African Overland Trip 2011


Day 129 Sunday 7th August (RS): Swakopmund ? Solitaire

Posted by Peter Douet on August 15, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Kathy and Jo plan to go sky diving today: a fabulous tandem jump from around 11000ft and Robbie wants to peruse a second hand shop which seems to specialise in Hitler stuff: the boy is obsessed! The Captain and Lady Jennifer were heading to Soussesvlei with 2 Cloggies (Dutch) that the had been travelling with and I decided to jump in with them rather than spend a day hanging around.

The Cloggies are Martin (aka Marvin, Hank) and Ralph and are a couple of lads doing the same route as us but on BMW motorbikes. The whole route is on gravel which makes live difficult for bikes but they had had plenty of experience in the miles driven so far and, due to the dust, ride in front of the Surf. The scenery is stunning and we stop several times to take pictures of the valleys, the Tropic of Capricorn, and for lunch.

Disaster strikes: the dust in front of us clears and we see a bike lying in the middle of the road, kit scattered everywhere, 2 vehicles stopped, people everywhere…….fortunately Ralph is standing up and is OK! He had been riding at 120ph on a straight piece of road and suddenly lost it. We collected everything, moved the bike to the side and assessed the damage: broken clutch lever (no spare), severely bent out of shape pannier detached from the bike, broken laptop (screen smashed): all in all, not too bad!

Jenni and I set about reshaping the metal pannier which took some time and a large hammer. Jenni and I also made shims for the broken clutch lever from a couple of large flat washers using a hacksaw and mole grips as a clamp. Unfortunately the araldite we had was not man enough for the job and Ralph had to drive with no clutch, Pete pushing him off to start.

He made the remaining 70km to the nearest town, Solitaire, and we pull into the petrol station where we also find camping and, amazingly, the frame and fittings of an old chopper motorbike: earmarked for spares in the morning light!

It is a relief to shower and enjoy cold beers and, for Martin, to have somewhere where he can sleep as he had been sick all day! I don’t know, one Cloggie is throwing up and the other is throwing his possessions all over the road!



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