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.