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Motorcycle Diaries

Series 1 & 2

Duration: 16 x 30'

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Adventure motorcyclist, Spencer Conway, takes his life in his hands as he embarks on a remarkable and completely unsupported journey through the world’s most treacherous terrains.

Series 1: African Motorcycle Diaries - 6 x 30'

This series follows the remarkable journey of adventure motorcyclist, Spencer Conway, as he circumnavigates Africa unsupported through 34 countries, covering a staggering 55,345 km.

This monumental undertaking tested Spencer’s physical endurance, challenged his determination and commitment and ultimately put his life at risk.

Without a support vehicle or team, Spencer’s low budget, light-weight approach meant he was forced to sleep rough, eat when and what he could when the opportunity arose and navigate by only a rough map and local knowledge.

Besides numerous bureaucratic hassles, extreme conditions and a near fatal shooting, Spencer overcomes the difficulties and experiences the beauty of Africa: from deserts to jungle, and savannahs.

This series records his remarkable journey, capturing the essence of the freewheeling adventurer and intimate moments of euphoria, exhaustion and fear.

Episode 1: UK to Kenya

Leaving his home town of Biddenden, Kent with a big send off from family, friends and supportive motorcyclists, Spencer crosses the English Channel to France.

He quickly rides through France to Marseille and catches the ferry to Tunisia where he starts his African Adventure.

Just spending one night in Tunisia he reaches the Libyan border where he met by 2 guides to escort him directly across the country to Egypt. After arriving in Egypt he makes his way to Cairo to arrange visa’s for Sudan. After experiencing some low-budget accommodation in Cairo he skips the pyramid tour and heads off to Luxor.

In Luxor he meets up with Diesel Films crew to film a commercial for a laser eye treatment company. After finding a suitable Nubian village as a location, the commercial is filmed and Spencer continues his journey to Aswan, where he takes the overnight ferry to Wadi Halfa in Sudan.

Once in the Sudan Spencer crosses the sub Sahara region to Ethiopia. As he journeys towards the Kenyan border, there are more and more reports of attacks on tourist in northern Kenya. At the border crossing he is advised to travel through this area in convoy. Spencer sets off in convoy but due to tyre punchers he get detached from the convoy. Travelling alone, he is targeted by 3 gunmen who shoot 3 rounds at him - hitting the bike. Spencer rides off until the rear wheel collapses and takes refuge in a small village. In a state of shock and the bike immobile Spencer is rescued by his friend Carl who commandeers a pick-up truck to take him and the bike to Nairobi for bike repairs … and time to contemplate whether he will continue with the journey.

Episode 2: Kenya to Malawi

Based in Karen Camp, Nairobi, Kenya Spencer decides to continue his journey after his near fatal shooting in Northern Kenya. He gets his bike repaired by a local engineering Rick, who reveals an extraordinary vintage car and motorcycle collection. Before he leaves Nairobi he visits the 2nd largest slum in Africa, Cabira with one of its residence Alvin.

Back on the road he is joined by Australian Jim and cameraman Shaun. They film part of the trip from Nairobi to Arusha in Tanzania. Arriving in Arusha they decide to visit the Ngorongoro Crater Nature Reserve. Leaving the bike in Arusha they make the 4 hour trip in Jim’s 4x4. After a night camping on the craters edge, they leave early and descend into the crater revealing the extraordinary collection of wild animals including, elephant, hippo’s, hyena’s, wilder beast and giraffes.

After a day in the crater they head back to Arusha where Jim announces he has to return to Nairobi to attend his own wedding the next day while Shaun stays on to film with the Maasai people of this region.

After Shaun returns to the UK and Spencer continues on his journey passing Mount Kilimanjaro and onto to the Malawi border. Entering Malawi, Spencer rides through a nature reserve and is overwhelmed by its beauty.

Episode 3: Mozambique to Namibia

Spencer makes good time riding through Mozambique and experiencing their low-budget accommodation. He crosses the border into the small country Swaziland and then onto South Africa. As this is the least challenging leg of the journey he hastily rides across the Karoo Desert to Cape Town the halfway point of his epic journey.

Leaving Cape Town Spencer starts his return journey. After a night in Springbok he enters Namibia and catches up with his friend Carl who hitches a lift on the back of the bike. They stop at the spectacular Bryce Canyon and then on see the unusual Baobab Forest

Spencer starts to get an infection in his foot, so makes his way to Windhoek, the capitol, for treatment and to acquire visas for Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo. Leaving Windhoek they make their way to the notorious skeleton coast and come across a huge seal colony. Leaving the Skeleton Coast they head inland to the border crossing with Angola, spending their last night in Namibia sheltering from the rain in a toilet.

Episode 4: Angola to Congo

After a robbery at the border crossing with Namibia, where his camera and credit cards were stolen Spencer starts this episode in Luanda the capital of Angola. Having purchased a new camera he leaves Luanda with his friend Carl riding pillion and makes his way to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Because of road conditions progress is slow and Spencer is forced to spend a night in a police station. Back on the bike, road conditions get worse and Spencer falls off a number of times. After losing his way and nearly running out of fuel he enters a village for fuel but is not welcome by the military. Leaving the village discreetly, he continues his struggle through the worse road he’s ever encountered. Exhausted and overwhelmed he decides to do away with his motorcycle panniers and gives them to the locals. With a lighter load, he makes it to the border with DRC and continues to the notorious capital Kinshasa. With a short break in the capital he crosses the mighty Congo River to Brazzaville the capital of Congo. Celebrating his birthday, by sleeping on a table tormented by mosquitoes and cockroaches, Spencer leaves Brazzaville and heads to the border of Gabon. His spirits rise, the road conditions improve and he reflects on what an amazing trip he is having in the middle of the Congo jungle.

Episode 5: Gabon to Guinea

Entering Gabon, Spencer is not impressed by the scenery and makes rapid progress to the border with Cameroon. On entering Cameroon he is immediately taken by the spectacular scenery and spends some time exploring waterfalls and crater lakes. After some difficult roads he enters Nigeria, where he unexpectedly a celebrity and is quickly taken under the wing of ‘Charlie Boy’ a TV, Radio personally. After a series of press engagements and motorbike convoys, he continues his journey into the small countries of Benin, Togo, Ghana and then Burkina Faso, where he fulfils a childhood dream staying in Ouagadougou. Moving onto to Mali, he stays in some interesting accommodation and then continues onto Guinea where he feels all other motorists are trying to kill him. After getting over his paranoid state, he enjoys the roads through the isolated Guinea jungle as he makes his to Senegal.

Episode 6: Senegal to UK

Arriving in Senegal, Spencer encounters problems with his bike and heads to Dakar for repairs. With the bike repaired, visas obtained for the next countries and after a misunderstanding with the some of the locals, he heads up the coast to Mauritania. Entering the sparsely populated and arid conditions of Mauritania Spencer make provision for extra fuel and water. After hours of riding through a constant sand storm he finally reached the sleepy border with Western Sahara. Conditions don’t change much and he pushes on through the desert to Morocco. As he starts to reach the end of his journey he contemplates why he took on this journey and if he has changed. After riding through the spectacular scenery he edges closed to the ferry from Tangers to Tarafa, Spain.

On arrival in Spain the reality of return home is not a joyful one. From the excitement of riding into the unknown for 9 months Europe seems overcrowded and difficult to endure. He enters France and finally reveals the epiphany he has had on the least leg of the journey … and is promptly bitten by a bee. Being allergic to bee stings, he injects himself with a pigpen. With a swollen foot he arrives in England wearing a motorcycle boot and one flip-flop.

After a night in a poly tunnel in the Kent countryside, he finally rides into to his home village to be welcome by family, friends and fellow bikers to celebrate his safe return and incredible journey.

Series 2: Latin America Motorcycle Diaries - 10 x 30'

Adventure motorcyclist Spencer Conway has completed his solo motorcycle circumnavigation of South America … spending 1 year and 4 months covering over 50,000 kms as he passes through all 13 countries conquering some of the most treacherous roads in the world and managing life threatening sickness and injury.

Spencer’s lightweight approach means he sleeps rough, eats what’s available and navigates through some of the world’s toughest terrain. We follow the drama as Spencer becomes hospitalised with chronic malaria, stops breathing after being stung by a killer wasp and becomes lost and stranded for three days in a 12,000 square kilometre desert.

This series ventures to places few have been and no matter what the conditions, Spencer’s infectious enthusiasm shines through.

Episode 1 - Bogota, Colombia to Zumba, Ecuador
Spencer starts his epic adventure from the Colombian capital, Bogota, and heads south through extremely wild country to the border of Ecuador. On the way he has to negotiate the notorious Trampolin del Diablo, considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world, which has claimed hundreds of lives over the past decades. Spencer reaches Quito, the capital of Ecuador, finds lodgings in what turned out to be a brothel. He attempts the climb to the summit of Mount Tungarahua, 5023mts, but suffers altitude sickness. He eventually makes it across the Andean range over snow-capped mountains and into spectacular landscapes of forests, waterfalls and verdant green foliage. He is bitten by spiders and other insects which leave open sores on his body. In Peru a gruelling ride takes him through constant, hazardous rocky landslides.

Episode 2 - Zumba, Ecuador through Peru to Uyuni, Bolivia
Leaving Zumba on the border, Spencer travels over the famous Chachapoyas, at 3600 mts, to Celendin on the windiest road in the world which threatens to topple him over the precipitous edge of the stony road. The Chachapoyas, is home of the Warriors of the Clouds, a light skinned Andean people living in the cloud forests who created cliff side dwellings and a settlement area. After Trujillo, Spencer rides west to the huge adobe complex of the Chan Chan. It is an abandoned habitation once the home of the ancient Chimu Kingdom. He visits the mystical Nazca Lines visible on the desert floor. Then to the Chauchilla burial site where 2300 year old mummies are preserved. It is the driest place on earth. The desert riding is inspiring, marked by the challenge of huge shifting dunes. Lake Titicaca is next on route. Heading to the Bolivian border he is bitten by a bullet ant and suffers excruciating pain. But after La Paz, the highest capital in the world, he traverses the incredible Death Road climbing to 4720m. There are shrines on the way for those who have lost their lives on this
deadly route. Facing more dangerous riding along dirt and rocky roads Spencer struggles through the amazing Yungas Valley and
continues to Uyuni, the gateway to Salar Salt Flats. Here he sees signs for the start of the Dakar Rally.

Episode 3 - Uyuni, Bolivia, through Tupiza, Argentina, to San Antonio Oeste, Argentina
Venturing out of Uyuni Spencer experiences a life threatening incident on the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats. His bike has a blowout far off the normal routes and he is stranded for three days in temperatures above 40 degrees and suffers desperately from sun-blisters and dehydration. After recovery and repairs to the bike Spencer rides to the surreal and heart breaking train cemetery. He films the sad and evocative rusting locomotives left in the desert. Passing through the Cerrodelos Siete Colores, he camps for free in a derelict dinosaur park courtesy of a local criminal gang, responsible for some very serious crimes. Near Rioja it is searingly hot and dry which causes extreme discomfort. The route now takes him south to Mendoza situated in Argentina’s Cuyo region. At this point Spencer crashes on a rocky, sandy road (a notorious section of the world famous Dakar Rally) and cracks his ribs and damages his knee.

Episode 4 - San Antonio Oeste, Argentina, to Tierra del Fuego,Chile. Puerto Madryn
Spencer crosses the vast pampas area of Patagonia (2000 lonely kilometres) and reaches the coast. He visits Puerto Madryn where
Welsh people settled in 1865 and on to Trelew, another Welsh settlement. He sees a variety of wild life, armadillos, vicunas, skunks,
rheas and wild cats. Further down the coast Spencer passes Punto Tombo where there is a huge colony of penguins and continues to Comodoria Rivadavia. The weather is turning cold and there are high winds building up. He camps amongst 250,000 penguins. Spencer is then halted in Piedra Buena in the tempestuous winds and heavy downpours of cold rain. The freezing winds add to Spencer’s struggle and on occasions it becomes too dangerous to ride and he has to camp on the unforgiving plains. He determinedly carries on to Rio Gallagos, a few kilometres from the Chilean border and two days ride from Ushuaia. Crossing the border at Dungeness Spencer enters
Antarctica!! And heads to Tierra del Fuego national park.

Episode 5 - Tierra del Fuego, Chile, north through Argentina
After Tierra del Fuego he retraces his route through Chile and over the border into Argentina. He travels for miles in deserted rocky terrain. He is forced to camp in high winds, struggling to hold the tent down with rocks and stones. Still heading north it is below zero on the edge of the southern Patagonian ice field in the province of Santa Cruz. He camps in a National Park where there are marble formations sculpted by the water.

Episode 6 - Chile Chico, Argentina to Santiago. Chile
Before leaving Chile Chico Spencer is stung by a killer wasp and suffers a severe anaphylactic shock. He is rushed to hospital and given
adrenalin injections and oxygen. He is told that he stopped breathing on the way to hospital and it is vital to rest. He recovers but has a very badly swollen face. Spencer decides to continue and rides on and crosses the border onto very wild and deserted dirt roads. He has to load his bike onto any available boat or ferry to cross the waterways to reach Coihaique. He then travels on to Bariloche in the glacier region of Chile and camps at the base of the staggering Osorno Volcano which he scales partly by bike and then on foot. This area was also
visited by Charles Darwin who experienced an earthquake there in 1835. Whilst in a street bodega the whole place burns down as the kitchen catches fire and Spencer is also robbed at an ATM.

Episode 7 - Santiago, Chile through Argentina, Uruguay and on to Iguacu
Spencer reaches Uspallata through pouring rain and bitterly cold weather. He encounters the treacherous Los Caracoles pass, which descends 11,000ft through a never ending series of hairpin bends. It is named ‘the snails pass’ as it is often blocked by incredibly slow moving lorries that have a tendency to slip off the road or to break down. When dry it is daunting but in the rains it becomes a death challenge. Spencer reaches Chile Chico a small town in Chilean Patagonia on the southern shore of General Carrera lake. before continuing north on the mainland of Chile. He camps in some idyllic surroundings. With a very sick bike Spencer struggles on to Santiago where he rebuilds it over ten days. Spencer passes through San Luis in central Argentina, before heading further east to Brazil and on to Uruguay. Spencer crosses the border at Colon and heads to the the capital city where Gauchos honour him with a cattle drive and he is shown relics of the Graf Spee that sank off the coast of Uruguay. Next stop Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. and then east to Punto del Este before some fantastic riding through varied country side in Rio Grande do Su. He heads to Iguazu Falls on the Argentine border.

Episode 8 - Iguazu, Argentina, through Paraguay and back into Brazil to Salvador
Riding north along the border of Paraguay and then into Brazil takes Spencer through the south and central regions of this vast country. Facing extreme fatigue he fights his way through thick jungle and treacherous rain forests.

Episode 9 - Salvador, Brazil to Cayenne, French Guiana
This section of the adventure takes Spencer through the Amazon basin after spending several days traversing the jungle he heads for Belem and takes a ferry to French Guiana which is the only means of reaching Cayenne. The Amazon rain forest covers much of north-western Brazil and extends into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries.

Episode 10 - Cayene, French Guiana, through Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela and return to Bogota, Columbia
On this final part of his incredible adventure Spence takes a boat to travel round the coast to the capital of Suriname, Paramarimbo. It is a
difficult to load the Yamaha on to a pirogue!! From Paramaribo Spencer rides on sand tracks, along the coast, to the isolated Georgetown, capital of Guyana, before crossing into what has been recently named as the most DANGEROUS country in the world, Venezuela. He travels through the relatively unknown centre of Venezuela to the chaotic western border with Colombia at San Cristobal which is struggling with an exodus of 35 000 refugees per day. Unfortunately he is prevented from crossing the border into Colombia and has to make a 12.000km detour back through the Amazonas and the aptly named 886 kilometre Ghost Road and then west into Ecuador and north through Peru back to Bogota to complete the circumnavigation.

Motorcycle Diaries - Series 2: South America
Motorcycle Diaries - Series 2: South America
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