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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:
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    Going south we spend the night on a rundown campsite in Rabat where we met a German on a bike who joined us for a couple of days and further south we picked up the couple at our meeting point.

    The weather wasn’t all sunshine, but it wasn’t bad. Further inland there had been a massive rainstorm and the water was making its way towards the ocean. When we came close to the riverbed where we would cross that water there was a long row of cars and trucks waiting. We made our way to the front of the row and stood in front of a big fast flowing river. The police was there and had blocked the road. Some truck had tried to pass through the water and didn’t make it. The driver was still sitting behind the wheel and the water was probably at his feet already. We had to wait two days for the water level to drop enough for the police to let the traffic and us go through.


    Police wouldn't let us through

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    The truck that didn't make it - the driver is still in the cabin

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    Finally the water level dropped and the traffic was allowed to move on

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    At least the bikes were clean again. We pushed them through because some big tarmac bits were washed away leaving deep holes and you couldn't see anything because of the muddy water.

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    GringoRider, CruzCtrl, ilten and 20 others like this.
  2. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    While waiting for the water to get lower we got to talk to a young couple in an old Land Cruiser that was keen on joining us all the way to Tidjikja and after talking to the others they were part of the team. After arriving in Nouadibhou (Mauritania) we had a couple of hours to spare and I went to work changing tires. I had left the partly run down ones from our Tunisia trip on the bikes and we had carried new ones with us. These went onto the rims now and should last until we got back home the next winter. Luckily there was a 4x4 that was willing to run his compressor for me to inflate the tires. Pumping four tires by hand would have been a pain. The next morning we took off towards Atar along the train tracks again. We hardly hit the first sand stretches when the girl of the other bike couple started falling. One time after the other. Her husband told us she had done an off-road course before the trip, but that didn’t seem to have taught her how to handle sand. She fought for about 2 kilometers and then the two said it didn’t work and they would turn around. We brought them back to the tarmac and then said farewell. With the smaller group we made good time and after arriving in Atar and some rest days we prepared for our tour to Tidjikja. The others wanted to go see Guelb er Richat first- a huge ring shaped structure (45 km diameter), also called the eye of Africa, with an unclear origin. That would add another 300- 350 km to our 400 km route. So we filled all our tanks and jerry cans (65 liter on each bike) and headed out. Gelb er Richat was not worth the visit if you ask me. The rings are only a few meters high and although they can be see from space on the ground they are hardly visible. Back in Chinguetti the starting point of the route we had a look at the old oasis again and the old libraries that have scientific and quaranic texts many from the late middle ages.


    on the way the German had a problem with his bike that we got fixed

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    Our route to Dakar would be a bit longer

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    On the way to Atar

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    Sandra shopping in Atar

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    Dinner on the campsite in Atar

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    Having a snack in Atar

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    Leaving Atar

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    At the Guelb er Richat

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  3. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer Supporter

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    Steril, DKCJ, MZ5 and 6 others like this.
  4. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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  5. beltipox

    beltipox Adventurer

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    Location:
    Sicily, hearth of Mediterranean Sea
    Amazing...really amazing...
    Thomas B. likes this.
  6. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    tent-restaurant

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    In Chingetti

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    The old books

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    The librarian explaining some things to us

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    Watercat, CruzCtrl, Bock and 15 others like this.
  7. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Then it was time to get on the route to Tidjikja. First we had to cross a dune area right outside the oasis. These dunes are threatening to cover the village and some houses have been abandoned because of the sand moving in already. It was very soft in places and we had to dig the Toyo out of the sand a couple of times after it got stuck. After the dunes the track remained soft but more flat so speed could go up.

    Looks like Sandra is a little in trouble here - see the Toyo way back to the right

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    The Toyo needed some help to get free - again

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    Some locals that showed up during a break watching Sandra take off
    It was soft - see how low the bike still is in the sand trying to get speed and on to the sand

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    dunes are getting flatter - the sand stays

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  8. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    Cresting those soft dunes with a fully loaded bike…you guys have my respect!

    The eye of Africa looks spectacular from space, but I can understand it’s hard to appreciate at ground level. Still quite a natural phenomenon.
    Thomas B. likes this.
  9. XR Valdeez

    XR Valdeez Long timer Supporter

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    Outstanding rides and stories Thomas! Sandra and you ROCK!

    One last question, any chance you might re-think the 70's mustache? :lol3
    forgorin likes this.
  10. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

    too old for facial art show off :D:D:D:D
    yamalama, XR Valdeez and Essbee like this.
  11. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    After the dune area it was a mix of rocky stretches with sandy ones with some more dunes thrown in to keep it interesting

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    It was a dry place

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    The locals

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    GringoRider, Watercat, VDG and 18 others like this.
  12. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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  13. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    East Coast, South Africa
    Love the ( "new" ) SA Flag patch on Sandra's pants knee. :thumb
  14. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Yeah, when we were in SA she had a hole in her pants and looked for a patch and liked the SA flag, and of course put it on her "holy" knee.
    Essbee and ilten like this.
  15. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    The route always stayed interesting with sand, rocks, sand and rocks, sandy uphill part, and dry sandy riverbeds to ride in. It was fuel consuming and especially the long ride in the Oued Rachid an super soft riverbed where we hardly got over second gear with almost full throttle let the fuel lever in the tanks drop significantly. I was really running low and we still had some kilometers to go.

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    nice camp spots were everywhere - McDonalds right around the corner- or not?

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    Had a problem in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden some women show up and try to sell some handmade souvenirs - no idea where they came from

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    people at a couple of huts

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    did I say it was soft?

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    not nice riding in this - soft sand with stones in it

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    and uphill - Sandra needed a push

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  16. XR Valdeez

    XR Valdeez Long timer Supporter

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    Amazing stuff!
  17. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    thanks Steve
  18. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    upload_2021-5-26_23-17-19.jpeg

    Looks like quite a climb to have gotten that shot. Amazing, such a tall rock in the vast emptiness.
  19. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    awesome update Thomas.

    sun, sand and more sand plus rocks....with loaded panniers, you guys can take some punishments. we have a lot of them here too on SoCal and i avoid the deeper sand that goes for miles as much as possible. starting to get warm here, above 90F many of us just stay home or go to higher elevations.

    keep them coming!
    Thomas B. likes this.
  20. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    We would love to have some warmth around here. North of the Alps it is still cool with rain and wind. We are desperately waiting for the "summer". Sandra had a week off at work and we took the van (without bikes) down to Italy to enjoy some sun and warmth. Was a strange trip. We have never seen touristy spots like Pisa so empty. No tourists due to Covid. But Europe is slowly opening up for the summer. Numbers are going down and hopes for more "normality" are going up. Hope it will work out.
    AngusMcL, scudo, NSFW and 5 others like this.