Day 191 – Uyuni, BO to San Cristabol, BO

Day 191 – Uyuni, BO to San Cristabol, BO      02/28/11      Mileage: 61

I was up and working on the bike early as I still had to finish spooning on the new rear tire. Marshall had to help break the bead on the old rear using the kickstand on one of the Beemers. Marshall and Megan also did some grocery shopping for camping the next two nights out on the Altiplano. So with all this last minute preparation we didn’t get on the bikes until around 11am…but it was nice to be rolling. First stop was to top up the tanks and spare fuel bottles as the next known fuel is in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile…2-3 days riding from Uyuni.

We made a quick stop at the train cemetery for some pictures, but then it was all business as we pointed the bikes across the high plains of the Altiplano.

The road was slick as goose shit in spots (certainly not the spot in the pic below!) thanks to all the recent rain, but it was manageable.

Marshall after he got a mud bath from a passing truck!

I was out in front and all was going well until I rolled off the throttle to stop and take some pictures of some llamas along side the road. The bike died on the way down through the gears and I rolled to a stop.

 I didn’t think too much of it at first as it has done this before at altitude…which now was around 13,000 feet. But unlike every other time, the bike would not start. Shit!

Marshall reading my Clymer shop manual while I tinkered…

This might be the first official breakdown in some 24,000 miles of riding…and the middle of the Bolivian Altiplano could not be a worse spot. Luckily Marshall and Megan provided a safety net and I was glad they were with me. Megan took pictures of llamas while Marshall and I went to work trying to revive the KLR.

It seemed the bike was flooding and Marshall noticed gas on the ground…which was coming out of the airbox. I pulled the cover to the airbox to dry out the engine and also pulled the tank to make sure the new spark plug I put in two days ago was properly seated. We did manage to get it started again, but it would stall as soon ad the RPM’s dropped. M–therf–ker…this sucks. The side of a muddy road in the rain is no place to take a carburetor apart, so we decided to make the run to village of San Cristabol about 25 miles ahead. I started the bike and hit the gas, and as long as I kept the RPM’s up I could keep going…and I did all the way to San Cristabol. Sure enough though, as I came off the throttle to make the turn into town, the bike died. At least now I could find some shelter to have a better look at the bike and the Clymer manual I’m carrying. We found a room at the only hotel in town and Marshall and I had to push the bike 2 blocks, but I did manage to get it running again and rode the last 3 blocks to the hotel.

The Hotel San Cristabol…

Mashall and Megan went to scare up some food and I sat down to study the Clymer. All the evidence pointed to a stuck float in the carburetor, and the process described in the manual involved removing carburetor and taking it apart…not an insignificant process. But, I noticed that one step was to drain the float bowl after removing the carburetor….so I thought, why don’t I just drain it now while it’s still on the bike…maybe that will free up the float. So I put a clear tube (that I also carry) on the float bowl drain and as soon as I opened the tap a few pieces of grit and dirt shot out. Damn Bolivian gas! I started the bike and presto…it was running as good as new! It seems some of that grit was binding up the float causing too much gas to flow into in the float bowl which was flooding the engine. I ran it around town for 20 minutes and it was running flawless! I can’t believe that a few pieces of grit from some bad gas brought the mighty KLR to a halt, but at least the fix ended up being easy. Lesson learned is to straight away drain the float bowl if I have this problem again. Tomorrow will be the true test to see if that really was it. But that’s tomorrow, and tonight there is much wine and beer to drink, so until tomorrow….cheers!

Parting shot: Megan and Marshall after several libations…

Advertisements

8 Responses to Day 191 – Uyuni, BO to San Cristabol, BO

  1. Lynn Hilliard says:

    Hi Lenny,

    To selfish me your day of agony was worth it just for the beautiful picture of that llama’s eyes! What a beauty…I want one!

  2. Arlene says:

    LENNY, DAD AND I CANNOT GET OVER THE BEAUTY OF THE AREAS YOU ARE IN. THE SALT PICTURES WERE ALL JUST UNBELIEVABLE. DID THE SALT BURN YOUR FEET WHEN YOU WERE IN IT BAREFOOTED????? THE PHOTOS WERE JUST AMAZING AND WE ARE SO HAPPY FOR YOU. WE ARE SO THANKFUL THAT MARSHALL AND MEGAN RODE WITH YOU AND THAT YOU TOOK THE GUIDE.
    THAT WAS GREAT THAT MARSHALL AND MEGAN WERE THERE TO CAMP WITH YOU AND ALSO TO HELP FIX THE BIKE!!!!!
    IT IS ALL JUST BEYOND OUR EXPECTATIONS AND THE PHOTOS ARE JUST BREATHTAKING AND SO CLEAR, THEY ARE EXCELLENT. IT WILL MAKE FOR A GOOD TABLE BOOK. I BELIEVE THAT IS THE RIGHT NAME.

    TAKE CARE AND BE SAFE AND WELL. THANKS FOR THE INFO I NEEDED. WE ARE SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND VERY PROUD OF YOU. SO WHAT IF MY HAIR IS ALMOST TOTALLY GRAY, HA, HA, HA,
    ACTUALLY THE TRACKER AND BLOG HAVE REALLY BEEN MARVELOUS TO WATCH AND KNOW HOW YOU ARE DOING.
    WITH ALL OUR LOVE, MOM AND DAD

    • Lenny says:

      Yeah, it’s easy to take descent pictures when the scenery is that stunning. Although, I wish I had better camera and the skills to use it because I think there is a lot that my meager skills are missing. I think a photography course is in my future when I get home…

      You’re doing fine so far…taking it all in stride! LOL

  3. Johnny O says:

    Hey Lenny!
    Luckily that KLR didn’t take a s@%t behind the hills of West Virginia! Now THAT”S scary!

  4. Paul Mika says:

    Lenny
    Your trip is facinating. I love the blog. Keep safe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: