Burning the fuel...

Douentza Travel Blog

 › entry 36 of 98 › view all entries

Again the next morning I was up just before first light and on the long road to Mopti early.  Lots of police check points but didn’t stop for any and the police were not interested either in me.  I found the police immigration in Mopti with the help from a local on a moped, these guys think just because you’re on a big bike you can keep up with there waving through the traffic but with panniers on it is not that easy!  Turns out my 30visa started when I entered Mali and not on the 6Dec, happy days, job done with no money to hand over!  Next was a cheap hotel and again the guy on the moped helped me, I gave him a reasonable fair tip for helping me.  Usually I like to find my own way but this saves much time, and more importantly stress in the heat of the day wearing the sweaty bike gear.

Tombouctou would be about 400km away but I was unsure about the last 200km of partly improved road and the last 100km was next to sand dunes from the map.  Riding on sand is something I’ve done before but not that confidently yet, solo and riding on sand has a reputation among bikers, if you get stuck loaded with overlanding gear on the bike then you could be in for a long old day.  I spoke to the immigration guy and others about the route, not good for a bike.  I spoke to my hotel guy showing him the map, if I left at 6am I should be in Tombouctou by 5pm pointing at the last 100km saying it is much sand and my map says this.  I made the decision if I was to make this crossing north then I must base myself at the start of the 200km route that night and at least make use of the cooler morning, this was the wise thing to do.  As quickly as I moved into the room I was out of the hotel telling the guy I would stay on my return, he understood my fears and reasoning.  It was almost 4pm with 167km to Douentza, road works meant riding on dirt tracks for sections and later the road was full of pot holes, I was glad I made the decision to ride this far setting my self up for the morning ride.  Bike full of fuel and in a hotel, with a well needed shower after days of bush camping I checked today’s distance, 735km!  about 1400km in 2days.

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