Motorcycling in Africa: Camels are Funny

May 20, 2013 View Comments by

Camels are FunnyCamels are funny. I didn’t know this until I was stuck behind a camel convoy in Djibouti, Africa and couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. Luckily, Nick and I had intercoms so we could laugh together as we passed truck after truck hauling camels. It’s like riding a Segway; it’s impossible not to smile while driving one. The same goes for camels in a truck. You can only be happy when following trucked camels. Being sad or disappointed is not an option. Confused, yes, but confused with a huge grin on your face. I think it is the fact that you can only see the neck and head. They look like curious snake mammals, and they are so content. They are not stressing at all, which is a good reminder for whoever is following to relax and be more like a camel. This lightened our spirits as we were trying to leave the aptly deemed “Dark Continent.”

Nick and I had been on the road for nearly four months as we were trying to ride unsupported from the southern tip of South Africa to the northern point of Norway. We were failing miserably with the exodus from Africa. It had all started with Sudan. We had gotten the run around for a few weeks from two separate Sudanese embassies before we realized what was really happening. Americans can’t just get visas for Sudan. We make it nearly impossible for them to visit America so they return the favor for us (which only makes sense). Now we were on a last chance effort of routing through Djibouti to Yemen to Saudi Arabia where we heard entry visas were easier to come by. It was frustrating, but our only option as Americans. Meanwhile, we were meeting travelers from Europe who were getting Sudanese visas with no problems. Entering Djibouti was surprisingly simple and we were now following camels in a truck so life couldn’t be any better. The only stressful part was that we were running low on fuel. We knew it was a 350-mile run between service stations, but after we made the distance, we found out they only had diesel for sale. We had to go on with our low tanks. Eventually we realized we weren’t going to make it, but we had gotten to see a lot of camels in trucks so life was all good. We pulled over to the side of the road to discuss our options, and came up with a plan to transfer all the gas to my motorcycle in the hope that I could make it to the next town. I didn’t like splitting up, but it was our last card to play…. until next week!

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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.