Africa Blog

The Ride to Half a Million Miles

Good People

This morning when I went to load the panniers I noticed the right box had split at the lower seam.   This was a result of the tip over from the other day and also from a good crash when I was in Argentina's Patagonia.

   With more than 400,000 mies on these panniers and the hard vibrations of the last few days I was not surprised to discover the problem.

   The plan for the day was to find someone who could weld aluminum.  I drove around Calvinia stopping at three places before I was directed to a machine /heavy equipment repair shop.  Loepie was the man to talk to and after determining that he couldn't weld aluminum he said he could rivet the bottom of the box to give it straight and prevent the gap from growing.  After about an hour of cleaning adjusting and riveting the bag was good as new.  Add a little silicon and it was now waterproof.   

   After all this work Loepie would not take a payment from me.  I tried several times but he refused.  About that time his wife Jackie and their son Zach drove up.  With some brief hellos I was invited to have lunch.  So thought here's my chance to make good and at least by them lunch.   Lunch was great,   Jackie and Loepie ordered traditional means from South Africa for me.  I have Oryx meat pie which was very good.  A friend of Jackie's also stopped by for a visit.

  Once again Loepie and Jackie refused to let me treat them.

I said my good by's and was on the road again.  Today like yesterday was going to be all dirt roads.  250 for today and yesterday was 300.  About an hour later I ride up to the very  small town of Loeriesfontein,  as I approach the town I noticed that the GPS is showing that the bike is not charging.   I thought, crap!  All the heavy vibration has damaged something.   I drove around Loeriesfontein looking for an auto repair place.  Finally after three stops again I found a place that could have the meter I needed.  As I lifted the fuel tank I found the broken wire.   Again with the help of the local shop I was given the tools I needed to do the repairs.

    As a traveler one is always amazed at the kindness of people to are willing to help because they want to help.

Thanks Loepie, Zach & Jackie

   Now my concern was racing the sun again.   I still had about 160 miles of dirt roads to ride before sunset.   It was a hard 160 miles as the road was sandy and with much corrugations.   I couldn't keep a fast pace like the day before but I had to keep a pace so some sort.  In this part of South Africa its mostly desert.  These gravel roads are often the only way there.  I know I'm in for trouble when even my GPS say in the heading of the map Soft Sand!   I have to concentrate to the last mile because I'm the only soul out here for miles and miles.  There was one spot about 7 miles from my next town where I hit some sand,  not to bad but being tired the bike hit a scary wobble that gave me a wake up.  Your not there until your there!