Waiting, and hoping, and waiting ….


In UB … still

We all know Lou Reed.
One of his songs is ghosting through my mind:

I’m waiting for my man
Got 26 dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington 125
Feel sick and dirty more dead than alive
Huh, I’m waiting for my man

Hey white boy, what you doin’ uptown
Hey white boy, you chasin’ my women around
Pardon me sir, it’s furthest from my mind
I’m just waitin’ for a dear-dear friend of mine
I’m waiting for my man, come on

Well, if you get the melody, then you’ll get my drift.
… and that’s how I feel – right here&now in Ulaanbaatar.

I am waiting for my spare-parts and they’ve been paid already.
Until they arrive no chasing of anything or anybody – just waiting killn’ time, going over my maps for the twentieth time, eat too much and getting fat – just like an Egyptian whey hoo whey hoo whey … make that: just like a Mongolian whey hoo whey hoo whey

Well, you can see that I have time on my hands and the mind tries to occupy itself, usefully or not, just occupy.

Perhaps I should go outside and sun-bake a little, as the overnight rain has stopped and the Mongolian sun is shining brightly. There has been a lot of rain lately throughout the country.

My two fellow motorcycle travellers Mario and Neil got caught up in it whilst riding in the Gobi. All turned to mud and Neil, on his Triumph Tiger, fried his clutch. Now he and his bike are on a Mongolian flatbed truck on its way back to UB. Decision-making time for Neil contemplating his options.

Basically I can see three:

  1. Order spare-parts via www, wait, install and continue. Juts as I just did with my fork seals. Depending on duration it may necessitate an extension to his 30-day visa
  2. Sell bike as is here and get next-to-nothing for it …. buy a local (Chinese) bike (you still could end up with some change) and travel on
  3. See this incident as a ‘sign from above’ and pack up your bike and self to travel home, attempting this journey in a year or two

This has firmed my thoughts of breaking my journey, meaning hopping off ze bike and explore at least a part of Mongolia by other means. Like a small group tour down south with four or more wheels, ultimately returning to UB. Naturally I also hope for warmer, less rain, weather to minimise the clutch-frying option.

I stuck out several feelers and received several options. So now I can examine and see if/what’s do-able. I have a 30-day visa for M, but could extent – at a cost. Looking deeper into this option I will need to ‘fork-out’ (what a befitting turn of phrase!) about US $ 1000 for a trip down to Gobi, a couple of days and experiencing Mongolian airlines (fly there and back). Hmmmh, will need to percolate this a little more. We’ll see …


Monday evening my time I received the tracking number for my parts dispatch via FedExpress. I could and see the parts are in UB already! Quickly establish the local Fed.Ex agent and ask the hostel staff to call them. We are told it should be dispatched today. YESS!

Waiting and going over maps. Now it is almost 13.00 part isn’t here. Mongolian time = Pacific time …

Ask hostel staff to call again and bad news: part may come today after 18.00 hours. The driver does the west of UB first, then the east-side. I am ‘east’. Bugger that!  I tell’em that I will come my-good-self and pick it up from their office. It’s in the cbd, close to the large place.

Ultimately, at almost 14.30 I’ve got it! A celebration must be had! Burger and a Guinness! Then heading back and the repair begins.


undercover work

In the lead-up to the task I have read several how-to-do post on the www. Some have detailed pix and descriptions. Love’em!

The top of the fork is out of the bracket; pulled out the actual moving (shiny) bit and drained the oil.


Blick ins leere Rohr

Now the ‘fun’ starts. Prizing the dust caps off is easy, but getting the actual seal out of the lower fork-leg (a pipe thingo) proofs a tad difficult. Here the www-instructions recommend a special tool, even show a picture.
Well, another Lesson Learnt: You’ll never have the tool with you that you need for a certain task ….. I’ll have to make do; break only one screwdriver, ever being careful not to damage, scratch or otherwise the fork. Finally the side-stand-spring-tension tool is saving me. Both seals eventually give-up and decide to pop-out. Hallejuhliah!


da liegen sie, die Gabelholme

Now the reverse, however first a proper clean-up of any residual gunk and visual inspection of the leg and both seals. One dust-cap had it, it’s cracked. One seal (the non-leaking one ??) appears also damaged.

Well, I ordered two, so I change both!

The rest is a satisfyingly easy task: carefully tapping the seals into the leg, not forgetting to insert the u-disc underneath each. Clipping-back the retaining clips, dust-caps on top, oil re-fill. Here I compromise. Getting fork-oil in Mongolia is hens-teeth stuff, “Ugui!” “Niet!” so I settle for Automatic Trans fluid instead. It will make do until journey’s end.
Now the forks can be re-inserted, retightened at the top, the entire wheel re-aligned and all is good.


sans front wheel, bleeding fork

Since my replacement Heidenau tyres (front & rear) have arrived in UB, I use the close-by motorcycle shop to change them. Ready to go. Happy man!

Tomorrow a final packing, paying getting some food stuff day and early next morning off again. I think I have decided against the flying option and take the risk.

Stay tuned

8 thoughts on “Waiting, and hoping, and waiting ….

  1. Hey Axel, now I too know all about fork seals 🙂 Great to read of your adventures big buddy but you know what? you missed the last service day so you’ll have to bring a big note to explain that one! Seriously, I hope all goes well once you’re on the road again on your huge adventure. Love your pictures and commentary, wunderbar! Keep up the good work, keep well but maybe don’t keep eating, ha ha. Greetings from home and safe travels, Lynne.

    • Hi Lynne, good to read your message. Have a note from my teacher, although in Mongolian. Off towards Gobi early Fri morning. BTW waiting for my food to arrive 😉

  2. Hey Axel

    Ahh the romance of travelling on 2 wheels, the older l get, a simple car is looking promising…….. or a klr650 (lack of weight).. Enjoying your stories, ta for the updates..

    Ta, Nick

  3. Hi Axel Job well done. I know how frustrating it can be, when you don’t have the special tools created by some BMW engineer in the office. Be positive – of to the next venture. Stay upright Winfried

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