Buya Ikhaya (Come Home)

Charlie and Rensche are coming home by riding motorbikes from London to Cape Town.

We hope that our stories from the road will motivate you to give a donation to our chosen charity Beautifulgate who are a Christian organisation helping Aids orphans in Southern Africa. Please follow the link in the column on the right.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

All seized up

Well while sitting on the side of the M25 on our camping stools in the rain I sent out a cry for help texting everyone I could think of who might be able to help. Some responses came back quickly "Hahahaha!"; "You idiot!"...and I call them friends.
The first sign of hope was a text from Lois putting me in contact with her mechanic friend Graeme. I immediately texted him but he was floating on a lillo in a hotel pool sipping sangria somewhere in Spain, but he did text back immediately saying he would get back to me at the end of the week when he was back in town. Ettienne and Ness also immediately let me know that I could use their shed to strip the bike if needed.

On the Monday I made a few calls and the general opinon was that as the engine had run dry and seized the heat could have wrecked all the engine bearings and possibly warped the drive shafts etc. So there and then I decided that any thought of stripping the engine to try and determine what went wrong and try and fix it would be a waste of time. If we still had 6 months to go before our trip then I would have taken on the challenge as it would have been a very good learning experience but with 6 weeks to go I decided to just take the plunge and replace the whole thing. I sent a parts request out on and after two days there was no repsonse but finally someone from MT Motorcycles in Bentley near Doncaster gave me a call and said they had a engine in stock. Seeing that all my other enquires were fruitless I accepted that this was the only refurbed engine in the UK and bought it there and then. I was instructed to remove my engine which would be collected and taken back to their workshop where it would be compared side-by-side with the replacement which would then be sent back to me. The whole of next day I tried to phone them back to ask about something but got a busy tone. Obviously I started thinking that they were a dodgey outfit who had flieced me out of a lot of cash. That evening on the news it was reported that Bentley had been flooded. When I finally got hold of MT a few days later they confirmed that they spent 2 days sweeping out 2ft of rubble from the workshop.
Well during all of this I had accepted an offer from Mark Kirby to help me out with my situation. He and Jason collected my bike from our house and took it across London and kept it in his garage. The Saturday morning we went across to his place and Rensche and I removed the engine; this while trying to keep track of Australia beating SA 25-17. During the week the engines where swapped around and the following weekend we headed back and built the new engine in and thankfully it started on the button first time this while New Zealand thrashed SA 33-6.

I have now used the new engine for a week in London commuting and although it does sound a bit different form my last engine (no two engines sound the same) it runs and pulls very well so trust that it will do the job.
A very big thankyou to everyone for their kind words of support during our time of troubles and the many acts of kindness. And a special thanks to Mark for his help otherwise we would have had to strip the bike in our lounge to keep out of the insecent rain. We are always indebted to you.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Camping at Horizons Unlimited Meeting 2007 - 21-24 June

Being a member on we were really looking forward to going to the annual HU meeting up at Lumbs Farm near Derby. 520 people were expected and the write-ups from previous years guaranteed a good time. Friday morning we headed off very early 6:30am to avoid the traffic out of London but very soon the rain caught up with us and at one point we found shelter at a petrol station along the road. We stuck to the A5 most of the way and finally arrived at 11:00ish and got the tent up just before the next deluge.

The three days of the meeting were filled with hourly presentations covering a range of very interesting topics and further presentations by various travellers who had been there and there and there and got all the t-shirts, punchers, spills etc. Rensche really enjoyed the "Women Only!" presentation...and that's all I'm allowed to devulge from the happenings in that meeting. It was good to meet up with Paul Gowen from the RAC who is THE man for sorting out the Carnet for all UK based travellers; he also gave a very good presentation which put a number of rumours to rest. We were pleased to enjoy a number of presentations by women travellers including Lois' summary of her escapades across Africa at the end of last year and then also Catherine Germillac who rode a 125cc across most of the world over 21 years....and that was her first and only bike. There was also the Roadkill Cookout where the skills of gutting a rabbit and pheasant were demonstrated...I've got my braai grill packed and to find a Kudu.
It was also great to meet with everyone and exchange ideas and generally just have a good laugh. Was also good to put some faces to names/handles.

Late Sunday morning we boarded our trusty steeds and head off back to London. As it was raining we decided to stick to the M! to just get back asap. Coming round the M25 and approaching Junction 16 the bike suddenly started loosing power. I though it was the old carb problem but once we had stopped on the hard shoulder I opened the dipstick and will now never forget the smell of burnt oil....yes all the oil had vanished and the engine had seized. Even with putting in some new oil the kickstart wouldn't budge. It was fused solid. This was at 14:30 when we phoned Roadside assistance who finally got to us at 17:30 and got us home by 20:30.

Now the fun began...