|02-26-2011, 09:25 AM||#181|
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Jennings, Louisiana
A '00 KLR 650 40,000 miles, A '07 1250S 74,000 , A '03 5.3L Chevy Truck 78,000 + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
|02-26-2011, 06:34 PM||#182|
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: DOWN ON THE BORDER , LAS CRUCES, NUEVO MEHICO
I'm in !!
LIFE IS A BANQUET AND MOST POOR BASTARDS ARE STARVING!
Don't be afraid your life will end, be afraid that it will never start.
Arrogance is the anesthesia that dulls the pain of stupidity
|02-27-2011, 01:08 AM||#183|
Gas X ready!
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Brain in Utah but homeless in Wisconsin....
Loving it! Ryman when are you going to do your world tour? Lol!
Lefthand brew, a weber grill and the rocky mountains,...it all goes away!
|02-27-2011, 07:15 AM||#185|
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Hanford CA
Still loving this adventure so far! Have you guys had any difficulty yet of finding gas within a reasonable distance? I'd imagine there's some desolate areas there in Africa.
Man, just typing that made me jealous! Staring down hyenas - intense!!
|02-27-2011, 08:06 AM||#187|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Lansing, MI
|02-27-2011, 08:18 AM||#189|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Lansing, MI
Tameron 18-270 mm lens
Canon 1.8 50mm prime lens
Sennheiser MKE 400 mic
Panasonic Lumix LX5
Go Pro HD
Canon HSF 100
Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom
Joby Gorillapod Magnetic
6' expandable pole with a tripod ball mount on the end
Nick has a Go Pro HD and an Olympus Waterproof Point and Shoot.
|02-27-2011, 08:41 AM||#190|
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Clare, MI
We woke up early excited for our drive through Chobe. We were even more excited to find out the roads were more of a two track. 200 miles of two track and wild animals sounded awesome.
The sand was tough to drive through with all out gear. It was going to be a long day. After 10 miles or so we reached to entrance to Chobe. Apparently this was not the section of Chobe you drive motorcycles through. The guards woudn't let us through. This meant we had to back track and add roughly 300 miles onto our day. I guess there was nothing to do but turn around. Lucky for us there was an different road to take back to the village we spent the night at; and this one had wildlife along the way. It's so amazing to be cruising down the road and look over and see an elephant. Naturally we had to get off the bikes and investigate.
We kept driving along the road with our eyes peeled for animals. The road was tough, but still better than the sandy two track. This was the muddy two track with dried up elephant tracks making 1 foot deep holes in the ground. It was rough, but better than sand. After a few miles of that we saw our first ever giraffe (not counting zoos). We almost missed them. How do you miss a 20 ft tall animal on the side of the road? Of course we stopped and took some pictures. Man, do those things run goofy.
We spotted a few more elephants along the way. This time we didn't investigate.
On our way back to the city we needed to turn at to start the detour, we ran into the guard at the road block from the night before. He laughed at us and we had a good time cracking jokes. He was pretty excited to sit on our bikes.
The turn to start our detour was pretty large, so we decided to fill up and eat before our 200 mile drive to the next city. We ate at a restraunt a local mentioned, Bimbo Burger. We would not recommend it. Luke got the size large pita thingy for about $10.
Yeah, that's we thought too. It wasn't very large. We hauled the mail for the next 100 miles without stopping (an accomplishment for us) untill we came to a gas station. Typically we like to get gas every 100 miles since we only have roughly a 200 mile range when we are driving fast. Luke decided to fill up, I didn't. FYI I only have a mastercard and I found out that in Namibia and Botswana some ATMs will only accept Visa (sucks to be me) so I have to be very carefull about how much money I have and know where to get cash out next. I decide to wait for the larger city to gas up. Luke had his tank topped off which added up to 90 Pula (about $15). The funny part (for me) was Luke didn't have enough money to pay and there was no ATM to get any money out. Together we had 60 Pula, not enough for the gas. Luke suggested using a can to give them the gas back, but they didn't understand much of what we were saying. Luke gave the guy $10 on top of our 60 Pula to cover the cost. He accepted, but seemed pretty confused to what was going on.
We arrived at the larger city around dusk and bought some gas. We still wanted to make it to the Botswana/Zambian border night so we decided to eat since it would probably be our last chance. This time the food was a decent price. It was about $3 each for rice, beef stew and a coke. Plus we figured the food must have been fresh. They keep meat running around instead of in a freezer. This meal put the size large Bimbo pita to shame.
Now we only had 200 miles left to drive for the day. The good news is it was now getting dark out. The better news is that out of that 200 miles about 150 were through a game park. The ladies at the gate thought we were nuts for driving through at night on motorcycles, they thought for sure we would be eaten or hit an elephant. They refused to get on the back of our bikes and ride through it with us. They may have been on to something. about a half a mile past the road the block we saw an elephant 10 feet off the road. We decide to drive side by side at 50 mph the whole time, it's a good thing we have communication systems so we can talk to each other. After a few more miles we run into some more elephants. Let me tell you, trying to spot elephants in the road is hard. They are harder to see than the deer in Michigan. You wouild think a walking toolshed would be easy to spot.
We spent the next 4 hours dodging elephants and hyenas. I know, we are doing really bad with our rule of no driving at night. No only are we doing bad, but we are doing it on the worst possible roads. We pull up to the boarder town around midnight. And we are tired! Before town though we almost hit a heard of buffalo.
We couldn't find anyplace to sleep so we pitched our tent next to the gate of a hotel. The guards were cool with it, and woke us up as soon as it was light outside.
Exiting Botswana was easy. Even with trying to get the correct papers stampted so we could get our money back from customs in South Africa. I think it only took us 20 minutes. Then we got to ride a sweet ferry to Zambia. They could only take one truck at a time and the trucks were backed up for miles. Good thing about motorcycles is they can weasel us on pretty easy. The ferries were top notch too. They were powered by two desiel motors on the side and never raised their gate.
Getting out of Botswana was easy, but getting into Zambia sucked. First you were surrounded by people trying to con you, or help you out for a fee. Some wanted to watch our bikes, others wanted to be our customs agent. We went to immigration to get our passport stamed and was welcomed with a $50 visa fee. We didn't have any Kwatcha (Zambian currency) but they accepted US dollars. We didn't have enough money for both of us. We then found out they didn't have an ATM on this side of the boarder. We did some thinking and decided to see if we had enough money for one of us to get through, the other could run to an ATM and get money out for the other. We start that process and found out the boarder was pain. We needed 6 things: Visa, Temporary Import, Carbon Tax, Counsil Levy, Road Tax, and Insurance. We got the visa with no problem. Then we got the Temporary import without a problem, and it didn't even cost any money. Then it was time to get the Carbon Tax, which you could only pay in Kwatcha, which we didn't have. It didn't help that the money exchange place was closed. This meant we had to see about exchanging money with the people on the street. We've heard stories of this not working out very well, but we check it out anyway. A customs agent take us to a guy he says is legit. We try changing money and of course they try to short change us, which we don't let happen. But they decided they didn't like our US dollars because they had rips in them. That plan didn't work.
We decide to go back across the ferry to Botswana. We don't bother with customs and Luke drives through customs to go to an ATM while I wait at the boarder. Luke comes back with enough money for both of us in US dollars. We cross on the ferry again and are lucky enough that the real money exchange building is open. We exchange some money to Kwatcha so we can pay our Carbon tax. It makes no sence to me why some stations only accept US dollars and some only accept Kwatcha. We get everything we need except the insureance. We bought insurance out of a cargo box next to the road. I mean, that has to be legit.
By now we were exausted and stopped caring as long as we could get past this boarder. Now that we had insurance we could leave. All we had to was show all our paper work to the guard at the gate. We checked out, everything was ok. We hopped on our bikes and got ready to leave. Some guys decided to try and con us one last time. They said we needed to buy registration stickers for our bikes or the police checkpoints up the road would fine us. Their con didn't work. We drove 20 miles down the road and stopped on the shoulder to take a breather where no one would bother us. Then on to Victoria Falls.
|02-27-2011, 09:26 AM||#191|
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Maple Ridge, BC Canada
|02-27-2011, 11:44 PM||#192|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Lansing, MI
After the hectic and stressful boarder crossing it was time for Victoria Falls. I was partially in a bad mood from the rigmarole we had to go through that I honestly wasn't even excited to see the falls. I knew we had to do it today though. We pull into the parking lot and change out of our riding gear into our outfits. I say outfits because we don't really have a wardrobe. We each have outfits. My outfit is my grey shorts and a blue tank top. Nicks is board shorts and a Mountain Hardware t-shirt. I grab all my camera gear including my camera pole and head for the gate. They are charging 20 USD. For some reason this upsets me. (I really was frustrated from the border crossing) I hand them $40 and they look it over. It does not pass. A few of the bills have small rips. We also found this true at the border. No one takes US money with ANY rips or tears, no matter how small. This does not add to my happiness. I go back to the bike and grab different bills and hand them over. He gives us the tickets. My ticket has a corner missing. I rudely point it out to him, We take off down the trail to the falls, and I feel bad for being in a bad mood. I'm blaming it on the malaria pills. I hear they can give you mood swings. Once I see the falls everything is good.
First we walk up to top. It feels so good to get away from all the shady people at the boarder and just sit down for a second.
There are not no fences at the top of the falls, just a few signs
Now that we know it's fair game to walk across we head in
Ok, we didn't head in, but only because the river is at flood stage. They aren't even letting people Kayak it and the Rafting guys are only doing part of the river. This is very disappointing for Nick because it has been one of his lifelong dreams to paddle the Zambezi. For those of you that don't know. Nick is an amazing Kayaker and has done many class V rapids and once did a 38 foot straight drop over a waterfall.
We head down the stairs to the next viewing area. This whole section is raining from the falls. This is not a mist. It is a downpour. It is really something else to experience. You see the sun, and no clouds in the sky, but it's just pouring all around you and never lets up.
These falls stretch on and on for what seams like forever. In fact, you can only see about 1/2 of them from the Zambian side.
This little guy was just resting on a rock.
We take the pictures and shoot some video then take off. We are on a very tight schedule in order to get to Kilimanjaro in time to climb it with Timmer. On the walk out we see this bridge. We know from previous research that you can bungee jump off of it.
We load up and take off for the bridge. The problem is, the bridge is the boarder between Zambia (where we are) and Zimbabwe. Immigration and Customs comes before the bridge. We ask the boarder guards if we can just go past to bungee jump. They instruct us to go inside customs and get a temp stamp on a piece of paper. We get the stamp and avoid the hecklers wanting money for watching our bikes for us, and drive over the bridge. We park on the Zimbabwe side and walk across to the bungee jumping office avoiding offers of copper bracelets the whole time. By the way, why are there 5 guys all only selling the same thing? Why don't they differenciate. Sunglasses maybe, or wallets? No, only copper bracelets. We are expecting to sign up for the jump and come back tomorrow, but luckily they have enough time to do it right now before they close. We easily get talked into doing the package deal. Just bunjee jumping is $135, but for $155 you can do all three. Zipline to the bridge, free fall swing, and bungee jump. We quickly paid with a credit card and ziplined across the gorge. It was beautiful and peaceful and not scarry. Next up the free fall swing.
I will tell you this right now. I have never been this scared in my life. It wasn't necessarily the wait, or anticipation. It was the falling sensation. You see, I thought that this would just swing us away from the bridge, but no. It is a 150 foot free fall, then the rope grabs and whips you like a swing back and forth. You don't jump, you don't dive. You simply step off the bridge and fall straight down. Also, the hurried instructions before we stepped off didn't help either. "If the rope starts to get around you legs, just kick it off." And yes, I said "we." You can do this tandem, and you can bet we did. I wrapped my GoPro video camera in my hand.
The view after the jump.
The whiplash is so strong that I lost my headband. They pulled us back up and with no time to spare I was due for bungee jumping. Now I was more scared than before, but I was almost numb, knowing that I had to do it. I was just glad I got to do it first to avoid more anticipation.
The set-up is pretty basic. Two towels and a strap.
These guys were really in a hurry. By the time I was back on top of the bridge, nick had already jumped and was craned up. One of the workers shot this pic of him with my camera.
When Nick is lifted up we all take off. The workers, the bracelet seller, everybody. As we are getting on the bikes, the armed guard for the Zimebabway side asked for money for food. He said he did a good job watching our bikes and had to shue bad people away. We fiddled around for a minute avoiding the bribe, then finally muttered something about tomorrow which seamed to work. We took off to find a bank and a place to stay for the night.
We wern't the only ones going through customs on the way back.
This was one of the most beautiful places I have been. It is a shame you have to deal with the bribes and the cons trying to get at your money. However, it is nice to be able to see a place that is minimally developed. There are no shops or restaurants or boardwalks to ugly up the views. Most places have no fences between you and the cliffs. I wonder what it will look like in 50 years.
This is hanging from the rope swing.Victoria falls in the background with a double rainbow. How good is that?
Yes, we find a bank, Yes we find a backpacker, Yes we pass out from exhaustion, and skip doing a website update.
|02-28-2011, 12:01 AM||#193|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Lansing, MI
We Have 4 days to travel from Victoria falls in Zambia to Moshi Tanzania to meet up with our friend Timmer to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The distance is about 2,000 miles. We got it!!!!
If we weren't eating, sleeping or broken down we were on the tarmac going 120 K, or for you English people. 75 mph. It all started after Vic falls. After the bungee jumping we found a very popular backpackers called Joey Boys. It's filled with travelers. It has everything you could ask for, restaurant/bar, swimming pool, pool table, secure parking, but most importanly INTERNET. we haven't done an update in 7 days so we got busy. We dumped the footage and got writing. I didn't end up going to bed untill 2:30 a.m. so not suprisingly the morning came early. We packed up and left with no photos of the colorful and unique compound, but one day was enough. After awhile the typical backpackers kind of wear on you with their idealistic views and one-uping each other with I'm been there, and I've done that.
Bank then Post office, then food. We are living real life here. It's not all bungee jumping and shark diving. We have daily business to take care of. Same stuff different Continent.
We have finally exited the SNLB countrys. (South Africa, Namabia, Leo....somthing, Botswana) These countries are all in kahoots, so our motorcycle import papers applies equality to all of them. Now that we exited the SNLB, we can send our documents back to Cape Town to get our $2,500 temporty import fees back. Well, the Post Office is in a shady part of town (main street) so I stay and watch the bikes while Nick does the mailing. It takes him about 1 1/2 hours to do this, so mean while, I am outside not buying sunglasses, exchanging money or anything else that I am targeted for. Eventually I start talking to a really cool taxi driver. He tells me all about the country. He explains why the value of money is so messed up (4,700 Q = $1 USD) and what every one does for a living. The unemplyment rate is 80% here. A typical taxi worker like himself makes only $100 USD per month. That's $1,200 per year. That would be ok, if rent and food were similarly priced, but that is not the case. Food here costs the same as it does in America. This is a very hard country to survie in.
Taxi man on the left. While looking for the post office we see stuff like this everywhere.
Everywhere we go the locals ask about our bikes. You can see why too. Their bikes are so much different than ours.
After we send off our motorcycle paperwork to South Africa, we gas up the bikes and eat some pre-made deep fried at this gas station that sells eggs by the bag.
Now we are ready to start driving for the day, and it's already noon. Not necessarly a good start when we need to average 500 miles per day for the next 4 days. It is a relief to be done with that paperwork. We can drive until late tonight then start really early tomorrow. Everything will be fine. We pound out 100 miles and come across these guys.
They came down from Europe 2-up on a ktm 640. Very impressive. That's a single cylinder bike that is know to feel like a paint shaker. They have been on the road for 3 months so far. That's a pretty quick pace for only averaging 80 K on the road. We usually go about 120 K. This encourages us for meeting our goal to hit norway in less than 5 months.
a few more hundred miles and more gas station food.
We drive and drive and drive. I shoot some photos on the fly, but we don't ever stop.
Finally well after dark, we pull into a road side truck stop. We barter a bit, and get different prices form different workers. We finally settle on 65,000. (around $12) Tired and exhausted, I'm ready for bed. We cranked out 400 miles today. We didn't make our 500 mile goal.
The good news is, I'm not done for the day. I have to change my oil before I can go to bed. The cool thing about poor countries is that you can bend the rules, if there are any to begin with. You see everyone is so happy to get your business you can kind of do whatever you want to. So I begin to change my oil right in front of compound. One worker runs to get me a bowl to drain it in, while another guy hunts up a few spare nails so I can pull my filter out. I pull the plug on the oil pan and drain the oil. The oil flows from the bike to the bowl to the cobble stone I am working on. I now notice a huge hole in the bowl. A woker runs to get a new bowl, but not before about 1 liters of oil is all over the place.
It's dark and hard to see, but the oil looks like it has a green tint to it. I check my antifreeze expansion chamber and it is empty. The radiator is full. There are no oil specks in the radiator.
I am just nervous about this bike. I don't trust it anymore. I read the forums just like everyone else, and hear all the problems that people have had with these bikes, but I take it with a grain of salt. Of course people will document their problems with their bike on the internet, but for every one guy that has a problem, there are 100 guys out there with no problems, and no reason to get on the forums and report that their bike runs great. I bought this bike with 100% confidence, but that confidence is slipping. I knew about the bad rep these bikes had on fuel pumps before I bought it, but what are the odds it would happen to me? Apparently the odds were good. haha.
There is nothing I can do now. Like they say in racing. "Run what ya brung"
It's time for some sleep then day 2 for the race to Timmer.
And yes, I saw the spider before I paid for the room. These ones won't hurt you, but there are some that will kill a man.
However, I did NOT check out the bathroom before handing over the cash. It didn't matter anyway, we would have still chose the place.
No running water. The bucket in the picture is full of water. You dump the water in the toilet when you are done and it gravity flushes it to a tank burried under the courtyard in the middle of the hotel. Look past the bikes in this picture to see the tank covers.
No trap, to keep the stink out.
No one will get this except for Jesse and Pat.
|02-28-2011, 12:27 AM||#194|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Lansing, MI
We woke at 6:30 and discovered that there were ever worse toilets in the compound than we had in our room.
The door is short. It sags on the hinge and doesn't latch well.
My air filter was also very very dirty, so I pulled it off and washed it in a tub. I put some fancy airfilter oil on it that I brought over from America.
We are on the road by 8:00 a.m. A much better start than the day before. We are aiming for 600 miles today. We drive and drive and drive. It sprinkles on and off. A full rainbow, with a double that's hard to see. Absolutly beautiful.
At one point I look down and notice my regulator is just hanging from some wires. I pull over to check it out. The bracket holding my regulator cracked in half from vibrations. Luckily it starts to rain.
I dig around in my bag of extra bolts and find one long enough to temperaly mount the regulator a hole in on the horn bracket. I cut up my tempary backpack to use as padding and help with vibrations.
Back on the road. That didn't take too much time.
An hour or so later my bike dies. It's flashing a FI code on the insterment panel. 3 long 7 short. I doubt it's the fuel pump because when that went out, I never got any fault codes. Nick pulls out the tow strap and pulls me to the nearest town to start the trouble shooting. Sorry Timmer. If this is serious we arn't going to make it to you on time. You are going to climb Kilimanjaro on your own.
Nick tows me to a hotel to get away from the locals flocking around making it impossible to work on your bike effectivly. I get my computer and open my bikes PDF manual. Get this. The owners manual does not list the fault codes. Hmm...How can I find out what the code means? I drive around town and find the two internet cafe's. One is closed, and the internet is down in the other. Ok...Now what? It's like 3:00 a.m. in America right now? Who could I call to look up the code on the internet? I need to find out the problem ASAP. It looks like meeting Timmer probably won't happen.
I use Nick's satalite phone to call John from Rally Raid. He answers. I tell him the code.
"Oh yeah, we got that code on 4 bikes last year during rally's"
" What happened to us was that one of the wires comes loose from the coil."
How lucky am I? How many people in the world have that code memorized?
I also mentioned that the regulator plate cracked earlier in the day. He told me to get me an address for him and he will send out two replacements immeditally. Talk about customer service.
If John is right, this $6 Sat call will be well worth it.
FYI, When you buy the Rally Raid tank kit, they send you a lamanated FI fault code sheet to glue underneath your seat. I have this sheet at home. I did not glue it to my seat and regret that.
By this time we are starving as we havn't really ate all day. Nick takes off to get some food while I start taking off the tank to get to my coil.
Sure enough, John was right. See the wire that broke?
Of course I have spare connectors on me in my goodie bag.
I get the bike put back together and she fires right up. Nick arrives with food and we mow heavy on some chicken and frys. We pack back up, just in time for the sun to go down. Time for some night riding.
This is a paved road. In certain sections there are monstrous pot holes and the road just turns to dirt.
It is a little predictable as the worst sections are in vallys and where it starts to get swampy. It's not 100% predictable as we see lots of this.
After beeing on the road for about 20 minutes, My battery warning light turns on. Hmm...I know this bike has a weak alternator at only 280 watts. I am running 85 watts worth of H.I.D.s and am charging a camera battery in my Givi case, but I should still have plenty. I think about this for about 5 minutes then it hits me. I forgot to connect a ground wire when I repaired the Coil wire. I pull over and drop the tank again. (I'm getting fast at this.) Sure enough the ground wire is just hanging there.
We film the process get the interview, put the bike back together and take the photo. This woman just watched the entire time. Oh, and I had to drop the skid plate because I dropped a washer down there.
Now I just hope the bike will start up. I hit the button and it turns over once in slow motion, but doesn't start. dead battery. I hit the button again and some how it fires up. I don't stall it and we take off to cover more ground. Nick drives beside me and I drive with no headlights for the next 15 minutes to let the battery charge up faster. I modded my lights so I can run with no headlights. That also helps the bike start easier. If I had not done that, there is no way the bike would have started on it own. I would have needed a tow to start it.
We drive for another hour or so, by now we are really tired and it's just plain dangerous driving. 90% of the traffic is semi's trying to dodge the potholes, but not you. We got run off the road twice and said we need to call it a day. We stop at the only thing that seems to be open. Some sort of bar. A few guys are playing pool outside. I ask the guys if we can set up our tent in the parking lot for the night. They get an elderly man to come over. Turns out this older man drinking cane rum out of a plastic sandwhich bag if the town owner or king or whatever you call it. He has the nicest house and runs the village. He is very happy to talk to us and lets us pitch our tent in the safety of his yard for the night. We are just ready to sleep, but first he shows us the grounds. His outhouse, and then he brings out his 13 year old daughter for us to meet. She is clearly not as excited to see us as he is. Finally we set up the tent and get some sleep.
This is his daughter that I think he wanted us to marry. I took this picture in the morning before we left. Culture is definitally different here. It's common for girls to get married at 13 or 14 and have two kids by 17. Guys also have more than one wife, and can marry girls that are much much younger than theirself.
In the middle of the night I get up to use the bathroom and see my bike has tipped over in the soft sand. Back inside the tent to grab the camera, then back to sleep. Today was an exhausting day again. I love this!
We did not do our 600 miles for the day, but I think we got about 500. Not too bad for breaking down three times.
RR: 3 months on a husky te610
RR: 25,000 miles with Luke and Nick
Fishfund screwed with this post 02-28-2011 at 09:40 AM
|02-28-2011, 08:56 AM||#195|
Joined: May 2009
WoW! Absolutely fascinating! Your stories are pretty intense. I don't think I could have sat by the side of the road with hyenas circling!
The bungee jumping sounds like it was a fun time. Good thing you have gotten pretty adept at working on your bike and repairs have been minimal.
Can't wait for your next update!
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