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Old 11-16-2011, 04:03 AM   #31
Chris S OP
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'Schwei, schwei'

I looked down on my bike. Sadly a passing truck had failed to run it over and it was still there when I walked back.

You’d think I could have ridden to the bottom of the hill, but I was scared of riding the sands. 'Schwei, schwei', as they say out there [take your time].

As it happens the off white granite sand as seen here is actually very nice to ride on - the big, angular grains lock up well - no sinking. All sand seas are made of much finer orange sandstone sand: nice to look at and walk through barefoot, not so nice to ride with a payload


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Old 11-16-2011, 04:14 AM   #32
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REALLY loving the story and pics.

Thank you for making the trip and the time to tell the tale.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:24 AM   #33
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Looking forward to more updates

I'm in.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:37 AM   #34
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Keep it coming m'colleague!
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:44 AM   #35
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Absolutely brilliant...I started riding bikes in those pre Playstation and electronic gizmo days so it`s really refreshing and pure nostalgia to read.
Makes such a change from another computer plotted schedule from the BMW patchwork pyjama brigade who need a blooming GPS to get to the corner shop.
I still only use a paper map and a 'bullet point' card for my touring.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:46 AM   #36
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Sli Edrar

Thanks for your contnued interest.

Just down the road I came across this alluring massif. I wanted to ride there and explore but the idea of leaving the tarmac any sooner than necessary was terrifying - how far was it, 2 miles or 20? What happened if I fell in a hole or got hit on the head by an asteroid? Until you catch up with yourself and your surroundings, adventuring can initially make you paranoid.

Those mysterious peaks became the goal of my next trip, 18 months later, but I never actually got there until just a few years ago. The place is called Sli Edrar and it's actually 10 miles away in the shot below - a lovely cluster of granite peaks. Here’s a video of us bombing around the back of it in 2007 - the Sli bit starts at 2.28 and runs for a minute.

Places like Sli or the ruins of Djado in Niger sum up the other worldly magic of the Sahara to me.


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Old 11-16-2011, 04:51 AM   #37
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Thanks for the historic report!! Sometimes I wonder if we are now a bit too dependent on technology... nice to see an old school report like yours
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:55 AM   #38
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This is great. Thanks Chris for posting!
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:01 AM   #39
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"I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it"

There were hard rains in the winter of '82 it seems - the Arak Gorge had been trashed by the funnelled run-off and even out on the plains the flash floods had done their damage. I was being forced onto the sands whether I liked it or not.

Here there's a gap in the blacktop with 15-foot drop - ripped out by a phantom river. No red triangle or bloke in a high viz vest as I recall, just a discrete pile of stones. A good place not to be riding at night with a 6-volt Yamaha headlamp that even a moth would have trouble locating!


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Old 11-16-2011, 05:05 AM   #40
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Chris,

thanks for the report and pictures.

You are one of the last heroes. Today, it is much simpler to do such a trip. When I read both of Ted Simons books about his long trips, I said to myself, how much nicer the first one in then seventies must have been.

Best wishes
Georgios
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:12 AM   #41
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Awesome thread!
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:13 AM   #42
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A quick pose, why not

Well seeing as I had my camera out and all, I may as well point it at myself. I can see a hose from an old washing machine jammed in there. That'll come in handy if I come across a nomad with a leaking Zanussi.

This was about a 100 miles north of Tamanrasset and the new road was ripped up all the way down.
Top to bottom, left to right, Tam is just about in the middle of the Sahara. The XT handled like a wet mattress of course but I'd need to get used to it - beyond Tam there was no tarmac for the 400-miles over the border to Niger.


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Old 11-16-2011, 05:14 AM   #43
Edmond Dantès
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1982 ? That was the year Mark Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher's son disappeared in the Sahara for three days during the Pari-Dakar Rally. Jan 11 - Jan 14.

You didn't have anything to do with that by any chance?


Also in the news in 1982:

-Michael Jackson released Thriller
- The Falklands War
- Tottenham won the FA Cup
- Carl Ripken plays his first game of his 2,632 record consecutive games
- Italy wins The World Cup
- I lose my cherry at the age of 16
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:31 AM   #44
Chris S OP
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Quote:
You didn't have anything to do with that by any chance?
I wish, Edmond, but to be fair he was probably only my age and I don't think he'd turned into a lizard yet.
Back then it was common for rich slebs to have a bash at the Dakar - it was the 80s equivalent of being in a Ricky Gervais show.

As it happens it did help 'raise awareness' for my ride and the Sahara in the UK. At least people knew where it was when I mentioned it.

Are you really from the Chateau d'If? I remember passing it as the boat sailed out of Marseille. I always assumed Dumas had made it up.

Chris

PS: Congrats on getting laid! ;-)
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:39 AM   #45
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Carnage update

Back to the story. In Tam I had a chance to assess the carnage. A guy on a XL500 had flipped on the broken road north of Tam, and this XR500 Dakar racer was intact but missing a tank - I think the engine had blown.

This was bike #54 - the racing plate at the top of this thread. I wonder who #54 was in the '82 Dakar?


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