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Old 02-18-2013, 10:57 PM   #1621
Jammin OP
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February 19, 2013


What do you like about this image? The camping, the zebras or the mighty Drakensburg? I love it all! South Africa is awesome

This is just outside Kokstad at the Mount Currie Nature Reserve on the southern end of the Drakensburg Mountains. There just happen to be a bunch of zebras on the property I cherished this as it was probably one of my last camping spots in Africa. I got to Port Elizabeth last night and had a lovely braai with riders from the WildDog community, sharing ride tales over beers and grilled meat
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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:01 AM   #1622
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbrundage View Post
It would be so much easier to say Screw it, and fly home.
Bravo, man!
Looking forward to the next installment!
Perseverance, my middle name

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoninMoto View Post
I agree with David. Great update. looking forward to the next.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:02 AM   #1623
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Good to see you back Jay!

Can't wait for the ride report to continue!
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Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:28 AM   #1624
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Escape to Nairobi: For Visas, Parts and Old Friends
September 27 - November 14, 2012

My long breakdown in Tanzania had pushed my trip to go in a new direction. As longtime followers of this journey know, I've been pursuing a distance masters over the past three years and I was due to give my last exams for the degree in South Africa. So, I planned a route that would get me to Johannesburg by early October of 2012, after which I had planned to ride up West Africa. But this prolonged delay in sorting out sanDRina's issues ate into that plan and I made the call to return to Nairobi and take my exams there and then see about fixing sanDRina. However, I knew that if I returned to Kenya, the trip plan would change due to timing of expiry dates on visas. After accepting these changes, I boarded the bus in Kibondo and arrived back in Nairobi.

It wasn't a hard decision to return to Nairobi, since I was coming back to a great bunch of friends. I did my exams and got the results; passing with distinction for the full degree. Once the studies were completed, I waited on some parts to arrive, attended a rally raid, renewed visas and then boarded a bus back to Kibondo and sanDRina.



Good to be back in Nairobi. I spent the first few weeks crashing at Davide's place, here. He's got a lovely house with a wonderful garden that was just the perfect place for me to be reviewing my course notes on sustainable forestry and land management. The exams took place in early October and went smoothly. A few weeks later I received the results and got rated distinction for my thesis work and the entire Masters of Science in Sustainable Development degree. It was a great experience through SOAS at the University of London and let's see where this degree takes me when I get to India.


A welcome back dinner with my old friends in Nairobi. Diana, from Colombia, is feeding Mica, from the States, with some spinach, as Max, from Belgium, looks on in glee. Davide, from Italy, is concentrating on his chopstick etiquette while Carrie and Margarita from the UK stir up the...


...hot pot! We discovered this Chinese Hot Pot place that was run from a Malaysian family's home in Nairobi. Super tasty. The pot is split into spicy and non-spicy broth. As the broth cooks on a hot plate, various ingredients are added in, like sliced meat, seafood and veggies. A very interactive dinner.


I was back in Nairobi without my own two wheels so I reached out and Ash, an Indian-Kenyan who had been following my trip for a while, said that I could use his Honda XR250. This bike was a hoot to ride. My first dirt bike was the DR650 and I hadn't ridden any of the smaller bikes, so I thoroughly enjoyed blasting through Nairobi's traffic on this nimble and quick bike. Thanks, Ash!


After a few weeks in Nairobi, Milan, my mechanic friend, invited me to spectate at a Rally Raid event that was being held on and around Mount Longonot, a prominent volcano in Kenya's Rift Valley.


Milan, on the right, was entering in his first race on a Honda XR500. And our friend, Jorge also entered on his Kawasaki KLR650.


Gerald was part of our group for the weekend and here he just came in to our pit stop and is being shown which way the other racers went.


Off around Mt Longonot.


Milan coming in to the pit stop. The raid is more about following directions than outright speed.


Our pit crew. It was my first time to spectate at a rally and there's a lot of down time just hanging out and drinking beers until all the racers come through. Good times.


The weather was acting up and provided for great shots. Here, a front is working its way across the volcano.


These kids showed up and had some sass about them.


Jorge coming in at last for his pit stop. He was so lost it wasn't even funny. But he had the right attitude; just get to the finish where some cold beers were waiting.


Dhruv, Milan's brother, and Sharad fueling up the KLR for the last leg to the finish line.


Storms working their way across Lake Naivasha. Kenya is beautiful.


Besides bikes, a lot of other vehicles were there. A modified Range Rover charging in front of some goats.


A buggy coming in for his pit stop.


Another buggy charging across the beautiful landscape around Mt Longonot.


A modified Land Cruiser on the last leg with Mt Longonot looming in the background.


The pit crew having fun on the rally course after the racers had gone through.


A hartebeest sprinting away into the rain mist.


Our campsite at the base of Mt Longonot.


After a few more weeks, all my visas were renewed, parts had arrived from the US and I bought some tools for Ramadan, my mechanic friend in Kibondo who was watching over sanDRina. Time to board the bus back into Tanzania.


A farewell sushi dinner. Goodbye Nairobi Crew. Was awesome to see all of you again.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:49 AM   #1625
Jammin OP
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Tanzania, Part 2: sanDRina is Cured and the Journey Continues
November 14 - 25, 2012

I received the parts that I thought would fix sanDRina's issues and boarded the bus back to Tanzania with some trepidation, wondering what I would do if these parts also didn't fix the issue. Well, replacing the generator and all sorts of electrical components did not fix the issue but in the end, I did find the gremlin who was causing all the issues. The repeated failures were sapping away at my morale and I was at a real low moment, ready to give up; having no more energy to throw solutions at the bike. But, perseverance is my middle name and I stuck through it and triumphed; solving the issue once and for all. Elated at overcoming this major hurdle, I found a new energy to get back on the road and ride Africa.


Boarding the Ferrari bus in Nairobi that was heading for the border town of Sirare. It would take me three long buses to get back to sanDRina in Kibondo. This bus company only borrowed the name and livery of Ferrari but sadly not their speed or performance. Poor thing couldn't make it uphill without swerving left and right to gain tiny bits of momentum.


I was having a chai and chapati dinner before boarding my bus and struck up a conversation with Moses, here, a bus driver for another company. He was trying to convince me to buy a bus and start a transport company with him. I gave him my Kenyan number and told him to get in touch.


My last sight of Nairobi; downtown at night. I spent more than a year now, almost 14 months here, and made wonderful connections with so many people. Maybe I'll return one day...


I crossed into Tanzania at dawn and once again noted how different a border crossing was without having to clear a vehicle. This next bus on my journey, the Bunda Bus with a Real Madrid livery, would take me to Mwanza on Lake Victoria.


A little food stand at the border serving up some...


...chapati and chai. The chapati is made fresh right there and it tastes delicious when it's hot.


The Bunda wasn't really a chicken bus, but there was a chicken behind the driver.


Bananas and onions for sale at the Tarime bus stand.


I got some boiled maize but it could've used some salt and chili powder.


Nice scenery near the shores of Lake Victoria. I spent the bus journey listening to the audio book of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I tried to read the book when I first got into motorcycles but most of it was over my head then except the part that it's a richer experience when you work on your own motorcycle rather than having someone else do it for you. This time around, I could grasp much more of the story and its deep message. The story is about a motorcycle journey but it's much more than that. It's a defense for choosing a life strategy that has abundances of quality. And what exactly quality means is a long and deep part of the book. I get it but it's hard to describe it in a few words. I think the book appeals to readers at various levels and I encourage you to get a copy and revisit this classic.


Having a meal of chips maai and a cold Coke in Mwanza. Maai is egg in Kiswahili and this is an omelet with french fries. Brilliant.


I slept a few hours in a dingy guest house next to the bus terminal and was woken up at 4 am to get ready for the last bus to Kibondo.


Mwanza sits on the southern shore of Lake Victoria and has these enigmatic rocks dotted along its shoreline.


Leaving Mwanza just as the sun was rising.


The sentinel rock leading our ferry out across the channel.


Our bus on the ferry across a channel of Lake Victoria. This prevented us having to make a big detour south around a lagoon.


An old dhow heading out for the early morning catch. Sadly, the grand lake is being overfished and the stock numbers are dropping.


The bus driver cooling down the engine, which resulted in lots of steam filling the already hot bus. Once the tar road ended, the journey became quite dusty and I realized that I'm more clean when I'm riding the bike than while taking public transport.


I arrived in Kibondo and rushed to the hotel and was thrilled to see that sanDRina was just where I had left her, patiently waiting for me.


The new generator (stator) going back on with a new gasket. I got the uprated stator from Procycle, which puts out 250W compared to the stock 200W.


I did a good 20 kms (12 mi) test ride and sanDRina was riding well. I figured the problem was solved, so let's go.


Thank you ladies for taking care of the bike.


Back on the road, after more than two months! It felt wonderful and I was thankful the rainy season hadn't kicked in, yet.


Enjoying some twisty tarmac on my down into Kigoma, a good 240 kms (150 mi) from Kibondo.


Fear not, I'm a Professional African Urban Rider with a forte in splitting traffic. There's a gap and I'm going for it.


I stayed with Elias, here, through CouchSurfing in Kigoma. He's from Dar-es-salaam but works here for the Jane Goodall Institute, who research chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream National Park. He was an accountant at the head office, so no chance to go visit the chimps. Elias was very hospitable and relaxed.
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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:53 AM   #1626
Jammin OP
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The institute sits on the shores of Lake Tanganyika...


...with DR Congo on the other shore. It's a part of the Great Rift Valley Lakes and is the second deepest and second largest lake in the world, after Lake Baikal in Siberia. It takes the title of being the world's longest lake at 676 kms (420 mi) extending all along the south-western edge of Tanzania.


Enjoying a sunset over Lake Tanganyika.


Elias had a very simple home as most of his income was being sent to his young family who still live in Dar. He's lived and worked in the Middle East and is looking to get to the US at some point.


Filling up air on my way out of Kigoma.


Kigoma is probably the most remote city in Tanzania but there's new tar roads extending out from this outpost.


I got back on the mud roads and started heading south and then sanDRina stopped running. I had a sinking feeling that I hadn't solved the issue with her. Once again, she would start up if I let her rest for a while. I went along like this for a bit with her dying every few minutes. I had just left a small town and now it was 200 kms through the bush to the other side. Here, I replaced the spark plug and the ignition coil with a spare set and she ran for a bit more and then died again.


I made the call to turn around and return to the small town of Uvinza. The rainy season was fully under way but it's quite predictable here and only really rains in the afternoon. It was early afternoon by now and I could see the rain clouds coming. This was a tricky muddy section with lots of large potholes and I didn't want sanDRina to stop while I was in the middle of a crossing. I waited for a good 20 minutes before going back over my tracks and she lasted for about 10 minutes before dying again.


I hobbled back to Uvinza and got to a small hotel just as the skies opened up.


sanDRina was looking sad and I was feeling terribly low. I didn't know what else I could do. I thought I had tried everything I could think of. I figured it must be some sort of electrical short somewhere in the wiring harness and I was out of energy to strip the bike down and remove the entire harness to search for the short. I was ready to give up. I had lost my confidence in the bike. I figured it had been a good run up to now and I started making plans for getting back to Nairobi on a truck. It wasn't easy and I spent a few days languishing in the doldrums, wondering if I was really ready to stop the journey now.


I got on the internet and shared my plight with friends who've been following this journey. All of them kept encouraging me to continue and a few in particular were reminding me to check and recheck everything from the basics. If it wasn't an electrical problem, then maybe it was something with the fuel. But I had checked the carburetor and all looked fine but I hadn't really checked the petcocks in the tank or the fuel filter. Ok, I had a good nights sleep, had some oatmeal for breakfast and decided I wasn't ready to give up just yet.


The petcocks looked quite clean except for some crud on the bottom. This is the part that controls the flow of fuel from the tank into the fuel lines to the carb.


I had an audience of young kids. Curious eyes peering through the grate.


They were respectful and just watched and were happy to have their photo taken.


Ah ha, a dirty looking fuel filter. Hmmm, somehow I hadn't checked the fuel filter all this time. I had moved it to a new location on the bike during my rebuild in Nairobi and it was out of sight now, so it hadn't come to mind. This filter has a paper core, which can easily get blocked if there's been some water in the petrol as the paper swells and blocks the pores. Along with water, I guess I've been taking on some dirty fuel. This little clogged filter was allowing the bike to run for a few minutes at a time until the sediments got into every pore and chocked the carb of fuel. After resting for a few minutes, the sediments would settle and the bike would fire up again, until the sediments went and choked the remaining pores in the filter. That was it. I put in a new copper core filter and sanDRina fired up and sounded great.


The kids sensed my joy and got up for a closer look as sanDRina thumped to life. I was ecstatic. I knew now that it was the fuel filter all along. My first hunch of this issue being fuel-related was correct but I had stopped my diagnosis at the carb and didn't inspect the entire fuel system. My bad, but who cares, I had found the culprit!


I went for a 60 kms (37 mi) test ride and she sounded fantastic, revving through all the gears. The successful test ride welled up a great new energy in me and I knew I could carry on now and finish riding through Africa. I wasn't ready to give up and I just needed a little extra push to keep searching for the issue and voila, now I had surmounted the gremlins. I fueled up once again from jerry cans, as there was no other option, but I wasn't worried now. A copper core filter has finer pores for sediment but it wont clog up if there's water in the fuel.


My spirits were up again and after taking my head away from bike maintenance, I could see the beautiful little village of Uvinza.


Storms were coming through every afternoon.


A little old lady who sold me some rice as I restocked my supplies.


Crazy Tanzanian kids selling mangoes. They were all so shy at first but after I showed them photos of themselves, they went biserk and started making the funniest poses. Their joy reminded me of why I'm here in Africa. It's not to complain and whine about bike problems, it's to see and experience this amazing continent, which I was now ready to do.


My room at the Sleep Lodge in Uvinza where I tossed and turned with the decision of whether to quit and throw in the towel now or keep searching for the issue. I'm glad I could muster the energy to do the latter and win this mental battle.


The mama at the Sleep Lodge who's smile reminded me of the life-affirming experience that I was having.

The motorcycle is a machine and it only fails if its operator has neglected to maintain it or if it wasn't manufactured properly. Listening to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance reminded me to stop paying attention to the weak emotions of hopelessness when dealing with a frustrating problem and to simply tackle it rationally. Once the issue was solved, then I could let my positive emotions of achievement and success flood my brain and bring me back into this journey.
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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:27 AM   #1627
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still enjoying the RR, keep on keeping on.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:31 PM   #1628
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February 22, 2013


Freshly-plucked grapes being tossed on to the tractor at the Rietvlei Farm outside Montagu in the Western Cape of South Africa. I contacted Janine through the ADVrider Tent Space List and her parents run this huge farm. They also grow apricots, peaches and green peppers. The grapes get transported into town where there's a huge cellar that churns out the wine.

I'm almost at the end of my journey through Africa. Tomorrow, I'll be swinging by Cape Agulhas and then into Cape Town, my last stop on this amazing continent.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:38 PM   #1629
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:46 PM   #1630
Ganjora
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and so Jay, once you have conquered africa, is the ride over?
obviously you'll be heading home, but is this the end of your epic adventure?
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:25 AM   #1631
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When will you be in Cape Town?
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:27 PM   #1632
Jammin OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Good to see you back Jay!
Can't wait for the ride report to continue!
slowly but surely it will continue until I'm all caught up
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Originally Posted by WeazyBuddha View Post
still enjoying the RR, keep on keeping on.

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Originally Posted by Ganjora View Post
and so Jay, once you have conquered africa, is the ride over?
obviously you'll be heading home, but is this the end of your epic adventure?
Hey Dave, haha, I haven't conquered anything, just riding a thin slice of amazing Africa

Well, I plan to ride around India for a bit before finally ending this journey. I'm working on shipping the bike to my parent's city of Chennai where I'll import the bike into India and then after a few weeks there, get on the road and tour around India, ending up in Delhi, where I plan to stay after this trip (woman is waiting ).
Quote:
Originally Posted by capeklr View Post
When will you be in Cape Town?
Hey mate, I'm here now Just arrived last night. Staying in Milnerton with friends I met in Namibia. Will be trying to get a visa extension at Home Affairs tomorrow and then visiting Suzuki South to see about a crate and maybe a spare cylinder head...
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:13 AM   #1633
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Nice going Jay!

Shipping to Chennai . . . here in Cambodia "chennai" means "far". Looking forward to some Indian ride-around shots.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:15 AM   #1634
Jammin OP
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Tanzania, Part 3: Hippos, Dirt Roads and the Southern Highlands
November 25 - December 4, 2012

With sanDRina all sorted out now, I was finally back in the groove and enjoying Tanzania. I spent a night next to some noisy hippos at the Katavi National Park and then sojourned down southwest Tanzania and its dirt roads into Mbeya. After a few days rest at a CouchSurfer's place, I headed for the last leg through the Southern Highlands towards the border with Mozambique.

(Click the panoramas to see them larger.)


First day back on the road after sanDRina was cured of her ills.


Happy to have a smoothly running motorcycle.


Riding the remote roads of southwestern Tanzania. This is between Uvinza and Mpanda.


I was in the middle of the rainy season now but it mostly falls for just a few hours in the afternoons with bright skies in the mornings.


I got to Sitalike at the northern edge of Katavi National Park and tented up for the night at Riverside Camp where the Katuma River is full of...


...hippos! Lots of hippos and all close to each other, which inevitably leads to a lot of...


...pushing and shoving and grunting, especially where little ones are involved.


Hippos yawn a lot and the males love to show off their massive front-facing tusks.


They basically lounge in the water all day long, due to the heat, and with lounging around comes a lot of yawning.


My, what a big mouth you have. Strange that their large mouth is mainly used during territorial attacks and not really for eating, since they're vegetarians and come ashore at night to graze.


My camp site right next to the river with the hippos but no fears of being trampled at night due to large wooden poles used as fencing.


A large hippo skull by the bathroom.


Setting off the next morning and noting the sign at the entrance to Katavi National Park. The main road cuts through the northern end of the park and the sign says that it's prohibited to see and photograph any wildlife that I might come across. Since it's a public road, it's free to use but if I wander off into the bush, then I'm entering the national park and have to pay their fees. I promise to keep my eyes closed if I see an elephant.


A nice, easy ride through Katavi National Park. I didn't see any wildlife, so no rules broken.


sanDRina looking quite clean for having been on muddy roads. I think the nightly rains are doing their job of giving her a bath.


Waving to road construction workers having their lunch and seeking respite from the heat. There's a new, huge highway being built all up the southwestern side of Tanzania. I'm glad I could ride that route now, before the adventure is replaced by tar.


Taking a break and noticing a colorful hitchhiker who didn't survive the rough ride. Sorry. And here's a close look at the Kevlar mesh of my Motoport riding suit. Most people see the bulky riding gear and think how hot and miserable I must feel but they don't realize that it's all mesh and when I'm moving, air is flowing over my entire body and I feel just fine.


I got flashed by this oncoming, unmarked car and had to pull over. I saw it was full of police officers and before this agent of the law could ask a single question to me, I had fired off a volley of questions to him, "Good afternoon, Sir, where's the next petrol station? Can I buy water there? Is there a hotel nearby? Is it going to rain? I'm running late! Etc, etc." This tactic works like a charm, every time. The police officer has become my friend now because he has given this poor traveler lots of useful information and quickly lets me go to carry on my mission. No documents were shown and no bribes were given.


A wonderful ride, up and down mountains on a hard-packed mud road with lots of greenery. Ahh, good to be riding in Africa.


I got to the big town of Sumbawanga and checked in to the Matama Guest House, where a clean, private room goes for Tsh 7,000 ($4.50).


The Matama Guest House has some strict rules that every guest must follow. Lots of funny ones here but I love #12, no friendly talks anywhere else except at reception and #16, those smokers are such rough people.


Having a hearty meal of beans and rice with some spinach and peri-peri for Tsh 1,000 ($0.64).


Snap. The next morning, when packing up, I noticed that my pannier frame had snapped clean. That's the first time that's happened. All the previous ones were just cracks that were starting. I guess I didn't notice it for a while and had ridden some serious corrugations yesterday.
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J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:17 AM   #1635
Jammin OP
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How many straps equal a weld? The prudent thing to do would've been to weld it up right there but I had only one more day to go to Mbeya and didn't want to risk catching the rains in the afternoon on these muddy roads. So, I used 5 of my Wunderlich straps to tie the right pannier to the top box and it held until I got to Mbeya.


The beautifully flowing landscape of southwestern Tanzania...


...which is being rapidly paved over.


Tanzanian women in stride. What can you balance on your head?


I got to Mbeya and got the pannier frame welded up at a metalworks shop.


Solid job for Tsh 6,000 ($3.80). I think at some point soon my frame is going to be more welds than steel.


Mbeya is a lovely little town up in the Southern Highlands, sitting at 1,735 m (5,700 ft). Camping equipment for sale by the main road. That chair looks comfy.


I stayed with Anna and her roommate, Maren, through CouchSurfing and I'm telling you, the world is really a small place. Anna is a good friend of Christina, my friend from Nairobi and officemate at ICRISAT. I only found out after posting about it on facebook. So, I was more family than CouchSurfer. Anna came to Mbeya to work at a medical research institute and is now looking for her next steps. I cooked my chicken curry for her circle of friends and helped spread the message of eudaimonia through it.


Anna's dog, Nyota, keeping watch over sanDRina. They were renting a nice, little house with a great view over the valley that Mbeya sits in.


Filling up fuel at a proper petrol station on my out of Mbeya. The attendant, just like all the others before him, was amazed at how much fuel sanDRina can drink down.


Twisty roads in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. This is the TanZam Highway, linking Lusaka to the port at Dar-es-salaam and mostly sees truck traffic and used Japanese cars being transported to land-locked Zambia.


Enjoying big mountains in my view and looking forward to getting back into them soon.


Tea plantations stretching across the horizon near Njombe. I got off the TanZam and headed south for the Mozambican border, climbing back up into the mountains and their chill air.
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J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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