Sunday, 25 December 2011

Day 51: South, faster (822 kms)

Every motorcycle trip I've been on has one. A day to make miles. There was no time for photos.

We rode due south on highway 5. It was a fine, simple and efficient ride on an interstate quality highway.

Based on how the day started I wondered if we might spend the night near Santiago. The one repair Nathan was not able to complete yesterday was changing his chain. But he met a couple of riders who offered to help first thing in the morning. The one guy, Nico, owned a pizza joint in a southern suburb just off the highway. He was an Italian emigre in his 50s. The other,
Davide, was an Italian national who was riding solo around the world, sponsored by Yamaha, in his early 30s and was billeting with Nico for a few days. We turned up at the gate at 8:15am and my first impression is that we'd woken them up and Nico had completely forgotten about his promise to help.

Maybe I was wrong, since he jumped right into the task and didn't really look back. Nathan commented later that he was exactly opposite to the kind of mechanic that instilled confidence. Within seconds Nico had cut the old chain off with a disc sander. So far, so good. Then he lined up the new chain, eyeballed the length and removed a link. Still too long. Two more links sliced. Too short. Fortunately there was a spare link. Unfortunately it didn't fit. He tried another spare link. Didn't work either.

At this point I had to avert my eyes. There were parts strewn everywhere on the ground, Nico was still cutting with his sander and Nathan was pale in the face.

The problem was solved when Nico cut a basically new chain off another bike parked in his lot and fitted that to the KLR. Just in the nick of time too, because all his riding buddies starting showing up for their Sunday ride. This week was special because of Davide's presence, and these old dudes were primed to show they could still ride.

Davide was a dude, the other guys were putzes. I didn't want to ride with them at all. They were all over the road, crunched up together and popping wheelies for no reason. Nico was the worst of all. After about 20 mins of riding with them, we just got off and started the long ride south.

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