Wow, this is my (Josh’s) first attempt at writing a blog post in a long time, so please bear with me while I get back in the swing of things. I’m also writing this on my phone because I sold my computer last night. And for my final excuse, I just stole one of my father-in-law’s apple fritters and my fingers are sticky.
Sometime early last year, I got it in my head that I wanted, no NEEDED, a KTM Adventure 1190R motorcycle, the baddest of asses, long-trip, off-road, on-road, 1200cc’s of pure power, big suspension, sexy, orange, photogenic beast of a motorcycle. The problem was I couldn’t afford one. So I did a dumb thing that I tend to do and bought one from a salvage yard in El Paso, Texas sight unseen and had it shipped up. This is the second time I’ve done that… the first was off eBay and I had never even ridden so much as a dirt bike when it got delivered. I figured it out.
Anyway, the reason insurance had deemed the bike salvage was the crack in the engine case. KTMs are all of the adjectives listed above, but their Achilles’s heel is that they inexplicably continue to mount the kickstand right to the engine and it cracks when you crash your bike. Which you tend to do with these things. I was so excited to have the bike, and decided I could ride it for a long time just by patching the crack with some JB weld epoxy. That worked for about 6,000 miles with minor oil leaking out wherever I parked. Rachel helped me come to the decision to get it fixed before our big trip to South America.
That was late August. The shop I found in Spokane to do the work of replacing the engine case with one I found (again, eBay) quoted me 10hrs of labor. I dropped the bike off the first week of September and let them know I was leaving town October 23rd, and needed to ride the bike to Seattle. Today is November 13th, and the motorcycle is still in Spokane. The shop lost their key mechanic halfway through the project, and the back-up works part time while he gets his diesel mechanic license. I’ve been checking in regularly with the owner, and usually conclude our phone calls by politely hanging up and then crouching down and screaming the F-word a dozen times no matter where I happen to be. Sorry QFC.
After I cool off, and Rachel talks me down, I have to laugh at myself. We’re heading into an adventure in places where things might not happen exactly as we mapped out in our minds. I tend to think “once I get to Mexico THEN I’ll be laid back, THEN I’ll roll with the punches.” It has been a good lesson that I don’t get to be the one to decide when patience is required of me. But it has certainly been hard to plan and get our packing dialed in when we have no bike and one of our luggage boxes is still in Spokane.
The last talk with the bike shop didn’t end in loud cursing, which was great because we were at two friends’ beautiful wedding. The engine is back together and back in the frame, the fork seals are being replaced today, and a new front tire goes on tonight. I’m flying to Spokane on Thursday to give them a buffer day, and I’ll ride back to Seattle that afternoon to pick up all the gear. From there, it should take two days to catch up to Rachel in SF and we will dodge fires on our way down into Baja.
Now the adventure really begins, luckily we got some patience practice before we set out.