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Sashas dead.

Leaving Koh Lanta, I was actually feeling pretty confident about Sasha’s ability to grind her way through the crippling effects of my stupidity. The knocking and grinding, although bad, were staying pretty much consistent. I was going on a new sense of confidence figuring these old Russian war machines were probably designed to run metal on metal with a little sand thrown in for good measure. After the pounding she took going up some of those rough roads, I was starting to look farther into the future for our travels together. Make the turn in Malaysia and then taking the long but flat road back to Cambodia and from there to the little town along the Ho Chi Minh trail that was like Minsk suburbia. It was doable. Then there were no gas stations. On the island itself surrounded by tourist facilities, there were three full on petrol stations. I figured I would go to the mainland and then fill up as I was running a bit low after all the island driving I had done (I was even taking Sasha across the street to the 7-11 as I was getting so confident.) I got to the mainland and made the swing south and nothing. There were towns but no stations. It was at the time inconvenient but not a worry as at worst I could stop by any shop and buy a couple of bottles to get me through. The risk factor of running low levels of petrol and thereby lower percentage of oil mix passed right over my head until a new banging ensued. There were now three monkeys. Shit. What a dumb ass. I finally pulled into a station and did a slightly oily mix with the last of my 2-stroke oil and headed off. The knocking was definitely worse but she still had power and if I kept the rpm’s up the knocking quieted a bit and we seemed to be cruising fine. I kept pressing along recalculating my plan of whether to make the full 150 kms to Satun the border town with Malaysia or to stop at the 100km mark at a little port town along the way. I knew she was running hot and I knew I should have pulled over earlier but once I get going on something I like to stick with it until I finish. Eventually the knocking started to worry me as well as some upcoming hills. I pulled over for a break and a quick rest. The noise was not good and I knew it. I didn’t stop for long as I had not brought any water or snacks and I wanted some water to splash a bit of water on the cooling fins to cool her down as much as possible. We were about to the 80 km mark and she was running rough. I passed through a small town and spotted a small shop so I picked up a bottle of water for Sasha and a Fanta for me. The lady spoke a little English and she asked how I got there. I pointed out my bike and she smiled. As I was leaving she told me “good luck”, at that point I knew I was screwed.

When a motor seizes, or at least mine, it is pretty low key. As I left the town and got back into the jungly farming lands, she started to do this flattening out. It was basically like the wind got knocked out of her. Sort of like when you run out of gas. I knew it was the end but after a few turns of the throttle she would waken up and we would pound along. A short time later that loss of wind stayed lost and we glided to a stop into the shade of a big tree. Not even as much as a heart palpitation as I knew there was nothing I could do. The kick start was locked up. The motor had seized. Sasha was dead.

My only thoughts were of how long I would have to wait for a bus to come by. Being deep in the south which is considered the dangerous zone as extremist Muslims are supposedly the terrorists of Thailand (whatever), I doubted that any of the passing traffic were going to pick up a strange foreigner. I stripped off my bags and quickly separated bike stuff and traveling gear. Off came the rubber boots and on with my trekking boots. Wow my day bag was light with all the tools and spare parts taken out. No need for the arctic jacket and gloves. Rice sack and polyurethane sheet, gone. The bus doesn’t require helmets. I had my packs separated and all the biker stuff hanging off the handle bars. Now a decision had to be made.

What to do with her? I thought about just walking away, but I figured that there was a possibility that the good people would not touch a bike on the road even with all the cool stuff hanging all over it. A thief however would take it straight away. My original plan was to ride the bike to the north and just hand it over to a farmer as a surprise gift from America. That seemed like a good enough plan even though my options were fairly limited as there were only two houses within sight. I thought my plans were no longer needed when a couple of guys riding modified scooters (to be off road like) zoomed by. I thought that would be perfect. These guys were going to be stoked. It would be perfect, Sasha would most likely be up and running in no time and hell these guys might be so pumped that they might even give me a ride to town. I waved, they stared. I waved some more, the one guy made eye contact and then quickly glanced away, giggling to his friend like a little girl. Whatever. I figured spending any more time trying to give this thing away was going to be futile so I walked up to the most run down place (the humble tend to be the more honorable.) At the doorway I looked in and there was a guy sleeping on the floor with the satellite tv on and his laptop next to him playing music. Poor farmer my ass. I woke the guy up and after a little bit of cloudiness got him to follow me to the bike. I started to try to explain to him that it was broken and I wanted to give it to him. I think he thought I was broken down and needed help as he started tinkering with the motor. Fine, I will let him dabble a bit but after a while I stopped him and again tried to explain that she was dead, guaranteed, and that I was giving her to him. I started handing him the tool bag and showing him all the stuff while handing them over. I thought by giving him the registration papers it would surely register but he still looked a bit confused. Finally I gave up and grabbed his hand, shook it, grabbed my bags and walked to the other side of the road to wait for the next bus. I scored as a bus was there within a couple of minutes. As I was about to get on the guy was still unsure and he pointed at the bike and then at his house. I pointed at him then the bike and then the house. I gave him a wave good by and I think he finally got it. If not the bike is going to sit in the back of his yard while he waits for me to return. Oh well, I tried.

And that is the end of Sasha. I am now a tourist cow. No make that a goat. No, I’ve got it, I’m a sheep because I whine and bitch a lot (bwaaaaaaaaaa). So onwards and upwards we go….by bus.

One of the things that I need to work on is expressing my feelings so I figured I would sit down and write a 1000 word essay on how it felt losing Sasha and being back on the bus brigade.

SHIT X 1000.

The end.



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2 responses to “Sashas dead.”

  1. Karie says:

    I am deeply sorry for your loss…nar I’m not cause now you need to really plan again..Welcome back to crowded bus, skinky people, weird food. 😉

  2. Snarky says:

    RIP Sasha. I hope you find a replacement soon…

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