To change the broken part on Mike’s bike, commonly referred to in Kawasaki KLR 650 circles as the ‘doohicky’, we needed to make a ‘special tool’.
This tool was like a big bolt (rotor puller) and needed to be the right size and thread to work properly.
Jose, voted by us as one of the worlds best mechanics, had the ear and the answers to fix anything. He had the “special tool” made at a engineer’s near by. We spent days with Jose, and learned so much about our bikes.
Jose spoke next to no English, except he did know “special part” which he used in most conversations, explanations and as the punch line for jokes, especially concerning Kawasaki and the manual we had access to.
He helped us check our valve clearances and swapped shimm’s between bikes. I beat out the top box and repaired bits and pieces that were well overdue. Somehow I managed to destroy my speedo cable/mechanism (on Mike’s advice). I was never to be aware of how far or how fast I was traveling from this point!
On our final night in Punta Natales we shared our hostel with a dozen or so American students. It was our first taste of being adventure motorcycle celebrities, or so we thought. The questions and compliments came thick and fast, and with little contact with English speakers in the previous six weeks, we lapped it up. With no ties to the other world, saying no to a little affection wasn’t likely to happen either.
Early in the morning, ready to or not, we were on our way with Buenos Aires the new focus. Riding east we had the roaring 40′s blowing us forward. When the day grew dark, in typical fashion, we left the road and set out across the plain. We found a camping sight where we thought we wouldn’t be disturbed and settled down for the evening.
It wasn’t strange to find Nick in his massive tent with a block of chocolate, Mike once commented that the only thing missing is a Jane Austen novel. While he seemed to have the luxuries, one thing he didn’t have was a quality sleeping bag. Hence, the night that followed, as the frost and ice settled on our bikes and tents, Nick claims to have the worst night of his life…. wrapped in absolutely everything he owned, he was forced to jiggle to maintain blood flow.. ……but he had to much pride, or perhaps to much loyalty to Rachel not to come crawling into Mike’s or my tent.
We moved quickly each day, sticking to the highway. Our biggest day was roughly 1150km and every night when we found a place to camp it was about five degrees warmer.
We were stopped one day while passing through a town by a man who insisted we had lunch with him. We later discovered that he restored classic motorbikes and had a number of half finished projects in the an adjacent house. A man with a passion we all admired and we were grateful for the hospitality.