While storms raged, Pete worked on finding me a rental truck. I was frantically calling Ural dealers, mechanics and friends trying to get a good read on what the problem might be., ..could they send me the parts or would I have to haul Da'mit somewhere? If so, where. Called the closest Ural dealer in Jackson, MS, got a recording saying he was going out of business. Called the next one in Hamilton, Alabama, chief mechanic told me both their Ural mechanics are out of state at a Polaris factory training all week. Strike two!
Since I swore the probem was in the tranny, called around looking for one, figured I could replace it myself. Called Holopaw Gene in St Cloud, Florida, one of the top Ural guys in the country. Decscribed the sounds and what was going on, he thought maybe the final drive went. Told me call back in 30 minutes, if he had the parts he would build one and ship it to me. In 15 minutes Gene called to say try this... remove the rear wheel and look if the splines on the rear hub are worn down.
Since Da'mit was safely inside a garage five miles away and still storming outside, I couldn't check that out. Jerry Flowers, mayor of Winona, MS to the rescue. He overheard my phone conversations in the motel lobby and offered to drive me there. Arriving at Pete's garage, the power was still off. Had been since yesterday afternoon. That storm was knocking down a lot of trees, taking down power lines with them.
Pete found a truck for me. Before that, let me pull the rear wheel and see if that is the problem. Because of the fast approaching storm yesterday, did not tear into Da'mit trying to find the problem. Was more concerend about getting off the side of the road and out of the storm.
Jacked Da'mit up, pulled the wheel. Rear splines are nothing - gone- kaput! Just enough of the teeth left to catch-slip, catch-slip, catch-slip, transferring the ratching sound up the drive shaft to the transmission. Driving shaft splines are fine. The metal in the hub must be a softer metal than the drive shaft. Mounted the spare tire. Da'mit shifted and sounded like normal again. Aaahhhhh, life is good. By the time I finished changing tires around, solved a minor electrical issue and changed the oil in the final drive (as a precaution), the storm had passed, the sky cleared, blue skys ahead. Blue skys, nothing but blue skys do I see. (you add the melody).
Pete Snell, wrecker driver/owner still working at age 75. Born raised Mississippian. southerner through and through, from the old South.
Da'mit and I ride back to French Camp, rejoin the NTP and ride north, following behind the storm front. At Cherokee, Alabama we get off the NTP and look for a place to stay. We're carrying camping gear, but who wants to sleep in the mud. Found a Baptist Church with a cover BBQ eating area out back. Got permission and spread my gear up for a good nights rest. Rains came back all night long. Da''mit and I were dry under the tin roof.
Here we spend a quiet night listening to the thunder and rain. We are moving once again, life is great.