Well last night worked out and the 4 BOYZ who stayed with the Sisters had a great time and even a cooked breakfast. Quinton, Charles and Mark, who stayed in the priests quarters, had to fend for themselves - apart from coffee - Father Gabriel’s cook brewed up a pot of Mark’s special mix and Raph arranged fresh bread and we had rolls from yesterday.
We were up early, awakened by the church bells at 5am. The taxi-men arrived at 6am and Raph oversaw the loading of the motos with our spares and other odds and ends including computers and communications equipment. The BOYZONBIKES carry their personal stuff!
Once the tariffs were negotiated and the motos loaded, the team was ready to head out. First stop was the TA’s office to say good bye and thank him and his team for assisting us with Raph’s accident. After farewells, off we headed with the next destination being Kindu. The plan was to attempt to pack two days into one as we had travelled an extra 45km yesterday.
Today had become known as the 48 broken bridge day! And that’s no joke - we crossed 48 broken bridges - we came across the first bridge 5km into the drive and then they came thick and fast! Each bridge had its own character but none resembled a bridge that was in any state for a motorised vehicle to cross! Most comprised a skeleton frame and the odd log placed across so, to traverse, you had to balance on the round part of an 8 to 20cm log - if you miscued then you ended in the slot between logs like Rolfe and Mike or upside down in the ditch! Other rivers had the remnants of fine Belgian engineering - that’s with regards to the steel framework but that was it - again, apart from a few logs to balance on or occasionally some Bamboo laid crossways which worked like a charm and took away the stress of making the crossing, you were otherwise at the mercy of Mr Gravity!
It does not sound so bad but believe us it was worse - today was a 6 duct tape day - 2 each to Charles, Paul and Rob and every other member of the team had more than one close call!
We also made a river crossing (the Ulindi River) on pirogue - two bikes to a pirogue and three on the last trip. Check the photos out?
Then there was the grand finale - that was the final broken bridge were we paid a number of local residents to “walk” our bikes across the Ambwe river- the good thing was that John and the two FFK specially adapted land cruisers were on the other side to meet us, along with the Chief of the Kailo Village - sitting on his chair in the middle of the jungle watching over the muddle!
We transferred the spares etc to John’s vehicles and off we went to Kindu. We were met at the 20km mark into town by the advisor to the Governor who promptly jumped on a ching-ling (4-up) and rode with us to the Congo River “beach”, where a ferry was waiting for us to take us across the mighty Congo River and then once off the ferry (which was a very technical manoeuvre), we continued to Residence Karibu per kind invitation of the DRC Prime Minister and a partner for Kibali called MANY - thank you very much for the very kind support and Mark will be matching your contribution to NVEP.
After booking into our rooms, which by all accounts could be described as luxurious, we sat down to a great dinner and good wine - those of us who could appreciate it - and the others drank beer and Quinton his customary double coke.
Tomorrow is a “rest” day – lots to do to get the bikes ready for the next haul!
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