We were tempted to stay a third day, but our little spot wasn’t completely secluded, and we didn’t want to push our luck. So we rode the bikes unladen up the hill, then hiked back and forth with all our luggage, and reluctantly prepared to leave. It was nearing 11am and already the temperature was climbing towards 40. Still there was nothing for it but to climb on and start chasing after a breeze.
Back on the road south to Edremit we pulled into a petrol station to fill up and dump our rubbish from the weekend (mostly beer and whiskey bottles). The pump attendant smiled, checked my number plate, looked bewildered, smiled again, then got out his phone and called a friend. The phone was passed to me and I was asked in English; “My friend wants to know what you need?”. Umm, petrol please? That was strange and unnecessary but well meaning and soon we were back on the road and looking to stock up on supplies before finally heading for the coast.
I spotted a supermarket, circled round and hopped up on the pavement and pulled up next to a petrol station under a huge billboard. Maria pulled up behind me, gushing coolant from under her fairing. Not good. Maria started into the usual stripping down the bike routine while I wandered off in search of distilled water to replace her lost coolant. Luckily, we’d broken down next to the automotive repair district. Unluckily, no-one here seems to bother with distilled water, so I was sent from shop to shop before eventually returning empty-handed.
The open tool roll had of course attracted a helpful passerby, so I grabbed him and we went back into the maze of mechanic’s shops, where he managed to navigate us to the one shop with distilled water. Success!
Back at the bike we started mentally working our way through the cooling system trying to diagnose the problem. It was unlikely to the pump, since we’d just replaced that. Next suspect was the fan, so we disconnected it and hooked it up to my bike. After a few minutes of idling Pippa stalled and a quick look confirmed; she’d blown a fuse. We’d finally found the source of Maria’s woes then. A replacement wasn’t going to be easy to find though. Our new friend and I grabbed the fan and housing and headed back towards the auto district to try our luck.
En route I stopped to draw some cash and while my back was turned my mate caught the attention of a passerby on a 125, who decided he’d lend a hand too. I was shuffled onto the back of the bike and taken down a series of alleys to a little electronics shop, where I smilingly thrust my fan in the owner’s face. No luck though, he had no idea what to do with it.
I was chauffeured back to our spot, where helpful stranger number one was sitting with Maria. Helpful stranger no.2 handed us the key to his scooter and sent us on our way. So off we went through the back streets of the auto district, in search of a replacement motor. Shop after shop proved unhelpful, and I was beginning to wonder if the weird BMW housing was confusing people so I wandered off to find a spanner and a cigarette and sat on a step, dismantling the thing. Now it looked just like a motor and a fan the shop owner looked a bit more hopeful. He disappeared into the back and we took the opportunity to return the 125. Back to the mechanic’s on Pippa, and he’d dragged a huge, archaic VW cooling system out into the street, for us to have a bash at.
It was a multi-fanned beast of a thing, but we liberated a working motor and a fan with all blades intact, now it was just a matter of attaching it to the BMW housing. We jumped back on Pippa and headed to a metal fabricator who seemed to know my friend, and gave us free reign of their tools.
Unfortunately an hour or two of hammering, drilling, and swearing and we still didn’t have a working cooling system and I was forced to give up and just revert to plan B; fetching a new part from Izmir. Ok then, back to the bike, back to the mechanic to pay for the VW fan I’d butchered…
Hang on; what if we cut up the VW fan housing, cut up the BMW housing, and spliced the two together? That could work….
Back at the fabricators with new enthusiasm, we soon had an admittedly Frankensteinian, but perfectly serviceable cooling fan, for a total cost of 50TL. Together with the 50TL our friend had asked for (a bit cheeky, but not bad for four hours work), the whole thing had cost less than £30. It took a bit of fiddling to wedge it in place, but it worked and we were finally back on the road!
With a few meagre supplies in our panniers we covered the last few miles west till finally we could see the coast peeking over the top of a cornfield. Our troubles weren’t over though, as Maria’s engine temperature light came on. Seems the fan was working, but our hand carved propeller blades weren’t drawing enough air through the system. Shame, I was really hoping my bodge fix would do it. Now though, we just needed to find a place to sleep.
Maria pulled up on the pavement and sat in the shade of a tree while I spent an hour exploring the little party town of Burihanye and the surrounding hills and olive groves, looking for a spot to camp. The best option I could find was a near empty campsite on the sea where for 40TL a night we had a pitch for our tent, space for the bikes and free wifi. I didn’t like the prospect of paying for it, but I was starting to feel a bit sick so I really wanted to just call it a night.
I went back for Maria, led her to the campsite, then dashed to the toilet. Yup, something’s not right. Maybe the river water? Or the cheap yoghurt drink I’d had? Could be the Kefir culture not agreeing with my stomach. I shuffled back to the bike and lay down moaning, while Maria set up the tent alone. Eventually I crawled into the tent, trying to sip some water and spent the night running to and from the toilet. I woke up to find Maria had joined me in the tent and was feeling equally shitty. Seems we’d caught fairly severe heat stroke during our attempts to fix the bike.