Stones thrown or throwing stones. Breaking mirrors in Ethiopia.


The road from Konso to Yabelo is slow going at times and others it’s easy to pick up the pace — albeit with the usual chattering noises of spitting gravel and stones and the incessant vibration of the handlebars and other parts on the bike. Pissed that I came this way only to turn around I found myself riding more aggressively in order to make time before sunset. With barely any vehicular traffic on this road save the ubiquitous donkey, camel or bicycle, I paid little attention to the rearview mirror as I focused on the varying terrain and smattering of holes and larger stones on the road.

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Barely 12 years old and she’s searching for water while tending her goats.

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This group ran after me with mirror in hand. Damn roads did it to Doc again.

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Wow. New tarmac. Amazement in Southern Ethiopia.


Is my luck going to change?

Riding on roads like these and others I’d become accustomed to my mirrors eventually loosening. I purposely keep them just tight enough so that in the unfortunate case of a fall the mirror post wouldn’t snap or break. One of my mirrors did break due to my game of ‘toro toro’ with a mini-bus back in Tanzania, but thankfully Christof at Jungle Junction in Nairobi was able to replace the mirror. But these Ethiopian roads and a worn BMW mirror bolt (part number 51167672399) failed me and while cruising down the dirt road the wind lifted the mirror and sent it flying in the air. The friendly group of boys that helped me retain it expressed sadness that it broke.

Riding through somewhat desolate but always interesting and beautiful southern Ethiopia I am amazed at how many people crowd the village streets or are simply walking to or from a local village. It takes concentration and patience to cruise through these villages as people, donkeys, goats and cattle simply seem to move at will and in an uncertain rhythm as I approach. Sometimes people whistle other times they wave. Though other travelers shared stories of stone-throwing Ethiopians, to date I’ve yet to field a flying rock from any of the smiling villagers or herders in the fields.


I had the wisdom enough to carry a couple extra ($12+) BMW mirror bolts. You can see that the bottom bolt no longer had enough thread to keep the mirror tight on the handlebar. There’s a nut that slides down the mirror shaft which tightens the bolt to the shaft while the other side is threaded into the housing on the handlebar. If you’re riding a BMW, carry a few of these bolts. This is the second time I’ve needed to replace one.

3 replies
  1. Bonnie Toth
    Bonnie Toth says:

    How odd, a minute ago, I could have sworn the date at the top said July 23 (today), which according to your MAP shows you in Istanbul — a far cry from Ethiopia… where your last post (on March 25) was from …. but now when I logged in it was correct. … when oh, when are you ever going to get caught up???? I want to hear about where you are NOW, Allan! Hope all is well. Bonnie

  2. Jonathan Karl
    Jonathan Karl says:

    I think that’s why he was talking about the painfully slow internet service in Ethiopia …
    But, Allan, I am happy to see the updates. Keep them coming!

  3. WorldRider
    WorldRider says:

    Bonnie – technology always throws us, huh? Yeah. I would like to know where I am NOW, too. But I’ve got such a crazy time living and experiencing where I’ve been. One day we’ll meet today with yesterday. Hopefully.


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