The Chequered Flag
…………..259 day, 18,572 miles, 18 countries, a fuel bill of £827.24 and no GPS just maps I finally get to see my chequered flag. Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa. Unfortunately it was only a mere glimpse as Mother Nature had decided to be cruel on crossing the finish line by shrouding the land mark in substantial cloud cover. A couple of hours later and its raining, my first rain in over a month. Thanks for the memory.
The final miles in to Cape Town riding down the R27 were terrifying; listening and feeling every new noise and vibration from the bike, having the fear of an imminent breakdown so close to the finish. Having ridden the bike for so long it has almost become a part of me, I was worried for it. Having crossed the finish line I think that it fair to say that both the bike and I have performed admirable well over the past nine months. Looking at a map I am amazed and in many ways can not believe haw far we have gone together. From the top to the bottom of such an expansive continent, on good roads, on bad roads and on no roads at all. What was I thinking; it has been an awesome trip.
And the best of all, from now on when some asks me, ‘where are you going?’ I can say, ‘nowhere, I am already there’. No more, ‘to Cape Town’, ‘where’, ‘South Africa’. Once this is established the normal response would be, ‘on this bike, on your own, it’s not possible on these roads, do you have a gun?’ Generally after a bit more gibberish about travelling further south they finish with, ‘you must have a lot of money?’, ‘no not really, not anymore’. So don’t ask for some I am not a mobile ATM!
So what now? Well it’s my birthday soon so I think a celebration is in order and once I have got over the fact that I no longer have to think of where it is to next I’ll take to exploring the Western Cape before heading back to working for a living, again.
Africa at times is difficult to describe in words so I don’t think that I will try here. Never the less I will say that my best experience has been all of it and that what I’ll miss most of all is the experience that Africa offers to anyone willing to come here.
For now I am signing off, leaving you with some random photos of the trip. I hope that you have enjoyed the read, laughed at some of the stories, even possible been inspired yourself. A big thank you to all those of have donated to Riders, from my experiences throughout this trip and having visited the organisation I know that your money will be going to make a difference to the people here in Africa where it is needed.
Ten months in Africa travelling slowly overland and soon what will be a short flight back to London. That will be a culture shock!!
Posted by Andrew Wells at October 03, 2007 12:46 PM GMT