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Entry 24 // The Race...Day 4 of 4

Update by: Nick | February 28th 2011

We woke up before the sun came up and were on the road at first light. We had close to 600 miles to pound out for the day, which we've done before and know it's possible. It started off pretty cool with temperatures diping into the 50's. Around 7:00 am we came across a very funny sight. We saw a naked man in the middle of the road in the middle of a village. He was doing all sorts of crazy things. He started by throwing poop at cars passing by, then he started putting his dukes up and dancing around. From the looks of the other poeple in the village this was not a normal occurance. We drove about 5 feet from him as we passed and he just kept dancing and waving his arms naked as we passed by. What is that all about?
We made the first 100 miles with no problems and stopped for some gas. The gas station we stopped at was at a pretty important fork in the road. We take a few minutes and discuss our options. We had two. Option one was 600 miles of highway; option two was 450 miles of dirt roads. The dirt roads in Namibia were very nice and we could easily cruise at 65 mph and sometimes at 75 mph. We decide to take option two. Dirt roads are always more fun, and the attendants at the gas station suggested that route also. While we were filling up gas we spotted our next bikes for an adventure.We left the gas station and took the fork in the road which lead to the 400 mile dirt road section. The people in this area loved bright colored buses and writing gangsta sayings for having money on them.Finally the dirt roads started and we were pumped. It didn't take us long to realize we wouldn't be driving as fast as we did in Namibia. Oh well, the roads were amazing and we could still average 50 mph. Plenty fast enough to make it to timmer tonight.The nice roads started to get very rocky, along with nice tight corners. It made for great riding but sucked for making up time. It didn't help that semis wanted to drive on the road too and didn't seem too worried about hogging the road either.After 100 miles of this we saw a remote village with a barbeque going. We decide to stop and eat. It was now close to 10 am and we havne't eaten. The villagers were very excited to get pictures taken and show off their BBQ.I know what you're thinking. And the answer is yes. Yes those are sheep heads underneath the grill. Luke and I start looking at them and everyone was very excited to show them off for pictures.Noone seemed to give us any information about a restraunt in their village so we decided to just grab a Coke. One thing I've learned in life is you can buy Coke anywhere, and I mean anywhere. After we drink our Cokes we hang out at the grill for a bit. They make a joke that they will sell us some meat for 500 shillings and everyone starts laughing. We don't know what's so funny since 500 shillings is roughly 33 cents. We decide not to take them up on the offer and try to find food later when it's lunch time.After cranking out a few miles we see two guys with motorcycles on the side of the road with something wrong with the bike. We stop to see if their is anything we can do to help. Luke and I always have to stop and help out fellow motorcycleists. When we get off our bikes we find out their chain is broke and they don't understand any english.That is no problem. Luke has an extra master link. We can fix this! What are the odds that two strangers drive past with extra links and a chainbreaker on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere?Well, the odds may have been good for that, but they were not good for the extra link to be the right size. Lukes master link and extra links were way too bike hold for very long. Luke tried to fix it with what we had, or at least fix it enough to drive to their village 10 kilometers away.The chain is back on and we advise them to drive slow. In the meantime I decide to check out my rims. My bike is known for having weak rims but I decide to risk it to save some money and not buy better rims for the trip. The rims are loving this road.No worries though, all we have to do is make it to Timmer today and then we can worry about the rims later. Meanwhile, our new motorcycle friends make it about 100 feet before the chain breaks again. They start tying a bungie chord to the handlebars so they could tow their bike. Luke and I step in and give them a hand. We are getting pretty good at towing bikes by this point. I think the new name for my bike should be "The Towtruck". We do our best to explain to them how we are going to tow them and off we go. We only have 10 kilometers to tow them on nasty roads, no problem.We make it the 10 kilometers without a problem. We tow him straight to a motorcycle mechanic where all his buddies start cheering and asking the usual questions: "How fast does it go", "How many cc's", "How much does it cost", and "Do you want to trade for mine". After a few fist bumps and thanks yous were hit the road again. It's pretty hot out, so we have to make ourselves stay hydrated. Our motto for the trip is "Hydrate or Die". Every so often we stop and pound some water. Especially on days like this.Luke decides to take some time to check out his tire. Plenty of tread left. All we need is 600 more miles until we can get a new one in Nairobi. We got this.So far this has been the funnest road we've driven on. Plus the scenerey was amazing.Another added bonus to this road was all the drainage pipes running underneath. They made for some fun 50 mph wheelies and jumps. Of course, sometimes you had to be careful. Some of them were shady and would destroy the bike if you didn't slow down in time. Plus, my rims loved it.Halfway through the dirt section of the day we ran into a fellow adventure rider. He was from Switzerland and had a really sexy bike. Plus he has some good news for us. The next half of the road was in worse shape than the section we were riding on. Oh well, we can still make it to Timmer tonight.I have no idea how you get a drivers licence in Africa, but they seriously need to rethink the process. I've never seen so frequent of carnage on the road.We finally make it to a gas station along the route and fill up. We finally got to eat too, by now it was 3:00 in the afternoon and we were starving. We decide to stop and find a decent meal and waste 30 min. It's finally nice to be in a cheap country and get really good food for such a low price. This meal cost us $3 including the CokesBefore we leave this city we buy twelve liters of water and fill up all our containers. We still had 300 miles to pound out and it was 3:30 with the roughest section comming up. It's going to be a long day. 10 miles down the road the weather is not looking like it's going to be on our side. The sky is looking pretty black and we speed up to try and get ahead of it. 20 miles down the road I start to feel my foot pegs vibrate more than usual and something is starting to sound funny when I give my bike more gas. I slow down to investigate. When I let off the clutch and give my bike gas I hear griding sounds from the gearbox, and my bike vibrates like crazy. This is not good, but accourding to Luke I was due for a break down. I guess that little weasel was right. Just before I was going to tell Luke to stop, I hear Luke on the intercom say, " Nick, we need to stop. I just got a flat front tire". Perfect, both bikes decided to break at the same time. I tell Luke my problem and we stop to figure things out.
We decide we probably won't be able to meet Timmer today, since my bike is more serious than a flat tire. The weather looks bad so we set up the tent just in case. Then we get to work. We put first priority on Lukes bike since we know we can fix it tonight, and he might have to tow me or go get parts. Luke finds the hole in his tube pretty quick and starts to patch it. The problem is, he can't find his patch glue. That's ok, I have some. Unfortunately my glue exploded inside my toolbag. Luckly we salvage some and Luke can patch his tire. We don't have anymore glue for future patches though, which could make for interesting situations in the future.Of course locals have to stop and investigate.While Luke finishes his repair I start trying to figure out my problem. We prop my back tire off the ground and see what the bike does. With no load on the tire it seems to run fine. So we check out the rear wheel and notice it shifted a little. I get the rear wheel off and the problem is blatently obvious.My rear wheel bearings blew out. Funny thing is I replaced the rear wheel bearings before I shipped the bike to Africa. I knew these bike were known for having bearings go out, but once again I decided to risk it. I did keep the old bearings as spares so hopefully we can get this fixed tonight.You can't bring every tool with you, so sometimes you have to improvise. Rocks become hammers and screwdrivers become bearing pullers. After smashing my fingures a few times Luke give it a go. Neither of us can get the outer ring to budge. We decide to have luke drive the 30 miles back to town to see if he can find someone who can get what's left of the bearing out. I give him all the parts necessary to put the new bearing in, so he can have that done at the same time. Luke takes off for town and I hop on the computer to try to catch up on some updates.
I hear Luke coming back one hour later. I'm not sure if this is a good sign or not. I run to the side of the road to meet him. He gives me the thumbs up and has a huge smile on his face. Not only did he find someone to get the bearing out; he somehow manage to find a guy who had brand new bearings that were the exact same part number. Not to meantion it only cost $10. Now all we had to do was but the wheel back on. 15 minutes later the wheel was back on my bike and I take it for a test drive. Everything seems to be running fine. By now it's 9:00 and we are still 250 miles from Timmer. We can't make it by tonight like we wanted, but we should be able to make it to him before noon tomorrow.Luke also managed to find us some dinner while he was out in town. Our dinner consisted of Cokes (who's surprised) and some kind of french fry omlette. We crawl into our tent and try to get caught up with our updates. It's a rough job. We have days of material to write about and it didn't help the smell of our tent could make you gage. 4 days of riding with no shower and the same clothes gets rough.

 

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