The day started by packing the bikes up, having a quick bite at the Himachal Hills Hotel (800 rps no A.C. for the room that night)and off we went with one bike dead. We decided we would coast back down the hill towards Kiratpur and see if we could find a mechanic who could help us out with the stuck exhaust valve. Once the road leveled off we would bring out the tow strap and pull it the rest of the way into town.
This technique worked pretty well and it didn't take long to get back down to Kiratpur. This town is basically like a huge truck stop where TATA drivers prepare or repair their rigs for the steep climb into the mountains. The road is mostly dirt and the dust is extremely thick. That combined with the heat and humidity made it just miserable conditions for just looking for someone to wrench on the bike.
With Joe and Minxter in tow we pulled in front of each shop that looked like they had the tools and knowledge to help us out. The first couple of shops didn't really even want to look at the bike and shewed us off with one of them saying we needed a "Big Hospital" for the bike. The traffic was thick and I was getting worked up because of the heat and dust. Then I spotted a shop with a bunch of scooters out front being worked on. I figured we would check it out. Well, I guess the bags strapped to my bike was a little wider than I thought and I clipped this guys Lambretta scooter with the bag and sent it crashing down in the dirt. Every head swung our way as the guy who owned the bike picked it up and sifted through the dirt for all his carburetor parts. They were not impressed and definitely not going to help out with the bike. So off we went.
The next shop we stopped at was totally different. Everybody wanted to help at this shop. This was our first experience with the Indian people who don't know anything about bikes wanting to tear right into the motor and fix the problem. Usually adding to the problem significantly. At this point we were still being polite to anyone willing to lend a hand. That would not last long.
This guy would not believe the valve was stuck and just wanted to braze a spacer on the rocker arm. These guys are the kings of improv and the cobb job. It was so chaotic and they just would not listen to anything we said. Joe finally accepted what was going on. You know a little Chai tea will sooth the situation. Really works.
An older Sikh man offered to take me and find a mechanic. I would load up on his scooter and he would hook us up. What the hell?
He basically stopped at all the shops we had already spoken to and really didn't turn up much new information. Luckily he did not stop at the shop I pissed off by throwing all their parts in the dirt. Even though he didn't turn up much info I felt fortunate to have spent some time with this guy. He didn't really speak much English we communicated all right. A key cast member in what was shaping up to be the second of many difficult days maintaining this sweet piece of english engineering manufactured in India.
When I returned there was a younger man who showed up and explained there was a R.E. mechanic about 20km up the road in Anundpur across from the Sikh temple. He was actually one of the few Indian guys still riding R.E. and said this is the mechanic to go to with our problem. We put the bike back together and were quite surprised it fired up with no compression and a stuck valve.