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  #16  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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small horse power means BIG fun, lots of people don't understand but I do!

Love the read, keep it up

Glen
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Feb 2014, currently travelling the America's on a Tiger 800XC

Live every day like it's your last, one day you'll get it right!!!
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  #17  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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8/9 A day off in St Louis

We rose late today, felling a little “dehydrated” from last night's libations. Suitably fortified by several cups of good coffee, we eventually found our way to the shower and made ourselves decent again. Michael had to go to work, so we spent the morning doing some laundry and catching up on some blogging with the help of Michael's wifi. (We also have a more general interest blog at underboningtheworld.blogspot.com but, be warned, that it is more current than this trip report for those who want to read ahead). We had a favorite place for cheap, non-authentic Chinese food near the zoo, so we headed there after noon to see if it was as good as we remembered. It was, and after again eating too much, we set out for the Maplewood Scooter Company.



This shop was recommended to us by Circleblue, a fellow Symba rider who has put more than 10,000 miles on his bike. They were a SYM dealer until the recent troubles with the importer situation and hopefully will be once again after Alliance can get their stuff together. We met Mike and Jeff who own/run the place and spent some time chatting with them. Mike is a real enthusiast and a knowledgeable mechanic to boot, he gave me a couple of tips on the clutches that seemed to help. I also told him about our struggles with the thin air in the mountains and asked him for his thoughts on replacement needles when he suggested more air instead of less fuel. While we were riding in the high altitudes I considered removing the air filter or even the airbox top, but nixed it due to concerns of too much air and/or no filtration. Mike disappeared into the back and came back with a pair of Uni pod filters he said would fit our carb inlets. He apparently was unable to get a replacement airbox for a cannibalized Symba he acquired and had fitted a Uni to it with decent success. These may be the trick if we are lucky enough to end up in the Himalayas (we are crossing our fingers for a late winter in Nepal) and Mike refused to let us pay for them. Needless to say, if you find yourself in St Louis and need anything scooter related, we recommend the Maplewood Scooter Company. (Seriously, amongst many other scooters,they had 4 Madass 125s on the floor at a very attractive price)



From here we then went downtown in search of another Symba and to get a picture of our bikes next to the Arch. Form his blog and other postings we knew that Circleblue worked near a certain area in downtown and went on a hunt for his Symba, Billie. We knew that he must park outside as Billie was recently blown over in a storm and began circling the likely blocks, eyes peeled for a black Symba. We almost gave up when we spotted motorcycle parking down a sidestreet and found Billie. We pulled our bikes on to the sidewalk for a quick picture and then headed toward the Arch. But no photos for us because all decent portrait locations are now blocked by “No Parking” signs and bollards thanks to the post 9/11 security measures. As it was a steamy afternoon, block-to-block riding was fast losing its appeal.

Mid-afternoon we headed back to Michael's house (and A/C) for an unsuccessful attempt at reupholstering our seats. From back in the day when some of us roadraced, Michael still had several square feet of ¾ inch high density stick-on foam that we used for seat pad material on TZs and such. I removed Re's seat from her bike, removed the seat cover and then carved some seat foam to fit. The new foam was too thick and incompressible to fit under the seat cover with the stock foam still in place, and I didn't feel comfortable trying to replace the foam with this high density stuff. Instead, I just put the seat back together unmodified and we tried the pieces I cut as another layer under our sheepskins.

We ended the day with dinner at a local Mexican place and a can't miss visit to Ted Drewes for way too much frozen custard and deliciousness. If you haven't already noticed, we do enjoy eating. We were already much too full before we got to Ted Drewes, but we may never be this way again! Back home for an earlier night as tomorrow we head east again.

28 miles and too many stoplights. The bikes are good.
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  #18  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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8/10 St Louis, Missouri to Elizabethtown, Kentucky

After a restless night's sleep, we arose to another warm morning and were itching to hit the road again. After breakfast, Re started packing our gear while I headed to the garage to once again subject the Symbas to my tender ministrations. (I'm clearly running out of synonyms for turning wrenches) Both chains took a slight adjustment, which I expected they would after our break-in run. I also removed Re's lower chainguard and gave it a further tweak to clear the new chain since it was dragging ever so slightly on decel. I again adjusted both clutches, cold this time as recommended, and slightly tightened one of my exhaust nuts. Bikes good, goodbyes said, we rode out into the morning sun once more. We lived in St Louis in 2002 -2003 and felt a little nostalgia as we cruised past the Arch on our way to the Eads bridge which was the only non-Interstate crossing we could find in the area. The drawback to the Eads bridge is that it dumps you off in East St Louis, Illinois, a particularly unlovely and dangerous place to be. We followed our directions that twisted and turned us through the city, and the urban and suburban quickly turned rural.

The hot morning didn't ever really make good on it's threat of another hot afternoon as the temperature stayed moderate throughout the day. As the morning went by, we meandered through southern Illinois trying to keep our speeds a little lower today (but still wanting to make the 350 miles my schedule asked for). We soon found ourselves at the bridge across the Illinois/Indiana border where we each paid our dollar to cross the crazy patchwork of pavement that made up the bridge across the Wabash river. Exiting the bridge we found ourselves in New Harmony, Indiana, a truly beautiful old town. There were a fair number of white, puffy clouds in the sky as we rode through Evansville and on to Owensboro, Kentucky.

I noticed that Re was falling back and having a hard time maintaining a constant speed so we swapped off lead duties a few times and finally pulled over for a bathroom stop. Re said she was zoning and actually found herself nodding off - the moderate temperature, pleasant roads and lack of glare were not conducive to keeping her awake. No better time to have some trail mix and apples and a quick nap in the sun before heading out again. Refreshed and more awake, we motored on into the early evening.

We finally made it to Elizabethtown and another fuel stop. We were both surprised when I checked my iPhone for the time and discovered it was already after 8 pm as we had apparently crossed yet another time zone. While I pumped the gas, Re asked the cashier and a couple of patrons about the location of any nearby campgrounds. No one knew of any close by so we continued into Elizabethtown hoping to spy a handy road sign or billboard. No luck, so we spotted the local Motel 6 and rode over to see if they'd left the light on for us. As we had recently spent several nights rent-free paired with Re's sleepy day, we decided to go for the relative luxury of another night indoors. While Re carried the bags into the room, I locked the bikes and gas cans to each other. Somehow, we seem less worried about the security of our gear and bikes in campgrounds than we do at hotels. Everything secured, we walked across the road for a stomach ache from Taco Hell. Neither of us have eaten at a Taco Hell for several years (and we were never totally sober when we did) and we both now remember why. Back to the hotel and off to bed for dreams of flatulent chihuahuas chasing our Symbas across the the savannah.

349 miles in about 11 hours of riding. We rode in 4 different states today, a first for the trip. The bikes are running well, the clutches still aren't smooth but they are better.
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  #19  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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8/11 Elizabethtown, Kentucky to Elizabethton, Tennessee

Up early again in preparation for the long day ahead of us, we found our bikes exactly as we had left them. I unrolled my tarp and spread out my tools in the parking lot and set to the bikes. I was happy to find that they needed the least amount of maintenance of any day on the trip so far. Just some chain lube and one psi in each tire and they were good to go. While I worked on the bikes, Re headed across the street to McDeath for more grease and coffee. I figured the best treatment for a burrito induced stomach ache would be a full frontal assault. As we rolled out of town, I pointed out the campground that was less than a mile from the hotel and laughed.



Our route for the day was fairly confusing with lots of turns and confusing road signs, so I wrote them on a post-it note that I stuck to the headlight nacelle. It might have been a sign of things to come when I noticed that it blew away within 30 miles of starting out. The morning was fairly uneventful, and it was a pretty ride through the rolling bluegrass of Kentucky. As lunchtime neared, we found ourselves in the town of Pineville, Kentucky where we pulled off of the highway to look for some Clif Bars and fruit. Not finding any on this street, we headed back onto the highway and looked for another likely street. As we came to a stoplight, I spotted a sign for a Subway and a grocery store on the street to the right. I said, “This looks likely” and thought I had clearly indicated where I was talking about. I flipped on my right turn signal and pulled away when the light turned green. We usually ride in a staggered formation with the outside rider taking the lead. I was leading at the time and consequently pulled out first. I saw that Re was also accelerating smartly, but assumed it was to make it around the corner two abreast. I assumed wrong. As I began to turn right I heard the unmistakable sound of a front tire locking up and looked back to see Re struggling mightily to keep her way too top heavy bike upright. She had managed to stop without t-boning me, but now the bike was leaning too far over for her to save it. I jammed on my brakes and came to a stop in the road and looked back to see her bike gently hit the ground on its right side. ****. I ran back to check on her and help pick up her bike. She was fine, she never left her feet and the bike was surprisingly OK, too. The spare rear tire kept the back end off of the ground, and only her mirror and brake lever apparently hit the ground in the front. I then turned around to see my bike laying on the ground on its left side?!? We ran over and picked my bike up and discovered the same lack of anything more than a few scratches. In my haste to get off of the bike, I failed to notice that it was parked on a pretty good downhill slope, in second gear. The only thing that I could figure is that it slowly rolled off of the sidestand. Double ****. We putted into the parking lot of the grocery store and decided to take a break for a few minutes. Re was seemingly unfazed by the incident and was only mad at herself for not being able to keep the bike upright She had been hitting the gym every other day for about 8 months before we left and she is strong, but not stronger than gravity once the bike got past that certain angle.

While I re-inspected the bikes for damage, Re headed into the grocery store for Clif Bars and some fruit. We once again ate by the bikes and dissected what went wrong. Miscommunication, plain and simple, Re thought I meant that we should head further down the highway and was unable to see my turn signal from where she was stopped next to me. We decided at that point that whoever was leading would also signal all right turns with a hand signal as well as the turn signal.

Feeling better with some food in our stomachs and our bikes refreshed by their naps, we continued. When we got underway again I noticed that my left footpeg seemed to be slightly higher now but wrote it off to bending the bracket and kept riding. As the afternoon wore on we crossed into Tennessee and found ourselves gaining altitude again. Fortunately not so much as to upset our carburetion or force us back into third gear. We studiously practiced our hand signals as we traded off the lead throughout the afternoon. After an hour or so I shifted my foot position and realized that my footpegs were rocking up and down on both sides. I signaled a quick stop and we found a patch of shade to park in. Looking under the bike, we found that of the four bolts that secure the footpeg/sidestand bracket, one was gone, one was tight and the other two had backed out at least halfway. Yikes. Out came the 14mm wrench and we tightened up the remaining three while trying to avoid third degree burns from the exhaust pipe. We checked Re's and found them to be tight, so we saddled up and continued on. I wondered as I rode if the loose bolts were the result of rolling off the sidestand or perhaps were part of the cause. Looking back at it, the hill I parked on didn't seem steep enough to cause the bike to roll forward – but it was in second gear and fairly heavily laden... I guess I'll never know.



Tennessee was also a pretty ride and we made frequent stops to check directions and maps to ensure that we were still heading in the right direction. The clouds ahead, however, weren't so pretty. We stopped early for dinner when we saw the familiar Bojangles (!) sign in the distance. Like an oasis to thirsty travelers, we could barely contain our enthusiasm as we swooped into the parking lot and ran inside for fried chicken goodness. During our twelve years in North Carolina, we developed quite a fondness for this chain. Stuffed on chicken and biscuits, we continued on into the evening. As we neared Elizabethton, our destination for the night, the skies finally let loose and we again found ourselves in the rain. A quick scan of the town didn't reveal a single campground, but we knew that the Cherokee National Forest lay ahead a few miles. As the rain began to let up, we wound our way into the rapidly darkening evening and sighed in relief when we spotted a campground sign. We pulled in, fully expecting primitive camping but found that we not only had a beautiful site next to the lake but there were hot showers to boot! We set up our tent and stove and had a cup of coffee in the light drizzle before crawling in for a peaceful night of raindrops tapping on the tent.

345 miles in about 11 hours. Bikes are running good after their naps but the footpeg bracket is now added to the daily fastener checklist.
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  #20  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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8/12 Elizabethton, Tennessee to Hillsboro, NC

The overcast morning and heavy trees around our campsite made it hard to get up this morning. The lack of early morning light coupled with the knowledge that our day's ride would be under 300 miles led us to turn the alarm off and snuggle some more. Eventually we rolled out to yet another wet campsite, but things had already begun to dry. While Re made coffee I walked up to the bikes and again was pleasantly surprised by how little maintenance the bikes needed. Chains OK, fasteners OK, oil level OK, even the air pressures were good. Just a shot of chain lube and a slight rear brake adjustment on my bike and they were ready to go. We, however, took some more work – we were glad for the hot showers and hot coffee.



We finally hit the road around 10 am, our latest start yet, and cruised through the still misty morning down US 321 towards Boone, North Carolina. We really felt at home in this landscape, having lived in the Raleigh area for about 12 years and spent many weekends strafing the Blue Ridge Parkway, 215 and 276, and the roller-coaster section of 74 around Lake Lure. We have lived all over the US, and this area feels as close to home as any of them. Our trip was soon interrupted by a detour sign, 321 was closed at some bridge up ahead, and this necessitated a trip through Mountain City, Tennessee, where we would follow US 421 south back to US 321. Our mild irritation with the detour soon turned to smiles as the drive to Mountain City was gorgeous, and we finally remembered to start taking photos again. We stopped in Mountain City for brunch and the usual questions from people at the restaurant. We spent more time than we should have chatting with the morning coffee brigade and then turned south for North Carolina.



We hit the border and had to stop for another photo before winding our way further south and east into Boone. Our planned rout sent us down 421 towards Winston-Salem, but I decided that I knew the roads well enough to ignore Google Maps' suggestions. Instead we rode 321 down past Blowing Rock to Lenoir where we picked up 64 east. I recalled that 64 east would join with 70 east, which is the road that would take us to Hillsboro. What I forgot would be the next surprise. Feeling confident in my navigational skills, I paid little attention to the road signs. I had also apparently forgotten that shortly after passing through Salisbury, 70 joins with Interstate 85. Whoops. I didn't actually remember this until we were on the I-85 on-ramp. With no place to stop or turn around we pinned our throttles and shot out onto the Interstate. Immediately swallowed by semis and flying traffic we hugged the right shoulder, but we were in a work zone so the shoulder itself was closed. For nine vaguely terrifying miles we let the mighty Symbas run as fast as they could. I saw an indicated 60 on a slight downhill which unfortunately turned uphill before we saw an exit. We dove off the exit and pulled out the map, which was no help since all we had was just a Rand-McNally road atlas that lacked much detail. Out came the iPhone, and Google Maps once again came to our rescue as it routed us along a couple of country roads and highways that eventually rejoined with 64. All glory to our Mountain View overlords.

We followed 64 through Asheboro before turning north on 49 towards Burlington where we would again try US 70. The sky had again been threatening most of the afternoon and made good on its threat about halfway up 49. We pulled under a gas station awning to zip up vents and then rode into the storm. The Symbas came through the standing water with flying colors. We hit several flooded areas that were about 6 inches deep at speed with no aquaplaning. It rained on and off for the rest of the afternoon and finally stopped when we were about 5 miles from our stop for the night. We pulled into the driveway of our friends Bill and Dawn and were happy to see Bill there to greet us. We had a lovely evening of dinner and conversation, catching up on each others' lives and families. Bill and I worked together for years and started riding at about the same time. It was fun to reminisce about some of our early adventures (like rebuilding my first racebike in Bill's driveway and then putting 50 break-in miles on a totally not street-legal Moto Guzzi V50 with an open megaphone exhaust on the back roads of Durham County).

275 miles in about 9 hours. The bikes are running great but the clutches still aren't quite right.
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  #21  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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8/13 Hillsboro, North Carolina to Sneads Ferry, North Carolina

We again woke late and had a lazy morning of good coffee and homemade waffles, bacon and strawberries. Thunderstorms were still booming this morning, but since we only had about 200 miles to ride, we were in no hurry to get wet. The radar showed that the line of thunderstorms was slowly working its way east, so procrastination was the order of the day.



We spent the rest of the morning admiring Bill's stable of bikes, which includes a PC800 and a GB500, and working on ours. Minor tweaks were all they required – a little oil, some chain lube, and a cinch on one of my exhaust header nuts.

Around 1 pm we decided that we should get on the road since we had 6 or so hours of riding ahead of us. We worked our way slowly through Durham before the road opened up slightly, but then we reached Raleigh and again had to slowly wind our way out the other side. Here we were greeted by faster roads and darker clouds and spent the rest of the afternoon dodging showers and other vehicles. The scenery in eastern North Carolina isn't nearly as pretty as the rest of the state, but we were excited to finally be nearing the coast and the end of Phase 1 of our trip. While we tried to exercise some throttle restraint for the sake of our fuel mileage for most of the day, our excitement won out once we turned south in Jacksonville and headed the last 20 miles to my parents' house. Turning into Sneads Ferry we could smell the salt in the air and zoomed down the last couple blocks to our destination for the next couple weeks.



My dad met us in the driveway, and we got off the bikes for the final time in this leg of our journey. Our butts were looking forward to a couple of days of hot sand and salt water therapy.

We have done over 3800 miles in 12 days of riding, and aside from the chains and one simultaneous bike nap, it's been a trouble-free trip. Thanks to our generous friends who provided us with several nights accommodations and home-cooked meals along the way, our 15 days on the road only cost about $850. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be visiting family and friends, going to the beach, eating east Carolina barbeque, and surveying our vast tracts of land (we just bought 2.5 acres in Selma, NC) before we head out again to Ohio and on to Toronto in early September.

195 miles in 6 hours. The bikes are running well, but the clutches are still unhappy.
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  #22  
Old 9 Nov 2011
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8/14 – 8/31 North Carolina

For the past couple of weeks we have been staying with family and friends in North Carolina, waiting for Phase 2 to start. It was convenient to leave Oregon when we did as our lease had expired, but we didn't really want to get to Africa before mid-September for weather-related reasons. Initially we had planned to fly to South Africa around the 8th of September but found that we would save about $400 per person if we fly on the 15th. So that gave us a few weeks of downtime to spend visiting in NC. We lived in NC for about 12 years, and most of my family is still here, so it seemed like a natural place to stay. We have had the opportunity to see all of my immediate family and see how much all the kids have grown.



We also recently purchased about 2.5 acres of land in Selma, NC adjacent to the new “family compound” and wanted to spend some time doing a little work on it. We spent a couple of days clearing some land and “mowing” the section that was formerly a tobacco field with my dad's DR Brush Machine. It was hot and sweaty work, but it at least looks like we did something (at least until the weeds regrow).



Food has also been a priority and have made the rounds of all our favorite place to eat. Chief amongst them is Scott's BBQ in Goldsboro, NC. We have been eating their porky goodness since 1989, and it's still the best anywhere in the US. Unfortunately they are only open on Thursdays and Fridays for lunch since they reopened after Hurricane Floyd, but we were there on the 18th and we'll be there tomorrow, too!



We've also been to the beach several times and have been working on our base tans so hopefully we won't get too burned in Africa and India. We took the Symbas to visit North Topsail beach and were ATGATT over our bathing suits. We got a lot of stares and a few smiles as we stripped off our Dariens and hit the sand. The bikes loved the ride, it was the first time in a long time that they weren't carrying a ton of extra weight and we found ourselves swooping through the turns and twisting the throttles wfo at every stoplight. The clutches liked it better, too, and weren't grabby at all – maybe it's just all the extra weight?

Additionally, we did some banking (to get brand new, uncirculated USD to take with us and also a few traveler's checks) and got our International Driving Permits while we were in Raleigh one afternoon. Oh, and hit the Char Grill for the ½ pound steak burger, naturally.

We have also been catching up on these RRs and trying out our new Hero Gopro video camera which we will hopefully soon start using to add some excitement to our RRs and blog posts. Re has also enjoyed having a kitchen again and has been treating people to such good stuff as Steak and Guiness pie and homemade gnocchi. She loves to cook and we have been putting on what I have been jokingly calling our “Africa reserve layer!”

Hurricane Irene also made an appearance last week. Before Irene made landfall about 50 miles up the coast, we put up boards on the windows and got the generator ready for the inevitable power outage. Lots of wind and rain and trees down but we escaped any real damage. We had the boards down by Saturday evening, and by Sunday the yard was clean. The power went out at about 2 am on Saturday morning and came back on at about 2 am on Sunday. The generator kept the cold and a few lights on, so it wasn't even much of an inconvenience.

We have had a couple of bike-related issues while we've been here. Re was trying to start her bike one morning, and the starter wouldn't turn over, as if the battery was weak. Because we were in a hurry to get to Scott's BBQ, I just ran over and gave the kickstarter a kick to get it going. The kickstarter would barely turn for a revolution or so and then it turned easily...? The bike fired up, but I almost didn't notice the strong smell of gas when it did. We took off for the gas station as we were nearly empty, and when we got there Re said that her bike wasn't running right. When I filled up the tanks I saw that Re's took nearly .1 gallon more than mine, which is unusual since they usually take almost identical amounts. I swapped bikes with Re and found that her bike was hesitating but would pull a normal top speed, it was just jerky while doing it. Thinking back through our trip, I recalled the beetle that went down the funnel into Re's tank on our third day of our trip. My suspicion was that the low fuel level in the tank might have resulted in beetle parts being pulled through the fuel screen and into the fuel filter, restricting fuel flow. (Maybe?) After a few miles, the bike began running smoothly and kept doing so for the rest of the trip. But the beetle-induced fuel restriction just didn't make sense, the bike would still pull full speed – not like there was a fuel restriction. And then it hit me. I signaled to pull over and looked at the clear airbox overflow tube and saw just what I was afraid of. It was full and it didn't look like oil. Hard to turn over, strong smell of gas when it did, using too much fuel, and blubbering because of too much fuel. My suspicion was confirmed when I pulled the drain plug on the airbox drain and watched the gasoline drain onto the pavement. The bike had “hydraulic-ed,” the cylinder had filled with fuel, probably due to the vacuum petcock not stopping fuel flow to the carb when parked or perhaps a sticking float. Crap. We were only about 5 miles from my sister's house when I finally figured it out, so we stopped for a quart of oil and headed for her place. We drained the oil and it was full of gas, we shook and tilted the bike to try to get out as much as we could – another time when a 200 lb bike is handy. While the oil was draining I dropped float bowl and pulled the float. The float hadn't sprung a leak and the float needle and seat both looked OK, too. (Another nice thing about the Symbas is you can remove the float bowl with the carb still in place on the bike. Just remove the leg shields and the two screws that hold the carb bowl on, and you have full access.) We buttoned the carb back up, pulled the fuel line and found no fuel flow, so whatever the problem was appeared to have fixed itself. (I still think its the ghost of that beetle!) We filled it back up with oil and changed it again the next day. (Another nice thing about the Symba is an oil change only requires 800cc's of oil!) The problem hasn't reoccurred yet, but we are keeping an eye on it.

The other problem is my broken rear spoke. I just found it this morning as I was doing my usual maintenance in preparation for getting back on the road tomorrow. All the other spokes were tight enough, so I don't know why this one broke. It snapped on the end near the rear brake hub, approximately 1 inch from the hub itself. I have a call into Alliance Powersports to try to have a couple Fed-exed to us in Ohio. I hope they come through as it would be the easiest solution, but I also have already checked out Buchanan's as a back-up. Sigh.



We also partially disassembled the bikes yesterday so we could measure them for crating. We are going to have a crate built by a company in Toronto and are in the process of finalizing our shipping plans. The big bummer is that it appears the crate is going to weigh 275 pounds!?! Apparently it is made out of depleted uranium or something... The bikes only weigh 200 pounds each. And at $6.53 CAD a kilo to ship from Toronto to Cape Town, that is one expensive crate. We are looking into an uncrated option right now and are waiting for a call back. I'd rather they be crated, but between the cost of the crate and the added weight it has added nearly $600 to my estimate.

Tomorrow we head to Selma, NC to visit more family, Friday and Saturday we'll be in Raleigh with friends for drinks and debauchery. Sunday (my 45th birthday) we start our two day ride to northeastern Ohio for a visit with the in-laws before riding to Toronto on the 11th where the bikes get crated on the 12th for a flight on the 15th. We fly out on the 15th and land in Cape Town on the morning of the 17th, where we hope to soon be reunited with our Symbas for Phase 3 of this little ride.
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9/1 – 9/3 Last Stand in North Carolina

9/1 Ride to Selma, NC

No maintenance today since I did it all the previous day. We re-packed the bikes and rode out about 10am for a lunch date at Scott's BBQ in Goldsboro. As this was the first time we had ridden the bikes fully loaded in over two weeks, we were surprised by their girth. It took the whole day of riding to get re-acclimated to the weight, topheaviness, and lack of acceleration that results from carrying a full 50 pounds of gear on each bike. I also stopped periodically to check on my rear spokes but had no further problems with them. We made our way to Goldsboro and sat down for another meal of porky goodness at Scott's before riding to my sister's house in Selma. We checked over the bikes when we arrived and found no problems, so we toured the property to see what Irene had wrought. Our new mailboxes were still standing and, other than a few downed limbs and split trees, there was no other significant damage to her property or ours. Later that evening we went to my great-nephew's soccer practice and spent time with the family. Afterward, we adjourned to Heidi's in Smithfield for a truly excellent burger and a couple of s.

122 miles in about 4 hours, bikes running fine.

9/2 and 9/3 Ride to Raleigh

We enjoyed a late morning with my sister before heading for Raleigh. A short ride later we were at our friend Matt's business where we unloaded the bikes and headed out for (wait for it...) more food. A delicious taqueria at the BP gas station on Capitol. Yummy! We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on what has changed (and what hasn't) before heading out to the Flying Saucer for and visiting with more old friends. After another stop for a few more s we returned to Matt's for the night.

The next morning we woke late (I'm getting too old for this shit) and drank some coffee in an attempt to clear the fog. Shortly after another old friend came by, and we spent many hours catching up on travels and times. Benjy lived in the Chiapas region of Mexico for many years before leaving on extremely short notice due to increasing drug activity and violence in the area. It was fascinating to talk to someone who actually lived in the area for so many years and hear about the changes that he has seen over the years. Lunch and then dinner and then a little hair of the dog before heading to bed early so we could head for Ohio in the morning.

43 miles in about 2 hours, all the spokes are still ringing clearly.
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9/4 Raleigh, North Carolina to Front Royal, Virginia

We woke up a little late again but felt better than the previous morning. It was my 45th birthday today, and I was looking forward to a good day on the road. Coffee downed and shower taken, I headed out to the bikes for the now familiar routine of morning maintenance. It was a happy surprise to find everything basically in spec, they just needed some chain lube and one psi in the rear tire of each bike, and we were good to go. The weather was good but a little humid as we rode north out of Raleigh towards the Virginia border. We were both experiencing some mixed emotions about our stay in NC. We lived there for 12 years and still have family and friends in the state but left under some unhappy circumstances. Neither of us ever thought we would want to return but both found ourselves a little sad as we rode farther away. These emotions seemed to cloud our journey today. The weather got hotter and more humid, the roads were busier than they needed to be, and I had a bad case of “bike noise paranoia”. We also seem to have lost our paper map somewhere along the way. It was tucked in its usual spot inside the Rok-straps behind Rebekah but went missing sometime during the afternoon.



I kept checking over the bikes every time we stopped, sure I could see or hear something odd as we slowly made it further north. We stopped for a lunch of Clif Bars and warm water and took a rest in the parking lot of a high school in Oxford, NC. When I once again checked the spokes, I noticed what turned out to be the cause of the erratic tapping that I could occasionally hear – the funnel which is clipped to the helmet lock on the left side of my bike was turned around from its normal position and was banging against the side of the bike in the wind. One mystery solved, we got back on the road and found ourselves in Front Royal, Virginia at about 6:30pm. We had only ridden about 260 miles by this point but my sister (who travels for a living) had mentioned how much she liked Front Royal a couple of times, so we decided to stop for the night. Mistake #1. Maybe there is a North Front Royal?, or maybe life at the Fairfield is nicer?, or maybe it was just our general funk, but we never found the good side of Front Royal. Since it was my birthday, we checked out the under $60 hotels and quickly decided not to stay in any of them. Cigarette burns and moldy carpets were the common denominator and apparently (as evidenced by the numerous non-operable cars outside) the inexpensive hotels in Front Royal also double as Section 8 housing.

So we decided to camp. Hey, it's a tourist area – there has to be good camping, right? Mistake #2. We fired up the iPhone and located several local campgrounds and ruled out a few due to distance. We stopped by one and found out that tent camping (no hook-ups!) was $32, so we rode on. By now it had started sprinkling and our standards quickly plummeted, and the “right” campground turned into the “right now” campground. About this time we spied the Gooney Creek campground and pulled in, determined to take whatever we found and pitch camp ASAP. Mistake #3. If you get bored you can read the reviews on TripAdvisor (that we later found) and appreciate the loveliness of this place. One of the reviews likens it to a campground from Deliverance and that is a pretty apt description. If the place hadn't been packed due to the holiday weekend, I think we might have seriously worried about banjo music late at night. But I digress. As I set up camp, Re once again headed out in search of food. Lightning was flashing in the hills around us by the time she returned. She did a nice job of approximating a birthday dinner with a steak and blue cheese pasta dish, salad, bread, and a tiny cheesecake for dessert, all washed down with oil cans of Foster's lager. We soon went to bed and fell asleep to the sounds of falling rain and the drunkards down the way.

Just a quick update on our spare spokes – it turned out that Alliance Powersports, the SYM importer, was unable to get spokes to us after all. Michael, in the parts department, did put me in touch with Chris from Ootys Scooters in Santa Barbara. Chris recently installed a new front wheel on a customer's Symba and was able to salvage some spokes from the damaged wheel. He, very kindly, is sending a few via UPS to my in-laws house in Ohio, gratis! Thanks, Chris!

280 miles in about 10 hours. The bikes are running fine, I'm just having a little trouble trusting them right now.
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9/5 Front Royal, Virginia to Kinsman, Ohio

After a not very restful night, we woke up to a soaking wet campground. At least it wasn't raining while we fixed our coffee and ate our peaches. We started taking down the tent and wrenching on the bikes when it began to sprinkle again. A quick check of the radar on the iPhone showed what a long day we were in for. I did an abbreviated service on the bikes, adding a bit of oil and actually airing down the rear tires to 32 psi (from 34). I also dutifully rang every spoke in my new ritual of penance to the gods of tensile strength as it began to rain harder. While riding yesterday I had the opportunity to think about my spokes. Before we started this trip I decided to set our tire pressures at 30/34 (up from the recommended 25/28) for lower rolling resistance and longer tire life. I wonder if the increased pressure might have contributed to the spoke failure by decreasing the amount of “give” in the sidewalls? I guess I will never know, but I decided to lower the pressures just in case.

We decided to skip the shower that morning as we couldn't figure out how to dry off in the rain and (honestly) the bath house was more than a little scary. While the bikes warmed up before we set off, I noticed that my tail light wasn't lit. The brake light still worked, but I had no running light. Fortunately we had an auxiliary bicycle light (my dad insisted that we have them for heavy traffic) that I clipped on and set to continuous red. We hopped on the bikes and headed out once again and strained to see any clearing in the distance.

Our route for the day was confusing. In order to stay off the interstates, the route involved so many different roads that I actually had to write them out as a list. Our missing paper map also added to the confusion since I couldn't check the directions against reality. For a while we were on a different rural highway every 10 miles or so. And it rained, and rained, and rained. It rained for the first 8 hours of the trip: occasionally it sprinkled, occasionally it poured, but the water never stopped. And it was cold. The highest temperature we saw was about 65 degrees. Our gear was purchased with Africa, India, and SE Asia in mind, so warm it isn't. We stopped shortly after we started the ride and cinched up all our vents. Later we donned our fleece pullovers, and by the end of the ride we were shivering. We didn't break out our wool base layers but, in retrospect, should have.

We stopped for lunch in the early afternoon at McDeath, which looked like the warmest and driest place in whatever that town was. We sat and ate for a while as we watched the rain continue to soak our bikes. The gear mostly did what it was supposed to: the Dariens kept the rain out, and our Ortliebs and Pelicans kept our stuff dry. Our boots, however, appear to only be waterproof for 6 hours or so, as we both eventually found our toes squishing in water.


That afternoon we rode out of Virginia into West Virginia,



through Maryland,



and into southern Pennsylvania. The roads in places were as steep as many in the Rockies, and some may have been steeper. Re and I found ourselves struggling up some of the hills in third gear and had to resort to second gear on more than a few occasions. The roads here were beautiful and twisty, and they would have been a lot more fun in better weather (and on a bigger bike). The rain finally stopped somewhere north of Pittsburgh, and we were glad to see some sun trying to break through. After spending the afternoon wringing the water out of our gloves at every stop, our spirits started to rise as we pushed through the last two hours of the day. We finally crossed into Ohio and arrived at the in-laws' sometime after 6 pm and jumped in the hot shower to warm up. Eggs and potatoes and coffee also helped to warm our cores before we headed off to bed.

299 Miles and 5 states in about 10 hours today. The bikes ran well, the spokes held, but I lost a tail light bulb.
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9/6 – 9/10 Yet another pause in the Trip

Our last stop before leaving the US was a familial obligation visit with the in-laws in northeastern Ohio. One last chance to do some maintenance on the bikes before we pack them up. Yay! And one last chance to listen to my in-laws express their disapproval of our lives. Boo! Tuesday was an easy day of slacking off and sleeping late. The in-laws have 100 acres of land that used to be a rod-and-gun club, complete with a 10 acre or so lake. My father-in-law recently purchased a small pontoon boat with a 2hp electric motor for general lake duty. In the afternoon the sun made one of its very few appearances for the week and in order to take advantage of it, we took the boat out for a cruise and some fishing. The rest of the evening we again tried to explain our reasons for this trip, to little avail.

Wednesday we borrowed a car and rode into town for some last minute supplies and to get out of the house for a while. We picked up fresh oil and a new blue tarp to replace the “custom” bike cover that we somehow lost in Raleigh. It rained most of the day, so it wasn't very conducive to getting much else done. Fortunately we went out to dinner so we could make polite small talk about the food instead of hearing how we are throwing our educations away (again).



Thursday was a better day as it was not raining too much and we could escape to the garage to do some bike maintenance. Our rear tires were shot and needed to be replaced. We had been carrying a new Michelin Gazelle each in case the stockers didn't last this far, but they did an admirable job for the last 5500 miles. Changing the tires couldn't have been easier. No bead breaker was required, just a firm squeeze with the hands, and no more than one tire iron was ever needed. We did Rebekah's bike first, the tire was easily removed and a tire iron was only needed to start the first bead over the rim. The tube was still in good shape, so it went back in and the new tire popped right back on. On installation, a tire lever was only required for the last couple of inches of the second bead. Sweet. The owner's manual has you remove the exhaust to facilitate getting the tire in and out of position, but I just lifted the back of the bike off of the ground as Re wiggled the tire back in place. Another advantage to a 200 pound bike! I just removed the tire from my bike since I was still (somewhat nervously) awaiting the delivery of my replacement spoke. I also took the opportunity to change the oil in both bikes and to adjust the valves. The valve adjustment is easiest with two people and only takes about 30 minutes, including removing and re-installing the leg shields. The intakes were less than .02mm loose and were easy to put right thanks to screw-type valve adjusters. The exhausts were both still good at .12mm, so we just buttoned them back up. A visual inspection of the chains showed no real change since the initial adjustment after installation. The sun made a brief appearance later that afternoon so we grabbed the binoculars and went out for a bird watching cruise on the lake before another uncomfortable dinner.

Friday was a nervous day, waiting for the UPS man to arrive with my spokes. This was the last chance for them to be delivered before we left for Canada and Africa, so I was more than a little anxious. We spent the morning shopping for my belated birthday dinner and having lunch at a great little hotdog shop in Sharon, Pennsylvania. The UPS man finally showed up around 3 pm with my spokes. Yay! Once again I would like to say “Thanks” to Chris at Ooty's Scoots for saving my butt and sending me these spokes. One of the most pleasant surprises of this trip has been the kindness of complete strangers who have helped us when we needed it. I installed the replacement spoke and popped the new tire on and lifted the rear of the bike so Re could wiggle the wheel back into place. Re got the wheel into the gap, and when I set the back end of the bike back down, we both saw and heard a nut fall out of the rear end of my bike... Well now, that's not right.



Re pulled the rear wheel back out, and we soon found where the nut came from. The rear wheel of the Symba actually fits on a splined hub that remains attached to the bike when the wheel is removed. Similar to the set-up on bikes with single-sided swingarms, it's a nice system because you don't have to disturb the chain when you remove the wheel. The rear sprocket is bolted to the splined hub by four bolts that are held in place by tabbed washers. This is where the nut came from. Closer examination revealed that only one bolt was mostly snug, one had lost its nut entirely and the nuts were almost off on the other two... More worryingly still was that one bolt head had clearly been rubbing against the inside of the swingarm and had machined some thickness off of the bolt head. Not cool. The tabs on the washers appeared to have not done much good as they were all partially bent away from the bolt heads. I removed the hub from the bike, removed the bolts, re-flattened the washer tabs, and put it all back together and re-staked the tabs as tightly as I could. We then put it all back together and fit the wheel in place once more. We tightened everything back up, adjusted the chain and pronounced the bikes (after I inspected the bolts on Re's) fit for Africa! Ahem.

Saturday was our last day in Ohio and most of the day was taken up by lunch with many of Re's extended family, which was nice; it was good to catch up with some people we haven't seen in a long time. The not so nice part was the 1.5 hour ride each way with the in-laws. Later that evening we had the big discussion over dinner. Re and I both know that our lives make some people very uncomfortable. One common reaction to our situation seems to be that our lives make people reflect on decisions in their own lives that they have (or haven't) made and things they have or haven't done. The reactions to this seem to vary from people looking quietly confused to outright hostility. It's very peculiar. We often say how our lives aren't for everyone and that everyone has to do what makes them happy. We certainly never try to push our way of life onto other people and we wish other people would do the same. After another awkward evening, we headed to bed early so we could be on the road in the morning.

No miles, just a lot of maintenance.
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Old 9 Nov 2011
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9/11 Ride to Toronto

We rose early and got going quickly as we couldn't wait to get on the road again. Re's mom cooked us omelets, potatoes, and sliced tomatoes all accompanied by some good coffee. We loaded the bikes under gray skies (again) and said our good-byes and we were off. Heading north towards Lake Erie the sky began to lighten and the sun made a brief appearance. Our spirits felt lighter than they had all week as we approached the North Coast. We turned east on US 20 and crossed into Pennsylvania.



We stopped for a quick commemorative picture at the border as we had just completed the first 5000 miles of this trip. The ride was pretty even though the sun decided to hide again, the light traffic allowed us to enjoy the fields of grape arbors that populate this region.



Enjoying the sights and smells we soon found ourselves at the New York border where even the light raindrops dotting our face shields didn't dampen our spirits. We turned onto NY 5 which followed the coast more closely and we spied glimpses of the water through the grape arbors as we cruised along. We stopped in Dunkirk, NY late in the morning to stretch our legs and have a peach. Refreshed we continued towards the ever darkening skies which finally let loose near Angola, NY. At first we attempted to keep going but the pummeling rain limited visibility to only a few hundred feet. I spied a car wash on the left and we quickly pulled off through the standing water and into the shelter of an empty bay. We hid out for about 30 minutes, waiting for the rain to subside. We also enjoyed another Clif Bar and water lunch. Only the best for me and my lady! The rain eventually slacked off and we made for the Canadian border and (hopefully) drier pastures. As we approached the Peace Bridge we were happy to see blue skies ahead. A few minutes later we had completed our first border crossing, paid our $6 toll and promptly missed our first exit. A few u-turns later we were heading west through the Canadian countryside. This was our first real visit to Canada and were surprised to see how similar it is to the US. There are some notable differences, though. We really are enjoying the cultural diversity and the associated cuisines. I am also enjoying the denim shorts that seem to be the style here for women. As an unrepentant ass-man I certainly appreciated the “scenery” as we rode. (Sorry, I didn't get any pictures) We wound our way through the countryside and eventually made it to our hotel that will be our temporary home until 9/15 when we depart for Cape Town.

279 miles an about 9.5 hours. The bikes are running well.
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9/12 – 9/14 Prepping the bikes for their flight to Cape Town

Monday morning we rode the mighty Symbas through Mississauga morning rush hour traffic to Pack-All Crating. This crating company was recommended to us by our contact at British Airways Cargo. We arrived around 8:30 am and met with our contact who directed us around to the warehouse. We rode in, and the foreman found us a safe spot to park the bikes. We had to explain our plans a couple of times before everyone understood how we wanted them crated. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and let us get to disassembling the bikes.



While I removed the front wheels and fenders from each bike, Re disconnected the batteries and also acted as a counterweight. We then unbolted the handlebars and folded them so they were parallel with the front forks. The handlebar mounting bolts are partially hidden below the speedometers and were a pain in the ass to remove. I then zip-tied the handlebars in place, and we arranged the bikes as they would be fitted in the crate. Once we had them arranged, measurements were taken and the crate size finalized. The whole process took about 1.5 hours. The good news of the day was that due to the small size and light weight of our bikes it was determined that we could use a lighter weight crate (apparently the depleted uranium option wasn't required). Our crate will now only weigh 212 pounds instead of 275 and at $3 CAD per pound, it adds up rather quickly. We left our bikes in their capable hands and walked the 3 miles or so to the airport terminal where we picked up our rental car. We are out of the habit of walking so far, especially carrying all of our riding gear in hand. We drove back to the hotel and collapsed. The shipping issue has been the most stressful part of the trip so far and getting this far was a relief.



Tuesday we wrote some blog posts and RRs and generally hung out. We did go out for a really delicious thali lunch at some Indian restaurant and sweets shop in a strip mall across from the airport. They were doing renovations so we had to get our food to go. We tried to find a park to eat in but settled for the bleachers at a ballpark next to the Powerade Centre. I always take Re to the nicest places! At least the food was excellent, with one of our favorite taste treats, soan papdi for dessert. We called the crating company later in the afternoon and were told that we could come by the next morning to put the last few items in the crate.



Wednesday we headed back to the crating company early in the morning. When we got there, we found our bikes loaded in their crate and the top waiting to go on. We put our helmets and riding gear in the crate and then watched while they closed it up and stenciled on all the appropriate markings. Shortly thereafter, the cartage company arrived and loaded it into their truck for the 3 mile ($100 CAD!!) ride to the British Airways Cargo facility. We followed in our car and met with Desmond Green who was filling in for Savio that day. In less than 20 minutes, we completed all the paperwork and paid for the shipping and were on our way to lunch. Our crate came in at 70x44x38 inches and 301 kilos, which meant that we had to pay for 320 kilos since that was our weight by volume (length X width X height in inches /366 is the formula to calculate volume weight in kilos, and they charge you whichever is heavier, actual or volume weight). Including the $250 CAD dangerous goods fee and $25 CAD in paperwork, the total was $2364.60 CAD. Add in $389 for the crating and cartage, and our grand total was $2753.60 CAD. Since we have an address in the US to invoice, we are not subject to the 13% HST, which saved us a little bit on the crate cost. More than I hoped for but less than I feared, my original guesstimate was around $2400, but after we heard the crate weight and HST when we were in NC, I was figuring closer to $3000 CAD. . This is still far better than any quote we could get out of the US. We were offered our own 20 foot container by sea to Durban for over $4000 or airfreight from New York for $8300!!

Our flight for Cape Town leaves at around 11 pm on 9/15, so between then and now we have laundry to do, and we have to completely re-pack our luggage for the airplane.

Our trip so far has covered a combined 10484 miles. We have used 113.25 gallons of fuel over that distance for an average of 92.6 mpg. We also averaged 327 miles per day of riding, which ain't bad for 100ccs!
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good job! excellent ride report, well-written and entertaining.

looking forward to the next part... although slightly worried about how the bikes are going to fare in africa!
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9/15 – 9/19 Africa!

9/15 and 9/16

Thursday morning we got up and repacked our luggage for the plane. We stuffed our Ortlieb duffels into the Pacsafe sacks for the first time in anger, and they fit! We had to return the car by 1pm, but our flight didn't leave until 10:45 pm. We hoped to be able to check our bags at 1 and have the afternoon to visit Toronto via public transport, but no luck. Instead, we sat in the Toronto airport for over 10 hours. Our flights were relatively uneventful, just long. From Toronto to Abu Dhabi was 11 ½ hours in flight followed by a 3 hour layover. Our flight to Cape Town went via Johannesburg, so it was 8 hours to Joburg, a 1 hour layover, and 2 more hours to Cape Town. This was our first flight on Etihad, and overall, we were impressed. The seats have good leg room, the food was excellent, the flight attendants wear cute hats and tight little skirts.

9/17



We arrived in Cape Town around 8am, breezed through immigrations and customs, hit the ATM, and hopped the MyCITI bus into downtown Cape Town and arrived at the Cat and Moose Backpackers' Hotel by 10am. This is the place that Fishfund and company spent a month earlier this year while waiting for their bikes. Hopefully we will have better luck. When we checked in, John remembered Nick and Luke and laughed about their misadventures. They apparently made quite an impression here. While we dozed some on the plane, we were still very tired, so we took a 3 hour nap before heading out to see some sights. Cape Town is a strange place. The poverty, high rate of unemployment, and racial tensions makes for an uncomfortable mix. Some areas of the city are very beautiful, but I feel like I have to be constantly aware of our surroundings, which lessens the enjoyment. Still tired, we hit the bed early and (accidentally) slept for 13 hours. The biggest surprise is how chilly it is here. I thought Africa was supposed to be hot! Today's high was only 65 degrees and the overnight low was in the upper 40s.

Accommodations and food also seem like a poor value compared to southeast Asia.

9/18



After a long night's sleep we woke to a gray , rainy, and chilly morning. We are glad we brought wool base layers and fleece pullovers. With our Marmot rainjackets over top, we are staying reasonably warm (but I thought this was Africa?!?). Originally we had wanted to tour some museums, but most of them were closed since it was Sunday, so our quest instead, was for a gas can. The staff at the guesthouse made some suggestions, but we had no luck at the 3 stores we visited. We can't seem to find either an auto parts store or the equivalent of a Wal-Mart. We really need a gas can for tomorrow because, after signing up for the shitty wifi, British Airways cargo website informed us that our bikes had arrived at noon today!!!! We spent the rest of the day consulting the maps and guidebooks while planning our next week or so of travel. In the name of science, we retired to our room in an attempt to determine if, like water in the sink, anything else spins in the opposite direction now that we are south of the equator. The results were inconclusive, so we have planned further testing!

After dinner we stopped out at a local bar to enjoy our first Carling Black Labels before hitting the bed early, as tomorrow will be a busy day.

9/19



We got up early this morning and gathered all the tools and paperwork we would need for our trip to the airport. Re found the number for Swissport Cargo, who handle British Airways cargo handling, and called and confirmed that our cargo was ready and waiting for us. John was finally back on duty at the front desk and pointed us to apparently the only store in Cape Town that carries gas cans. We walked the ¾ mile to the store, then another ½ mile to the nearest gas station, then another ½ mile to the bus to take us back to the airport. With 4 liters of gas in our new can, we rode to the airport.

Around 10am we arrived at the passenger terminal, and Re got directions to Swissport, and we walked another ¾ mile to the cargo building. Along the way, we collected a number of strange looks from the workmen and passersby as we trudged along the highway with our backpacks and our gas can. We found our way to the counter at Swissport Cargo and procured our paperwork. Our next stop was the neighboring Customs building, where our journey was almost interrupted. The guard escorted us to Room 39, where we met Susie, who looked none too happy to see us. We passed our paperwork through the slot in the counter, and after examining it, she told us we would need a broker to complete the transaction. Luckily I was in the process of pulling out our Carnet documents at the time, and upon spying these, she asked whether we had Carnet. After finding out that we did, her mood changed entirely, and she said it would be no problem. She filled out some paperwork for us to take back to Swissport and told us to bring the bikes back when they were uncrated. We returned to the Swissport counter with papers in hand, turned them over, paid the 195 Rand (about $26.50 USD) handling fee, and took the papers to the warehouse.



Here is where we met several of our new best friends. Chief among them was Karim, a supervisor in the warehouse. He immediately took us under his wing, due in no small part to Re's charming ways and quick humor. For insurance reasons, we could not uncrate the bikes inside the warehouse, so Karim brought our crate to the parking lot and proceeded to help us uncrate the bikes.



Over the next hour and a half or so, we had a rotating cast of at least 7 helpers who “assisted” us with reassembly. Apparently we were the funnest thing going that day, as we attracted new friends from the warehouse and from the customers who came to pick up their own freight.



The bikes went back together relatively easily, but it may have been faster with fewer people involved! Both bikes fired up immediately and don't appear to be any worse for their trip. We were a little concerned about how to dispose of our crate, but one of our helpers asked what we were going to do with it and was overjoyed when we told him it was his for the taking. After a quick test ride around the parking lot, we rode over to Customs, where Susie came out to do her inspection of the bikes. Back inside to have our Carnets stamped, and we were on the road by 2pm. We were surprised how easy and pleasant an experience this was: we cleared Customs ourselves and reassembled the bikes in less than 4 hours and had a good time to boot! It was exciting to actually pull out onto the main roads on another continent. We got a lot of bewildered looks from people in passing cars as we made our way down the N2 into the center of Cape Town. A 100cc bike may not be much in the kingdom of motorcycles, but as we cruised down the roads we'd walked earlier today, I realized it's a hell of an upgrade from walking.



Back at the Cat and Moose, John held the front gate open for us as we rode down the hallway and into the courtyard, where our bike sit safely tonight. Tomorrow we plan to hit the museums we missed on Sunday before we head south to Hermanus on Wednesday.
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