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Old 01-16-2010, 08:46 AM   #31
diskow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy G
one comment to Mr. Blacks last post:

The below piture ist dedicated to inmate Diskow who showed me that this can be done even with the heavy 230kg AT when we were riding in Slovenia in this years European ADV rally:



Thanks Peter! Looking forward to riding with you again.
Dear Andy -
After some time I found your report again.
Thanks for kind words!

Looking forward to ride!
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:22 AM   #32
Andy G OP
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Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
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next chapter: around Douz

Douz is the perfect starting point for the first expeditions into the sand. Although a rather small city it offers all facilities one could need: camping, various hotels, a market, masses of small shops selling everything and, most important: talented fabricators who can build you sparepartes.

Next days ride should be one of these first touches with real sand... a short 80km loop around Douz:



When coming from the Desert Camping turn right at Camel direction Gabes and follow the road for 13km till you reach this crossing leading south towards the Cafe au Port du Sahara, the last outpost before some 100kms of sand.



The loop is ideal for gaining experience. First 13km tarmac, than gravel with little sand, than more and more sand and finall only a direction on your GPS, no visible tracks at all.







On this trip we were joind by David (Vid) from Germany. He and his friend Micheal were heading towards the Jebel Tembaine, a large rock in the middle of nowhere, riding two pimped Suzuki DR350s. But they got struck by the Pharaos revenge and were recovering for some days in Douz. Vid was up again but Micheal was still unable to ride. Vid is a very experienced desert traveller and I was happy to have him with us.




The first dunes!!!




This is what makes the pists so tricky: deep loose sand with many tracks by 4wd trucks.




This is how it looks when you know how to do it:







stopping for a coffee in the famous Cafe. Almost everybody travelling in the Tunesian Sahara comes here at least once and leaves his marks




When I took that foto I still thought we could reach the Dejbil Tembaine... how wrong was I!

These were the first 75km of our 80km loop. Including coffee and many many many foto stopps it took us 4 hours.




These are not for sale but left by travellers and expeditions!




perfect high-speed desert road from the Cafe for the next few kms.





according to our maps and GPS there should be a piste somewhere here to our right, leading nort-west back to Douz.




there were still some tracks visibile, but the dunes got higher, softer and deeper. Stopping to reduce tyre air pressure.





which doesn't always help...




Short time later the RD03 became louder and louder. The clamp holding the exhaust was cracked and the whole exhaust became loose. We fixed it with the famous RD07 helmet holder cable.
We programmed the coordinates of our camp and just followed the arrow on the GPS through a salt-pan.





not everybody makes it back to the oasis





for reaching Douz we had to cross this dunebelt to the left. Hardheader said 'no prob! I'll take the lead' and off he went




... and blasted away. He had gained maybe 40km/h when he reached the first dune. And was hit by Fech-Fech. It's a kind of sand where the upper layer of maybe 1cm thickness looks like hard packed sand. But it just cracks, and below is sand like flouor. But flour sticks when you compress it, this sand doesn't. So Hardheader took a full OTB with a nice salto, almost landing on his feet again in front of the bike





No damage to man or machine, just took us quite a while to dig her out again. This time it was my turn to dig me in, Vid and Hardheader coming back, helping me dig out my bike again.




And again. I lost track of about how often we had to dig out our bikes. Alwas the same procedure: dig away some sand till you can throw the bike to its side, fill the holes, lift up the bike and try again




these 5km through the dunes took us another 4 hours ... my dreams of reaching Tembaine faded away this afternoon. Bikes too heavy, riders not talented enough, too much luggage (we would need to take almost all our stuff with us and had massive problems this afternoon riding completely whitout!) It was 35+°, we used all our water and where completely exhausted and dehydrated. So, no more picts of this adventure till we reached our camp back in Douz.

Next day will be a rest day for us. The next installment will bring you some pictures of the oasis Douz and our bike checks and repairs, so stay tuned!

Cheers, Andy
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:06 AM   #33
Andy G OP
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rest & repair

We spent the whole next day loungeing in our camp, repairing the RD03 and exploring Douz.
As I already told the clamp holding the Supertrapp can on the RD03 gave up on the way between the Cafe and the dunes. So I went off in the morning with the can and the old clamp to find a fabricator to build a new one. 30min and 12€ later this probelm was sorted out. Also the tank was leaking, the clutch lever had no free play and the engine didn't provide its full power. The clutch lever should have made me suspicious for the later problems to come. But I thought that the clutch that Hardheader and I had newly installed just 10.000km ago had only sat.

basecamp:




still enjoying the wrenching on the bike...




RD03 stripped down:




Mr. Black not so happy anymore after we found that the tank (which he got off ebay) was welded by someone who maybe never saw a welding machine before.




three little holes filled with 2-component glue:




later Vid joined our wrenching session




In the afternoon we went out exploring Douz.
Date trees




dates




pomgrenate tree




downtown Douz




main square

























the camel




in the little garage on the right there is the guy who made the new clamp for the exhaust










we ended our expedition with traditional food: Couscous with Mergues




Cheers, Andy
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:17 AM   #34
Per Stromsather
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wow!!

This looks amazing..
Great report,and pics..
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:01 AM   #35
Hardheader
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... to the field of sandroses

On the next day we could proof of what weīve learned in the dunes nearby Douz. We went to the place where a lot of sandroses grow...


Wasnīt a very long distance. It should be another short trip into the sand.
Thru some palm tree gardens...


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand in the saaaaaaaaaaand!


The pist was easy to read... thatīs why itīs good to start in the morning...

HAH! Mr. Pink!


Nice, isnīt it?


Sometimes we were scouting by feet...


ACTION!!!






At the 2nd pic, Mr. White had to jump outta my way...




Tracks...


Stuck.


On my knees to collect some sandroses...




On the way back to the camp, I recocnized that the engine wasnīt working with itīs normal power because the clutch has changed itīs adjustment. Again I had nearly no freeplay at the lever...
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:35 PM   #36
A-Wind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardheader
On the way back to the camp, I recocnized that the engine wasnīt working with itīs normal power because the clutch has changed itīs adjustment. Again I had nearly no freeplay at the lever...
Unfortunately that can happen even with a good clutch under heavy use. Your clutch might have been "worn" to begin with or you might have let it slip a bit too much in the dunes.

If the clutch "changes it's adjustment" it is important to let it cool down (quick shifts and as few as possible). Readjusting just makes matters worse leading into a progessively worsening cylce with no end to it.

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Old 01-31-2010, 03:39 AM   #37
Hardheader
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Wind
If the clutch "changes it's adjustment" it is important to let it cool down (quick shifts and as few as possible). Readjusting just makes matters worse leading into a progessively worsening cylce with no end to it.

Yes, Sir. Later on we found out what it was... But thatīs another story to tell... soon coming up.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:49 AM   #38
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on the way to Ksar Ghilane...

This was an quite unspectacular ride. After we had to admit that our offroad-skills werenīt good enough to do the transition from Douz directly thru the dunes to Ksar Ghilane, we took the road.


Kind of monotounus, eh...?






Damn... it was really hot...


We had a rest at Cafe Bir Soltane. You just have to stop there when you drive to Ksar Ghilane.


How many cats are in this picture?




Ok, that was easy... Now something more challenging: How many business cards?


Wanna take a nap?


How about here?


Naahhh...


Time to ride on....


Finally we made it - our camp ground in Ksar Ghilane


Nice view, isnīt it?






The funniest thing about Ksar Ghilane is, that they have a hot spring. It was the result of a drill for oil. Imagine how it feels to jump into warm water after one week in the desert... We were sitting in there and were goggling at the tourists coming to the oasis.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:37 AM   #39
East Coast Rider
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Great pics! Hope the Antonio Gates jersey survives the whole trip!
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Me: Hey Dan-O. Just wanted to say howdy and Love ya!
Dan: Howdy and Love you too. Doin' good and feeling good.
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Dan: Roger that.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:12 AM   #40
Deadly99
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Africa.........
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Tales From The Bivouac Rally Print Publications

TCAT (Trans Canada Adventure Trail)


Gravel Travel Canada - Canada's Source for Overland Travel
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:59 AM   #41
Andy G OP
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Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
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the ride that matters...

Leaving the nice oasis in the morning for a ride on to Tataouine. More or less just west thru the dessert.



topping up some gas



he's filtering the gas thru an old t-shirt








Khsar Ghilane downtown



and uptown



this is whre we entered the pist, that should change the plans for the next four days...



there are two techniques one can use on this kind of stuff: either controlled at moderate speed, staying on the throttle. Or rallye style: accelerate with throttle full open and plough thru...



this is the result of combining both styles....



Actually iīm not shure what really happend... I was riding by 60 km/h on the corrogated pist and then this spot appeared. Andy was waving (he was already thru) and i wondered why. Ploughing thru the sand, the engine lost more and more power... then my handlebar snapped to the left... and i rolled over.
Now i know why he was waving hands... he just wanted to show DRIVE LEFTHANDSIDE! Instead he got a strange picture...



Andy G screwed with this post 02-21-2010 at 10:04 AM
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:33 AM   #42
Andy G OP
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I was flying along this wonderful corrugated desert highway at about 100km/h. Descending the small hill in the last picutre that sandy spot was approaching too fast and I hit the brakes the best I could and spotted the detour. Made it through that, adrenaline was high . Thought it might be a good idea to warn Hardheader. I didn't know if he saw me or not, but he did the exact opposite of what I thought would be clever. Coming down at high speed I hear the supertrapp shouting his attack. Then there was a bike kicking form one side to the other and a rider trying to wrestle down his beats followed by a big cloud of sand flying in all directions. When the bike came at almost 90° to its moving direction Hardheader was thrown out of the saddle and the bike rolled over. I just thought f..k. I dropped my helmet and ran over. The bike was off, dripping fuel in the sand. Hardheader stayed lying in the dirt, obiously suffering, but still alive and mostly OK. After some moments he could get up and walk again. The bike got a major redesign. It took us about 2 hours to get rolling again.



We tried to bend the front back again to its former form. All was smashed when the bike was hitting the gravel. Also the GPS was smashed - the antenna was broken. The GPS-mount of Touratech is very tough.




but the suffering was rewarded by some very nice piste through the desert






As i mentioned before, this was the day where bad luck was just around the corner. After this picture we came to another field with deep sand - where iI was frying my clutch. So we were busy with towing my bike with luggage thru the desert.

Now the long version:
Again there was no free play at the clutch lever when we stopped for a short brake, so, again, we readjusted the clutch. In the next deep sand passage the clutch finally gave up. I towed Hardheader, his AT and all his luggage over 20km of a heavily currugated piste to the next village in the mountains at the edge of the desert. Hardheader seemed a bit shot after this row of bad luck so I put him into a cafe and started talking to people if there was somebody with a truck who coud take us to Tataouine, the next bigger town. The locals were very helpful and after about one hour we had our lift. I chose a hotel from the travelguide and told the truckdriver to bring us there. He didn't know the hotel but my GPS helped. At the hotel I organized a room for us and a garade for the wounded bike. Put Hardheader in the room to relax and went out to town to find us some food. OK, rescued... made it shortly before it went dark. Failure analysis will have to wait till tomorrow.

the hotel



entry to the garage

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Old 02-21-2010, 11:15 AM   #43
Andy G OP
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The next day started with deassembling the bike and finding out that I got everything with me except the 27mm wrench for the central nut of the clutch, and, obviously, new clutch discs. I thought we wouldn't need them since we rebuilt it during the previous winter.




Again the locals were super helpful. With the aid of the hotel host we first found a mechanic who lend us his tools and then walked us around town finding a new disc.

on this point Iīd like to thank the mechanic Mr. Hasim Neni. He was the boss of a garage no one of us could work. No daylight, some tools selfmade and the floor was bumpy beyond belief.





this is how they should NOT look like



After we had already given up I remembered that we passed a building with a big KTM logo when entering town 2 days ago. Given up means we called the ADAC (german automobile club) and arranged with them to send us the parts. That would have ment that we needed to stay in Tataouine till the end of our holidays till the parts arrived. Then we would have less than one day to repair the bike and go back to Tunis to catch our ferry. We had nothing more to loose and decided to pay a visit to Bir Ouled Soltane, on the way there I rememberd that KTM thing. We went there, on the first sight everything appeared to be closed. But there were some sounds coming out of the workshop. We enterd and met Leonardo, an Italian who started his business here. He had all sorts of KTM and Honda Dominator clutches in his shop, but none for the AT. But no problem, he said, just wait, I'll phone somebody. After a short call to somebody in norther Tunesia he said: I got two complete engines, what do you need? Everything can be here tomorrow

In this moment I took Andy beside and asked him if he was kidding us. But Leonardo was asking if he can make a copy of the discs on his xerox to send the pictures to the other guy. He told us to come back in a few hours.

We agreed and went off to visit Bir Oled Soltane

Leonardos shop
























On this trip i melted a big hole into my boots onto the exhaust pipe of Andys bike. As already mentioned we rode together on one bike to Ksar Ouled Soltane...

But - The good news wre, that Leonardo got some discs that were fitting. They should arrive the next day/ morning by a overland-cab, called Louage. All we should do, was getting there an pay for transportation, take a look if they really fit and pay Leonardo if they do.
We went back to town and decided to get a victory lunch. Andy chose Gargoulette and I was having Brochettes.





Fortunately there was nothing to do for that day, so we relaxed and enjoyed the sunset









Our drinks as usual. And usually means every day a lot of them (only to avoid dehydration ).



So, we're back in the game!

Cheers, Hardheader and Andy G


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Old 02-28-2010, 06:57 AM   #44
oldmotors
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continuation

Well... what is ther rest of the story?
And another question from somebody who is willing since last year a trip to Northern Africa: What were your total costs of this trip (per person)?
Cheers!
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:47 AM   #45
A-Wind
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Oh man. What a day. But I guess great adventure would not be so great without events like that.
Good thing the crash went more or less smooth and Hardheader was OK.
How the clutch got worn like that is beyond me. I have never seen them like that on a bike. Too much fun in the Sand?
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