to me and Da'mit.

The most direct road to Boise is over several mountain passes, following along mountain streams and rivers for miles and miles. Reach Boise at 8 pm. The only vehicles on the road slower than a Ural are bicyclists and UHaul trucks. In fact the only vehicles Da'mit and I passed in all of our trip, were UHaul trucks

Trapper Peak

Ten miles north of Boise, spotted smoke in the distance. Pulled over when closer to take a few photos of the fire-fighting operation.


As we get closer.

We watch the helicopter scoop water from the lake below and drop it on the flames. The News last night said there were six fires they were fighting in the Boise area. Most caused by lighting.

Located the Big Twin Ural dealer in Boise. Will be at their front door 7 am waiting for them to open Tuesday morning.

Da'mit is locked up for the night in the UHAUL, she doesn't like it. Wants the freedom of the road.

Nite all



  1. Good decision going with the U-Haul vice the towing! $600!

    I look forward to hearing what the diagnosis is on poor Dam'it. Make sure you let Madina and Jason of URAL know what's going on, I am sure they'll help expedite things any way they can. The Boise dealer is new to URALs, but the owner seemed to be a good guy when I met him on my way back to Colorado.

    Fingers crossed....


  2. Looking forward to hearing as well. The engine not turning with the kick starter sounds ominous. Where could you feel the rapid heat buildup? Maybe the alternator gear?