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Old 12-04-2013, 01:22 PM   #166
openroad7
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Awesome thread and pics Tiffany. That's what adventure riding is all about.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:31 PM   #167
Tiffany OP
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Thanks for all the appreciation guys, yes, it is at times quite a slog and it ain't always easy riding solo because, I need to ride more cautiously which is a shame, but if anything bad happened in these remote areas on my own, I'd be pretty stuck .
But so far so good and yes, Suzi the DR is proving herself to be a great bike.
Now on with the RR itself...
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:52 PM   #168
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Cool2 R&R on the East Coast

So, I'd tackled the mud, it had won the battle but I know there is still a war to come with it.
I'd made it to the town of Mananjary, a fairly quiet and laid-back place, with mopeds and zebu.



The lovely staff at the small hotel were heroes and while I was relaxing, they got to work and cleaned up Suzi in fact this was done the night I arrived as apparently this mud is BAD news, it's the stuff they make the houses out of, and once it dries, it is like cement. So in the dark, I could hear the guy toiling with buckets of water, while I had a beer.
The chamber maids had fun with ALL my clothing and the bags, which were amazing and came up looking like new.

I wandered around the town, it's famous for its circumcision ceremonies, apparently they are held every seven years and they all get done at once in a fairly public way by the sounds of it. The next ceremony is due early 2014, and I have to say there were quite a few nervous looking boys in that town.
One of the main crops in the area is peppercorns, and here they lay them out in the street to dry before packing - got to be careful not to step on them.




I had compose for lunch, the sold spaghetti with a range of toppings, this was the most basic yet, on a street corner without even a stool to sit on, the boys were in charge while their mum was at the market.



Here was a different use for a shipping container, put a thatched roof on it and you've got a house!



After a day of rest, and replacing the mirror- I'd lost it in the mud on the fall, I did notice it was missing at the time and groped around in the mud up to my elbows but couldn't find it. The cook from the hotel offered to show me where in the market to get a mirror and so she hopped on the back of Suzi and off we went. Soon returning with a pair of bright red gleaming mirrors attached, minimal choice at the market, and as to quality, well, on the way back from the market the glass fell out of one of them We retrieved it and stuck it back in. As I know things are going to get even trickier on the route ahead, they probably won't last long anyway.

For the time being the road behaved itself and I made it down to Manakara on sort of tarmac, to find that the main bridge in town looked like this



A cyclone had blown through a couple of years ago. I decided to stay in this side of the bridge.

It was swelteringly hot and I was trying to find a cybercafé, so hopped into the rickshaw, there are a lot of these in Madagascar



The view of my toes and the guy pulling the rickshaw.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:35 PM   #169
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Cool2 Looks Familiar

The road out of Vangaindrano and the mud is back with a vengeance. According to the guidebooks, thei final 250kms stretch down to Fort Dauphin in the south east corner is one of the worst stretches of road in the country, and with Madagascar, that really is saying something




And around the corner it gets worse...




Still a bit of culture to be appreciated (or for me, any excuse to take my mind off the mud), some tombs - like nothing I've ever seen anywhere else.




then a brief respite as I await the ferry/barge, I know this is the first of at least 10 that I'll be facing on this stage of the trip




And here it comes




As I ride on the blokes running it tell me there's a problem and that they don't have enough diesel for the journey across the river. I act dumb like I don't understand, which is pretty easy as everyone's face looks dumbstruck as they hear me speaking English and realise I'm not a French speaker (though I can be when I want to). These ferries are supposed to be free as they're government financed, in place of bridges.
Luckily a car arrives behind me, they have the same conversation, but instead of giving them money for diesel, the driver lets them have some of his spare diesel (he's obviously used to this type of thing)



You can se the green tubing where they are siphoning off some of his diesel out of a jerry can in the boot.



I chat to the car driver and apparently it is quite genuine, there are problems getting the fuel from the main depots to the boats and therefore the guys are having to buy the fuel locally which they don't have a budget for. Things are in disarray in Madagascar, due to the lack of elected government, there was a coup a few years ago and they are just having elections now to sort out who will run the country. Public services are at a bit of a low.

Sometimes I'm lucky and the mud has dried, creating a nice riding base. Whoops, that sounds a bit female, OK I'll say a decent riding surface.








And then the landscape changes and looks a bit less tropical and well, a bit more like Scotland or any other place with moorland and open spaces.




In the valleys between the hills, I make the most of the rivers, by stopping to cool down, rinsing my gloves to wet them.

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Old 12-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #170
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Tiff:

Just read your article in the MOA News. Well done!
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:29 PM   #171
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Just caught up with this most excellent report! I'll be linking the dr350 crowd over here.

Thanks for sharing.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:56 AM   #172
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Mud

Those pictures of muddy roads look worse than any mud I've ever ridden on by a long way. You're doing it solo in a remote area - what an adventurous spirit!

Really enjoying your report!
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:27 PM   #173
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Tiffany

Still keeping up with you and your excellent ride reports. Also you good article in MOA News. Nice evaluation. Take care and keep up the good work.

Bob
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #174
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Tiffany, you look fantastic in red Enjoy your adventure, we are!

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Old 12-09-2013, 09:46 PM   #175
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Just caught up with your ride. Enjoyed every bit of it! I will say you are a real trooper keeping up the report. Thank you!
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:24 AM   #176
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Thumb On Line Again...

...and plenty more comments to catch up with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalahari-k View Post
Those pictures of muddy roads look worse than any mud I've ever ridden on by a long way. You're doing it solo in a remote area - what an adventurous spirit!

Really enjoying your report!
Glad you're enjoying it, I think you'll appreciate the next chapter- it gets less muddy but more, well more scary from my point of view!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorrev View Post
Still keeping up with you and your excellent ride reports. Also you good article in MOA News. Nice evaluation. Take care and keep up the good work.

Bob
I'll have to try and track down a copy of MOA News - not sure they send one out to Madagascar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rruugger View Post
Tiffany, you look fantastic in red Enjoy your adventure, we are!
Thank you and glad to know I'm entertaining you.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:46 AM   #177
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Eek Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Trying to avoid some of the water, I head off the track, this is a picture from the "main road" where I'm standing in the water looking at my bike




The landscape keeps changing from moorland to tropical with palms




Amazingly I come across evidence of construction, however, the bridge is not ready yet and I have to detour around it




I paused to get a standing picture of me and Suzi but the plant holding the camera wouldn't cooperate and dipped down as the photo was taken.



Little was I to know that this would be the last of the smiles for a while.

My surroundings started to look like Scotland




The "road" turned to rock and became very steep, I managed to stop and even get a photo of the bike that almost manages to show how steep the slope was.



You can see the blur on the camera lens- yep, it had started to rain, just what I didn't need as ahead of me is a steep downhill to a river at the bottom and NO other way around - I'm scared (and I'm definitely no longer smiling)

Here is the view looking back at the slope




Gingerly is the word for how I rode it, I turned Suzi downhill and just let her go, the rain wasn't helping, the surface was slippery and as I got closer I could see just how fast the water was running. Absolutely no chance of stopping to get a closer view of the river or the rock.



But I made it
Up to the top of the next hill, where this unusual rock caught my eye




I even managed a smile for a selfy

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Old 12-13-2013, 06:41 AM   #178
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WOW ! that’s quite a change in terrain , that said I don’t see any civilization or a GAS STATION out on the horizon .

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Old 12-14-2013, 04:25 PM   #179
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Great report Tiffany. Much respect.....
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Old 12-22-2013, 12:43 AM   #180
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Cool2 Looking for Shelter

I scramble up some rocks to get a better view





And then the rain started pouring down with a vengeance, I huddled against the base of the rock expecting the storm to blow over fairly quickly and desperately trying to keep my camera dry. The ground rapidly became saturated and had a several inches of water running over it, which isn't a good sign. Not wanting to ride in the heavy rain but equally not wanting to get bogged down and stuck in such an exposed location I took to the trail once more.
The muddy tracks were now torrents of water, disguising the gullies and rocks that are liberally dotted along it. I rode very, very carefully, up and down hill for several more miles.
The only sign of "life" was this grave



the sole decoration being a zebu skull



Almost identical to the Giant Loop logo on my t-shirt.

The rain was clearing as I approached yet another river, this one was big enough to warrant a ferry- the first people I'd encountered in several hours.



I was the only passenger and the crew were keen for a photo shoot and a chat!






As soon as a camera appears, the faces change from wide grins to solemn features - Yes, they do want a photo, but it must be a cultural thing about not smiling in pictures.

Coming off the ferry (again the no diesel story and a contribution to fuel costs requested) I wasn't sure exactly where I was, things weren't looking great as it had been another long day of riding, I was soggy and tired and had expected to arrive at the small town of Manantenina some time ago.

I realised I must have missed the town, but having ridden onwards, I wasn't keen to turn around and re-trace my route. The sun was starting to set and so turning off the track I found a spot to put up my tent



I got it up just in time as the slight drizzle became a downpour, it wasn't a comfortable night as my bike gear was drenched and inside the tent with me, but I was just grateful to have finished riding for the day and with all my limbs intact!

I had company in the night. I became aware of movement and looked up to see this orange blob on the side of the tent inner.



Closer inspection revealed...Kermit, catching insects attracted by my torchlight. Hope he's not a poisonous one I thought as I turned over and went to sleep.

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