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Author Topic: Mzungo Moto - ZA:Uganda:ZA - 17,400 km, 45 days, 12 countries, 15 months late  (Read 1586 times)

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Offline Johnny-B-Good

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First of all, I am 15 months late writing this Ride Report, and I refuse to start working on my next trip (Americas) before I repay the riders on this forum with a decent story. Thanks to Adventurer, Tagsy and Trailrider - could not have done it with out you.

About that story...

BACKGROUND:
I am a Yank who found myself living in Jo'burg while working across the continent on consulting projects.  I had an opportunity to go back to the US for another job (same company), but wanted to make the most of my time. So I started planing a big Africa trip, finally bought myself a 2004 BMW F650 GS Dakar around May of 2010 and got more serious about it. Then the World Cup came, parts got delayed from one supplier and suddenly I found myself ~10 days away from my intended departure date not sure that I'd make a go of it or not.

A client of mine up at Medupi introduced me to Tagsy who told me I was a). insane and b). a moron for trying to cover as much ground as I was in so little time. It was the beginning of September, 2010 and I needed to be out of the country in the beginning of November.  I had thought about Cape to Cairo, but Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt border crossings were not going to be very easy with my American passport. Figured I could get up to Uganda and back, see a lot of the 12 countries in between and who knows what I would find along the way.

ADVENTURER:
I'll be honest - if I hadn't had Adventurer's help, I never would have made it. Tagsy was right - I was nuts for trying to do this and do it alone. But between a few phone calls and PMs on this forum, I was able to get in touch with Adventurer. From paniers to engine guards to multi-fuel stoves, he was a one stop shop for everything I needed to get my Dakar up and running to do the trip. He even helped me do maintenance on the bike before I left, fix ~15 things I broke after my shake down tour of ZA, get the bike cleaned up when I returned, and held onto it and sold it for me when I was out of the country.  For anything Dakar (and lots of other bikes), he is your guy.

THE BIKE:
This is best done with before and after pictures. The first picture is from when I bought the bike, the second is fully loaded the day I left for my trip (42,650 km on the clock) and the last is proof that it came back in one piece (60,029 km on the clock). Adventurer did what he could with my kit - the rest was up to me!

 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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And those pictures...
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 1 - JOHANNESBURG TO SANI TOP - 643 kms (643 kms total)

With the best of intentions, I left home much later than intended in order to get to the top of Sani Pass that evening. After a couple of hours on the N3, I stopped off at a petrol station / Wimpy's for a break. While filling up, Adventurer pulled in right next to me (not planned) while test riding a BMW 1200RT. As I explained my late start, he quipped, "Good. Glad you're not that slow."

Turned off the highway around Mooi River, following Tagsy's advice to get off the tar and play on the gravel. My GPS kept leading me relatively coherently on gorgeous farm roads. Kept to the rule of not going on any with a gate closed, and seemed to be getting closer. The first couple of photos don't quite capture how gorgeous it was and how excited I was to be on dirt and off the highway.

I got to the South African side of Sani Pass around 4:30, with a bit of time to spare before the trail closed. I inched my way up the pass slowly and was pretty proud I had made it this far without coming off the bike (famous last words). As I'd later learn, going up hill is the easy part. Made it to the top within an hour and through the Lesotho border post. One of the guards asked if he could buy muy bike for half what I paid for it, and I declined his offer.

About 200 meters from the bar, my front wheel hit a big rock, slipped out and all of a sudden I was standing over my bike with it on its side. Perhaps I was too focused on the beer that waited for me - the local Maluti was like most of the other African lagers I'd had: reasonable, but none too remarkable. The photo in front of the highest pub in Africa was worth it and the Maluti tasted great after a hard day.

I decided to set up my tent before dinner so it wouldn't be too dark. Learned then and there that the next tent I'd buy would not require aluminum tent stakes to stand freely on its own. Was late to dinner - word to the wise, food tends to be eaten if you're not on time at the lodge at Sani Top!

After a mostly successful first day, I headed to bed for a windy first night camping in my tent (mostly due to poor construction on my part)
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 2 - SANI TOP TO DORDRECHT - 541 kms (1184 kms total)

Woke up early after a windy night without a ton of sleep, but what a gorgeous view of Sani Pass. The first few pictures below show my little camp, the view and the last time my bike would ever be so clean.

I was feeling pretty confident (undeservedly) ater making it to the top of Sani the day before. Little did I know that going down was a lot harder with the fat rear end of my bike. I ended up locking up the tires in the 5th or 6th switchback on the way down and dropping the bike. The right pannier came off completely and I had to unload everything in order to get the bike back upright and on level ground again.

A lot less confidently, I made my way to Hineville. Grabbed petrol there, add some oil, serviced the chain and get a couple tips on my route. Found my way onto some back road for ~50 km of gorgeous dirt tracks to Matatiele and then catch the R56.

As I pulled into Maclear, I noticed a hollow sound from the exhaust. I looked back - shocked to see what I see, I pull over and switch off the bike immediately. I had been using cargo netting to keep the 10L extra petrol tank behind my camping gear. It had come loose at some point and found itself in front of my exhaust can. Soon the exhaust blew a hole through the plastic fuel tank - I was lucky the whole thing didn't catch on fire and explode as there was hardly a drop of fuel left in the thing. Close call! I needed to start learning some rules to follow, or I was gonna kill myself...

RULE #1: Don't use a cargo net to secure extra fuel

As I followed my GPS out of town rather blindly set to shortest route, I hit a cattle gate that was locked. No other option, my shortcut wasn't going to pan out and and I needed to backtrack on the farm road into town again. I was a little frustrated, and probably going faster on the gravel than I should have, given false confidence from having just ridden in the opposite direction.

Taking a blind curve to the right - perhaps at 80 kph or 100 kph - a baakie came roaring around the bend faster than I was going. Worse, he was on MY side of the road!  I had two choices: 1). get hit by the baakie or 2). ride the bike off the road and into a ditch, getting off as soon as I could.

As I got off the road, I felt like I could almost recover and pull the bike back onto the dirt track. Then the rear end slid out, I tried to correct, the front end became unstable and there was no saving it. The bike came down hard on it's right side. I landed on some mix of knee, hip, shoulder and head on my right side. It was the first time I had really come off a bike since I was ~12, and popped the clutch on my dirt bike only to accidentally wheelie into the side of my dad's truck. I think this time it hurt more.

I stood up. I didn't think anything was broken, but my head was throbbing. I yelled out at the driver of the other vehicle who had stopped ~100 meters away when he could finally slow his vehicle down. He got out of his baakie briefly, saw that I was standing and alive, gave me a thumbs up and drove off.

My confidence was gone - I felt shattered.

I looked around at farms and not a lot else. I started to survey the dibris. Both pieces of side luggage had come off. One of the mirrors had broken at the coupler. Three turn signals were hanging off. My GPS was 10 meters away from the bike. Some fuel was leaking, but that stopped once I got the bike upright. You can see most of the damage from a picture I took later on in the last picture at the bottom here (missing a mirror, clearly).

I was hacked off, but went to work putting things back together, mostly with duct tape. 30 minutes in, I finally accepted the situation and my own fault. I was going too fast on a road I didn't know. I was listening to something on my iPod and maybe lost a couple of seconds warning from the sound of the approaching vehicle. And hell, if I had been the guy driving the baakie in that part of the country and had nearly killed someone, maybe I would have driven off as well.

More rules:
RULE #2: Don't blindly follow 'shortest route' on the GPS
RULE #3: Ride like someone will be on your side of the road, going too fast straight for you on blind curves on gravel tracks
RULE #4: No headphones when riding off road, or while doing anything other than big highway stuff for that matter


As I put things back together for another hour or so, a couple different farmers came by and offered to help. One of them had a shop and proper tools I could have borrowed, but I just wanted to be back on the road again and as far away from that crash site as possible. It was a bad day 2, for sure.

Eventually I got back on my way and headed for the tarred R56. No more screwing around on farm roads for me.  I went as far as I could before it got dark and found a low end bed and breakfast in Dordrecht - nothing to rave about.

Before I could get to sleep, I had one more surprise: while putting my bike back together, I had somehow left my keys for everything but the motorcycle (along with a mini leatherman I had been using) on the side of the road. Luckily, Adventurer had told me to hide spares in the turn signals of my bike, and with a screw driver I was able to fetch the spares and get into my panniers for my personal effects.

What a crap day. I wrote something on Twitter after it all that scared the hell out of everyone at home. Wasn't sure if I'd keep going or turn around - would wait to see how I felt in the morning...
 

Offline Chris_M

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Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 3 - DORDRECHT TO DORINGKLOOF BUSH CAMP - 597 kms (1781 kms total)

So that's what it feels like to get hit by a truck!

In all seriousness, I was feeling the crash and had a nasty kink in my neck, but I was alive and in better spirits. By the time I had breakfast and coffee in me and the sun was shining, life didn't seem too bad. However, I wish I has skipped the breakfast part of my accommodation after waiting an extra hour for food since the store wasn't open...

RULE #5: If there is a Wimpy near by, go there rather than testing your luck too much with an early breakfast

I was back on the R56, making my way west toward Middelburg shortly after 8 am. Once in the open grass lands, wind gusted hard across the plaines with a hell of a force. It felt like I had to hold the bike at a 45 degree angle in order to keep it going straight. Passing a big lorry required extra skill to get the bike up vertical once the wind was blocked and back at an angle again once on the other side.

From Middelburg I turned south on the N9 to Willowmore. I got to Willowmore by 3 pm and stocked up with extra fuel and water. Then I made my way into Baviaanskloof, hoping to get to the campsite Adventurer had recommended called Doringkloof.

Along the way I saw a few animals. Perhaps the most interesting one was this tortoise that was in the middle of the road. I loved how rural Baviaans was - old windmills next to ostrich farms. I attached a couple of my favorite photos of the valley. This was exactly the kind of riding that I had hoped for, beautiful and not too technical (yet).

I found the campsite about 60 kms into the valley. I mostly had my pick and it didn't appear that anyone was working there. I had to leave my R70 under a rock at my campfire the next morning as there was no one else to pay! As I set up camp, the monkeys played in the trees and I decided to move my tent a bit farther away from them.

I used my multifuel stove for the first time and it worked like a champ. Only took a couple of minutes to boil the water I needed for some freeze dried food in a bag. I headed to bed early to get some rest and prepare for what I am sure would be a much more technical day. Wasn't especially looking forward to the water crossings in particular.

Baviaanskloof was the only place on my whole trip where I didn't have mobile phone reception. My negative note after my day 2 followed up by 36 hours of radio silence was freaking folks out at home - oops!
 

Offline Dwerg

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Offline JMOL

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Offline Trailrider

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Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 4 - DORINGKLOOF BUSH CAMP TO GEORGE - 391 kms (2172 kms total)

Trailrider subscribes just in time to read about how I met him - good timing!

I got up early so I could take my time through the technical parts up ahead. It was another beautiful sunny day and my crash on Day 2 felt like months ago. I was loving the red rock trails and green valleys.

There wasn't a lot of traffic on the trail. I think I saw 2 4x4s and a couple of bikes the whole day. The switchbacks weren't too bad, seemed like getting the tar beaten out of me the first couple of days might have paid off in some ways. Then came the first water crossing...

I got off the bike to take this first photo. I also walked around the edges to see if there was a better side to cross on. Didn't think this was the big one that Adventurer and Tagsy had warned me about, but wasn't too sure. Ah what the hell, had never done a water crossing - why not! And the first one wasn't too bad after all.

So I continued with more confidence, but thinking about the next crossing. Soon after the first one, I did start noticing some noise from the rear end. Figured there must be some sand on the chain, or perhaps the water wasn't the best thing for it. Made a note to service the thing once I was on tar again.

Then came the big one! You can't see it all that well in this second picture, but it actually continued around a bend. I really wasn't sure this one would be good and tried to remember what Adventurer and I had discussed if I fell over and got water in my engine. Figured it might be a better plan to just keep the bike up and was happy there wasn't more water in the crossing. Adventurer said to stay right - all I had to do was stay right and I'd make it...

...and I did! Slippery river rocks be damned, and after a few very scary moments I made it to dry track again. Only wish I had someone to take a picture of me while I was doing it! Noted to get a helmet camera before doing another one of these trips.

I continued to make my way out of Baviaans. My favorite part was riding fast along the top of the ridges on the red dirt, surrounded by green shrubs. It reminded me of the hills near the house where I grew up in California, only they were green instead of brown!

Once back on tar I pulled over in the shade to clean up the chain. Not sure I can describe it (and it doesn't make sense to me now), but it appeared to be wearing unevenly. When up on the centre stand, you could rotate the tyre and one side of the chain appeared more lax than the other (as if some of the links had been stressed / stretched).  Again, not sure it makes sense, but covering it in chain wax helped keep the noise down for a while, but then it would creep back in for the rest of my ride back to Johannesburg.

I keep riding to Jeffrey's Bay and the weather is starting to turn south. Tagsy had given me the number of FatB and suggested I give him a call when I was coming into town. Unfortunately, FatB had other plans, but told me to hang on for 5 minutes and he'd have a friend call me.

I was on my way to George anyway and I had to be there by 5 pm to pick up some parts from BMW (mostly turn signals and a mirror coupler I had broken in the crash). Then I get a call from Trailrider who told me to meet him in the Checker's parking lot. I did and he instructed me to follow him (although I wasn't quite clear where I was going or what the plan was).

When we got to Trailrider's house, he showed me to one of his guest rooms, told me to make myself at home, get cleaned up and warm and we could have dinner together once he saw his wife and son off to his son's karate tournament. I was shocked - no American is this nice to a guy he doesn't know and got his number from 3 degrees of separation. Again, thanks to the riders on this forum - you made my trip possible.

Trailrider introduced me to the indoor braai of the Western Cape and we had dinner. A bottle of brandy, a couple of bottles of wine and at least one motorcycle video later it was around 1 or 2 am. No way I was going to be sober for the sunrise departure I had planned. I also recall some debate about whether I should have stayed left or right coming down Baviaans - I'm not sure what the verdict was, but I was happy I made it!

Many thanks to Trailrider for the company at the end of a great day of riding.
 

Offline Trailrider

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Many thanks to Trailrider for the company at the end of a great day of riding.


Was a pleasure having you! :thumleft:
 

Offline Bushcat

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lookimg forward to the rest of this report, keep it coming !
Motorsport is the only sport, the rest are just GAMES!!
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 5 - GEORGE TO CAPE TOWN - 646 kms (2818 kms total)

As expected, I wake up a bit fuzzy after a late night with Trailrider. He had been talking about riding to work that next morning, but he admitted defeat and took the car instead, appearing to look as bad as I felt. Still made it off a bit after 8 am, even though it meant passing on Trailrider's offer to stick around and make day trips through the back roads of the Western Cape. Unfortunately, plans for a rendezvous with my girlfriend came first (this will happen several times on this trip, btw) and I set off for Cape Town.

I stop at the Wimpy in Riverside (see Rule #5). Caffeine and a good breakfast sort me out. While I'm eating, I get a call from Tagsy who is checking to make sure I am alive. I give him a heads up on where I am headed and he confirms the route Trailrider and I had discussed the night before.

Shortly after Riverside I get off the N2 and find the fast gravel tracks and farm roads that lead on to L'Agulhas. Definitely one of the highlights of the day was riding the Pont. Not sure why, just an experience worth a few photos. Pretty cheap (and far easier) way to cross the river than riding through it!

I made it to L'Agulhas in the early afternoon and snapped a few pictures of me and the bike and also next to the point that splits the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Was feeling great that I had made it this far in only 5 days - I had seen so much already and hadn't even left South Africa!

I continued on the back roads for most of the way to Cape Town. Fantastic terrain for the most part, but somewhere before Hermanus I found a sand road that I didn't enjoy. Never really learned to ride properly on sand and never liked it, even by the end. At one point I locked up the front tyre and came off, but at pretty low speed. Was frustrating more than anything else. There's a picture of me on red dirt about to ride onto white sand again - none to happy about it...

I stopped in Hermanus for a coke and to get my head straight. As I push on to Cape Town, it is after 4 pm and it looks like it might be getting dark sometime soon.

Back in the N2 the wind is extremely strong and blows me all over the road. In the twisties I wish I were on a superbike rather than this tall DS with a lot of gear on it and a large profile for the wind to hang onto. In the city riding the bike was like passing trucks in the wind. Sometimes there would be no wind, blocked by a building, then you'd get a gust as you ride through a cross street.

Finally made it to my girlfriend's hotel (she was in town for business). I was looking a bit rough and reception had to call to her to make sure it was okay that I was staying with her ;-)

I sent out a post on the forum before bed to see if I could borrow a helmet from a local rider for a breakfast run with my girlfriend around the cape

Pretty sure I fell asleep before finishing dinner - long day!
 

Offline mtbbiker

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Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 6 - CAPE TOWN TO KENHARDT - 954 kms (3772 kms total)

My better half left early to meet her work commitments. Still I struggled to get out of bed too early given the comfort of a hotel room and feeling pretty knackered. So my breakfast run became more of a brunch run ;-).

Thanks to Firecoast and Trailrider again for trying to lend me a helmet for my girlfriend - sadly she couldn't make good on the offer due to work, but her loss!

I have no idea where I read this, but the coastal route was reputed to be the "8th best ride in the world." First of all, I have no idea who could possibly make that statement or who judges these things. Secondly, it was easily in my top 10 of rides I have done, so I believe the claim. Again, I wished I were on a superbike, but at least there was no wind bothering me and the sun peaked out here and again. See below for the obligatory pic of me and the bike on the coastal route.

After a gorgeous ride, I was back in Cape Town and started to make my way up the west coast around noon. I rode through the Flower Reserves and West Coast National Park a bit for the scenic route. At some point I realized I needed to start making better time if I hoped to split the distance between CT and Jo'burg today and the next. So after lunch in Langebaan I cut back to the N7 shortly thereafter.

After a while on the road I stopped for petrol and checked my map. Seemed like the R27 might be a bit shorter / more interesting than riding through Springbok via the N7 and N14 to Upington and I started off that way, hoping to make it to Upington for the night, even if it meant a bit of riding in the dark.

I made it to Calvinia around 6 pm. I stopped for petrol again and had a chat with an overlander in a Land Cruiser. He suggested it would take me 3 hours to make it to Upington in the dark. Didn't seem that bad and I was encouraged by his comment that "there was nothing to see out there anyway." So I pressed on.

A bit closer to Brandvlei than Calvinia (but not by much), I notice that I was riding without regular lights. All I had was my brights to go on, and I had a choice of turning them off or attracting the disgust of passing lorry drivers every 20 minutes or so. I tried turning them off once and it scared the sht out of me, so decided not to do that again!

I stop in Brandvlei to have a look around for a place to stay or camp given the issue with my lights. When I fill up with petrol, there is a drunk guy who refuses to pay for the petrol he has pumped. A larger crowd was gathering and the scene gave me reason enough not to poke around any longer and move on up the road a bit.

At this point, I figure Upington is still a possibility as I didn't have much hope for anything in between. Then about 35 km outside of Kenhardt my brights go out too. So there I am, in the middle of literally no where, with nothing but hazards to light my way, except for the occasional lorry passing and often hooting as if to say, "hey, wtf are you doing riding out here like that?" Yeah, yeah - I got it, thanks.

The next time you're on your bike, notice the tempo of the hazards. It's about a second between flashes, and I found my top speed limited to about 40 kph - anything else felt like insanity. At this speed, I seemed to be able to catch the odd reflector, or shadow of the edge of the road to keep myself on the tar. When lorries came by from the opposite direction, I usually pulled off to the side of the road. Otherwise I tried to ride straight down the middle.

The extra 35 km to Kenhardt took me over an hour. I spent most of that time thinking about a new rule or two:
RULE #6: CARY A SPARE GLOBES AT ALL TIMES
RULE #7: DON'T RIDE AT NIGHT. YOU WILL BREAK THIS RULE SEVERAL TIMES, BUT REMEMBER - NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS RIDING AT NIGHT


I found the first guest house that was crazy enough to open their gate for me at that hour. The woman that ran it made breakfast, but no dinner. She offered for me to take mine now since I planned to leave early the next morning.  The cold egg sandwich was surprisingly delicious as I took pictures of my bruises from my earlier crash and all the bugs who had met their end on my helmet that day.

Okay, I might have been a bit delirious... off to bed!
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 7 - KENHARDT TO JOHANNESBURG - 934 kms (4706 kms total)

Feeling the hard day before, I started for Upington around 8 am.

Perhaps I was just used to seeing nothing for hundreds of kilometers, but Upington seemed pretty decent. I wished I had made it there the night before, but picked up a couple of globes (including a spare) for my head light from a local bike shop before heading out of town. Promised myself I'd never be caught without a spare again.

It was a straight shot and extremely boring ride back to Jo'burg on the N14. Given the number of kilometers I was putting on the clock, all I wanted was to get back to Jo'burg and I was hoping with every ounce of hope I had that the bike would make it. The drivetrain was making a lot of noise. Nearly all of the tred in the rear tyre was gone. I even called Adventurer to see if he thought I'd make it back with this combo. Sure enough, he thought I was being too cautious and I continued on.

As the kilometers kept coming, had to stop for a fair amount of road construction. After the 3rd or 4th stop in the heat, I pulled of the tar and just rode on the dirt next to it far faster than anyone else was going!

I was 150 kilometers from home and I felt one of the wire strands in the clutch cable snap as I shift. I took it all apart to find out how bad it is, clean it up with some lube and put it back together in the best way I can, hoping a bit less friction will hold it together for just a bit longer. Still, it was only hanging on 2-3 strands. Add it to the list of stuff I'll need to fix once I'm back...

I get a message from Adventurer, and he said he'd be up for helping me with the bike the next afternoon once he was back from the Eco1000.

I finally made it hope - was so happy to see my girlfriend and our dog and promptly pass out!

No pics this time - was too busy riding the most boring leg of the route. Still, pretty happy to have done almost 5,000 kms on a mix of nearly every riding condition I'd see on my trip up in Africa. Sure, I came off 3-4 times, but I had survived. The bike needed some work to get it ready to go again, but it would make the trip, I was pretty sure of it.
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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DAY 8 - FARTING AROUND JOHANNESBURG - 91 kms (4797 kms total)

Was awesome to be home and to survive. Took the morning for brunch with my girlfriend and some of our close friends. They explained to me I was no longer able to use Twitter to capture my trip after the brief and alarming messages I sent out at the end of Day 2 / beginning of Day 3. Promised I'd be more careful in describing my trip, perhaps only telling the whole story once I got back (unfortunately 15 months late!)

Met up with Adventurer at his house around 2 pm to work on the bike. Well, he did most of the work, I did most of the watching. I'm amazed we did so much that day after he had already done a huge ride that morning:
+ Changed out the sprockets and chain for new ones. The old ones were completely toasted.
+ Did a full service and topped up all the fluids.
+ Put new tyres on, front and rear. Adventurer showed me how to pop the bead on the rear tyre and change out / repair the tubes if I get a flat in the field.
+ We put in a new K&N air filter (washable) and new spark plugs as well, keeping one of the old ones as a spare.
+ Changed out the Barkbuster plastic on the right side I had destroyed. Not sure it was necessary, but felt better having full thickness material there again.
+ Replaced the broken frame locks I had sheared off (at no cost) in some of my crashes that involved removing my luggage. These parts would continue to prove the only ones I don't like from SW-Motech. They are a crap design with pins pushed in from either side, rather than one all the way through the main shaft.

In all of this work, Adventurer and I noticed the side stand was flexing a lot and went to investigate. What we found was a problem.

Somewhere along the way, I had sheared the main subframe bolt that connects the subframe to the main frame of the bike. It was a structural member and one I really shouldn't have been riding around without - at least not off road, and certainly not up into Africa.

We also discovered that the seal for the clutch input shaft was leaking. I had to get the subframe bolt anyway, so I'd grab a new one from Northside BMW first thing in the morning. We'd also wait to beat out my panniers until the next day since we now had more time and Adventurer had already had an epic day - still don't know how he did it all between the Eco1000 and all the fixes on my bike.

I promised I'd order the parts as soon as they were open in the morning.
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
    Location: USA
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DAY 9 - FARTING AROUND JOHANNESBURG (continued) - 34 kms (4831 kms total)

I called early to Northside, but their parts department continued to fck me around most of the day. I'm not going to bash a guy by name here (if you want to know who this a-hole was or my sht supplier for GS parts to avoid, PM me). Just be weary of Northside - at least a year ago they weren't my favorite shop. Perhaps the have changed since then.

Anyway, was told I could only get parts on Tuesday. Hacked off, I decided I check in again the next day.

So, I ran some errands for some other bits and bobs I needed. A phone charger, an iPod charger and extra freeze-dried food were top of the list. Also picked up some extra chain lube, a syphon in case I needed to get fuel in or out of my bike in a pinch, some longer tyre irons and a tube puller. I even did some admin in the office... I was really itching to get going with my real trip.

I put the spare clutch cable on my bike - at least that felt like I was doing something positive to get this show on the road...
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
    Location: USA
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DAY 10 - FARTING AROUND JOHANNESBURG (continued) - 106 kms (4937 kms total)

Based on Adventurer's advice, I called early to Northside again - regardless of my attempts to explain the urgency, it was lost on their parts department. I called again at 10, told parts were arriving this morning and they'd call me when they arrived. Heard nothing, so I called again at 1 pm and was told they were "just unpacking things."

Hacked off, I rode over there myself at 3 pm. Only then did this guy tell me my subframe bolt was on back order. Fck them! I made a big fuss out of it, and they borrowed one off another bike that was going to be in the shop for a few weeks. Not exactly what I'd call a great practice from a shop, but at least this way I had hope I could continue my trip the next day.

I was 20 minutes late when I arrived at Adventurer's house, but I had the subframe bolt and input shaft seal in hand. We beat out the panniers and put the seal in place. We worked on a couple last odds and ends, and he wished me well on my trip and told me there would always be a way to get me parts and help if I needed it and to call or SMS him if I got in a spot. I didn't know it then, but I'd need to do just that!

After all the hours in his garage, all the patience, and all the tips that most mechanics wouldn't take the time to show a newbie, I couldn't believe how little Adventurer charged me for labour.

I'd be back on the road headed out of South Africa for the first time in the morning.
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

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  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
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I was wrong, I do have a couple pics from Day 7 of how straight and boring the road was. These bird nests covering power lines were by far the most interesting thing for several hundred kms...