was Overland Spares now travel

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John
I've done it a couple of times - just delays at checkpoints - and been shot
at once, and been threatened, been assaulted, the usual things...
Seriously, don't worry. It isn't a problem really, some countries in North
Africa dimly view independent travel, others see it as an excuse to make a
bit of dosh - I haven't been threatened with having to pay backhanders as
yet to get me out of any given situation. But I will say I swear by saying
'know the enemy as well as you know yourself' and stick to getting the
paperwork right - it doesn't cost much, just a bit of extra time; and then
there is even less of an excuse to stop you - some do it just to piss you
off, or a scare tactic, but it doesn't happen often, actually, it happens
very rarely.
I try and go as independently as possible, but I like to arrange that we go
in convoy as its the safer option. I have done it alone, but believe me, it
IS lonely out there, and ATEOTD you are solely responsible for yourself, as
there is no-one else to help you, and worse, you can't share your
experiences with anyone, that's why I prefer to join up with others along
the way. What I used to do is hover around other organised tour groups at
ferry terminals and make polite conversation - we're all in it for the same
thing really, so its good to talk! I've travelled in Libya and other places
on my own - the authorities were a bit nonplussed and incredulous but I had
all the right paperwork, and actually, being alone in the desert is a very
scarying life-changing experience - put it this way - its character
building!! challenging, upsetting, satisfying, emotionally draining, elating
all at the same time.
Yes I was scared s******s on at least four separate occasions, but I loved
thundering into a resort, dusty, smelling of diesel and oil, shedding sand
everywhere, with really bad hair...I think I learnt more about l'beast and
myself than in any time or place past, present and probably the future. I
wouldn't recommend doing it this way, but it made me what I am today - I
think its the process of knowing my limits and going above them; it outlines
pretty quickly whether you're a survivor or not. You have to be extremely
resourceful and self-sufficient in so many areas. I've had a few problems
along the way - mostly self-imposed, but you get over it, and the best thing
is you learn from it. And ATEOTD for me its the best thing since sliced
bread! I love it.
Join a tour, that's what I say!
Renate
(BTW I'm running mine from Spring 2007)
-----Original Message-----b
From: [Email address removed]
[mailto:[Email address removed]]On Behalf Of John Byrne
Sent: 09 November 2006 19:19
To: [Email address removed]
Subject: Re: [ELCO] Overland Spares
Hi Guys
Thanks for the info. So do most of you who travel to far off places usually
go with a tour company or a group organised by yourselves.
What are the pros and cons of going in an organised tour or on your own in a
group.
Has anyone gone just with their own vehicle and if so what are the pros and
cons. I think Jeff did did he not.
cheers
john 92HDJ 80 1HDT
.
 
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John,
Going in your own vehicle is the only way. If you fly to
somewhere and hire a car you are half way to being on a package trip.
You also miss the travel to the destination, which is part of the
enjoyment. I bought my cruiser, gave it a service and went to Russia
in it in the middle of Feb. I had had it for Five weeks. I agree with
Renate on the group thing, it greatly enhances the pleasure. In the
desert a group has to be a neccessity, break down there in the quiet
season and you are probably dead, unless your luck is really good.
Regards, Clive.
 
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Never a truer word.
I experienced a situation south of Tam in Algeria in Dec1990 where a
group of bikers asked me ( a commercial overland driver in a Bedford M
type, with trailer) if they could run with us as far as the roads in
Niger. I agreed as it was good logic, they were are great bunch of
people, and in the long run (apart from the incident below) it was good
fun. My punters went off on their bikes and they rode on the truck etc.
Even I left the truck and had 1/2 an hour trying to keep a bike up in
the sand - that is all it is, so I have huge respect for desert bikers.
Now, one of the bikers (a French fellow) was not really happy with
following/accompanying the truck. Said they were being wimps... so one
day he went off by himself for the day and night. Two days later we
still hadn't seen him. It was only when we got to the Niger border and
he wasn't there, that we suspected some problem. So three of the bikers
went back, the rest camped at the border, and we carried on our way.
Then while we were camped in Arlit, the group rejoined us and told me
what had happened. The French fellow had only gone 15 km when his chain
broke, so he then walked to where he though he would intersect our
track( leaving his bike with the water and provisions), but he walked in
the wrong direction. We passed about 5 km west of him... As a group we
were probably running about 1km wide across the piste.
He then walked down what he thought was the piste, until he was too far
from his bike to get back to the water and he was dead within a day, and
black like he had been burnt in a fire when the other bikers got to him!!!
The desert kills, my first hand experience of how quickly you can die if
you are stupid.
Graham
PS This is the first time I have written this story down, Ive told it in
pubs.. but this is a first sober, still drains me after all these years.
Clive Marks wrote:
 
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Life often hangs in the balance in the desert, and I guess I was pretty
stupid to do it alone but I was lucky enough to survive and can learn from
that experience. Nothing happened to me apart from the usual problems with
me as an individual. No vehicle problems, or running out of fuel or water
or food.
Whilst I was out there I had a short wave radio and was listening to an
african channel where they spoke french, I listened and learnt that some
chad immigrants had come to a very gruesome end in the desert, they were in
a truck that had broken down in chad and weren't able to get into libya,
then they had set off walking and over a period of less than a week they all
died. I heard this one evening when I'd just set up camp - a very sobering
thought. I didn't feel much like eating that night, and chewed my food very
thoughtfully indeed. It later emerged that the first of them had died
within 24 hrs of leaving the truck, I don't know how they worked this one
out but I guess the state of the body and how far it had been found from the
truck gave indications
Renate
 
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