Friday, 7 November 2014

Update.

Well that took a while. After six weeks back in the country I'm no longer an unemployed statistic. I think I've got over my post travel trauma too... which is personified with this brand new route! It's a rough, preliminary, hastily drawn line, but in a roundabout way this is where I will be heading next. I have in my possession a new (well, seven years older... 1983!) Honda c90 also, so it's now a case of making the bike travel worthy, pocketing some more travel coins and waiting for the weather to turn before I set out on this one... with the girlfriend too!

I like this map.   



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The premature end to Africa.

Hello! First up, I think I need to make a sincere apology for not posting anything over the past weeks due to the amount of messages I've received asking if I'm okay... Thank you, I'm very touched :-) The truth is, I've had access to the internet for the past three weeks - there was an internet cafe around the corner of the family I was staying with in Kinshasa after the 'incident.' As some of you already know through my Facebook page; I am back in England! I've known of my imminent return for a long time, well, since the 'incident' and refused to let anyone know where I was or what I was doing for the pure sake of surprising everyone at home. When I poked my head around the living room door at my Mum's house when she was asleep on the sofa it's the first time I've ever seen anyone wake up and cry before... I shouldn't find it funny but I do a little bit. I managed to persuade my girlfriends landlord to let me into her flat before she got home from work and his in her bed. I just couldn't help myself!
 I've been very well looked after by a Congolese family for the past three weeks and I've been very comfortable... so apologies again to anyone who has been worrying... and I need to put out a true and heartfelt 'thank you' to Marcell and Filo for looking after. Things would have been very difficult if it wasn't for them... and it was an adventure in itself getting back home. SO, this 'incident.' As people who have been following my blog will know; I have been blessed a constant stream of good fortune, (Pah!) so as luck would have it, when I was crossing over the Congo river on a boat there was an accident... resulting in myself, my bike and all my gear falling into the water. My unending thanks go out to the three Congolese guys who jumped in straight after me without a second thought. Fortunately I had put my camera, laptop, spare money and passport in waterproof sacks, as standard, and we managed to get most of my luggage back onto the boat with the help of many hands.We had pinned the bike up against the side of the boat, and as I fell in the captain put the engine in reverse and did a very good job at stabilizing the boat. The fact of the matter remained though that we couldn't hold onto my bike with the current as well with the moving boat, aside from the fact that I was still wearing all my bike gear... and that the engine had filled up with water... so I told everyone to just let it go. And there it is... my c90 at the bottom of the Congo river. So that was the end of that! And no, to anyone who's thinking "why didn't you just buy another bike and ride it round?" We don't live in a simple world where you can do that; the paperwork was the most valuable thing for my bike and to cross borders - an Englishman on a Congolese bike would be a nightmare and I'm not sure if it would be even possible. It certainly wouldn't be possible to get it into the US or Canada or maybe even ship it to South America. As some of you may know from previous posts my aim was to get to Canada with my girlfriend, and as my bike sunk down into the depths that was the end of Africa for me and the end of trying to get to Canada that way.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Venturing into DRC...

Well the time has come. I'll be entering the great obstacle of the journey tomorrow - The Democratic Republic of the Congo. I've been here at Hippocamp in Brazzaville for four days, hoping that some other overlanders would turn up, but alas, no. It looks like I'll be doing it on my own. This is definitely going to change the story! If anything I think that I'm going to be the first person to attempt to cross this country on a c90!
 I've drawn a line of my planned route through the country below. I've been doing a lot of research over the past months and it seems like the best way. I've got the bike all up and ready; brand new air filter, new oil, parts greased up, stocked up on spares and food. If all else fails and it is really that bad I could always hitch a ride to Lubumbashi on a truck.

To be honest, I am scared. But we'll see... I might enjot it! Better to get in there and find out rather than to sit around mulling over all the possibilities on my own. I'd like to get to Zambia in three weeks from now. I don't know if that's feasible but I'll try. I doubt very much that I'm going to have a lot of access to the internet either, but I'll send word out when I can. Bon chance!


Friday, 15 August 2014

Update.

The photo's of Cameroon are up in the gallery...

I forgot to mention in my last post... I crossed the equator getting here! I think it was four days ago now. That's from Northern Europe to the Southern Hemisphere! This makes me very happy! As for Brazzaville; I think this is the cleanest, most modern looking African capital I've been to so far. Well, this part of the city I'm in anyway. And the people are great. I'm spending days here until my forgery extended moto insurance runs out (17th), getting the bike ready for DRC. Done the wheels today; checked bearings, greased things up and changed a spoke... that's the third one so far! The moto market area opens tomorrow so I'll go there and get spares and some more tools for most eventualities. This full chain and sprocket set that I bought in Nigeria for £5 has got me here fine and still looks in great condition... but because of the price and where it came from it doesn't hold my full trust... and I really don't want to be stranded in DRC!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Update.

The nine day ride from Yaounde to Brazzaville is over. Seriously, I think I could write a book solely on this last stretch of the journey. I had a very amusing confrontation (on my part) with a very drunken customs man (very annoying on his part) on the Cameroonian border. It's a long story but I thoroughly enjoyed annoying the living hell out of him. He deserved it, he was an absolute oaf... My tactic worked well and I won in the end. Part of my exhaust blew out in the Northern section of the Congo also. The North of the Congo is the most underdeveloped region I've ever been to... even the road I took through the Sahara had better infrastructure. There's more people but there is a dire lack of anything resembling modern living; running water, electricity etc. It made for a good few days though as I stayed in a Pygmy village that was hacked into the jungle as we galvanised bits of metal onto the exhaust to seal it up using a white hot machete that was heated in a mud hut underneath a cauldron of food. This was an amazing experience... and the rain water of the jungle tastes great! The Congolese are wonderful people also, generous, kind, respectful and freindly. And above all... no more hissing! The road has been long and hard though and I'm feeling quite exhausted. I've found a place to stay in Brazzaville for free where I'll rest up for a bit before I take to the Congo's larger counterpart. It's nice to be in a place with running water!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Update.

I'm setting off for the Congo now. I decided this morning that I'd like to be in Zambia by the time my year anniversary on the road comes around. That gives me about five weeks... to get through what literally are the worse roads in the world through both Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo. If I have no major issues with the bike and ride almost every day it should be doable. I don't feel too great about hanging around in DRC much. Once I get to Zambia I'll be on the final stages of Africa - according to the map anyway! I should be in Brazzaville within a week. I just hope the rains hold off!