(18.01.2012) Operation Desert Storm (repost with updated pics and video)

A new day, and still one day ahead of the pack, and Sahara is calling. We all felt that we had come so far, but would find that the easiest part was behind us and that there would be no relief until the bitter end.

We wrote a decent post about this day while on the road, so in our attempt to recapture the trip, day for day, in correct sequence, we will suffice to simply repost it with updated pics and video

(Posted on behalf of Joachim:)

We woke up relieved that the awesome hospitality of our hosts had not left us dead from food poisoning (an interesting dining experience where our hosts would dig their arm as far as they could into some unrecognizeable carcas and tear out lage handfuls of gut, meat, bone or whatever they could get a firm grip on, and with great exitement pass it slapity-slap, from hand to hand, all the way down the table until it landed sit a loud splat on our plate. Mmmm, merci, thank you, shucran, seconds you said? You are too kind, of course I would love some more of that slimy belly! Nice rifle you have there that you are pointing at us)

Anyways, off we went as brave vespateers into the desert, a big flat pancake of sand and ruble as far as we could see, and in all directions. We dismissed all advice against riding the pistes today as we could be facing a sand storm! More about that later.

Riding here in the light we were amazed how we managed in the pitch black the night before. There was no clear defined pists, and tracks were criss crossing every where, comprised of soft sand, wash boards, rubble, rocks, tracks, no tracks, the whole lot.

We were having a ball, riding, filming, and then Joachim ate sand as he tried to navigate some soft tracks, which was a lot of fun also. Of course Magnus was filming at that very moment, and capturing the moment on film seemed far more important than to help out their fellow rider stuck under 180+ kg of loaded scooter A new day, and still one day ahead of the pack, and Sahara is calling. We all felt that we had come so far, but would find that the easiest part was behind us and that there would be no relief until the bitter end.

Anyways, off we went as brave vespateers into the desert, a big flat pancake of sand and ruble as far as we could see, and in all directions. We dismissed all advice against riding the pistes today as we could be facing a sand storm! More about that later.

Riding here in the light we were amazed how we managed in the pitch black the night before. There was no clear defined pists, and tracks were criss crossing every where, comprised of soft sand, wash boards, rubble, rocks, tracks, no tracks, the whole lot.

We were having a ball, riding, filming, and then Joachim ate sand as he tried to navigate some soft tracks, which was a lot of fun also. Of course Magnus was filming at that very moment, and capturing the moment on film seemed far more important than to help out their fellow rider stuck under 180+ kg of loaded scooter. And then it happen to Adrien, which made it even better! What a blast!

Then the wind started picking up and the desert turned into a big brown pot of sand, with us stirring in the middle it. We had to abort the off road riding and find the shortest route to tarmac.

Most of the remainder of the day was spendt riding with a 60 degree lean into heavy side wind while trying to circumvent thousands of potholes at 15 meter visibility and being sandblasted at the same time. When we finally came to Zagora long after night fall, there was sand everywhere… Inside our mouths, inside our gloves, in our boxers, Everywhere!

Wow, what a fantastic day! More pics from day 4 on our facebook fanpage

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(17.01.12) Bamako By Vespa in Purgatory (Part 3 – The Kasbah Dinner)

Our hosts looked like a gang of thugs right out of a Indiana Jones movie, as did the entire setting. Dressed in villains attire, some with hunting rifles over their shoulder and some with hunting falcons, speaking in a tongue which we couldn’t understand, with all of the men handling themselves with a stature that just oozed “Big Man”… it all seemed like we had just met up with Ali Baba and his gang. We knew we were up for a very special evening.

 

We were shown to a nice room in the back of the court yard, furnished with beds and an on-suite with a shower and a western type toilet, just what we needed. We got out of our riding gear and into our finest clothes and fixed ourselves as best we could for the local royalty. Then it was off to dinner.

Picture the Indiana Jones dining scene where monkey brain was served, and you won’t be too far off. We were seated at the end of a very long table. The entire length of the table was covered with cadavers of unknown species (dog, sheep, goat, squid?), and various other treats. Our hosts were digging into the cadavers to their elbows, coming out with big fists of meat, gut, slime, fat and bone. It would go slapity-slap, from one grease dripping hand to the other, all the way down the table, and end up with a big splat on our plate (there was no difference between a clean left and a dirty right here – you eat with your entire body).

After the big splat, all eyes and toothless grins were with great anticipation and expectations, pointed in our direction – thumbs up. Yum! – there was no getting out of this one, they had guns, and a fierce sand storm was blowing outside. We didn’t fear that we would get sick from this, we were utterly convinced that by morning we would be rolling over in torment. The thing is, we feared that offense would not be taken lightly, and that food poisoning was likely the lesser of all possible evils that could possibly descend upon us this night.

We knew that everything on the plate was not for eating, we just couldn’t distinguish the “to eat” from the “not to eat”. So, in order not to risk offending Ali Baba and his gang, we slurped it all in with a big Hollywood grin from ear to ear. “Second serving?”… “Oh, that is so kind of you, those testicles and other slimy innards are just delicious”… To this day, none of us know what kind of animal we ate, nor which parts of it. All we know is that it was the grossest worst tasting meal we have ever experienced and that we hope to never ever again experience anything remotely similar.

After the meal we sheepishly thanked our hosts and retired to our room, leaving behind Ali Baba and his gang pondering about our appetite. Once we shut the door behind us, we tore through our luggage and dug out a bottle of brandy which we downed half of in less than thirty seconds – we were clinging on to the hope that this would kill off most of what was to make us puke and shit all night.

We slept soundly all night, with no need to go to the bathroom once. We had made it through the High and Middle Atlas and our first day in the Sahara, and what a day – we were still in the race!

On a final note – Moroccan hospitality rules, and we are utterly embarrassed about our suspicions towards the good intentions of so many generous people. Sorry for stepping on your toes.

 

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(17.01.12) Bamako By Vespa in Purgatory (Part 2 – The Sahara)

 

Closing up on Rissani, we were riding in to the sunset, on windy roads, deep down in canyons, over hilltops, through picturesque villages… We felt like road warriors from Mad Max. Although half beat, we were twice exhilarated. There was a sense of accomplishment from having come through Purgatory, and from seeing the beauty of it. But, even if the sun was setting, and it looked as we were close to our destination, Purgatory was only half done – this day had lots more in store for us.

 

We were now riding into the Sahara, in the dark, searching for a camp site we only knew by GPS coordinates. We started out on a piste, that very quickly turned out to a myriad of crisscrossing tracks comprised of a mix of patches of rock, rubble and soft sand. There was no way of knowing what was piste and what was not, and we kept getting stuck in the soft sandy patches. Trying to asses the best track was useless at this point, it was pitch black and impossible to see where all the tracks led. We were now riding by GPS coordinates, swapping tracks every few minutes in hope of finding the right piste, or at least something more manageable. Every time we thought we had found it, a minute down the track, and it was just as bad as before – it was useless.

We finally came to a building which we thought could be the camp site we were heading for. Unfortunately it was not it, it was a kasbah that had been rented out to the local business and political elite. The caretaker tried to convince us that the camp site we were looking for was closed. Having met a countless number of people on this trip that had tried suckering us into buying from them, or a friend of theirs, by serving similar stories of “fully booked” or “closed”, we thanked him for the info, and decided to continue our search to see for ourselves… we should have listened.

It didn’t help our situation that Magnus’ scooter had a faulty selector box which meant he had trouble changing gears and he had lost his first gear, both Adrien and Joachim had broken speedometer cables, and both their clutch cables decided to pack it in just as we entered the kasbah. This was an omen of what was to come – our first day in the desert and both riders and scooters were struggling. It took some time to fix, but we were determined to show up at the camp site, so after the repairs, off we went.

 

After crisscrossing the desert for some time, we decided to give up and backtrack to where we entered the desert – for what we expected to be a very long night. Just at this very moment, a nomad showed up from nowhere, on a ratty moped. Comparatively, this would be like Neil Armstrong being met by some drifter on the first moon landing. Anyways, this nomad had seen our lights and decided to check it out. He confirmed that the camp site was not open and invited us to stay with him. Although this would have been an experience of a lifetime, at this time all we desired was a real bed and a shower – we were totally spent. The nomad brought us back to the first kasbah and got our invitation reinstated. We fueled up his moped, gave him some flashlights for his kids, and a bottle of oil (that oil turned out to be a mistake as we had only brought what we needed – and its availability in north western Africa is extremely scarce).

At this time we were very embarrassed for having mistaken extreme generosity for a hustling attempt. Not only were we invited to crash our hosts’ party, but they insisted that we stay and eat for free… which brings us to one of the most bizarre experiences of our lifetime.

 

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(16.01.12) Bamako By Vespa in Purgatory (Part 1 – The Atlas)

Today was a day we were all looking forward to, and one we were also a bit concerned about. We’ve heard that the Atlas is spectacular, a real nature’s  wonder. We had also been warned that the road could occasionally be closed due to snow, and that rain is highly likely at this time of year. Also, today was going to be a very long day in terms of distance as we were heading past Rissani – the beginning of the Sahara. An effective routine and luck on our side would be paramount if we did not want to get caught out at night again – no rest for the wicked they say… I guess Africa thinks that we are really wicked and that today was the day that it would give it to us and put us through purgatory.

Riding into the Atlas became ever more spectacular for every kilometer – over all, probably the most asstounding nature any of us had ever ridden through. No pictures or words can give justice to this place – it needs to be experienced. But, the Atlas also has something more to offer besides beauty, namely weather. Lots and lots of weather, and of every single kind – all packed into one day. The first half was easy, and our scooters coped surprisingly well at this altitude (Magnus and Adrien had on our lunch stop rejetted all our scooters for higher altitude)

 

It started out great, with the sun heating our bodies. Then we got fog so thick we could barely see our front fenders at times. Then we got wind, from the left, which is the worst place to get it from on a Vespa. Then we got rain, then hail, then snow. Ice and snow would constantly cover our visors, making it difficult to see. The roads were so covered by black ice that the strongest side winds would take our scooters sliding sideways. Riding was very slow and extremely difficult, and it got worse the higher we got – at one point the GPS read just short of 2200 meters altitude!!! A man driving in the opposite direction stopped and asked if we were ok. He adviced us to really hurry up as this could get much worse, if not, we would risk not getting accross today. (we were later told that the road was closed shortly after we had come through).

Although we were prepared for this type of situation, none of us wanted to have to spend the night, or two nights for that matter, in the freesing cold Atlas mountains with little food and water. We had to compromise our safety to push forward. It was extremely hard, being pounded by wind and ice, constantly getting into near wipe out situations, and constantly worrying about crashing or getting stuck. Having ridden a lot of winter, Joachim kind of felt it auxhilarating. But, when asking Adrien on the Intercom if he was ok, we got a direct, short and honest answer “NO”! He was hating it, which Magnus and I found kind of amusing. We had asked for an adventure, and now we had gotten exactly what we had bargained for.

 

This was a real reality check for us. Back home we had told ourselves repeatedly how hard this would be, how we would be stuck riding from sunrise to sunset most days, that we would have breakdowns, that we would be hungry, that we would be affraid, that we would have accidents, and on and on. Still, deep inside we all hoped Africa would be easy on us and spare us from most hickups. Well, reality bites. Having had long days every day so far, with the most difficult parts in front of us, it struck us quite hard. This is what we came for, and now we are getting it. Suck it up, suck it in, and enjoy!

Coming out of the Atlas, we rode into some great open plains. The high side winds were rough, and we would have complained a lot about this if it wasn’t for the spectacular nature. Little did we know at this point that the wind would not stop until we were way into Senegal, allsmost two weeks away.

 

Further on, we rode into great canyons with oasises at the bottom. Wow, what a day so far – the best day of riding ever, in all our lives! Still, we were getting in a real hurry. The weather had slowed us down so much that we were once again caught out at night, riding on narrow, and hilly roads with dangerous traffic and lots of sharp bends and steep cliffs. And, ahead of us was a few kilometers of semi/offroad riding waiting for us.

We were now entering the Sahara. More about that in “Part 2″ of this adventurous day.

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(15.01.12) Morocco – introduction to African driving 101

The hotel receptionist told us that there would be a swift ten minute border crossing into morocco from Ceuta (a spanish enclave on the African continent). Great we all agreed, lets take it slow in the morning – our protocol og being on the road at sun rise can wait another day.

In the morning we had a big breakfast, and the bread and apricot jam was delicious (little did we know that we would be living mostly on bread, water and apricot jam for all meals besides “dinner” for the remainder of the trip). We called up Kristina in Norway (Magnus’ girlfriend) and all sang happy birthday. Spirits were high – today was going to be a breeze.

We arrived at the border in a matter of minutes: Exchanging Euro into Dihrams on the black market, hiding our unlicensed CB radio antenna, and exiting Spain/Ceuta was – well, all a breeze. Things are looking good. Who ever said that Africa was not civilized?

Next we arrived at the Moroccan side of the border and cut to the front of a very long cue. Here we were told that we would have to wait for the border officials to show up – I guess they felt that today would be a breeze also and that there was no need to get out of bed and get to work before ten.

Right next to us, a woman (presumably of Moroccan decent), lost her marbles and went completely ape shit for no apparent reason, attacking a couple sitting in the car right in front of her own – kicking, beating and tearing at the car at all might (at one moment I could swear I saw her chewing off a piece with froth coming out of both sides of her mouth – an exaggeration maybe, but not by much). All of a sudden, the very busy strip was void of all people as all living species in a hundred meter radius had gone for cover, even the police and army. What a gal! Just as things were calming down to merely a noisy rumble, her skinny husband felt it safe to get out and yap a bit himself.

Anyways, the border crossing took two and a half hours. Right on the opposite side we find a brand new four lane highway… with us being the only ones riding on it. Big egos need big roads i guess, and this was perfectly suited for ours – the brave scooter adventurers who would tear a hole in the sound barrier as we sped through Africa. We were at the top of the world, and nothing could bring us down… except for maybe Adrien who’s mind was on his bodge fix from the night before (we can now report that upon our home return Adrien ordered enough of these to last him a life time – Sett inn lite bilde med lenke med teksten “bodge repair on Adrien’s mind).

The landscape changed quickly and roads turned narrower and twisty as we entered the Rif mountains – it now felt more like Norway… that was until we were introduced to African driving culture. Shortly summed up: My vehicle is bigger than yours, so get out of my way. My vehicle is loaded 60 feet high with crates of oranges just about to tip over, so get out of my way. My vehicle is more beaten up and is of less value than yours, so get out of my way. You are a foreigner and as such you should not be here, and hence, if there was to be an accident it surely must be your fault – so get out of my way. My truck has no mirrors, no lights, no wind shield and no brakes, so get out of my way. As a bus driver I get paid for the number of trips I can make in 48 hours without sleep, so i cut every single corner no matter what is in my way – so get the hell out of it. Your scooter fits better in the ditch than mine, so get into it before i put you there. I don’t use indicators as i know where I am going… Allah is with me and will grant me lots of virgins if I die in a holy war (in Africa it is not road rage, it is road war)

A few hours of near death experiences we finally got into the groove of the driving culture. What at first seemed lethaly unpredictable actually ended up feeling quite natural, governed by common sense and.not like at home where people choose an unnatural way of driving, namely by the law.

Once again, we were high on adventure, and it was time to get more “culturally adjusted” now that we were dealing so well with everything else, and the crossroads Derdara – in the middle of no-where, seemed like a good place to do so. We took our chances and got a street side butcher to cook us up a kilo of shish kebab (Joachim knows how to count to one in French, and also happens to know the French word for kilo, which is, well, “kilo”). While we waited for the most delicious shish kebabs we have ever had, a hundred year old really nice geezer wanted to sell us some funnybaccy – the kind of nice geezer that lingers forever and is impossible to get rid of (This is the Rif region, known for its Marijuana business – whether the word Riff-Raff comes from here, I don’t know – but it wouldn’t surprise me).

 

However nice this experience was, we learned that we should not stop for service – it just kills time. From here on, we decided we would just have to make all our lunches and most of our breakfasts ourselves in order to save time. The long breakfast, the long border crossing, and our long lunch, would lead us to riding in the dark again (a very lethal prospect for a Vespateer in Africa). Also, at Volubilis we had to stop for the required photo op with the roman ruins in the back ground. Our initial goal was set for the foot of the Atlas Mountains, but there was just no chance that this was going to happen. Instead we decided to try to find a room in the very busy city of Meknes. It took a while, riding from hotel to hotel, before we could find one with safe parking. And, can you believe it – a MacDonald’s and a Pizza hut on the same block! Pizza hut it was – we had a feeling that meals would be a bit more, shall we say, rustic, from here on, and that we would yearn for properly cooked western junk food. We were more right than we could possibly imagine at this point – Meknes is the end of civilization.

While eating, we go through the day and agree that we need to get our routine together if we are to make it through this rally. Today was “only” 305 kms on good roads and with zero breakdowns. Even though we woke up at sun rise, we still arrived long after dark and didn’t make it to our initial goal for the day. There would be days ahead where we would travel more than twice as far, under extreme riding conditions, with breakdowns, worse border crossings, and various other hassles. It is not how fast we ride, it is how long we stop, that kills our average. From here on the team improved massively and we started working as one efficient machine…

 

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(14.01.12) First day – first stage of climatization – first reality check

The last order of business before getting into the saddle was to sort out the not so intuitive Scala Rider* intercom – a routine which was to be repeated several times every single day for the remainder of the adventure. The routine went something like this: “Adrien, you push A, or was it Joachim? No Joachim, it is Magnus who needs to push A then B while we wait. Now you Adrien have to push A, then Joachim B, but don’t hold it too long – just right until the beep, then I wait until I hear rider B connected then I push B and you A… Who do you mean by you? …Or was it B? Hello can you hear me?  What happened to Adrien, did he get disconnected? Hello? Anyone? Ok, everyone reset and start in reverse order… no, you wait until… hello??…R I D E R  B  C O N N E C T E D, hello?, hello? Push B, Who me?, No, Joachim…. Ok… Hey, we are all connected . Let’s roll!!!”

We eagerly rolled out of the warehouse lot  and spun down to the nearest gas station… with a few turns in the roundabout before finding our bearings. Held up by the Policia Municipal who wanted to take photos and a brit who was very interested in what we were doing, the clock was ticking away, and we rudely had to dismiss ourselves – we had to make the ferry. We fueled up and gunned out of there trying to make up for lost time.

Just as we were getting into the groove of things, and just as our grins were about as big as “the great outdoors”, Joachim’s scooter had its first breakdown… after only 30 kms on the road – crap, we need to make the ferry before 15:00 hrs, we gotta fix this quick!

(Murphy’s law dictates that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and the more precautionary measures one takes, the more likely it is that something will go pear shaped. Well, we had prepared for everything the last 18 months, and as such were doomed from day one. Murphy, in cahoots with Lucifer would ensure that tough became harder).

We had many theories as of what could have gone, and some made us very uneasy. The relief was therefore great when we took off the side cowel and discovered that the spark plug cable had come undone, the easiest “break down” ever. Grins and shades were back on, and the throttle twisted as far as it could go – we would be making the ferry to Ceuta after all. A few wrong turns, with round and round and round in some roundabouts, and we just missed the ferry. Our crossing was delayed an hour and a half – but we would still make it into Morocco. The next ferry however was delayed another 45 minutes… Our plans to make the Spanish Moroccan border in time to put some distance into Morocco the same day, was looking bleak by the minute. But, if everything from here on went smoothly, we would still make it.

A couple of kilometers into Ceuta, still having a chance to make it into Morocco, Adrien experienced his first of many breakdowns to come. His throttle cable had come undone. Our window was shut, we would not make Morocco today. Upon further inspection we found that a part that holds the cable in place had been lost, an integrated part in the headset which was as likely to come undone as winning the lottery. Further still, out of the more than two thousand bits and bobs we had taken along, this part was not among them.

It was getting dark and we were surrounded by an ever increasing horde of shady people, with keen eyes and long fingers, directed at our tools, parts, cameras, etc. It was getting uncomfortable and stressful – we did not want to be here one more minute (at the end of the trip, this place would have seemed like the most peaceful and stressless place on earth). Anyways, it was our first sign of what was to come… and a reminder that it was not a fable when we had repeatedly told ourselves before we left home; that things would not be smooth, that things would go up shit creek just about every day, that things would be hard and frustrating, and that we would end up arriving after nightfall most days and be dead tired and exhausted.

(As we were to become  ever more aware of over every passing day; there is no such thing as “being mentally prepared”. Reality, well, it is reality, and reality can’t be altered by the mind alone no matter what anyone has tried to convince you of. Pain still hurts just as bad no matter how much you have told yourself beforehand that you will be suffering. There is a lot of truth in the saying “reality is a bitch”).

It was given that our window had closed and that we needed to spend the night in Ceuta. Joachim found a hotel and returned to Adrien and Magnus who were working on the fix.  In the end, after three hours, we managed to make a bodge repair with a couple of washers, some epoxy, a hack saw, and lots and lots of silicone – Adrien’s scooter still runs with this bodge fix today.

An hour or so more of adjustments to the scooter, and we decided to treat ourselves to a great meal. Our only regret was that we did not eat more as this was just about the only real meal we would see for the next two and a half weeks.

With enough reality (or bitch if you will) for one day, we hit the sack – exhausted, but happy. The only things on our mind being “we are on our greatest adventure ever – we are really here and we are really doing it, we are here and here is Africa, and with us are our beloved scooters!

Two hours of sleep the last 48 hours and virtually no distance put behind us, day one is over. This was to be the easiest day on our journey.

*The scala rider actually works, but how you get it working is still somewhat of a mystery to this very day. Although a very useful piece of equipment, and one that worked awesome once we got it up and running until the next time it needed a reset due to some interference, opinions were split: Joachim thought that it could need a bit of more development before he could give it more than one thumb up… Magnus on the other hand, who is any manufacturers wet dream as he religiously endorses any product he owns, was of course in love with this product and thought it was stable and intuitive. Adrien, the diplomat, his position was neutral. Even though we don’t see eye to eye regarding how good this equipment actually is, we all agree that it was very useful and that it is probably the best intercom on the marketseeing what others had in the rally, i.e. the Sena which is the nearest competitor sucks in comparison.

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(13.01.12) Count down to zero

12 Hours until rolling out of the warehouse in Spain. Joachim and Adrien is spending the night at Adriens house as they have to get up at two in the morning to make the flight, Magnus is spending the last night with his family and is to be picked up in the morning.

 

Adrien’s mother is giving us advice, that when having to take a crap in Africa, to do it in the middle of the road as this is the safest place. Thanks for the advice, it is noted – but we think we just might take our chances with the scorpions over some african truck driver with a death wish behind the wheel of an overloaded truck with no brakes, no wind shield and no lights. Adrien’s father has taken on the role of all girlfriends and mothers combined when it comes to worrying. Joachim talking about Al Qaida in Mauritania makes his already pale frightened complexion turn almost transparent..these folks used to live in Africa. How they survived is beyond comprehension.

We hit the sack, full of anticipation. I think we were just about to fall asleep before the alarm clock started blasting “Eye of the tiger” at full force. Yeah, it is time! I don’t think Adrien’s dad got much sleep either – he was sitting at the edge of his seat waiting for us in the kitchen when we came down, all boozed up on coffee, talking some uncomprehensible manic mumbo jumbo – the last time I saw so much fear in someone’s eyes was in my army days when a new recruit threw away the splint rather than his grenade. Oh, well, I guess we all understood that our girlfriends would have to give him plenty of reassurance throughout the entire two and a half weeks we were to be gone.

Adrien’s dad drops us all off at the airport. We are all really psyched, telling each other that it is really important to get some sleep on the plane – yeah right, like convincing my son to go to sleep the night before x-mas. Anyways, this was about as rested as we would be until the two and a half week ordeal was over.

10:10 AM and we land in Malaga, clean shaven, almost clean clothes, and still smelling some what of flowers. Oscar, the Spanish representative from the shipping agent picks us up and takes us to the warehouse for uncrating. With a brain cocktail consisting of only two hours of sleep, the last 36 hours, thirteen cups of coffee, and a good portion of euphoric adventurers adrenaline, we manically tore those crates apart with our bare hands… Its roll time, we got to make the ferry to Ceuta before 15:00… Like that would ever happen (Murphy, with all his stupid laws, had decided to keep us with company – that day and every day from there on).

 

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Recap!

Throughout the rally we have mostly been off the grid. The rally did not really pass by that many wifi-hotspots in the Sahara, and those that we came over were slow and difficult to connect to. Our updates through the course of the rally have been through Kristina with whom we have been in touch with through the occaisional SMS and Sat.phone call.

Now that we are back home, the sand is cleansed from our ears and we’re all well rested we’ve decided to do a full, detailed recap of the whole trip. During the following days Joachim will make a post for each and every stage throughout the whole rally. We will combine that with a few photos and videos from the different stages.

 

Enjoy! :)

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They made it!!!

A very, very worn vespa tire.

I finally got news from the guys, a mail saying “We are there – we made it”!

Congrats, guys! 5000 kilometres of hard driving now lies behind you. As the first participants in the Budapest-Bamako rally EVER, you did it on vespas!!!

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The finish line is approaching…

OMG, only 57 kilometres to go before Joachim, Adrien and Magnus reach Bissau, the final destination of their adventourous vespa rally!!! It has been more than two weeks of hard core vespateering since they left the shores of Spain.

I don’t have much to tell, as I haven’t heard from the guys since yesterday morning. While we wait for more news and pics from Team Bamako by Vespa, here are some fun facts about the country they have just entered; Guinea-Bissau:

Guinea-Bissau is a former Portugese colony, independent only since 1973. The country’s per capita income is one of the lowest in the world, and its human development index is also among the lowest on earth. The capital, Bissau, has a population of 400.000.

We are looking forward to seeing pics from your end of rally-party, guys!

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