A bit of start and a lot of preparation

The start of our trip was planed to be roughly this week. But, before the start we still needed to do some alterations on the bikes. It’s exactly what everyboys says “don’t do the modifications directly before you leave”. Well, we did it anyway 🙂

So the plan was that I (Topher) leave with my bike fully packed and meet Daniel at his Grandpas place near Rüdesheim at the Rhine river. There we can use his garage to work on the bikes. After this is done Daniel has to do some minor things, like handing in his PhD Thesis 😉 and we are good to go!

Well, as always, live happens when you’re making plans. Last week the ferry service from Turkey to Egypt, we intended to use, was cancelled. Bummer! So the endless story of how do we get to Africa starts again. On top of this we hear all kinds of horror stories from overlandes who just did the Turkey – Egypt crossing. Customs at the Egyptian ports are pure mayham. People take 5 days to get their vehicles out of the port and have pay ridiculous “fees”. There is apperently another ferry going from Iskenderun to Egypt, but our enthusiasm of getting ourself into the egyptian port crazyniss is limited… We are right now looking into alternatives including air shippment of the bikes and ourself from Istanbul to Khartoum, thus avoiding Egypt all together. It would be really sad to miss all the interesseting and amazing places in Egypt. Also the ferry transport across lake Nasser is probably an adventure in itself, but options are limited and we can always return to Egypt as “normal” tourists without paying several thousand USD in “special fees”.

With this in mind I had a small but nice farewell party with my former colleagues and friends in my old lab. The first stop after leaving home then was after 3 km at my favorite döner place in Freiburg where I had a nice goodbye meal with friends 🙂 Next dönerstop Istanbul!

Saying goodbye to Vanessa was a bit hard, but we will probably drop by Freiburg once more on our way south and we will see each other once more before we are off to Africa.

So I left with the heavy loaded bike direction north to prepare it to go all the way south. The day was quite hot and since school holidays startet there were a lot of traffic jams on the autobahn. Sitting on the bike in the scorching sun with the heavy gear on is a good preparation for the African heat 🙂

Almost fully loaded bike. Some spare parts and the extra tires are in Frankfurt.
Almost fully loaded bike. Some spare parts and the extra tyres are in Frankfurt.

After 200 km I had a break next to the autobahn in the shade of some trees. Very Relaxing! The relaxation was over after I tried to continue the drive and the electronic of the bike was gone. The battery had so little voltage, the starter engine made not even the slightest noice, Pushing the bike in the heat with the gear on is an even better preparation for the African heat. I found two very nice people to help me push the bike so I could get it startet. One of them only spoke french but was very much into motorbikes. I think he tried to tell me that he drives an old Yamaha XJ900. Starting the bike by pushing was no big deal and I left the parking lot without any more breaks and reached the place of Daniels Grandpa in the evening where we had a nice BBQ with the excellent white wine for which this region is famous for.

The next days we were working on the bikes from dawn (ok not really dawn) to dusk.

The garage which has been kindly provided by Daniels Grandpa. Who made the stay at his place very pleasant.
The garage which has been kindly provided by Daniels Grandpa. Who made the stay at his place very pleasant.
Changing tyre tupes in the dusk. Easier than we thought. Still a pain.


What bike do we drive again?
Daniels bike needs a case of beer to stand upright.
This looks happier than I was. Stupid break pads...
This looks happier than I was. Stupid break pads…

Most of the things we wanted to do worked quite ok. We did run into issues with the replacement of the rear suspension spring. We simply can’t do that with the tools we have so we took them to some workshops. Intersting enough they as well can’t do it which led us to drive with the rear suspension in the trunk of the car from garage to garage.  We hope this issue is solved by the end of the week.  Obviuosly we can’t start without the suspension.

So right now we are in Frankfurt. Daniel gets his thesis in a submittible form, I look into transport options to Africa and we try to get the suspension issue solved. Tomorrow we probably head back to the Rhine and continue the work on the bikes. So, we most likely won’t be able to start the trip before the end of this week.

Oh, by the way. No news on the Sudan visa. It should be ready this week.



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