Welcome to Lach Fergusson's
TRANS-AFRICA OVERLAND ADVENTURE!



DATE: 26 January 2006
CURRENT LOCATION: Johannesburg, South Africa - Backpacker's Ritz



HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

It's been a while since I've 'called-in' but it has been a busy time (and really bad internet access!). Besides, I suddenly had a girlfriend traveling with me and you know they can be sooooo demanding on one's time…

Take a wild guess on whether my bike is repaired now or not..? I dare you…

Um, um - a general sketch of the last 6 weeks or so.

It was mid December and I was stranded without wheels in Johannesburg and would have been so until Xmas, so I made the decision to jump on a bus…



(stupid bus)

…and head for sunny Mozambique for about 2-weeks. Returned to Jo'berg tanned, with an enlarged liver, and…




…a prospective professional surfing career.

The bike was fixed and the bike was tuned - but, for the love of God, Mario just wouldn't start. This wasn't even a problem that I brought the bike in for!? They even took it to the Honda factory here and they were stumped.

The nice mechanics would get to keep Mario as I had a rendezvous with Mandy in Cape Town on Boxing Day…



…and another 4-weeks backpacking with her…
















…which was splendid!!

We returned from backpacking and safari to Jo'berg. Mandy flew back to jolly London last Sunday and when I called the mechanic Monday, would you think the bike was ready..? Oh it's ready all right. It's still all fixed from my wipeout in Sudan. It's still all tuned-up ready for some more rough road ahead. But Mario will only sometimes start and when she does she spits and revs and sputters and dies… This reminds me of another automotive belonging of mine that returned all of my tremendous love and care and money with nothing but vindictive hate (some of you would remember her as Bernard, the yellow Bug).

They've checked everything 3 times, brought in a motorcycle electrician, sent it back to the Honda factory, and even brought in a mechanic from another shop! They are all wholly and truly baffled. They think they've narrowed it down to the CDI (a little 'box' and part of the ignition and electrical system), but they don't have this part for my model in SA. The last chance gasp is to bring in a buddy's Honda TransAlp that also uses the same CDI to swap and see if the TransAlp's brings my bike back to life. Supposed to be today - we'll see. Beyond that, I think I might just have to put a bullet in Mario out behind the barn, bring an end to both our suffering. I think Mario has just given up the will to live…

So here I am back to being bored to absolute TEARS. Jo'berg is not so bad, but it's big and you need to know your way around. With an insider's knowledge or a vehicle you might as well be stranded on a backpacker's castaway island. If the bike can be saved, it might require ordering in parts that will eat up precious weeks of my remaining 6 or so weeks still planned. I'm not certain at all what I will do if that happens. I think technically I might have spent more time off my wheels than on them now. I'm slowly losing the whole point of the trip that I planned, if anything could be said to have gone according to plan :)

I'll get back with more details later, but hope everyone is well and had a lovely holidays!!

Lachie