We made some progress with the bike yesterday. The bus from Vientiane with the parts, oil and tyre was late, of course, but showed up eventually. Neil, who is a mechanic, and I found a bike shop and we set to on it. The bike shop owner, who, of course spoke no English, did the tyre. I supervised while Neil went off to get some baby powder.. It was the first time I've seen the bead broken with a cold chisel and hammer.
The front brake pads were just onto the metal and the rears had about a half mm left. Its almost laughable, but I've retained the rears as "spares". Despite me using engine braking where possible and also having run out of fluid in the front master cylinder.... I rode a couple of days with zero front brake.... I only got from Nakia to Pakse on a brand new set of EBC red front pads. Without spending an hour on Basecamp... I'd guess at maybe 600 to 700 kilometres from brand new to totally gone. The mud here is rather abrasive.... and its deep, so the caliper is in it a lot. The disks are shot too, of course... but they aren't getting replaced just yet.
The new rear wheel bearing already have some movement in them... they've got 200 km on them. I'm guessing Chinese manufacture. They seem to have perfected micro-thin hardening as a manufacturing technique. At least I'm carrying good spares now.
This workshop had some decent tools and I was able to get the short screen out... the intake screen for the oil pump that handles the gearbox. I'd had a set of scooter forks on a T-bar at the first place I changed the oil... and was twisting the T-bar.... but with a decent 1/2" drive socket and breaker bar, I got it here. Just as well. The damn thing was covered in silicon. When I pulled the main oil filters the first time, someone had siliconed the o-rngs. I'd cleaned all that out of course... and hopefully this is the last of it gone. None came up anywhere else. It was a good ten minute session with a toothbrush and petrol to get it all sorted.
Everything done, I did the usual and bought some Beer Lao for the lads at the bike shop. It was Red Bull while they worked on my bike... Beer afterwards. Of course. A local came in on a Honda Shadow.... 200cc cruiser... for a new front tyre. His was totally bald... with a 2" round patch of canvas showing. I've got a photo of that somewhere.
We were watching a Farang woman in the street opposite. Her body language wasn't good and her boyfriend turned up and spoke with her a couple of times as she walked down the street and then rode off again. It didn't look good and we decided she needed to be asked if she required rescuing. So... my brand new IRC knobby.... slick, of course, with the new tyre coating... and still with bead seating pressure.... about 4 times what its designed to be ridden at.... left a 30' black arc down the road with a 2' chord in it. A nice sideways departure that Neil said really impressed the lads. Unintentional.... of course. Fortunately, we'd misread the situation with the woman. Nothing new with that. She and her boyfriend were simply gettng used to riding a scooter in a quiet street. Maybe her body language had something to do with how badly he was riding?
I'd promised Neil and Clarissa dinner atop the Pakse Hotel as a thank you for his assistance with the bike. That's something well worth doing in this town. Get there early, grab a good seat overlooking the Mekong and watch the sunset. Lovely. Food was great too. Wine was even better. Lovely Rothschild Bordeau.
Today is suck it and see what happens day. I'm off to the police station after brekky to see if they will give me a week's visa extension. I'm told its $2 a day and that they will. I'd like to have a look around here before dashing for the border. If they won't... my visa runs out today. I doubt they'll extend the bike import permit.... so I'll have to pay a fine for overstaying that. The guideline for the fine is $5 is reasonable $10 is unreasonable. I can handle that.
A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.
Ride through Oz and Asia