Mapless in Madagascar

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tiffany, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,125
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Madagascar - a place I've dreamt about visiting ever since camping on a Mozambique beach under a full moon and gazing out across the Indian Ocean. Although it's out of sight, knowing that there was this immense and slightly mysterious island out there.
    However it's not on the way to anywhere and is expensive to get to, other ride projects have got in the way over the years but then I started to seriously think about it. Or about as serious as I get, I even did some research...
    I did a search on ADV to get further info and came up with this great RR


    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=512337&highlight=madagascar


    this ride was where a bloke from ADV and his wife headed to Madagascar for their honeymoon and the pictures look amazing. They could only afford two weeks, so I had a think about it and reckoned if I didn't bother with the wedding bit (because those are expensive) then WOW I could go for longer and hey, if I didn't take my man with me I could buy a motorbike out there AND stay for even longer:clap:clap

    Sounds great to me, not everyone would agree but the ex-boyfriend isn't on ADV so he won't read this!!

    The plan is to head over there, buy a bike and travel around exploring for three months- sounds good doesn't it:D

    My Dad mis-read the name of this trip (every journey needs a title) and chuckled "Hapless, that about sums up all your trips" thanks for the vote of confidence Dad!
    In fact it's Mapless, although I am taking a map, the reality is that many of the places that I'm hoping to visit are not actually on any maps, they're too small and too remote - just the type of places I like.
    I've even got a sticker for the trip - very un-British of me

    [​IMG]


    For those still unsure, Madagascar is the island to the right of the front wheel on the bike.
    #1
  2. M1tch

    M1tch Been here awhile

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    Plymouth, England
    Subscribed!!
    #2
  3. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Sep 17, 2007
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    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    The big sticker trips are some of the best ones:thumb

    Maybe one day I'll get the chance for that island, until then:lurk
    #3
  4. lakota

    lakota Geeser

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    Jan 31, 2007
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    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    looking forward to this one:D
    #4
  5. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    Aug 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Oregon City
    Traveled in Madagascar. Beware of local drivers- they make Mexico City look tame. Extremely primitive but usable road heading to the Lemur Preserve. In one case a bus ran off the road, all the passengers turned into towing service, pushing and pulling to get going. Once they hit open paved roads, they drive fast.
    Saw some neat places. Huge destination spot for UK birders on the islands. Not many US travelers when we were there- maybe 2008. The RR was great- I remember those bridges. The best thing about the red dirt road for a bike, it slowed the cars, and bikes could navigate big ruts and holes. They didn't mention lack of English speaking Madis. Bikes cut through most language barriers.

    Subscribed
    #5
  6. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    Manchester...but from Rome!
    Hi there,

    I am the bloke above!!!!!!

    Yes it was amazing!
    If I can give you any help or suggestion just give me a shout!

    Ciao

    Nicola
    #6
  7. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
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    Location:
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    Great to hear from you and yes, any suggestions for places I should definitely see, I'm open to hearing.

    Some other bloke has just posted up a video about his Madagascar trip as well so that can give people an idea of what it's like over here. I'll have ot get to a decent internet connection to watch it myself.
    #7
  8. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,125
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    You guys are always asking about what gear I'm using etc, so here goes

    The final few weeks in England were pretty busy with getting ready to go whilst still holding down a full-time job up until the day before I left the country[​IMG]

    I've had a lot of help from various people, whom I like to think are doing this because they feel
    "Wow what a great adventure to support"

    but actually I suspect it's something more along the lines of
    "that poor misguided Englishwoman is setting off again, she needs all the help she can get"!

    First of all Bill Mayers who customised the seat on Thelma for me, and who is someone that realises just what a bony backside I've got, has sent me a strap-on seat. A new BMS Ergo, to try out

    [​IMG]

    whilst those nice chaps at Giant Loop sent me a box of goodies
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    My excitement knows no bounds as I dig through the contents of the box

    [​IMG]


    Here it all is, now I've got to work out how to attach it to a bike. Some of the stuff is new prototype- if it passes the Tiffany Coates test than anyone can use it!
    [​IMG]

    I fitted in a quick trip to Cyprus to visit my brother, refresh my diving skills and get some warmth!
    I also had some new sunglasses from Ugly Fish - the best motorcycle glasses in the world
    [​IMG]

    While I'm away, Thelma will be in the safe hands of Craig and Barbara where she will be having a bit of an overhaul and some TLC. It was sad to leave her behind, but nice to see how happy these two are to have her in their clutches! I'll be getting regular updates.

    [​IMG]


    Ian Coates came down the weekend before I left- mainly to wave someone off at Lands End but I persuaded him to stay for a couple of days, and we managed a nice coastal walk... in the driving rain!
    [​IMG]

    Ian has also travelled extensively, and as we share a surname (no relation) he's often asked in various corners of the world- are you Tiffany's Dad?! We've narrowly missed each other when we've managed to be on the same continent and were even once both in Bulgaria at the same time but opposite ends of the country and I had a tour group tagging along who would probably not have appreciated doing a social call! So it was good to finally met up.

    Maps purchased from Stanfords and I was ready to go, once more heading to an airport with full bike gear.
    #8
  9. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,125
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    It's a long journey to Madagascar.
    And straight away everything looks and feels different
    [​IMG]

    That was the view from the taxi. The taxis are easy to spot, they're all beige and almost every one is an old French classic complete with holes in the floor where I could see the ground passing by

    [​IMG]



    Scenes from the local market

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    [​IMG]


    The view from my room

    [​IMG]

    The dogs I was sharing the house with

    [​IMG]

    As soon as possible I headed to the bike shop, they're selling me a Suzuki DR 350, which looks good - not that I'd know if it wasn't looking good! It's going to be ready on Monday so in the meantime they said I can borrow something else for the weekend. I've got this Suzuki 250cc (at least I think that's what it is!)

    the guys at Motostore Madagsacar have been really helpful and friendly.
    Here I am, getting ready to set off.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. RokLobster

    RokLobster Far from sanity

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
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    93
    Location:
    Somewhere in New England
    :clap:clap:clap

    A new Tiffany adventure!!! Have fun and be well!

    Rok
    #10
  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    With the 250 loaded up, I had the weekend ahead of me and I needed to beat the rush hour traffic getting out of town, Madagascar is similar to Mongolia in that there is a decided lack of paved roads- just five roads lead out of the capital so it's not too hard to find your way. I was soon weaving and filtering through the various vehicles as I made my way west to the Highlands.

    [​IMG]

    The roads pretty soon got much quieter which was nice, the tarmac isn't bad except for the occasional pot hole.
    I stopped for a cold drink from this guy...
    [​IMG]

    The rural villages have only dirt roads and zebu carts- zebu being the African cattle with humps on their backs and big horns, they're used more like oxen as they plough with them and get them to pull heavily laden carts often with wheels made of iron-clad wood.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    A dirt track led me to a clearing amongst some citrus trees, the sun was setting fast so I put up my tent just before it got dark (stealth camping at its best).


    [​IMG]

    By the morning half the village had wandered past to say hello...so much for my stealth!!


    [​IMG]

    Moving on I found a lovely spot by Lake Itasy and decided on a room for the night and a meal on the terrace overlooking the lake

    [​IMG]

    I was delighted to find that not only did they offer tea but that it was served in a large tea pot.

    [​IMG]

    I went for a wander around the village and found a laundry line with a difference. the locals wash their clothes in the river, then climb up the river bank and arrange the laundry on the bridge railings to dry.

    [​IMG]

    Street food is something I always try. This was unlike anything I had ever seen - was it meat or fish??

    [​IMG]

    The guy selling it assured me it's sweet and definitely vegetarian friendly so I bought a slice.

    [​IMG]

    I liked the way he served it wrapped in a piece of paper torn from a school exercise book - complete with a lesson written on it.

    Internet access is a bit limited over here so there will be times when I don't get a chance to update for a bit then I do quite a few days in one go - bear with me on this one.
    #11
  12. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A new adventure for me to follow:clap
    Thank you so much for adding a link to your old adventure....I may never have known you were off again.....Happy to see you back in your leather trousers again.:thumb.....looks more like the adventurer that we have all grown to looks forward too.
    #12
  13. sion

    sion sigh-own

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    :clap
    #13
  14. tee bee

    tee bee Been here awhile

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    200
    Location:
    in the fens uk, mostly
    I would recommend to be out of there before the rainy season Tiffany :)
    #14
  15. TheReaper!

    TheReaper! Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    S.E. Michigan
    Looks like you need a ladder to get on this thing . TheReaper!



    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Motorrev

    Motorrev Semi-Adventurer

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    Location:
    Texas Panhandle
    Great to see you on the road again Tiffany. Have fun and be careful.
    Bob
    #16
  17. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    living the life.
    nice.
    :clap
    #17
  18. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

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    Subscribed:clap:clap
    #18
  19. rootsy

    rootsy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
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    130
    excellent destination! I'm looking forward to following your journey. please keep the vivid images and the tales of your culinary conquests coming! safe travels.
    #19
  20. Ravenslair

    Ravenslair Been here awhile

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    Placer County, California
    Cannot wait to read more!
    #20