T – It was a little chilly this morning, nothing near as cold as we had been in Bolivia though! Not that it mattered because our little friend Rosie had a way of warming me up this morning.
The little red cow just did not want to start. I kicked and kicked and fiddled with her carb. Nothing. Then I kicked and swore and screamed and ranted and kicked her some more. Nope didn’t help. Her clutch seemed to be binding up and locking on even in neutral. This meant I couldn’t actually get her to turn over freely at all. Grr.
Eventually I volunteered Chantelle to push me down the hill on Rosie while I attempted to bump start her. With a cough and a spit she fired up and sat there like nothing weird had happened. I’m not sure what is causing this but her clutch is definitely shot. Luckily we are going to Santiago today and we should be able to find her a new one.
C – We figured we would replace her clutch plates in Santiago. The reliable failure of clutch plates and stators in these Lifans. I am now at about 25,000km on this engine, and it seems to be about when are replacing these two parts on them. I will baby her clutch into Santiago and tomorrow, she can have some shiny new plates to keep her happy.
T – We rode along some lovely winding dirt roads that popped in and out of old train tunnels. From the 70’s. They were a hoot and one of the was quite long and also curved so we couldn’t really see if another car was coming. Which was very important as they were barely one lane wide.
We screamed out of a fourth tunnel and into a valley full of green. Citrus farms spread out in every direction and again those big desert mountains loomed all around. Very nice!
C – The riding was super fun, but the tunnels were actually a little scary! They are pitch black, with no lighting inside, and it takes some time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Just as they adjust, the tunnel exit appears and you are trying to see in the darkness with a bright light at the end. One tunnel suddenly turned into puddles and mud halfway a long and I was giggling at the sudden change in surface!
T – We stopped for a top up of our tanks and to find a back way into the city. Neither of us keen on sitting on a toll road. When we went to leave Rosie flat out refused to start. She just sat their with her clutch all seized and refused to even fart. We tried kicking her and ended up pushing her all around the fuel station, much to the locals amusement, but still she stayed silent. Ugh.
We let her sit while I tried to think of how to sort this out. In frustration I gave her another kick and vroooom. She fired into life. I think it’s time for a carby strip down and a new clutch for our Rosie. I’m starting to wonder if putting fuel system cleaner in has dislodged something and blocked a passageway in her carb. As we cruised into Santiago proper I knew with a sinking feeling in my heart that Rosie was going to break down in the traffic. I don’t know why but I just knew it was coming.
And she didn’t let me down. She stalled at the lights when Chantelle went to take off. Poor Channy had to push her out of the way and cross traffic to get her to the side of the road. Again we couldn’t kick her because her clutch was locked on solid. I started to think the clutch was the issue. I had some second hand clutch plates in my panniers but had no want to fix her on the side of the busy road.
While we sat there feeling sorry for ourselves a gentleman came over and asked if he could help. We told him what was going on and he told us he was a motorcycle mechanic! How much of a coincidence was that! He said the clutch wouldn’t be stopping her from running but that it was a definite problem and he could help us replace it right here right now.
Aroldo and I raced to his house where he gathered up tools and various bibs and bobs and together we laid Rosie on her side, ripped her old clutch out, sanded the spare plates and put her all back together again. She took a few kicks around with the carb and with my limited spanish I thanked him profusely for his help. The kindness of strangers hey! We owed this man a huge debt of gratitude but he wouldn’t accept anything from us but a friend request on Facebook. Aroldo if you are reading this thanks you so much my friend. You are our knight in shining armour! Thank you, thankyou, thankyou!
Aroldo si estas leyendo esto gracias a tanto mi amigo. Eres el caballero de brillante armadura! ¡Gracias, gracias, muchas gracias!
C – It was so lovely of Aroldo and his wife to offer us assistance. It was just the spark we needed, as we were both feeling a little flat about Rosie being such a trouble maker this week! I was so pleased when she fired right up after Aroldo and Todd replaced her clutch plates and as it was getting late, I really just wanted to get to the hostel we picked, shower and sit down with a red wine.
T – We then set off in search of somewhere to stay. Of course Rosie wasn’t done yet and every time Chantelle tried to give her a quick burst of the throttle she would stall. At least now though she was easier to start. Time and again Rosie stalled at one set of lights much to Chantelles frustration. Add to that the fact that the hostal we had picked out was booked solid. So we went in search of another. I took over the reins of Rosie to give a very miserable Chantelle a break. I found that so long as I rolled on the throttle slowly she wouldn’t stall. Clog jets? Definitely something fuel related anyways which makes fixing the problem much easier!
Along the way a police car pulled alongside. As we sat there stopped in traffic one of the officers climbed out and donned his hat. He looked very official and I had a small “Uh oh. Please not now” moment. He came over, asked where we were from, shook our hands and gave us a book on the history of the police force of Chile and told us to make sure we took it back to Australia. Jody, we have a nice little present for you from another police officer!
We eventually got sick of searching for somewhere to stay and finally at 9pm we just went with our next option. It was out of our budget but we were both tired and frustrated and Channy was at the end of her tether.
C – I was feeling really worried about Rosie. Particularly about the fact that we are now heading south – towards a relatively unpopulated and I am assuming harsh environment. I do not want to keep having these issues in the middle of cold, cold Patagonia, where we are not near a city which sells parts for her little motor. We had checked availability at the hostels this morning, as they were all fine, but obviously arriving so late, the rooms had just gone before we got there.
In the end, I was going to take the last one regardless. Although out of our budget, it was a perfect one bedroom apartment where we could do some washing tomorrow and cook in a real kitchen. With a view of the city!
We thought we would dig out the bread and cheese off of Rosie for dinner, but alas, the bread was completely mangled and not able to be separated. So, we ended up with amazing sushi from next door and red wine. Budget, what budget???
T – Tomorrow we will find some new clutch plates and various other bits for the bikes before we head further south to Patagonia.
Come on Rosie, you can do it!
C – Come on Rosie!! It’s only the rest of the world to go!!!