October 20, 2009 GMT
The road to Mali

In noouakchott at the Mali embassy we met Georgie a canadian lawyer and very expreience africa biker we agreed to travel as 3 to Bamako Mali
It was on paper going to be an easy first day 163 miles to Aleg Mauritania across the souhern sahara It was until Aleg what a shit hole the two lane highway became one in the town due to rubbish we decided to press on We filled up wth petrol
At about 50 miles on we decided to top up our tanks The Twat at the pump put deseal in all three tanks i had the most we decided as a third of the tanks was petrol although they would run rough we would be ok The Sukuki and Bm cleared
after we were able to top up with our spare fuel, Mine didnt and i had a max speed of 50 miles an hour for two days until i changed the spark plugs
THings got worse in one small town we found the whole valley was flooded and we would have to cross the piste desert track for15 miles to get round it.
Early on i quickly came off in powder sand and didnt quite now how i was going to ride the next half mile Ben quickly came to the rescue offerd to ride my bike and walked back to his in 40 d heat what a gem hes on my xmas card list After the worst part of the piste i started to get the hang off it Thank god
By the way we did two river crossing also that day and ended up riding the last hour to Kiffa and a campsite in the dark not to be recommended in the third world
What a Feckin day
Oh well we were now fully payed up overlanders now Not bad for 65 By the way theres no petrol really after Aleg to Kiffa 214 miles carry spare
The next day was straight forward to Ayouin other than my stuttering engine
Before leaving Ayoun for Mali border the next day we decided to change my plugs
the campsite owner sat looking on, in the midle of the work i heard a dove cooing in the tree above me i looked up , the owner must have thought it was annoying me; he got up opened the boot of his car got out a rifle and shot the poor dove, smiling at me he quietly put the gun back in the boot.
The Border with Mali was bliss easy friendly on hearing my proffession was retired the police man laughed heartily and said "at last you have the best job in the world"mabe hes just hit it on the nail
The road to Bamako
What a change excellant tarmac no constant police roadblocks and empty roads until that is BAMAKO thousands of chinesse mopeds to a posh hotel at last The Relais; aircon, showers good food and even a Patisserie next door bliss im in seagou now in north mali on the side of the mighty Niger river lovin it the journey people everything you soon forget the bastard hard times
Very important fact ATMs are in nearly every town up to now making access to money a lot easier
Well im in Segou now going to move on to Dogon County, Mali. Bukini Faso and then on to Ghana tomorrow will fill you in on my next blog Bamako to Ghana in about 3 weeks time

Posted by Archie Taylor at 03:12 PM GMT
November 04, 2009 GMT
Segou, Mali and beyond

Segou proved to be a haven in africa set on the side of the Niger it had quiet tranquillity good food increadabe Malian music, even a cheap streetside eatery run by one lovely smilling malian who even did a 3 coarse plat de jour and wait for it turned the telly to english league football on my secound trip to segou i watched man u v blackburn something i would never do in the uk Man u won of coarse.
someone gave me a sticker of drogber for the bike who does he play for.
Geordie moved on after 2 days to go to mopti and get a boat to tomboctou(I dont swim so wasnt getting on any rickerty boat Tomboctou or not) and then bus back to mopti and bike then a mad dash to europe and canada , I was sorry to see him go ben had already left in Bamako for Ghana he was then going to ship the bike back.
I was now on my own i decided i would head north for the world famous Dogon County and duly set of after 100 miles i realised i had missed a small junction and was in fact heading south for Bobo in Bukini Faso oh well, go with the flow so to speak 200 miles later and one very very lonely breakdown that i fixed , Yes I fixed it Tim, no AA, no ring Tim just a shepard boy helping,clever archie god i felt bloody on my own Nearest town about 80 miles away and very little, like non traffick going by
I hit Bobo just as a tropical storm exploded not being able to get a street map out in the rain i shot into the first hotel i saw. It was the most expensive 60 yes 60 euros a night and they even gave me the shits next day after an expensive feekin meal
I was forced to stay a 2nd night as being away from the toilet was not possable i the moved to a cheap backpacker hotel for a day there being no other guests i headed for; wait for it Quagadougou pronounced wag a do gou what a name better than derby eh oh by the way what was Bobo like Ok i headed back there after Quaga
People may wonder what west africa is like well in the northern part its savanna mile after mile the same A few days ago i took a pic of the road and surroundings the same after another 50 and so on for300 miles lookin at the pics later you would have thought they were a mile of each other
You pass thru small very very poor villages and every 100 miles or so a small town that looks like a rubbish tip I must say the people are always very friendly.
On a bike you often feel and are on your own Other bikers ive met all feel the same we all dread puntures on tubbed tyres
THE COSTS
Pretty high really petrol about same as uk cheap tatty hotel about 15 euros meals food about same im currently more than double over budget.
Female company what female company you sit on your own every night contemplating your navel by the way theres some cracking lookin birds, all on their rubbish chinese mopeds they get them for about 350 quid new there crap and no spares but the two look nice together
After realising ghana for cost reason was out and being rolled over by to bent cops i headed back for bobo
Here i met an Aussie couple Zander andTam on an africa Twin both members of XRV.org of which im a member they tried to persuade me to come back to waga and beyond with them but as they were shipping on from ghana it would mean a long lonesome return on the same roads , no i had made my mind up i was heading for Senegal and the Gambia (english speaking) and then the worst corrupt border in the world The rosso northern senegal exit to mauritania
Am i still enjoying it well you have super days and bad days but its an experience not to be missed and a thousand stories but as a one finger typist its hard work
Next blog fro the Gambia i hope The bike going well Well it is a HONDA and its dosent have metal panniers a must for riding in england Bah what crap You dont see BM riders down here its to far for them and their bike might get dirty (hope i dont meet a BM riding here if im in need

Posted by Archie Taylor at 09:50 AM GMT
December 04, 2009 GMT
Rosso is going to be fun

Leaving Bamako was a pleasant early morning ride 6.30 start the road goes up the hills to the north of Bamako past the presidential palace thru empty roads on the mali savaneh towards the mauri border at diema turn left to Kayes , all this is tarmac in good condition
Singing Mr Blue skies to myself i thought this is why i worked 50 years biking at its best a real pleasure even the cops joke with you here Decided to call it a day at Kayes Mali, having seen perhaps twnty vehicles in 300 miles the campement is nice here clean bunglows and cold beer by the side of another great african river The senegal river met a scots bloke here with landie gave me the name of best campemant in west africa THE ZEBRABAR, THERE YOU ARE URUSLA THE FIRST RECOMMEND
The next day was onto the senegal mali border at Kidira easy peesy to easy 100 k down the road i realised i did not have a senegal laisey faire - custom import doc for bike OH well ill sort that prob out at rosso ( you twat archie should have turned back) thought about calling it a day at TAMBOUCOUNDA (say that when your drunk) but as tarmac was good i thought push on though will be tight for daylight
50k down the road tarmac dissapeared into Piste ( DIRT ROAD FOR THOSE WHO DONT SPEAK FRANCAISE) hope this dont last long it did. for 130 l to be precise , IT turned into horror when darkness fell the last 30k needed those super lights tim had fitted (morpheus motorcycles) at last a small town Kiffen and welcome doss house (beer was cold) no food though hens hadt laid any eggs that day.
ON TO DAKER
iI hit daker mid day traf was horrendous took 3 hours to get to west suberb oF GOF a quiete fishing village its is truly spectacular the great fisking piroques full of sardines , they are under threat by the precence north of the big european factory ships THEY MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RAPE THESE WATERS the senegalese rely on their easy to catch cheap fish By the way the entrance to the courtyard of the auberge was up 8 steep steps ,no prob the africans just lifted it up -complete with panniers on
By the way if you think thres loads of splling mistakes it because i am keying outside and cant see screen properly due to sun well it is dec 3rd oh its about 28 degrees.
Had to buy a cardigan the other day for evenings, only need the slippers and can buy a BM .Oh by the way honda still totally reliable BM owners note oh and soft panniers great nothing stolen
Leaving Bamako was a pleasant early morning ride 6.30 start the road goes up the hills to the north of Bamako past the presidential palace thru empty roads on the mali savaneh towards the mauri border at diema turn left to Kayes , all this is tarmac in good condition
Singing Mr Blue skies to myself i thought this is why i worked 50 years biking at its best a real pleasure even the cops joke with you here Decided to call it a day at Kayes Mali, having seen perhaps twenty vehicles in 300 miles the campement is nice here clean bunglows and cold beer by the side of another great african river The senegal river met a scots bloke here with landie gave me the name of best campemant in west africa THE ZEBRABAR, THERE YOU ARE URUSLA THE FIRST RECOMMEND
The next day was onto the senegal mali border at Kidira easy peesy to easy 100 k down the road i realised i did not have a senegal laisey faire - custom import doc for bike OH well ill sort that prob out at Rosso ( you twat archie should have turned back) thought about calling it a day at TAMBOUCOUNDA (say that when your drunk) but as tarmac was good i thought push on though will be tight for daylight
50k down the road tarmac dissapeared into Piste ( DIRT ROAD FOR THOSE WHO DONT SPEAK FRANCAISE) hope this dont last long it did. for 130 miles to be precise , IT turned into horror when darkness fell the last 30k needed those super lights tim had fitted (morpheus motorcycles) at last a small town Kiffen and welcome doss house (beer was cold) no food though hens hadt laid any eggs that day.
ON TO DAKERi.
I hit daker mid day traf was horrendous took 3 hours to get to west suberb YOF YOF a quiete fishing village its is truly spectacular the great fishing piroques full of sardines , they are under threat by the precence north of the big european factory ships THEY MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RAPE THESE WATERS the senegalese rely on their easy to catch cheap fish By the way the entrance to the courtyard of the auberge was up 8 steep steps ,no prob the africans just lifted it up -complete with panniers on
By the way if you think theres loads of spelling mistakes it is because i am keying outside and cant see the screen properly due to sun well it is dec 3rd oh its about 28 degrees had to buy a cardi the other day for evenings, only need the slippers and can buy a BM .Oh by the way honda still totally reliable BM owners note oh and soft panniers great nothing stolen
Now on my 5th pair of cheap specs

CONCLUSIONS UP TO DATE

HAVE I ENJOYED TRIP UPTO NOW YES WITH A FEW RESERVATIONS

Got a bit lonely at times you continually worry about accidents breakdowns or punctures on your own in the middle of nowhere travelling 2 oe3 bikes would solve the prob but you would have to pick your companions carefully
Scenery great experience great.
you meet amazing people one guy i met had JUST CYCLED OVER SAHARA ON WAY TO SOUTH AFRICA people to numerous to mention all great companions all of us have a lot in common ,Im the oldest ive met a its got me a few free beers on the way and some 10 minutes of fame ,the amsterdam -banjul rally came thru Dakhla marocco when camped there and many asked to take photos of me(perfs no doubt) Some people said i was very brave( like that one) the ones that really impress me are the pedal cyclists going from europe to daker and beyond im typing this on a computer belonging to a couple, marlene is french and her hubby polish both lovely unasumming youngsters the couple next to me on the campsite are retired(early) germans their vehicle/lorry has absolutly everything including kitchen sink
this type of travelling is not just about scenery but also the people you meet and the experiece.

at one time i cursed going down to mauritania and beyond early oct as i later realised most people travel down africa later late nov/dec but you may not know Al kayIDA havE been busy kidnapping overlanders on the very roads i have travelled and many borders are now closed trapping some overlanders

I must say at this point coments by the club bores, know it alls and those who have never been outside europe make the HUBB on HU site nonsense please those of you that talk thru the back of your head desist.
Serious overlanders rely on upto date info on the HUBB not feckin nonsense about tunnels or the road between NOUABIDOU-NOCKCHOTT being a couple of hours drive "what are you rockett propelled" its 300 feckin miles of a road thru a desert with only 3 buildings (filling stations of coarse) and no military untill last week oh the odd sleepy checkpoint who if you turned up in a tank would hardly notice.
Enough of my rant, its back to the plot having stayed in DAKER for 6 days i headed for what is the best campement in west africa THE ZEBRABAR 16 k before st louis or to pronounce it right san wee (bloody french language) its is fabulous

Built over13 years by URSUALA and martin shes smashing he did not like me and i thought he was misserable sod but you must stay there its fab when i had my wallet pocket picked in san wee ursh was very helpful when she realised i did not have a laissey faire and i had to get thru san wee and rosso she was horror struck martin well* just shruged his shoulders THANKS urshuala and always speak well of ZEBRABAR
THE NEXT BLOG WILL BE ABOUT ROSSO till then keep wraping up against cold.Me im looking at prop to rent here in sidi ifni marroc for the future winters sun and all the off road riding i desire any females want to join me for 3 months each winter bike provided and suprb fresh fish cheap only 2 hours drive from AGADIR airport cheap airfares as well

Posted by Archie Taylor at 11:07 AM GMT
December 05, 2009 GMT
exstension of yesterdays blog above
Posted by Archie Taylor at 03:51 PM GMT
January 11, 2010 GMT
fun on border

sorry for delay on blog update as my mother used to say when i travelled in my twenties I know when your having good time as you only write when you are bored A worried night was spent prior to heading for Rosso an irish guy sorry terriable on names was to very kindly travel to the rosso crossroads to try and take the attention of me at roadblock thanks mate your a true traveller, it partley worked they didnt ask for parrsavent but did me 20 euros for missing mirror You corrupt gits eventually at the rosso crossroads this great guy headed back for zebrabar hope cops didnt steal from him on way back
The plan was for me to meet up with fixer at border to help me thru (Bribe) the prob was i got the wrong fixer my mistakeHe dissapeared with my papers passport etc to sort it out telling me to stay hidden in this back alley till he came back Yes what a pratt i was should have rang his number when a guy said he was Ifrane.
standing there waiting in the back alley my phone rings Its Ifrane here were are you (the penny drops) Im here where you told me to wait Ifrane but ive not met you yet my heart sinks im here hidden in a back alley on my own and some stranger has all my papers* shit felt like a donkey he haw.
Just as i feel i may just have a blood pressure problem again.
The fake IFRANE APPEARS WITH PAPERS thank god i snatch them back not waiting to argue i head in a direction i think will take me back into main street.
Back on main street straight into rosso border guard arms so to speak .Papers please in frog language, i look up i can see the ferry 50 yards in front of me Thats mauratanian sovereignty a little more pardon from me
i look down at the bike *Henrietta lets go for the ferry NOW he wont fire at me Will he!, start engine clutch out wiz onto ferry im through yippee Then in the background a well spoken mauratanian says what have you been doing Im the real Ifrane your safe now Thought of giving him a kiss but better not this is muslim country

The rest history Ifrane sorted mauratanian papers im on the road to Nouokchott yes singing Mr Blue Skies what a day!
arrived elated in Nouochott im heading home , well only another 3 thousand miles

Next prob as you know had my visa card stolen Master card dont work in Mauri thanks Al and neeshas help in sending out money via Western union instant on line transfer except neesha didnt give me ref number thats sorted now Oh stayed at sahara auberge wife of owner made me cup of tea to calm my nerves thanks luv
Down to nouabibou and morroc Border went thru minor sand storm cleaned right side of bike beautifully spokes and all
Picked up flees at hotel in nouabibou and so to border , on the way down i worried about going through piste and minefield
Im first through gate into 3 k of piste no sweat this time easy peassy

God what a clever little sod im getting Night at Dahkla, Layonne, Tizi ifnet and so to 5 week R&R at Sidi Ifni met lovely couple kev &alison ,Derek& Joy and most marvellous old french guy had three african wifes, great place by the sea Fish cheap and out of this world , im now below Anti Atlas on northern edge of sahara heading for leaving Marroc end of Jan
What am i doing next winter maybe travel for a change Well im getting to old to sit still
As that american ceaser McCarthy said as he left his troops to perish in the philliphines ill be back with me it will be africa.
Next blog in a month will be final chapter
Have i enjoyed the trip YOU BET I HAVE nowt like travelling on a moto warts and all The bike superb well it is a honda not a KTM,BMW or whatever and its mature 11 years old 54 k on clock.
Any problems that bloody fork seal is still leaking Tim be ready for my return Tyres still on originals as are brake pads
Will put pics on in uk Will you help me Rich, slide presentation need yor help neil
Oh and the sun is shining
.

Posted by Archie Taylor at 11:07 AM GMT
 


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