A Spare Part Odyssey and the Longest Couchsurfing EVER
After our backpack trip to the North of Chile, we return to Santiago. Soon, our package from Germany will arrive, and we must continue to take care of our tiger’s repairs.
We’ve had the idea of couchsurfing already for a certain time, to get more in touch with the Chileans. And since we have to spend a few more days in Santiago, this is a good opportunity.
While we are searching for a suitable host, we encounter the profile of Hernan, an engineer who has great interest in photography and travels. We write to him, he invites us, and so we are standing in the living room of Hernan and his roommate Eduardo only a short time later. Directly, they give us the keys to their flat.
Now, we have enough time to take care of our problem child, which is still in Johnny’s workshop. Before our trip to the North, we left it at Johnny’s so that the guys can take care of some necessary maintenance.
First of all, they need to fix the thread of the sump, which we destroyed directly at the beginning of the journey by our own fault (the tragic story is written here). Moreover, our horn is not working anymore – an instrument that is almost vital on the South American roads. The motor protection, which has loosened by some rather unpleasant soil and stone contacts, is mounted and even cutted. What a dedication!
We already ordered a new chain kit before our trip to the North at the local Triumph dealer. However, when we ask after 30 days for the immediate status of the delivery, we get the bad news that the arrival of the package is delayed. How long? They can’t tell us…
When we tell Johnny about this bad news, he decides to look for an alternative for us. He wants to use his contacts and try to find a suitable sprocket and a chain, independent from Triumph. No easy undertaking – because our old Tiger is probably the only model throughout whole South America, as Johnny suspects.
All right. We ask Hernan if we can stay a bit longer. Absolutely no problem, Hernan is mega relaxed and says we can stay as long as it takes.
So, we spend another week in Santiago, explore the city extensively and celebrate exuberant parties with our new Chilean friends. We dance until the early morning hours.
The snow two days ago ensures free visibility. Otherwise, there’s too much smog above the city
More Bad News
I write Johnny a message after one week: “Is the motorcycle ready?” The answer is: “Yes”. Moe and I go happy and relieved to the workshop. Our tiger is ready to pick up. “There is only one more thing”, says Marco, the mechanic who speaks English. My heart is in my boots. “We exchanged the chain, but we couldn’t find a new sprocket.” Moe and I are looking at each other with disbelief. The sprocket is so damaged, it definitely must be renewed. And if not here, where then? Argentina is not an alternative, they have exorbitant import fees. So, our problem is still not solved. Moe and I take a short time to discuss and then decide to continue to wait for the chain kit from the Triumph dealer, which we have not yet unsubscribed from because we were cautious. “We have no use for the chain alone” I tell Marco. We can leave our tiger in the workshop for a while until the kit arrives.
Two more weeks pass, in which we are waiting for the arrival of spare parts and also for the arrival of our package from Germany (with other important spare parts). Slowly, we have a bad conscience that we are occupying the living room of Hernan for so long, but he sees it completely relaxed and emphasizes how much he likes having us around. Well, at least that’s uncomplicated.
Reunion with Old Friends
Old friends from Marburg are also on a world tour, they’re travelling a little faster than us. First, they were in Mexico, then in Peru. After Uruguay, Argentina followed. We thought at the beginning of our journey about meeting up with them in Peru – completely utopian. Argentina seemed more realistic then. We had chosen the city of Salta as a meeting place, but it was not possible because of our extended stay in Santiago. It’s not even possible to get to Argentina, because we can only leave Chile with our tiger.
Jessy and Björn are travelling by bus and decide to take a trip to Chile to visit us in Santiago. We are very happy that the reunion on American soil is still possible. Sometimes, it can be easier to have no own vehicle that you have to take care of like a baby.
Together, we make a road trip to the mountains around Santiago and then go to the sea, to Valparaiso.
After the joint time, we say goodbye to Jessy and Björn, who are now going to South Africa. We’re staying in Santiago.
Packages on Wrong Tracks
Once again, we write to Triumph and want to know when the stupid chain kit is finally coming. Actually, it should already be here by now and even though we spend a good time with Hernan and his friends – it’s time to leave Santiago. We need to get out of town, in the endless vastness and loneliness. It’s tingling in our feet.
But the story continues like in a movie: Triumph postpones the arrival date once again. Also, we are not hearing anything from the package. We’re hanging in limbo. And we completely lost confidence in Triumph. Also, our dhl package could not be delivered and has already been returned to Germany. We don’t know how to move on now.
But then, Moe remembers a friend who soon starts a semester abroad in Santiago and offered us a long time ago to bring something to South America. At that time, we thought that by the time of arrival of Gesa, we would be long gone… but now that so much time has passed, this could be our last rescue.
All right, we have to redispose again. The stuff from the package will be handed over to Gesa in Germany with the help of several people and we will order a new sprocket to her home. Luckily, Johnny still has the new chain he organized for us.
We don’t want to sit around in Santiago during the next three weeks. In order to be able to continue our travels, we want keep the old sprocket for now and continue to go North. From there, Moe will go to Santiago by bus and finally pick up the spare parts. A complicated procedure, but here you always have to come up with something new.
Why can’t things just work only once?
So now, we go back to the workshop to finally pick up the tiger. When we arrive at Johnny’s, the tiger is taken apart in the driveway. For god’s sake, what is it now? I can’t believe it. The accelerator cable just ripped when they started the engine. Well, at least that happened here and not on the streets. The tank is removed and a new accelerator cable is mounted. After a barbecue in the workshop, we can finally take our tiger home. It’s time to leave.
We park the tiger in front of Hernan’s apartment and pack up our stuff. There will be a farewell party tomorrow before we leave.
When we go to the motorcycle the next morning, I don’t trust my eyes. Some liquid drips off the motorcycle at second intervals. It can’t be true. With three people, we squeeze the motorcycle through the far too small gate to the yard in order to investigate the motorcycle. It’s probably gas what’s dripping down now. I am staring at the accident, while Moe is already starting to dismantle the motorcycle. Giving up does not help here.
The problem is found very quickly. A valve of the fuel pump broke down when the tank was removed in the workshop without any of us noticing it. Now, the whole gas is running out. You can’t blame the guys in the workshop, because these bloody plastic valves are a weakness of the tiger. Even before our journey, we broke one which is the reason why we have taken this spare part with us in wise anticipation. At least that.
Johnny went on vacation right now, and we don’t have the balls to replace this part on our own. What if we do something wrong and can’t move the tiger anymore? I almost don’t dare to tell Hernan that we have to stay even longer with him. He takes it with humor and talks proudly about the probably longest couchsurfing ever. Somehow, he’s more confident than Moe and me together.
But until we can ride to Johnny’s workshop with our dripping tank, we need to get the gas out of the tank, before all gasoline is distributed on the ground. We need a tube. Hernan has the great idea of stealing a piece of the janitor’s garden hose for our project. Brilliant. And here we are standing, without a clue, with a broken motorcycle and the hose in our hands. An old water canister serves as a basin (actually it’s a pity I didn’t capture this in a photo). I don’t know about the so-called hose-sucking-method, Moe neither. The technique is simple. The hose is immersed in the tank which is higher than our bucket. With your mouth, you suck on the hose until the gas starts coming. Then, you fastly put the tube in the bsin. The gas is running down as long as the gas surface reaches the lower end of the gas flow resp. there is a compensation of pressure. That’s the theory. Somehow, it doesn’t work like that in practice. In the first attempt, gasoline runs into Moe’s mouth. In the next try, the gas blows through the air and right in my eye. That works excellent… I could cry.
After some time the fight is fought, the tank is six liters emptier, and we are logy. If we’ll ever leave Santiago again?
But the motorcycle god has mercy on us and when we finally get back to Johnny, the broken valve is exchanged. Now, hopefully, we can really have a farewell party.
Let’s leave fast before something happens again
The initial three days we’ve requested Hernan for to stay at his place turned out to be four weeks in the end. The Chilean hospitality and the unforgettable parties with our new friends leave a positive memory of the time of many setbacks.
Even if the everyday life on the motorcycle is not always comfortable, we still missed it very much during that time. Now, we are very happy to finally load up the motorcycle and start the engine for new adventures.