the long awaited road south

Ndende Travel Blog

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Hmmmmmmmmm......that will be Matt's bike then

When it came to leave Lope I’d been to the toilet about half a dozen times so had a double Imodium breakfast with my anti malarial and a multi vitamin to top it off.  Matt was enjoying the route back but I was feeling really spaced (more than normal!) and found it hard to read the piste ahead so I backed off the throttle a bit and kept it steady along the twisty track, maybe I should have eaten something…?  Back on the tar to Ndjole a black Hummer I didn’t see was passing me just as I swerved to avoid something or other and he came shooting past inches from me, now that made me jump and say a few words not to be repeated!  In town we got the bikes fuelled up (plus a litre spilling around my bike and tank bag, ya ejjit attendant! I’m sat in my room now and it smells like a fuel station) and got ourselves fuelled up with a meat baget. 

The road south was good then turned into a nice piste that will soon have Chinese tar laid over it, the last we’ll see for about 1000kms (the Chinese are building in all Africa in a MASSIVE way after resources, during the vice presidents tour his closing words to African leaders he meet was always “we won’t ask questions”).

Rainy day with the backgammon
  We got 25km south of Ndende after fuel and food, could see the dark clouds again, hmmmmm.  We stopped by a locals house for 30mins avoiding some rain then after another few kms we where taking cover in a open shed.  We spent hours there while the storm moved all around us, the wind changing direction as if locked in the eye of this tropical down pour.  A local came with fresh peanuts and went once he was board, I had set up a couple of blocks with a long plank across them for a seat to keep off the earth floor, we played many games of my travel backgammon and by the end Matt owed me the firs beer.  We rode our wet bikes 25km back into town, it was getting dark, the road ahead was unknown for 60km.  I had a couple big spins on my back end in the soft mud, I didn’t want to come off in this stuff!  Bikes parked in the dry outside our respective rooms the down pour started again.

We set off the next day but didn’t get too far out of town, Matt’s bike was upset with life again (or it or someone was stopping me from leaving that day into the remote Congo).  Spent a few hours working on the bike, swapped bike batteries when his was low, tried towing with my bike and to Matt’s credit he kicked and kicked…but nothing.  So it was a lift back into town on the back of a pickup truck for him (made sure and took a few snaps on the was back, hehehe).  The bike was dropped at African bike mechanics place.  We tried everything but it was looking like he had a faulty CDI (electronic bike brain).

Back at our hotel that night, a different one than before I had a TV with CNN news in English and as I had it on in the back ground sorting my things when my attention was quickly drawn to the top story, Chile was hit by an 8.8 earthquake!  Matt caught me to tell me also as I was leaving running out the room to get a phone top-up card.  I couldn’t get in touch with Paulina in Santiago.  Nothing.  CNN reports coming in told of much destruction in Santiago and the airport.  Woke my nephew Robert to put a message in facebook for me saying I hadn’t left and call me on my Gabon number.  Now I know what it feels like to be on the other side trying to get in touch with loved ones.  That night talking with Matt I said I would have to push one alone the next day even though this route was notorious for its conditions, he understood and I needed to be in Brazzaville (Congo Capital) now more than ever, it may take him some time to source a new CDI.  

The next morning I went to retrieve my small laptop from Matt, he was researching the bikes repair manual on it.  He opened the door with much enthusiasm saying he thinks the problem is with the decompression lever too tight, made sense to me.  So he was on the back of the bike again as we speed back to the mechanics, he doesn’t like being on the back of my bike as I mess around with him almost sent him off the back a few times (heheheehe).  The decompression looked as if it could be a problem but hmmmm…  we jumped our bike batteries together again but nothing, it also started raining so I wasn’t going anywhere today.  Then after a while trying she started to fire and then she did!  And she started again!  Seems water had gotten inside the CDI from the hours of rain and had now dried out.  We filled the CDI with rubber gasket sealant and fashioned a vinyl cover to protect his electrics, sorted!!  (we hope).  I still had no word from Paulina that day and I was trying every hour, had managed to get through on her home number but no answer, she lives in a top floor apartment…I was feeling so far away in remote Africa.  At 4am my phone burst into life, it was her and she was fine, also her family and friends.  Much stuff was broken in her apartment but she was safe.  8)

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Hmmmmmmmmm......that will be Matt…
Hmmmmmmmmm......that will be Matt…
Rainy day with the backgammon
Rainy day with the backgammon
photo by: MrDuck