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Entry 18 // Making some headway

Update by: Nick | February 19th 2011

We tried our best to wake up early in the morning so we could make us some time. That didn't happen. It's easier to wake up at 6:00 am when you're sleeping on hard ground in a tent instead of a nice bed after staying up late. Oh well, such is life. It ended up being around 10 o'clock when we were finally loaded up and ready to ride. But we wanted to take a few minutes and explore the surroundings before we left. Unfortunately the owners left early in the morning to go to town, so only their workers were around. Their homestead was really interesting. It was like a small city with everything you needed.One thing we noticed about Namibia is all the kids had these trucks made from wire they would push everywhere. This was the nicest one we saw. Most were homemade with the wheels made out of jar lids or Coke cans. They even have a steering wheel. This one even has an fuel filter under the hood. It's probably aftermarket and gives the rig an extra 2 hp.Finally we were ready to go and on the road. The riding was amazing. We had a solid 150 miles of dirt roads before we connected to the main road where we would cross the boarder. The roads were in good condition, it was possible to go 70 mph so we could make up some time.We needed to find gas along the way or we would run out before we hit pavement. Lucky for us there was a small village halfway. The people were great too. Sometimes when you stop people immediately come up to you and try to ask for money, or "watch your bike" (for a fee of course); but these were the kind of people that run next to you waving their hands. We talked to them for maybe 30 minutes before we took off again, and we learned some interesting stuff. The guys who pumped the gas came to this villiage (maybe a population of 500) to work. Thier homes are located 1000 kilometers away. They plan on going home in December. How did they find out about that gas station job? The village mechanic also made sure we stopped by his shop so his son could look at our bikes. Let me tell you, Hanis and Hanis Jr. are keeping it real with the jean shorts. Luke's huckfins have nothing on theirs.After a hundred miles we saw a car coming the other direction that looked familiar. We slowed down and saw to people waving like crazy. We were siked! It was John and Hanna, our hosts from the night before who had to run to "town". I guess town runs for them means 150 miles of dirt roads. We stopped and were able to spend five minutes chatting and finally got to say thank you.We made it to the main paved road and got some more gas. Now we only had to crank 100 miles to boarder, no problem. We met some friends, AKA fellow motorcyclists crossing Africa, while getting gas and all took off for the boarder. We made it to the boarder around 4:30 pm and had no problems. Well, no problems except the armed guards didn't like us getting changed in the parking lot. It only took us about 45 minutes to cross.We were very excited to notice there weren't many fences on the side of the road. This mean stealth camping would be easier for us. But we wanted to try to stay with our new friends, so we met up with them at the next town, 200 miles down the road. Another thing we immediately noticed about Botswana were cows and donkeys all over the road. They didn't seem too worried about traffic either.Botswana also had massive ant hills. Where are these rascals getting the dirt for this thing? We noticed almost all these ant hills were located by a tree, and the ants were all over the tree too.We ate at a restaurant with our new friends and stayed at a hotel that also had campsites. We woke up early this time at started driving for Chobe National Park. We heard Chobe was one of the few park in africa that allowed motorcycles to go through. We wanted to make it to the entrance so we could spend all day driving through, about 200 miles, and take time to take pictures of the animals. But before all this, we wanted to find some intenet and post some updates. We finally found some internet and made ourselves at home. The girls working there were pretty excited to get their pictures taken with the bikes (and the beards).After failing to get the site updated, we took off for the last 100 miles to Chobe. At least Luke got his fix of twitter for a day or two. On our way to Chobe we went through a road block telling us that we were entering wild animal territory. We were pumped! We were even more excited when they said lions were everywhere and we were stupid for driving at dusk. The guard said about 60 miles up there was a village we could stay at that had a fenced in area we could stay at. As soon as we passed through the gate we saw signs of wildlife everwhere, mostly elephant poop. After 20 miles we saw our fist elephant outside a reserve with Jurasic Park fences. He crossed the road ahead of us and were out of sight before we were up there. We tossed the idea back and forth of pitching out tent in the wild and decided against it. Even the villagers who lived in the area said that would be suicide. We kept going and had to break our rule of driving at night. It's a good thing we broke it at a safe time, AKA lion territory at prime hunting time. Maybe we would see them? We didn't; but we did see hyenas on the road. Luke stopped 20 feet from them and tried to get his camera out. I tried getting my camera out to get a picture of the one hyena 10 feet on Luke's side staring him down. It was funny for me since Luke didn't know there was a hyena that close watching him. We stayed there for a few minutes trying to get a picture of a hyena. They didn't let us. As soon as we turned our motorcycles around so we could show some light on them, they would run into the bush and circle around behind us. We are pretty sure they had us surrounded. They weren't stalking us, just curious.
20 miles of driving in the dark later we came to the village. We pulled off the road and shut our bikes off. 20 Curious villagers came up to us, most under 10, and tried talking to us. We asked if we could set up our tent in there village and they said yes. None of them had any lights, so they just sat around and watched us set up our tent and make food. Luke and I were pretty excited to notice there was no fence around and we were still in lion territory. We cooked our new specialty (Boerswors and onions with a side of potatos) and went to sleep.An hour or so after we crawled into our tent a few dogs started barking. We weren't sure if they were barking at us or wildlife. Hopefully it was wildlife. After about 20 minutes they stopped. It was unnerving watching shadows of dogs circle our tent during our fist night camping in wild territory.

 

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