Sorting in Windhoek

Sitting in the highlands in central Namibia, Windhoek is home to ten percent of the country’s tiny population of 2.5 million. Like Swakopmund the young city exudes its German ancestry through its architecture. Windhoek is the center of action and serves as the primary crossroads for most people visiting this country. As the business and government capital, the center of town features a cluster of government buildings, including parliament surrounding a rich greenbelt central park. Quiet and peaceful families picnic on the grass while security guards without weapons walk the streets. It’s easy to find my way around this city which appears to be vacant. Later I’m reminded that this is the holiday time when all of Windhoek escapes the heat and heads to the coast — Swakopmund.

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Riding into Windhoek, Namibia.

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Just a quick meeting with Windhoeks finest to cut off any problems before they start!

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Parliament building in Windhoek, Namibia.

With the appointment set for 8am on Monday, New Years Eve I roll into Danric BMW which like the rest of Windhoek appears to be closed or out to lunch. The motorcycle workshop, closed and locked up, sits in its own small block building set off from the sales floor for bikes and cars. I am eventually greeted by Hedley, a cheerful and friendly transplant from South Africa at an early age. I learn that the motorcycle business at this dealership is handled by three: Hedley, Dieter and a mechanic’s assistant. Hedley fills me in and I learn that the rumor is true: Dieter is on vacation and won’t be back until January 29th. Great.

Hedley senses the disappointment and assures me that he’s wearing his working clothes and will work with me to sort out the problems with my bike. He’s held previous positions servicing bikes and diesel engines but now serves as Danric’s motorcycle sales manager. Service oriented and eager to dig into Doc’s problems we get hoist my steed up on the lift and start removing the plastic panels, drain and change the oil, inspect the air filter, clean the chain and attempt to connect the BMW “Comet” computer to Doc. After several ill-fated attempts we resign to the fact “it ain’t gonna happen.”

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Hedley donning his work clothes eager to see Doc safe and secure for the journey north through Africa.

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The rocks, sand and other evidence from more than 1,000 miles of Namibian dust, dirt, sand and rocks.

I’ve got two problems that have been nagging me since I landed in Africa. First, the bike seems to have a performance issue that I can only explain as a feeling of fuel starvation, or if this were a twin cylinder engine, as if the bike was running on one cylinder. Yet it’s not consistent. It appears to “dog” when climbing hills or rolling the throttle in high heat. And when the bike is first started in the morning it just surges and slows. Secondly, the electrical. My GPS no longer charges and the PIAA auxiliary lights don’t work. Shane at Atlantic BMW in Cape Town had discovered a fuse blown, but within a few miles leaving the dealership it blew again. There’s a short which I thought I found before leaving Cape Town and re-insulated the GPS/PIAA harness. As for the performance problem he found the wires from the regulator to the coils were slightly exposed and possibly shorting on the engine casing. These have been secured and insulated, but the performance still is problematic. And I’m still blowing fuses.

Without a chance to see if there are faults logged by the on-board “computer” on Doc, I decided to change the basic components of the fuel and electrical system: air filter, gas filter and spark plugs. As for the electrical, Hedley lubricated some mildly corroded connections and reduced the harnesses for GPS and lights and better secured them. Perhaps the rains that hammered me in Brazil and continued to pound me in South Africa took toll on the cables and connections.

By the time I left at 3:00, everybody at Danric BMW was waiting for me so they could get on with the New Years celebration. Everything seemed okay though I’d have to return on Thursday to get the fuel filter we ordered, and within ten minutes of leaving the dealership I blew another fuse.

Looks like I’ll have to spend a bit more time in Windhoek. I don’t want to travel north through Africa with unknowns.

New Years Eve? Tame. I run in the new year at the veritable Joe’s Beerhouse, just don the hill from my hotel. Live music, Oryx steak and a Ridgeback Shiraz.

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