Monday, 8 July 2013

Brewery, Brains and Bike problems

Regular posts.... This isn't right.... What's happened? What's changed? Oh yeah........

After San Pedro we headed South West to Lago De Yojoa and the D&D Brewery. There's been a small brewery on the site for many years but about two years ago Bobby purchased it and started his own brewing procedures with several different ales being produced. We were there for a couple of days so I made it a mission to try every one. Several times! On the way up we kept on passing these roadside shops selling plastic garden ornaments. They were everywhere and really raised a certain question. Who the hell drives down a busy highway looking exclusively for plastic garden ornaments? Or who, on impulse, stops at a random shop and thinks, that's what my garden is missing, a sombrero wearing frog playing a banjo! 
Who buys this crap? 
When we reached the brewery we had options, camp or stay in a dorm or lodgings. Naturally camping in a rainforest and the first opportunity to use the new tent is the only real option. We picked a campsite and dragged everything from the parking lot to the site to pitch the tent. All in all things went pretty well. Both of us are still alive with only minor injuries and slightly dented pride. It was actually all pretty easy. The tent is easy to put up and Heather had put it up once in the UK. Most of our gear fitted inside and there was an area where we could keep everything that didn't fit. True to form it rained every single night we were there, conveniently it was well timed, it rained at quarter to six every time. Could set your watch by it. The tent stayed mostly dry but a little bit damp, when it did rain it really put in 100% effort. This was not drizzle! The self inflating bed mat is brilliant and makes camping comfortable and having a three man tent makes it spacious enough to be enjoyable. I'm not sure you'd ever want a third person in there though.

The tent in all its rainforesty glory!
The brewery is a "short" walk from Honduras' biggest lake. It took about an hour to walk to the lakeside and the next day we decided to try rowing across it. Walking's quicker!!! We rowed for about 4 hours. It really was beautiful an worth it. We may have overestimated our rowing ability and underestimated the size of the lake.

It'd been Heathers birthday on the 10th, I was not a good boyfriend. I planned to buy a present but got bogged down in bike stuff and then the 10th arrived and I had nothing to give her and no plans either. We ate breakfast and walked along the beach. Luckily saw a guy selling jewelry so told heather she could pick anything she liked. She chose a necklace with a blue stone. It was time to pay so I got out some cash but the guy wouldn't accept it because he didn't have change so Heather had to pay for her own present. Brilliant.

I did manage to win back some brownie points a few days later. I'd emailed the brewery in advance to make sure they had candles and cake and the night we got there I managed to surprise her.
The candle was a bit large
The next day we went to a local river/holiday spot, hiked a bit and visited a waterfall. We even got a guide to take us under the waterfall. You quite literally walk through a wall of water and then along the rock face with water pummeling you the whole time. Eventually you reach a small opening into the cliff and can climb inside a small, dryish chamber. It'd make a brilliant hiding spot for hide n seek.

After the hike through the falls
We left the lake the next morning and headed for Danli near the border. Plugged in some music and rode. As you ride out of the mountains you hit a wall of heat. It just goes from comfortably cool to unbearably hot in moments.and you know it's there to stay. Our gear is summer gear but fully clad in armor and in mid 30s temperatures you melt a little bit. To reach Danli we had to ride into Tegucigalpa, Honduras' notorious capital city. We had thought about staying there one night but had decided against it. As we arrive into the city there is a huge tailback and the one side of the road is closed. We discovered the reason. That morning a car carrying three prison guards and a woman was driving out of the city. They'd been ambushed on the way out and the car completely shot up. It was riddled with bullets and the occupants obviously dead. Some had managed to get out of the car and one of their brains was still lying in the road. The rest of the bodies had been removed but there was a very strong police presence. They had a lot of big guns and were nonchalantly waving them at the crowd that had formed. Hence no photos!

We rode on a bit and both agreed that not staying in Tegucigalpa was probably a good idea.

We got out and continued on our way to Danli, disaster struck about 30 miles before we got there. A screeching noise from somewhere on the bike. It sounded like the front wheel, it was making an awful noise but we just couldn't find the source. at one point I though I fixed it but 10 minutes later the sound returned. I couldn't actually find anything wrong and short of a good shop to look at everything I was at a loss. Eventually we decided to push on. The sound become intermittent and we ere close to Danli.

Big mistake.

Giant fucking mistake!

I don't know if that ride caused all the damage or if it had been building and that was the straw that broke the camels back but the damage is big. Basically the output shaft, which is a rod that comes out of the engine had worn down. It is supposed to have a series of splines along the shaft which you then attach a sprocket (cog) to. that sprocket is like the front gears on a bicycle. A chain attaches to it which turns the back wheel.

When the splines wear out completely the bike output shaft can no longer drive the sprocket so you get no power going from the engine to the rear wheel. The picture below is a mechanic in Danli making a temporary fix. He is welding the front sprocket onto the output shaft. This was a last resort option. It's temporary and the full repair is to replace the output shaft. On some bikes this would be easy. On the Transalp it requires a complete engine teardown. Almost every single last nut n bolt needs to come out (that's the easy part) and be put back together (eep). Reading forums and blogs most people seem to think a replacement engine is in order. One guy took it to the Honda dealer and ended up paying thousands of pounds for the repair.

Christian working on the output shaft, it was a shirt off job!
A lot of decisions need to be made and I really didn't get much sleep for the next few days. I'll update you soon.


Anonymous said...

Wow Ol, that's not good. Finding a use engine somewhere and having it shipped seems to be the best option. I read one comment that the output shaft is the first part to go into the engine and last to come out. Wish I could help out in some way, if you think I can just let me know.
Good luck


Daniel Sprague said...

Hi Oli, sorry to hear about your troubles, I guess it was coming and you not locating the noise made no real difference. How hard can a rebuild be?? You'd be waiting an eage for a replacement engine + customs.. I would find a good friendly guesthouse to hole up with the bike and do the work myself. Or buy a Hilux!


stacato said...

Zup Oli,
i had totally forgotten that you had started 'updating' your blog again and that your trip had re-started.

What's the update on your end now?
Got the engine fixed or replaced?
Good that it didn't blow up on you hollywood style.

I would send you my NX650 if I could. Not like I get to ride her much these days.