BRCK BLOG

BRCK Eclipse Trip – Day 1

November 1, 2013

By : Erik Hersman Erik Hersman

This morning finds the BRCK team in Nanyuki, only about 3-4 hours outside of Nairobi. The same place we were supposed to be having breakfast yesterday, not today. A rather inauspicious start happened about 30 kilometers into the trip when the Land Rover decided it was going to have some cooling problems.

After two hours of working on solutions, we realized that this Land Rover just wasn’t going to make it. Too bad, as it had two tanks and better range than most. Fortunately, Fady Rostom (of Ark/Bonk) is traveling with us. He offered up his Land Rover 110, and we quickly got in touch with a mechanic in Nairobi who put a roof rack on his vehicle in about 30 minutes.

The team moving the gear from the broken Land Rover to the new

1pm found us with all equipment unloaded near Thika town, on the side of the road. 5 tires were changed from one Land Rover to the other, and we repacked the new vehicle. Finally, we were on our way (again)!

In hindsight, what was extremely disappointing at the time ended up happening about the best time we’d like to have seen a problem like that develop – in the beginning of the trip near the big city, where we could still make a change.

We got into Nanyuki in the evening, after a nice cold rain hit us, much to the chagrin of those of us on motorcycles with only mesh jackets on. Taylor had his full rain gear (who we had been making fun of earlier due to the heat), and while we froze he rode in relative comfort. Dinner was at Barnies, and then a shack that makes and sells the best cheeses that we’ve ever found in Kenya, called Silent Valley Cheese. 6 kilos of cheese later we found a house owned by a friend to sleep at for the night.

After a downpour, sun rays over the Nanyuki airfield at Barnies

This changes the stages of our trip, and now we’re very glad that we built in a buffer day for the drive up to Lake Turkana. We’ll still arrive the day before the eclipse (Oct 2), but in the evening instead of the morning. Our route now entails an early morning offing from Nanyuki, final fill up of fuel in Isiolo, then off road around Laisamis towards Ngurunit and on to Kurungu and Soth Horr for the night.

This next section along the edge of the Matthews mountain range is one of the most scenic places in Kenya. We’ll stop along the way for some pictures, and then get into Kurungu in time to test the Wilson amplification antennas. The point of these amp antennas is to extend the range one can be from the mobile phone tower to get internet connectivity. We’ve used one before in Lamu, now we’re trying it in the bush, and with the BRCK.

 

  • I think you meant (NOV 2) not (Oct 2) in the line “… still arrive the day before the eclipse (Oct 2)”.

    All the same I am following this event with enthusiam. I would like to know how the BRCK fairs in surch remote terrains.

  • Pingback: “When You Get to Kenya” | WhiteAfrican()

  • Rachel Ness

    Great to finally be able to read the updates and see some pics – no luck on the videos though. So how available is the BRCK to the general public? Do you guys want some more guinea pigs? Karibu sana to the Southern Highlands of TZ if you want a Southern BRCK headquarters. 🙂 The towers are actually not that far off, but never transmit more than EDGE (at lease right in our location), and that’s often slower than molasses. We struggle daily with our airtel stick, most days we end up giving up, occasionally it works, like right now, but we’re still looking for a solution that doesn’t cost thousands …..

    • Hey Rachel, maybe a trip down to that park that borders TZ and Mozambique is in order for next year. 🙂

      So, the BRCK is dependent on the internet backhaul available around you, this could be an ethernet/cable connection, WiMax, mobile tower, satellite, etc). Is your connection in southern TZ a strong one? Do you get all bars on your phone? Have you tried the other network operators besides Airtel?

      In Grant’s case, we were testing out a Wilson amplification antenna that would make his weak Edge signal from the tower in South Horr stronger.