A recap of the TQ’s Mechanical Tour of North America
Before we leave Anchorage and head back to Utah, I wanted to do a quick mechanical recap to bring everyone up to speed on the trial and tribulations we’ve been dealt on this trip at the halfway point. Yes—I know, I know… it’s a 1977 motor home, so what did we expect? LAY OFF. They don’t call it an ADVENTURE for nothin’.
Utah: The bike rack that we had in the beginning attached via the trailer hitch. An hour and fifteen minutes into our journey, we nearly lost a pin, and thus unknowingly dragged my road bike’s tires along I-15 until some lady waved us off the road. One tire was completely lost (as in, we have no idea where it ended up) and the other was still in tact but so severely bent out of shape, there was no salvaging it. Luckily (and unluckily) my bike was the only casualty.
Idaho: We blew a TQ front tire right outside Idaho Falls, and got a tow back into the city. We slept out front of a tire shop and got the tire repaired when they opened.
Montana: We were leaking transmission fluid, and when we got it checked out, they informed us that we blew an injector. So, we got one installed in Missoula.
Alberta: Turns out that “minor” transmission leak was a major problem, and we ended up getting our transmission rebuilt in Red Deer. This fix wins for MOST EXPENSIVE REPAIR of the trip. We celebrated the success with a Mexican fiesta (and tequila binge) in the TQ, parked in a Flying J parking lot.
British Columbia: Our brake pads were completely worn out by the time we arrived in Fort Nelson, and we were forced to stay there for a day until new brake pads arrived via Greyhound from Edmonton. Even after this quick fix, we knew we would need new calipers (we figured ours were likely sticking), new rotors (if we could find them in Anchorage) and again… more brake pads.
Yukon Territory: Although we’re proud to say we made it through the Yukon without any mechanical issues, while driving through Watson Lake, we were landlocked for three days while work crews had to literally REBUILD the highway because the flood waters washed it away. No joke—250 feet of road was gone, washed out, no more. So that sucked—at least we made some good friends.
Alaska: So this is the part I haven’t blogged about yet. While I was gone, the group ventured from Whitehorse to Anchorage—along the way, not only were the “new” brake pads substantially burned down, but the brake lines completely failed. I am thankful I wasn’t present for this terrifying experience, but I’m even more thankful that nothing tragic happened. It was right as they headed up Thompson Pass (e.g. a VERY large mountain pass on the way to Anchorage from Valdez) and luckily they didn’t have any traffic in front of them, and the road was going uphill so they could coast to a stop. Turns out after the transmission repair in Red Deer, the brake lines weren’t put in the correct places, and they were rubbing where they shouldn’t be for thousands of miles and finally just gave out. Upon picking me up from the airport, we limped to a repair shop in Anchorage called Arctic Auto & Truck, and proceeded to basecamp there the entire week and utilize rental cars for seeing the sights and accessing ski terrain. Meanwhile, the good people there turned our rotors and installed new calipers and yet another set of brake pads. Russ was a rockstar, and replaced the brake lines himself after the incident near Valdez.
Alaska, part 2: So tonight, after Sean and I spent the evening speaking to kids with type 1 at ADA’s Camp K in Cooper Landing, we were driving home and got yet another flat tire. Yes, you read that correctly. A FLAT TIRE IN THE RENTAL CAR. Instead of taking off from Anchorage at 1 am as we initially planned (Britt flew back in at 1am after spending a few days in St. Louis for a class reunion) we will be stuck here till we get tire patched tomorrow.
As we make our epic departure, we would appreciate any good vibes you can send our way. Our spirits are still optimistic, but you can never get enough happy thoughts through the interweb!
Lets make it a great week, OK?