Dasrren Writes 14/10/11 Pics by Darren

Tents packed away, Our parts were cleared from customs by mid-day and onto the repairs we hastened. A phone call to our visa agent and told to call back in 15 mins. Another call 30minuets later and advised to call back in 2. So we went there. Russ Came out with my passport, handed it to me and told me there was a problem with mine… But he couldn’t hold back the grin! As rode away towards the place where we had left our motorcycle kit, Russ slapped my shoulders in the excitement of our achieved success and the bridge out of Africa and into the middle east. Saudi here we come.

were we really here.. In spirit at least

The time was already 4.30 but with 600 miles between us and the shores of the red sea, we agreed to ride into the night as our welcome visa into Sudan was about to expire. We managed 130 miles before coming off the highway and into some dunes to sleep the night. The Moon was a full one and though it hid the stars, it illuminated the desert and prompted an evening excursion. We had chosen to stop in the area as there were pyramids here which wanted to quickly visit. From the top of the Dune, under which we later slept, we could see the pyramids near by and took a sneaky visit. We clambered atop of one from where we enjoyed the views of the others and carefully climbed down the steep-sided ancient structure as not to fall and hinder our progress out of Africa.

Pyramids on the desert

That little dot is Russ sleeping.. He refuses to wake before the sun does

The night in the open was met with a small sand storm where a buff over the face helped though we’re still picking out sand from the corners of our eyes and our ears. But it was a problem quickly forgotten shortly after beginning the second day towards the port and our ferry. 50 miles later and disaster. The red light on the bike flicked on indicating overheating and I quickly pulled over. We stripped the bike down enough to check some basics and knowing we’d been here before we were quite sure the head gasket had blown and that’s not a small job to fix. But hey, not to lose spirit I confirmed we had a spare, town was a 20km tow away and with some new oil, coolant and diesel for a flush, we could make a repair in a day and ride through the night. We got to the cylinder head and the gasket beneath and sure enough it was in need of a change. Some rubber bits in the oil, though, were a concern and I wanted to look further. Off came the cylinder to expose the piston and our hearts sunk. One broken piston meant our return to Khartoum and the process of ordering another.

A very nice man, at the garage, helped organise a truck that was going to the capital. Bike on the back, fee negotiated but as for our step forward, it felt like 2 back. Russ rode on ahead and the driver of the truck, at the half way point, indicated he was going home to sleep. So in my best (non-existent) arabic, let him know I still had his fee. I  arrived to our camping area just before mid night and met up with Russ.

So here we are again.. We have a chance tomorrow to extend our Sudanese visa but not sure at what cost. The good news is we have a month to use our Saudi visa but still its hard to keep a smile when Déjà vu of this kind strikes.

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