Blowing a seal

This wasn’t on my list of “must do” in Africa but I’ve done it now. The rough roads of North Tanzania took their toll on the main suspension unit and I was left riding a pogo stick.

Now how it happened, we had left Mwanza (where we had done a lot of village time with UNICEF) and caught a ferry across an arm of lake Victoria to continue towards Rwanda. The road was rough and you could have suspected it was made of corrugated iron, high speed buses sped past going sideways often as they tried to steer on the rough gravel surface, many of the unlucky trucks and buses lay in the ditches after being pillaged by locals. Getting the speed up had tempory relief to the pounding as the pattern changed randomly to big holes.
I passed Tony who was slowing down and a few km later died, and I drifted to the verge wondering if it was faulty fuel or electrics. In the desolate bush land a crowd formed to watch me dismantling the gear to get to the battery as it seemed to be electrics, yes a cooked battery. The one from Dar es Salaam had only lasted a couple of weeks, then I noticed the pool of hydraulic fluid. It had been getting a bit bouncy in the last few days but now it was bad.

No-one turned up,,,, the crowd was talking about the Mzungu and money I was getting nervous, but Tony had also broken down a few KM back ( a side stand switch had fallen to bits and cut his electrics). Eventually Gareth arrived and the crowd vanished into the bush. Tony and Dave arrived a bit later switch problem solved. They went on to a little village where a battery was located (miracle) and there we stayed listening to road horror stories from a mining Aussie. This got us on the phone to Brendan aand Paul to get them to change the route they were taking and to get them hunting for a shock unit before they departed from Mwanza.
To be continued.

3 Responses to Blowing a seal

  1. Graham Shaw September 3, 2007 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi Gareth & Team,Trip is reading well in the web site which we follow closely. Did wonder whether you would like us to ship our 6 suzuki 650Drs over that have just arrived back in NZ from a bone shaking 6k odd in Pakistan China &Tibet with only one broken clutch cable?.Take care

  2. Gareth September 8, 2007 at 5:34 am #

    Hi Graham

    Thanks for the offer. Do we get the support vehicle you guys used to store your makeup bags in for your whole trip as well? The Long Way Round boys blew shocks on this road as well but eventually they got from London to Capetown safely as did their 3 support vehicles and 16 support crew.



  3. Pan September 12, 2007 at 5:18 pm #

    Kawasaki people! I done over 20,000km all over Tanz only mostly bad roads and bush tracks (cause that is where the fun is) and never blew a KLX rear shok. Front fork seals always blowing though 🙂 Upside down forks are hopeless in Africa.

    Otherwise glad you are all having fun and surviving Tanzania my favourite country. Uganda not bad either. Cheers


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