Hi & Welcome
OK folks, here it is. The web site for my “Gambia on a Gapper!” charity adventure road trip event. Thanks to the help and support of some good people, I will hopefully be able to keep in touch with you all before, during and after this odyssey.
I’ll be posting updates as and when I can. I’m told Internet access is not the easiest thing to get in most of West Africa, so we’ll see how it goes and take it as it comes. If you want to take part and comment, please register for the site, it’s free and only takes a minute. Your first comment will be moderated, and then you’re on your own! If you haven’t done so already, why not click on the Donate Page to see what we’re about here. There’s a Wish List on there too, perhaps you can help in a practical way?
There’s so much going on right now with pre departure preparations in full swing that I hardly have time to think. I do want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped so far – the people who turned up for the car park slalom, the good folk on Irishbikerforum.com and ukgser.com who helped with the raffle of the CB 400, the dozens of individuals who helped with contributions, donations, technical support, paperwork, medical assistance, and so much more besides. Thank You!
Long ago (well-about two years)
It was about two years ago that Myself and Linda sat down and actually took this… idea, whim, longing or madcap plan depending on how you look at it, from a hoped for chance to be part of a ‘Noble Cause’ to a “yes, it’s feasible – do it”.
Even then, it was Linda that was keen to go – i thought it was an insane idea.. then.
Sadly due to her commitment as a carer for an elderly couple, she declined as she just could not leave them for a month solid. so i’m going.
Then at the end of 2009 – just three weeks before the scheduled departure on December 27th, it was cancelled.
No, i mean it was postponed. i just couldn’t face the thought that it was not going to happen. Just when it would happen was the vague bit.
Come to late 2010 and we (Tossers In The Sahara as the previous trips were named) had a meeting in the U.K. and by the end of it we found ourselves with no real excuse not to do it.
So, my head went from a long wait to, all of a sudden “this is actually happening?!” EEK!
Around Africa with a fridge?
Some of the problems that come up in an escapade like this defy belief – you really, honestly could not make it up.
I have to inject myself daily. It’s not a big deal and i’m not ‘ill’ – i have a condition, there’s a difference.
However, the meds require refrigeration. no lower than zero, no more than eight degrees celcius. Easy you’d think. Um, no. Most 12volt fridges can guarantee “20 degrees below ambient temperature”, but that’s it as far as guarantees go.
Given the route and variation in height above sea level, we go from Irish winter to African Spring. So thats roughly zero to possibly high thirties! (roughly – dont quote me – i can more accurate in a month!). Anyhow – it took a while and some lateral thinking, but a solution was found. It will sit in the back of the support car. Well, it would look daft as a topbox on the Bike now wouldn’t it?
Around Dublin – looking for a rubber chicken.
I should explain. (I suspect that phrase will be a recuring one on this trip). My Gapper, a Honda C90 of Devon origin was previously owned by a farmer. When asked what he used it for he replied “ah, just chasing chicken around the yard”. Strange the pastimes they have in Devon, but i shall comment no more on that. However, this is how the Bike became known as The Chicken Chaser.
Those that know me know i have a twisted sense of humour. For two days now i have searched in my spare moments for a rubber chicken to stick on the Bike as a mascot. Now i may have sourced a suitable piece of poultry. But, as with much of my gear, this chicken has to go over to the U.K. with me on a plane. As it is, my luggage is going to raise eyebrows if not alarms through airport security. I’ve no option but to bring my Moto X armoured jacket as hand luggage, i’ll be wearing a big old pair of knackered Bike boots and holding a cooler bag/box of injectables…
Add to this the vision of an airport security person reaching into my bag and pulling out a squeaky (well, it just HAD to be a squeaky one!) rubber chicken.
i cant wait – and this is before i even get to the boat!
That’s it for now – you’ll have to forgive my ramblings – to start with they probably wont be in chronolgical order, will be peppered with typos and will skip to past and present.
I’ll consult my editor – gods help him. After he’s come out of the darkened room he’s now in having set up the blog for me! i’m sure he’ll sort it out…
The Chook of Earl has arrived!
Today i picked up Earl. My Chicken mascot. He was kindly donated by a pet shop – ‘Mutt Ugly’. I knew as soon as we met, he was the one for me. A stately figure that, i hope will open doors and smooth my passage (stop that – i don’t mean THAT passage!) – my passage across borders and into the hearts and minds of the locals…
Yep – i’m thinking of Airport security here. C’mon -think about it, there’s two ways to go; serious and hope for understanding or lunatic and hope that i’m passed on to become someone elses problem. (Where’s the wicked grin smiley when you need it?) So, he took his first trip on a Bike today, back from the pet shop.
I don’t think he was impressed – he did give a wail of concern as i stuffed him unceremoniously behind the screen on my GS.
I had a lot to do today – he’ll just have to get used to it. i will try to find him a helmet but that’s about it as far as ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) goes. All being well, he will be present in photo shoots, will give his opinion – but only a poultry contribution.
I am here – on my way.
wtf is here?
The first leg of a staggering centipede.
Right now, its Belfast int. airport. waiting for the plane.
Hands are shaking. why? i dunno! nerves / anticipation / last nights mixed fruit cider?
Great British Railways
…well that was just plain strange. I get to Gatwick train station.
I know I read the scrolling LED sign correctly on the platform. “the last four carriages go to blah, blah, blah ARUNDEL and blah. please ensure you are in the correct part of the train”
Update from the editor
I’ve received a hurried e-mail from Marc this evening. He’s been unable to update the blog owing to a near total lack of connectivity. The team are now near the border with Western Sahara, still together, and all OK. Updates will be added as time and connectivity allows. As the saying goes… watch this space.
Update from the editor #2
According to Toad via a post on the UKGSer forum, they’ve all arrived safely at the hospital in Bansang today 21st March. Updates to follow…
Apologies for delay folks – now i’m home, i’ll try to get this blog sorted! edits may appear as i go.
Sunday Feb. 27th.
Friday 4th ~ Spain into Maroc!
The child inside me is yelling; “Yippee! this is it! this is what i want, this is why i came along!”
We’re heading for the port. For the ferry. for Morocco! I am excited, No denying it. This is not your average Bike tour.I cant wait to get on them unfamiliar exotic weird and wonderful highways and byeways….
But before I can do that.
Friday 4th ~ The real adventure begins
Eyes wide open and taking it all in. I’m like the rubbernecked chicken strapped to the front of the Bike – head going in all directions trying to soak up every detail. Morocco catches me a little off guard. I’ve this romantic notion I suppose, of Omar Sharif males and masked female dusky beauties all flowing around in robes with a whiff of patcholui as they pass. Lush and comfortable Bedouin tents aplenty, goats awandering, camels a spitting and a background of hubble-bubble pipes for a soundtrack.