New Chain and Sprockets in Pamana

New Chain and Sprockets in Pamana

January 27, 2010

I follow Adolfo out of the Miraflores Locks (good-bye Panama Canal!) As we are leaving he tells me that before he retired he built one of the huge smokestacks for the powerful generators there at the Canal.

He rides that heavy Goldwing like a moped! i can hardly keep up!

First he brings me to the UPS shop where I collect my tires. Sadly, my Corbin seat has not arrived, so I will have to continue to suffer on the rock hard stock seat that comes with my model Suzuki.

I look like a gnarly adventuress, eh?

ha! I just realized that you can see the old tread of 8000+ miles on my used MEFO tires, and see how crisp the new tread is on the new MEFOs.

Well, I have to tell you my afternoon was a nightmare. I cannot possibly begin to tell you all the things that went wrong, but through a series of events I completely lost confidence in the mechanics at the Suzuki shop, nice as they were, and I refused to leave the bike and stop vigiance over the whole operation.

The sprockets they sold me had a different # of teeth than the ones I had (stock!) on the bike…
The chain they sold me had too many links and they did not know how to deal with it…
They did not have a tool to remove the pin in the chain links…
They did not have a tool to remove the chain and were talking about removing the swing arm to get the chain off…
They did not have a tool to open the chain that comes from Suzuki all in one piece…
They spent two hours looking all over town for a master link for when the DID ultimately figure out how to cut my chain…
I was freaking out!

Adolfo had left, and when I asked if I could call them to get a translation (and have him kick some Suzuki ass) they told me they could not call a cellular phone. We tried his house, but he was at work. it seemed in this country overrun with cell phone users, suddenly NO ONE in the entire dealership had a cellular I could call another cellular with. AND they did not have internet for me to call Edward again via Skype. ARGH!

I was freaking out!

And my blood sugar was extremely low. With all the fuss in the morning, I had had two cups of coffee (yeah, I UN quit!) and no food.

I finally just walked out, my bike expectantly waiting, while I walked to the local supermarket and got some food. I also bought a phone calling card so I could call Adolfo.

Back at the dealership. I tried to call Adolfo, but NO. I could not use the calling card from THEIR phone, I had to find a pay phone.

I walked back down the block in search of a pay phone in 976 degree heat in my motorcycle suit and gore tex boots, and when I finally found a phone, I could not read the numbers on the card nor the instructions. ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH.

OK, time to put on the Big Girl Panties and handle the situation myself.

I was conscious of the advancing time, and so I walked back to the dealership, and instructed them to change the oil on my bike while I thought things through…

They did not have oil, I had to go upstairs to buy it…
They did not know how much oil to put into my engine (I knew)…
The Suzuki dealer did not have motorcycle oil, they had car oil…
The Suzuki dealer did not have three quarts of oil…only two…I need 2.3 litres…
ARGH!!!

Yes, I was carrying some spare oil since Oaxaca, so I said 2 L of their oil, and .3 L of the MOTO oil I was carrying…I also fished out a filter I’d been carrying…

Oil change seemed to go OKAY, but I’d been obsessing about the chain and sprockets since OAXACA, and I felt compulsed to get them changed. I cannot explain it.  In hindsight I shoulda done my research (I have the Suzuki manual on my computer), left with the parts, and just found another shop along the way to do the work.

But I was not that smart. Instead I said go ahead.

At several points all work just stopped on my bike…I could not really understand it…

I was bored, agitated, and needed something to do.

I saw the rear tire off my bike and had an idea…since putting the tire back on myself is the hardest part of changing the tires, and since they were being paid to put it back on because of the sprocket change, I figured no work was bring done n my bike at the moment so I will did in and do it myself. the tires did not need changing yet; I’d ridden more than 8,000 miles and probably had another 3-4,000 miles left in them, but what the heck: new continent, new tires. AND I had to burn off some frustration.

This pic is for my sweetie, Edward, who taught me how to change tires…

Well, let me tell you this caused QUITE some consternation in the shop. What should they do? I mean, women do not do these sorts of things…so everyone, EVERYONE turned out to help. it was most frustrating. After much non-needed help and a lot of almost-harm (like a giant crowbar tat somehow materialized when I was not looking and almost bent my rims!!!) , I told them to stop and leave me alone, that it was actually easier to do it myself. That if you did it right, no force was needed…

Well then I had an audience of about 8 people. Swell. I finally put  one of them to work and had him take a pic.

Miraculously, work began again on my bike, after much consultation, managers, people in suits, conversation around the corner, I don;t know what all.

Cutting my chain (ouch! Itw as new in San Salvador and EXPENSIVE, and I wanted it intact as a space, but now it is missing a link= NO TOOL = GRRR) (note, I am not THAT silly: I have the other 8 links of that chain in my Trax box, but now I can ONLY use it is the shop has the OU&@Y&I^U&EWTYJWSGD!!!  tool, which this one did not have…)

Um…does it REALLY take 5 people for this?!?

Um…

Alas, I spare you the 200 other pics, which I took out of boredom, of between 5 and 8 people attending my bike at various points.

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I was at the shop until almost 8:00.
That would be 9, NINE, hours for a MAX two hour job.
Even the cashier had gone home. When I asked how I was to pay, they shrugged.

Oofa.

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I will say, however, that the folks were SUPER nice, and the manager that stayed late and helped the mechanic (they’d forgotten to adjust my chain with ME and MY LUGGAGE on teh bike, so I made them do it over!!!)

The manager led me to my hotel because I had NO idea how to find it. I offered to put gas in his moped, but he said it was full. Oh well.

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