Sunday, July 23, 2006


We left Ulan-Ude very enthousiastic about entering Mongolia. A little more than 100 km and we would hit the border.

But only 15 km after Ulan-Ude my engine suddenly dies. As if I had turned off the ignition. That doesn't look very good, but on the other hand that's really our first break-down, so we pull over and we check the one part that we've been warned about: the ignition coil. Bad news: instead of reading the 200 ohm or so it shows aa an open circuit on the multimeter, so the part is dead. In a way, we figure it's best to handle it over here in a fairly large city (300'000 people) than in the middle on Mongolia.

Philip had warned us that, very seldom, this part can break without any warning, but usually it lasts for ever. So we didn't take the spare part as it was expensive and a bit bulky, and Philip said he can have it quickly sent anywhere in the world in case it breaks. And of course, the rule is, whatever spare part you take with you, it's another that breaks. So we better travel light.

Tough luck.. so we're back in town, towed by Anders. Stop at the first petrol station and ask around for a place where we could store the bike, do some mechanic and wait for the spare part to be sent over to us (with a few russian words and lots of gestures). Eventually a nice guy takes me with him by bus to a big automobile spare parts store, not immediately useful for me but I meet the boss and he kindlz offers me some help: send a truck over to the petrol station to fetch the bike and store it there. He also can have the part sent to him and tell me when it's arrived. I even borrowed his computer to send a mail to Philip to ask hinm to send the part ASAP, DHL or FedEx or so.

Then we leave with Alexei to the petrol station (and Anders waiting there) with his truck to bring back the bike. We quickly unmount the stator and show the guys around what the problem is (they're all very interested and willing to help). An old guy comes up, looks at the part, understands the problem and leaves with the part. We don't give it too much hope as this winding is very difficult to do right, and we rather wait for the orginal spare part. So we leave the bikes here and go find a hotel.


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