Thursday, December 13, 2007

Its Not Easy

Its bloody tough, I am been tested time and time again and whats happened to me recently you may not enjoy reading but its all apart of the adventure. After getting on with the job at hand and trying for a positive on the road ahead I was met with hurdle after hurdle. I made it to Dar Es Salam, Tanzania's major city on the coast, the reason for going there was to take a trip to the famous once Arab slave trading island of Zanzibar, also know as the spice island. Leaving the mother ship parked up for a few days was a welcome break, I took the ferry across to the island and although the seas were calm and smooth my tummy did not feel right, upon arrival the steady ground did not ease the problem, I was coming down with something but I had an island to explore. I spent the remainder of the day exploring the tiny narrow streets of Stonetown, reminded me a lot of the Morrocan Medinas, just a maze of streets to get lost in.

By night I felt worse, laying in bed wondering if I gad malaria again, it seemed to be heading in that direction. After a sleepless night I decided to go get a malaria test, I sat in the little medical room waiting for the doctor to study my blood under the microscope, eventually negative was the result, great I though but why do I feel so ill? He said I was run down and to take some panadol, yeah that will work was my immediate thought. After another sleepless night I headed back to Dar with a disappointing trip to Zanzibar behind me. I felt a little better on my ferry ride back but by evening I was sliding down hill fast again, finally my stomach gave way and the result was something of a green pond matter that I have never witnessed before, I was ill alright! Good fortune has it that there was a lady there who works in the medical line in Africa and immediately diagnosed me with Ghardia, after I told her my symptoms, how did I get it I asked, the answer I did not want to know-basically you get it from consuming fesses, great I had managed to eat shit!! The owner of the campsite went and got me the pills and after 3 days I was riding west toward Burundi.

Parking in the foyer

Dissecting Tanzania from East to West got me off the tourist trail with a 1000 k's of African dirt roads and back into a bit of bush camping. Also I had my first flat tire since leaving South Africa. Three days later I reached the west part of Tanzania and this bought with it the red rich soil and green jungles akin to Central Africa. After a few days camping I wanted some comfort so found a hotel/brothel with plenty of traffic throughout the night to not let me get to much rest, but my mind was at ease with the stead as they let me park it in the foyer of the hotel.

I will go left!
Since leaving Dar I had been developing a sore on my thigh, it was getting painful and bigger, I tried squeezing it but no result just making it sorer and figured it was a boil which I have never had before but it needed to take its course so I left it alone. So I pushed on and was glad to leave Tanzania behind me and headed for Burundi, quite worried entering a country that has just only finished a civil war not to long ago. On my own its hard to now if your decisions are right without been able to consult someone else for their concerns and thoughts, its all my decision, I went anyway. I was pleasantly surprised, the scenery was spectacular as the road climbed high into the mountains then down to the shores of Lake Tanginyka, I saw hippos from the road and of course loads of soldiers with AK-47's and an array of other dads army weapons, a sign that things are still on edge. Its only a small country so I road onto the capital and whilst looking for a place to stay the generosity of David(USA) and Gloria(Burundian) found me and invited me to stay with them, a hot shower, nice bed and great food was a paradise I needed. Then onto Rwanda, again the scenery was stunning, high mountains, huge lakes, a scene from Jurasic Park.

Boys hitching a ride up the hill.

Burundian Women collecting fire wood

Imagine this down hill and no brakes!!

Very econimical I suppose!

My leg was getting sorer every day, I could not stand it any more and thought I will have to lance it with my leatherman, not up for that I decided to squeeze it as hard as I could, my eyes watered, I squeezed then pop, relief at last, I wiped my finger across what came from my leg, I bought it up for a closer look and there wriggling on the end of my finger was a maggot! I felt ill, I could not believe that this thing was growing in me. Upon some research I discovered it is from a certain fly laying eggs on ones clothes whilst they are drying on a line then once you put the clothes on the eggs hatch and burrow into your skin and begin to grow inside you, never again!

Out of Rwanda and into Uganda, the people seemed more pleasant here, with a rest day in a little border town I rode through a national park, seeing elephants, antelope, loads of birds and a lion sitting in a tree by the road, I stopped nervously to take a photo as it watched me from its perch.

First the Equator in Uganda......

Another broken wheel bearing in the middle of nowhere and some more beautiful scenery, I crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere again, thinking next time I do this will be in Malaysia, another world away. Uganda has a lot to offer, I went trekking with the chimps and kayaked the source of the Nile Rivers Rapids.

........and again back to the Southern Hemisphere in Kenya.

Wheel bearings again!

Its testing on my own, some times to tired to cook at night but having to find the energy to do the routine things, the good days outweigh the bad but its getting tough. I am tired of playing involuntary chicken with the crazy drivers on the road, concentrating every second of every moment, dodging animals, cars and people, I think how long can I play this game before its my turn to loose, I hope I will not. Only the other day an old lady walked straight onto the road without looking, I swerved hard and only missing her by a matter of centimeters, how I don't know.

I am now in Nairobi, Kenya, sorting out an Ethiopian visa and logistics of traveling to Ethiopia via lake Turkana into the Omo Valley region of Ethiopia, apperently a high light of Africa if you are game, more bandits and therefor more machine guns! Also I have just received news from my contact in China assisting with the hope of crossing China that it is not at all possible, so that leaves me a bit up in the air on what to do, well I have a few months to try and come up with a solution.

I suppose nobody ever said that it was going to be easy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


For those of you that have been to Africa or are out here now will know exactly what those three letters stand for-This Is Africa!! And for my first 24 hours in Tanzania it sure was a moment of T.I.A.

They are about all my clothes as well!!

Firstly Malawi was slow, laid back and easy, I swam in Lake Malawi, stayed high in the mountains with views afar and also grazed my knee on the beech playing volleyball which became infected! It was a pleasant 10 days, oh besides my speedo spline drive stripping and fuel pump blowing things went well. I was in the middle of now where of course and the stead came to a stop, hmm not out of fuel, not today, not here, not now I thought, infected knee, sweltering temperatures and I had to put my mechanic's cap on under the relief of a baobab trees shade. The locals started to gather and one asked if I needed a professional, maybe, I thought but if he can make a motorcycle mechanic appear out here he is in the wrong business, he should be in magic!! First thing I checked was the fuel pump and what do you know it was stuffed, as this is a known problem with Africa Twins I have been carrying a spare fuel pump from London and the look on the crowds face when I pulled from my pannier a new item was priceless, I think they thought I knew magic!! 15 minutes later I was on my way.

Then Tanzania-I was stamped out of Malawi and came to no mans land between the two border posts, I had the equivalent of 8 Aussie dollars left of Malawian Kwacha made up of 5 notes, I thought I would change now with the touts as they always give a little better rate. I figured out they needed to give me around 8000 Tanzanian schillings to be a good rate, I pulled over and they came running from all direction never anywhere had I seen them so eager, in the space of a few seconds I was surrounded with locals waving money wanting to change with me, it was crazy, I told them all to back off and relax, slow down a bit. They did not listen, one man said he would give me 10 000 for my cash, huh I thought whats the catch, great I thought as he handed me the single 10 000 shilling note, I handed him my 5 notes, then the yelling intensified, between all the men and my attention was drawn to my rear of a man pulling at my arm, he was saying he gave me to much, to bloody right he did I thought that's his fault, then back to my front the man wanted his money back, as he gave mine back to me, with this mob I thought it was a good idea to cooperate, at this instant everyone seem to back off and leave except a few, whats going on I thought?? then it occurred to me, i checked my cash I was one note short, mongrels-they had scammed me and I fell for it, taking my money then only giving half it back, immediately I figured it was 4 Aussie worth but I had had enough and when your patience wears thin on this continent you tend to let loose, the culprits had already mingled through the traffic of people so the ones left behind heard my spiel, they were all in on it anyway, I proceeded to say "well you know what it does not matter I am rich anyway, I don't care(of course I did not about the money just the fact) and you are all poor and your hungry and to top it off your all ugly!" If you have been in Africa you would understand, I started the bike and left in a roar. 14 months in Africa and scammed now!!
Then the lady at customs tried to make my wait as long as possible, the more rude she became the more pleasant I became, eventually I was in Tanzania with a bad feeling already.
African playground.
Common sight on the road.
And this just tops it all off, I made it to a town called Mbeya and my chain is playing up so this was far enough and it was a long exhausting day, with a bad vibe about the place I thought to get a hotel for the night and besides it was only 4 dollars and safe I was told. I had all my stuff down the end of the room away front he window and when I went to bed I thought to keep the window open slightly for the pleasant breeze, I eventually fell to sleep after a wrestles beginning tangled in the mozzi net. I woke with a noise that sounded very close, I rolled over and saw a stick with a hook on the end of it been pulled back through my window, what the hell is this?? Dazed I heard movement write there and then a door open from outside and a persons footsteps running away with somebody yelling, is this what I think it is, I sprung up donned some clothes and raced outside, they had him down boxed in a corner, it was hard to see as it was pitch black but by now there were about a dozen people standing about and a few of them were clubbing a man over the head with huge pieces of wood-i was asleep a few minutes ago!! He had been trying to steal something from my room, then something bizarre happened and how I don't know, this lifeless groaning figure who had just been beaten manged to jump up, dodge everyone, climb a small wall onto a roof and escape! I raced back to my room and went through everything, seemed to be all there, so I thought.

The long tool I saw coming through my window!
Morning came and I was glad to get outta this hell hole, outside my room they found a few weapons this guy had in a small bag that he must have dropped. It was at my next camp I discovered my mobile phone was gone, he did get something, I could not believe it, twice in just over 12 hours I had been robbed, get me outta Tanzania-I'd just arrived.

Friday, November 02, 2007

White beaches and wheel bearings

It was a teary farewell to Amy at the Johanessburg International Airport and as I walked out to my bike I suddenly felt alone and for what was ahead of me seemed daunting, as I pulled my helmet on I said to the trusty steed you look after me and I will look after you! I hit the starter and it roared into life with its deep thump with a little rev to clear its throat the local workers standing nearby gave there approval of the sound, I rode over to them and stated "I am riding to Australia via Russia", the look of dibelief is what I received and one man then said "I hope you are strong" I rode away thinking I sure bloody hope so!

Day 1 and the clouds rolled in!

As I headed west as I imagined Amy heading west over head also but the difference been Amy was above the storm clouds that I was riding under, I got soaked, day one of the next leg-what a start. Eventually I left the comforts of South Africa and crossed the border into Mozamique where it was evident I was back in Africa, hooray, but Mozambique has been a nice transition for what is to come.

When leaving London over 13 months ago I wondered when the first stories or adventure would present itself, does it just happen, do you see it coming, do you have to look for it, well it does come along in many shapes and forms from flat tyres in strange places to guns and corupt police, and this time leaving South Africa I wondered the same thing. Well it did not take long for something that was not ideal to occur, I have been carrying two spare tyres waiting for my current fitted ones to wear down to the canvas, one morning I set of on a sandy road and after traveling about 12 k's I looked around to see if my tyres where still there and the front was gone, I quickly turned around and raced back to hopefully find it on the side of the road, with thoughts of somebody already finding it and long gone, you have to reember this is Africa and there are alot of people walking along the roadside. I could not see it anywhere, it was not the fact that it was a huge amount of money but more the point that I needed this tyre to replace my already balled one and there been no such tyres in Mozambique. Eventually I came across two men that I remembered seeing walking the same direction I had been going earlier, one spoke broken english, I asked if when I went passed did I have two tyres or one on the back, they deffinatley said two, which was good and bad, good becuase now it was within a range of six k's but bad because it ment I had just come passed it getting to this point and did not see it. So I told my new friend to jump on the back and he can help question every local we passed to find the white mans missing tyre. We rode slowly scanning the bushes, still no luck and even asking more people walking the track, still nothing, I was annoyed with myself as I did not strap it on properly. But then we rounded a corner and there it was in the bushes on the right, a wave of releif washed over me as my helper started to thank god himself! So yes things just do happen when you least expect it.

The sand was deep and my tires balled
Mozambique has bueatiful white beaches and crystal clear waters, I rode up the coast staying in a few nice places on the way, stayed in Tofo with Dan and Danni, friends from South Africa and chilled out by the beach, from there I beached hoped to the north of Mozambique bush camping along the way.

Ilha de Mozambique
The road took me to Nacala in the north and after covering 3500 k's since leaving SA it was time to don the new tyres, which bought about the discovery of a destroyed wheel bearing, well the steed has done over 130 000 k's, 50 000 this trip, not to bad at all. With a grim out look that I may be stuck here in paradise for a few more days waiting for a part to be sent in I thought to try my luck in town and of course you would not beleive it, I found a bearing of the right size, not a Honda bearing for an Africa Twin of course but it will do the job. This continent of Africa never ceases to amaze.

Not the Hilton but cheaper thats forsure!

Salesman selling their goods to the bus passengers.

So from here it is a little more north then west to Malawi, the time line is looking good as not to hit Russia to early next year, due to the cold plus after a little research things may be looking up on the problem with entering China with your own vehicle, I have found some people recently acheiveng the impossible with the help of a chinese fixer, thats still awhile away of course.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Part 2

Picture a world map, now imagine yourself in Johannesburg-South Africa and then directly east around 12 000 kilometers is Turriff, Victoria Australia or 'Home' to me, now to get there you will ride a motorbike north up East Africa until Russia then head south to Australia, alone......hard to imagine??well even for me it is but for the next 12 months that's what lays ahead. Nervous I am, but also very excited.

Having just completed a trans African crossing down the west coast, which is meant to be one of the most challenging routes in the world one would think that the next leg will be a breeze, but the thought of riding home is unthinkable but one thing I have learnt is to take one day at a time, one country at a time, one bloody puncture at a time! One has to have a desire to do such a thing and really want to do it and love it because if you don't the unknown, the tough times, the AK47 wielding bribing soldier would simply be to much.

So what does lay ahead?....from here in South Africa on October 16th I will ride to Mozambique and head up the East coast of Africa through Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and say a farewell to the African Continent from Djibouti on the horn of Africa. Then skirt the coast of Yemen, Oman and UAE to cross over to Iran by means of ferry. North to Russia through the 'Stan's' hoping that the snow and ice will have melted upon my arrival. When for the last time I will head the mother ship south, Mongolia and China first, China still poses to be a huge hurdle not allowing people to move through their country on/in private vehicles-but that's to worry about later, have to get there first. If I do get in it will be onto Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, island hope across Indonesia and one final ferry to Darwin, Australia.....and this time it will be alone.

I have checked the stead over time after time, replenished spares such things as tubes, patches and pain killers, the trip will have a different feel to it than the last part, as having another rider is very comforting for safety factors and also sharing day to day burdens that this kind of adventure entails. So going alone will be a real test of the mind, patience, adaptability and character, I cant wait.

I would like to thank everyone that has left a comment on my blog or sent me an email, times do get tough from time to time and the words of encouragement or reminder of what normal life is like are a huge help, keep them coming, cheers.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 365

Well it was a year to the day that we rode into Johannesburg which marked the final destination for Amy, plus we were greeted by two friends that also fare welled us a year ago in Putney, London, Paul and Zoe Jenkins, not a bad little welcoming.

We spent quite some time in Cape Town enjoying the hospitality of friends, nice food and the beautiful city itself. I spent most of the time preparing the mother ship for the next voyage, including new fork seals(they gave up in Cape Town, so would I after the Angolan roads), a few missing bolts, restock of spares and some minor open heart surgery on the steeds engine room. But open inspection all was well except for the tired rings. 120k I should think so. Also I had my panniers reinforced with some more aluminium. So with a new ticca and a new direction, north, we left with Table Mountain in a wing mirrors around the coast.

Working on the motor in Cape Town.
Thats a bit black.

The mother ship engineless!!

Leaving CapeTown, my mechanic Tim.
Along the way we continually met the most wonderful people that gave us a place to stay, a meal and most importantly a cold beer or three. Along the Garden Route, we rode an ostrich, jumped off the highest bungee in the world and tried surfing Jeffery's Bay, more emphases on tried than surfed!!

Might be the most southern point but not the most comfortable.

Where I have come from , where I am headed.
The curry capital of Durban saw the weather warm to a pleasant temperature and then just to remind us it was winter we headed across to Lesotho, up Sani Pass which is a 3000 meter climb up a rocky gravel path which came as a struggle to me with a massive lose of power. With no great idea of the problem and the mother ship struggling to even move it was decided that I shoot back to Durban to get the problem solved and Amy would stay on with Brad and Jola, an American couple we had been riding with on and off since departing Cape Town.
I limped the mother ship back to Durban with the clutch slipping also, it was falling apart around me. Upon arrival I went and stayed with some lads, Steve and Len, we had met up in the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, I soon discovered that the clutch problem was my own silly fault of an adjustment at the handle bar, whoops! and after having the carb out it looked clean so why not give it 4 new spark plugs, after all the manual recommends replacing them every 12000 k's and they had now done 45 000k's, think I got my value out of them! Voila, the problem was fixed, I had my power back and also fuel economy.
Frozen waterfall Sani Pass.
That was those problems fixed but another was to come, riding back to where I was staying from town on the motorway in heavy traffic one night I thought the trip was over and also my life! Surrounded by cars the flow was about 110 k's an hour, then all I head from somewhere behind me was a cars tyres were locked up screeching down the motorway, in an instant I had time to think 'hell is this behind me or to the side of me and also grip the handle bars as hard as I could, the moment all that went through my mind and my grip tighten I found my self looking toward the sky, the car was behind me and had slammed right up my backside with a huge crunching noise, I was shot forward with my front wheel shooting up, I griped the tank tight with my legs and tried regaining control, my front wheel hit the tarmac with a wobble and I manged to keep it upright, in a state of shock I pulled the bike of to the side, my heart pounding out of my chest. I could not quite believe what had just happened.
The car was also pulled over by this stage and a man was out trying to pull the front of his car into place, he approached and I started of calm until he tried worming his way out of it and telling me he had no money to fix my bike, so I let him have it, I was furious, asked his name which turned out to be a false and his number. Not believing a thing he was trying to tell me I fortunately had my camera on me Which I took out and took photos of everything and zooming in on the work phone number on the front of his car, it was like beating my head against a brick wall talking to him so I rode of not only shaken but well wound up by this clown and not to mention on a bent up bike!
The next day I rang the number on the front of the car, the boss was very understanding and offered to pay for all repairs, so it all worked out in the end. So for the next few days I got my bike fixed and hung out with Steve and Len, playing a few rounds of golf, micro lighting and a booze cruise up a river in a speed boat, nice little trip to Durban in the end.
I had to leave paradise and met up with Amy, Brad and Jola on the other side of Lesotho, riding the longest day yet of the trip 701 k's, and after a year my but still l gets sore.
It was cold up there, so after a day of horse riding we headed to Swaziland for a look which turned out to be a nice relaxed country, such a pleasure then back into South Africa and up to Kruger National Park for a visit, saw our first Cats finally, lions, among a lot of other animals in the park. We hung out with Martin, Sasha and Family in at there farm for a few days giving the bikes an oil change, drinking nice wine and cold beer, more great hospitality from South Africans.
Kruger National Park.

Then finally to Johannesburg, where we are trying to sell Amy's bike as she will fly home to Australia in October. What a journey Amy has done, gone from having never ridden a motorbike to riding 45 000 k's across Africa and West Africa for that matter what an amazing effort. And not only did she ride the bike but she rode it well, I take my hat off to her.

Stay turned for Part 2, I will depart on the 16 th of October for the trip north up East Africa.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

We made it!!

Almost there!

After 248 days, 39 323 kilometres and about 40 punctures we made it to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. After heading in southerly direction for so long and then reaching a place were we could go south no more was strange this was the place that was in the back my mind the whole time and there we were staring out over the empty ocean, that point itself may have been just another place but it was a great sense of achievement, to simply look at my bike and think it got me here and I got it here all on our own, not once did we use another mode of transport to carry the bikes we rode ever inch of the way except for the odd river crossing of course.

We made it.......
Cape Town and its surroundings are very beautiful, with Table Mountain in the heart of the city it is the most picturesque city I have ever seen, far cry from down town Lagos, Nigeria. After travelling the length of the African continent not once been hurt by a single wild animal it was Cape Town were I came unstuck, I was mauled on the hand by a killer penguin as I removed it from a fence it was stuck in!!!

A harmless killer!
The server flesh wound cuased by the killer penguin.
We stayed with a friend of mine who I met 18 months earlier whilst travelling in Cuba, Ricky De Agrela, who also enjoys an adventure having flown a mirolight around the world in 2004. This was great to have a nice bed and a garage to start the arduous job of fixing the bikes up to continue my journey north.

The microlight that flew around the world.

Above the waves, Ricky and I with Table mountain in the background.

Back in Namibia

Namibia was fantastic, the scenery spectacular, we headed north to where the Himba people are, these stunning primitive people have a tradition were the women rub a red colored paint all over their bodies and cake their hair with red mud to form huge long red dreads, just amazing people to encounter, the most amzing for me thus far.

Himba Ladies.

More Himba people.
In the north western corner of Namibia close to the Angolan border we encountered a road that was on par with a tough piste we road in Mauritania, huge boulders with steep climbs and descents smashing against my bash plate and having to wrestle the bike as the road wound through a mountainous pass was tiring work. Even though it was more of the adventure we liked, it made us want to simply get to Cape Town and not be subject to anything braking on the bikes nor on us, we had come so far and felt we did not want to be slowed now, we headed for the better roads once again.
Amy's chain skipped off on the corrugations.
A bush camp in a cave.

Crossed this before but home in Australia.
The rest of Namibia was a breeze besides my rectifier giving up half way down but since I heard it could be a problem I had been carrying a spare all the way from London so fitted it and continued on our way. The further south we went the colder it became, we passed a seal colony, the massive dunes of the Namib Desert and the ghost town of Kolmanskop, engulfed by sand dunes.

The giant dunes of Souselvie, Namibia.

The trusty stead.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

......illegal entry

We reached the Zim/Botswana border at about 3 in the afternoon with the thoughts of getting through and getting down the road 100 k’s to Francistown for a bed but were we wrong and our biggest dilemma was about to begin.

On the Zimbabwe side we simply were stamped out and we road on to the Botswana border bidding a good farewell to Zim after a nice time there considering all we had heard before going there. As we approached the Botswana border post we could see lines of cars and people everywhere, queues, queues a mile long with no less than 200 people in them, we were in for a long wait. We lined up after parking our bikes and asked around how long the wait would be and it turned out to be a lot longer than daylight hours we had left and we did not want to be stuck riding in the dark. After awhile I came up with a plan to try and get through quicker, down the front of the line I went and spoke with the soldier controlling the line, gave him a story I was a very important person from the government and hey presto he said go through, great I thought. But this was the point that we would go no further!

The customs lady asked for our passports, looked at mine then Amy’s, the emergency passport, she raised an eyebrow, oh no what now. You have to remember in this part of the world blacks hate whites, not all of course but there is a lot of grudges held and when one is given certain powers they think they can dictate what ever they want. The customs lady said that we could not enter as it was an emergency passport and Amy needed a visa but I did not! We both thought this was rubbish and we did find out later it was. So I started out politely questioning her actions to why really we needed a visa and then kindly asked to speak with the officer in charge. The customs lady went to get the boss came back and said she will be with us shortly. We stood for about 30 minutes waiting, no boss arrived I asked the lady where she is and her simple reply was she has gone to lunch! Was getting well pissed off by now. I said lunch its almost 4 pm, the customs lady began with a lecture of well we need to eat you know just like ‘you people’ as they prefer to us, I started been not so nice realising that all hope of getting Amy’s passport stamped was fading and our option was to turn back to Zim and go to Harare, over a 1000 k’s back for a visa from the Botswana embassy, not an option I thought. So I argued the point some more that we needed to see someone important, then the reply came that the boss had one home, I lost it, saying how incompetent these people were and if this was a reflection on the people of Botswana I don’t want to enter their country anyway. Hmmm some how I think I was going down the wrong path. And then the boss appeared, I glared at the customs lady politely calling her a liar before chatting with the boss, nope her stance was the same and that was that.

We left the building dejected, it was late the sun almost set, a Friday afternoon so none of the Australian embassies could help, what to do, Amy got upset it was just to much for her. I was thinking of a plan, I had my passport stamped first but Amy did not but if we just could get passed the border man at the gate. We road up thinking the worst and prepared to turn around and go back, as it was a one way road we had to still ride around the border which involved entering Bots and then following the road back around into Zim. We road up to the border gate and I simply said to the man we need to go through and ride around to the Zim side please, he half looked at my passport and not Amy’s and waved us through, we road on nervously as I knew what I was thinking and hoped Amy the same, that was ‘lets keep going' I slowed so Amy was beside me as we approached the right turn to take the road back to Zim, took one look at her and yep she was thinking the same as me, we screwed the throttle into Botswana, I was fine but Amy was illegal, we cruised to Francistown in the dark, I now had to think of how to get her out of the country……


Namibia was what we had been waiting for and anticipated for so long but as time went by we longed to be back in Angola, the rotten roads, bush camping, all this because the adventure was over(for now). The roads were superb, petrol stations everywhere and steak, steak, steak, vegetables are more expensive than steak in Namibia!!

It was nice to have all the luxuries of course but our trip took a sharp turn toward the more angle of a holiday rather an adventure. Having said this there were a few things that remained the same that reminded us we where still in Africa in the form of punctures and spares or there lack of. Trying to get to the first town that had a motor cycle shop that could give me a new tube was an effort with the already large number of holes in the rear tube I had to replace the patches every 80 k’s due to the heat from the road and inadequate glue I was using! Eventually we made it and the Baja was desperately in need of a new chain and sprocket but of course there were no such sprockets available in Namibia so the only solution was to machine the centre of a new sprocket and the outside of our old one and weld the two together, so after a few days a few steaks and quite a few hot showers, first since Nigeria we were mobile again and headed for Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Entering Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falss from below...........

.........and from above.
Zimbabwe, well what to say, besides a lack of fuel, an inflation rate the highest in the world at around 3000%, and a leader who seems to have lost all his marbles-its actually not to bad. Vic Falls was quite something as it should be I suppose been a natural wonder of the world and what better way to view it than to take a ultra light flight over the enormous falls, throwing mist hundreds of meters into the air.
We made the capital Harare in time to for the ANZAC Day service for all resident Aussies and Kiwi’s and visiting ones as well, we looked a little out of place in our travelling rags amongst the suits and dresses but once the good Aussie wine and local beer flowed people were all ears to our stories.
ANZAC Day, Harare.
On the road to Harare my dash mount had had enough breaking on the corrugations making me have to hold it up with my left hand for 2 days until we reached the capital. Luck was on our side as we met a fellow biker called Rocky(an ex boxer) who lets say owned an adult establishment and along with his help and welding gear we fixed my dash and few other little problems our bikes had.

Repairs, Me, Rocky and Mpose.

Rocky on his vintage BMW.

Amy picked up her new emergency passport, which would become the biggest hassle we would have to face in time to come, more on that one later. We headed south to Botswana and on our way taking a wrong turn lead us to some good fortune. We stumbled across a white owned farm and because of the man who lost his marbles is hard to find in Zimbabwe-a white owned farm! The owners Joan and Lara let us stay a few nights, maybe in time to come there will be no white people on the land, I sure hope not.

After a nice time there it was a short ride to Botswana, where the trouble begins……………..

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Periga Mina!!

I woke still drained, lets go thought I wanted to nearer to something that reveals civilisation which I guessed would be hard to find in Angola, as we rode I was weak and the what energy I had was draining fast just negotiating the track in front of me, we finally made it to a town called Miquala Do Zombo and that was it for me, fortunately we met an Italian lady there who was a doctor who let us rest in the shade of her veranda and away from the gather crowd. By 2 o'clock it was decided I had malaria as my temperature hit 40! SO quickly taking the treatment tabs we bought in Senegal we realised we would have to ride it out here, once again the police to the rescue, they let us camp at the station which involved putting a ground mats inside on the floor of the building as a huge storm approached, night one saw me in a daze, hot and cold, sweating one minute freezing the next as the biggest lightning and thunder storm raged outside.......for the first time I imagined been home curled up in bed with a fridge to go to and more importantly a toilet.

Yep thats a mine in the middle of the road.

The next day came after no sleep and I was no better, the head officer decided the place need a clean up for the new guest, us, and rallied all the prisoners from the cell to give the place the once over before been locked away again. Day three saw a vast improvement and I wanted outta there and feeling allot better with my temp almost normal we headed south again.

Move over you big loath.
The roads were horrific, and in one day it seemed that our bikes were destroyed in a sense, up until now I had managed to keep them going fine and in good shape but in one afternoon things changed, first Amy had a spill and bent her mirror and also the rear sub frame seemed out of shape, it was the back tire now rubbed on bits that are not meant to come close to the tire. Then it was my turn, the roads still bad but at least rideable I took a path on the edge of the road as the middle was washed out but as went my right pannier clipped the side wall throwing myself and bike into a huge canyon, well not that bad but it seemed that way, the mother ship went down hard with a bang. Straight away I could see the mirror smashed, it took Amy and I all our strength which I had lack of from the Malaria to get it upright. Eventually after a few vein popping moments it was out of the hole and the real damaged was visible, my entire dash took the brunt of the crash breaking all the mounts holding my dash together and shifting it all to the right, things were not very straight, a little annoyed with myself as i looked at the line I should have taken. But with nothing I could do about it there we pressed on.

The crash.
It was a race against the rain for the remainder of Angola, one afternoon we spent it all riding in the rain but it made no sense to stop and wait for it to pass as that might be days so we pressed on. As we rode I noticed white post each sideofthe road, thats strange I thought,white posts out here, they had something written on them so I slowed to read it, Periga Mina! this in Portugues translated to danger mines, we were riding right through the middle of a mine field!! But as we discovered this was normal, many a time we found ourselves riding on the road thats path travelled directly through mine fields, there are alot in Angola, one time there was a pile of sticks and a make shift barrier with a skull and cross bones on it right in the middle of the road and right there we could see the mine, must have washed up from the rains. We casualy rode around it.

Tank left over from the recent war.
Angola changes vastly from top to bottom but one thing that does not is the abandoned tanks and other military vehicles from the war and the old Portuguese buildings that crumbled from bullet and rocket holes were visible in every town. Plus the food or lack of in the country made us want to get to Namibia even more, we wanted civilisation, we wanted a hot shower, we wanted normality..........we were tired.

Angolan scenery.

...another left over.
The roads continued to get worse and worse shaking us apart as my broken dash bounced all over the place. But eventually we made it and on nothing but fumes as well, the Namibian border was in sight and the mother ship gave up, out of fuel so we drained what we could spare from the Baja and limped across the border looking a bit worse for wear, I suppose it looked like we had just ridden across Africa!

Mother and child.

The young and the old!