An Aussie 990 in Africa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by anydavenow, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. teknystoddy

    teknystoddy n00b

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    I spent a few days reading this, the bike prep thread and your Australian RR. Love your writing! Can’t wait for more Dave, thanks very much for sharing this with us.
  2. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Thanks very much @teknystoddy and welcome to the forum. The next post has been drafted and will be dispatched soon. Bit of editing and some photo selection to be done.
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  3. Peter640

    Peter640 Peter 640

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    Dave

    Amazing RR I just "binge watched" it feeling sorry for myself as I can't travel back to reconnect with my trip (cut short in Morocco this March).

    As so many others have said you write beautifully and the whole west coast experience makes my efforts in Morocco seem like a walk in the park!

    Awaiting more with interest!

    Thank you.

    Peter
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  4. teknystoddy

    teknystoddy n00b

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    Long time lurker but my first time posting. Recently bought a 990 R which is how I found your RR. If you're ever heading to Ireland, please give me a shout!
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  5. bjor1978

    bjor1978 n00b

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    Love the RR and being a tiny part of your grand adventure. Thanks for sharing cobber.
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  6. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, MICN Supporter

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    This is an amazing RR! Just discovering it. Going to check out your other thread while waiting for the latest update. Thanks for sharing mate! Keep them coming. Love your storytelling.

    -Tahoe
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  7. ubermick

    ubermick Long timer Supporter

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    Devoured this report in an evening - honestly couldn’t put the ipad down. All I can say Dave is....

    Fuuuuuuuuckin’ ell! Keep it coming, ya legend!!
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  8. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Absolutely outstanding! I just finished. Superb indeed. :clap
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  9. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Strange Days in Saly

    It had taken me many years to truly commit to doing this trip: to look it in the eye and acknowledge that it wasn't just a peripheral dream any more but something that I had the responsibility to start. And finish.

    Being 6 countries deep I had to give credit where it was due and acknowledge the contribution of a healthy nudge from my partner Roma who (as she liked to do) urged me to "shit or get off the pot", which was the final straw in the camel's backpack that forced it to start its trek.

    We'd been together for four years by the time I boxed my bike up and sent it off to Basildon and there had been at least a couple of years of missed connections prior to the point where our lives converged. (I'm talking about Roma, not the KTM.)

    With biological clocks ticking and the pressure to hit mainstream milestones mounting it was clear (or clarified) that I should get this trip over and done with so that we could move on with our lives.

    Though I won't pretend that my trip was the only source of conflict it was a significant one and thankfully (ironically) my commitment to it and a concession to do it in a much shorter time than I'd hoped was in effect a commitment to the relationship. It was a signal that I was willing to shape a life in partnership rather than stubbornly cling to my own goals (or dreams, or possibly youth).

    Although I'd been a financial imbecile in my twenties my dream had given me reason to learn how to save and over the years I'd gotten so good at it (and also procrastinated for so long) that I'd accumulated enough to fund the trip and put down a deposit on an apartment for us to boot.

    So the flat was purchased, the bike was dispatched and I was sent off at Kingsford-Smith Airport with a teary but happy good-bye and rough plans for a mid-trip rendezvous in Ghana should I even make it that far.

    So far, we'd managed to stay in close contact and thanks to the Great African Cellular Revolution apart from treks in the Moroccan mountains or expeditions into the Mauritanian interior we'd been able to get at least a few WhatsApp messages exchanged each day. As a result, our initial anxieties about separation and fears that we'd be unable to stay connected had started to seem overblown. We still felt in sync even though our time zones weren't.

    By the time I hit Senegal we had gotten into a groove and each of our fears seemed to have subsided—mine being that I'd never do the trip and hers that I'd never return from it.

    —⤫—
    Valerio, Filippo and I were still getting along well and in Saly, 80 km south of Dakar, we found a tired, beach-side village which never quite managed to make good on the promise of paradise. The tourists and the dwindling industry clinging to them appeared to be soldiering on in mutual agreement not to admit that this actually wasn't really working out and perhaps it would best for both parties if they parted ways.

    Some of the hotels lining the beach seemed to be doing quite well with just enough greying, leathery Europeans paying to bask on deck-chairs to fund upkeep of the large staff and bougainvillea-drenched compounds.

    Approaching the beach-front from the village was like picking your way through the back of a makeshift film set. Everything shoddily constructed and hanging together to contribute to the façade facing the beach—giving the impression to those who didn't look behind the scenes that they were in a dreamy, tropical wonderland.

    The area was clearly struggling after the search-light of European tourism had cast itself on more convenient destinations. Perhaps cheaper flights, waxing security concerns or the whim of the Instagram influencers had sent the visitors and their dollars elsewhere. What remained was a kind of nuclear summer scene with abandoned hotels overrun with vegetation crumbling into the ocean as the waves slowly eroded their foundations.

    Taking the cheap option (and getting what we paid for) we camped in the back garden of one of the less dilapidated hotels on a patch of sand next to a god-awful, reeking toilet block. Thankfully, we had direct access to the beach and a heavily bosomed lady in a dangerously worn out tee-shirt to make us delicious local meals like "Mix de la Mer".

    We took a walk along the beach, stepping over fallen palms and through crumbling buildings, followed by an eager, scruffy and aptly named urchin called Paradise who was trying to tout his way into a franc or two by acting as local guide. Though well into his twenties he was clearly new to the trade and hadn't quite figured out that guiding as a profession involved something more than following one's customers around and retrospectively pointing out things of interest that they have already discovered for themselves. It wasn't a total loss for Paradise, though, as his hour's work earned him a free Coke from Valerio when we made a pit-stop in Saly proper at the end of the beach. Despite the efforts of Paradise to play it cool it was clear that it had been a while since he'd experienced such a treat.

    Ambling back to base we passed groups of young locals playing intense games of football on the sand. We stopped to "help" pull a large fishing net to shore in a strange act of indeterminable authenticity with the crowd that had gathered to get the job done. A row of mangy dogs sat patiently in a line behind the impromptu market that had formed to bid over the best bits of the catch.

    The haul was meagre and that was now the norm, as a bystander explained to us, since big trawlers had started sweeping up most of the available stock before local fishermen could get a look in. The good old days of Saly certainly weren't now.


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    Camping behind the hotel

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    Paradise Lost

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    Work Not In Progress

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    Paradise Found

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    Souvenir

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    Downtown Saly

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    Good Boys

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  10. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Thanks Peter! I know we talked a bit during the planning stages about Morocco. I hope you get to finish your trip, I'd definitely love to return to North Africa again.

    Much appreciated! I'll have to add Ireland to the list of future destinations, now. I'm sure you'll love the bike, I've been so happy with it. Just got back from a few days of riding in New South Wales which reminded me how much I like it.

    Appreciate the encouragement, Bjor. More to come.

    Glad you're enjoying it. It feels like there's still a lot to go on this! Definitely taking longer to write than ride.

    Thanks ubermick! I'm definitely determined to finish it, and comments like that definitely help encourage me.

    One more for you just posted RedDog, and another ready to go once I've dug up the photos.
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  11. Red liner

    Red liner Been here awhile

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    You should think about doing a coffee table book with lots of quotes, pictures and some commentary like above. Like seriously.
  12. OzCRU

    OzCRU Long timer

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    ^^ Plus One - (Pretty sure we've said it before) :lol3:clap
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  13. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    Another great update Dave. Eagerly looking forward to the next one!
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  14. Bacchusman

    Bacchusman Adventurer

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    Brilliantly written. Deserves a wider audience. Cheers, L
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  15. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

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    Brilliant. The man is a legend (as others have said) and I feel privileged to have met him (twice, in fact)!
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  16. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Guide to the Dark Side

    On our second day in Saly I woke with a feeling of unease. It had been a few days since I'd heard from Roma and I was feeling the distance. The depressing, derelict surrounds of a post-apocalyptic holiday park and the adrenal fatigue of an eventful trip were no doubt contributing. Although I was by no means alone my shadow felt a little darker than one would expect on that clear, sunny morning by the sea with smooth, little waves rolling playfully onto the beach.

    After breakfast we met the hotel caretaker, Philippe. He was a French expat and was running the joint as a favour for a friend. Philippe offered to take us on a little tour of the local sights, leading us around on his ancient DR with a blown shock. He'd been unable to get the shock rebuilt locally and was waiting for an opportunity to return to France so he could bring a replacement back in his suitcase.

    Philippe's tour was fascinating but he clearly wanted to drive home the fact that Saly had a dark side. Little hints and references to sex tourism and the poor state of the local economy were dropped at every opportunity with the intention that we might have our eyes opened to the fact that this tourist paradise wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. The subtlety was rather unnecessary considering that this fact was obvious to anyone possessing the gift of sight.

    We visited a church built by French missionaries—a newly constructed ode to God and Gaudi. We tiptoed through a shell market where women sat on the ground carefully sorting tonnes of shells by hand into piles of different size and colour, occasionally interrupted by a dump truck or bombed-out ute coming by to procure a load of this unusual and prestigious building material.

    While Philippe had disappeared to run a mysterious errand we were left to our own devices and lunch in a little restaurant nearby. There, we were educated on the value and associated social status of shells by a reasonably drunk "cool guy" who sat at the adjacent table drinking beers while waiting for his truck to be loaded. He bragged about the fancy apartment he was building where he would live alone and welcome many a fine female visitor.

    Earlier, the women selling sea shells (by the sea shore) had tried to demand money in exchange for being photographed and there was nothing friendly about their request. We met similar hostility at the fish dryers—"no photo!" being shouted with the accompaniment of a furrowed brow and a wagged finger. Perhaps this was Philippe's regular beat and there was an assumption that he was profiting selfishly from taking guests on a tour. The African way is to distribute your takings, not accumulate them (unless you're in politics).

    When Philippe's creepy tour came to an end we thanked him genuinely and decided to continue our sightseeing independently (we did wonder whether the "dark side of Saly" might perhaps be concentrated in the area closely surrounding or slick-haired and leathery tour guide.)

    —⤫—
    Our next stop was the "shell island" of Fadiouth—a long-standing Christian enclave built upon centuries' worth of discarded oyster and clam shells where pigs roam the streets freely with their litters in tow on their way down to romp in the mud flats surrounding the island, blissfully unaware of the Christian appetite for pork.

    Across an old wooden bridge we found a beautiful cemetery, shared by Muslim and Christian graves, formed by piles of shells. The Christian ones were prettily decorated but the Muslim ones simple and to the point.

    Returning over the bridge to the main island we were caught up in a funeral procession. Hundreds of smartly dressed men flooded the bridge and strode towards us, following the religious leaders while the women remained obediently singing and wailing ceremonially at the far end of the bridge.

    A stern look and subtle finger to the lips offered by one of the men was all it took for us to understand that we should remain as inconspicuous as possible and show no disrespect. It was a tough brief for a trio of brightly-clad sore thumbs sticking out in the middle of that skinny wooden bridge but with backs to the railing and heads bowed we waited awkwardly and motionless for the procession to march past us.

    We returned to Saly and with a full day drawing to a close we felt it was time for a cleansing ale (or rather a lager) so we wandered down the beach from our lodgings to a fun-looking bar called Don Jon which sported a grinning barman, a beautiful waitress called Veronique, a spectacular sunset view and ice-cold beer.

    My feelings of unease were momentarily forgotten as I stared over the calm water and we communally laughed our way through recollections of the day.

    [​IMG]
    French Brekkie

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    Hope Factory

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    The Shell Mine

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    Philippe's Tour



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    Loading Zone

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    Fadiouth

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    Island Cemetery

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    Island Cemetery

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    Paying Disrespects

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    Getting upgraded to Don Jon

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    Delivering on the Paradise Promise

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    Finale
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  17. Red liner

    Red liner Been here awhile

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    What no photo of veronique
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  18. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Been here awhile Supporter

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    How did this turn out? I assume you have been delayed a year?
  19. teknystoddy

    teknystoddy n00b

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    Dave, if you do consider turning this into a book, I would happily pre-order a copy if it helped fund it, I'm sure I'm not the only one here.
    Toddy
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  20. Luna Negra

    Luna Negra Adventurer

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    This ride report is fantastic & one of the best I've ever read here. Keep it coming!
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