There must be some bike shops around here so we grab a phone book and start calling. I donít have one of those fancy phones like most of you. Mine makes calls and that is it. To make it worse it is T-Mobile so it makes calls if it really feels like it which is never when you really need it to. I only mention this because finding an actual paper phone book was a challenge. Think about how you found things before the internet and smart phones were around. That was us. A paper phone book and a piece of paper to write down directions.
The first shop we tried wasnít interested in looking at a Kawasaki, the second put us on hold until I hung up and tried again with the same result. We finally tried Kent Kawasaki and got right through to the service department. After I explained our situation they said bring it around back and ask for Steve. Finally some good news! So off we went using some scratch pad notes for directions hoping to find this place.
We jump on and off highways and finally make it to the shop. We pull around and Steve is checking the bike out before we can even get the seat off. I think the last time I took a bike to a dealer was about 10 years ago. It was the last time for a reason and also the reason that I learned how to work on my own bikes. At this point Iím thinking that this place may actually be worth dealing with. Not that we have much of a choice. We check the battery again and it is definitely not charging. After checking the regulator it appears to be bad. Good news, we know what the problem is. Bad news, they donít have one in stock and after a few calls nobody nearby does either.
Crap, we have enough battery to get us started and back home but is our trip really over already? As we are packing up Steve comes out and says that they have one bike on the floor with the same regulator. They will tear it apart and get me on the road if I will pay the labor to tear apart the other bike. The newer Versys use a different regulator now for some reason so they are taking it out of some other Kawasaki sport bike.
We head to the lobby to wait. It is strange to have somebody else working on my bike but if this keeps our trip together I can live with that.
Can you feel the excitement as we wait for the bike to be saved!
After a while Steve comes to get us. Iím up and ready to go but he has some bad news. The regulator didnít solve the problem. They did some more testing and the stator is working intermittently but not enough to charge the battery. Worse news, nobody has a stator and they are back ordered. Our trip is over. Steve heads off to put the bike back together and we start making calls. Do we limp home and jump in the car? Do we try it again next year? The ferry has one car spot left and will hold it for an hour. We would be a day behind which would really eat into our relaxed timeline. As my son and I discuss our plans Steve comes back with an idea.
They have a new Versys on the floor which has the stator I need. The boss already said no but after some convincing the new Versys is on the stand getting torn apart. Iíll have a running bike in an hour. The trip is back on. We run over to grab some food while Kermit is kept on life support. I had planned on doing a chain in Prince George but we decide to do that now since the bike is already up.
Steve comes back with good news. We are ready to roll. Then the bad news. He prints out the bill for us and I nearly pass out. Bikes are expensive. Iím cheap. It had been so long since anybody touched one of my bikes that I had completely forgot about labor. On top of that Iím from Oregon and we donít have sales tax. New stator, new chain, labor, taxÖÖ..add it all up and we are just under a grand. Considering all they had done for us I canít complain. So thank you to Kent Kawasaki for keeping our trip alive. I thought we were done but they managed to give me some faith that there might still be decent dealerships out there.
Iím now 7 hours into the trip and have spent more money than I expected for the whole thing. Crap again. If I had not just bought a house it wouldnít have been so painful but now Iím stuck with deciding to continue or not. Head north and spend money I donít have or call it quits. Like a good American I break out the credit card and off we go. I can already taste the Top Ramen in my future.
Two hours later we FINALLY make it past Marysville and get close to the actual speed limit. I donít know how you Seattle people do it. We must have gone 30 miles in first gear. We were full ATGATT in 80 degree weather going 10mph. Not a great start for our trip.
We are finally moving though. Running great as usual but every stop makes me nervous that we wonít restart. We cross our fingers and keep heading north. Before we know it we make it to Canada and get our picture taken at the border.
On my last trip up to BC I had just got a new passport and forgot to sign it. The guy we got that day was not amused and kept us at the booth for 10 minutes while he explained why signing it was so important. On this trip I think we must have had the nicest border guard ever. I dropped a glove and she ran out and got it for us. Then we asked her to take a picture for us and after she agreed the batteries somehow shot out of the camera on to the ground. Once again she came running out and rounded up batteries while the line behind us grew. She took a picture and then we got out of there before we got her in trouble. She was a very good example of what we experienced in Canada.
We managed to hit Vancouver near the end of rush hour but made it through without many issues. Once we hit Hwy 99 out of Vancouver the good stuff started. We were so exhausted at this point that we only took 2 pictures which I really regret now. That is a beautiful stretch of road between Vancouver and Whistler.
We finally pull into the Whistler RV Park at 8:30. 14.5 hours after we left home. What a rough day but we managed to have fun.
We brought a bunch of Mountain Home dehydrated food things for dinner and were ready to dig in. Just as our water comes to a boil I manage to bump the pot which then dumps directly into the burner. We are exhausted and hungry with a burner that wonít relight. Granola bars it is for us. Better than nothing I guess. What a day.
I fall to sleep thinking about the stator. What caused it, when did it go bad, will it happen again in the middle of nowhere instead of 10 miles from a shop, do we continue north on our trip without a plan?