Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => 'Roll of Honour' - Best Ride Reports => Topic started by: MaxThePanda on September 05, 2013, 09:55:35 am

Title: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 05, 2013, 09:55:35 am
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/9724104682_aea6ca5a56_c.jpg)

Two years in the making. That's the thing about bike trips that require more than a long weekend of scooting off from work, family and other commitments. They take just that... commitment.

Several times either my brother and I, or my best mate Tom and I, had announced it as a dead cert in January, only to find that the middle of the year rolled around and work commitments swiped it aside and the much fantasized trip departed to the back burner. Only this year was different. We shook on it, threatened broken friendships and torrents of abuse should the unthinkable come to pass, and swore it was on. So it was.

http://www.youtube.com/v/uHAck_K8fko

Watch this space.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Dwerg on September 05, 2013, 09:57:11 am
Sub yes very please!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: DirtHound on September 05, 2013, 09:57:49 am
I'm in!
:happy1:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 05, 2013, 10:19:12 am
*sub* :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Minxy on September 05, 2013, 10:39:32 am
sub, looks awesome!  :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Bernoulli on September 05, 2013, 10:40:38 am
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: mox on September 05, 2013, 10:46:10 am
Kewl!!!!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Goatman on September 05, 2013, 11:16:42 am
Give us more.Sub
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Wit Roftie on September 05, 2013, 01:02:18 pm
Awesome! Wil sommer die laptop uit die kantoor se venster gooi, bedanking ingee en op my bike spring!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Kelevra on September 05, 2013, 01:09:21 pm
Brilliant  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Just_Plain_Dan on September 05, 2013, 02:38:32 pm
Epic :thumleft:

Let it rip!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: onderbroek on September 05, 2013, 02:39:51 pm
sub
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: CoolBreeze on September 05, 2013, 03:39:21 pm
This should be good :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft::thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: alwyn_gs on September 05, 2013, 04:16:40 pm
o o... hier kom kak....!!!!
  :spitcoffee:
Sub!!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: DrDirt on September 05, 2013, 04:47:58 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Casting from Turd on September 05, 2013, 05:22:57 pm
Ek kry hom gou gou daai popkorns
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Difflock on September 05, 2013, 05:58:10 pm
 very nice  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: GravelNap on September 05, 2013, 08:25:53 pm
Epic! Can't wait for the rest.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: cheesy on September 05, 2013, 08:34:15 pm
Beautifully presented, enjoyed the music. Bring on the rest. :3some:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Onetime on September 05, 2013, 09:09:47 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Gasman on September 06, 2013, 10:03:02 am
Can't wait!!  :happy1:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 06, 2013, 12:29:53 pm
Okay, here goes. I'm going to kick it off, but there might be a bit of a delay while we work out how we're going to tell this story... there may be a couple of voices chipping in.

Like I said, we'd been scheming about this for some time. You get into adventure riding, and like all things in life you get more ambitious and start dreaming bigger. My first proper ride was a cross country tour in 2009. My brother had just returned from living in Cambodia for a few years where he'd done some kamikaze runs through mosquito-infested jungles on a 250 with only a hammock and some strong liquor for company, dodging landmines and stockpiles of AK47s. He claims he never blew up a cow with a rocket launcher. Beggars belief, but apparently it's quite possible, where money talks and morality is for sale.

Anyway, I digress. Allow me a moment. Mike's mate Archie has been dual-sporting since he was five. Apparently his father would send him off to cruise around the farm on his R80GS during his afternoon nap, and the young chap would return and ride in circles hooting until dad woke up and came to set his short legs back on terra firma. A solid start. Archie dragged Mike into it, and Mike dragged Tom and I into it. Tom's my best mate, and after a weekend on rented bikes around the Cederberg we were hooked, and immediately bought bikes and set off to cross the entire country without touching a tar road. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had the time of our lives and came back changed men.

Like I said, one gets ambitious. Screw civilisation. How far can we go? Give me my horse, I wanna ride!

What could be more appealing than a recently war-infested, remote, wild, rough, bizarre (sort of neighbouring) country that almost nobody has been to?

So here how it goes. Wake up at 4am on the first of August 2013 in Cape Town and get cracking. This was a tight team. Only the best. The kind of guys you want to be able to depend on when the chips are down. So who you gonna call?

Let me introduce Thomas (A.K.A. "English"):

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7368/9713423811_a4b57fcd2e_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5525/9716689990_4d6cf41499_b.jpg)

Tom and I have done pretty much all our biking together. We've been here, there, everywhere, to hell, heaven and back again. I'd like to say he's the kind of chap you'd want when your bike is broken and you're in the line of fire, but to be honest he's just the funniest, most outrageous person I know, and life on the trail is never boring.

Say hello to Mike (A.K.A. "MechanicalCamel"):

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7304/9713470183_dbe1a42c6c_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7319/9758024273_e643c913a3_b.jpg)

My flesh and blood. I have him to thank for getting me into this lark, and I've done almost as many trips with my brother as I have with Tom. My friend Tini says he is a lion. I think you understand.

There's a joker in every pack. Gaza is Mike's best mate, but he didn't invite him on this trip. You see Angola isn't really the kind of place to take a novice on their first proper trip, now is it? No prizes for guessing that Tom invited him. Gaza had had a severe introduction to biking. His first trip was only six months ago, when I took him around the Postal Route on Mike's old banger Tenere. We got lost, stranded up the side of a mountain, almost died of thirst, and broke the Tenere and had to abandon it there. He calls it the best and the worst weekend of his life. Gaza doesn't even own a motorcycle. Gaza A.K.A. "The Midget":

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7295/9758022913_1786e1cc38_b.jpg)

To make matters worse he's the only one on the trip with children. And no life insurance.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2884/9772667513_e8e1d6fcb7_b.jpg)

I like motorbikes. I love travelling. And somehow I get lucky enough to have the time of my life in one of the best places on the planet with a bunch of oddballs:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3719/9757871961_571f9ca079_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5486/9683011157_f087b392a9_c.jpg)

Every trip needs a group photo dripping with anticipation, excitement and bravado. Let it begin!

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5494/9716641788_7903223312_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 06, 2013, 04:36:53 pm
Max is long on pics, which I'm light on. So lets go aaallllllllll the way back to the beginning...

“I’ve invited the midget”
“Huh?”
“The midget, I’ve invited him”
“Wot you talkin’ about Willis?”
“I’m invited him on the trip”
“You’ve invited the midget to come to Angola?”
pause….  “Ya”
“Are you mad? The midget has only ridden a bike a couple of times. He doesn’t even own one. His chubby little stumps can only just touch the pegs on the TW200. This is a proper trip we’re doing, he’s going to kill himself!”
longer pause…  “Nah, it’ll be fine. Don’t you think?”
very long pause…. “Yeeeesh. OK man, but you make sure he gets some sand riding in before we leave.”

Fast forward 2 months, zero sand riding practice, and the midget is up on the pegs (he always is – his legs are too short for there to be a difference between sitting and standing), barrelling through soft sand with his open jacket flapping in the wind, ear-to-ear grin clearly visible through his badly fitting helmet. We’re 20kms away from the north bank of the mouth of the Kunene River. Who woulda thought?

At this point I was feeling pretty sheepish for doubting the wee fella. But the sheepish was well and truly overshadowed by unbridled delight at getting this far. If you compared my sheepishness with my delight it’d be like the midget standing next to a baobab (in case you needed the relative scale). This was in sharp contrast to the Mariana Trench-sized doubt that had been lingering in our happy little group about whether we’d even make it over the Angolan border. Why? Cause we’re bumbling fools that’s why.

A trip of this magnitude in a faraway land requires planning, lots of it. So we did none and headed north from Cape Town with 3 new bikes that had never done a trip with their new owners, new luggage and water/fuel carrying systems that we’d never packed or tested, one midget that didn’t know how many gears his bike had and enough excitement to launch a space shuttle.  Perfect. We didn’t get very far.

[At this point we’re 4 adventurers, 2 cars, 2 trailers with 4 magnificent steeds perched majestically thereon, and 31 cubic gigalitres of stuff, a fair bit of which was completely superfluous and never left the cars].

Leaving Cape Town proved to be a tad more tricky than expected. For starters, the Midget had welded his bike boot to his desk by accident and like a monkey with his hand in the cookie jar, couldn’t get himself free. It took some fairly unsavoury threats to get him out of the office at 5am after an all night work session and into his booster seat in the wagon. And then imagine the fun of this phone conversation 45minutes later:
[from the smurf-blue car] “Max, where are you?”
[from the other-blue car] “We’re about 70kms out, near that Engen. Where you?”
“We’re about 30kms behind you. So, [very casual voice] small question here but… we don’t need our car registration papers to get into Namibia do we?”
long pause [these happen a lot in our conversations].
“Uuuuuuh…..”
“Do you have yours?”
longer pause. “Uuuuuuuh…..”
“grrrnnnnyyaaasttttcchhh  *%&!@$&(@#$!”
This all seemed a bit unfair given that we had a 3inch high stack of documents to get the BIKES through 2 borders but what to do. Well, to turn around is what to do, and to sit in rush hour traffic to get back into town, collect documents and hack back out there to still have a perfectly clear view of table mountain 4 hours after we ‘left’. Ho hum.

I do believe that these are the things that make good roadtrips though. Ted Simon used to talk about the best parts of his trips happening when something went wrong. Seems like a good philosophy to hold onto.

So we wound our way north with sharply revised plans of making it “somewhere close to Windhoek”. The flowers were out from Clanwilliam in all their radiant glory and the big expansive scenery of the N7 never fails to lull me into a happy stupor. Just before sunset we stopped for a little team building session that was delightful in all sorts of unexpected ways. The subsequent hour was not. Clouds of bats swarmed in thick and fast. I had the windscreen wipers on full blast and the midget was standing in the passenger seat leaning out the window waving his flyswatter like a jockey’s whip. It was a dark mass of the filthy swine and they had menacing intention. We were losing the battle. Springbok was only 50kms further north but at the rate we were going they were going to have us before then. Filthy stuff. Fear and Loathing at an unprecedented scale. Turning back and running for cover became a real possibility…
 
We did end up making Springbok that night, but only just. 17 hours after setting off from Cape Town – we could have pushed the bikes there faster. We were gearing up for a Grand Oddventure of Epic Proportions. 
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: 2StrokeDan on September 06, 2013, 06:37:52 pm
So far so very good. Anybody else thinks this guy looks like the singer, Arno Carstens?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Bram on September 06, 2013, 07:54:56 pm
looks like a good story to come. Cant wait to see the rest  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lj111 on September 06, 2013, 08:38:37 pm
 :sip: :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: punisher on September 06, 2013, 09:04:24 pm
 O0
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: FATO on September 06, 2013, 09:13:50 pm
Sub.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MINZI on September 06, 2013, 09:38:02 pm
Oh noo!! This is going to be one of those RR's that I will be checking on at least 10 times a day. There goes my productivity............ :peepwall:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: mtr89 on September 06, 2013, 10:19:38 pm
Great start to a ride report.looking forward to the rest.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Wit Roftie on September 06, 2013, 10:42:44 pm
To say the least, this sounds befark!

Can't wait for the rest!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: RSA_Maniac on September 07, 2013, 08:27:08 am
sub
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mr Zog on September 07, 2013, 11:23:56 am
Definitely subscribed  :drif:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Shangali on September 07, 2013, 01:09:43 pm
o o... hier kom kak....!!!!
  :spitcoffee:
Sub!!!!

This looks worse ... I believe it is GROOT kak ....  Fantastic Trip in the Making .....

SUB :   :sip:

 Good Luck to all of you

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Herklaas on September 07, 2013, 04:23:53 pm
 :bueller:Pleazzeee can I also come I only have a little Tiger xc???? :-[
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Pistonpete on September 07, 2013, 05:29:20 pm
Guys,
Your old tyres are still here & Travis is looking fondly at them for burnouts... :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: JMOL on September 07, 2013, 05:48:11 pm
I'm in  :sip:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 07, 2013, 07:40:11 pm
So far so very good. Anybody else thinks this guy looks like the singer, Arno Carstens?

hahahaha. Only, like, half of the country. That handsome little mug has helped us skip a lot of queues before...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: N[]vA on September 09, 2013, 06:57:09 pm
Quote
He claims he never blew up a cow with a rocket launcher. Beggars belief, but apparently it's quite possible, where money talks and morality is for sale.

hehe I know the place you are talking about!

looking forward to the read  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: alli on September 09, 2013, 07:22:46 pm
Methinks this one will be worth the subscription fees.... ;D



Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: zacapa on September 09, 2013, 08:59:01 pm
Great RR so far! On the point of being wrong I just have to post this in here. Who knows, I may be right.
Are these two guys one and the same guy? Second pic was taken in about 2002 when I took my new GS650 Dakar to Molumong in Lesotho
and came across two young guys doing the riding thing there. We had a blast that weekend.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 09, 2013, 10:35:39 pm
I don't think so. I've told Max he should never, never drink petrol straight from a bike.

We were taught ALWAYS to use a glass
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 10, 2013, 10:03:26 am
Are these two guys one and the same guy?

No that is not me! Isn't it Kimi Raikkonen?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 10, 2013, 10:21:27 am
As with much of this trip, this ride report is deeply disorganised. More fun that way, no? Get some popcorn and take the comfy chair... we're just getting into our stride. Efforts will be made to coordinate pictures and (tall) stories, but some back tracking may be necessary. Gonna keep it snappy.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3763/9713362687_49b394bb37_b.jpg)

You know something is deeply wrong when out of four guys taking a long-planned-and-fantasised-about-trip three and a half of them are wondering up to the morning they start whether they can afford the time off. The more I thought about it, the more wrong it seemed.

I'd woken up at 4am to pack and pick up Thomas at 4.45. Of course he hadn't started packing, so by 5.30 we'd hit the road and were furiously calling in to try track our comrades. "Luftwaffe to base. Over. Where the hell are you???" Naturally, The Midget hadn't even arrived at Camel's house, and they were a long way from locked and loaded, let along on the road. So what you gonna do?

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5478/9716717074_774e7cb588_b.jpg)

I know you all think Wimpy make good road coffee, but for bikessake how can a cup of coffee be decent when the attendants ask if you want cream or foam??!! [Foreign readers I know you don't have a clue what I'm talking about right now.]

So something like three hours later, arriveth The Midget and The Camel. Without said papers.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3665/9713483981_46068fa60b_b.jpg)

The look says it all. Four hour round trip back to collect papers pending. We left Midget asleep in Camel's car and and hot-tailed it back to Cape Town. Well until we hit the N1 morning traffic that was. Less said the better. Luckily the little detour resulted in The Camel realising Outsurance don't cover Angola and you need to take out Out-in-Africa insurance. Which proved to be a Very Good Idea.

We got back to find the little fella awake and spending his time taking love snaps of his machine. Remember when you were 16 (21? 12? 9?) and had your first kiss?

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3725/9713482837_b76857031e_b.jpg)

True love.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2811/9716714672_f66039f4fe_b.jpg)

So we set off with lots of this:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7434/9713481035_24b0633c3a_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 10, 2013, 10:22:37 am
Does anyone know why Wilddogs only show small versions of photos embedded from Flickr, even when I embed them at 1024px wide? I got some pix comin up ya wanna see in all their glory.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Pistol on September 10, 2013, 10:29:35 am
Gonna be good this :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 10, 2013, 10:38:01 am
Now what my lovely brother forgot to mention, was the detail of why we spent 17 1/2 hours travelling 550km. OK, there was that 4 hour CPT detour, but my math still doesn't make 17, and I know I have at least 11 fingers.

Audi Waterfront are a bunch of unspeakable tossers, that's why. When you send your car for a service the day before a long trip (when else, naturally) you don't expect to have to stop at the lovely Piketberg Dunlop shop after two hours to redo wheel balancing because the car is shaking around like a popcorn maker at 120 km/h.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2844/9716712756_506fb0440e_b.jpg)

And you'd be even less excited to find that one of your wheel nuts had been stripped to hell and back by the idiot mechanics at Audi, wouldn't you? Yes, you useless bunch of half baked, over priced rip-offs. I swear every time I've been there it's been a disaster. OK, vitriol done.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7288/9716711828_262d983055_b.jpg)

So off we went again, with four wheel nuts instead of five... and an hour later were making ANOTHER detour to Vredenberg Volkswagen - who, I may add are the nicest folk on the planet, and recut my wheel nut thread and gave me a new wheel nut all on the house. Vredeberg Volkswagen - WE LOVE YOU!

If you've got something like 3 days of straight driving to do to start a trip I can heartily recommend taking off 3 hours on the first afternoon - say 400 km from your start - to sit around on the side of the road, act silly, take gratuitous photographs, and wait for the sun to set.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5515/9713472503_6e2f88c0d9_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7376/9713471595_1d3258995f_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3774/9713471037_cdf1de9f71_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2838/9713468133_0371f31f78_b.jpg)

Or fire stones (since we never brought a Clint Eastwood-size handgun) at road signs.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2831/9713467805_89a46d5328_b.jpg)

My advance apologies to the fine women who belong on these pages, but this seems to be the kind of stupid shit that our loving ladies at home don't understand in the slightest.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7452/9713464727_02cf8b606e_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7416/9713462529_c7fb57dcc0_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3750/9716694040_8c8c81849a_b.jpg)

I'm proud of this photo. The night before none of the trailer lights were working, and we knew this kind of scene was about to happen. So I rigged up two metres of LED strip lights left over from Afrika Burn. God, how I love LED strip lights!

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7296/9713460893_b754202c11_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 10, 2013, 11:21:11 am
Big time sub  :thumleft:

This is going to be epic
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 10, 2013, 06:23:04 pm


The fun continues….

On the way back down at the end of the trip we had the genius idea of putting the seats flat in the back of the cars (we had 2 station wagons). We used all our sleeping mats and sleeping bags and basically all the soft stuff we could find to make a pretty comfortable bed. This is how to travel like a boss. You either take the wheel, listening to podcasts about the origins of the English tax system (it used to be about land, but quickly become about funding wars) or you hop in the back and have yourself a lovely nap. We were too excited on the way up to engage our brains in anything remotely this lateral so we just sat, marvelled at the landscape and drove.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7393/9713459895_00936c5952_b.jpg)

And drive we did. A lot. Namibia is a rather large country it turns out. A lot bigger than it looks on a map let me tell you. Through the border at Vioolsdrif (obviously without them asking for the registration papers we’d done a 4 hour detour for) and then north up, up, up through that interminably slowly changing scenery. It’s like being in slow motion – they must smoke a lot of weed up there.

We pushed on into the night to make up for lost time, breaking the golden rule about not driving after dark (it turned this was good practice for later on in the trip). We made it to Otjiwarongo, this time too tired for teambuilding. Good thing too cause I was still on the lookout for the evil bats.

The next morning, assuming we were fairly close to Opuwo, which was to be the destination for cars and trailers, we took a fairly lackadaisical approach to mobilising. This assumption of a short day was based more on the fact that we’d had a monster drive the day before than by referring to a map (we found one at breakfast but lost it by the time we had left the hotel). We used this time wisely, buying a 40 gallon drum to bolt onto Tom’s bike for fuel (he hadn’t got around to buying fuel bags) and 2 pumps, which nicely complemented the 3 we already had.

It’s not entirely clear why we were aiming for Opuwo. The astute amongst you may observe that if you’re heading for the Ruacana border post, a good place to leave the cars might be… hmmm…. lets see… the town of Ruacana? Cookies to that man! This direct approach was far too mainstream for us, so we pulled off a 100km detour and headed instead for Opuwo. Now, apologies to anyone who has a close affinity to this place, but Opuwo is a shithole. (Sorry mods, I know I shouldn’t use naughty words but the Queen’s English doesn’t capture the hollow essence of the place quite like that word. In fact, let me have a go to prove my point… It’s not just that it’s dirty and smelly and run down. That would make it like many other poor African towns, plenty of which are charming in their own special way. This place feels empty and devoid of spark like everyone is just clocking up hours for the Big Interview. It really gave me the creeps. It turns out that the place has a fairly dark military history; it was used as a Koevoet base during the war. Now I’m a peace-loving, bearded hippie so the war thing freaks me right out. Bad juju. I wasn’t scanning the property market.

What I was scanning for was a beer and a steak. Why is it that travelling through Namibia one is forced to eat at that most vile and despicable establishment that has a spineless, unadventurous coward as its namesake? Wimpy. What the hell were they thinking naming a food shop “Wimpy”?
“OK, thanks for coming Marketing Wizards, what names have you got for us? I want something that says bold, outgoing, fulfilling”
“How about ‘Beefy Burger Express’?”
“Too obvious”
“Fast n Tasty?”
“Too cheap”
“Padkos Panache?”
“Too wanky”
“Wanky?”
“Wimpy? Wimpy! Brilliant, I love it. Well done. Cheque’s in the post”

I digress, we were looking for beer and steak. And find it we did at almost certainly the only place in the town worth stopping at, The Opuwo Country Lodge. This spot was Epic Lovliness, complete with rim-flow pool, ice cold frosties and a cracking view. Bingo.

We only got there at mid afternoon so we needed to get moving fairly quickly to make it out before dark. So we kicked back and settled in for a few cold ones to congratulate ourselves on a monster commute well executed.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3670/9716691940_0594184709_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3671/9713458951_10a601cf59_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3763/9716690442_28e960815f_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5525/9716689990_4d6cf41499_b.jpg)

By the time we got round to unpacking bikes and cars, the chances of us sleeping in the bush that night were starting to dwindle, along with the sunlight. Tom would hear nothing of it though, and was probably hoping it would be dark before we set out; “adds to the adventure don’t you think?”. As ludicrous as the man’s ideas are, his infectious enthusiasm trumps it tenfold. Spend time hanging with this man and you’ll find yourself doing the most improbable things. He’s like a Vortex of Adventure Oddity that’s very hard to resist. We resigned ourselves to a bizarre start to the trip.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7432/9716689424_81a514ee84_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3727/9713456159_da52cedb90_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/9716687022_9332e771f2_b.jpg)

Within about 6 minutes of starting the unpack it looked like a UN cargo plane had flown overhead and deposited food and clothes to a refugee camp of 6000 Sudanese. This was the first time we really got to see what the others had brought and it quickly descended into chaos. And then panic. Clearly everyone had brought what they needed, plus ‘just a little extra’ for someone else to carry. If Chuck Norris himself had been there with a 1200 as a pack mule we still wouldn’t have taken all that stuff.

Things got a little tense as we started making rash decisions in tern interests of getting the hell out of there.
“I can’t fit this fuel bag in, I’m sure we’ll find petrol in the desert”
“There’s no room for food, peanuts and raisins are fine for lunch for a week” (turns out that was right)
“Torx keys? We don’t need those, we’ve got Allen keys. ” (3 KTM’s on the trip)

At this point the midget was very quiet. And his eyes were very big. Slight bottom lip quiver.

Finally, after a small eternity, it was time to go. Really? This trip was really starting? Angola here we come! We were on our way!

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5337/9716682146_e381ede455_b.jpg)


No we weren’t.




Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: goblin on September 10, 2013, 08:23:46 pm
sub
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on September 10, 2013, 08:55:16 pm
Vredeberg Volkswagen?

Guess you meant Vredendal?

Sub :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: vigilant on September 10, 2013, 10:00:54 pm
sub

 :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: goingnowherequickly on September 10, 2013, 10:09:18 pm
Sub
cant wait for more :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 10, 2013, 10:31:12 pm
It would appear that someone knew the bats were coming...

Quote

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3750/9716694040_8c8c81849a_b.jpg)

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 11, 2013, 09:01:35 am
Vredeberg Volkswagen?

Guess you meant Vredendal?

Sub :thumleft:

You, Sir, are one hundred percent correct!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 11, 2013, 09:29:33 am
For the salty seadogs amongst you, I give you waves, plenty of 'em:
http://magicseaweed.com/news/angola-and-the-3km-wave/5572/ (http://magicseaweed.com/news/angola-and-the-3km-wave/5572/)

Nice write up on travelling there too (although the poor suckers were constrained by rental cars)

Angola is turing out to be the land of plenty!


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 11, 2013, 10:02:05 am
The more observant among you may have noticed that the lighting in the last few pictures isn't entirely consistent. There's a good reason for that, see. They were taken on completely different days. The joy and delight of arrival (and delusional excitement that we'd be immediately setting off to camp under the stars, on Tom's part) was offset by a horrible discovery. I'd steered our German battleship into its parking bay, courtesy of the magnanimous Opuwo Lodge management, and the Englishman had immediately jumped out to set about untying our beasts. He re-appeared a few moments later at my front door with a forlorn expression on his face.

Allow me to reverse a little here. Tom has been my motorcycling companion for four years. During that time he had well and truly punished his trusty KLR, ridden it hard and mercilessly, in the process forming a deep emotional bond with the beast. Perhaps the very deepest bond possible from a man with, let's be honest, not a lot of mechanical sympathy. We had taken them across the country, to every nook and corner of the Cederberg and Tankwa, pushed them under fences, raced up river beds and beaches. He had done everything possible to break that KLR (and I'm not going to mention the river incident) but it came back begging for more - after a little love from Tim, Claus and various Mercedes and other mechanics en-route. But I had a lighter and racier machine, and he was getting tired of being left behind. One day I casually mentioned that there were good deals going on KTMs, amongst other more off-road friendly machines, and after a few moments on Gumtree and this very fine website, he was hooked. I share some transcripts from email correspondence about his chosen new mount:

"I tested out the new nasty runt of a bike last night. Like a bad tempered warthog with a rocket shoved up its arse. Couldn't sleep after. Totally nuts. Shook on it and am transferring money as soon as mine arrives in SA."

This is the voice of a man who has lost touch with reason. Why be sensible when you can be inflamed, engorged, entranced with passion?

Anyway... back to my car window. Crestfallen Englishman: "The clutch is broken."

Now, the clutch had been broken in Cape Town. Tom's first 48 hours with the bike, after Milly's had belatedly and finally got it down from Joburg, included: a night ride in the rain, a puncture, a buckled front wheel and a severely slipping clutch. Even he was beginning to think the writing was on the wall.

He was also so busy with the four simultaneous consulting jobs he'd taken on that he didn't have time to fix it. My suggestion of dropping it off at KTM with a blank cheque book didn’t work because they were full. Claus, our usual mechanic, had left for Germany to his sick mother. Emergency measures were called for, and we know how those usually work out. A selection of dodgy geezers were called upon to collect the motorcycle, and deliver it to various service providers who would successively replace the clutch, service the bike and fit a new wheel and tyres. And then Tom would ride the bike, untested, into the savage wilds of Angola. Sounds about right.

So the newly repaired clutch was fooked. No pressure in the lever whatsoever. Luckily I’d just spent half a morning at KTM watching them fit a longer clutch cable to my bike, so concluded our best bet was to try to bleed the clutch again and hope that was the problem. But it was 6pm on a Saturday night in Opuwo and we had none of that fancy, super specialised clutch fluid you stick into KTMs. I forlornly cast my mind back to my passing look at the shelf with clutch fluid as I was leaving the KTM shop.

So we went to drink beers.

The next morning dawned bright and cheerful. We were here:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3701/9713452559_bb1c3f72e5_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3679/9713454159_9c02130bb0_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3822/9713453421_a3c97c19e3_b.jpg)

It couldn’t be all bad, could it? That’s Angola in the far distance. Four days in to our trip already, and if I'm honest I'd started wondering (just a little, mind you) whether we’d ever set foot on that beautiful dirt.

I knew from some previous research that there were substitutes for KTM clutch fluid and luckily the lodge had internet, so with the help of Google I set about convincing Tom that he could put baby oil into his precious new bike. At least we had a hope of finding that in Opuwo, shopping shithole of the universe.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2814/9716680202_68d034282c_b.jpg)

This is a moment too priceless to be submitted purely to still images:

http://www.youtube.com/v/jX63_f8WTBY

In an emergency - and God knows this was one - you can substitute the fancy stuff KTM spec for their clutches with a fine quality mineral oil. In the bush that means baby oil or automatic clutch fluid. Luckily, it seemed, the clutch had simply not been bled properly, and after a few cc’s of automatic transmission fluid - I’d still have gone baby oil - we got it back up to pressure. Tom was understandably delighted but starting to fume about the foolishness of his decision to buy a fancy KTM that couldn’t be fixed by a bush mechanic with a number 12 spanner and a rock. But we were ready this time.

After a beer and a swim (wash) in their pool.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7355/9716679542_6e0b152827_b.jpg)

Coming up... the main dirt highway to Angola...

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5453/9713446693_f65dafdd7f_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5344/9713443863_7431d67900_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Gasman on September 11, 2013, 10:27:49 am
Brilliant!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 12, 2013, 10:57:01 pm
So you’ve probably all been wondering if this trip would ever begin. So had we. 3 days travelling, two days messing around with broken clutches and general foolishness. And still we hadn’t started riding.

Time for that to change. All aboard! High spirits, packed and fueled bikes and one times beautiful off-road track beckons. Next stop Ruacana!

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5328/9713445805_6ce9c0776c_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3743/9716677014_859da18d80_b.jpg)

That ‘road’ on Garmin is actually a disused service track for electricity pylons. The 4x4 club of Pofadder would give their back teeth to get stuck into a challenge as glorious as this. Dongas, ravines, washed away tracks, rocks. Everything a dual-sport biker dreams of, and more!

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7397/9716675326_c6d889efe1_b.jpg)

I was worried about Gaza. The last time I’d taken him riding (on his first ever motorbike ride) I’d led him up the old postal route between the Tankwa and Cederberg on a borrowed 80‘s Tenere... which should have been fine, except the sand was particularly thick that time of year, and we got lost. Proper, dehydrated, knackered lost. And the Tenere has no happy button and after he’d dropped it fourteen hundred times and flooded it repeatedly, he then stripped the clutch and had to abandon it there. Best and worst weekend of his life.

So I was supposed to let him in gently this time... but look at this track! My fears were completely unfounded. He was styling! Tom on the other hand...

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5343/9716669540_28ff03a36c_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7450/9716672426_111d771807_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2815/9713438257_dbe897af1c_b.jpg)

Three of us had - probably foolishly - bought new bikes before this trip. You know the saying “If it’s not orange, it’s a lemon”? Well, this WAS orange, AND a lemon. Broken clutch, buckled wheels, punctures, and now a broken side stand switch.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5533/9716674344_9d82a7a1d8_b.jpg)

I found the KTM was stranded on the side of the road, cutting out every time it was put in gear. Little did we know that 690 sidestand switches have nasty little pieces of electronics buried in the switch which will derail any attempt to isolate the switch by cutting the wires and simply wiring them together. We were stuck!

While we took turns poking around with a circuit tester, Tom say forlornly under a tree, wondering what was becoming of his Angola trip.

We were surrounded by Himba. Amused little ones. And some slightly bigger ones with very perky breasts. Since our route between Opuwo and Ruacana was only supposed to be 150km and we supposedly had loads of spare water, Mike was amusing himself giving the young’uns a shower.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7413/9716666714_78993e1b50_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5343/9713433333_64cd33637b_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2856/9713431873_de86a3956e_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3668/9713430465_db7b8eedec_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/9716661640_ea674b47aa_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3752/9713427749_0a11a7d969_b.jpg)

Dusk was coming and we were no closer to getting the 690 running. The decision made itself - we were towing back to where we started. No easy task, as every few hundred metres there was a massive donga which was challenge enough on a running motorcycle.

We made a few km’s before the light was gone and it was time to set up camp for the first time. Which was when we realised we really did need that water that had been so generously shared with the Himba.

Still, camp is a happy place on any bike trail, and here is Tom putting up the new bivvy he made for this very adventure.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3814/9716658248_0accb86385_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5451/9713424541_6fce236556_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7444/9716653264_696801d3d9_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3714/9716651380_928ac856d5_b.jpg)

The morning brought a sense of disquiet in all of us. Were we going to be able to get the stricken KTM running? More worrying was the realisation that the bike was in pretty poor condition all round.

We spent most of the morning towing back to the lodge, and the next few hours on Google. That pesky switch needs a 2.2k ohm resister inline between two of the wires, and after a day scouring Opuwo we realised we weren’t finding one of those anywhere within a few hundred km.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7451/9716649786_55074d970b_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7337/9713413783_66bb000d68_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2845/9713412361_1785cd0190_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5520/9716643642_0d4db56936_b.jpg)

More importantly, we’d lost faith in the bike. Angola is a wild country, recently emerged from civil war, with limited services, terrible roads and certainly no KTM mechanics. To make matters worse, we were heading for the most remote, inaccessible corner of the country. A bike that broke in Angola might well be a bike that stayed in Angola.

I guess the less I say about what followed the better. Losing a trip member at the very beginning of your ride, I can safely tell you, is a terrible experience. Especially when that person is as outrageous, funny, and just plain unconventional as Tom. None of us were going to enjoy Angola quite as much as Tom would have. And we were all going to be much the worse off for not having him enliven our experience of it.

But there wasn’t anything for it. Windhoek - and even the faintest glimmer of hope - was 900km away. We’d already lost a few days and if we were going to Angola, we were going today. This is that moment where you put on a brave face, say what needs to be said, stiff upper lip and all that.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5494/9716641788_7903223312_b.jpg)

We left Tom with a laptop, an Audi wagon and the wish that he found some gorgeous, badly behaved Scandinavian back-packer to tend to his loss and told him we’d see him in two weeks. What the hell!!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 12, 2013, 10:57:33 pm
Or watch, don't read....

http://www.youtube.com/v/jMR94onIIhc

{*edit. Now with sound :)}
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on September 12, 2013, 11:48:49 pm
Great read so far.. you really highlight the need to plan properly.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KTMRICK on September 12, 2013, 11:59:00 pm
 :thumleft: :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 13, 2013, 07:33:44 am
 :sip: :sip: :sip: :sip: :sip:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 13, 2013, 09:22:17 pm
Quote
That pesky switch needs a 2.2k ohm resister inline between two of the wires

Much later, when we got back home and discussed this with our more resourceful/competent friends, they looked at us in disbelief and said, "why didn't you just make one? Or nick one out a radio?"

I have to confess to feeling a little retarded at their response. With some foil from a ciggie packet you can make a resistor and just tear bits off it till you get to the right ohms right? Right? I'm going on coffee table wisdom here. Thing is, what would you all do? Would you head into the back of beyond on a trip where timing is tight already with only a cigarette packet keeping one of the bikes running?

In my books that's a pretty risky manoeuvre, but leaving one of your mates behind is no walk in the park either.

What's the court of public opinion say?


 
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: zacapa on September 13, 2013, 10:31:35 pm
Yay! the 2.2k ohm resistor straight out of a ZAR100 crappy radio run by PM9 batteries would have been my first port of call too. Probs is that if you havn't mucked with Ohm's before because let's face it - who ever has? - there is not much you can do. Next time you need a resistor though you will know where to find it.
Let's agree - the intricacies of biking in the unknown world have met with some resistance...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 14, 2013, 07:21:34 pm
Let's agree - the intricacies of biking in the unknown world have met with some resistance...

Hahaha. Brilliant.

Edit: Previous vid now with sound  :dousing:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on September 14, 2013, 08:19:35 pm
I have been on quite a few long distance cross country trips, on every occasion at some point you think to yourself ' if I had a mechanical or electrical failure now I would have to leave my bike here, hitchhike to the nearest town with an airport and catch a flight home' the cost and time required to recover the bike is probably not worth the value of the bike, ( well my bike at least ) ok maybe not that bad, but you know that in those instances you would be toast, as such I try not to take a bike into a remote place without feeling confident that it will get me out of the said place. You can plan for so many things, we take all sorts of bits of stuff with us for possible mechanical breakdowns but that doesn't mean I necessarily know how to use it. The Ohms thing would have had me stumped. On my last trip I took coolant for my radiator just in case.. all I did was carry a 500ml bottle around for 7 days before dumping it.

In this situation I am not sure I would have made a different decision.. it must have been a tough call.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Beserker on September 15, 2013, 08:00:18 am
On my last trip I took coolant for my radiator just in case..

Just before we went on our Angola trip, I went up Matroosberg, a small spill, broke my gearlever off.

Nearly fried my clutch, and it start slipping. Some 3rd gear roll ons got rid of the glazing, and it worked fine, but in case, I carried all the plates with, for the whole trip.

2 years later, they are still in their packaging  :P

I do not think planning could prevent what happened, and over planning is not my style either, there are 2 many variables. Mechanical prepping of your bike, and doing a substantial number of kilo's though is where it's at.

At least you recovered your friend to a position from where he could help himself (good), you did not leave him stranded in the middle of nowhere (bad).

Had I been the the rider on the broken bike, the only thing that would make feel worse about my situation would be if the rest of the group missed their trip as well.

From my perspective, you did exactly the right thing.

edit:

FWIW, Although I don't like the DR much (I hate the suspension), I think the DR is an ideal bike to do a trip like this. They last forever, they are light on fuel, you can pack it like a donkey.

Can't wait for the rest!!!

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tonteldoos on September 15, 2013, 09:22:55 am
Nice one!  gooi more  :deal:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 15, 2013, 11:01:03 am
We were doing out best to get that stricken 690 back on the road, and Tom is very much of the "let's just set off and we'll solve it on the way" opinion. But newboy Gaza was paranoid and convinced we'd leave the bike there if it entered Angola.

Turns out he was right. The clutch slave cylinder seals were gone, and it wouldn't have made more than a few days at the most. By which time we'd really have been in the middle of nowhere. So the cards fell as they fell. I think we were lucky...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 15, 2013, 02:59:09 pm
I think we may indeed have been lucky - but Captain Thomas certainly wouldn't have seen it that way...


How can it be so hard to leave a town as indescribably moose as Opuwo? It was holding us in it’s dark super-power vortex. We were the tennis ball that the over-eager Labrador kept on bringing back. Enough dammit! We’re leaving and this time we mean it… After 4 days of hacking this was hardly the triumphant, whistleblowing, 12-gun salute type departure that you'd hope for. Partly cause this was our second crack at leaving, but more so cause Captain Thomas wasn't with us. It was a twagedy of epic proportions. A gross injustice. I’m going to sob on my keyboard if I continue.

But the show must go on, so go on we did. This time it was the safe option in terms of route selection - we hammered it back to the main road (where we'd started out detour from 2 days before), pausing only to flirt with catastrophe at the police stop. Because our bikes were on the trailers when we came in to the country, we'd forgotten to pay road tax for them at the Namibian border. Well… that was the official line. The truth was closer to the following: The Midget was desperate for a poo at the border and demanded that we hustle post haste to the Engen a few kms further on. When the lady in the road tax office suggested that we would have to pay for the bikes we distracted her with cunning and slight of hand and by the time she got to filling in forms she had forgotten. Given the (by now physical) pressure that the Midge was under, and the fact that we're impossibly cheap and love  freebie, we scuttled out and claimed the victory. (The Engen didn’t.) The gods obviously didn't think this too severe a crime because back at the police checkpoint, the combination of friendly smiles and professed ignorance (not exactly a stretch for us) smoothed their concerns and we were bid a happy trip.

"Last stretch - a blast up this tar road for 60kms and we're there!"
Really? Unlikely. The 60kms turned out to be double that, and the tar road turned out to be a corrugated, rutted dirt one. Fairly tedious if you’re trundling through in a rented Atos, but a sweet pleasure if you’re on 2 wheels - game on!

Obviously it was dark before we made it to Ruacana town, let alone the border post, so plans for changing countries were shelved for nog a dag. We found a very sweet campsite and, rather pleased with ourselves for riding 180kms without trip-ending incident, treated ourselves to an army tent set up, complete with 2 beds. Such hard-core adventurers we are. Quick game of numbers and it was Max on a sleeping mat on the floor. Sorry for you.

Surely, SURELY, we’d make it to Angola tomorrow…
(and have more pictures...)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 15, 2013, 03:19:28 pm
When waking up not more than 20kms from the country of your desired destination it would be reasonable to feel fairly confident of making it into said country. Given our immediate history though, a cautious view seemed prudent. Max spent the first few hours of sunlight studiously wiring in his GPS because this seemed like a good idea for 3 buffoons with no idea of where they were heading. I spent the time pacifying my desert-water-drought-panic by filling up every 2 litre coke bottle I could find with water. The Midget spent the time carefully brushing his teeth, standing in front of the basin on an upturned bucket, just able to see into the mirror. Dental hygiene is very important and should not be ignored just because you’re camping.

And then we were off! For the 312th time this trip we were finally leaving. Bom Dia Angola! Just a quick stop first at the gas station...

There were 2 things that turned this stop into a 3 hr pause. One of them we knew about: this was the first time I was figuring out how to fill up my bike (bear with me, this is slightly less moronic than it sounds. I hope.) I can't remember if I mentioned this already but I was unable to get into my petrol tank. I'd had a wee incident a year ago where I snapped off my key in the ignition. Most of the key was still inside so you could turn the bike on and off with anything screwdriver-shaped. Which is exactly what I’d been using for a year and why I hadn’t bothered fixing it. I’ve got a Safari tank on the bike so when I fill up I just put gas up front. All good and well until you need to make very, very sure that you are carrying absolutely all the petrol you possibly can, for example, when visiting Angola.  (I had only remembered about the no-key-for-the-petrol-cap thing somewhere near Windhoek and apart from needless release adrenaline into my system, there wasn't much I could do). Now, the seasoned among you will know that the safari tank drains back into the main tank. Slowly. Very slowly. So I could fill up the safari tank and wait for it to wander it's way backwards but it's pretty difficult to tell when it's full. Actually it’s not. You just fill the Safari tank until you see petrol pissing out the breather pipe of the main tank, all over the bikes electrics. Close the tap. Job done.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3826/9757937823_63f1b22ace_b.jpg)

The midget fills up one of his 13 fuel bags:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7310/9757869965_de370e2cdb_b.jpg)


We resisted the temptation to buy fishing rods at the garage…
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/9757940493_bba0b3b79c_b.jpg)

Mostly cause we’d heard about how bad the crocodiles were…
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3801/9757866484_4bbd2c9014_b.jpg)


Then the second reason for the delay…. Ready to go and... (you must all be getting soooooo bored of this fake-start-story by now). 2 of us pull out the station…
(note the Midget’s sit/stand combo)
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2894/9757699952_40cce6947b_b.jpg)


…while the third creases his brow and confronts the fact that there’s not one milli-charge of juice on his bike. At this stage I must point out that Max is the brains of the group. Clearly from the story thus far that isn't too tricky - the average is somewhere on a par with an anteater - but he really is a smart dood. This time though his genius has presumably failed him and his GPS wiring splendifery had drained the battery. This likely scenario he refused to accept however and after a few failed push starts he set about with his trusty voltmeter.

This voltmeter is a bit of a laughing point between us. Max never leaves on a bike trip without it. I'm not aware that we've ever really needed it, but it gets pulled out at pretty much every time a bike stops for reasons other than petrol or puncture. Now I'm no electrician but I'm reasonably confident that when your bike is so dead it struggles to jump start when getting pulled down the main road by a bakkie, a voltmeter isn't going to help. Anxiety levels at this point though, were running sky high. Max had no idea why his bike had dumped it's charge and was, understandably, pretty concerned about heading into the back of beyond with a bike with dodgy battery and no kickstart. Max dived into the electrical bits while the midget and I ate roadside oranges, him sitting on one of those black rubbish bins, feet dangling a good foot off the floor.

Max pulling the fuses out with his teeth:
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2844/9757874215_803a1dcacd_b.jpg)

After studious volt-metering,  Max ripped out all but the essential fuses and declared that we were ready. Whistle, hoot, yawn, done-this-before and we were off to see the wizard.

I can see Angoooooooola!
(http://[url=http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5328/9757911785_1c524a8460_b.jpg)


Not to do outdone by my big brother, I had one last crack at derailing the departure process by getting arrested. As in, I had a crack at getting arrested, rather than actually getting arrested. I'm pretty sure the latter would be entirely successful in the "derailing departure' game. In fact, that would almost certainly be a gold medal victory-clincher, but I deftly spun around and rode out of the power station that I had accidentally ridden into post haste, having satisfied myself that there was no customs desk inside.


Correct road located, lots of scribbling on forms at a one horse Namibian border post (where the naughtiest of the naughty must get sent), and we were through. More scribbling at the half-horse-and-no-saddle post on the Angolan side and we were through!

"Hello Angola - nice to see you! Lets have a beer"
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 15, 2013, 03:49:34 pm

FWIW, Although I don't like the DR much (I hate the suspension), I think the DR is an ideal bike to do a trip like this. They last forever, they are light on fuel, you can pack it like a donkey.


You are exactly, unquestionably, certainly and absolutely correct. The problem is that if you fancy yourself a racehorse rider, you might feel slightly down at the heel and disappointed riding a DR.

For several years I've considered arriving at Afrika Burn wearing a tuxedo and riding a mule. Without any luggage whatsoever. It would make for a fantastic week's experiment, and I may well do it one year. I consider riding a mule and riding a DR to be very closely related. Now don't start hating on me, DR riders! I, for one, consider a DR (sorry, a mule) to be a very fine animal indeed. I know several cowboys who would rather give away their eldest daughter than their best mule. And let's be honest, a 690 is not a very good motorcycle to be taking into the very far back of beyond, many many miles away from help, rescue or specialist tools or mechanics.

But the 690 is also a very exciting motorcycle. And when you are going to be riding the best motorcycle terrain known to God or man - or mule - you want to be riding the very most exciting motorcycle you can get your grubby little mitts on. It's terrible logic, it's bound to land me in trouble (I don't want to give away the story - but it already has got me into trouble) - but I can't say I wouldn't make the same decision all over again.

Each to their own, each to their own...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on September 15, 2013, 04:26:36 pm
I have to say, if you go to Africa Burn next time I hope to get an invite  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 15, 2013, 08:57:31 pm
I have to say, if you go to Africa Burn next time I hope to get an invite  :thumleft:

But of course. Would you like to come in this?
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5326/9762641504_fb6e8b5101_b.jpg)

Or would you prefer summa this action?
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5537/9762670533_d0f60f28cb_b.jpg)

Sure Max could dig up some more pics with our improved efforts from this year...

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Bazinga on September 16, 2013, 11:18:28 am
Cant wait for the rest
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 16, 2013, 11:19:30 am

Sure Max could dig up some more pics with our improved efforts from this year...


Don't tempt me.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 16, 2013, 11:20:29 am
Cant wait for the rest

C'mon Camel. Get off those lazy fat humps and do some postin for the people.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MissM on September 16, 2013, 01:34:00 pm
Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!

Can I come with next time?  :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Kaboef on September 16, 2013, 01:47:25 pm
Very funny report.

And hey - if everything went according to plan there would not have been a good story.

Adventure only really begins when things go wrong.



Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 16, 2013, 01:49:14 pm
What The Camel never mentioned is that the garage shop at Ruacana is, in fact, the world's best-stocked store, rivalling Harrods and the entire Dubai airport. Look (in addition to fishing rods and crocodiles):

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/9757868094_3ae600bf9e_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7423/9757862346_31148f0b86_b.jpg)

Seriously?? Hex tool sets and ZIPLOCK BAGS???? At a garage store!

Since I had bought the 690 only two weeks before we left (from a trusted friend, mind you, not a trusted gumtree friend, like Tom) I had a bit of a rush kitting it out. All well and good to stick in top notch Powerjet sockets etc. but if you don't check that your old hella-USB cable is still working it's all a bit of a waste. So I wired in Tom's now-unneeded cigglighter-usb cable and when it blew its fuse I assumed I'd just connected it wrong and bypassed the fuse with tin foil. Cough.

Bad idea - battery shorted and flat as a dodo within 15 minutes - or as long as it takes to ride from Ruacana campsite to the Ruacana fuel station. You can imaging my anxiety when my bike is - out of the blue - so flat I battle for 15 minutes to tow-start it behind a truck, and we're only 10km away from Angola. So ya, I took out all lights and accessories fuses and hoped for the best. Turned out to be just my dodgy wiring.

She's pretty though:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5531/9757863126_2e373585a9_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Kaboef on September 16, 2013, 02:04:10 pm
So I wired in Tom's now-unneeded cigglighter-usb cable and when it blew its fuse I assumed I'd just connected it wrong and bypassed the fuse with tin foil. Cough.


The mind boggles.   :biggrin: :biggrin:

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Gasman on September 16, 2013, 02:04:33 pm
absolutely brilliant! keep it coming
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on September 17, 2013, 07:04:41 am
Stunning writing and wit :thumleft:

By fluke or by design, we can all get there in the end. Those getting there by luck makes for much better reading though :thumleft:

Btw....you okes know we are doing our annual bash this weekend at Kei River Mouth?  Make a plan....

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=124104.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=124104.0)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Vis Arend on September 17, 2013, 07:47:46 am
HEEHAA, 5 pages and we are in Angola.   :thumleft:

Please don't stop now.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Beserker on September 17, 2013, 08:23:04 am
The only thing slower than getting yourselfs across the border, is this RR.   ::)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on September 17, 2013, 09:35:41 am

Sure Max could dig up some more pics with our improved efforts from this year...


Don't tempt me.

I am tempting you.. please start a different thread for that.. I missed last year, I can't miss next year.

Are we in Angola Yet??
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 09:52:29 am
The only thing slower than getting yourselfs across the border, is this RR.   ::)


Godammit Camel!! Where are you??? These lovely people are waiting!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 10:51:40 am
Anyone who has ridden a camel knows that they are foul smelling, bad tempered, uncomfortable and generally deeply antisocial creatures... but that doesn't even begin to tap their most fundamental characteristic, which is a deep, utter and profound laziness. (That probably does make them still more reliable than a poorly looked after five-year-old KTM 690, but let me not heap more fuel on Tom's fire.) So... in the face of the extreme laziness our own Camel, let me chip in with a little sidebar to keep the punters interested.

So we were three:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7344/9758112466_4fcc45cca6_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/9757908104_fa7907b279_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3762/9757908004_1fb6463564_b.jpg)

A good friend had been on a previous Angolan expedition, so we had an idea of the distances and remoteness involved. I spoke to Beserker and discovered that although we probably had only 700km between fuel stops, the nature of the terrain meant we should plan for more like 1000km under normal conditions. As I said previously, two out of three of the remaining bikes were new to us. Since Tom had thought it a good idea to invite a complete biking novice on one of the continent's wildest, roughest bike trips, I thought it a good idea to equip him with the simplest, most reliable motorcycle known to human kind. And it had to be small (remember: midget). Enter DR, stage left. R32k, spotted on Gumtree in Durban when I happened to be there: 2008, 10,000km and in mint condition. I rode it that morning, called Gaza and told him to buy it on the spot, which he did, beating a queue of 30 people to the prize. It was shockingly, startlingly bright blue, but Topbox ordered a transparent Acerbis 20 litre tank from Italy. 'Natural' actually meant bright yellow, and the beast of burden was immediately christened: 'Buttercup'.

The Midget instantly developed a deep, intense, man-and-his-mule bond with Buttercup. So you can imagine his disappointment whenever we stopped and all the locals - children and adults alike - immediately ran up to the two KTMs and started oohing and aching, and utterly ignored Buttercup:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7413/9757909394_2f1f729e13_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7327/9758076385_0137c5302c_b.jpg)

And when I say ignored, I mean not even the time of day. Out in the cold. Part of the scenery. That's Buttercup behind all of those kids, but none of them are even looking in her general direction. Angola is a bike-mad country. There are 'moto' style bikes everywhere, and their owners are obsessive.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7364/9757989174_1b01868fc3_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3815/9770981182_705770eca8_b.jpg)

We bumped into hundreds of these little fellas, just about everywhere. So Angolans understand bikes and biking. But they didn't give a shit about Buttercup.

1000km means around 45 litres, even on these economical rides. I'd just come off four years on a lovely BMW X-Challenge that had taken me on memorable trips all over the country. The X, with Touratech tank, carries 27 litters and that Rotax is the most economical engine known to humankind. I reckon it might have made those 700 with a light wrist... or an extra 5 litres somewhere. But my 690 only had the standard 12, so who you gonna call? Rally Raid, that's who. The downside of the X in that configuration is that it's really heavy on the front wheel, and quite top heavy when fully loaded. Part of the move to KTM was the decision that it was time to try something lighter and more nimble, so I went for the little 5 litre rear tank, which only gave me 18 or so, but in a tiny, slim package. So where is the extra 28 going, then?

Carrying a lot of extra fuel is always a challenge on very remote trips. I really don't know how one would manage the 60 liters or so you'd need on a 950. In retrospect, we should have filched the custom aircraft thingies Beserker and Pete made up for their trip. But we decided those R700 green fuel bags were the way to go, and it turned out they are an almost perfect fit for Michnus' ATG pannier bags, with the added advantage that when we weren't using them they would take up next to no space.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3787/9771248493_10e419e412_b.jpg)

So what you're looking at here is a 690 carrying about 44 litres of premium unleaded. Somewhat amazingly, the bike still rode incredibly well. My X was a fantastic bike - possibly the best rough road tourer on the market. Its forte is long, fast open dirt - it's better than the 690 hands down. When the 690 feels skittish, unstable and overexcited, jerking its head left and right like a lively untrained stallion trying to break free from its master (and that's WITH a steering damper) the X simply puts its head down and storms away at speed. But the 690 has an ace up its sleeve. In the tighter stuff it's simply the best, most exciting and racy off-road beast I've come across. I'd specifically set up the bike with all of the weight in front of the rear axle, and despite a slightly nervous start with the extremely light front wheel, after 3 days of the trip I was having the time of my life.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 17, 2013, 11:23:51 am
C'mon Camel. Get off those lazy fat humps and do some postin for the people.

Yeah, yeah, I iz but a sedate camel. This sand is soft and my hooves are heavy.

On second thoughts, does anyone know if a camels sand-striders are called hooves?

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 17, 2013, 11:24:46 am
When one thinks of the main road out of a border post one might think of a tarred, double-laned path. Given a rural location, once might even think of a graded, if corrugated, decent dirt road heading into the hinterland. In the case of Ruacana, one would be wrong. For starters, bumbling buffoons that we are, it took 3 attempts failed attempts before we found the road over the Kunene (all of 500m from the border post).  There's a bloody great big damn wall there which my front wheel seemed magnetically attracted to. Max had to come back and herd me out of there like a sheep dog managing a dim-witted goat. Bit embarrassing.

And then were over the geographical landmark that we had talked about for 4 months and actively headed towards for 5 days. Halle-fkn-lujah. The emotion was pumping high - ecstasy at finally being in Angola, disbelief that Captain Thomas wasn't with us, relief at not driving into that damn dam and delight at the state of that road!

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2836/9757905986_458cb04ac9_b.jpg)

To call it a donkey track would imply a country of fairly agile ponies. It's a delightfully rough, bumpy track that would be hellish slow going in any 4 wheeled vehicle. Oh happy days.

We had initially thought of trying to find a really tiny track that we had got wind of that wiggled its way down near the river (the 'main' road West runs a fair way north of the river). It quickly became apparent that there was no need whatsoever to put any effort into finding a fun road. This was a hoot and we bounced and ramped down the road with the previous few days drama quickly fading from memory. Max was exploring the upper ranges of his rev counter on his new steed and rapidly removing the D-rings from his luggage in the process. Matters not – this was glorious stuff.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5487/9757912004_e166954703_b.jpg)

We came across this character who had lots to say, despite carrying that beast over his shoulder while strolling up the road. Shortly after this pic a local dood pulled up on a bike and he hopped on the back with beast round this neck. As they disappeared in a dust cloud we had some disagreement about whether it was a goat or a cow. No, we weren’t drunk.
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3723/9757954495_4f8b0522cb_b.jpg)

We clearly weren’t going to make Chitado, the town we were aiming for, so we stopped a few kilometres short. We rode until just after there was enough light to see anything while sorting out the camp, and then bumbled up a river bed through the largest collection of thorn bushes we could find. Cause that makes things more exciting.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5527/9757955345_424b483a03_b.jpg)

It was the first night of proper camping. Unremarkable. Unbeatable.

Sleeping out in the open without a tent is fantastic. But is not without a few surprises, as we discovered the next morning…


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 11:33:37 am

We came across this character who had lots to say, despite carrying that beast over his shoulder while strolling up the road. Shortly after this pic a local dood pulled up on a bike and he hopped on the back with beast round this neck. As they disappeared in a dust cloud we had some disagreement about whether it was a goat or a cow. No, we weren’t drunk.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3723/9757954495_4f8b0522cb_b.jpg)


It was without doubt, and definitely, a sheep. look at that fat tail! He even tried to sell it to us, for R700. Nice fellow. When we claimed we had nowhere to put it, he looked at us, exasperated, in total confusion. Reasonable, I suppose, considering he had been carrying it around his neck... and he promptly jumped on the back of a tiny moto, with rider and sheep, and rode off into the sunset.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 17, 2013, 12:20:57 pm
Well, it had an udder. Which definitely put it into the goat/cow department in my books...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 12:34:49 pm
(http://www.icelandicsheep.com/Udder_photos/Udder_great.jpg)

(http://www.icelandicsheep.com/Udder_photos/Udder10.jpg)

(http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn130/tamaracksheep_2008/udder.jpg)

Just saying. Perhaps we should have tried the goat test?

http://www.youtube.com/v/8mMrQF9ghYU
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 17, 2013, 02:55:08 pm
Holy smokes! Are those balls or udders? Looks pretty uncomfortable either way...

And that top one is definitely a goat. 




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free (http://tapatalk.com/m/)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Whyme on September 17, 2013, 05:30:28 pm

1000km means around 45 litres, even on these economical rides. I'd just come off four years on a lovely BMW X-Challenge that had taken me on memorable trips all over the country. The X, with Touratech tank, carries 27 litters and that Rotax is the most economical engine known to humankind. I reckon it might have made those 700 with a light wrist... or an extra 5 litres somewhere. But my 690 only had the standard 12, so who you gonna call? Rally Raid, that's who. The downside of the X in that configuration is that it's really heavy on the front wheel, and quite top heavy when fully loaded. Part of the move to KTM was the decision that it was time to try something lighter and more nimble, so I went for the little 5 litre rear tank, which only gave me 18 or so, but in a tiny, slim package. So where is the extra 28 going, then?


My X was a fantastic bike - possibly the best rough road tourer on the market. Its forte is long, fast open dirt - it's better than the 690 hands down. When the 690 feels skittish, unstable and overexcited, jerking its head left and right like a lively untrained stallion trying to break free from its master (and that's WITH a steering damper) the X simply puts its head down and storms away at speed. But the 690 has an ace up its sleeve. In the tighter stuff it's simply the best, most exciting and racy off-road beast I've come across. I'd specifically set up the bike with all of the weight in front of the rear axle, and despite a slightly nervous start with the extremely light front wheel, after 3 days of the trip I was having the time of my life.

Great RR gents, great pics :thumleft: I have to say have been waiting for you to say something about Xchallenge ;D Well simply because I own one and fact that I too would like to own 690 in future.....so coming from man who have ridden both :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 05:45:36 pm
Camel - we need to show them some maps! Like this:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7298/9758079151_1001f0e88c_b.jpg)

That's where we were going in total.

Irritatingly, Basecamp removes the place names when you zoom in... unless you REALLY zoom in. What's with that?

This was our bungled attempted trip out of Opuwo, and then our pussy-route to Ruacana after retracing our steps:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7454/9758279616_80d4c41705_b.jpg)

And here is the bit Camel has just told you about:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2852/9758282264_979060e118_b.jpg)

Honestly, I think he has it completely wrong. I think we passed Chitado on our first day of riding. Anyway, either way, we were going past Oncocua today:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2857/9758287385_63895317be_b.jpg)

Some pretty squiggles but I suppose that map is utterly useless without place names. Oh well.

The fun and games Mike was talking about was this. Nasty little f-cker:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7388/9757947206_62fc76ed5d_b.jpg)

That is the inside of the Midget's riding jacket, on which he was sleeping. Close call! We made ourselves feel better at the close shave with the first and last pig of the trip.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/9757948076_f7b1af3541_b.jpg)

Camel-man Mike working on his dreads:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5481/9757948686_57b5521481_b.jpg)

A fine specimen of a man, but nothing compared to this young buck who impressed us with his prowess in the first settlement we came to.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5451/9757957755_64c1110bca_b.jpg)

The 'road' was sensational... pictures don't do it justice. A smorgasbord of jeep track, sand and rocks, winding between trees and an ever changing landscape. Occasionally it opened into a small plain where a settlement of a few huts would be dotted about. We weren't alone, being accompanied by the ever-present mottos, some of which were ridden by expert pilots who careered between the rocks and holes as if they were born doing it (which, as you shall see below, some of them were!).

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5525/9757985006_fb59d64fe6_b.jpg)

Nobody was in too much of a rush to stop for a chat.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/9757782232_1c7674dafb_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7367/9757987766_56a8128296_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3766/9757887211_0beda06920_b.jpg)

We also came across our first baobabs.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7396/9757787022_646e121b38_b.jpg)

And not a little fella!

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2868/9757803972_bd216cb663_b.jpg)

The Midge was super excited. He loves baobabs and started going on about how we had to camp under one of them. I'm going to show you an awful lot of trees on this trip. They were one of the stand out features, and although I know nothing about them and have just exhausted my genus and species knowledge, I was finding them really pretty.

Here's a few shots of village life. South-western Angola, we were to discover, was in the grip of four years of drought. It didn't show on the peoples' faces, however, who were universally warm and friendly, and loved having their pictures taken.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2825/9757868611_d1d7950a7b_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2861/9757829461_78464e905d_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2840/9758035365_4eb3bdcc3d_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2875/9758110943_6c188e193b_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7367/9758036235_d8be1ee304_b.jpg)

And in video...

https://www.youtube.com/v/xC8x9hiVkTU
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 06:06:10 pm
Each of us had been tasked with a special job for this trip. Tom designed a bivvy and had it made. We cut half it off before night 3. The Midge got the medical kit - a bulging sack of drugs and potions which missed the thing we really ended up needing. I bought the tool kit, which weighed about 5kg and had the vital circuit tester, but no 2.2k ohm resistors, and The Camel had to bring lunch. None of this idiocy should surprise you if you've been following along.

But back to lunch. Camel is a Very Busy Man, so spent his 4 minutes of preparation time at Pick & Pay buying up their entire stock of peanuts and raisins, and left it at that. It was a job so well done that Tom and I had to make a detour to buy the Afterlife cereal that would keep us alive, and due to the fact that we had a severe packing space problem, we almost ended up leaving all the peanuts and raisins in the car.

Thank the lord of motorcycling that we didn't. Those nasty little snacks kept us alive. Put simply, there is nothing to buy in South Western Angola. Despite Michael's strident complaints, a solid Afterlife breakfast would keep us going strongly till about 12pm, at which point we'd like down under some shade and gorge ourselves on peanuts and raisins.

Like here:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5332/9758078815_c01563dece_b.jpg)

A couple of pretty trees growing in the dry river bed:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5539/9758033084_156cf1023b_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2840/9758033214_8a96a9f2b5_b.jpg)

After another hour or two's fantastic riding we arrived at Oncocua, where we were surrounded by curious children, who ignored Buttercup and coo'ed at the KTMs. For some reason, the national obsession was the fuel tanks. We were inundated with questions about the size, the distance we could go and other marvels we couldn't make head or tail of.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7327/9758076385_0137c5302c_b.jpg)

But we were celebrities, and the camera LCD was an endless source of fascination.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7439/9758066076_558437b707_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5532/9758070264_147a8eb15b_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7295/9758145313_838b8b3344_b.jpg)

This was our first encounter with N'gola. Around R7 a dinky little 310ml bottle, and typically ice cold. We were accosted by a drunk school teacher taking the afternoon off - a shameful trend in Africa, apparently - who badgered us into buying him drinks in return for his translation services.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3686/9758070354_bc944a314d_b.jpg)

Mike was sick, having smuggled a bit of flu with him into Angola illegally, and the Midget was in a perpetual state of exhaustion from trying to keep Buttercup upright and on a tight rein, so I, somewhat uncharacteristically became the trip beer hound. And why not. It's a shitload cheaper than water, which we were forced to buy a few bottles of in this town at something like R40 a litre.

As it turned out, the drunk teacher earned his beer by guiding us to his mate the local 'Engen' owner:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7346/9758077625_545895a313_b.jpg)

Petrol is dirt cheap in Angola - approximately R6-7 a litre in the cities. Every little hamlet has someone selling it in 1 litre bottles at R10/litre. When you consider that it is carried there on the back of a moto it looks cheap at the price. But we were heading off into severe wilderness, so replenished the 10 or so litres we'd used up.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7318/9757913091_1c3666646b_b.jpg)

The proud teacher.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2868/9757914831_4a7d392db9_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/9758111576_3f87ba5257_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 17, 2013, 06:22:49 pm
Before I got to Angola I thought pretty much all the local folks we would come across would be ethnic Himba. Apparently I’m no anthropologist. The majority of the Himba population is actually in northern Namibia. They’re easily recognisable by their rockstar hairstyles, like these doods:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5343/9716669540_28ff03a36c_b.jpg)
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/9716661640_ea674b47aa_b.jpg)

The local folks we came across up here, in the shade of that glorious baobab were actually Ndimba. They’re a small and very localised ethnic group in the south of Angola but they outnumbered the Himba in that particular village so dominated time in front of the lens (it’s pretty competitive stuff). Their local dress is distinct in that it looks like they’re just wearing bra’s, but you sound like a tit if you say that out loud.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2840/9758035365_4eb3bdcc3d_b.jpg)

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 06:24:46 pm
In many of these pictures the road looks smooth and flat. I can assure you, as my bike is orange, that it was not! It was the kind of torturous, cratered, rough, rocky, sandy, undulating, broken, vile track that dual sport biking wet dreams are made of. Well, unless you're a Midget on a brand new DR on your first ride with 45kg of petrol plus food, water and the world's largest medical kit strapped to your bike. The Midge is a talented surfer and allround coordinated sporty fellow - think monkey handstanding on a rolling barrel while spinning it backwards and singing the national anthem in Chinese... but although he was having the time of his life, he was also crashing. A lot. It was knocking the stuffing out of him, good sport that he is, and even though Buttercup shrugged it off and neighed for more, her rider was broken.

Leaving Oncocua in a trail of dust we started immediately looking for a campsite. I was a little drunk, but being a talented campsite spotter, I rode in front and sniffed out this glorious little nest. A far cry from the thorny scorpion pit of the previous night, this was 500m up a glorious, wide river bed, surround by Springbok.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7344/9758112466_4fcc45cca6_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7297/9758113386_55f99f2201_b.jpg)

A inspired stroke of genius led to us stewing our last bag of braai meat from the Ruacana Ultracity Harrods shop. What had been an inedible, stringy, chewy mess from the night before was a gorgeous, soft wholesome meal. Either that or we were desperately hungry.

We were starting to feel that beautiful ride rhythm swinging in. You know when you haven't showered in three days, have sand in your hair and sore bones from sleeping on the ground, but everything feels at peace with the world. Slowly the stresses of home, jobs, responsibility,commitments receed, and nothing seems more important than watching your front wheel, staring into the fire and listening to the silence. Angola had welcomed us with open arms, and we were happy to be here.

Coming up. Waking up WET?????????

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3686/9771099654_035db5ddcb_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2013, 06:40:51 pm

1000km means around 45 litres, even on these economical rides. I'd just come off four years on a lovely BMW X-Challenge that had taken me on memorable trips all over the country. The X, with Touratech tank, carries 27 litters and that Rotax is the most economical engine known to humankind. I reckon it might have made those 700 with a light wrist... or an extra 5 litres somewhere. But my 690 only had the standard 12, so who you gonna call? Rally Raid, that's who. The downside of the X in that configuration is that it's really heavy on the front wheel, and quite top heavy when fully loaded. Part of the move to KTM was the decision that it was time to try something lighter and more nimble, so I went for the little 5 litre rear tank, which only gave me 18 or so, but in a tiny, slim package. So where is the extra 28 going, then?


My X was a fantastic bike - possibly the best rough road tourer on the market. Its forte is long, fast open dirt - it's better than the 690 hands down. When the 690 feels skittish, unstable and overexcited, jerking its head left and right like a lively untrained stallion trying to break free from its master (and that's WITH a steering damper) the X simply puts its head down and storms away at speed. But the 690 has an ace up its sleeve. In the tighter stuff it's simply the best, most exciting and racy off-road beast I've come across. I'd specifically set up the bike with all of the weight in front of the rear axle, and despite a slightly nervous start with the extremely light front wheel, after 3 days of the trip I was having the time of my life.

Great RR gents, great pics :thumleft: I have to say have been waiting for you to say something about Xchallenge ;D Well simply because I own one and fact that I too would like to own 690 in future.....so coming from man who have ridden both :thumleft:

They are both killa bikes, but bearing in mind that a great X is R40k, and the equivalent 690 is R75-R85k (don't be fooled by the cheapie ones), the X wins the value stakes hands down. Both of these need proper money spent on tanks etc. I'd say the X is a better tourer - it has more relaxed geometry and is MUCH more solid and planted on the road - particularly at speed. It is also more reliable, all round, more comfortable and a little more economical - and has a subframe if you want to carry proper weight. In addition, the engine pulls from lower revs with more torque, so it's better at 'chugging' in low speed stuff.

However, and it's a HUGE however if that's your flava... The 690 is significantly more powerful and a more exciting bike to ride fast. It snarls and bites and kicks. It hisses in your ear, and demands to be be wrung out. It has much better suspension out of the box, although both need work, but it's cheaper to fix - at least to a non rally-god level.

In my case, I'd simply come to time for a change. Life is too short to ride the same bike forever, unless you're in love with airheads. I figure if you've met a wonderful woman, and don't plan on changing her, then you may as well change bikes every now and again. Go scratch that itch!

690's should come with a bit of a warning sticker attached. Are you in control of the devil within... that is the question??
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KTMRICK on September 17, 2013, 08:16:56 pm
This is absolutely the best RR I have ever read and one that really inspires you to get out there. Also highlights the fact that your choice of riding companions is critical. Looking forward to Lesotho on the weekend now.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: pietas on September 17, 2013, 09:10:04 pm
Loving this. Can't wait for the rest
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 17, 2013, 10:51:36 pm
This is absolutely the best RR I have ever read and one that really inspires you to get out there. Also highlights the fact that your choice of riding companions is critical. Looking forward to Lesotho on the weekend now.  :ricky:

What a lovely thing to hear. Your comment has inspired me to sit down after a dismal date and ramble forth...

stay tuned

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: jpbarries on September 17, 2013, 11:19:15 pm
Absolutely love this RR.. Keep it coming please, need some glorious distraction like this RR from torturing routine..  :drif:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 18, 2013, 12:00:29 am
Waking up wet is not always a bad thing. Isn’t that right ladies? For one thing, it forces you to take your time mobilising, cause you have to wait till the sun dries your sleeping bag. For aspirant sloths (me), this is a wonderful excuse.

First order of business when waking up in a river bed is always tea, or coffee, or (if you were sneaky when the packing-nazi swept through your bags) a Nestle Instant Cappuccino, which is what Jesus would have turned the water into had he been an adventure rider.

Tea for him who turned his nose up at cappuccino:
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3678/9771351143_bb61be1084_b.jpg)


Second order of business is typically the bossie. More on that later. Save to say your walk does provide you with cracking views of the campsite:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7406/9771603854_2767f9a375_b.jpg)

Third order of business is AfterLife (foul Pronutro-style-breakfast-mulch that Max resolutely declares could power an army). I find it to be a deceitful trickster, promising day-long nourishment and dropping me in a hypoglycaemic heap by about 10am. Still, better than almost all the other breakfast options we didn’t have.

If you see this filthy nonsense, run a mile… (unless you’re a panda or a midget)
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2841/9771627201_119fb328d3_b.jpg)

Fourth order of business is kitty bitch.

As we’ve mentioned, every year Max and I and a gaggle of like-minded hippies wander into the desert to the arts festival of Afrika Burn. It’s a wonderful place and time for many, many reasons, but one of them is that there is no money. You don’t carry money, you don’t see money, and no one steals it, principally cause there’s nothing to buy. We work this same angle into our trips. The principle is that your day is ever so slightly better (lets face it: you’re biking through Angola – it’s pretty bloody good already!) if you don’t deal with money at all. We up the ante by saying your day would improve even further if you didn’t have to do any form of administration whatsoever - finding accommodation, asking for directions, organising drinks at the rest stops, buying food supplies, organising gas, yadda, yadda. These are all trivial administrative matters that get in the way of soaking up the delights of a new country. So who, you might ask, will do all this admin for you? Well, that would be the day’s kitty bitch.

And who would the kitty bitch be? A fair way to do it would be to rotate the duties each day. But that’s dull, and life’s not fair. So we play a game each morning. The game can be anything and is decided on by the current holder, so they can skew it in their favour. The more ridiculous the game, the more admiration is bestowed. You can imagine that things got fairly silly by the time we got out the country. For a reason that we never quite got to the bottom of, the Midget bought a catty on the way up to Springbok (probably to fend off bats). This catty become the cornerstone of our morning kitty bitch routine.

On this particular morning, the Midget decreed that it was a game of ‘shoot-the-sock-out-the-tree-from-30-paces’. I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I was so excited to blast the sock out the tree (and the tree out the ground) that I let go the catty and the stone at the same time. You’ll note that (near-perfect body position notwithstanding) I’m not holding anything: (that look on my face would hardly have Goliath shaking in his sandals now would it?)
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7459/9771100264_d86ee2a8ae_b.jpg)

Despite being a child prodigy on the shotgun range, Max was almost as crap as I was at this catty firing business:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7436/9771947784_0032e9e48a_b.jpg)

It soon became clear, however, why the Midge had bought a catty.  What he lacks in height, riding experience and toes, he more than makes up for in catty marksmanship. He’s a phenomenon, like a cross between mini-me and Robin Hood and David (him of Goliath slaying fame). Just look at his draw:
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2894/9771176083_7a2d8579d2_b.jpg)

And that satisfied grin tells it all – no admin duties for this midget today:
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/9770905972_ec227998bd_b.jpg)

Naturally the real aim of this game is less about winning and more about not losing. I’m a second place specialist. Drive for show, put for dough. Throughout our trip I think I only won a game once, but I also only lost it once. I rare and, dare I say it, fine achievement.


Ok, enough of this blather…. Back to the riding
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 18, 2013, 08:09:03 am
At the risk of sounding repetitive , the riding that day was fantastic. It was slow going for most of the morning; lots of bouncing up and down gully’s full of loose rocks and stones. The Midget’s bike was having some ground clearance trouble and he kept on either bottoming out the suspension or whacking the bashplate on rocks (despite being a wee fella in tape measure terms, he holds his own on the scales). We had tried to dial in the pre-load earlier but clearly we hadn’t done enough. I do love the DR but that suspension is something I would advise anyone get sorted before doing a trip fully loaded.

The scenery really is utterly fantastic and things felt very remote. Like I said, the start of the day was pretty rocky, lots of large boulders and dips which I assume would be river crossings in less drought-stricken times. At this point we were in the middle of the hills. As we moved West though, it opened up; the road become smoother, the mountains receded to the north and south and it felt like we were on a plain…  It really was stunningly beautiful.

I’m going to bore everyone (more) describing this, so I’ll leave it to Max’s cracking shots to tell the story…

 (http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3733/9771490405_e0d4725203_b.jpg)

 (http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5441/9770954651_3ff8674ac9_b.jpg)

Trees. Some tall skinny ones:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7332/9771408124_55853705e5_b.jpg)

And some a little more porky:
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5504/9772599986_efdd346433_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7394/9771351793_4529a94d17_b.jpg)


Max and my 690’s were going like the clappers. In that terrain it’s tricky to ride too fast, but the suspension soaked up everything that came its way without breaking a sweat. I did wish that I had relocated the mapping switch from under the seat though. I had been riding with it on 2 (nuts) but with the loose rocks, and when riding a bit more slowly behind the Midge, I felt I was having to be super sensitive with the throttle, which was a bit of a pain. I had my bags cable-tied in place as extra theft deterrents, so couldn’t be arsed to move it all to get the seat off to change the map. When I did change it later on, I found it a lot more comfy on 3 (normal) or even 1 (soft) sometimes, but obviously only for the more rocky, technical stuff.


Is it really not about the bike Lance?
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2830/9771087715_9181542497_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7385/9771394565_423f97d0f4_b.jpg)

There was a bit of game about – a few springbok, some smaller, shaggier things (duiker?), and, oddly, some squirrels. They looked like they may have spoken with the bats and gave me the mild fear. I can confirm that these little fellows can run at exactly 35kph, because that’s what I was doing when they were running along next to me.

Squirrel, at 35kph:
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3690/9771310932_4a84a9028b_b.jpg)

Glorious stuff this was.

With the smoother road though, came faster riding. And we all know what happens with faster riding don’t we…

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 18, 2013, 11:09:56 pm
In the tempting fate department, the following conversation has to be right up there with stuffing grass into a lawnmower by hand:

“What’re you up to there Midge?”
“I’m pulling the knee pads outta these pants”
“Why?”
“They’re driving me nuts – scratchy things keep rubbing on my knee”
“Think that’s a wise idea?”
“Sure it’ll be fine – all my falls are low speed events [the midget had been rolling about on the ground with his bike about 5 times a day on average at this point]. What you think?”
“Well, the thing with knee pads is that you don’t need them until you REALLY need them.”

Fast forward half the day and I come round a corner to find the Midget pinned under his DR like a fat dolphin under a whale. Surprise surprise, he’d smacked his knee in exactly the spot that the pad would have been. Nothing too critical - mere flesh wound – but we’d been carrying a bulky medical kit around for a while now and I spotted an opportunity to play Dr House and abuse someone.  

Dr Gregory House – king of acerbic vitrol (not to be confused with tank manufacturer)
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7446/9806985824_e59fa4ae97_z.jpg)

On opening the medical kit, it immediately became apparent that the midget had put as much time into stocking it as I had on the food. We had enough pain killers to keep a landmine victim happy but that was simply because the Midget had raided his wife’s private supply. On the disinfectant front we were a tad light so I stuck a stick in his mouth and prescribed a good scrubbing with the precious last remnants of our whisky. Let it never be said that we are uncaring.
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7348/9803291154_82c3769ed9_b.jpg)


Cleaned and bandaged, shrubbery removed from his front spokes and knee pad safely back in place, the Midget hopped back on buttercup and forged on with nary a hint of the near catastrophe. (http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5459/9803348253_2240e5c535_b.jpg)

Disappointingly, I seemed to be in worse shape. The trauma of seeing drink poured into dry earth had left me a little wobbly. By this point, I was a thirsty camel. A very, very, thirsty camel:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/9797697306_b46a8e1624_o.jpg)

The picture’s caption informatively explains: “The photo here does not illustrate the camel's sexual organs but is in fact the lining of the mouth extruded during mating calls”. Because naturally the first thing that I’d be thinking was that those were his balls coming out his mouth.

We had mis-calculated the water situation (we did this just about every day) and the dreaded AfterLife had gobbled up the last of our reserves. I wouldn’t say we were ready to drink the sweat from our socks but I was starting to wonder if we hadn’t ballsed this up rather spectacularly. The area has had no rain for 4 years (the drought has driven the farmers North and East to look for grazing for their cattle). None of the rivers had even a suggestion of water in them and all this was starting to make me a bit dizzy. Even the hard man Midget was getting desperate:
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3751/9803255935_4436bd5341_b.jpg)

Still, not much to do about it so we bumbled on into the mid afternoon. It was pretty hot and it felt very, very, remote. There wasn’t a sign of human inhabitation, other than the occasional tire track on the road in front of us.  Every now and again we’d go over a rise, the mountains would open up and we’d get a glimpse of the huge dunes of the Northern Namibian Skeleton Coast far away to the South. Spectacular.

Then, unexpectedly, we came across this little settlement:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7316/9771395055_bd124c4f7d_b.jpg)


It consisted of only a couple of huts, some families and some uber-cool motorbike rockers. But not a drop of water.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/9772007105_d482173d19_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3812/9771913963_17fa34cc80_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7320/9772590822_b01e2f882a_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3815/9770981182_705770eca8_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5472/9771916046_7053e49f03_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7332/9771767652_f18dd8f5af_b.jpg)



Moral dilemma’s plague me at times like these. I’m pretty much permanently hungry, so any stop means lunch-time to me. But when you stop in a little spot like this the crowds gather round pretty sharpish. And everyone is dirt poor and certainly sporting a more urgent hunger than mine. We were pretty light on food at this stage and we definitely didn’t have spare to be passing around (‘spare’ being relative, granted). So I end up not eating simply because I didn’t want to share, despite the unimaginable wealth gap. These situations leave me feeling mean, and irritated that this is a reality of our world. And maybe guilty for the luck in how my die was cast. In this sort of mood, I cherish the fact that I can disappear into my helmet alone with my thoughts.

With scenery like this though, it’s hard to dwell in melancholy too long…
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5345/9803260405_71d3cb4383_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5495/9803262365_2cd094eb84_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7347/9803289634_cdf3818c9e_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2875/9803267585_6b1dcd6f7c_b.jpg)

I have to give full credit to Max here for the shots. He was the designated camera bitch and did a cracking job of charging ahead and getting some shots of me n the Midge trundling through. He had to resort to self portraits:
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5486/9683011157_f087b392a9_b.jpg)

He’s been furiously editing while I’ve been scribbling so booya to you big papa.

An hour or so further on we rolled into the delightful little village of Iona. Unlike any of the villages we’d been through since crossing at Ruacana, this place was neat and clean and orderly. White painted rocks lined the few roads, a smart looking building turned out to be a school and Angolan flags were proudly hoisted.
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3752/9803285156_d01f982ca8_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7313/9803331963_47d579762e_b.jpg)

More importantly, there was a well, at which I made myself comfortable and set about inflating my humps. Yes, yes, I know that a camel’s hump actually stores fat, not water, but that’s not going to stop me using the expression “inflating my humps”.
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2837/9803286646_90d71d79d7_b.jpg)

Donkey’s can look like motorbikes when you’re at the point of expiry:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7331/9803338173_0f3c871a2d_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5344/9803254575_76689d1cee_b.jpg)


There was also a big shiny 4x4 in Iona that looked like it was either government or UN related. It turned out to be neither – a Spanish doctor / anthropologist was there with 2 sidekicks making a film (about medicine or people – can’t remember which). This fellow had worked in Angola before and during the war and was super knowledgeable about the local people and cultures – fascinating to listen to. To be honest, he made me feel a little like a petrol headed pig. But in a good way.

The day was wrapping up so we headed out of Interesting Iona to look for a campsite.
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5499/9803247495_95006efb4f_b.jpg)

Max is like a homing pigeon when it comes to finding a place to sleep – he’s a campsite connoisseur. It’s wonderfully comforting to know that he’s normally got the nap spot covered. 9 times out of 10 it’s a riverbed. Hands down the best place to kick back after Another Astounding Day…

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7340/9803246595_5c96323439_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7309/9803745904_f371297cec_b.jpg)


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 08:02:37 am
Things are eerily quiet on this here thread. Are we boring you poor people into a gentle coma??

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 08:05:06 am

Btw....you okes know we are doing our annual bash this weekend at Kei River Mouth?  Make a plan....

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=124104.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=124104.0)

Forgot to respond to this KilRoy. Yeah, thanks, do know about the bash but I'm a little in the red on the pink ticket front so gonna have to skip. We'll get there one day...

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 08:18:34 am
So write!  And post pics.. Damn it!  

We are all GREEN with envy... bad emotion!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 09:16:45 am
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3767/9807077563_6eb95c4bc6_b.jpg)

The morning dawned bright and still. We were really in that ride flow now. Baring disaster, this was to be the day we crossed the bulk of Parque Iona and reached the sea.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7395/9758278696_624c5b865d_b.jpg)

Believe it or not, we had been averaging about 150km a day since we entered Angola. Admittedly we had a novice with us, but Gaza had been keeping up a surprising turn of pace. It was very slow going. The track - a road would be very generous - was very tight, rough and rocky, and the sensational views gave cause to stop often.

The previous night had probably been our best campsite yet.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/9807011514_c3a340c9e1_b.jpg)

I'd turned off the road and ridden about a kilometer up a broad, soft river bed, which we had all to ourselves. Well, except for a surprising amount of wildlife.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2867/9803746924_78fa2c9512_b.jpg)

I'd heard stories of everything living up here being wiped out, and between a war, a drought and pretty pervasive poverty it didn't sound particularly far fetched. But the camp was beautiful and our rough bivvy was working well.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/9807011514_c3a340c9e1_b.jpg)

I've graduated away from tents on motorbike trips unless it's properly necessary. Ordinary life is so cloistered, so protected and, well, soft. Cape Town is all cappuccinos and sushi. Bike trips are about reuniting with the oft-forgotten primal, earthy parts of ourselves. They are about returning with sticks in your hair and a wild look in your eyes - at least for me - and I've found sleeping out does a lot to make that happen.

Morning ritual was always tea (the Midge is faintly obsessive in that department):

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2846/9807017574_5d02ca6c28_b.jpg)

... followed at this point by bandages:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/9807067993_7a7da15173_b.jpg)

and some obscure ritual I don't feel privy to.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2832/9806996545_39a125233f_b.jpg)

This is an idea of the landscape we were heading off into.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7459/9807015606_4222497b69_b.jpg)

Sandy plains surrounded by spectacular mountains in the far distance. Honestly, the terrain had been a lot more varied than I expected. It felt like we had been crossing about seven different ecosystems, each with their own curious little plants and landscapes. For a countryside wracked by severe drought there were a surprising number of trees about. Clearly well adapted to the arid terrain, I've no idea where they were getting their water from. Every river bed we passed was simply a ditch filled with sand.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Minxy on September 19, 2013, 09:24:35 am
Really enjoying the ride report guys.
Awesome pictures, looks like such an epic adventure!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 09:26:26 am
On we rode...

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2836/9807010716_12d81e4e16_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7341/9807003326_4292e8dbf1_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3758/9806973355_4fa4f037a2_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5519/9806996686_3dab74f28f_b.jpg)

When all of a sudden the tight terrain emptied out into this vast plain.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7459/9806965474_f2cdd2682a_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5484/9806957175_9a11586d0d_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2864/9806962354_e7b1d96509_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3768/9807023243_db1e12022a_b.jpg)

We sped up to 80 or 100km/h and tried to chase a vague blue line on the GPS as the tracks were vague and disappeared off in different directions at regular intervals. Sometimes it meant simply turning on a heading and bolting across the sand and sparse scrub bush.

All of a sudden we came to a small rise, and found a collection of buildings, perhaps a planned camp in the park - who knows? But they were new and unoccupied.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5462/9807016533_5428569103_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7406/9807009673_ac3b3fd5d3_b.jpg)

It's hard to convey the sense of remoteness here. We stopped seeing the ever present motos and occasional hamlets. There is no park gate or fence, and I doubt people are barred from living in this area, but it just seemed that we were entering an abandoned, vacant territory.

But we were on the right track!

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2878/9807018983_8167ed100f_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 09:47:24 am

Morning ritual was always tea (the Midge is faintly obsessive in that department):

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2846/9807017574_5d02ca6c28_b.jpg)


Don't you be confusing me with the Midget - I'm not 5'1 and short on toes dammit
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Bram on September 19, 2013, 10:55:12 am
Awesome report so far. Keep it going  :hello2:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Betsy on September 19, 2013, 11:18:42 am
Awesome report guys! very entertaining - the midge sounds pretty hardcore - being a beginner and all! he looks like a very impressive athlete.  ;)

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 11:35:59 am

Morning ritual was always tea (the Midge is faintly obsessive in that department):

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2846/9807017574_5d02ca6c28_b.jpg)


Don't you be confusing me with the Midget - I'm not 5'1 and short on toes dammit

I KONW! You were Kitty Bitch that morning and simply doing the Midge's bidding. Which, as we know, includes tea in 'bed'.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 12:28:41 pm
Reading stories about journeys through this part of Angola it always seems to be the beach that stands out... particularly the mythical Doodsakker. Our pre-trip meetings had gravitated to it, like matter to a black hole - slightly laced with apprehension at the remoteness and potential danger of it all.

I barely remember mention about what we were crossing today, which probably made the surprise all the better for it. And we were gobsmacked and the sheer unending beauty of it all.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/9806937646_4f14211257_b.jpg)

It was as if we had waltzed through a time port and stumbled out into the Atacama desert.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5441/9806915994_6e6958edcc_b.jpg)

Wild, endless stony plains. Like a fiery stallion freed from the constraints of marking time I gave the bike its head and watched the speedo race past 100km/h, 120km/h... 140 km/h. Blasting across endless miles of nothing. Exhaust snarling, rear tyre dancing, wind whipping at open visor.

As if I needed warning of what could go wrong, a long way from clean white hospital sheets, a shimmering hulk in the distance swam into view:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2893/9806934425_37603cd132_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2865/9806937694_5877d9deb2_b.jpg)

Abandoned cans marked the passing of time.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7430/9806951926_256f18807c_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3834/9806956076_3cc97d7880_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7458/9806933754_35dc52fd5b_b.jpg)

And then we were off again.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2872/9806948826_a2e0a9c21c_b.jpg)

There's something bewitching and magical about this landscape. On a trip of amazing riding this was surpassing even the incredible days that went before it.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5533/9806927866_2d58d30a4f_b.jpg)

And no sooner had we got used to the plains, than they started to fold, ripple and twist into stony dunes.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7374/9806985163_601415d910_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5533/9806927866_2d58d30a4f_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2821/9806907684_f5e643e9a9_b.jpg)

The Midget was holding up his end with aplomb. When you think about it, this should NOT be your first proper dual sport ride. Nobody deserves to get scenery and terrain like this without paying their dues at Oasis and on some proper miles of the more average and predictable Cape dirt roads. This was like being set up by your grandfather to lose your virginity in a Greek brothel, and finding Kate Moss waiting for you in a beautifully appointed boudoir with three grams of finest Columbian and an attitude.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7314/9806904924_99e8d321a8_b.jpg)

Still, I guess he was paying in impacts and ingested dirt - his mule chucking him off a few times a day as retribution for his cheek at having waltzed thorugh the Pearly Gates without properly paying the price of admission.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5485/9806968643_9b99743b30_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3682/9806900744_8b0551d13a_b.jpg)

This is our last view of the big plains. That hill led into a massive soft sand dune section, much like what you'd expect to see on the Dakar. For some reason I don't have any pictures, so I shall try to get some video going soon. It was extraordinary. The kind of stuff the punters at Atlantis fantasize about while falling asleep to visions of Mark Coma carving 300ft faces.

We were almost there.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 12:34:35 pm
Holy Heng!  Loving this RR!   :notworthy:

Is The Midget going to comment at all....?
Would love to hear his version...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 12:43:17 pm
Things are eerily quiet on this here thread. Are we boring you poor people into a gentle coma??



NO!

We are all reading in fascinated ponderous silence  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 12:46:42 pm
Holy Heng!  Loving this RR!   :notworthy:

Is The Midget going to comment at all....?
Would love to hear his version...

probably can't reach the keyboard?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 12:57:56 pm
He can reach the keyboard when he's standing on his desk as he normally does.

Let's see if we can goad a response from him...

Calling all midgets!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 01:08:39 pm
He can reach the keyboard when he's standing on his desk as he normally does.

Let's see if we can goad a response from him...

Calling all midgets!!!

Nooooooooo!!!!! Are you out of your mind???

(http://www.lajerga.com/m/i/articles/issue2/midget-bullfighting/midget-title.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 01:10:12 pm
Unfortunately the Midget was just stepping out when I went to ask for comment

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2861/9816533104_d5b1b36170_b.jpg)

Hopefully he wasn't off to fetch the Little Big Men or I'm in trouble....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Offshore on September 19, 2013, 01:15:36 pm
Lekker  :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Whyme on September 19, 2013, 01:22:37 pm

1000km means around 45 litres, even on these economical rides. I'd just come off four years on a lovely BMW X-Challenge that had taken me on memorable trips all over the country. The X, with Touratech tank, carries 27 litters and that Rotax is the most economical engine known to humankind. I reckon it might have made those 700 with a light wrist... or an extra 5 litres somewhere. But my 690 only had the standard 12, so who you gonna call? Rally Raid, that's who. The downside of the X in that configuration is that it's really heavy on the front wheel, and quite top heavy when fully loaded. Part of the move to KTM was the decision that it was time to try something lighter and more nimble, so I went for the little 5 litre rear tank, which only gave me 18 or so, but in a tiny, slim package. So where is the extra 28 going, then?


My X was a fantastic bike - possibly the best rough road tourer on the market. Its forte is long, fast open dirt - it's better than the 690 hands down. When the 690 feels skittish, unstable and overexcited, jerking its head left and right like a lively untrained stallion trying to break free from its master (and that's WITH a steering damper) the X simply puts its head down and storms away at speed. But the 690 has an ace up its sleeve. In the tighter stuff it's simply the best, most exciting and racy off-road beast I've come across. I'd specifically set up the bike with all of the weight in front of the rear axle, and despite a slightly nervous start with the extremely light front wheel, after 3 days of the trip I was having the time of my life.

Great RR gents, great pics :thumleft: I have to say have been waiting for you to say something about Xchallenge ;D Well simply because I own one and fact that I too would like to own 690 in future.....so coming from man who have ridden both :thumleft:

They are both killa bikes, but bearing in mind that a great X is R40k, and the equivalent 690 is R75-R85k (don't be fooled by the cheapie ones), the X wins the value stakes hands down. Both of these need proper money spent on tanks etc. I'd say the X is a better tourer - it has more relaxed geometry and is MUCH more solid and planted on the road - particularly at speed. It is also more reliable, all round, more comfortable and a little more economical - and has a subframe if you want to carry proper weight. In addition, the engine pulls from lower revs with more torque, so it's better at 'chugging' in low speed stuff.

However, and it's a HUGE however if that's your flava... The 690 is significantly more powerful and a more exciting bike to ride fast. It snarls and bites and kicks. It hisses in your ear, and demands to be be wrung out. It has much better suspension out of the box, although both need work, but it's cheaper to fix - at least to a non rally-god level.

In my case, I'd simply come to time for a change. Life is too short to ride the same bike forever, unless you're in love with airheads. I figure if you've met a wonderful woman, and don't plan on changing her, then you may as well change bikes every now and again. Go scratch that itch!

690's should come with a bit of a warning sticker attached. Are you in control of the devil within... that is the question??

I hear you :thumleft: let me not derail this great RR :)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 01:24:52 pm
I'm finding the midget strangely attractive with his blend of shortness and determination. Possibly quite a disproportional member as well.

078 799 5633 Call me midge  >:D
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 01:48:20 pm
Possibly quite a disproportional member as well.

You don't know the half of it. We had to modify his tank to make room
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 01:49:40 pm
Possibly quite a disproportional member as well.

You don't know the half of it. We had to modify his tank to make room

I knew it!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 01:52:31 pm
The Midget just received very fast approval for membership... :)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on September 19, 2013, 02:28:36 pm
hello ladies , sorry to keep you waiting

i run a global empire and between monkey triaining and push ups i dont have much time for forums

to answer your questions - no i am not all in proportion - in fact obsenely disproportionate

betsy - i know you ve been asking for more pics of me ill see what i can arrange with max and the camel - be patient...or perhaps i can send you some directly..
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 02:55:49 pm
Midge, Just a word of advise... Stay away from J-Dog... He's contagious... ;D
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 03:01:24 pm
hello ladies , sorry to keep you waiting

i run a global empire and between monkey triaining and push ups i dont have much time for forums

to answer your questions - no i am not all in proportion - in fact obsenely disproportionate

betsy - i know you ve been asking for more pics of me ill see what i can arrange with max and the camel - be patient...or perhaps i can send you some directly..

By the way - that's a dogtag around his neck. He's ex-SAS (which is what we mean when we say "well 'ard" - not what you may be imagining, Betsy and Malibu).
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 03:05:09 pm
If he was SAS he'd have got over the falling thing days ago... And he's got no tats, although, he's got good legs... :)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 03:05:48 pm
hello ladies , sorry to keep you waiting

i run a global empire and between monkey triaining and push ups i dont have much time for forums

to answer your questions - no i am not all in proportion - in fact obsenely disproportionate

betsy - i know you ve been asking for more pics of me ill see what i can arrange with max and the camel - be patient...or perhaps i can send you some directly..

By the way - that's a dogtag around his neck. He's ex-SAS (which is what we mean when we say "well 'ard" - not what you may be imagining, Betsy and Malibu).

"well fit"comes to kind  :drif:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 03:07:42 pm
James, have you taken your pills today?  ::)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on September 19, 2013, 03:08:33 pm
Mark is the only guy around here allowed to be "in the pink"!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 03:11:18 pm
James, have you taken your pills today?  ::)

yes but wearing off. you coming bash toe?

And the conversation carried on off-line....  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 03:23:12 pm
Let me quickly wrap up the day's ride so I can get some proper work done.

After a wicked ride through the dunes, we came within site of the legendary Foz do Cunene - the mouth of the Cunene (as they like to spell it) River. We'd done it!

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7329/9806890465_77229a08f3_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5331/9806888855_d41e9b8354_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3679/9806911196_ca0141d888_b.jpg)

You approach down a steep dune with a slalom-style track demarcated with fence posts, and I pulled up in front of a rough lean-to with a few fisherman eating. Within about 3 seconds a smiling policeman in a perfectly pressed uniform arrived for my papers. Now we'd got used to this, but it's still cause for amazement. Here we are, in an admittedly gorgeous place at the mouth of one of Africa's biggest rivers - but also in an utterly remote arse-end-of-the-universe, at least in terms of officialdom, and the policeman looked ready to welcome the president. Now I would be surprised if more than one vehicle a month gets here, so WHO is going to notice if the policeman goes to work in a pink, fluffy dressing gown with a blow-up penguin under his arm.

Anyway, I guess this is a hangover from their recent past as a police state. The gents were actually very friendly - as all the police in Angola were - but took their jobs quite seriously. This included copying down, long hand, all of the details on our papers into a notebook or scruffy piece of paper for god-alone-knows-who to look at.

But anyway, in came Camel, and then the Midge. Now, as I mentioned, the Midge is a novice. Arriving at a police outpost down a mineshaft covered in fine sand while negotiating a slalom course and trying to admire the scenery is not quite in his repertoire yet. "Air control! Air Control!!!!" He came in for the landing at about 60kph, fishtailing out of control, with his feet out to try slow the bike. Of course they don't reach the ground, so that didn't help, and after nearly taking out one of the fisherman he ran over the tail of one of their dogs and almost got bitten.

I waved it away as if nothing had happened and explained to the chief, in a language that he didn't understand, that the Midge suffers from sarcoidosis and that he should just ignore him.

Unfortunately, since we were still afraid of officialdom, no photos. Also we were angry with them that they didn't have any beer.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 03:26:18 pm
 :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Vis Arend on September 19, 2013, 03:31:16 pm
 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:  I can picture that one, poor Midget.   :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 03:34:23 pm
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3822/9806906176_48e59b6fd2_b.jpg)

Foz is still a long way from the beach, and the beach was where we wanted to be. So we set off about fourish on a very windy track in the sand.

Across the river in Namibia were these cabins. Apparently something to do with mining, but of more interest, and apparently not quite on the photos, were the huge dunes. Now THAT looks like a trip worth looking into.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3698/9806956223_b44142162e_b.jpg)

Every trip has milestones, and this beach was one of ours. We'd got there! There seemed to be slimmest chance a few days back that that would actually happen, so cause for much celebration all round. And commiseration for our fallen comrade. He would have been loving this more than life itself. What on earth was he up to right now?

A few little portraits for our eager readers... first up your favourite little person (with Buttercup in the background):

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2842/9806875715_e47d4bdeed_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3779/9806885344_29261dde52_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7308/9806946713_970337e294_b.jpg)
(last time my ride was to look remotely clean on this trip)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2832/9806943313_ccbfde8eec_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2864/9806869375_88f7fb49fd_b.jpg)

And in an ode to fallen comrades, the bivvy he had made, huddled down behind a sand dune, doing its best to protect us from the fierce, cold Atlantic sea-breeze that was threatening a very uncomfortable night:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7326/9806892696_2782d86fde_b.jpg)

Tomorrow... the DOODSAKKER!!!!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 19, 2013, 03:37:31 pm
 :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif:

EPIC
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Offshore on September 19, 2013, 03:57:55 pm
Great Stuff! Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 04:10:06 pm

I waved it away as if nothing had happened and explained to the chief, in a language that he didn't understand, that the Midge suffers from sarcoidosis and that he should just ignore him.


Don’t let the complexity of that word fool you. It’s from the Latin
'särˈkastik' and the French 'doo-wis' and it’s extremely contagious in camel populations.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2013, 04:16:12 pm
(http://funnyneel.com/sites/default/files/images/images/funny%20camel.preview.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 19, 2013, 07:00:59 pm
"My humps are inflating"
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: goingnowherequickly on September 19, 2013, 08:26:50 pm
Fantastic !!
May wear out my f5 key soon..
Looking forward to some more  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MINZI on September 19, 2013, 09:14:41 pm
Things are eerily quiet on this here thread. Are we boring you poor people into a gentle coma??



My mother always said, if a man is content with his food, then he is quiet and leave him be. Skryf en ons sal lees. We are all reading and being green with envy, so, please get this RR going.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Offshore on September 19, 2013, 09:17:44 pm
Things are eerily quiet on this here thread. Are we boring you poor people into a gentle coma??



My mother always said, if a man is content with his food, then he is quiet and leave him be. Skryf en ons sal lees. We are all reading and being green with envy, so, please get this RR going.  :thumleft:
Hell Yes Mama! Wise Words.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Breekbeen on September 19, 2013, 11:09:43 pm
Great so far :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: CaptainCrash on September 20, 2013, 07:08:57 am
Awesome report looking forward to more. So get posting and help us desk bound keyboard jockeys escape  :drif:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: pietas on September 20, 2013, 11:18:03 am
Yo, Yo! Lekker report and awesome phodies. Thanks guys
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Swart Gevaar on September 20, 2013, 11:22:12 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: DD650 on September 20, 2013, 02:47:09 pm
Loving your RR and green with envy!   :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: JC on September 20, 2013, 02:53:38 pm
bedonnerd  :thumleft:

always nice to "feel" a ride report, feeling part of it more than a nuisance spectator.

please keep it coming
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 20, 2013, 04:07:52 pm
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mZ4x5p0sAZc/TU0c1E3KZgI/AAAAAAAAHEg/0tPT-_5POOo/s400/camel-Morocco-400.jpg)

I recommend abuse, rather than requests, pleading or cajoling. A nice, big, strong stick to that lazy beast's bony rump.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: SGB on September 20, 2013, 10:15:13 pm
I like the way you think....  Keep going!  The Ruacana - Foz section ranks high on my list of best rides...  Love it.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 21, 2013, 02:32:56 am

I recommend abuse, rather than requests, pleading or cajoling. A nice, big, strong stick to that lazy beast's bony rump.

well in that case..... :whip2: hurry the fark up and post the rest....  >:D

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 21, 2013, 07:11:29 pm
It's true, I do respond rather well to a light whipping.

I just got distracted by this saucy minx...

Quote
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mZ4x5p0sAZc/TU0c1E3KZgI/AAAAAAAAHEg/0tPT-_5POOo/s400/camel-Morocco-400.jpg)

hang 5....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 21, 2013, 07:32:44 pm
It’s fair to say I was kuking myself that morning. Scary adventures do exactly that – they scare me. I do them anyway cause in the end they’re always brilliant and the adrenaline is good for my hair. But heading in, I’m a big baby. I would have been useless in war. Unlike the Midge – he was in the SAS. In Afghanistan he was in the Airbourne Midget Division where they’d shoot small people out of cannons armed to the teeth (literally, their arms had to be at their side to form a tight seal so they had to hold their weapons in their mouths at launch time). They notched up massive kill counts before they even landed.

A tight seal:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7372/9858006313_4254f9c4dc_o.jpg)

Uptight Seal:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7367/9857922985_9a7e4e1943_o.jpg)


So yes, I was more than a little nervous that morning. It was compounded by the fact that I lost kitty bitch that morning. As I said before, I’m a second place specialist but things went wrong this morning and it felt like a bad omen. The upside was that in terms of admin, there is pretty much zero that can be done on the beach - tactically, a good one to lose.

The reality was that this turned out to be the most chilled day of riding we had had up to that point. The implications for getting it wrong, however, were not.

So we woke up here…
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3757/9820513486_547443d0e5_b.jpg)

and then discovered these…
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/9820752166_22f0163ee0_b.jpg)

A wild dog had been sniffing around our campsite that night looking for food. We saw him and his mates later in the day on top of a dune – pretty sweet. Given the miserable state of our food situation by this stage, I’m fairly confident he left hungry.

And then we were off…. For summa this:
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3696/9820562714_b695248c11_b.jpg)

and with a wee bit of this….
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5327/9820732414_332d3b2afa_b.jpg)

This had all the makings of Another Epic Day




Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Offshore on September 21, 2013, 07:45:43 pm
 ;D bring it on!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: jimjim on September 21, 2013, 09:35:31 pm
Brilliant!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 22, 2013, 01:17:26 am
It’s very hard to describe the experience of setting off on a motorcycle, up a beach, in a place that feels like the moon, to ride through a place you’ve been dreaming about for a year or so. But I'll have a go. My dawn jitters and kitty bitch gloom lifted with the morning fog and pretty sharpish too, cause cruising up a beach on a bike is FKN BRILLIANT! And not just cause it’s normally illegal. You can spank along at great place, the beach is smooth and predictable, and the scenery is second to none.

We were riding right down on the hard stuff drifting in and out with the waves, ostensibly to find the hardest sand to ride on but more cause it's a super fun way to ride. We hadn’t seen a hint of another human since Foz and between us decided that going to a place once a year where you don’t see a hint of another human would be a Very Good Idea.

The first hour or so we ambled up the beach like this:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5536/9820727983_c579f2e6b9_b.jpg)

And this:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5467/9820649123_75ce9dde16_b.jpg)

And (I know I’ve shown this already how but cool is this shot!) this:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3696/9820562714_b695248c11_b.jpg)
   
And this (obligatory photographer’s static bike shot):

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7376/9820723674_6a50bb0002_b.jpg)

Then we stopped:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7307/9820579915_42ed4ed5a6_b.jpg)

And gathered round to discuss this:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5455/9820729903_3440f2fa99_b.jpg)

In the distance you’ll see sand dunes. Now I’m sure, dear reader, you’re aware that the infamous part of this stretch is where the dunes drop down pretty much straight into the sea. Before that section starts, however, there are these cheeky little spits of sand that run out, parallel to the beach. If you’re not a super alert navigator (none of us are super alert navigators) and you’re riding north, you’ll ride out on these spits, only to discover that you need to turn at the end and ride all the way back on the inside of the spit. Because we’re such magnificent planners, we didn’t have enough gas to do too many tour-de-spit’s, so we donned our Super Alert Navigator hats and tried to spot them. The pause in that pic was for a suspected sighting.

“Ah ha!”, said we, “we have cheeky land spit.”
The land spit said nothing.
“We will bypass this nefarious obstacle by riding directly towards the dunes. The dunes are our homing beacon.”
 “They are the Star in the East to the three wise men” we didn’t add.

So Max set off, making a beeline for the dunes.

Aside – why is a straight line referred to as a beeline? Any observer of nature will know that a bee flies in a particularly meandering pattern. There can be no poorer example of a direct path than that which a bee follows. I bet the Angolan’s don’t have silly sayings like that.

Back to Max. He heads off at great pace, and then slows to a less great pace. There’s huge plume of mud coming off his back wheel and he’s inching along at walking pace – taps wiiiiide open. This was going to be trickier than expected. The Midget and I quickly decided that this wasn’t Buttercup territory so we took a proper bee line trying to avoid the Augustus Gloop.

It’s hard to avoid the attentions of Augustus Gloop. If you’re food.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5521/9863123363_31401fb971_o.jpg)


I would ride ahead and find myself getting bogged down, then leap off and frantically direct the midget this way or that. The wee man was doing a remarkable job given his lack of saddle time but he had certainly never ridden anything like this so keeping the bike upright was taking 300% of his prodigious focus. There was no room for navigating, he just put his head down and followed my tracks. If I’d ridden off a cliff he would have come right after me, sweet little lemming that he is. If I didn’t get off my bike and leap about screaming “THAT WAY – HIGHER FKN UP!” he’d just ride straight into the back of my (stationary) bike.  

On one of these occasions I safely got him onto harder sands and he chugged off comfortably. I must say I felt rather good about myself doing this – like a shepherd tending his little midget sheep.

I felt less good about myself when I hopped back on the bike and promptly buried the rear wheel:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5327/9820732414_332d3b2afa_b.jpg)

By this time the Midge had disappeared out of view so there was naught to do but have a pee and wait for Max.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5466/9820737413_69eda3509a_b.jpg)

It did occur to me that I would be in a right spot of bother if I was on my own but that seemed like a bad line of thought to pursue so I resumed scanned the horizon for Max. Who pulled in shortly thereafter flying like a rally champ, clearly quite pleased with himself for mastering this gloop. I’d say possibly even smug.

Smug mug or not, I was pleased to see the fat panda and with some mutual pushing and shoving and gratuitous throttle work my little beauty popped back out and was good to go. “Happy days” said I, and roared off up the beach in search of the Midget who could have got himself into god knows what sort of trouble by this stage.

I did notice that my mirrors were devoid of headlights but Max stops a lot for pics so didn’t think much of it. When I finally caught the Midget we stopped and waited for the regroup. Which didn’t happen because Max, not to be outdone, had done this:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2860/9820734274_44376812b3_b.jpg)

A stout effort I’m sure you’ll agree. Were it not for his panniers I’m sure he’d have struck oil. I might add that this was in EXCACTLY the same place as where I’d got stuck. Ahem...

More digging and pushing and shoving and spraying of sand and he was out too, and we were off. Again.

At this point we were all a little wary of the Augustus and none more so than the Midget. In the pic below, the dark stuff is the gloop (yes I know it doesn’t look like it and I’m sure you could fly through it if you just opened it up a liiiittle more. Make sure you’re filming). The light stuff is sand, obviously. Soft sand. With lots of ridges and old tracks and all manor of tricks n treats half hidden by the wind.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3828/9820595036_b0b5f711ac_b.jpg)

Neither of these were too inviting for the midget but buttercup was clearly not going to handle the gloop so high road it was. He ploughed on gamely but this was tough going. Buttercup’s front wheel was not tracking in a beeline. He fell once, then twice, then thrice, the third time twisting his knee a bit and resulting in a pair of rather wide eyes. I was riding behind him (that’s how he likes it), having to balance the humour of a harmless sand fall with the fear of something serious going wrong. And with each successive fall we were tending toward the latter.

The Midge was getting tired, but we were also running out of time. In our one and only act of meticulous planning, we had tide charts for Southern Angola so we sort of knew how much time we had. With each fall and stuck bike, we were cutting it finer and finer. Now I possibly have a tendency for over concern when there is a risk of my bike getting washed out to sea and me going without any dinner but I tried to contain my anxiety and told him to chill, take a rest and try find his groove. 5 deep yogic breaths, harmonic earth balance restored, he hopped back on and roared off riding with the skill of a man at least twice his height. He was looking brilliant… until he wasn’t. One second he was hammering it like Coma, the next he was face down on the sand. Unmoving.

My over-concern tendencies so straight to DEFCON 1 in situations like these. I charge over to him and help him get right side up.
“Dood, are you OK?”
“I face planted in the sand” he says.
I feel confident saying that this was the most superfluous statement I will ever hear. The peak of his helmet was shattered, with just one shard sticking straight up like a unicorn. His whole face was covered with sand, it was in his eyes, up his nose, and he could barely breath for the amount that was in his mouth. He had a wheelbarrow of sand down the front of his jacket. He stacked so fast he didn’t even have time to put his hands in front of his face before making contact with the floor.

All this Grand Adventure and we hadn’t even made it to the doodsakker proper. And from what we could tell, the tide had turned…




Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: JC on September 22, 2013, 02:08:05 am
gogogogo, don't stop now

some motivation:

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Kaboef on September 22, 2013, 06:41:48 am
Brilliant entertainment!

Hurry up!

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: adventure hunter1 on September 23, 2013, 12:00:23 am
A truly inspirational read so far. Keep it up........ we are waiting!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 23, 2013, 08:34:35 am
yep, yep, it's coming. I just got terribly distracted by that camel cleavage.... saucy stuff....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 23, 2013, 08:42:49 am
Augustus Gloop indeed! And his demise...

http://www.youtube.com/v/_J-st0WDeag

I don't want to interrupt the Flying Camel's flow, but the thing about riding around Angola is that one gets utterly enveloped, consumed - some may even say mired - in the sinking sand that is obsession with a motorcycle trip as fabulous as this one. And occasionally one forgets to remember that not everyone has a complete handle on what it is that one is talking about.

So... to backtrack a little. We had woken up on this pretty little beach and were planning a day's route that looked something like this:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3778/9758286515_8982fd2b2a_b.jpg)

Looks like a happy little jaunt up the beach, and indeed it is, and can be. But there is something standing in your way called The Doodsakker. Apparently this is a military term and is quite straight forward - bomb the living shit out of a tract of land (where you're hoping the enemy will be) and there will be nobody left standing, hence: Dead Man's Acre.

And the reason this little 80km stretch of beach is called the 'Doodsakker' is because of a unique combination of big tides, flat beach and huge, very steep dunes. Get it right - a perfect combination of full moon and low tide - and you'll be presented with a lovely 5-10m wide strip of beach to blast your way up. Get it wrong - just about any other time - and the angry sea will be bashing into the dunes with calamitous force and you WILL be on the wrong end of a mammoth hiding. Note call to Outsurance: "I was just riding along this 'road' and this big wave came and took my bike. I swear... No, I don't have it any more.... [cough] that's why I'm calling you."

See, these dunes are like no other - they are monstrous and have very steep sides. You'd think you could just pull the bike up and wait out the tide, and you may be able to in some spots. But in others they descent like steep cliffs into the sea. Complete with sand-avalanche-waiting-to-happen. It's an exciting day out.

And it's also a very beautiful one.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/9820731183_7b99b3730c_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7324/9820675596_44bdd4455d_b.jpg)

The wildlife along this stretch, untainted by human footprint, is truly extraordinary.

Augustus was filling you in on the gloop. Well, here's a better picture of it.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2893/9820677096_6b8fa46b4c_b.jpg)

What I don't have images of, cause I was riding through it at pace trying not to get stuck or fall off, were the tracks around these little lagoons which lined the side of the dunes. Pretty little temporary lakes, filled with flamingos and jumping fish. But a truly exciting prospect to navigate on a motorcycle. Consider a 1m-wide slot of very deep, soft sand between a steep dune and a lake. Get it wrong in either direction and there was going to be trouble.

I decided there was only one approach - on the pegs in second and third gear with the throttle pinned and no stopping for scenery. The bike was bucking left and right (did I mention the track was also winding severely left and right?), groaning and roaring at the effort of it all and no doubt drinking fuel like a prize college beer team. It went on for about half an hour, and then opened out, at last.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5495/9820715405_d475d891f8_b.jpg)

I got off and took some pictures, waiting for the Midge and his chaperone Camel. Fifteen minutes ticked by.... nothing. I became concerned, but was also running out of fuel, so there was no riding back. I decided to walk back a bit and see what I could see.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2843/9820660725_2e50705f40_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3788/9820732743_043b7e9eaa_b.jpg)

Another half an hour, and still no sign of them...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: heti on September 23, 2013, 08:54:50 am
Keep it coming!!!!!!   :deal: :laughing4:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: A/T on September 23, 2013, 10:00:42 am
Great RR! Cant wait for the doodsakker part!
 :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: pietas on September 23, 2013, 10:11:18 am
Lekker!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Hammerhead on September 23, 2013, 10:39:55 am
Brilliant!!!
Keep it coming!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 24, 2013, 07:52:09 am
riveting.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on September 24, 2013, 08:07:46 am
Please post more pictures of the midget. There's a certain morbid fascination about him.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Betsy on September 24, 2013, 10:10:07 am
yes i have to say I find myself strangely attracted to this wild half man. Did you say this was only his second ride ever!!! hmm yummy. :drif:
I did some digging around for more information on this mysterious midget and i think i may have found a picture of him in his military days?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 11:47:09 am
So here we are... at the very threshold of the mythical Doodsakker. The eater of bikes and humans. The highlight of the Most High-Lit adventures, in possibly the best motorcycling country on the planet. And we were about to tiptoe tenderly into its clutches, tread respectfully across its threshold in the fragile hope of being allowed through unscathed, like devotees bowing before Kali the Destroyer.

Except it could have been different. We could have been charging through, standing on our seats, harpoons at the ready, bellowing the throaty wail of a thousand Viking marauders setting upon a sleepy Scottish village full of gorgeous untainted virgins. The missing ingredient was our Heroic Leader of the Banshees, King Thomas.

I've done just about all my biking with this crazy man. When Camelman took me on my first ride he was there, on his first ride on a rented fugly green monster.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2834/9912842614_3775f825d6_b.jpg)

And we took our first solo rides together, and crashed borrowed bikes (including Camel's pride and joy) together:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/9912793086_8778dd1f87_b.jpg)

We learned to ride sand together...

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2857/9912840664_995cd0c539_b.jpg)

and embarked on a heroic, 5000km cross-country trip as our first real bike ride, rank amateurs with no clue whatsoever what we were doing.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7337/9912752945_80682b0abc_b.jpg)

Thomas owned a beautiful (to him at least) KLR because it was an honest, reliable and simple machine, and can be fixed in the bush by a tractor mechanic with a rock and a piece of string. He's a simple-at-heart fellow and its beauty appealed to him.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3692/9912797516_8e26da3f8a_b.jpg)

I was there with him in the Tankwa, during moments of motoring self expression

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3714/9912793296_b8c4882f26_b.jpg)

and triumph

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3697/9912838654_f8ccdaf293_b.jpg)

and even just plain idiocy

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5452/9912750775_d6fabf19fb_b.jpg)

I even managed to talk him into dressing up his KLR in fancy clothes to take it to the desert

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3796/9912836394_14d31bbfa7_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2835/9912750795_373b89344d_b.jpg)

for his 40th birthday

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7401/9912836854_189d9847b5_b.jpg)

And while I am a particular fellow, with a love of mechanical things and a hardly hidden petrolhead streak,

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3668/9912921613_acbb266ae0_b.jpg)

Thomas is simply a hooligan, who likes to let it all hang out and just ride

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3735/9912835364_fcc986c011_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7336/9912747335_48599221f3_b.jpg)

And ride we did. Here, there, everywhere. Back to the desert in fancy clothes

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7452/9912918783_4430ec140c_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3803/9912784326_63deb1ce85_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2818/9912919533_b74b15fd91_b.jpg)

That KLR was a hero, just like its master. (And no, don't ask me to tell your about the week it spent underwater in a river).

I must blame myself. I planted that seed. I got him excited about fancy toys. He's a simple man... he never should have been looking at dem fancy toys. Especially not with his KLR, kick-it-leave-it-in-the-gutter-then-ride-it-hard mentality. KTM's are uptight little bitches. They need love, caring and fettling or they turn round and bite you in the face.

And now here we were, short of a fun leader, missing our totem pole extraordinaire. The much dreamed of Doodsakker was going to be crept through rather than be attacked with a tomahawk. And we were so, so , so much the worse for it.

I present an ode to a fallen comrade. The MIA King Thomas.... may we ride together again one day.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5538/9912831924_534fc7c23c_b.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/LnvElNEXQB8
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 11:51:59 am
And because I'm a little behind on the video... here's an update from a few days back...

https://www.youtube.com/v/xC8x9hiVkTU
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 12:09:31 pm
yes i have to say I find myself strangely attracted to this wild half man. Did you say this was only his second ride ever!!! hmm yummy. :drif:
I did some digging around for more information on this mysterious midget and i think i may have found a picture of him in his military days?

Dear god, Betsy. You are so on it! How did you discover this? You are either (a) a very good journalist - do you work for The Sun? (b) a witch or (c) work for the NSA.

Since you know this much already, it's probably safe to just come out and confess that The Midge is in fact The Highlander. One and the same. Here he is in 1352 after defeating an army on his own and shortly before becoming King of England.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5476/9913239345_a74e932416_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mr Zog on September 24, 2013, 01:35:37 pm
I haven't partaken of this ride since I subscribed about 5000km ago.

And now I sit entranced... and the age-old question looms; shall I break this entrancement with herb, or with potion? Or shall I remain entranced and feast on the magnificence of this sojourn into the back of beyond?

Ah fukkit, I'll stay like I am... now get back to the writing, you good for nothing excuse for a camel's breath  :pot:  :ricky:  :drif:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 01:42:58 pm
... and the age-old question looms; shall I break this entrancement with herb, or with potion?

Duh! Both...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tiger8 on September 24, 2013, 02:07:39 pm
Nooooooooo!!!


How can you leave us hanging right in the middle of ths mostest dramaticus part of the RR?  C'MON you mangy excuse for an Arabian Taxi.......... :pot:      (You mentioned that a light flogging is prefered to begging  :lol8:)

This RR deserves Legend Status.

My TAB's battery is dying as I read and drool. The Midget man is awesome, goes to show, don't need to be a riding god or have a blinged out fancy ride to have a bucket load of fun, he can even use said bucket to reach his desk to add some more insight to the RR.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 24, 2013, 02:13:33 pm

Fine videography splendifery there Maximilian. I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t hamming it up for the video – I really had no clue where we were most of the time.

I did have a GPS though. I told it to take me to the sea, and it did. Good thing too cause we forgot to bring a map.

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 24, 2013, 02:14:05 pm
... and the age-old question looms; shall I break this entrancement with herb, or with potion?

Duh! Both...

but if you have to choose, herb please....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 24, 2013, 02:41:44 pm
So… back to the action. Where were we? We were on the beach. On the southern coast of Angola. With the mighty Atlantic to our left and a wall of formidable looking sand dunes to our right. And straight ahead? Well, straight ahead was our Stairway to Heaven. So off we went to climb those stairs, juiced up on the excitement of finally banging through the doodsakker and the fear of knowing that we were righteously, truly, and utterly screwed if we cocked this up. And we were running out of fuel.

After navigating the mess of Augustus Gloop, this riding turned out to be easy peazy lemon squeezy. We had (miraculously) got the tide sort of right so we had some nice hard sand to ride on and it was smooth and predictable. Almost straight away it was trivial to chug along at 70kph and enjoy the experience. And what an experience it was.

20 minutes into it we saw what was quite possibly the highlight of the whole trip for me. (I think I’ve used that sentence several times already). We were on a stretch that was quite straight so we could see 1 or 2 kms ahead. In the distance the beach looked black, like an oil slick, which I thought would be particularly undude for a spot as beautiful and unspoilt as this. As we got closer, the oil slick started to waddle, and then about 20 bajillion Cape Cormorants took off in front of us and flew out over the sea, but in the same direction as us. We must have been riding for about 5 minutes pretty much surrounded by birds. Remarkable.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2855/9820752125_4f74db2acb_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5480/9820750565_d26cdf0ed6_b.jpg)

I thought there wouldn’t be a single sign of life but the place was teeming. At times we were riding so close to the water that we could see fish darting into deeper water as the bikes disturbed them.

There were also more crabs than I knew existed on the planet. The Midget tried to rectify this situation by driving over most of them. To be fair they were hard to avoid – sea to dune was blanketed with the things.

We also saw some wild dogs on the top of the dunes, which was rather nice, and an unverified ostrich spotting. At one point there was a large black log in the middle of the beach. The Midget went round it on the dune side and I was about to complete the track symmetry by going on the sea side when the log-imitating-seal woke up, shat itself, and charged into the sea looking pretty unamused with the whole affair.

The riding was so mellow, and the experience so wonderful, that I almost didn’t notice when the beach abruptly ended. In its place was a large jumble of nasty looking rocks. We discovered later that 3 days before we got to the beach, a massive storm had crashed into the coast, bringing with it a sizable swell that had apparently dropped the level of the beach by 2 metres. This made sense ‘cause there were sections of riding where there was a cliff on our right hand side – not a steep part of the dune but a vertical cliff (still wet which is presumably what stopped it collapsing). In hindsight then, we were quite lucky that we had bumbled at the start of the trip and were a little behind schedule, because we would DEFINITELY have looked at this and thought “Hmm, sea looks a little high. Lets have a go anyway.” And the chances of us losing at least one bike would have been approximately 100%.

So lady luck smiled on us after all and we pushed and pulled and wiggled our way over the rocks without too much drama.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3741/9820846606_4766e3ab54_b.jpg)

Some locals later told us that this is the key point that they look at when driving down the beach. If the rocks are exposed, then no 4x4s will have a go. Which you want to find out before you start cause it’s a long way to backtrack in reverse.

After that the dunes receded a little, the beach opened up, and for the first time on the trip we could open the bikes up and chug along over 100 without too much stress. One of the landmarks we were aiming for was this old wreck:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5516/9820908213_eb7d314745_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3796/9820817984_7ce6335f4c_b.jpg)

There are loads of shipwrecks along this coastline, which is a curious thing. It’s not like there’re any surprises right? It’s the bloody beach – the western edge of the country – it should be on your basic nautical map. Not like it’s a half submerged iceberg. The Titanic should have come south for its maiden voyage.

From there we were up off the beach, riding through an enormous flat area that looked like a salt pan. I forgot to mention that by this point we had already stopped once to siphon gas from my bike to Max’s and we were still a fair way from Tombua (aka Tombwa) so we weren’t completely home and dry.

The last obstacle of this whole stretch was a somewhat peculiar one, which may one day result in public ridicule. We had heard stories about these packs of nasty wild dogs that looked a little like those horrible things in the opening scene of No Country For Old Men. They weren’t the wilddogs of this forum fame, but ferocious beasts of canine domesticos origin that had gone feral and had bred with wolves and tigers and other things commonly found in the Angolan desert.

I was initially pretty sceptical of this. Tom wanted to bring a harpoon expressly for the purposes of defending himself from these creatures, so I assumed he was fuelling the rumour for the purposes of being able to satisfy his repressed gun fetish. Then Max got on the bandwagon and a few other folks we spoke to mentioned that this was something to be careful of. I know it sounds pathetic but by the time we got close to the town we were all pretty wired about these mutts.

So, when the pack of about 5 poorly bred poodle-looking things heard us coming, scratched themselves and joyfully ran out to sort-of-bark and half heartedly chase Max’s front tire, I felt kinda stoopid. The thrill of chasing Max was clearly to much for them so they were all lying on the ground asleep by the time I went past. If Tom had his harpoon at hand he would have had poodle kebab in no time at all. Nasty thought that.

And then we were there! Through the rubbish dump of course (and not for the last time either). The little fishing-soon-to-be-oil town is fairly unremarkable unless you’ve been in the bush for 5 days. It had cold cola’s, petrol, and something other than peanuts and raisins for lunch. It was all rather exciting.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7435/9820851086_0515a57522_b.jpg)

Our excitement was nothing compared to these little self-appointed bike guards:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2805/9820838215_d87cdf91fe_b.jpg)
 
The Midget had no qualms fuelling that excitement by throwing some sweets into the mix:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7399/9820821664_df225fab83_b.jpg)

Tissue anyone?

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5450/9820873364_b7d2c81e4a_b.jpg)

Most of the buildings are still scarred with bullet holes. Kinda harrowing but I was hungry and an empty stomach is no condition in which to contemplate world evils.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7335/9820913703_41f5a44629_b.jpg)

Tombua is a pleasant enough place but pretty basic and we were in no mood for cultural experiences. We had the smell of a shower in our nostrils so we found gas (no air for the tires) and headed straight out of town.

Our destination that evening was Flamingo Lodge – about 80kms north. Most of that was on a good tar road, through wonderful scenery of steep canyons and sandy flatlands. We were surprised (and some of us were delighted) to discover at the turn off to the loge that there was a good 30kms of really rough, sandy tracks heading west to the coast. What a cracking way to finish this!

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5327/9820966553_a760c7325c_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5522/9820877934_f220669700_b.jpg)

It’s a really fun road – it’s very soft and the cars have made a right mess of the tracks so it requires a bit of a nudge. When I say it’s soft I mean it’s REALLY soft; the Midge had a few naps as he was battling to deal with the middle mannetjie and the softness of the sand. Then Max had a fairly harmless kapoof in a particularly tricky dustbowl.

Finally, we got here and we could see the sea:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2838/9820874704_f28ce292ed_b.jpg)

We were spitting distance from the end of a fairly epic part of this trip. “I’m not going to fall once more” declared the Midge, and off he rode…



Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 05:19:39 pm
Don't believe a word he says. The dogs WERE wild and they were FEROCIOUS. All travellers to these parts know about these beasts. They are descendants of wild Andalucian shepherd dogs brought here to control the tiger problem in the Angolan steppes, and are a study in gene pools gone rogue. Tall, white, scraggy and very bad tempered. They hunt in packs and will not hesitate to attack humans. Rabies is a very real problem and they are known to control the dune section 30km to the south of Tombua.

Tom and I were both worried and deeply excited about this problem. We considered all possible solutions, including this:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7456/9917152425_6fb5ea66f8_o.jpg)

and this...

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5492/9917152925_6001d38f30_o.jpg)

(Tom thought arriving in Tombua, each of us towing the carcass of one of the wild beasts through the sand would be the making of our trip, and the local residents who are in fear of their lives for them would likely immediately grant us freedom of the city)

...but I think what we really wanted was this:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3815/9917192156_87f64b089b_o.jpg)

Of course, as you've probably guessed by now, none of us are responsible enough for gun licenses, and because Tom wasn't with us we hadn't procured a rogue AK47 immediately on crossing the border, so we were going to have to use guile, charm and straightforward speed to escape past them with our lives intact.

I was leading. Came sashaying in through the sand dunes behind Tombua. I'm bloody good at sand by this point, and I'm Coma-ing, slalom style, through the dunes with an eye out for the threat, a fistful of throttle just waiting for action.

I came over one of the big dunes, airborne, and on top of the next one, at 11 o'clock, sat sentry no. 1. He started barking and chasing towards me. What followed was a pincer movement Shaka would have been proud of. They are sneaky bastards. They were prepared, and were waiting for us, fanned out across various dunes and were in full attack mode. As one, they came at me, jowels flapping, spit flying and howling at full chat.

I got the fright of my life and accelerated hard.

Wouldn't you, when set upon by a combination of this:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2819/9917171514_5041dbb067_o.jpg)

...this:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2892/9917257073_1edbe9c176_o.jpg)

a little of this:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3833/9917181404_c03c50b948_b.jpg)

... and












um





[cough]








...
.
.
.




this?

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2809/9917128276_95a655cdb0_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 05:25:52 pm
And.... just because I can... how about a series of self indulgent dirty 690 porn in the gorgeous barren wonderland of the Doodsakker?

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3737/9820583955_7f4b02a9ce_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3828/9820595036_b0b5f711ac_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3740/9820582455_be1a5b6661_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7281/9820565904_38acbe5021_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5460/9820592206_771ac77676_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3764/9820816203_c03b4eeefa_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3673/9820814863_2ce3dfeecf_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2827/9820814833_fdfcc42d72_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5455/9820729903_3440f2fa99_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2843/9820660725_2e50705f40_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2013, 09:32:30 pm
It was an overcast day, the horizon invisible through a damp curtain of mist that would lift and part according to its own vague logic, alternately revealing and hiding the route ahead. I expected the Doodsakker to be all valiant swashbuckling triumph or desperate defeat... actually it was more like being invited into the home of a famous person, and shown around by a curator to hushed tones and distant humming music. I felt contemplative all day, the Atlantic breeze fresh and wet on my skin.

I thought about how good it was to be here, and how few people would ever see these sights. And listened to the intertwined sounds of motorcycle and waves, as we sailed between huge sentinel dunes and the endless sea.

http://www.youtube.com/v/C3NDR5EPPos
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on September 24, 2013, 11:39:59 pm
'So, when the pack of about 5 poorly bred poodle-looking things heard us coming, scratched themselves and joyfully ran out to sort-of-bark and half heartedly chase Max’s front tire, I felt kinda stoopid. '


ah - I beg to differ sir! - those dogs where terrifying - especially for someone not able to cross more than 50 metres of soft sand without falling

and although one  aging golden labrador  with hip problems snapping at max's heals was quite amusing to watch  (as he disappeared over a dune out of site leaving me alone) a pack of them could do some damage

i had visions  of  writhing around in the sand as those rabid miniature guide dogs tore me apart - slowly, over a period of about 4 hours - small pieces at a time

im proud to say the next 15 minutes of riding as i fought my way  around and over those feral labradors  was some of the most inspirational riding of the trip - and my first dune crossing without touching ground - my friends back at the circus would have been proud
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lj111 on September 25, 2013, 09:42:59 am
Great RR!!!

Thanks :thumleft: :drif:G
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Whyme on September 25, 2013, 11:46:10 am
Very well documented RR :thumleft: thanks for sharing/inspiration.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 25, 2013, 11:56:18 am

...and although one  aging golden labrador  with hip problems snapping at max's heals was quite amusing to watch...

Midget - they were feral spaniels, not labradors, you two-bit half-pint little motorcycle monkey. And, as everyone who has owned an inbred spaniel knows, they can be vicious and extremely dangerous.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: DRAZIL on September 25, 2013, 01:05:18 pm
this is undoubtedly the best ride report i have read in the last few years :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tiger8 on September 25, 2013, 01:45:56 pm
this is undoubtedly the best ride report i have read in the last few years :thumleft: :thumleft:

Agreed  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lj111 on September 25, 2013, 03:34:13 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 25, 2013, 07:49:28 pm

Miraculously, the Midge was true to his word. In a salute to the speed at which he’d picked up the riding gig, he blasted through ludicrously soft, lumpy sand sections and into the camp, coming to a stop very nearly inside the restaurant with an ear-to-ear grin plastered all over his sexy little mug.

Flamingo Lodge is a lovely spot. It’s well set up with basic but comfortable bungalows and a restaurant area set up on a cliff with a cracking view over the sea. The paths are marked out by whale ribs planted into the sand, and the pictures on the bragging wall leave little doubt as to the activity of choice; ocean plunder.  It’s arguably a touch expensive (I’m arguably a touch cheap) but they soften the blow with unlimited beer and great meals, typically consisting of fish caught that day. A Neil-Armstrong-Mankind-sized step up from After Life and peanuts.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3688/9936964774_87cf04c461_b.jpg)

Now, when confronted with a fridge full of free beer after wandering in the desert for 40 days and nights, one would expect a military sized assault on said fridge. So I ate my full and went to bed. I had the black lung at that point and wasn’t feeling too sparky.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2858/9936204226_e12345b963_o.png)

It might have been viral, cause some of the locals had it too.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2832/9936205726_d000e6b0da_o.jpg)

Not wanting to be a drag and keep everyone awake with my confounded hacking, I set about self-medicating with intent.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3803/9936836844_e81812a409_o.jpg)

I had left the Midget and Max to discus the latest developments in fishing reel technology with the PhD students who were there doing fish research (and catching our dinner). Fortunately for the Midge, the beer wasn’t only on the top shelf of the fridge. I found him inside it the next morning.


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on September 25, 2013, 07:52:01 pm

...and although one  aging golden labrador  with hip problems snapping at max's heals was quite amusing to watch...

Midget - they were feral spaniels, not labradors, you two-bit half-pint little motorcycle monkey. And, as everyone who has owned an inbred spaniel knows, they can be vicious and extremely dangerous.

you may have seen spaniels Max but I saw something  far more terrifying - eyes that where almost human with a ginger beard  - an unholy abomination
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 25, 2013, 08:00:35 pm
So a day of chilling on a beach leads one to a spot of reflection. So does writing about it. I found some little snippets on the interwebs about our gauntlet run that I thought would be worth sharing.

(Confession: I was actually researching where the name ‘doodsakker’ came from. Max professed that it was related to having had the bejesus bombed out of it in the war. Any thoughts on why a weapon wielding nutjob would drop an expensive bomb onto an uninhabited desert? Anyone… anyone….  Bueller??? I reckon it’s more likely named as such because there’s nothing there, it’s a wee bit dangerous, and you’s going to be dood if you balls it up. And your bones will be scattered over an acre by the wild dogs, birds and bone-eating crabs.)

Anyhoo, I’m pretty glad I only did any research on this post completion. Look at all the terrifying things people have to say:

“Doodsakker can and will be traversed.. it is the way it is.. but I've a moral problem with decisions taken here to expose women, children and the elderly to extremely dangerous and totally un-necessary risks”
Well, despite paying less for rides at the funfair the Midget doesn’t count as a child, so we were fine there, and Max isn’t THAT old… But unnecessary? WTF? What can be more necessary than a man (or woman) taking unquantifiable risks in the interests of having a tip top story to tell and feeling like a superhero? This may very well be the most necessary thing on the planet.


Then we have the sage advice of this punter:

"when it goes good it goes good.. when it goes bad it goes bad"

Really? Wow – new levels of insight there…

Tracks for Africa have apparently had all sorts of admin from people for showing that route at all. In my books, if you follow a route labelled “[Extremely Dangerous] and (totally insane)” you’ve given up your right to bitch at the mapping company giving you directions. They use two different types of brackets for crying out loud. What else do you need, an ampersand? Some hashtags?

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2814/9935523673_d379752336_b.jpg)

Incidentally, the pic above nicely shows the sand spits that I was talking about a few days ago, proving that a picture really is worth 342 words. It's also worth noting that if you do cock it up, you should stop on the way back for some "excellent fish".

Given that we typically do no planning of our own, I thought this might be useful for others, although it’s probably more for the 4-wheeled brigade:

“It is strongly recommended to travel this route from NORTH to SOUTH i.e. from Tombua to Foz.. and not from south to north.  Due to the unpredictable problem of the sea exposing some rocks in the intertidal zone, transit by vehicles maybe impossible or very difficult. As this hazard occurs some 12km from the North exit point, the turning back is a 12 km trip to safety. Approaching from the south and discovering that passage is impossible means a 48km backtrack.”

As previously mentioned, that’s a long way in reverse.

The last contribution I found before slipping into a coma was this:

“I’m sticking my neck out, but I consider taking the doodsakker route to Foz to be an irresponsible action - and another example is travelling the backroads of Lesotho in the middle of winter -when you can quite easily get trapped by a snowfall and immediately be in a life-or-death situation”

So… who's up for a winter blast through Lesotho then?

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 25, 2013, 08:02:38 pm
.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Pistonpete on September 25, 2013, 09:08:29 pm
I hope you putting this on ADV Rider States side...maybe we have a new Metal Jockey?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mr Zog on September 26, 2013, 08:04:22 am
Jeez, I'm sitting here refreshing every few minutes to see if there is a new instalment... :drif:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Breekbeen on September 26, 2013, 11:15:52 am
 :sip:
 :spitcoffee:
Ons wag.......
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 26, 2013, 11:47:13 am
I hope you putting this on ADV Rider States side

Yeah, we'll get there. The problem with camels and pandas and midgets is that they're a bit dimwitted and can only do one thing at a time. (Although I know a few ladeez that would disagree when it comes to the midget.) If we shift attention stateside you'll have to wag even longer, which, I think you'll agree, would be an unrighteous state of affairs.

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 26, 2013, 03:59:57 pm
Loving it. :hello2:


"The trees are green because of the underground river...underground rivers of water....and love."  :imaposer:

Made me think of this which I am sure you will appreciate:
http://www.youtube.com/v/Erg4DPUMyIU


Where is the next issue? My F5 button is wearing out. Come on guys...  :deal:

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 26, 2013, 08:56:40 pm
So this is where we were:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3761/9951751654_d37bf2a99d_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7312/9951673536_913a4a5f6d_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7360/9951729915_f52c218b58_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7353/9951675266_7ed8913e83_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7379/9951672256_17bfc3103f_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2843/9951797595_9936f0a11a_b.jpg)

All rather bladdy beautiful.


In terms of trip planning, booking a night at Flamingo was pretty much the only thing we did. And it was a necessity ‘cause we needed a letter from them for the visa. At that stage, in the comfort of my living room, I had scoffed at Max’s suggestion of booking 2 nights. “We’ll probably want to chill by then” said he. “Chill? We’ll be adventuring through Angola old boy – who needs to chill?”

I do apparently. You see, I’m mostly camel, but also part lion, and what lion doesn’t enjoy a wee afternoon nap in the shade of a nearby tree? And why restrict it to the afternoon? Turns out I’m a big fan of the rest day.

To be honest we were pretty shagged by this point. And the bikes needed some attention.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2877/9951672296_012cde3ab0_b.jpg)

The hydraulic clutch reservoir on my bike had been leaking oil since just after Oncocua and I was uncharacteristically stressed about it, feeling very un-dood. On the 690, the pressure of the hydraulic fluid goes up when the clutch wears, not down, so when I opened it up and oil pissed out, I knew that the clutch was wearing – just not how much. I’m not overlay smart that way.

Just before the trip I cut the end off the clutch lever so it was more comfy as a 2-finger lever and I was hoping that the extra throw was partly responsible. Admittedly this was clutching (sorry) at straws.

Max also had a few minor niggles in the bike which included a grubby airbox and luggage rack tank bolts that were trying to escape. Nothing too critical although lots to cluck about.

For the Midget, Buttercup was whinnying along with barely a sweat, apart from some body art (not one panel on the bike had got through the first week without hugging Angolan dirt). His luggage, however, was an entirely different story. We all bought the ATC overlander bags just before the trip (freshly unwrapped in Opuwo where we tried to figure out what to do with all those straps). Mine and Max’s had done a pretty good job of getting food, water and a boat load of fuel to the coast. What there are less good at, is acting as a roll cage. Midge’s bags looked like someone had stuffed 2 Vietnamese potbellied pigs in them, wrapped them up tight and then tossed them into the cage of a hungry Asian tiger.

Them were some badass pigs
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2806/9954390286_853fb90eab_o.jpg)

At this point their (we’re talking about the bags now, not the pigs. Or the tigers) role in containing anything was purely decorative – we had used almost all our spare straps to hold the things together, including the tow rope. Amazingly, unbelievably, they were to deteriorate further as the Midge continued his Angolan smackdown tour.

We should not let the bags get all the attention, however. Lets consider, for a moment, the racks to which aforementioned bags were strapped. The Midget only took delivery of his bike a week or so before we left so didn’t have time to order proper racks. Not wanting to ride for 2 weeks Sherpa-style with an expedition backpack strapped to his forehead, he resorted to asking a local expert welder (edit: and sidestand switch remote fixer) for assistance. Now, far be it for me to knock the services of someone who (edit: through great personal sacrifice) made it possible to have an Epic Adventure, but this apparatus was quite clearly the most ridiculous pannier rack ever to (dis)grace the mighty rump of a DR. It looked like the rear wheel and the tail light had been locked inside a cage fighting ring to duel to the death. In this case though, the destruction was happening on the outside, not within. Trapped between the mighty fortress of the rack and hard stony ground those bags quickly surrendered.  

If we’d had half a brain or an ounce of ingenuity between us we would have sewn up the bags with fish gut but we were either too lazy or stupid to do anything so we retired to the restaurant to stuff food into our pie-holes and our hands into the fridge.

The folks running the Lodge were really friendly and very nice to us. We were pretty unsavoury when we arrived (no shower since Opuwo) but they happily washed our clothes and dishes. The latter was a generous gesture once you consider that, given tight water supply, we’d only used sand to clean them since entering the country. How we didn’t have chronic dysentery is anyone’s guess. The PhD students were an enthusiastic bunch and loaned us their tools while making anchors for their tracking gear, using metre long pieces of railway track. A bunch of surfers also arrived that day, one Spanish, one Yankee and a few photographers and filmmakers. Camp rumours had it that at least one was paid by Kelly Slater to cruise the globe and find amazing places to surf. Not the worst job in the world. If this vid is anything to go by, Mr SL8R was going to get a decent return on investment (we don’t know these guys but they seem pretty cool):
ANGOLA - the beauty within (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni_xEeAAle0#)

The rest of the folks there were a mix of uber-keen fisherman and city folk having a holiday. As you can expect from a nicely set up lodge in the middle of nowhere, the vibe was pretty chilled.

But were becoming lardy. Clean sheets and washed plates are no good for the rugged adventure rider – he cannot afford to lose his edge, soften his highly tuned survival instincts. So we had a nice warm shower and tucked ourselves in, muttering promises of an early departure…





Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: FATO on September 26, 2013, 09:33:56 pm

(Confession: I was actually researching where the name ‘doodsakker’ came from. Max professed that it was related to having had the bejesus bombed out of it in the war. Any thoughts on why a weapon wielding nutjob would drop an expensive bomb onto an uninhabited desert? Anyone… anyone….  Bueller???

"Doodsakker" refers in military terms to the area or arc of fire the enemy enters while you lay in ambush. Generally not many escape the "doodsakker" as they are mowed down whilest caught in a carefully selected open area, and the ones laying in ambush fires from well concealed and protected position. Thus the name of that piece of beach. If you get caught there you are done for!

Brilliant RR. Thank you.

[/quote]
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: SACK on September 26, 2013, 09:47:15 pm
Great report!

Looking forward to the rest.

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 26, 2013, 10:06:37 pm

"Doodsakker" refers in military terms to the area or arc of fire the enemy enters while you lay in ambush. Generally not many escape the "doodsakker" as they are mowed down whilest caught in a carefully selected open area, and the ones laying in ambush fires from well concealed and protected position. Thus the name of that piece of beach. If you get caught there you are done for!


Now that's what I was looking for - thanks FATO! You can be our researcher to correct all the tripe we talk.

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 26, 2013, 10:20:21 pm
This has nothing whatsoever to do with our trip but its cool factor warrants a gratuitous post...

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7357/9955953765_e47bf4be0a_o.jpg)

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 26, 2013, 10:40:21 pm
Riding out of the lodge that morning I did feel a little sloppy to be honest. Creature comforts can blunt a man, which is why you lot should all sleep on the floor. We had chanced upon some great news that morning though, which meant that we had Another Very Exciting Ride to look forward to.

Now apologies to the geographical guru’s amongst you for not posting maps but the truth is we never really knew were we were going end up each day. Of course we knew we were broadly going in a clockwise circle, but we never knew how far we’d get or whether we’d find an irresistible distraction that needed to be explored. In the first week, we never did more than 150kms in a day, despite riding fairly long hours. The day we left Flamingo, we knew we were going north to the town of Namibe, and then turning east, inland towards whatever treasures lay there. The city of Lubango was loosely on the radar. Very loosely.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2843/9956196544_738f65595c_b.jpg)

Instead of traipsing back to the tar road and up to Namibe, the great news from our host was that we could blast up the beach to a shipwreck and then wiggle our way inland to Namibe. “There are a few rocky spots and cliff sections where you have to go inland a bit, but you’ll find your way through no problem. You really can’t get lost”, he said. “Yes we can” we replied in unison.

As I have mentioned, our killer instincts were dulled so we gleefully accepted this nod to our navigation skills, fired up, and blasted up the beach.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2841/9951801645_d2dd491dd4_b.jpg)

The beach is broad and flat and it was low tide with plenty of lovely hard sand - play time. Every 100m or so the waves had pushed the sand into handy little launch pads. Now I’m no Evel Knievel, but I do like spreading my wings with my orange.

Fly like an Evel
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3724/9955991926_6fa70976de_o.jpg)

I like it even more when we return to earth in the same hierarchy in which we left it. This was a lot of fun and from the sound of Max’s bike I gathered he was also enjoying himself. This glee was short lived though - I came over a ridge to find Max and bike, not remotely in the right hierarchy, lying in a heap in the sand.

Now I may have mentioned that Max is my brother. Seeing the big man upside down next to his bike, and knowing he had been giving it a rev, turned my stomach upside down. It was my worst nightmare on this trip – that one of us would seriously hurt ourselves. A little scrape here and there? Fantastic - would be disappointed if we didn’t have some stories. But a life changing spinal injury was not on my list of things I wanted to see that morning.

Miraculously, the Panda was shaken and stirred, but not wheelchaired. He’d got it wrong on one of the lips, flipped his bike and done some damage to his fairing, but was physically fine. I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it actually – and kept asking him if he was really ok – to the point where he donned his lid and declared that we should piss off up the beach.

It was a serious get out of jail free card that could so, so, so easily have turned out differently. Given our bumbling it might seem surprising that it took this long, but I think we all got a little quiet after that and turned the focus up a notch.

It never lasts though does it?

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: JMOL on September 26, 2013, 10:50:11 pm
Fantastic report!!

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2013, 07:04:22 am
I know you chaps are all about the bikes, but for us ritual, ceremony and rite are an equally important part of any bike trip:

http://www.youtube.com/v/LRWf2A4yZh0
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2013, 07:18:29 am

Miraculously, the Panda was shaken and stirred, but not wheelchair bound. He’d got it wrong on one of the lips, flipped his bike and done some damage to his fairing, but was physically fine. I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it actually – and kept asking him if he was really ok – to the point where he donned his lid and declared that we should piss off up the beach.

It was a serious get out of jail free card that could so, so, so easily have turned out differently. Given our bumbling it might seem surprising that it took this long, but I think we all got a little quiet after that and turned the focus up a notch.

It never lasts though does it?


The less said about this, the better, but since you got me started:

1. KTMs are evil, dangerous machines that encourage bad behaviour, and I'm selling mine and getting a mule. As soon as I fix it.
(http://www.tonyrogers.com/humor/images/mule_face.jpg)
(Gratuitous picture of DR650)

2. KTM 690s are quite capable of doing an aerial flip and somersault on sand without incurring more damage than a schmangled brake pedal and cracked fairing.
3. The sand on the crest of little beach dunes is often very soft and if you really are jump to go over it at 80 you should at least be concentrating and not looking sideways at flamingos.
4. Two days trying - and failing - to drink a midget under the table on free beer are not good preparation for getting back into some serious motorcycling and its a schoolboy error to forget that the first hour and last hour of the day are the danger times and one should fuckingtakeiteasy!!
5. More on the last hour of the day to follow.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lecap on September 27, 2013, 10:52:07 am
Two little remarks:

With regards to the quote "quite clearly the most ridiculous pannier rack ever to (dis)grace the mighty rump of a DR".

Feel free to show me ANY other rack which would have survived loading it like you did and than crashing it across the landscapes of Angola whilst attached to a DR650 in the manner the Midget apparently did.
I already welded carrier racks which could survive transcontinental journeys when you still pooped into your nappies - or even before that time.

In all your accumulated overland travel wisdom please tell me what's the bigger problem: Tearing a bag in a fall or breaking a luggage rack - or having to extract said rack from the space which is supposed to be reserved for rear wheel and suspension?
So I'm sure the incredulously ugly rack broke three times a day and had to be straightened every morning?

If you want something pretty go and buy a Givi Wingrack. I'm sure your friends at Café Caprice will think it's stylish and take pictures of it with their smart phones ::)



Besides that good luck next time with trying to find another selection of dodgy geezers like me and Dux who at last minute, over the weekend and through our free time patch your bikes together, servicing, fixing, rebuilding wheels etc.
Us dodgy geezers would have fixed your pathetic little side stand switch problem within ten minutes - over the phone ::)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Dwerg on September 27, 2013, 11:08:16 am
Ahhh laundry day is it?

Enjoying the report so far  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2013, 11:14:10 am
This has nothing whatsoever to do with our trip but its cool factor warrants a gratuitous post...

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7357/9955953765_e47bf4be0a_o.jpg)



Nice hipster cafe racer picture, Camel! Did you find that on your ipad while waiting for a cappuccino-to-go on your way to Cafe Caprice to pick up girls on your Ducatti city bike?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 27, 2013, 11:16:24 am
Well.... goodness gracious me. It's looks like I've gone and pushed the offensive button a little too hard. So for starters, unmitigated apologies to lecap. Your sturdy metalwork was certainly appreciated.

Just 2 points of clarification:

Quote
In all your accumulated overland travel wisdom...

Surely by now you would have seen that there is not once ounce of wisdom to share between us? We're patently self-confessed, blithering idiots.

Quote
...or having to extract said rack from the space which is supposed to be reserved for rear wheel and suspension?

Well, I beg you to wait good sir. There's a rather tickling tale coming up that may surprise (although probably not amuse) you.

Although I used to enjoy a good public spat I'm more inclined to cuddle puddles these days and I don't think this is the space for tiffs, so I have removed any personal references. And again, humble apologies.

Now on with the good stuff...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 27, 2013, 11:30:29 am

Quote
Nice hipster cafe racer picture, Camel! Did you find that on your ipad while waiting for a cappuccino-to-go on your way to Cafe Caprice to pick up girls on your Ducatti city bike?

The hell I was! You know I'm lactose intolerant and only drink double espressos

And my city bike is a Vespa.

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Gasman on September 27, 2013, 01:57:02 pm
Keep it  coming! loving the videos!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Vis Arend on September 27, 2013, 03:21:23 pm
To the self-confessed, blithering idiots.............damn good ride report this, keep it rolling.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Hammerhead on September 27, 2013, 03:50:30 pm
Type faster demmit!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 27, 2013, 04:14:38 pm
Sorry for the delay. I got caught in Café Caprice where some bastard scratched my Bentley.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7384/9965877306_8db28816a3_o.jpg)

To the issue at hand…

Tumbles and tussles aside, we were tip, tip, tapping up the beach with the occasional rock-section-enforced detour. This was via tracks that ran about 200m inland, some of them on top of impressive cliffs with gorgeous views. Sadly we’re light on photos here cause Max’s hands were still shaking too much to operate a camera.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5534/9951752424_88032a5592_b.jpg)

We continued up the beach, straight past the shipwreck we were supposed to have turned up at, and finally arrived at an industrial development of significant scale. A brief tour through site confirmed that this was the end of our track. “Nae bother”, said the freshly shaken and stirred Scottish Panda, and he led the way inland straight line through the semi-desert shrubbery. For direction we used the old ‘drive directly away from the sea’ technique, possibly involving a wee bit of damage to fairly delicate eco-systems. Now, I’m sensitive to stuff like that (there are few things that piss me off as much as petrolheads needlessly destroying beautiful parts of nature with their vehicles) but we couldn’t, for love nor money, find any form of track to take us out. So we pointed for the horizon like the cowboys must’ve, and pottered on.

The development we were trying to get around had a sinister feeling. It’s massive (it’s not visible on google earth but I assume that’s cause it’s relatively new), with barbed wire fences all over the place and trenches to stop anyone getting too close. I assume it’s linked to the oil industry, and oil interests in poor African countries tend to be controlled by rather unscrupulous individuals. So I got the fear, real bad, and was beset by images of us having to turn around and outrun evil intentioned gentlemen in a black 4x4 with lots of spotlights and submachine guns mounted in turrets.

One we got inland of the construction, and my acid flashback had calmed down, we could see the town of Namibe in the distance so just rode straight for it. I like to think we resembled a cavalier (and less French) version of the 3 Musketeers, but probably looked more like lost hippies flirting with death by machine gun. Which, I’m told, is almost as painful as death by tray.

We finally made it to the town, entering via the truly disgusting dump. Again. In a startling display of idiocy we managed to lose each other in the dump. Namibe is too big a town to stand in the middle of the square and shout for your mates to regroup. We found each other at the gas station leading out of town towards Lubango, did a dodgy currency deal with a local trucker and headed off – with prospects of an afternoon of tar road riding.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2013, 04:21:30 pm
Beach riding is something special. Having nearly been mown down by a flying beach buggy some years back at Cape Vidal I can appreciate the value of canning it in South Africa, but since only four people a year make it to Angola it felt like a rare pleasure to be allowed to misbehave on endless kilometres of sand.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/9951651625_6074a7fe35_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2013, 04:33:14 pm
Sorry for the delay. I got caught in Café Caprice where some bastard scratched my Bentley.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7384/9965877306_8db28816a3_o.jpg)


Good people, please don't be misled. The Camel has a small problem with "exaggeration"*. Our parents have asked me to help with holding him to account, gently steering him towards the ways of truth, honesty and openness as a way of integrating fully with the rest of the human race.

I refer you to his earlier comment, in Reply #218: "And my city bike is a Vespa."

Ladies - the Camel does not own a Bentley. It doesn't take a genius to work out that he simply lifted that picture from the internet. Obviously the light is completely wrong for Cape Town in the afternoon - even at this time of year.

Please don't be too disappointed, because even though he's not that rich, he is a very nice bloke (although prone to exhibitionism) and it would make him very happy if a lovely lady would snap him up for marriage and four children. A short while ago, I snapped this little pic of him for you on my cellphone in front of Caprice, while I was finishing a cocktail and leisurely taking in the last desperate rays of light on this gloomy Friday afternoon.

* Basically, he's a pathological liar.

(http://www.2oceansvibe.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/3299-93000069809-528794809-2513236-2634678-n.jpg)

{Sent from my iPad}
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: shanti on September 27, 2013, 07:18:53 pm
Nice one on the outer edge - great RR - peace
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 28, 2013, 07:46:23 am
The Panda is right, sadly. I do ride my bike in a g-string.

I did actually have a Vespa once. I lived in Cambodia in the mid 00’s and the capital, Phnom Penh, is full of the things. Together with Vietnam and Laos, it used to be the French colony of Indochina. Why that’s relevant is not entirely clear but every time I asked someone why there were so many Vespa’s cruising the city, someone would whisper something about “the colonies” in professorial tones. FATO – maybe you can help us out here mate?

This was my sexy little steed, affectionately called Gangreen:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7449/9970320785_186713d868_b.jpg)

Anyway, whether it was early French hipsters who brought them in, (one couldn’t see post war Italians pulling off the colonisation thing right?) or they were reverse engineered in Hanoi, there were squillions of the things. So I bought one. It was only the second motorbike I’d ever owned (the first was a monstrous road hog in the States when I was in my early twenties and had never ridden a bike before, but that’s one tangent too far for this thread). Anyhoo, these Vespa’s are curious things. Knowing what I know now (that I’m an Experienced Angolan Adventurer) I’d probably spit my Café Caprice cocktail at it, but back then it was a scream. And it took me round town to places like this:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3807/9976269404_208644164c_b.jpg)

And this

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3696/9976372413_baaa818389_b.jpg)

But every now and again we’d want to go further afield so we’d take these frog eyed delights:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3722/9970402576_7d05d20361_b.jpg)

And go visit places like this

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5339/9970358434_f0649bbb71_b.jpg)

this

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2834/9970394875_80eeb85cb2_b.jpg)

this

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7444/9970472573_9094076a29_b.jpg)

this:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2854/9970495183_5108175381_b.jpg)

and this

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7439/9970353385_63ba1e9a0a_b.jpg)

I was a complete novice (first time I had ridden an offroad bike) and the riding wasn’t exactly dull…

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3681/9970400725_4646baeac2_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7427/9970368694_71d2f40716_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7334/9970534843_074f1cf42c_b.jpg)

And on occasion I’d miss a bridge over the odd collapsed aqueduct:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7368/9970501543_2a43d077ab_b.jpg)

On the more remote of these trips, we’d be in areas that hadn’t yet been de-mined. Being fairly conservative in our risk taking when it comes to detonating land mines, we used to chill out in the path we were riding on, and sleep as close to the path as possible. No tents – hammock island style for us with very necessary little mosquito nets.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5515/9970373515_859cb05582_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3748/9970507413_d650c5e9ef_b.jpg)

I had a great bunch of enthusiastic, and similarly unskilled friends to ride with and we’d always bump into delightful old codgers like these two:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3724/9970324325_c7238479a8_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3813/9970398386_eb0d7a2df2_b.jpg)

In rainy season, when the paddys were flooded and our skills maxed out, we took to 4 wheels for our fun

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7292/9970486173_c342e68353_b.jpg)

Which was my first ever opportunity to show off my budding cameltoe

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7441/9970359855_c08cda66a0_b.jpg)

Which brings, us through no intervention of logic, back to this story. We weren’t in Cambodia, we were in Angola. And I wasn’t riding a Vespa naked down Camps Bay main road, or Norodom Boulevard. I was riding a KTM 690 naked down a long beautiful tar road to Lubango.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 28, 2013, 07:56:16 am
what an entertaining RR, please get the Hell out of Café Caprice and go ride somewhere so that we can have another story to read.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 28, 2013, 12:38:22 pm
I guess I’m in good company when I say I normally hate tar - it bores me. It's a necessary nuisance that comes at the beginning and end of the good stuff, a like foreplay and pillow talk. But we’d been battling the bumps for some time and it was pleasant to put the tunes on, sit and chill, and get some decent mileage under the belt. I know it’s a divisive subject but for me, tunes are a beautiful thing on a long tar road (have a listen to Jacques Le Cont’s remix of Even Better Than the Real Thing).

We were heading almost directly east towards Lubango, which would be the northern most point we got to on the trip.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7394/9977078243_ae97398e78_b.jpg)

In the bigger picture of the country, we really were waltzing through a tiny corner of the South West.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3771/9977008316_a92d70ac21_b.jpg)

The scenery was magnificent. Having been in nothing but sand for a while, we were now heading through rolling hills and towards the escarpment.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7301/9951754104_48bc07279e_b.jpg)

With the rock hard seat of the 690 threatening impotence, frequent stops are mandatory. Like at these pretty cool roadside stalls. And everywhere we went there were warm smiles and people who couldn’t do enough to help us (the Midget may have taken that a touch too far). These Angolan people really are very lovely folks.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5491/9951863426_9cc3e03772_b.jpg)

We were getting closer to the much talked about Serra da Leba pass. So named because it takes one to the top of the Serra de Leba mountains, at 5000ft. It’s much talked about for good reason – it’s got 1 bajillion switchbacks and it’s fantastic fun. You can see the road above the Midgets head (he’s standing on his seat in this photo).

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3676/9951842815_8c6ca7ea76_b.jpg)

The pics below only show the top section – it’s about a fifth of the climb.    

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3694/9978964336_183179aa20_o.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3811/9978955744_991eaed997_o.jpg)

Once on top of the escarpment, it’s rolling hills to the city of Lubango.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5538/9951652335_58b5ff0d71_b.jpg)

Predictably, we got to Lubango a little too late to get food and fuel and far enough out of town to sleep rough without attracting the attention of an entire village. I’m generally ok with being near the centre of attention, but my campsite is my Buddhist temple and I like to be left in peace. So it was another night of soft loooxury at a very pleasant little guesthouse. Which the Midget found for us. Because that was his job. Because he was kitty bitch. Again.




Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 29, 2013, 11:54:11 am
Here's another bit of obtuse, barely watchable highlights from somewhere around Iona. Plenty of top Midget footage, though, so Betsy is clearly going to want to download for her private viewing pleasure.

http://www.youtube.com/v/sNj-QXx5ffg
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 29, 2013, 10:20:31 pm
Lubango is a fairly pleasant place. It’s got a population of about 100,000 making it the 7th biggest city in Angola. Narrowly edging Iona, population 37, out of the top 10.

It’s got an interesting history from a South African perspective. The first colonists arrived in the late 1800’s from Madeira, Portugal. They gobbled up the best land and started farming it with reasonable success. About 3 years later some (presumably very lost) Boer families arrived with similar intentions.  We thought it was a monster trip by Audi and KTM – imagine doing that in an ox cart! (which has exactly the same suspension as a DR). Makes our little jaunt through the doodsakker seem like popping round the corner to get some milk.

Sadly the forces of colony-allocation turned against these South Africans and Portugal got Angola. (How did that work - did they sit round a table and play poker for countries?  “I see your Zimbabwe and raise you Kenya...”).

Presumably fairly crestfallen by this cruel roll of the dice, our intrepid pioneers had to turn around and head back south. They ended up trying to set up “the Republic of Upingtonia” in what is now Namibia. (These guys may have been the same crowd who named Wimpy.) Then the Germans got South West Africa! Someone needed to cut these guys some slack.

Those were quaint times. Some fellow bought a tract of land (fifty thousand square kilometers) from some other fellow for 300 pounds. He paid for it with “twenty-five firearms, one salted horse, and a cask of brandy”. What the hell is a salted horse?!? Do you eat it or ride it? FATO – we need your help here brother. When you’ve solved that one please could you tell me how many salted horses I’d need to buy a skinny latte at Café Caprice.

In current times the 300 pounds would buy you a little less. Luanda was declared the most expensive city in the world for expats in 2013 (in a Mercer report), and Lubango, while not ferociously expensive, is probably heading that way. It’s quite a beautiful city with plenty of old colonial buildings, a bit run down, but still oozing charm. We spoke with some UN workers there who said that he intention was to turn the city “into Dubai”. i.e. tear down all old buildings and stick steel and glass skyscrapers in their place. Ahhh, the rich smell of progress….

The income income equality in Angola is on a scale we can’t comprehend, which says a lot coming from South Africa. The oil (2nd biggest producer in Africa after Nigeria) has created enormous wealth, and it’s highly concentrated in the hands of the political elite. The president’s daughter is the richest person in the country and seems to control pretty much everything. Comparing this to the poverty down south is nausea inducing stuff.

Anyhoo, we weren’t here to dwell on the dysfunctions of post-colonial development, we were here to explore this wonderful land. So we filled up (R6 a litre – don’t knock being an oil producing state)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7318/9951827016_dc68dbb0de_c.jpg)

Nodded approvingly at a chopped down café racer

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3782/9951805185_cdfe6e3ac8_b.jpg)


And headed off in anticipation of Another Interesting Day.


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on September 29, 2013, 11:41:23 pm
Dont treat objects like old geyses dude
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 30, 2013, 06:33:56 am
I tell you, this salty horse business has been troubling me all night. Hardly slept a wink.

Some quick research suggests that it's less this

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3693/10013436556_a5de4ec5fa_o.jpg)

or this

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7434/10013370724_c90275acf2_o.jpg)

and more this

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5464/10013371724_8f4302979c_b.jpg)

Somebody tell me otherwise? Please? FATO - help!

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on September 30, 2013, 07:04:45 am
Afrikaans for a well trained (usually wrt endurance riding), hardened horse. Basically unlike the Midget.  Always thought it had something to do with a horse having some tsetse fly resistance too, but cant find evidence to back this up. So, its a fit, trained, hardened horse...

Now at this point I must warn you thats its also illegal to keep amphibian rodents without a permit in city confines....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on September 30, 2013, 07:20:59 am
What are you, a fkn park ranger now?

 :biggrin:

(and thanks for filling in the knowledge gaps - means I don't have to go all vegetarian again. FATO - you're in danger of being fired mate....)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on October 01, 2013, 08:15:25 am
Hey!  We are WAITING....  :disgust:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Dusty on October 01, 2013, 08:18:02 am
Hey!  We are WAITING....  :disgust:

What she said  :sip:     
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Hagar on October 01, 2013, 08:25:02 am
Salted=resistance to African horse sickness.  Do not get distracted.. focus on the ride report.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 01, 2013, 09:11:20 am
Yep, yep, I'm a-comin.... Just ran outta gas

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3784/10033606656_f2c2061fc3_o.jpg)
(note the wonderful example of well maintained camel toe)

And the other one's been eating

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7382/10033702643_8d305e7413_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 01, 2013, 09:21:38 am
A night of comfort does wonders for the soul.


Actually that is a lie. Comfort is for pussies, whipping boys and BMW riders.

Okaaaaay. OK OK OK. Don't get too excited. Until very recently - like two weeks before this trip I WAS a BMW rider. It doesn't matter what bike you ride, as long as you ride. Even if it's a DR.

(http://a-z-animals.com/media/animals/images/470x370/mule1.jpg)
(Gratuitous picture of DR650)

When we were planning this trip, we got very excited over the map. See, everybody knows about the Doodsakker - it's like the prom queen, all dressed and fancy, everyone wants a piece of her at the school dance. But the rest of the country is the mysterious hot goth girl lurking in the corner. Who has even spoken to her? Maybe she has a wicked sense of humour. Maybe she has twisted and extraordinary ambitions with pieces of your anatomy. Maybe she cooks a mean apple pie.

Even Tracks for Africa knows nothing about the south east of the country. I'd spoken to several de-mining agencies and was armed to the teeth with information on how not to die there. I wanted to lead an expedition through unknown wastelands, swim my bike through a river and possibly see a tiger. But after blithering around for several days in northern Namibia with broken motorcycles and generalised disorganisation, and then making astounding progress at the rate of 150km/day through, admittedly incredibly beautiful scenery, all Livingstonian ambitions were grinding to a halt. Which made mockery of my carrying a pith helmet all this distance in my right pannier bag.

We had to get home to mummy. Or jobs, or whatever. So we took out a pencil and drew a more or less straight line south through a big green area that may be a game reserve, but probably wouldn't be since it was Angola, in the hope of seeing a tiger.

And off we went.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7409/9758285995_19ca665995_b.jpg)

It was boring tar for the first two hours, so I have nothing to show you. But just where we were turning off into the bush there was a shebeen and it was hot, so we settled in for a little drink. Have I mentioned Ngola beer costs R7 in Angola?

We were thirsty. So we sat and drank.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3772/9951901356_be1ca1e436_b.jpg)

And took in the scenery, which was constituted mainly of small children:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3784/9951899264_04e80c6cd3_b.jpg)

for whom we were a constant source of fascination, and lots of motos.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7325/9952005343_0e2a0a0f9d_b.jpg)

Motos are a real feature of motorcycle trips through Angola. For one thing, their riders are fantastic. For two, they carry all sorts of amazing shit, and for another they are bizarre little vehicles.

Take this one, for example.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7369/9951899214_30c8d9fb7f_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7369/9951827874_fe48820788_b.jpg)

Now why buy Ohlins when you can simply forge ahead with the double spring technique?

Even better are the trikes:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5349/9951963514_c930bce6af_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7370/9951902754_52063684e7_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3768/9952067803_02ac158fe7_b.jpg)

I would seriously like to get me one of those in Cape Town, kit it out with a lot of pink fur and use it as a party truck on a Friday night.

By this time we were six or seven down (well, except for Camel - he's abstemious) and drunk bikers and dumb ideas go together like Liberace and glitter balls. We've probably mentioned that The Midget is a crack shot with a catty.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7439/9951964384_f0391d5e2f_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7361/9952069176_42200960e1_b.jpg)

I'd REALLY like to tell you what happened next, but I think video may be a better resort.

http://www.youtube.com/v/cdfKTRgFevk
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 01, 2013, 11:18:02 am
Bravo Max – fine work on the vid there. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed in the Midget’s skills in the apple-on-the-head debacle. I mocked him a little, which is a dangerous thing to do to a Midget. I discovered just how dangerous 3 days later.

So the vid shows us arriving at the gates of the Bicuar National Park.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7393/10022825276_65f4a709f6_b.jpg)

Which is here:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3750/10034109033_273125f244_b.jpg)

What is doesn’t show (thankfully) is the 4 hour process we went through to get access to the park. The 4 hours entailed:
- A lot of sign language from our side that we wanted to go in, on our bikes
- A lot of sign language from the ranger’s side that over his dead body were we going in without a nod from the chief
- A lengthy nap under the shade of a beautiful tree to process the afternoon bevvies
- A pre-school level drawing session to try to ascertain what animals were in the park, and more specifically whether there was risk of being eaten
- Some respectful engagements with the chief, after someone had found him and extracted him from (no doubt) more important duties. Watched over by his armed entourage
- A light reprimand from said chief for not speaking Portuguese
- A refusal to pay the full park entrance fee on a completely baseless (and mildly belligerent) assumption that it was ‘unofficial’
- And finally, a shrug, benevolent smile, and the wave on from the chief that we had been waiting for. We were in! Never has there been a finer example of the benefits of gentle pressure, relentlessly applied.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7362/10022816495_ca0eec3a35_b.jpg)

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5509/10022825996_ed0525897d_b.jpg)


The unplanned for delay meant that we were closer to the end of the day than anticipated. Which is a bizarre statement given the lack of plan at the beginning of the day. Regardless, with a whoop and a toot we blasted off down the sandy tracks and into our first Angolan ‘game reserve’.

It dawned on me pretty quickly that this might not be plain sailing. It was probably the first time on the trip that I thought we may just have pushed it a liiiiiitle bit far. We were riding through a National Park that may or may not have housed hungry lions, it was the most technically difficult riding of the trip, and it was now dark. And we had a friendly-but-armed escort. The problem with friendly-but-armed escorts is that it’s difficult to tell what the guns are for, especially when you have not one word of common language between you. I figured it could only be:
a)   to shoot wild, threatening tigers
b)   to shoot wild, threatening bandits
c)   to shoot us and feed us to the wild, threatening tigers
Naturally none of these options were appealing. Particularly because the Midget was having some trouble with the terrain.

Through the orange glow of my headlight (HID lights are apparently less effective when covered by orange headlight protectors) I had a disturbing view. In front of me, Lester Piggott was manhandling Buttercup like a reluctant racehorse into the starting gates. The bike was sideways a lot more often than it was facing in the direction of travel, but not in a Tokyo Drift, graceful kinda way. More epileptic fit. We were in very soft sand tracks, with a middle-mannetjie a good foot higher than the track, and dense bush tightly hugging the road. To top all that, the headlight on the DR is so miserable he might as well have been using his aura to illuminate the road. This would have been hilarious had it not been for the trouble I was having keeping my own bike upright, and the fact that I had a 4x4 full of armed-but-friendly Angolans about 6cm off my back wheel.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/10022916256_438f6e0262_b.jpg)

Now I’m fully South African but there are times when one might think I was raised in Buckingham Palace. I have this terribly British tendency to feel guilty about causing the slightest inconvenience to others. It’s hard to imagine how we could possibly have inconvenienced others more than this. We had woken the chief from his afternoon nap, been unable to communicate in any of the county’s languages, refused to pay the entrance fee, and then looked so amateurish on our vehicles that it had been deemed necessary to chaperone these bumbling fools through the dark to their destination. At least we would allow them the pleasure of shooting us later.

As if they hadn’t done enough, we then decided to halt the whole parade by breaking a bike. The Midge had a fiercely spectacular face plant and broke his kill switch (in all likelihood with his forehead – it’s soooo close to the bars). Before I could get the tool kit out, all the while mumbling “terribly sorry for the trouble…”, our guardian angles had radioed ahead, called in the cavalry and, with many hands, lifted the DR into the back of the bakkie. The cavalry was mounted 2-up on a 125 scoot, pillion with a rifle over each shoulder, and post-rescue they disappeared up the track as if it was a national highway.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5532/10022987243_bfa5031dcc_b.jpg)
(heaving the bike into the bakkie was aided by the formidably strong and expertly welded rack on the DR)

I was instructed to go up ahead which I refused on account of being afraid of the dark. So Max and I followed the wounded Buttercup and about 3km later we came to the camp that we had (unknowingly) been aiming for. We all tittered about how we’d much prefer to be sleeping rough (blatant lie) and then charged into our designated hut to claim the single mattress. Betsy, I know you may never forgive me, but I got to share the double with the midget that night. Which was great cause I just popped him on the pillow and had the rest of the bed to myself.


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Pistonpete on October 01, 2013, 01:00:50 pm

(heaving the bike into the bakkie was aided by the formidably strong and expertly welded rack on the DR)

 

hehe.....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 01, 2013, 01:12:58 pm
The camp that we had arrived at was of uncertain function. It certainly wasn’t for tourists so I guess either the administrative centre for the park, or a retreat/conference centre for government officials. It had a very official kind of feel to it. Which might have explained why we then lapsed into barely excusable buffoonery.

I think we were in a sort of limbo at this point. We’d gone as far north as we would get and this was clearly the homeward stretch, yet there was little excitement about ending this trip. We’d stayed in a nice guesthouse the night before and now we were in the bush but we weren’t camping properly yet. In the final faceplant, the Midget had hurt his knee so continuing our route through the park seemed unlikely, yet we didn’t know of any alternative routes. We were in motorcycling middle earth.

This limbo state shone through in our culinary preparations that evening. In our defence this was all conducted in vague sign language and my signing is only good for areas south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

First we were pointed to a fire, around which about 8 people were huddled – it was pretty chilly by this point. We were also shown a tiny, dark, damp room about 2m x 2m which we understood was the ‘kitchen’. We weren’t sure if the fire that had been pointed out was for cooking or warmth, so we walked aimlessly back and forth between the kitchen and fire for half an hour, hoping for someone to intervene. No one did. So we decided that slapping our fat juicy rainbow chicken onto these good folks’ heater would be poor form and the Midget started a fire in a discarded wheel near the kitchen. I set about preparing the chook that I foolishly assumed had been transported in the Midget’s luggage. This was not the case. The Midge had tied the chicken lovingly to his bumper, stroking it gently on the head all the while (the Midget and the Chicken see eye to eye. Literally.). Then, like a champion Ethiopian middle distance athlete, this chook had run the whole way to camp, arriving dry, dusty and dehydrated.

It deserved compassion. So we gutted it and stuck it on the braai. In return, the Gods of the Fowl delivered to us the toughest, most inedible, biltong-chicken known to man.

We should have read the signs when cracks started appearing on the fire. I suggested Max splash on some of our precious olive oil (extra virgin – just like ladeez from Café Caprice). “Is it this one?” he asked, holding up an unmarked brown bottle. (All our stuff is in unmarked brown bottles). “Not sure” I replied, “taste it”. I forgot of course, that one of the brown bottles contained dishwashing liquid. “Ughptah” said Max, as he dry wretched onto the fire.

There was not enough water in the whole of Angola to provide sufficient lubrication for that bone dry chicken and boiled rice to get down our throats. So we went to bed hungry. But that was fine, cause we’re well  ‘ard adventurers we are.

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KTMRICK on October 01, 2013, 04:14:46 pm
Too good. More please. Thanks God for good welders eh?? :pot:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 01, 2013, 05:11:51 pm
Thanks God for good welders eh?

Just you wait....

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Vis Arend on October 01, 2013, 08:07:10 pm
Thanks God for good welders eh?

Just you wait....



Can't wait for this one.   :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: wolfman on October 01, 2013, 11:13:39 pm
Fantastic report!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on October 02, 2013, 08:09:13 am

As if they hadn’t done enough, we then decided to halt the whole parade by breaking a bike. The Midge had a fiercely spectacular face plant and broke his kill switch (in all likelihood with his forehead – it’s soooo close to the bars).




if i could elaborate here - what this fateful night highlighted was that, like airwolf,  there is only one way to kill a DR650 and that is to drop a single grain of sand between a hairline crack in the kill switch jamming it permanently in  the on position - ninjas train an entire lifetime to get this technique right. Luckily there is also only one way to bring a DR650 back to life and that is to short circuit the kill switch - neatly done by the camel the next day - who redeemed himself for  his failure to save the KTM at the beginning of the trip - something which haunts him to this day.  unfortunately unlike the DR650 - there are over 3800 different ways to kill a KTM - lightly bumping the kickstand with your boot being one of them.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on October 02, 2013, 08:11:20 am
How to kill airwolf - fire a single bullet down this tube

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on October 02, 2013, 08:19:00 am
stringfellow hawk


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on October 02, 2013, 08:21:02 am
The camel auditioning for the role of stringfellow hawk inthe late 80's - he didnt get the part
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 02, 2013, 10:52:58 am
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2844/10050872325_d1fc58bab8_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Dwerg on October 02, 2013, 11:19:32 am
 :bueller:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on October 02, 2013, 02:36:33 pm
Can you see it?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2013, 05:21:33 pm
Almost identical!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Ganjora on October 02, 2013, 05:23:31 pm
Can you see it?

M looks nothing like ernest borgnine...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: King Louis on October 02, 2013, 05:24:09 pm
Unreal. The most entertaining report/pics/vids I've come accross in a long time.

Thank you! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2013, 05:38:34 pm
The Camel may have understated the welcome and kindness of our Angolan hosts. Although we were asked for dollars, and having no idea what they were for, were reluctant to give them, it did seem that they were for the bonafide purpose of ushering us into the park. Speaking of which, in the park we were. AK47's, wild beasts (a tiger or two) and untamed bush lay all around us. We had been accommodated in the official administrator block, in tihs really cute little cottage.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7323/10023181616_03145a9590_b.jpg)

I woke up hungry (he wasn't exaggerating about the chicken) and climbed this observation tower to get a better view.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7367/10023089956_742f7368b5_b.jpg)

Flat bush doesn't make for a particularly inspiring picture, so I didn't take any, but there was a waterhole about a kilometre off and large antelope were clearly visible all around it. Bearing in mind that Angola is still a recent escapee from decades of civil war, I hadn't expected there to actually BE a park, despite the green splodge on the map. But a park it was. We were still unclear where we were going this morning - was it straight through, or ducking out the north, but first there were pressing matters to attend to.

A certain bike...

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/__3yg0XyHpCI/Rr2k6_RYgOI/AAAAAAAAA0Y/blReVVZ2QQY/s400/Mule_061003102658077_wideweb__300x400.jpg)

.... had a problem.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2854/10022996495_375204bf45_b.jpg)

Luckily there was an orange crate nearby, and the Midget could get a good view of how to fix a DR650 (the lovely Buttercup).

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2817/10023003676_2cef0b0dcb_b.jpg)

And after fixing a DR, one should always fix the rider:

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3697/10022950694_0d12ceed5e_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2826/10022952314_faab2f86b8_b.jpg)

Then the chief bid us well, and set off on a game expedition of some sort, with 4 AK-bearing rangers riding shotgun on his bakkie, and we were unceremoniously ushered out of the park on the road heading north-east. Exactly where we didn't want to be heading.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/9758285755_f300c6b17b_b.jpg)

Bu the road was sandy, the bush was pretty and full of game (believe it or not, I did get my first sighting of a tiger, and I can assure you that they matched the KTM doing 80kph on the GPS).

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5514/10023000545_df56212861_b.jpg)

Sadly, I'm going to have to be brief in covering what was an astounding day's riding. It went on forever.... whoops, singletrack, sand, congas, wide open cracked mud, grassy tracks... everything that would make a 1200GS cry, and a single cylinder rider whoop with delight and sheer exhilaration at the delight of it all. We were having the time of our lives. Midget had finally got his groove on, and was riding like a half-man possessed, and we were making great time.

Approaching midday I stopped at this charming little village, right on the road, to wait for the others to catch up. See, I'd seen an N'gola sign, and I knew what that meant.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7329/10023163403_03f49247ea_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2811/10022954524_8d594a7781_b.jpg)

The Camel pulled up, and the Midget couldn't be all that far behind.... but as he cruised into view, he also stopped in the far distance, just shy of the village. We waited... and waited.... it was too far to see any details, so the Camel pulled off his Darth Vader-style helmet and went to investigate!

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3824/10023003485_06c8df3bcb_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 02, 2013, 06:45:29 pm
So, as Max says, we’re sitting in the middle of this sweet little village, waiting for a short guy on a mule to show up. The spirits were high cause the riding was really, really good.
“This is the best riding I have ever done,” I exclaimed to Max, for the 10th consecutive day. “I’d love to be back at Café Caprice so I could celebrate with a cocktail.”

 After a bit, the Midge came bouncing down the track on a buttercup-coloured pogo stick and then stopped, about 200m away. We looked. We waited. Midge hopped off Buttercup, circled it a few times, scratched his tiny little chin, and then waved for help.
 (http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc455/moschopz/kiss-me_team-america.gif)

I sauntered over, thinking he needed some assistance tying the tattered remains of his bags together (at this point they looked like an ancient windsock). But things were sadly not so superficial.

“Ooooooh sheeeeiiit”, said I.
“What you mean?”, said the Midget, knowing exactly what I meant.
“Dood, I’m sorry to say this, but I think this is the end of the road for you. Buttercup has finally rolled over. She needs to be shot.”
After the previous night’s fall the Midget thought his pro-surfing career was over, and now this! It was too much and his bottom lip began to quiver.

The DR was sitting on the ground like a fat Sumo wrestler; back wheel tucked tight up against the wheel arch and bags resting on the ground. The rear shock had snapped and with so little time left there was not much we could do. I imparted all this news with learned, if compassionate tones. What a sad, sad day. A catastrophe, a calamity, a twagedy of biblical proportions.

Buttercup was clearly in pain so I set about creating a screen so we could shoot her with dignity. That horse deserved it. Sadly we didn’t have a gun so I readied myself to bludgeon her to death with a tyre iron. Our plans to smuggle high calibre rifles over the border were thwarted by Max’s lady. Had this not been the case, I would have emptied a merciful round into Buttercup’s guts, then and there. Weaponry absent, I resorted to that which is mightier than the sword, and composed an ode.

ODE TO BUTTERCUP
Oh Buttercup, you trooper
You have been a sensation. Simply super.
Your style and grace is ace.
You have weathered soft sand like a camel (but lets not get carried away).
You have traversed rocks like a dung beetle.
You have followed the single track like a note does a line.
And now your time has come to have your brains beaten out with a tyre iron.
May you rest well in the AfterLife (it’s horrible stuff).

The cry of a distant vulture broke my trance and I suddenly had the bright idea of inspecting the damage. So we lay the bike down and I looked, and we lay it the other way and I inspected, and bugger me if I couldn’t find anything broken. The shock looked fine, the linkage looked fine, the swingarm looked fine. Everything seemed fine except my fatalistic prognosis and the position of that rear wheel. WTF?

By this time, the panda had waddled over. He casually assessed the situation, shooed away the circling vultures and pointed at the rack, about which so much has been said. Now, in the interests of world peace and general civility, let me be clear that I am in no way condemning the (expert-welder and remote-sidestand-switch-fixer) creator of said racks. These racks were, however, very nearly the cause of a very small man not completing a very big adventure. There wasn’t enough clearance for the rear wheel and the wheel nut had got caught inside the rack, trapped like a shetland pony under Kobus Wiese. (Dear Lord please tell me he’s not on this forum?) A bit of levering with a stick rammed between wheel and rack and PING – out popped the wheel.

This was clearly the happiest sound the Midget has heard since his wife said yes (to the bike trip, not marriage). He immediately took off all his clothes and ran around in circles with his hands in the air, squealing with delight. Max narrowly escaped injury in the ensuing stampede (we’ve mentioned that the Midget is not remotely in proportion).

Now, believe me when I say I haven’t hammed this story up one little bit.

Restored to her former glory, and having (almost literally) dodged a bullet, Buttercup whinnied over to some nearby shade to be attended to. We dialled in the pre-load (again), maxed out the damping, and removed the rear bumper component on the expertly welded rack. We still had to bend the racks out further away from the wheel so we lay the DR flat on the ground stood on the bottom piece while Midget used his famous snatch technique to rip the top piece further away from the wheel. This was easy for him because he held the national weightlifting record in the snatch discipline in the early 90’s (narrowly missing out on the clean and jerk to Stringfellow Hawk).


And with that, we were off again! Right after a drink…
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: pietas on October 02, 2013, 06:48:14 pm
I have a hugh laugh at this story. Thanks guys  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2013, 07:50:04 pm
I know what you're all thinking. You think this is a lie and a fabrication! But it's not. Here's a picture I shot of Buttercup, the DR, in her hamstrung state:

(http://www.stockphotopro.com/photo-thumbs-2/AHH1JD.jpg)

Wait... no that's not it. This is the one:

(http://www.letterfly.com/manege08.jpg)

Shit, sorry, I'm being a bit of a donkey here. This is it:

(http://donkeywhispererfarm2010.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/rocketman2012age18.jpg?w=645)

Luckily The Midge escaped injury when Buttercup sat down, otherwise the result would have been something very similar to this:

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gvkF69unRmU/S8uxCt9v5FI/AAAAAAAAGbk/jbHuRvyOlSs/s400/mule-sit.jpg)

And let's face it - there isn't all that much of him to start off with.

And it's not an exaggeration of The Midge's delight, either. He was terribly forlorn when I finally got there - which was about 10 minutes after Camel started staring at the broken half-horse with a blank expression. The verdict on my arrival was clear. The Midge was holding back the tears and giving a half-manly shrug of his shoulders, saying that the trip had been worth it anyway. But I knew he just wanted somewhere to mourn in private. I was ready to buy him the entire shebeen's worth of N'gola.

Now I know a couple of rabid DR aficionados. One, oddly, is even called Rabbit. When my mate lent his KLR to Rabbit's friend Garth, who then rode it off a bridge into a flooded river and left it underwater for a week, he even tried to buy a DR for Tom in compensation. It wasn't long before I began to suspect that the entire stunt was an elaborate ploy to convert an unsuspecting KLR rider to DR-dom, and Tom said no on principle. Very foolish principle in retrospect, or he'd probably have been on this very trip on that very DR instead of weeping over a broken KTM, and trying to bang Portuguese backpackers in a shithole in northern Namibia to compensate. And the other is Pete - also of this forum - who Beserker made carry his entire fuel load around Angola on their recent trip. Anyway, I kind of imagined the scenes of celebration between Midge, Rabbit and Pete at the saving of Buttercup from certain death:

(http://www.grit.com/~/media/Images/GRT/Editorial/Articles/Magazine%20Articles/2012/01-01/The%20Lowdown%20on%20Donkeys%20and%20Mules/Mules.jpg?mh=400&mw=400)

And know ye....  when The Midge saddles up Buttercup and rides forth into the wilds again, you may be seeing a little half-pint on a short blue and yellow motorcycle, but in his little brain, he is a giant on a thoroughbred!

(http://gorillagirladventures.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/mule-grandcanyon.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2013, 08:10:11 pm
So where were we?

Oh yes, in a cute Angolan village in the middle of nowhere, fixing Buttercup.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7427/10023255993_f9cb55ede1_b.jpg)

But first - the highlight of the village:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7374/10023166473_90d08225c4_b.jpg)

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the esteemed sign, on the esteemed premises, that sells the golden honey liquid called N'gola - for the less observant among you - the very source of the name of this drawn out tale. And that lovely number posted in big, bold letters: 70.00kz - means that for a generous shelling out of R7, you can have yourself a perfectly chilled - yes, even here - bottle of the stuff.

It's refreshing, it's not too bitter but never sweet, it's sparkly on the tongue, and it's the perfect beverage for a thirsty cavalero who's been wrestling with an obstinate motorcyle for an extended period in the hot sun.

This establishment was special. It sold grain:

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2809/10022956574_f518cd3f44_b.jpg)

and....

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3715/10023091726_e7a6f6d5a0_b.jpg)

Chickens! But after our experience of the previous night we weren't going to fall for that clever trick again. There's a reason why the Scotts hang up their rabbits for - oh, I dunno, a week or two - to rot and soften the meat. And I think Angolan chickens need the same treatment. And we didn't have a week or two to hang around waiting for dinner.

Angolan men are good looking specimens:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7407/10022956904_43cbfbb6d8_b.jpg)

Ok, these two doods aren't too hot. But they must be bright in some devious way... because all I ever saw them doing was drinking beer, riding motorcycles, and posing for photographs on motorcycles, while drunk:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7452/10023168883_c59347c28c_b.jpg)

The women, meanwhile, work...

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5505/10023132674_d475544b35_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3703/10023168273_983d8d2614_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/10023130194_80b0c77d32_b.jpg)

Yup, apparently there are no qualms sending granny out with a 40 pound stick to make dinner.

Meanwhile, we set about fixing Buttercup, watched by an adoring hoard of little ones:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5341/10023187216_972f16ec67_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2891/10023096706_728ce2e3c2_b.jpg)

Buttercup is a soft little pony... perfect for a short fella... but the problem with that plan, is that every time he rode her over a bump or hump, her Sealy Posturepaedic springing would deposit the base plate on the ground with a large thwack. I'd tried to preload the spring earlier on in the trip with little effect. But since the Midge was now riding her like it was his first day out of prison, something had to be done. We grabbed a screwdriver and a rock, and compressed the spring to hell and gone and turned up all the damping right up. As you know on a DR, it goes to 11.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3677/10023260603_e6f7522892_b.jpg)

Meanwhile, the Midge busied himself with trying to catch dinner:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5458/10023099566_d52f04f354_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3755/10023239566_36e35dbef1_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2840/10023262313_bef142c0f4_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Wayne Duck on October 02, 2013, 08:19:28 pm
A classic!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mr Zog on October 02, 2013, 10:07:26 pm
 :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

These Romans are crazy  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 02, 2013, 10:45:32 pm
I had to rummage around in my drawers to find these, but just to prove I'm not telling porky pies...

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2881/10059187065_ee3b1c74d8_o.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3705/10059223266_e15afcc5ea_o.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7327/10059284963_12003d584f_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 02, 2013, 10:47:50 pm
And yes, you're seeing correctly. He was the only athlete in the entire competition to represent Russia, China and the USA. He embarked on a crazy pie binge to camouflage himself for the States


Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: J-dog on October 03, 2013, 01:19:07 am
brilliantly conveyed
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on October 03, 2013, 04:16:16 am
Delightful sojourn, very colonial. Fancy a G&T old chap?

I also can't help but notice the Midget's testosterone induced receding hair line. These high levels of testosterone coupled with his disproportional dimensions must surely make him quite a hit with the ladies?  Any inside information?   
Title: Re:
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 03, 2013, 06:18:01 am
I think there is one amongst us who may have something to report on this matter. Let's see if we can tease her out...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on October 03, 2013, 06:36:44 am
Do you think his appeal is necessarily limited to the ladies, or do you think like a true, small Hellenic god, he can transient the physical boundaries of the sexes?

 Does the female form make him uncomfortable....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tiger8 on October 03, 2013, 11:21:57 am
Camel, Panda & Midge, you okes are legend  :ricky:
I haven't enjoyed a RR like this in a long time......when my wife hears me pissing myself laughing, she just say's "reading the Ngola Chronicle again ..." Thanks guy's, it must be an absolute hose riding with you guy's  :lol8: :lol8: :lol8:

Thanks dooods  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 03, 2013, 11:52:40 am
Camel, Panda & Midge, you okes are legend  :ricky:
I haven't enjoyed a RR like this in a long time......when my wife hears me pissing myself laughing, she just say's "reading the Ngola Chronicle again ..." Thanks guy's, it must be an absolute hose riding with you guy's  :lol8: :lol8: :lol8:

Thanks dooods  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Tiger (I saw you hiding in the Angolan jungle, I know it!)... too kind, really, too kind.

(http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/203/6/9/Tiger_In_The_Jungle_by_yoklmn.jpg)

But, in the immortal words of Starship:

http://www.youtube.com/v/2x4L9s2KOOM

[Cough]. Coming up....

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3699/10066688065_1cfea6bdfa_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tiger8 on October 03, 2013, 12:09:35 pm
 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

And here I thought my camo was working just great, Kaal-gat tussen die daisies. I was stalking the Midget, so I tried to keep close to the ground  :thumleft:


 :o AND NOW??? Whats with the hospital bed and pretty nurses  ???
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on October 03, 2013, 12:35:12 pm
Oh my shirt - what happened to William Dafoe.....  aka Bobby Peru......say fuck me
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mr Zog on October 03, 2013, 02:44:13 pm
Oh my shirt - what happened to William Dafoe.....  aka Bobby Peru......say

In for a vasectomy?  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: weskus on October 03, 2013, 03:49:26 pm
Well done guys, a lot of good-and not-so good memories from our trip came to mind, but Jeez, that rocks are washed opened like I have never seen before..
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 03, 2013, 03:52:26 pm
Oh my shirt - what happened to William Dafoe.....  aka Bobby Peru......say

In for a vasectomy?  :biggrin:

Jeez. I'm not The Midget!!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Gasman on October 03, 2013, 10:33:29 pm
Comaan doods, it's almost Friday... What better to do on a Friday than read RRs?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2013, 08:14:23 am
Right! That's it! LAZY CAMEL!!!!!

(http://farm1.staticflickr.com/29/101133665_287d231ebc_z.jpg?zz=1)

I know you can't wait any longer, so I'm going to have to take the reins here. I think he's stuck in Cafe Caprice for the weekend. My recommendation? Screw the camel - get a mule.

(http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/t482/etwright/Carnival%20Valor%202013/FunkyMule2_zpsdaf69810.jpg)
(DR 650's for world peace. Don't you dig the painted toe nails?)

I also know you love a little backtrack. Let's talk petrol.

You know what I find truly bizarre? Clearly there is a frustrated artist inside every national minister of energy affairs. You know how our stuff is green? That's pretty normal, right? Sly colour designed to make you think it's not toxic shit ruining our planet. Calming on the nerves when they're increasing the price every day until it costs more than a fine single malt?

Well, Angolan juice is yellow! Yellow?? And the Aussies's stuff is pink. Is it so spiedcops can play a funny game of what-fucking-country-are-we-in-now with drunk drivers? Confusing stuff, man... especially when you're trying to take a relaxing jaunt through a neighbouring country. Of course you only notice this with a transparent petrol tank, and not many cars have one. And then you start wondering if the dodgy shit you bought on the side of the road is actually extremely diluted used cooking oil. Not good when you're trying to use all you've got left of an N'gola-addled brain to navigate down a rutted and sandy track southwards.

The big plus of a transparent tank is you can see how much stuff you've got left. And in my case it was always less than I expected. Until two weeks before this trip I rode a BMX with a range of a camel, and I was keeping my fancy new toy on the road with a collection of fuel bags stuffed into my panniers. But after the Doodsakker we didn't strictly need those, and it was a pain, so I didn't use them. Which meant I had to fill up often.... which is never a problem in Angola.

Remember this?

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7350/9951858893_7feea1c5e9_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7318/9951827016_dc68dbb0de_b.jpg)

R6 petrol. Well that's only in the major centres. In the slightly smaller towns on main roads, they also have them, but there a funny little game is played in the interests of Angolan entrepreneurship. See, despite having half the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, you'd be mistaken for thinking that there was a shortage of fuel outside of the cities. What happens is huge truck arrives carrying yellow magic. Cue vey large queue of petrol scalps who buy all said petrol and cart it away in big drums. Then they set themselves up on every street corner - sometimes only 2km away from said petrol station, and sell it in little green bottles - like wine bottles - with these flip off plastic lids.... for R10 a litre! Genius.

OK, there's an upside too... which is that in just about any tiny little hamlet in the middle of godforsaken nowhere, you can also buy petrol-by-the-wine-bottle for R10. Fair enough... suits me with the fuel carrying capacity of a thimble.

So, after our camel-apple-head-target-practice incident yesterday we were about to turn off the main road and scoot down through the bush for three days, and I was dry. No problem.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3812/9952146643_7dae0bcc90_b.jpg)

You have to admire community spirit. I mean where in Cape Town can you pull into a petrol station and immediately be surrounded by a throng of thirty well wishes commending you on the fine looks of your steed, or enquiring about its fuel range or magnificent strong tyres, or just generally shooting the shit and enjoying a break in the midday sun??

Nowhere, right? They're all too busy schnaffling up cocktails at Cafe Caprice and perving the hot 21 year olds. Or welding up luggage racks.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7337/9952072223_e69579d8ff_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3678/9952042166_c4a870d25b_b.jpg)

These guys were fancy - they actually had a filter on the end of that funnel.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3759/9952040604_1ddd9e76f7_b.jpg)

I say Viva Petrol Entrepreneurship in Angola, Viva!

Time to head for home.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/9952090996_922b85d99b_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Kelevra on October 04, 2013, 08:48:37 am
I am having trouble embedding this. But its a video of the midget and buttercup being push-started

Best RR in a long time BTW  :thumleft:

<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10202104626046422" width="320" height="176" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on October 04, 2013, 08:57:42 am
Do you think his appeal is necessarily limited to the ladies, or do you think like a true, small Hellenic god, he can transient the physical boundaries of the sexes?

 Does the female form make him uncomfortable....

Having been raised in a circus theres not much that makes me uncomfortable sir - be it man or beast - if its under 3ft ill have at it - even if it be burglary..
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Betsy on October 04, 2013, 09:06:32 am
Excuse me Midge - did I mention im very short...
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2013, 09:20:50 am
It's been a bit longwinded, so in case you'd forgotten, we had been chased out of the Bicuar National Park, and were skirting down past this big green blob, on what should have been a national arterial route.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/9758285755_f300c6b17b_b.jpg)

Actually, it was more like your local motocross track, which had been attacked by a psychotic midget with deep seated mother issues driving a front end loader, then dumped with a hindenerg-size load of soft sand and left for a few months in the rainy season of the Philippines for grass to grow on it. Superb! We were having the ride of our lives.

I've said that before on this trip, haven't I? But seriously, it was stupendously good riding. I think I spent half the day riding out of dongas on my back wheel - love that little orange thing - and the rest behind Midget, watching him fishtail through soft sand with the panache of Ari Vatanen on his day off. It was warm, the countryside was beautiful and the people friendly.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7308/10022818276_44011f90fd_b.jpg)

We got lost occasionally, and even got invited to ride across someone's mielie field

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5499/10022813475_a03ff58b78_b.jpg)

and signs of the still-recent war abounded

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7454/10022818566_ff2befd81e_b.jpg)

Very occasionally, the track would open up to a smooth road, but those moments were far and few between.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2894/10023258315_2070e33a31_b.jpg)

At one point I passed this barricaded village:

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7381/10023268096_6c52ab9ccd_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3765/10023269156_2de2231fc4_b.jpg)

It was the only village I saw like that on the whole trip. Fear of elephants from the nearby park? I just don't know, but it was some handy woodwork all the same.

And still more motos with their curious packing techniques. I think this one was to soften up the still-alive chickens for dinner:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5444/10023260725_e982053093_b.jpg)

Late afternoon we then stopped off at a small village for fuel and a beer and Camel amused himself by trying to capture a goat for dinner.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3680/10023342453_b3af7a289f_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2824/10023272126_24d6115989_b.jpg)

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3830/10023272536_c6a50d92a3_b.jpg)

But even though he said 'Do you know who I am?" the goats simply insisted he'd need a tray - which obviously he didn't have DUH! - and wandered off to chew on someone's dinner.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3782/10023344303_50d694c4aa_b.jpg)

http://www.youtube.com/v/Sv5iEK-IEzw

Well, it must have been around 4.30 when we set off for our last hour of riding, and I honestly can't remember if someone actually mentioned taking it easy... but if they didn't, it's going to be a mantra for first and last hours on every bike trip I'm involved with from here to Kingdom Come.

Despite the long day in the saddle and the intense riding, I didn't feel tired, and was still loving it. I was bringing up the rear, with Camel out front, when my petrol light came on.

Actually, the petrol light proves I've got things a little mixed up, because we did stop at the goat place for petrol, but I must have done another 200km or so before my light came on... so the goats were probably much earlier. But either way, it seemed to me a good idea at the time to ride up to Mike and warn him about my petrol situation - and probably also suggest we stopped for the night.

I think when I cast my mind back properly, there had been the small LOST incident as well.

(http://www.27bslash6.com/images/missing_missy3.jpg)

I was in front and there was a particularly stylish moto rider giving it welly in front of me. Some of these guys can really ride, despite the abject state of the machinery and the very limited suspension at their disposal. I was having a laugh following him through the tracks, holes and washouts, but when I decided to finally give it some gas and catch him up to show my appreciation. It was then that I realised that we'd just turned off the track and were going through a little village.

I carried on, but now the track was completely different. More like a foot path, swooping around trees and between fields. I could see on the GPS that I was only a couple of km away from the road, and vaguely heading in the same direction, so decided to push on. The problem was that I really didn't know if my amigos had followed me, carried on, or stopped and waited. I gave it some, in the hope of getting back to the road ahead of them, and when I eventually did - 20 minutes later - carefully scanned for tyre tracks in case they were ahead. Couldn't see anything, and the fellow who came walking past seemed to think he hadn't seen any bikes - but such was the state of the linguistic gap between us, that could have meant anything.

I waited, and waited.... and waited. Eventually a KTM rolled into view, and a forlorn looking Camel pulled up. He'd lost the Midget. Well, clearly he'd been at the back so the Midge wasn't behind him, and I'd waited so long I'd obviously been well ahead of them... so the Midge must have followed me. We decided I'd wait and the Camel would retrace my steps in the hope of finding the little fella.

You wouldn't think you could lose each other in the Angolan bush, but at this point I was a little afraid that had happened. Common sense said it was unlikely, but it's amazing how much we take for granted the notion that we can get hold of each other whenever we need to.

No LOST for us today, though, and the Camel dutifully reappeared ten minutes later with a gleeful looking Midget in tow - looking as delighted as I'd been by the magnificent riding served up by our little detour.

So that's right - it puts us a few hours later than I'd thought - or our stop with the goats was actually a few hours earlier.

But anyway, back to the present. I was bringing up the rear and running out of gas. Perhaps it was because of the LOST incident earlier (without the hot actresses or tropical beach, sadly) but my lizzard brain told me I needed to stop the Camel in case I did run out, and I set off in hot pursuit. What a stupid idea.

Maybe this shouldn't be a drawn out tale. I went past Midge and was doing about 80-100kph chasing my brother. That doesn't sound like a lot, and the road surface WAS much better than it had been earlier. On the straights I saw him, and I guess I just decided to gas it and stop him sooner rather than later. Well, the rest, as they say, is history.

I came around a sharpish bend in the road, and in front of me was a sequence of at least three MAN-size (and I mean the truck, not twice-Midget) potholes. The first thought that went through my brain was "oh-oh!" I got through the first one fine, but took a bit of air and hit the middle of the second one with my fork and shock completely compressed.

What happened next was immediately preceeded by my second thought, which was "Oh SHIT!" and there was no time for a third thought, because the combination of over-compressed 690 suspension, less-than-Coma levels of skill and the lip of the second pothole conspired to high side the bike and send me and the ground racing towards each other at faster than light speed.

Often when thinking about accidents in the abstract, we imagine what might happen, how we might respond and how we can improve our chances - things like tuck and roll, or going limp, or falling left etc. etc. The reality is quite different. It's very, very fast. Faster even than reflexes. I remember my brain thinking, but it was in no connection whatsoever to what my body was doing, or what was happening around me.

I was lucky, very lucky. I slid down the gravel, and my bike slid down the gravel and hit a tree. It's quite amazing how much dust an accident like this makes. You know those pictures of a space shuttle taking off? It felt like that much dust. But when it cleared, I saw my bike lying half in a bush, and my body lying in the middle of the road, with the stuffing knocked out of it.

I seemed to be at least a little ok. I tried to stand up, buckled, and sat down again.

The Midge arrived on the scene, and pulled up, a worried look on his face. He helped me up, and then screwed up his face like a five year old biting on the chilli that their mother warned them not to, at the sight of my leg. My long-serving Richa pants had been ripped open across the thigh, unfortunately just below and behind the padding, and so had my leg.

It's at times like this that one discovers how well thought out one's medical kit is. We had no disinfectant and no dressings. Oops. We did have a LOT, and when I say a LOT, I mean enough for a camel - a real camel - of painkillers, so I immediately swallowed a fistful. We also had fifteen different kinds of antibiotics, many of which I was to experiment with over the coming days.

After ten minutes the Camel returned, took in the state of affairs and decided we should stop for the night. Not an entirely unreasonable assumption. Somehow, and I know not how, my KTM seemed sort of ok. The forks had twisted a little in their clamps, and the luggage rack on my left side had bent out badly and potentially damaged the subframe, but other than that it seemed ok. Those Austrians know a thing or two about building bikes tough. It seems it went down hard on the left and slid down the road, with all the impact and abrasion taken on the left pannier and left hand guard, leaving the rest of the bike almost untouched. Truly amazing.

Hoping we weren't in for a landmine surprise, but not really caring at that point, I hobbled off the road and down the bank, where we set up camp, washed the wound as best we could, bandaged it, and hoped for the best.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Hammerhead on October 04, 2013, 12:59:32 pm
Ja, ja - en toe??
Pics of the wounded steed?

Brilliant by the way! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2013, 03:55:27 pm
Ja, ja - en toe??
Pics of the wounded steed?

Brilliant by the way! :thumleft:

How bout some video?

http://www.youtube.com/v/0BiAXU06RzM
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mark Hardy on October 04, 2013, 04:32:05 pm

How bout some video?

http://www.youtube.com/v/0BiAXU06RzM

it say private......as in http://www.private.com/ (http://www.private.com/)  :lol8:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2013, 04:34:03 pm
Oops. Sautéd.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mark Hardy on October 04, 2013, 04:42:28 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Shangali on October 04, 2013, 05:42:58 pm

  :imaposer: ...   :sip:  ....   :laughing4:  .....   :sip:  ....    :lol8:  ....   :spitcoffee:  ..... :sip:  .....  Keep on Coming ....

  I can read as long as you can Write ....   You Keep me on this thread for Days on ends ....   :thumleft: :thumleft:

  "Mind-Blowing"  .... Super funny and Honest ..... what can I say ..  THANKS ...

   :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 05, 2013, 11:12:58 am
We woke up in our roadside campsite in what we hoped was to be our last morning in Angola.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5446/10023313875_5d47d6cda1_b.jpg)

The previous evening's accident had tipped the scales towards the "All good things come to an end!" direction. But first there was some celebrating to. It was this big fella's 38th birthday,

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3725/10023275576_74c08f5cc5_b.jpg)

Cake and candles were in short supply, so we redirected our party fervour to the idea of several very cold bottles of champagne in Opuwo Lodge that evening. I was feeling sore, but the horse tranquilisers were doing their job, and I had a look at the state of the bike, wondering how it was going to hold up to the day's riding. Turned out I was in much worse a state than the machine.

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2885/10023359526_253ce5bcf9_b.jpg)

A little battle-scarred for sure, but it looked like we wouldn't have to set it on fire and abandon it in a shallow roadside grave in Angola.  We packed, I gingerly mounted my steed and set off. It was immediately clear that my right wrist was pretty painful. Now something curious came to pass, which I believe is the subject of one of Hipócrates' laws. Otherwise known as the hammer to the big toe theory. Simply put - you think your wrist is sore? Just pass me my hammer and I'll make you forget all about the pain.

My wrist was broken, and as I sit here typing six weeks after the event, it is clearly the injury that is going to trouble me by far the most going forward. But I swear I forgot about it completely for ten days. The bad roastie on my leg turned out to be a massive 20x20cm haematoma - the skin tissue layer pulled off the muscle - which was only a day away from becoming badly infected. In the resulting fever and operation that followed in South Africa, I forgot all about my wrist until the pain from my leg subsided. How utterly bizarre.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5514/9758277186_12d8e36cbb_b.jpg)

Apparently the 100km of dirt from our rough camp to the town of Xandongo was spellbindingly amazing. Ask the Midget. I remember nothing of it, except for a constant struggle to keep my speed up to 40kph and the ride as smooth as possible.

There are some pictures of baobabs on my camera, but I think I must have taken them the day before because I certainly wasn't stopping for pictures today.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7311/10023301624_cb1f51ef75_b.jpg)

Every corrugation was like a needle spike into my leg, and by the time we hit tar I assured my riding companions that there was no way I was riding any more dirt between here and Opuwo, and any thoughts we'd had of taking the shortcut back through Ruacana could be forgotten.

So Oshikango it was, although as you can see from the map, it was going to be a long day riding in circles to get anywhere near where we were heading.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3759/10023361306_53550b3f1d_b.jpg)

The terrain opened up again, and there was evidence all around us of the war that had ravaged the countryside.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/10023431343_4b203acd5b_b.jpg)

I regret not having taken loads of pictures, but I was in no state to think of it, and this burnt out troop carrier will have to serve as the sole reminder of the tanks and military vehicles which still frame the main national road to Namibia.

I don't know why they haven't been cleared away. You'd think the scrap would be worth a lot. Maybe it's an important national reminder not to allow the country to descend into war again. Perhaps there's so much bad juju attached to the relics that nobody wants to touch them. I don't know, but it makes for a macabre but bizarre and interesting experience driving past all of them. Sadly we didn't get as far west on this trip as we'd planned, because I believe there are many more closer to Cuito. That will have to remain for another trip.

The road to the border was largely uneventful - a couple hundred km's of flat tar. Unlike Ruacana, a sleepy hamlet with five bored policemen that sees one or two vehicles a day, Oshikango is a bustling border town. We met our first unpleasant Angolans... the pushy money touts who are a feature of just about every main border crossing in Africa. But we got through without too much hitch and on the Namibian side immediately began looking for somewhere to find lunch.

It was 3pm, we were finally out of Angola. But this day was very, very far from over....
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mr Zog on October 05, 2013, 11:32:58 am
Between the video and the description, it looks like you were manning up magnificently though...  :thumleft:

Good war-stories to pull the chicks at Café Caprice :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 07, 2013, 01:08:15 pm
And then, just like that, we were through that awful border post. It took about a week to get ourselves into Angola , and then in the blink of an eye, we were out again. We were one man short, one short man, one man wounded, and one man hungry, but we were back in Namibia. The fat lady wasn't yodelling however, and the circus was most certainly not yet over.

The thing with border towns is that they're universally shitty. In the Wild West, the Frontier Towns had allure and charm and an exciting, dangerous feel to them. Border towns just have a dirty, dangerous feel to them. All the downside with none of the upside - like an ugly bird who’s also a bad lover. We needed money, food, petrol and to high-tail it outta there as fast as we could. But we're not very good at high tailing it outta anywhere very fast so we sat down for a nice big meal to celebrate our grand achievement.

Max located what must be the only place to get a decent bite in that nasty little hovel and we sat down to watch me eat. Which I did with gusto and not just cause it was my birthday right. When you've been eating biltong-chicken and brown onion soup stew out of unwashed pots, it doesn't take much to titillate the taste buds. We then started our last full-blown blither-fest of the trip as we tried to pry ourselves away from food, fill up the bikes, and go find Tom.

We poured over a map and couldn’t find a route other than the dirt road that goes back to Ruacana. You might have picked up that Max had a slight scratch on his left buttock. Despite taking due caution by swabbing it carefully with mercurochrome and applying a Donald Duck plaster, he wasn’t keen to take on corrugated roads. We asked everyone within shouting distance from our table but it didn’t look like there were any alternatives. So that was that, time to fly. Max went to the pharmacy, I went for gas, Midget got lost, Max found a different route, Midget found gas, I got lost, Max found gas, then we lost each other. It was hot, we were tired, Max's pending amputation was causing a bit of stress, and fuses were a little short. We deliberated about the route a bit and then decided to take a chance on a road less travelled that a gypsy had drawn in the dirt with a chicken bone. To top it off, when we found our way out of town we were stuck in rush hour traffic with the sun slap bang in front of us (why does a border post have rush hour?). The Midget, having mastered sand, rocks, bowls and single track, was having a hell of a time (blessed are the Greeks) with this traffic. It's easy to forget that the wee man has only ridden on a car-infested road for a grand total of 4 hours in his extraordinary biking career. He had snow blindness, donkeys, unskilled Namibian drivers and 2 impatient brothers to deal with and was having none of it:
"I'm not going one step further until I get a foot massage…!" he protested (one would thinketh, too much).
"…by a graceful Himba woman", he added, demanding, "I want fruit, baskets of the stuff. Preferably exotic - east coast."
He wasn’t stopping now, "and while you're about it, some local musicians to calm my shattered nerves."

His words sprinkled the air, mixed with diesel fumes and fell many miles from the helmet-encased ears of the Midget-Drivers, who were some kms up the road by now. Resigning himself to death by tar, he closed his eyes and soldiered on until the road was quiet again because it was dark and everyone had gone home. Now I’m sure that every one of you, good readers, knows that it's a bad idea to be on the road after dark in faraway towns in Africa. You’ll also know by now that we’re big fans of bad ideas, so we belted into the magical sunset like the rugged cowboys we aspire to be. It was time to find Tom.

It was fantastic for a while. Gorgeous wide open Namibian scenery flashing by, orange, pink, red, midnight blue sky fading to black, three amigos with a righteous sense of achievement. The levels of contentment were high; this was an amazing way to end an unbelievable trip. I recall thinking “if we make it back alive, this will be the Most Magical Birthday Ever.” It was the alive part that was starting to look a little shaky.

In a fitting tribute to our cavalier approach to navigation, we were trying to get back to Opuwa on a route that we weren't entirely sure existed. Max had met a German gypsy fellow in the pharmacy who assured him there was a new tar road that linked Oshakati with the intersection on the Ruacana road where we had charmed our way through the police stop many pages earlier. If it existed, we were on like Donkey Kong, if it didn’t, we were in for a mighty detour that would definitely have involved running out of petrol. Germans are known to be extremely precise (especially when welding), so, as all hint of daylight exited stage right we spanked all our money on red, and bee-lined for the unknown. Game on!

At about 10pm we stopped on the side of the road to regroup, by which time we were decidedly hysterical. Not in a “wow, Eddie Izzard is soooooo funny” kinda way, more in a “I’m a pig and I love the smell of bacon and here comes the famer with a rifle” kinda way. We had been riding since 6:30am so fatigue levels were off the charts. Fortunately there was no danger of us falling asleep cause that’s not possible when you’re confronted by a breeze with a wind-chill factor of -25C. It was colder than I’ve ever been in my life, and believe you me I’ve inhabited some frigid spaces in my time (relationships aren’t my strong point). We had already stopped once to put warm clothes on but this was now a full-scale assault on frostbite. Max set about cutting holes in the heels of his dirty socks to stick his thumb through so he could wear them like mittens. I was cutting holes in my beanie so I could wear it over my helmet like a safety-conscious bank robber. The Midget wasn’t cutting anything.

He stood some way back, unblinking.
"Zip me up", he said.
"Dood, that's not going to work," I replied.
The Midget had taken his enormous (even for a normal-sized man) sleeping bag, wrapped it around his belly and was trying to contain it inside his bike jacket. It was like Santa trying to get into Chris Froome’s time trail suit.
“I don’t think that’s going to work”, I (foolishly) said again.
"ZIP ME UP!!!" he bellowed, with a downright vicious snarl. The Midget doesn’t give instructions very often but I know better than to argue when he does.

I couldn’t get the 2 sides of the zip close enough so I lay him on his side and then sat on him, squashing the front of the jacket shut. I had trapped his arms underneath me so I had to reach between my legs to zip the jacket up, but my fingers were so numb it was like doing open-heart surgery with braai tongs. I had accidentally placed my boot on the Midget’s head during the compression exercise so all I could hear from him was a muffled warbling. All this while Max was in the background, cackling like a hyena, flashing the Smith & Wesson about like he was holding a puffadder. Things were looking dangerously unhinged and I feared for anyone who stopped to observe.

And still, STILL, we weren’t home….
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: P.K. on October 07, 2013, 04:20:05 pm
EPIC....brilliant report, brilliant ride.
Now get your ass behind a keyboard and put us out of our misery!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: goingnowherequickly on October 08, 2013, 09:46:04 pm
Are you home yet...??? ;D
Masters of Suspension  :biggrin:
loving this RR, what happened next??
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 09, 2013, 07:08:19 am
This is epic stuff, stuff that deserves to go to to the Roll of Honor Section.  :deal:

Quote
They're all too busy schnaffling up cocktails at Cafe Caprice and perving the hot 21 year olds. Or welding up luggage racks

waaahahahahahaha

 :spitcoffee:  :laughing4: :imaposer:  :laughing4:  :snorting:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: funky_munky on October 09, 2013, 09:30:09 am
This is one epic tale of adventure.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lecap on October 09, 2013, 10:33:41 am
So, as Max says, we’re sitting in the middle of this sweet little village, waiting for a short guy on a mule to show up. The spirits were high cause the riding was really, really good.
“This is the best riding I have ever done,” I exclaimed to Max, for the 10th consecutive day. “I’d love to be back at Café Caprice so I could celebrate with a cocktail.”

 After a bit, the Midge came bouncing down the track on a buttercup-coloured pogo stick and then stopped, about 200m away. We looked. We waited. Midge hopped off Buttercup, circled it a few times, scratched his tiny little chin, and then waved for help.
 (http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc455/moschopz/kiss-me_team-america.gif)

I sauntered over, thinking he needed some assistance tying the tattered remains of his bags together (at this point they looked like an ancient windsock). But things were sadly not so superficial.

“Ooooooh sheeeeiiit”, said I.
“What you mean?”, said the Midget, knowing exactly what I meant.
“Dood, I’m sorry to say this, but I think this is the end of the road for you. Buttercup has finally rolled over. She needs to be shot.”
After the previous night’s fall the Midget thought his pro-surfing career was over, and now this! It was too much and his bottom lip began to quiver.

The DR was sitting on the ground like a fat Sumo wrestler; back wheel tucked tight up against the wheel arch and bags resting on the ground. The rear shock had snapped and with so little time left there was not much we could do. I imparted all this news with learned, if compassionate tones. What a sad, sad day. A catastrophe, a calamity, a twagedy of biblical proportions.

Buttercup was clearly in pain so I set about creating a screen so we could shoot her with dignity. That horse deserved it. Sadly we didn’t have a gun so I readied myself to bludgeon her to death with a tyre iron. Our plans to smuggle high calibre rifles over the border were thwarted by Max’s lady. Had this not been the case, I would have emptied a merciful round into Buttercup’s guts, then and there. Weaponry absent, I resorted to that which is mightier than the sword, and composed an ode.

ODE TO BUTTERCUP
Oh Buttercup, you trooper
You have been a sensation. Simply super.
Your style and grace is ace.
You have weathered soft sand like a camel (but lets not get carried away).
You have traversed rocks like a dung beetle.
You have followed the single track like a note does a line.
And now your time has come to have your brains beaten out with a tyre iron.
May you rest well in the AfterLife (it’s horrible stuff).

The cry of a distant vulture broke my trance and I suddenly had the bright idea of inspecting the damage. So we lay the bike down and I looked, and we lay it the other way and I inspected, and bugger me if I couldn’t find anything broken. The shock looked fine, the linkage looked fine, the swingarm looked fine. Everything seemed fine except my fatalistic prognosis and the position of that rear wheel. WTF?

By this time, the panda had waddled over. He casually assessed the situation, shooed away the circling vultures and pointed at the rack, about which so much has been said. Now, in the interests of world peace and general civility, let me be clear that I am in no way condemning the (expert-welder and remote-sidestand-switch-fixer) creator of said racks. These racks were, however, very nearly the cause of a very small man not completing a very big adventure. There wasn’t enough clearance for the rear wheel and the wheel nut had got caught inside the rack, trapped like a shetland pony under Kobus Wiese. (Dear Lord please tell me he’s not on this forum?) A bit of levering with a stick rammed between wheel and rack and PING – out popped the wheel.

This was clearly the happiest sound the Midget has heard since his wife said yes (to the bike trip, not marriage). He immediately took off all his clothes and ran around in circles with his hands in the air, squealing with delight. Max narrowly escaped injury in the ensuing stampede (we’ve mentioned that the Midget is not remotely in proportion).

Now, believe me when I say I haven’t hammed this story up one little bit.

Restored to her former glory, and having (almost literally) dodged a bullet, Buttercup whinnied over to some nearby shade to be attended to. We dialled in the pre-load (again), maxed out the damping, and removed the rear bumper component on the expertly welded rack. We still had to bend the racks out further away from the wheel so we lay the DR flat on the ground stood on the bottom piece while Midget used his famous snatch technique to rip the top piece further away from the wheel. This was easy for him because he held the national weightlifting record in the snatch discipline in the early 90’s (narrowly missing out on the clean and jerk to Stringfellow Hawk).


And with that, we were off again! Right after a drink…



My apologies but I clearly slept through the Midget's pre carrier rack design briefing where he stated that he intends to roll the bike across parts of Angola on the carrier rack rather than on the wheels.

It looks as if the relentless series of impacts of our planet against the poor Suzuki eventually bent the rack inwards enough to finally allow it to grab the rear axle nut as it happened to travel past and lock it in a position which must have made the bike resemble a dog with worms dragging its backside on the ground.
A good measure can probably also be blamed on the soft luggage which at this stage was hanging in cable tie and duct tape reinforced tatters and did not fulfil its role as impact softening protective layer between luggage rack and planet any more leaving mother earth scarred and scratched on various occasions.

Now it has to be understood that every commercially available carrier rack would have ended up as an entangled and torn mess of metal scraps in a compulsory "lost bits catcher" drag net towed behind the bike no later than by reaching Iona.

My masterpiece of engineering did not only withstand the repeated impacts of approximately 6000000000000000000000 tons of planet earth, no it even was able to catch and hold the Donkeys hind leg in a near fully compressed state after all this abuse.
Again every commercially available rack would probably not have achieved this feat even whilst still brand new.


All warranty claims on the mentioned carrier rack are refuted based on the following reasons:

The warranty has to be validated by the delivery of at least two cases of appropriately chilled Windhoek Draught to my premises.
The claim has to be submitted by the delivery of at least another two cases of appropriately chilled Windhoek Draught to my premises.
Castle is not acceptable as a substitute due to my ancestry. Luke warm Zamaleks definitely also aren't.

After consideration of all the drinks the claim would have been declined based on:

The rack was rattle can sprayed in a politically correct shade of black.

It did actually not break. According to the fine print of the warranty which can be found in the mouldy file behind the spare toilet cistern in my workshop only actual breakage caused by the impact of a cone of soft serve soft serve side first is covered :evil6:

The slight deformation could have been fixed by simply bending it back into shape by using a car jack. Do Angolans have punctures? Do they use bodybuilders to heave the cars clear of the ground to change tires?
I actually mentioned this and in particular the possibility that the bent carrier might catch the rear axle nut as well as the fixing method of spreading the bent carrier with a car jack in the post carrier rack manufacture briefing but the Midget must have slept through this section :D

Would have saved him the snatch exercise :lol8:

Even a 600 pound blacksmiths anvil thrown across the Angolan landscape in the same manner as the Suzuki would have been shattered to pieces before the rack bent enough to engage the rear suspension.

The carrier rack probably prevented the Suzuki from simply breaking in half from being thrown around all the time by considerable reinforcing it. I will gladly accept the earlier mentioned two cases of ice cold Windhoek Draught as gratification - to be delivered to my premises :lol8:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2013, 10:41:17 am
Haha. Now that's the spirit. I personally advised the Midge to just remove his entire DR subframe and use the rack instead.

I did get a certain satisfaction in seeing the rear wheel spring free, but either way it wasn't a disaster... he could have just used the rack as a sled and the rear wheel as a paddle to keep moving him forward. God knows that with his motorcycling skills he wouldn't have noticed much difference.

Like this:

(http://patrickcallaghan.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/pgc-068.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lecap on October 09, 2013, 11:26:16 am
Roll cage, skids, broken KTM carrier, truly multifunctional!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on October 09, 2013, 11:38:24 am
:thumleft:  nice one guys!  :)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Gasman on October 09, 2013, 12:50:47 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: onderbroek on October 09, 2013, 03:23:40 pm
This RR wins on so many levels
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Beserker on October 09, 2013, 03:35:03 pm
This RR wins on so many levels

Even Winston and Adolf   :3some:

Haha. Now that's the spirit.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 09, 2013, 03:41:29 pm
This RR wins on so many levels

Even Winston and Adolf   :3some:

Haha. Now that's the spirit.

 :snorting: :snorting: Good one, Dave.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 09, 2013, 05:09:42 pm
It’s a trippy thing wrapping up a bike trip like this. Not that we were returning from an Arctic expedition or chartering a new path through the Amazon (although that sounds fun) but there had been a fair few unforeseen events, good and bad, delightful and disastrous. A lifetime ago at Ruacana we would never have predicted where we were now; freezing cold in the middle of the night about to drive down a road that might not exist.

I guess that’s the upside of loose planning – there’s an adventure around every corner. Nasty surprises are an inherent part of mad adventure; if they weren’t everyone would do them. Risk-averse folks prefer to zero the chances of a bad outcome, so they plan the bejezuz out of their trips. That works for them, cool. Personally, I find that a bit too predictable, which for me quickly becomes boring. Other folks like to deliberately put themselves in situations of near complete chaos, just to see if anyone dies. It’s exciting and hilarious to be around and wonderfully free…. and sometimes you end up missing a trip cause your bike breaks down. There’s a downside whichever way you roll. I’m sure many reading this have a firm preference, and that diversity is awesome. As long as no one tries to convince others of the superiority of a specific path, we’re all set for happy days. Relative to my special band of travel goons, I’m probably a little on the risk averse side. This trip definitely gave me a nudge to loosen up a bit and wing it. And wing it we did. Straight on into the Namibian night.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3732/10166809556_cf59e66f99_o.jpg)

You’ll recall that the Panda had added some garments to his usual riding attire (and had mysteriously acquired a rifle)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7293/10166874953_115e04f0f4_o.jpg)

The sleeping-bag-ensconced Midget was looking a touch more rotund than usual

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7401/10166750125_bb315b4518_o.jpg)

Back on the campaign trail we came to a sign, a blessed sign, a sign like no other, a sign like a Noah finding 2000 umbrellas and some wood on his doorstep. The sign said, “go this way and you shall get to where you want to go – 230kms”. In choreographed cliché, we all raised a triumphant fist in the air and gave a big shout out to our guardian deities.

By this stage we were flying in pretty tight formation. Max’s headlights were bouncing off his origami-ed fairing so he was blinded by an orange sun right in front of his nose. I had my Darth Vader visor on so had a choice of either frostbite from an open visor or the visibility of a rectal probe. Buttercup has a bic lighter for a headlight and the Midget was near the end of his reserves by this point. Our genius plan was to pool resources; my headlight, Max’s eyes, and both of our taillights. I drove 30cm off the Panda’s back wheel (foot resting casually on his pannier), providing the light for Max (his was off). With my foot on his bag I could drive by feel so slipped into a meditative trance with my eyes closed, a technique I can highly recommend to restore inner balance. The Midge then had 2 taillights to target lock onto. The (blindingly obvious) downside to this arrangement was that if anything happened, it was going to happen to all of us, Lock, Stock, and 3 Shpangled Bikes. We were too cold, tired and stupid to think of a better solution, which would have been for Max and I to swap bikes or helmets, but then you wouldn’t have a story about 3 idiots to ridicule at your pleasure.

To be honest, this was the dumbest and most dangerous thing we did on the whole trip. If the infamous Donkey of Death had been chilling on the road it would have been catastrophic, but it wasn’t, and we were fine, and we’ll only do it once more. Max put in a champion effort. He was clearly in a fair bit of pain but he charged on at the front and took us with him – I’m very grateful to him for that.

And then, all of a sudden, without the remotest bit of fanfare, we were there. Back in Opuwo, whooping along the main road, high fives over speed humps, and back to the lodge to demand they reopen the bar and serve us champagne.

“Do you know who I am?” demanded the Camel
“No” said the sleepy security guard who’d been woken at 12:30am by 3 noisy bikes
“I need booze man, it’s my birthday” he squealed in half-panic.
“You’re in room 13.”
“But I’m Jeff Vader…” he pleaded to the back of the guard who was returning to slumber. “Death by tray” he thought...

Defeated and empty handed, we went to find Tom, who was also asleep but infinitely more receptive. We tried to replay the nutty events of the day’s travel and the entire trip in garbled half sentences, very excited but also acutely aware of how bleak he must be feeling. Bitter sweet indeed.

And then we went to sleep, woke up, packed vehicles, and settled in for a 3 day drive back home, with the Panda laid out like a vulnerable dolphin.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5503/9722868381_e758f27a58_b.jpg)







Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 09, 2013, 05:54:14 pm
Is that it!?  ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT STUFF GUYS!

:hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
:hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
:hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
:hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:


Thank you so much for this ride report- A real labour of love I know.


I agree with you the unplanned trip is better, and worse. But one thing for sure: It will be filled with adventure, and more often than not becomes totally epic. Which reminds me I need to finish my Andes to the Amazon  report.  ::)

I have to ask you: Have you considered what would you have done if the injury was worse, rendering Jeff Vader unable to ride? Unthikable, but you must have discussed this and it would be interesting to know what you might have done under the circumstances, maybe find a car or something to get him back to the world?  Would that have even been possible?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 09, 2013, 06:05:52 pm
Hehe - glad you enjoyed.

Yeah, we did chat a bit about emergency exits. To be honest, we spoke the most about it on the way to Foz du Kunene, through the desert. We would have left one guy with the wounded soldier and a bottle of whiskey, and the other would rocket off like a hero to go find help, although God knows what form that would have taken out there. We did discuss taking a SAT phone at one point but then got distracted buying rokstraps and forgot about it.

We once met some Scotsmen in Namibia touring on 1200's who designed oil rigs for a living. Their favourite quote was "there's no problem that can't be solved by an oil man with an unlimited budget". Which is entirely irrelevant cause we aren't oil men (apart from the Midget who enjoys a spot of lubricated wrestling) and certainly don't have an unlimited budget. But if the injury wasn't serious enough for medivac then a donkey cart / bakkie to the border and a phone call to Tom probably would've done the trick.

Thank the biking gods we didn't need to test that out...

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Crossed-up on October 09, 2013, 06:43:25 pm
Wonderful report.  Thank you.

I'd like to buy the 4 of you a beer. Who gets the first swig?


Just setting the standard, setting the standard.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: A/T on October 09, 2013, 08:17:29 pm
Wonderfull,damn its over! Deserves roll of honour! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: pietas on October 09, 2013, 09:12:19 pm
Even with all the kak-and-crap you guys had, that was truely a trip to remember. Thanks for the entertainment  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Wayne Duck on October 09, 2013, 09:54:17 pm
So very entertaining...had a joll reading it, thanks guys!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Malibu on October 09, 2013, 10:50:19 pm
Roll of Honour thread.... Awesome!  Thanks for taking us on such a fantastic ride with you.... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: wolfman on October 10, 2013, 03:45:20 am
On so many levels a very inspiring report!

Well done doods and thank you for sharing


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mark Hardy on October 10, 2013, 07:48:35 am
 :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:

A Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious RR

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Johan10 on October 10, 2013, 08:55:33 am
Great ride report!

You know how you see okes with their bikes and wonder to yourself : "Where are they going? I wish I had my bike on a trailer heading on an adventure."
That was me when I saw you guys at the Engen on the N7 the morning you left, and went back, and left again. Great was my surprise to find this awesome RR!

Well done guys. A tip of the proverbial hat.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 10, 2013, 09:21:15 am
Well, well... 'Roll of Honour'... an honour indeed! Many times I seriously doubted whether the garbled nonsense of our band of merry misfits, miscreants and morons would be of any interest to these hallowed tribes. If anything, we should remember life is short, it should be taken less seriously, and everybody who lives in this blessed corner of the universe and is lucky enough to own a motorcycle should let it take them on some kind of extraordinary journey, long or short, rough or smooth, nuts or sane, as often as they possibly can.

Oh, and if you want to be a real man, you really should weld your own rack.
Unless you're a midget, of course.

PS. If you're a little patient - cause I'm super, like, busy at the moment, I may have a short few movie moments to share to end off this peculiar little tale.
PPS. Home is where the heart is:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5524/10183794413_363954c6c1_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tiger8 on October 10, 2013, 09:31:41 am
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! 

This can't end yet, make-up some more stuff, plagarise more pic's from the interweb, anything .......... pleeeez  :'( :'( :'(


A Totally EPIC RR, thanks Camel, Max, Midget and Ghost (he was with you in spirit  ;) )

.
.
.
.
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..
Now click on page 1 and start again  ;D

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Snafu on October 10, 2013, 04:31:23 pm
Brilliant!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 10, 2013, 04:52:24 pm
wooohoooo.... roll of honour!!!! How lovely is that.

Thanks for all the kudos folks - great having you along for the ride.

Was thinking last night that the writing was such a hoot I should carry on. It'd be either:
A) the time I bought my first ever motorcycle and rode it round the states for 4 months (I started by pushing it over a mountain pass outside Denver, Colorado); or,
2) some of the absurd trips we did in Cambodia, which included submarining a CG125 while trying to find a temple on the Thai border

But first I need to advise the Midget on expansion of his Global Empire... (for a whacking fee under line item "monkey trainer")



Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Midget on October 10, 2013, 05:09:59 pm
I think what you should rather do Camel is rekindle your movie career
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on October 10, 2013, 06:04:58 pm
You're much to laid back for the 'international ' style RRs dude.... What about your unique insight into the local riding scene?


Who am i kidding, i'm out of my element, any writing about riding will do O0 :thumleft:

Your friend that had to stay behind, - his story.  He strikes me as the real gentleman's gentleman  ;)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Tiger8 on October 10, 2013, 06:14:41 pm
You're much to laid back for the 'international ' style RRs dude.... What about your unique insight into the local riding scene?


Who am i kidding, i'm out of my element, any writing about riding will do O0 :thumleft:

Your friend that had to stay behind, - his story.  He strikes me as the real gentleman's gentleman  ;)

You mean "Ghost".........................my earlier post  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 10, 2013, 06:35:58 pm
I’d like to welcome all you bitches, pimps, ho’s, players, johns, tricks, marks, mark-ass tricks, trick-ass marks, scallywags and scallywops, to the first annual, Players’ Haters PANDA GEEK GEAR REVIEW 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/v/tbBQsbd6R6o

Here followeth the highly opinionated and obnoxious LOVES and HATES about the toys, tools and trickwick tittybits that went with us on our ride to Angola. There shall be no grey.


HATE: KTM 690

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2845/9713412361_1785cd0190_b.jpg)

You already know that this dirty, slutty, well used whore of a 690 was an unmitigated disaster. Our Tom is not a purist when it comes to mechanical things. He once reported his car stolen when he’d just forgotten where he parked it. Actually, twice. But dear god he loves motorcycles. You haven’t heard from him on this report - despite his excessive linguistic flair - because he’s still hurting, deeply.

Except he’s better now. Look:

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5458/10190444545_42501455f2_b.jpg)

I'm gonna love on that DRZ. It's beautiful. Of course the blithering idiot went and bought ANOTHER bike over the phone. But he was in a spastic frenzy about DRZ’s after spending the entire two weeks while we were in Angola reading up on them. Dear god may it be good to him.


LOVE: KTM 690

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7308/9806946713_970337e294_b.jpg)

She be beautiful. She goes like a demon. And she tried to kill me.

By the way - Rally Raid make seriously good stuff for this bike. Used their racks, did their petrol cap and tank bolt conversions (essential), and their rear tank. All faultless - going back for more.


HATE TO LOVE: DR

(http://www.pea-ridge-ar.com/data/uploads/mule-jump-photos-2010/mule-jump-2010.jpg)

It's simple, reliable as a fridge, and totally gets the job done. Perfect for a luddite Midget. Welcome Buttercup, you boring-as-sin-good-for-nothing-half-pony. At this price, why why why, I ask you, why would anyone buy a KLR???*

*Hate on me, Silky Johnstone and your cronies.


LOVE, HATE, LOVE TO HATE, HATE TO LOVE: That Rack!

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5532/10022987243_bfa5031dcc_b.jpg)

Nothing has brought us more amusement in the aftermath. Ugly as sin, built like a brick shithouse. You wanna dominate Africa you know who to call. In fact, I think I'm going to become an agent. Come find me at Cafe Caprice.


LOVE: Mitas E09 & XT644

(http://www.kwikwap.co.za/offroadcycles/photos/Mitas%20E09%20Dakar%2017%20Rear.jpg)

I wanted Michelin deserts for this trip, but they're impossible to come by at the moment, it seems. Piston Pete hooked us up with some E09's - I had a reasonably new TKC on the front so I was the only one who didn't change fronts. Can't comment on the XT's, but they look pretty good and have a more aggressive tread pattern than the TKC. I had tyre envy. Zero punctures on any of the bikes, and I hammered that E09 and it handled and still looks good enough to take off and save for a future trip. Well impressed.

EDIT 11/10 - Made a discovery yesterday... I'd noticed that my swingarm chain guard is a bit chewed up and broken, and since the bike has been off the road since Angola, hadn't paid it all that much attention - assuming that it was from my accident, utterly illogical as that may be. Turns out, it's the E09. And here's a heads up. The 140/80/18 E09 doesn't fit on the 690! Apparently Mitas measure their tyres by the width of the carcass not the knobs, and it's too wide. Bit annoying.... I wonder what a new swingarm guard costs?


LOVE: Giant Loop & ATG Gear

(http://justgastanks.com/images/FTB-W%20Fandango%20Tank%20Bag%20White.jpg)

Any piece of kit called a 'Fandango' deserved to be loved. I've never used a tank bag before - Tom had one and it was impossible to stand up properly, but this is genius. Had all my camera kit in, with power rigged for on-bike charging. I think they're worth the money - it's built by people who love to do just this kind of stuff with it, and it shows.

(http://www.atgear.co.za/7-40-large_default/atg-overlander-motorcycle-saddle-bags.jpg)

Hard cases on a trip this are a liability. Seriously, you’d have to have a hole in the head.

I’ve been using a homemade Giant Loop-style bag the last few years, but needed something bigger for this trip. ATG's soft bags are less than half the price of the international stuff - and Michnus, of this very forum - generously gave us a little discount on them, so we all bought them. Thanks Michnus!

Now, bearing in mind that we abused them well beyond their stated spec, I think they’re bloody good. Midget beat the shit out his, and they are seriously the worse for wear, but nothing a couple hundred rands at Rocksole won’t fix. All of us had burst seams and broken clips, but this is why:


Hmmm. HATE: Fuel Bladders

We needed 45-50 litres for the south west corner, which is a bit of a problem in anyone’s language. Somewhat fortuitously we popped into Flying Brick and discovered that these things fit perfectly into the ATG bags:

(http://www.offroadcycles.co.za/photos/fuel-bladder-or-fuel-cell.jpg)

So we bought four each. 25kg a side is a smudge beyond the stated spec of the bags, so we bust them a bit. But honestly, 45 litres of fuel is a pain in anyone's ass, and I'm hating them fuel bags just for that reason. But they didn't break, did the job and I'm sure we'll use them again. Like around the Kaokoveld. Or a little illegal trip up the coast from Luderitz. Boys?


LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE: Rockstraps

(http://www.motoplus.ca/conso/2010/juillet/Touratech/rockstraps.jpg)

Rockstraps ARE SERIOUSLY THE BEST BIT OF KIT FOR A BIKE. Period. How on earth did it take me so long to discover them? Replace every strap you've got on your luggage with them!


LOVE: Panasonic & Gopro

(http://rcdn.photographyreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/panasonic-GH3_angle.jpg)

The camera kit was peerless. Stills and video on the Panasonic GH3 with 12-35 f2.8 stabilised zoom and a fast 20/1.7 prime I only put on a couple times. GH3 is currently the best gig in town for DSLR video, and the battery life is sensational. Significantly more compact than full size DSLR too.

GoPro Hero3 black - amazing but battery life is shocking. Real hate on that! Had 4 and was constantly recharging.


LOVE (AND THE REST LOVE TO HATE): The Afterlife

(http://media.thehubsa.co.za/forum/uploads/monthly_08_2010/post-615-078473500%201282208909.jpg)

Made for starving children in Africa or something, full of nutrients and chocolate flavoured. Kept us alive for days. And regular. We took six sacks of it.


LOVE: Toms' custom bivvy tarp

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7297/9807012205_2da3b31d7b_b.jpg)

Tents are for pussies. You're cosseted at home enough. Sleep out, cook on a fire, don't wash, get hot, get cold, kak in die bos.


LOVE: BBC podcasts

I now know about rats, the British tax system, the origins of the home, Mary Robinson's private life and a bunch of other utterly senseless, useless pieces of information. A great way to whittle away the time on a long journey, and much better than being forced by Midget to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat.


LOVE: Weapons

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2894/9771176083_7a2d8579d2_b.jpg)

Have toys, will travel. The Midge is a marksman. Don't make him angry. Still regret not mounting a harpoon to the back of my bike.


LOVE: The beautiful, idiosyncratic, curious, warm, colourful, charming people of Angola. We will never forget you.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/9772007105_d482173d19_b.jpg)


N'GOLA KINGDOM? Yeah baby!

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/9724104682_aea6ca5a56_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Professor sprocket on October 11, 2013, 01:26:21 am
While I still feel sick to the core at my experience of this trip, it seems wrong to spoil this yarn by leaving my fat turd of silence at its exit.

This is Tom, the one that was left behind. I wont even try and describe how disappointed I was. Something like a falling feeling. Or rather being left on the runway somehow just as the plane takes off. 50 shades of sick. I’d made the whole of this year about the Angolan trip, it had shaped all my work contracts, my relationships, made me turn down a shed load more work. I’d flown up to Pretoria just to get a visa. I’d bought a new bike, all new gear… And done an unfathomable array of paper work despite being over-busy with other stuff. Not easy for an Englishmen to get an Angolan visa for a South African bike he has no licence for yet…

I could have been luckier. Millies motorcycles took 2 more weeks than they should have to deliver the bike from Joburg. KTM Cape Town could have had time to look at the bike in the week prior to leaving. The guy that did service the bike could have actually done what he was meant to. And really – what are the odds of that stone hitting that kick-stand switch at that moment? By the time the kick stand switch had gone, we’d already lost faith in the bike. And we weren’t really one hundred percent sure it was the kickstand switch that had my KTM 690 stopped. It wasnt running well before that. Im not mechanical enough, clearly, but from what I understand there’s a load of electrics in that bike, lots of sensors and spidery over-evolved bits of bike intelligence - one part stops working and the whole thing can just die. You need a computer and the toolkit from the Matrix to reset the whole thing. I know jack shit about bikes but I feel qualified, after 3 weeks of wasted leave, 6 days of wasted bike trailering, several bank vaults of cash for fuel and hotels, god knows how much guilt about delaying my friends and an even more biblical quantity of self loathing and sense of inadequacy, to say those bikes are a risk not worth taking. I actually have lost my capacity to even think straight about KTMs. You’ll either love them, or hate them. Just don’t buy an old untested one and take it out too far. That I can safely say. Buy a DR, and get a KTM for the weekends when you are close to help.

But its clear I was pretty silly here. Getting a fancy bike at such short notice, and leaving on a trip of a life-time without having it properly tested was just dumb. I live for adventures, and never think of them as a waste. But this one carried a bitter medicine, swallowed alone, without my mates, as I tried to understand what had happened to my trip. The lesson it gave me, well worth the price, and that is despite the gut wrenching heart-popping stupor as I watched them disappear without me, is never to be a passenger in the adventure. I should have owned it, as if I was going alone, but in a group. Like Clint Eastwood in that movie. He didn’t have to sit helplessly under a tree while his mates swore at each other about a voltmeter. At the risk of sounding too deep, travelling in a group brings a false sense of security. You hope to stay together, but you need to plan for self-sufficiency. There is a happy bantering collective bubble between good friends going on a good adventure – its seems like nothing can really go badly wrong - but you need to know that the bubble only lasts as long as you and the bike can keep moving. You need to wave the bubble goodbye if you’re delaying a trip which took as much admin and preparation as this (OK – so we didn’t do much preparation, but I remember photocopying some stuff). Once they all leave, and its just at the beginning of your rare holiday fortnight, you’re left to your own devices. And now you need your bike to not be a mystifying tangle of unpredictable complexity.

The three of them did all they could to help. The Panda thumbled with his voltmeter until he was blue in the face, cursing the gods. The Camel towed me back most of the way, kept his brother under control, and helped drag the bike back up the bits where my puny body gave way. The Midget came to find baby oil with me, and offered superb mechanical advice about which brand of oil smelt best after sunset. In the end, the guilt of keeping them back for a second day, outweighed my will to keep looking for solutions, and I sent them off to ride it on my behalf.

The two brothers are loving their KTMs, and no wonder. To ride them is to jam a monster power tool between your legs and penetrate the horizon over and over again. Their orange tricks make the skyline squeal with delight. Every half path and trail craves a little bit of KTM magic. And those bikes cant get enough of it, they bound hungrily, defying gravity across the maddest terrain, up the mountains to bang the sky yet again - and the day is yet truly begun. I experienced if for all of 2 hours before mine broke. I struggled to give up on the KTM club, those front forks, and back wheels have a truly sexual allure. But for anyone that’s had anything like the trouble I had with those bikes (and it seems like those bikes hand out a fair share of disappointment) there is no doubt about it. They are crap. KTMs were built in Europe, for riding around gentile country tracks, or for riding on expensive exotic holidays with geared-up back up crews. Or for weekends when it doesn’t matter if you are caught out. If you can afford to get rescued in style, and don’t mind the risk of failure, they are worth the thrill. My mates were lucky. Two of the three KTMs shone. You only have to read other ride reports to see that ratio is about the norm. For me, the skyline-tickling-rock-leaping-goodness are not worth those odds.

So what did I do once that sad little dust cloud had settled and I was alone near the Angolan border? I was so bleak I couldn’t even think straight. I just drove blindly and downtrodden out of Opuwo to Epupa Falls a few hours away, and went into a dark night of the soul. Or rather a couple of nights. A very dark time. Trying to pick myself up. The bats had me beaten. But then, in between the gut wrenching, self loathing torture of it, I started noticing I was in a pretty special place. So, because I was skint anyway by now, I managed to persuade my beautiful girlfriend to come have a holiday, and I flew up her up to be with me among the zebras and other various touristy delights. Then, while my friends were out wrestling their beasts out in the wilderness, I got to lie beneath fancy clean linen, tended by a wonderful feminine creature who nursed my wounded ego as I, only occasionally (well, maybe a bit more than occasionally) thought wistfully of where they were, or what they were doing. We actually had a terrific holiday together, once I’d accepted that it was holiday time, and let the adventure go.
 
Do I regret trying to do this trip? Not at all. Slightly different execution next time but I reckon an adventure like this is always worth it – however it turns out. And that route had been done before anyway. It was a bit soft, really.The boys needed to get some practice in before we go somewhere proper.

Camel, Midget, Panda – an awesome ride report. I now was there with you, kind of. Thanks for your kind words in the ride report, and for sharing the experience with all of us.  
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: KiLRoy on October 11, 2013, 05:04:34 am
As i said, Tom - the gentleman's gentleman.... ;D
Title: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2013, 07:00:01 am
See what we (and now you) were missing out on??

But... gentleman? He's more a filthy rogue with a splendid outlook, boundless energy and the devious charm and silvery tongue to make your grandmother (and every Himba maiden within a hundred miles) weak at the knees.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: adventure hunter1 on October 11, 2013, 07:05:14 am
I read this report every morning over my cup of coffee. Pity its come to the end.
Whens the next trip? Well done for the dedicated effort put into this RR.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mikie on October 11, 2013, 10:24:39 am
EPIC ride report!!
Thanks for sharing guys
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on October 11, 2013, 12:22:15 pm
What a great read :thumleft:
Please guys try and do the Luderitz trip legally.
Getting to Sossosvlei is already off limits to bikes.
Contact the guys that does the 4x4 trips from Luderitz. Hopefully in the future
they will open it for bikes and more of us can go ride there legally.
Looking forward to your RR if such a trip is possible. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2013, 12:25:26 pm
What a great read :thumleft:
Please guys try and do the Luderitz trip legally.
Getting to Sossosvlei is already off limits to bikes.
Contact the guys that does the 4x4 trips from Luderitz. Hopefully in the future
they will open it for bikes and more of us can go ride there legally.
Looking forward to your RR if such a trip is possible. :thumleft:

Ya that Sossusvlei story is a bummer, isn't it. We were up there two years or so back and they'd closed it a month or two before http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=84846.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=84846.0).

Disappointing when you see how the 4x4's drive on the tracks leading out there. Would be a blast on a DS bike, but I guess the MX and haai-speed-quad crew have probably wrecked it for everyone by riding all over the dunes.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MechanicalCamel on October 11, 2013, 12:34:20 pm
EPIC ride report!!
Thanks for sharing guys

I'm sorry, I missed that. Could you speak a little louder than your avatar??  8)

Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2013, 12:38:44 pm
EPIC ride report!!
Thanks for sharing guys

I'm sorry, I missed that. Could you speak a little louder than your avatar??  8)


Her pants match your boots. It's a sign.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on October 11, 2013, 12:39:58 pm
What a great read :thumleft:
Please guys try and do the Luderitz trip legally.
Getting to Sossosvlei is already off limits to bikes.
Contact the guys that does the 4x4 trips from Luderitz. Hopefully in the future
they will open it for bikes and more of us can go ride there legally.
Looking forward to your RR if such a trip is possible. :thumleft:

Ya that Sossusvlei story is a bummer, isn't it. We were up there two years or so back and they'd closed it a month or two before http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=84846.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=84846.0).

Disappointing when you see how the 4x4's drive on the tracks leading out there. Would be a blast on a DS bike, but I guess the MX and haai-speed-quad crew have probably wrecked it for everyone by riding all over the dunes.
That is why I'm all for contacting the guys in Luderitz that does the 4x4 trips up
along the coast and let them know there is a need for bikes to go do that trip and
they could make money.
No way a group of bikes can make more damage to the dunes than a group
of 4x4's. They still do the catering and cart along ecstra fuel like they do with
the 4x4 trips. I think it would be very popular.
Give the bikes GPS waypoints at the start of each day. Regroup at lunch, eat and refuel
and then ride to where one sleeps at night. Would then give the rider a sence of freedom
but still safe knowing if something happens he will be picked up. All kit loaded on the 4x4's
leading the trip.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2013, 12:43:53 pm
I'd sign up in a heartbeat. Even more so if the route involved heading into the dunes at some point.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on October 11, 2013, 01:29:20 pm
I'd sign up in a heartbeat. Even more so if the route involved heading into the dunes at some point.
Remember a few years ago you and your brother got food from us in Brand se Baai
thinking there was a shop of sorts in Groenriviermond?
Well that section from Griviermond to Hondeklipbaai was closed until Sparks Esterhuizen
begged De Beers to open it for him only to do tours.
When he stopped his tours the route stayed open for all. :thumleft:
Downside of that is the amount of garbage seen on the beaches there nowdays.

I think there is only two guys that has the consession to do 4x4 trips from Luderitz
into the Namib. Think one of the guys is a biker too.
One can only ask and keep on asking. I know for a fact Kamanya would also love
to do that trip.

http://www.westcoast4x4.co.za/web/index.php/westcoast-4x4-tours-and-packages/westcoast-4x4-luderitz-to-walvis-bay (http://www.westcoast4x4.co.za/web/index.php/westcoast-4x4-tours-and-packages/westcoast-4x4-luderitz-to-walvis-bay)

Day 5 Luderitz to Walvisbay adventure - Coastways Tours (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRlJ1gqurFY#)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Mikie on October 11, 2013, 01:41:42 pm
EPIC ride report!!
Thanks for sharing guys

I'm sorry, I missed that. Could you speak a little louder than your avatar??  8)



I hate repeating myself, focus  :thumleft:

You have latex boots?
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Snafu on October 11, 2013, 01:58:40 pm
I'd sign up in a heartbeat. Even more so if the route involved heading into the dunes at some point.
Remember a few years ago you and your brother got food from us in Brand se Baai
thinking there was a shop of sorts in Groenriviermond?
Well that section from Griviermond to Hondeklipbaai was closed until Sparks Esterhuizen
begged De Beers to open it for him only to do tours.
When he stopped his tours the route stayed open for all. :thumleft:
Downside of that is the amount of garbage seen on the beaches there nowdays.

I think there is only two guys that has the consession to do 4x4 trips from Luderitz
into the Namib. Think one of the guys is a biker too.
One can only ask and keep on asking. I know for a fact Kamanya would also love
to do that trip.

http://www.westcoast4x4.co.za/web/index.php/westcoast-4x4-tours-and-packages/westcoast-4x4-luderitz-to-walvis-bay (http://www.westcoast4x4.co.za/web/index.php/westcoast-4x4-tours-and-packages/westcoast-4x4-luderitz-to-walvis-bay)

Day 5 Luderitz to Walvisbay adventure - Coastways Tours (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRlJ1gqurFY#)

I did that trip up to Saddle Hill and back. Those soft dunes will make you sweat, day in and day out :)
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: ALLEN I on October 13, 2013, 01:52:46 pm
awesome awesome bloody spectacular RR. only regret is that its finished. do a follow up. place a short version with a few more pics and so. think we would all enjoy it
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Kamanya on October 13, 2013, 10:03:20 pm
I only saw this report about 3 hours ago.

Brilliantly told, filmed and photo'd.

Bravo!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: africanSky on October 13, 2013, 10:58:02 pm
Awesome trip & RR!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: lecap on October 14, 2013, 09:16:18 am
I was very sorry to see Tom's trip come to an end before it really started.

Especially after having sourced a second hand front wheel - by pure luck and pretty much last minute.
Like really last minute - six days prior to departure and after caging the Midget's DR donkey in luggage carrier.

The replacement wheel was in plenty better condition than the El Cheapo putty rim the KTM came with. In a knee jerk disassembly, straighten & reassembly action it was made travel fit whilst I had to endure relentless messages & calls from Tom questioning my assurance that a 530's (suspected) and a 690's hub ARE identical and the replacement will not miserably fail once facing the first Angolan pot hole.

Lucky that you made something out of the time spent in Northern Namibia and from my limited and long past experience of the Kunene (April 2002) I can assure you that you have made the best out of fleeing Opuwo - which over a decade later still seems to be one of the most uninspiring places on the African continent.
Especially fleeing Opuwo for Epupa Falls. The term "a pretty special place" sums it up well. Don't say more.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: XRV-Boy on December 07, 2013, 10:59:17 am
Amazing trip guys great ride report and enough idiocracy, bullshit, laughter tears and midgets to leave  a lasting memory. Wonderful, would be honoured to ride with you boys one day
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: mtr89 on December 11, 2013, 05:39:04 pm
Without a doubt one of the most amusing and utterly entertaining ride reports i have had the pleasure of reading.I laughed out loud  countless times and stayed enthralled the whole way through the journey.Tom,you sir are a gentleman and a scholar.One can only imagine the utter heartache and broken spirit you had to endure watching your mates ride off into the distance,KUDOS!thanks for sharing chaps.Now please go ride some more and tell us about it so we can all laugh some more.thanks.
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Three Dawg on January 02, 2014, 09:30:54 pm
Really entertaining!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Brandt on January 03, 2014, 02:34:29 pm
Brilliant!!!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Prototype on March 14, 2014, 05:00:22 pm
Only discovered this thread a little while ago and since then I was glued to my seat and frothing at the mouth to go on a similar (mis) adventure. Thank you for the wonderfully portrayed and endlessly entertaining story of epic proportions! Sorry for the misfortune of your fallen compadrey early on, but such is life neh.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: Sardine on March 26, 2014, 04:06:38 pm
 :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee:

On page 9. Loving it!
Title: Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 26, 2014, 05:25:23 pm
Ah. You have a long, drawn out, self indulgent road of garbled nonsense ahead of you then... Enjoy!