November 27, 2012 GMT
2nd Breakdown

And this time it was the bike.

With perfect timing the bike died outside an hotel. I didn't know that it had until I came to move it to the car park an hour later. The ignition didn't even give a whimper. The man who I was meant to be following to the garage re-appeared as I was stripping the fairing to check the wiring.

It took longer to take the fairing off and replace it than i did to find and fix 2 loose wires. This may have been a record diagnose and fix time for me.

While I was leaking sweat profusely into my riding gear, Jean was keeping cool in the hotel. I was putting the fairing back on before she realised I had not returned from parking the bike and decided to come and look for me.


We had spent the day crossing into Bolivia and riding to Tarija, the scenery started very jungle like as we rose into a cloud forest, at which point Jean started to regret the burning of her waterproofs.

And if we run out of space the bra might be next...


The road surface was very good, allowing for some decent riding, avoiding rock falls and potholes. By the time we reached Tarija, above 2 separate layers of clouds, everywhere was hot and much drier, which is handy as it is the major Bolivian wine region.


We took an extra day here to improve the earlier evening fix and prepare the bike for the next stage which we have been informed involves 80kms of "ripio"/earth road during the 400kms and 2500m of ascent to Potosi.

I've had to work in the street, again, to do the rewiring. But this seems to be very normal in South America. It is also handy for meeting people. Jorges, who works for the police, came over as we were discussing a crack in the fairing and a missing headlight bolt.

After a brief chat about bikes and the shaking we are going to get on the road to Potosi, he rolled up his sleeves and organised a new bolt, some wire, and a candle to heat the wire and burn holes in the plastic. He then set about making a wire bracket to fix the fairing and secure the headlight properly


While the fairing was off I took the opportunity to check the coolant levels. Which are now OK.

For those that don't know yet, we had an issue with the bike being incontinent and over heating in the searing heat back in Argentina.


While investigating the cause i discovered the radiator was almost empty. There has been a lot of speculation about causes, some terminal, but we have decided it is just a thermostat issue in extreme heat.

A positive side to all these 'issues' is that in each town visited we have been able to acquaint ourselves with the variety of ironmongers, tool shops and mechanics. Each visit involving a complicated mime with various new mechanically related new words learnt. And much amusement for the consistently good humoured and patient locals.

Tomorrow will be a long day, longer if we get our petrol range wrong.

The winging it continues.

Posted by Bruce Porter at November 27, 2012 05:43 PM GMT

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