A little trip around Egypt .....................by scooter

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by pebble35, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    Thursday 18 October

    Dakhla Oasis to Kharga Oasis today

    Today was my birthday ! And the alarm call to get us all up was was brought forward an hour to 5am !! Just what I needed !

    But I did manage to find a few minutes to open the birthday card my wife had sneaked into my luggage !

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    As usual the early start meant a stunning dawn and sunrise

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    Today was not a long ride - about 230 km to Dakhla. Early start saw us leaving the town as the kids were making their way to school. It was great to see them looking smart and smiling -compare that to kids on the way to school in the uk. Last night we spoke to a couple of 10 year olds outside the old city. Very polite, good English and keen to interact with us. Cool !

    As we left the hotel we passed by a large lake - a bit smelly but worth a photo opportunity

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    And the official shot that made it all worth while !

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    The scenery was different today. To most people desert scenery is desert scenery but it has been fascinating over the course of the trip to see just how many different types of 'desert' there are !

    Flying the Jersey flag !

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    Short rest break

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    We arrived at the hotel in Kharga to be greeted by hotel staff and well wishers as we rode in the gates

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    We were also greeted by the local Governor as well - we were possibly becoming a bit blase about all the official greetings but this guy was responsible for the New Valley Governorate - an are of some 440,000 square km or 1/4 of Egypt - as shown in orange on the map below

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    All of a sudden we realised just how high profile and important our little ride was in Egypt !

    The Governor talking with us

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    A birthday beer !

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    Whilst the bikes had been pretty reliable up till now, one decided it had done enough and wanted to go no further - looks like a valve gave way and tool out the piston/cylinder head.

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    No fancy workshop facilities here

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    That evening we went out for a ride in the local area to see some of the sights.

    Started off by visiting what I think was a local youth group sandboarding on the dunes just outside the town - and of course some people had to join in and have a go

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    The we moved on to the tombs at Bagawat

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    And then we headed back through the town to go on to the next sight. But this is where it all started to go a little pear shaped. Perhaps we had all become a little to 'familiar' with Egyptian driving styles or perhaps we had become too used to the more laid back traffic of the quiet and pretty much traffic free areas we had been riding through for the previous four or five days and were just not ready to face heavy traffic again.

    But Gunner from Denmark fell from his bike and suffered a bit of a nasty gash to his elbow. And then in all the confusion Mohammed was trying to direct traffic to help the group stay together and got knocked off his scooter by an impatient car driver - Mohammed put a (very) brave face on and finished the trip the next day - but later found he had broken a couple of bones in his foot and toes. My diary for the day simply describes it as 'carnage' !

    So it put a bit of a dampener on the evening as we all headed back to the hotel. A bit of a shame as the Governor had organised for a local band and dance group to perform for us.

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    #21
  2. NightShadow

    NightShadow Adventurer

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    Wow - What a ride if even on a scooter. Looks like you/all had a great time. Great Pics.
    #22
  3. Habibi Rocks

    Habibi Rocks Banned

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    Nice photos !!!!!!! Nice lodging too !!!!!
    #23
  4. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    pebble35,

    Fantastic!!! I'm really glad Gadget Boy pinned your thread to the top. What an amazing experience!

    Cheers.
    #24
  5. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    Looks like you captured a shooting star! Awesome Ride Report, thanks for sharing. It looks like a lot of fun.
    #25
  6. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    Friday 19 October

    Kharga Oasis to Luxor

    This was our last day of riding and was also the longest in terms of mileage. And just to keep us on our toes we had a closing ceremony at Karnak Temple in Luxor with the Governor of Luxor to get to !

    So up at 4 am it was !

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    It might still have been pretty dark outside but the inside of the hotel reception was pretty impressive !

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    Sticking injured riders back together before we set off !

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    My diary for the day reads ‘ride fuel ride fuel ride fuel’ and that was pretty much how it was. We knew we were up against it time wise today and everyone needed to pull together to make sure we stayed on schedule.

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    We were now on more regularly used roads so, apart from one section where we had very dusty sections of gravel and sand the road surfaces were pretty good and we progressed well.

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    Desert Yoga ! Mona and Christine decided we needed to kept supple and fit !

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    We rode through the desert for much of the day but always seemed to be climbing and gaining altitude. Then the scenery changed as we came into an area with hills and rock formations on both sides of us.

    We then found ourselves joining the main Cairo/Luxor/Aswan highway and the volume of traffic, particularly trucks, increased significantly.

    We went over the top of a pass through the mountains and stopped for fuel as we started the final descent towards Luxor. The sight, sounds, and smells of overheating diesel engines struggling to pull heavily laden trucks up the pass was something else. Some were managing little more than walking pace as they crawled past, blasting us with hot exhaust gases.

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    As we dropped down towards Luxor there was a rapid, if not immediate, change in scenery as we headed back into the Nile valley. Everything turned green as irrigation and the abundant supply of water meant crops could be grown easily.

    Egyptian traffic hazard !

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    We stopped as for a break as we crossed over the Nile – we could smell the finish line ………

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    Of course it was the last day and something had to go wrong ! Well in our case we managed to arrive a couple of hours earlier in Luxor than we expected to !

    We stopped in the town and spent a bit of time with the locals whilst we considered what to do next

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    As we still had spare time we decided to head to the hotel and check in, dump our luggage in our rooms, freshen up, and then head into the city for the closing ceremony at Karnak Temple.

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    As we arrived at the temple we were greeted by an array of flags, Egyptian dancers and the obligatory Red Bull paraphernalia ! We rode off the street and down in front of the main entrance to Karnak Temple, before parking up in a line in front of the temple.

    We had made it !

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    We were greeted by the Governor of Luxor who took the time to exchange a few words with all the participants – except when he got to me we spoke for a few minutes and photos of me and him chatting ended up being widely circulated on Egyptian news websites !

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    Formalities over we had a short guided tour of Karnak Temple. A truly amazing place where basically it seemed that each succeeding dynasty of Pharaohs wanted to outdo their predecessors by building bigger and more elaborate temples !

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    Then it was time for the last big shot for the film that was being made of the trip. The idea was that the photographers would film be sitting in front of us as we all rode slowly in line away from the temple entrance and past them. But it rapidly turned into a flat out race across the large sandstone paved area as we headed back to the road, leaving the photographers spluttering in a cloud of dust behind us !

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    Photo courtesy of Cross Egypt Challenge

    After that burst of exuberance it was back to the hotel where we parked the bike up for the last time and said our farewells to the machines that had carried us across Egypt – they were to be loaded into trucks later that night and shipped back to Alexandria where they were to be sold.

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    That night we were staying at the Hotel Maritim Jolie Ville - located on it’s own private island on the Nile this was a great place for us to wind down, relax, and reflect on our experiences and take in just what we had achieved over the past 8 days.

    And the hotel manager is a biker who spends time each summer riding around Europe on classic motorbikes ! I would recommend the hotel - great location, comfortable and good food - see Jolie Ville Kings Island Luxor

    The next morning saw most of the group on the plane back to Alexandria and then onwards back to our homes.

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    It was over …………………………until next year !
    #26
  7. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    Thanks - never spotted the star !
    #27
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    What a totally different and awesome adventure, and if I'm not mistaken, the cost posted on their website is $1600 for scooter, hotels and all transportation and entry fees... And as things go in Egypt, tips to everyone for everything.. still a bargain and guaranteed sunny days day after day.. Thanks for sharing your adventure :thumb
    #28
  9. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Certainly different! enjoyed that :clap:clap
    #29
  10. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    When I applied to do the trip I thought the $1,600 (just over £1,000) cost was reasonable. Bear in mind this included he use of the bike, fuel, support vehicles, mechanical backup, insurance, return flight from Luxor to Cairo, all meals and hotels. Only costs on top were flights (about £450 for me including internal flights in the UK) and two extra nights accommodation in Egypt (£125). I took some egyptian cash with me but only spent about £50 over the whole trip !

    Away from the traditional tourist traps tipping might have been expected but it was never demanded ! Small tips seemed with appreciation whereas in the traditional tourist spots the tips never seemed to be big enough and whatever you gave always seemed to get a response of 'more !' But as I was leaving Egypt I bought a coffee in Starbucks at Cairo airport - I had a pocket full of Egyptian change and gave it to the guy that served me as a tip but he (very politely) declined it as he was not allowed to accept tips !

    Bearing in mind the standard of hotels I reckon it was superb value and a great way of seeing the country. Maybe not a true 'adventure' in the normal sense of the word but it involved travel on two wheels and was great fun :D:D:D
    #30
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Very interesting report. Nice pics. It's always great to see a part of the world that I otherwise wouldn't. Thanks for posting this.

    Just curious. I know you enjoyed this trip but would you be willing to ride across Egypt on your own?
    #31
  12. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    Good question !

    I think I would not do it alone - but that is simply because I would be nervous of what could happen in the event of an accident - in some of the desert areas we could be riding for 3 or 4 hours without seeing any other vehicles. I would just be worried about what might happen in the event of an accident or breakdown and would feel more comfortable with company !

    I am already making plans to go back in 2013 - different route is being planned ........
    #32
  13. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    #33
  14. speed_racer

    speed_racer Been here awhile

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    Man what an awesome ride.. my ideal bike wouldnt be a scooter but for the cost and the consideration that you were basically treated like royalty / celebrities .. that's awesome!
    #34
  15. Old-n-slo

    Old-n-slo Burnin' fossil fuels!

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    The 2015 running of the CEC is at the end of October. I'm in! Who wants to go?
    --JohnD
    #35
    IvanRUS and pebble35 like this.
  16. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    Great write up and pictures. My wife and I just finished the 2015 CEC, (73 riders this year). Many of the same organizers and scooters were the same, except more on both counts. We had a planned route to do the Western Desert, but that was canceled do to the Mexican tourist incident just prior to the event. We started in Alexandria and rode to Cairo, then along the Red Sea to Luxor, then back to Cario, doing 2015 kms this year. Motorcycles were allowed this year, but we rented the SYM scooters, in the spirit of the event, but also to add to the fun.

    All in all, better organization this year, up and down on other aspects, but you have to remember that at triple the size of riders from '12, an amazing job for the organizers and a successful event. My wife wrote a blog of our experiences. First post working up to the CEC is here - http://cletha-adventures.blogspot.com/2015/10/countdown-for-2015-cross-egypt-challenge.html
    #36
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  17. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey Been here awhile

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    Fantastic!
    #37
  18. OnTheWay

    OnTheWay Long timer

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    Good trip and good bikes.
    How'd the bikes perform?
    #38
  19. mrphotoman

    mrphotoman Long timer

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    it looks like a great time
    #39
  20. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    Mostly w/o incident. A couple of mufflers broke off from vibration cracks at a weld. One or two top ends had to be swapped due to dropped valves. Most of the ride was spent at or close to WOT running 90+ kph with some segments being 80kph and some time closer to 60kph due to road conditions. I still think it's a pretty hard life for the SYM 150 to be running hard for 100 kms at a time in 90F temps so much. Despite the greater number of riders, I think the mechanical issues were comparable with the '12 event.

    It was an interesting way to see Egypt. Being flexible and not having too many expectations helps a lot.
    #40