El Salvador (South)

After the long day crossing Honduras we sat in daze as we watched the El Salvadorian customs police give a tourist bus the once over. This bus in particular was going to Cost Rica…. Three countries away!!

We turned off the road soon after, waved to the family on their porch as they looked at us with puzzled expressions. The returned wave was the OK.. We rode up a cattle trail a little more and camped under a tree a few hundred meters from them, big day, exhausted!
No monkeys in the trees above this time.

The next day we were in to the dirt again, heading from Chapantique towards a lake that we didnt actually find till after we passed St Gerard to the north of it. Ive been asking locals, who all seemed armed with a machete and an elaborate leather holder, where i can get one??
Search is on…

When we found the very northern edge of the lake, which was more like a stagnate river, there was no bridge but a $2 in total ferry service that took you across. As i rolled to a stop, our problems began. Oil spitting from the left of my motor. Rolling onto the ferry, i feared a blown gasket as we crossed the calm surface.

When we got to the other side the motor was still really hot, i blamed the heat for the oil leak that had just started but caused the loss of half my oil. I decided to let her cool and push the bike into the lake to clean the oil off which should help me find the leak.

Five minutes later after the bike was in about a foot of water and i had cleverly put the side stand on a river rock, cleaned the oil off, cooled myself and the bike. I started her up again, ready to ride out and look for the oil leak.

A foot further into the lake in the turning process and front half the bike disapeared under the water and i lost ballance and over we went. Fully submerged before i was able to kill the engine… I was quite surprised at how long she ran for before the dreaded stop…

With the help of a local truck driver we dragged my beloved bike onto the bank where i sat, head in hands asking what i had done wrong!!

After a long wait for it to begin to dry i began to think what needs to be done. My first reaction was to get a truck to drag me to the city for a mechanic as i have never faced or read about fixing this issue before.

It was arranged $10 to the city…. It would leave in two hours.

Then i began work, i couldn’t just sit and stare.

1st, air filter, removed and let dry on the grass in the intense sun..
2nd, exhaust, full of water… I remove back half and drained the rest as best i could.
3rd, drained the carburettor, it has a little screw on the bottom.

I was trying to start it unsuccessfully after each of these steps. Just preying the electrics had had time to dry and were ok.

Still nothing, I removed the seat, tank and carburettor and felt the water droplets in the engine…. Shit!! I knew this was bad.

Took the spark plug out, it was wet, dried it then tested it to spark… It did!! and water vapour spirited out of the top of the engine where the spark plug was previously screwed.. A few more cranks till the vapour stopped and then i resembled her.

Next major crank she roared to life, i hadn’t put the exhaust back on so it was a loud bellow across the valley.. I grinned a great grin before the oil started spitting again..

Id forgotten why i had put the thing was in the water in the first place..

What i was pleased to see was that the hole in my engine was not a gasket but was on a small metal tube on the left side i had arched a hole in.

The reason being is that i start my bike by shorting the electrical starting system with a coin..(short the starter relay)
I’ve often accidentally arch welded the coin to the relay or engine but i had never considered a hole.

I thanked my lucky stars and cracked open the JB weld that Bobby in Costa Rica had given me. Its a putty and the instructions read six hours to set.

Well the camp site was set for the evening. I fixed it then we pushed the bike off the track a little and cooked our remaining rice and tuna.

The following morning it was naive to think it would be a hassle free start… My carburettor spat allot of fuel and the engine would just die out… ‘Floats’ i presumed, covering this issue on Nick’s the KiWi´s bike back in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia (F’in Thing!) I gave her a few taps with no result. So it was another removal and a clean with the cooking alcohol was the final answer…

Done!! We took off for a well deserved soda at the first vendor.

The usual road works to deal with…

Civilization, a shower, food and washed cloths we found in the nice colonial town of Suchitoto about an hour from San Salvador.

Tomorrow its back to the road.. and the only thing on the maintenance cards is a chain adjustment and some more oil.

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