July 22, 2024

Western Tanz: Adventure biking at its best!

We had a good night’s rest in the Super City Hotel, despite the lovely toilet/shower:

Toilet slash showa
We got up at 7h00 and had some eggs and bread for breakfast to get us ready for a long day in the saddle. We had 270 km on dirt road and if the past few days’ conditions were anything to go by we had quite a day ahead of us. We first found a small store to buy some Marie Biscuits and fake Coke a Cola, after which we had to queue for fuel:

Oilcom queue
We were just outside of Mpanda when the first rain started, thunder and lightning and all. We stopped to cover our luggage and put on our rain coats. Pretty soon the tracks were under water and we had to weave this way and that to find dry ground:

It is a pouring
I don’t mind riding in the rain that much, but knowing that the road might change for the worse and cause us to arrive after dark was worrying. As a consolation though, we saw a snake in the road. We stopped for the obligatory photo (I am not sure what it was so I was careful, but it looked mostly harmless):

Snakes alive! Exciting stuff

Some sections were worse than other and we knew we had to push on because we didn’t want to be caught out by the fading Sun again. There is no lodging between Mpanda and Kasulu (apart from bush camping of course, which we didn’t fancy in the rain). After crossing a small bridge Tania had a slippery fall on the subsequent muddy uphill. I turned around to help, but soon we were both knee deep:

Slip sliding away
We had some spectators who quickly came to help when I threw my bike over onto its other side as I lifted if up. They helped Tania get on her way again by pushing her bike as she pulled away. By midday the rain had luckily stopped, but the road were no better. After a hard knock through a ditch in the road my Motomia suddenly cut out and wouldn’t start again. The engine turned over, but wouldn’t idle. I checked for loose wires and decided to unpack and remove the seat to get a better view. After changing the CDI unit it started and Tania took this celebratory photo of the great mechanical genius that I am:

Motomia in trouble
… which turned out to be premature as I tried to start the bike a second time. I changed the rectifier as well, and voila! It started, with the old and the new CDI. Wow, I am good! But seconds later it was dead again. And we haven’t seen ANY traffic all morning! Not good news. I kept remembering what my brother, Villiers, told me before we left. He reminded me (if we have any trouble in Africa) of the words (in big pink letters) on the cover on The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It read: “DON’T PANIC!” Tania mentioned that it sounds as if it must be a fuel problem, as it starts after standing for a while. As if something settles after a while and clogs the system when running. I’ve already checked that the fuel goes through the filter, so it had to be carb-side. I checked the air filter, which was still squeaky clean from two days ago. I was not in the mood to dismantle the carb to clean the jets, so I drained the carb from the drain screw and hoped for the best. The Motomia crackled to life and has been fine for the rest of the day. The only weird thing is the kill-switch won’t switch off the engine anymore. I am baffled, but will clean the carb-jets and check the wiring of the switch as soon as we are in civilisation again. For now we hold thumbs as we still have some 240 km of dirt road ahead.

We arrived in Kasulu 10 minutes after sunset, wasted from another gruelling day in the West of Tanzania. It must have been the worst piece of road either of us has done on two wheels, but it was also through some of the most beautiful scenery! We had a hot shower at the Kasulu Motel (and locked ourselves in the shower by accident – luckily we could pick the lock with a small pair of scissors!) and had a stunning supper: Beef skewers x2, potato wedges x2, fruit salad x2, a Serengeti and a Coke for R55! Wow, we love rural Tanzania!

8 thoughts on “Western Tanz: Adventure biking at its best!

  1. Eina – dit was erg! Dankbaar jul het veilig by ‘n slaapplek gekom. Dis wonderlik dat julle met alles nog positief bly en altyd iets het om voor dankbaar te wees. Sal duimvas hou dat jy die bike se skeet sal oplos Francois. Hoop die paaie verbeter môre. Pas jul self goed op.

  2. I find myself laughing out loud: “…and locked ourselves in the shower by accident – luckily we could pick the lock with a small pair of scissors!” I LOVE IT!!! You guys seem to have one incredible, difficult, wonderful day after the other! That’s the way Africa is supposed to be… Well done for remembering what the Guide says – it really helps to keep calm. And I must just say – those two bikes are almost as amazing as you two!!! Enjoy the last stretch through rural Tanzania!

  3. Sjoe dit was ‘n tawwe dag julle! Net bly julle kon Kasulu haal voor dit heeltemaal donker was en darem lekker kon eet en shower (!). Hoop die Mia’s hou vandag….want daar is nog BAIE grondpad as ek op die kaart na jul roete kyk. Tjirs. V1x

  4. Hey, well done on the repair job! Hope you don’t have anymore scares like that! Keep loose! Eddie

  5. Man, but your posts are really very good – and you photos are really interesting/relevant. Thanks for keeping the posts updated – I can think there are times when you just aren’t “lus”! Ek wag in spanning vir die volgende een…..

  6. Fr, jy het ook niks verander nie – kan steeds nie by ‘n slang verby ry nie!! Hoop jy kry die ‘bike’ se probleme uitgesorteer. Met ‘n ‘appi’ soos Tania, wel, 2 X ‘genius’ = ‘genuine genius’! Voorspoed! XX

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