Holt and Melton Constable are running again!

23.914901°, -15.764326° Ocean Vagabond, Dakhla, Western Sahara

In case you weren’t aware, the name of our blog comes from the names of our bikes, which are actually the names of two towns we rode by in England on our then unnamed motorcycles almost three years ago. Those towns are named Holt and Melton Constable. We’ve now got our Holt (Jackie’s bike) and Melton Constable (Aron’s bike) back in our possession and they’re up and running again.

We spent two days in Casablanca, and arrived yesterday back at Ocean Vagabond outside of Dakhla, Western Sahara (this is where Jackie’s accident happened, and we still owe you the story of the accident and how we got home). This morning we went into town to see Holt and Melton again after five months of storage. They were dustier and more covered in cobwebs than when we left them, but otherwise they looked pretty good.

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Our motorcycling badass friend, Colin, who along with Freya helped us get home in July (like we said, we owe you that story), was there to help us again. We rolled the bikes out of the garage and pumped up the tires. We put in the key and the engines turned over (a good sign that the battery was still alive), but they wouldn’t start.

Colin suggested cleaning the spark plugs, so it was off with the plastic pieces around the motor. As it turned out, we had the wrong size spark plug socket. Off went Colin and back he came with the right one, but we still couldn’t get any good purchase because of the tight space. So, off came the gas tank on Jackie’s bike to allow for more working room, and out came the correctly adjusted and problem free spark plug. In with some starter spray. In with the spark plug. We tried to start the bike and got one putt. Hmmm.

Battery, check. Spark, check. Fuel? In our rush to leave last summer, we hadn’t closed the fuel valves or run the bikes until dry, so there was old gas that had been sitting in the carburetor for the last five months. Colin said that the easiest next thing to try was to open up the carburetor drain screw. With the twist of an Allen wrench, Holt started peeing fuel on the ground for five or ten seconds. We closed the screw, turned the key, pressed the starter button and the engine roared to life. Twist the Allen wrench again, Melton took a little tinkle and we had a second running bike.

By this time the customs office, which was our next planned stop, was closed for lunch. Colin took us to the “Oyster Farm” restaurant, which was really just an oyster farm plus some shaded tables. They served oysters picked 30 meters from where we sat, and octopus and mixed seafood tagines that were so fresh and good that even Aron (who doesn’t like seafood) ate them.

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Lunch was followed by picking up our keys and paperwork from Customs in a process that took all of 10 minutes. It took about the same amount of time to look at pictures of the Customs official’s motorcycles on his phone as it did to get our documents and keys. We bought some snacks in town, went back to where the bikes were parked, and rode back to Ocean Vagabond, and successfully rode up the entrance rode without crashing. And here we are, ready to hit the road south again!

Mechanical Problems Update #2 – Fixed!

Today we returned to the mechanic to check out Aron’s bike, Melton Constable. He (the mechanic, not Melton) had ordered a new head gasket, and was waiting for it to come in so he could replace it and make sure the bike sounded normal again.

As we pulled into the parking area, Melton Constable was parked outside – which is always a good sign! It looks like removing the soot, fixing the timing, and replacing the broken doohickey did the trick, and the bike is running great! We rode them both home today.

Overall, there were a number of repairs – both big and small – that were done on the bikes. It wasn’t particularly cheap to do all this work, but if it avoid problems on the road, it was definitely worth it and the price was very fair for the amount of work. Bjarne at Glebjerg Motorservice did a really fantastic job helping us out. He did a thorough sweep of the bikes, and caught everything that needed fixing: from the worn-out chain and sprocket to the small cracked dust seals on our brakes. Plus Aron and his dad got to help out with a number of the repairs.

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We’ll likely have a few more mechanical challenges on the road. But without Bjarne’s help and all of these repairs, we probably wouldn’t have made it out of Europe! We’re excited to hit the road in a few days feeling confident that our bikes are starting the trip in good mechanical shape.