Only twenty kilometers after leaving Otgon, Gina had showed mild overheating signs. This was strange, considering the relatively cool weather. A quick oil check, revealed that her blood was still dark in color and not the dreaded chocolate milk (oil + water). A distressing bubble layer on the top of the oil peek glass still was not a good sign, and Toast suspected the coolant pump seals again. He had prepared for the eventuality and only filled her up with water instead of glycol, to avoid breaking down the oil in case of accidental mix. Small amounts of water would hopefully just evaporate from the hot oil, and leave the engine via the positive crank case ventilation anyways. Another advantage was the easy coolant drains, not having to worry about disposing of glycol. Filipz did not feel like a cup of tea, instead the hot water was poured straight into the grass behind a shaded hut. While Toast finished the impeller teardown and seal removal, Filipz went for a spin up towards Otgon Tenge, a 4000 meter high snowclad mountain, of some apparantly spiritual importance.
He off-roaded straight over a smaller large stone sprinkled mountain^^. As he was dodging the stones on his way down his chain suddenly jumped off. The chain guide had broken off in Kazakstan, so this was now a relatively common indicator of lose chain tension. He then found a dirt road that led him straight to a temple, where “fika” was waiting for him.
The presumed offerings, did not coincidence with his principle of not throwing away food, so the best kinder sweets were picked out and saved from wasteful decomposition.
Meanwhile, Toast discovered that although the outer seal had been partially pushed out, and chocolate milk could be found behind it, the airbox was dry and the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) had thus not spat out any considerable amount of oil mixed water moist. Instead, the radiator was found leaking from one of its mounting brackets. Must have happened during one of his countless slow speed falls. No biggie though, it could be mended with metal epoxy it in the evening.
The radiator was filled up and soon enough they were on their way again. This time, heading into a seriously technical 150 km long 4×4 track through the wilderness. It exceptionally stony and bumpy. After 30 kms and a couple more repair stops, the Pilgrims decided to call it a night. Or a the final repair stops rather. As the evening was spent stitching bags, epoxying the radiator crack without understanding the underlying cracking mode, and siliconing Gina’s leaking front tank caps, that kept showering Toast with gasoline on big impacts with full tanks. The morning was spent in a similar fashion, switching Gina’s rear brake pads and some more stitchingpiecing for Filipz.
Eventually they were on their way again on a very fun but tiny track, unfortunately leaving in the wrong direction. An hour later they were back at the camp spot, but this time crossed the river to reach the track continuing off the other side.
During the rest of the day, they would be fighting the track, which led them up 3000 meters above sea level up to impressively desolate mountain views, before descending into a river valley, where more water for Gina’s radiator could be sources and filtered.
All in all, only 80 rewarding but exhausting kilometers had been accomplished this day, and they had counted 5 repair stops.
Toast had gone down twice at moderate speeds. The first time the rear wheel had not wanted to follow as he headed out from a grass sided rut. Gina had oversteered more and more until she was sliding on her side on top of Toast’s lower leg. It hurt a bit, but he thanked TCX for the solid protection in his boots, and himself for having chosen cushioning soft luggage instead of amputating aluminium panniers.
Shortly thereafter, he had carried to high entry speed into a really deep rut. The front washed out and the side of the rut caught and broke off his left hand fairing. Abit of tape and ziptying later, they were again on their way, only to find that Filipz fresh seams had not held, and the bags now looked worse than ever.
Toast went to bed exhausted from his low food intake and leg sore, while Filipz mechanically worked the needle through layers of cordura into the night. The sky was bleeding beautifully, better this than the Pilgrims..