|11-23-2011, 09:24 AM||#1|
Joined: Oct 2009
Route 33 - 6stroke to Cameroon
My first RR here, so let me give it a try
It was on a nice evening in July, the sunset was glowing above Abuja, work has just finished, some beer were emptied... an idea was born
Just a few days earlier a collegue sent an email, inviting everybody to join him on a hiking trip to the highest mountain of Nigeria, the Chappal Wadi. Quote from Wikipedia:
Three years ago i came closer to this area, and the image still remain:
Getting on top of these mountains? Sounds interesting, but hiking?
That means using your feet not to shift gears and brake but to walk, like we did thousands of years ago before the motorcycle was invented ... nah, not possible.
But why not to use the bikes to go there, extend the trip to cameroon and have a great time?
The rumors are telling that due to the previous german occupation the beer consumption in Cameroon is the highest in West- and Centralafrica. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...on#cite_note-0)
That's my place to go...
Almost forgot, they have nice mountains too
So, four of us agreed that we will meet the hikers on the mountain, but take the bikes, start earlier and visit cameroon. Date and time got fixed, no way back.
The trip planning started, neccessary items were bought, the paperwork for the bikes got arranged. I had to replace my lost number plate, fell of with the previous owner and here, in the bush, nobody cares about this plate being missing, but the border control and Cameroons police might think different. So beginnig of August every form was filled, awaiting insurance, plate visa and all the other things. Was it the bureaucracy? One fella jumped off. Important work to do
Meanwhile we got some comments about our planned trip, they ranged from: "the roads are impassable", "there are no legal border crossings possible" to "it rains every day" and other good advices.
Three weeks before the start date another one canceled... no comments.
So, 50% broke down even before the trip started, maybe a bad sign?
The bikes got a major overhaul, oil and filters,fuel pump, seals and wheel bearings replaced. Almost everything was ready the week before departure besides:
my license plate was still not replaced. There is only one factory in Nigeria producing license plates and surprisingly they were not able to handle the demands.
Take off was scheduled for monday and fixed, leave was applied. What now. Finally, on Thursday, i got a call from Lagos (700km away from Abuja), my license plate is ready. Fortunately another collegue traveled to Abuja and took the plate with him, so on Saturday morning i hold it in my hands.
I like last minute solutions [click to show pic]
On Sunday evening the bikes got loaded on a pickup, so please let me introduce the victims:
Michaels Husaberg TE250, 2stroke, the perfect long distance travel bike, good fuel economy (unless you start the engine[click to show pic]
My Husaberg FE570, 4 stroke, dirty as always
let's go lightweight, the 6 strokes are on its way, it's now Monday morning, 5am.
Here's the pickup with our good driver, bringing us safely to the border, 800km along bad, paved roads with maniac truck drivers from hell, this torture we're not going to do on our bikes and tyres and ourselves.
Around 4pm we are arriving in Ikom, close to the Cameroon border, found a guesthouse (3k Naira ~ 15 EUR) and enjoyed the rest of the day with some cold beer and lousy suya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suya). Sorry, no picture taken.
Thats the track we are going to take, lot of white spots on the map, but with the small bikes there's always a way:
Zombie025 screwed with this post 11-23-2011 at 10:08 AM
|11-23-2011, 10:06 AM||#2|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 1: The adventure starts
It's 6am, i'm lying in the bed and from outside a continous siren is waking me up: Uiuiuidididimööpmöööpringringring. After ignoring it for 15 minutes i decide to get up. Maybe there is a chance for breakfast, or at least a coffee.
Outside I found the source of the noise: The hotelboy was cleaning his Okada (small, mostly chinese made 125cc bikes, very cheap, used instead of taxis all over africa), and this wonderful masterpiece of engineering had a alarm triggered whenever he touched it. So, instead of switching the alarm of he proudly enjoyed the noise.. i mean sound. Thats africa.
Time to roll of, the border might open by 8am, just 20km to go till we reach it. Now only text, taking pictures at the border might not be such a good idea.
When we reached the gate Mike realised his carburator is sipping. What's the best you could do? Repair it in place, while I take care about the paper work (He's mechanic, while i'm an commercial by profession, so looks like a good trade). The Custom Officer was not yet available, maybe he slept over. While waiting we discussed several funny attempts to get money from us:
1. Attempt: These Bikes need a carnet de passage - No, they are registered in Nigeria. Please check the papers and the license plates. Smiling and gently avoiding this try.
2. Attempt: You can't get the bikes here - No, they are bought and registered in Nigeria, whenever you get a license plate you have to show proof of purchase, customs, ownership etc. Smiling and gently avoiding this try.
3. Attempt: (we both are based in Abuja, but because of this license plate issue one is registered in Niger-State, my one in Lagos) You have the wrong license plate, it has to show Abuja instead - No, that's where they were first registered and this one stays unless you get a new plate. Smiling and ...
Surprisingly after just one hour the Officer arrived, i followed him to the office to conclude the border crossing.
4. Attempt: Where is your leave application - I don't have it with me - But you have to show us, otherwise we don't know if your leave from the company is legal Smiling and ...
Meanwhile Michael enjoyed repairing his already repaired bike again, talking and showing every sign of "I don't care", while I counted lizzards, watched the Officer to search for an empty form for the "customs excemption" for half an hour. Then the fun started (i had all the documents for both bikes and Mike and myself), writing down which bike belongs to which person. I gave him everything well sorted, he managed to mix it up. Three forms and one hour later custom was passed. I thanked him for his patience and left, no Kobo paid...
Immigration: 4 people in a 10sqm room, two eating, two sleeping. Welcome to the Nigerian Immigration, the proud of the nation.
What do you have for us? was the welcome question. While i had to watch my brand new passport being touched with fingers that just ate greasy, fatty food (no fork, for sure) i explained, smiling and..., that on these bikes i don't have space for gifts, so sorry. Besides the promise to bring them something on our way back no further attempt here.
Level 3: Drug control( yes, from Nigeria to Cameroon, mostly they go the other direction[click to show pic]
). I had to show the Emergency kit, the diarrhea pills, but, besides that, only smiling, no need to avoid...
With my freshly stamped passports I entered the final level, the "Border guards":
Attempt 5: The Immigration didn't adjust the date on the stamp, so for sure it's my fault, because i didn't check it.[click to show pic]
I told him that i fully trust on the capabilities of the nigerian officals and so i would never think about doubting their quality of work smiling and...[click to show pic]
Level finished, only 4 hours taken, one bike repaired and NO KOBO bribe paid. I think that gives extra points.
The Cameroon border was easy, all officials on duty, not eating, wearing their uniform. Passed the immigration in 10 minutes.
Cameroon customs was, to our surprise, difficult, but the fault was ours.
I forgot that Cameroon doesn't belong to the ECOWAS(Economic Community of West African States), so normally we had either to pay customs or purchase (in Abuja ) a carnet de passage. It took long to find a solution but the customs officer was helpful, as we assured him to leave on a borderstation close to Banyo he issued us a customs excemption, we paid the fee printed on the form (15EUR for each bike) and 2 hours later we arrived in Cameroon.
It took us 6 hours to pass from Nigeria to Cameroon, but no Baksheesh. So the old saying is true: In Africa you either have time or you have money.[click to show pic]
The first beer was taken (it was already 2pm[click to show pic]
) and then we entered the highway. Report follows next, but first a small teaser:
Remember. the major highway between CAM and NG
More comes tomorrow
|11-24-2011, 02:12 AM||#3|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 1 continued
our fear, that the road might be a uneventful, paved and boring road proved wrong, it was pure fun. 70km muddy road through an amazing rainforest area. Moderate temperature, paradise...
Some unspectacular videos at the end of this post (don't know how to arrange them ?)
That's how the road looked like, we didn't dare to test the depth of this hole
Some local villagers created a diversion, 20 Naira (10cent) honoured their work.
I have no idea for how long this car got stuck there, must be hell of work to free it.
A thicker protection layer formed around the bikes
And finally we approached Mamfe
a small nice town with lot of bars with clean toilets
Here we met one couchsurfer (http://www.couchsurfing.org) who arranged a accomodation for us, thanks Jared!
We spent the evening in one bar, ate one of the best suya for dinner, had some nice and cold beer, nice talks. The first day ended perfect.
Some impressions from the bike next morning:
Zombie025 screwed with this post 11-24-2011 at 02:19 AM
|11-24-2011, 09:02 AM||#6|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 2: Next stop - Bamenda
This morning not an alarm triggered okada but a goat woke me up. Running around in the yard of the compound of a friend of Jared, the couchsurfer.
The first task this morning was to change some money. Foresightful i already changed in Abuja, explicitely demanding for Central African CFA franc. (Benin, Togo etc. are using the same named CFA , but the westafrican CFA). When I first wanted to use my CFA at the customs office in Ekok they politely told me that this one is the wrong currency . 800,000CFA without a real value, what a smart guy i am . Now i know that "ouest" means west and not east...
I succeeded to change some, so we could pay the beer that are waiting ahead of us.
The track turned into a nice paved road with lots of corners, the road was dry so we could use our knobbies up to the outer edge
I don#t know who built this bridge, but from the appearance it might even be the germans
Soon after the climbing started,
the pavement ended after some short kilometers and we were "offroad" again.
Soon after the mud came back, a long twisty road up to the mountains:
We liked it, although it looked like in some time you only will find a paved road built for supermotos here, as on several spots chinese construction companies started their work. I hope they don't get paid and abandon their site, don't need asphalt here
In the afternoon we reached Bamenda, very busy town with a lot of bars. So we settled down almost in the center, found a bar with cold beer
really nice suya and, as my bike started loosing a little oil, even a gas station that sold fully synthetic engine oil (that i didn't need at oil, but why not carry 5kg extra around).
In close distance we had an interesting look at the main road, where a political demonstration just started. The results of the presidential election were announced and, surprisingly, the old one is again the new one (i think for the 12th time). As Bamenda is also the capital of the political opposition lot of police was present. Just after the 1st or 5th beer we recognised some tension there. The bar owner started moving all tables inside, smoke from a burning car appeared and the people started running. So we decided it's now a good time to move into the next hotel.
There was a good one very close, away from the croud, so we didn't hestitate to choose it. Price was ok, 40EUR, but no other choice to make.
The noise from the croud continued, later in the evening gun shots started. We heard teargas explosions and then the light went off.
What's happening now? The employees of the hotel started making concerned faces, hectic phone calls. Are we now in the middle of a starting civil war?
We sat outside of the hotel and discussed, what to do. Moving anywhere else would be stupid and senseless, but to go inside the rooms the beer was to cold and the air to fresh. Soon after we heard the news: A convoy with a politican run anyhow about an okada driver, the other drivers set the car ablaze and started robbing the shops around the accident site. That means everything is normal...
This incident was the topic of the day in the local tv http://allafrica.com/stories/201110281042.html, while we had our very nice breakfast
Druing the evening i had s strong fight with a hotel employee, he insisted on cleaning my bike. I won, Michael lost:
But thats already the next day, so i stop here for now.
|11-24-2011, 09:27 AM||#7|
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Charlotte, Y'all
|11-25-2011, 06:13 AM||#8|
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Welcome to No.Va...expect delays
Hows the 570 holding up? when you say ''loosing some oil ' is it leaking or burning it ? Thanks for the excellent report.
|11-25-2011, 03:08 PM||#9|
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Port Kennedy, Western Australia
Amazing report. Can't get over the roads you had to travel on!
'13 Triumph Sprint GT; '14 BMW G 650 GS
|11-26-2011, 04:45 AM||#10|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 3: Climbing the highlands
The morning started with the nice breakfast, tasty and crispy french bread accompanied by a fresh omelett:
During this i changed the remaining wrong CFA into the right ones, this time the exchange rate was better, but still paid a tribute on my mistake. Shit happens...
On the way out of Bamenda we recognised the traces of the nightly riots, 100m away from the hotel the remainings of a burned car were to be seen, police presence was still high, but the shops opened again and the bars started filling. That's what i call a "honey-badger attitude".
Here's todays area, we are going to explore
and the height profile:
Soon after we started climbing, still on a paved road with an amazing view:
Met some funny farmers, as we already recognized the people here are friendly, relaxed, even if their life is surely not as easy as ours, they always have a smile for strangers.
The road continues, approx. 30km nice pavement:
Then we left the road to explore a lake in the middle between the ring road, according to my GPS thats supposed to be a dead end, but lake and mountain, is there something better?
Steep uphills, a lot of curves later we reached the lake
Opposite a 3,000m mountain is taking our greetings
The air was freshed as we reached 2,500m elevation, but the sun was shining, what a beautiful day.
This lake has a volcanic source and is close (30km) to the infamous Lake Nyos, where 1986 a sudden gas eruption killed 1,700 people over night (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos).
As we recognised the track continuing in our wanted direction we decided to follow it. And we didn't regreted this decission.
Here we reached the highest point of our tour, 2,600m,
Then we descended into the valley, passing small villages and, i was really impressed, even in this remote area no kid was to be seen on the road in the morning, we passed a huge school where all the village kids just stood outside for the morning apell, so education seems to have a very high value here in C.
WHile they had to sweat and learn we enjoyed life; life's not fair:
A small traffic jam on the way to Misaje
And then we reached the Ringroad, the highway, again:
The bar was open and as it was already noon, so we had to rest:
We continued, up and down, no pavement at all, amazing.
We reached Nkambe, our destination for today, checked for a hotel
checked for a bar
drank some beer
ate some food
and, late in the night, returned to the hotel, parked the bikes
and called it a day.
|11-28-2011, 08:32 AM||#12|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 4: Nkambe to Banyo
A beautiful morning greeted us. Being at 1,100m the air was fresh, the vegetation gave the impression of being anywhere else than Central Africa.
Soon after Nkambe the road turned back to what we like most: dirt
Breakfast was not available at the hotel, where we've been the only guests. But no problem, along the road we catched some:
No coffee for me, but i survived... the journey gave me a better kick than the usual Nescafe.
That is a truck normaly used by the Austrian Army, the famous Pinzgauer. 6x6, here it is used to carry up to 4,000ltrs petrol from Nigeria to Cameroon, over unpaved, rocky roads. Amazing technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinzgau...errain_Vehicle
turned into wide gravel roads
We came very close to the nigerian border and without recognising we almost bypassed a custom station. As we only have a single entry visa for Cameroon we were afraid that now we have to turn back and drive the whole track back till the ringroad. But no, the helpful officers explained the way and informed the police checkpoint ahead, that we are coming and staying in C. No pics (border). Thanks guys!
Some water along the highway
and then we climbed again. A very steep and rocky section
Proudly we arrived on top, what great riders we are. 5 minutes later this guy came the same track (we overtook him on the way up)
While we just carried 10/15 kg of luggage this guy was fully packed, i guess 100kg or more of rice and other things he was going to bring to Nigeria. Respect
Some rain appeared,
when we finished dressing the rain clothes the rain had stopped already, the "Rain Dance" worked again...
The todays destinatation appeared,
Banyo, our final exit point for cameroon, what a pitty.
Todays trip was a longer one, more than 200km, so we had to fill our stomach first
Looks good, some chicken with Fufu and an vegetable side dish similar to spinach. I forgot the name but it was really tasty.
Later we found a hotel,
and enjoyed the sunset
Cameroon and its people were so nice to us that the thought of returning the next day back to Nigeria was depressing us. Also our pace was faster than expected, so we decided to take one day rest. Good decision :freakingRTrider
Day 5: Hanging around in Banyo
Waking up i saw the desaster: The hotel manager cleaned my bike, all the mud and dust, that i earned so proudly, gone
Ok, but that was a good chance to do some maintenance. Some spokes were a little loose and beside a small drop of oil nothing else was needed.
But before that, coffee! Close to the motel was a bar with a shop next to it, there we got some bread and coffee, that was later replaced with some beer and whiskey (hey, it was already 10am)
Later everything was fixed, back to work... i mean, back to the bar
In the afternoon the appetite came, so we arranged to get some suya with very tasty bread, fresh onions and a spicy peeper sauce
The sun went down,
the bar filled up and we had lot of nice conversations with the locals.
Together with some chicken we ordered again for suya (i confess i'm addicted)
As the eyes were bigger than the stomach we asked the shop owner and the people in the bar to join us for dinner. What a fest ;-)
The bar again:
The food (must have been an old cock, eating my tyre won't be harder ;-)
The barkeeper (how he served himself with our whiskey and beer i think he's his best customer). The locals called him "Fat Joe", we decided Obelix is a better name
And these was what remained 10 minutes later
Great evening, funny conversations, thanks for having the pleasure to spend our last day in cameroon with these folks.
Tomorrow we had to return to NG, in the night i had bad dreams about it (they proved wrong). But more later
|12-22-2011, 12:49 AM||#13|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 6: Back to Nigeria
with a bad sleep and stomach pain we left the nice place at Banyo, heading to Nigeria and their funny border rituals.
Soon after we stopped at the customs point. Nobody was around, but we decided to wait, as we didn't wanted the agent at Ekok, that gave us the customs excemption, to run into any trouble for us not clearing the bikes. While we waited we snapped this picture of the seized? Pinzgauer, this time loaded only with empty jerry cans.
Soon after the first custom officer arrived, but was not able to handle our papers. He checked several time my "I don't own a driver license yet"-paper, that me stupid put together with the bike documents. Then he realized he needs assistance and called for his boss. He arrived shortly after, fully dressed for sundays church going. That will give us trouble, the oyibos just called him out of the church service. But no, very friendly. He! apologized for letting us wait, assured us that it's his job to be around if someone needs attention at the border. Wow! He checked the papers, was aware that we are coming (so the agent in Ekok really called here), stamped our papers, wrote a small note to the final border checkpoint and wished us a good journey. Very nice, very friendly, no asking for anything. i already started missing Cameroon.
The way to the border
Impressive that the full loaded trucks pass these type of roads
Then we reached the border, it took 45 minutes including refueling the bikes and having a coke, no gifts were demanded, very friendly. The Nigerian border post was still ahead, strange feeiling being in a "no mans" land. Then we saw the nigerian flag waving over a small hut, ok, let the battle begin. 15 minutes later we got the entry stamp and were wished a safe journey!? What happened here? if not the flag told us we are in Nigeria i would have thought we are in the wrong country. But wait, we didn't passed the customs yet. 500 meters further we saw the customs hut, the officer just waved us by, didn't wanted to see anything, no questions, nothing?
we were really surprised, nobody of us expected such an easy border crossing. But we reached the final level, going from Nigeria to Nigeria and not paying any bribe.
In the next village we got a little lost, as the locals gave us three directions to our destination. While we were discussing, which way to go someone approached us, the police chef wants to see us. Ok, we have arrived in Nigeria. The Chief was completely drunken or stoned and almost fall asleep, while one of his younger assistants shouted meaningless around. Why are we here, where do we go, why don't we have a company ID card with us blablabla. Then they had to copy our passports, but sorry, no power, no copy. So they started writing down our passport details. For which reason i don't know, writing also didn't belonged to their skills. We remained calm, but these uniformed monkeys (sorry, no other word can express their idiotic behavior) spoiled the very pleasant welcome we received.
After a waste of one hour we continued. here are some impressions from the Mambilla Mountains, Taraba State.
Some clouds were to be seen, but still nice weather
and even better tracks
100km of the finest tracks, along the crest of the plateau, stunning.
We reached the road, stopped for one beer and recognised something, we haven't seen for a long time:
Rubbish all over the road, ditches, along the shops. OK, we are really back in Nigeria
Our destination for today was Serti, just 2 hrs drive remaining. The clouds got bigger
and finally it started raining, so we seek shelter at a small park along the road
Down to 400meters the rain stopped and we reached the Gasharka-Gumpti-Tourist camp, the place where i have been 3 years ago.
Our hats, for 3,500N each not really expensive, clean, flowing water and from 7pm to 11pm even power.
One lonely crocodile lived in a very small pond inside this compound.
We asked for the others, one was set free in the national park, and the other escaped (over a 2m high fence, must be the very rare species of jumping crocodile). most likely it got eaten
Tomorrow will be another resting day, before we head of to the mountain.
|12-22-2011, 05:52 AM||#14|
Joined: Oct 2009
Day 8: Todays destination: Chappal Waddi a.k.a. "The Mountain of death"
We spend the night with one of the finest whiskey, anyone can get. Forget about 40year old single malt, this one is much better:
made of 96% ethanol, whiskey flavor and sugar, for only 250N the bottle (around 1 EUR), i was happy to see some light in the morning
No time for breakfast, the mountain was waiting.
The first tank stop
A nice morning, the clouds waving over the hills, refreshing cool air...
The breakfast this morning:
and inside the clouds again
On the way to our target we met the collegues, that just returned from their 6 day hiking trip
exchanged GPS-tracks, so we don't get lost on the way and don't need a guide
We arrived at the national park outpost around 12,
filed some papers
managed to escape without having to take a guide
and of to the small track leading to the mountain
Very exhausting, to cross these "bridges", opening and closing the cattle gates and managing steepy hills full of loose rocks.
My Husaberg started to develop something like boiling fuel, no leakage to be seen but fuel smell all over. i seriously was afraid of damaging the clutch. Here, in the middle of nowhere no car can come to pick up a broken bike. With no water remaining and nothing to eat than the bananas in the morning the spirit went down. It was already 3pm, 2.5 hours remaining till sundown. And just 20km made yet.
We approached the last village before the mountain. Without passing a border we came back to cameroon. The Fulanis living here most likely never saw a motorbike like ours before. Their only language was Fulani, that i don't speak at all. When asking for the way we just heard something like "You can't go", "no way" etc.
We kindly ignored them and left the village, but 200meters ahead we made a decision. Direct distance to Chappal Waddi was just 3km, but with all the huge rocks laying hidden in the gras, the sundown coming nearer and empty stomaches we called of our adventure. The track would have led us for another 10km around the mountain, but our decision was wise, as i found out later from another hiking report:
So, we followed the villagers that run after us with something like a dinner:
i despereately needed water and as there waas for sure no bottled water available here, i opted for a tea. Here I'm trying to explain, what i want:
it worked, soon after they presented us a nice highland tea with lot of sugar.
These fruits, i think its guava, sour and juicy together with the tea, spiced up with freshly collected lemons from a nearby tree saved my life The spirit came back so we decided to go back to the ranger station to spend the night there.
it's not like that we didn't bring a sleeping bag and a mosquito safe hammock on our trip to be independent from accommodations, but everything together with closes to change was left in Serti. Yes, we are really smart
Some impressions of the village and the friendly people there:
Here our first aid kit came to use, one young boy has fallen and got some small scratch on his face, so i could give him some medical attention.
I think he was the hero of the day, with a plaster from Europe and a Bature nurse i hope this counts for good karma.
On the way back my Husaberg felt sleepy,
Where's the rider?
Ahh, there he is...
Sundown over the plateau
And finally, our place for the night
We reached the station, the villagers organised us some food:
That's what michael and me shared for dinner , they sat up an fire, what was very welcomed due to the wet clothes we wore.
The boots got dry, 6 cans of beer (the last avaibale one) were emptied and one nice villager provided the tea supply the whole evening.
The stars were amazing, as the whole village was turned into dark due to no power i've seen the amazing, african sky.
Around 10 we went to the hat, which is giving the rangers a place to sleep, once they are here overnight, with two beds available and fall into a deep, refreshing sleep. No mosquitos, cool, even a little cold, air and the sound of the jungle around us.
Day 9: Return to Serti
We woke up early in the morning.
The villagers asked us to take some pictures together with us, what we extensively did. they didn't wanted anything for the accomodation, while surely a small donation to the park would be taken. our tea supplier even rejected the offered money, insisting on a picture. No, thats not the Nigeria i know.
Off we went,
Soon we reached Serti and the first thing we did was asking for some nice chicken pepper soup.
As we returned to civilization i decided to get a shave. Very expensive, i had to pay 30N (60 cent) for a proper cut:
The rest of the day was just enjoyment,
eating, drinking and dreaming about the nice trip, that by now almost ended.
Zombie025 screwed with this post 12-22-2011 at 06:02 AM
|12-22-2011, 06:33 AM||#15|
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Welcome to No.Va...expect delays
Have you removed the check valve from the fuel tank vent hose ? This will help with the boiling. Im sure you have seen all the topics on this. Its also reccomended to wrap the exhaust header & a heat reflecting blanket for the tank. Great report. Thanks
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