Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Just Blip It! on July 07, 2014, 06:11:31 pm

Title: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on July 07, 2014, 06:11:31 pm
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10441948_10152244634259436_7927253517993600555_n_zpsb5b3d8f0.jpg)

The roughest, toughest Zim Gravel Travel Tour to date. Now that the pins and screws are in, the bones are set, the staples are out, the bikes are repaired and the dust has settled I can finally sit down to the task of writing the ride report for the Khwela Adventures Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014 (ZGT).

Here is a little preview to get the juices flowing;




We had lots of this................!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0976_zps5f040220.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0979_zps988bb5aa.jpg)





A little of this.......................

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10500306_259266507599951_2088492075397013894_n_zpsbb98972b.jpg)






Plenty of this!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00767_zpsc544058f.jpg)







.................and this!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00344_zps733558ea.jpg)






....................and this!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10432937_10152244432154436_7005655341213354200_n_zpsbde49f31.jpg)






Which lead to a lot of this!! ;D

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10352839_10152244416004436_3778888613042294844_n_zps561a46c9.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10432937_10152244643694436_6434585043070465105_n_zpsf9a996c8.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10462916_10152244632929436_8673835107472722805_n_zps009ab427.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC04215_zpsfbba1b76.jpg)







There was also a bit of this!  :pot:

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0911_zpse5658660.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0913_zpsedaed8de.jpg)







Those that made it were treated to lots of this..........................

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10409504_10152244525189436_6902832490115291882_n_zps20a8f147.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/1526423_10152244442434436_3413965792383060867_n_zpscaca9786.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC04112_zpsf7936572.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC03970_zps37d9dd34.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC03945_zps3e2cf54f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00417_zpsab0744ba.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10492265_10152244425594436_8512132696248432855_n_zps9f48956d.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10390994_10152244423444436_9120135924541129492_n_zpsab4c5960.jpg)



So make yourself comfortable, get some  :sip: and some  :happy1: and standby for the ride report!  :ricky:

Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JustBendIt on July 07, 2014, 06:46:38 pm
looking forward to this  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Jakkals on July 07, 2014, 07:04:40 pm
Sit in spaning en wag, :thumleft:

Hierdie is 'n great foto met 'n lekker los en sagte landing,,,,,, lyk my julle is 'n paar ouens wat nie k@rk vat van bike ry nie,,, :thumleft: :lol8:

Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Heddles on July 07, 2014, 08:57:46 pm
This looks like it was an awesome riding experience. Had I not been called away to work, I would have probably joined you guys with Jagsding..
Gonna keep an eye on this thread..
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: XTFREAK on July 07, 2014, 09:04:50 pm
I met up with one of your guys on his way back on the first Sunday of your ride. He had a broken shoulder, collar bone and was tackling his second puncture when I met him on the side of the road. A very despondent fella he was. Unfortunately I could help fix his puncture cause he had ripped his tube to bits. Hope he is ok now.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 07, 2014, 09:29:42 pm
Lekker Mark HIT IT!!!!

Beers are on me!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on July 07, 2014, 10:42:12 pm
I met up with one of your guys on his way back on the first Sunday of your ride. He had a broken shoulder, collar bone and was tackling his second puncture when I met him on the side of the road. A very despondent fella he was. Unfortunately I could help fix his puncture cause he had ripped his tube to bits. Hope he is ok now.

Yip, that was Grant, crashed about 50km into Zim in the thick sand. Tough as nails, refused any help, he rode the last 50km to the lodge, fell a few more times then rode back home to Gauteng with broken collar bone and a few broken ribs! Big respect! Will ride again with him anytime anywhere!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: COLES on July 08, 2014, 08:38:15 am

great adventure great pic,s thank u
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: punisher on July 08, 2014, 09:26:41 am
lemme see ...... lemme see
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Brandt on July 08, 2014, 11:17:00 am
 :sip: One day
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Fred4stroke on July 08, 2014, 02:47:13 pm
 :sip:

NICE!!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: m0lt3n on July 08, 2014, 08:32:52 pm
Subscribed! Wish I had the skill, time and budget to do this (maybe bike too)
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Bushcat on July 08, 2014, 08:40:53 pm
Bring it on Shamwari! Looking forward to this RR!!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: BLK on July 08, 2014, 08:41:05 pm
Looking interesting.The "Roof" is only in November?
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Ilan-san on July 08, 2014, 11:10:18 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Re: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Jackol. on July 08, 2014, 11:19:36 pm
Subscribed! Wish I had the skill, time and budget to do this (maybe bike too)
Haha. Trade your gs1200 for a gs800 or a ktm...

I agree. I definately need more skill to do a trip like this.

Very nice trip and report you have on this!!!
Title: Re: Re: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Jackol. on July 08, 2014, 11:31:22 pm
Subscribed! Wish I had the skill, time and budget to do this (maybe bike too)
Haha. Trade your gs1200 for a gs800 or a ktm...

I agree. I definately need more skill to do a trip like this.

Very nice trip and report you have on this!!!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on July 08, 2014, 11:34:10 pm
Day 1 “Baptism of fire!”


Our annual Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014 (ZGT) has come and gone and I find myself regularly remembering the trip every day since we got back, wishing that I was still lost in those remote majestic mountains negotiating another steep rocky path on the big Katoom. Damn! Reality is a bitch!
Instead it’s back to work, back to the rat race and the comfort of the tedious rituals of the daily grind that rule our lives. Fortunately it’s just until the next bike adventure that I now enthusiastically plan and start to tick off the days till I climb on the Katoom!
I started the Zim Gravel Travel ride in 2012, and this year was the 3rd such tour of Zimbabwe. I am a born Rhodesian and grew up on the eastern border of Zimbabwe till I was 16 years old when I emigrated with my family to SA, so Zim is close to my heart and I love sharing my previous stomping grounds with my fellow bikers.  It was here that I learned to ride a bike exploring the remote areas of Zim fresh after the bushwar which had kept us all locked up at school and home.


12 of us all converged on our meeting point at Mashovela Lodge about 20km other side of Louis Trichaardt. Most of us trailered our bikes to this venue to avoid the tediously long tar road journey. Our 13th rider was to meet us on the Zim side of the border.






Mark, WD Name;  Just Blip it. AKA “Knight Rider”. KTM 990R

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0677_zpse92a5c4b.jpg)



Treffon, WD Name; Treffon.  AKA “Chuck Norris”. KTM 990

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1984-Copy_zpsfa4b928e.jpg)



Lee, WD Name; Steel Image. AKA” Pades”. KTM 990R

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1994_zpsec27cfe7.jpg)



Alan, WD Name; The Edge AKA “Zulu”. KTM 950S

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2342_zps833390bf.jpg)



Eddie, WD Name; King Edward  AKA “Steady Eddie”. KTM 1190R.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1985-Copy_zpsc2292578.jpg)



Dries, WD Name; Vosperd.  KTM 990.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1982-Copy_zpse3512417.jpg)



Justin, WD Name; Jagsding  . KTM 950 SE.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1986_zps9b923eb6.jpg)



Mario, (Not a WD) AKA “The Butcher”. KTM 990R.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1992_zpscf2efa88.jpg)



Paddy, (Not a WD) AKA  “Jesus”. Triumph 800XC.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1988_zpsf9e088dd.jpg)



Steve, (Not a WD)  AKA “Fingers.” Triumph 800XC.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1987_zps5c31e999.jpg)



Antony, (Not a WD)  AKA “The Rabbi.” BMW 800GS.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1981-Copy_zps85e4471c.jpg)



Johan, WD Name;  JohanJvR. KTM 990R


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1983-Copy_zpse2588bd9.jpg)




As everyone arrived in dribs and drabs, we would gather around each arriving vehicle and check out their chosen “weapons” for the trip whilst we helped unload the trailers. For me there were a few new faces on the trip, I had ridden with most of these guys except for  5 of them. The guys came from far and wide with Justin from Cape Town who had already been on the road for 3 days!  We had started a “Whats App” group months before and as the date neared and the excitement gathered momentum the group got busy with friendly banter bouncing back and forth. Based on this, I knew we had a good bunch of guys with a few humorous characters that promised to bring a light hearted side to the trip. The average age of our group was 46 years old, so all of these guys are life experienced already.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0605-Copy_zpsa81c3e8f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt010/DSC00130_zps386f3380.jpg)


After a lekker supper at the lodge and a few beers, it was time for myself and partner Treffon Smith(Chuck Norris) from Khwela Adventures  and my riding buddy who I met when I invited him on the  1st Zim Gravel Travel trip who also convinced me to join the Khwela Adventures team as a Tour Coordinator  to give the route briefing and hand out the traditional Pink Tie to a deserving person that had earned the privilege of wearing it for 24 hours.

The first tie bearers were Grant and Eddie. This was for getting their vehicle stuck in the bush enroute to the lodge!


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1930_zps83bd917a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1801-Copy_zps074cb4f0.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2022_zpsbc571cc2.jpg)

The PinkDrive is the  indispensable, tangible breast cancer Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) powering South Africa’s first mobile  PinkDrive Mammography Unit and PinkDrive Educational Unit through our country, driving home the fact that ‘Early Detection Saves Lives’. It has become a Khwela Adventures tradition to bring a PinkDrive tie on the trip to be worn by the 2 riders that are deservingly nominated by the riders for a specific incident, happening or personal fark up they may have made during the days ride, they then wear the tie for 24 hours till they can hand it out the next evening after supper to the next deserving candidate. At the end of the ride each rider can sgn the tie and dedicate his ride to the memory of someone who has succumbed or beaten cancer, Khwela Adventures also donates an amount of R1200 to the PinkDrive after the tour. A very nice gesture started by “Chuck” years ago!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/522810_393608894011300_1976109726_n_zps0a384459.jpg)

Khwela Adventures motto is “Ride for a reason” and is known in adventure biking circles to support many charities and communities including Malaria Net distribution, Rhino Force, PinkDrive and our latest mission for this trip was sponsored by Bic Pens who donated 3000 pens for us to distribute in Zimbabwe  in the rural areas to encourage literacy.

After a hearty breakfast and the traditional “before” photo shoot we left Mashovela Lodge heading for the border. The 80 odd kilos of tar gave us the chance to relax before our border crossing.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0615-Copy_zpsc7d20df2.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1952_zps31c5e0a9.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1948_zps9d9c3117.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1960_zpsff677bfd.jpg)

Our experience at the border turned out to be a 6 hour ordeal of incompetence and absolute organised chaos!  We were convinced to use a “runner” by one of our group who lives in Zim, ( no names mentioned) , this turned out more of a frustrating hindrance and amounted to the good meaning culprit being dealt out some serious straf dops and the Pink Tie. That’s all I have to say about that!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1810-Copy_zps6522625a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1813-Copy_zpscd31dcaf.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00321_zpsb5ac56ad.jpg)

We got through to the Zim side by 15h00 and met our last member of the group there. 13 strong we decided to tackle the 100km gravel route which turned off the tar less than 2km from the border right in the dirty border town of Beit Bridge. (True to my reputation for hating the black stuff)
We split into groups of 2 riding in the “buddy” formation to reduce the dust gaps. My riding buddy was Lee, (Forum Name Steelimage) although I call him Pades (Dutchmen in Porra). Pades has probably ridden more than 20000km next to me through the best and worst terrain that I have experienced and although we have crashed into each other on occasion we know exactly what to expect and predict of the others riding style. We also communicate through our Sena’s which also helps!


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00332_zpsc9d136b7.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/GOPR0833_zps5253dceb.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00337_zps7b3dd1ac.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1828_zps3af017ae.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00339_zps01d02b3d.jpg)

What we found was people in the remote areas had probably never seen Adventure Riders like ourselves and it became a challenge to give these pens out! As soon as we would stop at a settlement adults and children would head for the hills and it would take a lot of encouragement to convince them we were friendly riders on a generous mission to give pens away! Once the ice was broken and the suspicion overcome however we were met by really friendly people who were positively jolly and happy, truly inspirational given the absolute poverty that they live in. You will notice that I said poverty and not “squalor” because they definitely do not live in squalor, they are tidy people with very little litter or wastage visible, living a traditional subsistence farmer lifestyle. They live in beautifully built huts with neatly thatched roofs a cattle kraal, a few goats, a donkey or 2 to pull the scotch cart. The sad part is that the farms that they have occupied are no longer the big productive commercial farms of the old Rhodesia which were once the bread basket of the country, but have been divided into little farms where every family now struggles out a meager existence for themselves only.  The natural beauty still exists though, now more rural and tribal than before, but really beautiful with little huts dotted here and there dwarfed by massive Baobab trees and rock kopjies. As we ride through the settlements you smell the cow and goat manure and the smell of the cooking fires and when you stop anywhere there is always the sound of distant cow bells.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00335_zpscfd7cfa2.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1839-Copy_zps307127c0.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10393151_10152244414424436_1818955132507807622_n_zps00bf5b19.jpg)


Little did we know that this would be the “Baptism of Fire” for the group as we immediately encountered goat and cattle tracks with thick sand for the first 40km! The guys were still getting used to the heavier than usual loaded bikes when the sand dragon reared its nasty head biting the front wheels of the bikes and succeeding in shaking a few riders off their steeds! First Anthony, then Steve and Zulu were rudely introduced to the dusty Zimbabwean earth in unceremonious fashion!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1818-Copy_zps9f796e02.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1821-Copy_zpsb9c5296f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1830-Copy_zpsdfc3cc4e.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1844-Copy_zpsabd3baf2.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1846_zps31455b92.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1847-Copy_zpscb4d006b.jpg)

At first it was quite amusing, but after picking up the bikes a few more times the amusement faded and the sweat started flowing for some.


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00345_zps0163caa6.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1851-Copy_zps6ed41471.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/ygM-Ae0pKFg

 Sand is a “mind fuck” in most cases and once you master it things turn in your favour, I find that tackling it aggressively applying large throttle inputs and hard rear braking normally slays the “sand dragon”. Some mastered it on that dusty afternoon, some mastered it a few days later and only one never got the chance to as the ‘dragon’ struck hard as the sun slinked behind the hills the road opened allowing higher speeds but every now and again the sand would jump out and attack! Grant went down hard on one of these occasions and immediately he knew he had broken his collarbone. Bravely he climbed on his bike and soldiered on falling another few times due to the lack of support in his shoulder more than anything else. Johan and I took turns at lifting him and riding his bike through the thick stuff till we encountered more solid ground where Grant rode his bike.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2043_zps625eb707.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1852-Copy_zps31ae89b3.jpg)

 It was here while waiting next to the sandy track with the sun leaving its last glow of light that I realized how lucky we were to be in this beautiful place, what a hard ride we were going to have, this wasn’t going to be your average Adventure ride, this was going to be rough and tough! Were we all up to it? Were the bikes going to survive?

We eventually reached our overnight accommodation The Lion & Elephant Motel at around 19h30 where we all went straight to the bar and downed a few Golden Pilsners to wash the dust down and numb the aching muscles and in one case broken bones.  Despite the tough ride, the guys were all in good spirits and as we feasted on a few Eland steaks washed down by a couple more beers my nick name “Night Rider” was born.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1854_zps7d8828e7.jpg)


Grant on the left with his broken collarbone and as he found out later in SA a few broken ribs too!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1856-Copy_zps7dbdc1e0.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1859-Copy_zps8d3d71ae.jpg)

That night the PinkDrive Tie was handed on to Dries and Chuck for their "wonderful" organising skills at the Zim border!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1860-Copy_zpsd325b489.jpg)



My immediate thoughts turned to the months and months of Google Earth tracks that I had plotted looking for the most challenging routes for the tour.............”Shit I hope I didn’t make it too difficult else there may be many more night rides and broken bones in store!” Only time would tell!
In my mind I summed up our group for the day and came to the conclusion that this was good bunch, some slight greenhorns and some really good riders in fact some really impressive riders! It was a pleasing though to see that these guys were physiologically strong, positive and  no one had cracked no matter how many times they picked their bikes up or how challenging the route had been today, there was still a dusty smiling face on every photo and after every wipeout!
One thing though; I was determined to get this group of Adventurers through the whole route, those that have ridden with me have witnessed my  determination to ride the set route from start to finish no matter how challenging or what pitfalls lie in the way! For me it is the whole route and nothing but the route!

Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JustBendIt on July 09, 2014, 06:02:39 am
awesome stuff JBI - keep it coming ... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: evansv on July 09, 2014, 07:05:52 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Kerritz on July 09, 2014, 07:37:45 am
Wag in spanning vir die res!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: BLK on July 09, 2014, 07:55:56 am
I think I need to speak to Paddy(Jesus) to find out the whole truth!


Thks for RR looked like a great trip
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Martyn on July 09, 2014, 07:58:38 am
.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JesseH on July 09, 2014, 10:22:10 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: High 5 on July 09, 2014, 08:05:01 pm
Sub
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: mcgyver on July 10, 2014, 02:15:57 pm
To the chap who stopped to help me when i had tne second flat, thank you, you where in fact the only person who did stop in the 3 hours before henry arrived with his bakkie to save my day.Home and healing but very disapointed i missed the rest of the ride.
BMWf800GSA up for sale and a shiny new 990 should be parked in the garage shortly.
Will be back on the dirt soon. GRANT
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Brandt on July 10, 2014, 04:18:05 pm
To the chap who stopped to help me when i had tne second flat, thank you, you where in fact the only person who did stop in the 3 hours before henry arrived with his bakkie to save my day.Home and healing but very disapointed i missed the rest of the ride.
BMWf800GSA up for sale and a shiny new 990 should be parked in the garage shortly.
Will be back on the dirt soon. GRANT
If I may ask, why do you sell the 800 for a 990.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: mcgyver on July 10, 2014, 08:27:46 pm
To the chap who stopped to help me when i had tne second flat, thank you, you where in fact the only person who did stop in the 3 hours before henry arrived with his bakkie to save my day.Home and healing but very disapointed i missed the rest of the ride.
BMWf800GSA up for sale and a shiny new 990 should be parked in the garage shortly.
Will be back on the dirt soon. GRANT
If I may ask, why do you sell the 800 for a 990.
Lighter, thinner, better balance, more usable power in midrange bit most of all no traction controll devices to take power off the back wheel when you need it most, oh yes and it's orange.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Brandt on July 10, 2014, 08:28:53 pm
To the chap who stopped to help me when i had tne second flat, thank you, you where in fact the only person who did stop in the 3 hours before henry arrived with his bakkie to save my day.Home and healing but very disapointed i missed the rest of the ride.
BMWf800GSA up for sale and a shiny new 990 should be parked in the garage shortly.
Will be back on the dirt soon. GRANT
If I may ask, why do you sell the 800 for a 990.
Lighter, thinner, better balance, more usable power in midrange bit most of all no traction controll devices to take power off the back wheel when you need it most, oh yes and it's orange.
:thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: THE EDGE 1 on July 10, 2014, 08:39:34 pm
Love it just want to go back and do it again.. Thanks night rider..
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Kerritz on July 11, 2014, 07:48:23 am
Nou wat nou nou hoe nou nou waar nou?
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on July 11, 2014, 09:37:18 am
Nou wat nou nou hoe nou nou waar nou?
Farking hard work these ride reports! What have I got myself into here? Eish!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JustBendIt on July 11, 2014, 09:47:53 am
Hit it !
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Kerritz on July 11, 2014, 12:39:22 pm
Hit it !

Or blip it!!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: silvrav on July 11, 2014, 12:46:55 pm
Hit it !

Or blip it!!  :biggrin:

haha!

and SUB!  :ricky:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: punisher on July 12, 2014, 09:23:47 am
wow wow and more wow

way out of my league , but verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry  interested ( and impatient) for the rest of the RR
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Noneking on July 12, 2014, 11:11:48 am
Sub  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on July 13, 2014, 09:44:49 pm
Day 2  - Time to play!

We awoke to beautiful sunny morning, after arriving at the motel in the dark last night, it was great to see the massive Ana trees (Acacia albida) which grow alongside the dry river bed of the Bubi river.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1866_zps076e50bc.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00360_zpsc0eb7224.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1868_zpse587746e.jpg)






(http://We all settled down to breakfast, the mood was jolly and there were a few apprehensive questions about the days route. Some of the guys were nervous after yesterdays hectic route. I assured them that today was pretty easy open gravel and threw in an evil wink and smile just to keep them wondering!)
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1865_zpsbecdbee0.jpg)

After a hearty breakfast the boys gathered in front of the Lion & Elephant Motel for the traditional photo shoot. Here we all said goodbye to Grant our injured rider who decided to spend another day here at the motel and leave the next day for a slow ride back home. It was sad to lose a rider so early in the trip, but every sport has its injuries and Adventure riding is no exception!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2052_zpse8323c7b.jpg)

Dries noticed his Mitas tyre which he had fitted for the trip was disintegrating! The knobblies were breaking out of the tyre, very worrying when there is still more than 2000km to go!  :o

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1869_zps68b6b1bf.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1871_zpscd01d043.jpg)

We filled up at a nearby garage and headed out on the tar for 30km till the gravel turn off which would take us through a game conservancy. Here we all rode in pairs to keep the dust gaps down, we also split into 2 groups, with me heading the front faster riders and Chuck the others.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00366_zps2d8c9d84.jpg)

Gameviewing from the bike is always a privilege; we saw giraffe, Kudu, Impala, warthog and baboons along the road and often had to stop to allow the herds of impala to cross.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00378_zps20dd200f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00373_zpsd081a098.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1890_zps3901e0bc.jpg)

Our own Zimbo on the ride! Dries.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1889_zps285fc037.jpg)

We stopped to refuel in a small village, there was no garage just a small shop selling  petrol in litre bottles for us$2 a litre! It was here that Jagsding inspected the rear suspension on his 950SE only to find that his rear shock had blown the seal and leaked all the oil out. The shock had done less than 200km since it had been serviced and new seals fitted! Very disappointing! He would ride the remaining 9 days of rough roads with zero damping, rear wheel bouncing and clattering like an old rural taxi! It amazed me that the suspension actually survived the rest of the trip!

A dissapointed Justin with his Africa Explorers Pith Helmet on!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00383_zpsad158cff.jpg)

Buying fuel by the litre!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00389_zps5c24a157.jpg)

Travelling along a rural gravel track where the road hadn’t see maintenance since the early 80’s and even the locals had taken to rather driving next to the road than on it was hard work and hard concentration.

The locals use the road next to the main road, its smoother!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2055_zps664abc2f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2062_zpsbcecf888.jpg)

It was here the Rabbi decided things weren't kosher!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1902_zpsa2a53a45.jpg)

We eventually arrived a the mighty Lundi river on the border of the Gonorezeu Game Reserve, the bridge was washed away during the 2000 floods and never rebuilt, we stopped here for a few photos then moved up stream under a massive Baobab tree to eat our padkos lunch. We again had the opportunity to hand out a few more Bic pens to a group of children.



(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00401_zpsae2b0492.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00405_zps38a88d64.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00410_zpsac63b314.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00409_zpsa2dbf395.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0658_zps146d30fc.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00415_zpsc2c72d14.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00419_zps3c717ae1.jpg)

We headed up stream 20km toward the low water bridge. Along the way we found a shabeen, with a quart Zamalek each we sat down under the tree only to be entertained by one of the locals who took one look at Paddy and declared him to be Jesus! Hence Paddy’s new name was born!


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0669_zps7cdd7417.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1910_zps572d79e9.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1915_zps66f35d06.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1916_zps701582bd.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1918_zps0a4f88a2.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1921_zps49323244.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1925_zpscbcca5e6.jpg)

Very prophetic t-shirt! If only it was true!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1929_zps7082e654.jpg)

Having downed a quart each the pace of the ride increased somewhat and a few guys could have left their front wheels behind at the shabeen! We finally arrived at the low water bridge, the water was low and had left behind a massive sandy river bed which instantly became a play ground for the 990’s, jumping off the bridge and riding like processed maniacs up and down the river bed. Hard work but awesome fun!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1930_zps0f69e4dc.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00421_zpsd746856f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00422_zps124ed89f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00426_zps4f2ed04b.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/10492265_10152244425594436_8512132696248432855_n_zps9f48956d.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00432_zps722864d7.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2109_zps12f9196e.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2116_zpsd6d5f221.jpg)

It was then decided that a drag race was in order of which I won the first one and came last in the second one! Traction and throttle input were directly linked, too much throttle and you went nowhere! The locals gathered to cheer us on and we even had them chanting “Kay Tee Em, Kay Tee Em!”   ;D

https://www.youtube.com/v/OjEaPneWlPo

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2094_zps389d035e.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2099_zps6cd21e27.jpg)

After the reserve lights came on we saved our remaining fuel for the short haul through the sugar cane plantations to our overnight stop at Hippo Valley Country Club.

Mother of a Baobab!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00439_zps2b74a620.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00440_zpsaf424030.jpg)

A basic but comfortable spot to stay over where colonial past still had strong influences with the clubhouse boasting big veranda’s, a big pub and dining hall with smartly dressed waiters.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00441_zpsb56e6b53.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1957_zpse06d83db.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00448_zpsbb50d2eb.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1959_zpse5805b4c.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1964_zpsc9214ae0.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00456_zpsfe622004.jpg)


Local newspaper reporters arrived at the club to do a story on our group.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1953_zps55d40cc3.jpg)

This chap was quite a character!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1956_zps71c90b4e.jpg)

We all hit the showers and gathered in the pub for some refreshments and some Super 15 Rugby!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00457_zps20535426.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1966_zpsdfa25b88.jpg)

The pink ties were handed out to The Rabbi and Zulu, they were the only ones to fall for the day!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00459_zpsc88b10f0.jpg)

It was a good day! :occasion14:

Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Onetime on July 14, 2014, 08:47:27 am
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: met eish on July 14, 2014, 09:43:16 am
Great trip ..... thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 14, 2014, 10:00:35 am
Thanks Mark! Looking good.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JustBendIt on July 14, 2014, 10:06:02 am
I wanna go back ...

Keep it coming JBI
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 14, 2014, 10:49:55 am
I wanna go back ...

Keep it coming JBI

with a new rear shock!
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: king edward on July 15, 2014, 10:14:17 am
Very polished report, thus far Markie - on a roll - keep it going brother
  :sip:  Ed
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 15, 2014, 10:30:06 am
Jeez Eddie, you have to go on three gravel travel tours, switch from BMW to KTM, break your leg before you make your first post!

Talk about breaking a leg! :imaposer:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Frog on July 15, 2014, 10:44:32 am
Really enjoying this. Looking forward to the next installment :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: king edward on July 18, 2014, 04:04:57 pm
Jeez Eddie, you have to go on three gravel travel tours, switch from BMW to KTM, break your leg before you make your first post!

Talk about breaking a leg! :imaposer:

It's simple Dries - never knew how to post.....!!! Tee Hee
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on July 20, 2014, 09:06:33 pm
Day 3  “Wild Ride

I was looking really forward to this day, we were entering the area where I had grown up. After breakfast we set off to the nearby town of Chiredzi. Many years ago my Uncle was the District Commissioner here. How the town has changed! The road leading into town from Hippo Valley used to be tarred, now it had deteriorated to such an extent it was now gravel all the way into town! Turning Chiredzi into a dusty dirty town. Passing through the residential area, I remembered how beautiful the gardens were when I was a boy, now there was barely a blade of grass around the houses, only the big shady trees bore testament to what was.


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1971_zps866efdbd.jpg)

Fuel prices in US$!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00466_zpsa42d126e.jpg)

Leaving Chiredzi in our dust we turned north and entered the Devuli Ranch, part of the Save Valley Conservency. After signing the visitors book at the boom gate we were allowed in. Always amazes me that bikes are allowed into these areas, in SA it would never be allowed.


(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2027_zps8796dc30.jpg)

Devuli Ranch was one of the biggest cattle ranches in Southern Rhodesia when it was started in 1919. 750000 hectares! Cattle containment fences were erected and water resources re-routed.  Wild animals were locked out of their traditional watering holes and indigenous grazing animals were forced to compete with cattle herds.  Predators that stalked the cattle were shot, and native animals that carried diseases harmful to the cattle were destroyed.

In 1991 Devuli Ranch was divided into 15 smaller land units, and in November 1992 members agreed to shift operations from cattle ranching to wildlife preservation.  Cooperative and respectful interactions between landholders allowed the move to sustainable natural resource management.  The wildlife and habitats were acknowledged as assets to be nurtured, to ensure their benefits continued into the future.
Cattle and internal fences were removed, and in conjunction with the Department and the The World Wide Fund for Nature, began monitoring and managing the restoration of the habitat.  In 1995 a 330km electric perimeter fence was built as a protective enclosure to protect the 3400 square kilometers/340 000 hectares of the conservancy.


.......and here we were riding through this amazing conservancy! Our route was over 120km of gravel roads and tracks through the bushveld. We were just through the boom gate when we saw the first signs of elephant, massive foot prints in the road with Mopani tree branches lying in the road.  I wondered how these elephant would react to the bikes should we come close to them?! Unfortunately we didn’t get to see them, but we did see Kudu, Impala, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Warthog Monkeys and Baboon. The beauty of the bushveld was amazing and a real privilege to enjoy it from the bikes.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2119_zps677030dd.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC06622_zpseb4cddb7.jpg)

Mario.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2130_zpsdad46e86.jpg)

Vosperd and Chuck.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00470_zps74e403f5.jpg)

Pades in action!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00478_zps8a7de470.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1976_zps553acaa6.jpg)

Jagsding Gameviewing.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2009_zps39ca5489.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00485_zpsf6bdcc5a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00502_zpsd3e1586e.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00507_zps62191500.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0721-Copy_zps915a3ecc.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00545_zps84ece798.jpg)

Jagsding having a momentary lapse of talent. Got his luggage wet! :imaposer:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00525_zps1f7b7e09.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00532_zps6d8f01d3.jpg)

Zulu!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00520_zps6ac7c337.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00560_zps0fe1f050.jpg)

Africa! Got to love it!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00552_zps7dbf4507.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00559_zps710ac473.jpg)

King Edward and Jagsding!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00563_zpseed15274.jpg)

Anthony throwing it away.........again! :imaposer:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2061_zps5695b639.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2024_zps2b5358ae.jpg)

It was sad to finally leave Devuli and get back on the tar. We headed on the tar for 20km to Birchenough Bridge, another small rural town on the banks of the Save river. Birchenough Bridge is the name for both a bridge across the Save River (pronounced Sa've) and a village next to the bridge. Birchenough Bridge is called after Sir Henry Birchenough. The bridge is spectacular and can be seen from miles away as the arch towers above the baobab trees. The bridge was completed in 1935 and was an amazing engineering feat of it’s day!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00571_zpsa0850b32.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00584_zpsbfd3dbbc.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00601_zpsb92be5f5.jpg)

Birchenough Bridge towering above the Baobabs.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2034_zps6bf8cdc3.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2037_zps4fa2dee0.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0738-Copy_zps6e2598a4.jpg)

Chuck at the bridge.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00623_zpsde141c61.jpg)

Mario.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00624_zpsbe8f6cbd.jpg)

We stopped at the Birchenough Bridge Hotel hoping to have lunch and a few cold beers. This also used to be a great hotel in its day, Saturday afternoons this hotel would have been packed with people lunching on the long veranda and children swimming in the hotel pool. What we found the opposite, not a visitor in sight, run down old building, overgrown garden, empty swimming pool and only one employee, the manger who informed us he had no food in the hotel only beer. While we sat down to a few cold beers, Dries and the Anthony went back to the village to find lunch which turned out to be chips and bread rolls. Not bad with beer!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2041_zps66355889.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00616_zps1a7b943b.jpg)

Jagsding going for a dip in the hotel pool.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00617_zps67078fca.jpg)

After lunch we crossed over the bridge and turned onto a track towards Chipinge, back into the rural areas, we passed through little villages and settlements, the locals took time off their daily chores to wave at us as we passed. Friendly people  and excited children flocked to the roadside to watch the bikes, definitely not something they were used to seeing!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2047_zps88f83bf7.jpg)

Zulu had a little too much sun.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2065_zpsfd432f0f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC06634_zps9273db50.jpg)

Towards the end of this road we came to a long river crossing and here the fun began! Whilst filmimg the bikes crossing Pades and I conspired to splash  King Edward, we chatted on our Sena’s with me telling Pades when to charge into the river to get Eddie. Great fun and a good laugh!


https://www.youtube.com/v/gK6fEVy3OOo

(http://Pades parting the waters!)
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2056_zpsa80ff809.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2051_zpsb9569121.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00626_zps46397fc1.jpg)

Just Blip It!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/10432937_10152244432154436_7005655341213354200_n_zps5721556f.jpg)



Back on the tar it was for a very entertaining twisty road up and over a mountain pass toward Chipinge, the scenery had changed from dry flat bushveld to rocky mountains with big indigenous Msasa and Mfuti trees lining the roads and mountains. Johan and I hit the front opening the throttles on the 990’s enjoying the corners.

https://www.youtube.com/v/V3X8t_30O0g


We turned off the tar onto a goat track shortcut over the mountains to Chipinge.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00636_zpsa5fff506.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00637_zps91b9baa1.jpg)

Chipinge is a town with a big farming community, famous for its tea and coffee plantations. We stopped in the small town to fill up and grab a cold drink only to be met by the local village idiot/madman dressed in rags who came at us holding a rock and shouting at the top of his lungs something to do with Zanu PF and white people. Quite intimidating! At first none of us removed our helmets anticipating some violence, but it turned out his bark was worce than his bite and although he continued to pace up and down in front of us shouting and screaming he did not become violent.



(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0753-Copy_zps99d7c8fe.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0756-Copy_zps57a44bbf.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0752-Copy_zps18dac981.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00650_zps6a1aba03.jpg)

We rode out of Chipinge to our overnight accommodation on a working tea farm called New Years Gift, finding the guest house proved to be a challenge and after touring the surrounding farm areas for sometime we eventually stopped on the lawn at the guest house. Wow! Beautiful gardens with giant shady tress, lots of cold beers, we relaxed on the lawn, a perfect ending to a perfect day!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt011/DSC00661_zps10a3cc47.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt011/DSC00667_zpsef7cc3bf.jpg)

Jagsding befriending the help!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt011/DSC00664_zpsd38fb091.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00675_zps95541d59.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2073_zps380db9a6.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2072_zps8dbbbdf9.jpg)

Paddy relaxing after a hard day in the saddle.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2074_zpsa8e7433b.jpg)

Johan. A wolf in sheeps clothing! He rides a KTM!  :pot:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00669_zps3c41ae9e.jpg)

Pades rolling a Zim Zombie Zapper!  :eek7:  :imaposer:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00668_zpsa50d6533.jpg)

New Years Gift Guest House. Lekker old colonial hospitality!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2117_zps355c881b.jpg)

Basic but comfortable!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0765-Copy_zps55d759a4.jpg)

Supper was very good for a hungry bunch of riders.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2090_zps123c9027.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2089_zps9eedfeb8.jpg)

After supper myself and Pades were awarded the Pink Ties! I still don't know why, with our impeccable behaviour and faultless riding! I think there was an underhanded conspiracy happening behind our backs! :patch:

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2091_zps22beef81.jpg)
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JustBendIt on July 21, 2014, 12:07:25 am
 :blob7: :hello2:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 21, 2014, 02:57:19 pm
Quote

Dries noticed his Mitas tyre which he had fitted for the trip was disintegrating! The knobblies were breaking out of the tyre, very worrying when there is still more than 2000km to go!  :o

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_1869_zps68b6b1bf.jpg)


Boys just an update the tire supplier (Piston Pete) came good on the mitas cliam and he has a new one in store waiting for me! Well done Pete and thanks again mate. I will make arrangements.

Obviously not happy it came apart but very appreciative that Mitas standing up for their product and inspires confidence to keep on buying their product!  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Varkboer on July 22, 2014, 02:09:52 pm
Baie nice sover ek wens ek was daar ek is defenatief in folgende keer :deal:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 23, 2014, 08:28:52 pm
kinghtrider

WTF. Why are we waiting..... :pot: :peepwall:

If he wrote like he rode we would have been on the 2015 RR already!  :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: BLK on July 23, 2014, 09:18:41 pm
Thks for the RR.Reminds me of travelling around this area 44 yrs ago,Birch bridge etc.Things have changed and changing!!

Pity
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on July 24, 2014, 10:22:25 am
Great report, and hats off to lots of good planning.

 8)
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Toors on July 24, 2014, 02:15:38 pm
please sign me up for next year :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Varkboer on July 25, 2014, 05:10:52 pm
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaars Blipit :ricky:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding
Post by: Kerritz on July 25, 2014, 07:28:32 pm
Ja wonder ek ook  :patch:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: trevorwb on July 25, 2014, 08:18:21 pm
An excellent rr .I definitely feel like I have missed out on a great trip.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Bushcat on July 25, 2014, 08:39:21 pm
Very lekker RR, we lived at Birchenough Bridge from 78 to 80, my oldman was based there. Our house was behind the hotel on the river bank of the Sabi River as it was known then.
My ballie blew 80% of his fingers off there after playing with a Rifle grenade that was lodged in the fence after we got stonked by the gooks.
Eastern highlands is one of the best biking areas to ride, will definitely be doing a trip back that way.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Mark62 on July 28, 2014, 09:41:05 pm
Oops....
Just asking can you pay in Rand at the petrol stations and anywhere else ???
Planning to go to Zim asap  :ricky:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on July 28, 2014, 10:12:29 pm
Oops....
Just asking can you pay in Rand at the petrol stations and anywhere else ???
Planning to go to Zim asap  :ricky:

Perhaps here or there so not a good option. Get USD in small denominations.  :deal:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: BryanOC6 on July 29, 2014, 05:57:06 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Varkboer on July 30, 2014, 05:21:44 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Crop Sprang on July 30, 2014, 07:19:42 am
Great rr so far !!!!!
Gooi !!!!
 :sip:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Bushtrotter on July 30, 2014, 11:38:52 am
Brilliant!! Can't wait for the rest. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: ALLEN I on July 31, 2014, 05:29:26 pm
Great ride thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Gabies on August 02, 2014, 04:32:44 pm
Great RR, keep it coming  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Draadwerk on August 02, 2014, 06:58:33 pm
Nice Mark. Is that all?  We want more !
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: KTMRICK on August 06, 2014, 11:26:22 pm
Awesome RR. Itching to  :ricky:go now.
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Varkboer on August 08, 2014, 03:11:36 am
Mark are you alright making me worried now ....... Ibola maybe ???? ???
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Varkboer on August 15, 2014, 04:51:55 am
Moet Ibola wees want dit vat nou freeking lank of hy is weer op n ride. :biggrin:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on August 17, 2014, 04:29:03 pm
Hold your horses! Working on it now! Will post shortly.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on August 17, 2014, 06:37:32 pm
Day 4   “Sorting the men from the boys!”

Some of us were up early to do some tyre changes and maintenance before today’s ride. The ride was to be the most challenging ride for man and machine so preparation was critical. Vosperd had a new tyre delivered overnight to him, his driver drove all night arriving at 5am with the new rubber after the Mitas he had on started disintegrating with only a few 100km on!  Jagsding also had a front puncture to repair.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2107_zpsd55e237e.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00678_zps57deabfa.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2125_zps4785418a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2108_zpsc0e35fd6.jpg)

After breakfast we all gathered for the traditional group photo on the front porch of New Years Gift Guest house. What a great place to stay, the main house is probably over 100 years old with it’s very colonial architecture. It is very amusing to me that Bob and his boys detest England and their colonial ways yet everywhere you go in Zimbabwe colonialism is still unwittingly practiced at all the places we stayed. Maybe it’s a case of sticking to what you know best or maybe it just works!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00681_zps2104f113.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2155_zps402e7073.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2117_zps7e6a7008.jpg)

Leaving Chipinge behind us we turned onto a goat track through the msasa trees and over a mountain, the track was rutted and rocky and more a path than a road so whilst we thought there wouldn’t be any other vehicles on this track we were wrong, rounding a rough rocky corner we nearly rode into a taxi plodding through the holes and ruts with it’s expressionless passengers bouncing around inside. One thing I have learned about Zim And Swaziland is not to be surprised where you find vehicles travelling in these rural areas, these people can take a Golf GTI up baboons pass!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00682_zps7976f554.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00637_zps76afe22f.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2157_zps9846838e.jpg)

Just outside Chipinge, Padeses had a problem with his rear wheel, we quickly diagnosed the problem to a collapsed wheel bearing. We stripped the bearing out and rode the 20km to Chipinge very worried that this was the end of his ride, what were the chances of this little town having the right bearing!? After being sent from one shop to the next we eventually ended up at a little spares shop that was literally the same size as a toilet cubical! There was only room inside for its helpful owner, whilst we stood at the door peering in he climbed through the masses of spares boxes, fan belts and car parts hanging from the walls and roof took out a vernier, measured the bearing and with in 10 minutes produced the exact bearing! Wow! WTF! $10 later we were on our way back to the bike to fit the bearing!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2134_zps70fe0364.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00695_zpsa5a27a68.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00696_zpsb159e925.jpg)

.......And that they sure did!!!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00699_zpsbc6a0d88.jpg)

The Triumph Twins also took the time to do some DIY maintenance!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2143_zps5beb374d.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2148_zpsc7876b1f.jpg)

Alas, after fitting the bearing we realised that the otherside bearing had also collapsed it was then decided that Pades and Eddie would ride back to Chipinge again to replace the other bearing then ride tar to met us at our overnight stop. The rest of us headed on for what was to be the best ride of the trip. Sorry Eddie and Lee, you missed a good one!


Whilst we were stopped next to the road trying to repair Padeses bike a local farmer in his 2.4D Hilux stops to ask if he can help. Now just to put this into perspective...............in Zim you hardly see a white face, especially where we were travelling, if you see a farmer he is a normally a black man, white farmers are extremely scares! This chap introduces himself as Dawie, from the outset he looks familiar to me, and after chatting to him for a few minutes it hits me! Dawie Joubert! I was at school with him in Umtali Boys High! I last saw him more than 30 years ago! What are the chances!? Great to meet him again after all these years!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00706_zpse41db48e.jpg)

We headed through a working Tea Farm towards the Ngorima valley, crossing the Risitu river and following the river along the Mozambique border. The views were stunning, endless views across the valley into Mozambique, steep accents and descents, the road deteriorating to little more than a goat track, the bush here was dense forming a thick low canopy over the road, it felt like we were riding through a tunnel. Every now an again the bush would recede to reveal little rural settlements with traditional huts, children would either run to see the bikes or head for the hills in fright!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2151_zpsedb8ac33.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00708_zps39123849.jpg)

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(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00736_zps6a3b1c0c.jpg)

Vosperd in all his male glory!!  :imaposer:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2155_zps17ab9217.jpg)

(http://)

In one of these villages we came to school built precariously on the mountain with children playing in the uneven rocky play ground. We gave out about 100 Bic pens to the excited children who in turn sang us a few English nursery rhymes in their strong Shona accents which was a real treat for the hardy bikers. The headmaster came out to meet us, he was very upset that we hadn’t first come to him to explain our “intentions”. After calming him down and letting him know our intentions were of a charitable nature and that we weren’t a bunch of biker paedophiles, he became very friendly and insisted that we sign the visitor’s book.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00741_zpsaac6e6e2.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00738_zpsd991723e.jpg)

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(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0789_zpsa2ca2021.jpg)

Chuck and the Headmaster.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00742_zps2f3c25e9.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/Qk4dhSoc6Ag

Riding further down into the valley we came to a small town with a bottle store, we stopped for a cold beer then headed out of town, I noticed on the way out some big excavation machinery and the rivers running brown with silt, these were the first sign of the diamond mining operations happening in the area. Bob has got the Russians and Chinese to come and mine for him, there are no environmental impact studies done, just raw open cast mining at any cost! Very sad!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00749_zps7d906849.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00750_zpsa042b791.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00755_zps9f7103c3.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00763_zpsad8994c3.jpg)

Just outside town Zulu’s bike rear end collapsed on the harsh road, at first it seemed the rear suspension had collapsed then we realized that the subframe bolts had rattled loose causing the rear subframe to collapse. Retightening the bolts and a little help from a few cable ties and we were good to go. At the same time Vosperd had a rather big off damaging his aftermarket triple clamp, this was to cause an ongoing problem for him as it caused the neck bearings to come loose every few kilometres.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2183_zpsa5e4aa3b.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2184_zps09eb3096.jpg)

Not a bad place to have a breakdown!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2193_zpsb9624c43.jpg)

Vosperd doing running repairs after a hard fall.
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2196_zps18e32821.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC06681_zpseade4304.jpg)

Jagsding suddenly got tired!  :imaposer:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00759_zps59caf9f1.jpg)

The climb out of the valley brought with it a big challenge that would come with a few wipeouts for Steve and Anthony. It was steep slippery narrow and rocky, the guys had their hands full as the bikes bucked, bounced and spun their way upwards.



(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2199_zps16519c98.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2201_zps4cebf9bd.jpg)

Moment of impact! Caught on Camera as Paddy hits a lurker and goes down!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00771_zps34c0593a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00772_zpsa7abd14f.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/-TJcoMtVmX0

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00786_zpsad2a5668.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00792_zps14b7b706.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00795_zps9021c59b.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt005/IMG_2205_zps62aa3bd8.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/Z8rXElK0Its

Anthony lived up to his water crossing reputation by choosing a muddy stream to take a dip in!  :imaposer:
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2206_zps04ef0a3c.jpg)

By now we had only covered 80km for the day and it was late afternoon, the last section through to Chimanimani was open dirt, we ‘hit it’ flatout with the promise og cold beers and hot showers at the end.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2207_zps66fe49df.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2213_zps087e6c30.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC00796_zps9a9744b8.jpg)

However there were a few other challenges along the way!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2215_zps06a9e94b.jpg)

I grew up in Melsetter (now called Chimanimani after the magnificent mountains the town is built below), it was good to ride into this familiar beautiful place, memories flooding back of a childhood spent running wild in the surrounding mountains. Tonight I would sleep at ‘home’!

A few photos of the Chimanimani Village.

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt004/DSC03886_zps14992d8a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt004/DSC03892_zps8fe0ce23.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt004/DSC03894_zps1beaf33a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt004/DSC03897_zpsb3eeea26.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt004/DSC03885_zpsa6b736ed.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC03882_zpsba47558c.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/DSC03881_zpsadeb928a.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt005/IMG_2307_zps5a37ba39.jpg)

Pades (Lee) and Eddie were waiting at the Frog and Fern for us, cold beers in hand. They had had a great tar ride through to the lodge and had explored the town together. The team was back together, the beers were cold, the showers hot..........what more could we ask for? Live music maybe? Nope, we had that too! The owner of the lodge Anne invited 2 local chaps to come and sing to us, they entertained us with their guitars and a few self composed songs. Next!!  :imaposer:

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt005/IMG_2229_zpsc4dfd615.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt005/IMG_2255_zpsa411c253.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/JustBlipIt004/DSC00800_zpsc32a7f68.jpg)

Steve serenading the guys!  ;D
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2223_zps2c790933.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2221_zpsa0ab2b65.jpg)

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0823_zpsbb02ee46.jpg)

Pades and Eddie having ridden tar were still fresh and full of energy, they lead us all astray for pretty wild party that lasted late, and we laughed our asses off, drank, ate and partied till the early hours! A couple of tourists from Denmark who were camping also joined in the festivities but spent most of the time just watching these mad bikers! One of them asked Jagsding, “So where did you guys all meet?” to which he answered with a straight face “In prison.”   :imaposer: :imaposer:

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_0824_zps0d79847a.jpg)

Rolling Zim style!!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2236_zps51aca4d0.jpg)

Hit it Pades!!!
(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2238_zpsb8f7ae54.jpg)

Pades and I managed to hand on the pink tie to 2 the deserving Terrible Triumph Twins!

(http://i577.photobucket.com/albums/ss213/JustBlipIt/Zim%20Gravel%20Travel%202014/IMG_2235_zps9fd379a2.jpg)
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: BLK on August 17, 2014, 07:00:23 pm
Great story,thks.My parents met in Melsetter and named my family home in Bramley after it.great ,memories.paddy was supposed to ride with me today???

cheers
 
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: JustBendIt on August 17, 2014, 07:01:52 pm
Great stuff JBI !

Keep it coming
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: THE EDGE 1 on August 17, 2014, 08:59:09 pm
Love it mark roll on 2015  :
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Varkboer on August 19, 2014, 05:13:51 am
Excellent Marck aai that Pades always makes kak especially when he rooks and braai. Enjoying it feels like I was there excellent review cant wait  :drif:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on September 16, 2014, 08:17:21 pm
En nou??
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on September 16, 2014, 08:53:05 pm
En nou??

Hard drive crashed! Lost all my photos, need to get them from the other guys then I can post again! :lamer:
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Vosperd on September 16, 2014, 09:17:37 pm
Eish, that is a bad one! Didnt know you could crash anything...  >:D >:D
Title: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
Post by: Just Blip It! on April 08, 2018, 06:54:15 pm
(https://scontent.fjnb4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/29472534_1665831303455713_3671953474779611136_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeFsoMjQex3W5pEsGZwIeA-utytgpmYz0cIUS2ttnyQMBu5vf2kwKkNI4ZIOYmuDy-VlQoQJaeJhKSngEVo7lKB8nVozhaR9muJJKJdE3bgdYg&oh=331ed0b0518561fe80e87d6d37db3291&oe=5B72B109)

Our annual Zim Gravel Travel Trip is coming up in June 2018. This will be the 9th time that we will host this event. We will be traveling to places like Zimbabwe ruins, Chimanimani, Nyanga, Harare, Kariba, Matopos, Masvingo and many more towns and places of interest. This trip will introduce you to the more remote and scenic areas of Zim, travelling roads, tracks and paths less used giving you the opportunity to see the real Zimbabwe in all it's natural raw beauty. We will be averaging 300km of gravel per day and around 3000km of gravel for the trip. Only experienced Adventure riders that can maintain a good pace on gravel and can ride technical tracks, paths and sand need apply. This is a proper Adventure! There is no back-up vehicle, you will be required to carry your own luggage and spares for the trip at the same time as packing light. Accommodation will be in Lodges, hotels or guest houses, all meals except lunch will be catered for. If you are a true adventurer and interested in joining us contact treffon@khwelaadventures.co.za or mark@khwelaadventures.co.za