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Old 04-08-2011, 02:17 PM   #31
Atreyou OP
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Off to Malawi now - our first border crossing of the trip. Iringa to Mbeya features brutal sidewinds and treacherous, deformed tarmac thanks to the searing heat, poor asphalt, and very overloaded trucks. It is a tough stretch.

The road from Mbeya to the Malawian border is full of fun sweeping downhill curves as we leave the plateau.

When we pull over at the immigration post, it feels like someone cranked up the heat a couple notches. The word on the streets is true - Malawi is HOT.

The quality of the tarmac in Malawi is good. What turns out to be the challenge in Malawi is the heat coupled with slower speeds thanks to hundreds of people on the road with absolutely no regard for motor vehicles. Swaying bicycles, children pushing each other into the road, and nonchalant, three-abreast highway strolling on the apex of curves are the norm. Moreover, Malawians don't obsessively herd their livestock like the Masai. So their goats are everywhere just waiting for you to come by so they can decide to bolt across the road at the last minute. We cover ground very slowly, blaring the horn every couple of seconds it seems. At times it almost seems like the horn causes Malawians to be even more indifferent and belligerently inch further into the lane. But it could be the heat getting to me...haha.

I feel for my passenger as we decide to keep our protective gear on and I am blocking what little wind there is at 65 kph!! We pass what seems to be a father and sons trip on thumpers. They are in shorts and t-shirts with all of their protective gear strapped to the back.

That being said, Malawi is stunningly beautiful (lake Malawi is breathtaking) and the people are very welcoming and nice - so long as they are not on the road when you are riding!

We stay on the Chinteche Strip (picture below) on the first night and take a rest day.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:20 PM   #32
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After the hottest day of the entire trip, we finally reach Cape Maclear. We hit the road at 6 a.m. to try to beat the heat but by 9 a.m. it felt like high noon. It was a long day and we reap our rewards at Chembe Eagle's Nest Camp for two rest days.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:24 PM   #33
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I carry a bead breaker made in Australia and used it to change dozens of 950/990 tires in the bush. Even used it to break the bead on my FJ40 Landcruiser once. Much lighter than a larger C-clamp and easier to use.


But, have you tries the sidestand method?
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DISCLAIMER: All observations made in this post are mine and based solely on my own anecdotal experiences, and may contain large doses of facetiousness. YMMV, of course. You are "on your own", and I take no responsibility if someone tries anything in this post and gets into trouble with the law, damages their person or property, or goes blind. Take everything you read or hear "anywhere" butt especially on the Web with a large dose of salt.


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Old 04-08-2011, 02:27 PM   #34
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Local fishermen spend full days paddling these dugout canoes in any type of weather.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:29 PM   #35
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Snorkeling in the lake is ridiculous. Took a catamaran trip out to some rock shelves and were surrounded by bright and curious cichlids all day long.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:32 PM   #36
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My kind of portion size! We were fed well.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:39 PM   #37
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Through the Tete province of Mozambique and into Zimbabwe - by far the most fascinating country on our trip and a complete surprise. Big thunderstorms after Harare tested our rain gear.

At this point my front D909 had become a liability. Curiously uneven tread wear (some center knobs shaved down to the casing, others still standing tall) combined with those nasty rim dents caused the front wheel to bounce all over the place on cold, wet tarmac. I was glad I had picked up a tarmac-oriented front tire in Harare but still had not had a chance to change it. The D-909 had done its dirt duty amazingly well, but it was time to hand over to something smoother.

I must say that despite those big knobs, the D909 did really well on the curves in Malawi. I definitely got excited and leaned us over on some of the sweepers before the weird tread wear and it was fine. Still cannot figure out what caused it to wear like that.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:42 PM   #38
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Here is a picture of that weird tread wear. Feel free to let me know what caused it!
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:45 PM   #39
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This hotel in Zimbabwe was interesting. Not surprisingly, we had a hard time falling asleep with the winged ant swarms coming in through the walls, and bedbugs.

Bedbugs suck.

I absolutely love this picture, though.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:48 PM   #40
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We ended up here after deciding that it would be unsafe to push to Bulawayo in a massive thunderstorm, at night, on that wonky front tire, with me feeling like ass from the only meal that made me sick during the entire trip - the buffet at the Holiday Inn in Harare.

To our delight, it was called "The Twin Peaks Motel".
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:49 PM   #41
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Massive push from Bulaway to Maun, Botswana. We were told it would be too much - so we did it...hahaha.

New front tire = aaaaahhhhhh
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:56 PM   #42
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We arrive in Maun at night with us and the bike running on fumes. It was raining and my fuel light had been on for longer than the calculated reserve mileage.

But before night fell we rode for about three hours in eerie twilight without seeing another human. As we crossed the Pans, we were treated to herds of zebra on the road and also herds of elephants returning home from the pans. You can see one in this picture and I am keeping my eye on the groups approaching to my right.

It was AWESOME.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:57 PM   #43
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We spend almost a week in the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert. Loving every last second of it.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:58 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atreyou View Post
We ended up here after deciding that it would be unsafe to push to Bulawayo in a massive thunderstorm, at night, on that wonky front tire, with me feeling like ass from the only meal that made me sick during the entire trip - the buffet at the Holiday Inn in Harare.

To our delight, it was called "The Twin Peaks Motel".
Looks like one of the Mattighofen factory workers is on holiday there as well.
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DISCLAIMER: All observations made in this post are mine and based solely on my own anecdotal experiences, and may contain large doses of facetiousness. YMMV, of course. You are "on your own", and I take no responsibility if someone tries anything in this post and gets into trouble with the law, damages their person or property, or goes blind. Take everything you read or hear "anywhere" butt especially on the Web with a large dose of salt.

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Old 04-08-2011, 02:58 PM   #45
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Beautiful Kalahari twilight.
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