Sleeping CamelMarch 18, 2017 in Mali
The bike and I have been recuperating for the last 2 weeks in Bamako, Mali at the wonderful overlanding hub of The Sleeping Camel. But this doesn't begin to explain the ups and downs we've had.
On leaving Nzérékoré I head north on more beautiful EU funded road...until the road abruptly stops and I have 200 miles of rough track. Whilst not fundamentally difficult I really wasn't mentally prepared for hours upon hours of slow progress. Along this journey I stop to help some khaki clad men by the side of the road. After much sign language I understand they're out of fuel and duly siphon some into their tank. I'm sure the good karma will revisit me. Well, this clearly didnt happen, as about 50 miles later I hear bad noises from behind me. It turns out I'd lost 2 screws from the rack that supports my luggage and the whole assembly had bounced up and down many times, broken the plastic fairing and twisted the frame lugs. This means I have to unload all my luggage in the midday sun and start bodging for an hour, so i can get moving again. This was probably the result of some exuberant riding to make my destination before dark. I failed and also ran over a 3m high tree in the process - don't ask how.
The next day I'm back on tar for a relatively short dash to Bamako. All goes well until I arrive and realise that the lining of my spare helmet is missing. Not such a big deal...apart from this is where I had $1400 hidden. The helmet must have been damaged yesterday when the frame broke. Some Malian is very happy at having found about 6 months earnings....at least someone is happy...I was not that evening!
My long stay in Bamako is mainly due to a whole new rear wheel being sent from the UK. So I have some other bits fixed by the motorcycle mechanic for the Mali president's motorcycle outriders. He fixes my blown fork seal, straightens the bars, cleans the air filter and fixes an idling problem. I also get the Nigerian visa, a visa that is more expensive if you're British.
The Sleeping Camel is a great place to stay as I've met more overlanders here than in the previous 3 months combined. I bumped into Ferry and Gulcin again as well as meeting another 6 bikers and 4 in 4x4s. It's pretty cool to have some familiar company even though we've not met before. The owners Matt and Phil are great and laid on a free boat trip for us down the river as well as helping do some welding to permanently fix my frame. By the time of leaving The Sleeping Camel I'm very much part of the furniture! I've also learnt after 13 nights of camping that my tent is truly horrific in the heat!
1) The overlanding roll call - William, Ricardo, Cemil, Laura, Ferry, Gulcin, Nicholas, Daniel and Josephine.
2) The rescued Guinean environmental police
3, 4, 5) Boat ride up the Niger river including the man who walks on water
6) local rock band at the Sleeping CamelRead more