I met Brian from Canada somewhere in Arizona I think. Other than that I haven’t met any solo long distance riders out on the road. But if I saw one at a distance I’d know it, obviously. The bike, the gear – impossible to miss.
So imagine. I’m riding through central Belize this afternoon, in the middle of nowhere on this long straight stretch. All of a sudden I see a big bike ahead. I speed up, pull alongside and we look at each other in surprise. We pull over and chat, exchange email addresses and agree to meet in the next couple of days. Toni, from Germany.
I take off. 30 minutes later I pass another guy! We stop and chat. He’s headed north, home, so I won’t see him again. Here’s another shock: Christophe’s from Vancouver! And we share a mutual friend, Ross.
Then along comes Toni again. He stops, we laugh and tell a few stories.
Then, on this desolate road, a van comes to a screeching halt alongside us and out jump these black dudes, and you wouldn’t believe what they want.
Two weeks ago Lucinda was sitting in the courtyard being bombed by avocados and wondering when her flight to LA was. We knew whatever was wrong with her was serious enough to warrant a flight out of here.
I was spending hours trying to navigate the paperwork. Here’s a sample of what life looked like:
Before we can arrange the pickup we first need to have written permission from the NHSTA and EPA to move the bike into the USA. The EPA has informed it is possible to import the bike temporarily into the US for repair, BUT there is a fly in the ointment. NHTSA has not come back with any approval or instructions at this time. They do not offer any type of automatic exemption for repair on a non-US registered vehicle.
I will provide you with rates for this move, but I have to make it clear that we are still pending approval from NHTSA before we can ship it. For EPA, you will need to complete the attached and send it directly to EPA. EPA’s email is: Imports@epamail.epa.gov
The bike cannot be imported without this letter and should not ship until it is received back from EPA. EPA does not guarantee any type of turn-around time on issuing the letter, but we would advise that you need to express your urgent timeline to the EPA when you send the attached exemption letter to them. Please review the letter, add the missing info, and rework the narrative if anything is incorrect.
You will need to send the form directly to EPA, along with copies of your registration, passport, license and anything else EPA comes back with in their reply to you.
I have also attached POA for him to complete, along with an EPA form. There may be an additional form NHTSA will need, but we am waiting to hear back from them.
I was thinking I needed to rent a time machine, un-sell my company for a day and delegate this fucking mess. That seemed as plausible as any of the alternatives.
After discussions with Jeff in LA we decided to use a bike shop in Guatemala City as a workshop, put Lucinda in an induced coma there, have a look inside and fly both the parts and the talent this way, rather than that way. Expensive but no choice.
So I just got the pictures. Here are a few. This used to be a piston
This is supposed to be a bit straighter, like, straight
That funny looking white line is a crack in the sleeve
And last but not least
So Jeff and I’ll put together a plan. No matter we come up with it’s going to be epic.
The first crash of the tour was crossing a creek in Texas hill country in mid-November. It was one of those fun crashes. When I do all the back posts I’ll write a bunch about this beautiful part of the South that I’d never heard of but turned into the first major stop since the few day stop in Ottawa. In the interim, for your pleasure, here’s a video of my first crash back then. Luckily I had the GoPro on
The second crash was doing a u-ey in sand. Low speed and unspectacular. The good news is no one saw either of them.
I have a feeling there’s another one coming.
Anyway, Lucinda’s been overheating. Not in a good way. For the last few days I’ve been looking nervously at the guage. The heat bars are at the maximum but not into the red zone. This isn’t entirely unexpected. The HPN gas tank modification includes a relocated oil cooler that runs uncomfortably hot. All the HP2 owners who’ve gone with the mod have cut off the rear of the mud guard to expose it to more breeze, so I did too.
Not exactly imposing is it? But we’re not sure it’s the problem
I’ve never actually met another HP2 owner, let alone someone with the mod, so I have no one to email and ask if what’s happening is normal or excessive. I talk to the group about it. Helge talks about the mod and says that’s probably it. We talk about keeping the cooler cleaner and alternate possibilities – filters, hoses, etc. No-one’s sure what’s going on or whether I’m in the danger zone or not. I decide I’ll not stop and strip the bike unless the bar goes one tick over the current high mark.
So I’m not worrying too much as we ride towards Oaxaca, but it’s on my mind.
Into the countryside. the deeper you get, the more basic the farming. Here a farmer plows his field with oxen. His horse follows him around
Through these beautiful towns
Stopping to eat at the typical roadside stands. The food is always excellent and costs a buck or so
They’re harvesting sugar cane everywhere
Loading the cane onto trucks
And on to Oaxaca, where the story’s really strange