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Old 06-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #1
drrod1 OP
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Location: Calgary
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The tale of 2 broken wheels and a hold up by towing company (long read)

It all started on Friday the 13th! Was it an omen? 6 of us left Calgary and quickly hit rain and a bit of snow as we made our way south and west to Coeur D'alene, ID. So far so good. Next day off to Baker City, OR. We were looking forward to doing the Wallowa forest road but it was still closed. Oh well. Have to settle for Rattlesnake Canyon and the back way into Baker City. The next day is was through the desert of south east Oregon to Alturas. Now we were at the start of what we were looking for. Norther California roads. WooHoo.

South West of Susanville, is the Janesville Grade road. Nice 1.5 lane road through the forest. Reasonable surface. Then.........rounding a 90 degree right hander I feel/hear a big BANG BANG. Bike (ST1300) shakes its head a bit and then the steering goes heavy. Sure enough, bent front rim and flat tire. Back has got a ding in it as well but is holding air (we thought). No cell coverage. I was 5th in line. Fortunately the last guy saw me stopped. I sent him ahead to catch the rest of the group since my little compressor had died that morning and one of the other guys had one. The plan was to see if I could bend the wheel a little bit with a rock/piece of tree, etc. Hoping that I could get it to hold enough air to get me back to civilization.

While I am waiting for the rest of the group to come back, a kindly couple in a motorhome pulls up and offers assistance if possible. He had a hammer!!! I should note, that the rock/tree branch did nothing. So, I take the hammer a give the rim a pretty good wack. It seemed to move a bit. A few more and things are progressing nicely. One more......should have quit. A piece of the rim broke away. No chance now of it holding air. Not the smartest thing I have done!

By now the rest of the group has returned and the plan is to take my wheel off and one of the guys would go back into Susanville and see if he could get a tube put in. Off he goes. The rest of the group carry on. We plan on meeting up at the hotel in Oroville that night, one way or the other.

6 hours later.......2 riding buddies show up. There is no way to get a tube put in the tire. The fellow with the wheel is now in Chico trying but no luck. Too many lawyers I guess. Friends have called a tow truck and the Honda dealer in Gridley who has ordered a new wheel. Truck arrives. Driver takes one look at the bike and states there is no way we are putting that bike on the deck with only one wheel. Remember my wheel is now somewhere between Chico and Oroville. Hmmm. We convince the driver that if we load the bike and strap it down it would be OK. So we take the wheel of my friends ST, put it on mine, load my bike, take the wheel off, strap my bike down, then put his wheel back on his bike.

I hand the driver my AAA card and he says something like " Oh good, you are covered for 100 miles. Good thing as the tow to Oroville is about $500". It is now about 7:30 PM. Driver says he is going back to base in Chester, put the truck and bike in the locked compound and he would bring it down in the morning.

My friend puts me on the bike of his bike and we head down #70 to Oroville. Beautiful night. Nervous ride. I have never ridden pillion before. Everyone should do it. Every little movement is felt more. Made me realize how important being smooth as possible was for the passenger's comfort.

Next morning I call the tow truck driver with the info on where to take the bike. 10 mins later he calls back and says AAA does not cover hauling motorcycles. I spend a half hour on the phone with my AAA agent in Calgary and finally get an US AAA reference number. Call the driver back, give him the reference number and he is off. I get on the back of the bike again and we are off to the dealer in Gridley. I get there and notice that the driver has been trying to call me. I call him back and he informs me that AAA has cancelled the deal and it will cost me $1400 to get my bike the 140 miles to Gridley. So there I was......a one wheeled bike on a truck that was somewhere between Chester and Oroville and nothing really in between where I could work on the bike even if I could unload it. Yes, we could have done the take the wheel off another bike shuffle, but my friends were on their holidays and had riding to do. So, I said bring the bike here and I will fight with AAA when I get home. Ironically I have a new wheel waiting at home to be put on at the next tire change. Fat lot of good that does me now!!

Bike arrives about noon but the new wheel won't be there until the next day. I give the driver my CC and get an invoice. I tell him that I just feel I have been violated without even being bought dinner and he pleads that it was his boss' decision.

By this time, we realize that the rear will not hold air either but the rim is only slightly dinged. Maybe a tube will hold so we put one in.
Gridley Honda has me on the road by 1:30 PM. the next day and off I go to catch up with the group in Eureka. Rode 36. What a great road!!!

Next day it is 299 to Weaverville, 3 to Yreka and then Dead Indian Memorial road from Ashland over to Crater Lake. Halfway over DIM road, the bike goes heavy! Stop and find the rear tire flat and air leaking out around the valve stem. Not good! No cell service (Why doesn't this ever happen at the corner of First and Main??!!). Group catches up. We try a few things but none work. A couple of them head down the road to get cell service and get a tow truck.

Truck comes and we get it loaded. I catch a ride with the truck to Klamath Falls and the group carries on to LaPine for the night. The dealer in Klamath is closed when we get there so we just unload the bike and park it in front and the driver takes me to a hotel.

Next day I am at the dealer's early and they get me right in. Turns out the tube had failed. Not surprising as it was a motoX tire tube and much too small for the rear of the ST. I can't blame the Gridley dealer. I was the one who wanted to try the tube thing, in the hopes that it would get me home. These guys DO NOT recommend me putting a tube back in. In fact they refuse. Can't blame them really. Rim would not hold air due to the ding. I had noticed a pristine ST in the service area when I got there. The service manager said "let me try something". He got on the phone, called the owner of the ST and explained the situation. Without hesitation the owner agreed to let them take the wheel off his bike, put it on mine and I would buy him a new wheel which would be there in a few days. Great guy!!!!!!!! Except, his was an ABS bike and mine is not. His wheel would fit my bike but an ABS wheel was backordered so ........ordered me a new wheel. Keep in mind that this is Friday. Anyone have a guess what FedEx charges for next day and Saturday delivery?! Near enough to $100 (over regular frieght) as to not make a difference.


So, next day (Saturday) wheel gets in about noon and they have me on the road in half an hour. Any chance of catching up with my group is gone as they are 2 days ahead of me now so it is a lone ride back to Calgary. I get home early Monday afternoon after coming back through some great roads in NE Oregon.

Total cost of my moment's lapse in focus and not scanning the road well enough (pothole was in a shadow.....OK, how is that for an excuse?) is now about $3400, not counting the hotels that charged me because I didn't cancel soon enough. But at least the wheels are shiny!!!!

Things I learned on this trip:

- SCAN the road going into a corner!!!!!! Potholes can be camoflaged.
- traveling with friends is invaluable. Without them, I would have been in a real pickle
- you cannot carry enough tools to deal with every situation.
- the best tool to carry is a CC with a high enough limit
- ST owners are great. I don't even know the name of the fellow in Klamath Falls (if you are on this forum please let me know) but he was willing to give me a wheel to get me back on the road!!
- not all dealers are stealers
- not all towing companies are created equal


Comments on the Dealers
First dealer was Gridley Honda in Gridley, CA. They did the best they could, given the circumstances. It was not their fault that the tube failed. It was the best they had and I told them to do it. They got me in and out as fast as they could and they charged me a fair price. The owner even came and got me at my hotel and took me back to the dealership.
The second dealer was Tread and Track in Klamath Falls, OR. Again, they did what they could to get me back on the road as soon as possible. And they charged me a fair price.

Both dealers were very friendly and accommodating. I would not hesitate to do business with either again or to recommend them to others

Towing company that held me up:
Lake Almonar Towing
Chester, CA

I am not done with this guy. At the very least I expect AAA to sanction him somehow. Fortunately it appears that my AAA is going to step up and cover most, if not all the cost.

The OR. towing guy was great. No fuss, no muss. Didn't even make me sign anything. As soon as he saw the AAA card, that was the end of that.

Thus ends "The Tale of Two Broken Wheels" (apologies to Dickens)

Rod
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:56 PM   #2
akaDigger
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Good read. Great lemonade!
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Old 06-28-2014, 05:29 PM   #3
mceee
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Holy Cow!!! Seems like you need a vacation to relax from your vacation.
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:49 PM   #4
yokesman
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if you have premier than you have trip interruption coverage but you must choose between the transportation or the accomodations but they did end up covering our straps truck,gas,and food. must be at least 200 miles from home. up to $1500,we broke (2010)down in Ridgecrest , the best raspberry tea at a family resturant across from motel six-fourth weekend everything closes up for sunday .glad we had the info card because that is what AAA told us,no bike coverage no way but the extra for premier really paid its way then ,besides having 200 mile of towing.
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