Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 82 - Posadas to Paso de los Libres, Argentina

RobT:  We woke up, hoping today would be better.  RobC was awake most of the night because of the bike problems, trying to think of a solution and the options before us.  We got to the shop around 9 am, only to find out nothing had been done.  The bike was as we had left it the night before, so we decided to go for breakfast at the bus station across the road.  We came back an hour later and still nothing.  We found out the tech was working on making a custom part, an inner sleeve that fit the inner diameter properly, glue it and put a fitting across the junction that would hold it together.  We were praying  he would make it long enough to compensate for all the hose he had cut, as now it was too short and would restrict the motion of the handle bars.  He went through 8 drill bits making this new part and around 11 am it was done, tested and ready to go.  We were so excited!!

With the bike back together, we were on the road by 12:30 and still on track to make the Dakar Rally in Victoria, even though we wasted a half day with this clutch hose problem.  We had 550 km to cover today, which we knew was pushing it but thought we could still make it ... until ... 200 km down the road RobCs clutch went altogether blank.  Nothing.  The motor was running fine, but there was no drive to the transmission. He had noticed several days ago that the clutch was slipping in 5th and 6th gears, but we both thought we would be able to make it to Buenos Aires.  Today it started slipping in 4th and even in 3rd gears.  It was 3 pm and very hot along a long barren stretch of Highway 14.  The next town with fuel was 150 km in either direction.  To make matters worse, we also ran out of drinking water. 

We tried a few things with the bike but nothing helped.  RobC placed a call to our BMW friend, Hank, in Dilley Texas, who gave us some advice on what to check and stated that he was willing to meet us down here if we could come up with a spare parts list.  Sure!!  We found out that the BMW shops here don't stock a lot of spare parts.  Getting parts in South America that need to be brought in from outside the country takes about 30 days, most of that time due to customs bureaucracy, so that was out of the question. One option was RobC could also fly to the States to pick up the parts in Miami for whomever was going to work on the bike down here.  Problem now was getting the bike to a place to get it looked at.  We flagged down a guy on a scooter who was willing to help but his bike was running on fumes (no gasoline) so I emptied one of my precious fuel cans into his gas tank.  He happily went off in search of a truck to haul the bike. He returned 20 minutes later with no news about a truck, but did say 20 km down the road there was a guy with a red truck who might be able to help.  He was off shortly after that.

I emptied the other jerry can into my bike and noticed I had just enough fuel to get us to the next town with fuel.  I towed RobC's bike to the village where we were to find this red truck.  Never did find the guy but ran into a very friendly mechanic that gave us further information about a border town 130 km further down the road and that there is a chance that the bike can be fixed across the border in Brazil.  To our relief, his kind wife filled our Camelback hydration bags with ice cold water.  So, off we went, 130 km down the road at a blistering pace of 60 kph, where we would fuel up and hopefully get some info on bike repairs.

Things seemed to go smoothly with the towing until we had to make a turn.  That’s when it got a little nerve racking.  We actually made it to a service station 2 km from our destination, running on fumes when I turned and RobC's bike jerked the back end of mine and down I went, 30 feet from the pumps.  (We have stopped counting bike spills.)

We made some inquiries and headed for a hotel in town to regroup.  En route we were flagged down by a guy by the name of Daniel, a fellow motorcycle enthusiast,  who, upon learning of our dilemma, was willing to help.  He led us to the hotel and later took RobC across the bridge into Brazil in hopes of finding a solution to the clutch problem.  Apparently, Brazil is full of BMW GS's like ours and things could get done there.  Went for supper and Rob appeared to be cheerful with the possibilities proposed by Daniel.

After disappearing for several hours with Daniel, RobC came back somewhat discouraged, as all he got was a pile of suggestions and only one real concrete solution for transporting the bike.  Daniel had offered to take the bike to Buenos Aires on a trailer, as he was heading past Buenos Aires on Monday and Rob would pay for the gas.  Fair enough.  He also mentioned he was going to the Dakar Rally in Victoria and offered to take us, as we were contemplating going by bus or renting a car.  Same offer from Daniel, we would pay for the gas.  Cool.  We had something concrete now.

Sorry, this is a pictureless post ... maybe I should take a picture of myself and put it here ....[RobC edit:  My picture would not look very good right now - I was a lot happier with a running bike. I must add here once again that my friend and riding partner (who has a perfectly running bike) has been a real trooper throughout this event, helping me at every turn and never complaining.]

No comments:

Post a Comment