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Old 08-21-2008, 07:25 AM   #16
michnus
Vagabond, yes I try!
 
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Joined: Apr 2005
Location: South Africa
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Okay. Seated.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:44 AM   #17
groop
So much to ponder
 
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This will be good....
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:37 PM   #18
dave6253
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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Thumb

Sign me up! Bring it on!
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:41 PM   #19
Hayduke
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Location: Salida, coloRADo
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:09 PM   #20
thetoecutter
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Location: Lower Bucks Co, PA
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IN!
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:18 PM   #21
toothy
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Spare us no tale!
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:57 AM   #22
Baggi'tard
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Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
Oddometer: 600
Excellent writing style so far, keep it up! Subscribed, got my glass of beer, comfy chair, let's go!
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:42 AM   #23
Jedi
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
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Wink More!

Subscribed and eager to read.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:53 AM   #24
Tappet OP
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Joined: May 2007
Location: South Africa
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The Start

AFRICAN ENDURO - The Start

This picks up from my first post; where I found myself in London UK waiting anxiously to be re-united with the somewhat crucial ingredient of my trip (my bike).

Oh and I must just state, not to mislead people, I'm not on the road right now, am writing this afterwards as I found updating my website on the road in Africa very difficult so didn't want to do a half-arsed RR for advrider...

So in London the freighting flight was delayed by a couple of days, and then another three days added to that with the useless staff at UK customs & excise trying to come to terms with the fact that all my paperwork was actually in order.

After amicably declining the subtle request of a bribe by an employee of BA world cargo, my bike was finally released to me at 2am in the morning on the day I was supposed to depart. A friend in London (Gary with a GS) helped me unwrap the freight, inspect the damage and re-assemble the bike. This only took us 20 mins and I was then able to pour some fuel into the beast and crank it up for the ride back to Gary's place. Despite the sub zero temperature this 20 minute ride was the first since the run-in service AND having the Akra fitted. It was a good feeling being able to ring the neck of my dream bike through the streets of London at 3am. The un-silenced Akra was setting off car alarms and emitting the odd flame out of the rear. Yes please.



My bike package, looking decidedly smaller than when I last saw it. Hmmmm.



The freighting company was a bit cavalier with the plastic wrapping an had bent my fairing out of shape. It would take a couple of weeks and much bending to set back to normal shape. Bastards.




Ahhhh, my brand new akra. Very sexy looking and sounding compared to the stocker.

I caught three hours of sleep that morning and then woke up to fit the final bits of kit I'd bought in London (Pelican top box, side-stand & electronics), and then proceed to pack the bike for departure. I was seriously tired but had no choice but to leave ASAP. I had already booked the ferry ride from France to Tunisia in advance, and the customs delays meant that I now had 24 hours to get from London to Marseille (approx. 1,300 km's). I didn't mind this at all because I had backpacked through Europe before and my trip was only really starting on African soil.



Team orange, ready to hit the road. South Africa or bust.



Odometer at start, 1000k's on the clock in the background.

Gary rode with me out of London and we stopped at a service station to fill up, where I proceeded to drop the bike off the newly fitted side-stand. Great start champ! Thankfully no camera's were rolling. We did the 130k's to the port of Folkestone where I said goodbye to Gary and got onto the train that runs underneath the English channel to France.



On the train going under the English channel, where I bumped into another AdvRider on his way to Holland on his GS.

The route to Marseille was pretty much on one highway all the way, and after adjusting to riding on the wrong side of the road and having such a heavy load I focussed on dispatching the km's one by one. I was able to comfortably cruise at 130kmph and used this to calculate that if I kept my average speed on the GPS odometer above 105km/ph I could stop for a total of 5 hours during the 24 hours that I had to get to the ferry in time. After a good 5 hour session in the saddle it was finally cold (snow) and not fatigue that got the better of my and I pulled into Dijon to find somewhere to get my head down.

I chose the best looking hotel so that I could park my bike somewhere secure, have a quick bite & drink, sleep and then get up and back on the road immediately. My bike was parked in the locked basement parking lot but when I got back to it after my nap I noticed that the locks on my topbox & pannier netting had hacksaw cut marks on them and my ignition looked as though it was jimmy'd with a screwdriver. Bastards. The thief must have been startled as none of the locks were cut through an nothing stolen. The ignition still worked. At this point I decided that I would be sleeping next to my bike from now onwards.

I did the final 700k's to Marseille early that morning despite being blown around like a balloon on the highway. They were experiencing gale-force winds and my bike & luggage was exhibiting the aerodynamic properties of a sherman tank. I pulled into the Marseille port like Valentino Rossi into the corkscrew at Laguna Seca and made the ferry with 10 minutes to spare. Although I was in need of some sleep a more important duty called at the bar of the ferry where I celebrated with numerous French lagers and the good company of an Englishman named John. I then retired to my shared cabin, where my three Freddie Mercury lookalike room-mates were hosting a snorning competition, but I slept well and woke up the next morning busting to get back onto my bike.

Next post in a couple of days, and many more pics next time.

Mark



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Old 08-22-2008, 06:59 AM   #25
Cooltours
Rider of passion
 
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Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Zuerich, Switzerland
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We have a damnlong way to go here and plenty of work that has to be done! So, let's do it! Subscribed and seated
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:23 AM   #26
Moraflex
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: San Dimas California
Oddometer: 1,342
On the road cool...

Remember a bike thats out of site is out of mind.

Thieves are everywhere.

Have fun..
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:11 AM   #27
UK Jimbo
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Location: London, UK
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Great writing style and all the ingredients for a great adventure. I'm subscribed :)
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:18 AM   #28
Andres A
FINDING NEMO
 
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: McAllen, TX, TAMAULIPAS Y PUNTOS CIRCUNVECINOS
Oddometer: 244
GO, GO, GO
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:55 AM   #29
sakura
Adventurer
 
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Oddometer: 68
lock and load :) go go go :)

Great stuff man, good luck on the roads (and noroads) !
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Old 08-22-2008, 12:02 PM   #30
Extreme Velcro
Vegan Junk Food Addict
 
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Location: Flic en Flac, Mauritius
Oddometer: 8,072
Can't wait to hear more......
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