18 February 2011

Rio Grande 2

There was a brutal wind blowing in the morning and then the rains started, pounding the windows of the boat hanger. It was dark and gray over the water and it felt good to be inside and out of that weather. The Dutch couple were going to leave and would have to pack their tent wet. They had slept outside to test the tent and needed to get on the road. The day before they had turned back because of the wind near the Salesian Monastery north of Rio Grande. Now they would have a wind just as bad but with rain. It was going to be a tough day on the bike.

Claudio offered to help with the rear rack problem and he came up with a solution that did not involve finding a welder. We got into his car and drove to a hardware store and purchased a 3 foot long metal rod threaded the same width as the eyelet tube to which the upper rack arms attached. The threaded portion of the left side of the tube, as deep as the allen screw, had broken off with the screw, but the rest of the tubing was hollow, intact and the threading was fine on the right side. We would remove the right side allen screw and run the long threaded rod entirely through the eyelet tube so that it protruded on both sides, cut the metal rod to size, and with nuts and lock-washers attach the upper rack arms to it.

For the stripped eyelet at the axle we bought a drill bit that was just large enough to drill out the threads. An allen screw would then go in from the backside of the eyelet and the two lower rack arms would attach to it with a nut and lock-washer on the outside. The work did not take long and Claudio had the tools for it. The rack is now as strong as it was before the eyelet failures.

While removing the rear wheel I saw that the axle was loose and I found the nuts had loosened on it and dirt had entered the axle. I had to remove the rear sprocket and take out the axle and clean and repack the hub. The bearings were fine and the cones looked good too. The bike is now ready for another few thousand kilometers.

With the bike again ready to ride Claudio and I celebrated the achievement with a cocktail made with Coca-Cola and Fernet and called a "Fernando". The Fernet is a popular Argentine digestif and is dark and syrupy with a bitter medicinal quality. It reminded me of the Hungarian liquor called Unicum. I thanked Claudio for his help and I hoped he found work in Rio Grande and if I was ever as far north as Cordoba I would be sure to stop to see him.


Post a Comment

Copyright © S O U T H