The day has finally arrived; we leave tomorrow morning. Off we go, into the wind. So much uncertainty… So much road ahead of us…
Yesterday, a few hours after my arrival to Las Heras—a 22 hour trip from my house in California—we did the last major work on my bike. We replaced the stock balancer lever (aka doohickey or the doo) and the extension spring with more robust parts made by Eagle Mike in San Diego. Opening the engine was scary. I had done the doo upgrade to my Californian bike, but with experts holding my hand (see Nov 3 post). I was alone now and just about to open the engine of my brand new motorcycle with only 1,520 miles on it. Why fix what is not broken, right? And of course, a problem arose. As soon as I was ready to do the most critical part, drilling a hole in the inner engine case, I discovered that Kawasaki has slightly changed the shape of the case (at least compared to my 2009). I freaked out and desperately turned to Google for help. I feared that I would get a hit saying something like: Kawasaki finally did it! No doohickey upgrade needed for the 2012 KLR 650. But the search did not reveal anything about the 2012 doo. So I emailed Eagle Mike to ask him whether the change in the inner case was new to the 2012 or present in other models post 2009. But I could not wait for his response (which, by the way, came a few hours later—thanks Mike!), so I charged ahead, drilled the hole, installed the new torsion spring and doo, and reassembled the bike.
The doo upgrade was done with the help of my brother and in the presence of my know-it-all nephew Nicolás Farah (a dear really, a young, energetic, and generous dude) and two good friends Miguel and Miguelito Castelli. Thankfully they arrived after the panicking preceding the drilling of the hole. I say thankfully because as soon as they arrived we engaged in what seems to be one of Argentinean’s favorite pastimes after fútbol and psychoanalysis: badgering. In Argentina, friends find it hard to communicate without making fun of one another. The initial comment can be about anything (your new hair cut, the last performance of your soccer team) but the excuse to tease the other continuously changes throughout the conversation. Yesterday the main topic was my savvy as a mechanic and my tendency to be methodical, the latter, they claim, being a clear sign of my yankee-ness (not quite a compliment in Argentina). I heartily and unnecessarily defended my Argentine-ness while finishing the work on the bike—which seemed to be running fine. The badgering continued at Miguel’s house where we had a tasty asado (BBQ) with our two favorite companions, Stella Artois and Malbec.
Today, my two recurrent thoughts are Lucas and Lucía —oh, how much I want them the have a wonderful life!—and a poem by Borges, Ewigkeit. The English translations of this poem suck big time, so I will not share them with you. The one verse that keeps popping in my head says something like: At the end, everything belongs to the worms.
Torne en mi boca el verso castellano
a decir lo que siempre está diciendo
desde el latín de Séneca: el horrendo
dictamen de que todo es del gusano.
Torne a cantar la pálida ceniza,
los fastos de la muerte y la victoria
de esa reina retórica que pisa
los estandartes de la vanagloria.
No así. Lo que mi barro ha bendecido
no lo voy a negar como un cobarde.
Sé que una cosa no hay. Es el olvido;
sé que en la eternidad perdura y arde
lo mucho y lo preciso que he perdido:
esa fragua, esa luna y esa tarde.
Jorge Luís Borges