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Old 06-05-2012, 07:04 PM   #76
Bigger Al
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Great stuff, this!!
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:29 AM   #77
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Kasangula ferry crossing

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Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
Lovin this.

Not looking forward to that crossing. Any chance of paying that lady off or were you asked for the receipts down the track?
Many thanks tmotten!

To be honest this is a notoriously bad border crossing. It is used mostly by truckers. I would strongly suggest you use the crossing at Vic Falls to Livingston. It is certainly more tourist friendly (though you will have to pay the same taxes) and the drive from Kasane through to Vic Falls is spectacular. Naturally you will have to enter Zimbabwe which may not be part of your plans.


Vic Falls at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe - pic from another adventure!
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:42 AM   #78
Zaambonzo
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Mista Desert Sweeper, what's up with all the trucking with bikes on the back? Did mama Babylon corrupt you or do you miss being towed across Botswana?
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:28 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Zaambonzo View Post
Mista Desert Sweeper, what's up with all the trucking with bikes on the back? Did mama Babylon corrupt you or do you miss being towed across Botswana?
Hey Zaambonzo – your bike looks just like mine! Wouldn’t YOU be corrupted by Ms Babylon?

The truth is this was a truly bad idea...the bikes get pulverised on the back as the truck and the roads both need serious attention. lots of (thankfully onl) cosmetic damage....
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:09 AM   #80
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The road to Chipata



The road stretches out into the beautiful African bush and we pass by some truly spectacular forestry. Night falls and still we travel slowly onward.


The setting sun has fun painting the underside of the clouds

Goodson tells us of how dangerous these roads can be when his truck is fully loaded as bandits are able to run alongside and board on the up-hills in the pitch darkness. He has on occasion arrived at his destination with a large chunk of his cargo missing. They literally just throw it off the back to their comrades in the remote dark of night…

We have been driving pretty much non-stop for a good 14 hours when we finally reach Chipata. Respect to the man. Our problem now becomes how to offload the bikes in a small African town at midnight. The place is deserted so not a soul in sight. Brian suggests just jumping them off the back but I mute the idea as they are already falling to pieces from the bone-rattling truck episode. Besides we have done nothing but drink for the last day so it could turn ugly. We drive around and eventually find an old government inspection ramp bang in the middle of the main road that Goodson is able to pull along-side allowing us to wheel our now damaged bikes onto. We manage to get our kit and selves together and head out of town using our head-torches for lights again. I manage to find the very impressive Mama Rulla’s campsite that I last visited on the 2006 Africa trip. It’s down a long 5 mile narrow dirt track and Brian is convinced I am heading off into nowhereland again.

Thankfully the security guard hears us approaching and lets us in to the sanctuary and his confidence is restored…again. We quickly pass out from the sheer exhaustion of a hard day’s drinking…tomorrow it’s the border crossing into Malawi and I relish the thought of being back on my toy as I drift off to sleep.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:42 AM   #81
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Love your RR's; travelling with enduro bikes, off road, through strange countries is the bees knees. Awesome RR. If you ever get back to SEA drop us a PM.

Your pic of Ms. Babylon drove home the point, rather fiercly, of how it sucks to live in Asia if you luv yer boobs.

Not sure if its been covered yet but do you have any local language skills or is English spoken enough to get through with doe like eyes, smiles, and broken English when you off the beaten track


A tip of the hat to you sir for the RR, now quit ogling Ms Babylon's trade goods and back on the bikes!!
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:09 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb View Post
Love your RR's; travelling with enduro bikes, off road, through strange countries is the bees knees. Awesome RR. If you ever get back to SEA drop us a PM.

Your pic of Ms. Babylon drove home the point, rather fiercly, of how it sucks to live in Asia if you luv yer boobs.

Not sure if its been covered yet but do you have any local language skills or is English spoken enough to get through with doe like eyes, smiles, and broken English when you off the beaten track


A tip of the hat to you sir for the RR, now quit ogling Ms Babylon's trade goods and back on the bikes!!
Hey team ftb! Yup we are planning a trip in late November from Siem Reap through Bangkok to Burma – one to watch!

Ms Babylon certainly beats your average SEA’s fried eggs (as one once put it to me)

English is well represented in these parts and has never been a problem. And so yes it’s away from the boobs and back on the bikes!! Malawi here we come!

Thanks for the encouragement good sir!
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:13 AM   #83
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The Gem of Africa

Crossing the border into Malawi from Zambia is an eye opener of an experience. A little over a hundred yards separates the two but they could be from different continents. I’m not talking about the terrain (which does differ noticeably) but rather the people. The surly unhappy faces of Zambia instantly give way to happy smiley faces in Malawi. When you stop for a break people in Zambia ask you for money while in Malawi they want to know where you are from and where you are going. Children wave at you as you pass. And it costs nothing to enter the country. No road tax, no carbon tax, no police tax, no visa fees. Zilch.


Malawi - what a stunning country...

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa but also one of the nicest to visit. It’s the diamond of Africa, a rough diamond mind you but a gemstone nonetheless. Their magnificent lake is one of the very few clean stretches of water in Africa. Their country is beautiful and their people are wonderful. We are through their border in less than 15 minutes with a “welcome to Malawi” and a huge smile. Zambian border officials should visit Malawi to see how it is done.


The "Fiscal police" hadn't bothered to turn up for work it seems...no fees charged!
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:16 PM   #84
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The force is strong with you Blian

Malawi is in economic meltdown (again) and there is no fuel in the country so we have filled up all our tanks in Chipata to the brim and Brian is carrying another 2 gallons and some in plastic jerry cans. We need to take it easy and cruise pretty much all the way through to the north maybe topping up with the junk cut fuel you find on the side of the road.


No thats not beer, its allegedly fuel

I have this thing when riding where I take random pictures from the bike. I carry a small camera on my belt and from time to time take it out and just snap stuff ahead or on occasion blindly over my shoulder. Not long after we cross the border I am doing just this and I pull a pic over my shoulder of the road behind…go figure WTF!!!:


Brian Skywalker

DesertSweeper screwed with this post 06-07-2012 at 02:19 PM Reason: typo
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:41 PM   #85
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We head east jubilantly on our bikes – enjoying the taste of freedom once again. Trucks? No thank you…not again...ever. The capital of MalawiLilongwe” is not far and so we arrive at Mabuya overlander campsite a few hours later and greet the owners Tom and Jayne who we saw a year back on the way down. This is THE place to stay if you are passing through town. It’s a regular Hotel California – you can check in but you may never leave…


Brian's pic of Mabuya - there is a better side but he loves bikes the good fellow

After unloading the bikes at Mabuya we ride through the city to the Airport on the far northern side of town where fresh tyres (with hidden bottles of Jack Daniels in them) are waiting (shipped from Johannesburg weeks ago) for us. As we arrive at the airport complex I stop and ask a police officer where the cargo area is and he says he will show me. Before I can say anything he has hopped on the back of my bike, so I cruise off with a bemused Brian in tow. When we get there he clambers off and starts walking back in the direction of where I picked him up…just a friendly cop!



They locate our tyres and the customs officer asks me what the “approximate” value of the shipment is. I tell her it’s around 50 U$ (for two Michelin Desert rears and a TKC front). She smiles and charges me 3 dollars import duty…


Friendly customs officer recording details of the 3 dollar import duty
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:16 PM   #86
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Malawi Airport Cargo building

A few pics at the cargo building:


A lion...environmentally sensitive?



Brian exercising his thumbs again. He does this when he doesn't have a beer to hold on to



Jubilation - tyres and booze
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:44 AM   #87
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Bribery again

I manage to convince a dapper fellow in a splendid white suit to take the tyres back to Mabuya in his pickup (for a small fee). I pay him in advance and we head off knowing that he will turn up a few hours later. It works like that here in deepest Africa. I chuck a box of cargo on the back of a pickup, pay a stranger some money, explain where I want it delivered (vaguely) and it will just happen.

We head out of the airport zone and as we join the main road back to town there is a traffic-police road-block. In Africa the ubiquitous “road-block” is basically a way of re-distributing traveller’s money into the economy. Everyone knows it happens including the authorities who don’t even pay them a salary in some countries like Zimbabwe. They make their own salary out there off honest chaps like you and I (ahem). And on this occasion they can smell a big pay off as I have left the insurance papers back at Mabuya. The ritual dance begins with pleasant greetings going back and forth. Then the standard request for documents followed by a lengthy story with apologies. Then the stock response: “Eish this is a problem”. One always tries to eat humble pie and worm out of it and it does occasionally work but this chap needs to pay his mortgage or something and is pushing hard for a “solution”. The delicate nature of this ritual requires subtlety as an outright offer of a bribe can land one in hot water. All parties should be in denial, in a sense, for it to work successfully. Technically speaking no insurance papers means the bikes should be impounded. I suggest we go somewhere for a “drink” to discuss the matter and he says that is a good idea but that he is working. He suggests I go for a drink on my own and compensate him for a drink later on and that would settle the matter. Needless to say drinks are not cheap wherever he wets his throat…

I part with the standard 20 dollars high-bribe (as opposed to 10 or 5 for “speeding” or a faulty horn etc) and we head back as it starts to piss down with rain. We reach Mabuya and I start to strip the bikes. The truck trip from Lusaka to Chipata was not kind on them and they need attention. Before long our gentleman delivers the tyres and bootleg booze.


Your pale writer tring to upstage the gentleman in white
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:29 AM   #88
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Tyres and Bars

I ignore the magnetic Mabuya bar and settle in for a night of changing tyres and restoring the truck damage as we want to leave tomorrow and head over to the massive lake. I am aware most of my fellow adventurers are more than familiar with the nasty business of changing heavy-duty enduro tyres with tiny little tyre levers but for those who are not here are a few pics of the various techniques employed when doing this solo. Where is Brian you ask? He is doing the very important job of drinking for the both of us and documenting this procedure.


The "third-hand-knee" technique


The "flat-foot" technique (copyright Desertsweeper)


Ok so this is just the "pulling out the rim" thing...

Seasoned in-the-field tyre changers know that the nasty bit is getting the valve of a heavy-duty tube lined up with its hole, especially when fitting a Michelin Desert tyre...


The "pointing-at-the-valve" (and wishing it were in the bloody hole) technique


Triumph

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Old 06-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #89
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More tyres

Naturally after changing out the tyres the wheels need to be put back in place. Brian had to shift his chair over to the bikes to take these pics. Tough job he said.


The lift-the-wheel-with-the-knee trick


Your writer pointing at something

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Old 06-08-2012, 08:27 AM   #90
tremor38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb View Post
Love your RR's; travelling with enduro bikes, off road, through strange countries is the bees knees. Awesome RR. If you ever get back to SEA drop us a PM.

Your pic of Ms. Babylon drove home the point, rather fiercly, of how it sucks to live in Asia if you luv yer boobs.

Not sure if its been covered yet but do you have any local language skills or is English spoken enough to get through with doe like eyes, smiles, and broken English when you off the beaten track


A tip of the hat to you sir for the RR, now quit ogling Ms Babylon's trade goods and back on the bikes!!
Hey Justin, how ya going? What are you riding these days. No more KLX I take it?
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