Into the North East

Follow the yellow van - by Madagascan standards, this van still has plenty of space for more luggage.

I'm heading towards the Vanilla Coast in the North East

I pause to have a chat with a guy running a motorbike repair place - not quite how they look back home, but he seemed to know what he was doing.

Suzi was kept parked overnight in the hotel reception

The guys cheered when I rode out straight down the steps - I have to admit I may have looked more confident than I felt, I can't stand it when I know my feet can't reach the ground at all.

The road started to deteriorate and the traffic became more rural

I hadn't been on dirt for a while, so it was a welcome sight

But the ominous sight of clouds was not quite so welcome, I was reaching the area I'd been warned about and the last thing I needed was the rain and mud as I tackled these hills

I bought some fresh bread from the baker - he was on his rounds through the remote villages and was delighted to have a foreign customer in the middle of nowhere.

Breakfast was the usual noodle soup type dish with milky tea, sunshine and good company in the form of this schoolgirl who spoke good french

And at my feet, pecking up any bits that I dropped...

Daisy Duck - destined for the stew pot in the not too distant future according to her owner.

Congestion on the road caused by this pig having a bath and not wanting to move

This photo was taken by the guy guarding a broken down pick up truck, he'd been there 24 hours already when I saw him.

The weather changed dramatically from the sun to grey clouds and rain
Having grappled with mud in the rain (and been so miserable with it I did NOT stop to take pictures), I paused at this village

I realised my rear tyre was very soft and so I got my pump out (Thom, you might recognise the pump!)
The guys were all very intrigued and so I let them take over

I pushed on hard for the final part of the day's ride- there's nothing like the thought of a cold as motivation...

And I'd once more reached the coastline - looking somewhat worse for wear after yet another bloody tough day.