Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chile Chico

Day 150 (March 15, 2013)
Chile Chico, Chile
Day's Ride: 0 Miles

Happy Ides of March to everyone!

Spent the day chilling in Chile Chico. The climate here is amazing; this is the first day that I've spent in shorts and a t-shirt in a while and it was a welcome change. I've heard that the Carreterra Austral can be a little wet, so it was nice to soak up the sun while I could.

I took the opportunity today to check my valves, clean my air filter, and give the bike a thorough once over to make sure nothing was breaking. My improvised chain slider seems to be holding up okay. The chain has worn through about 1/3 of the thickness of the nylon, but it seems to be holding steady there.

The valve check was going pretty well at first; everything seemed a bit loose, so I started tightening everything up. I finished, then went back to double check all of the adjustments and found that I couldn't get the feeler gage in the right exhaust valve any longer. I loosened it up almost to the limit and still could barely fit the correct gage in! I had a minor heart attack, then realized that I had been wiggling the crankshaft a little after I had finished the initial adjustments. I went back, rotated the crank shaft a few times, put it back at TDC, and was able to adjust the valve properly again. Phew!

I do have one question though for all of the XRL riders though: the manual says to tighten the valve until there is "slight drag" on the feeler gage. I've been tightening the valve down all the way until the feeler gage is stuck, then gradually back off until it slides back and forth with a little bit of catch to it. Is that what I should be looking for or do I have it too tight? It seems like it's a hard thing to measure as there is always a "slight drag" on the feeler gage when you insert it unless the valve is extremely loose.

Spent the rest of the day sending emails, trying to coordinate shipping for my bike, and walking around Chile Chico. Dylan tells me that we are right next to the second largest lake in South America, right behind Lago Titicaca.

This evening a stray dog ripped a hole in Dylan's tent and ate some of his food. A few minutes later a few cats jumped up on the picnic table where we've been cooking and knocked over some of our pots and stole some hotdogs. Dylan got pissed and started chasing the cats around trying to stomp them into the ground. I just watched and laughed and wondered why girls always get angry at me for being mean to animals. They should really be angry with Dylan. Tomorrow we begin the Carretera Austral. Things are starting to draw to a close for me. I figure I still have a few weeks left but all of this talk about shipping has me feeling like I'm getting ready to head back tomorrow!

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