Wednesday, June 30
The French Tip
About 60 miles into the journey home, we stopped at some lights and I felt a rhythmic puffing onto my left leg; looking down, my boot was covered in 50wt and my timing hole plug was gone.
We looked for it in vain, and with the Dirty Bobbers crew's help loaded the Panhead into Johnny's van. I was fucked off, to say the least. Brought to a halt by a $2 bolt. As I said to Scarlett, I'd been thinking how great life was and how well the Pan was running just five minutes before the breakdown. Now I was going to miss a great ride in perfect weather with some of the coolest motorcycles in Europe.
Still grumpy, half an hour later we stopped for lunch at McD's and Olivier (our guide, host, '47 Knuck owner and absolutely top bloke) mentioned he'd had the same thing happen on a shovel and had plugged the crankcase hole with a wine cork. I admit, I was dubious.
Tom wasn't though. Smoking a stogie, he wandered off to a nearby restaurant and purloined an old French wine bottle cork. He then cheerfully chopped it in half, whittled it down and plugged it into the crankcase, after we'd tested the clearance we had to the flywheel.
I started the bike, and it held. I was still dubious.
140 miles later, we got back to Olivier's place, cork intact, and the bike running fine (except for a sticking kicker).
Olivier, merci beaucoup. Tom, I love you brother!