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Old 08-29-2008, 10:12 PM   #91
Lambo
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NIce RR, please keep it coming.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:05 AM   #92
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I'm listening, I meen subscribed, carry on. GOOD SHOW OLD CHAP
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:13 AM   #93
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What a fantastic adventure and trip report. Thanks for sharing this, looking forward to the rest.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:43 PM   #94
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encore....

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Old 08-31-2008, 02:17 AM   #95
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Top Report, I have subscribed, keep it coming.

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Old 08-31-2008, 05:29 AM   #96
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  1. Did that woman in Cairo even know you were there when she opened that door in front of you?
  2. Were they Aussies in the van and 4x4 on the ferry?
  3. That video was just fine! Who cares about the quality when there's so much to watch!
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:53 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave6253


That Cairo traffic video was scary . I sat in awe the entire 6 1/2 minutes. You are a brave man to ride through such insanity!
I only saw a little bit of insanity, but I'll leave it at that. I guess the secret is to match the local pace.

The traffic reminded me a little bit of the new system they use in Holland to achieve calmer traffic. There they've removed the road markings and pedestrians share the space with cars inside town. This removes certainty and perceived rights and keeps everybody alert.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:22 PM   #98
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The Sudan

AFRICAN ENDURO - The Sudan

Picking up from that 30 hour ferry ride across lake Nasser from Egypt to Sudan...

The ferry was very primitive. I had opted for a day and night on the open deck of the ferry rather than a smelly cabin. It seemed as though the other 699 citizens on this 300 person ferry did the same, but with a bit of negotiation I was able to secure a space big enough to roll my sleeping bag out that night. Those on the deck who had made this journey before knew to bring with a blanket or sheet to make some shade with and the rest of us just sat & dealt with the 45C/110F heat. As I was entering yet another strictly no alcohol country I took the opportunity to dispatch with my hip flask of rum, which made the heat much more bearable. There would be some hard times ahead until I could have another drink in Ethiopia. I met some interesting and very friendly characters on the ferry, like the guy featured in the video further down.


No space left un-passengered on the ferry.


Sunset on Lake Nasser, not too unpleasant.

We arrived at the Sudanese port of Wadi Halfa and I conducted my entry formalities and went into the town in search of somewhere to sleep. The barge carrying my bike was taking more time to make the crossing and was supposed to arrive the next day. This town was very backward compared to the Egyptian one I had left and the best place to stay was a steel bed surrounded by four cement walls. The best toilets were particularly full holes in the ground and the shower was a two litre container of water which was also utilised for arse washing purposes (stricly no toilet paper as per the muslim ethics). After dinner I joined the rest of the inhabitants in the dusty town square where the only television in town was situated. It was showing WWF wrestling, something these Sudanese would watch every night, over & over.

While I was in this town I met an Irish guy by the name of Hugh who was heading North, having almost completed a lap of Africa after having come down the West coast. I don't think he's an inmate here but was great company and a good source of information for my route Southwards. He was on a very well kitted-out GS 650 Dakar. His bike was parked in the reception of our hotel and obviously at an Eastern tangent as I noticed someone bowing down to the almighty BMW (and Allah). Blasphemous as it was I had to take a sneaky photo:




KTM & BMW bonding while their owners conduct border formalities.

The barge finally arrived at the port and when I went to fetch it the tie-downs were quite loose - I put the thought of my bike at the bottom of Lake Nasser in the back of my mind. It took all morning to check my bike into The Sudan and I then after filling up all the extra containers I could with fuel hit the road Southwards. Together with a Swedish couple in a Landcruiser and an Aussie couple in a VW van we formed a convoy for safety & security purposes. I scouted the route from the front and stopped for a drink of water every hour to wait for them to catch up. There was no tarmac now for at least the next 800km's and the terrain was absolutely lifeless and resembled the surface of Mars as depicted in movies.


Typical Nile-side camping


Stand-off with a local DS model


One of the good surfaced roads next to the Nile

The riding was phenomenal; a combination of hard but rocky road with sudden patches of very soft sand. I started getting arrogant in the soft stuff when all of a sudden I found myself lying on the floor, spitting out sand. My front had dug into the central ridge and I had continued forward motion over the bars. This was a high speed spill but I was very thankful to be in one piece. I was ATGATT ALL of the time on my trip and I could tell from a bruised elbow & knee my armour had done its job. In a few places I encountered what they call 'bull dust' in Australia, which is soft sand that is ground as fine as talcum powder by passing trucks & 4x4's. My rear got bogged down on a few occasions and I needed to drop my bike down to one side, pull the rear out and pick it up again. The VW of our convoy got stuck in a particularly large patch of this stuff (as I suspected it would - even though it had 4x4 it was far too low for African roads). I helped try & dig it out for two hours in 120F heat with no luck. Eventually a local in a 4x4 pickup gave us a pull.


Oh dear, KTM bites the dust.


I learned that it was actually better to pick the bike up while the adrenalin was still flowing, rather than stand around taking photo's.


Taking a breather and some shade in an abandoned village. KTM was in its element.


More Nile-side camping, and a local ADV rider who came to have a look.

After a few nights traveling along and camping beside the Nile I decided to head into the Nubian desert to cut off a large meander of the Nile. There were several routes exiting the last town I left on the Nile, and most were going in the same direction so I opted for the most fun one. It was a hard surfaced double-track with great berms on the sides and was good fun but didn't last long. Slowly the tracks faded with age until I found myself with none. This is exactly what I had dreamt about for so many years; I was in the middle of the desert with no tracks and no people. I took plenty of photo's and enjoyed the slow-going ride through some pretty deep sand. My gps was useless in these parts so out came the old compass to ensure I was heading East where I new the Nile (and some civilisation) would be.


Middle of the trackless desert, I had an imagine like this in my head for many years prior so had to set it up.


Here's looking at you advrider

After a few hours in the solitude I was reunited with the Nile and the small villages that scatter its course. I had recently picked up a bad habit of kicking a foot into the sand each time I thought I was going over. It was easy enough to do, even when standing, but when done at speed it would knock my foot back into a pannier. Then, just as suddenly as my other wipeout I was on the deck, but this was a little more serious. My right leg was pinned under my right-side pannier, with foot pointing in a worrying looking direction. My knee hurt and for a moment I thought the trip was over and because I was on the ground I couldn't lift the bike to free my leg. After a few failed attempts to escape I was very luck to see a couple of locals walking in the distance. I shouted & whistled for them to come over, which they did sedately and proceeded to lift the big orange just enough for me to get out. Thankfully I could still walk so picked up the bike and carried on. I was wearing some very expensive Alpinestar Tech 10's and motocross knee guards under my rally pants, without these I would have suffered at least one break and one dislocation. Close shave.

A few hours of very slow riding after this incident I was re-united with tarmac, which was a great relief as my experience of the soft stuff wasn't too good this far. After a refuel of every receptacle I could find I took a very long (300km) and very desolate tarred road through the desert to cut off another large meander of the Nile. It had been in the high 40's / 110's since leaving Egypt but this day was on another level. I couldn't ride without my visor down and even at 120kmph the KTM was running quite hot. When I was once again reunited with the Nile I stopped in a little town for some food & liquids. I had a look at the little digital thermometer I was carrying and at 2pm it read 53.7 C, in the shade (128F). I put it on my bike in the sun after hitting 70C/160F it stopped working and hasn't since. While I was in The Sudan I always carried at least 4 litres of drinking water which I replenished at each village I could find. By the end of this day I had consumed just under ten litres of water and was never quenched.


Nice tarmac road through the desert


Some great pyramids in the desert before Khartoum

I then spent the next few days making my way down the remainder of the Nile but now on tarmac and slowly encountering more civilisation on the way to the capital Khartoum. In Khartoum I stayed on the green grass of the Nile Sailing Club, a favourite among overlanders. After pitching my tent I walked into town to buy some groceries and find an internet cafe. While I was in the cafe the owner came running in from outside saying I had to get out immediately. He said that there was some fighting outside and he was closing his shop. Outside everyone was running in one direction (out of the centre) and there was a crackle of gunfire which sounded pretty close-by. I took up the sprint back towards the campsite trying to cut as small a profile as possible. A tank & a few armoured vehicles rolled past in the opposite direction, which was quite reassuring. Although the campsite was very close to the action it seemed very quiet and together with a few other travelers we sat around making nervous small talk while pickup loads of jeering soldiers rode past, fresh from the battle. That night we watched a delightful fireworks display of mortar fire and the odd burst of tracers on the other side of the river. The next morning I woke up at 4am, packed-up and left the campsite. There were police or army roadblocks at every street corner and although I was allowed through some others would send me back to the campsite. I tried all three exits of the city I could find and had the same luck at each. At the last roadblock I was gestured off my bike by a slovenly looking warrior who was poking my bags with his AK gesturing me to open them. I started with my top box and when he saw my Nikon Digital SLR he slung it over his shoulder and pointed with his AK for me to leave. I refused and tried to find out if any of his comrades could speak English. I was blocking traffic now and tempers were rising but then a soldier with some rank drove by and stopped. I had to give him a short slide-show of the photo's on my camera, and after seeing no military related photo's gave it back to me.


Camping at the Blue Nile Sailing club


The reception of the campsite is Lord Kitcheners old gunboat (The Mhadi), perched on the banks of the Blue Nile.

The reason I couldn't leave was that there was a military curfew in place on the city. Approx. 100 pickups full of rebels drove all the way from Darfur to Khartoum to try & pull off a coup and dispose of the dictator president. They didn't pull it off and had dispersed into the city. I tried to leave each morning for a few days but the situation had remained the same. No shops were open and the streets were deserted so I had to resort to my emergency rations of food. I did however have some good company in the campsite, a couple traveling through Africa by public transport and a young German guy riding a Yamaha DT125 through Africa - I don't know who was more brave.

Finally one morning my departure drill payed off and I got out of Khartoum. Tensions seemed high even outside of the city so I didn't stop riding until I got to the Ethiopian border. I was relieved to have no bullet holes in my person and was really looking forward to riding up into the Ethiopian highlands and out of the desert.

Here's another dodgy clip I fashioned on-route in an internet cafe.

More soon...

Mark



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Old 09-02-2008, 12:53 PM   #99
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Oh jeeze... very glad to hear that you weren't used for target practice during the attempted coup.... I'm guessing some wouldn't hesitate in that part of the world. Amazing report.

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Old 09-02-2008, 12:58 PM   #100
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Excellent, just what I needed to read, sitting at home with a beer in hand, I need to get my bike back together and go ride.

Thanks for post and keep it coming.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:45 PM   #101
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Riding solo, coups, tanks, guns, emergency rations.....this just gets better all the time

Nice camera work, and writing too
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:15 AM   #102
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bravo!! And that olg good Leftfield as soundtrack go on!
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:06 AM   #103
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Another great report. Another top video. We're spoilt here.
Was expecting Jawa's or Luke's landspeeder to come into view at any time.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:12 AM   #104
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Enjoying watching your trip so far

Good luck with the rest.
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:29 PM   #105
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No T.P in the heads

Hey buddy, make me a burger, especially after you go to the bathroom. Nothing better than an ecoli meal.
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