My initial plan of rolling the Trans-American Trail solo, meeting my South American friend, Malcolm, who I met while teaching English in Colombia, in Atlanta, and continuing to moto through the south before slipping into Mexico through Texas was drastically changed after Malcolm’s 2007 Craigslisted KLR showed its true “lemon” color. Aside from one perfect day in November, coincidentally my birthday that was spent scuba diving in Key Largo, we spent the majority of mid-October to mid-December fixing, finding parts and researching enthusiast forums to figure out ‘how to’ techniques. And then, due to postponement frustrations, I decided to power from Florida to California WFO (wide f@#king open) to spend the holidays relaxing with my sweet family. Needless to say, rolling WFO on a single cylinder for ass-numbing hours-on-end turned out to be a faux pas when my Cart-her sputtered to a halt in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Cart-her's internals spread about the garage and the pilot jet screw cap off the carb that has to be drilled for adjustment on the CA KLR650 2nd generation models

I squeaked in to Momma’s place on December 24th after an overnight bus, hugged my family, de-storaged my truck and did a quick sleep-in-the-cab overnight jaunt to pick-up Cart-her for a top end rebuild, round two - bing, bing!

I began twisting parts off Cart-her and putting them in my obsessively ordered and labeled piles before taking my valves and head to the (highly recommended to me and you) Bike Doctor, (aka Tim Parker, 15274 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon, CA 92021, 619/390-7200) for a crosshatch cylinder hone, valve lapping and valve oil seal replacement after a Las Cruces Kawi dealer claimed I was running on 40psi compression, post-leak-down test ... uh, meaning my cylinder was leaking. I reassembled Cart-her’s internals, and with the Bike Doc’s deduction, realized that my attempts at cleaning the carb and measuring the float height in the Budget Inn bathroom resulted in a mis-inserted needle. After that little ditty was flip-flopped, he was again purring. However, a simultaneous popped headlight fuse electrical issue (simultaneous with the New Mexico sputter-to-a-stop incident) persisted ... meaning that I’m currently on 15A fuse four.

Oddly enough, fuses three and four occurred in Gila Bend, Arizona on January 19th, five-minutes after I pay-phoned Momma at a Love’s truck stop to tell her that I, and of course my Cart-her, were finally rolling along again just fine. Being that this happened at sunset, this of course resulted in the inability to safly ride at night, getting a hotel and scouring Cart-her's wiring harness all evening instead of tenting-it in the Organ Pipe State Park just outside of the Lukeville/Sonoyta border crossing. In the morning, with the local NAPA shop open at 7am, I slipped in a new fuse and a new low beam bulb to connect my electrical taped wires and made it to Mexico!

The Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Mexico border crossing

We rolled through smoothly until the immigration office 19 miles … oh, wait, I’m on kilometers now … 30.4 kilometers down highway 2 where we went to get tourist and vehicle visas to the tune of $62 each. After a two-hour wait while the immigration officer tried to figure out that South Africa is indeed a country in Africa and that people who have U.S. visas should get a Mexican visa for the U.S. citizen equivalent of 180 days, we were on our way. Although, as a jaded and spoiled American passport holder, if these chumpy-pricey visa stamps don’t get checked before I cross into Guatemala, Malcolm owes me for his un-American honesty!
I stuck my $36 USD Vehiculo Importado Temporalmente sticker on Cart-her while waiting for my 'lesser passport' holding friend

We rolled into Hermosillo, the capital of the state of Sonora after dark and and found the lovely Bugambilia, $33 USD with free b-fast, wireless and let us park our bikes in the courtyard, Hotel … (internal thought) … “finally” … I exhale as I sip another glass of $2-Buck-Chuck while watching westerns in Spanish.

I love this random life stuff.