|A balancing act!|
Grif was feeling better but was still pretty weak. Shortly after I arrived someone from the tour company was at the hotel. Grif went down to reception on my behalf knowing something was up! Sure enough, he was met by the police and the daughter from the tour company!! In the meantime, the Madill’s and Aaron had pulled up outside of the hotel and noticed the police wagon. They made jokes while still in the Land Cruiser, about the police possibly coming for Lisa! They were right as they soon discovered when they arrived inside the hotel.
Luckily Aaron, fluent in Spanish, was already speaking with the police when Grif got there. After explaining our story, that Grif did not go on the tour and should not have to pay, everything was okay.
After breakfast the following day, Grif decided to spend another day recuperating. During the afternoon, Jing and Aaron looked into taking a train back to Oruro, and putting the motorbikes in a rail car. Since it would save us a day of travelling, Grif and I decided to join the Madill’s and Aaron on this crazy adventure! The train was to leave at 01:22 am and arrive at 9:30 am! We had the bikes loaded by 6:30 pm, after finding a ramp in the worst of places. Then the bikes were roped and straw mattresses were used as cushions. We had a quick bite of pizza and went back to the hotel to rest. Awaking at 11:45 pm, we headed to the train station for 12:30 am and paid for the transport of the bikes.
The train was late by over an hour... good grief! It was the bumpiest, worst ride ever!! Back and forth and up and down for hours! We were also squished like sardines, three people to a bench seat made for two, rubbing shoulders and nodding heads! There were even people sleeping on the floor and kids sleeping under the benches wrapped up in blankets! This was one of the longest nights ever, as I got little sleep, maybe half an hour, and Grif not much more.
Tired and hungry we got off the train, eagerly waiting for the rail car door to be opened so we could see the condition of the bikes. We knew the train ride was extremely rough and Grif said we would be lucky if the bike was still standing! When the door opened, it wasn’t. The train tracks were so terrible it moved the bike from under the straps and it was lying partially on its side on the straw mattress, which luckily prevented any damage. Although, we lost about 10 litres of gas. Sean’s front wheel of the motorbike had bounced 5 feet across the floor All the other bikes were still standing up.
So, after sorting out a flooded carburetor and air box on Sean’s bike, we were off for lunch as it was close to noon. We all decided to stay in Oruro as we were so tired from the train ride. Grif found some Castrol Syntec and did an oil change, while I did laundry and had a nap! In the evening we went out for a few beers and went to bed early.
|Sorting the bikes out after the train ride|
We left the hotel at 8 am, after having breakfast. Shortly after leaving town, Sean was still having problems with his bike, so we stopped and did repairs for an hour. The spark plugs were dirty as his bike was running too rich. The spark plugs were changed and adjustments were made to the carberator. We stopped again shortly after as his bike was still misfiring and removed the air box cover. He now had a very loud and powerful bike, which made him ecstatic!
We reached Patacamaya, where Michael and Jing removed their air box covers as well. This is also where the Madill’s and Aaron left us and headed west into Chile and we continued north to La Paz. They were funny, quirky, wonderful company, kind and helpful - we miss you all Guys!!!
We arrived in La Paz, a city at 3660 m and population of almost a million, in a valley with high canyon walls; breathtaking and big! We booked into a hotel that the guys recommended and went out for pizza!