I have been forced to take a few deep breaths these last few days. Yesterday’s activities included 4 hours of border bureaucracy, my first SE Asia torrential piss-pounding, a dead battery (push starting a 500pound bike is an absolute beast without a little help), and a fine evening of cheap beers and street eats with my day 1 riding companion, Luke Doherty.
Luke has been a tremendous help. He arranged a stellar deal to get my bike trucked from the port in Singapore–the largest port in the world–to the Malaysian border just up the road. He showed me the ropes regarding dealing with the lawless chaos that is driving in SE Asia. He situated an awesome hotel in Melaka that was just what the doctor ordered. And he has given me the local line on the finest cuisine. A true gentleman and genuinely decent human.
As I write this, I am standed at Ban Zen Motorcycles in Melaka. Their friendly and helpful staff have made the delay tolerable, however my reasons for spending the last 6 hours here are far more troubling. In addition to a dead battery, the KLR has a torched stator–the mechanism responsible for creating current to keep the battery charged. After extensive testing of the entire electrical system, we narrowed it down to the worst case scenario. This is the 3rd stator I have blown between my four KLR arsenal. The last one took me about 2 hours to fix, and a week to get the part.
In SE Asia, parts are not exactly readily available, so I have had to improvise, alongside my new mechanic friends. Thankfully, the shop guys here at Ban Zen have a friend around the corner who specializes in alternator repair and stator spooling. If he gets back in the next hour or so, we should have it squared away. That said, I know better than to hold my breath.
Hopefully on to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.