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.


You can contact us at buyaikhaya@hotmail.co.uk

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mountains,Valleys, Twisties, Wandering sheep...

29/08/07 - Valstagna, Italy - Venice, Italy - 163 km
We woke up at at about 5am after the previous night's storm and decided to pack up and head off before the slugs overwhelm our defenses. (they are surprisingly fast moving!) 7am we were on the road after a quick breakfast of cheese and ham on bread. Again. We looked forward to our eventual arrival in Venice and a good shower as we could actually smell ourselves and each other from across the parking lot... We were lucky that it stayed overcast for most of the morning but the clouds disappeared as we approached Venice and it became blistering hot (for somebody from the UK as it was about 27C and humid). The day's trip took us out of the valleys and all along the foot of the mountain ranges across to Venice through beautiful fields and vineyards and flat country side with no twisties! The wonderful smell you experience when travelling on the bike make the ride so much more rewarding especially when they are harvesting like they are at the moment. You can smell the cut grass, the apple trees, the cow dung and feel the wind "blowing through your hair" . And the occasional kamikaze bug hitting your visor! Approaching Cavallino the country side disappeared and turned into a field of bill boards and merry-go rounds and caravan parks. Qliche tourist trap. After being stuck in the traffic and mayhem of thousands of holiday makers and camping van and suicidal cyclists we finally found a campsite in our price range and close to the ferry port to Venice. Once camp was set up we started with our to-do list: washing, Internet cafe, garage where we can dump our oil and service the bikes ourselves. (as we reached the 2000km mark today).
Tomorrow its Venice!!! We've bought our boat tickets and wait to explore this ancient beautiful city.

28/08/07 - Huben, Austria - Valstagna, Italy - 277km
We woke up early and packed up and then it started to drizzle! For coffee and breakfast we moved to the restaurant stoep in the hope that the rain would pass. As we couldn't wait any longer we put on our rain jackets and hoped for the best. 5 minutes after leaving we had to stop and put on our rain trousers. We took a loooonnnnggg uphill through the mountains and terrain became more and more rugged. The vegetation disappeared with big boulders and rocks everywhere. Reaching the summit we were met by a toll gate and charged €11 each for the pleasure!
Through the toll gate we suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere on top of the world. Snow- capped mountains surrounded us and the persistent drizzle turned to sleet which made our teeth chatter with cold. One thing Rensche hates more than tight twisties are wet tight twisties. Throw in a few wandering sheep with bells aimlessly wandering across the road and the stress levels easily reach panic proportions! We slowly went up and up around tight twisties with sheer cliffs on either side and the constant thought in the back of your mind: do not touch the front brake while watching Charlie disappearing around the next corner with a big grin on his face. If you skid off here not even the goats will find you! We went over the top of the mountain, across the border into Italy, and then the slow decent started. 2nd gear on the straights and 1st gear on the tight hairpins in the mist of the clouds. Miles and miles of twisties with sheer drops into the valley below which made the recent accent up the mountain feel like a straight line. At last at the bottom we stopped for some well deserved hot chocolate to warm our shivering hands. For lunch later the day we celebrated entering Italy with some pasta. All the way we saw lots of other tourer bikes and aimed for Asiago which was indicated as having a campsite on the map. But when we got there there wasn't any. A parking attendant gave us directions in Italian to another town with a campsite but we couldn't find it so headed for the next town near a river stream. By this time it was getting quite late and we've had a hard day. Rensche's hands were aching from the vibration from her bike (not used to riding every day). Charles said (that according to the GPS...) as the crow flies we were 5km away from the town. Rensche said she could do another hour so on we went and ended up on the SP73. 5km????! More like as the stone drops!! 18 horrendous hairpins later later down the side of an escarpment eventually 15km later we reached the bottom of the mountain. Rensche might have cured her fear of U-turns but her fear of heights might have worsened. When we arrived in the town below we got directions to the "camp site". It definitely was for the more "informal" campers, but we did not complain as it was free even though there were no amenities except for taps. As we were about to cook supper a huge thunderstorm broke which ripped out two tent pegs. We spent the next hour hanging onto the tent waiting for the storm to pass. For supper we had to have our usual staple of bread, cheese and ham which we've been living on since day 1. We went to bed tired, dirty and with frazzled nerves. The temperature was notably warmer. Italy is very beautiful with green valleys and Mediterranean houses. But their drivers are crazy! They seem to only overtake you when there is oncoming traffic or on a tight bend. Much to our distress.

27/08/07 - Besau, Austria - Huben, Austria (via Switzerland) - 153km

Today was Sound of Music day. Riding through the Alps looking up at the majestic mountains on either side of the deep valleys. We took the road from Besau to Hochtannbergpass over the top of a very high mountain. 1679m. Our little bikes started spluttering and ticking a bit more than usual in the higher altitude but kept on going. We then went down to Arlberg and joined the 171 which followed the Inn river all the way along stunning valleys. Many road works along the way which delayed us even further! This is clearly grass cutting week as almost every field we rode past the whole family was out gathering the freshly cut grass ready for tumbling into bales. Every family also seems to have their own cow with a bell in their back yard. And if not a cow then a small herd of goats. There was a lot of other motorbikes on the road and skinny cyclists! We took the 186 up the Otztal valley and stopped off at tourist information which was very organized and gave us a pamphlet with all the camp sites. Well all the official expensive camp sites! We headed off to the top of the valley but half way up the rain started so we found a camp site in Huben. It is a very nice camp site with a friendly owner and it seems the further south we go the better the ablution and shower facilities become. We met a Dutch couple with a 1989 Honda Touring Trophy 500 for her (very low possible option for Rensche). And for him a Honda GTZ 649, single swing arm. Both very rare and interesting bikes. Its a very peaceful camp site with the ringing of cow and goat bells in the distance. We are surrounded by the mountains and green pine forests.

26/08/07 - Titisee, Germany - Besau, Austria - 290km
Beautiful day weather wise and all the bikes are out! Leaving the Schwarzwald we headed up into the Alps and headed for Schaffhausen. And stopped at the Rhine falls which was a bit of a disappointment. Its not that its not impressive but we were expecting more considering that this is the biggest falls in Europe. Expecting maybe a 500m drop of the top of the Alps. But instead we found something like one of the rapids on the Storms River (RSA). We then made our way along Lake Constance with all the boats out. In Switzerland it was clearly national cycling and roller blading day with many roads blocked off and cyclists buzzing around with balloons strapped to them. ( Charles had a run in with a pavement....) It took us 2 hours to find a camp site from when we started looking and found a camp site in a beautiful valley in the middle of the Alps. We both felt excitement and apprehension for the Italian roads ahead as this would be uncharted territory and no school-German or travel-French to help us along. We met a fellow camper, Lutz, on a Buell, a German IT consultant on a holiday trip. We compared notes and he recommended our choice of route down into Italy.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The first week a mix of rain, tumbles, teething pains

25/08/07 - Titisee, Germany, Schwartzwald
Today we actually woke up for the first time with the sun streaming into our tent! Today we are suppose to be in Venice although we are not even half way there it doesn't really matter with every day being a new experience. We decided to make today a rest day to do some washing, sort out the bikes and rest our weary bums. This was the first full sunny day since we left Calais! So we've taken this opportunity to dry out. This is also the first day we manage to find an Internet cafe! -hence this update. Charles headed off to Freiburg this morning to get the parts from Honda that was ordered the previous day. Next day delivery, parts were there as promised. These Germans are organised! When he got back we spent a bit of time reviewing our stuff and try to decide what we can dump. Not really weight wise but volume wise! We've got lots of thermals for Ethiopia and the Alps that take up lots of space but I think we may still need it!
It is very beautiful here. Lots of stunning valleys along side the lake amongst pine forests as far as the eye can see with beautiful little towns. And today blue sky as well. Charles returned with Rensche's welded side-stand and looking at the weld this is going to be the last thing that's going to break on this bike! Now just to fit it and the new valve tappet cover and carb breather pipe filter and maybe jack her bike's rear suspension up a bit so its not quite so upright now that she's use to the weight. This will also help her get off the bike easier.

24/08/07 - Siersburg to Titisee, Germany, 290km
Most of today was spent in first and second gear either behind traffic or on lovely twisty roads up and down mountains. After chatting to the campsite owner/farmer for a while who gave us good directions and only charged us €5 for the night we headed off at 9am. We past a Honda dealer and immediately stopped and with their help managed to arrange for Rensche carburetor breather pipe and valve tappet cover to be delivered to Freiburg Honda where we would be staying the night. They also welded on her side-stand foot for free. The sun was also out, which raised our spirits with a few clouds here and there. We headed south crossing back into France for a while and then stumbled upon the Rhine River which is a very impressively wide river cutting through the Rhine Valley. In the distance we saw the mountains and forests of the Schwartzwald rising up above the plains. We headed for Waldkirch and took our first very twisty narrow road up the very steep mountain to a stunning view point. We then headed down the other side of the mountain to Titisee and found a campsite overlooking a lake. We only arrived at 7pm, knackered, pitched our tent, chucked everything in and headed for our first meal in a restaurant. A well deserved Wienerschnitzel and a beer sent us off to sleep. We also realised to our dismay that due to the foul weather and our slow little bikes (at 60km/h) we were now a week behind schedule. 23/08/07 - Bohan, Belgium - Siersburg, Germany, 252km
When it was still drizzling we got up and packed the bikes and had a quick coffee while chatting to the camp manager who was very impressed with our trip down but thought we were totally mad. At 08h30 we headed off and carried on along the squiggly road following the Semois river which followed stunning valleys and forests. A fine example of the Ardennes. Then made our way across Luxemburg via Arlong and the N8 to Mersch. (Luxemburg is very very beautiful but eerily clean and sterile-picture perfect, the perfect place to retire). And we went down to Larochette (little Switzerland) where we stopped for a coffee. We got chatting to a couple and their two sons from Margate/Broadstairs here on holiday. We said our good-byes and a couple of minutes he came back and said he was a pastor and asked if he could pray with us, which we did. It came just at the right time as we were feeling a bit low with the start of our journey suffering so many niggling problems and poor weather. In feeling much better we headed off down to the Moselle Valley and followed the river all the way to Remich along many vineyards. Then we started looking for campsites and for 50km in France we found nothing at which point an old local directed us to the German border with the promise of guarenteed campsites which we found at Sierburg. We set up camp and took a stroll into town and bought supplies at the Accord supermarket which looked more like a hardware store from the outside. We at least had weiner wurst hotdogs for supper!

22/08/07 - Bohan (rain delays play)
We had a rough night. It was monsoon rain outside and we both lay awake waiting for the river to rise and wash us down the valley. At 7am the alarm went off ready for an early start but there was still the heavy patter of rain on the tent. The river had come up half a metre during the night. We hung around the campsite untill 11am and accepted that nothing is going to happen today. So we went to town for some strong coffee and chocolate crepes. We spent the afternoon moving our tent in the rain to higher ground (managed to crack a tent pole) but at least we were also moving away from our noisy neighbour that contributed to our sleepless night. We just finished setting up our new camp and were busy checking Rensche's bike valves when our noisy neighbour from up the river decided to move their caravan to higher ground as well. Right next to us! Even though there were 6 open bays miles from anybody to the right of us. As they were climbing over our guy ropes to position their caravan we cursed as the rain came down again over Rensche's open bike. In the rush to finish the valve checks Charles managed to strip the head of the tappet cover which was fused to the engine block and we watched in dismay as the cover chipped and stripped. We covered the bike and went and sat in the tent in absolute silence while listening to the noise next door and waited for the rain to stop. It was a tense moment. After composing ourselves we decided to ignore that valve and finished checking the rest. It was in fact the front right exhaust valve that had no gap and was causing the bike to stall. We put the bike back together again and then moved our campsite 2 pitches away. While checking the valves we noticed that the carb breather pipe and filter was missing. Not a train smash but it will be a problem on dusty roads. We decided to find a Honda dealer ASAP to order the parts for us. We also noticed that the metal-glue used on the side-stand had broken loose and the foot was spinning again. We will need to find a welder at some point to do a proper job. Seeing our frustrations a number of other campers came over and offered drying racks and general kind words. With the rain still coming down we went to bed hoping for a better day tomorrow.

21/08/07 - Binche, Belgium - Bohan, Belgium. - 151km
We woke up at 7am (no rain!!) and took all the luggage off the bike and noticed that the exhaust is a bit loose, that explains the bolt. So we took off the seat etc and replaced the bolt and at the same time inspected the subframe with no evidence of serious damage. Using a log as a support we lifted the front of the bike and loosened all the bolts holding the forks, wriggled the wheel from side to side and tightened all the bolts again and found that everything had straightened up again so no more crab crawling (thankfully the handle bars were not bent)! All back to normal short of a screen which is not really necessary at 60km/h. We packed up in the drizzle and headed out at 11h30.
Taking green back roads via Beaumont and Givet and headed down a bunch of squiggles on the map just above Charleville-Mezires. The French/Belgium border cuts through the squiggles and the road continuously showed a marked deterioration passing into Belgium from the French smooth roads. This road was stunning following the Semois river through a beautiful forest and valley. We stopped along the way and had sandwiches next to the river. At about 16h00 we spotted a camping sign at Bohan and booked in. We had a Duffel beer and planned our next day into Luxemburg. We are slightly amazed at how tired we are after only doing 150km a day! Sore shoulders, arms and hands and going to bed at 9pm! At least there were a few sunny spells today here and there.

20/08/07 - Kemmel, Belgium - Binch, Belgium - 146km
We woke up to the pitter-patter of rain drops on our tent at 7am. But the radio said it was clearing up from the east so we broke camp and headed off into the constant drizzle. We took the back roads as far as possible but on any map you will notice there is a barrier of motorways between Gent and Lille which is impossible to cross without using one of the motorways. So we took on the challenge at 60km/h. Coming of the motorway and still on an adrenalin buzz from dodging trucks we approached our first roundabout. A BMW suddenly changed lanes and decided to have another go around the roundabout and cut me off as I was coming into the roundabout. He was clearly oblivious to existence to the those little orange lights on each corner of every car in the world. Anyway, at low speed I grabbed a fist full of front brake in the rain and within a split second I was down. I was fine but my screen burst into 1000's of little pieces. There I was battling to lift the bike up alone to the chorus of car hooters egging me on. During all of this Rensche was unable to get off her bike as her front feel was caught in the furrow along the road and she could not get the side-stand down on the sloping road. I rode a 100m to the petrol station, unpacked the luggage and laughed at the rear subframe which was now 3 inces to the left of rear tire of the bike. I also noticed that the handle bars were bent but could still ride so loaded up the bike and headed off compensating for the crabb crawl. We took back roads all the way to Binche and stopped at a petrol station. As I got off the bike I noticed a Honda bolt lying on the ground below the bike and decided to keep it just in case although everything (within reason) looked in order. Although the attendent had no idea where a campsite was, 100m down the road we found a sign and followed it to a rustic campsite. After settling in in the rain we had a well deserved hot shower in the dodgy dark showers and tested out our Lush bar of shampoo and conditioner. Now at least we have clean and fluffy hair. (silver lining)

19/08/07 - Broadstiars, UK - Kemmel, Belgium - 140km
We woke up before the alarm clock at 06h30 and as we looked out the window the rain drizzled down. After a swift coffee and paw-paw we climbed into our wet weathers and headed off to Dover and straight onto the 08h40 ferry. The trip across was uneventful although we did sit next to a mother and daughter from Boksburg,RSA on holiday in Europe for 10 days. On disembarking we got off the motorway straight away and headed for the rural D roads. We drove through Cassel which is a very beautiful hill top town overlooking north France. There was no camping so headed for Poperinge crossing into Belgium on the way. There again there was no signs of anywhere to put up a tent so we stopped and asked a local who directed us across country to a small town in the middle of nowhere where we stumbled upon the small sign leading us to Ypra campsite in Kemmel. As the big clouds were rolling in we found our pitch ASAP and got the tent up just as the heavens opened. We went and sat at the camp restaurant and had a strawberry waffle and kriek beer. The scenery all the way was beautiful with lots of cows and horses and green fields. We very quickly realised that with our little bikes there was no point worrying about cars and trucks on the road and developed a very effective system and procedure of riding along the edge of the road slowly allowing cars to pass. And pulling off in Laybyes for trucks to pass.

18/08/07 - Raynes Park, UK - Broadstairs, UK - 197km
As planned we woke up bright and early just before 07h30. Got dressed and awaited 08h30 to phone in the meter readings. Both gas and electricity were sorted out without a problem. At 08h30 the postman arrived and delivered our post which we thought had been redirected to RSA. In the post were also a Barclays statement which I thought I had stopped. It appears Barclays are now sending me daily statements and not annually or even monthly! Nothing for it, I went to Barclays and the guy confirmed that it was annually....I give up! I then went to the post office and was informed due to the postal strikes there has been a delay in our application for redirection to South Africa. To hell with it. I went home and backed the bikes and at 11h45 we were on the road. We first headed west out of town on the A3 and then the A25 past Newlands Corner and Box Hill and on to the A20 into Kent. And through to Broadstairs via Canterbury. It was a cloudy day with a bit of drizzle and the sun occasionally coming out with strong winds.
We stayed over at Rothea and Marius (friends of Rensche) in Broadstairs and had a lovely braai (barbecue) on Marius's gas braai machine. We chatted late into the evening supported by Whiskey and very strong coffee. This was such a lovely start to our trip with no worries of campsites and a nice warm bed and excellent power shower. We will think back on this day with good memories in the weeks to come when we sit in our cold wet tent!

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's the final countdown!!!

Well this is it; the man with the Virgin Media van will be around in the next couple of hours to chop off our last tether, our addictive all consuming lifeline to the outside world. So the next time we post an update we will have been booted out of our flat and will be on the road and sitting in a small roadside sack (No.3 Virgin Media and Coca Cola Shop) with a dial-up connection.

We will try and update the blog at least once a week but will rather say "As often as possible." depending on the frequency and efficiency of internet cafe's we come across along the way.

Oh yes, we will be hitting the road tomorrow. So that makes today T-minus 1 and counting...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Its the AIDS thing

Lets tell you about some of the not so nice facts about AIDS in Southern Africa and just why there are organizations such as Beautiful Gate looking after AIDS orphans. And why they need your help.
According to the WHO AIDS update 2006, 63% of all people infected with AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At present AIDS in developing countries is treated with a cocktail of 3 drugs at a cost of about US$99 per year. Due to the toxicity of one of the drugs (Stavudine) it has been recommended by the WHO that it be replaced by the more expensive (and better tolerated) Tenofovir. This will bring the annual cost to US$487 according to MSF (Medicine sans Frontiers). Surprisingly enough the price of just this one drug is about £400 in the British National Formulary, with the bill being sent to the NHS. So the price for developing countries is already cheaper than the UK but this is totally unaffordable for anyone living in the 3rd world who has no access to health insurance.

So it is no suprise really that Aidsmap predicts 1 in 5 children in South Africa to be an AIDS orphan in 2020. The fact is that people are living with AIDS in the UK and USA but in Africa they are still dying of it where 34% of AIDS deaths globally occur in Southern Africa alone according to the WHO.

In South Africa about 5.5 million people are living with AIDS. This includes 1 in 3 women aged 30-34 years and 1 in 2 pregnant women. In the Eastern Cape, Free State and Kwazulu Natal the life expectancy has fallen to below 50 years. Extensively drug resistant TB diagnosed in 2005 in Kwazulu Natal contributes to the death rate in AIDS sufferers of which 60% are also infected with TB. About 2 million South Africans living with HIV do not know that they have it. Swaziland has the highest adult HIV infection in the world.

AIDS orphans suffer levels of post-traumatic stress equivalent to those who have experienced sexual abuse according to Aidsmap which is made worse by the stigma of AIDS in Southern Africa. Their future is grim without intervention. At present there are about 1.2 million AIDS orphans in South Africa.

http://www.iolhivaids.co.za/
http://www.aidsmap.com/
http://www.unaids.org/en/HIV_data/epi2006/

We accept that the figures presented in these reports might be questionable but it does not at all detract from the issue at hand.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The 11th hour!!!

  • All hands on deck, man the pumps....haaaaaa!!!! So much to do and so little time. After a year and a half of planning it comes down to having too little time to get everything done. But at least the final few items on our To-do list are none critical.

    So what have we been up to this week:

    Bikes:
  • fitted new wheel bearings to all wheels;
  • fitted Michelin Ultra Heavy Duty inner tubes to all wheels...which I managed to pinch and puncture HUHUH!!! Rensche changed hers without any trouble...so guess who's fixing the punctures in Sudan.
  • We each did our own full services: plugs, oil filters, oil change, valve clearances
  • Even though my rear tyre was still good to go I had a Pirelli MT21 (more off-road orientated tyre) that I bought a few months back on a special that no-one wanted to I just fitted it. I will let you know how many miles I get out of it...fully loaded on tar.
  • Sorted out the bike accessories power supply. Little boxes of magic I made from various components from Maplins which is connected to the battery via a fuse which will be used to charge our mobile/cell phones, penlight batteries, GPS.
  • While putting the front tyre back on I notice that the front brake hose (The fancy expensive Braided one) had some damage on the plastic outer protective layer. When i recompressed the brake I applied some strong pressure and felt a pop and then there was brake fluid everywhere. What had happened that at some point the hose had slipped down through the sheather and made contact witht he front brake disc which damaged the hose. Just as well the brakes failed on the lawn in front of our flat and not at 50mph behind a stopping London Bendy Bus. I have fitted the original hose.
Shutting down/Pulling the plug on UK:
  • Barclaycard (Charlie): I cancelled my card two months ago. On Monday I recieved a statement from them with £5.95 still showing. You would think that when you CLOSE an acount that is it and you can forget about it. "Wrong answer!". On demand Barclays will honour payment to ANYONE, even on a closed account, and then simply forward you the bill even if you insist that they"Just don't pay them...". This issue is still unresolved as it is in fact impossible to totally shut down a bank account. You can merely suspend it and leave it vulnerable to fraudsters and persons of ill repute. (just like Facebook)
  • Barclaycard (Rensche): Rensche ordered a new card from Barclaycard just so that we start our trip with a fresh card. After a week of no card arriving Rensche phoned them and found out that they had sent the card to the wrong address but that they would simply cancel it and leave Rensche with her existing cards. Fair enough. On Monday Rensche recieved a letter from the Card Protection Company (insurance for lost or stolen) who informed Rensce that her card was lost or stolen. Rensche phoned up the bank and was informed that yes they had "AT HER REQUEST!!!" cancelled her card. It takes 7 working days to send out a replacement card so we now only have my Visa Card...it better not get cancelled as well.
  • We have now started flogging our last posessions (giving some away for free) as nobody on Gumtree or Ebay want it: DVD, VCR, fridge freezer, desk, printer/scanner/copier
Travel Documents etc
  • Well the visa exercise ended up being very straighforward. Jordan was same day for free, Syria was £25 after 2 days, Ethiopia was £24 after 4 days, Egypt was same dat for free...and ALL were Multiple Entry SIX months...woohoo...no worrying about arriving at borders too late and having to get extensions. We will get all the rest on the road.
  • Bought our road tax for both bikes which expires this month. I have heared about the option to SORN the bike once out of Europe...will see.
  • Managed to get reasonably priced ferry tickets. We wanted to book earlier and get really cheap rates but where unable to peg our arrival time at Dover. We had the option to get really cheap tickets in the middle of the night but want to do the "Titantic" thing and see the beautiful cliffs of Dover disappear into the early morning mist.
Packing
  • Although we had gone camping a number of times with most of our stuff, yesterday was the first time that we packed EVERYTHING. Well there were some nervouse moments but we managed to get everything in and managed to close all the straps...we gave our bathroom scale away last month and none of our neighbours have on (too embarrased to show they adjusted it to their weight). So we currently have no way of weighing everything to see how much we are lugging across the world.
  • I needed to get a replacement inner tube and front wheel bearings. Having asked around and hunted on Google I couldn't find any Motocross type shop in London. So i went to Honda but they didn't have stock so directed me to Motorite who are actually a KTM spares outlet but stock parts for all other brands. I wish i had found them a lot earlier as i prefer to look and hold and feel things before buying, which would have saved me a fortune of incorrect internet purchases. Anyway this is them: http://motoritecompshop.co.uk/ (Surbiton KT6 5AR)

Nerves

  • Being that we have both always been workaholics it is a very odd feeling to know that in three days time we will be heading off into the unknown. We are very excited and can't wait to get going but there are some nerves. All of our creature comforts and worldly possesions, not that we had many, have been reduce to two little motorbikes and whatever we can fit on them. Some would say it's liberating, I'm sure it is, but am still waiting for that feeling to arrive.
  • It's also a odd feeling knowing that a major period in our lives is drawing to a close. We both came to the UK with one small suitecase and thought we would be back in SA within 2 years but here we are 6-7 years down the line having made a life for ourselves. all the places we've seen, friends we've made, colleauges we are leaving behind. Thank goodness the world is now a very small place with emails and BA or SAA and Facebook.
What the future holds
  • We have both made no specific plans on what we are going to do or where we are going to stay when we arrive in SA or that's if we even reach SA as we have this romantic idea of being sidetracked along the way. We have both forged ahead in our careers and we have both decided that this time round we are going to change focus and leave it all up to the Lord. We will be keeping our eyes open for opportunities to serve on our trip.

Luggage package...just add bike.

Well this is all our luggage; well EVERYTHING we will be taking on our trip ready in package form with Rensche's on the left and Charlie's on the right.

Rensche's package is broken down below starting from the left:
1. Right hand pannier: Rensche's clothing etc - 6.5kg
2. Left hand pannier: Charlie's clothing etc - 6.5kg
3. Red roll bag with sleeping bag and pillows - 4.5kg
4. Contents of topbox: Kitchen - 6.5kg
and Charlie's package broken down from the left:
1. Tools, cooker, 1st Aid, some spares - 15kg
2. Spares, wet weathers, toiletry bag - 14kg
3. Black roll bag with tent, thermarests, stools - 9kg
4. Contents of topbox: documents, etc - 9kg

Both bikes will also have sheepskin for the seats and fender bags with spare inner tubes.