Sheldon's 1998 Ural Sportsman - Week 8

Something missing from this picture?6/13/98 Saturday Day 50...   Called my friend Daryl and asked if she wanted to go for a little ride seeing as it was such a beautiful day.  Had to take the truck because the Ural is still down and the Guzzi still isn't running.  When she showed up we chatted about what direction to go and finally decided to head North and see where we got to...  Where we "got to" was Nestor Falls Ontario Canada.  I guess I kind of got carried away with my love of driving.  Went through International Falls Minnesota, saw some breathtakingly beautiful country around Rainy Lake, had dinner in Nestor Falls and returned through Rainy River Ontario to Minnesota.  Going "for a little ride" turned out to be 505 miles ( 815km ).  Returned home at midnight.

Photo:  Sheldon at the International Bridge, Baudette MN/Rainy River ON, really missing his Ural...

On the way up Daryl said that we couldn't leave Canada until she saw an Eagle and a Moose.  The critter tally was:  1 Bald Eagle, 1 Fox, lots of cows, sheep, pelicans, several Great Blue Heron, 1 turtle, horses, and I talked her into substituting the four dear that we saw for the moose.

6/14/98 Sunday Day 51...  Realized this morning that I had never told the end of the "taillight" story.  If you remember, I replaced the bulb in my left rear turn signal and must not have tightened the screws down all the way and lost the lens.  After a search of auto parts houses, motorcycle dealers, trailer suppliers, and everyone else I could think of I couldn't find a match.  I even followed the route I had taken, twice, looking for the lost lens or at least a sign of it splattered on the highway.  Finally a few days later, I was out for a ride one evening and decided to ride the route I had taken that day once again.   Staying towards the shoulder I eagle eyed the ditch looking for anything orange.   This was a 50 mile stretch of four lane highway with 65 mph speed limits so my crawling along at 40 or so, paying no attention to the traffic, was probably not the best idea but traffic was very light so I don't think I caused anyone any distress.

About a quarter mile from where we had stopped at a rest area and I had discovered the lens missing I decided there was only one thing left to do.  I was getting very frustrated by this time and held out no hope of finding the lens.  Now being a guy with a pretty deep faith in God, the only thing I hadn't tried was praying.  So I said, "God, I can't find this lens will you?" and as I rounded the next curve there the lens was, sitting on the shoulder of the road, in a spot I could not possibly miss.  Only a block from where I originally discovered it missing.  Now I don't know what you all believe about the power of prayer, or just plain coincidence, but I certainly am not going to question how it got there.  I was just ecstatic to get it back.

Since I am still Uralless I am probably going to work in the garden, listen to a Book on Tape, and kick back today.

9:00 p.m.  Went to Wal-mart, bought more plants, took a nap, planted plants, turned on NASCAR race on TV and took another nap, weeded gardens then relaxed sitting on a park bench amongst my gardens.  Way too much relaxation, I need my Ural back...

6/15/98 Monday Day 52...  No Ural yet.   I had to give a special Tour today for a group of history teachers, and some reporters from the Duluth News Tribune, so I never got a chance to call Northern Sports to see if the parts came in.  I will have to give them a call tomorrow.  One of the warmest nights so far this year and I worked on a new web site instead of riding...  Don't you all feel sorry for me?  I can hear the violins now.

6/16/98 Tuesday Day 53 and Day 10 of no Ural again...   Talked to Marlow today.  Not good news...  He has the bearings and gaskets, but the gears seem to be back-ordered.  That is not good.  The visions of the lady at the plant in Siberia packing them in a crate with straw have come back into my mind.  It seems to me that if they are "back-ordered" at Ural America the only "back" there can be is Irbitz.  I put in a message to Ural Tech Support to see if that is in fact the case...

6/17/98 Wednesday Day 54 and Day 11 of no Ural again...   But we have big news....  I had e-mailed Ural Tech Support asking if they could check on the parts order.  They did a bit of checking and found out that when the parts order had been placed a crucial part of the part number was mixed up and the parts that were on back order were for the 3.89 rear end.  That is for the other, much faster, dare I say "racing" Urals.  Well, maybe not "racing" by maybe Deco Classic...  So the parts that are in Customs in Seattle are for the wrong bike, and mine are in stock.  It sounded like they may be sending a whole rear unit but we shall have to see what comes.  They did tell me that they would be calling Marlow today or tomorrow and he might have them by the weekend.

Another Dennis O'hara photoBecause I was still Uralless tonight I broke down and gave in to the vice president of our company when he asked if I wanted to go sailing tonight.  The last time I was out with him on his 24' sailboat was my first experience ever on one.  That time, it was just him and I so he had me do the steering.  It was a terrible experience.  I was so scared that I would do something wrong that I kept my eyes stuck on the little flag at the top of the mask so that I could keep the boat at the proper angle to the wind.  I didn't get to enjoy the sights and really wasn't impressed by the experience.  Yesterday I had lunch with another friend who had just bought a 26' sailboat and I was telling Keith about it when he asked if I would like to go again.  At first I said no, but then he said that this would be different.  There would be another guy with us and we would be "committee boat" for a club race with about thirty boats from 24'-32'.  He said we would just have to motor out onto Lake Superior, anchor and watch the race.  (photo is from the Northern Images collection by Dennis O'hara.  I will guarantee that it was not that calm this evening)

Anyone remember the Edmund Fitzgerald??  Lake Superior is one of the most treacherous bodies of water in the world.  Because it is 1300' deep at the deepest, and 385 miles long it gets chop that can go to 30 foot waves.  Tonight we had 6' to 8' foot waves, and we couldn't move with them.  We were just one big bobber in the waves.  The bow went submarine several times, and the boat at times seemed to be angled right along the same angle as the anchor rope.  This wasn't too bad until the race was ending and we had to score it.  I was charged with reading the names and classes of the boats and writing down the times as they crossed the finish line.  Now I am a guy who gets sick if I try to read in a car, and reading on a bobbing boat turned me about as pale as any sail that was flying on the lake.  I kept thinking, "wish I was riding the Ural, I never get sick while riding it."  It was a lot of fun and I never imagined that my adrenaline could flow while anchored in a sailboat.  It was interesting watching the boats as the did everything but flip over.   Several of them had the masts laying flat on the water but recovered.  They said afterwards that everyone was surprised that they had raced in those kind of waves, oh and did that make me feel better...  I did have a fun time and the food was great at the mixer after the race...  But I still would have rather been riding.

6/18/98 Thursday Day 55 and day 12 of no Ural again...    Marlow did hear from Ural yesterday and they told him the right parts were on the way.  Hopefully he can get to it as soon as the parts come in and I will be up and riding again.

6/19/98 Friday Day 56 and day 13 of no Ural again...   As per their promise that Marlow would have the parts "by the weekend", they actually did arrive this afternoon.  Now the problem is that Marlow has to go to Chicago in the morning and won't be back until Monday.  That means that the earliest he will be able to get it together will be Tuesday.  That is also the only evening next week that I will be able drive to Garrison and pick the bike up.  I'm hopeful that he will be able to get it done.  If not then I am going to be very disappointed.   I might have to change my whole schedule around to find a way to get it before the following weekend.  I am just so pleased that the parts are in, at least I now have a chance of riding soon.

Week: Intro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

You can e-mail Sheldon at

Check out the "European Motorcycle Universe" at

And Sheldon's Deco Diary at:

Copyright 1989-2010, Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights reserved
Last modified: March 22, 2011

Hit Counter