African diaries (or When we were young)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Thomas B., Aug 17, 2020.

  1. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    Going up the pass

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At the top in bike rain jacket (all we had to keep us warm)

    [​IMG]

    5415 m with bike gloves on

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The way down

    [​IMG]

    Found some sticks to help Sandra go down

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Annapurna range we walked around

    [​IMG]
    DKCJ, Smidty, Amphib and 24 others like this.
  2. steved57

    steved57 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,115
    Location:
    East Texas
    Thomas - Curious - how long did the trek take
  3. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    Travelguides say to plan 18-21 days. It took us 15 day including 2 rest days. We were pretty fast.
    steved57 likes this.
  4. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,042
    Location:
    Beervanastan, Duwamps Pacific NorWet
    Wow ! ! ! Your photos are awesome, and fabulous souvenirs of your trek . . . . . :clap

    :clap . . . . :happay . . . . . .:smile6 . . . . . .:lurk . . . . .:beer
    DKCJ, Thomas B. and roadcapDen like this.
  5. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    thanks a lot!
  6. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    Back in Kathmandu we did some more sightseeing in and around town

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and yes - we sometimes took a bike for sightseeing

    [​IMG]
    DKCJ, wera917, roadcapDen and 16 others like this.
  7. morse

    morse Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Estonia
    Thanks for the report so far! Very inspiring and enjoyable!

    I went through it in two days - feels like being on an adventure myself.
    Thomas B. likes this.
  8. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    Going over the bikes I felt my rear wheel not turning smoothly. Not again. The same problem as in Kenia. A gearbox bearing was going bad. I somehow knew it would happen, because the gearbox bearings are normally C3 bearings (bearings with a larger play). In Kenia I could only get „normal“ bearings that were under more stress when in the gearbox. That meant their life was limited. I now had the problem again to get the flange off to which the driveshaft is attached. Finding one in Nepal was hopeless so I made a drawing what a simple version should look like, put the gearbox into a backpack again and went for a ride with Sandra’s bike. I looked for a street with workshops and after I found one I slowly drove through looking for one that looked better than the rest. I walked in and a guy that looked like the boss walked towards me. Of course he spoke no language I could understand, but I pulled out my drawing and the gearbox and showed him with my hands what I needed to do. I wasn’t sure he understood, but he made a gesture showing me to wait. He went through a door into the backyard where there was a big pile of junk. After a while he came back with a big bolt with a fine thread and a high nut on it in the one hand and a piece of thick sheetmetal in the other. That looked good. He gave the sheetmetal and my drawing to a boy that went to drill to make the holes into it and he disappeared. When he came back he had machined a pointed tip on the bolt and when the sheetmetal was ready he welded the nut to it. I could now bolt the sheetmetal to the flange and with the bolt press it off the axle. By the time we were ready to try my new tool half the neighborhood was standing around me watching and when the flange came off with a clanging noise and I lifted it into the air there was a loud cheer from the crowd. I pated the boss on the back and shook his hand showing my thanks for his good work. Of course he wanted no money, but was just glad to help. I still have that tool at home today and use it whenever I need to take the gearbox apart.

    While I was repairing the bike an other couple from Switzerland showed up. They had seen our bikes and were on bikes too, just staying in another guesthouse. We agreed to leave together and then traveled for some weeks with them.

    We toured through northern India and after we only took small roads traveling was much more pleasant. Not much traffic and only the occasional city we had to go through was very busy. We visited lots of temples and other interesting places like Varanasi and of course the Taj Mahal.


    Hiked up to a lookout - the lake by Pokhara and the Annapurna range behind it

    [​IMG]

    and the route through Nepal

    (slightly out of focus)

    [​IMG]

    the gates in Varanasi where the people come to bath in the Ganges for some relief

    early in the morning

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    took a boat ride to see it from the water

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    in India your never alone and there is no private space. The crowd just moves in. Fixing a small problem.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    on the road

    [​IMG]

    plowing a field - when did we do it that way? a century ago?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    nice temple

    [​IMG]

    lets get into the details

    [​IMG]

    the whole thing was covered with this

    [​IMG]

    and the first diesel bike I had ever seen

    [​IMG]
    DKCJ, RedDogAlberta, bomose and 19 others like this.
  9. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,613
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    Thomas you know you have to drag that custom Nepalese tool out of the workshop for all of us gear heads here on ADV to admire.

    wonderful adventures you and Sandra have shared, thanks for sharing them here !
    Burro driver, Bunyip1260, MZ5 and 4 others like this.
  10. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    Here you go - I just trimmed it a little when I came home to make it as small as possible for Traveling purposes

    [​IMG]
    DKCJ, steved57, ilten and 8 others like this.
  11. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    I'm not gonna try and find out what every picture shows unless I still know. Just sit back and look at the amazing old forts and temples.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Taj Mahal in the distance

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At the time you could get in with an early morning ticket for a really good price (before the crowds came) and it was valid the whole day so we went twice.

    [​IMG]

    It's a really impressive beautiful building and pictures can hardly show the complete beauty. If you don't know the story behind it and are interested - Google is your friend.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    steved57, scudo, bomose and 19 others like this.
  12. uweg

    uweg Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Hi Thomas,
    I just came across this by accident.
    That unlucky BMW crash pilot would be me I guess.
    Always was wondering what you were up to, and wanted to thank you for your help--but lost your contact.
    Well, 31 years later it's never too late to say thank you and I'm glad you could continue with your trip.
    On my second attempt with a different bike I managed to make it to Cape town eventually.
    Living and working in Nairobi, so if you ever feel like popping by for a chat to catch up with life--just drop me a line.

    Cheers, Uwe
    AFRIKA_WESTOST0006.jpg SAHARA_890021.jpg


    Again I was alone arriving at the ferry, but left it with two other bikers. I didn´t ride very long with them because one didn´t see a rough spot and had a bad fall doing summersaults with his bike. He had a broken collar bone and the bikes parts were scattered all over the place. We managed to get him to the next oasis that had a hospital and an airstrip and he was picked up by an emergency plane the next day, and brought home for operation. His friend somehow got scared and he went home also. I found another guy to carry on with and we made it to Tam together, but then parted. On the campsite in Tam I met a group of bikes and a truck that had all met on the road and were heading to Niger. That sounded interesting and I asked if I could join them. They all agreed and we headed south. It was a bit tight for me as I had a ferry ticket back to Italy and had to be back at work in time. But I had never been that far and I was willing to risk it. The problem was that I had to go back the same way and find someone I could join because doing it alone was too risky.

    The group came along together very well and we had a lot of fun. Arriving in the first town in Niger, Arlit, I we bumped into 2 bikes and a truck going north and because that was possibly my only chance to find someone to travel with I turned around and joined them.

    The rest of that trip was pretty smooth and I returned to Europe in time.


    My "new bike", almost ready for Dakar

    [​IMG]

    I even put a 1043 cc kit on it and the increased power and torque was good fun

    [​IMG]

    it looks firm, but the sand underneath was soft and needed speed

    [​IMG]

    The crash site - parts lying all over the place
    on the right side you can see the strange bumps that the guy didn´t see, raced directly into them with a good speed, and that threw his bike into the air with him loosing control

    [​IMG]


    the unlucky guy with the wrecked bike

    [​IMG]

    he had a broken colar bone so we tied him up to get it better back into shape. (I don´t know the english word for this )

    [​IMG]

    we later got his bike back together the best we could and spend the night there.

    [​IMG]

    just look at that pannier

    [​IMG]

    By pure luck the next morning a local showed up by foot and said hello. He asked if we were ok and we told him the story. He turned around and pointed to an empty truck standing on the road in the distance. He was going to the next oasis and could take the bike and rider. Perfect.[/QUOTE]
    DKCJ, shiryas, Watercat and 13 others like this.
  13. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    [/QUOTE]

    Well how cool is that!
    Two strangers meet on a ferry and agree to travel together for a couple of days. They split because of an accident and loose contact.
    Decades later the two Germans, now in Kenia and Switzerland find each other again on an American biker site. The world is a small place.

    Hi Uwe,
    hope all is well and your collar bone healed up well. Since you're on ADV I guess your still riding a bike. COOL.
    What are you doing in Nairobi?
    If I do make it to Kenia I will call you up.

    Cheers Thomas

    (nice to see me working on your bike to get it on the road again)
  14. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    446
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    I'm so happy to be a part of the "Motorbike-Community" - because things like this happen.
    DKCJ, High Road, steved57 and 2 others like this.
  15. uweg

    uweg Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Haha, yes that's cool!!
    3 months after that crash I started my first assignment based in Nairobi, and I always came back to Africa in between other jobs.
    That sahara accident taught me right at the beginning a good lesson, and helped to accumulate many many many "relative safe" adventure miles with motorbike and car right to this very day.
    Still haven't lost my motorbike or wanderlust.
    Due to covid travel restrictions in the moment, I'm more in Kenya on safari.....not really a bad thing in nationalparks that are often deserted of humans/tourists...
    Anyway, don't want to clutter your beautiful thread here.
    I'll PM you my contact and looking forward to a nice chat by a campfire in the near future.

    Stay safe, Uwe


    Well how cool is that!
    Two strangers meet on a ferry and agree to travel together for a couple of days. They split because of an accident and loose contact.
    Decades later the two Germans, now in Kenia and Switzerland find each other again on an American biker site. The world is a small place.

    Hi Uwe,
    hope all is well and your collar bone healed up well. Since you're on ADV I guess your still riding a bike. COOL.
    What are you doing in Nairobi?
    If I do make it to Kenia I will call you up.

    Cheers Thomas

    (nice to see me working on your bike to get it on the road again)[/QUOTE]
  16. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    It was there that we met a couple from Zimbabwe touring on an Enfield that joined us too for a couple of days. We all went west into the desert Thar where we had a look at the city of Jaisalmer and did a two day camel ride into the desert. At some point Sandra and I were alone again going into the Indian Himalaya. It was a nice and warm day when we arrived in Shimla where we found a cheap guesthouse. We didn’t realize that is was on the northern side of the ridge the town is located on. The next morning we didn’t believe our eyes. It had snowed and we were trapped for a couple of days. Even though the sun did come out again and the snow the south side was melting rapidly the path leading up hill to the ridge and the sun although not long was pure ice on the sunless northern side. After looking at the path every morning we finally decided to try to leave. We pushed the bike with the help of a local over the ice until they were on the pavement. Then we carried all our panniers and bags to the bikes and geared up. And then the BMW didn’t want to start. The starter would turn, but the engine wouldn’t fire up. After draining the battery we had to get out the jumper cable and let the DR run while trying to get the Beemer to run. Finally the boxer came to life and we could leave. My bike would have the starting problem every morning. All the troubleshooting and exchanging electrical parts I had with me didn’t help. The problem stayed.




    Taking a break from work

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now 5 bikes

    [​IMG]

    The blue city

    [​IMG]

    Nice one

    [​IMG]

    one small pile of fur

    [​IMG]

    We decided to get the same hair cut

    [​IMG]

    in Jaisalmer

    [​IMG]

    going into the desert Thar on a camel tour

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    with a crowd again

    [​IMG]

    but we did find nice and quiet places to relax

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    temple full of rats

    [​IMG]

    and then the snow came

    [​IMG]
    DKCJ, NSFW, Burro driver and 17 others like this.
  17. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    473
    Location:
    NZ Mountains
    EXCELLENT Photos...Jaisalmer rocks (1986)...it took a while to get used to the whole village (in some places) watching me having breakfast...
    It's always a interesting contrast between Africa, the cradle of humankind and Asia, the diversity after ~50.000 years 'out of Africa'.
  18. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    After a stop in Amritsar to See the Golden Temple it was time to leave India and cross over in to Pakistan. And once again it pulled us into the magnificent mountains and onto the famous KKH, the Karakoram Highway.

    The Golden Temple in Amritsar

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The India part

    [​IMG]


    In Lahore, Pakistan

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Care for a snack?

    [​IMG]

    The big mosque in Islamabad

    [​IMG]

    some ruins on the way

    [​IMG]

    Starting the Karakorum Highway

    [​IMG]

    villages on the way

    [​IMG]

    mountains getting higher

    [​IMG]

    Parts were paved - parts not

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    DKCJ, AngusMcL, forgorin and 19 others like this.
  19. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    26,384
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    Thomas, did someone mention writing a book?

    Love to see all of this in one book....possibly 2.

    Thanks again for sharing.
    DKCJ likes this.
  20. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,226
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    sorry but that's not gonna happen. Too much work (I know what I am talking about - wrote one already) and it would be in German anyway. For English my English is not good enough. Although I do have a lot of my memories written down already, but no.
    You'll have to read it here (as long as I still like writing here).
    DKCJ, dolomoto, XR Valdeez and 12 others like this.