Today it was our turn to go the BMW shop for an oil change. Astana Motors in Almaty is an official BMW car & motorcycle dealer, but has no motorcycle mechanics nor a lift for working on bikes. Not one motorcycle was on the showroom floor. Globebusters arranged to use their facility and for them to dispose of our used oil. It was Larry’s & my job to stay out of Jeff’s way. We enjoyed the modern customer lounge high above the shop area. While Jeff worked on Larry’s bike, Alfred worked on his BMW F800GS. The timing chain has been making a lot of noise. Alfred is one of the original twelve who left Meiming last November, so I really hope his bike holds together.
When firing up my bike to return to the hotel, the headlights would not come on. The problem persisted. Back at the hotel, Larry, Erwin, Alfred, Mick and Jeff all took their turn on figuring out why my lights would not work. Mysteriously, a few hours later they were fine with nothing repaired. Jeff joked that the Suzuki must not have liked spending the morning in the BMW shop.
A couple of recent tips of Larry’s bike had seriously bent his right pannier. Erwin again came to our rescue, reshaping and reinforcing the stressed metal.
Hotels are located in places strange to us. Most are found in the center of city blocks, invisible from the street. Had we not had the GPS way point, we never would have found Hotel Kazzhol. A diminutive sign was the only indication that a large hotel was hiding behind the perimeter of residences. A mini-market was similarly located, fifty yards from the hotel’s front door.
Tonight Kevin & Larry treated the group to dinner. Kevin was celebrating his son’s 20th birthday. Larry was celebrating his 31st birthday. Yes, we all know that Larry’s been on this planet a lot longer than thirty-one years. It was the night of July 4th, 1980, that a sixteen-year old boy from Atlanta, turned his car into Larry’s motorcycle. The only reason that Larry’s left leg was not amputated was that the doctors did not believe that he would live through the night. His helmet and skull were fractured. Blood oozed from his ears. After nine days in the ICU, two additional months in the hospital, several casts, an external fixation device on his broken leg, skin grafts, and a total of six months of being laid up, he was healed and able to resume life. I’m sure glad he survived and continues to live life to its fullest.
4 Jul Almaty, Kazakhstan rest day 3 of 3
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