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9/06 to 1/07 1/07 to 10/07 10/07 to 1/09 1/09 to 2/09 2/09 to 6/09 6/09 to 10/09 10/09 to 2/10 2/10 to 3/10 3/10 to 5/10
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So many memories in History

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Namibia - Ghana - Ivory Coast - Guinea - Burkina Faso - Mali - Gambia - Sénégal - Mauriania - Marocco

F1 GP of Valencia + FIA telemetry on internet + French radio commentary = Perfect F1, just missing peanuts !!!



Tomorrow, I go with Francois, the owner of the guesthouse, see the wildlife in the dunes.

With this new rear tire mounted, i am good for the next 5000 miles.



I go with Kirby to a farm for the weekend.



I had an email from this guy Kirby the other day:


Hello Hubert

Firstly I'd just like to say you have cost me a lot of money....!

Secondly I think you will be the cause of many many miles of smiles for me in the future!

Let me explain : Some weeks ago I was walking around my home town of Swakopmund when I happened across your rig outside the Fish Deli! I was instantly in love and snapped many pictures! I'm only sorry I did not get to meet you and cause you a serious case of "UDF" or Ural Delay Factor as its known!

... I got home, googled URAL and the rest is, as they say, history! I have ordered a brand new Ural Gear UP from the SOuth African dealer, Ryno and its on its way over from Europe as we speak! I'm excited beyond words! I've spent countless hours researching and reading up about the machines and cannot wait for her to arrive. I think the smiles will start then!

Soon my shiny KTM 690 Adventure will have a slower friend for me to play with!

If you come back to Swakopmund please drop me a line, I have workshop space if you need to carry out any repairs, and maybe even somewhere for you to stay that doesn't look like a tent.

Kind regards and enjoy this beautiful country.

Kirby Mackintosh




Needless to say, I went on my sidecar meet this Kirby.


We are going on a ride together this weekend and by sunday night, Kirby will be comfortable doing a wheelie !!!



I added a new page in my web site "New to the site, Start here" that is accessigle from the opening page and the where is hubert page. I also valorised "Where Was Hubert" because in one page, it give a good understanding of the last 8 years travel. Finally, I changed a little the left column on all the pages of the site. Do not hesitate to let me know if you find a bug.



1:00 pm: Good news, the gearbox was removed and we were glad to see the famous screw holding the guide for the idle assembly was correctly tighten !!!

I just have now to put back the motor in the motorycle.


6:00pm, I did a road test, the sidecar is running smooth, tomorrow, I will rest after all this work.



I did a 7 miles road test this afternoon and it was conclusive.

The gearbox shift smoothly in all gears including the reverse.

The saline air of Walvis Bay corroded the carburators, I had to clean them fully this morning for the motor to run well.

We were not smart enough to check if we tighten the screw holding the guide for the idle assembly - accessible from the outside of the gearbox on the clutch side.

But we are smart enough to think about it now and not in a few thousand miles when it could have explode the gearbox !!!

So tomorrow, I will take the gearbox down to secure that screw



We are making good progress in rebuilding the gearbox, by now, François closed it and re-opened it a dozen time and I could even do it myself. We think we have the right adjustments, we put it on the motor and tomorrow, I will put it all in the frame of the motorcycle and will make a road test.

Francois is doing a welding at the lower rear attached of the sidecar.



Thank you so very much Ilya, Madina and the URal family - USA - Russia - France - for your help and support.

No more relaxing time, now, I have to put it back together with François.

DHL was on schedule when delivering the URal parts from the USA this morning.



After a very long time sorting it out, I found the way to put a little icon in the tool bar before the http://www.thetimelessride.com

You may have to clear your cache to let the icon show up.


Chrome: Go to the menu Chrome > Clear browsing data > Emtpy the cache and restart your browser.


Firefox: Go to menu Preferences > Advanced > "Clear now" Cache and restart you browser


Safari: Go to menu Safari > Empty cache. Then go again to menu Safari > Reset Sarfari > Remove all website icons and you are done.



I revamped and updated the "Timeline" page (left column).



Thank you so much Ilya and Madina the owners of Ural in USA, the DHL package is on it's way with parts to replace the final drive and fix the gearbox.

Feeling hungry, I made a few soft boiled eggs for breakfast this morning.



The shipping of the parts from the Ural corporate office should be confimred today.

With all these emotions,, I am relaxing in Walvis Bay!!!



A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Martin - that I did not know - Florida telling me he asked his dad to do a painting of one my photo in Africa and he wanted to send it to me somewhere. When Jessica got it, she put it at the entrance of her living room. Thank you so much Martin and your dad Julius, you have no idear how I felt touch by your thought and kindness.

Julius' painting now in Jessica's living room entrance in California from a photo in Guinea - on this link.

To Julius - the artist - with Gertrude, both 80 this year. Thank you very very much for your touching thought.

Martin & Debbie with their 2 kids, Joshua and Goldie on their Ural Patrol. I hope to meet you one of these days.



Spending the week with myself on that desert beach, not meeting anybody, having nothing special to do made me think a lot. It was a rich experience that did very good to me.

When was the last time I spend a week alone with myself, I will have to do it more often.



Going back on the road... on my brand new sidecar (almost) !!!



I realised I made a mistake not to take care of the final drive by changing the gears that were very worn after 45000 miles of abuse by carrying my blue bag. I went back to Francois' guesthouse, and with his help, I changed the gears on the final drive and I changed the traction wheel at the same time. It was stupid to have the spare parts with me and wait to break down to do it.

The final drive gear connecting to the traction wheel was very worn and needed to be replaced.

The rear wheel - right - does not have too many teeth left after 45000 miles of abuse by carrying my blue bag !!!



On the Skeleton Coast, many are discouraged by the bleak landscape, the cold sea winds, the fog, the sandstorms and the spare traffic, a very unsual and fabulous place to pitch a tent !!!


In fact, it's was exactly the same in 2007 with Jean-Louis when we rode Ruta 1 in the desert of the North Chili.

This solitary seal, stayed with me all the time I was setting up my tent... and went back at sea.



I am leaving Walvis Bay for the seal colony.



Don't miss the opening page about work ethic, doing nothing and the stars at
night !!!

All I need to be happy, is a good pair of shoes and a little gas in the sidecar!



This is the link to follow my friend Tony who lived in Japan for a while and who is in Vladivostok on his way to England on his MZ motorcycle with 3 others friends.

I am still in Walvis bay, I fixed my starter that was corroded inside, changed the shock absorber of the sidecar wheel to a new one I brought with me - it leaked oil in Guinea. I still have to do some electrical work before I am ready to go.



The job is done, this morning, I put the battery and did my test ride without problem. Thank you so much Heidi and Jens who sved my butt on a broken exhaust bolt and on bad connection of a wire that left me in the black for a while !!!

It feels good to be riding again after all this work.



I worked the whole day putting the bike back together. I had a couple of bad screws on my way but it all ended well.

I have a couple of details to complete tomorrow and the sidecar will be ready to go.

As I was changing the gearbox, I changed the clutch for a new one.



3 days before I left Ghana for France, I had a gearbox problem. It got stack overnight and was hard to unlock in the morning and the samething happened once again the next day.
Madina and Ilya, the owner of Ural told me "Don't take a chance, we are sending you a brand new gearbox in France that you will take back with you in Africa".

Thank you so much Madina and Ilya for your generosity, it removed me a lot of worried I had !!!

Happy as a clown, I just removed the old gearbox to be replaced by the new one I brought back with me.



As long as I arrived at Walvis Bay, it means that there were no problem even if a couple of time it was a little bit complicated !!!


My plane landed at 9:30am and by noon, I already got my sidecar and my "Carnet de Passage" stamped by custom !!!

Thank you Heidi and Jens - Enfield - who picked my up at the airport.



On my way to Namibia via Frankfurt in Germany

No problem so far !!!



I have been thinking of these suckers for the last 2 weeks since I bought my plane ticket with a transit in Frankfurt !!!



This morning, I left Lorraine and Milou in Normandia !!!

Laurent wrote me on the Guesbook that he wanted to meet me in Paris at the end of the afternoon. I wrote back "OK" send me your cell numbert and I will call you". That trigered Bertrand, who already showed up a couple of time at the "Closerie des Lilas" to write me 5 minutes later "me too, I would like to come".

Finally, Laurent could not make it but Bertrand came and we spend a nice time at our favorite place !!!

Tomorrow, I take my plane to Namibia get my sidecar.

If you notice behind Bertrand are the famous lilac of the "Closerie des Lilas".



All good things came to an end. After a few weeks travelling on the road in the van with my beloved Lorraine, we are back at Gary's farm in Normandia.

Tomorrow, I will go to Paris and I will fly to Namibia on tuesday.

In 2 mn, you are warm in bed, It's amazing how more comfortable it is to travel in a van than on a sidecar.



Visit "Le Pelonier", my second family in Dordogne where I have so many good memories and where 4 generations live under the same roof... like in Mongolia !!!

Titi, Christian, Rennes, Lorraine at Le Pelonier in Dordogne.



Then we visited my niece Aurora with David and their kids in Moulins.

The relationship between Aurora and her kids, is fantastic, she is a very good mother.

Kortess, Odalie, Aurora, Lorraine and Milou.



A quick stop at Dan's shop the Ural dealer Est-Motorcycle in Auvergne who always support me with precious information and his generosity.

La Souris, Dan, Lorraine, Milou and me at Dan's shop.



What a thrill to have meet you again after half a century Daniel. (from my first solo trip in my young life)

Thanks for the jacket Daniel, I was looking too much like a homeless - that I am! - with my duct tape repairs !!!



3 days in Geneva can never be enough, but what a pleasure to be with Giorgio and his friends "a la Marcel Pagnol".

We left Geneva this morning and are now with Daniel who I traveled with in Israel - on our dunkeys - half a century ago and I have not seen since.

Suzanne, Claude, Louis, Giorgio, Pierrot, Nana, Lorraine, just to name a few of the Marcel Pagnol gang !!!



We arrived in Geneva at Giorgio's house.

Lorraine's van is extremely frugal, with 36 miles per gallon (more mileage than my Ural) the highway toll from Paris to Geneva was more expensive than the diesel !!!



I just got an email from Jean-Louis who arrived in Cameroun without any problems.

Happy birthday Jean-Louis - April 1st.



We left - in Lorraine's van - Britany and Normandia and arrived in Paris on our way to Geneva visit my good friend Giorgio.



We spend a week with my friend Patrick in Vannes who was preparing Lorraine's van with his friend Roland and Gigi - photo to come.


Yesterday, we had a lovely day with my daughter Eve, Peter and Lorraine in Saint Malo. It's great to have a daughter who knows even more than me in F1 and a son-in-law who adores her. see photo on front page

Back in Normandia with Lorraine, it's seafood at Barfleur.



I came to Paris do a few chores and meet a few peoples:

- I bought my "Carnet de Passage". Sort of international insurance for the sidecar.

- Checked the banks

- Bought a swimsuit

- I met with Do-minic this morning

- I had lunch with my sister Marie France

- I Had dinner with Ivan, my Dreamweaver master who help me start my web site 7 years ago.

- Then I Saw a fantastic movie: "The Grey" with Liam Neeson - After their plane crashes in Alaska, seven oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step - All I needed to keep a good spirit at the end of this winter !!!


PS: Today, gas in Paris reach the historic high of $10.50 per gallon !!!

DO-minic, I am so glad I finally met with you this morning.



This morning, we loaded and sealed the container with the 5 motorcycle and my sidecar. The boat is leaving Ghana on the 19 and will arrive in Namibia on the 27. We were supposed to stay here unttil the 21st to pick up our paperwork from the custom and go directly to Namibia, but I learned today that it was not necessary. So, I bought a plane ticket and I will fly to France tomorrow morning to be with Lorraine for a while and will be back in Namibia begining of April.

The 5 motorcycles and the sidecar just fitted in the 20' container.



Message from Jean-Louis:


Did you take a risk today?
We all do -on our own way- but if the path I chose to follow may certainly be at time paved with uncertainties, it won't be because I didn't know of, but rather because I am too passionate for Africa. Traveling that continent isn't about courage nor proving anything, it is about passion and I feel as passionate for Africa as Hubert is for Mongolia -ironically the only place on earth where he got assaulted-. I know that he understands me, even if he had to scare my mom to death with the explanation of his decision...
I can't get enough of Africa. Long before I could print my feet in the sand of the Sahara desert, taste the water of the Okawango Delta or smell the Ylang-Ylang flowers in Madagascar... I had been irresistibly attracted by this continent. May be I owe it to some writers and adventurers tales, to the pioneers of the Citroen "Croisiere Noire", or simply my father who hasn't been there but kept in his drawers very curious, if not scary, artifacts brought back long ago by his dad while in the Colonial Infantry.
Africa isn't only about extraordinary landscapes, baobabs trees or elephants, it is first and foremost about its people, with their enduring ability to survive the toughest climates, crisis, difficulties, their feet deeply rooted in a soil they had to fight hard for to get it back -and still don't possess. It is particularly about their welcoming smile, their waving hands, their strong handshakes, their words of encouragements - although they appear to be the ones who need it most-, it is about their dreams and hopes. It is what I see, what I feel, it is not the usual "news" brought to you. It is just coming from my eyes, my heart. And it does really exist.
But I do know well that Africa is also about borders, crisis, and while they are just lines or areas on our maps, they unfortunately do not encompass the myriad of languages spoken, ethnics differences, religious beliefs, economic hardships, mingling all together like in a bee hive. Crossing theses lines, I may feel the sting one day, but it gives to my life a dimension no one can understand. As Nicolas Bouvier did write once "if one does not accord the journey the right to destroy us a little bit, one might as well stay home".
Along the one year ride with Hubert I have been very happy to share with him and you many of my pictures and a few stories. That he choses to move forward to Namibia by boat doesn't change anything to our friendship. It isn't the first time we got apart, six months in the Andes, one year in West/North Africa, who knows where in the world our path may cross again?
Even if way ahead of me now, I will keep the image of Hubert riding in my right mirror, the one who doesn't shake so much when the terrain will get tough. Farewell my friend! And see you soon, somewhere!
Take care to all of you following Hubert, you are in my heart like all Africans. Please don't write more comments on my decision, my mother is watching! ;-) - Jean-Louis

Shipping is tomorrow and I am dealing with the plane tickets and preparing the landing in Namibia



"It's happening!"


We all met yesterday (see opening photo) at the maritime agent in Tema to ship all our motorcycles by container to Namibia. We will load the container on thursday March 9 and lock it after custom inspection. The cargo boat will leave Ghana on March 19 and is schedule to arrive in Walvis Bay, Namibia on March 27.


How did it happened ?

1 - Tony - UK on a 10 years ride - met Charli - USA on a 2 years ride - in Morocco.

2 - Heidi - Australia - and her husband Jens - Germany - on their honeymoon trip for the next year met with Tony and Charli in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

3 - In Bamako, I met Heidi and Jens when Maximilian and his wife Marianne - Belgium on a 2 year ride - arrived in our auberge.


This is it, we were all riding to South Africa and we all wanted to avoid crossing Nigeria. None of us is in charge but with the ease of internet, writing emails to each other, we managed to meet yesterday at the maritime agent !!!



"A man has to do what a man has to do !"


To go to South Africa from Ghana, either you go by road and you have to ride through Nigeria or you ship your sidecar by boat to either Cameroun or futher South. For me Nigeria is not an option for basic security reason, I have nothing to prove and my moto for this kind of danger has always been "With courage, let's flee !!!"

Since we came back to Bamako from our Christmas holiday, I have been looking for oportunity to ship my sidecar, and we met then 2 couples bikers who were arranging a container to ship their bikes from Ghana to Namibia. That solution will make me skip Togo, Benin, Cameroun, Gabon, Angola and that's fine with me but Jean-Louis decided that he needed to visist all these countries.

This is how this morning after seeing the elephant of the Mole National Park together, we went our own way, me going South to meet the bikers in Tema, Ghana and Jean-Louis going East toward Togo.


"We had a great year riding together Jean-Louis, but a man has to do what he has to do. I wish you the best, and I know we will ride again together one of these days somewhere in the world, somehow !!!" - Hubert

Who would have think 4 years ago in the Andes that we would ride one year in Africa together !!!



We are in Ghana. We visited a couple of Castle like this one in Cap Coast from where the slaves were shipped over the Ocean. The history is not tender at all !!!

We are now trying to see the elephant in Mole National Park.

It's amazing how history is difficult to see sometimes and so is the present, humain never learned !!!



This morning, we take the road from Abidjan in direction of the National Park Mole in Ghana to try meet with some elephants !!!

Congratulation and all my compliments to the 9 sidecars teams from the
"Ice run" who made it to Salekhard at the arctic Circle in siberia.

Taking care of important business in the fishing village Azuretti, Gran-Bassa, Abidjan..



We got our visas for Cameroun, looking good.



This morning, we applied for the Cameroun visa.

To be delicious, a beef's hoof must be cooked at least 12h but then, it's really very delicious !!!



Spending an other nice and easy weekend at the beach.

You got it right, it's Jean-Louis carrying the net on his shoulder's already sun burned !!!



After we got our visa for Ghana this morning, we stopped at a shopping mall where they were playing "Intouchables" at 4:30pm. The attendant told us "It's only 12:30pm but there is nobody, if you want I can play the movie for you now... and so we did...

Watching the movie "Intouchables" was for us almost irreal and fantastic at the same time !!!



This morning at 6:04 am marks the begining of my 8th year on the road.

It was only good for me !!!



We got our visas for Togo and Benin, waiting the answer for Ghana.



You can follow "LIVE" on this link the "Ice Run" that just started a couple of days ago. Orginised by the "Adventurist" from UK, who also do the Mongol Rally every years. 13 teams of 2 each ride an old Ural sidecar 1500km across the frozen Siberian wilderness on old school Ural motorbikes to the only town in the world sitting on the Arctic circle. The Pioneer's Ice Run began at Ibit where the Ural factory is located, on the Southern end of the River Ob, and end in the North Siberian town of Salekhard, the only town in the world built on the Arctic Circle. How you get between these two points is up to you and indeed may not really be possible !!!

We enjoy our weekend on the beach at Grand Bassam



Today, we we did the Ambassy tour to get the informations about our visas for Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cameroun. They all have their own rules and they are not all cooperative, like Ghana can just give us a transit visa of 2 days to go to Togo !!!

We settled on the beach of Grand Bassam for the weekend.



Last night, Côte d'Ivoire qualified for the final football "Cup Africa Nations" that will be played sunday. It was joy in the streets.

Today, we go to Abidjan.



We arrived at Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, one day north of Abidjan where I was able to put the video "Kansato Missige" online.

To get out of Guinea, it was bridge, after bridge, after bridge !!!



We made it to Côte d'Ivoire. As you saw in the stories, Guinea may be the poorest country in Africa but the people have a huge heart and I was touch by their true hospitality.

We are now in Côte d'Ivoire since last night, may be the most modern country of the Western Africa and so far, people are very nice and authorities helpful.

I finished 2 videos, one on Kansato Missige and the other on the funeral of Diallo's uncle but I can't yet put them online with the slow connection I have here.

With the dirt on the tracks of the Giunea's bush, I don't need to put my sunscreen anymore !!!



We are now in the "Forest" region of Guinea approaching the border with Ivory coast that we should pass in a day or two.b

This is not fog or dust, just a cloud of smoke from the bush burning all over Guinea in this season!



When we arrived in Guinea 10 days ago, Jean-Louis wanted to ride a few touristics roads and do some serious trekking and I wanted to get lost in some mountains villages, so we did separate and just got back together tonight.

Jean-Louis enjoyed his time doing a 2000ft up and down trecking of 15 miiles in 9 hours (go figure ???) and he also get stuck with his sidecar in the steep hills of Guinea.

As for me, it was total immersion. The day i left Jean-Louis, I landed in a remote village in the mountain and i stayed there for one full week with my new friend Diallo.

The whole village welcomed me greatly. Every year, the village see a car of tourist passing by, but they never stop, because they have no reason to stop. Last time a tourist stopped there, it was an American on a bicycle who slept there, needless to say, they had a lot to share with me and I have a new place in the world where i can stay as long as I want !!!

On top of the daily life of the village, there were the celebration of a new born baby, a funeral, a ceremony at the school, a reunion of delegate from all the surrounding villages at the village's Mosque...

I have a lot of photographic and video material that I will put together in the coming days.

With Diallo in front of his store in the middle of the village of Kansado Missigé



In Guinea Conakry people are very hospitable and very joyful to see a couple of tourist riding through their villages.

It really feels good to be back on the road !!!



It took us time to move out of Bamako but finally, we did !!!

The monkey was killed by a shot gun to feed the village with the 30lb of meat.



We are on our way to Guinea Conakry but we will stay on the North-East side of the country to go to Ivory Coast and it is quite a remote area, so don't expect too many internet connection !!!


Today, we saw a Belgium guy with his wife on a KTM going to South Africa and an other couple from Australia and Germany on 2 Endfield diesel "Sommer" also going to South Africa. We will meet them again for sure.

Felicity Aston is now a stone shot away from the finish line !!!



With our visas for Guinea Conakry and Ivory Coast, we will try to find a boat to go from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo or Benin to Cameroun !!!



While being in Africa this january, I have nostalgia of the white winter, thinking of my friend Pourou in Mongolia or all these trucks drivers in Siberia that you can see on this video.

During this winter, I am following this amazing British woman Felicity Aston (33) who is crossing the South Pole solo on ski pulling a sledge since mid-november.

Felicity Aston should cover the last 318km to safety by the end of January.



Thank you for your generosity, Ilya, Madina, David and all the team "Ural USA", we got all your parts to do our regular maintenance and one more time, we will leave with our two sidecars pratically like new !!!


Burkina Faso - Mali - Gambia - Senegal - Mauritania - Morocco - France - Switzerland



We got our Malian's visa, the parperwork for the sidecars are also in order. We change the front and rear tires on both sidecar, we now start working on finding the best way to go south !!!

We installed the new connector with the toilet pipes from Giorgio to connect both carburators
from Jean-Louis' sidecar to the left air filter -- the right one was taking all the dirt on the road.



3:00am Auberge Djamella in Bamako.

I met Jean-Louis in Casablanca, him coming from New York and me from Paris.

We just arrived at the auberge where everybody is sleeping.

Tomorrow we will get our sidecars and start preparing ourselves.

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