In order to stay ahead of the rain I decided on an early departure from Cusco. The Cusco to Puno, Peru ride would have me crossing the altiplano at elevations of 13,000 to 14,000 feet. During my ride I started to hear a rotational sounding noise. At first I thought it was just tire and road noise. I had changed the finial drive oil in Cusco a few days earlier so I thought that it would be a good idea to double check that once I reached Puno.
After securing a hotel room I asked the owner if he would object to me working on my GS in front of the hotel. As indicated earlier, people in this part of the world will go out of their way to help. Once again that was true here and the manager was very helpful. I drained out the newly replaced oil in the finial drive and discovered some metal shavings. This indicated that the main bearing was starting to go bad. I was faced with two options: 1. Take a risk and hope that the main bearing would hold out until I completed my trip, or 2. Replace the main bearing now and avoid trouble later.
Several years back I had worked on a customer’s GS and he wanted the main bearing on his GS replaced before he headed out on a long trip. I saved the replaced main bearing and was caring it with me on this trip. My decision was to replace the main bearing. It did not take me long to remove the finial drive hub from the GS. The problem was detaching the bearing from the hub. The hotel owner drove me around Puno until we located a shop with the appropriate chisel and hammer. I was nervous using these tools but that is all that I had to work with. With a few hammer blows on the hub, the main bearing popped off and I was greatly relieved. I replaced it with the new ‘used’ one and I was back in business. It took approximately 2 hours for this repair.
After completing the repairs I took a walk around the City of Puno. Puno is located on the shores of Lago Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The lake is at an elevation of 13,000 feet.
On Lake Titicaca there are man-made floating islands. I found them to be very interesting. These islands were built by the Uros people. They made the islands from dried reeds. These reed islands are approximately 3 to 4 feet thick and several of these islands are bundled together to make a large island. The island I visited housed ten families. Everything on these islands seemed to be made of reeds – their houses and boats. The Uros people also eat the lower part of the reed plant.