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Old 09-30-2007, 01:46 AM   #164
metaljockey OP
Dodgy SOB
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Oddometer: 279

Suitably cooled down and having rinsed some clothes we leave the river behind again.

Not too shabby for someone with no sand riding experience.

Another smoke break. Before this trip only Nardus smoked. He quickly converted another two ex-smokers.

As I hit the starter at the next stop I hear 'poof' and my bike is dead. Dead. No dash lights, no nothing.

I so wanted this bike to be reliable. I so wanted to trust it.

It certainly chose the worst place to shaft me like this. A scenic spot officially known as Fucking Nowhere.

If the problem is the battery, I can still believe in the bike.

We spend some time trying to figure out what the problem is. It's clearly electrical. It could be the battery, the CDI (God forbid), the starter, fuses, ignition switch, starter relay or any wire pinched somewhere.

Intermittently the dashlights would come on. The headlight would also work fine. So we figure it's not the battery.
When you hit the starter however everything dissapears again, only to come back after some time and ignition switching.

It could be a connection though, so I sand the contacts on the battery wires. I strip the earth wire from the frame and sand that too.

It makes no difference.

We can hear the starter relay kick in, so it is not that either. Unless it engages but the main contacts are burnt. It's sealed thoug so we'll have to ignore that possibility for the time being.

We strip out the ignition. I have previously come across reports of the ignition wires coming loose. It's not that either. We strip the ignition to the contacts and clean them. We fit it again but there is no change.

Getting comfortable, we may have to spend the night.

We isolate the entire ignition by pulling the plug and shorting the contacts with a paper clip.

This appears to have one benefit, the dash lights comes on everytime. The lights don't work though and neither does the starter.

We try to kickstart it while the dash lights are working. This bike does not start easily with a kick starter. But after a while it fires up. Halleluja!

I'm not gonna tempt fate so we decide that I will ride as fast as I can and only stop when I reach Foz. Hennie is to accompany me as he has a GPS and if we do get seperated at least we'll still be two groups of 2 and 3.

It does'nt work out exactly that way because less than 500m from where we were Fred and Hennie hits the deck coming down a dune. Fred takes the impact on his hip which buckles his spine and takes a while to recover. I've always said that a chiropractor will be very handy on these trips. By the time Hennie gets going again I've already dissapeared into the desert and he decides to stay with the group.

And so we race the setting sun.

Just as a quick aside, remember the shell worn by the Himba women? This is why I said it's a big deal. Imagine crossing this on foot.

Being on my own and riding at pace this turns into the most enjoyable riding of the trip.

Just me, the desert, the bike and poetry.

Dammit, this bike is just sublime when you use the suspension properly. This afternoons ride will stay with me for a long time.

I finally get to Foz do Cunene and pull up at the Police post. Hell of a friendly chaps and I spend some time with them while waiting for the others. Much laughter ensues when Michnus drops in with the rest in tow.

The ruins you see above is the whole of Foz do Cunene.

Fred with the Angolan flag. It's been a longish day. We left at daybreak.

We are in time to catch the setting sun though.

When I try to start my bike it is not interested at all and we have to push it down to the river. Good thing I kept it going while it was going.

We camp by the old pump house to try and get some shelter from the cold coastal wind.

My lodgings.

One last thing on these policemen at Foz do Cunene. They must have the worst post in the force. I'm sure you get sent here for punishment.

Here's a map. Foz do Cunene (Kunene Mouth) is in the far bottom-left corner.

There is nothing anywhere close to it.
They drink river water. They eat only fish that they catch in the sea several kms away.
There is no beer, no shop, they don't have their wives staying there, there are no women, no goats, nothing except sand, sun and wind and 7 guys. Oh, and one book where they copy names and passport numbers in.

They have no electricity, so I assume they have no communications. They have no vehicle. They must be dropped here and left untill it is time to fetch them again.

They borrowed our English/Portuguese phrase book for entertainment. Now they know how politely enquire if room service is available and what to say when they tip the porter.

Those okes at Monte Negro don't know how good they have it.

continued here

metaljockey screwed with this post 10-17-2007 at 11:48 PM
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