if you read my previous post on preparing a trip: Where do you start this is the follow up part.
Few things are pretty much sorted: the shipping is dealt with, I ordered the Carnets and we deliver the bikes to the shipping company on the 9th of April.
The bikes are being prepped up by Crown Motorcycle, in Kingston
. We asked them to do the valve clearances, fit new sprockets and chains, new wheel bearings and fit the back wheel on the CRF with a heavy duty inner tube and new tyre.
The CRF has a beautiful new luggage frame with an auxiliary fuel canister on the side. Gabriel, at Zen Overland, certainly did a very neat job there.
Alistair found a bigger (12l) fuel tank on eBay. He will fit it once we get the bikes back from the workshop. The work surface in our kitchen is filling up with half unpacked motorcycle parts and starting to look like a workshop!
From my researches online, I figure that we need a minimum of 450kms fuel range. The XT250 had a 10 litre fuel tank. I can do 300km with that. With my 5l fuel bladder, Alistair’s new 12l tank and the 5l canister, we will have a total of 32 litres. If I take also my 8l fuel bladder, we go up to 40litres. That should give us the 500km range required in some sections of Namibia.
That brings me to the fine tuning of such a trip. The guide books are a complete waste of time for that. Although I bought one that covers all southern Africa, it is aimed at backpackers and there is very little of use for prepping my trip.
So I searched the internet. I am especially interested in motorcycle blogs, and I found few very interesting ones, on ADVrider. Few provided maps and GPs waypoints, I took note of everything and read some blogs twice!
These were especially useful and full of detailed info that was, to me, very valuable:
The photos help decide if I would like to go there. So, reading few ride reports provided me with a lot of useful info about Namibia and Botswana.
First-hand information from fellow motorcyclists is essential, as they face the same challenges than we will, regarding fuel, water, food, shelter, difficulty of the roads and trails, sand, rivers to cross, punctures, wild animals etc. These are problems that do not arise when travelling on a car, where you can carry a lot of stuff, driving through sand/mud/rocks does not mean risk of falling and injury, and a puncture means just a wheel change. And a lion won’t eat you if you are inside your car!
Last but not least, and I know this is cheeky, I also looked at motorcycle organised tours websites. Very often, they give a detailed itinerary of their tours. That is very useful! After all my previous work, it helps me see where professional guides are taking the tourists and main points of interest.
Cheating? Not really, they volunteer the info, so why not make advantage of this? Although some places I will avoid. Some Private game parks, that I then researched online, are insanely expensive. I suppose people going on organise tours pay top money for that, while my budget must last 4 months!
So don’t hesitate to research the Internet, including guided tour companies. Plenty of Info out there!