I had logged 10,000 miles on my bike and felt like it was time for a little maintenance.
Emi was coughing a bit. I wasn't sure if it was because of the altitude, bad gas, spark plugs or a dirty carburetor.
I rode around town and asked a few people about where I might be able to find a good taller (workshop).
I was directed to this workshop operated by a guy named Lucho. There was a Honda XR650 and Kawasaki KLR650 parked outside. I took this as a good indication that they knew how to work on large bikes from Japan. They said that they couldn't work on my bike on Friday, but that they could make an appointment for me on Monday at 8am. And they said that they could perform a complete tune up and obtain all the needed parts for my bike... oil, lube, filters, spark plugs, chain and sprockets. Great news!
It would be two days of waiting, but if they could provide all the right parts it sounded like a good deal.
On Monday, I arrived at the shop at 8am. Well, the shop wasn't open and nobody was around. I waited.
The shop was on a street that was right in front of this raging river. Was this some kind of omen? It is the rainy season and it had been raining in the mountains and in the city every day since I was in Arequipa. Needless to say I was a little concerned that if I left my bike at this shop and the river overflowed it's bank, that my bike would be flooded or washed away.
I asked a policeman that was patrolling nearby and watching the river conditions if he had any reports as to if the river was going to overflow. He said that it was possible and that he was on guard as a precaution in case an evacuation would be necessary. Not comforting.
Anyways, the shop finally opened at around 9am. They started working on my bike at around 9:30. I did not have anything to do other than to ensure that my bike was worked on properly and that the work was completed before the river overflowed, so I stayed and watched while they worked on my bike.
For some reason the mechanic worked really slooooow. And, it turned out that they could not obtain the correct filter, nor spark plugs, nor chain, nor sprockets. Luckily I had a spare filter and spark plugs. The rest of the maintenance would have to wait until I arrived in Chile.
We cleaned out the carburetor, changed the spark plugs, put in higher octane gas, adjusted the idle a bit, changed the oil, installed a new oil filter, cleaned out the air filter, lubed the axle bearings and lubed the chain.
Lucho did teach me how to change the jet of the carb for high or low altitude. It was the first time that I'd personally cracked open and worked on my carburetor, so I appreciated the lesson. I did the work myself so that I'd know how to do it in the future. Monkey see, monkey do.
It took all day to complete the work. By the time we finished the sun had already set and it had started to rain. I took Emi out for a test ride. She seemed to like the tender loving care.
I had mixed feelings about this workshop. It seemed as if I had to direct much if the work, they worked really slow and they did not have many of the critical parts that they promised they would provide. The positive points were that they did let me oversee the work and showed me how to crack open my carburetor.
I felt like I was at least half prepared to begin some long days of riding through the desert.