In the morning Alison needs to sort out her bike. She had been having trouble with her front end since Peru Motors changed her front tire. She pulls it apart to find they had left a bolt on the inside of the tube, and then added another bolt to the outside. No wonder she was having a hard time.
She starts to research her overheating issues but decides against pulling the bike apart in such a remote place. We decide to get back to La Paz where we can at least get parts if needed.
We decide the bike will not make the slow speeds of the death road uphill and return on the same path back to La Paz.
As we hit the city traffic her bike starts struggling. We try to stop in to get SOAT insurance, as we were told they were all closed when we were here the other day. The street SOAT lady tells us she cannot sell us international insurance but we might get it at the head office. She points to it on the map and we head there. The traffic is mad but at least it is all downhill. Alison starts rolling the bike. Starting it only when necessary. We pass the place where we were told to go, the one way streets splitting off and taking us way out of the way. There is nothing that we can do but go with the flow of traffic. Finally we get to turn around and start going up a hill. Its then Alison hits trouble. Her bike decided not to start again, the poor KLR battery depleted with all her stop starting. I leave her there for her bike to cool down and walk up to find the insurance. I see nothing. I ask around and no one seems to know. They give me many directions, in far off locations. I walk back to Alison and tell her the bad news. Its almost 6pm and I want to head to the motorcycle shops to get a new mirror, and find her some coolant. She starts she could jump start her bike and try and head back to the hotel. I arge she would be better witing for the traffic to cool off and me to return from the shops so I can jump start her when she needs to stop along the way. I leave her saying I will return in an hour.
The traffic is terrible. I crawl around to get to the motorbike shops, get my goods then as I finally return Alison is not there. The traffic seems to have not changed, and I head down the hill that I believe Alison jump-started trying to find her. The road then splits off and I find myself in the maze of the one-way backstreets of La Paz. It’s horrid. In the slow moving traffic I hear the click of my chain again. Crap. Finally I make my way back to the main road near the hostel after an hour of negotiating the joys of La Paz traffic and streets. I pull into the hostel at 8pm and Alison opens the gates for me. I am thrilled to see her, and not have to return to the streets looking for her broken bike.
Dinner on the streets
We decide to spend the next day on bike repairs. We wake up and Alison is sick. Lucky I have a packed medical cabinet thanks to mother who is an RN, set Alison up with an antibiotic regime. I head down to BMW taking Alison battery with me. Alison decides she is not going to let another mechanic touch her bike and starts to pull hers apart. Amazing girl.
BMW politely tell me in English that they cannot help me today as they have 4 bikes from Venezuela pull in and they only have one mechanic on. I ask about chains and sprockets and they have none in stock. They point me down to the Honda store, where they also tell me (in English!) they don’t have any but they take a look at my bike and tell me not to worry. The mechanic tightens the chain, with my luggage and me on the bike (I had been following the manual that said tighten it unloaded), and states I will easily make it another 3-4000km. I get Alison’s battery charged and finally have my front tire installed that I had been carrying since Bogotá. I feel good. My bike feels good and my worrying is lessened. The problem with not knowing much about bike mechanics is if anything goes wrong I worry, when most people would just fix it. I am getting better and better with managing the bike myself, but I look at Alison and am impressed by her mechanical ability. I ‘spose its just not something I am really interested in. But on a trip like this it would sure help!
A lovely part of La Paz where the Posh people hang out ;)
I go out for a nice lunch with great wifi. Pick some healthy looking Yarrow in the street to make a tonic for Alison, and return via the SOAT (where they state it is not possible to buy international insurance). Poor Alison had been in bed most of the day feeling awful. But has slowly started to work on her bike. I make her some Yarrow tea, great for healing the blood, and cook up some dinner. She needs some time to get better and get her bike better, but I am chewing at the bit to get out of traffic-choked La Paz. We talk it through and I decide to leave in the morning and head to Potosi where I plan to meet her in a few days.
Hewby screwed with this post 10-01-2013 at 12:16 PM