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February 25th, 2010 | Africa

More days like today, please…!!

Despite riding almost the entire day in pouring rain, today was a good day !!

Kitted out to look like the Michelin Man in all my gear, with a full rain suit over all that, I rode out into heavy rain and thought briefly about my last trip through Africa, where it rained for 53 of the 77 days I was out on the road…. Am I in for a repeat of that experience, I wondered….?

Please Lord, NO !!!!

The Interphone F4 Wireless System.

My first stop was at Caberg. Marius Wannenburg has very kindly sponsored me with the Caberg Justissimo GT for my trip, and today I collected the Interphone F4 Wireless Blue-tooth system that goes with this helmet. When I arrived, I found Marius loading large quantity of Caberg helmets into a trailer, in preparation for this weekend’s Impala Rally. He took a break from his loading and spent a few minutes installing the unit into my helmet and demonstrating how it all worked. Seeing the bedraggled state I was in, dripping water onto his office carpets, he also provided me with a water-tight pouch to hold my cellphone. These and many more biking accessories are available on the Bike Zone website which Marius has set up to provide a wide range of products to bikers. Check it out before you make your final decision on what you should get to ensure that you continue to have the perfect riding experience !! And Marius should know, as he is also the proud owner of  BMW R1200GS, a twin to the Big Fella… Whilst at Caberg, I took the opportunity to get a spare visor for my helmet, as well as one for my good friend Allan “Worldrider” Karl, who swears by his Caberg and can’t get spares in the USA…. Patience Buddy….your new visor will be  on it’s way to you soon….

I then braved the wet and treacherous highways of Gauteng, to get to MDS Visapak on the far side of Pretoria, to collect my visa-filled passport and bid the team there goodbye. The only visa outstanding is the one for Tunisia, and a quick visit to Jane there, to try and bend her arm a little, proved fruitless… The guys in Tunisia have not responded to my application, and may only do so next week. Tomorrow is a Public Holiday in Tunisia, so no chance of a quick, last minute answer before I leave. A visa can actually be obtained at the border, but this is sometimes a 50 / 50 situation…. I might have to take my chances with that option….

Then it was further East, to Silverton Midas, where the owner, Francois, had arranged for me to collect a set of Hella FF 50 Spotlights for the Big Fella. These will replace the smaller spots I have used which I purchased with the bike, and make me far more visible than before. My sincere gratitude goes out to Silverton Midas and Francois, who have been extremely generous with their sponsorship of the Gypsy Biker World Tour. The interest they have shown has been a huge encouragement to me….

New Hella FF50 Spots and Headlight Cover...

With the rain still coming down, and dripping like a drowned rat, I made my way onto the R21, to get to GPS4Africa, where the ever-willing Pauli Massyn was once again waiting for me… This time with a spanking new Garmin ZUMO 660  in hand. Garmin had advised that it was uneconomical to repair my ZUMO 500 and had arranged an upgrade for me to the Zumo 660. Having already loaded all the necessary programs for me, Pauli had the Garmin fitted and tested in no time at all, and then further assisted me by fitting the Hella Spotlights as well !! As mentioned before, Pauli is a Peach !! He then got my new Blue-tooth headset connected to both the Garmin and my mobile phone, checked to see if my hand-held Garmin Oregon 300 was set up properly, fitted a orange headlight cover to make the bike more visit on dirt roads and while riding in dusty conditions, and together we added a bit more “branding” to the Big Fella….

After all this, he was still heading off to play a few games of squash with a mate of his… Not sure where he gets the energy, but I know I want some of it !! Thanks a million for all the help Pauli… MUCH appreciated…

New Garmin Zumo 660.... Supplied and fitted by the good folk on the screen...

Despite the wet conditions, I began to feel the excitement of what I am about to attempt, build up inside me … It struck me while I was riding through a particular big shower, raindrops pelting up off the tarmac all around me, and beating an urgent tattoo on my helmet…. I found myself smiling into my helmet, remembering the long wet days through the Caprivi in Namibia, the road to Chipata in Zambia, and all along the lake in Malawi… Now THAT was REAL rain… I realized then that in just a few days I would be off again, feeding the Wanderlust that has filled me since the day I returned from that first long ride…

The open road beckons again, and this time, we’re going ALL the way….. It’s hard to believe that after all the dreaming, and all the planning, D-Day if finally close at hand….

I suddenly feel ten years younger, and READY TO RIDE !!!!

As if acknowledging my mood, nature provided me with this view from my balcony when I got home...

Yeah…. It’s been a good day…..!!!

9 comments to More days like today, please…!!

  • Seamus McGuigan

    Hey Ronnie.

    We have met once briefly at a Lyndhurst BMW club function in December 09.I read your “Taking back my heart” and could identify with the subject matter.I wish you well and look forward to your journal updates.I’m sure you will inspire a multitude of other riders like myself to push the boundaries.As someone once said “if you are not living on the edge then you are taking up too much space”.
    Take care.

  • Hi Seamus ! Great to have you aboard ! I hope you enjoy the future postings and can “live my dream” with me… Living on the edge…yeah, that sounds like me ! Some say it’s the edge of sanity, but guys who have done the “long tours” will know that it is rather the edge of exploration, excitement and discovery…

    Ride safe, Dude, and keep the faith !!

  • Good day Dark Destroyer hehehe
    I eventually got onto the site…Yippy….. and was glad to see how the trip was going and to leave you a message.
    Great to see all is well and sorry to hear about your rainy days.
    Wishing you more sunny days ahead and PLEASE travel safely – Hope to see you when you get back. I will stay in touch… from Sunny SA – Meliza

  • Charmz

    Hey there Bro, Just to let you know that I have had a few harsh words with the “Rain Gods” further up in Africa, so you should be OK. I mentioned your name and they said they would see what they can do about the rain/thunder storms.
    Jokes aside, Dad, Mom and I wish you a safe journey. We know you will have an awesome time, and that no matter which country you visit, you will always find a place to stay with a local because you make friends so easily (what can I say, you’re a likeable guy). I have contacted quite a few friends, and some of our family, in different parts of the world who have all said “Ronnie is welcome to stay with us”!!!! Then again, you have practised putting up your tent…
    We love you more than all the sand in the oceans and on planet earth.

  • Lee

    Hi Ron… Kobie and I wish you all the best for your trip, have loads of fun and take plenty pics so we can see what you are up to and what we are all missing out. Actually now that most of the women in this family are retired we should be thinking about doing something similar…. yeah right!!!

    Godspeed Gypsy Biker, come home safe and sound.
    With love

  • Thanks Lee, will do !! Get yourselves each a big scooter and go touring !

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Charmaine… I think your harsh words had the opposite effect !! It’s been drizzle non-stop since I left Barberton, and then chucked it down again when I left Swaziland… Thanks for all the wishes…. R.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Hi Meliza ! Glad you are on board ! The rain has followed me, but it’s all good !! Hope to shake it off soon !! Take care and keep well !! R.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Åke

    Hi Ronnie !
    Well , now in front of the laptop I can go back and understand more of the reason why you did this trip.
    I’m taking it from start now and read ” Taking back the heart “.
    You write excellent , Ronnie !!
    And now I continue the reading , 3 years later….

    Best regards : Åke,Malmö,Sweden.

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