This morning Jeremiah took off for Cochabamba. His play is to try to get to the Salar by early next week. It’s a days ride to Cocha. Then another long day to Potosi. He had Nicky, the mechanic we came to know and love in Sucre, ship new tires to Potosi. There he’ll change the tires and spend some time visiting friends we met when I broke my leg last January. From there he’ll ride the road through Tica Tica and hopefully find sunlight and a dry Salar de Uyuni on his arrival.
Can’t blame him. We’re flirting with weather. If the Salar ends up under water before I can recuperate, I’ll likely have to fly straight south to Argentina — to Salta. But my fingers are crossed. While I might not have the opportunity to ride the Salar with Jeremiah, I’m happy to tackle it on my own.
Meanwhile, I’ve got to take care of business here in Santa Cruz. Remember my illegal motorcycle? Well the story goes a bit deeper. Ferdy, the optician and fellow motorcyclist I met in Sucre, introduced me to Ronald – a tramitador – in Santa Cruz. He set out to help sort out my motorcycle problems with the customs office here in Santa Cruz. When the took one look at my passport a new problem surfaced. When I flew to Bolivia in October the Bolivian immigration officer at the airport in La Paz only gave me a 30 day visa for staying in Bolivia. I didn’t notice this until I looked at my passport today. This means that in a matter of days I will also be an illegal alien in Bolivia. I’ll be in good company with Doc, my motorcycle.
The Aduana (customs) will not extend permission for my motorcycle to be in Bolivia if my passport visa expires prior. Quite a predicament, huh? But no worries. Ronald has a solution. Seems he’s got some friends in immigration. They say they can get me out of the country, to Miami and back to Santa Cruz, Bolivia without ever leaving my hotel. “Beam me up” Scotty eat your heart out. My passport will prove it. And I’ll have 90 days to stay in Bolivia.
Don’t you love the sound of rubber stamps in second and third world countries?
Once my passport visa shows I’ve got more time to be in Bolivia then Aduana will be open to extending my temporary vehicle import permit. Of course, there is a penalty I’ll have to pay for the bike. It has been here for more than almost 10 months.
. Remember the accident on the bridge? Well the ankle and knee are still hurting. I’m far from strong enough to throw my leg over the saddle and pushing that bike upright. Yesterday the doctor at the medical clinic hospital gave me a few shots of cortisone. Says it will relieve some of the pain and help to reduce the swelling.
Then there’s the problem with the clutch lever. Of course I’ve been carrying an extensive inventory of spare parts since departing my home in July 2005. This includes a spare clutch and brake lever. Easy enough. Except that when I pulled out my spare clutch lever that I had ordered more than a year ago, I discovered it’s not the right clutch lever. At this point I’m really ready to give up. For what have I been carrying in my spare parts stash if not the correct clutch lever? I never pulled it out of the neat cellophane wrapping packaged by BMW. I ordered the correct lever? But I’ve been schlepping a lever for someone else’s motorcycle. Can bad luck get worse?
Thank god the guys at BMW Santa Cruz County jumped on this right away. So once again I seem to be waiting for another DHL package. At least this time my leg doesn’t mind the extra time. I should have it tomorrow or Monday. We’ll see. Oh and remember my battery? The one that was supposed to take another 5 – 10 days due to customs and it’s status as a dangerous and combustible item? Well it was delivered to my hotel in Sucre two hours after I left. Once again, information in bolivia can rarely be relied upon.
Meanwhile, I do have a shop trying to fabricate a clutch lever with the remaining part. One way or another, I’ll be ready to ride this bad boy once my leg gives me the go ahead.