Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

Touratech Travel Time 03_2011_en

OFF-ROADBOLIVIA 2 2011 ing head and instantly I pressed the emergency OFF button. Underneath the tank, a picture of pure disaster, the entire upper part of the wiring harness had melted to an amorphous mass. The reason is quickly explained. While assem- bling the bike at the airport in a rush, we had been a bit careless in doing the wiring and one of the wires got squashed by the fork during shunting. However, the solution to the problem seems a bit more difficult – in the middle of the jungle, miles away from the next habitation. What are all these wires good for anyway? Most of them are for pretty irrelevant functions such as control lights, indicators and the like. But also for essential things like the kill switch or starter control. Just pulling out wires is not really that helpful. Spare parts just had to be found from somewhere. So we used the mul- tiple socket strip of the charging unit for the cameras. The connecting cable is soon split into strands, the kill switch gets new wiring, and the rocker of the socket strip replaces the “incinerated” starter button and is fixed to the handlebars with adhesive tape – and we even had wiring left over for the lights. Not the most attractive of solutions, but what counts is, the engine returned to life. The next village on our maps is Mapiri. The main thing that interests us in this remote village is to get hold of fuel. And we struck lucky in a general store specialised in supplying fuel. As soon as our tanks were filled with the dubious contents from several rusty cans we moved on. Unfortunately, the stable weather condi- tions changed when we left Mapiri. At noon clouds started towering above us in frightening constellations, thunder joined in during the early afternoon and soon after it started to rain. The hard clay of the road turned slippery and then into a mushy goo. The rain soon stopped, but the road just got worse and worse. Apparently it had been rain- ing for the past days in the lower reaches of the Rio Consata. The few lorries left massive ruts in the boggy road, often knee-deep. Miss the right track and the panniers touch down, all that is left is to put on the power and push – progress is painstaking. Once the track changed to the gravel banks of the river this felt like being on the motorway compared to rummaging in the mud. But things didn’t last – after a few hundred metres we are confronted by the next raging ford. But we are prepared, the suction spigot had already proven its capabilities during the first river crossing. Because of the strong current I moved upriver to cross where we assumed the road would continue on the other side. With plenty of power and an impressive display of muscles the BMW can be manoeuvred fairly well in this diving mode. Suddenly a big bang, the bike shifts. I can just about keep the bike upright. The engine stutters, dies. Restarting with the exhaust well under water is too risky. Together we manhandle the bike across the river, and then the other two, with switched off engines and taped exhausts. Riding across seemed a bit too dangerous. While the other two machines started imme- diately on the dry river bank, my bike played up, probably upset by the wet adventure. The engine simply does not want to run smoothly and checking the oil does not bode too well either. As dusk was falling fast we decided to erect a camp higher up on the river. Herbert gave me a tow, a bit jerky to say the least, but we made good progress. The road gets steeper and steeper, Herbert needs more and more clutch to keep us both going. Too much clutch. Burned? Can’t be, not with a sinter clutch.