Yo Mark since I am a little late to the party I am only at the point in your story where you are doing the Trans Lab and wondering about the surface. Do they do things similar to what they do in Alaska? Meaning mixing calcium chloride in with the dirt and gravel to make a good hard surface that makes a MESS of your bike. It's been almost a year and my bike still has that stuff in places. I don't remember the gravel/dirt roads in western Canada being as messy as those in Alaska but it's only because the bike was already so grubby. Just wonderin', thanks and continue to enjoy your journey!
If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem!