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   xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 4 12:46 AM

Nov 4, 2010: 2 Women with Balls

Metaphorical, not literal, balls.
In 1934, Theresa Wallach and Florence Blenkiron, rode a motorcycle from London to Cape Town, South Africa.
Let that sink in a moment... 1934... motorcycle... Africa... the long way.

Quote:
In 1934, two incredible women, Theresa Wallach and Florence Blenkiron, set out on a 600cc single-cylinder Panther equipped with sidecar and trailer and rode from London to Cape Town, South Africa. No modern roads, no back up plan, just a giant set of balls that any man would envy. Both women were already accomplished competitive racers, who were savvy enough to raise corporate sponsorship– which just goes to show how seriously they were taken as motorcyclists.


Quote:
Undeterred by nomads, sand drifts, heat, rain, rivers, breakdowns and politics, Wallach and Blenkiron completed an expedition that might well defeat a modern motorcycle. From oasis to oasis, arguing with the French Foreign Legion for permission to continue, and winning; fashioning a tow hitch for the trailer when it broke in the desert; rebuilding the entire engine from scratch in Agadez: meeting gorillas, lions and snakes on the road; staying in African villages and meeting an amazing variety of friendly and helpful people. Not to mention having an accident in Tanganyika (Tanzania) with the only car seen on the road for days. At one point the women succeeded in pushing their rig for 25 miles following a total engine failure. The trip made the women celebrities among motorcyclists in England. Wallach documented the fantastic journey in her book "The Rugged Road."
There is even some video from a documentary about the trip.



I can't find much about Florence Blenkiron, but Theresa Wallach led an extraordinary life, right up until she gave up her license at 88, and died at 90. You can read about it at the links.

link

link


glatt  Thursday Nov 4 08:18 AM

I'm amazed that in Africa in the 1930s, there was an even enough distribution of gas stations that they were able to refill their tanks. That's even assuming they had several spare tanks in their trailer.



spudcon  Thursday Nov 4 10:14 AM

I imagine the first leg, from London to north Africa was a little wet.



Sheldonrs  Thursday Nov 4 10:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spudcon View Post
I imagine the first leg, from London to north Africa was a little wet.
2 women; 1 cup.


Undertoad  Thursday Nov 4 10:24 AM

I've often wondered whether it would be possible to drive from here on the east coast US, down to the bottom tip of South America. And at what point would I need to be rescued...

Google Maps claims there's no road through a section of Panama, but surely the locals get around somehow...



glatt  Thursday Nov 4 10:34 AM

I read a book about a guy who did that drive in a pickup truck with his friend. They put the truck in a shipping container to get down to the southern end, and they drove north. I think in Panama they had to do a ferry ride somewhere to get around that section of jungle. And the only trouble they had the whole trip was some corrupt cops who stopped them in Mexico. Once they hit the US southern border, they traveled to the tip of Alaska in just like 3 days, which was how long it would take them to go a few hundred miles through some parts of the jungle.

Edit: Road Fever by Tim Cahill



Spexxvet  Thursday Nov 4 10:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
I've often wondered whether it would be possible to drive from here on the east coast US, down to the bottom tip of South America. And at what point would I need to be rescued...

Google Maps claims there's no road through a section of Panama, but surely the locals get around somehow...
You are CORRECT, sir!
from wiki
Quote:
The Pan-American Highway (French: Route panaméricaine, Spanish: Carretera Panamericana or Spanish: Autopista Panamericana) is a network of roads measuring about 47,958 kilometers (29,800 miles) in total length. Except for an 87 kilometers (54 mi) rainforest break, called the Darién Gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road". However, because of the Darién Gap, it is not possible to cross between South America and Central America by traditional motor vehicle.



Gravdigr  Thursday Nov 4 03:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
I've often wondered whether it would be possible to drive from here on the east coast US, down to the bottom tip of South America. And at what point would I need to be rescued...

Google Maps claims there's no road through a section of Panama, but surely the locals get around somehow...
Probably not a whole lot of trouble til the Darien Gap. But then it'd be your ass. Well, most people, you are the Undertoad.


Gravdigr  Thursday Nov 4 03:48 PM

One of the local school's shop teachers had his class modify a BMW on/off bike, which he then rode from here in south central KY, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and then from Prudhoe Bay, to Key West, Florida, and then back home to KY.



sandypossum  Thursday Nov 4 07:45 PM

In 1999 we spent a few weeks driving through Sweden and Norway. The roads in parts of Norway are very steep, and our Citroen CX found it a bit challenging at times. One day we passed a 50cc step through scooter with Danish number plates, and the rider looked like Santa Claus in civvies. There was camping gear strapped to the back of it, as well as a couple of 2L PET bottles with petrol. The next day we met him at a roadside stop (we were taking lots of side trips off the main road) and I just had to talk to him. He said he did this every year, always on a scooter. He told us how in his wild youth he had ridden from Denmark to India and back (TWICE!) and regretted wasting the trips by spending the whole time in India just smoking lots of dope rather than travelling around there. He said he has went to the Arctic Circle once, "but of course I didn't do that alone, that would be too hard, so I went with my brother..." (ah, we thought, so you could carry more warm gear on the back of two bikes) "...and we took it in turns driving".



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 4 07:55 PM

Yeah, Sandy, "they" are out there, I used to see them once is a while when I was doing a lot of traveling. They just stand out no matter where you see them, always looking out of place. A little strange, a little mysterious, although not in a threatening way, and they cause me to instantly form a million questions in my mind. They make me smile, and silently wish them well... maybe with a hint of envy.



HungLikeJesus  Thursday Nov 4 08:57 PM

Well, I, uh, rode my motorcycle to work this morning.

It was really cold (about 23°).

I guess that doesn't quite compare, does it?



SPUCK  Friday Nov 5 04:09 AM

I read about a couple who rode motorcycles to the bottom of S. America. They have a detailed blog about it somewhere on the web. Most interesting.



Gravdigr  Friday Nov 5 02:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by HungLikeJesus View Post
Well, I, uh, rode my motorcycle to work this morning.

It was really cold (about 23°).

I guess that doesn't quite compare, does it?
On a bike, that's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass Gravdigr.


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