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Old 10-11-2010, 03:17 PM   #571
Jammin OP
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Bolivia, Part 2: Salar Attempt and Return to La Paz

July 27 - August 3, 2010

From La Paz, I headed south towards the Salar de Uyuni. A mechanical breakdown meant I had to return to La Paz to fix the bike.


Filling up the tank on the outskirts of the city. The price of gasoline is fixed all throughout Bolivia and there's only one grade, I think it's close to an 86 octane. Bol 3.74 / liter = $2/gal, half the price it is from Peru.


Heading out on the flat altiplano at around 4,000 m (13,120 ft).


Sherlock Holmes and Ferrari(?) welcoming you to Oruro, a city known for its carnival celebrations.


After finding a small hotel, a residencial for 25 Bolivianos with parking, I walked around seeking out a place to eat and where ever there's a crowd of locals around some pots of food, it's gotta be good eats.


It was a mother-daughter team working rapidly to serve out their food and people were waiting patiently in line for their dinner.


Menu was rice, a potato, some chuno (freeze-dried potato of the Andes) and a meat choice of chicken or lamb (cordero). I went for the lamb.


And topped with some onion and tomato salad. All for 12 Bolivianos ($1.75). After you empty your bowl, you can get some thin pasta soup for the chilly night. The people welcomed me to sit and dine with them, recognizing I was a stranger when I started taking photos.


A busy street near the center where there were numerous juice bars serving up protein shakes.


The cakes looked real appetizing but they were in the open air at an intersection and I already consume enough carbon monoxide while riding, so I passed.


Taking off the next morning and grabbing some quick breakfast at a gas station of an empanada with eggs and some veggies. And homemade hot sauce is always around in Bolivia and it's good. Note the plastic bag that the empanada is served in. In general, I feel people serving food have a good sense of hygiene here.


South of Oruro, heading towards the Salar. The mountains on the left grind down to the flat plains on the right.


Distance board. The pavement ends just outside Huari. I wasn't going to Uyuni directly.


On a turn-off, heading west to the town of Jirira, where I planned to enter the salt plain and ride across the salar to Uyuni. This road was being paved but it wasn't open yet and there was a wide sandy track instead.


After seeing a local biker buzzing by on the new pavement, sneaking through the barriers, I figured I could easily climb this sandy embankment to get up to the asphalt. But my rear tire sunk in some soft sand and I gave it too much throttle, which ended up burning a fibre plate in my clutch (heavy rear weight and touring tire - no match for the sand). I managed to climb up the embankment and then realized I couldn't go faster than 32 kph (20 mph); the engine spinning freely as the clutch wouldn't engage past slow speeds.


Burnt clutch in the middle of nowhere at 3,600 m (11,800 ft). This engine had 36,800 kms (23,000 mi) at this point.


At least I had all the necessary tools to go into the engine and diagnose the problem.


The fibre on the first disc was completely disintegrated (it's supposed to look like the disc behind it).


Storing the oil from the engine in two zip lock bags as I had to reuse the oil, not carrying enough fresh oil and besides, couldn't really dump it just on the road. It had fibre bits of the ruined clutch all through it, but what to do.


My Scotts stainless steel reusable oil filter catching bits of the disintegrated fibre from the clutch. I used some carb cleaner that I have strapped on the bike to clean the filter.


I had only ruined one disc, so I thought I could remove that bad one and use washers to exert the needed pressure for the clutch to engage properly.


The clutch cover has probably never been open before, so the brittle paper gasket broke in many places. I spent about an hour cleaning the cover and then applying RTV silicone to act as a gasket and it worked great, with no oil leaks.


A touring bicyclist that I passed earlier in the day finally caught up with me. Kevin here is a German-Bolivian and began his trip in Mexico city in late 2008. He stopped and gave me company for a while. He was a quantum physics researcher in Berlin before deciding to sell off everything to do his dream ride (urupica.de). He planned to spend a week riding around the salar, carrying all his provisions and the crazy thing was that he was sleeping outside and this is winter, where temperatures drop to around -20 C (-4 F) at night (my sleeping bag's only good to 10 C (50 F)). And I always feel guilty when I pass these touring bicyclists creating their own locomotion while I sit on my seat and twist the throttle. Much respect. He told me I had about an hour of sunlight left and if the bike's not working, I needed to find shelter for me and the bike.


My idea of removing the burnt disc wasn't good and I had no traction in the clutch. To get a sense for where I was, those mountains on the other side are about 15 kms (9 mi) away.


There was a small town at the top of this hill, Santuario de Quillacas. I walked into town and found a place to sleep for the night and then came back to roll the bike up the hill into safety. A few people stopped and told me it was not safe to leave the bike here overnight. This road is used to smuggle cars illegally into Bolivia from Chile and bandits are rife at night. I was struggling to make any progress up the hill; gaining 2 meters and then huffing and puffing out of breath at this altitude. I figured I had to do it even if it took all night. Don't worry, sanDRina baby, I got you covered.


I filled up all 40 liters (10 gal) in the last town and thinking of how airplanes need to dump fuel before making an emergency landing, I decided to start dumping fuel to lighten the load that I had to push. Besides the environmental hazard, the flow rate was too low to make any difference. I would need an hour just to lose a few liters. But I kept pushing as the fuel drained.


Luckily, a local quechua family was walking back into town after herding llamas during the day and they offered to help. The mother and daughter were quite strong and we made good progress up the hill. Gaining about 10 meters before a 5 minute break. And I didn't need to waste any more fuel.


The father put my panniers on his bicycle and struggled up the hill with them. They took me to the local church, the santuario, since it had an enclosed place for safety of the bike. I thanked them for their generous help and they simply said "de nada" - think nothing of it.


I got a bed with lots of warm blankets for 20 Bolivianos and they fed me some dinner for another 10. They had a long distance phone, so I rang up my mechanic in Chicago, Gus and asked his advice. The $5 phone call told me what I had to do to make it back. Gus suggested I cut some steel discs to make up the stack in the clutch to get some engagement. In the morning, I put the burnt disc back in and since the bike was rolling, I figured best to get back to a town where I could make some steel discs to get back to La Paz.


Rolling at 40 kph (25 mph) on the side of the road heading to Oruro. Luckily it was generally flat, thanks to the nature of the altiplano. It took all day and I made it just as darkness fell and the temperatures dropped.


I found a residencial close to a mechanic and then when out on town to find some tasty dinner.


She's frying up some lamb kidneys and livers. How about some high-quality proteins, loaded with vitamins and minerals. Only downside is high cholesterol.


Nice, hearty meal for 5 Bolivianos ($0.71). The plastic covering on the plate ensuring clean food even if the plate hasn't been cleaned properly.


The next morning, Fernando here offered to help to get me back to La Paz.


He got me some sheet metal and I set about sniping the discs.


Took quite a while, but I managed to make two discs that would take up the stack of the ruined fibre.


Fernando flattening them out to make them fit in the clutch basket. He didn't accept any payment and said it was a pleasure to help a traveler out. The steel discs worked great and I had full engagement of the clutch through all five gears and speeds up to 100 kph (62 mph). I had about 3 hours of sunlight left for the 200 kms (125 mi) to La Paz. I rode with utmost focus to make it back in time.


Safe again in Alfonso's home in La Paz. I was happy to see the clutch still working along the steeps of the city. My attempt to tour the southwest of Bolivia came to nought and now I was running out of time to enter Brazil, but I promised to come back again to see the Salar.


The next day, we went around to some bike shops and luckily I found some clutch discs for a Kawasaki KLX650 that just about matched the dimensions of my clutch disc. The inner diameter was a bit bigger and the teeth were a bit smaller, but it would work and the bike felt great. I was confident of making it through the Transamazonica to Sao Luis in Brazil where I planned to get a care package from the States, now with a new clutch.


Tasty Saltenas of Bolivia. They're a fried snack from the Salta area of northern Argentina and now are part of the local culture here. We had some the other day at a bike dealership and the guys forgot to tell me that the stuffing is liquid and it dripped all over, but it was so tasty.


Having a tamale, another street snack.


After hearing about my chicken curry at Alfonso's last week, Gonzalo asked if I could prepare it for his family. Happy to spread the joys of curry.


Frying some onions with ginger, garlic and chillies. You can't go wrong with a base like this.


I'm getting better and better at making this particular recipe and I'm happy I can source all the ingredients locally (you can find curry powder everywhere) and it comes out pretty good using different pots and stoves each time.


Going for a test ride after lunch to make sure the clutch feels good and it did.


Zebra Crossing Enforcer. The local mayor's office has these guys dressed as zebras at various zebra crossings, as their known in Britain or pedestrian crossings for everyone else.


Fun-loving characters and Alfonso said you could be a zebra for a day, volunteering to the city. They're trying to foster good habits of crossing only at designated places.


This car on the left stopped past the white line into the zebra crossing making it harder for this lady to get across and the zebra gave the driver a scolding, making a big drama out of it - you know, a little public humiliation to drive home the message. Quite progressive of La Paz to see this.


Alfonso's wife is from the Yungas and her family harvest oranges to sell them in the city.


With Alfonso's mother-in-law, a Bolivian with very strong African ethnicity, where I'm headed next year.


One of numerous murals around the city.


Saying bye to Achira and Alfonso as I head north out of La Paz for Brazil. Thanks for all the help, Alfonso.
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J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

Jammin screwed with this post 03-19-2011 at 10:51 AM
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:52 AM   #572
Jammin OP
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Bolivia, Part 3: Yungas and Mud Riding

August 3 - 9, 2010

I left La Paz and headed north to more remote regions of Bolivia towards the Brazilian border about a 1,000 km (625 mi) away and most of it was off-road. The road plunges from the heights of the Andes, down to the Yungas and finally onto the savanna leading to the Amazon jungle. I was in expedition mode, as I knew the terrain and conditions would be tougher.


At the peak of the Andes at around 4,670 m (15,300 ft), all going downhill from here. I rode this road to Coroico just last week and it was bright and sunny, but today, fast moving clouds shrouded the route in neblina (fog), greatly reducing visibility. It was also lightly drizzling, making for a slick road surface.


Riding into a white-out, where visibility was reduced to a few meters. I slowed down a lot but had to keep moving. Imagine these conditions on the old Death Road and one can see how it gained its notoriety. But this replacement was going to show me that the danger is still there in inclemental conditions.


Taking refuge in a tunnel and putting on my rain gear. Unaware of the accident about to happen.


Fog didn't ease up and visibility was still just in front of my face. As I was negotiating some tight hairpin turns with my safety glasses and helmet shield fully wet, I saw a truck emerge out of the fog suddenly in front of me in my lane. He was one of the typical vehicles down here that doesn't have a working rear tail light or brake light. The truck came to a sudden stop, maybe to let me pass but it was too close to me and I knew if I slammed on the brakes, I was going down (reminiscent of my first accident in Costa Rica) so I had to go onto the shoulder to avoid hitting him, but the shoulder was covered in slick mud and I went down instantly. No injury to me, but sanDRina suffered a broken windshield as she hit the right rear tire of the truck. The truckers jumped out and helped me get the bike up and I didn't know if they were shouting at me or apologizing, but it was all over within a few minutes. I regained my composure and carried on with my eyelids taped open!


The pavement ended near Coroico and the road turned to cobble stones as I pushed north to Caranavi.


And a little further, it went one step further to mud. Wet mud was the one road condition that I was most dreading with this heavy bike but was happy to see that it wasn't so bad to ride through. Just take it easy and go smooth on the bike inputs.


This road wasn't that bad as you can see the wet mud was only a few millimeters deep and underneath was a hard road surface. Pretty nice views of misty valleys with the sun trying to poke through the constant drizzle.


Blechk. First time riding in wet mud.


The road from Coroico to Caranavi is cut into the cliffs and is narrow in most places, making encounters with oncoming traffic tricky, especially as this is a commercial route with lots of trucks and buses. And I didn't catch on for a while that traffic on this road drives on the left (like in India) - repeated flashes from oncoming traffic on the right side of the road was confusing.


It's because in precarious situations like this, the outer-most driver needs to be able to see how close he can get his wheel to the edge of the cliff to let traffic past (driver is on the left side of the vehicles here) and margins are very small in places. In these muddy conditions, I wanted to stay closer to the inside edge, but no, I had to ride close to the cliff :/


When there was no traffic, it was quite a pleasant ride and I was getting the feel of riding in mud.


Mmm, everything coated in a thin layer of mud. I was hoping not to get a flat tire in these conditions, cause I didn't want to touch the bike. I used a hose near a river to wash off the bike, especially the oil radiator and cooling fins on the engine. Even with my shortened front fender, there wasn't much mud on my oil radiator.


A typical scene of two trucks facing off each other around a bend. It was slow going with lots of stops for traffic encounters but everyone was well-behaved.


A wide view of the Coroico River as the road winds through the valley.


Coming across a natural tunnel, which was underwater.


Beautiful ride in this steep valley and besides wetting the road, the misty rain added some epic quality to the terrain.


The clouds finally parting as I neared Caranavi, where the first thing I did was wash off the mud again from all the important places. And then soak under a hot shower.


A mural in a restaurant in Caranavi. Say, that looks really familiar...


Bolivian independence was coming up in a few days and the parade was having a practice through the streets with kids doing some cool synchronized line dancing with some breakdance maneuvers.


The next day, the rain eased up, but the road was still wet.


Oops. Sure thing it's peligro (dangerous). This is a fuel truck and imagine how many times they must slip the other way over the cliff.


I was chugging along mainly in first or second gear since I'm no expert mud rider, but that got the engine very hot, so I took frequent breaks. The road climbed up and down over numerous hills and I was impressed that I didn't get stuck any where, that too with a worn front tire. This is the only route from La Paz heading to the northern region of Bolivia so buses and trucks were frequent.


I guess it doesn't matter what kind of tire you have for mud, cause the tread's going to get clogged anyway.


Taking another break as the engine temperature (between spark plug and cylinder head) soared to 176 C (350 F). I was skating with my feet down through the real thick goop away from the tracks.


Misty, jungle riding through the Yungas.


A sense for the terrain that the route passed through. The Yungas are a transitional region of the Andes, a swath of rainy, humid and warm forest along the eastern slopes leading to the savanna below.


Reaching the small town of Buena Vista where every driver from the route breathed a sigh of relief at coming across an oasis.


Warming up with some typical pasta soup before the meal.


The restaurant owner was also selling coca leaves and home-made chocolate. I loaded up for the dry, dusty straight roads ahead.


He also said the road gets dry within a few kilometers. Encouraged with the drying track.


Crossing the Sapecho Bridge and...


It's dry and dusty! My enthusiasm for the end of the mud roads quickly faded as I realized it would be dry and dusty for the next 4,000 kms (2,500 mi) across the Amazon. Where are those coca leaves?


Taking a break for some lunch and looking back at the wet Yungas.


As I was packing up, Oscar here was riding the other way on a KLR. He's from La Paz and a friend of Alfonso's who'd told him about me. "You're the crazy guy with a solar panel, right?"


Oscar and his wife coming back from a weekend trip. All suited up for dusty riding conditions and I told them about the mud ahead.


It was easy dirt riding that afternoon and towards the end of the day, I saw this Mitsubishi Pajero come barreling down the road and in front of me, his left wheels got caught in the trough by the edge of the road and it spun him violently across the road into this ditch against some trees. The guy climbed out and said he was fine. The dust hadn't even settled yet when I took this picture. Crazy drivers.


I did about 170 kms (106 mi) today from Caranavi and with the light fading, I asked a lady with a small shop in this building if I could camp here for the night.


She said no problem and I had some water access. It was breezy and elevation was about 800 m (2,600 ft).


Sunset over the eastern forests of Bolivia.


The young lady running the small convenience store and her crazy uncle were intrigued as I setup my kitchen to prepare some dinner.


I was carrying lentils and quinoa from Lima and I bought a few eggs from her.


A pretty good high-quality protein meal of lentils with quinoa and scrambled eggs, sprinkled with some Indian spices.


Continuing to drop elevation the next day as I pushed towards Rurrenabaque.


Entering the remote northern state of Beni.


The road was in better condition with some stretches of asphalt even.


The end of the Andes. The foothills end and the flat terrain starts. I've enjoyed these past months roaming around the majestic Andes and look forward to coming back soon. The Amazon lies ahead.


Colorful rock formation as the road touched down onto the flats.


Remove the hills and you get a wide, straight road. It was now getting hot for the first time in three months and time to remove my liners that I put in around southern Colombia.


Arriving at the halfway point between La Paz and the Brazilian border at Rurrenabaque, a tourist town geared towards jungle and river boat trips. I didn't intend to stay in town but as I rolled into the gas station on reserve, the attendant told me they had no petrol and he was the only gas station for around 50-100 kms (31-62 mi). I rode around town trying to find gas but no one was selling. He said the fuel convoy broke down in Caranavi and then later said they were being held up by road blocks. I figured I was going to be here for a while, waiting on petrol to arrive.


At least the setting was quite nice. Watching a sunset over the Rio Beni.


Still in 'expedition mode,' I cooked in my hotel room.


Preparing some pasta with tomato and tuna sauce.


Bolivian independence day celebrations in the streets of Rurrenabaque. The different colors represent the colors of the Bolivian flag.


I walked around town, mainly to the food market and spent the downtime learning Portuguese for the upcoming crossing into Brazil.


I managed to get a hold of 2 liters of petrol (0.53 gal) for 10 Bolivianos, about 1.25 times the regular price. As the days passed, the price for bootleg gasoline kept rising and I was debating whether to bite the bullet and buy 40 liters at now 4 times the regular price at 15 Bol/liter ($8/gal) or keep waiting for the fuel trucks to arrive. As I decided to buy the petrol at whatever price it was, my contact I developed at a local tour agency (where they horde thousands of liters of gasoline to ensure business stability), didn't follow through.


But luckily, on the fourth day, the fuel convoy arrived and everyone in town rushed out to the gas station to queue in lines to fill up their 2-wheelers, cars and spare barrels. It was slow moving and I was in line for about four hours. There was only one pump and the attendant alternated between filling up cars, barrels and the bikes. The moto taxi riders were the most vocal and demanding, but it was generally a jovial atmosphere. The attendant said there was no rush since three fuel trucks had arrived and there would be plenty of petrol for everyone. He encouraged people to come back in the afternoon to disperse the crowd, but no one was going anywhere until they got a fill up. Those three trucks probably didn't last till the afternoon.


Everyone gathered around to see how many liters my giant tank would hold and with those 2 liters that I dumped in earlier, it swallowed another 39 liters (10.3 gal). And luckily at the regular price of $2/gal. Only when it's scarce, do you really get a feel of how much our lives depend on this black gold from prehistoric plants that runs our current world. Hopefully it won't take more severe scarcity for us to realize the finite amount of natural resources on this planet.
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J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

Jammin screwed with this post 03-19-2011 at 10:53 AM
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:44 AM   #573
Erik500
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What an outstanding RR this is, I wish you well Sir and ride safe.
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:28 AM   #574
Jammin OP
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Bolivia, Part 4: Hot and Dusty across the Pampas

August 9 - 13, 2010

After being stuck in Rurrenabaque, in northern Bolivia, for a few days waiting on petrol, the ride was on again. North to Brazil.


Eager to get back on the trail, I left Rurrenabaque around 3pm after getting petrol and packing up.


I didn't make it far before deciding to find a place to stay for the night. I came across this small farm and asked them if I could camp for the night.


It was a good ways away from the road and the dust and it felt quite tranquil.


They were herding cattle and sheep.


As I set about preparing dinner with my stove, they offered me a plate of food: rice with some eggs. Very generous of them.


In the evening, as darkness fell, the old man sat by the fire and their young child fanned the flames.


The next morning, back on the pebble-riddled sandy track. It was going to be hot and dusty for the next 550 kms to Riberalta, the next major town.


The surface was pummeled into soft sand in places and riding through wasn't that bad actually. The only downside was oncoming traffic with trucks barreling by with a huge wake of dust in the air, causing zero visibility for a few seconds. Good thing there was a breeze blowing most of the time to clear the road of the dust clouds.


Picking up some bananas in Santa Rosa, a reasonably-sized town about 97 kms (60 mi) from Rurre.


To avoid the bone-rattling rocks, I followed a path on the side of the road in some places.


Oops. As I was coming back to the main piste from a side track, the heavy sand caught my front wheel and laid the bike down gently, with the pannier resting against the small embankment.


It was quite a struggle to wake up sanDRina from her nap and the loose sand not helping.


I waited about 15 minutes and a local biker came by who helped me get sanDRina right side up. If no one would have come in 20 minutes or more, I was going to start removing the panniers and lightening the bike, but didn't really want to do that in these conditions.


Wow, now that's a tall bird. This is a Jabiru and it's the tallest flying bird in Latin America, standing as tall as 1.5 m (5 ft). As I got near, it was an impressive sight to see this guy take flight.


A group of jabirus around a pond in the Bolivian savanna.


A welcome sight of water in this dry, hot region.


The lose sand made for slow going but I was ratcheting up my sand riding experience as the day wore on.


A dust cloud was moving towards me and instead of the usual truck, it was a herd of cattle.


I got enveloped in them but the cowboys cleared a path for me.


The road condition changed later in the day to a smoother, harder surface allowing me to taste third gear after a long time.


The first sign of natural bright color in a while and the harder surface quickly lead to wash board, a phenomena of undulations that form from the vibrations of heavier traffic as they speed across dirt roads. If everyone would go slower, there'd be less washboarding.


Around 4 pm, I came across this farm and asked them if I could camp for the night, which wasn't a problem.


It was quite a big farm with lots of mechanization and they were also herding cattle.


Strange sunset in the pampas. The strength of the Sun started fading around 4 pm but dusk lasted till about 7 pm. The outline of the Sun was clearly visible all through dusk until it went under the horizon.


I think it's the fine dust in the air, obscuring the strength of our home star that allows us to see the Sun whole without blinding effects. At night, even with no cities around, I could only see a handful of stars.


The kitchen on the farm with an outdoor oven.


Fresh river fish for dinner and that one with the red stripe is a piranha.


The wood fire stove in the kitchen.


Frying up some fresh fish.


The owner and his wife sharing their dinner and their house with me for the evening.


Sunrise the next morning with a similar effect on the Sun.


Back to more mind-numbing washboard road. If you're an expert dirt rider, you can fly across the tops of the bumps by going very fast, but I took the slow route and went up and over each undulation. I was more concerned about the health of my rear shock and the vibrations breaking off something on the bike.


Riding across the bridge at Yata.


A river and colorful trees at Yata.


Looking forward to that curve up ahead. To keep my mind focused on the simple task of going in a straight line at slow speed, I had to listen to some audio books to keep my mind engaged.


Scenery of the pampas (savanna) of northern Bolivia.


And a lot of it is burned, creating pastures for cattle. As a country develops, its demand for red meat increases.


Look, there's a hill. Yeah! There were some stretches of respite from the washboard but after a short while, sudden intense vibrations would be felt signaling the return of the dreaded washboard.


As the sun started to retreat, I kept an eye out for the next farm.


I came across a few clusters of houses in Mariposa and was told I could camp under this tree.


Cute little piglets having a drink from a cut tire-drinking trough.


And after I setup camp, they reclaimed their territory and promptly went back to sleep.


This little guy tagged along and gave me this Caju fruit, from the tree I was going to be sleeping under. I didn't know the cashew nut comes from a fruit like this. Looks pretty strange with the nut outside and a sweet fruit attached to one end. The juice from the caju fruit is very common in these parts of Bolivia and into Brazil.


After I took an outdoor shower, one of the locals who told me I could camp here invited me over to his house for some dinner.


Some of his and the neighboring kids.


Dinner of some fried pork with boiled yuca and rice. There's no electricity in these rural parts and sunlight pretty much governs the day with farmers rising at dawn and trying to finish dinner before it gets dark with everyone turning in around 8 pm. I slept well these nights, get as much as 10 hours of sleep, recharging for the next day.


On the last stretch into Riberalta. Cars would pass me, flying at around 100 kph (62 mph) while I was chugging along at half that speed.


Road engineers have tried to analyze why washboard (corrugated) roads appear, but the cause of the phenomena still hasn't been figured out with prevention impossible. The only remedy is to regrade the road or go slower with lower tire pressures. I think I prefer sand riding over washboard.


Finally a road sign to Riberalta. Good to know I was on the right road (thanks to the trusty GPS).


The road got better as I neared Riberalta.


You're going to warn me about a dip after all that I've been through? :p Civilization must be close.


Coming across the first proper gas station since Rurre in Riberalta. You can find gasoline in the small towns along the way for about 5 Bol/lt.


The vibrations of the washboard took a toll on sanDRina and I had the right pannier weighed down a lot so wasn't surprised to find this crack in the pannier frame.


Welder in Riberalta promptly working on the bike.


Big, fat weld for 10 Bolivianos.


The accident in the fog had cracked a joint in my left pannier and he said he could also do aluminum welding.


A fine job of joining the split walls.


He also made me a new highway foot peg as the old one got sacrificed in the accident, acting as a frame slider and protecting any damage to the engine.


Having dinner with Rodrigo from CouchSurfing. He's from Santa Cruz but has been working here for a few years as he's involved in transporting the lucrative Brazil nut, which is gathered from wild trees as it can't be grown in plantations.


Dinner of some grilled beef with veggies and a soupy rice.


That evening, Rodrigo invited some friends over and we polished off two bottles of a local alcohol made from the Caju fruit.


The final stretch of the road in Bolivia, nearing the border at Guayaramerin.


More washboard, but construction was taking place to pave the 96 kms (60 mi) stretch from Guayara to Riberalta.


Having one last cheap meal in Bolivia before crossing into Brazil.


I didn't get to see what I really came for in Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni but I had a wonderful time here, nonetheless. The people were warm and the food was good. I was shown lots of generosity from mechanics who helped me out with sanDRina and farmers who let me stay with them. It was a rough journey north of La Paz, but the experience will linger.
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

Jammin screwed with this post 03-19-2011 at 10:54 AM
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:22 PM   #575
Jammin OP
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Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
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Going to be interviewed on SideStandUp.com tonight at 8:20 pm ET. Tune in to get an update on my ride thru Brazil.

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Old 10-12-2010, 12:26 PM   #576
ping
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Because of your occasional fall, you may want to get some elbow and knee pads.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:32 PM   #577
evermore
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When I see those miles and miles of washboard, all I can think of is hell no, I ain't doing that. Kudos to you!

I'm in Lima right now, heading to Bolivia before turning south. What's your plan after Brazil?
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:06 PM   #578
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJWPC


Yay, more pics! Fantastic.
Enjoy

Quote:
Originally Posted by far
great
thx

Quote:
Originally Posted by ping
Because of your occasional fall, you may want to get some elbow and knee pads.
I have foam pads in those areas in my Motoport suit and they seem sufficient. Have had 5 falls so far in this suit (since 2007) and no real injuries
It also has hip and chest pads along with the usual elbow, shoulder, knee and back pad. Thanx for the concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by evermore
When I see those miles and miles of washboard, all I can think of is hell no, I ain't doing that. Kudos to you!

I'm in Lima right now, heading to Bolivia before turning south. What's your plan after Brazil?
Yes, it was painful but I knew it would end at some point but am glad I went through at least once. Dont know how excited I'll be about doing it again any time in the near future

Awesome. You'll enjoy it. Let me know if you got any questions.
So, since I didnt get to see the Salar, Im heading west from here back into southern Bolivia then turning south thru Atacama and down the Andes to TDF by Christmas (with a detour to Viedma on the eastern coast of Argentina to present at the HU Travelers Meeting).
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:18 PM   #579
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Great update

As much as I feel for you and all the mechanical issues, I must say that I am selfishly happy you posted an update sans shinny bits and parts falling apart.

I am chatting on Talk shoe now, waiting for you to show up.

Thanks again and ride safe.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #580
Adv Grifter
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Jay,
Those are some of the best photos of the road to Coroico I've seen. I never went further than Coroico but did meet guys who rode into the Yungas and beyond. Awesome. That road scared the crap out of me ... I was on a bus. One set of the double wheels would hang off ... over the edge on corners. No one can really imagine just how far down the cliff goes. Now I guess there are two roads? I was there in 1976.

On Side Stand Up you mentioned running out of pages in your Passport. I was able to add pages to my US Passport in Argentina. (US Consulate) After seven years and 17 or so countries down there ... mine was full. Big stamps for some countries can take up a whole page. A waste.

Also, I got a whole new Passport ... in one hour ... in Quito. I did bring my own photos. This was decades ago. My old Passport had expired. They issued a new one on the spot. Perhaps your Indian Consulate will add pages to your current Passport? Its like an Accordion of pages. Adds about 10 or 15 pages. Good luck.

Waiting for Marc to show up at Factory Pro ... he has been gone.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:33 PM   #581
srileo
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Not a chance with an Indian passport


Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
Jay,
Those are some of the best photos of the road to Coroico I've seen. I never went further than Coroico but did meet guys who rode into the Yungas and beyond. Awesome. That road scared the crap out of me ... I was on a bus. One set of the double wheels would hang off ... over the edge on corners. No one can really imagine just how far down the cliff goes. Now I guess there are two roads? I was there in 1976.

On Side Stand Up you mentioned running out of pages in your Passport. I was able to add pages to my US Passport in Argentina. (US Consulate) After seven years and 17 or so countries down there ... mine was full. Big stamps for some countries can take up a whole page. A waste.

Also, I got a whole new Passport ... in one hour ... in Quito. I did bring my own photos. This was decades ago. My old Passport had expired. They issued a new one on the spot. Perhaps your Indian Consulate will add pages to your current Passport? Its like an Accordion of pages. Adds about 10 or 15 pages. Good luck.

Waiting for Marc to show up at Factory Pro ... he has been gone.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:52 PM   #582
Adv Grifter
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Jet Needle Unobtanium

The guys at Factory Pro all agreed it would be next to impossible to source the original Jet Needle for that Carb. They looked at Sudco web site, no luck. Too many variations ... and who knows if your needle was even the stock one? Could be a different needle. The good news is your bike seems to be running well.

Keep it up Jay, good luck with the Passport.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:04 PM   #583
BigFeet
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Excellent RR! Epic!
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:30 PM   #584
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Ok, so in the last few days Ive serviced the starter motor. Everything looks really good. Mechanic said there wasnt as much black dust as he expected, so things are good there. Sprayed it with contact cleaner and reassembled.

Checked stator health, all within spec.

For the jet needle, I was forwarded to a machinist here who made a collar to mate onto my jet needle and a new top end with grooves for the cir-clip. Fits nicely. Nice job, will put a photo up. We got the carb all setup nicely now.

I also finally got around to making a new throttle cable with a beefier cable than the temporary one I made while enroute. I also made a spare cable with the proper head.


But, another big issue lurking I think. When starting the motor from cold, like overnight and here in Sao Paulo, it gets to like 45 F at night, black smoke is billowing out until the motor warms up nicely. Mechanics have said black smoke is oil, meaning piston rings are going bad. Going to do a compression test and if needed, mount new piston rings...
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Jammin screwed with this post 10-14-2010 at 07:58 PM
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:10 PM   #585
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On further discussion with my mechanic here, Rogerio, he says that black smoke at cold startup points to worn valve seals, not necessarily bad piston rings. So, going to change out valve seals tomorrow after compression test and since head is going to be off, might as well put in new piston rings.

Can someone please let me know the stock piston ring dimensions and bore of cylinder. I have the manual, but not at my computer now. Not going to change out piston, yet. Maybe at next major service.
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