into the DRC

songolol Travel Blog

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Mechanic who hammered out a sheared bolt for my racking in my sub-frame and then heated the bolt red hot in his forge and hammered in an extra 10mm into it so it would fit...

The next morning Tanya and Clive left in search of waterfalls and Auzzy Matt who I’d been travelling with was staying to see the town and look into his bike, he also had a contact in Kinshasa, we had different timelines and it was time to part but I enjoyed our time together and had some fun together on our KTMs.  Dutch Matt and myself left Kinshasa together for the border, he had only had a 5day transit visa and I wanted to get south to meet Paulina flying in 18days, 4 border crossing and 6000-7000kms away in Johannesburg.  

We rode down to where the border crossing was but had to double back 60km to get fuel, the local station was no more.

Border crossing from DRC to Angola
  I also filled up 4 water bottles with petrol giving me another 6liters plus my 1.5litre cooking bottle gave me about an extra 110km range on top of my 28litre tank.  We stayed local and went for food, would ride the 60km back the next day.  That night there was a big thunder storm so we planned to have a lazy start to the morning and to stay at Songololo just before the border crossing travelling the 60km back again, I was not feeling so good and had lost the confidence to pass wind...  Once down in Songololo I was checking the bike over and found a bolt holding the rear racking in place had sheared, the Dolisie route had taken its toll.  I couldn’t get the sheared part out and got directed to a local mechanic who hand drilled a hole in the sheared bolt, hammered a square peg into the round hole but the peg also broke off when he tried to turn it.  Eventually he hammered it until the sheared bolt was punched into the box section of the bike frame and I got him to drill a hole all the way through so I could put a nut and bolt on it.  I went back to him later when the bolt I had wasn’t long enough and he had noting to do the job so off he even back into his workshop.  He fired up a home made furnace and his son turned a old bicycle wheel with a old rubber tube connected to a fan that shot air into the furnace and in no time the bolt was glowing red hot, he then hammered an extra 10mm into the bolt on a blacksmiths anvil carful not to damage the treads on the end.  It worked!  Maybe an African mechanic with a hammer does work, some times!! The next morning we would leave early as we only had 5day visas to ride through Angola  and that was all they would give us for riding over 2000kms of unknown route conditions, it won’t be smooth tar all the way that’s for sure!! 

The next day was good and I had recovered, the route across the border was a dirt road but not difficult, there was the usual border formalities and we left the French speaking West Africa behind us, Angola is Portuguese speaking and my Spanish could help me more here than my French!  We rode a newly built road to the coast, some wide graded piste and we made very good time and distance.

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Mechanic who hammered out a sheare…
Mechanic who hammered out a shear…
Border crossing from DRC to Angola
Border crossing from DRC to Angola
photo by: MrDuck