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Old 05-03-2014, 06:21 PM   #181
Merlin III
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There is organic food and then there is real organic food. Just about any American supermarket will have organic food sections, but specialty stores and restaurants will be limited to mostly urban regions which are probably the areas that the subject riders probably would want to avoid.

I am a vegetarian most of the time, but when I solo MC tour, I have a very difficult time eating readily available healthy food. To do so would, IMO, force the rider to basically ride to eat at the expense of the other reasons we ride. Granted, Sauerkraut and Tofuwurst are probably much more practiced than me and probably would find it much easier to do.
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Merlin III screwed with this post 05-05-2014 at 06:08 AM
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:25 PM   #182
enduro0125
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Congratulations on one year abroad.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:48 PM   #183
RichBeBe
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Congrats on one-year and see you Monday
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:00 PM   #184
flei
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What amazing adventures you had on your first year on the road! I wish you all great riding and more adventures for the years ahead. I look forward to meeting you when you pass through Massachusetts.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:03 AM   #185
kuhjunge OP
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Wink Travelogues from Africa in HD format now in Youtube

Back in civilization and we had access to high-speed internet. All videos have been published in our posts in 640x360 format so there is no new content just better quality :)



Enjoy!



Travelogue #6 - Auorir, Morocco






Travelogue #7 - Morocco - Mauritania




Travelogue #8 - Mauritania







Travelogue #9 - Senegal part 1



Travelogue #10 - Senegal part 2




Travelogue #11- Mali





Travelogue #12 - Burkina Faso





Travelogue #13 - Ghana part 1







Travelogue #14 - Ghana 2 Kokrobite 1






Travelogue #15 - Ghana 2 Kokrobite 2






Thank you David & Francine (you find their cool adventures here)



~ Wolfi

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Old 05-09-2014, 07:24 AM   #186
kuhjunge OP
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Talking Bye Bye Ghana - Farewell Africa

We dropped Skippy's bike to our new hotel (Big Apple D.E.) and left also some of my bike's luggage there (to prevent a total overload). Then we rode together on my bike to Accra to go to the vet in order to check on Hertta. She was doing much better. Still a bit shaky on her legs but tail was waving. She got another antibiotic and a vitamin shot after which she was happy to go back into the safety of the sidecar.




Our new hotel Big Apple D.E. impressed us. We got a spacious room for 80 GHS per night including breakfast. The mattress was much more comfortable and the A/C worked so well that we switched it off after a while because it got too cold in the room


Big Apple D.E. Hotel with the German flag to welcome us

Antenna installation Ghana style - no wonder we had a poor tv-picture.

Working Generator and girls got their beds washed :)

View over Accra from our hotel

The last segment of the street towards the hotel was a bit challenging.
There was a short discussion about whether we can take the dogs inside the room (even though I thought I clarified that the previous evening during my reservation). Anyway, our heart breakers got all in and Hertta looked so sad, lost, half-in-trance that every human with a soul cannot help but pity her.


Girls liked the place.
We can only recommend this hotel. It is managed well and things are working there. The staff pays attention and is pro-active. Only with the Wifi we needed to ask them regularly because they used a Wifi/3G modem which ran out of credits frequently.




It was now just before Easter and we started a long period of waiting for the quotations from various shipping firms. As part of that we needed to clarify the import regulations to US and Canada and see how we five would fly to the US. Most of the time we were hanging and used the time to catch up with our blog and travelogues :)




We had been 7 weeks in Ghana and I would say that slowly but surely a great depression came over all of us and especially Skippy had only one thought: “OUT”! That was anyway a good idea because our visa were expiring soonish and strangely other rules would apply if one would stay longer than 2 months in Ghana (and if one would care about those rules) e.g. One needs to get a local driving license.




I used the spare time to do the regular maintenance on my bike. Some small things needed fixing before they went totally broken like a fuel line. I also changed the left cam-shaft chain tightener to a newer model (let's see what happens to the rattling). Again plenty of time went to find motorcycle engine oil without success.




Ulpu started also to suffer from what we called Ghana-depression and needed some special attention. Once more to the vet and she got an IV as well as a few vitamin boosts.


Skippy gave Ulpu some water since she did not drank enough.
We got answers from four different shipping companies. Money and shipping time were the crucial aspects. Air freight is more expensive and the bikes are transported within a few days whereas ocean-freight is cheaper and the bikes are at least 30 days in transit (plus waiting etc).




The cheapest and most attractive had a total fare of about 3000 USD via ocean-freight. Overall that sounded great and it would be container shipping and no crates required. We pursued this option for quite a while before we changed our mind. This company was not getting into the real mood for taking concrete action. No local contact was given, total shipping costs were not told, many questions via email not answered.




So we looked who is next. The other company which offered ocean-freight had enormously high costs on the destination side. 1300 USD alone for un-crating the bikes. Now after some math, it looked like that the air-freight with Turkish Airlines (Even though Delta flies in and out daily and our bikes are small enough to fit into the cargo bay, it appeared that Turkish Airlines flights via Istanbul are cheaper) and doing some project management by myself was cheaper then the ocean-freight from this other company. So we went ahead with that options and started to make arrangements.




In the meantime we needed to arrange our flights. We wanted to take a direct flight from Accra to New York and Delta airline is the only one offering that. On our first phone call (pet travel must be reserved via the annoying Delta-airline service numbers in the US!), they confirmed that we can take our little ones into the cabin and Hertta travels with us in the cargo hold. It was not possible to make a reservation without paying the tickets and so we decided to wait until we really knew what to do about the bikes.


Skippy taking a picture of a stray dog.

A few houses had lovely flowers.

Typical picture - unfinished house occupied by temporary tenants.

Lyra was eagerly playing.
Now that the bikes seemed clear, it was time to make our flight bookings. I called Delta again and now the lady told me that Hertta cannot travel with us in the same flight but has to go on a different route with another airline and on a different schedule. WTF!!! No way!


In the meantime we got the boxes for girls :)
Here we were again and needed to start our search all over again. Lufthansa via Frankfurt? BA via London? We found out that Turkish Airlines has the cheapest flights and all dogs can travel with us. The little ones in the cabin and Hertta in the cargo hold. On Friday afternoon, we did the reservation at the airport (we could not pay our tickets there) and needed to wait for some ominous confirmation from somebody in Istanbul. It was Monday – no confirmation thus no tickets.


Our first fresh jack fruit - unfortunately very raw and full of latex.

One day the shop had delicious passion fruits.
In the meantime we continued progressing with the bikes. Importing a motorbike to the US is not that simple. We needed to have an approval from EPA, that we can drive our bikes in the US, before we can clear customs. There is also a need for DOT approval, and based on some info we would not have to pay any bonds neither customs duties. Besides this we need an insurance for the bikes to be allowed to drive around.




At this point (we kept the original ocean-freight as a back-up and were also clarifying the offers from the other companies) the shipping companies made it really difficult and wanted to charge a LOT of money for filing those papers and even though it would not be required they also wanted to charge bonds and customs duties. Due all those difficulties we considered for a moment to ship the bikes to Toronto, Canada and then go there to get them.




Then I thought what-the-heck, I take care of clearing customs myself in the US! I got the bike insurance, filed the EPA papers, clarified with DOT that I only need to file a specific form as part of the customs clearing process and once more found official information that we should be free of customs duties and bonds.




Things happen in Ghana the “Ghana-way”. First of all, tickets and all freight costs must be paid in cash – no credit cards accepted. Then I found out that my bank has a dummy menu on their webpage. They offer the service for Western-Union transfer online but then when I clicked it there came a window telling me “This service is no longer available online, please contact your closest branch”. F*** F*** F*** - and where do I now get all that money from? I became a “regular” at some of the ATMs in order to get the required amounts. Anyway I made it and the costs appear to be in the same range as with the Western-Union.




We drove the bikes to the local broker and the workers started to build the crate bottom. Four hours later we went back to the hotel with no bottom yet built for either of the bikes. They would properly start the next morning (which was May Day). We got our carnets stamped though after I did instruct the broker what to do and he instructed the customs officers (I really hope we get our deposits back one day).


We arrived at the packing station.

Lots of confusion on how to pack our bikes.

The guys gave up and the bikes went to a locked cage.
It was 1st of May (Labour day) and the workers had indeed a hard day of labour in front of them. They built the entire bottom new for both bikes and it looked to me that they did this the first time which they did not (at least so they said). I let the pictures speak for themselves.




And then came Narcotics security department. What a joke and a nightmare! They wanted to see into the fuel tank, under the seat and inside almost every box and case we had on the bike. They opened each and every case, put then the stuff just on the (dirty) floor and of course had no f***ing idea how to get everything back. A lots of yelling and shouting and I needed to pack all back. After the fourth case, I accepted my faith and let it come. Now I was waiting that they would see some of Milady's toys and her black belt. And this was the ONLY case they did not want to have opened. What a disappointment! Three hours later and we were done with this exercise.




Then the workers continued to build the rest of the crate and wrapped the whole thing nicely into plastic. Narcotics were watching all the time! We got my bike weight in the last moment before they closed for the day and went to the office to make the air waybill ready. The gent who takes care of that reminded my agent in a cool and I-told-you-so manner that there needs to be a roof-plate of the bikes in order to put light weight items on-top of the bikes or else they would charge the entire palette which would be horribly expensive. Anger ... Frustration ... Ghana!




The agent was so kind and gave me a ride back to the hotel. As soon as we hit the highway the traffic was standing on ALL lanes. One hour later we were still on the highway and the agent's car started to overheat and we pulled to a filling station to wait a little. I was back in the hotel around 22 o'clock, totally dead tired, almost too tired to eat and mentally exhausted. I got at least 20 mosquito bites on each leg as a souvenir.


Second try - looks much sturdier to me.

Suzi now packed in the same manner.




Suzi wrapped after narcotics inspection gave green light.

Finally (it's pitch black outside) SilberWolf is also packed.
Next day the agent and the workers continued the construction of the roofs and I was just waiting there getting more and more nervous. The issue was that the bikes should leave on Saturday morning. I called the agent once in while and checked whether I should come to the airport or not or what and anyway to check what was going on. Finally it was a bit after 22 o'clock, I was already asleep, when the agent called and said that the bikes are ready for shipping.


Saw this cool mantis at the hotel while waiting for the taxi.
The dimensions had grown somewhat compared to the quoted cost calculations and I had not enough cash to pay my bill. So I went once more to the mall to plunder some ATMs and met the agent there. We went together to my hotel where I was then able to pay my bills. The bikes had already left the country in the early morning and were on their way to the U.S.A.




West-Africa in hindsight




West-Africa was an adventure and I was a bit sad that our Africa journey ended here.




In fact everything in West-Africa was an adventure. Finding food, riding the roads, finding accommodation, walking in the streets and simple being and living life.




All the countries we had been were dirty and trash was everywhere. People did not care for other people nor animals, neither nature. I was constantly regarded as an ATM and asked to give my bike and dogs away. Finding healthy food was often a challenge and (trusted) organic food is basically not known here. The heat and humidity was not really my thing. The roads we took were often boring with little to none feasible alternative routes. The traffic was hilarious and often dangerous. Go with the flow was a good method to ride.




West Sahara offered the most solitude. Morocco had really beautiful nature spots, offered mountains, solitude, Sahara and gave a taste of Africa. It worked the best and was the most western country. If you want to visit West-Africa, I think it is sufficient to travel through Morocco and skip the rest.




We felt that Ghana was the worst from those West-African countries which we visited. Nothing and I really mean NOTHING seemed to work, I was not able to find engine oil for motorbikes (even Burkina Faso was heaven compared to Ghana in this respect). I needed to get some papers printed (in the middle of our Accra stay) and the fourth official printing shop was finally able to print my documents.




Based on what Skippy told me I aged a lot in West-Africa...



Another travelogue Made by Skippy

If you have trouble to watch this, please try this link.



~ Wolfi
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:32 PM   #187
Merlin III
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"Based on what Skippy told me I aged a lot in West-Africa.."

Just a little? I know Advriders are supposed to want to ride the world, but the only way I would be touring Africa is if I was an employee of OXFAM or Doctors Without Borders. I have nothing against the people, but the impoverished conditions there and there affect on people is just overwhelming to me.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:10 PM   #188
kuhjunge OP
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Cool2 Bike and dog friendly accommodation in West Afrika

Covers Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.



Morocco

Chefchaouen
Type: Apartment
Costs: 40EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: Free public parking in front of apartment towards the street
Contact: Riad Nerja Chaouen, www.riadnerjachaouen.com, +212 539 882 813, 90000 Chefchaouen
Comment: We booked in the hotel a double room for 35EUR/night. The hotel was in the middle of the old town, about a few hundred meters away from the “guarded” parking place. We did not like it and settled for the apartment instead. Much better for us and easier for our dogs. There was: fridge, gas stove, washing machine, Wifi via USB stick, fan heater.




Meknes - Complexe Touristique Venise
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet.
Costs: 23EUR/night (offseason price)+ 6EUR city tax
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: Free public parking in front of hotel, or guarded (locked) parking for 5EUR/bike/night
Contact: Complexe Touristique Venise. Bd. Bir Anzarane. Villa 76 - Hay Abass Lamssadi (Ain Maaza), Meknès, 50000, Morocco, +212535400471, riadmamounia@gmail.com, N33.88669 W5.54094
Comment: Hotel was difficult to find based on OSM maps. Google maps had the right street but somehow did not find it either when searching. Spacious room, bar & restaurant downstairs, pool was out of use, SAT-TV no English channels. WiFi in room.




Temara - The "Sisters" Hotel
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet.
Costs: 40EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: In front of hotel (guarded)
Contact: The "Sisters" Hotel (Formerly "la Felouque"), Plage Des Sables D'or, Temara, 12040
Morocco, +212537744388, contact@lafelouque.com, N33.91900 W6.96907
Comment: Spacious room, restaurant, balcony with direct access to beach. TV did not work. Breakfast included. Central heating. WiFi in lobby area.




Mrirt - Hôtel Azaghar
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet.
Costs: 30 EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: In restaurant area outside, sidecar in front of hotel
Contact: Hôtel Azaghar. Boulevard Mohamed V, M'rirt, 54500, Morocco, +2120661824557, hotel.azaghar@gmail.com, N33.16218 W5.56592
Comment: Spacious room, restaurant downstairs. WiFi in room.




Midelt - Hotel Kasbah Asmaa
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet.
Costs: 48EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: Solo bike in inner yard, sidecar directly outside the gate (with guard)
Contact: Hotel Kasbah Asmaa. Km 3 Dir. Errachidia Route N13, Amersid, Province Khénifra, Qlym Khnyfr, Morocco, +212 35 58 04 08, N32.68156 W4.71331
Comment: Luxurious and spacious room with central heating (also aircon), 2 TVs, 1 King-size and 1 Queen size bed as well as a couch, bar & restaurant downstairs. WiFi in lobby area. Breakfast included.




Tinghir - Palmeraie Guest House
Type: Hotel room with shared shower/toilet.
Costs: 20EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: We got a garage (both bikes fitted there) about 150m away from the hotel entrance without extra costs
Contact: Palmeraie Guest House. At 7 Km In The Road To Todra Gorge From Tinghir, Tinghir, 45800, Morocco, +212524895209, stay@palmeraiehouse.com, dmgriffin11@hotmail.com. N31.54723 W5.57797
Comment: Room was cold and we got an electric heater. Several power outages during the night (entire village). Delicious breakfast on the terrace. Hotel is about a 50 height meters hike down from the road.




Ouarzazate - Bivouac La Palmeraie
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet. Located at a camping site
Costs: 36EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: At camping site within closed walls during night
Contact: Bivouac La Palmeraie, Douar Tajda, Commune rurale Tarmigte, Ouarzazate, 45000, +212676666064, N30.90422 W6.89770
Comments: Room was cold and we got an electric heater. Severe power outages at the camping site during the first night. No heating during the night with outside temperature of +2C. No warm water in the morning. Breakfast included. WiFi at the restaurant.


Taliouine - Auberge Restaurant le Safran
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet
Costs: 25EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: In the entrance area towards inner yard – locked away for the night.
Contact: Auberge Restaurant le Safran, Taliouine BP: 99, Taliouine, 83500, +212667297142, safranauberge@yahoo.fr, N30.53198 W7.92455
Comments: Good and inexpensive restaurant.




Aourir – Residence Bab Aourir
Type: Apartment
Costs: 25EUR/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: private underground garage for free.
Contact: Residence Bab Aourir, 12 km route essaouira aourir tamraght, Aourir, 80023, +212528314926, hotelbabaourir@yahoo.fr, N30.49975 W9.67192
Comments: Breakfast included. Plenty of restaurants and shops around. Junkyard neighborhood.




Guelmim – Gite Aain Nakhla
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet
Costs: 200dhs/night
Dogs: first free and then he wanted 50dhs.
Bike parking: Outside the house. In the middle of countryside, so no worries here.
Contact: Douar Tighmert Ait Massaoud, Asrir Guelmim, 0615506642, 0526695205, www.aainnakhla.jimdo.com, aainanakhla@gmail.com, N28.94108 W9.93328
Comments: Breakfast very basic. Food tasted good, moderate prices.




Akhfenir – Hotel Paris Dakar
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet
Costs: 150dhs/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: In front of hotel door with guardian.
Contact: Tel: 0528766627, GSM 0662275937, N28.09568 W12.04969
Comments: 20Dhs for night guard. Hot shower.


Boujdour – Hotel GOS
Type: Hotel room with private shower and toilet
Costs: 150dhs/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: The owner called somebody and we got our bikes in a big garage locked away for the night. The brats in this village were the most annoying of all so far.
Contact: Avenua, abdel aziz adaoiri, 0528896962, hotel-gos@hotmail.com, www.hotel-gos.new.fr,
Comments: Hot shower.






Mauritania

Hotel El Ezze Raha
Type: Hotel
Costs: 30EUR
Dogs: free of charge
Bike parking: inner yard with guardian
Contact: N21.27533 W16.52950
Comment: cockroaches




Nouakchott - Auberge Sahara
Type: Hotel
Costs: 6000local /night (shared bathroom/toilet)
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: safely inside fenced yard.
Contact: N18.10281 W15.99690
Comment: Place to meet other overlanders. Wifi ok. Noisy when groups are present. Laundry machine.






Senegal

St. Louis - 7palava
Type: Camping
Costs: 6500CFA/night
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: besides tent
Contact: www.7palava.com, N15.91096 W16.50750
Comment: Abgelegen, small and family-style camping place directly besides the ocean. Very friendly and helpful owners. Internet only via USB stick. Better get your own from Orange - that works fairly well on the beach side.




Dakar/Lac Rose - Hotel Tool Bi
Type: Hotel
Costs: 14000 CFA (later 10000CFA)
Dogs: Free of charge
Bike parking: parking lot which might have a night guard. Solo bike can be parked in front of hotel room.
Contact: Lac Rose, N14.83173 W17.24510
Comment: Rather small place which has seen its prime time during the rally Paris-Dakar (The Finish line was just in front of the hotel).




Kaolack – Maison des Œuvres
Type: Hotel, ventilated room with own shower/WC
Costs: 10000CFA, no breakfast
Dogs: 5000CFA (he told that once we had unloaded our stuff)
Bike parking: Inside the fenced area
Contact: N14.13373 W16.07792 (There is also a catholic mission with rooms a few meters away)
Comment: no Wifi




Tambacounda – Auberge Le Ninki-Nanka
Type: Hotel, room with own shower/WC
Costs: ventilated room 16000CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Inside the fenced area
Contact: N13.76378 W13.66577
Comment: Breakfast incl.




Bala - Campement Les Baobabs
Type: Hotel, hut with own shower/WC
Costs: ventilated room 20000CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: At parking place inside the yard
Contact: Campement Les Baobabs, BP193 Tambacounda, www.senegalchasse.org, senegalchasse@orange.sn. +221339838080, +221776448698, N14.02404 W13.16933
Comment:




Kidira – Hotel Boundou
Type: Hotel, ventilated room with own shower/WC
Costs: 15000CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Inside the fenced area
Contact: N14.45239 W12.21215
Comment: Here we got the great salad and french fries portion




Mali

Kayes – Hotel Bouna
Type: Hotel room with own shower/WC, air-condition
Costs: 27500CFA
Dogs: Free (after some discussion)
Bike parking: outside hotel with night guard
Contact: + 223 21 52 35 60, BP Kayes, N14.45461 W11.46532
Comment:




Kita – Le Relais Touristique
Type: Hotel, room with own shower/WC
Costs: 12000CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: parking place in inner yard
Contact: 21 57 41 30, BP44, Kita, N13.03890 W9.48687
Comment:




Bamako – Auberge Imi
Type: Hotel with own shower/WC
Costs: ventilated room 8000CFA, no breakfast
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Inside the fenced area
Contact: N12.59222 W8.02800
Comment: Wifi mostly ok, Frequent water shortages and power cuts. Owner is a Finn.




Bougouni – Hotel Piemont
Type: Hotel with own shower/WC
Costs: ventilated room 8400CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Inside the fenced area
Contact: N11.41032 W7.48853
Comment: excellent Wifi

Burkina Faso

Banfora – Camping Baobab
Type: Campement, hut with shared shower/WC
Costs: 5000CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Besides the room
Contact: N10.67851 W4.79032
Comment: No electricity, no running water, no Wifi




På – Safari (something...)
Type: Hut with own shower/WC
Costs: ventilated room 1000CFA, air-con room 15000CFA
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Besides the hut
Contact: N11.55263 W3.24774
Comment: First they said the room would be 6000CFA. Then when I wanted to pay they said it was 15000CFA. Kind of a rip-off or simple poor communication. TV, two rooms. No Wifi.




Ouagadougou - Pension Sahara
Type: Hotel with own shower/WC
Costs: ventilated room 9800CFA, air-con room 15000CFA
Dogs: Free, it took a moment to think whether they can allow them
Bike parking: Inside the fenced area
Contact: N12.34275 W1.52607.
Comment: Night club was opposite and they played loud music until 0200 in the morning. At early morning, the traffic and the cleaning ladies made quite some noise in front of our room.


Ghana

Naurongo – Pierre Lodge
Type: Room with own shower/WC
Costs: 20GHS
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Inner yard
Contact: N10.87901 W1.08111.
Comment: No running water, no Wifi, mosquito nets.




Tamale – Sundowner Lodge
Type: Room with own shower/WC, A/C
Costs: 72GHS
Dogs: Free and inside room after some discussion.
Bike parking: Inner yard.
Contact: N9.45619 W0.84298
Comment: Breakfast included. Wifi did not work.




Kintampo – St. Michaels hotel
Type: Room with own shower/WC, A/C
Costs: 35GHS
Dogs: Allowed after some discussion and free.
Bike parking: Inner yard.
Contact: N8.03533 W1.73193
Comment: No Wifi. Relaxed atmosphere.




Kumasi/Kodie – Arriva Guest house
Type: Room with own shower/WC
Costs: 30GHS
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: Inner yard.
Contact: N6.81216 W1.63840
Comment: No Wifi. Spacious room.




Abono/ Lake Bosumtwi – Lake Point Guest House
Type: Hut with own shower/WC
Costs: 45GHS
Dogs: 7GHS/night – after some discussion.
Bike parking: At the parking lot besides road.
Contact: N6.54042 W1.41136
Comment: No Wifi. Water was slimy. Very greenish and plenty of space around the hut.


Accra, Kokrobite – Asaasi Yaa
Type: room with own shower/WC.
Costs: 60GHS
Dogs: Free
Bike parking: in inner yard.
Contact: www.asaasiyaa.com, N5.48757 W0.37750
Comment: No Wifi. Generator was broken. Hotel is officially still closed and they are more used to bigger groups who rent the entire place. Breakfast included.




Accra, Kokrobite – De Holiday Beach Hotel
Type: Resort, room private shower/WC, A/C
Costs: 85GHS (later 110GHS)
Dogs: Free of charge after some discussion and goodwill from the manager.
Bike parking: Private and guarded parking.
Contact: N5.49127 W0.37595
Comment: A great place if things work. When we were there many things did not work – see post Ghana – Kokrobite! Not on the beach!




Accra, Weija – Big Apple D.E. Hotel
Type: Room with own WC/shower, A/C
Costs: 80GHS
Dogs: Free of charge after some discussion (normally pets are not allowed)
Bike parking: Private and guarded parking.
Contact: N5.54184 W0.32041
Comment: Clean, Wifi via hotel's own 3G modem, breakfast included, street towards hotel in bad condition.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:27 PM   #189
kuhjunge OP
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Cool2 In case you want to follow our tracks in more detail:

Via Baltica
UK

Morocco (track with waypoints GDB format)


Mauritania - Senegal - Mali (track with waypoints GDB format)


Burkina Faso - Ghana (waypoints and our entire West Africa track in GDB format)
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:30 PM   #190
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Cool2 Accra - New York City with dogs and bikes

Our flight was leaving at 20:25, 4th of May, from Accra. We left the hotel at about 14 o'clock to reserve time to get sorted out how to deal with Hertta. The traffic was light and we waited for a little while at the airport until the Turkish Airline counter opened. The first nasty surprise was that our dogs were not yet confirmed and there was a risk that we could not fly at all!





Last impressions from Ghana.

There we went once...

Me in the taxi with Hertta ...

... being all excited.

Lyra was bored.


@ACC

Two hours later(!!!) and we finally got the "go ahead", paid the fee for the dogs (210 USD for each dog in the cabin and 420 USD for Hertta in the hold) in cash. We proceeded with the check-in and clarified how to get Hertta on board. Now we could relax a little bit and I had some quick lunch, Skippy some juice and I got the change to use the rest of our money.


Waiting... waiting... waiting... and more waiting...

It was 19 o'clock, time to board and we brought Hertta to the agreed place when suddenly the customs guy came and wanted copies of the dogs' certification papers. Everybody looked at me and I got the feeling like “Obroni” take care of your stuff. I just told the Turkish Airlines guy to get those (damn) copies as I just paid myself sick on getting our dogs aboard. He then mumbled something and disappeared. It appeared to be taking forever and then at around 19:30 he finally returned and handed the papers to customs. Boarding started 19:36! Hertta was already gone by then and we could make it now also towards boarding. Again some cueing at passport control and security check and straight to the gate – it was almost the take-off time. Anyway we made it!


Hertta ready for her great journey.



A few moments after take-off the captain announced “Prepare for landing”. I though WTF is now happening? I asked the stewardess what is the matter and she said happily we are landing. ÄÄÄÄÄÖÖÖÖÖmmmmhhhh??????????? Did we take the wrong flight?




Nope! The flight landed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, for an intermediate stop before continuing to Istanbul. No wonder the flight time was around 10 hours. No worries then and we enjoyed the absolute stunning onboard entertainment selection. It took me almost 15 minutes to browse through the 70+ movies, the games and other stuff




+1 country




Once arrived in Istanbul the only option to allow girls to do their business was to enter Turkey. There were no “accidents” during this 10 hours flight – I am so proud of girls that they could hold it in. So passport control and customs and then finding a green spot for the princesses to pee. Some 20 minutes later we went back to see whether we are allowed to visit Hertta. As it turned out the only way to visit her was to take her out of transit area and check her in again. That sounded extremely risky to me. In worst case it would totally confuse the system to take her out and put her back in resulting that she would be missing the flight and stay another 24 hours in Istanbul. We decided to let her be where she was and hope for the best.

Now again passport control and security check. Nobody asked us why we came to Turkey or why we enter/exit the country within one hour. Our answer would have been to let our girls out to pee.

Spielverderber! Anyway we had our dogs visible on lead when walking through the airport and we got a lot of new admirers in Istanbul. It seems that besides the religion people were really dog friendly. A small and positive surprise.


Lyra and Ulpu "marking" Istanbul (been there and done that) :)

We had a quick snack and got ready for another 11 hour flight. This time we had the last row and since the plane was not fully booked I occupied right away another seat – a good choice. Then the stewardess came and told that we cannot fly with two dogs in the cabin, one must go to cargo! WTF is this again??? OMG – I so hate amateurs when they pretend to be professionals. People – ReadYourOwnF***ingManuals!!! Another 20 minutes later the flight personal got the ok to go and took off for JFK.




Girls were very bored and Lyra started to sulk after 8 hours or so – poor girl. The flight went by without problems and the landing was very very harsh (Hans – dieser Pilot musste vermutlich ein Darlehen aufnehmen um die Landegebühr zu finanzieren!) - it bounced a few times and the plane went heavily to one side – spooky in the last minutes. When the engines stopped, the cargo unloading started right away and I could hear Hertta barking. I was sooo relieved she was alive and had energy to bark – a good sign. It looked like the poor girl had been all the time in the cage – all those 27hours!


Hertta on her way from the hold to the family reunion.

We went through immigration and heard Hertta barking in the baggage claim area. We could hardly wait to get there and the family re-unification was great!!! Everything went fine with customs. They just wanted to see the dogs' certification papers and we were good to go into the USA. Rich waited for us at the airport, and after girls took care of their business we went to David's and Francine's place who offered us accommodation in their adventure loft. Thank you very very much for your help, we really appreciated it.





Rich picked us up from JFK.



Getting the bikes

Next day it was around midday when I went back to JFK to clear the bikes which arrived with the cargo flight the day before (in order to safe money my attempt was to get the bikes out without a broker). First it went pretty smooth as I went to Turkish Airlines and got the freight papers. Then I had to go to customs which happened to be on the extreme other side of the cargo areas. Well the shuttle bus took me there and I spent most of my time by waiting for the bus. At customs I asked the guy where to go and he told me to wait in line. Then I got REALLY worried. Many brokers had those heavy mailboxes full of shipping documents and there was a cue of several people ahead of me. I went back to the officer and described my case with more details. He just repeated to go back to line “we will handle you”. Anyway he was a friendly fellow. It was almost 17 o'clock and some parts of customs started to close down and that increased my worries even more. Then it was my turn, I handed over the EPA and the DOT papers as well as some other form. The first surprise was that Turkish Airlines did not list in the manifest that the cargo is motorcycles (BIG MISTAKE). The officer told me to call them and update the system. Then he told that the agriculture customs officer must inspect the bikes. OOOppppps!




I went over there and we clarified what needed to be done. The bikes should be uncrated so that the customs guy can inspect whether our bikes are clean enough to enter the USA. He had one free appointment(!!!) at 22 o'clock this evening. OMG – I knew that Rich was coming soon to help but that late was no good (Rich had to prepare for an exam the next day). A few minutes later I got an appointment at 20 o'clock.


Waiting for Rich, there was this large amount of school buses.

Finally the bikes are coming for uncrating.

Forklifts buzzing around - take it easy guy, you transport precious goods!

Lousy packing, the bike came almost off the palette.

Now here is the chicken-egg problem.

  • In order to get the bikes out of the warehouse they must be cleared by customs.
  • In order to clear them from customs they must be uncrated and inspected first.
Now how the hell do I do this one? I went back to Turkish Airline and after some waiting I was able to explain this to the manager. I need to tell that this warehouse area was very busy. Several fork-lifters were buzzing around and Rich and me had trouble to find a safe spot to wait. Waiting waiting ... it was not around 19:30 when we finally saw the bikes. They were strangely wrapped onto another transport plate and tightened up with another net and belts. Well obviously the Ghana-style packaging appeared not reliable to whoever had the final say on the packaging.




We dismantled the stuff until we had both bikes standing on their bottom palettes. Then I decided to push forward and take the Suzi off completely for the simple reason that the bike was standing on its main stand and had not much support anymore. One of those buzzy fork-lifters would have the wrong feeling of security that they can still move the bike when on the metal palette. The Suzi would have just been timbered with the crate.




After we did that the freight guys went all ballistic. Now we MUST release the bikes even though they were not yet cleared by customs. What a mess!!!




It was 20:20, no customs guy in sight and we released the bikes. Suddenly some other freight guy came over and “blablabla” told that we should not have even touched the bikes (not even speaking of uncrating them ourselves)! I explained that I got precise instructions from customs to have the bikes ready for inspection (and thus uncrated) by 20:00 (sharp)! And if we cannot uncrate them who can?




Then this guy told that customs guy was here – no bikes in sight and he had left already. WTF WTF WTF..... ANGER!!!!! THIS CANNOT HAPPEN! Am I still in Ghana?




We found the customs guy again and he was really friendly and understanding. He looked at the bikes and told that the Suzi is far too dirty to be imported into the US and my bike could also use a wash (both statements were very much true). And now what?




In the meantime we got lucky and the “garbage man” came. He was very eager to help and collect all our wood, plastic and other stuff. Rich and me were both very happy, one less item to worry about.




With the customs guy we agreed that Rich and me would get some buckets of water and splash the dirt off the Suzi's wheels and also gave my bike some attention. Well, I knew that at least Milady would be happy to get a cleaner bike




The customs guy continued his lecturing (where I fully agreed with) about washing bikes before leaving the country and so on, we started to work on washing the Suzi and taking SilberWolf of the bottom palette. That was not done as easy as said because the bike had dropped almost with all wheels on the bottom and only with help from other truckers (which were hanging around, waiting for their cargo to come) we got my bike out of the frame. Then to wash.




The strange part was that it was sufficient to wash the bikes outside the cargo hall where the dirt (i.e.”contaminated” water) could go directly into the sewer system = entering the US sewer system and the US rivers and ocean and potentially the dirt would find its way back to Africa? I really had to hold back and not laugh out loud. This made no sense whatsoever but it was the only way to get the bikes out of customs. We washed the bikes and I paid some attention to the wheels and the obvious dirty parts (I even used the brush I had with!). The inspector was very happy about the obviously good job we did and he told that he would clear the bikes.




It was now after 22 o'clock and Rich and I were ready to go when I checked with the freight folks that all is clear now. And surprise it was NOT OK! Damn. I called customs a few times, no answer! Customs closed at 23 o'clock and the clock was now 22:35! What to do? Drive quickly over to customs? Just leave and do not care? I changed clothes and asked again. Yes finally customs had cleared the bikes. I was happy and we packed the things ready when they called us to sign off. Rich just went in and provided a signature




Then I rode one bike after the other into the USA :)




It was close to midnight and all was good when I got back to the Adventure Loft after getting some fuel and facing a traffic jam due to construction.



Parking in New York City, Manhattan

Yeah!!!




IMO – it was worth the hassle to clear the bikes myself. We saved a huge amount of money and also nerves, then dealing with a broker is not free-of-trouble either. Also nobody told that there would have been a storage charge of around 600 USD per day if we would not release the bikes within 3 business day after arrival! That was a high incentive for me to get the bikes out. A broker would not care about that (no incentive) and things would take with the agriculture department whatever it would take.




A HUGE THANK YOU to Rich! You were a fantastic help to get the bikes! And I feel guilty that I took so much of your time. I hope all went fine with the exam.




~ Wolfi




p.s. A few thoughts on shipping bikes




I asked for quotations from 4 different companies as well as one open quote in freight forwarders (www.forwarders.com). In the end we had five options.



Option 1 – sea freight

The one who answered fastest was also the cheapest and at the same time offered most convenient conditions. However once we gave the go-ahead the firm was not able to provide us with local contacts and the flow of information was very slow. Furthermore, this firm seemed not to know the import regulations and wanted to charge all sorts of things which were not required. It seemed to me also that there were hidden costs and I could not trust that company any longer and we continued with option 2.



Option 2

The next cheapest was by contacting the airline directly. Of course this was a bit of an open check as nobody could tell me what to expect in the US for importing. This end needed a little homework. The broker in Accra took care of all the things in Ghana side. It took a little bit of project management from me but I loved to do that anyway, so it came as a bonus




The next options were significantly more expensive. Here is a short summary table (I used now the real weight and the freight measures which we were charged in all the options to keep them somewhat comparable).




Bikes weight: 1100kg (Dangerous Goods)

Volume weight: 1647kg

Volume: 9.8cbm

And – all payments in cash!








One
Two - REAL
Three
Four
Five
Freight Company
Ameritrans Freight International

Turkish Airline
Ameritrans Freight International
www.air7seas.com
Air Menzies International SA (Pty) Limited
Broker Origin
Steps Freight Services
Broker Destination
Do-it-yourself
Freight
Sea
Air
Air
Sea
Air
Transit time
30 days
2 days
2-3 days
30-33 days
2-3 days
Origin costs
250USD
600USD
250USD + crate(600USD)
1300USD
2290USD
Freight costs
3000USD
6400USD
7000USD
3500USD
7600USD
Destination costs
Unclear 600-2000USD
63USD
Unclear 600-2000USD
2500USD
Totally open as offer was “non customs cleared/delivered”
Total costs (USD)
Estimated 3850-5350
7063 USD real costs by air
Estimated 8450-9850
Estimated 7300 by sea
Estimated 10.000++






Cheers to that!
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:13 AM   #191
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Wofi sure reinforces the American stereotype of Germans as being tenacious and detail oriented.


Welcome to America. You guys deserve some type of award for traveling with three dogs and your tenacity about keeping them safe.

Rick must be a saint to give you that much time the day before exams.
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:09 AM   #192
RichBeBe
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Yes it was a strange thing. Personally I was up for just jumping on the bikes and leaving when we were outside awaiting the second inspection and washing. I guess it could get sticky though when you came back to the U.S. through Canada, or getting them out. I chuckled at the freight agent flipping out that we uncrated secure cargo. I wanted to say "You guys gave us the bikes, and the space, so it is now your problem"
In the end it all went well, and luckily the customs agent was easy going and reasonable.
BTW I passed my exam and my other paper so I am still an A student My students can be proud
Hope you are enjoying New England or wherever you and the family are.
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:42 AM   #193
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Wicked Happy to hear

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBeBe View Post
BTW I passed my exam and my other paper so I am still an A student My students can be proud
Hope you are enjoying New England or wherever you and the family are.
that you aced your exam and the paper.
I really felt guilty about occupying your valuable time so much.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:04 AM   #194
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How are the Blackflies treating you all up there in the Northeast Kingdom?
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #195
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Wicked

They love us

We are sooo tasty and delicious
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