We have our tickets

I plan to terminate my contract at the end of March. Alistair will be done by then too. The beauty of being contractors!

We bought our planes tickets for Cape Town. Departure the 28th of May. That’s it! No way back.

I have confirmed the shipping for the bikes. I am shipping with Moto Freight. They come recommended by other travellers, and Roddy, my Moto Freight contact, has been really helpful, answering all my questions and more! So the bikes have to be delivered to him no later than 16th of April, preferably earlier.

I will arrange for the Carnet ( the bikes’ passport) to be delivered at that time, so I can give them to Roddy. He can then send those to the freight company dealing with the Port authorities and Customs, in Cape Town. Still some paper work to sort out but my time frame is fine.

We have about 2 months to get the bikes ready, including a bespoke frame built for the CRF.
Gabriel, from Zen Overland, will do the luggage frame and fit a 5 litres fuel canister on it. Fuel might be a problem is some lightly populated sections, so we will need to carry some extra.

I have not looked at vaccinations yet, but most stuff should be up to date from our previous trips. I don’t think we need anything other than Typhoid.

For the anti-malarial tablets, I am not sure what to get. Malarone is good, no side effect on us, can be used to treat malaria, but extremely expensive. Each tablet is about 3 pounds! One a day! Argh!

I am not keen on taking Lariam (also known as Mefloquine) , because of the potential side effects. It comes with long lasting risks of hallucinations, psychosis, depression etc… So bad that even the US FDA issued warnings. So this one is a big no.

The mix Atavaquone/ Proguanil, made me very ill for few weeks, when I used it for one trip.

Then there is Doxycycline. I have used that one before with no side effects. But a lot of tablets to carry.

I will book the travel clinic and discuss the options with the nurse. Also I am not sure I can get 4 months of prescription drugs at once.

Few weeks ago, I contacted Johan, one of my south African former colleague and friend. We both contracted on and off at the same company. We worked in few big projects together. He moved back to Cape Town with his family, soon after the birth of their first daughter. I was asking him recommendations for accommodation with secured parking for the bikes. His quick answer was “ no if, no but, you are staying with us”. With his growing family (a toddler and a baby) I was not angling for an invite. Honest. They have enough to deal with the kids and jobs. But the offer is gratefully accepted.

It will be great to open my paper maps and get some input from him and Jo-Ann, they know this region of the world very well.

There is no greater pleasure in life than opening a map flat on a table, gathering around ( with few cold beers!) and getting (or giving!) tips, write on the maps, highlight the best roads, mountains, jungles, deserts and settlements in the most unlikely locations… dreaming about and anticipating all those places with mysterious names. I love my maps. Paper maps. I am going to be controversial here, but I care very little about GPS. It is useful in town when looking for a hotel, I will grant you that! But more than once, the stupid thing has taken us too many time through donkey trails and rivers, while there was a perfectly nice tarmac road a mile away!

As for the many farms’ tracks and disused roads it took us through, in Russia and Siberia, to this day we have no clue where we were! I presume, in one way, it does not matter much. When travelling, we are rarely going anywhere precise, so we always end up somewhere!

I think my love of maps started at 12, reading The Hobbit and then the Lord of the Rings. I loved to look at the map in these books, the details, the kingdoms, the mountains, the Moria, Mordor… ah yes I am “One of Those”! Many books with maps followed: SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, Classics (Jule Vernes!) anything…. I was not fussy, world maps, Fantasy maps, any map.. so full of possibilities, so full of stories…

When I was a student, playing “Dungeons and Dragons” with my friends, I always volunteered to draw the maps!

Yes, I am “One of Those” too! From Nerd to Motorcycle traveller, it was not such a big step!

( this was the birthday card I got from Alistair! I love it! )