Choum and more fuel!!

Choum Travel Blog

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Stopping for a cup'a

We had visitors the next morning as we where about to set off.  A couple of old diesel two wheel drive Mercedes, they saw our bikes and came to talk with us.  They said we could get petrol at the next village (a small collection of huts) and they would help us.  We all set off and these guys didn’t slow for anything, I think they put a brick on the accelerator!  They were slipping away from us and I looked at my speed, 85kph.  With these two wheel drive cars you have to go fast to make it through the sand, this also applies to bikes.  Lean back and steer using your feet, trying to keep the front end as light as possible so it glides over the sand and the rear sinks in so you give it more power hoping the forward momentum doesn’t stop or hit a very soft pack that could through you off.

The big rocks make a change from taking pictures of sand

The first place had none and we went to the next, at this speed and sand we were eating fuel, we really needed to find some.  After finding the boss man he said we could have some government petrol and we asked for 25liters.  But on looking at the petrol it was black!  It smelt ok and we poured some on a cloth to check it.  With my bike being so young and the compression of the engine very high I couldn’t risk putting this stuff in my bike, this could stop my whole trip if I risked it.  Tim understood and he offered me his petrol in his bike and he would use this black petrol, a very generous offer.  So we transfer about 18 litres to my bike (he has a massive 35 litre tank), I had used a load of fuel despite riding as smooth as possible!! And also managed to get a good mouth full of Tim’s petrol when sucking it out, it brought tears to my eyes, coughing and I was almost sick, had that taste in my mouth all day.

Me, ripping up the piste

The wind had died down a bit the sand wasn’t in the air like the previous day and we rode on the piste where we could and the track.  We rode around the dead man stops on the line trying not get stuck.  Beside every dead man stop was a small white brick hut and near by someone lives and their job is to shovel the sand away from this emergency stop, now that’s a lonely job!  We would always give them a good wave as we pasted.  Tim came off once going around one of these and I got stuck a couple of times.  As we approached the eastern end of the route we were forced back onto the track because the piste was getting very sandy and the bikes were sinking in and it wouldn’t be too long till we would have to start pushing using up much energy and water.

Who needs a hotel to sleep when you've got this great spot under the stars
  This was the start of the sand fields, the small rolling dunes.  We hoped from one side of the railway line to another finding the best route along the track, the sides could be lose and you need to take care like ring across a hill keeping your weight on the upper foot.  Most of the riding was done standing, this gives you the best control letting the bike move under you using your feet to steer, plus this takes lots of stresses from the bike, preserving it, as you also absorb the forces. I decided to ride the north side of the track and let Tim ride the south, nice to see far ahead instead of behind someone.  When I decided to hop across the track I was going a bit to fast, my confidence was up as I’d hopped across quite a few times but the second track suddenly had a step side and my front wheel washed out (always look up and not at targets in front of you!!) and before I knew what was happening I was flying.  Over the handle bars I went and I managed to tuck my head in and done a roll rather than a splat (the Jujitsu training from years ago was still with me).  I was fine, no worries, I had the body amour on and I wasn’t going that fast but the front indicator came off.  I picked up the bike and jumped on, gave Tim the thumbs up when I got close as I could see he had stopped when I feel behind.  He wasn’t sure if I was taking another photo but it’s good when your buddy is keeping an eye.  Off we rode.

It was all good at Choum where we stop riding east and turn south, found more petrol and I had another 15 litres from a couple of drums.  Bought a coke to try and wash the taste of petrol still with me and a couple of bubble gum sweets.  The track down to Atar was easy and we bush camped by a huge boulder to shelter from the wind.  Was nice sleeping in the open air under the stars and I used my material hammock and panniers to give me a wind break and ground sheet (great when something does more than one job).  We had a good old chat as we ate, talked about lots of things, Tim has done some big overland trips and has been on the road for 3years.  Top man but can snore like a freight train!  That’s ok because I was going to sleep thinking what if a sneak or scorpion decided to join us, not with Tim’s vibrations! hahahaha   Bush camping is great.

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Stopping for a cupa
Stopping for a cup'a
The big rocks make a change from t…
The big rocks make a change from …
Me, ripping up the piste
Me, ripping up the piste
Who needs a hotel to sleep when yo…
Who needs a hotel to sleep when y…
photo by: MrDuck