Mechanical Problems – On the Side of the Road in Belgium

For those of you who thought that yesterday’s post about soup was indicative of of a low key and uneventful journey, here is something I wrote on Friday:

I’m sitting on the sidewalk on a nice neighborhood street in St. Ghislain, Belgium (just west of Mons, neither of which are places I’d every heard of). Since Jackie is the one that speaks French, I am the one sitting by a disabled motorcycle (specifically Jackie’s Holt) and a greenish puddle with sticky hands from a fine mist of coolant.

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It’s very peaceful compared to  20 minutes ago when steam was spraying out of a ruptured plastic cylinder. I think it’s some sort of filter in the coolant system, but I don’t know why it isn’t just a tube and my repair book and it’s scant 6 pages on the cooling system seem to gloss over the part’s very existence. Luckily the part burst while we were pulled over and looking at maps and not while riding down the highway, so Jackie was able to jump off the bike immediately instead of having to pull over while her leg was being steamed. Jackie just called to say she’s waiting at a Suzuki dealer (we have Kawasaki’s, but hey, at least it’s a motorcycle shop) for the mechanic to come back from lunch.

Part 2:
Jackie called again saying they didn’t have the right part, but gave us a list of other motorcycle shops to check in the area. On my suggestion I asked her to just get a length of tube to bypass the filter and some coolant and she ended up coming back with an improvised filter and tube setup that should do the job. Plumbing is plumbing. I read up on the proper procedure to flush and refill the coolant and we should be up and running again soon. We will most certainly miss checking in by 5pm with our airbnb host in Paris, so that’s our next challenge. We also won’t do step 18 of the coolant replacement procedure, “Dispose the old coolant in an environmentally-safe manner,” unless the involuntary puddle under the bike counts.

To be continued… (but to relieve the suspense, I will let you know that this is being posted from Paris with two working motorcycles parked outside)

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