Sunday, February 05, 2012

Invest in Gold

Finally, a post about adventure and not just me being a bitter lefty atheist.

I just finished a pretty awesome motorcycle trip around Mt. Elgon. I took the route I linked to in my last post. I left Kakamega around 10AM, and was on pavement until Endebess, Kenya. The pavement was only good to Webuye, however. From Endebess to the border the dirt was pretty flat and boring. I could still go in 4th gear (of 5) without much worry.

I hit the border at the Suam River, and it probably took me about an hour to go through customs and immigration on both sides. I had no idea what to expect bring the motorcycle across, but all it required was filling out one extra form for each country. Apparently it's free as long you're bringing the bike back within two weeks. That was a pleasant surprise. The crossing isn't very busy, so I had to wait for the Ugandan immigration officer to show up. She'd gone home and the customs officers had to call her and tell her to come back. After I was all taken care of, they started chewing her out and telling her "this man comes to Uganda and the first thing he sees is you leaving leaving your station to go home. You're an embarrassment to the entire country!" It seemed funnier and less harsh at the time.

In Uganda the riding started getting really tough. The roads are all bone-dry, but that just meant that instead of six inches of mud, they're covered in six inches of dust that's almost as slippery. The roads goes in and out of gullies and steeply up and down to creek crossings. I had to go really slowly on the downhills and gun it on the uphills. I was in 2nd or 3rd gear the whole time, fish-tailed a lot, stalled a bunch of times on technical assents and ate it once (going slowly) on a steep downhill. I was getting pretty tired and the sun was setting, so I was very glad to finally make it back onto tarmac at Kapchorwa, which is only 20km from Sipi Falls, where I spent the night.

I set up my tent at Lacam Lodge pretty much on the precipice of the lowest falls, and had a nice dinner eavesdropping on a balding pontificating windbag saying things to his younger douchebag-in-training traveling partner like "Once the interest rate on German bonds hits seven percent, the system is screwed and the scam that these central banks are running is all over. That's why I invest in gold." and "My whole thing is to play the system against itself. That's why I'm incorporated in Liechtenstein. These days you really have to make your own fortune." No, dear reader--I'm totally not going to be that guy in 10 years.

Today's riding was relatively uneventful fast, flat and hot paved riding. The crossing back into Kenya went smoothly, the line of trucks for export on the Kenyan side was probably 5 miles long, and now I'm home again. Here are a few pictures.
Sipi Falls (lowest)

Suam River Border Crossing

A Northeastern shoulder of Elgon
Mt. Kadam to the north
Mt. Kadam again