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Old 03-31-2014, 03:10 PM   #1
SurfnnRide OP
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Wishing I was in Baja...
Oddometer: 105
2 complete strangers ride Africa! 9000 miles/40 days and a serious case of ball rot!

So I had just returned from a 6,000 mile/35 day ride to Sturgis with the Mrs and I was beginning to write a blog on ADV about it (still unfinished...) and I needed a break from the story telling.

So I popped over to the ride reports to see if anything new had gone down and low and behold here is this post titled "Wanted rider: Uganda to South Africa".

I almost went right past it as I wasn't flush enough at the time to pop for shipping my bike to Africa and I have a bunch of other places I want to go first but something was tickling the back of my mind and I clicked on it.

Well low and behold here is this stranger named Mennleo saying he has a KTM950SE ready to go for this ride. His brother had backed out of this journey 3 months before the departure date and he was looking for someone else to go who could show up and ride. Specifically someone over 6'2 as the KTM950SE is a tall/heavy bike. (6'7 so I fit the bill)

I got all excited but after 5 seconds I realized that I just got back from a 35 day trip and the Mrs wasn't going to be all happy crappy if I wanted to go on another journey.

I pretty much just gave up there but then I figured why not try the barter system and see what the heck happens.

So I ask her if I had the opportunity to go ride around Africa for a month what would it take for me to go? She thought about it for a second and said "restucco the house".

It took me all of .01 seconds to respond "DONE!!!!"

I think she immediately realized that she could have gotten a lot more out of me and then she started to think about the danger aspect of it but by the time she came back to talk to me about it I had already written to Mennleo telling him I was 6'7, had the hall pass from the Mrs, and that I've raced dirtbikes so lets do this!!!

And the rest was history....

Here was the original post he threw up.

We took a ton of pictures and basically we had no plans beyond leaving Entebbe Uganda and we'd work our way towards Cape Town South Africa. If we made it cool. If not oh well!

Here was what we basically left with:

2004 BMWR1150GS
2008 KTM950SE

6 or 7 maps
2 GPS's
A handful of tools
One spot tracker that stopped working around day 2 or 3
Some powdered drinks, dehydrated food and some canned food.
2 spare tubes for my bike. BMW is tubeless
2 sets of spare clothes
Spare oil and filter
Electrolyte tablets
2 tents
Thermarest mattresses and sleeping bags
MSR ultralite stove and propane can
small hammock
4 cell phones (2 real and 2 in case we got robbed)
2 fake wallets (same reason about robbing)
3 cans of mace
Go Pro camera

No support trucks following us
No TV crews
No funding
No spare tires
No contacts except for one in Lesotho.

On our own. BFE Africa. 38 and a low 40 year old man without a plan. Make it happen and blaze our own trail was the only thing on our minds.

Where the future lead us we did not know but we when those wheels finally crossed the gates leaving his house there was nothing but freedom and the open road on our minds.

Who knows where that road would lead two complete strangers, who hadn't spoken more than a couple words to each other over the phone, but it sure as heck was going to be an interesting ride!!!

Couple of pics:

Leo (aka mennleo) & his family. Wonderful hosts and a great family!:

[IMG] photo LeosFamily_zpsa662f10b.jpg[/IMG]

Lots of beautiful sunsets along the way:

[IMG] photo IMG_20131105_191726_zpse917c775.jpg[/IMG]

Some fun river crossings:

[IMG] photo IMG_20131101_153147_zpsad4d60d8.jpg[/IMG]

And some adventure and this wasn't even the best of them! Have to keep you interested!

[IMG] photo IMG_20131024_214112_zpsd86b1043.jpg[/IMG]

Probably won't be a fast report but I'll try to update when I can! Thanks for following!!

P.S. I forwarded this link to Mennleo so you can get his perspective of this ride also. Always good to hear both sides of the story.
If you're not crashing you're not riding fast enough!

SurfnnRide screwed with this post 07-21-2014 at 03:11 PM
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:12 AM   #2
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Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Kabul / Afghanistan
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Sound interesting. I'm in

Take me down to the paradise city
where the grass is green and the girls are pretty

Four wheels move the body
and three wheels move the soul
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:41 AM   #3
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Location: Western NY
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In, lets get to it!
"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:45 AM   #4
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can't wait for the rest
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:54 AM   #5
One more time
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Location: New Mexico (yes it is a State)
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Thumb Cool

You lucky bastard.
Fear not death, but rather the inadequate life.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:32 AM   #6
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Entebbe, Uganda
Oddometer: 117
the truth

Now ya gotta understand I'm the last born and a bit laid back and well Josh ( can i use his real name?) is racer and a bit "intense" can we do this without killing each other?

The 2004 R1150GS

Love this bike!!

mennleo screwed with this post 06-01-2014 at 11:56 AM
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:59 PM   #7
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This has me intradasted, get with it lads!!!
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:13 PM   #8
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Location: Wishing I was in Baja...
Oddometer: 105
So let's rewind a bit and give some background....

Leo is a airplane engineer/mechanic/general handyman and that was one of the key factors in me going. I have limited mechanical knowledge and when it comes to working on things I always have to do it twice or three times to get it right. Hence why having someone who was calm, cool and collected when the bikes broke down would be a good thing.

On top of that he had been living in Uganda and Kenya, on and off, for 5+ years working with Africa Inland Mission. At the time he was in Entebbe Uganda and was working with the nurses on the Ssese Islands, on Lake Victoria, who have been helping fight AIDS and other health issues that the local villagers have. He helps fix the boats & planes and was in the middle of building a nurse a home when we left on this trip.

Ssese Island that he works on:

[IMG] photo IslandVillage_zpsd0b92738.jpg[/IMG]

Here is the home he is building for the nurse:

[IMG] photo BackofLeosHouse_zpsd4661ca2.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG] photo FrontofLeosHouse_zps6ef6da25.jpg[/IMG]

And the nurse he is building it for:

[IMG] photo NurseampKids_zps98dfd92f.jpg[/IMG]

So all in all I felt pretty comfortable going with Leo as he had years of experience in Africa, was good with his hands/tools, was calm and collected AND he was a good person who shared a joy of philanthropy like I do.

So after lots of planning and part gathering I leave for Entebbe Uganda fully loaded with more stuff than I could possibly need.

[IMG] photo Josh1_zps1d09e37f.jpg[/IMG]

Arrive in Entebbe and Leo is there waiting for me. Get to meet the family and that was fun. Going from a household with no kids to a household with 9 kids is a bit of a shock. Luckily all the kids are super nice and so was his wife. Made me feel at home right from the moment I arrived.

So for the next 2 days we logged in 8-9 hours a day fixing up the bikes.. Well mainly the KTM since Leo had already prepped his bike for the most part.

List of things we did to get the KTM ready:

New Rear Tire
New Front Tire
New Rear Brake Pads
Rebuilt Rear Master Brake Cylinder
Installed New Battery
Kill Switch Installed
Custom fabricated risers for handlebars (Remember this mod for later)
Installed hi/low octane switch
New Chain
New Rear Brake Rotor
New Rear Sprocket
New Front Sprocket
Flushed fuel tank and cleaned petcock filters
Rebuilt front fork that was leaking and put clean fluid in the other
Cleaned and tuned dual carb
Installed HID mini light
Installed Plexiglass windshield and made custom mounts to reinforce it
Installed new horn
Changed oil/filters and cleaned screen
New Front Brake Pads
New Front Brake Rotor
Installed HD airflow seat (Harley parts belong on KTM's!!!)
Flushed/Bled brake lines
Hi viz tape on the rear (Zambian law)

Leo also built custom over sized footpegs which was HUGE especially when I stood for over 400 miles of pavement on a almost 900 mile day. Damn ball rot/monkey butt!!

Couple more pics:

Leo doing work on the KTM in his garage. I handled all the bolting on of stuff and he handled the electrical stuff and fabrication as I have ZERO knowledge on electrical work and very limited fab work.

[IMG] photo 20131010_143153_resized_zps56089253.jpg[/IMG]

KTM950SE after the first day of work:

[IMG] photo 20131010_175046_resized_zpseb01b711.jpg[/IMG]

Just keep these fancy custom handlebar risers in mind later...

[IMG] photo 20131010_175026_resized_zpsa082a434.jpg[/IMG]

His son Malikie not wanting us to go. This was right before we left when everything was locked, loaded and ready for adventure!

[IMG] photo IMG_20131012_144623_zpscf366651.jpg[/IMG]

P.S. I did shave the beard before departing. Figured 40 days on a dirtbike was going to make for one nasty beard so off it went!
If you're not crashing you're not riding fast enough!

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Old 04-01-2014, 05:19 PM   #9
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CB200T Build thread:
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:14 AM   #10
SurfnnRide OP
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Location: Wishing I was in Baja...
Oddometer: 105
So off we rolled.....

I was a bit nervous at this point only for one reason. Learning to drive on the left side of the road on a motorcycle.

Bad enough learning in a car much less totally exposed on a motorcycle in crazy driving Africa. Stop lights? Don't bother... Stop signs? What are those? lol

But I got it down pretty quick and off we went.

Leo made a point to stop at the equator as there was a good coffee shop there right next to the famous equator sign. Nothing wrong with a little civilization before heading off on this adventure!

Money? check! Insurance? check! Registration? check! Let's do this!

If you're not crashing you're not riding fast enough!

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Old 05-31-2014, 11:38 AM   #11
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Oddometer: 105
Fully loaded on cappachino's and a little grub and it's riding time!

We get on the pavement and zip through a couple small towns/cities. Very similar riding here to Mexico where the aggressive succeed. Lots of passing and weaving through traffic.

Lots of cars barely running and other ones flying buy so you HAVE to check your shoulder before passing.

I made the mistake of passing a bus and pulling in between it and another car. That car was going slow, and I only hesitated for 3-4 seconds, so I swung back out right to pass and I almost got MOWED DOWN BY THE BUS I JUST PASSED!!

So basically that just told me that you better have your head on a swivel the entire time because you would think the bus would realize I just passed him, I'm on a bike that is waaaayy faster, and I'm looking to pass again so he would wait.

Not so.... Survival of the person watching their butt the most!

So for the first night we are going to stay at this lodge that's not too far out of town. He's been there before and it's a cool place where I got to see my first wildlife.

Got to see Zebras:


Some deer looking things. Prada's? Pronghorns? Forget the name...

The cycle of life in Africa:

African Boneyard:

At the lodge they had a Ugandan Motorcycle that I rode and have a Video of.

I didn't beat Leo's distance record but I tried and screws were falling off!


Got to try my first African Beer too. Not bad!

Anyway stayed at that lodge and the next morning we were itching to get some miles down. We were hoping to average 300 miles a day so it was time to see if that was going to be realistic depending on border crossings, road closures, dirt vs. tarmac etc....

Next day we get rolling and 50 or so miles down the road Leo pulls over and asks me if I want to hit some dirt.

Ummmm. Heck yeah! I'm all about the dirt and getting off boring pavement.

Hit the dirt road and off I went! Zoom Zoom!!!

Flying past locals, sweeping through turns etc... LOVING it! Up in the mountains where it is a bit tropical and lush. People waving and smiling. So awesome!

Until I finally stop to wait for Leo to catch up and when he does he informs me that I passed our turn about 5 miles ago.

Lesson learned. Slow down speed racer. It was a backwards right handed U turn that I didn't see but still. Lesson learned.

So we went back and got on the right trail. Came around a bend, near a lake, and stopped for the view. Within a few minutes a bunch of villager kids came running down (common theme anywhere we stopped) and they started dancing and singing for us. It was so cool!

Here is the video. I was so surprised that I didn't think to turn the bike off. Sorry!

I have a couple of pictures:

If you're not crashing you're not riding fast enough!

SurfnnRide screwed with this post 07-22-2014 at 03:23 PM
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Old 05-31-2014, 12:16 PM   #12
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Entebbe, Uganda
Oddometer: 117
First night

Lake Mburo Rwakobo Rock lodge

Try to work out how to pack all this stuff!

and the winner......


Josh chasing Zebra!

Lake Bunyonyi in south west Uganda!

Great roadside restaurant/coffee shop we find along the way!! Chicken and Chips!!

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Old 05-31-2014, 12:29 PM   #13
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Entebbe, Uganda
Oddometer: 117

I did the work on BMW earlier!

And a new one of these!

And these! ;)

New tires make me happy! I ran TKC80 and KTM had Heidenau K60 scout.

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Old 05-31-2014, 12:41 PM   #14
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Test run before the trip!

We did do a 20 min. Ride around Entebbe airport before we left to make sure everything was ready!!

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Old 05-31-2014, 12:51 PM   #15
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Oddometer: 117
What is That

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