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Thread: Thunder's Road - Calum's Road 2010

  1. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by David Nimrod View Post

    It's great to hear stories like that
    That's sort of what stands out on the trip for me, the overall friendliness of the people we met. It was very refreshing and in a way very humbling too.
    Gert

  2. #50
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    Interesting seeing how good condition the tarmac is on the roads are, when you use them.

  3. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Armstrong View Post
    Interesting seeing how good condition the tarmac is on the roads are, when you use them.
    Road in Western Sahara was funded by Unesco, road down to Nouakchott was funded by the EU. No outside governments have funded roads south of Nouakchott and you can notice the difference believe.

  4. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder View Post
    :

    I'd come to the point of realising I did not know him personally and coe to the conclusion he knew us from UKGSER so asked the question, "are you a Tosser?"

    TBC
    Wahahahhaahha... that moment i will take with me to my grave... Hilarious!!! Imagine asking a high ranking British Police officer if he was a 'tosser' - his face was a picture... Roger's face was a picture with the policeman's reaction

    Happy days! Brilliant!! Thanks for that one Roger

  5. #53
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    27-1-10

    Senegal - St Louis



    Up early to watch the sun rise as I wanted to do some research on the best way to get out of the city using the feed from my Spot Tracker,Google Earth and the wi-fi connection in the hotel room. Ain't technology wonderful



    Headed down for breakfast about 7.30 to find a virtually empty breakfast room with a flustered waiter still setting up the tables. Couldn't understand what was going on as we'd talked about having breakfast at 7 when service was due to start yet the place was distinctly lacking in Tossers.

    The answer to this and our problems at the restaurant the previous evening we fond out later. The guy who had told us the time at the pool the previous day had got it wrong, we were not an hour ahead as we thought, Mauri was on GMT

    So we had plenty of time to pack our bags and the bikes before heading off to fill the tanks for the day ahead.

    Dave was totally relaxed waiting for the off.



    We called in at a petrol station at the junction with the main road south, did the fuel thing watched the local traffic, it appeared the concept of an MOT had not reached this part of the world.











    When it came to dealing with their peers Mauri drivers worked on an anything goes basis, giving way at a junction seemed to be a sign of weakness, but when they saw us coming people stopped to let us out, gave way on roundabouts and couldn't have been more helpful. This was not we had expected from Mauritania.

    Out of the city we were heading down the main road towards Rosso, not to cross into Senegal there as any advice we had been given was it was a corrupt hell hole but to Djama which involved cutting across country on piste and tracks.

    Aberdeen Angus had been down to Dakar a few weeks earlier and mentioned a new road being constructed to Djama some 45kms north of Rosso, so we headed off and didn't pull over until we found a likely suspect.





    More friendly locals confirmed we were in the right place





    We headed off on the new road, well road under construction to go on the piste to Djama







    Lots of construction traffic was about, coming over a hill Mike was faced by a lorry coming the other way in the center of the road which was not going to move over, he moved to the side, hit a patch of soft sand and went down. Not hurt and minimal damage thank goodness but those who witnessed it said it was spectacular!





    Further on I lost site of Dave behind another lorry and pulled over. When he appeared he'd had to stop as he had the rear wheel mud deflector ripped off in a patch of loose dirt, the noise scared the life out of him, he thought the rear drive had gone.

    The other were waiting for us further along, we took the opportunity to stretch legs, feel relieved and take some pictures.





















    TBC

  6. #54
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    Good job you were all on TKC's ... some of that tarmac was quite dusty in places!

  7. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinTin View Post
    Good job you were all on TKC's ... some of that tarmac was quite dusty in places!
    27-1-10

    Indeed, the tourances most of us had used for Europe would not have been up for this "road" in its current condition, as we got further on we joined the piste track and the dust increased.













    not to mention the pot holes, but no one was stopping to take pictures of those.

    As we approached Djama and entered the national park the temperature was climbing, when we stopped for a break the temperature was in the mid 40s.







    The locals were as always interested in what we were doing







    On the final leg the track beside the piste looked better than the piste itself so some of us dropped down on to it. John got caught in a patch of sand and went down, luckily no damage to bike and rider.



    As we prepared to leave Mauritania Dave added a Calum's Road sticker to the front of one of the booths.



    and overbalanced on the bike just inside no mans land reaching for his sun glasses which he had left on his roll bag.





    The Mauri officials came over to see if he was ok and if we needed assistance, fortunately we were able to sort things out with our own medical kits.



    We had mixed emotions about leaving Mauritania so quickly, the people were friendly and glad to see us yet with the kidnapping situation we could not wait to get out of the place as soon as possible and into Senegal. As we approached the barrier at the end of the bridge leading to the Senegalese police check and customs post we had out first experience of Senegalese corruption. The guy at the barrier wanted €70 to let us through!

    We refused and told him we had no euro. He dropped his price to €40 straight off, we told him we had not got it but offered our remaining Mauri currency, he refused, and the stand off began.









    We spoke to the policeman in his office, he wasn't interested and told us to sort things out. Barrier man got cross, padlocked the barrier and walked off. We blocked the bridge and settled down to wait.







    After an hour word came from the police checkpoint, we either cleared to bridge or we would be sent back to Mauitania We had a whip round of our remaining currencies cause of course we did not have any euro and finally got through for about £30. Welcome to Senegal. Well we were not there yet, we still had police and customs.



    While Sid took the collectives paperwork to the appropriate officials we settled down to wait







    We chatted with other travellers



    journals were updated



    until we finally got through,after sun set!

    As we headed down the road to St Louis and our intended destination the Zebrabar avoiding cows, donkeys, pot holes and the occasional local on the pitch black road we got pulled over at a police checkpoint. Papers were checked and it appeared we were missing a receipt on our entry documentation which would require a fine. On our way again we got 3 miles down the road before being stopped at yet another check point, this time asked to produce our insurance which we all had sorted out thankfully. Finding this was in order the official suggested we might like to make a contribution to the Chief of Police's beer fund. Welcome to Senegal!

    Eventually we made it to St Louis made the odd u turn and realised we were again lost so stopping at a petrol station on a major junction we looked at the options and decided on the solution. TAXI! !!!

    Our guide took us the 15 to 20 kms out to the Zebrabar, bummed a cigarette for his tip and watched with interest as we tried to find the entrance. The place looked deserted and for a moment we thought it was closed due to lack of business with the Mauri situation.

    Eventually we found one of the staff, sorted out rooms and accommodation, ditched our gear, grabbed a cold beer and talked bollox, mainly about the welcome we had received to Senegal.

    Some of the other travelers we had met at the border arrived to check in, a mixture of German and Dutch out to explore Africa.

    Glen managed to find something to eat by raiding the fridges in the kitchen and knocking up a pasta based concoction which really hit the spot.

    Tired, beered and fed we headed off to bed, it had been a long day.

    TBC

  8. #56

    Well done Mike and Bhud

    Good to hear you could string a few sentences together on the radio this morning

    Good interview, did you go anywhere nice?
    Gert

  9. #57
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    Just a wee run down the road with some friends.
    old enough to know better, young enough not to care!

  10. #58
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    28th and 29th January 2010

    Zebrabar Senegal

    Knowing we were going to take a couple of days off before heading into The Gambia and the ride up river to Calum's Road any one with a modicum of sense would have taken the opportunity to have a lie in. I was up at 6 to see where exactly we had ended up as having arrived in the dark and found our accommodation by torch light I'd no idea what was beyond the door. Opening it I found out. We were 15 feet from the beach!











    Dave emerged from our hut and saw the view for the first time



    We went off to find who else was about and explore the facilities











    Gert had decided to go for the camping option and pitched close by. As we approached he emerged from the "Gert Yurt", it wasn't a Yurt but the "Gert Geodesic Dome Tent" just didn't have the same ring to it!





    Breakfast was served for the early risers



    after which we climbed up to the observation platform to do some observationing, the view was stunning.



















    Walking down to the lower terrace we met the others who were having breakfast, sorted out some beer and decided to arrange a river boat to take us up to St Louis to change money and have a walk about. While we waited we talked bollox





    before heading to the beach to meet the boat.













    Dave spotted something



    the beach was covered with crabs, hundreds of them



    Dave showed us one of his crabs!





    at which point thankfully the river boat arrived















    The boatman was very nice, he even stopped at one point to bail out the water which was gradually rising as we went up the river. How kind!







    Glen was very happy as we approached our destination









    We went ashore right in the centre of St Louis, Jerome K Jerome's literary classic came to mind



    TBC

  11. #59
    We went ashore right in the centre of St Louis, Jerome K Jerome's literary classic came to mind


    Bagsy, three men in a boat
    Gert

  12. #60
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    28-1-10 (continued)

    Having negotiated the rocks on the shore, various items which will not be mentioned and climbed over a wall we set off to explore St Louis and get some currency changed.

    First thing we encountered were goats, lots of them







    some were very photogenic though.



    The French colonial influence could be seen in the buildings







    if not in the vehicles, Citroen, eat your heart out



    As we looked for a bank and an ATM we picked up a few of the local street traders, our attempts to blend in had been totally unsuccessful and from this point onwards we came under their constant attention.



    Gert and I had negotiated for 3 pairs of casual pants and a tee shirt, Sid got in on the act and looked for pants for himself, Glen just stood there grinning, he had survived the river boat and was incredibly happy.



    As the sun got hotter and the touts put the word out to their friends there were adventurers in town we adjourned to a local hostelry for some refreshment.

    They had vodka, I was nearly as happy as Glen!







    Outside the world went by





    and the touts waited



    we tucked in to spam and brie paninis, a local speciality it seems.

    A guy in the bar took us to a local wholesalers and we purchased some supplies for the evening, Smirnoff, wine and Rhum. Rhum is like Rum but a quarter of the price, it promised to be a long night!

    Grabbing some local taxis we headed back to Zebrabar.







    Back at ZB , showered and changed we enjoyed our purchases, had an excellent meal and watched the sun go down.







    As the evening wore on and the drink was consumed, Gert and I discovered we had a common interest in music, thanks to my Ipod and Bhud's portable speaker the wonders of Abba boomed across Zebrabar, complete with Tosser accompaniment!

    Not leaving it there we moved on to Puccini, our rendition of Sono andati? from La Boheme was only faulted by forgetting who was taking the part of Rodolfo and who was Mimi!

    We went to bed eventually, this adventuring was tiring!

  13. #61
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    29-1-10

    ZebraBar

    The sun came up at some point, it must have, it was up when we emerged from our respective abodes.

    We breakfasted, fettled the bikes and Sid and Glenn rode into St Louis to do some messages, picking up a fine from a member of the local constabulary for speeding into the bargain. No speed gun or radar, just in the opinion of the cop.

    The ZB shimmered under the mid day sun, Tossers lay were they fell.









    Nothing really happened until late afternoon when a lone motor cycle rider arrived











    His name was Nigel Swaby and he'd ridden up from Banjul that day after spending 3 months volunteering with Riders for Health, you can find more about him on his website Big Nose on Tour, a real character and able to give us lots of information on what was ahead of us on our trip.


    His bike was pretty special as well







    as was his method of parking when the sand was too soft for the side stand



    Dave was in awe!!

    We all had our evening meal together and Nigel fitted in easily with the group, he could talk bollox for England Lovely guy, check out his website it's worth a read.

    We watched yet another stunning sunset together





    and Gert added a Calum's Road sticker to the bars collection.



    Tomorrow we headed south for our final day in Senegal, Gambia was approaching and the excitement was mounting, thanks to the wonders of alcohol though we managed a decent nights sleep.

  14. #62
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    30-1-10

    Kaolack



    Rooms cleared, Gert Yurt packed we left the ZebraBar for the last time and headed headed into St Louis to top off the tanks before heading south for our final night in Senegal.*

    As we crossed the bridge towards the petrol station we were stopped by the same policeman who had fined Sid and Glen the previous day, after their experience we were deliberately keeping the speed down. Having checked our details and fisches he asked Gert and myself for our driving permits and told the others to be on their way.

    Gert had been leading the group so he was invited to join the officer in his office, apparently in his opinion we had not indicated long enough when he had pulled us over, guess what? We were getting a fine.

    Gert emerged 10 minutes later, apparently the initial fine in local currency was equivalent to £105 but after negotiation we got away with 50 Euro as we did not have enough of the local stuff.

    I had the helmet cam going as we left, notice how the nice official stopped the traffic for us and waved us on our way!



    We had read and heard about corruption in Senegal but still could not believe how rife it was, to say it left a sour taste in the mouth is an understatement, as we headed off again all we could think of was what would be the next infraction we would be done for, especially as we had to go back past the check point for the bridge. Would you believe the cheeky bastard actually came out and waved us off grinning from ear to ear? We waved back some actually used all their fingers!

    As we left St Louis behind we made good time on the tarmac roads and stopped to check the options for the run to Kaolack, main road or a little wellow road on the map which was shorter. We checked it out, it was sand and with the temperature rising elected to go with the main road, not very adventurous but it was getting bloody hot!

    As we headed off again I had the helmet cam running as we got pulled in for another police check, normally I'd turn it off but I let it run for a while to see what would happen, nothing did, checked our papers and waved us on our way, even smiled without the need for a fine, could corruption be behind us?



    It seemed it was, every stop from now on was legit, papers checked and waved on our way with minimum of delay, happy days.

    The locals were just as curious about these people on their big bikes, every stop for water or fuel had an interested crowd gathering to ask questions.





    The kids appeared from no where









    we always took the opportunity for shopping



    oranges were still popular



    although not the only fruit. We were offered lemons as well.

    Our next stop was for fuel,



    water,



    checking of maps,



    more curious locals,







    and in the case of one rider, the chance to adjust underwear!



    The local hauliers had never heard of a weigh-bridge.



    Dave's tyres now matched the colour of his bike which was nice



    While Gert's showed evidence of our first puncture



    As the tyre pressure was not dropping significantly and he had gone for the option of pressure monitors on his bike he decided to press on to our destination rather than start plugging it at this point.

    The tyre was fine for our final leg into Kaolack, as we approached the outskirts we called into another petrol station and saw a sign for a hotel, only 900 meters away.

    Those who needed to topped up their tanks, Gert and the rest headed off to find the hotel through some pretty dodgy streets with a few bike breakers and workshops on them. As we got to the first junction about a km from the petrol station there was another sign for the hotel, this time saying it was 1km away. We started to wonder if it was a trap for adventurers.

    After riding another 2 kms we found it, it was another bloody 4 star in the middle of no where and it seemed we were not the only visitors from Europe





    The receptionist told us they only had 3 rooms left, 2 doubles and a triple, just what we needed so she took us to see them to make sure we wanted them.







    We got as far as the pool and bar before saying yes!



    The rooms were fine though, individual bungalows



    each with different locally carved doors, handy to find your room in the dark after a night at the bar, you'd just go by feel!



    Gear ditched we hit the bar



    hit the pool





    while Gert hit the nail on the head



    We supported him from afar



    and watched the sun go down





    Tyre sorted, drink drunk we changed for dinner in the hotels restaurant, had some more drinks and posed for a team picture.



    As the night wore on and the drink flowed Mike produced the quote of the day when ordering his desert. It was'nt on the menu but they said the chef would try to accomodate his requirements, so in his best Glasgow accent he told the waiter " Le crepe de glace big man!" There wasn't a dry trouser leg at the table!

    We staggered yet again to bed, tomorrow we would be in The Gambia!!!!


  15. #63
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    i am quiet enjoying this Roger old boy
    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

  16. #64
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