Monday, December 19, 2005

Bike Stuff

Crack in right cylinder valve cover patched and crash bar straightened up a bit. This epoxy patch replaces the Super Glue and yarn trick, which didn't quite work out. I'll know in the next few days if this is going to get me to Santiago.

Slept long. My lower right leg in quite a bit more pain this morning, but I'm fairly certain it's all muscular and there was no damage to the bone.

Crawled out of bed about 8:30, showered, then took some ibuprofen and wrapped up my calf again.

There seems no sense in having a doctor look at me. If I've cracked a rib, they'd just have me take it easy; same for the calf muscle.

Found "Representaciones Balu", a small motorcycle shop with a couple of eager mechanics. "Carlos" was confident he could straighten the crash bar and do an effective patch of the valve cover that would serve to get me to Santiago.

He removed the cover and we found that not only had it been cracked, but a mounting bolt was bent and the metal and rubber grommets that form a seal were damaged.

I left the bike in his care and taxied back to the hotel. I wanted to send an e-mail to BMW of San Francisco to check on parts availability.

By the way, when I arrived, Carlos pointed to my headlight that was on. He said it's illegal to ride with your lights on during the daytime. Maybe that's why so many people flash their lights at us motorcyclists.

Late in the afternoon, I taxied back to "Balu". Carlos had everything put back together and it looked good enough to ride. He used a "JB-Weld"-type epoxy on the valve cover. I figure I will know by La Paz how durable the patch is. Who knows, maybe I'll ride it all the way home that way.

Speaking of La Paz, there's an interesting news story today: it looks like former coca grower and labor union leader, Evo Morales has been elected to Bolivia's presidency, leading South America's poorest nation. An Amara Indian, Morales will be Bolivia's first indigenous leader. Morales calls himself George W. Bush's worst nightmare. I will be interested to see the reception an American receives in that country.


11:45 p.m.

Just back from "Norton Rat’s" and a gathering of motorcyclists. Four Japanese riders: Aki, Motsu, Ryou and Mina. (All riding 225cc Yamahas!) Two from New Zealand: Geoff and Nina. Two from Germany: Uwe and Ramona. Four from the U.S.: Anne, Jeremiah, yours and our host Jeff.

Geoff and Nina are on their way home after ten years in England, riding from Colorado since April.

Uwe and Ramona are journalists, traveling the World on motorcycle and writing for “Roadrunner” and 13 other magazines.

Jeremiah arrived late and sat at the other end of the table, so I didn't get to talk with him, but he left Colorado in June, riding a BMW R650GS (like Anne's), went north to Prudhoe Bay, and has been heading for Ushuaia ever since.

An interesting conversation with Ramona about "learning" and "experience" on the road. For her, it's important to settle in with the locals and experience their world. She left Germany five years ago, new to motorcycling. Her first challenge was the Sahara!

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