August 10, 2006 GMT

I'm sure you've all been aware that one the things which has kept me going on this journey is those for whom I'm doing it. By which I mean those who'll never have the chance.

One of those people was Joyce Brown. Before I left, she and her husband Arthur told me that I had to bear the responsibility of doing it for them; only half in jest (both of them can be pretty fierce). At the time, Joyce was receiving chemotherapy for lymphoma.

I've been in regular contact with Arthur; indeed, in the last few days he's been telling me about the arrangements he and Joyce have been making for her eventual funeral. And today I heard that Joyce passed away in the early hours of this morning.

Her last motorcycle ride will be on a fine motorcycle outfit, escorted by members of the Mercia Section of the BMW Club.

I hope Joyce enjoyed my stories.

Posted by Cynthia Milton at 05:21 PM GMT
August 25, 2006 GMT
How to Make a Middle-Aged Woman Very Happy Indeed

The bike having been taken to a workshop the other side of the city to have an extremely recalcitrant big-end bolt extracted, I slept badly because I woke up in the middle of the night convinced that when I refitted the gearbox I forgot to remove the flywheel-jamming tool (which is small and black and thus doesn't exactly leap to the eye). I take such things extremely calmly these days. (And remember all my pix are here.)

I'll rewind a bit here.

John built an Amazing Crate, and it was flown to me containing Reggie's spare bottom (crankcase, crankshaft, camshaft, sundries). This is because we still couldn't solve the oil pressure problem. Phil the Boxerman thinks it's probably that the rear main bearing has a broken locating pin and has rotated in its housing, thus blocking the oilway. Who knows?

Anyway, much grunting and cursing as I swapped good parts out of my engine to Reggie's (oil pump/pickup/filters, timing chain, starter motor, all that good stuff) finally refitting the rebuilt engine and gearbox on Monday.

I then proceeded to remove the conrods - it's easier with the engine in due to the amount of heaving needed. Out came two bolts and a conrod (much heaving), out came one bolt from the other conrod. The last bolt absolutely wouldn't (heat, cold, big hammer, bigger hammer, you know the sort of thing). The aforementioned workshop drilled it out completely, thank heavens.

So yesterday the bike was back first thing and I refitted the conrods from my engine, with new bearings (the right size this time). Pistons, barrels, heads, yada yada, timed it up, checked tappets. Started straight away, of course. Bit of a test ride around the block, gorgeous, but the battery's definitely DED. So they charged up a new one overnight for me to fit this morning, and everything's completely hunky-dory (until the next time).

Just as I was having a coffee and ciggie to recover from paying the bill, Hubert turned up on his R100GS outfit with Marcus (Swiss) on his R100GS, so we had a bit of a coffee morning while Marcus changed his brake pads, then rode off for lunch at a Greek restaurant up the road.

While I was furtling a bit this morning in the workshop one of the suits came and handed a mobile phone to me - it turned out to be a chap called Glen Duncan who's heard about me from Ted and Lucy who are the BMW owners who live at Playa Coronada up the PanAmericana from here (the ones who've invited me to visit on my way through, if you remember). He's from Vermont, travelling with a friend in a camper van.

Anyway, looks like I'm back on the road again. I won't be leaving for a
few days as there are places I want to visit as day trips on the bike,
and I have to see the dealer (Bavarian Motors) on Monday as they're
arranging the return of my engine to Reggie in The Amazing Crate. And
there's laundry (didn't want to wash the working duds until I'd
finished getting them filthy). And stuff. Not to mention my Second
Anniversary next Wednesday (all invited, drinkies at El Pavo Real from

Ah, yes, the flywheel-locking tool. And yes, I'd left it in there.
Managed to extract it, though, without removing anything; and any
airhead owner will know what a pain THAT was.

Posted by Cynthia Milton at 05:26 PM GMT

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