The night was short, because we had to get up at 4 a.m. to leave Kampala around 5 a.m. before the rush hour. Otherwise we wouldn't find out more as a group there, because the chaotic city traffic simply doesn't allow ten motorcycles to be kept together for a longer period of time. So we were all ready at just before five and could hardly wait for the start of the tour. But waiting is a core competence in Uganda that we had to demonstrate right from the start. The local guide, who lives only ten minutes away, had a flat tire on his motorcycle and first had to push it to the nearest gas station to mend the tyre. He arrived at half past five and we started. The traffic wasn't worth mentioning. But my two-wheeled vehicle does.
An older model BMW 650 GD "Challenger", which according to the odometer should only have 40,000 kilometers under its belt, but looked like 140,000 kilometers. The lighting was non-existent apart from the front parking light and the brake light, the sound was close to a jackhammer and when I started the engine I couldn't hear the other eight bikes. I soon noticed that the ignition kept failing for several seconds, only to start again suddenly. The drive to the first toll station was like a rodeo ride. Arrived at the barrier, the enduro turned off and could not be started. A fate that also befell another passenger on his GS. The support vehicle with bridging accessories and spare parts had broken down with an overheated radiator. Until it finally arrived we stood behind the tollbooth and watched the sunrise with a full moon in the sky. Finally the minibus arrived. The other stubborn Reise-Endure was diagnosed with an outdated starter that was putting too much strain on the presumably equally old battery. It was exchanged in no time at all and the motorcycle was ready to drive again. My 650 was locked out and started without the cause having been rectified. The next 100 kilometers took us away from Lake vVctoria and into the hilly west of Uganda in smoke-filled air from many fires. There were hardly ever any huts to be seen along the road near and far, but the settlement continued to decrease. We lined up at a gas station to get gas and I had to turn off the engine. Of course it didn't start again afterwards. Taking advantage of the terrain, we let the bike pick up speed down the hill to throw her, but she didn't move. A truck driver ended up with two copper cables that we used to bridge from another bike to mine. Maintaining constant 3000 revs, we got ready to continue our journey. We had already lost half of the group by then. You would have broken down a lap before with a broken chain. It was now midday, and the support vehicle that was far behind us had our breakfast packs on board. Our stomachs were rumbling and we had long since used up the little water we had. According to the gas station attendant, there was no food or drink available in the area, which is why we had to travel another 60 kilometers to reach a building with a "Retsurant" sign. Contrary to expectations, there was no food there, so my motorbike stalled again. We were all K.O. Only the over 70-year-old Jonathan, with whom I had already crossed the Andes three months ago on my Vuelta Colombiana tour, was surrounded by a group of children and young people with whom he had a lively conversation. Somewhere another jumper cable could be organized and we drove only two kilometers further to a gas station to meet up with the other half of the group, who had found a suitable chain link and caught up with us. This time my GS started by itself and we started the last leg of the day and the 300+ kilometers into Kibaale Forest National Park. Soon the temperature gauge on my bile lit up, but there was nothing I could or would do about it. Because the tablecloth between me under this motorcycle was cut. In fact, the moment that would finally separate us was soon to come. The forward trot suddenly broke off and a metallic grinding told me that this time no jumper cable in the world would get this bike running again. I expected a piston seizure and pulled the clutch just to be on the safe side so as not to fall with the rear tire locking. It was probably the valves that protruded into the cylinder due to the heat and were now cut off from the piston. After some more back and forth with other batteries and starter cables, my damage diagnosis was finally believed and the GS was temporarily declared dead. As a replacement, I got the 1150 BMW boxers from the tour guide. A big win and compared to the rock hard saddle of the 650s. A relief like moving from a pew to a sofa. The low center of gravity of the two boxer engines and the smooth steering was also the exact opposite of the long-legged and cornering enduro.