English translation day 1 - 10

 Picassa photo album

day 1 - 2
After we departed from the boat which in the whole was not unpleasant, we came in frontal collision with AFRICA. Waiting started and a staff member of Grimaldi would come pick up our to fullfil the formalities. This lasted 2 hours, then the moto' s were driven to a monitored parking and I stepped in the car of Mbor .After an enraged ride through Dakar we arrived 3 hours later in the port, Boni had waited that time at the bikes. What had been regulated in the meantime, in 1 word, nothing. To make a long tale short, nobody knew exactly what had to happen there, carnet the passage is not accepted, to get a laissez passez we had to import the bikes(what will come to 300 euro for each bike) . The customs authorities close at 15u, and will be closed for the weekend, what meant that we had to wait till monday but in the meantime we had seen that the security of the port was also organized the African way. After a maintenance with the captain and a phone call with Luc Smets of Grimaldi Belgium a solution was in the making, but in the meantime it was 14.30, a half hour before the customs authorities closed. Therefore the moment was there to take a decision, with a trick we obtained the bikes from the monitored parking and with a pounding heart in our throats we drove through the security of the port , right in the hectic trafic of Dakar. We are free! That this tale is not finnished is clear already. With in our passport only a transit stamp  we race to St Louis, but the sun catches up with us and eventually we take the junction to Lompoul were we camp on the beach. Camping on the beach was always a dream of me, with a campfire and the stars and falling asleep with the rustling sea on the background. The beach was a type of motorway the first hours, where car s and even a lorry on full speed passed. It was then best to swing a light in the air as soon as possible so that you they didnt drive over us. The sea wind blew a salt layer covering everything so that everything became greasy and sticky. Because there were so much people wandering around, we parked the bikes near each other and slept in the open air, firstly in the heat, and then the cold came. Fortunately I had a thick pullover for Africa, although the temperature topped during the day at 37 degrees. Although it was the worst sleeping spot which I have experienced in my life, I would not have missed it for the world, this is Africa! Now is we a couple days in St Louis just as to think what the options are.

Day 5

We left early to make the best of the low temperatures in the morning (22 degrees) and went via small ways to avoid the police controls this way . By means of mail and sms we know that the police force is searching for us, and also that the boss of Grimaldi in Senegal is not happy. The first part of the day goes smoothly and we pass the only city where police could have stood without problems, but the 2nd part was a type of asfalt that looks like it has been bombarded, with a small byroad of sand . We try several speeds concerning the asphalt with holes and Boni thinks 100 per hour is most comfortable, but I have my doubts and just a bit later demolish my topcase which was loaded too heavily . Along the sandy byway we make it to next village and after repairs we decide to remain there (sorry no names> police ). The repair is fascinating to watch,metal is treated with chisels, is welded and hammered, we drive around the village for 2 bolts and with a glowing punch 2 holes are made in the plastic topcase. Less nice are the Senegalese who, if they see a white (toubab), come with their medical problems, thus there came a young guy to see us with 2 wounds on his knees , which clearly already became infected. I have disinfected his wounds, but your know that it is in fact useless and that gets under your skin. We sleep that night in open air on the roof of a hotel, in the middle of 4 mosques which around 5 hours s in the morning held a competition for the loudest koraan verzes through the microphone . The mosquitos here are very happy with us, each of us has already 20-30 bites.

Day 6
We knew this day was going to be difficult, because from here until the next town was over 200 km slopes, great was our surprise then that the first 60 km was fresh asphalt. We have intensely enjoyed while it lasted, because we knew that it would stop, and then it was over. We had no idea just how difficult it was going to get, and that was a good thing, or else we had never started.

This was  one of the  toughest days  out of my motor life, as well as for Boni. The asphalt  indeed stopped and turned into piste that was easy with the occasional technical piece. It was early and not too hot and still enjoyable. This is where the bikes are made for and the beautiful environment with many wells with animals along the road met the perfect African plate. But slowly but surely  the track deteriorated with 80 km still to go, and the temperature at 45 degrees in the shade, the average speed was reduced to a 20 km per hour. We still had fun because we had enough water and camping was calculated and even took pictures with the helmet camera. But then it happened, Boni went off too enthusiastic, and came at 60 km / h in two large pits, he tried to save the situation but was thrown from the motorcycle and disappeared before my eyes in a cloud of dust.

When the dust had settled, I saw Boni again standing with all limbs still attached, explaining it all wasn´t so bad. Just some bruises and abrasions, it seemed. The bike did even better, just upright it and drive.
 Barely 500 meters further it was my turn, in a deep sand trench  I hit the rocks on the left  and crashed hard, I made a somersault and was lucky, the engine radiator was bent and there was some  plastic damage. With the curved radiator the fan was stuck and the engine would overheat several times that day . When we stopped a little further under a tree, Boni could barely get off, the muscles began to stiffen, with great difficulty, he lay down and declared that the day was over for him. He was hit in the shoulder, hip and left foot. Several Senegalese from the nearby village came to watch and they told us we could sleep there, but  sleeping between goats and bugs seemed  not very attractive to me. According to one of them  the piste was  only 25 km long and then there would be asphalt. We wanted to believe him, really. After one hour and a number of emotional moments  Boni, who never takes painkillers, wanted to try some. I knew that the day after the accident it would be impossible to drive, and that would mean that we may have to stay several days in a hut village at 45 degrees . Boni´s painkillers started to work and he could get back on the bike and navigated  the last piece  very carefully, for it was only 25 km and we had more than four hours sunlight.
 What followed were hours of suffering, under a scorching sun and sand and a deteriorating track. I regularly had to stop because no matter how much I drank, I had a dry mouth and a headache, signs of dehydration. Boni had a few slow speed falls and we barely got the bike upright , he had to be helped back on again and we were struggling. It was 4 pm and where the track was supposed to go into asphalt, we just had visions of asphalt, the track deteriorated further in loose sand, trying to break us, keep us from our goal. But there was only one direction and that was ahead. In my head a phrase # It's good, it's better, another  kilometer #  I was only just not hallucinating when we reached the first signs of civilization, a landfill, and behind it a city with hotels. We congratulated each other, but we realized that we were lucky, maybe too lucky. At night in the hotel we were shocked when Boni took off his shoe...

Day 7-9 
Now that we have arrived in the  medium sized city of Orou Sogui, and Boni s foot seems to be broken and his ribs bruised, we take the time to recuperate. For the time we are going nowhere. First priority is to go to the hospital, which we have heard has an X-ray machine. The hospital is quite large and half a military complex, it seems, each section is guarded by a guy in an expensive suit, which leaves  people in sparsely and only with the right papers. Boni and I get in easily as we are white, but we then wait for our turn just as the others. After an initial diagnosis by a doctor, who says the foot is not broken, we have some hope. Boni will still have to wait for hours for his x-ray, while I  drive back to the hotel. In the afternoon I get the good news: no broken foot. This means we can move forward together soon , otherwise this was the end of Boni´s adventure , and I had to go on alone.
 The next day I had time to fix the bike,  I had the fan disconnected, adapted it and successfully reassembled. The radiator is not leaking so we can continue. It's just incredible how bad the bike looks  after only 600 African kilometers.
 It  now goes  a little better every day with Boni, the worst is the pain in the ribs, and it looks as though we would can ride again soon.

Day 10 
Senegal and its people will always be in our hearts, we have only met with nice helpful people with lots of humor. However, the last mail from the evil boss of the ship's company, with the new threat  of a fine of 40 000 euros per bike, makes us decide to leave as soon as possible.
 A few hours later the plans are ready with the help of a good map, but even more with the use of the satellite images of Google Earth, where  every little path is viewable. Waypoints are put into the GPS, and the next day we leave before daylight.
The first 150 km are asphalt, the sign in the middle of the road [Gendarmerie / ARRETE] is avoided before the policeman in the shade of a tree has emerged, and so  a bit further down the the road we turn onto a dirt road into a village. Here begins the road to freedom.
 The track is very nice but  must be navigated carefully , as there are trails in every direction. The locals, who never saw a tourist on this little track, however, are very helpful.
 We therefore quite quickly find the place we need to be, where three countries come together (Senegal / Mauritania / Mali) by Balou.
 There is still an obstacle between us and Mali, the river Faleme. With a guide from the village on a motorcycle, we explore a few places where the river was fordable, but given the soft sand and Boni's previous bad experience with a river crossing (see youtube), we deem it too dangerous. Then the man of the village with a pirogue (kanoo) is called, because even in the smallest villages there is mobile reception. The man wants Cfa 10000, which is a 15 euro, which we weigh  against  40,000 euros, and accept.
 The whole crossing is smooth and with the help of a dozen locals, we are  across in the afternoon . We did it! Or not quite, we still had to get up the edge , with a fully loaded bike  I struggle through the sand, coming around the corner the way up slowly comes into view, a steep rock hill with deep channels left and right. I have no time to think, if I stop in the sand  the bike gets stuck and there is nothing else to do than gas it. Once on the rocks  the rear tyre finds grip and I shoot up the ramp. In a few seconds I decide on the lines I should follow, but fortunately the motor stops, so I can take a better look. I'm almost over again when the engine stops and the rear wheel drops into a deep gully.
 Together with the older man from the village, and the age-old worker on location, we drag out the heavy engine and I drive up  the last meters. Here I think I die and the helpers put me in the shade and pour water over me, the temperature, 42 degrees.

 I walk back down to warn Boni, still not 100% fit. With even more luggage it will be even more difficult. In a fit of insanity Boni decides to let his bike be driven by our guide. The boy is up for that and attacks the slope at full throttle, so much recklessness, you can only respect that. At the top it almost goes spectacularly wrong, but then he recuperates and then falls into the other channel where I got stuck. With everyone's help, even the children this time, we're up. Also good fun, , sending a child of 7 down the giant slope to retrieve Boni luggage But if you then see that bag, which is greater than the child being brough up without problems , you can only but respect those people who would do anything to help  strangers.
 Another 4 hours later we are in Kayes, Mali and I take an expensive hotel to celebrate our victory.
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