I'm starting in New York then heading south, until the money runs out...

Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.

January 10, 2006 GMT
The First Lucky Escape

The Blue Ridge Parkway really does get better as you go south.

It was a glorious autumnal afternoon in October and I was going faster and faster as the adrenaline started to flow. The leaves were spectacular shades of orange, yellow and gold in the softening light.

I could see a left hand corner coming and moved slightly to the right.
Even though I had left Connecticut a week ago and I was still feeling a bit weird.

I had felt very unsettled when I got home from my last trip and had only worked for six months before starting this trip.

‘Why did I start this one when I knew I didn’t have enough money to last very long?’

I knew I couldn’t stay at home and pushed these thoughts out of my mind.

Today was why I had got on my bike again:

The pure joy of being outside surrounded by beautiful scenery. The amazing kindness of complete strangers. The buzz from constantly seeing new things, from the speed and the total freedom to go wherever I wanted.


I love it.

The corner was approaching quickly but I still couldn’t see around it.

As I glanced up at the wall of leaves straight ahead I saw the reflection of a white truck.

I instantly closed the throttle and moved to the right of the road.

A huge white truck appeared out of nowhere and roared past me.

This is a National Park. There aren’t supposed to be any trucks in it at all.

If I hadn’t ‘seen’ it in the leaves I doubt I’d be here now.

It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up just to write this story.


Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.

Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 04:13 PM GMT | Comments (0)
February 01, 2006 GMT
Chimps in Gombe NP, Tanzania

There's only 1.4% difference in our DNA.

(Reassuringly we also apparently share 40% of our DNA with mushrooms).

One young male came and lay down about five feet away and stayed there for ten minutes.

In spite of thier small size in comparison to gorillas they are a lot more violent. They kill other animals - monkeys and also thier own kind like we do.



MORE...
Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 04:09 PM GMT
February 19, 2006 GMT
Gorillas in Virungas NP, Rwanda

Wow.

At 220 Kilos, the silverback is not some one to argue with. He is huge.

Especially when he starts running towards you thumping his chest and roaring.




MORE...
Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 04:15 PM GMT
February 26, 2006 GMT
Bent & Broken Bits

I've just learnt something new and relearnt something I already knew:

- Don't ride on collapsed suspension
- Don't let anyone work on my bike - Parts 1 and 2

Collapsed Suspension - A very slow 20km on a dirt road bent the shock shaft -> $700 for a 'reconditioned' rear shock. I nearly cried.

Others working on my bike:

Part 1 - The 'mechanic' broke a rear wheel bearing hammering it out with a punch. Removing the broken bit damaged the hub -> $200 for a new hub (to avoid further butchery to remove the new bearing and spacer I needed.

Part 2 - A dealer 'forgot' to replace one of the spacers - which is why the bearing kept failing in the first place.

I have just added a 'dealer error' page to my site listing all their cock ups. These are just the tip of the iceberg....

The prices in Kenya are scary. Ian Duncan is the only dealer between South Africa and Cairo and knows it.

Brake pads $60 (a pair), steering head bearings $60, rear Enduro 3 $200.






Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.

Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 11:15 AM GMT
March 25, 2006 GMT
Ethiopia - Lalibela and Gonder

Here's one I took a few days ago of St Georges church:


They really are extraordinary and are carved out of the solid rock.

First dig a big trench straight down like a huge, deep moat. The big chunk left in the middle is the 'church'.

Next start tunelling in at the base to carve out the rooms. They are all therefore one solid piece of roack which is still attached to the ground.

There are 11 of them, none of which are visible from any distance at all as the roofs are level with the ground.


They are all pretty big:


Next was Gonder a real Camelot. These palaces were built in the 1600's. Each new king had to build his own palace:



Amazing.

I've now bailed out of Ethiopia and am in Khartoum, Sudan. It's er, 40 degrees by midday and I'm trying to get a Saudi 3 day transit visa to get to Jordan asap.

Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 05:13 PM GMT
 



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