Senegal trip canceled.

Sadly, there will be no Senegal this year.

The morning view were pretty cool. I had at least gotten two tent days during this small trip.

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One tip I hade gotten about three times, were to take a look at the cables from the antenna to the ECU. As they are placed, they are a tad too short, and therefore sometimes gets bent, and starts to loose connection. As I never had loosened those cables before, it took me a good half an hour just to get the antenna loose.

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I got to borrow a soldering iron, cables, tape and everything else needed, and got to work.IMG_0927.JPG

Not the most beautiful solder, but it held together, no problem. I also took a look with the multimeter and all the cables had connection all the way through. I was on my way to test it, when the master mechanic gave me a hint… isolation could be a good idea. 😉

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It worked, but not much better than before. Interesting enough, the RPM needle had started working again. After a small trip, it would die, though, and the only way I could get it back without having to push it for 100 metres was to rev about 5000 RPMs. After this test I knew it was time to go home.

I made all the calls and arrangements and packed my stuff. I left everything but the computer, camera and clothes to wear going home, as I did not have much packing space.

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The bike would be picked up within 10 days, and I would get home in any way possible, which the insurance company would refund later. At this point I was pretty happy I had full insurance. On my way to the nearest bus stop, with no real clue of the stations, I started hitch-hiking a a cabriolet Audi picked me up. He drove me to the city centre bus station, so I only had to take one bus on my way to the train station. On the bus the driver didn’t really understand me but some guys helped me out.

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At the train station, I bought a ticket from Schleswig to Malmö. I think I had to change train a total of four times, but I didn’t have to buy new tickets at least, and the times between the trains were at maximum 20 minutes. With all the stops, and all the googling I made while traveling, the time went by fairly fast. My first plan was to take the night train to Stockholm, but it didn’t depart on Saturdays. I could go to Gothenburg one hour after arriving in Malmö, though, and after that go by night bus to Uppsala and then Västerås (really long traveling time, probably not comfortable) or take a train 07.55 to Västerås. The last part sounded most awesome.

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On my way to Malmö I found out a friend of mine were going to Strasbourg, and would have some hours at the station. We decided to meet up when I arrived at 19.06.DSC_9810.jpg

With all the new check ups I was about 15 minutes late, though, but finally I was in Sweden again. I met a really old friend named Benji from Game Over (11 years ago?) when leaving the last train, and he followed me to the main exit, where I would meet Jesper.

We had the plan to eat pizza, but the closest vegan pizza place were too far away, and ended up eating falafel instead (really cheap, also). Soon I was on my way again, with three hours to Gothenburg.

The plan for Gothenburg was to meet up with some students at a small student map. I met some people I met last weekend in Örebro, some I met ages ago and some new. It was the usual nice student thing, at least.DSC_9812.jpg

After happy parties until 05.30 in the morning I hanged out with a guy at Chalmers before taking the bus to the central station. I slept for half an hour before the station opened, went to the bathroom and re-filled my water bottle and then took the train home.

The plan now is to research as much as possible before the bikes comes home, and also to at least order a new antenna. If I am “lucky” that is the part that is faulty, and I will be riding again in two weeks. If I am unlucky, there was actually water somewhere in the system, or bad ground somewhere, and the problem will have fixed itself until it comes home. The problem with that would be that it could appear again anytime soon while driving in the rain; if that happens, I will have to make an electrical system overhaul. If I go out again I will at minimum bring a multimeter, though.

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Not as good as I hoped for

Pretty tired when I woke up, but still felt good! I was at a mechanic and all. I handed over the keys and sat myself down to start eating breakfast (yoghurt, bread and cream cheese or something). The mechanic waved me over after a while. As my battery now was empty, they had put a new one in, and the motorcycle was starting. They had checked the stator and rectifier, but i was still unsure it would be good to go. As it died seconds later, I was right. The HISS light, and fuel warning light, wouldn’t turn off again. They checked a bit more, and the conclusion was, at this point that it was the antenna reading the key code.

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This antenna is so enclosed, they he didn’t think there would be any possibility of water going into there. It is neither a part you repair, but replace. I felt pretty down at this moment as that meant no good possibility for continuing. 1-1.5 weeks delivery time and 160 euro if I wanted to wait. I wouldn’t give up just yet, and asked if the Varadero could stay inside, in case it would actually make a difference.

I wanted to google, but knew my 3G would not be enough. I knew there were a McDonalds nearby and started walking there, but saw another person walking from the shop to their car. I asked for a ride to McDonalds, and that is what I got! I love hitch-hiking.

After posting in some forums I call home to tell my parents what is happening, and also ask Magnus about the problem. I also check with the insurance company so that I have not misunderstood the conditions. Everything turns out OK, and both me and the bike is covered to get home.

One of the things someone tells me about is the cables to the reader antenna. There has been cases before where the cables themselves breaks because of the movement when turning the handle bar. I stay at McDonalds for a while, writing and talking with some friends. It feels like I may have a chance, but  it’s not a big one.

Back at the shop I start fiddling with the cables to see if it may make a difference. I am not sure, but there may be indications. The system itself is harder than of/off (think of a light bulb: it would be pretty easy to see if the cable is damaged when you move it) and that makes me unsure.

I also ask about the possibility of just by-passing the system in any ugly way, but he says it is impossible.

I take a small test drive to see if I can make it die, and start again by fiddling with the cables. it dies for sure, but the cables don’t help. It is still coughing and not really wanting to start, as before. After pushing it back inside I ask them to put the battery on charge, so that I can be ready for tests tomorrow.

Google taught me how to use the ”three hour internet” for all eternity by spoofing you MAC-adress, so I was back at McDonalds again. The idea that someone – maybe not a mechanic, but someone – may have the part at home hits me like a wave of caffeine, ecstasy and sugar, and I start searching and registering on new forums – Danish and German ones! I also mail Ole, from north of Jylland, to see if he could help me. He answers, telling me that he is actually going to Rendsburg tomorrow, 35 kilometres south of me. If he manage to find anything, he will buy it, and bring it. A German from Flensburg calls me, telling me he is going to Hamburg tomorrow, and will also check with the dealers. One guy from Finland gives me a number to a Swedish guy, who checks around a bit, gives me some tips, but also actually offers to come and get me and the bike if I would need it. As the insurance covers that part, I thank him for the kindly offer, but refuses.

It starts to get pretty late, 19.00 now, and I don’t really have any plans. Chatting with some friends I get the idea to check out the nightlife of Schleswig, and there are a few places. The city is approximately 25 000 inhabitants, so not too big, and I don’t have too big expectations. I bought some pasta sauce, cookies and drinks at Rewe before heading back to the tent for dinner.

 

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When checking for nightclubs I actually find one between me and McDonalds, just a kilometre from the tent. By the looks of it, when walking by, it was nothing too big, but I decided to at least go there and check later. It opened at 22.00, and as I didn’t want to be awake all night, I went there by opening time. There were about two people there according to the security guard, so I decided to go home and sleep instead. I hoped there would be a solution for tomorrow, even though I was ready for the risc to quit the trip.

Troubles, but nice people!

I decided to leave the bed at nine and start making delicious pancakes.

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While eating I also wrote the blog post from yesterday, all while the sun was shining outside. Awesome!

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When I finally left around 1130-isch, the bike was a bit hard to start. It was parked with the front downwards on the street, but after five-ten seconds, it started, no problem. I drove away, and it was already raining a bit. On the highway, it started to rain really hard, like yesterday, but only for a minute or two.

Not too soon after that, Varadero started acting strange. It felt like it just skipped to ignite once every now and then, and suddenly the RPM needle started jumping like crazy, before dying. I stopped at a rest stop, where the whole bike died on me.

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I first thought it was the fuel light, even though I had only 220 kilometres since last stop, and the warning light had not turned on. Now, it was on, though. As nothing happened when trying to start it, even though I heard some petrol in there, I asked around about someone with a reserve canister. No one had one, and I asked some ladies to give me a ride to a petrol station, so I could hitch-hike back afterwards. Instead, they took my petrol bag and went away, filling it, even though I had no cash to pay for it!

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They came back, with both petrol and chocolate, and we filled Varadero up with seven litres. A guy asked if I wanted some starting help, so we hooked up the battery to his car. Elsa and Lisette left, and Varadero started! I started getting all my stuff together to go to a petrol station, and even though the bike died during this time, it started again, like nothing. This was my first 30 kilometres this day.

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As I came to the petrol station, I filled it up. I only got 14 litres in though. 14+7=21, which meant I probably had 4 litres left earlier. This was bad, as something else would be the problem. Varadero didn’t start now either, which meant petrol was not the problem. I also saw the fuel light was still on. I tested around a bit, posting on a few forums, and saw that both the fuel light and the key light were on when I couldn’t start it. When the light went out, it would start. A man walking by, asked if I had problems, and told me he lived 80 metres away, and that I could go there for internet, which was really welcome, as I was aiming at McDonalds just to get to the forums without using expensive roaming data.

After being there for a while, eating bread, drinking coke and calling Magnus at home, I decided to try and drive again, to see if it would be better in a day or two, the drier it would get. Up on the highway, the RPM needle started jumping, and at the same time, it started couching a bit again. Soon, it started couching more and more, and I took the next exit. It died on me down there, and I backed up on a bicycle path. I tried to get it to go for a while and decided to stop a car for starter help again, to be able to drive back to Ling’s place, and plan ahead from there. The fifth-or-so car stopped, and we tried to get it working, but nothing happened. We had a connection between the batteries, but nothing happened.

He told me he knew a BMW/KTM/Triumph-mechanic nearby, and that he could take me there, so they could at least get the bike out of the way. While there, of course they said they couldn’t fix anything, but another random guy told me he had room on his trailer. He had two bikes on the way here, leaving them on service I think, and picked up his BMW 1200 GS, newly served. Christophe, as his name was, had a small vacation house nearby, and this was one of the places he knew that would service both BMW and KTM, which suited him perfect.

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We drove back to my bike, put it on the trailer and drove to a Honda mechanic. They had already closed down, though, so we put the bike outside and started the hunt for a new battery, if that would be the problem. After seven shops we had to give up though, as everything was closing. I’ve seen most of Schleswigs shopping centres, at least! Before dropping me off back at the dealer, we went by Lidl to shop for food.

After setting camp I had a lovely dinner with my Varadero. I hope it will go quick tomorrow, otherwise they have a few Africa Twins in store…

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Still, mostly laughing during the day. It is an adventure after all. Felt a bit down during the first resting stop, but this is part of it! At least I hear everyone say ”Shoes!” and ”Moi!” again, which makes everything so much better!

Hitch-hiking, day five, Sweden

At seven I went into the service station, as I was freezing. After getting my heat up, I started hitch-hiking, with my sign to get to the harbour. I also had my Swedish flag, and thanks to that, a Lithuanian trucker picked me up, as he was going by Sweden on his way to Norway.

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He was going by boat, and I went with him to try. Apparently you have to pay by driver, and not by truck, but with two meals and sauna included, I didn’t mind.
While waiting for the boat, the called for the second interview, which you can listen to here:
http://sverigesradio.se/sida/embed?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsverigesradio.se%2Fsida%2Favsnitt%2F433020%3Fprogramid%3D2985&start=5650
The food was nice, and the trucker also. Too bad I screwed it up during when going off the boat. I had a another driver to go with, and long story short, I lost my jacket, my scout shirt and some other stuff. It was already half past eight, when I decided to just stop it. I called a friend in Malmö (who at first thought I was in Spain and needed help) and went from Trelleborg to Malmö by bus, and stayed at Eli’s place for the night. I had a really good time, so I did not really care that I missed my hitch-hike, and as I was really close, I would probably just take the train tomorrow.

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Not really hitch-hiking, day four, Hamburg

After eating porridge for breakfast, me and Johanna went out shopping some food.
I had been looking at hitch-hiking possibilities the night before, and according to hitchwiki, Köln is really hard to hitch-hike from. I decided to take another sort of transport, in this case carpooling, so that I could stay with Johanna longer.
I found a car that would go from Köln at three, to Hamburg, for 23 euros. I booked it, so now I had plenty of time.
For lunch, we made American pancakes. It tasted really awesome!

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I took the train to Lövenich as I would meet up with the guy there. We found each other, and after she dropped off a girl on the way, we went on the autobahn all the way to Hamburg, where he dropped me of at a service station. It was already a bit late, but I decided to try.
I even found a Swedish guy, who were going to Sweden, and he started talking about his hitch-hiking experiences, but after that, said no. Other than that, no luck.
I befriended the girl working at the service station. She was from Kosovo, and really nice. She stopped working at ten, and said that if I was still here at midnight, I could maybe sleep at the floor of her hotel room!

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I continued my search, and a Turkish driver, talking in a cell phone, waved at me. After five minutes, he was done, and started treating some sort of fried meet with bread and tomatoes, and Ouzu. He was not going to Sweden, though.
He “asked” (we couldn’t really talk, so signs and body language) if I had a place to sleep, and offered me a place in the truck. As there are two beds, that sounded awesome! I went to the toilet, and came back. What I saw, I was not prepared of. He stood there, t-shirt only, Donald Duck style. The upper bed was not folded down. I pointed at the upper bed, and said “I sleep there?” He said no, pointing down. I pointed down on the chair, and asked again, “I sleep here?”, and he pointed across his whole bed, making a finger to finger side-by-side sign. I said “No, thank you” and left.
On my way back to the service station, I met two Polish hitch-hikers who were going home as they had school tomorrow. I talked with them for a while, they had been up to Amsterdam by hitch-hiking. They also offered me to share tent with them if none of us found a hitch from here tonight.

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As I saw one of the persons throwing away the sandwiches from today, I asked if it was possible to give them to me. That was against the rules, but she could throw them in another plastic bag, hint hint, so I could go out and retrieve them later. There were about 15 of them, and after eating some and giving some to the Polish guys, I still had many left.
No lift appeared, so I slept in their tent in the end. It was cold as hell, but better than outside!
I wished I waited another half an hour, just to see if I could have slept inside or not, but I will never know!

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Not really hitch-hiking, day three, Köln

I did not really feel like stressing away as I was with a friend and not on a service station. Also, the hostel owner wanted to hear about my trip, so I met him, and talked about how-to and other stuff.
He also told me a bit about the hostel, which he has more or less built, and the place is really arty and cool!

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After that, I went out to buy breakfast. On my way back, I saw that I had two missed calls from an unknown number, and the telephone rang again. I was thinking of not answering at first, but I did and that was lucky. I had completely forgot that it was Monday and that I had the first of three interviews!
For my Swedish readers, you can listen on the first part here:
http://sverigesradio.se/sida/embed?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsverigesradio.se%2Fsida%2Favsnitt%2F433005%3Fprogramid%3D2985&start=6044
After eating som breakfast, and still taking my time, the clock was already twelve. It would be a bit hard to get out of Paris to get to a good hitch-hiking spot, and as I got two days already, it did not feel that important. I found a bus that cost 38 euro all the way between Paris and Köln, a 7-hour ride. I felt it was good enough, as my next place to go were to meet Johanna in Köln where she is an exchange student!
I talked some more with Aoife, before saying good bye again, and taking the metro to the bus station. I was a little bit in the last minute according to the check-in, but I got on the bus with 15 minutes left, so I felt it was good enough!
I spent the bus ride mostly watching movies (three, even) and eating bread with Nutella before arriving at 2100 in Köln, where I met up with Johanna!
We went to a good hamburger place near her apartment, and it really was too big portions. I thought it would be normal portions, but a small french-fries would have been enough without a problem.

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Afterwards, we went to her apartment, talking and planning a bit for tomorrow. As I did once again sleep at a friends place, and not at a service station, I really did not feel like I was in a hurry.

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Next stop: The Netherlands!

Today, I ate breakfast with Andrea before she had to go to university. I also bought tickets for the flight home and back, as my brother will have his marriage 4th of july. I will go home in the evening by the 2nd of july and back in the evening of the 5th of july.
I went on pretty late, and I think I started biking around 1030.
At least it went pretty well. Even though I had mainly head wind and side wind, I went on by my standard 20 km/h. I felt pretty well, and ate two energy bars in before stopping for lunch at 1330, and by that time I had gone 50 kilometres. When stopping for lunch I was in Ahaus, and asked if I could borrow wifi by a couple of people. They were really nice and helpful, so the husband created a hotspot from his mobile phone, and I also got to wash my things and refill water after cooking lunch. I also had some nice talks in between my telephone talks.
Around 15-20 kilometres later, I crossed the border, and I am therefore now in the Netherlands!

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I then went through some smaller cities, and as I have not had so many pictures to post last days here is a nice picture of a bicycle way:

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I then arrived at my host’s place, for once pretty early (I was there 1624 but though I would be there at earliest 1700). She and her boyfriend were guarding her parents house during there weekend, so we were there instead of at her place. She was making a wonderful lasagne which was really tasty!
Afterwards me and her boyfriend went to the supermarket so that I could buy food for tomorrow, as many supermarkets here closes on sundays or have really lesser opening times.
Then, we looked at the footballgame and just talked about different things while eating kvarg, Doritos, candy (at least I did 😉 and drinking cola. They were really nice, friendly, easy-going and hospitable, and made me feel like at home really fast. A good, energised day!

Going northwest!

After eating some breakfast and saying goodbye I continued in the direction to Amsterdam again, with next stop in Münster. I stopped after 40 kilometres to eat lunch at 1200.

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Before lunch, and also 20 kilometres after lunch, I had some tailwind and it went on in about 26 km/h. The last 30 kilometres were more west-going than north-west, and also the wind direction changed, so it started to get harder, but after some kilometres I got a buddy that was going in the same direction. He left in Telge, I think the city name was, with 12 kilometres left to Münster. Some kilometres before, I got overtaken by a racer bicyclist, and as it is fun to follow someone, I followed him as long as possible. For around three kilometres I was at around 28-30 km/h until he took another turn than were I was going, but it got the time going!
I then arrived at the place where I would couch surf for the night. I got let in, and went up to the door, but Andrea wasn’t home yet. The one who opened was Melissa, who have her birthday tomorrow, and therefore there would be a birthday party for the evening (which I knew since Andrea accepted the request, but it sounded like something nice to do in the evening).
It was a really nice birthday party with much vegan food and good desserts, even though I am always tired after a day of biking!

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(This is only part of it!)

Resting day in Paderborn

As I usually do on my resting days, I walk around the city and just relax. I started with buying some sort of chili con carne-sandwich for breakfast and talked with some friends after I found a wifi. I then explored the different shops and walked around. In a Vaude/shop I was looking in I found a rain cover that could fit my back pack, and as it was now not really waterproof it felt like a good idea.
For lunch I bought some yoghurt and bread, and then I started reading my next book series, Harry Potter.
When the clock was close to five I went back to Esthers place to meet up. We then went to look at the Germany-USA game at a pub. On the way there, a girl recognised my hair, and it was another girl from the Hurricane Festival, Alina! She invite us over to their bbq-party if we wanted to come.
After the pub, and another victory for Germany, we went to the bbq-party. It was nice, and as I had not ate dinner I asked if I could cook some of my stuff. They had leftovers, so I got to eat potato sallad, pasta sallad, baguettes and other stuff instead, which was a good energy refuelling before the next day. We also played some flunkyball and of course I talked with many new people.
We then went home, and I went to sleep really fast.

A little bit of uphill… and after that, downhill!

It did not rain when I woke up, even though everything outside were wet and there were those slugs every here and there. I woke up at 0744, and somehow I had managed to snooze according to my phone…
I started at 0952, and during breakfast I had tried to find the shortest route possible, and therefore saved some kilometres. Now I had only 89 left, which should be easy!
The weather were crazy all day, from warm and sunny, cold and cloudy, raining and so on. At least I hade pa pretty good pace.
Then, it started to get hilly. In the beginning, it was hard, but manageable. I continued in 10-15 km/h, and at least got somewhere.
Then, it started to go really uphill. I thought it was really hard, and even had to walk for a bit as I could not bike there. When I went to the top, I saw the warning sign for the road I had just passed, and understood why it was so hard:

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16% uphill really is something. I guess I will have to train more hill climbing!
The positive side of this is the other hill. Even if it was not as steep, the sign said 12%, which was more than enough. For more than 2 kilometres I did not have to pedal, even though there were small uphills on the way. I even managed to break my rolling speed record: The new record for highest speed without pedalling is now 68.6 km/h. It was an experience.
After the really steep downhill, I continued rolling at 20/25 km/h for another kilometre, before even having to start pedalling. I then saw another cyclist that seemed to live around this place, and asked if there were any slopes until Paderborn: Nope, just flat. Felt fine for me, and pedalled the last bit at ease.
When I arrived, I did not know how to get to Esther, as I had no phone number. I wrote to her at Facebook but while waiting, another nice woman invited me for a cup of tea. We had a chat about things of life, until Esther answered and I went up another stair. We ate pasta with tomato sauce for dinner, and her friend Kristin joined us. We then went out to buy something to drink, but more important: Candy! It is so nice to eat candy when you are exhausted.
We then looked at a football game at her Kristins place before going to bed, really tired!