Sunday, January 13, 2013


Day 89 (January 12, 2013)
Lima, Peru
Day's Ride: 0 Miles

Today I actually found a reputable, legitimate Honda dealer that sells bikes over 250cc. I had kind of began to think that they were like Justin's KTM oil: unicorn blood. But, apparently they do exist.

They actually sell the new Honda Transalp 700 here. I was encouraged by the fact that they were also selling an almost new XR650L.

Talking with the manager, Ricardo, I ran down the list of things that I needed done: new chain, new rear sprocket, installation of a new front sprocket, front wheel alignment, luggage rack straightening, and a general look-over to make sure there wasn't anything glaringly wrong with the bike that I had missed after the crash. As it was already Saturday afternoon, he told me that they wouldn't be able to get all of that finished until Monday. Looks like I'll be in Lima for a few days.

Leaving the bike at the shop, I took my recently fractured luggage rack piece to a welder across the street. As you can see from the picture below, the gussets that I added in Ecuador did their job and the rack only partially fractured! Victory!

This is my fourth (and most likely not my last) time having this thing re-welded. Granted, it's been through a lot: two crashes and 10,000 miles of carrying nearly a hundred pounds of gear. The President of the Company that makes this thing told me that I'd put it through quite a bit of abuse. I think that's a slight understatement.

Once again, finding a welder was easy. Getting a quality welder remains impossible. Kind of like finding unicorn blood.

After welding practice, I walked back to the shop were the assistant manager offered to take us to the local "mercado" (market) for lunch. It was legit mercado, complete with butcher shops, fresh produce, and plenty of bootlegged DVD's for sale.

I think that everyone that eats meat should be required to go to someplace like this and see exactly where it all comes from. It's always fun to watch the butcher cutting the head off of a live chicken with a cleaver and then commencing to pluck it right in front of you. He'll even leave the head and feet on for you if you like!

For lunch I had "Lomo Saltado", a delicious combination of beef, onions, tomatoes, hominy, rice, and fried potatoes.

In the mercado, this meal only cost $2.50. I've got to start finding places like this more often.

Back at the shop we got to work on the XRL. Look how crooked my luggage rack is after being hit by that car:

There's really only one way to fix something like this in Peru: brute force!

After seeing this little scene unfold, I told them that it would probably be a good idea to tack the rack off of the bike before attempting to torque it back into shape. They agreed, and watched them have a fun time trying to figure out how to get that thing off. It's actually kind of nice to watch someone else curse that thing out for a change.

After watching them struggle for a few minutes, I showed them how to remove it. As they were pulling the last bolts, I noticed another fracture on the rack! It was on the opposite piece from the fracture that I had had welded earlier today. Looks like that impact really put the hurt on already wounded luggage rack.

Luckily, once again the gussets did their job and the fracture didn't completely break the rack. I'll have to take it the welder on Monday. Fifth time is the charm I suppose.

As some of the workers were torquing on my rack, the head mechanic and I removed the chain and old front sprocket and checked things over. He told me that the splines on the countershaft were fine but that the front sprocket needed to be replaced right away. He also told me that my rear sprocket was serviceable, but that I should probably replace it when I got to Santiago, Chile.

For all of the XRL riders and other bike junkies out there, here's some macro shots of the countershaft, old front sprocket, and rear sprocket:

I also showed him were my loose chain had worn through the chain guard and started eating into the swing arm.

He assured me that they could fabricate a new one on Monday. By this time it was about 5:00 PM and it was time to close up. I left my bike at the shop, flagged down a cab, and returned to the Hotel.

Since they won't be open tomorrow, it looks like I'll have a day to explore Lima. I'll also have to do something about my laundry situation. I haven't really stopped anywhere long enough to clean my clothes since I left Colombia and my things are starting to get a little ripe....

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