Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Smoke...

Friday morning - Much of the smoke hanging around from the fires seems to finally be gone from town. This is the view from the fifth floor of the courthouse looking west towards the University (far right in the distance) using the Pro HDR iPhone app. I'm not sure I like the colors. The courthouse is on the Chena River which sort of meanders through town. There is a nice bike/walking path along the river for a couple of miles so lunch breaks were spent walking along the river.

Tuesday morning - The fires around town are still growing but so far, we have been spared the smoke. No significant bike trips beyond a lot of running around town and commuting. The trips to the courthouse have been taking me into the "core" with too many one  way streets, tour busses and pedestrians. I was thinking about heading north but the Hastings fire is one of the ones rapidly growing and is around the Chatanika River. I was told that visibility was measurable in a few tens of feet for miles along the highway due to smoke. Doesn't sound like too much fun. In the past, I usually avoided riding in town preferring to ride on the roads leaving Fairbanks. This is from the west ridge of the university looking south towards the Alaska Range which is obscured by haze or smoke. Many of the fields are finally starting to look green again after our extremely dry Spring.

This is the motorcycle parking area in front of my building. In addition to the eight bikes shown here, there were three other bikes in non-moto parking. There aren't as many scooters as there were last year. I was talking to one of the university attorneys who had been commuting for the last couple of summers on his Yamaha scooter. The model he has is fuel injected and it wouldn't start this Spring. It has now been at the shop for over a month. Not good as they are one of the few dealers selling scooters in town. I have no experience with that particular shop but others have mentioned that repairs seem to take a long time.

Today, the new master cylinder finally arrived from A&S and if you've never seen Unobtainium (this is the special material that BMW seems to make all their parts from) before, here is the front master cylinder. It feels like regular aluminum and plastic but based on the price, it has to be something more exotic. The repaired master cylinder still hasn't started leaking again so I may wait until winter before replacing it. All kidding aside, this is one of the wonderful things about old BMWs, you can still get new parts from the manufacturer.

I'm still debating whether to go on the D2D non-rally (Dust to Dawson). There is about 120 miles of gravel road in addition to about 280 miles of pavement. I was planning on replacing the tires before tackling this trip and I have not done that yet. Another option is to go through Whitehorse, YT, and bypassing the gravel on the Top of the World Highway though this would probably add a few days to the trip.


  1. Bloody go and post bigger pictures. Every tuime I plan a long ride I start second guessing myself andtalking myself out of it.
    consider this a kick in the pants.

  2. RichardM, if not made of unobtanium, I am sure Mr Riepe will confirm my theory that such items as your brake master cylinder are hand-crafted by Teutonic maidens of great beauty and beguiling ways, probably unsoiled by contact from the likes of Riepe when he was a young visigoth.

    There probably aren't that many unsoiled Teutonic maidens of great beauty to make such items for BMW.

    The few they can find command a much higher salary; therefore the costs are then passed along by BMW to us riders who chose to bask in the glow of Teutonic engineering perfection.

    Now that you have its replacement, the old master cylinder will never leak....reverse ju-ju.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  3. Nice master cylinder! BMW rocks! :)

    That first photo of town looks like an artist"s drawing at first glance. It's a nice effect.

    The D2D ride sounds good... depending on the tire situation.

  4. Nice HDR. A pretty scene with the interesting sky and colorful cars. The second landscape is lovely too. Things look really clear. I hope the smoke continues to stay away. You're really getting some lovely days up there now!

    It's so true...lose something and when you replace it you'll find the lost one. Break something and replace it, and the first one will promptly work fine again.

  5. Dear Richard M:

    You hit the nail on the head in a big way when it comes to BMW replacement parts. My dealer — Hermy's, in Port Clionton, Pa — has had every part I needed, including seat lock replacement springs, for a 17-year-old motorcycle. And this is by no means uncommon. Though Beemer parts are expensive, you can manage to get everything for bikes that are 40-years-old or better.

    The "Unobtainium" bit is as line thart never grows old with BMW.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  6. Wow, brilliant and crisp pictures. More please. Glad the smoke has gone away.

  7. Conchscooter:
    Kick noted but just learned that I need to take my son to Anchorage that week so no D2D this year.

    There hasn't been even a single drop from the front master yet.

    The first picture was using the "Auto" setting on Pro HDR and the image really isn't very realistic. I like the way the clouds ended up looking and was wondering how the app would handle moving objects.

    Today is another clear day but you can still smell the smoke especially inside buildings. We've been getting some showers and that is helping with the smoke though it has had little impact on the fires.

    I think I like the fact that the BMW parts are still available. Even some that are pretty obscure.

    Unfortunately, I've been up here long enough that everything is starting to look the same. I see tourists walking around taking pictures of everything and occasionally stop to try and figure out what they are photographing.

  8. I am attracted to the clouds in the HDR image. The contrast with the sky is great and they are just great shapes.

    Sorry you cannot make D2D.


  9. Lori:
    Well there is always next year as far as D2D is concerned. And I just heard about the non-event last year when we stopped in Dawson on the way back home.

    The colors in the HDR image still seem strange to me but the paint-like effect is kind of cool. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.