February 22, 2016
I’m posting from my phone, beer in hand, watching elephants escape the heat in a watering hole at Zaina Lodge in Mole National Park, Ghana. The manager Arvind is a super cool guy plus he’s also also a fellow rider, and he’s talking to the rangers about letting us explore on motos this afternoon, which would be awesome.
We just returned from Togo. It’s nice to be back in an English speaking country, since neither of us speaks French. Togo was amazing. We spent lots of time on back roads and single-track footpaths, meeting village chiefs, and stopping for the night wherever we got tired. After riding north nearly to the Burkina border, we headed west to Ghana, and got caught in the middle of a chieftaincy dispute at the border. People torched the houses on either side of us, the gunfight continued all around us until well after sunrise. We were happy to get out of there. Now we’re resting up at Mole National Park before crossing into Ivory Coast tomorrow.
The bikes have been great. We had one clutch go out and one valve rocker seize, both fixed rapidly and without hassle, which is something I really appreciate about traveling on a locally-sourced bike. It would be much harder to find parts for a foreign bike here.
The Reckless 80 bags have withstood lots of abuse so far and are still going strong. Love this system! There’s a feeling I get on an extended trip, when everything has a spot, the important stuff is on top, the things I need access to are on quick-draw, and my bags start to feel like ‘home.’ I have that feeling now, on this trip. The R80 is an amazingly livable system. The three separate drybags, two external pockets, two small molle pouches, large molle pouch, document pocket, two mesh pockets, and large beavertail make it easy to keep everything organized, and still accommodate adding/subtracting volume through the day for things like water and food, plus keeping wet/dirty items separate from clean/dry items. It has been interesting to watch Josh ‘move in’ to his Reckless 80 over the last few weeks, note what he stores and where, and how he uses the various features differently than I do.
Something I’ve really appreciated on this trip are the new backpack straps on the Stinger 22 tailbag. When I need to get everything into a guest house in one trip, so as not to leave my bags unattended on the bike, I put the tailbag on my back, carry the rest of the R80 in one hand, and carry my helmet and tank bag in the other.
Andrew’s been working on the new tank bag designs, everything is moving forward with our spring production orders, and Mosko is having an excellent February. Thank you for the orders!! I haven’t revisited our forecast, but based on Jan/Feb order volume, I think there’s a good chance we’ll run out of stock on some items before our next order arrives. Something to keep in mind if you’re planning a trip for spring.