Wanted RTW on a KTM 1190 - Adventuring Into The Heart of Africa.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Wanted, May 16, 2016.

  1. Vin7832

    Vin7832 Been here awhile

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    Like your experience, here in Kenya they really have an every man for himself attitude to driving (Like many other places no doubt). When you are on a bike you are at the bottom of the food chain and your side of the road belongs to anyone else coming the other way if they are bigger than you. Riding in African cities isn't generally a pleasant experience IMHO, you have to ride with the belief that everyone is out to kill you (Especially the Matatu's). Many people just pay some chai money for their license so the driving ability suffers as a consequence. The other hazard is the Police as they are the most corrupt people in the country and will find any excuse to shake you down and they aren't as easy going here as many other countries in Africa and have no problem putting people in if they don't pay up. I have found people are more easy going further south; Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi etc.
    #41
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  2. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    The West African visa issue is one that has troubled overlanders for quite some time. Most of the Southern Area of Africa is no visa required, and the rest along with much of the East coast is visa at the border, or just easy visas in general. In West Africa you don't have much choice but to go from capital city to capital city following the visa trail. I have some difficult decisions to make now, and I'm hoping some of you might be able to sway me toward one or another.

    The campsite in Ziguinchor was run by a really nice local woman, she kept me well fed with great meals and mangoes in between. They had this really nice tree there sporting some big fruit, I guess these are melons but I have no idea. I've never given much thought into how melons grow

    [​IMG]

    I'm up and packed quite early Monday morning, so if I can get the Guinea-Bissau visa I'll be able to head out straight away. When I arrived at the embassy there was a friendly guy standing out front in a tropical shirt with skulls and flames all over it, turns out this was the guy who approves all the visas. I had a 1 month multiple entry visa safely zipped up in my jacket pocket not 5 minutes later for 30 euro (normal price). I'm stoked it was so easy so I get on the bike, get all my stuff from the camp site and head for the border. These towns are fairly typical here

    [​IMG]

    I arrived at the border 45 minutes later, park up and head into the immigration office to get stamped out of Senegal. I go to unzip my chest pocket to get my passport but its open, there is no passport. My heart stopped. Oh shit. I start doing the Macarena frantically searching through every pocket I have, nothing. I go back to the bike and search through all my documents. Nothing. This can't be happening right now. I start to panic a little and wonder where it could possibly be. I only went from the Consulate to the campsite to here, so its either at one of those two places or on the road. I jump back on the bike and pin it back to Ziguinchor all the while keeping my eyes peeled on the road for anything that even slightly resembles a passport.

    I arrive back at the campsite and start searching all over the ground where I had camped, nothing. I rip everything off my bike and leave it at the camp site while I retrace my steps back to the consulate. The skulls and flames guy hasn't seen it. This has never happened before, I'm always good with my passport. He suggests I go to the local radio and get them to make a broadcast, I'm asking him for the address when I reach up and notice a zipped up pocket directly opposite the open one I usually put my passport in. I open it and feel inside, feeling like an absolute fool when my hands run across my passport. It has been there the whole time, I didn't even know that pocket was there. I had put the passport inside my jacket while I had taken it off. I quickly make up an excuse that I'll check all my bags again before going to the radio and I get out of there. Pack all my stuff onto my bike and head for the border again. Amateur. That was one hell of a fright.

    Crossed the border without hassle other than nearly getting heat stroke, the police were kind enough to bring me a cold bottle of water and a glass to sit in the shade for a while watching this little guy go to town

    Obligatory goat
    [​IMG]

    The humidity here just drains you so quickly, I'm more worried about thirst here than I ever was in the desert. Let's keep moving

    Obligatory selfie
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    The ride from the border down to Bissau was actually quite pleasant bar the heat. It was so lush and green, this is definitely the kind of place where plants and trees must thrive. You cross these dirt bridge things and back into the foliage

    [​IMG]

    There are also people all along the road selling small pouches of water, these things are great. Instead of having to carry a bottle, just stop when you're thirsty and mow back a little pouch

    [​IMG]

    Agua - you read that right, and I was confused as well. It turns out Guinea-Bissau is Portuguese, its even recognised as the official language here although I've since heard only around 10% of the people can speak it...

    Naturally the visa trail brings you into the capital cities in order to play the waiting game, this stop was the Guinea visa and I also thought I'd chance my luck with the Nigerian visa too. I choose to try and find European run camp sites while I'm in these cities, they're generally quite safe with good amenities and good food, though a little more pricey. Lucky for me these Germans had just installed a pool here, wooo!!

    [​IMG]

    These embassies aren't the big grand ones you're used to seeing in the city, they're typically just as run down as any other building here and often found in back streets with no signs. First was the Guinean visa, found in the building to the right of the bike and goat

    [​IMG]

    I'll spare you the details but basically the consul tried to screw me out double the price of the Guinean visa. I had read online its 30,000CFA (45 euro) for a 1 month multiple entry visa, however he had different plans for me. He said the minimum for multiple entry was 2 months and 60,000CFA, or just 1 month single entry for 30,000. I said I would take the 30,000 single entry and went back at 3pm to pick it up. He had given me the 1 month multiple entry, but was asking for extra payment. After 10 minutes he let me go with it. Fruit is cheap and plentiful, and nothing is better than a refreshing pineapple when its hot out. This guy cut one up on the street here and naturally ripped me off for it, but it was good.

    [​IMG]

    I was laying in my tent at night and felt some drops of water. I look up and out of nowhere it turned into a lightning storm. I raced out of the tent to throw the fly over and cover everything, however no rain came the entire night after that. It was a great show though, and I have a feeling I'm in for a lot more.

    I went to the Nigerian embassy this morning and ripped off the hand rail going up the stairs, the woman told me not to worry about it, I wasn't the first.

    [​IMG]

    I spent the afternoon with the consul arguing my reason for why he should issue me a Nigerian visa. He didn't seem to understand where half the countries were between Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria. He said it was impossible because I have to transit so many countries between here and Nigeria. Though I argued that if its a 1 month visa with 3 months validity from the date of issue, it really shouldn't matter where I am or how I get there, the only thing that matters is that I can use the visa as it should be used. I told him that if I can't get it here then I will be forced to go 1000km out of the way to Mali to get it in Bamako (with the visa I have prepared in Senegal) which to be honest, was my original intention. He wouldn't have any of it and said that I will be able to get it further along down the track. This leads me to where I am now

    I am feeling like I'm not really seeing much of Africa. I am pushed for time due to being delayed in Europe for over a month later than I should have been. I thought I would be riding through rain forests seeing monkeys rather than having to go from monkey to monkey in each consulate having them sit behind desks trying to make things difficult instead. I want to get out and see stuff for once! I have another huge problem. In all the concern with how my bike will handle when my girlfriend meets me in Ghana, I had only taken into consideration the weather from Ghana southward, as it turned out we will be going through in the best time of year, practically no rain. However this caused an oversight in the weather where I am now. It looks like these few countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast etc) all have their rainy season earlier. Right now in fact. It is now peak rainy season.

    I googled sporadic towns that I may be passing through in each of these countries for the weather forecast. Literally the whole part of this continent is lightning storms and bucketing down with rain every single day, as far as the forecast reads. It is one of the wettest places on earth during the rainy season, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't petrified of what roads lay ahead (Google "Liberia roads wet season" images or something similar and you will get the idea) which brings me to my options;

    (By the way the Nigerian visa is notoriously difficult to obtain, most people just get in Mali as further on it either gets really expensive or next to impossible. The Sierra Leone and Liberia visas are about 100USD each)

    Option 1) Sticking to the original route. I brave the rains. I continue down through Guinea with some exploration, Sierra Leone and Liberia. I then go back into Guinea, up to Mali to tick the box and get the Nigeria visa (which is almost a guarantee) in Bamako, and then continue on to Ivory Coast and Ghana - 4200km (2600miles)
    [​IMG]

    Option 2) I brave the rains. I continue down through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia trying to get the Nigerian visa as I go. If I succeed I can skip Mali and cross from Liberia directly into Ivory Coast where the roads start again, then onward to Ghana - 3200km (2000miles)
    [​IMG]

    Option 3) I don't really brave the rains. I go through Guinea to reach Mali where I get the Nigerian visa, and continue on to Ivory Coast and Ghana - 2800km (1700miles)
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    Option 1 is for the adventurous - I see more stuff, spend more money, but run the risk of my tires wearing out - then I'm absolutely screwed
    Option 2 is for the lucky - If I can't get the Nigerian visa I'll have to go to Mali anyway
    Option 3 is for the secure - I save myself from what could be nightmare roads, along with saving my precious tread as well, but at the expense of a more boring ride report

    Here is my rear wheel at present
    [​IMG]
    4200km, 3200km, or 2800km?
    #42
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  3. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    Option 1. I can't see 4200K left on that TKC, compare it to the photo last time you showed it. Then what?
    Option 2. You said it yourself: you'd need to be lucky. How do you feel about living with the downside?
    Option 3. If you believe in risk reduction as a governing philosophy if you have no control over the circumstances, here's the natural choice. I do, since you're asking for opinions. Play the major percentages in this case.

    Also, when something does go wrong, as something will at some point, looking back with regret sucks. It's much easier looking back and thinking you did everything right.

    Just one opinion, looking forward to reading others. Good luck either way!
    #43
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  4. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    I agree with OK Lucinda. ....those treads don't have much life on them as it is.
    I luv those tires but man they wear fast!!!

    Lost passport panic......that's a heart stopper!!!. Glad you found it. Now go out and make some document copies ASAP!!!!!
    #44
  5. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Man this really sucks. I was hoping to change things up a bit and go do some exploring in the jungle and down through Sierra Leone and Liberia - but it does seem that its just too big of a risk, especially with the rains - those countries are not the place I want to be stranded. If the tire goes, then I will have to spend a whole lot of money and time to get a tire DHL'd to wherever I am, that alone could cost upwards of $500. Right now I almost feel like I haven't seen anything, it doesn't feel like a real adventure. I think I have no choice but to take the short route up into Mali then down into CI/Ghana and pray that the tire holds. If I can at least get another 1500km then if worst came to worst I could put it on the back of a truck to Ghana. I feel that lately I have been cheating myself out of a real adventure. Maybe because I am quite pressed for time, maybe because I'm alone and lack the motivation to get out there more, or maybe because I haven't tried hard enough. I need to change something up asap. Mali here I come I guess!
    #45
  6. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    But you are having an adventure! Like me you're learning as you go and going through highs and lows. I'm sure you're trying hard enough. The objective is to be good by the time you finish, not at the start, lol. Would recommend putting a Heidenau on the rear next time. Keep the TKC's up front.
    #46
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  7. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    That's the plan! I've heard nothing but good things about those tires and their tried and tested African longevity. I know once I get to Ghana and I'm not under so much pressure to cover ground or get visas each day then I'm sure I'll have much more time to get out and do some real exploration
    #47
  8. PropTP

    PropTP Been here awhile

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    I can't tell you what to do, as they're so many variables.

    Regarding the tire, don't know if you're aware of it, but there's a KTM dealer in Togo. I know it's not around the corner, but you might give him a call and see if he stocks your size. If yes, then maybe you can incorporate that into your plans.

    Regarding Liberia, I'm following a Japanese advrider on Facebook. A real seasoned and experienced RTW traveller on a V-Strom. He passed Liberia a couple of months ago, and basically stated it was a shit-hole of epic proportions. Corruption was rampant and he was shook down at every checkpoint.

    What I'm trying to say is, that yes it's supposed to be an adventure, but remember to have a good time too. Don't push yourself (nor the bike) to a breaking point.

    This is what he wrote( OP is in Japanese, but translated via Facebooks built-in translation). Note the part of the border-crossing if you're going with option 2:

    "In Liberia, was corrupt country.
    It's not cheep hotel but dirty room.
    Had a lot of troubles about be bitten by mosquito and insect. more than 50 sore part on one's body.
    Itchy Itchy Itchy...I couldn't sleep well..
    In the jungles of Liberia, drive motorcycle along the notorious road. And get the Cote d'lvore border.
    But border was closed.
    I have to go roundabout about 3000km and 2countries.
    On the way there are a lot of checkpoint more than 10 place.
    Each time police try to take bribes.
    But I never pay. Because I get suffer harassment. So I feel tired...
    Motorcycle had engine trouble so locate the source of the trouble.
    Gasoline also bad. Almost new fuel pomp blocked up dirty gasoline.
    Everything no good.(only Liberia)
    Everyday have some trouble and quarreled with somebody.
    I'm quite exhausted in mind and body.
    So now , I came to Ghana to feel an advanced country.
    I relieve to eat chocolate one's fatigue from a journey."
    #48
  9. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    My god... that translation was by far the best thing I've seen all day. Absolute trooper, gotta hand it to him. Yep was aware of the KTM dealer in Togo, I have a 15,000km service lined up for when I arrive! Maybe its a good thing to steer clear of those countries too, especially since the rains just started and if the roads were bad dry, I don't even want to think of what they're like when wet. Thanks for the info!!
    #49
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  10. Regis

    Regis Adventurer

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    I agree with what the other guys say. Don't stress it too much. Once you start to relax and get into the swing of things you will start to enjoy your surroundings. Always follow your gut, if something seems dodgy then don't go that way.
    #50
  11. DfnsMn69

    DfnsMn69 Adventurer

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    Sad Panda that none of the pics came through...
    #51
  12. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

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    OK, this has got the be the best example of survivalist or laziness i've ever read in a ride report. Either way, absolutely awesome; laughed my ass off!

    I'm sure I've done quite a few similar things as well while traveling :-)
    #52
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  13. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    After all things considered, it would seem Bamako would be the wiser option. As I don’t have to go to any cities between Bissau and Bamako, I’ve seen a route that leads from Bissau to the North Eastern border where it will cross into Guinea, and then down to Labé, to the Eastern town Kankan, up to Siguiri and then the last stretch to Bamako. This is the plan anyway. (by the way, Google assumes you're driving a Ferrari, as 21 hours on these roads is just a joke. It was at minimum 32 hours)

    [​IMG]
    Nice road out of Bissau
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    ***Police corruption story, skip if you want***

    Forty minutes out of Bissau I am stopped by police. They want to see my documents. All my documents. They look through all my stuff and then start asking me for a form I don’t have. He tells me I must pay 5000cfa (7.5 euro). I don’t believe him, I start asking him exactly what he wants, over the next 30 minutes it slowly morphs from some form I don’t have into my insurance. Now he’s telling me my insurance is only valid for Senegal. I start to argue that when I bought it in Senegal that it covered all the West African countries (which it does). We continue to argue about this until finally I say I will call the insurance company on my form and show him. I call them, they can only speak French but its enough to tell me the insurance is only valid in Senegal. This is where I realise I’ve been scammed at the Mauritania/Senegal border and now I’m at the mercy of the corrupt police. I don’t know what to say, I plead that I must have been scammed, and that I genuinely believed I bought the insurance to cover West Africa (The CEDEAU insurance). They want 50,000CFA to let me go (75euro), I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. People start coming over, a couple of locals who could speak some broken English were saying “Just pay it, it will be easier if you to just pay, you will never win”. A Gambian trucker tried to help me out, I ended up paying 5,000CFA (7.5 euro) to be allowed to go. At least it was 10x less than what they were asking. Now I have a new problem, this is only 40 minutes out of Bissau and I have several hours until the border. There are likely another 10 checkpoints ahead, and I still don’t have insurance. After 15 minutes of thinking what to do, I pay another 5000CFA to get the policeman to write me a note saying I’ve paid him, and for no other police to stop me. 10,000CFA (15 euro) total.

    I leave, sick to my stomach with these police and how it works. I cross through at least another 10 checkpoints, however this time I tried a different tactic. I would coast right behind big trucks into the towns, and as we were coming up on the checkpoint and the truck was pulling over, I would scoot out and overtake the truck without the police seeing me at all. At least until it was far too late to stop me. On several occasions there were no trucks, and it was only at the last second the police saw and stopped me. A couple of times, the police were just friendly and more interested in my trip than anything else, this was in the smaller villages. In the bigger towns a couple of police stopped me, though I just showed them the note from the first stop and after a little confusion they just let me go.
    ***Story over****


    Finally the road starts to change, a lot of potholes and its now breaking away. Then it just breaks away completely, and its a relatively nice smooth dirt road. This is awesome, the next 100km to the border made for quick riding. When I reach the border I hadn’t seen any other vehicles for a long time. The border was a ghost town, just a group of very friendly chaps near the crossing. One of them was immigration who stamped me out no problem, and nobody asked for the passavant.

    [​IMG]

    This is where I knew things could get tricky. I had seen on my GPS that no road even exists here, though I had heard that it in fact does exist, its just super bad. As I approached the Guinean border in no-mans land 1km away, it became apparent immediately. It went from the nice dirt road I was on to almost like someone had drawn an invisible line in the dirt and all hell broke loose. I couldn’t even ride up to the border barricade without taking a detour through the bush in order to avoid the main road. I don’t even know how to describe it, it was like the road was gouged and potholed so badly that there was almost no possible route to pass through, I wouldn’t recommend even a quality 4x4 attempting it, and this was dry. In the wet I think it would be practically impassable. I tried to snap a photo but the police wouldn’t have any of it. I got this a bit further from the border as it was getting better, naturally it looks okay in the photo

    [​IMG]

    It took me two hours to go the 40km from the border to the nearby town. 30km of that was this horrible road which gradually eased out. I was so thankful to be on a moto and even more thankful that it was dry road (aside from the large pools of water I was able to narrowly ride around). This is where things started to get awesome, the road slowly turned into a dusty two track leading me through thick vegetation and often through small villages.

    [​IMG]

    The villages are just a collection of small huts, children would be pumping water from wells and women would be pounding grain in mud bowls with large logs. This was getting real. As I would come around corners and out of the trees, kids on the side of the road would leap back in fright often scrambling for something to hide behind. I don’t know why they were so terrified of the bike, maybe it just took them a while to register what they were seeing.

    In the town I was able to get my passavant by the Chief of police who was a very nice man. The sun’s going down and I need to find somewhere to camp! 20km out of town I found a track off the side and headed down. I came upon a small fenced off property of 2 small huts. I parked 100m away, I shouldn’t bother them too much.

    [​IMG]

    There were a couple of kids looking from a distance and probably thought I was an alien, whenever I looked their direction they would bolt behind the huts to hide. I saw a man walking next to a bicycle toward the huts, he came over to see me after I called out. He was a really chilled out Guinean guy who spoke a little bit of English surprisingly. He said it was no problem to camp there the night.

    [​IMG]

    I was so happy from the afternoon in Guinea, it just felt right. Small villages, friendly people, exciting tracks, and beautiful scenery. I think I’m going to like this country for sure this time. (Their huts)

    [​IMG]

    In the morning I pack up and am out by 7am. I have 150km to Labé which is where I will have two options. Head East from Labé on what I’ve heard is a brutal road, or head South another couple of hundred km to Mamou, where I can then go East on what is supposed to be good road. It takes me an hour and a half to go 100km to the bottom of a mountain pass, I didn’t have any clue what was ahead of me but the day was young and I had plenty of fuel. These guys were always here to bail me out

    [​IMG]

    It turned into a gruelling four hours of approximately 50km over a mountain pass. The roads were atrocious, in fact it wasn’t even a road, it was gnarly dirt and clay, big pools of water and often just craggy rock slopes. It was for all intents and purposes a nightmare of a road. Showing some truckers the drone at the top of the mountain pass!

    [​IMG]

    I still thoroughly enjoyed it, again being so relieved that most of it was dry. As it always is, it’s impossible to capture with camera, but I did snap these brave guys missioning it through in their overloaded car (naturally in a section where again, the road looks fine haha)

    [​IMG]

    I was almost immediately rewarded after finding my way back to the asphalt on the other side

    [​IMG]

    it turned into the most amazing twisties all the way down to Labé, where I made the decision to follow the good road which I suspect will save me more time. This means instead of going east now, I will follow the twisties all the way down to Mamou. This was until I hit a big pothole which ripped my bag off again, lucky I had the idea to tie it to the bike as a precaution otherwise I would have never known

    [​IMG]

    Real Madrid is plastered all over the back of the vans around here, everyone sporting Real Madrid and Barca t-shirts. I started to see a pattern after I was turned away from every single gas station since entering Guinea. It seems the people buy out the gas stations whenever they’re filled. They then sell all the fuel at an inflated price from 1L bottles on the side of the road literally everywhere. Instead of it being 8000 Guinean Francs (0.96 Euro) per litre at the gas station, its marked up to 9000F (1.10 Euro), or even 10,000F (1.20 Euro). This is how many of them make their income I guess, and there were only one or two gas stations in the whole of Guinea that I found fuel. This is a good and a bad thing, its bad because you’re always paying an inflated price, but its good because no matter where you are - even in the middle of the hills, you will find someone on the side of the road willing to sell you a few bottles if you’re running low! You can always count on a crowd when you stop to fuel up

    [​IMG]

    I arrive in Mamou, its about 3.30pm. I guess the sun will be going down around 7ish… my ass feels like I’ve spent the day in prison but I really want to see how far I can get before the sun sets. I’m still in the mountains and the vegetation is too thick to pull over anywhere. I continue on another 3 hours until it flattens out and there are plently of choices. The grass is so green here that if I saw a picture of it I’d probably have called “Photoshop”. What an awesome day, it can’t get much better than this! But it can get worse. I pull off the road just on dusk into a nice clearing, I’m riding off into the bushes to get some distance from the road when I hear some scraping. I then hear some poles clatter and I look around to see my stretcher poles on the ground behind me as I ride. wtf? I stop the bike and jump off. My bag has been ripped off again and is dragging behind the bike. It’s ripped a large hole in the bottom of the bag and my stretcher poles have come out. Oh man you have to be kidding me.

    [​IMG]

    I am upset but genuinely surprised that I lost nothing out of the bottom of the bag considering the size of the hole. The only thing that is missing is my bike cover, it was in the bottom of the pouch on the rear and I’m confused at how it could have fallen out. I walk back down the track but there is no sign of it. I continue with the bike another 50m for a good place to camp, then walk back and pick up my stuff.

    First things first, I need to take a dump. I don’t normally talk about the private business but this was special circumstances as a cow had marched over from a couple of hundred meters away and started sniffing around, he got warmer and warmer until he was right on the treasure and started have a taste of the goods. I snapped this picture because I was so confused what his deal was.

    [​IMG]

    Back to the bike. I set up my tent and by this stage there isn’t much light left. I take a good look at my bag and I’m really disappointed. The guy who pulled out in front of me has completely ruined this bag, its going to cost me a good couple of hundred Euro to replace now. On top of that, when the bag was ripped off just before and the bottom ripped out, it also ruined my stretcher and blow up mattress. The stretcher can be repaired with duct tape for now but the air mattress has become dead weight, it’s beyond repair, those alone were worth a fortune. These things were everywhere too, I thought they were just tree stumps until I took a closer look, it's like they're ant hills or something..

    [​IMG]

    I also found my bike cover, I have no idea how this happened. It was completely wound up in there, I only stopped to take a photo once I'd pulled most of it out

    [​IMG]

    I was thankful to be safe, in my tent on a patched but working stretcher. The forest came alive when the sun went down, it was deafeningly loud from critters as I lay there trying to sleep. It sounded like a thousand frogs, crickets and birds. I didn’t have the fly over the tent and I could see flashes of lightning in the distance, but above me was clear. I hope the weather holds out tonight.

    I woke to thunder cracking and a few drops of rain coming through the tent, it was 6.30am so was a good wake up call. I desperately tried to pack my things before the rain comes and I get soaked, but I never got soaked, and the rain never came. I suppose it was just a warning.

    I mended the bag as best as I could. I hope this holds out until Ghana. It wouldn’t be a true adventure unless one of the key components was held together with duct tape.

    [​IMG]

    It was good to get moving early. It was bad dirt road for a couple of hours, the road was under construction, you could try to ride on it as it seemed to be graded well, however there were big mounds of dirt every 300m forcing you back onto the crappy side roads. I tried this for a while but gave up after trying to navigate around a mound of dirt and sliding off down steep a bank. Luckily I was able to pick the bike up easily and climb beside it as I powered it back up the slope. It was smooth sailing all the way to the Mali border several hundred km away.

    [​IMG]

    I crossed over into Mali no problem and it was only an hour and a half ride up to Bamako on good roads. I stopped on the way to take some drone footage next to some magnificent cliffs. Naturally all the kids in the nearby village crowded around me and lost their shit at the drone. The people love this thing. I know when I first bought a drone a few years ago in Australia, I was amazed by the thing, it was so cool. Now take one of these into African villages where they pump water from the ground and electricity doesn’t exist and these people lose their minds. It’s a lot of fun.

    [​IMG]

    Traffic coming into Bamako was insane, at 4pm in the afternoon it was practically gridlocked. All of a sudden police on the road are diverting us to the opposite side into oncoming traffic. I scoot to the front and come up on a round-about where police stop everyone. The side of the road I should have been on was now completely clear. I was sitting there confused for a couple of minutes just waiting, I started to hear sirens in the distance, in only a few moments an SUV came racing past with sirens blaring, followed by a very nice Mercedes, followed by another SUV with sirens. As they sped through, we were now waved on. I boosted the bike and caught up to the motorcade where I was able to tail them through most of Bamako at 100kmp/h, only had to ditch the motorcade and divert a few minutes before reaching the campground. That saved me half an afternoon!

    I checked into The Sleeping Camel, cracked a beer and had some food. Again having to apply for visas on Monday, but it was perfect to have a couple of days traveling through the wilds of Guinea. The place was incredible, it was the best country by far, the people were super friendly, everyone had a big smile on their face and wanted to help me. All of the police who stopped me were just happy to have a yarn over the bike and the planned trip. The scenery was exactly how I imagined and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

    I didn’t swing from vines in the jungle, I didn’t hang out with African tribe women with their tits hanging out, and I didn’t have a deep life-atlering revelation and start saying “This is Africa” as if I was Danny Archer from Blood Diamond (like every European camp owner seems to do). But I did have an epic experience and will remember the last couple of days forever. What a great country, I would recommend it to anyone!
    #53
  14. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,149
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    "… my ass feels like I’ve spent the day in prison"

    Best quote ever! Shared the same experience last week riding in 116 degree Arizona!
    #54
    Wanted likes this.
  15. PropTP

    PropTP Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    236
    Location:
    Europe
    @Wanted, i saw your short vids at Vimeo. They're great!...tell me more about the drone. How do you transport it on the bike? Does it pack small? Whats the flytime and what do you do with the high-res vid files? Do you have a laptop a long you transfer them to?
    #55
  16. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    361
    Location:
    RTW - Everywhere
    It is a DJI Phantom 3 Pro. A lot of people use pelican cases to carry drones, that is too big for me so I just cut up the box that it came in and threw it in my helmet bag (that you can see in most of my bike pictures behind the duffel bag), I then padlock that to the bike. It gets knocked around a lot and probably isn't going to last long but its a necessity for me on a world trip, even if it is a bit big. It took a hammering in the Sahara due to dust and sand and the gimbal played up a bit but it seems okay now. It has a fly time of about 20-25minutes depending on how hard you fly it. The video files aren't actually all that big either, I transfer them off the SD card onto my laptop. Drones have come a long way in the last few years, they work best now automated via pre-programming the settings, as it is a lot smoother than trying to fly manually which can often be risky. They're great pieces of kit, though I definitely need ND-filters soon as there is zero motion blur so everything looks very jittery. The DJI P3P is probably overkill for a first drone, you can get some awesome quality drones quite cheap now, however they lack much of the control, distance and versatility the P3P has.
    #56
    goodcat likes this.
  17. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,927
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Nice updates!

    I am glad you have had a turn of a good few days!

    You are also very lucky that your MC cover didn't lock up the bike and crash you. I have seen that happen more than once, one guy was killed from a tshirt he didn't secure and it locked up his chain...
    #57
    Wanted likes this.
  18. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    361
    Location:
    RTW - Everywhere
    Ivory Coast is now off the cards

    Burkina Faso visa has been obtained!
    Nigeria visa has been obtained!

    updates to follow
    #58
    Throttlemeister and goodcat like this.
  19. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3,996
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Looking forward to drone footage
    #59
  20. Scourge

    Scourge Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Oddometer:
    5,356
    Location:
    Lackawanna County, PA
    @Wanted

    I really enjoyed reading this. How did the big katoom hold up? Any issues with the bike aside from it eating it's own cover?
    #60