This is the BBC World Service… (said in my best posh English Colonial voice, hahahaha)

bush camp Travel Blog

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Lamin and me - this is the KTM we were working on...

I’ve only got one day left on my 14day Gambian visa so it’s time to get on the run. The first place I went once I was packed was to Riders to say good bye to everyone I’d got to know.  First I saw Lamin still working on the old girl, KTM LC4 (same as mine), that we’d been working on her for a few days.  I had the service manual on my netbook, and also Riders now, which proved a valuable source of information on taking the bike apart, fixing it and hopefully in the future it will help them.  Rather than me wading in I wanted to let Lamin think about it and do most of the spanner work him self, the only way for him to learn or anyone for that fact.  He made a great job re-shaping the camshaft plus built a new bearing from stuff laid about! and he had the engine going early that morning but it was still ticking a little so he was adjust the tappets again.

Sambo and me
  Before I left he had it running sweet, not sure for how long but what can you do if you don’t have the parts.  Said my byes to everyone else and to Sambo, it was after noon when I hit the road, no sign of Nige or Teddy (young photographer from the U.S.) to say goodbye too. 

Speaking to Nige and Teddy the day before they said the south road was very bad with mud and road works having just ridden it with on the Riders bikes with them, the north road was better paved road.  So I went the south road which I thought wasn’t that bad.  Once off the smooth tarmac it was a lovely graded dirt road, but managed to pick up something from my front wheel that hit the rear of engine belly plate with such force it banana’ed the 5mm aluminium plate badly, it sounded like a gun shoot had gone off and I stopped to check my tyres, stopped a couple of more times after that just to make sure (the demons in my head). 

On the graded dirt red road it looked like autumn on the trees from all the red dust that covered them, at last I was out of the city and began to smile.  The graded road went back onto asphalt but with lots of pot holes and was wishing I was on the dirt.  The problem with potholed asphalt (like tarmac) is the holes have sharp deep edges that the wheels fall into and bounce out again rather than pure dirt roads that ungulate. 

Passed the road works and further east the police and army check points began, about every 10km! (it felt like…) same old questions about me and the bike.  Apparently I dishonoured one young army guy by riding past then turning around when his friends went crazy.  There is a big difference in the police and army here, the police were easier to talk to generally.  Was asked  by one police man if I had a permit ride on something like ‘The day of mass resistance’ but talked my way through, he said to be careful and there might be rebels further on, hmmmm, I smell something hot, steamy and smelly.  Had a unusual encounter with another army guy on a power trip with his AK47 over his shoulder, having fun with the white man, who has been the first person ever to look inside my panniers and food bag on the back.  He got very interested looking through my cloths when he saw a green t-shirt, I never like carrying army stuff for this very reason.  As I took it out of the pannier he kept his distance so he could jump into action and blow the t-shirt away so I took my time (drum roll please) and unveiled a nice colourful print on the front with a quick flick (Dannaaaa!).  Looked over the road and saw I was outside a large army post with his mate covering me, looking down the sight,  with some sort of drum feed heavy machine gun, hope he’s got the safety on! Hope he doesn’t sneeze!  (growing up in Northern Ireland I’m used to check points and seeing guns).  Was a very weird conversation with this guy  who wanted my contact details for personal reasons, give him a good sounding fake and said I had no phone number because I cancelled it before leaving home, he gave me his and after 30minuets I was on my way again, beeezaar. 

Had a fuel up and got some fresh supplies for camping and up the road a bit I rode off into the bush looking for a camp spot, was no trail to follow so rode away from the road avoiding the trees, trees equal thorns, found a nice clear patch for my tent, hammock between the back of the bike and a tree, a wee fire.  Bought a cheap SW radio when I picked up supplies and happily listened to the BBC World Service while cooking up, very civilised and a good source of information for here in Africa if anything is kicking off in country’s along the way.

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Lamin and me - this is the KTM we …
Lamin and me - this is the KTM we…
Sambo and me
Sambo and me
bush camp
photo by: MrDuck