Saturday 5th September to Thursday 10th September
After waking up to a beautiful view surrounded by mountains, we rode in to Salida and picked up our things from the Post office. Next stop was a local packaging company to collect Ed’s engine, but there was immediate disappointment on his part as we discovered that it hadn’t arrived yet. This wouldn’t have been a problem had it been a weekday, but being a Saturday and then Labour Day on the Monday, we were unable to chase them up until the Tuesday. The engine company also hadn’t sent the tracking number, and as Ed had forgotten to chase them up for it we were left with no other option than to wait until Tuesday. Thankfully Skye the owner of the packing company kindly offered her yard for us to camp in, which soon turned in to her guest bedroom. At least we weren’t homeless or stuck paying for an expensive motel, and Skye and her husband Dennis looked after us incredibly well, feeding us every evening and sharing beers and tales with us on their front porch.
They had the most beautiful view of the mountains, and I thoroughly enjoyed being in the town of Salida. It has something about it, a sense of community and character. There was a farmers market on the Saturday, so we picked up some bread and cheese and sat down by the river to eat it. A wine festival was also going on in the park, and being Labour Day weekend the town was packed with happy smiling visitors, all keen to chat to us about the bikes and our trip.
We also got invited to Skye and Dennis’s friend’s BBQ on the Monday, and after an enjoyable weekend I decided that not receiving the engine in time was maybe a good thing, as we’d got to spend some time with some lovely people.
But then Tuesday arrived, and after Ed contacted the engine company he discovered that the engine had in fact been delivered on Friday, and signed for by a member of Skye’s staff. Ed wasn’t impressed, and was understandably frustrated by their incompetence. They knew that we were waiting for the engine, but it had somehow slipped their mind that they had signed for it only the day before. We were even with them on the Monday, and can’t believe that they didn’t remember signing for it. The member of staff claimed that the package didn’t have many details (even though it had Ed’s name on it), so he’d just put it away in a cupboard. Ed pointed out that if a package didn’t have many details then that would be the package that sticks in his mind, but it wasn’t the case for this guy. Ed didn’t even get a proper apology from him, but Skye made up for that. She felt awful about it and apologised profusely, and continued to look after us and provide the best hospitality that she could, saying that we could stay as long as we needed. I felt sorry for her as it wasn’t her fault, but she took full responsibility for it anyway, saying that she should have checked for the package herself instead of relying on her staff. I pointed out that she should be able to trust her staff to remember things, and not to feel completely responsible for it.
Ed set to work straight away, removing his old engine, fitting the new one, and moving parts from the old engine on to the new one. It took longer than anticipated, and just when he thought all was well he took it out for a test ride and discovered a problem. The gear box was upside down.
He’d explicitly asked them if it was an all up engine, and they’d confirmed that yes it was. But here he was riding around having to press the lever down to go up a gear. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was added frustration and further incompetence, which was starting to take its toll on Ed. He was getting fed up, not only with engines but also with the incompetence and constant delays. While he could learn to use the upside down gearbox it could prove to be a problem in an emergency situation, and more than that it was the fact that he’d paid for an engine that wasn’t right. It would have to do for now though, as he’d already fitted it and we needed to get moving. I have to say though that despite the gear box being the wrong way round the engine sounded beautiful, and after such a long rest and with fresh new tyres (and a new jerry rigged front brake for me) we were more than ready to get back on to the trail.