It is amazing how much your mood can very from one day to the next. Yesterday, I was very low when I discovered my rack was broken, and I couldn’t get it fixed that day. Today, I’m on top of the world.
I made sure to get everything packed up before I went to sleep, and for a change, I went to bed early. I wanted to get up and start calling the list of numbers I had collected.
I had one motorcycle shop and four welding/fabricating shops. My friend John sent me a nice list of services in Dawson Creek which had one I didn’t find. I added it to the top of the list. I guess I just liked the name.
I woke up right at dawn (I never do that). hmm. Too early. Everyone is still closed. I tried to go back to sleep. I slept another hour. Still too early. I slept another hour. Ok close enough. I got up and made breakfast. I was so anxious about finding someone, I could only eat my banana. My oatmeal just sat there staring at me. I tried to eat it, but strangely I didn’t want to eat (I love breakfast!)
I picked up my sheet of numbers and walked outside to start calling. The wifi was terrible, and I literally had to stand next to the access point to get a decent signal. bleh. It rang and rang.
On the third ring I heard “hello, stewart fabricating.” My heart jumped. I explained the situation and what I needed.
He said, “I suppose you need it today? We are really busy. Bring it by and I’ll take a look.”
He gave me the address. The one on the PDF was several years old apparently. He was right across the street from the Safeway where I was buying pineapple and chocolate the day before. I thought it was a good sign. Oh, and the guy who wouldn’t help me yesterday? I didn’t bother with him; I crossed him out already.
I put my gear on and rode across town. I pulled up to a gravel parking lot full of vehicles. I parked the bike out of the way and walked inside to look for help. I found Paul, the guy I had spoke with on the phone. I showed him the problem. He looked at it, and said he could squeeze me in. It looked simple he said. AWESOME!
I spend the next 30 minutes taking my SV650 apart with my tool kit. I took off the seats, grab rail, and entire rear cowling to expose the subframe.
I quickly removed the broken mounting tab, and for good measure I removed the “good” one too.
After inspecting the good one, I could see it had hairline fractures, and it was bound to fail soon.
I showed the parts to Paul, and he suggested adding a small piece of metal at an angle to reinforce the pieces. The downside is I would have to cut a notch on each side of the cowling. I agreed and started hacking away at the plastic with my multi-tool.
His shop was busy! Four employees busy with lots of different vehicles. We waited a while for the welding area to open up. Another mechanic was using the vise for a gasket repair on a diesel engine.
Eventually, it opened up and Paul set to work. He is a busy and popular guy. While he was working on my two little parts, he took over 10 phone calls on his personal and shop phones and had two visitors. I picked the right guy. Seems the whole town liked this guy.
He ground the paint away to get a clean weld and cleaned up the surfaces with a grinder.
Then he welded the broken piece back together. He used the big chop saw and gut two small pieces of metal and then welded those to the mounting tabs.
He cleaned up the welds with a wire brush, and then even painted them black. I was impressed. A real craftsman who took pride in doing a good job, and not just getting it done.
I put the bike back together in a blur. While I was working, I chatted with one of customers, a Canadian, who lives in Thailand part of the year and while he is there gives motorcycle tours. We had a fun chat.
With the bike back together, I tried to settle up with Paul. He refused to take any money and said he was just happy to help. I gave him some anyway and told him to buy a nice lunch for the guys. Thanks Paul!
I made it back to my motel room with 10 minutes to spare before checkout. Loaded up the bike, got gas, and then hit the road for Fort Nelson. I had ridden the first mile of the Alaska Highway about ten times now. I was ready to see the rest of it!
For the rest of the day, I felt GREAT. I was brimming over with gratitude and joy. It felt go good to be back on the road and riding somewhere new. I secretly wanted a way to bottle the feeling up and be able to use it later. When travelling, the ups are amazing, and the downs are low. The lows are hard to escape too since the normal network of friends and family isn’t there to pull you out of it. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to chat with my wife via skype and that helped a lot. In person would have been better (2 1/2 weeks more!). Thanks to the folks on facebook and twitter who tried to help as well (John, William, Rachael, Chris, Paul, and Mike).
The first hour to Fort St. John was packed with traffic, after that it started to thin out quickly. For the most part it was a two lane road in surprisingly good condition.
My least favorite parts were the chip seal areas which were very, very rough. The tree line was well away from the road which made looking for animal easy. I didn’t see any though, not even a deer. Maybe tomorrow.
I found a muffler man along the way. It was in someone’s front yard. I wonder when FuzzyGalore will get one for her yard?
I finally started to see some mountains again!
I got gas twice along the way to Fort Nelson.
There were lots of places, at least one station every 50-60 miles or so. I didn’t have any fear of running out.
I don’t even think I went below half a tank.
I made it to Fort Nelson tired and in time for dinner. I hope tomorrow’s weather will be nice as I ride to Watson Lake.
Thanks again Paul. You made my day!
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