After a day and a half locked in my room with depression at the thought of this adventure coming to an end, I wake up this morning in a better mood. The sun is out and Livingstone is calling. I can’t wait to hit the road to see what the next town has to show me.
A relatively short ride planned today from Vryburg to Upington. Along the way, I pass some stop/go signs and roadwork’s but nothing too disruptive and the road is long and straight the whole way. From Vryburg to Uppington, there is nothing but red deserted landscapes, going on for ever and ever, mostly flat with tufts of yellow grass and sporadic bushes, not even a village to buy water. My lips are dry from the hot air and need water.
Its hot, 39’C dry hot, then I realise I’m closer to Cape Town than I realise and riding through the Kalahri Desert with its red coloured mountains in the distance.
Halfway, I see clouds of what looks like smoke rising from the red orange hills. I suspect a bush fire, but as I draw closer see it’s the local iron ore mines I have heard so much about.
Riding through Upington only a few miles from my designated campsite I see various car dealerships and look out for a BMW showroom. I can’t believe my eyes, there, I see one. I drive straight in and introduce Livingstone and I, then make a list of some minor problems and what I think will need checking. The list went as follows:
30,000 mile service
Replace front and rear brake pads with supplied own
Check/replace fuel filter/strainer
Check brake discs
Change oil from 20W50 to 10W50.
Change oil filter
Clean K & N air filter
Replace broken rear mud guard and bracket
Repair gps recharging lead
Replace spark plugs with own supplied
Change tyre back to Anakee 2, own supplied
Check/replace indicator cancel button due to wear
Replace shaft drive oil
Ben, the service manager asks me to return at 1400 when the mechanic would of returned from his lunch break and be able to offer a price.
I continue just around the corner to a holiday resort, pay 105 Rahn and pitch my tent. Suspiciously, I’m the only one there. I leave what I think I may need during Livingstone’s revisit to the medchanic and return him to the showroom. There, I’m introduced to the extremely helpful mechanic, Gavin. I show him the list and explain what needs checking as per above.
Gavin asks if I have accommodation, so I tell him I’m around the corner on the holiday resort. Gavin tells me I must relocate, as its renowned for thieves and recommends a riverside campsite nearby. I ask if I can order a taxi, “There’s no need, our receptionist will take you to collect your tent and move to the other site”. “I don’t receive this kind of service from my uk dealership”, I tell the receptionist.
The riverside campsite is perfectly located looking over the calm, peaceful river. Well, compared to the Congo anyway!
The proprietor offers me a wooden chalet on stilts for only 250 Rahn. There I relax and take a swim in the pool until suddenly I hear the same roaring sound Livingstone makes. It’s Gavin on his motorcycle, the same model, year and colour as Livingstone but much cleaner and younger mileage at only 4000 kilometres compared to Livingstone’s 31000 miles! He had come to deliver the good news of Livingstone’s healthy condition and all for a cost of only 2500 Rahn. A bargain at a third of the cost at my own dealership. Gavin suggests a night out at the local Irish bar so gladly welcome his company.
At the Irish bar looking over the river Gavin and I eat Ostrich steak which is sweeter than a beef fillet and tenderer with hardly any fat, the healthy option Gavin tells me. Listening to Gavin, I learn more this evening about my motorcycle as well as the long awaited top secret water cooled GS (no GSA option unfortunately) due to hit the stores around March 2013. The Enduro model sounds interesting. We have a real good life even though Gavin drinks coca cola whilst I drink my coffee, He’s a good chap/mechanic and I’m looking forward to seeing his work on my Livingstone tomorrow morning, once he has finished. I miss him.