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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

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    One obstacle on this route is this sandy hill you have to climb. Sandra and I made it up and the Toyo is just getting ready for the try. It came up with roaring engine in the first try too.

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    If I remember right I think they call this the Elefant stone.

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    the Oued Rachid that we rode in for many kilometers

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  2. beltipox

    beltipox Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
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    Location:
    Sicily, hearth of Mediterranean Sea
    If you need a strong sun and warmth we, in Sicily, have one to spare :)
    Jim K in PA likes this.
  3. allroadtoine

    allroadtoine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    111
    Super, like these picture,

    Greetings,

    Toine
    Thomas B. likes this.
  4. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Sicily is a bit far, but I am planning a ride in Italy in 3 weeks and am looking for a safe place to park our van for a week some where in the northern part of Italy. So if any of you Italian inmates has a safe place for a van please let me know.
  5. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Arriving in Tidjikja I looked at our tanks and immediately knew - without more fuel we were going nowhere. We were lucky that we made it there. I asked around and found a guy that had some fuel he wanted to sell. We agreed on the price, but when he showed up with the canister and I smelled it I was not happy. I don’t know what they mixed into that fuel, but I didn’t want that in our tanks. Luckily some other guys on the campsite were loading a bike onto there truck and they said the tank was still half full and they offered to sell that to us. Bingo. That should bring us to the next village and we might find fuel there. In that village the gas station was empty, but after asking around we found a guy that had fuel and after following his pickup to a shed - that was full of plastic canisters with fuel - we had what we needed to carry on. He didn’t want us to fill our tanks right there, but wanted us to leave immediately with the canisters. What kind of illegal stuff was going on there? Who knows.

    We then parted from the others and made our way through Mali to Senegal and Dakar where I serviced the bikes and put them in storage to wait for us until next winter.


    on the way

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    Still with the others

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    The fuel guy with the pickup

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    of course you get flats - and you have guys giving advice and watching

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    In Dakar at the house of our friend

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    Having a beer while waiting for our flight at the airport

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    Here the route through Mauritania and to Dakar. somehow the GPS didn't store the whole track, but when you connect the loose ends you get the picture where we went.

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  6. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Most excellent.
    That looked like a "stoned elephant"
    Thomas B. and forgorin like this.
  7. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    I remember an Elephant rock that was quite a landmark in the Dakar rally back in the day. But in my memory it looked different than the one in Thomas’ photo.
    So I googled “elephant rock Sahara”. Turns out there are quite few different formations that all have a more or less similar shape and they all seem to be referred to as Elephant rock.
    Thomas B. likes this.
  8. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Curious Thomas if you ever got the chance to make it to Timbuktu?

    My grandfather had that place marked on his bucket list and wasn’t ever able to make it there before he died. I hope to one day complete that task, something exotic and exciting about that place just from his stories when I was just a kid I always wanted to go.

    He always said “if you’ve been to Timbuktu to, then you’ve really been to some places” haha
    roadcapDen likes this.
  9. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

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    NZ Mountains
    A 2006 survey of 150 young people (in Britain) found 34% did not think Timbuktu existed and the remaining 66% considered it to be a "mythical place".
    (Oh the irony, with Timbuktu having been, among other things, such a great 'Centre of Learning')
    Epic traveling and photos Thomas.
  10. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Yep, there are more than one "elephant rock". Well spotted.

    Nope never made it to Timbuktu and although it was on my list, like a lot of other things in the Sahara I wanted to do, it is not on my list anymore. Times have changed and it is too dangerous to go into that area now a days and I don't think that is going to change in my lifetime. Sadly.

    Sad to hear and it seems the British education system is not very good.
    kiwial and squadraquota like this.
  11. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    10. Trip (2006-2007)

    The next winter came, Christmas was close, and we got ready to fly back to Dakar to get our bikes and do another trip through Mauritania and Morocco. Changing planes in Milano, Italy, our flight was delayed for hours and was finally cancelled for that day and pushed to the next day. We got a room at the airport hotel and vouchers for meals. So we arrived in Africa a day later then planned, but with still enough time.


    on the way to the airport

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    Waiting in Milano (do I look bored?)

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    Bikes are ready - let's leave Dakar

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    Break on the way to the border

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    Getting a drink after the border crossing

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    After getting the bikes running and packing up we left Dakar and went straight north to the border and to Mauritania. In Nouakchott we met a couple with a G-wagon that I had found through a Sahara forum and that wanted to join us on some remote routes.

    First we would go to Atar passing Bou Naga. That was a route that parts of were taken by the Dakar when it was still in Africa. Then we would go east all the way to El Ghallouia where there is a military post, but nothing else on the whole way. That route was around 1000 Km and was a test to our range. If it was very soft we might have to push the bikes back to Atar, but with 65 liter we normally should be ok.

    We left Nouakchott and soon the paved road. The beginning of the route was a maintained track, but soon the first dunes came in sight. This route was known for an area with small dunes that had to be crossed.


    Lowering tire pressure for the soft part

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    Heading to Bou Naga

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  12. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    What I didn’t know is that the way we were doing the route we had the soft side of the dunes towards us. The other way would have been much easier, but this way we had to try to find a low place between two dunes to cross and because the dunes were so close to each other we could hardly get enough speed to ride the soft sand better. The G-Wagon with its wide tires didn’t have much problems, but Sandra and I were struggling. We often „buried“ our rear wheels and had to get the bike going again (pushing the bike over, filling the hole, getting the bike upright again, and pushing the bike to get it going). It took a lot of time and in the evening I was exhausted. In the end we made it out of that dune-area the next day and went on towards Bou Naga and then Atar.


    No pictures of the struggling - only our place for the night

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    Break once we were out of the dunes (the ladies looking where we have to go)

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    Crossing the Dakar route - one that didn't make it

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    Always wanted to sit in a Dakar car

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    Arriving at Bou Naga - I think it was a mining place - not much left

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  13. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    East Coast, South Africa
    Interesting as usual, but even more so for me now, as I'm currently reading a book of a SA guy who rode around Africa on a mountain bike....so, many familiar names there.

    Thanks, Thomas!!
    Thomas B. likes this.
  14. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    I recommend this Timbuctoo as an alternative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbuctoo,_California
    Thomas B. likes this.
  15. XR Valdeez

    XR Valdeez Long timer Supporter

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    Thomas! I see a future for you in race cars! You look like a natural! :thumbup
  16. BornAgain

    BornAgain Been here awhile

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    Did you finish in the top ten? :lol3
  17. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    I am - everything with wheels is where I belong (I just need a sponsor - you got money to spare?)

    No, they nicked the gas pedal (and a few other things)
    MZ5, Geezerguy and yamalama like this.
  18. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    During one of our breaks I heard a hissing noise coming from Sandra’s bike. Looking for its source I found that the header had moved (probably during an off Sandra had earlier) and had now rubbed a hole into one of the inlets of one of the coolers. Through the tiny hole there was now a fine spray of cooling liquid on to the header making that noise. We topped it up and in the evening I got busy repairing it. Cooler out, filling the hole with a small pop rivet, sealing it with some epoxy glue, cooler back in, and filling it with water. All good.

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    little creatures out in the desert

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  19. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer Supporter

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    The terrain in some of these photos looks like the surface of Mars.

    Hope the spider was not hungry for human snacks!
    Thomas B. likes this.
  20. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Problem with Sandra's bike again. The exhaust was falling off.

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    Getting closer to the Adrar region the landscape changed. There was some elevation.

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    In Atar on the campsite we moved into one of the big tents

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