January 26, 2005 GMT
I've reached Timbuctoo!!

We finally wearily rode into town last night at 10 pm having had to negotiate the final 70 kms in the dark due to having been delayed by various problems - my chain jumping off the sprocket at one point, and something simple like trying to find a solid piece of ground to do repairs in the desert is not easy.
Then my headlamp fixings both broke -thanks to an earlier bodge job fix-it from Clive (when we were in Bordeaux 3 weeks ago) I knew all I needed to fix the headlamp was a piece of wire,
however where do you find wire in the middle of the Sahara at 6pm on a Tuesday evening?
A burst of inspiration - my bra!
Yes the underwire worked perfectly, we did the repairs and rode on through the night with a headlamp working well and a semi-functioning bra!

As we reached the welcocome to Timbuctoo sign, we expected to see the lights of the town twinkling in the dark, however, all that was visible was a large expanse of water - nobody told me there was a big river to cross- I thought this was the desert.
Touaregs appeared beside us and directed us down the sandy river bank where they then started naming cash sums to get us across the river- we did some tired bargaining - all the while I was worriedly looking at the limited selection of vessels available
They assured us that two GS bikes could easily fit in a dug-out canoe and they were right- though the boat was extremely low in the water and it had been a nerve-wracking experience to watch them loading the bikes on.
The boat journey turned out to be one of the highlights of this trip- silently drifting down the River Niger with a full moon above us and the knowledge that I was almost at Timbuctoo.
The final kms from the river were on tarmac - a relief for us in our tired state.

It feels great to have got here- and they even serve cold beer.

Time to rest, watch the camels and then think about coming home.

nk

Posted by tiffanycoates at January 26, 2005 05:19 PM GMT
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