Date: 11 December 1998
Hoe gaan die .... (Afrikaans),
We're on the road again! But things are going slowly. We had a hard
time leaving Bloemfontein, even while I did not like the work in the pub
too much (paid lousy), but quit within a week the better money in a restaurant
as well (very hard work, but being yelled at in front of customers by
a complete asshole who thinks he's made it is not really what I had in
mind when I started working there).
Instead we used our energy to decorate the wall of a Johan and Denise's
patio (four panels) in colourful African decorative designs with a European
finishing touch and I redesigned and painted the nameplate (2.40m X 2.40m)
of the nursery where we stayed. We enjoyed the company of Jan and Alta,
the owners of the nursery and Johan and Denise, who also drive a motorcycle,
very much and met a lot of people at the Prowlers Motorcycle Club in Bloemfontein.
We were glad to be able to see the Christmas play of the school of Jan's
Had to go through all our stuff another time, because we still carry
along too much before being able to leave. Made a package with things
to send "home" too. A friend of Jan, the owner of the nursery,
made us a (little bit too) big metal box to fit on top of our sidecar.
This is to replace all the loose stuff that does not fit inside our sidecar-box.
So it is kept dry during the rainy season, out of sight and locked up
We are really happy with our new tent, but are scratching
our heads every time we tie it down between the sidecar-box and the motorcycle.
It weighs 13 kilo's!!! and is really too heavy. It is the best (against
heat and cold, heavy duty, heavy quality, good ventilating) tent we ever
had however and we hope it will last for 13 years (compared to the 11
months our (expensive) nylon tents lasted).
Rob constructed two brackets to carry the tent and, although it takes
up space between the motorcycle and the sidecar, we still have enough
space for our legs. Jan (of the nursery) constructed a tool for us to
press tyres out of the rim. This has been a real problem for as long as
we are travelling. Every time we needed to replace or repair a tyre, Rob
worked himself half dead getting that done. Rob's way also damaged the
rim and gave us a real problem trying to get the tube around the rim without
being punctured another time by the sharp edges of the rim. Now we simply
chain this tool to a light or electricity-pole or to a fence and press
the tyre till it plops. 5 minutes work.
So we took off from Bloemfontein towards the Namibian border. Visited
Johan and Denise's nephew Paul and family, who gave us again a hard time
to leave, by welcoming us so warmly and becoming real good friends.
The road to Namibia is dusty but impressive. The dry land is touched
a little here and there by erosion. You really get the feeling of timelessness
standing on the dry, stony crust of the earth.
In Keetmanshoop we met two lovely people from Johannesburg, who made
us stay another day before we took off to Luderitz and our 11th encounter
with the Atlantic Ocean.
Namibia is a very German-orientated country, although it was not very
long their colony (1884-1915). A lot of people are of German descendants
and speak German. You also see a lot of German Fachwerkhauser (German-style
architecture) and find Kaffee mit Kuche in coffee-shops.
South of Luderitz stretches the Spergebiet in the Namib Desert, a restricted
diamond-mining area bigger than Holland. On the edge of this Spergebiet
the diamond-diggers village of Kolmanskop, now a ghost town, is well preserved
and open to visitors. The houses have a hard time resisting the ever-blowing
wind, which moves the sand of the Namib Desert wherever possible and half
bury them. A real paradise for photographers.
We were shocked and surprised to find our red oil-indicator burning
in Luderitz, having to add 700 cc of oil on just a distance of 400 km.
This was a very bad sign. Rob tried to find out what was wrong, but did
not want to open the engine, for we if there was trouble in the cylinders,
we could not repair it over there. The airfilter was clean, the spark
plugs were a little greasy, but things did not look too bad. Rob worried
himself sick, while we were finding out which were our odds going on to
Windhoek (capital of Namibia) or returning to South Africa. 500 km back
in South Africa, Paul informed us everything we needed (but spare parts)
was present and waiting for us to arrive.
Back in South Africa
Back in Douglas, South Africa, the oil was send to Durban for analysis
and Rob took the engine apart, after finding a lot of Namibian sand inside
the airfilter-housing. The sand was everywhere, in the carburettors and
the cylinders, but luckily enough had not made too big a mess, probably
because we do not drive too fast and the sand was not too fine. With the
help of Paul and the people of a small but very professional engineering
company everything was measured and checked.
The sand had not been fatal and after honing the cylinders and putting
new piston-rings on (we still had those), Rob and Paul built the engine
together again. The valves also needed to be adjusted and we tested the
engine for about 600 km. It still uses a little bit of oil, but runs smooth
and sounds happy.