Rideforsmiles, Solo Australian to Africa Europe and Beyond, starting June 26th 2011.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rideforsmiles, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    89 countries, 7 continents into my 6th year on the road riding my motorcycle around the world, now in South East Asia, it's just a Sunday ride which has been like having 2000+ Sunday rides in a row, well you know what I mean, every days a Sunday for me at the moment.

    I'm a bit like your Forest Gump now, people ask me how much longer will I travel, I just answer with when I get bored that will be it, I'll just go home. I'm sure my mum may of thought I would get bored when I was a kid riding my Suzuki TM 75 around the backyard over and over and over for hours on end, I can't ever remember feeling bored for one second when I did that and now instead of just riding around the backyard the world is my backyard and I still never get bored, do any of us riders, not for a second.

    There will be times where this blog is a bit disjointed and a lot of spelling mistakes that may get fixed up in time but I'm no secretary with my typing skills and anyone that has ridden all day then tried to blog, upload photos all with crappy internet will understand the lack of care to detail throughout it so might as well go on record and apologize for some of that now.

    The video below is just a collage of some of the adventure to date.


    My baby enjoying the Grand Canyon

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    Ok from the start

    Hi there my name is Sheldon Thomson and this is my little round the world adventure.

    From the very start my real adventure really got under way on October 25th 2007 when I pulled over on the Pacific Hwy New South Wales Australia to answer my mobile phone when a Kenworth semi trailer came into the break down lane and rammed into my car leaving me with 13 fractured ribs, 6 fractures in my back, lacerated liver (nearly in half apparently), collapsed lung and a knock on the head. His story was that he saw me and thought I might open my door so when he looked in the side rear vision mirror he drifted into the breakdown lane and bingo slammed into me at a 100 kph. We all have these setbacks in life whether they be from accidents, illness, relationship breakups or whatever this is just my story and I call it "My Bump in the Right Direction."


    Ever misplaced your favourite golf putter, well I did but found it when I was looking through this photo of my accident, can you see it?

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    First thing I remember coming too and the ambulance chick is cutting my soccer shirt, so my first words after the accident were "don't cut my good f$@king soccer shirt" I did apologize to her for that later by the way. 40 minutes later I'm in the biggest nearby hospital at Tweed Heads on the border of New South Wales and Queensland here in Australia. I was in the intensive care unit there for awhile then things took a turn for the worst.They took me for some scans and was in some machine scanning for whatever and I remember the Dr saying "get him off there we need to get him back upstairs right now" So back up in intensive care now Ok the right side of my lung was collapsed the left partially and my chest is filling with blood so I couldn't use what was left of my lungs, no biggie I only use them to smoke cigarettes anyway.The Dr rolled me on my side and said I'm just going to have to cut you, Ok no problems, looking at the scalpel in his hand always a nice look. Ok he jabbed me with a painkiller then slash yeah righto mate that sort of hurt, but the best was yet to come. There he is standing over me trying to push this tube into my chest, me lying there screaming "f$&king hell" and he says I'm going to have to cut you more, so I yell "well just do it". So here he is cut me for a second time standing over me trying to push this half inch tube into my chest and he's beading up with sweat I'm looking at him doing it and to be honest it wasn't a look of confidence he had, and he says I cant get it in to which I yelled "well push f$@king harder". A few seconds later POP!! in she goes and I take a big breath of air, now that wasn't so hard was it. Thankfully he did save my life right at that moment, good on ya Doc.

    So there I am blood being pumped into my jugular and coming out of me into a bottle next to the bed, OK I guess a Mac attack is out of the question at that moment.

    Things weren't looking good for me at that stage so they decided I needed to be flown to Brisbane a few hours away via the Careflight helicopter as there was a team of surgeons there that may be able to save my life if things didn't improve, apparently they didn't hold out much hope for me at that stage, they didn't count on me being such a tinny prick, I've always got out trouble when others wouldn't of.

    My eldest son Jared who was 17 at the time was brought in, not ideal holding your sons hand seeing him so upset and saying "just grow up to be a good man" its not everyday you have say goodbye you your son like that, probably the most painful thing of the whole experience actually. He got lucky though usually it would of been "get a job" or "Jared, do the dishes" both of which he hates hearing. The one thing I do remember clearly thinking while I was lying there with the life draining out of me was, "well I've had a good run", so as you can imagine now I'm still alive its like a absolute bonus and certainly gives you that appreciation of just how precious the little things are in life.

    Anyway to cut a long story short I survived the helicopter flight, surgery, a few weeks in intensive care and a few more in the high trauma unit then awhile in the general ward and I'm at home lying on my bed thinking now this hurts a tad. 9 months lying around recovering feeling sorry for myself I thought I needed to set a positive goal and decided since I'd always wanted to go to Africa and Europe I would ride there on a motorbike and along the way of my recovery raise some soccer gear for a group of kids and schools in Ethiopia and take it to them. Don't ask me why I couldn't of just set a goal of going to the local shop or the pub, oh well the decision was made easier by the head injury I got as well so it's all good. Although there is so much more to my recovery with support of family and friends you guys are here to read about motorcycle adventures not me having my ass wiped, Ok that didn't happen, but you know what I mean.

    I actually left home on the adventure on January 21st 2011 when I went and saw my youngest son Logan said my goodbyes to him then headed to the Pacific highway and tossed a coin heads north around Australia tails south, the coin came up tails so south it was.

    I had little side trips to Thailand, then another little detour trip to New Zealand and another around Tasmania with my sons before I left Australia. On Sunday the 26th June 2011 I flew to Johannesburg South Africa then planned to head to Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey then up into Europe. At the time I didn't have any real route planned just a basic oh yeah that would be cool to see and do. I did have my Kawasaki KLR 650 Tengai all decked out to do the trip but after constantly being told I would get shot or eaten over in Africa I thought what the hell I better buy myself a new toy before I go then, so went out and bought the 2011 BMW F800GS which flew into Africa with 250 k's on the clock, a new start for both of us.

    I have a website www.ride4smiles.com Facebook pages etc but since I used Advrider to gain so much inspiration over the last few years I thought I'd share my trip with you guys and if worse happens I could let you know what it's like to be shot or eaten, either way it might be helpful to someone.

    I've had lots of advice about my trip but I'm just going for it and seeing where it leads me, it might last a week, a month or however long, time will tell, people keep telling me this trip will change me forever to which I respond , surely I cant be a bigger c$&t than I am already, oh well I'll give it a shot. You will either get my Aussie sense of humour or you wont but one thing is for sure I don't take things to seriously and love to have a laugh so hopefully I can share some of them with you through here. Anyway thanks everyone for your stories blogs etc its certainly helped with my preparation and inspiration to keep going and hope my journey is somewhat interesting as well.

    Cheers,

    Sheldon


    Where I'm from in the world, just a few k's north of Byron Bay in a town called Brunswick Heads

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    Cape Byron certainly a beautiful part of the world in it's own right.

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    The small town where I was living before I left Australia, Brunswick Heads

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    Below is a picture of me and my little hero and champion son Logan who was there throughout my whole recovery, he was kind gentle and understanding the whole time, just an amazingly beautiful human to be gifted with, he gave me the strength to stay positive as I recovered which was a long slow process of ups and downs. I was separated from his mother if you could ever call us together and she made my life misery trying to be in his life having to go to court 20 times over 5 years prior to my accident, unfortunately there is no middle ground in these situations your either encouraged to be a part of your child's life or cut right off and have to struggle to be there for them. I could actually write a book on the subject and saw every conceivable way to prolong a court case and create problems and it was only finalized when a Magistrate started talking jail that the penny dropped and our case was done. I built a really strong bond with Logan in his early years so I'm sure we can work out any issues he has of me leaving him down the track somewhere.
    If anyone out there is going through any of that stuff feel free to drop me a message if you need any support or advice. One tip is to try and depersonalize it which isn't easy of course, try not worry about what might happen just deal with the problems that are right in front of you, solve it then move on, a lesson that I'll have to remind myself on this adventure at times I'm sure.

    As you can imagine it actually makes it a lot easier to leave Logan knowing I don't have to deal with her crap any more not to mention it will give him some peace and quiet, I know that's selfish but I'm sure there's a few guys out there that can understand what I mean, plus with my injuries after the accident and how bad my back and neck are I might not be able to do something like this trip in a few years, I'm not getting any younger so its now or never with this little adventure and little Logan is easily the biggest sacrifice I have had to make.

    A funny story which involves Logan and I, we were out looking at tents for my trip, we are looking at a tent and I say I like this one and Logan turns and says but that's a big door a lion could get in there, I had to laugh give him a cuddle and reassure him that wasn't going to happen, was so cute.

    [​IMG]

    I will be meeting Jared my eldest son (pictured below with Logan) in Ethiopia at some point and he will be bringing all the soccer gear we raised for the kids in the Ethiopian schools in the Gondar region and then he heads off to the UK to work and play for a few years.

    UPDATE: Jared has now joined the family travel scene and has backpacked through around 50 or so countries himself.

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    The original Kawasaki KLR 650 Tengai I was going to do the trip on.

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  2. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    I've always said if your going to something do it once and do it well, I'm not sure I could of crashed this car much better.

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    Where I sat in all this is anyone's guess.

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  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,497
    Wow! Thanks for the intro! Best wishes for a safe adventure! You've had more than your fair share of misfortune.. :thumb

    :lurk
    #3
  4. NittanyRider

    NittanyRider Walking Contradiction

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    274
    Location:
    State College, PA
    Good thing no one was in the back seat of that car! Holy SH*T!! :eek1 It really is remarkable you survived.

    Ride safe and thanks for taking us along with you on your adventure!
    #4
  5. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    For anyone that might be interested heres some quick information on the trip and the

    Exporting the Bike

    Dangerous goods cerificate usually there is one near the airport somewhere the one I used was
    DGM AustraliaPty Ltd
    32 Ricketty Street Mascot NSW 2020
    Phone Number 02 9669 4811
    Fax Number 02 9669 4822
    Just take your bike in there in office hours 9 to 5 and they will be able to do it for you
    Cost $104.00 that includes GST


    Bike shioment via Qantas airlines
    Freight Weigh bill and all other paper work needed by Qantas all done at their office as part of this fee. $2089


    Gps Tracking
    Garmin Zumo 660 bought at http://www.ryda.com.au $844 got my maps for Southern Africa and Eastern Africa around a $150 each through them very helpfull service.


    Spot tracker
    http://www.findmespot.net.au/ a very handy devic e that allows you to give your exact position and subscribe to tracking and emergency call, cost all up was around $330 for the unit $224 and a 12 month subscription around a $100. If you have an incident you can flick a a cover and will send your exact location to emergency personal or on the other side just send emails to family and friends to let them know you are ok or if you need help. You might find it cheaper but I bought mine from this mob and recieved it on the east coast from Perth in 3 days with no dramas.


    Travel Insurance
    Actually did a bit of research on this as well and World Nomads I found were on of the better priced http://www.worldnomads.com.au/ cost $648.00 for 12 months including my Nikon D7000
    Use the promotional token VOYGNR for a 7% saving on your policy which works out a fair bit on a 12 month policy, that worked for me but if it doesent work just google, world nomads insurance promotional token and you will find some others.


    The Carnet
    Check out if you need it where you are travelling, needed usually in Africa, Asia and South America and are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
    Firstly and I know im in New South Wales in Australia so this is only going to help Aussie riders unfortunatly.
    Firstly become a member of the NRMA, RACQ or the revalant motoring authority in your state.
    Now the contact details for the girl Amanda that handled my Carnet and was really nice not to mention good looking lol
    Amanda Mulder at NRMA Tourism & Leisure
    Level 20, 141 Walker Street North Sydney NSW 2060
    Phone Number 02 89 13 0600
    Fax Number 02 99 56 7707
    Carnet form available and other information available on this page

    http://www.racv.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/internet/primary/travel/driving+overseas/transporting+your+car+overseas
    Things you will need
    Copy of Passport
    Copy of License
    Copy of NRMA or similar card or at least your membership number which is all I had.
    Copy of current Registration
    Motorcycle Evaluation (I got mine of off the net or ask a dealer to write you one out with their shop logo on it.)
    Departure date for you and the bike or car.
    Rough intinary or countries to be visited
    As all countries have differing rates you need to cover ( mine was in Egypt of 150%) some are up to 450% but they are such as Iran 400% and Syria 450% etc but they are the minority, I paid the indeminity part which is in my case the value of the bike x 150% divided by 2% which in my case worked out to be $1170.70.
    $250 of that being a refundable deposit on return of the Carnet.
    The steps I took I rang Amanda and then faxed off my paperwork and she emailed me back what I needed or had forgot. Basically allow 10 days to recieve it but as I went in to the office in North Sydney I was able to get mine from the time I sent all my updated paperwork to the time I got it was 4 days including a weekend so very very helpful service.

    Important to not lose it and make sure you have it stamped in and out of each country check that it is done and and ask for it to be corrected if nesacary all onus is on you to fill it out and have it filled out properly.
    #5
  6. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Off out of Oz in the morning looking forward to hitting the road, Just headed down the local servo here in Mascot to grab myself a trusty ol meat pie for dinner might be awhile before I have one again mmm bloody beautiful mate loving it sauce all over my shirt cold coke watching the footy ahhh them are the days, bumped into a guy on a GS 800 at the servo had a chat for awhile, hey Tom hows it going, a bloody Rabbit's supporter here in the National Rugby League competition in Australia I thought about pushing his bike over and saying follow a good side mate but he seemed nice enough so left him be and the way my Tigers are playing I cant actually say that. He seemed to think it will be a massive adventure but all im doing is going for a ride it aint that big a deal really.

    Im staying at the Holiday Inn in Macot near the airport so not slumming it to hard thought I might as well live it up but being the using www.lastminute.com.au saves you shitloads anyway so only just more than staying in a dump. Anyway all I have to do now is wake up in the morning, never been much of a morning person, they better not have early rising chickens where im going or there will be hell to pay.

    The Holiday Inn at Mascot, my last night in Australia for awhile.

    [​IMG]

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  7. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Sydney Perth Johannasburg
    Well today has gone ok so far other than leaving my passport at the phone when I was ringing the freight mob to see how my bike was going or gone, apparently no one had made a booking for it which John at Qantas freight said was slack but I sort of understood that it didnt get booked on it just went there is space on the plane whatever day that is so he booked it in for Wednesday. I just saw on the inflight thing theres a game reserve not far from Joburg so will give me time to possibly go there but you know how it is you seen one elephant you seen em all, all they do is stand there swinging their trunk.... Boring

    As I blog we are flying over Madagascar cant see anything as its night out there now and there serving food, got to get your priorities right. Anyway will be interesting when I get to Joburg was due in at 4 pm now its going to be just after 8, think ill rent a car and drive over to the guesthouse its not far from the airport a few k's and ive got the gps with the south African maps in it so should be no dramas, hopefully dont get held up in customs for to long.

    Up up and away
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    Being up here gives me plenty of time to think about what lies ahead.
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    Flying over Madagascar
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    And here is what lies ahead the African coast
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    #7
  8. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Arrived in Johannasburg and now at the Sunrock Guesthouse, nice warm welcome from Arthur the owner. What a mission that trip was, shitty flight bumping nearly all the way, still feel like im moving around and just on 24 hours from motel to motel. Got off the plane everyone pretty helpful but felt a bit uncomfortable being called boss by atleast 3 people in my first 15 minutes in South Africa, maybe its just like us back in Oz calling everyone mate but nevertheless I didnt like it. Hired a car for a few days till my bike arrives so will go for a cruise and check Johannasburg out. Im uploading this from my phone and doesent allow the pics ive taken on it to be uploaded which sort of sucks. Oh well the adventure has begun.


    The Sunrock Guest House
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Went into the city today just for a look around was really busy and fortunately I had my Zumo Gps so made getting around finding parking etc a breeze. Got a South African sim card and had to register it so as I passed a big shopping centre that looked easier on the way in so headed back there. Got back to Eastgate and went in went to Whippys like Maccas so had a pig out just to keep the fat content in my diet steady. They tell me I need my passport to register it so ok ill come back tomorrow. If your looking for anything when you first arrive Eastgate Shopping centre is it, got everything you need in there, you cant miss it on r24 from the airport Kempton Park to Joburg city and theres this big statue of a chick riding a horse, you cant miss it, i think it was a chick probably some dude But you might take more notice of it than I did.

    Got back to the Sunrock Guest house was pretty rooted from the big day of travel so went and chillaxed, ended up falling asleep at around 6 and not waking up till 11 so watched Escape from Absolam on tv then crashed again.

    Johannesburg, from what I keep getting told of this place all these people are carrying weapons :-)
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    This lady must be carrying an anti tank gun under her skirt
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  10. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Ok my bike arrived in 6 days from me riding it to Qantas in Sydney to sitting outside my room at the Sunrock guesthouse in kempton park Johannasburg.

    This is how it all went down.

    I went over to the Swiss cargo at the frieght terminal, grabbed my paperwork from them then drove up to the customs house, which the big grey building about 200 metres up the road. Went to the 1st floor counter 5 they called one of the guys from upstairs, 5 minutes later he's taking me upstairs wait another 5 minutes my carnet is stamped, go back down stairs pay the 10 rand parking fee just inside the main entrance to the building, so I can get out of the car park, drive back up to Swiss cargo give them my paperwork pay 180 rand, 25 aussie dollars, they take me to my gear in a bag and my bike i say, ill take my gear go get my helmet and be back. Take my gear back the few minutes to the Sunrock guest house grab my helmet and walk the 10 or so minutes back over to the freight terminal grab my bike, sign for it and ride away. To bloody easy, you may save some money shipping by boat but boy quick, no dramas and no damage other than a little scratch on the top of one of the panniers and im back at the Sunrock Guesthouse within an hour and a half of deciding to go see if my bike was there.



    Thanks Qantas and everyone involved highly reccomend that process. If your thinking of bringing your bike I have no hesitation recommending that way.
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
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    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    Looks to heading for a hell of an adventure. No carnet (lot cheaper than I thought it would be, maybe because Australian??) needed for South America yet it could only makes things easier. You are going to be hauling ass to make this trip in that time. Goodluck and enjoy and don't pull over on the shoulder to answer your mobile:eek1:lurk
    #11
  12. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
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    Location:
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    Got on the piss, turps, soup, grog, whatever you call it where your from with the local crew last night and a few of the other travellers, Funny thing one of the young guys knew about my nephew Daniels fish surfboards and was raving about them, he probobaly knows more about what Daniels up to than me through surf magazines etc. We were drinking beer, tequila slammers, bourbons so needless to say i was hammered drunk, so today has been a bit of a non event, well a total non event but thats ok im not in a hurry to go anywhere just yet. Tomorrow im going for a ride into Pretoria to have a look around and hopefully i'll be feeling half human again.



    My nephew Daniel on one of his fish surfboards
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    #12
  13. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Went for a ride over to Soweto today, thought its one of those place i have to go have a look at. The traffic was pretty ordinary, I was lucky i was on the bike as I just shot up the inside most of it at around 40 k an hour but for everyone else it was bumper to bumper for miles and miles. I have made a decision not to go looking for non tollway routes as im sure ill find plenty of them in my travels so if ive got a good road to ride on im going to ride it. Stopped at the Apartheid Museum very interesting and obvuiously alot of Nelson Mendela stuff in there but an interesting look into the history of South Africa.

    Eventually got into Soweto and was quite and eye opener felt a little hesitant at first as I had been warned not to go there and that it was dangerous but it was ok, the funny thing is that over in Soweto there are kids playing everywhere on the street but in just about every area ive been to kids are a rarity and they just arent playing on the streets like they were over there, very interesting i guess everywhere else the kids are behind big high walls that are covered in electric and barbed wire.

    The housing over there in Soweto is pretty basic well deadset basic but from getting around this area there seems to be alot of that what we would call slums, although I dont want to call them that as these people live in them and from what I could see of the kids they all had smiles on their faces so i guess you just make do with what you have in this part of the world. Went and had a look at the soccer stadiums, no games on their actually quite big im sure they must get good crowds to the local games.

    After spending awhile in Soweto then headed back to Johannesburg as it was sort of on the way. Had a good look around was around 3ish so the traffic getting in there was pretty heavy but it was ok m not in a hurry, I was happy to sit in the traffic in the city centre to have a look around and had my camera out snapping away while going nowhere. Stopped and had a drink and then thought i better get going and head home. as it was getting late.

    Really nice dinner as usual the food they are dishing up is bloody lush, Had a chat for awhile but was pretty tired so called it a night.
    [​IMG]

    The Apartheid Museum was really interesting
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    Obvioudsly there was a big presence of Nelson Mandela in here but it had alot of other interesting history on South Africa
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    #13
  14. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Woke up around 8ish and headed over to the pretty nice breakfast they put on every morning, had a chat to this Kiwi girl from Hamilton that is staying here she was off to see some Lions and Rhinos today, thought I should ask her if I could go but im so not into the organised tour deal, something ill have to change if I want to get into the Game parks as they dont let motorbikes in them.

    Thought i'd head over to the Hartbeespoort Dam Arthur had told me about so got him to put it into my gps after breakfeast so that was the plan for today.

    Was having a great ride the weather has been absolutley perfect for riding loving every minute of being out on the road, just beofre I got there a couple of guys rode past on Bmw gs 1200's so I followed them. Arthur had said the dam was a popular ride so thought thery must know where they are going.

    They had stopped at an intersection so I pulled up to say G'day and introduce myself to Kill and Peiter and see if indeed they were heading to the dam. Kill asked me to join them for lunch, i needed a drink so thought it was a good idea. We went down the road to a little place, monkeys chucking stuff on the roof while we sat there. Id only just pigged out on my breakfast so wasnt that hungry so i just had a coke and and a local ginger beer that Kill said I needed to try, ok that was crap give me as coke anyday. Spent a little time there chatting then headed down to the dam and took a few photos was. Was no Hoover dam or anything special so didnt stay there long. Kill and Peiter suggested I follow them back and as I had basically no idea which way i was going i thought that would be cool to just follow them on their ride to wherever.

    Rode for about 30 k's then stopped and Kill asked me if I had seen any lions yet, obvioulsy i hadnt arriving just the other day so he took me down past the lion and rhino park, im pretty sure this is where the kiwi girl was going today. I may go back over there tomorrow and have a look inside im not much for looking at animals in cages from where we were.

    From there we headed over towards Sandton, on the way said good bye to Peiter so me and Kill continued into Sandton City centre and the Nelson Mandela Square, I must says its a nice place very clean compared to Johannasburg and Pretoria and very modern, apparently its the new business centre of this region now. Kill asked if I wanted to go have a beer but was getting late in the afternoon and didnt want to do any riding at night at night if I didn't have too especially since I had to still get home and I wasn't sure how to, so I decided Id better skidattle and head home as I still had about 20 or 30 k's to get back to Kempton Park. Was really nice to meet some friendly locals.

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    I must admit I was getting pretty tired by the time I got back so just had a shower, did some washing then tried to log on but no luck the internet, it has been off here for a few days or pretty useless even when it was connecting. I went over watched the Crusaders and Stormers rugby match with Arthur at the bar here at the guesthouse and in walks this gorgeous blonde girl from Grahanmstown down near Port Elizabeth, she's off to Maritius in the morning, she was obvioulsy a stormers fan so instead of settling in and supporting my hosts South African team I barracked for the Kiwis and shouted rip his friggin head off to the ire of the home supporters.

    One of the other guys Alan from the north of England told me about a motorcycle rally from the north of Italy into Switzerland that I should get too which sounds great so will see if I can look it up when im up that way but ill worry about that when the time comes it seems so far down the track to be talking about Europe just yet.

    Had the regualtion steak with Mushroom sauce for dinner had a few beers having a chat to some of the other guests staying here, always really interesting to talk to everyone they always have some great ideas on places to go and things to see.

    Back in my room pretty stuffed so will have a early night, I've got to get off my ass and move on soon, been to most of the cities in this regiion now so it might be time. Its been a great place to settle in and get the feel of South Africa and ive really enjoyed my time here with Arthur and the crew and could quite easily stay longer but if I dont start moving it may take me forever to get to where Im going, wherever that is. It helps not knowing where im heading so maybe i should give that a bit more thought, oh well its a big planet and this is just a long Sunday ride so either ill wake up tomorrow and head off or ill leave it till Monday morning which will mean ive spent a week in this part of the country and briefly seen the cities Johannasburg, Pretoria, Soweto and Sandton all very interesting in their own right.


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    I posted the picture below in Facebook and asked who the hell is this guy and one of my mates repsonded with a tirade of abuse towards me for being so ignorant and not knowing Mohammed Ali when I saw him



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  15. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Took a day off from doing anything today, ill be leaving tomorrow so thought all i'd do was hang out get all the gear prepared and drop into Eastgate and get myself a jerry can to carry some extra fuel, Im sure its going to come in handy wth the tank size on the Bmw F 800 gs being only 16 or 17 litres and a range on the highway on a good day cruising of 350 k's. It was always one of my concerns with this model bike on this type of trip.

    I got all my gear on the bike so ready to go in the morning at this stage ill be on the road South somewhere.

    For dinner I had the best chicken Snitztel ever so bloody tender, Soloman from the Sunrock Guest house cooks a great feed. Not to mention Arthurs steaks on most other nights, I have been eating really well.
    #15
  16. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Slept in a bit today as it was overcast but still up just beofre 8:30 so still early for me, went in had the eggs on toast and a bit of the other stuff on offer.

    Said my goodbyes to Arthur and Una they have been realy nice hosts highly recomend if your ever going to Johannasburg to lob there and get your start, its close to the airport very secure and great hosts.

    So off I went the start of my road adventure really, I had a good ride from Johannasburg down the coast to Dundee around 350 k's towards Durban, mostly stuck to the main roads but got on to a few minor roads so all good, the Beemer is so nice to ride im glad I bought it, the heated grips are unreal to have on days like this as it got down to 7 degrees Celcius, fortunately had a fair bit of warm stuff to put on and still didnt get my thermal pants on, so not all that bad.

    The countryside was very brown, dry long rolling hills with bugger all around, the roads are pretty good as a rule. One thing I have noticed is there is a surprising lack of roadkill, whether it gets eaten or there just isnt any wild life to be killed by cars, its actually quite strange after living in Australia and seeing it all the time, I actually only saw one squished animal in 300 odd k's and coming form Oz that would never happen. I might ask about that cause it certainly is strange not to see it in a country that is supposed to be full of wildlife, my first impression of that is when you look at some of the houses and places where people live if there was any road kill it would be picked up and eaten pretty quick, that might not be the case maybe there just isnt any left.

    At one point I stopped to put on my balaclava and another jumper, while I was stopped this little kid came over to the fence to say hello. I took his picture then walked back over to the bike and got out the pen I had and gave it to him, he immediatly ran off screaming out all excited with the pen above his head, I was surprised by his reaction, was a good tip to give the kids pens so will be buying more when I get to the next city.

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    Arrived in Dundee around 4 pm, wasnt to fussed about where I was going to stay so as soon as I got into town just rode till I found a nice enough hotel. It was a little expensive at 500 rand or 70 bucks ozzie but still really nice place and that includes breakfeast and the way ive been hooking in at breakfeast time since I got here thats worth 10 bucks.

    Helen from the front desk ordered me some dinner from down town which was delivered so that was cool, tried to use their internet but its not as good as what we are used to back home, was lucky enough to get on to check my mails but couldnt do much else.

    Tomorrow i'll head over to Rorkes Drift where the Zulu British war took place. There is another site not far from there where 20000 Zulus actually over ran the British but as a kid watching the Zulu British wars on the tv and movies it was always Rorkes drift where the 100 British held off about 4000 Zulus, 11 Victoria Crosses were handed out still to this day the most ever in a battle so pretty important spot in our commonwealth history, some say it had a lot to do with the loss of the men the week before to try and paint it as a great victory rather than a miserable defeat in that region.




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  17. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    What a great ride today, I left Dundee around 9:30am and headed for Rorkes Drift which was only 40 odd k's away, 30 of it on dirt which was pretty good riding. Arrived there and did the museum which isnt that big.The thing that grabs you when your riding out there is what were they fighting about, theres shitloads of room for everyone, even today the population out that way is sparse to say the least. Had an interesting time there to see where that battle took place and the hill behind the fort its hard to imagine why and how the Zulus didnt just over run them when it was 4000 to 100.

    Did think about going over to the other battlefield where the 20 000 Zulus over ran the British and killed them all but you seen one battle field you seen them all so gave it a miss.

    Before I drove in I had stopped to talk to an African woman to ask directions and as my bluetooth part of my helmet was playing my music out loud i flicked it open off my helmet to stop it quickly and you guessed it forgot to push it back in properly so when I went to leave Rorkes Drift the bluetooth part of my helmet was missing. I thought at first it had been nicked as I left my helmet locked to my bike but I was the only person there so I thought maybe I dropped it so got all geared up to leave and rode slowly back down the road I came in on and there it was right near the gate sitting in the dirt, how lucky, its worth a few hundred bucks so was nice to have it back although I had already plugged the cable in so may still use that, its pissing me off every time I start the Gps its a real pain to get the bluetooth working.

    From Rorkes Drift I got back on the dirt road and instead of taking the road back to the highway I headed South East and boy im glad I did, dirt road amazing scenary and the little townships I came across were amazing, totally off the tourist map obviously. The kids and everyone was waving at me and shoutiung out I probably did a third of the trip one handed the amount of people I waved at.

    Stopped quite a few times and everytime someone would come up and say hello. The ride wound up and down the mountain range a few times, it really was a fantastic ride.

    At one hillside I came across a group of guys playing soccer on a dirt pitch so had to stop for a watch. If you ever complain about having to run uphill again you will need to come and play on this pitch was to funny not hard to see why alot of the play was at one end.

    While I was watching a group of girls came up they had obviously just finished school and had a chat for awhile then thought I better get moving so hit the road.

    Kept driving along the dirt road for another 30k's all the while just checking out the amazing scenary stopping more than a few occassions.

    Was driving down one part of the road and came across my person carrying a AK 47 he wasnt pointing it at me but smiling waving as I rode past and looked like really friendly person even if he did have a weapon on his shoulder. I wished I had stopped now and got a photo but im sure i'll have ample chances to take a picture with someone with a AK 47 in my travels.

    Came across this township and there was a market going on as you can imagine they probably dont get to many guys from Australia riding through on a Bmw so got heads turning, felt a little rude not waving at everyone as I cant ride no handed. Stopped at the end of town before I crossed the river where it was a little quieter but still had a few people around.

    All up I drove around 80 or 90k's through the hills on the dirt roads and im so glad I did, what a fantastic day of riding plenty of smiling faces and lots of fun and now in Greytown in a nice B&B so all good.

    Just went into town to get something for dinner, dont know what they do in this town but there is a hell of alot of razor wire and security around the houses. Dundee was surprising in alot of the houses had no razor wire or security, the first township ive been in like that so it was a nice change.
    The guy that owns this B&b just lent me his vodaphone internet dongle but forgot to give me the password so this blog is going to be a bit late.


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    There so much room out here it makes you wonder why they had to fight theres no one living here today let alone well over a 100 years ago, why cant we all just get along.

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    Oh now I know why they were fighting to have control of the prestine thoroughbreds of the area

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  18. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Left Greytown for the coast this morning with all good intentions of going to St Lucia which was to the coast and north but when I got to the coast I took a right instead, so Durban it was.

    Stopped off at the surf contest at Balito originally it was called the Gunston Pro but has been moved and renamed. The surf was pretty decent about 6 to 8 foot, apparently they have had unreal surf for the contest but today was blowing an onshore gale so not ideal.

    Drove right up the entrance gate and spoke to a copper at the main gate and asked him if id be shot if I parked it right here at the entrance next to the cop cars and he was cool, he said no problems and that they would keep and eye on it, so was able to walk straight into the area where they had a carnival and down to the contest site on the beach. Had a chat to him about where I was from and where i was heading and that im just going for a ride to the shop to get some milk, its just going to take me a little longer than usual he just gave me a strange look and laughed.

    Left there after awhile and headed down the coast towards Durban its suprisingly like the north coast of New South Wales back home in Australia with the cane fields and the ocean on the side and the hills on the other side so felt very comfortable riding into Durban.

    Stopped off just north of town on the beach to take a photo and thought why not look up the Bmw dealer to make sure its not on the northside of town and sure enough it was 10 k's back up the road so thought id hook on over to see how long they needed for me to book my bikle in to get the first 2000 k service done.

    Arrived there mid afternoon and to my surprise they said we will do it for you right now, so poured me a coffee, took my bike, rode it out the back to the repairshop and got to work, they even gave it a wash and so all to easy.

    Was made to feel very comfortable by Stephan, Sullivan and had a good chat to Roy about my travels the do's and dont's and on some of the places I will be heading in the next few months. Roy gave me some good travel spots on the coast to head for so will be following that down the coast.

    Roy invited me for a ride on Saturday if im still around with a crew form the Bmw dealerships so if im still here I might just go, it would be a good way of seeing some spots i might not see and roads I might not ride otherwise, but who knows I might be out of here by then ill just see how im travelling and if i feel like moving on, so far I feel very comfrotable in Durban so theres every likelyhood ill be here on Saturday and maybe even longer.


    The boys gave me a tip on where to stay so after they had finished my bike which took an hour or two and headed off in the general direction they told me.

    Checked out one place, no one home, the next place was full so ended up in this nice little place and got a friendly greeting by a really nice chick, HELLO lol

    Asked about the internet and got the tip from Alexa about where to go and get one of them pre paid dongle things in the local shopping centre so ill do that in the morning, she actually said she will drop me down there tonight but I wasnt in the mood to go anywhere just to relax and chill out.

    As I arrived a Dutch couple well there not a couple just travelling business partners, turned up as well so we ordered pizza together and had it delivered and sat in the lounge room and had a pig out and chat for awhile.

    Anyway time to roll over and watch some tv, its state of origin tonight which is our Australian interstate Rugby league match, well actually its over well and truely, i could of checked that while i was online at Bmw but forgot about the time difference. Go the blues hope we smashed those stinking Queenslanders and if we didn't, oh well we werent supposed to win anyway.


    Looking down to Durban


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  19. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Had a pretty cruisey day today, got up had breakfeast with Yoran and Elanor they were off to the wharves today to do their research on this project this company is wanting to set up with exporting oranges to Holland from South Africa, sounded like a exciting fun day learning all about how the ports work in South Africa, im sure they are sort of organised chaos if everything else is anything to go by.

    After breakfeast and relaxing for a few hours I went down the local shopping centre which is apparently the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, and yes it is absolutely massive, they have this indoor rock climbing thing for the kids which is like 5 stories high its amazing, thought of Loges getting into it.

    Got some internet credits so uploaded some of the blogs I had already done without internet connection so that was good, the internet has been pretty ordinary over here so far but here's hoping ive got it sorted now.


    Came back to the guest house and relaxed, Alexa was here for awhile I had met her briefly yesterday shes the daughter of the couple, that own this place, bit of a sort too, mmmm ok
    #19
  20. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,617
    Location:
    Byron Bay Australia and Earth
    Was hanging around after breafeast and Alexa turned up with Channing her son so had a chat to her about how she went at the markets selling her olives yesterday evening, it's a small business she runs which she seems to do ok out of, she said she didnt do as good as she liked but picked up another two resturants to supply so thats always a positive. We chatted for awhile and she said if I wasnt doing anything later to drop over for a coffee to her place.

    Went for a ride around town again, just checking everything out riding as many roads as I could and see as much as I can in the limited time I have in Durban.

    Headed over to Alexa's and had a bit of trouble finding which complex was hers, she said it was the one with the security guard on the gate, well they all have security guards on the gate. Went back down to La Lucia to grab a pack of ciggies.

    Had a cigarette and then thought stuff it, ill just go ask at one of them and see if they know her so rode back up the road and asked at the first gate, sure enough they did and they let me in and told me up the top. So I wound my way up the hill to Alexa and Channing house pretty nice view from up there I must say and the pad itself is really nice.

    When I arrived Channing and his mate Daniel were cooking pizza, I suggested we do the masterchef judging. They actually watch the Australian version of masterchef over here but its from a few seasons ago. We did the judging of the pizzas having a bit of a laugh everyone scored them and we worked it out to be a tie so everyone walked away happy and of course I got to taste them all ha ha

    Me Channing and Daniel started having a game of french cricket in the little back yard they have and as its right up the top of the hill a ball over the fence would require a 10 minute hike to get it I suggested lets go down to the park and have a real game of cricket Aussies versus South Africa. As you can imagine the kids were up for it. Rode the boys down the hill on the bike giving them both a ride up and down twice which they enjoyed.

    Alexa said she would drop her maid home and would come down in a little while but as standard we played about 30 ininnings beofre she actually turned up, to funny. I know how that deal works single mums looking after boys in the holidays, as soon as someone says they will take them to play in the park they are sitting on their ass or off to meet up with a girlfriend for a coffee and gas bag lol

    When she turned up later she said she had fallen asleep but that was cool me and the boys had alot of fun. I let them lead right up till the last innings and then won by 1 run just to let them know us Aussies are still the best at cricket, even if we are shit these days. Alexa turned up just in time to see me hitting the winning runs so I said thats it lets go, where's my winners hug.

    We all piled into the X5 and drove back up the hill, Daniel's mum Caroline was there so we all relaxed on the balcony overlooking La Lucia. Shes actually into real estate and property management so was interesting to see what the cost of real estate is over here and the returns you can get on it, in comparison to the Australian market its quite cheap here in South Africa..

    Daniel and Caroline left just after 6, Alexa wanted to sit down and watch this soap you know the deal one of them Home and Away, Neighbours deals soaps that the girls all watch, its the same everywhere in the world with soaps obviously.

    Most of the female cast look like they have been to Thailand for the plastic surgery holidays which was ok by me. Farrow is a baddy but shes a hottie too and I dont reckon she died in the plane crash, see it doesn't take you long to get sucked in.

    After the soap we decided to go to dinner in one of Alexa's favourite restaraunts down town so we piled in the car and headed off to dinner. Was a nice chinese restaraunt that had a sushi train as well so we sat down and hooked in. We had a bit fo sushi and then me and Channing just took the easy route and ordered chicken fried rice as well you can go wrong with that and was quite filling.

    Me and Alexa went out for a cigarette and there was this guy selling these really nice wire beaded sculptures. Alexa picked up this one chicken thing and said that would be great to put egss in so I bought it for her as a gift for her kindness and a little wart hog one for Channing they were pretty cool and in Australian money pretty cheap too.

    She told me her parents owned a lodge up in Kruger National Park and I should head up there for a stay so might take that advice even though it is backwards from where I am but always heard about Krugar National Park in South Africa so could be a good experience.

    We finished up with dinner and headed home to Alexas and chilled for awhile.

    Channing went to bed and me and Alexa sat up for awhile but it was getting late so i thought I better get out of there and head home. So was a really nice afternoon and evening spent with very very nice people.

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