My first sight of the UK was the Isle of Wight in the distance. I am from Southampton so I know the area well. It was a real homecoming feel to sailing around the island and into Portsmouth Harbour.
I am on the ferry from Santander in Spain to Portsmouth in the UK. The boat seems to be full of bikers who have been riding the Pyranees. You can tell they are bikers because they are all over the aged of 50, have beards and black t-shirts. Strangely many have Yorkshire accents.
Here I am in the Sahara desert and for the first time in months I have had to do up my jacket during the day and put a warm fleece on in the evening. Tonight I will have to sleep inside my sleeping bag rather than on it.
After my ordeal at the Rosdo border post on the way down, I decided to head for another smaller post called Diama to cross into Mauritania. Everyone said it is better, unfortunately it is now closed to all but military personnel so I was turned away. Rosso it is then…
I woke early this morning to the sound of the call to prayer. The mosque was 10m from where I slept. After packing up and doing a bit of reading, the border post opened and the 100 or so cars that had built up overnight started to move off.
After packing and leaving my hotel my plan was to limp the bike 30km across the border into Senegal where I had the correct money plus parts would be easier to get. The chain lasted all the way.
Yesterdays visit to the Sierra Leone Scouts was the last meeting I had planned for this trip. I will spend the next 3-4 weeks travelling home.
I had a slightly later start this morning and after a half hour fighting through traffic amd markets I was back into the countryside. By mid day and after having my temperature taken at every town’s Ebola checkpoint, I was at the Guinea border.
Today was about great bike riding on mountain roads and on jungle tracks, falling off a ferry into a river, seeing fantastic wildlife, breakdowns and hospitality in a remote jungle village. It is going to be a long blog. ..
I started the day unsure of where I would finish. The Michelin paper map showed an unpaved road between Bougoni in Mali and Kankan in Guinnea but neither Google Maps not Openstreetmaps said it was a complete road. They showed a gap and no route through. Internet searches gave no mention of a border post there. I decided to get to Bougouni and ask a local. If no joy then I would have to take a much longer route and stop overnight in Bomako, Mali.
Last night I went to sleep with the sounds of a big thunderstorm. Lighting flashes were almost continual as was the rumble of thunder. I definitely made the right choice of not camping. I got a very good 9 hours of sleep and woke to a very different world to the one I left the night before.