Tallinn to Cape Town

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by memento13, May 25, 2019.

  1. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    Seems like we have a winner: valves.

    After adjusting valves, still didn't start easily. With some throttle managed to get it running and after 20-30sec, eased of the throttle and it kept on running. Battery is quite weak so it still starts hard, will have to go for a spin later to charge the battery.

    The reason why valves have started to get loose is wear on rocker arms, probably makes sense to change them soon.

    :jack:clap:rofl:jack:rofl

    Attached Files:

    #81
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  2. Franque

    Franque Been here awhile

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    Glad you found the smoking gun! It did seem funny that the valves were loose, but I'm glad you're on it!
    #82
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  3. ovlaicu

    ovlaicu Noob

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    Apr 8, 2018
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    Ontario, Canada
    How many miles on the bike?
    #83
  4. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Estonia
    27341 km, 603h

    Bike starts very easily now, I guess valves were quite overdue, tried to get shims in Senegal, but nobody had them. Gonna keep better eye on them now.

    Seems like there is 3 main jobs to keep these engines happy:
    1. Air filter
    2. Oil
    3. Valves
    Have been using lower quality oil (10w40) lately and had to stretch intervals a bit, that can be the reason for quicker wear, but I think rocker arms started to wear from the beginning as valve clearances have always gone bigger. That's one thing to keep an eye on with prolonged oil change intervals.

    Have 3L of Motorex 20w60 with me, so gonna keep the bike happy next 4k.
    #84
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  5. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

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    Excellent! Hope that is the end of the mechanical puzzles...:beer
    #85
  6. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Estonia
    Got trio of upgrades installed:

    20190719_175311.jpg

    20190719_174822.jpg

    P3 Carbon exhaust guard - although I use in the boot version of Klim Dakar pants, I still managed to burn hole into them, probably while falling. I also ride with sneakers and jeans in cities, so this will avoid burning my legs and pants. And it looks great as well.

    Nomad Adv Skidplate with toolbox - I wanted to get weight lower, so this toolbox is perfect for my Kriega toolroll. Great thing about this setup is that when I drop my big luggage and go have fun, I will already have all needed tools and spares on the bike: tools in toolbox, spare tubes and tire irons in the fender bag. Nice feature is that it doesn't have to be removed for oil change.

    Ktm and Husky billet clutch cover - I wanted to increase oil capacity. The stock capacity 1.2L is also quite annoying as oil is sold litre bottles and I have wasted a lot of oil. This increases oil capacity to almost 1.5L, which is perfect for buying 3L oil. I bought 1.5L Primus fuel bottle for carrying extra oil, have had problem finding oil a lot in Africa, this keeps things easier. As the clutch cover is from billet, it is stronger than stock as well. One feature is also that it has cavity at the bottom, which should trap clutch particles etc, although my oil seems to be quite clean usually.
    #86
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  7. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Estonia
    It's been very slow restart to the trip, went for Ghana visa on Friday, but didn't have all the papers, will go back there tomorrow. Will maybe try also Nigeria visa as I have 2 passports now, but quite pointless here probably.

    There's also news of Ebola outbreak in DRC, but this is too far in future to worry about. Hopefully can head east soon, been living like beach tourist last couple of weeks.

    Got also my ignition and lock keys back using DHL, 120 euro mistake. You need the help of friends even more while on the road.

    Went to the hardware store yesterday to get longer bolts for fuel pump, bolts that came with the tank were a bit too short. While they could charge me tourist price for the bolts and nuts, I only got a smile and "Bon voyage" . Small things, but fills the day with new energy.
    #87
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  8. Bengt Phorks

    Bengt Phorks Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    432
    I had a rocker arm go bad when it ate a hole in the valve shim probably because of a bad hardening job on the shim.
    Late to the party on the valve clearance causing hard starting but every time my bike had hard starting issues it was because the valve clearances were out of spec. A friend on an older KTM had the same problem and when he adjusted the valves the hard starting went away.
    I noticed the valve clearances would increase whenever I rode in dusty conditions so I added the KTM dust filter cover over the stock filter. I oiled both filters. After that change the valves stayed in spec. 880 hours on the engine so far. 2012 KTM 500 EXC
    #88
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  9. duggyb

    duggyb Adventurer

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    Mar 2, 2015
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    Alberta
    @memento13 where you at? curious as to what happened to this RR
    #89
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  10. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Estonia
    Sorry, have been lazy and have not updated the thread. Will post some stuff in coming days.

    Arrived today at Cotonou, Benin. Will try to get Nigeria visa now, which seems quite complicated with current situation.

    Route in Africa so far:
    Screenshot_20190829-103945_Polarsteps.jpg
    #90
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  11. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Estonia
    But lets continue where I left off:

    Ivory coast - Abidjan / Grand Bassam

    Brought also Pro Moto Billet kickstand from home, installing it ended up harder than planned. Went to a 4x4 shop in Abidjan to get broken bolt out from frame, so I could install new one. Bad surprise was that they ended up drilling basically new hole, in the processes they lost most of their drilling bits as KTM frame was to their surprise stronger than expected. Managed to bolt new kickstand to the drilled hole and it is working well so far. So in the end all good, it's quite pleasure to be able to have kickstand again after travelling several months without it.

    Next upgrade was installing new 74N/mm shock spring. So far had been riding with stock spring, which worked quite fine in Europe on TET trails, but riding speeds in Africa have been a lot higher, so had been bottoming out a lot.

    Waited for some days for travel friends to catch up, which of course caused some drinking days, some people getting malaria and culminated with my wallet being stolen. That's how time flows in Africa.

    While I was in Estonia, people I had been travelling with before, had adopted 3 day old abandoned cat and named him Blanco. Cat had travelled with them several months through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast, while doing a lot of crazy stuff like travelling under the car undetected for 50km to Freetown. He quickly developed a habit knocking on my dents door on 4AM and wanting to sleep in there:

    20190729_083452.jpg

    I'm more a dog person, but this cat had developed quite fun personality while travelling with people and has now found permanent home in a new overlanders place in Grand Bassam called Elephants Nest. As the rumours go, he has continued terrorising dogs who leaved there before him.

    Found also some other small issues with bike that needed to be fixed before leaving. One thing was that right side of the luggage rack had broken, but luckily found a shop that did aluminium welding and got it fixed. Had also some sick days as well, but finally on 2. August headed to Ghana accompanied by Leon and Ruth on a Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sport.
    #91
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  12. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Estonia
    Ghana

    As we started quite late from Grand Bassam, Ghana welcomed us in dark and with some rain. After 50km off the border, we decided to stop and head to a closest random accommodation. There was nice 7-8km enjoyable trail leading to the place.

    On the next morning we started to head to the beaches near Cape Three Point. Day started quite scarily as in the first town one local guy stopped us, started screaming and waving his sledgehammer. He got probably angry not being able to get through traffic with his wheelbarrow and dropped his anger on us. Luckily some local guys cooled him down and we were able to continue.

    5 minutes later we met a screaming fireman and he asked us to take different route. There was no fire but after some arguing we decided to follow his direction. Not the best start to Ghana, but these remained also the only negative moments in the country.

    30km leading to the beach near Akwidaa village was nice muddy trail, was enjoying it too much after not riding basically several months and forgot to take any pictures. Got only some pics when we arrived at our destination, everyone muddy and happy:

    20190803_134205.jpg
    #92
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  13. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    Beach near Akwidaa, where we ended up camping for 2 nights:

    DJI_0251.JPG
    #93
  14. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    Went to Nigeria Embassy in Cotonou, no chance getting Nigeria visa if not resident of Benin. Asked around how hard it is to get resident papers, people said impossible. Even for mother of 2 beninese child it took longer than half a year.

    So got my invitation letter to Nigeria and other needed papers and applied for Visa on Arrival, which is only for businesses. Seems like i'm now a businessman coming to Lagos to promote tourism. Other downside with it is that this visa is meant for peole flying in and can be received only in airports. So if I get approval for it, have to get escort from border to Lagos airport, as I can't take border official on my bike, it will be expensive.

    All my travel buddies got Nigeria visa in Freetown, Sierra Leone, so they all going to Nigeria now. I skipped Sierra Leone because the flight to Estonia.

    As a backup contacted also a shipping guy in Ghana, who will give me a quote for shipping the bike to Namibia. Would make things easier, but feels a bit as cheating :D

    Well, now there is nothing to do other than wait. Not really in a mood to ride around Benin also, so just chilling in Cotonou, reading books and listening podcasts. Cutting slowly my Morocco video also, miss Morocco, definitely my favorite country this trip.

    Everytime I have this waiting situation, I start thinking heading back up Europe, but not much point returning now for the winter.
    #94
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  15. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

    Joined:
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    113
    Location:
    Estonia
    But back to Ghana.

    After staying at beaches in south-west Ghana and visiting slave castles, started to head up north to Mole national park. Was solo again, as Leon and Ruth headed to Accra.

    Cape Coast Castle:
    20190807_130752.jpg
    These castles were used to load slaves onto ships and sent to the Americas and Caribbeans.

    On my way up stayed one night in treehouse in Kakum National Park and walked canopies there.
    20190810_063446.jpg

    Was quite pessimistic about riding in Ghana, as it is supposedly one of the most developed country in West Africa, but it was quite easy to find nice fast dirt tracks:
    20190810_134709.jpg

    Main problem with these roads is, that locals move several times slower and the speed difference can get dangerous.
    #95
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  16. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    Sadly got my Nigeria visa application rejected with unreasonable explanation that I didn't provide a document that I clearly provided. How things seems to work is that immigration officials get kickbacks from visa agencies or take "special fee" directly. Some of my friends just crossed border to Nigeria on Sunday and one immigration official gave his visit card and said he could help getting visa. Seems like they are maximising their income by not letting through people using official process.

    Sent further inquiry, but not too hopeful. As my visa in Benin starts to run out, have to cross back to Togo. Already checked routes and visas back to Europe and doesn't seem to good. Burkina Faso - Mali route would be best, but it is not quite safe currently.

    Not the best situation currently, but as our president has once said: "The situation is shit, but it's our fertilizer for the future."
    #96
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  17. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    This shit does not want to turn into fertiliser at all.

    As my Benin visa was expiring, planned to go to Togo on Tuesday, but some guys from local motoshop convinced me to go to Nigeria border and ask around. They even called one official there, so went to Nigeria border post to get more info why my application was refused and see what can be done.

    Arrived in Seme Benin-Nigeria border post and asked around and was taken to a guy who gave his phone number above. He said his last 47 (or sth like that) applications has been successful. Was friendly enough, went through my documents also to see if there is something wrong. Not sure about his 47 application in last week (or was it a month), can't believe there is so many people traveling overland. I can't take escort as billion, so asked the price of transport both ways to airport. He said it is around 110$. After chatting some time, as I was unwilling to start the visa application from 0 and paying new fees, I decided to leave. My official complaint to NIS was still unanswered, so decided to rethink my options.

    I sat down on the bench near my motorcycle and started looking where to go in Benin. Noticed also Turkey almost beating USA in FIBA WC, so tuned in and watched the end of the game and had some fruits for lunch. When the game ended, put on my helmet and started to leave, but one official came by and said they are calling and maybe get my visa sorted. So i decided to stay and wait. Seemed like there was a lot of discussion between officials about my visa and they were quite friendly asking to ride my bike and welcoming me to Nigeria. So my hopes started to go up and started to look into were I could stay in Lagos.

    At one point one official asked me to his office, took my passport and asked me to fill 3 arrival forms. Filled these and we went to other room were they talked about some papers and 2 guys went to make some photocopy. While they were dealing with papers, official who seemed in charge, asked me to follow him out. There was some discussion between officials, seemed like they disagreed about something. When papers where photocopied, one official came and gave me a paper. Was expecting my papers to Lagos Airport to get my visa there, but it was instead "Refusal of entry". Was not expecting this, asked around to understand what was this all about and got weird different answers. Official who was mainly handling this process had a happy smirk on his face.

    There was no need to keep me at the border for several hours and fool me into filling entry from just to get my official refusal of entry. So got quite angry, told them what I thought about this "reception" trying to avoiding profanities and left the border.

    40+ countries visited last 2 years, first problem at border and got official "Refusal of entry", without even planning to enter. Welcome to Nigeria indeed.
    #97
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  18. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    Returned back to Benin, thought I maybe have problem at the police checkpoint when exiting border area, but they were just smiling and waving go on. When I arrived back to Cotonou, one guy with scooter stopped next to me and asked if I need any information or help. Mood started to get better. Returned to motoshop I was in the morning to just chat around. While there, one local kid came to check my bike:

    20190903_182935.jpg

    Returned back to my hotel, it was too late to ride to Togo now.
    #98
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  19. memento13

    memento13 Travelling in Africa

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    Estonia
    Not sure if my talk makes sense at all without knowing background, but just to be clear. Nigerian official Visa process works by applying for Visa on Arrival online with lots of documentation, you need host company to invite you etc. When you get approval, you can fly in and there is good chance you get visa on arrival. Ofcourse things are more complicated when you travel overland. You have to get escort from border to Lagos airport while taking care of transport for border official transport. People usually take him on their bike or car and pay for taxi back to border. Or in my situation I for his taxi both way. Also every time you apply for visa, you pay the visa fee and there is no refund on unsuccessful attempt.

    As I was already over my Benin visa, rode to Togo yesterday. Border officials even counted my days, but were only laughing about it when they found I overstayed 1 day. At Togo side, got new visa for 7 days for ~15$, which I can be extended to 30 days in Lome for less than 1$. Some countries in West Africa have started to see value of tourism and have made it easy. Got back to the same AirBnB I stayed week ago.

    So today applied for Nigeria visa again, with different host document and see if this time it goes better. I'm actually trying to apply again, because I got in contact with the Immigration Office in Abuja through a middleman and they said that my provided company registration document was wrong (business name registration instead). How I got contact with this middleman is another weird story, but would hard to describe without all the background information.

    Also got shipping quotes from Tema, Ghana to Walvis Bay Namibia:
    1) Just the bike 1245$, 45days because it goes through Antwerpen
    2) 20ft container 2324$, 8-11 days

    Had good chance a couple of weeks ago to ship my bike to Namibia cheaply with other two travellers, but decided to take my chances with Nigeria. Now it seems now, between Benin and Namibia, there is just a lot of misery and bureaucracy. At this point all this starts to not be worth all the problems. Sadly there is no easy route back also.
    #99
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  20. Franque

    Franque Been here awhile

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    Aww man, that sucks. That official was probably waiting for a bribe, and that's why they kept you on ice near the border.