Yes, we have reached the end of the line for our wonderful bike. It is Egypt, but not exactly the way we had wanted it to be. Turns out that the cost of a Carnet for Egypt, plus all the extra costs at the border, adds up to much more than the current value of the bike and no matter how we looked at the situation we just could not justify spending that amount of money on a temporary Carnet just for the mere 900km drive to Cairo where we would have to continue without him anyway. And so it was that with great sadness we had to leave Pole Pole at the border.
For the past 22 weeks almost every waking hour was consumed by things relating to the bike – be it driving on him, fixing him or finding solutions for obstacles encountered with him. Our bums are literary bruised and aching, our backs hurt, and when we go to bed at night we still hear his Hhhhhhrrrrrruuuummmmmmhhhhh ringing in our ears. We have driven 13 800km from South Africa to the border with Egypt through 11 countries. We spent many, many painful hours nursing and cursing him, at times wishing he would just give in already but mostly boasting about his miraculous achievements. We have seen the better part of the eastern side of Africa from the back of our stallion, driven in the freezing rain of Ethiopia, the blistering heat and desert sand of Sudan, the muddy roads of Namibia and the colourful tarmac in Tanzania. He outrode a charging Elephant bull in Botswana, carried three passengers in Zambia, and went through Uganda and Rwanda without the slightest complaint. And more than all the stunning things we did and saw it was Big Boy who has played the major part in the biggest adventure we have ever had. Throughout all of this we knew this day would come but we secretly hoped it wouldn’t.
Needless to say, leaving him behind was a bittersweet moment made worse by the fact that he is still in top notch condition and would without a shadow of a doubt have made it to Cairo … and all the way around Africa if only we had the money and equal amounts of endurance to that of Big Boy.
We greeted him by taking a last joyride along the Nile as the sun was rising over Wadi Halfa with Egypt in the distance and reminisced about our travels. It was an emotional goodbye but we found a good home for him with mr Magdi, with the agreement that we might even pitch up again one day and take him back home. As for us; we have taken the ferry into Egypt and will continue the last stretch to Cairo without our travel companion before flying to Ireland for a relaxing time with family and then returning home.