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January 19th, 2010 | Africa


Practical planning for this trip started in earnest when I returned from my 8 month sojourn in Ghana.  The theory of it actually started soon after I returned from my last “Big Ride”, to Tanzania and back in 2008. You can read all about it here..

My Route through Southern and Eastern Africa - 2008

A paragraph I wrote in the chapter “Wrapping it up!”, comes to mind whenever I consider my planning and reasons for my upcoming journey…

“My journey has awakened a restlessness in me that could have me up and in the saddle at short notice… There is no longer a purpose in following the “safe” options in life… I will now take life by the throat and live it…when and wherever I want to…”

I spent much of my time in Ghana poring over maps and reminding myself of all the the places I wanted to visit, and then plotting them on a World Map and figuring out which of them I could reach on my trusty steed… Most of them form part of the world’s natural wonders, such as various waterfalls, mountain ranges and glaciers, rivers and lakes, while other man made structures featured just as importantly in my plans… The Zimbabwe Ruins, the Pyramids of Giza, the Roman ruins in North Africa, the stone city of Petra in Jordan, the War Memorials to those who fell in both World Wars, the Dom in Cologne (a cathedral which has enthralled me since I first set eyes on it in 1999, and have visited on many occasions since), Red Square in Moscow, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the mushroom like dwellings of Cappadocia in Turkey, the Taj Mahal in India, the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia (tough one!) , the Sydney Opera House (but not for a recital !), the site of Custer’s Last Stand at the Little Bighorn, the Alamo, the Mayan and Aztec Ruins in Guatemala and Mexico, the Inca Ruins and Machu Pichu in Peru and many many more…

The theory part is easy…want to see that, then plug it into the route and move on to the next item of interest…. The practical part is the tougher nut ! There is absolutely no point in worrying about things and places that will only come into reckoning further down the line, but the stuff that gets you to the point of swinging into the saddle is another matter…!!

The majority of my “Get up and go Planning” has gone off with nary a hitch; the bike is almost ready, just a final service and a few bits and bobs to attach; the selection of kit and clothing is all but done, just have to decide which shirts go best with my the colour of my eyes !! Ha-ha !! Then there’s red tape and documentation…. ah yes…, that’s another story, which by far, takes up most of my time these days…. Bank guarantees for the Carnet du Passage have been sorted, getting the bike re-registered in my name, changing the license plates to allow my family to renew the license annually for me, sorting through the visas I will bother getting before I leave (Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya..Algeria seems a bust!) getting my vaccinations updated (can’t wait for that one!) and dealing with sponsorships and supporters who have kindly assisted me with my preparations…

All of these are within my power to control, but Cousin Murphy is always lurking around some dark corner, waiting to jump out and surprise you !! I have been presented with two little setbacks in recent days, over which I seem to have little control…

The first, and less important of the two, concerns the crate containing my personal belongings from Ghana… This crate left Mim on the 16th of September 2009, bound for Tema harbour, and destined for Johannesburg, via Durban… It finally sailed on the 27th of November !!! Things can be slow in Africa, we all know…but this takes the biscuit…!! But wait, there’s more !! It sailed to Rotterdam, (a little known, shortcut to Durban!!)  where it was offloaded on the 15th of December….

“And since then?”, you may well ask ?

Well, after 40 odd emails, I have finally ascertained that my crate is still enjoying the environs of the port in Rotterdam, and there is very little encouraging news regarding it’s departure for our  Southern climes!! Should the crate not arrive in Durban before the end of February, I will have to hang around until it does, to get it cleared out of Customs, so that I can get my hands on it’s contents. We are not amused !!!

The above crate is being URGENTLY sought by the author... Any USEFUL information would be appreciated...

The second, and potentially more problematic setback I am currently dealing with, is medical in nature… I have had an awful amount of pain in both my shoulders for the last year or so, and have tried a host of creams, sprays, pain killers etc to try and relieve the aches and pains. After much prompting from family and friends, I finally visited a doctor, who sent me off for x-rays and sonar scans at the Unitas Hospital here in Pretoria. After much prodding, poking and non-too-gentle bending of my arms, tut-tuting and twittering, interspersed with sporadic comments in Medicalese, I was sent back to the doctor with a bulging envelope of “evidence”…

After reading the report, which mostly comprised of heavily encrypted medical terms which I had no way of deciphering, I was told that a visit to an Orthopaedic Surgeon would be an excellent idea… So…., tomorrow I am off to yet another hospital, to ascertain whether or not I require surgery on my shoulder/s… We are definitely NOT amused !!! If surgery IS required, I am assuming that I will be told to avoid motorcycling for a while….

#$@%& !!!! (Spell-check wouldn’t work on this one….)

So yes, setbacks happen !! But they are part and parcel of the journey, and no doubt there will be many others waiting patiently to assail my nervous system in the coming months and years…

You just gotta push on Dudes…regardless !!

2 comments to Setbacks…!!

  • Hi Ronnie

    All the best for your BIG adventure ahead,please contact us when you are close to Cape Town, so we can join you for a short ride on your route. If possible ad our site as a link.

    Have fun!!


  • Hi Rocco ! Welcome on board, China !

    Will add your site as a link in one of the upcoming postings! No sweat ! Will let you know when I get closer to Aghulas….sometime mid March. Would be great to ride with you !

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

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