Getting back on the road to Bolivia after our stay in Susques we were in fantastic spirits which sadly would not last very long. About 100kms down the road Zulu, the Africa Twin cut out once again. DAMN we both just sat on the road devastated what to do now. No way could we take a sick bike to Bolivia as the only option for mechanics would be in Potosi about 600kms away on some pretty bad roads. Also meaning that if we got stuck we’d have to spend a very cold night at about 4000m. So we decided to turn around and take the bike to Salta 120kms.
We limped the bike in, stopping every 15 to 20 kms for 3 to 4 minutes, seeing if the bike would start and if so going another 15 to 20kms before it cut out again, and sometimes it would even do 50kms. We got to Salta after 7pm, found a hotel and quickly got on the net to find a mechanic. The following day we had a chat to the mechanic, bearing in mind this would be the 3rd time the bike was fixed. The mechanic didn’t have a clear cut definitive idea what the problem could be, but said he could look at various things. Since the problem is extremely intermittent, and the bike runs perfectly for anything from 100 to 300kms before cutting out, there was no way to even check if the things the mechanic does would fix the problem, let alone having to wait weeks if he needed a spare part. Also the mechanic we took the bike to in Calama was very good and we were not sure a new mechanic would find anything that the other one didn’t, since they had no way to test the bike. The main problem was also that Joern now had just over 3 weeks before he had to be back in Switzerland for work.
Wow what a dilemma, decisions decisions. We debated for ages as to what to do. If we had all the time in the world with no deadlines the decision would have been easy, get the bike fixed, test ride it and risk taking it to Bolivia. But with only 3 weeks left of our honeymoon and not wanting to spend it waiting on mechanics and being very untrusting of the bike Joern decided to leave the bike. He also decided that it was just not practical to ship a broken bike back home. The bike is a 1996 model with 65000kms on the clock and is very sick. So he found a buyer and sold the bike for spare parts, quite possibly for more than it was worth definitely more than what he’d get for it in Switzerland.
When he took Zulu to the buyer I cried and cried. So strange it is a metal object, has served its purpose and this was the right decision but I just felt the same way I felt when my last cat died 😦
Being a fun, positive, awesome, modest couple 😉 I knew this would not stop us. So we bought 2 flights to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, organised to hire a 4×4 and flew to Bolivia. I would see the salt flats if it killed me
We made the most of our time in Salta, organising a place to store my bike for 3 weeks, changing brake pads and sightseeing. Oh and not to forget eating ice-cream, doritos and watching movies.
Sorting out what to take to Bolivia. It is incredible that all this fits on 2 bikes.
Iglesia Nuestra Senora de La Candelaria de La Vina , or The Blue Church of Salta. Magnificent.