“This piece of non-existent road was the last tough part of the journey, a bandit infested “highway” between Isiolo and the border town Moyale in North Kenya. In Ethiopia the tarmac starts again and it lasts all the way to Alexandria where we fetch a ferry to Italy.
The gap between Isiolo and Moyale has been notorious for camel powered robbers in the long remote dessert stretches and a more or less non existing road.
It wasn´t as tough as the Andes mountains in Bolivia and down to Paraguay with a wrecked gearbox, or through the hardest parts of Mongolia. And probably way less than the Labrador coast from what I gather.
However, it was still an inferno in vibrations, oil, petrol and dust. At this point of time the bikes pumps out oil from the engine and pours out petrol from cracks and vent holes in the fuel tanks.
All this mixes with the fine dust from the road and covers both man and machine. When you clean your nostrils at the end of the day it comes out something that would be considered hazardous waste in Europe.
With inadequate enough machinery even just 370 kilometers is enough to test your patience and ability. To go more than three four hours without a break is hard, and you average only 8-10 km/h for long periods.
The hard tailed bike constantly jumps on the never stopping washboards. If you push too hard you break the frame, so it´s just to idle on first and wrestle your way around the rocks, and slam it open and hold on when you get into the silt pits. What acts to your benefit is that it´s very few curves, but that´s the only positive thing to say as well.
Another thing is the constant burn on your legs from the overheating engine. For these conditions you feed the engine with even more fuel than it can eat to avoid heat seizures. Despite this it´s like riding a sauna stove.
You feel a constant pain from the heat through your thick and smelly leather boots, and when it´s at the hottest of the day and the gravel is loose and deep enough the engine still starts detonating and almost seizure anyway. It says a bit considering the engine is at its very outer limit of the tolerances with 80 000 kilometers on the same bore and pistons.
The final bonus is callosity on your hands from steering, and burned away fingerprints on thumbs and indexing fingers from working on the hot bike.
Strange enough, both I and the bike seem to like all this suffering. It’s some kind of perverted good feeling when you´re through it. You sit down with a drink, plug in your Ipod and just look at the bike in the African sunset. There is no room for complaints then.”