|01-31-2012, 02:43 PM||#136|
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: In the mountains
Hi Mr Wwwhite,
Thanks for taking the time to get back to me; much appreciated by myself and Tenere owning buddy. keep your travel tales and photos coming.
Both following your adventure now and wishing you well on your travels. We both have sympathy for you all when it is time to dig out Land Rovers as it's something we both do regularly ourselves...
Ride safe both
|01-31-2012, 04:57 PM||#137|
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Arizona--Land of the free and heavly armed
If you guys ever get out of that god forsaken hell hole called Africa, you should be on the downhill slide for the rest of your journey.
All of the reports that I've read on this site don't seem as difficult as where you are now,I believe only the DARIN GAP would be in the same class
It seems as if you guys & TEAM ROVER make a good combo to help each other through, I'll bet they are as thankful for you as you are for them.
Keep the rubber side down & "spinning an grinning" till your out of there.
BEST of LUCK w/ the rest of the journey.
"WIND CALLS THE HEART,ADVENTURE BEGINS"
Arizona OHV Ambassador
|01-31-2012, 06:28 PM||#138|
cool hand fluke
Joined: May 2009
Location: between my last drink and my next one
This is incredible stuff, I am sure the makings of good memories once its over with!
Adrian, Central & South America, 2011/2012
02 GS & 08 WR250
I know violence isn't the answer. I got it wrong on purpose.
|01-31-2012, 07:03 PM||#139|
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Land of Disenchantment
NMOHVA.ORG - Help to keep your trails open!
Life is a mist in the wind, here today and gone tomorrow; know who you are and where you are going after you pass through death's door.
|02-01-2012, 01:45 AM||#140|
Joined: Jun 2010
Ziua/ Day 9 - 31/12 Revelion/ New Years Eve
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip adanc/ deep sand
Vremea/ Weather: 34°C, soare/ hot
Jack woke up all stiff in the back: I was facing the potential dead-ends alone. The road continued to keep us guessing, alternating steaming swamps with flat sandy patches, narrow paths or hilly ravines. And navigation was confusing: in some villages, people would stare as if we were freaks, and we tried all day to keep our poker faces on. We were struggling to make sense of the contradictory information we could harvest from the locals. Finding the deviations and avoiding at all costs the dreaded N1 was imperative if we were to arrive at the end of this trip.
Sometimes you don't find the providential tree where you want it to be. One time we mount the winch on a palm stub, and Delphine keeps a watchful eye on the fable wood screeching and threatening to give up. Ducks swim in the rainwater ponds and pigs enjoy a mud bath. If not for the excited crowds, the whites stuck in deep shit and covered in sweat and dirt, this would make a lovely photo subject. But this is no serene scene from some travel magazine.
We bump again into familiar faces: over the coming days we would meet several times with the same trucks. These people are the real deal. We may have been pushed into driving on this road but we only have to do it once in our life. But for them, their life is this road.
Every mistake can have cruel repercussions on this cathartic trip: we find the car suspended, centimeters from tumbling into a big hole. Villagers rush to enjoy the show, kids occupying the better "seats". We could picture them with the bags of popcorn and Coke cups, munching on.
We work in vain, only to finally attempt a desperate solution: pulling the 3.5 tone jeep using only man power.
And it works: dozens of villagers jump at the opportunity to participate in the event and then ask to mount the bike and get their photos taken.
We spot a strange beauty: an African woman with clear green eyes.
Its the last day of the year. We feel the exhaustion and stress in every cell of our bodies, but what a way and what a place to spend it really. We have the comfort of a shower, a table to spread a lovely New Year dinner and the beauty of our bush camp under the most amazing sky. We feel far away from anything familiar, but we are among friends and we drink our champagne to our dear friends and to you who are supporting us and keeping us virtual company in this cathartic trip. Happy 2012!
|02-02-2012, 08:12 AM||#141|
Joined: May 2008
Location: Perth , WA
Most excellent ! La multi ani si multa, multa sanatate ! Curaj si un strop de nebunie aveti , slava Domnului
Mads Mikkelsen - '' I'm a beer man. I tried to drink whiskey and Scotch but I don't get it. It smells like a girl who didn't shower and just splashed a lot of perfume on . ''
Jack FM - '' Vampires , what a pain in the neck ! ''
Unknown - '' I've learned to give away not because I have too much but because I know how is to have nothing . ''
|02-02-2012, 12:23 PM||#142|
Joined: Jun 2010
Ziua/ Day 10 - 01/01/2012
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip adanc/ deep sand
Vremea/ Weather: 34°C, soare/ hot
Without the winch it was no way we could go on on these roads, so the target of the day was to fix it. While working on it, villagers pour in to investigate. Some brought ridiculous human rights activate badges. Some claim they are village chiefs, regional guards or all kind of operatives entitled to check on us. As we try politely to explain why we need some space, they get cheeky, asking for some ID. One even says we'd camped in a cemetery. It's laughable, but annoying. We tell them how we spend all day long with local people in villages and towns, and that at night and in the morning it's important to have some privacy and peace to attend to our vehicles and the kids, it's in vain. They have nothing else to do with their time, besides it's the first day of the new year, so they expect us to cheer them up with some gifts. Let's say that we managed to define some private space around the camp, but as we leave it, we understand that these visitors were actually quite permissive. We have camped almost next to a village, the homes are visible as we get back to the road, no wonder they came to meet us; it's amazing that they left us alone during the new year night!
But maybe we should not have celebrated the humane nature of Kashitu villagers quite yet, cause it was here where our group was to receive the most surprising blow yet.
Entering the village we are eventually trapped in the usual watery trenches left behind by some truck that got stuck and had to dig its way out. So we get digging too, and the enthusiasm among the 200 plus attendees to the show is high. For some moments we forget to watch the bike, but this is our 12th country in Africa, and people have shown nothing but respect for our property so far. But not these people. As I return to the bike to get ready to drive, I see the radio is missing. We have been using a pair of walkie-talkies to communicate - car and motorbike - while on this route with many separate deviations that sometimes force us to drive alone. Mine is now gone, and all hell brakes loose.
We try everything we can think of: mobilize the villagers, ask questions, shout at them, threaten them with the army and police in Kinshasa. The so called activists and chiefs have disappeared, nowhere to be seen. No one assumes responsibility for this village and community, the Vidals are on the brink of a nervous breakdown. And hours pass with a sea of people around us. We attempt to communicate, it's useless, they're useless. And suddenly, rumor that someone is coming with the radio. East to the village a large group is making its way towards where we stand. And they have the lost radio. Minutes later we get moving, while ransom requests pour in from every direction.
We feel disappointed, ashamed. It's not why we made all the way, all the sacrifices, to come to Africa and have to deal with this. We don't want to be these angry people, shouting, threatening, fighting, pushing kids away. We know these are not the most friendly of all places, but there are reasons for it and we don;t want to get sucked in them. And we understand why we almost have. We left KIN with an unrealistic target, in an attempt to exit the high risk malaria zone and spend the holidays as close as possible to Zambia. But this road is tougher than us, we cannot beat it by force, we must cunningly use other skills to trick our way where we want to be. We have been accumulating frustration and despair and we have been acting on impulse, allowing stress to get to us. And on this road every mistake costs. Not carrying enough water or food supplies, going too fast or too slow, it all matters. And even if we can all speak french, communication is difficult.
So in the next village the French agree to spend their first night at a chief's compound: we set camp behind the mud house and we kind of get to dine in peace, after shopping for some groceries (bananas, pineapple, drinking water). We throw what other goodies we have on the table - a last tomato, a cucumber, some bulgur and corn on a cob, and that's dinner! Soon after we hit the sack, anticipating an early awakening.
Ziua/ Day 11 - 02/01
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip adanc/ deep sand
Vremea/ Weather: 34°C, soare/ hot
Our host asks us to charge a jeep battery, so we oblige, while he leaves to bring more drinking water. But he veneer comes back, so after packing our stuff, Lea says good bye to the many kids she has been playing ball with all morning and Ana to the villagers she has been visiting to discuss traditional gastronomy and what not. We are ready to face the roads again.
The home of the village chief.
Lea with the kids
And desperation… This time not our own: a Congolese 4x4 is stuck, so we town him out of the moving sand, where stagnant waters form deep underground pools, impossible to predict, easy to sink in.
No luggage and no pillion, now the ride is quite fun! I am learning a lot on this difficult ever changing terrain, I wonder how will I make us of all these newly acquired skills when we are out. We got tougher during the last couple of days, so we drive more calmly, more focused. The most important new rule: every time we are not sure about the best way to pass through a place, we stop and someone walk on foot until the next stable area. Then we discuss whatever was observed and decide on a strategy. Only after this process is completed we start driving.
By late evening we finally arrive in Tshikapa. We are in Kasai Occidental province, but what a disappointed is this place! We find in the decrepit market bread, some tomatoes, canned corned beef, manioc, doughnuts. And we roll into the "main avenue", as the police officers at the check point pompously inform. What a joke: this was a tarred road sometime in the 60's, but since the colonists left there was no maintenance other then the torrential rains that sunk the tarmac. The avenue is a canyon, filled with metal leftovers from trucks that had mechanical breakdowns and of course nobody cared to clear the way from the debris. One of this archeological souvenirs gets in the way of the Landie's differential, and we are forced to work hard to be able to drive back and then out of the road. Because while we were sweating it out, no less than 3 trucks formed a queue, blocking the one lane "avenue" of hell. Kind of in a bad mood we slide our way through the deep wet sand up to yet another catholic mission, where we celebrate the achievement with a cold lager.
Ziua/ Day 12 - 03/01
Vremea/ Weather: ploaie torentiala/ torrential downpour
Today it's my birthday. It's not an obvious place to party. During the night we got soaked with rain, water dribbling at corners into the worn out tent. A bit disappointed in this North Face design, confy, light, but not so strong. We slept again on folded mattresses in the centre. Rain stops at noon, and the rest of the day we wash our stuff with rain water ad tend to our vehicles. We decide to move the tent under a roof, on a veranda, where later we have a small party. Beer, ground nuts, rice and my surprise b-day cake: minuscule belgian waffles that Ana found in the market. She has coated the cookies with roasted nuts in a brown sugar caramel, a sweet improvised delight in a cruel world.
Happy b-day to me!
|02-02-2012, 02:31 PM||#143|
Totally Normal? I'm not!
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Banana Republic of Black Gold
5 Star rating... just because there aren't any more...
SS. '98 BMW F650 / '06 WR250F / '07 KTM 990 Adv
|02-02-2012, 03:37 PM||#144|
Joined: May 2010
World class ... !
Greetings from California. What a world class adventure and documentary! Kudos indeed.
I stumbled upon your report days ago and just now caught up through it all, intrigue and admiration from the very beginning! I feel as if I know a great deal more about the entire African continent, certainly more about crossing it!! Very well done indeed to the both of you. I suspect both of you realize by now this may be setting a stage, a precedent, for the rest of your lives, no? :-o
btw: Screaming kids, mud stuck, criminal police Visas nothwithstanding, the only time I felt bad for either of you was Ana's malaria. Good Lord, that must have been brutal. Forget the meds, obligatory shots & then vitamins to build the immune system.
I spent a few weeks in South Africa back in '07, including a couple weeks in Kruger, so I've had a glimpse of incredible Africa, a mere glimpse compared to this trip.
thealaskan screwed with this post 02-03-2012 at 08:14 AM
|02-04-2012, 02:02 AM||#147|
Joined: Jun 2010
Ziua/ Day 13 - 04/01
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip/ sand
Vremea/ Weather: 38°C, soare/ hot
40 bucks for 2 nights of camping and some rain water? Way too much, we said, when father Sylvain-Desire Munzombo decided to show his mercantile side on our departure. We had asked on arrival about money and we thought it was understood that they wanted none. We had spent hours discussing politics and his desire to come to Europe, we exchange contacts and gave him coordinates of friends who might intermediate a scholarship. He seemed a bit off is some regards, but I guess it's hard to read people. We negotiated the amount, and he looked happy to take any money we were willing to pay…very christian, indeed.
The day had begun on a negative tune, and unfortunately it ended just as bad. Few Ks outside Tsikapa we get lost from each other. We were now 2 groups: the car with the 4 frenchies plus Ana, and me. Besides N1 there is one more "main" road, a deviation, really, leading to Kananga. I have no idea we are driving on different routes, neither does Jacques, so we both take advantage of the almost dry piste. A crunchy layer of sand can be a blessing or a curse, it all depends on there is if a murky swamp under the crust. I can go 50ks/hour and Jacques 30-35, so, unawares, the distance between us grows, way beyond the radio coverage. When we realize the situation, it's too late: asking around in villages we're told that the variant will return to the N1 only in some 70 Ks. I have less than 4 dollars, a bottle of water and every chance to run out of gas before reuniting with the 4 wheeled group. In the meantime the others try to investigate and ran into a guy who tells them that he has spotted a white on a big bike taking the N1. So we push it, skipping lunch, hoping that we will make to the junction before it got dark.
The road when it's not raining is indeed better, probably in dry season is even less challenging. But this time we cannot enjoy the good pace, cause we are running out of time: night is approaching and we start imagining all kind of creepy scenarios where I would have to spend the night alone, asking for shelter and food from some villagers, out of gas, out of money, maybe rain will come…you know…silly things like that. I arrive the first at the junction, but I can see no tyre tracks and no one has seen any car passing by today. So I wait, and I wait. Two hours run by, a cold evening rain pouring rivers of orange waters on the cracked surface of sand. after offering me a chair in exchange for my story, the locals let be to be. But there's no point to stay here any longer: the car may be stuck, I could be here for days or something, I have got to go back on the deviation and try to find them, it's my only chance.
And sometime around 6 p.m. I see them, the Landie's fog lights rendering a ghostly apparition. We hug, we comfort each other, we tell our stories. They were indeed stuck in a swampy deviation of the deviation, right before meeting me. I buy some very pricey gas at 2600 francs/liter from a small stand. It is already pitch black, we must go for an emergency camping spot.
Not a very calm spot though: minutes after we lie in our tents, tired and unsatisfied after another spartan dinner, we hear voices and people approaching. I ponder staying put and ignoring them, but these ones are determined like the Kikwit group, to go full retard. They are very loud and they start poking around at vehicles. The car is more protected, but I have to do something, I must intervene. I guess I don't look so menacing in my knickers and all, so I do my best to make it clear that we are exhausted, we are tourists and we need to rest, alone. Of course that soon after the fort group leaves the second arrives, and this time they are more cunning: they have summoned the police dude from the barrier, telling him them strangers are nearby and that they are afraid! The dude knows about us, I have chatted with him some hours back, but it takes a lot of convincing to make them all go. Disappointed that we are in no mood for socializing and that they got no souvenirs or money from the mundele. So they don't go far, just by the side of the road, enough to allow us to fall asleep, their voices still debating angrily the unsatisfying outcome of their visit.
Ziua/ Day 14 - 05/01
Starea drumului/ Road: asfalt + nisip tasat/ tarmac + good sand
Vremea/ Weather: 33°C, soare cu ceva nori/ warm and cloudy
At 5.30 a.m. sharp the villagers are back. Group after group we try to keep them at bay, while shoving the breakfast into our mouths and packing in the same time. The yesterday rain left behind a topping of sand that is easier to ride on. This is small beer compared to what we've lived before Tshikapa. In Kananga we hit tarmac for the first time since we left KIN, a chicken poxed shadow of a once acceptable road, which has long collapsed under the rain, trucks and lorries. Pit stop at the market for some groceries: not much to buy though, platy of charcoal, bread, pineapple, dried fish, tomatoes the size of cherries (but not cherry tomato) and piles of ants and termites, some still moving. Everything is not cheap, and gas is 2600 francs for a liter!
Sometimes the lorry tracks become narrower and my foot pegs get stuck in the sand, my rear wheel digging a sticky trench in the pocket of wet mud underneath. Tilt the bike, pull it out of the trench, twist it back into upright position - under the scorching heat I sweat a river at every move, so by lunch I am too happy to eat the cold salad of rice, tomatoes and avocado.
Giant pineapple, just 1 dollar a piece
Of the bag of money we exchanged in KIN we have maybe 20% left. The biggest bill is 500 francs, so at a 900 francs to the dollar rate, you can imagine how it looks when people buy gas, for example. And yeah, as always in Africa, the money business is Lebanese.
Most of the traffic between settlements is made on foot, no wonder we stand out.
After the picnic we keep on rolling some 80 Ks east of Kananga, desperately looking for a reasonable camping spot. Villages and villagers line the road, finally at 8 p.m. we enter the woods and we take a sharp right straight into the bush, where we set camp under a menacing sky of charcoal clouds.
Ziua/ Day 15 - 06/01
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip tasat/ good sand
Vremea/ Weather: 29°C, ploaie/ rain
Torrential rain. We cannot make a move until 10.30 a.m., when the storm becomes more tame. Under the drizzle we pack the tent, from inside towards outside, but our stuff got drenched anyways. 21 degrees, freaking cold, man. We are in no mood to roll, but our French side of the team has discovered their visa will expire in 5 days, so we've got to run. Ana gums in the car, sheltered from the cold rain, but depressed to spend hours in a moving cage. She sits on the bench behind, where normally the seats can be rolled down, to create arresting and playing platform for the kids. But due to the noise it's hardly possible to communicate with anybody in the car and there's a constant shift of falling objects knocking on her head: bags of food, potty, games, shoes, luggage.
After one hour the rain stops, but the sandy clay is so spongy, no wonder we are the first man men to venture on the road this morning. As the rain is still raging behind us, rivers of muddy water flow under our wheels, and we struggle to maintain a steady pace, while shivering and with the boots drenched up to my ankle. But we are moving forward, so that's good enough for me.
We lunch at the Mukamba lake, where we run into the first bikers since we entered Africa (Julien and Franck were moving about by Taxi in Abuja, so we veneer got a chanche to see them with the bikes). These two are from Belgium, and they travel quite differently: they fly from home to ride a determined stage, like this time they arrived in Lusaka and will fly back home from Kinshasa. I guess the bikes stay on the continent, so they don't need to carry spares and food, they travel light, sleeping mostly in hotels when they have a chance, eating local food….sounds like great fun. They have arrived here via N1 and they have met Alper a couple of days ago in Kamina.
20 km before Mbuji Mayi - our target for the day - we hit the final test, at least that's what the villagers say. The rains have carved the road into a real canyon, but on the bottom the mud is as slippery and wet as everywhere, so eventually we get stuck, twice.
Out from the trench at the mouth of the canyon, we get stuck the second time right before rejoining the flat.
The crowds rejoice in the sweat and blood show, even if disappointed that we are not rewarding their presence with money and souvenirs. On top of the hill, a village "de luxe" boutique.
At midnight we reach our target: after 2 weeks of hardships we are in Mbuji Mayi, where we are welcomed by brother Richard, Hungarian ophthalmologist, and brother Jerome, a French doctor. They are living here for over 20 years, running one of the most extraordinary and successful projects in Africa, the Saint Raphael Clinic of Ophthalmology. Here they offer medical services at the highest standards, using the latest technology, thanks to donors from Europe and North America; they also offer educational programs alined to the Congolese psyche: theater plays, musicals, teaching them about personal health, trust in professional care, life. One of the focus is on continuous training and in producing Congolese specialists that will take the project further. Our generous and altruist hosts offer us a warm dinner and a real bed to rest after a long and cold day.
Ziua/ Day 16 - 07/01
Vremea/ Weather: 30°C, soar, ploaie spre seara/ sunny, evening rain
Ana's motto has always been: "I choose cheese". Cheese, what a wonder creation: we appreciate it on buttered bread this morning more than ever. The lovely breakfast is followed by a day of washing, drying, visiting the clinic and generally getting ready for the next leg of our adventure. The brothers are incredible sources of information about the true Congo, so little known outside projects and communities like this.
The clinic truck, the indestructible Pinzgauer, which has the diffs higher than the center of the wheel, to easily drive over the huge trenches of the Congo.
I have "organized" things brilliantly: for my St. John celebration we get to party with the clinic staff, who are throwing a new year encore.
It's a yummy spread: goat stomach in tomato sauce, manioc and garlic stew, grilled goat, roasted chicken, tomato and onion beef stew, fried tilapia, manioc and maize fluff, rice, pasta, onion sauce, chillies, popcorn, roasted peanuts, beer, sodas. All followed by dancing to the sensual rhythms of Congolese rumba.
This great team of dedicated people are sharing with us not only the party, but also the activity report of the year and their ambitions for 2012. Read more about the project at: www.procongo.hu
2011-2012 Africa Full Circle 2up on 660 Tenere
2013 Central Asia, Mongolia & the BAM on 690 Enduro R + DRZ 400
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mrwwwhite screwed with this post 02-04-2012 at 02:39 AM
|02-06-2012, 08:34 AM||#148|
Joined: Jun 2010
Ziua/ Day 17 - 08/01
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip tasat si pamant/ good sand and dirt track
Vremea/ Weather: 29°C, insorit/ sunny
We say good bye to our new friends in great mood and great shape: showered, clean gear and all, an encouraging debut to the second stage of our own rally to Zambia. For the second time on this trip we were to take a different route, less travelled, but one that we were advised by the clinic driver that is better than the National 1. The route is a bit longer, crossing to Kamina via Kabinda, Mission Kalonda and Grelika Farm. We have no map, just a list of the villages we will pass, like we did it in Congo with team Alper & Esther.
Half way to Mission Kalonda we run into our hosts for tonight: brother Richard has already called the sisters at the mission to inform about our arrival.
I stock on fruits every chance I have got.
The lovely huts where the Beatitude Sisters put us up. Here we encounter yet another special community, doing good for the locals, while working to preserve traditions. They bake bread, prepare homemade jams and fruit distillates. Tonight they celebrate the Epiphany, and we enjoy a lot their African ludic interpretation of the biblical story, happy to catch a glimpse of the Congolese way of living wit God.
Ziua/ Day 18 - 09/01
Starea drumului/ Road: laterita/ laterite
Vremea/ Weather: 30°C, insorit/ sunny
Our idea to entitle this post "No days without getting stuck" was rendered useless by todays events. This portion of the trip is a breeze to us, after toughening it the other days. So we roll at the catholic house in Mission Kalonga, after spending the day driving through a picturesque rural wonderland of small mud huts covered in dry grass, where people weave ingenious baskets to fish, carry their crops, or to filter a presumably taste enhancer distilled by mixing water with a black bicarbonate palm dust.
Food has become a rare and expensive commodity on this trip. With dwindling supplies, we are happy to find some pretty good tomatoes and beer on the small stands in town. Delphine improvises a French dish: farco,s, using almost exclusively local ingredients: leafy greens, canned corned beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, maize flour, a dash of milk. The gullets are lightly browned, then served with boiled potatoes and local beer.
Ziua/ Day 19 - 10/01
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip tasat/ good sand
Vremea/ Weather: 34°C, cald, apoi ploaie/ hot, then rain
In the morning we pack our tent pitched under the chicken house roof, where goats use to sleep.
Jacques & Delphine ask us to allow the playing space to the girls, as the piste seems to be improving, so today we are riding 2up on the Tenere. Brilliant sun, good sand under the wheels, bright colors in at the rural landscape, a regained freedom to ride, to be.
But it was a brief joy: after 80 Ks our Dakar proves more merciless than theirs. My chain link breaks in two, under the increased weight, worn out by sand and bumpy rides. I try to fit a temporary wire, but there is no way. My heart sinks, I have no choice but to do it like in Cameroon. So we start the tow, and to make things worse, rain comes back upon us, soaking me and the laterite piste that becomes once again dangerously soapy. In the stress of the moment, we make a mistake with the longer towing cord, so the first tumble is inevitable. Then I fall again, and again, and again: sliding like a toy on ice, being thrown into a tree, losing rear grip in a pool of water. My rear brake lever gets bent each time, so eventually it breaks, forcing me to use only front brakes to tension the tow cable. 70 more km of hell, to realize that this is to dangerous to do, we are risking a serious injury and we are some 200 km from any town. We have seen nobody in the last couple of hours, we are alone here. We must stop.
We set camp after the 4th fall, right on the road. There's little chance that someone will pass by.
But our troubles don't end here: the Rover has been leaking oil from the engine for the whole afternoon, the level is on minimum and there is no spare oil to replace the lost one. I have some 10W40, but using motorbike oil may damage the turbo. We have to find a way, we must do something to get ourselves out of this forsaken place, and we must do it with whatever we have got.
Ziua/ Day 20 - 11/01
Starea drumului/ Road: nisip tasat/ good sand
Vremea/ Weather: 19°C, frig si ploaie/ cold rain
No brake lever
And no change of oil for the leaking engine of the car. As the compressor is broken, we have improvised a system to cut some holes last night: a cord wrapped around the drill. And some hours of hard work later, we had fixed our vehicles, African style.
Cold welding for the Defender
Handmade link for my chain, fitted with 2 found bolts.
Ana went back to her corner and off we went, nervous at every bump, at every curve. And the patched chain hanged in there, feeding my hopes to escape from this place in one piece.
As we reunited with the village road, where some bicycles do pass from time to time, our efforts were rewarded by a tasty Congolese meal from the road-side stands: beef in palm oil stew and hot fluff. Delish!
Hunger and meat cravings behind us, we were in the mood to notice the changing landscape: more vivi colors, more wildlife, maybe we would see some African beasts after all!
Whipped by the torrential rain, we rush into Kamina, tent, sleeping bag and mattresses soaked. Our dry sacks no longer can be call as such, worn out by the tough weather. We pitch our wet home under a roof and we grill some fluff. We need to call Alper and check on him, but the news are not good at all. They are in Kolwesi, after 6 (six!!!!) days of hell. The road is flooded, dozens of trucks are stuck along the way and there are 2 difficult river crossings. Alper, who has a lot of experience with off road bikes, tells me that one of the rivers is impossible to cross on a motorbike, with the water level above 1m! They have broken the lamelar suspension of the Toyota and are dealing with that. The nightmare begin all over again.
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