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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Sideoff, Jan 18, 2019.
Subscribed, killer trip so far, thoroughly enjoying Ethiopia.
This report is living up to, and exceeding, all my expectations!! I'm really enjoying the great writing, observations and photos.
Ride on, ride safe and have fun!
Loving all of this! Ride On ….FANTASTIC Photo!!
Officially Helmet Hair
+1! It Doesn't Get Happier Than That!
Stunning RR. I find it quite fascinating that you guys, coming from where you do, opted to travel Ethiopia. That's seriously adventurous, nice one!
Thank you for sharing your fantastic journey with us. It is simply amazing. I’ve never been to Africa, but I do know that wealth is assessed differently in different cultures. What makes you rich in one culture (western) doesn’t mean you are rich in another. Some of those tribes were happy and “rich” in their own culture that a foreigner has difficulty understanding.
Warning for Ashley to try to avoid running or putting a lot of strain (hard with riding I know) on her Achilles for a few months after Cipro use. Has a warning of tendinitis and tendon ruptures. I am active, so I avoid it when I can use alternatives. She looks pretty fit. So just saying is all. Had a guy I knew pop his after running over a month after use. Never healed right after his rupture. Just want you both happy and healthy.
I am curious though, do you or Ashley work (or sponsored by) for Mosko? I notice a lot of mosko Shirts, stickers, bags, etc,
Lastly, Pete, you really have a way with words! Ashley too! Hopefully we get more late night posts from her.
Keep up the great work and good luck to you both on your amazing journey.
Also glad you have not encountered any rock throwing kids. Some people were not so lucky.
They own Mosko
and test their gear first hand to see what components need tweaking for future version release...
We get that here occasionally, albeit to a much lesser degree than what is described on that website. I, personally, have never experienced it though.
We have actually encountered this. And some other things like it.
Some rock throwing. Some kids threatening with sticks. Some kids using sticks or toy guns to fake-shoot at us. Also some older kids/adults doing fake-throws with larger rocks or sticks as we pass by. Sometimes while yelling.
It’s disconcerting. And it’s always a surprise because 99% of the reaction we get is positive.
Yesterday we were in a town and we had to go slow to get around a big roadblock. A group of kids started slapping Ash on the arms and body. I was in front so I didn’t find out until we were past. One slapped her then all the rest piled on. They weren’t gentle playful slaps either, it was violent and it really shook her up. The kids scattered before she could do anything.
That said, given that we’ve ridden past tens of thousands of people, and received so many thumbs up and waves and welcome cheers and shouts and invitations to coffee, we keep the small number of negative responses in statistical perspective. When it does happen, it sticks with you for a bit though.
The kids also use sticks and throw rocks at the cows and goats on the side of the road to herd them and to keep them out of the way of cars and trucks. We see this constantly throughout the day. Also: the adults use sticks and rocks to scatter the kids. We see this when we stop on the side of the road and the kids gather around, and some adult wants to shoo them off. He’ll generally either a) grab a stick and take a few swipes or b) grab a handful of dirt and rocks and toss it at them in a broad spray. Swiping with sticks or throwing rocks and dirt are evidently a pretty common way of dealing with various things in the small roadside towns. Sucks to be on the receiving end.
Also: some kids steal stuff. Anything not tied down is at risk. So far they’ve tried to take my tool roll, a carabiner on the outside of one of my bags, sun cream, a little bag ash has tied to the outside of her stuff, and today they successfully stole my iPhone lightning to USB adapter and then tried to get money from us to give it back. I have a backup, so screw them, I hope they enjoy the adapter.
Kids can be brats. I suspect the herder kids who live along the road throw stuff and swipe at a lot of things. We found a good solution: more throttle :) Also works for many other problems too.
Yes, Ash and I are with Mosko. I’m one of the founders of the company. I realize the logo appears in several pics. That’s not an attempt at subtle advertising, it’s just how our pics are, because we always hand out stickers or stick them around when we’re traveling, and we almost always wear our own shirts/jerseys. Also the bags are on the bikes, which are then in a bunch of pics. Sorry if it’s too much logo!
Great trip Pete and Ashley!
Thanks for taking the time to share it with us, I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Fantastic set of updates, crazy to think about getting a hotel room for $3 or $4 that offers a pit toilet and bucket of water. I'd say that's authentic. I'm glad you guys haven't been too bothered by the rock throwing people nor had anything big stolen. The crowds of people that accumulate when you stop for anything would be disconcerting for me, but I imagine it becomes easier over time - as long as they're not trying to swipe stuff.
Great pics and story telling, it's incredible to see some of the country through your lens and words (both of you).
Keep the knobby side down
The crowds are a trip. I’m getting used to it, to the extent that I hardly even notice sometimes when we stop for a quick snack or whatever, that there are 20 people watching. And then I have to remind myself to say goodbye and wave when we startup the bikes, because you know... good manners and all. Also we noticed that since we got back on the main roads yesterday it has been less. Probably they see a lot more foreigners along the main road.
All I can say is thank you. Absolutely amazing pics and write ups. Really enjoying it. Ride Safe.
pretty disturbing experience you guys had. be defensive and avoid any physical conflict unless your life is threatened.
stay cool and alert all the time. sharing your experience is a good thing.
We decided to spend a couple days putting some miles behind us.
The 250km dirt road connecting Nekemte north to Bure was a handful. There’s a lot of very fine silt, maybe 6-12 inches deep in spots, layered into deep tire ruts, over a rough washboard surface, with a bunch of loose rocks mixed in. It’s not all that hard in terms of riding, just slow-going and taxing. The first 30km were the hardest. At first I was like: holy shit, 250km of this??? Then I decided to just settle in, take my time, and we’ll get where we’ll get.
After a while the silt chilled out and we were able to pick up the pace. The road crosses some beautiful, hilly terrain. We started early, had a full day, and made it to Bure before dark.
We’ve been running into more police and military checks as we go north. The police are pretty friendly. They don’t just wave us through though, like in some places. They usually want at least take a cursory look inside our bags, pull out a few things, move some stuff around, confirm we’re tourists, fulfill their duty for whoever is watching (and also satisfy some personal curiosity I suspect), and send us on our way.
The checkpoints aren’t always obvious. There’s never a sign, not even a rope across the road, and they often have a bus or two pulled over that blocks our view of them. To us it just looks like a bus pulled over dropping off passengers, one of 50 we’ll zip around in a day. Not all the cops/soldiers are in uniform either, and the ones who are tend to blend with the crowd, which makes it more confusing.
The other day I noticed something weird in my mirror, which turned out to be two cops on a rickety old Yamaha DT with a huge cloud of white smoke behind it waving angrily and gesturing for us to stop. We were just cruising along at a slow speed, listening to music and waving to people as we went by. They were struggling to catch up riding two-up on an old bike. We pulled over and they were pissed because apparently we’d missed a checkpoint a little ways back. They made us backtrack to the last town and go to the police station for a verbal dressing-down by the chief.
Chief: “Why didn’t you stop at the checkpoint?”
Me: “What checkpoint? When? Where???”
He was friendly enough, and sent us on our way without much hassle. After that I resolved to pay closer attention, but still managed to blow-by another just a little while later. And probably a few others we don’t even know about. It’s not intentional, they are genuinely
hard to spot.
Toward the end of the day, Ash’s chain came off on a bumpy climb. We should have been checking them more often. They’re stretching, mine was loose too. It popped off the front sprocket and cracked the aluminum housing, which did its job in terms of protecting the engine case from damage. Now that it’s cracked tho, not sure we’ll get a second pass.
Arrived in Bure and saw this big hotel-looking place on the side of the road, which turned out to be decent.
We gotta do some laundry...
The next morning - after an hour of hunting around for gas, plus another 30 mins to clean my filthy air filter - we got on the main paved road from Addis for another 300km to the town of Gonder.
At some point we were attacked by bugs during the night. It probably happened at one of the cheapo places we stayed at, but could’ve been anywhere really. They got Ash worse than me. The bumps are clustered on our shoulders and legs, and they itch.
Today we’re chillin and catching up on work stuff while we have WiFi. Did I mention that the WiFi here is terrible? I mean not the WiFi routers, the actual internet pipeline it connects to. We set aside today to catch up on work, but instead we’re just sitting on our hands, because as soon as the work day starts here the entire internet gets so jammed up you can’t even load a website. The 3g on our phones works more often (we’re doing these RR posts from our phones) but the carrier doesn’t allow personal hotspots, so that’s not a solution either. It’s crazy. We’re planning to rest during the day and then do some work tonight when everyone else is sleeping
We’re at a point where we need to start thinking about our remaining time, and make sure we don’t leave ourselves too far away from the airport at the end of the trip. We’re planning to go from here to a town called Axum a bit further North near the Eritrea border, then to a place called Hawzen where there are some old churches to see, then to Lalibela which is one of the most famous tourist spots in Ethiopia. After that it’ll be two full days of riding back to Addis for our flight.
Hey Ash: It's great you're giving us some of your perspective as well. You said "I think I cried like 3 times today. Either from being overwhelmed by laughter, beauty, gratitude, or some combination of the three. Almost had to pull over one time, tears obstructing my view. Can anyone relate? Or am I just a complete weirdo. I always say “I’m just having a moment”. Happens to me a lot when we’re traveling. Ok if I’m honest, happens to me a lot in life in general. Ha! I’m a sap. well. "
No you're not a sap...you're just someone with some real feelings. Third world travel can be enlightening and brutal...I guess so is life in general. Thanks for taking us along on your journey. John