It could have been worse...
It could have been worse I guess. After all, it was merely the drive-shaft that had disintegrated and not the gearbox as initially suspected.
Having established a replacement drive-shaft to cost in the region of US$1000 (and a five week wait) from BMW Buenos Aires, I picked myself off the floor and placed an order with a supposedly reputable dealer in the US, for half this price.
Wrongly assuming that dealing with the developed world would be a breeze, I subsequently received three seperate deliveries in as many weeks. My sincere thanks to Sister-in-law Yvonne in Houston who sent parts the dealer wouldn't; to Canadian Randy and Calafornian Shelley who hand-carried various parts direct to Buenos Aires and of course, the local FedEx man who delivered the final delivery the dealer forgot to send. To add insult to injury, they sent me a can of household door hinge lubrication grease when I requested BMW high temperature spline grease! I shudder at the thought.
Hame's new best mate, the FedEx man!
Anyway, in between regular calls to the US dealer from the local internet cafe (thank goodness for Skype), I made use of the time by addressing the issue of the cracked sub-frame, leaking suspension and the intermittent ABS. The latter being a straightforward process - I removed the bulky ABS unit altogether. Problem solved! In it's place, I got highly technical and installed a cut-down plastic oil can to house spare parts. Result!
The leaking suspenders were beyond my capabilities and were once again despatched to a local suspension guru for their third rebuild of the trip. Aftermarket shocks...not next time!
That only left the problem of the cracked sub-frame to solve. I found the solution lying in a bucket out the back of the workshop.
Potential frame support
Some work with Javier's hacksaw and files saw two new frame supports created. A nearby welding shop made a top job of repairing the cracks and securing my frame supports, voilą!
Once the compilation of parts finally arrived, I set about putting it all back together:
Eh, where does this go again?
Hame and Javier
Hame installing the new drive shaft
With the bike complete, only one job remained: Project Rocket Launchers! Que? Some months previously I'd installed two plastic drainage pipes to the underside of either cylinder in order to store tools and tyre repair gear. The theory was a good one, the practice wasn't. Plastic pipes + hot exhaust = (To quote Em) "I told you so!"
Javier therefore suggested using ex-Argentine Army steel armament cans. Available from a downtown Army surplus store complete with a waterproof hinged lid and at ten pesos a pop (£1.60), I couldn't go wrong! A little long, we cut them to the required size and re-soldered the ends back on over the hostel stove!
Cooking up some rocket launchers
All that remained was to pack the tent and mow the lawn!
Saturday afternoon in suburbia
As well as being busy on the bike and fixing bits of kit etc, we also took in the sights and sounds of Buenos Aires. It's a huge city of 13 million and there is loads to do! With Dan, the Man with the Plan, we explored San Telmo, an area famous for tango and antique markets.
Tango in San Telmo (thanks for the pic, Daniel)
We wandered around Recoleta cemetery where the most famous woman in Argentina, Eva Peron is buried. The tombs were amazing. Feeling like I was in a scene from Romeo and Juliet, I marvelled at the amazing sculptures and ornate coffins in which the rich and famous or well-to-do families of BA are laid to rest.
Evita Peron's grave
We also went to the National Gallery of Fine Art. As well as lots of Argentinian and Spanish art, there were paintings by Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Diego Rivera, to mention a few.
Rodin's The Kiss was also on display
We also watched the rugby world cup...
Watching England beat France with Simon, Guido, Hame and Daniel. (Thanks for the photo Daniel!)
...supporting our respective countries of course, but we also became huge fans of Las Pumas, who played with such passion and spirit we were bowled over. The support for the Pumas within Argentina was amazing, with huge posters everywhere and adverts on TV. Our favourite slogan was "Quilmes, sponsor of 15 animals with the hearts of gentlemen".
Las Pumas poster
A couple of extra Pumas recruits
While in Buenos Aires we got in touch with Marcelo, an ex-customer from Hamish's Everts days who he'd stayed in touch with. Marcelo soon became a good friend and he thoroughly spoiled us while we were in BA. He cooked us a wonderful asado, took us out on his boat around the lovely area of Tigre...
Click below to share the experience!
Fuelling up the boat
Going for a spin on the river
Hame on a rubber ring!
...and gave Hamish a present of a St Andrew's school adults' team rugby top. Marcelo went to St Andrew's, one of most famous schools in Argentina - Scottish, of course.
St Andrew's school
With Marcelo and his family
Puerto Madera and a great meal out.
Marcelo's partner, Sandra also cooked us a gorgeous Brazilian meal and we watched her sing one night. She had an amazing voice and we were very impressed!
Daniel was a great friend while we were at Dakar and we enjoyed his company. As part of his mission to "slow down the world" we had more than a few nights sampling the wonderful Argentinian wine and putting the world to rights. It's an on-going conversation!
Daniel, the King of Asados
After a month, Hamish had Bertha back to her normal self, if a little shinier and cleaner! She looks - and feels - like a new bike. Thank to Javier for the use of the workshop and all the coffee, and for being a good friend! We can recommend Dakar as a place to meet and greet new folks and to get anything done you need.
Meeting new travellers at Dakar
This sidecar and a half belongs to a guy from Lichtenstein
Saying 'bye to Portugese Antonio, after a few nights sampling wine...
One very intrepid traveller we met is Simon Gandolfi, a writer who is exploring South America and writing about his experiences on a bike. Here he is leaving after Javier fixed his bike (he had a spill in Tierra Del Fuego). Note the crutch holder...!
Ready for anything... (Thanks Daniel for the pic)
After about a month of living in the workshop we moved to an apartment for a week. It was in a lovely leafy green suburb called San Fernando and we had a very pleasant and relaxing time there.
View from the roof of our apartment (you asked what it looked like, Nicki)
It would have been far too easy to stay so we booked a ferry and packed up. After one final asado at Dakar, (kindly organised by Daniel) where we met lots of other travellers, we grabbed a couple of hours sleep and rode onto the early morning ferry to Colonia, Uruguay.
Leaving Dakar (Daniel, thanks for the photo!)
We actually had a PLAN, one of those things we find it hard to make. Hamish had heard about the ISDE (International Six Day Enduro) in La Serena, Chile so we planned a route there via Roasario and San Rafael - where we knew we'd meet up with lots of friends. We were - very happily - on the road again....
A rare nice picture of me - on Marcelo's boat
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