Wednesday, July 18, 2012


DAY-253

7/15/2012

BOLIVIAN MOTOCROSS RACE DAY!

Woke up a little tired this morning, got ready and headed out toward the shop to meet everyone at 8am to head to the track for the day. I caught a ride with Nicky’s friends and we headed off. We stopped to get gas for everyone but the first place was out of gas so we headed back into Sucre to find a gas station with gas. On the way I asked what time the race started, because I thought it started at 9am and it was 9am. They laughed and said yes it is supposed to start at 9am but we are in Bolivia and nothing starts when it is supposed to. The race started at 11am I think haha. We arrived and got a small collective of cars, trucks, and bikes together around a tent. I met tons of new people, a lot of Nicky’s brothers, sisters, and Nephews. Four of his family members and three of his close friends were racing.

Let’s talk about the course, it was just finished today, nobody except a few had even done a lap on it. The course was quickly sprayed down with water in the morning, but was dry and dusty when the races started. When I say dust I mean DUST!!!! When the racers past the bystanders we all had to turn away because who couldn’t see or breath, also the track was full of rocks. The day before we walked the track throwing rocks the size of baseballs to bowling balls off of the track. Nicky and his friends joked saying they could use “Medieval Nights metal armor” to help keep the welts down from the spray of rocks.

His nephew Sergio is 14 and is racing in the teenage 250f class. In the first heat he got the holeshot and was gone with one other racer who was as fast chasing after him. On the first lap they came into the last berm and the other ride went inside and slammed into him knocking him to the ground and taking off. As he was getting his bike up (he is a small 14 year old kid tryiying to lift the bike) as he got it up he almost got hit and then he did get his legs hit but stayed up and kept the bike up as well. Nicky and his dad ran to him got the bike up and had a little trouble getting it going, while 5-6 riders past him. Finally they got it going and he took off like a bat out of hell on a mission. He rode hard and was able to get into second closing the gap on the leader who had made him crash, but the checkered flag was out and he came in second. There was a little controversie about the pass and crash but no big deal he blew it off as racing and got ready for the next race. I found out that particular family of racers were known for sleazy moves. The next race he was determined to ride to the best of his ability, the racer who got first last time got the holeshot and was gone with Sergio right on his tail chasing him up the hill. They ran 6 laps that way with Sergio right on his tail, they went up and over the hill out of view and when they came back around Sergio was in front with a little lead. From then on he layed on the throttle and slowly started to pull away at one point I counted and he had over a 20 second gap from the rest of the field and then he took the checkered flag for the Second heat and over all win.

Nicky, his brother Juan Paul, and their friends were in the expert 450 class. First heat Juan Paul got the holeshot and was gone holding the lead for a couple of laps until a young guy passed him he was flying and going huge. Juan Paul stayed right on him all the way through, Nicky fought hard and held onto 4th place all the way through the race. The next heat the young kid got the holeshot and held the lead the whole race with Jaun Paul close behind him leaving the rest of the field in the dust. Nicky rode hard but crashed into a wall due to getting a face full of dirt, rocks, and dust making him go blind and crashed into the wall. He fought back and claimed fifth at the end of the race.  Juan Paul took second overall and Nicky claimed 4th over all.

It was incredible to first hand see the compassion and traditions they had for each other. Every time a new person would come over to the group they would walking around to the whole group shaking hands and or hugging right as they got to the group even if they did not know them (like me!!!) and the ladies would walking around kissing everyone on the cheek. Same thing when they said good bye. The compassion they had for each other and the amount of respect they had for each other was awesome to see. I was so lucky to get the chance to be a part of such a cool group and to see and be a part of something almost no tourist would ever get to do or see. We loaded up the bikes and headed back to the shop to unload, I jumped on Gus’s 400 and headed to a local dinner spot with a small group from the race where we had deep fried pork, potato wedges, and massive pieces of corn kernels. Then we said our goodbyes and I headed back to my room to grab my computer and head for the café for some internet and coffee.

OUR COMPOUND
FIRST HEAT, NICKY'S NEPHEW SERGIO TAKING THE HOLESHOT #41
ENLARGE THIS PIC, MY FAVORITE FROM THE RACE
SERGIO CATCHING UP
SERGIO
ENLARGE AND TAKE NOTE OF THE ROCK SPRAY ABOVE THE DUST CLOUD
SERGIO
NICKY HITTING THE BIG TABLE TOP
JAEN PAUL HITTING THE BIG TABLE
JAEN PAUL
NICKY PASSING BY
GAPPING THE TOP
NICKY
SERGIO
GETTING THE CHECKERED FLAG FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE SECOND HEAT AND FIRST OVER ALL
STARTING LINE
LIKE I SAID DUSTY!!

ONE EXHAUSTED DUSTY FACE AFTER THE RACES
SERGIO TAKING FIRST
JAEN PAUL TAKING SECOND
HAPPY RACING FMAILY
OUR LITTLE SETUP
NICKY AND HIS FAMILY
NICKY, HIS BROTHERS JAEN PAUL, AND PETER
FILTERING THE BOLIVIAN GAS

Such an awesome weekend!!! I am so lucky and stoked that I got stuck in Sucre and met such awesome people who are now friends.

RACE WEEKEND IS ON US


DAY-252

7/14/2012

        Did a little work on the internet and messed around with a new photo program. Walked up to the shop to say hi and see what was going on for the day they said there was no practice for the race since the course wasn’t done yet but they were still going out to check it out and help a little. They invited me along and told me to call them around to three and they would pick me up. Well that was it, it is a pain in the ass meeting new people and not being able to get a hold of them or them get a hold of me to go do cool stuff. So Rodrigo told me he would take me and help me get a cheap phone that I can use all over South America with different sim cards. Sweet we headed toward the market and I was able to pick one up with a sim card that had a free 10 Bolivian credit for 24 bucks total! So now I have a phone and I called Nicky at three. He picked me up and we headed with his friends for the MX track. On the way in there was a truck at the bottom of the hill collecting water they were friends of Nicky so we got out and helped them fill up two huge water containers in the back of their truck with the use of gas pumps. We followed the truck up to the track and helped water the 60-70ft table top take off and shape it a little. Then we all walked the track picking up rocks from baseball to bowling ball size haha the track is a soft, dusty, and rocky track, but looks like a hell of a good time. After we finished up we headed for a local steak place and there was 10 of us and we ate and drank for 60 bucks that’s 6 bucks each!!!!! I had the steak that is from the back hump of the bull. It was really good and very interesting, it was a dry-ish piece of meat but with 50/50 meat to fat and was seasoned perfect so good, then I also tried a slab of Tenderloin and one other cut I cannot recall. Such a good time even though I didn’t talk too much just enjoyed listening the best I could and the company was incredible with no tourist in sight. I caught a ride back to my hostal with Gus and was asked to join him for a beer or two in a couple of hours. I laid down let the steak settle and then headed for the local bar to have a beer or two, I was tired so I wasn’t going to stay to long. I had two beers and met his friends and hung out enjoying the conversation between his friends broken English and my Broken Broken Spanish!! It was a fun night and I truly enjoyed it, but by 11 I was exhausted from the day so I headed for home.
CLEANING AND POLISHING MY GEAR
COLLECTING WATER
FILLING UP THE TANKS
WATERING THE TAKE OFF OF THE 60-70FT TABLE TOP OFF
NICKY STANDING ON THE LANDING
CHECK OUT HOW ROCKY THE RACK IS

FIRST LOW POINT, THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED


DAY 245-249

7/7-11/2012

        I haven’t had any big down moments on this trip but for a couple of days I was in a funk and a little bummed out. Missing friends and family but not wanting to go home just in a funk. Then I got mad at myself for being in a funk, but then I talked with a guy who had been on the road for a long time and he made a comment about hitting low points so I realized it was normal. But I still smacked myself in the face, told myself to look around and realize where and what the hell I was doing in life and then just started to laugh and then a big smile came smacking me back in the face. I stopped going to the café so much to work online, I got out more, started going to the shop, meeting new people, and trying to practice my Spanish. Although it is difficult to practice my Spanish because all my friends at the shop are trying to practice their English haha.

I have been spending a lot of time at the shop and it has been great. We are becoming friends I have been asked to join them for dinners and lunch’s this coming week. Also was asked to come and join them for their Motocross race on Sunday and practice on Saturday. This week was positive because it got me to open my eyes and realize how awesome what I am doing really is. It is always good to get smacked in the face it makes you realize what you’re doing and for me how awesome it is… haha



DAY-250

 7/12/2012

What an awesome day!!!

        Yesterday I was asked by Nicky the mechanic who is helping me out and who is now becoming a good friend. He asked me to come to lunch with him at his house with his family. When I got to the shop to catch a ride his brother was there and asked if I would join him for lunch with his family tomorrow.  We had steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, and salad. We watched a local dirt bike video they had made, and it made me think of riding in Colorado and Moab (small version). So nice to get to know his family and saw an amazing view of Sucre from his porch. After we got back he asked if I wanted to join him and his friends when they go to the MX track on Saturday. Of course!!!! He then said he was about to drive out to the new MX track that was being built and its grand opening was for Saturday and Sundays race. We went out with his friend and his friend’s son. I have been told the best way to practice Spanish is to talk to kids, so I did and he he looked at me as if I was retarded and just burst out laughing at me hahahaha.

 The track was only half done they have a lot of work to do too be able to open by Saturday. As we were walking around Nicky got a call from one of his tour guides there had been an accident. So we headed into the mountains. The road out there was so bumpy in his small Toyota SUV, we stoped at a police check point and I jumped out and ran behind the car to piss before I pissed myself. We started to go up this ATV trail and I wasn’t sure the SUV would make it without sliding off and rolling down the mountain we were trying to climb, but that little SUV could climb up and over and through rocks very impressively. We arrived to the scene and the first thing we saw was a girl sitting next to her boyfriend two black eyes, a smashed nose, two slices under her nose, and a good amount of blood. The ATV was 8-10ft down in a dried creek bed. She had slid off and fell into the hole with the ATV landing on her and her face. Her adrenaline was still pumping so she wasn’t in too much pain yet. We couldn’t get the ATV out since we had left right from the MX track and we didn’t have any rope. So we headed back into town to get her to the hospital, Henry the owner of the tour company stayed with her and we headed back to the shop to close it for the day and grab the two mechanics to go retrieve the quad. We headed the hour plus drive back into the mountains and met up with the guide who had stayed with the quad. Although we met him at a toll booth because he told me that there is an old legend that gremlins live in the mountains so when it got dark he headed down the mountain, but he was riding a YZ 250 two stroke so it was slow moving in the pitch black without any lights on the bike. We got to the quad and pulled it out of the whole but it almost flipped back down into the creek bed where myself and the other mechanic was at helping get it out, we took off running down the creek and I ran much farther away than him haha. Although the guide who was on the quad getting pulled out of the hole by Nicky in the car was able to save it and get it onto the road safely. We loaded up and headed for Sucre one mechanic drove the quad, the guide without lights road right in front of us in the car so he could see where he was going. As we hit a police check point he was questioning them about an accident and then giving them crap that the mechanic on the ATV didn’t have his license but all the cop wanted was money they gave him 20 Bolivians 3 dollars and we were on our way. We left the car at the shop and jumped on motos and headed for dinner. Went to a nice little sandwich and pasta place for dinner there was a five of us and it was nice to try and practice my Spanish although two of them spoke English. It was awesome to meet and hang out with locals. Was asked to join them for dinner again and then caught a ride back to the center.
DAY251
7/13/2012
My sister’s birthday Happy 31 Meghan!!
I called my teacher from La Paz’s friend who lives and teaches in Sucre we decided to meet at 6:30 at the park by the lion bush.
I went to lunch at Jaen Paul’s house with him and his family. It was great we sat around eating good food and just chatting for a few hours. We had chicken fried steak, veggies, and fries. Then I went back to the shop hung out for a little bit and walked back to town, I have been rather tired lately so passed out for a few hours and went back to the shop. I ran back to town to meet my soon to be new teacher. I sat at the lion for 30 minutes never saw her, didn’t know what she looked like but she kind of knew to look for the out of place gringo with a big beard. Haha We finally found each other around 7pm and walked and talked in Spanish (well kind of) back to her house where we will be doing classes; she has a small room for teaching with a white board and all. She only charges 4 bucks an hour so that is awesome. We will start Monday two hours a morning for five days to help me with my conversations. I get to go to Motocross this weekend with my friends from the shop so that should be cool.
NICKY MY FRIEND AND MECHANIC TESTING OUT A CRF50 AFTER MODDING IT
MY FIREND GUSTAPHE'S NEW BIKE HE JUST BOUGHT OF AN ENGLISH RIDER
MESSING WITH ME CAMERA AND LIGHTROOM PROGRAM
RIGHT AS WE GOT THERE
AS WE HEAD BACK TO THE HOSPITAL
LOWER PART OF THE TRACK
THE ROAD IN AND OUT OF THE MX TRACK
TAKEN FROM THE TOP OF THE MX TRACK
WALKING THE TRACK TAKE NOTE OF ALL THE ROCKS!!!!

CATCHING UP EARLY JULY

DAY 239-2447/1-6/2012

        So this past week consisted of bad news which is there is no parts in Bolivia and I will have to get them shipped from the US. After a day of talking to a few different shops my Friends and sponsors at Sunsports Unlimited were able to save the day. We put together a top end kit as well as a new choke and speedometer cables.  Everything should be here by next Thursday fingers crossed. I have spent my down time loading 100’s of pictures to my “WHERES FLETCH” Facebook page check it out let me know what you think!! I have also been working on my website trying to make it more professional but this is my first webpage ever to do and I well suck at it.. Haha

        I have been running back and forth to the moto shop checking in giving them an update about parts and so on. I met one guy who is writing a novel about his three year trip from Alaska to Argentina, but now he lives in Bolivia after getting his girlfriend pregnant with a set of twins a few years ago. I am slowly learning and accepting everything happens for a reason and patience. Everything is out of my control I just have to smile and have fun with it; Bolivia is a great place to be stuck in considering how beautiful it is and cheap.

I was at a restaurant one night and a guy from Israel asked me to join him for dinner, so I put the laptop away and did. He was a very funny guy who has been traveling for the past year and is headed home in a week. I learned a lot about the Israeli military and Israel. He worked in Miami at a night club for 5 months and then traveled the last 7 months through the US, Mexico, CA, and now SA.

Next night I met a guy in my hostel from South Korea and we went out for a few beers and a cheeseburger. He was pretty funny and I learned a lot about South and some of North Korea. He told me when he first saw me he was scared of me with how I look, but he said after he got to know me I am not scary haha. When we were walking back to the hostel he said that he felt safe and didn’t think we would get beat up with me around I laughed considering he the one who is a black belt in Tae Kwan do and just got out of the South Korean Military haha..
WALKING HOE FROM THE SHOP
OH SUCRE, I LOVE YOU

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BACK IN SUCRE WITH THE MECHANIC

DAY-237-238
6/29-30/2012
        Woke up this morning on a mission to get my bike checked out and my compression, hoping it wasn’t my top end. Although from everything I had read about KLR 2009’s I wouldn’t be surprised. I did some research and found a highly recommended shop on Horizons Unlimited. Also I had heard of another shop that did a lot of work with big bikes like mine. We went to Breakfast said good bye to Ian and cleaned one of my air filters to let it dry. I got directions and headed off for the shop that was recommended by the HUB, it took me forever to find it. When I finally found it, it looked nothing like the description on online which was of a three store huge shop. Instead I found a small apartment set up with a courtyard with two bikes stripped down with two 14 years old boys working in the dirt. I talked to the owner who spoke perfect English; he walked out to my bike and revved it up. The tailpipe was smoky he said no need for compression test you need a new top end and it will take awhile and patience. I said thank you and headed for the next shop, where I found 30 plus bikes in a nice work shop, a few big bikes, and a couple beautiful 450f’s motocross bikes. I talked with the owner he was very knowledgeable and awesome. I left the bike and grabbed him my manual so he could get the correct readings for my compression test and valves.  We had dinner and a chill night, Nick has been sick with the pooops.
        I walked back to the shop and talked with the owner this morning. So knowing the history of my bike and that some of the 2009 models did not have correctly seated rings we started there he did a compression check and was low so he opened it up. What had happened was that because of my clogged air filter and having to use my back up I pulled the dusty into my engine thus screwing up my rings and pistons. New top end is needed, also he needs to adjust my valves and my timing chain is half stretched out will need a new one in a little while might as well get done now in Bolivia where labor is cheap. We went over a few other things and his buddy is building a stronger back rack so I can hold my gas tank on correctly without it breaking, he is also welding my side rack that broke while doing the route.
        I have been planning on doing a full top end when I make it to either Chile or Argentina, because I have one of those 09' KLR that the rings were not seated correctly from the factory. I have been using about a quart of oil every thousand miles since I left CO. Now I have no choice, but the upside is it will be much cheaper than Argentina or Chile. He is positive and thinks I will get the parts by Weds and have the bike back together by mid day Thursday, so I can go ride it for 300km or so, making sure she is good and then change the oil. I will go up and help him rebuild it so I can learn from him. If all goes well then on Friday I will ride straight to where Nick is and do the salt flats and lagoon crossing to San Pedro with him, because he is heading out Saturday morning due to his permit screw up he has to be out of Bolivia by the 12th. So Fingers Crossed!!! No matter what happens I have just been smiling and laughing have to love the adventure of it all!!!
AT THE SHOP!!
BIKES EVERYWHERE!!
I'LL TRADE YOU MY KLR FOR ONE OF YOUR CRF'S!!
THE GAURD DOG WHO IS ADDICTED TO SUGAR, HE WILL FOLLOW YOU AND JUMP ON YOU IF YOU HAVE A BOTTLE OF COKE.. KIND OF SCARY AT FIRST..HAHA
ANIMAL DOWN!!!!
BLOWN TOP END!!!!!

Will have more updates when I find out more on Monday about the Animal!!
Thanks for following my adventures!!
Fletch