T – Our camp wasn’t the prettiest or quietest we have had so far on this trip. But it was well sheltered from the wind and prying eyes and we also got plenty of sun! It was nice to wake up in a warm tent like that. My sleeping mat basically goes flat within hours now so there were a few times last night when I woke up to find a boulder digging into my hip or spine. It’s time to stop being a tight ass and buy a new mat.
C – Todd woke up in a much brighter mood today, feeling much more optimistic about Mabels situation. Todd was umming and ahhing about buying a new mat and asked what I would do. I told him I would have bought a mat a long time ago – the first time it went flat! With that, Todd decided he was definitely going to get one the next camping store we saw.
T – I packed the camp away while Chantelle made us coffee. We had set the alarm for 645am today, just so we could get on the road early and beat the traffic into Homer. But I turned it off around 530 and we both slept in until 10. It was quite nice really! Being as the sun doesn’t seem to go down until 2am we usually don’t go to bed until around 11pm at the moment.
I gave Mabel a thorough checking over. Her oil level was great and looked clean. She even got herself a new shiny sparkplug as a token of my faith in her. As always she fired up first kick and grumpily sat there idling away quietly. Come on clutch. Hold in there. I was getting concerned as to what kind of damage I would be doing to the rest of the motor running her like this. But then I remembered that these engines cost $299 new and if it died I would just get her a new one.
C – Shock, horror! I checked Rosie’s oil, expecting it to be full as always. But it wasn’t. Todd and I double checked and yep, half of her oil had mysteriously disappeared. Where’d it go? She isn’t leaking it and certainly isn’t blowing out any smoke. Perplexed, we topped her up and she was a smiley, happy girl once more.
T – We coasted almost all the way downhill into a sharp cold headwind and into Homer. This place has the worlds longest natural land spit ending at a big sign proclaiming Lands End. We parked up the bikes so we could have a walk around.
There were so many tourists here. Too many. The RV parks and beaches were jam packed with no room to move with motorhomes, caravans, tents and cars taking up every available space. Madness!
We had wander through some trinket shops, all selling touristy stuff. My grumbling stomach reminding me that we hadn’t had breakfast yet. So we set off to find Halibut and chips. This being the Halibut fishing capital of the world we figured that we would have to try it!
One place had fish and chips at a whopping $25! No way! Now we knew we were in tourist town but gee that’s pricey. And judging by the fact that the restaurant was totally empty, others thought the same. We ended up sitting in a seaside seafood shop and I had deep fried Halibut and chips and Chantelle had a grilled Halibut sandwhich. We sat in the window and enjoyed the sun streaming in while looking at the gorgeous view surrounding us. It was also a bit of a giggle watching two waitresses having a power battle. One would prop open the door leading outside as she was getting hot, and the other would then come along and close it again. There was lots of dark looks being thrown around and much muttering and shaking of heads. In the end the lady who kept closing the door won.
C – The Homer Spit is a sight to see. Across the bay is a stunning mountain range, capped with snow. It was lovely to walk around the spit and see all the holiday makers enjoying their long weekend. From what we understand from the locals, this weekend is generally the first camping opportunity of the season so everyone was out in force.
T – We needed to grab some groceries and fuel on the way back out of Homer so once we had that sorted we were back on the road and heading north towards Anchorage. We thought that we might camp up for two nights back where we met Bob, Anne, Mandy and Rhonda, thus avoiding the mad returning home traffic on Monday. We figured the roads would be terrible. Mabel was running quite well, her clutch still making a racket, but it was no worse than the day before.
As we were travelling along we decided to maybe just push on all the way into Anchorage. We were both feeling good about riding and decided why not! But first we had to stop in Kenai to grab me a new sleeping mat. Oh and we found some cool thermal gloves that had some kinetic heating layer in them. They work a treat!!! Almost to the point of not needing heated grips!
C – Oh my, the new gloves are amazing. I put them straight on, underneath my very special RCMP mittens. My hands had never been so warm and toasty! I only wished I had of thought to look if they come in socks too. Although I did have fun playing around with the arctic suits!!!
T – Then rain came. Alot of it! Time to test Mabels Carberella! She immediately cut out. At the first bit of damp road. Damn you Mabel! You with your useless spinning slipping knocking banging clutch and your aversion to anything resembling water. GRRRRRRR. You…you…you….bloody red useless tart!
I sprayed her all over with WD40. Thinking maybe water had gotten into her kill switch, her wiring harness, her battery compartment, her tail light, my eyes, everywhere. Same thing. We would ride 20 meters and she would cut out.
I was feeling quite perplexed by this as I just couldn’t work it out. Then I had a light bulb moment. I had seen her carby breather hose hang down below the skid plate. Most of my past bikes have had the breather hose tucked up under the seat where it’s dry. I coiled Mabel’s breather hose up into the frame so the end was high and dry. Kicked the little bloody witch into life and rode off down the road.
It worked! Mabel and I were splashing and roaring through puddles and not a single backfire cough or fart came from her! Happy days!!! Mabel was showing off then. Throwing plumes of water off of her tyres and straight into the faces of Chantelle and Rosie!
C – I could see Mabel shaking her head in dismay at Todd. I could almost hear her saying ‘why did it take you so long to figure out?!?!?!?!’. No more hiccups for Mabel and as always, Rosie was plucking along.
T – We pushed on. And on. And on. This road felt like it was never ending. It had gotten quite busy too which meant we basically rode on the shoulder the whole way. Which wasn’t too bad as the shoulder here was wide and smooth. We attracted a little attention. With people filming us from their cars as they passed and one lady even flipped me the bird mouthing something at me through the window. I just waved at her.
Finally we pulled up at a set of red lights in Anchorage. Mabel was broken. She rattled and shook. The banging and whirring from her engine so bad now. Unless I held the clutch in, at which point she would sound ok. I couldn’t accelerate on the flat or downhill very much before her clutch slipped and spun uselessly while her engine revved high. Im sorry Mabel. Will she make it the extra 511 km’s to Fairbanks? I fear maybe not..
We rode gingerly to camp. We were going to stay at the RV park we had stayed in previously. Free wifi, showers and much, much needed laundry. As I parked Mabel up she was shaking and vibrating so hard. The thumping and rattling from the clutch sounding nasty. I felt bad for her. She had faithfully carried me so far already on this ruined engine. And all I did was push her harder and ask her to go further. Just another little bit Mabel and you will have a shiny new clutch! Or even a new engine! I promise.
We are going to spend two nights here. Staying off the roads until the mad weekend traffic is gone. Then we shall start on the final trek northwards. We are going to split it up into a few days. Babying Mabel along. She will make it right?