To my dearest motorcycle,
I have now bestowed upon you, at great expense a new crankshaft, gasket kit and clutch plates. You have a few new hose clamps and a sparkplug lead replaced. You have now got sparkling new oil and had your wiring attended to. Please my dearest motorcycle, carry me and my luggage to the next town. I promise to take better care of you and to never let you have open heart surgery again. I promise and don’t forget I will always love you…
It’s funny, I’ve talked to a few overlanders on motorcycles who are not too proud at all to admit to talking to their motorcycle like they were sucking up to a loved one. We promise to give them an oil change or to take a look at something when they reach the next town so long as the bike actually does its job and gets you there.
When I was leaving Nairobi I had flipped these thoughts around, promising to take better care of my baby, to fondle it, to hug it and to give it the required breaks it needed to keep the engine temperature at the right level. But with Nairobi only 40 kilometres behind me, my soft words didn’t mean a thing. The clutch didn’t disengage and even if I held the clutch in tight against the handlebars I was still being driven forward. Giving myself another 50 kilometres, to allow the clutch plates to absorb the oil and start working normally again, hopefully but secretly I had my fingers crossed I didn’t have to return to Nairobi to get it looked at.
I decided not to leave Kenya straight away, but to do a 500km loop of Mt Kenya, since it was completely under cloud cover the first time I rode past it back in February (If you would like to read about that click here). This would give the bike enough time to settle down with all its new parts but if I came across something I could easily head back to see Chris at Jungle Junction. However on my second loop of Mt Kenya I still didn’t see it. It was completely under cloud cover like always.
For the first time I felt free again. I did enjoy my down time in Nairobi. I put on some weight while gorging on great food and beer (this wasn’t a good thing!). I finally caught up on my blogs which were months behind and I tried to figure out ways to create an income while travelling. But there is nothing like being back on the bike, feeling the wind on your face, smelling the different scents and scouting around me to see how the people lived in these parts, it brings me so much joy and excitement. I knew this is where I am meant to be – back on the road.
While I rode along, still struggling with my new clutch, I wondered how I was going to introduce my new travel partner to you. So, I thought to myself I would tell you a story and you will completely understand from there.
While I was in the bathroom there was a knock at the door. I decided not to hurry as I knew my father was somewhere in the room. “Danielle, there is someone here to see you”.
‘Someone is here to see me?’ I wondered to myself as I pulled up my pants and flushed the toilet. “I’ll be out in a second” I called out as I finished washing my hands. I step out in the bright midday sun, squinting I see a black young Tanzanian lad with dreads down to ear lobes.
“Hey” thinking, who the hell is he – I don’t tend to socialise with beach boys, why is one coming to the door asking for me?
“Are you Danielle?” I nod. He then brings out his hand he had tucked behind his back and said “This is for you”. In his hands laid a baby hammer. I burst out laughing and he asked me “Do you know who it is from?”
“Yes” laughing some more “I do, but how did he get it here so quickly…” half wondering, half speaking to my Dad.
The beach boy walked off with a smile on his face and leaves Dad and I to inspect the hammer. I place the hammer inside the room, and prepare to leave to head to a restaurant for lunch. On my way I turned to my Dad and said, “Boys know not to give me a bunch of flowers but a useful hammer inst….” I hadn’t even finished the sentence when I turned the corner and saw Mike standing there waiting for me to spot him. ‘Oh my God! You’re here… I thought… you had the hammer couriered from Kenya!’ Laughing and hugging Mike at the same time. Nervously, but excited I introduced Mike to my Dad and we all sat down for a beer and lunch.
Mike left Nairobi at 4am and ridden 1000km in one stretch to ensure he got to Zanzibar before I left. But he didn’t get it that easily. First he had to bribe his way out of a $50 road tax fee at the border. Then in Tanzania, his battery and his alternator on his motorcycle failed. He then rode predominately in the dark without a headlight due to his failing electrical system. With a couple of cigarette stops and a quick battery charge at a local battery shop he arrived at 11pm into Dar Es Salaam and less than 12 hrs later he was searching for me all over Nungwi.
I was so surprised and so excited. I have told many friends, family and avid followers of my adventures to just come and join me at any moment. Only a few adventurous ones ever have or are able to, such as my good friends Mel, Jarred and Bjorn and my Auntie Chriss and now my Father and Mike.
With Mike it was different. We had already share a few good adventures(to crater lake – click here to read) and we both knew we would see each other again but it would be in a few months as I pass through Kenya on my way to Uganda but nothing was set in stone. But with Mike driving all that way, to see me, to meet family and family friends meant a lot to me.
It was something I wasn’t expecting, it wasn’t something I was aiming or searching for. It just happened. Here we both sat side by side on the beach of Nungwi watching the sun set as we talked about travelling together in the future and what that will mean and change for both of us who normally travel alone.
What’s Mikes credentials you ask? Well… he travelled from Holland down the west coast of Africa with the goal of South Africa on the smallest budget I’ve ever heard of and with the biggest and most exciting stories I’ve encountered. From South Africa, after he made a few more bucks he started to head north with the plan to head across to the Middle East. At first we swapped information, but it dawned on us, we could travel together and after Africa we both head towards America but taking the long way, through the Middle East, the Stans, Mongolia, Russia before crossing into the Americas. This also means Mike has to turn around and head south again, because I still want to complete my first dream before continuing onto my next one!
With all the Michelin maps laid out before us, we mark a few places out which we both want to see (or see again for Mike) and discover many routes we both would like to take. Because there is two of us, we now can see slightly harder roads we would love to take but were shy to do so because we were on our own… As we discovered what the possibilities would be like to travel together, we also realise many wouldn’t appear until we were both on the road following our dreams and our hearts.
However, we can only follow these dreams if our chariots can carry us. While riding around Mt Kenya my thoughts jumped around my bike ensuring everything was still ok and still functioning as they should and I hoped they continue to as we took a small dirt road that lead us away from Nairobi and towards Uganda.