African diaries (or When we were young)

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

  1. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    stunning photos of the pyramids, just like the rest.

    Thomas, you're doing a great service to the adv riding community by keeping us sane and inspired in this tough times.

    hope the New Year will bring us a different page than the previous one.
  2. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    I wish you a different 2021 too, NSFW. and thanks for the kind words. I thought there isn´t much going on with current RR so lets warm up some old stories. Its my pleasure.
  3. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    After a longer stay in Cairo – getting visa for the next countries, sightseeing, hanging around, … - Sandra and I (we would meet the other couple again later) headed out along the “desert route” south (the route through the Nil valley was supposed to be unsafe. Shootings had been going on). We passed through the oasis on the route and made a detour into the “White dessert” – a region with a lot of “mushroom rocks”.

    Stopping for a picture I tried to start the beemer and only heard the starter and a rattling noise. Kneeing beside the bike I saw some metal shavings on the middle part of the exhaust. Through the hole in the motor housing that is used to set the engine to TDC I saw the gear rim that is riveted to the flywheel and the starter engages into hanging tilted in an unusual way. That meant work. Sandra towed me to the next Oasis that was not too far away and I got to work. Rear wheel, swingarm, airfilter box, and the gearbox had to come out to reach the flywheel. Looking at the problem I remembered having rivets with me for the rear wheel, because the rivets there sometimes come loose and need replacement. Looking at the rivets I saw they were too thick so I put everything into a backpack and jumped onto Sandra´s bike and took off into the oasis to find a workshop. After some asking and looking around I found what I needed. The shop had a small grinder, a big vice, and a big hammer. I made the rivets thinner so they fit into the holes and riveted the gear rim back onto the flywheel. (That flywheel is still in the BMW today). Back on the campsite I reassembled everything again and pushing the button the beemer came back to life.


    In the "white desert"

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    working on the BMW

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  4. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    sights in and around Luxor

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    We were not alone

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    the Nile

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  5. simmons1

    simmons1 Long timer

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    I find your old travels and photos that you have been posting absolutely fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to put them together and post them.
  6. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Glad you like it and your welcome.
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  7. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    After a longer stay in Luxor – there is so much to see in and around the town, temples, valley of gods, … - it was time to go to Aswan and organize the trip to Sudan. Because of the safety situation in the Nile valley you were supposed to drive in a convoy. When we reached the check post at the end of town, that we had pasted a couple of times going sightseeing around town during the previous day and had always stopped to tell the guys where we were going and that we would be back, we just waved, they waved back, and we were on our way to Aswan without a convoy. When we came to the next check post the guy asked where our convoy was. We told him we didn´t have one. He looked at us very puzzled and said that we would have to wait for the next one. I told him that we wanted to look at a temple on the way and asked if we could go there in between. He looked at us for a while and then said we could go – the convoy would catch up with us. They never did. Our friend on bikes arrived late that night in Aswan, with a convoy, because they had to wait for hours in some places so without convoy was much better.

    the temple we looked at on the way

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    At the time there was only one way to Sudan from Aswan – over the Nasser Lake. I think there is a road now that you can take, but not sure. Cars and trucks had to take a pontoon that would be pushed over the lake. Bikes could take that too, but there was a passenger ferry that could take 4 bikes and that was what we were aiming for. We went to the office in town and asked how it worked and the friendly man gave us the schedule, how and where, and sold us tickets. He looked at us seriously and said – the two boys share a cabin and the two girls one. Yes Sir. (yeah right). At departure day we rode to the ferry terminal and rode up to the boat. A guy (that turned out to be the captain) told us to wait – we would board later. There was only one door where everything went in. And it went in. Goods of all sorts and sizes. The boat went lower into the water and lower. Slowly I was getting worried that we would still fit through the door. I went to my bike (the tallest) and held my hand against my chest how tall it was. Then I went to the door and there wasn´t much space anymore for me to fit. I found the captain and told him what I found out. He said – easy all is good, but 5 minutes later he was at the boat and signaled us to get on board. My bike went first (we had to go down some stairs) and when my shield was at the door it just made it in without hitting the frame.

    Early in the morning we woke up to a knocking at our door. A guy told us to get outside, because the captain was going close past Abu Simbel standing on the shore of the lake. What a sight. (For those of you who don´t know what it is – google is your friend).



    south arfrican overlander on the campsite in Aswan

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    took a boat trip with others to some temple on an island

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    selfmade boat

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    and on board we go (watch the tight fit)

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    and the DR

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    on board

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    passing Abu Simbel

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  8. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    almost forgott the map of the Egypt leg

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  9. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Arriving in Wadi Halfa, Sudan, we got the bikes off the boat onto a floating platform where we loaded them again and had to do all the formalities to enter the country. Then we had to balance over wooden bridges designed for pedestrians that were moving and full of people getting off the boat or carrying the cargo off of it. Wadi Halfa was a very spread out village. There were a couple of huts here and there. We knew that there was a “hotel” somewhere, but didn´t know where. After asking around a little we were directed to a fenced yard with some sheet metal huts. We got one and got ready for the further journey. We needed water and a lot. It was hot during the day and the next source far. We didn´t want to buy 10 l per person, but the only other water was Nil water in a drum in the hotel yard. So we dug out the filters and got to work. It was muddy and the filters would clog every liter or so. We then had to clean them to go on and the procedure took forever, but finally we had what we needed. Heading out the next morning we were greeted by the moon – at least that was what it looked like. Empty, dry, and without any life. We made our way south, looked at all the sights on the way, slept in the wild and in guesthouses if we found one, and finally arrived in Khartoum – the capital. There was a location called “the German Club” that was known for allowing overlanders to camp in their parking lot and using their pool and restaurant although not member. Arriving at the club, there were already some cars there. We parked our bikes got into some lighter cloths and went in to look at everything. The pool wasn´t huge, but clean and cool. What a relief from the heat of the last days. And we would spend a couple of days here. Yes! We all needed visas for the next countries and since it was Ramadan the embassies were only open in the morning. We quickly became friends with a group of Germans in cars and had a good time with them.


    Getting off the boat

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    Filtering water

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    The way south

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    Mrs.B. coming

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    Taking a break

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    Getting a haircut

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    Breakfast in a guesthouse

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  10. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thomas, I am LOVIN' this!
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  11. beltipox

    beltipox Adventurer

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    More more more!
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  12. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Soon, soon, soon :-)
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  13. XR Valdeez

    XR Valdeez Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi Thomas! Hey, any chance you'll try that '70's rock star mustache again? :super
  14. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    fixed the posting order for you Esteban......:D



    :lurk for more.....:thumb
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  15. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Hey Steve, I had that mustache for around 20 years. I was sooooo cool, but no chance I´m gona grow that thing again - although.......I might be cool again? Naaahhh:D

    Nope and nope :-)
  16. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    You need a little push sometimes - it was soft

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    pyramides in Sudan

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    We were always an attraction

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    I would say - one sticks out

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    I almost forgot the annoying part of the trip. Looking at my bike I all of a sudden discovered a crack in the front of the frame. No – not again. This is a reinforced frame and that is not supposed to happen. We were in the middle of Sudan so what do I do? Well go look for a welding machine. Looking at what the guy was welding and what it looked like I asked if I could use it and did it myself. Just to finish up this drama – I had to weld the frame 4 or 5 times before we made it home.



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  17. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    WOW!
    Binkles rock!!!
    Abu Simbel looks great lit up at night.
    Thanks again!
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  18. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

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    Absolutely loving your various reports and your ‘can do’ attitude!

    The pyramids in Sudan are still there btw (or were, 12-14 months ago when I was last able to travel )
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  19. ozmoses

    ozmoses persona non grata

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    As a Type 247 devotee, my favorite part of this report is seeing it done on old school Airheads.

    (the scenery ain't bad,either !)

    Really great.

    Thanks for posting this up @Thomas B. :thumb
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  20. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Thanks guys for your kind words. You are all welcome.

    The pyramids have been there for thousands of years and I do hope they will be there a bit longer. Cool you were able to go there just shortly.
    That attitude is what you need when going to remote places. Not always much "good" help to be found although help is everywhere. But you should know that having gone through Africa.

    The old 247s were and are great bike for traveling although they do have their weak spots.
    I still have mine and will never sell it. Its still a great bike.