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Old 11-04-2013, 01:29 PM   #61
Franck B OP
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Into the wild

If the previous day was a scenic but quite relaxed one, today we were ready to cope with the mountain...



Destination: Antsakabary. Thierry knew of an alternative destination should we not make it in time the difficult trail to Belalana.

But after that, no road, no trail, nothing on any map for the second. We just knew people walk to Antsakabary, 180km away.

To put the best chances to make it was 5:30 when we had breakfast at the local market..


ready for the muddy tracks through the rain forest... on a rainy day





Only 30mn on track - still of moderate difficulty at that point - and already loosing 30mn fixing a carb under the amused looks of shy children...



soon after we started the right stuff...


track conditions stayed like this until Bealanana

mud... mud ... mud. Antonio was struggling, using lots of his energy


mud up
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:32 PM   #62
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mud hop


mud final for this 6x6 Berliet

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:44 PM   #63
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mud zipping...


mud encounter....


... this women was actually walking all the way from Mandritsara to Sambava with her daughter, more than 300km .. she was carrying a rolled mat as her bed and personal stuff on the head

mud maze


mud that rocks...


.. and water on the rocks...


We couldnīt cross that one...
The young fellows are strong and outstanding bikers, transporting up to 100kg of rice on this same track the whole day on their bicycles. They were too happy to transport our bikes across the river for the price of the European croissant - as much as their earn in one hard working day.

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Old 11-04-2013, 05:13 PM   #64
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Epic RR, thanks for the pictures, and excellent narration.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:48 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by PharaohScoots View Post
Epic RR, thanks for the pictures, and excellent narration.
Thank You... all comments welcome !
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:00 AM   #66
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Great pictures Franck.
I'm wrestling with my own mud issues down on the east coast at the moment - the tracks over here are incredible and yet somehow vehicles get through and people are walking everywhere.
I liked the picture of the guys carrying the bikes across the rivers - I might have to copy that idea, some of the rivers have already been at maximum depth for the bike, I'm just revving and hoping for the best.
Looking forward to the next chapter...
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:54 AM   #67
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that was a small rocky river, and lots of traffic for rice transportation. East part of Madagascar, more humid has 2 rice seasons per year, and we were in the middle of harvest and processing time



... notice the 2 pillars in the background:


Once upon a time, in 1960, this track was a road. The nature shows us how meaningless and weak we are in comparison, anything not as strong as Egyptian pyramids or the like would be reduced to dust within a few decades.

The young fellows gave us company along the way... pushing their loaded bikes:


or retaining them with this special technique on steep down:


Thanks to them we often had two options: the 6x6 lane or the bicycle lane


..a lane choice that gets sometimes confusing
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:14 AM   #68
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After 80 km of mud tracks, the weather was getting dryer, and we arrived at a big village. Our lunch destination Belalana, was 7 km and a broad river away.

The barge made the river crossing easy. Checked the bridge? On this bridge, made out of thin branches, 10kg kids running on it caused it to undulate with more than 10cm deflection... we chose the safe option


us passing by was a big show, not only for the goose, we had proper public


and soon we were on the other side...


from there the landscape was flattening, the mountains were behind us... we were on the high plateau where intense rice culture was taking place..
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:43 AM   #69
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very soon we reached the big village Belalona... a well earned lunch break.
One of us flipped upside-down a tiny wood plank across a channel when rolling on it. The plank took itīs revenge by biting Marcīs tires with its upstanding nails...
So even more of an attraction for locals while ordering food with special appetizer activity:



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Old 11-09-2013, 06:55 AM   #70
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We left Belalona for a landscape of hills.. a broad track led us out





this track was not leading us to our destination, but we would reach that way the alternative destination, should we not be on schedule. Timing was OK, so soon, we had to put our hypothetic turn signals to the left... the upper track on the picture is the tiny track we took:
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:03 AM   #71
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Thumb open lanscape

so from there we were up into the wild, with a heading, many small tracks with many intersections, and away from the main rice routes... now and then we found someone and ask if we were on the right track to Antsakabary, or how to get back on it.

Itīs a nice feeling. Open landscape left to us. Maybe the first westerners to take these paths since very long?




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Old 11-09-2013, 07:25 AM   #72
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Wow great pictures. I like the one with the lady with the umbrella in the rain.
Thanks for showing us a different part of the world. It's completely different than the Madagascar documentary I recently watched which featured a talking lion.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:34 AM   #73
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the two hundred bridges

I did not count them.. probably countless. On days 3 and 4, or in the same morning, we had to cross a number of rivers and bridges.
On that afternoon, we were always again hopping above irrigation channels and rivers. Often with the help of logs or plank, sometimes a single log or plank, sometimes hopping above directly with our bikes. On the picture below we were cautious are walked it, but for many many we did not




remember the undulating branches bridges close to Belalona ? A few times we had no other option but to ride it


walking it was not even an option... under the weight of the bike combined with our feet, the branches could have gone apart... so riding it like on eggs, smooooth... constant speed... a bit of speed, so that, in case something breaks, inertia allows to hop a bit further instead of falling through... not too much speed not so stress it... no acceleration not to bring the branches apart...

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Old 11-09-2013, 07:44 AM   #74
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Thanks for posting a RR on an area I will probably never see.

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Old 11-09-2013, 07:48 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Catracho View Post
Wow great pictures. I like the one with the lady with the umbrella in the rain.
Yeah, you noticed that one , they need special umbrellas with long handles
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