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 The Road to Bansang- Andy's trip to the Gambia on a Honda C90

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Paula

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PostSubject: Day 11 Photos   Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:48 am

I received these photos at lunch time today – just found the e-mail.  They had stopped for lunch in Tafraoute (yes I did say lunch – and it was a tomato salad with tuna)!  They must have had wi fi and so whilst waiting for said lunch to appear Andy obviously downloaded some  pics.
It is now 20.42 and I have not had my daily call yet – surely they are not still riding?
These photos all relate to Day 11 – Marrakech to somewhere north of Tafraoute – the first ones are of his little house – it does look very nice – he clearly thought it merited another photo just before he left.  Perhaps he should have it on his lap top so he can dream about it whilst in the miniscule tent!     comfort 
Anyway, here goes – there are loads more but I have tried to give an overall flavor of the day literally from dawn to nightfall.   Sleep 



























































































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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang   Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:23 am

Just looked through today's post and pictures  you doing a grand job Paula . Andy's adventure sure looks amazing and some really nice scenery , Andy must be in his glory Paula , i know its hard work but its so worth it , must be ride of his life

Eric
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PostSubject: Thursday - Day 13 - Halloween   Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:09 am

Not a lot to report today – I never did get my evening call last night – there was no signal until late this morning.  No 
Last night was another wild camp – I cannot tell you which of the five meal options they chose last night as today’s call was very brief due to pressure to get the miles behind them.
They did get to see the Blue Rocks – I wonder why this French guy decided to paint huge rocks blue?  scratch 
They were on the road by 8am despite Chris needing a puncture repair.  Andy did say that it was cold overnight as they were at 1300metres.
The journey this morning was not so inspiring (yesterday Andy said that the scenery was the best so far so I await photos).  Although still in Morocco they are now very close to Western Sahara and that is exactly how today’s route looks – Sahara like - one long straight road with desert on both sides. 
Despite struggling to stay awake on the bike coffee was considered a waste of time yet again. 
Forgot to say before, that the superglue did not work on the dislodged crown – it has now come off and being swallowed!
The aim for tonight is a campsite at Tan Tan Plage but from Dennis’ notes the campsite is not up to much – he says that “there are chalets with ensuite facilities but neither the campsite or chalets are particularly wonderful.”  He also says that “there is a restaurant but no beer so probably better off self catering.”  That last comment I do not understand at all – I cannot see why the fact there is no beer means that you have to self cater.  Only Dennis knows the answer to that.

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PostSubject: Western Sahara   Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:12 am

Well, I have had a call tonight and I am amazed that they are not in Tan Tan Plage but 150 miles further on.  :shock: 

I spoke with Andy at 11.30am and they were in Tafraoute – they made it to Tan Tan Plage by about 1.30pm.

From there they carried on – and ended up doing 300 miles today from 8am to 8pm.  Other than stopping to refuel and have a drink of water they had one cup of coffee and yet again bread and cheese for “lunch”.  I have no idea if it is just Andy that thinks these long days are unreasonable especially with the lack of decent refreshment and quality breaks, all I can say is that the others must be very tough indeed.

I appreciate the reason for the trip and I know it is not a holiday, however, I would have hoped that Andy would have some fun along the way……………….Party 

Dennis is pushing on hard – he is riding his little bike to its death – cruising at 50mph is not what these Cubs do best – they have a comfort zone and it certainly is not that fast mile after mile. There are two bikes that tend to keep up with Dennis but they are both burning oil – 0.5 of a litre for every one hundred miles – the bike only takes about 0.8 of a litre in total.  The oil that is in the truck to do oil changes is rapidly diminishing – thank goodness that Andy has his own (I believe that so does Jill).

Andy is tail end Charlie with Jon and Peter in the truck bringing up the rear.  Joe tends to be in front of Andy and he keeps his bike at a comfortable 42mph thus Andy is doing about the same.  Most of the time Dennis is about a mile ahead nowhere to be seen.  What happened to the “everyone must keep together” and “I will ride at the speed of the slowest in the group” statements of a few months ago?

I thought the entire purpose of the trip was to arrive at Bansang in one piece with a bike that will help people for a long time to come.  Thrashing them on the journey is surely not the idea.   confused 

The other Andy has been unwell with a stomach bug and now Peter has it – was that a reason to have a shorter day perhaps?  There was no need to push so hard today and when asked “Why”; Dennis said that they had to have a clear week at the hospital to work there.  Bikes that are still running or some workers – which is it to be – who knows? I have lost the plot somewhat.  scratch 

Anyway, I will get off my soap box now and home in on the positives.  PD 

Today they followed the Atlantic coast – with the ocean on their right and on their left – sand dunes as far as the eye could see.  White breaking waves – it was stunning.  Albeit very windy with salt and sand covering their visors – Andy said the only way you could see, was to ride with the visor up, that combined with the strong wind pushing you around making it hard on the old shoulders. It was also very cold - especially on the hands.

Thank goodness that wild camping was a “no no” because of the strong wind – but this meant that they had to keep going.  They left the main road – it was pitch dark by then – and travelled about 4 km to a track – at the end of the track was their home for tonight.  Andy has paid for a room which he says is very nice, the others are in Bedouin Tents which are also fine apart from the fact that two people have showered and there is no more hot water. 

They have about 1300 miles to go - The Western Sahara is about 1100km from top to bottom and then they enter Mauritania – they will have to wild camp from tomorrow until they reach the Zebrabar in Senegal.  On the notes that Dennis provided some time ago he says that now is the part of the trip where time can be made up and I think he will be looking to regain the day they had to spend getting Visas in Madrid.

I certainly do not envy them.
 

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang- Andy's trip to the Gambia on a Honda C90   Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:20 pm

Good thoughts Paula
Sounds like they are into the more challenging parts now,
Main thing every one is safe.
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PostSubject: Forgot to say......   Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:51 pm

Last night at a "Place unknown" they ate camel meat on skewers (I have no idea what Jill had) - apparantly it tasted like beef       :!:

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang   Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:15 am

Keep up the good work Paula very good reading , seems it is a lot harder then you relies must be hard on them , all i can say to them all keep going your doing a fab job and we all behind you .

Eric and Jacki.
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PostSubject: Friday 1st November – Day 14   Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:40 am

Well what can I say – one more week on the road if all goes to plan. 


When Andy called tonight I could hardly hear him as the wind was so strong. They are wild camping and have covered 195 miles today.  195 miles of straight road, with desert as far as you can see to one side and the ocean about half a mile in the distance to the other.  It has  been very windy all day - sand blowing across you - and all in all not very pleasant.     Sad 


They did have a good breakfast today (scrambled eggs – wow what a treat), and so the bread and cheese triangle at lunchtime was not so bad.  No coffee all day though – even though there were places on route where a decent coffee could have been purchased...............:!: 


It has been a struggle to stay awake as there has been nothing of note or interest to keep you focussed. 


More of the same for the next few days apparently – joy!


This is the “slog” bit – we knew that – and signed up for it.  It was always hoped, however, that there may have been a few light hearted moments to punctuate the tiredness.  I get the feeling that any time Denis is not on his bike progressing closer to the hospital is, in his eyes, wasted time.  He did not really want to stop today – he was hoping for another 50 miles at least.   


The next respite will not be until the Zebra bar when it seems it is OK to chill out a little – but even the day spent there was referred to as a “wasted day”!  Oh well I suppose it takes all sorts..................Rolling Eyes 


No photos today and I suspect there will not be any until The Zebra Bar in Senegal.  No doubt I will have a deluge then.


Regarding the photos posted already I have managed to get rid of the photobucket references so they do look better.  thumbs 

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PostSubject: Quick update   Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:57 pm

Received the following text at 07.30am today (Saturday).

"Up at 6am, no bacon being cooked today despite being told there would be.  Just muesli on offer even though that could not be found at first. Things getting lost due to packing and unpacking in pitch dark. Sunglasses have blown away.  Everything covered in sad and dust.  No coffee stops today - must press on. Very very windy."

It sounds like hell on earth to me     Crying or Very sad

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PostSubject: Day 15 Saturday 2 November   Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:36 am

Despite the strong gale blowing Andy said he did have a reasonable sleep. Sleep 

They have covered 240 miles today - much of it like yesterday - one straight road with desert as far as the eye can see.  It is still very windy but one bit he said was more interesting - a bit like riding through a quarry with dunes and stones on either side.

They did encounter a little bit of rain but no need for waterproofs as it soon passed.  The gortex overjacket was needed though to guard against cold!  :shock: 

He is finding the LS2 helmet very comfortable - thank you Gavin.

And - wait for it - they stopped for lunch at a service station - they had omlette in bread and coffee - WOW!  wow 

They are wild camping tonight about 100 miles from the Mauritania border.  They have pitched their tents and cooked chilli for tea all in the light rather than pitch dark.  Andy definitely sounded a little more cheery tonight.

They are on some cliffs overlooking a beach and the scenery is just amazing - photos to look forward to I am sure.

When they reach Mauritania it appears that they are not allowed to use mobile phones - assuming that still applies we will not have any more news for a few days.  I may get a call or a text tomorrow while they wait to cross the border but nothing after that.  Sad

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PostSubject: Western Sahara photos   Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:15 am

I am amazed that, not expecting any photos until a least Senegal, I look at my e-mails earlier today to find photos mailed from the Sahara desert. Just shows you cannot hide anywhere these days - the internet will find you!

There are so many I have had to pick a selection - although there are still loads - I hope you wont get bored looking at desert......

I know it is hard for them all - long hard days, wild camping, long straight roads, strong gales, sand blowing across you, being dirty and dusty, very few breaks and if they had the luxury of sandwhiches they would have had sand in them!

However, when I look through the photos I see the plus side of the trip - the ocean, the sunset, the sunrise, the desert and the fact that they are seeing all this on little C90s.

Yes, I know I am sitting at my computer in my comfy home; and no, I would not want to join them, but what an experience.

The Sahara desert - at least there is no chance of a housng estate of "stunning new homes" popping up there - or is there - surely not.............?

They were wild camping last night right by the sea and apparantly Jon went swimming and it was quite warm. 
Tonight they are on a campsite with ready erected tents - must be Haven!




























































































































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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang   Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:38 am

Hi Paula sounds like they having a hard time . The pictures are amazing you doing a brill job keeping us up to date with whats happening and all the pictures , just brill to read and see every day look forward to the next report , Eric and Jacki .
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PostSubject: progress report    Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:08 am

Keep it up Paula what a journey ,Andys cooking looks yummy.Moped
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PostSubject: No news today   Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:32 am

Nothing to report today, however, I found the paragraph below interesting.

I am putting my ride report on Andy's BMW GS Forum - these are the guys who started the entire Scoots thing in 2005.  The founder of that first trip is one chap whose forum name in Fanum (real name Bill) and he responded to my remark:-

The Sahara desert - at least there is no chance of a housng estate of "stunning new homes" popping up there - or is there - surely not.............?

as follows:-

Guess what....they WILL see some new housing estates down there soon.

They were all layed out and built a good few years back, with the sole purpose of enabling the Moroccan government 'prove' to the UN that they had a population down there in the disputed area....They apparently moved quite a lot of people in , giving them large (by poor Moroccan standards) incentives to 'live' there just to make up the numbers
They'll also see dozens of partially completed mini-towns, where all the streets, power supply and lamp posts are all laid out in a nice grid fashion, but the only buildings up are the empty ones that front the road.....again, part of the 'bullshit town' exercise for political reasons.

It's also why there is a surprisingly good phone and internet reception in that region.......It's bizarre, but at points, you can stand on sand and see nothing but sand from horizon to horizon 360 degrees around you, then you notice that you have 5 bars up on your phone

The petrol down there is also subsidised to the extreme, an attempt to attract vehicles and people through.....it's absolutely shit quality though (My scoot couldn't even run on it and I had to switch to a spare until we got to Senegal and were able to get some clean stuff)
 


 

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PostSubject: No news today   Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:57 am

It seems there is a problem with Andy's SIM card at the moment - so I will need to get on to the provider tomorrow.  I did have a text from Steve's phone and it read:-

"Sorry have not been able to call, Sim card on phone will not work, will try to call tomorrow from Senegal.  All OK here but my back is agony.  Jill has given me some Ibruprofen to see if it helps.  If you need to contact me use this number - it is Steve's"

I have no idea what he has done to his back - he is not supposed to take Ibruprofen (being type 1 diabetic) so it must be very painful.  I just hope it is not caused by Dennis pushing so hard to get to Bansang for this "party" - they do appear to be making very good time but at what cost............................?

I have spent this evening painting two bedside tables and polishing brass and copper to take my mind off it.  The large glass of wine helps as well of course - Yes I know it is only Tuesday!

Hopefully I will have some more news tomorrow and perhaps even some photos.

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PostSubject: They have successfuly reached Senegal   Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:23 am

I do not have very much information as it seems Andy's phone is not well at all.  I have contacted Travel Talk and they were supposed to be texting some instructions to Dennis' phone - I have no idea if that happened or not.  Dunno 

They are at the Zebrabar in Senegal, where I believe they should have wi fi but so far no photos or details of the journey.
I will update you as soon as I am able.  confused

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang   Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:12 am

Hi Paula you deserve the wine you done so much at home and keeping us all informed of Andy's trip.  sounds like your decorating going well, well done .

Hope Andy's back okay and you manage to chat to him , if you do let me know hes okay and tell him me and Jacki thinking of him.

All the best ,

Eric and Jacki
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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang- Andy's trip to the Gambia on a Honda C90   Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:37 am

It seems that Andy's SIM is very poorly - well actually dead, and so he is dependant on borrowing a phone from one of the others until he gets into The Gambia - there he will get a local SIM.

He did call tonight on Steve's phone - thank you to Steve.  Today they have covered 170 miles and are safely ensconced at the Zebrabar.  http://www.zebrabar.net/  sunny 

They are staying there for two nights and so will get to go to St Louis tomorrow - sadly the water taxi has been taken out of use due to a couple of fatal accidents - they will have to travel by ordinary taxi - not quite the same.  Crying or Very sad 

Steve's bike has been rattling more and more and today he was only doing about 35mph as it was so bad.  The problem with that; is little Chubby rattles even more between 35 and 40mph!  Finally they noticed that the swinging arm bolt had fallen off - fortunately, Andy had one about his person and so job done, Steve said it is like riding a totally different bike  thumbs 

I am not surprised that all the little bikes have developed rattles - even the good road surfaces are akin to travelling along on a continuous washboard.  No wonder Andy's back is painful.  He also has numbness in both thumbs - the worrying thing is that the feeling does not come back even overnight. No 

On Sunday - day 16 - 3 November - they crossed into Mauritania - the border formalities took nearly 4 hours.  They covered 130 miles of hot, mainly featureless landscape.  Only the occasional golden sand dune popping up broke the tedium. Chubby is now starting to use a bit of oil.  I still do have a bit of a problem with the way these bikes are being treated and wondering what state they will be in on arrival.
Yet another spectacular sunset was the cabaret for that evening - the night spent on a campsite somewhere in Mauritania.

Monday - 4 November - Andy's son, Sam's 21st birthday - 180 miles covered - getting through Mauritania without incident - that can only be a good thing.  Wild camping tonight - I know not where and I suspect neither did Andy. :!: 

Tuesday 5 November - day 18 - still riding through Mauritania - wild camping again tonight.

The bikes have had their second oil change and after all that sand I suspect a couple of air filters have been replaced. 

Today - Wednesday 6 November - day 19 -  they crossed the border into Senegal.  The Border Guard invited them all to share lunch with him - everyone declined - thinking the food would be dodgy - but Andy accepted his hospitality and had
a delicious lunch of Fish Yassa with rice and potatoes.
 
[*]Yassa: Now popular amongst other West African countries, Yassa is either chicken or fish that is first marinated with spices, and then simmered in a pan with onion, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice. 

Andy also managed to get a photo of the Guard - even though photographs are strictly forbidden at Border Crossings this gentleman was very happy to pose for a picture.

For those of you who may be interested, the link below takes you to some information about St louis and also a map which shows both Louga and Diourbel.  These places mark the onward route towards The Gambia.  On Friday night they hope to be wild camping just north of Diourbel. Heading into The Gambia at Farafenni on Saturday.

http://www.africanworldheritagesites.org/cultural-places/european-colonial-influences/island-of-saint-louis.html

They do not have wi fi at the Zebrabar but should have it in St Louis tomorrow.  I am therefore expecting a deluge of photos to arrive on e-mails.  So brace yourselves!

Meanwhile I have painting to do plus lots of house work - I have to think about getting everywhere cleaned up after all the parties and wild living while I have been home alone.  Cleaning  
 
  

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PostSubject: Dick Head of the Day Award   Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:05 am

There is another Andrew on the trip and he has been awarded this prestigous prize for his actions at the border crossing from Western Sahara (Morocco) into Mauritania.

They had all sucessfully negotiated the land mine filled 'No Man's Land' and had almost crossed into Mauritania, when Andrew discovered that he had lost his jacket containing all his papers, money, phone etc. Doh 

It had been on his bike when he entered No Man's Land.  It had clearly fallen off his bike on the way through.  Everyone else had taken the same line but Andrew had gone a slightly different line, which is why nobody else saw said jacket detach itself from the bike.

Anyway - Steve - volunteered to go back with him and look for the missing item which by now could have been squirrelled away by some unscrupulous person who realised the value of the pocket contents.  They did find the jacket on the ground all in tact and successfully negotiated their way back through the land mines.  Moped 

Disaster overted.  affraid 

Chris has since nominated Andrew for the aforesaid award and this has been unanimously agreed by the rest of the group.

Additional information - this is the one and the same person who held them all up in Madrid - remember that story from way back :?: :!:

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang   Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:13 am

Hi Paula lovely reports , sounds like the little bikes are suffering , really hope Andy is not over doing it . Hows the decorating going ???
Me and Jacki would like to pop over one evening to see you let us know the best day for you .

Eric and Jacki.
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PostSubject: Day 20 Thursday 7 November - St Louis   Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:10 pm

Today they have not ridden the bikes and they went off to St Louis - Andy referred to it as "a bit of a dump" so disappointing after all the build up about it.
 
He did manage to send me some photos but I think he sent more than I have got - the trouble is I cannot even text him and he will not have internet again until The Gambia.
 
The photos I have got appear to be through Mauritania and crossing into Senegal as there is one of the very nice Border Guard who gave him lunch.
































































Well that's it folks for now - will update again as soon as I have any news.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Bansang   Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:22 am

Some amazing pictures , what a journey , hope all well Andy can not wait to hear all about the trip.

Stay safe, Eric and Jacki .
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PostSubject: They are in the Gambia!   Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:39 am

Just had a very quick call from Andy on a Gambia SIM.  Sadly after about 3 minutes we were cut off – I have tried to call back but no luck.

I did manage to ascertain that they are now in The Gambia at Farrefeni staying at Eddy’s Place.

Last night they camped in a field and their “bed mates” were a swarm of locust – each about 4” long and they were everywhere.  These insects can devour, within a day, food that would feed thousands of people and hundreds of livestock, however, I do not believe they are a threat to humans.  Just not the companions you would choose to have in your tent!  affraid 

Today they have covered about 150 miles – rough roads, very very dusty and the scenery mainly bushland.

They are now one days ride from Bansang.  Smile 

Today has not been without incident.  Andy had a flat front tyre and so stopped – Joe is just in front and the truck behind so they too stopped.  As has happened quite a few times now the others were way off in the distance – not checking their mirrors to ensure they have a bike behind them.  It therefore took a while before they realised that they had lost two bikes and the truck.

Meanwhile Joe is trying to replace Andy’s front wheel.  They are unable to find a wheel to fit as Little Chubby is too new for the wheels on board. It is very hot and just the effort of unloading the wheels is quite debilitating.  The heat/fatigue and probable lack of food caused Joe to actually pass out.  Jill is a Nurse – but it took a while for her to get back.  However, I believe she ensured Joe was OK and the trip continued.  The puncture was caused by a thorn in the inner tube and was duly repaired.  thumbs 

I hope that Andy can sort out the Gambia SIM card as I am very interested to know how his opinion of the hospital.  Also he has loads of photos to e-mail me.

Watch this space!



 

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PostSubject: More photographs   Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:18 am

I have just checked my in box and, lo and Behold, there is an e-mail with some more photos attached.  There is no message or title and so I guess that the internet is not brilliant.  They had no electricity until 6pm!

I am assuming that these follow on from the last ones and relate to the journey through Senegal.




















































































No sunset in this lot:!: :?:

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PostSubject: One Ted down - three to go   Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:09 am

Andy did say that he had given one of his Teds away to a little girl who was absolutely beautiful and I think this may be her. I have zoomed in on the photo and, although it is difficult to see - I think that is a Ted's head in the top of her bag.

Andy also said that the girl's family tried to sell her to him.........................
 

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