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Old 08-24-2008, 07:38 PM   #46
GTMan
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Great RR

Excellent....Look forward to your trip rep...Subscribed.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:08 PM   #47
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I'm all in!! Enjoy!!
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:41 PM   #48
kaptinkaos
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Subscribed. Bring on Africa!

I too have aspiration of travelling much of the same areas in the next few years. Hope you don't mind if I tag along for ideas and tips.

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Old 08-24-2008, 11:44 PM   #49
IceCreamSoldier
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you've got my attention. Great start, keep it up
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:02 AM   #50
worldrider
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Hey we didn't ride together... yet I'm with you. And I can still taste those hard to get beers in Aswan.... you go Mark!!!!

Catch up with you on the other side of Africa sometime!!!
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:45 AM   #51
we3
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Best wishes on your ride - and PLEASE - PLEASE - PLEASE have a SAFE and fun trip.



Now post up the pictures!
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:52 AM   #52
GB
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Best wishes for a safe journey and lots of patience at border crossings, especially into Egypt

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:04 PM   #53
Apex3
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WOOOT!

Please, sir, I want some...more?

.....
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:24 PM   #54
ADVHOG
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Alright, I'm hooked, too.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:54 PM   #55
Hatch
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You write very well man. Thanks for taking the time to let us in, awaiting further posts!
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:59 PM   #56
UK Jimbo
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I like the use of KTM orange here!
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Old 08-25-2008, 03:23 PM   #57
Frgich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Best wishes for a safe journey and lots of patience at border crossings, especially into Egypt

Ehm he finished the ride, quote: "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..."

Nice ride there Mark, patiently waiting for the next part of the story
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:40 PM   #58
TJ Willy
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I'm in!
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:09 AM   #59
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Subscribed!
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:30 AM   #60
Tappet OP
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Libya

AFRICAN ENDURO - Libya

As I said in my previous post, this was to be the biggest border gamble on my trip. Europeans seem to be granted entry quite easily (with transit visa's) but for unsavory characters like South Africans (and Americans) its much more difficult. The only way I would be allowed to enter was by having a government (well dictatorship) approved tour agency supply me with an invitation to visit the country, and then provide a tour guide to shadow me the entire visit. This wasn't cheap but the alternative was a 5000km round-trip through Southern Europe to Egypt. Then three weeks before my trip started the Libyans issued a statement that South Africans were no longer permitted in their glorious nation. I contacted a the tour agency who assured me this would blow over and that he had the clout to get me in.

I clocked out of Tunisia and waited between borders in no mans land for a couple of hours for my guide to arrive. He then completed all the border formalities for me. After a couple of hours of negotiation and a small yet well placed bribe he emerged with my passport and the Libyan number plate that I had to attach over my South African one. By the grace of Allah (and his prophet Mohammed) I had made it into Libya!

I then rode behind my guide Mahmoud in his car from the border for a few hundred k's to the capital, Tripoli. The drivers on the double-track highway were INSANE. I quickly learnt that opposing lanes could become one-way lanes at the discretion of the driver. My first experience was a large truck coming in my direction, without the speed or inclination to complete his overtaking manouvre before flattening me. As I result I had to disembark from the highway onto the dirt on the side of the road at high speed. I lost count of how many times this happened but thankfully the awesome suspension of the KTM didn't mind the high speed transition into the dirt.

Tripoli was fascinating. Thanks to everybody's favourite colonel (that's Gadaffi, not Saunders - dictatorship not chicken) there has been virtually no tourism in Libya for almost 40 years. I took a day off in Tripoli to do laundry and have a poke around the city. There were none of the tourist facilities that we take for granted in foreign cities.

Before reversing out of North Africa in WWII the Italians left behind a penchant for good coffee and ice cream. The espresso's were as good as anywhere in Europe. Sorry, no photo's of Tripoli. The AK47 clad gendarmes aren't that keen on American looking tourists waving big Nikons around.

The next day was a 200km ride eastwards to visit the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna. The ruins are of a huge port & market town dating back to 100AD and although most of the ruins are still under the cover of sand, the larger more impressive ones have been excavated. I've seen many similar sites in the mediterranean but these were by far the most impressive.


An arch at the 2000 year old Roman ruins.


An early Roman sh!ter. Genius.


The signpost for the Red light district (seriously)

After that we rode/drove further East and very suddenly a sand storm started coming in from the desert. The air became very thick with sand and although I had just about enough visibility to ride at 50kmph I was worried about the effects of this fine dust on the KTM's lungs so we pulled into a town and found a hotel. Well I say hotel, it was actually a Moroccan run brothel with a thriving bed bug & flea breeding operation on the side. But at least the VIP KTM could sleep in the hotel reception under 24 hour observation. This would become the norm in the hotels I stayed at in Libya, and riding up the stairs of a Hotel after a hard days riding was very cool.

My bike was performing at 100%, and I was now so comfortable with the weight of luggage of opted to keep it on the bike rather than put it in trunk of Mahmoud's car. It was enjoying a diet of good quality gas that was so cheap it was free sometimes. It cost about $4 to fill the tank, and when I was just topping it up by a few litres there wasn't a monetary denomination smaller enough to pay with so it was free! I was enjoying an adventure riding diet of one very large meal per day and just liquids & small bits either side.


The Libyan people were the friendliest & kindest Arab's I've come across.


Great food in Libya

After having done about 1,500km's along the coastline of Libya we took a very desolate road through the middle of the desert so that I could do some desert riding and we could camp out in the wilds. A few times along this road the tar would end and be replaced with sections of very soft sand and I don't know how I stayed on the pegs. Mahmouds Daewoo Nubia and more so his driving skills were impressive in this soft stuff, although we did have to stop a few times to shovel dust out of the engine where it was piling up.


A rest stop for the Daewoo. The KTM needed no rest.


A sufficiently overloaded taxi, the only other vehicle I saw in 400km's on this road.

Before long I had arrived at the border with Egypt. It took some time to be granted exit from Libya. A particularly uptight official was insisting that I shouldn't have been allowed into Libya. He didn't see the humour in me suggesting that I'd leave immediately. I would have liked to spend some more time in Libya but the guide costs were expensive and although the KTM was performing superbly I was not far off having done 5000k's on the trip so far and wanted to do the next service in Cairo.


When I returned my rented plates at the border they were not impressed by the damaged caused by my Akrapovic flame-thrower.

Oh and I managed to get a small bit of video from my camera and put this together in an internet cafe that had Microsoft movie maker and a selection of Arabic pop music...



Egypt post to follow soon.

Mark
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