No flat tires! Yet.

We haven’t had one flat tire yet. But we did have some work to do along the way. Luckily every time something unplanned happened, the problem was solved within a few hours.

In Turkmenistan the frame of my motorbike was broken, on both sides. Within half an hour we found a shop, with the help of some locals. The guys didn’t speak much English, and our Russian is pretty limited. But we could make clear we knew how to take the motorbike apart and put it back together. And they apparently know how to weld. Three hours later the motorbike was assembled and seven countries further it’s still going strong. When we asked the guys how much we owed them, they refused consistently. All they said was: “Free, don’t break”.

 

When stopping for lunch break during our guided tour through Myanmar, I noticed some leaking on the front side of the motorbike. The exhaust pipe had come a little loose and lowered on a cooling hose, which had cause it to melt.
Good timing I think, because while the guides called a mechanic and went to find a fitting hose and new coolant, we could enjoy our lunch!
I replaced the hose again shortly after, tried to fixate the exhaust (which failed) and put new coolant in the system. I was still riding with a lot of distilled water because they couldn’t find coolant in the end.

 

“A clean bike is a happy bike”. Famous words of Vijay, a motorbike enthusiast in India. Okay, not my hobby, but indeed pretty necessary every now and than. Pictures of India and Laos.

 

New parts are essential to be able to continue the journey in a safe way. We brought some parts from home, some parts we find along the way with or without a little help from a friendly guy, and some parts we’ve had send to us or were even brought by a friend who visited us in Laos.
So a special thank you to Kees, who ordered and send some parts to Uzbekistan. A special thank you for Miranda, who brought some things by plane to Laos.
Thank you Vijay from India, who made a few phone calls and found us new drive chains. And thank you Vivek from Nepal who flew to Bangkok to get us new oil for the air filters! And he didn’t want us to pay for it either! Okay, he was going to Bangkok anyway, but still…

 

It’s pretty amazing thinking about all the help we received in the many workshops we have visited by now. Because sometimes you just need a little help from the pro’s.
Oil change in India, maintenance in Kirgizstan, oil and front sprocket change in Laos and a new front tire in India.

 

Obstacles along, or even on the way. A landslide and some more sand in Tajikistan. Once we passed the landslide we took a short break. Only to find out we had another obstacle to conquer. The bridge over the river was gone. Luckily it wasn’t too deep and Klaas managed to get both motorbikes to the other side safely. With the sand, we quickly got help of a few truck drivers.
I never counted the animals we met on the road. And if I would, I would have lost count by now. One day, if I remember well, we crossed at least 15 herds. This herd is in Kirgizstan. We’ve seen beautiful roads in this country, but also the worst. It was the end of a long hot day. Roads had been like this all day, very exhausting. The motorbike and me ran out of fuel at about the same time. I hid in the shadow of the bike, eating something, while Klaas refilled the tank.

 

Some more obstacles. First lesson in riding motorcycle: DON’T look where you don’t want to go. You’ll end up there. Point proven in Kirgizstan.
We had to wait for a landslide to be cleared on the Rohtang pass and many times for roadworks in India. They eat away the mountain, drop it on the road and clear the area. Luckily we’ve never had to wait for more than half an hour.
And a river crossing in Nepal. It wasn’t too deep, or too rocky, so I managed to do it myself. 🙂

 

Obstacles in different variations: they had just put a really thick layer of stones to built a new asphalt road, India.
Due to protests in Northern India, which blocked a central crossing, we had to go around it. Google thought there was a road… It turned out to be a sandy pathway along the backside of the houses. After we had crossed the railway.
And the bottom two pictures: some more damage on the front of the motorbike, because this interested looking cow jumped on me and the motorbike from out of nowhere. I bet she was still shaking standing over there. Just like me…

 

Getting fuel is pretty interesting sometimes. Tadzjikistan, Turkey, Pakistan and India.

 

Sometimes we do need help and parts we didn’t bring ourselves. A new motor for my fuel pump, in Pakistan. They found it somewhere in the same street and cost me only about ten euros for the part. 
New oil seals for my front fork, at the KTM dealer, in India. We initially went there because it was the closest, only four kilometer from where I discovered the leak, and thought maybe they could tell us where to try next. But they happened to have the right size seals! So again lucky and again we had lunch while some skilled guys worked on my motorbike. 
And Klaas was checking his rear wheel and brake in Nepal after it started making noise because of the fall he’d made. It turned out later, his new, to cheap to be good, break pads made the noise. He put back his old ones… Sometimes you have to try, don’t you?

 

Broken off parts. The windscreen’s repaired and replaced a few times until I gave up. Mirrors broken off on both sides. The repaired side held on longer than the non-repaired one. But eventually I replaced both in Nepal.
Spotlights, one burned out pretty soon and the other one broke off. Recently replaced by two light weight ones. Useful when the headlight fails and you have no choice but to ride in the darkness (because Yamaha made it pretty difficult to easily replace the bulb on the XT660R).
One tip I’ll give away now: bring a motorbike you can handle. This one is a little to high and a little to heavy for me. So I dropped it a little more often than anticipated.
Last picture is made after a long rainy day. I had to ride the motorbike up a short ramp to get it inside. The bottom hit the floor, I lost balance, managed to stop the bike, keep it up straight. And then my foot slipped on the wet floor. Bummer. Again…

 

Many bumps on the road, small ones, big ones. Every now and than, something comes loose.
Gear lever of Klaas his motorbike, fixed in Turkey.
Windscreen in Tadzjikistan, Pamir Highway.
Mirror after kissing the floor in India.
Chain guard, first in Tadzjikistan, second time in Laos.
Always good to bring some bolts and nuts! Oh and Klaas his favorites, tie raps and duct tape! He even repaired the zipper of his jacket with it.

 

Workshops: Laos, India twice and Turkey. Almost everywhere we came for help, we got it immediately! I’m going to have to get used to making appointments again once we get back home…

Not even one flat tire during the more than 30.000 kilometer of riding we did so far. But I’m sure we’ll manage once it’s time.

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