Jammin thru the Global South

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jammin, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. aboveangkor

    aboveangkor Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    84
    Damn Jay,you trying to make somebody cry?
    Like I said before,you ever make it to Cambodia you have a place to stay.
  2. cloudshaver

    cloudshaver marcusorass

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    pocatello, id
    Awesome! Every single morsel.
  3. snoobar

    snoobar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    Las Vegas/ Henderson (formally Honolulu, Hawaii)
    Thank you for sharing the stories and photos, Jay!
  4. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, it's quite a privilege these days to be able to go back to your start...

    Haha, thanks, man. Yeah, an emotional part of the journey for me.
    I'm so close to SE Asia. I will get there at some point and get in touch. Cheers

    :thumbup

    Thanks, Shawn! Glad you guys love it :D
  5. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Just sharing that I'm offering a tour in Mongolia this September :wink:

    Anyone interested? Get in touch!

    Cost, itinerary, details at jamminglobal.com/mongolia

    Please spread the word to others who might be interested :deal

    [​IMG]
  6. mopulga

    mopulga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    448
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Love your trip planing notes, report, videos on your site, insights. I learned a lot and became even more inspired by your wisdom.

    I will pass the word for sure. I plan to leave in August to SA, but will make a mental note for the future.

    Thank you and hope to meet you someday.
  7. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Zambia, Part 2: Luangwa River and Lusaka
    December 23 - 30, 2012

    After the nostalgic visit to Chipata, I turned around and headed west. I spent a night along the banks of Luangwa River and then got to Lusaka where I had a special appointment with a girl child.


    [​IMG]
    From Chipata, on the eastern edge of Zambia, it was 570 km (354 mi) to Lusaka, the capital. I had been driven on this road many times as a kid in old Land Cruisers and this would be the first time that I was journeying on it myself.

    [​IMG]
    At the junction town of Katete, I ran into these motorcycle travelers from South Africa on BMW R1200GSs, the mac daddy of adventure bikes. They were making a loop of Southern Africa. They had blasted up Namibia, across Zambia and after hitting the beaches in Malawi, they planned to blast down Mozambique before getting home.

    [​IMG]
    A panoramic view of the lush hills of Zambia. That's one good thing about being in a country during the rainy season; the landscape is verdant. As I got near the halfway point of the route to Lusaka, to the Luangwa River Valley, the terrain became more hilly and with the excellent roads, it made for fun riding.
    (Click on the image for the full size.)

    [​IMG]
    Being the rainy season, wild mushrooms were available everywhere. These boys were trying to sell me a whole bucket but I told them I was just cooking for myself that night with a small pot and managed to buy just a few large, fresh mushrooms.

    [​IMG]
    The halfway marker on the Chipata to Lusaka Highway is the bridge over Luangwa River but being a national strategic asset, it's guarded by the military and no photos are allowed. I remembered crossing this bridge many times during my childhood trips. Right next to the bridge is the aptly named Bridge Camp that overlooks Luangwa River.

    [​IMG]
    The Luangwa River, flowing from the northeast of Zambia through the wildlife parks of North and South Luangwa National Park and connecting to the Zambezi at the Zimbabwean border. When living in Chipata, our family used to visit South Luangwa NP quite frequently and now, it's being heralded as a hidden gem of Africa, compared to the limelight that the Serengeti, Maasi Mara and Kruger NP get. I hope it stays that way and keeps Zambia a bit off-the-radar.

    [​IMG]
    A panorama from Bridge Camp of the passing Luangwa River.
    (Click on the image for the full size.)

    [​IMG]
    Morning sunrise from the banks of the Luangwa River.

    [​IMG]
    Filling up my LifeSaver water filter with juice from the Luangwa River. It tasted of sweet childhood memories. Further up in South Luangwa National Park, I saw my first lions and elephants in the wild before seeing them in a zoo and thank Zambia for providing me with a fantastic childhood.

    [​IMG]
    Bridge Camp was empty during my stay as it was the low season and I set up my tent at the cooking pavilion where I made a tasty mushroom and rice dish.

    [​IMG]
    A few kilometers of off-road getting back to the highway. I didn't get the chance to explore Zambia much as I was on a schedule for my South African visa that was already counting down to expiry.

    [​IMG]
    Riding the wonderful twists and turns and enjoying leaning sanDRina at a good speed. She's a heavy bike, laden with all my stuff, but she's still very well balanced and a true dual sport; handling almost anything off-road and a joy on-road.

    [​IMG]
    Entering Lusaka and lane-splitting in traffic. I love riding out in the open but I also get some kicks riding in dense cities. If you think this is scary or dangerous, trust me, I'm a professional.

    [​IMG]
    Staying with an Indian family in Lusaka whom my parents knew and Verma Aunty is making some fresh rotis.

    [​IMG]
    Simple Indian homefood of rotis, dahl, aloo subzi (potato) and drumstick curry. Drumstick is one of my favorite Indian vegetables and it's grown locally here just for the large Indian population, who have been in Zambia for over a hundred years. Unlike Indian migrants who went to South Africa or other parts of Africa, Indians who came to Zambia, or Northern Rhodesia as it was known before independence, most of them were not indentured laborers but artisans and businesspeople. And also unlike the uneasy relations between Indians and the local citizens, such as in Uganda in the 70s, Zambian has had a good relation with its Indian community and maybe that's why so many Indian families came and stayed here.
  8. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX

    [​IMG]
    One of the main reasons I came to Lusaka was to visit the local Children International Centre. I had been sponsoring a child with them for the past few years and for $22 a month (of which 80% goes to the child), they lift one child out of poverty and give them a solid start to life by providing education, nutrition and guidance.

    [​IMG]
    Getting a tour of the Children Intl Centre and one of the main benefits of the program is a dedicated clinic that ensures child and mother are in optimal health.

    [​IMG]
    There's also a library and a school at the facility. Children Intl has centres in India, Latin America and Zambia and I chose the centre here because I wanted to give back to the fantastic childhood that Zambia gave me.

    [​IMG]
    Joan, the officer from the Children Intl Centre in Lusaka showing me the mattresses that each kid gets every year.

    [​IMG]
    They also receive regular gifts such as clothes and utensils that the family can benefit from.

    [​IMG]
    Meeting my sponsored child, Abigail! She was 7 years old and I don't know if she understood what was going on but she seemed like a smart girl with a good head on her. When I was a kid, my nick name was Abi and it was a strong moment when Abigail's mother referred to her as Abi. This was meant to be :) I spent some time hanging out with Abigail and hoped she would remember this bald man who visited her once.

    [​IMG]
    While taking pictures with Abigail, these boys really wanted their photo taken and struck up some great poses.

    [​IMG]
    So much joy and laughter.

    [​IMG]
    The kid in the middle had this twinkle in his eye and I can see him going far in life. Such wonderful energy to end my visit to the Children Intl Centre. I hope these kids benefit from the program and contribute to a strong Zambia in the future.

    [​IMG]
    Right opposite the Children Intl Centre, a bar with Mosi Lager, the beer of Zambia. Mosi, referring to Mosi-oa-Tunya, the name for a thundering waterfalls that I was heading to next.

    [​IMG]
    I received my visa for Namibia and thanked Verma uncle for the stay. He is an agronomist and is an important figure in the Zambian agricultural sector. We had many interesting discussions over the few days I stayed here. Uncle told me that it's been calculated that to feed the entire world, it would take 850,000 sq km of land and Zambia is a very fertile land and its total area is 750,000 sq km. Wow, that means we have more than enough arable land to feed everyone on the planet, yet, a billion people still go hungry every night while one and a half billion are overweight. We also discussed physics as uncle, being a biologist, never fully understood some concepts in physics and asked me to explain what e = mc2 means, which I did.

    [​IMG]
    Heading out of Lusaka and I remember this iconic building, Findeco House.

    [​IMG]
    Back on the open road, heading south to Livingstone with storm clouds making for a spectacular sky.

    [​IMG]
    A dragonfly caught in sanDRina's oil cooler. I remember as a kid that dragonflies were sold as a cheap protein in the market to go with nshima, the maize meal staple of Zambians.

    [​IMG]
    Stopping for some roadside lunch and having the staple food of north Indians, roti and aloo with some spicy achar (pickle). This would probably be my last bite of Indian food till I got to Durban in South Africa.

    [​IMG]
    sanDRina, my beautiful home on the road. She was hurting a bit from some serious cracks in her frame and up next was a much-needed visit to a specialist.

  9. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Zambia, Part 3: Victoria Falls and Maintenance
    December 31, 2012 - January 3, 2013

    As I made my way west across Zambia, I had come to my final destination of Livingstone. And here lies one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, the longest curtain of water in the world. I remembered coming here as a kid and as much as being a natural wonder visit, it was also a nostalgic visit. I stayed with an American rider friend who was part of a mission and he had been following my trip and saw that sanDRina had some serious cracks in her frame and offered to weld her up properly before I headed into Namibia. It also happened to be new years and I welcomed 2013 in style.


    [​IMG]
    Pete had been following my ride report on ADVrider.com and invited me to come and stay at the camp he was part of for his mission duties in Zambia. They had a lovely property just south of Livingstone and being the low season for missionary visitors, I was put up in one of these tented cottages for a few days and the first thing I did was head over to...

    [​IMG]
    Victoria Falls! Wow, what a sight. It's also known by its indigenous name of Mosi-oa-Tunya, which in the Zambian language of Tonga translates to the Smoke that Thunders. In full flow (from February to May), the mist from the falls can be see from kilometers away and the rumble can be heard as it spreads over this generally flat land.

    [​IMG]
    The thundering power of water.

    [​IMG]
    It's not the highest (Angel Falls), widest (Iguazu Falls) or even fastest flowing (Niagara Falls) but Victoria Falls is considered the largest falls in the world. In full flow, the water flows over the edge in an uninterrupted sheet more than a mile across (1,708 m, 5,604 ft). I don't care much for comparisons as each mega falls is awe-inspiring on its own. There's something about being so close to massive amounts of water free-falling.
    (Click the photo for hi-res.)

    [​IMG]
    The Victoria Falls Bridge over the outlet gorge with Zambia on the left and Zimbabwe on the right. Good ol' Cecil Rhodes got the bridge built in 1905 to complete his epic Cairo to Cape Town railway and he wanted the train to pass under the mist of the falls as a delight for the passengers. Since then, tourists have been flocking to the falls from far away, except for about a decade in the 70s when Zimbabwe (called Rhodesia during that time) was fighting for her independence.

    [​IMG]
    Happy New Year 2013 with a double rainbow! I'm wearing the football jersey of the Zambian team in the country's flag colors and felt proud to call this country home during my early years.

    [​IMG]
    The Smoke that Thunders. The chasm is about a 100 m (330 ft) deep and the narrow gorge forces the spray high into the sky. In full flow, it's actually hard to even see the falls because the whole area is covered in mist.

    [​IMG]
    A flashback photo of my family at Victoria Falls, sometime in the early 80s. We lived on the other end of Zambia but managed to see the falls quite a few times. This looks like the start of the dry season with the falls in full flow. Yes, I had lots of hair when I was young.

    [​IMG]
    Looking across Mosi-ao-Tunya from its eastern edge with rainbows all around. From an aerial view, it's clear that the falls have slowly been moving upstream over the eons. Just south of the falls are a series of diagonal canyons that show where the falls were at an earlier time. A new cut has started and in a few million years, the falls will be at a new gorge. It's humbling to realize the vast timescales that natural events take compared to our few decades on this planet.

    [​IMG]
    Enjoying a little lunch from the top of the falls. The Zambezi looks like any old river, just flowing aimlessly over the flat terrain upstream until suddenly the water comes across this massive cut in the earth and goes charging over the edge.

    [​IMG]
    That evening, at the mission camp, they were celebrating New Years and I enjoyed my first proper American hamburger since probably when I left the States.

    [​IMG]
    Dan and Pete with a stash of some epic fireworks. We rode out to one of the nearby villages and...

    [​IMG]
    ...put on a great fireworks show for everyone.

    [​IMG]
    Pete using an acetylene torch to light...

    [​IMG]
    ...sparklers! The kids went running all over the place...

    [​IMG]
    ...making for dancing light in the night.
  10. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX


    [​IMG]
    After the fun and games and tourist visit, it was down to business. I had a few serious frame cracks on sanDRina and didn't have the time or couldn't find a suitable place or welder to get the job done. Pete reached out to me and said he had a TIG welding machine and was an experienced welder and would be glad to fix up sanDRina, especially also cause he rode a Suzuki DR650. To get to the cracks on the inside of the frame, I had to remove the rear shock, battery box and clear out all the electricals from that area. That meant I had to disconnect some connections that I haven't touched since when I built sanDRina in my garage in Chicago. I opened this connector and was surprised to still see the contacts covered in dielectric grease that I used to prevent rust and corrosion building up. I must say, I've quite proud of my electrical work on sanDRina, having studied Mechanical Engineering. I haven't had a major electrical issue on this whole trip (except for the wrong diagnosis in Tanzania) and put that down to diligently setting everything up properly the first time with quality parts.

    [​IMG]
    Pete cleaning out the cracks with an angle grinder. He's also a mechanical engineer and at UW-Madison, he was part of the Formula Baja team, where college engineering teams build a buggy racer and compete against other colleges. At Purdue, I was part of the Formula SAE team, where we built a mini formula race car. So it was really good to talk shop with another gear head. Pete is in-charge of the garage at the mission and ensuring their overland trucks are ready to tackle the bush.

    [​IMG]
    Two major cracks on the inside left of the frame. The cracks started when I had that big jump and hard landing on the Mozambican coast and then again when I hit that massive pothole a few days later. At that time, I couldn't get to these cracks and just managed to weld the outside.

    [​IMG]
    A proper Lincoln Electric TIG welder and sanDRina having some deep surgery done. Pete put in a lot of hours over three days and patched up all the cracks that we found.

    [​IMG]
    A beautiful welding job. That looks almost as good as factory welds!

    [​IMG]
    I thanked Pete and everyone at the mission for hosting me in the best way I know, cooking my chicken curry. Julie offered to help and we had a good chat in the kitchen. She trained as a paramedic but wasn't excited about constantly responding to developed world problems of heart attacks and gun shot wounds and found her calling after spending two years volunteering in The Philippines. She now runs medical camps for the villages in the area and finds it much more satisfying to treat basic health problems.

    [​IMG]
    I made one pot spicy and the other not spicy and both were devoured. There was an Indian-South African from Durban there and she was very impressed and said she had not had a curry like this before.

    [​IMG]
    I was all set to go and thanked Pete for his awesome work on sanDRina. He was glad to help out and know that now I could ride the off-road paradise of Namibia coming up next.

    [​IMG]
    One last look at Mosi-ao-Tunya, rumbling in the distance...

    [​IMG]
    ...exchanging money at The Capitol in Livingstone and...

    [​IMG]
    ...off for the last 220 km (137 mi) of Zambia. The road to the Namibian border follows the Zambezi upstream and I soaked in these last few minutes of being in Zambia.

    [​IMG]
    Crossing over the Zambezi at Sesheke to...

    [​IMG]
    ...stamp out of Zambia.

    I knew my visit to Zambia was not going to be like any of the other countries that I had ridden through on this trip for it was a homecoming. I waded in deep memories from my childhood and was thankful for getting the chance to come back and touch base with those memories. I managed to sleep in my childhood bedroom, visit my first school and travel over the roads that I had traversed as a kid. I visited the girl that I had been sponsoring and wanted another child to enjoy growing up in Zambia. I felt the awe of Victoria Falls and not for the first time. And good girl sanDRina finally got all healed up from her cracks. Now I was all set for some adventure motorcycling in Namibia.
  11. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Great report update jay! Nothing like going back to that first home! Every time I travel to Puerto Rico I make a point of at least driving by my childhood home. It brings back so many memories that can't be relieved but there. Good luck on your new ventures!

    Later
    John
  12. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Hey guys, sorry for the long break in posts but been busy getting my first tour off the ground. I'm back in Nairobi! My Jammin thru Kenya tour starts tomorrow and let's see how it goes to turn this into a profession :wink:

    I've got 6 clients who've flown in from various places and we're heading out on KLR650s. I'll be posting daily updates on my fb page.


    Also... I got a new helmet! and yes, it's just like the old one. The graphics are too flashy for me, so I got it painted.

    Arai make top of the line helmets and since this is my life and business now, got to go for the best. The older one is an Arai XD (1) that I bought used on eBay and it has served me wonderfully through my whole journey and then some. Thankfully I've never had to test how well it protects my head but a helmet's structure gets weak over the years and now it feels nasty inside, even after a thorough cleaning. Just imagine all the grime soaked in there! So, thanks to Josh Rhodes who brought me this new Arai XD3, again from eBay. They've already released the XD4, which I'll probably upgrade to in three years :D

    [​IMG]
    The old Arai XD and new XD3.

    [​IMG]
    Masked and in the process of getting a new livery.

    [​IMG]
    Mr Rawat in Munirka of New Delhi did a fine job of the painting.

    [​IMG]
    How do you like that? It's matte but has a sheen right now that I hope will wear off after riding through some Kenyan dust :wink:
  13. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    7,645
    Location:
    DeLand Flatistan
    Love the simple paint job. Manufactures seem to think that most riders are skateboarders and have a face full of metal with all the crap graphics and designs. Give me something simple and clean. Bravo with the new paint job. Well done!
  14. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Thanks, Tewster. Keep it simple is my motto :1drink
  15. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Amurikha is calling! They're letting me come back :D I got my US visa and I'm coming back for a short visit. My girlfriend (from Dallas, living in Delhi) is heading for a wedding in Houston in April and I'm coming along. Figured I had to say hi to so many old and new friends :freaky

    I'm going to be at the ADV Noobs Rally out at Death Valley. Who's going to be there? Am probably going to do a presentation about my trip, projecting on a motorhome :wink:

    Here are my dates for the rest of the US, in case anyone wants to meet up:

    Mar 19 - 23: San Francisco
    23 - 30: LA (and Death Valley)
    30 - Apr 2: Chicago
    2 - 6: NYC
    6 - 12: Houston
    12 - 15: Dallas

    I'm excited. Didn't know when I'd be coming back and it's finally happening.
  16. wibornz

    wibornz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    859
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    That is awesome. I have followed this from the beginning.
  17. davidbrundage

    davidbrundage Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    176
    Location:
    costa mesa, ca
    How's the tour business going?
  18. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    :beer

    It's chugging along. Planning an overland tour through Myanmar (Burma) for next winter :wink:
  19. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,575
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    So I have some speaking gigs lined up. If you are in these cities or somewhere near, would be great to meet up :beer

    Mar 19th - San Francisco - Piston & Chain

    Mar 24th - Los Angeles - New Century BMW

    Mar 27th - Death Valley - ADV Noobs Rally

    Mar 31st - Chicago - BMW of Countryside

    April 2nd - New York City - Spiegel Bar

    April 9th - Houston - BMW motorcycle club


    I know, funny that it's all at BMW places but honestly they are ones who are most receptive to holding travel talks like this. Too bad Suzuki dealers don't care about how awesome the DR is :lol3
  20. kumatae

    kumatae Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
    Oddometer:
    520
    Location:
    Orange County
    Spent last three weeks reading through ALL of your trip reports. Yup, haven't been too productive at work. Yikes! Anyhow, thanks for sharing with us and will see you in DV!