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Entry 39 // The journey to Ethiopia day 1 of 7

Update by: Nick | March 29th, 2011

The bike is fixed again and it's time to make up some time. Luke and I have been talking and are wondering if we are making the right decision to continue driving north. If Sudan won't issue us a visa, which they probably won't, what should do? We can drive north and try to get a visa for Sudan in Ethiopia, or we could head west through the Congo and up the west coast to Morroco. We need to do some research on this before we make a decision on our next move; so we go to our usual internet place.
Our options aren't looking very good. Africa has three countries that block our path: Sudan, Chad, and Nigeria. You have to go through one of these countries to make it to the top of Africa. Sudan doesn't look like it will give us a Visa. We already know Chad will not. All that leaves is Nigeria. The bad news is they stopped issuing visas to foreiners on the road. As of one month ago you have to send your passport back to your home country to get a visa. This means we would have to drive to Camaroon, then ship our passports to the US, and then wait a month in Camaroon hoping they don't get lost in the mail. The west coast of Africa would be amazing, but we don't have time for that. That only leaves going north to Ethiopia. If Sudan won't issue us a visa we have one more alternative. We take a boat from Djibouti to Yemen and then drive through Saudi Arabia. I Guess we head for Ethiopia.
In the morning we pack up and Luke takes a few pictures of the house we were able to stay at for the week.
The kitchenThe living roomand the bedroomSince it was Sunday our new friends were still at church when it was time for us to leave. We give them a call to find out where they are and drive to their church to say goodbye. They were amazing people. Brad and Elise helped us out so much while we stayed in Kisumu. And their two children, Rachael and Ben, were fun to play with. Thanks Brad and Elise!We decided to go the road less traveled. So we started driving north to Lake Kisumu and drive along the east coast of the lake. We chose this route for two reasons. 1 it sounded a lot more fun and 2 we heard they don't bother asking for carnets or bother with vehicle importing. This was awesome for us, since as you know we are rolling with no carnet and still riding dirty through Kenya.
So off we head with beautiful sunny weather to start riding again. It feels great to be on the bikes again. By now you know we see a lot of semis tipped over or in the ditch. Now we feel we have to include one in every update since we see them every day.Hunger sets in and it's time to find some feedbags. I also spoke too soon about that beautiful sunny weather we were driving in. It didn't last as long as we hoped. It looks like the rainy season caught up to us while we hung out in Kisumu.Lucky for us there is restraunt nearby when the rain really started coming down. The food on the other hand wasn't the best we've had on this trip. We order Ugali and eggs. We are finding out on this trip it's easy to go wrong with ordering meat. Eggs you can't really go wrong with. We also decided ugali sucks. To me it's a mixture of grits and mashed potatoes that sat out for two days in the pot and became hard and crusty. It's not very good and has no flavor.
Luke looked over at the table next to us and saw a guy with a Grand Rapids shirt. So naturally you have to start talking to him and get a picture.In his mind our two minute conversation meant we were friends and that ment Luke and I owe him something. This gets so old for us and very discouraging. Know we have to try to explain why we are not going to give him money.
A few miles down the road Luke's bike dies. NICE! Right now my bike is in the lead for least reliable, so I am pretty excited for Luke's to gain the lead back. Unfortunately it gives us a familiar fuel injection code: 3 long then 7 short. We've already seen this twice and know it's just a loose wire. Crap! I guess my bike is still in the lead. By now we consider this fix maintainace and not a break down. Similiar to my weak rims that get dented every other day.In thirty minutes it's working again and we are on the road. We make it 10 miles before Luke's bike dies again. Same code, same story. The only difference is that it's the other wire that came loose. During this maintainance stop we had some unique visitors. While luke was working on his bike two men with AK-47s came walking up the road and stopped to talk to us. Lucky for us they were guards and patrolling the road. They told us this road was dangerous and someone could rob us. It was there job to walk the road and stop bandits. We got a picture with them and then they wanted our phone number to stay in contact with us. With Luke's bike fixed for the second time we hit the road again. The weather has sucked and is raining most of the time. Somehow both maintainance stops we didn't have any rain, which was a bit dissapointing. By now we are almost the equator and I have my eye on the gps. It looks like we are about 10 kilometers away. Then all of a sudden luke stops and turns around. He spotted the equator sign. We figure it's a fake but take some pictures anyway, just in case. The reason we thought it was fake, was because the gps didn't show us being at 0 degrees and the sign was set up in front of a tourist stand and nothing else. I bet some cleaver guy decided to stick the sign out front of his house and sell crap to people thinking it was the equator. I mean it was in the general area. His sign did look legit though. The elevation was perfectly accurate.You know we have toNow it's time to find the real equator. In about 8 kilometers We see another sign and this one seems to be in the right spot. We were really hoping to see more false alarms.Ok the sign was off a bit, but 50 feet isn't bad.It's getting dark and we need to find a place to stay. It looks like there is a town about 30 k up the road. We drive throught he miserable rain and find a hotel. This town seems a bit shady to us, but don't have much of a choice. The room was a good price and was pretty decent. Now some food (hopefully not ugali) and dry sleep. Our food ended up being much better than ugali.The town still felt shady though.We skip the showers and hop in bed exhausted from the days ride.

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