Northern Kenyan Roads!!

Trip Start May 31, 2006
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Trip End Oct 14, 2006


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Friday, July 7, 2006

Ok, we left Nairobi on the 6tb after lots of time on the computer on the 5th uploading as many photos as i could...hopefully they have all been enjoyed and seen. Didn't do much else that day really other than help prepare our truck for our onward journey and cook etc.

The 6th was a long day's drive up to Isiolo which is pretty much directly north of Nairobi and that town is pretty much the end of paved road...at one point just outside the town we went round tar layers...but they aren't going hugely far in that direction as they don't really care about good roads connecting them to Ethiopia! We camped at a really nice place called forest lodge just outside Isiolo, and there they had a bar with an open fire, so we used theirs rather than setting up our own. Peter (our driver) had ordered himself some goat which Tracey and I tucked into with him as we were sat chatting to him (it was our day off dinner duty) and the others were panicing as dinner was still frozen - i quietly suggested baked potatoes on the fire and calmness resumed as this got organised and i sat enjoying my sprite, until Peter decided that i should drink some alcohol so arranged a round so that i would have to have 4...so Peter, Greg, Ronnie and I started our round and with Tracey passed a very pleasant evening...and i left the evening with a promise from Peter of a Cup of Tea in the morning to help me wake up in 5 hours time (as we had to be on the road at 7am incase anything happens you want to be ahead of other trucks). A couple of hours into our journey and we had a tyre blow, so we kept going till we got to a town and stopped to change it whilst tucking into a late breakfast. The town had a small street of the main one, some slightly larger one storey buildings with coke signs and a few mud houses too...a big town! As we were leaving a few locals...some in traditional clothing asked for a lift to the next town...so on they climbed and we moved on to the next town about half an hour down the road. Then we just kept on driving till we got to Marsabit - the only town of any significance between Isiolo and the Border town of Moyale. We got there at about 3.30 to find out that there were no showers as they had a water shortage and that electricity was limited so we might struggle to find cold drinks...other than that the only other issue with Marsabit was our accomodation. We were staying at Jey Jey which was a strange place...it was a multipurpose building with one of it's purposes as accomodation provider. However we had our tents so the truck was let into a gated enclosure to one side of the building and once again we felt like the local attraction. After setting up camp we went to find a bar with some food for a late lunch. Peter ordered the goat again (when i say goat what i mean is they have a leg of goat which they put on the fire which cooks then they carve it up onto a tray into kind of bite size pieces and then you get someone who comes round with a little bowl with soap and a jug for you to wash your hands before eating your goat with your fingers. I should add at this point that it is mighty fine!). When we had eaten we walked to the police station to organise our armed patrol for the way between Marsabit and Moyale as it is quite dangerous area. Then we went back to prepare the food that was frozen the night before for our dinner and then dared the toilets in the building (i think i found alternative toilets as my experience was much better than the others).

In the morning we set off on our way to Moyale...a day's drive away. We had an armed policeman in the back with us and one in the cab with Peter and Ronnie, plus a family of Ethiopians that we had agreed to give a lift to. Two women and 3 children. Late morning we had a tyre blow, in the middle of nowhere and as it had almost also lost it's tread we had to stop there and change it so with Tribes people watching us, they changed the tyre and we had makeshift honey/peanut butter sani's for brekkie. Then with all our spares used we continued on ...can you guess where this is going yet? A little while later yes we had another tyre go, but that was fine as you have two on the back of each...but then we had another go....this was bad news...that left us with 3 working tyres ...and we're no robin reliant...we need 4 tyres...so peter went ahead to see if he could get to moyale and sort something out (as luckily a car came along shortly after this blow out) and Ronnie was left to limp us on the rims to the next nearest area of habitation about 10kms away. To say we were in disbelief was a minor understatement. We waited there for Peter to come back, when he did he advised that he had got some inner tubes but needed time to sort them so there was no way we could get to the border post that night, so we got taken to the police station in the town to camp there for the night, because although we weren't at the border post we were only 4kms from Ethiopia and that was a dangerous place to be in relation to Bandits...so that is a new one on me... the police were lovely though. So we set up our camp...made a dinner of Cabbage and carrots with rice (which actually was lovely) for us, our hitchhikers and our police officers...and then with the extra tents set up for our extras we headed for bed after a chat around the camp fire.

The next morning we packed all up and with our two makeshift tyres we headed the 70ks to the border post...part way along we blew a front tyre...so with a reshuffle, we were back to 4 so we kept going...then with about 20ks left to go...we blew one more...so rims were back in action and we just kept going till the border. When we got there they had no tyres that fit our truck so we actually drove through into Ethiopia on 3 tyres and a rim! Amazingly they let us in (i don't think i would have...we looked a sorry sight), and we rimmed it up the now tarred roads (as Ethiopia do want to do business with Kenya) to our campsite at Moyale...to work out what we do next...!
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