Opening up the Motor

As I mentioned the XR isn’t so healthy. Aside from it’s bent axle, oil lines, and the dozen other worn out and broken parts, the motor is also toast. There’s no compression, so I got to tearing it down in a makeshift outdoor garage.

The workbench:

The carb intake shows the source of the problem….. lots of dirt….

Thankfully the rocker arms and cam look awesome.

The cam chain tensioner retaining bolt is stripped though. I need to find a dremel or something to cut a groove into it and try to hammer it out.

More to come.

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Relaxing in the Yucatan

Ten of my college friends were in town for the week. It was a great time, as it always is. Typical vacation resort type place.

We explored a bit and checked out some cenotes (underwater caves), did some cliff jumping, and toured some of the Mayan ruins.

Giant iguanas are everywhere down here. They’re very chill and just hang around.

Then they left and I was back to my own devices.

I stayed in Playa a while longer, and am still there in fact. I bounced around a bit between a couple hotels, and some hostels, but I spent most of the time camping.

I spent 3 full weeks camping on the beach around town and working during the days.

Some nights got real windy. And even with the rain fly, sand was problematic.

It’s not so bad though….

Also spent a lot of time going out until sunrise. This is a party town after all.

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Happy New Year

I managed to fall asleep for an hour or so.

I woke up to a kiss. As I opened my eyes a gorgeous French girl was leaning over me on the beach. “You have sand in your eyes” she said.

“I do?”

“I’ll be right back.” Her accent was impossibly beautiful.

I immediately fell back asleep.

A few minutes later she returned with a bottle of water she had just purchased. She opened it, poured a little on my face, and wiped around my eyes with a clothe. A moment later, she was gone.

This will be a good year. But aren’t they all.

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Mixing in the Hotels

I camp most of the time, and go to hostels other times. Occasionally it’s fun to splurge and clean up in a nice hotel.

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Arriving in Playa del Carmen

I was trying to decide between sleeping for a few hours behind the gas station, or to keep on keeping on. It was cold, foggy, and late. In typical fashion, I kept going. And I am extremely glad I did.

Every once in a great while I get to experience an incredible serene and transcendent moment while on my motorcycle. Two previous events that come to mind are; riding through the dark in Bahia de Los Angeles with an incredible breeze in spring of 2009, and shutting off the bike while coasting down all the mountain passes in northern Pennsylvania in summer 2007, again at night. In this case it was descending down out of the mountains towards the gulf coast. On a slow curvy road over the course of an hour I dropped from extremely high elevations near the volcano, down through the canyons, to nearly sea level. The temperature kept increasing, flickering lights were scattered across the hillsides, and the glow of the moon illuminated the entire landscape. It was one of those beautiful numinous moments that most people miss out on. I’m convinced there is something about night riding that brings it out. But it’s more than just darkness, it’s a perfect combination of weather, location, spirit, and I suppose, being self aware.

Around 3am or so I hung up my hat.

I slept right here in the road, next to the bike. I didn’t even bother to take out the sleeping bag, just laid down in all my gear, slept two or three hours, then stood up, kicked the bike, and took off again. Still a long way to go.

I made it to Playa del Carmen at 10pm of the third day. I rode 17 hours on day one, 21 hours on day two, and 18 hours on day three. It was fairly exhausting, but more than that I just felt gross. I’d been on my bike in my riding gear for 72 hours, sweating in the sun, freezing in the cold, and getting coated with dirt the entire way.

I slept out behind a construction site I happened across.

The next morning I rolled over to the resort where my friends were coming in a few hours later.

And I noticed my front tire. Hrmmm…

Checked in, cleaned up, and settled in to a few days of relaxation.

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