On Sunday myself and a very tired and worn out bike, arrived happily in Cape Town. We were greeted by Uwe and Michelle who took us in. It felt like a real homecoming. I had the chance to meet three amazing Overlanders who had all driven down separately from Europe through West Africa and who were also staying with Uwe. Andy, a Kiwi riding a BMW 1200, Simon, a German guy riding a 2001 KTM 640 and Martin, a Czech guy who rode a 1963 175cc bike all the way through Africa! Only his first and fourth gears were working and his maximum speed was 40 kph! These guys are inspiring and it was great to talk, share experiences and get advice from them.
The rest of my time in Cape Town went by in a blur. I had to get my Carnet de Passage, the critical piece of paperwork that will get me into Ethiopia and then I had to take care of my bike. The damage assessment:
- Most urgently, the wheel bearings were worn and were replaced. Why were they in such bad condition after only 9,000 kilometers – who knows? At least now when I take a turn my front wheel doesn’t slide.
- The alarm system needed to be fixed as well and now finally it works.
- My clutch was readjusted.
- My back tire is worn out almost completely. I had new Metzler Karoo 3 tires fitted three weeks ago. But true to their word these tires lasted me about 6,000 kilometers. I will have a new back tire fitted in Windhoek, Namibia in a few days.
- My panniers, Trax make, are proving to be very delicate. aside from dents and scratches, the bobbins fixing the panniers to the bike have bent. We placed rubber holds in such a way that the boxes won’t rattle and I bought spares with me. The age-old dilemma of hard versus soft panniers continues, but as I’ve already committed to these I won’t change now and will just take it as it goes.
- The bash plate is bashed pretty hard. It took quite a beating sacrificing itself and saving my engine.
- My pants are ripping apart at the seams (I swear I didn’t eat that much!). A little duct tape provided a temporary fix but didn’t last long. I’m sure I’ll find a way to fix them or find a way to enjoy the extra air vents.
Uwe is accompanying me for a few days into Namibia. Today, after a good breakfast, we headed north towards Lambert’s Bay. The wind blew from our right side non-stop and it was all I could do to keep the bike in the center of the lane. At first I tried slowing down but eventually I got the hand of riding fast into the wind. The trick is to find those few seconds of rest which make it possible to continue when you are in an uncomfortable situation. I learned to anticipate trucks rushing past. In the split second after they go by he wind lets down and I can steer the bike back into the lane before the wind starts pushing me back again. It was slow going until we slid unto a beautiful dirt road running along the railway lines and next to the ocean. Mist engulfed us all the way to Lambert’s Bay.Luckily a hot chocolate saved the day. It’s those little things!
Tomorrow we cross through Vioolsdrift into Namibia – and a whole new level of adventure!