Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Long Tours => Topic started by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 10:47:46 am

Title: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 10:47:46 am
Intro
I first heard about the Koës Pan Rally a few years ago.  Since then, I have always wanted to go but it somehow never materialized, either due to work commitments or just plain budget constraints. However this year, I decided that despite all of that, I would somehow make a plan and go.
After discussing the matter with Road Hog, WanderingWeeHen (WWH), Flossie, Shimbungu, Eduan and Chris (our small group of Bike Buddies), it was decided after a good few glasses of red-out-the-box (read papsak) that everyone was keen to go.
As usual it turned out that some couldn’t make it.  Eventually only WWH, Shimbungu and myself (GT) set off.
On Tuesday evening I was still fabricating and fitting aluminium support plates for WWH’s soft luggage on her XT. Shimbungu and I also had work to do our bikes.   Shimbungu buckled his front wheel about two weeks ago and had to have the rim replaced and respoked.  He only got the bike back two before. In the same incident he also broke the wind deflector and caused some damage to the electrical system. The wind deflector was put together like a puzzle and repaired with Q-bond. We gave up on the electrics as it only involved the indicators and tail light.
In my case I decided a few weeks ago to replace the rear wheel with a car rim and tyre (not having to lean the bike anymore) The mods to the wheel and the machining of the adaptor took longer than expected and on Wednesday evening at about 22h00 the last stud was only tightened. No chance to test anything! That was quite worrying but I had no choice. That completed my first Dark Side conversion.
Flossie (who lives across the road from me) was kind enough to get a braai going while the rest of us packed and tightened everything. Shimbungu crashed at my place (as he is notoriously late when we have to set off anywhere). On Thursday morning we completed the packing and the last tightening of straps as well as a whole spider’s web of straps and bungee cords to hold on WWH’s new Enduristan soft luggage (we could not properly figure out all the various straps and buckles at short notice).
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 10:56:08 am
Day 1
Eventually we were ready to leave and after final adjustments, we set off towards Vogelfederberg as our first fag break (WWH to this day still cannot pronounce the name even after repeated attempts at elocution!)
I was quite apprehensive about the new rear wheel as I had no idea what effect it would have on the handling of the rig and if the various studs and nuts would be strong enough to hold it together. In any event, it turned out to work really well except for some light snaking on sandy patches due to the tyre not being “off-road” enough. (You cannot find off-road tyres in that size here).
About 20km on the other side of Vogelfederberg, WWH’s XT suddenly developed a hiccup. For no apparent reason it just cut out and stopped. We left it for a minute or two and then it mysteriously started again.  This was a bit worrisome at first but we kept going and repeated the same stop-start procedure a few times until the fault suddenly stopped.  We’re guessing it’s due to an intermittent loose electrical connection.
The road to Solitaire was unusually bad. Mainly due to the number of South African terrorists, tearing along the roads during the holiday season with their fancy SUV’s and bakkies. Not to mention the amount of tour busses. It was like a convoy on a normally very quiet road.
We made Solitaire by about 14h00, refuelled and set off towards Maltahohe. Apart from a few treacherous “stofgate”,  about 50 km from Solitaire, the road was good although we were starting to run out of daylight, particularly as we had to stop and help out two policemen to blow up their spare car tyre.  Unfortunately knackering my compressor in the process. We fuelled up again at Maltahohe and proceeded to Hudup Camp about 15km away in the direction of Marienthal. This was quite a pleasant surprise as there was even water in the Hudup River. The amenities were basic but at least the shower was hot. The only negative comment was the firewood burnt to ash very quickly. Not the usual doringhout but some other light crap.
In any event, WWH made a mean lamb shank potjie while Shimbungu provided the entertainment with his guitar and the excitement he generated by inadvertently scooping up a live scorpion as he filled a jar with sand to take a candle. We had a very good meal, copious amounts of red-out-the-box and a few cups of Polisiekoffie. After a good sleep and a shower, we set off the next day at about 09h00 towards Marienthal.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 10:58:27 am
Day 2:
We arrived in Marienthal to refuel and had a nice brekkie at the Wimpy. We also stopped at a local Supermarket for additional supplies (more beer) before setting off South eastwards towards Koës.  The road was really good and we managed to get there shortly after lunch. Having never been there before, we searched around to refuel but had to leave this for later as the bulk tanks were being filled at the same time.
We took the first turnoff which showed “rally” on the sign but we didn’t realize that the track would be quite so loose and sandy.  We were even more surprised to find a dune at the end which we had to get over. I managed to get the rig there but WWH bought a piece of Koës sand at the beginning of the track and shattered her wind deflector, broke off one of her mirrors, ripped a strap out of her new Enduristan bags and twisted the forks and handlebars.
Shumbungu’s Apache also decided at this time to seriously start farting and burping but he managed to get over the dune with some coaxing.  Apparently the fault started some 30km before Koës.
We returned with the help of a friendly local to the scene and Shimbungu managed to ride WWH’s  XT over the dune.
Once at the Pan, we cracked a cold one or two, met with Rickus and Eugene and found out we were the first Wild dogs to arrive. We hung about for a bit watching the racing while Shimbungu desperately tried to find out what was upsetting Apache’s digestive system.
Eventually, Eugene took us to the campsite (using an easier route across part of the pan). By this time, WWH had taken off all the ATGATT she had on and made quite a scene riding the XT over the pan in front of the spectators wearing only cycling shorts, T-shirt, adventure boots and a helmet. It should have been a picture for “Girls with Bikes”!
When we got to the campsite, Peter was already there. We started setting up our tents over the straw bales provided (thanks Rickus and Eugene!) and while we were busy, the rest of the Dogs started to arrive.  At last there was the opportunity to personally meet people who were only known previously from the Forum. Nimmo, JC, ChrisL and Weskus to name a few.
We got the fire going and started heating up last night’s leftover lambshank. We had a very good chat to the rest of the Dogs and I laughed myself silly at the stories coming out. All of this to the accompaniment of various rev limiters doing their job in the distance.
WWH felt a little bit left out at times as some of the manne’s grasp of the Rooitaal after a few drinks became more and more limited. Anyway, most of the stories are probably better not translated, especially in female company. After Rickus/ Eugene brought the braai packs, things got going at full tilt. Some left for the Boerevereninging saal to attend the festivities but we spent the rest of the night sitting by the fire, busting a gut at the stories coming out, e.g. when Weskus arrived back in a cloud of dust and started relating the details of an altercation that took place earlier at the hotel.
I eventually crawled into my tent at some late hour. The night was cold and it did not help that I’d broken the zip on my sleeping bag. I had to sleep with my jacket on! I got chased out by the law (of nature) now and again and as usual, this corresponded with the time I was most comfortable.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: weskus on July 11, 2016, 12:02:37 pm
Hey, looking forward to this one.. Nice meeting you guys Martin, believe me, I somehow only understood the female company we had Saturday morning :imaposer: always so excited to see all the guys after a year that one overestimate one abilities(or capacity for that matter) I'm still plannnig my trip with my girl that we spoke about during September, will definitely give you a heads-up for a cold one or so.. Almost camp with you guys at Canyon Roadhouse after a flat that kept us buys..
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 02:01:07 pm
Herewith some more pics that I left out
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 02:02:29 pm
And more
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GRAVELTRAVEL on July 11, 2016, 02:04:53 pm
And more!
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Road Hog on July 11, 2016, 08:16:37 pm
...............AND if you haven't left me behind, I could have met the other dogs as well!!  :peepwall: :imaposer:

I am glad you guys enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the RR.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:49:43 am
Day 3
Now it’s my shot at continuing this ride report (WWH).  The main thing I can say about day 3 (Day 2 of the rally) is that it was bloody cold.  People had told me it would be, but I assumed all the heat loving Namibians were getting carried away.  How could daytime in the dessert be as cold as Scotland.  How wrong I was!  After a couple of Polisiekoffies, kindly delivered to my tent by Graveltravel (GT), I managed to surface and head to the pan to watch the drag racing.  Having dropped my bike the day before, on the sandy and rutted car track leading into the pan, I was more than happy to be a passenger in GT’s side car which also had the cool box ;-)
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:52:03 am
We watched the racing close to the pits but also took a turn up the big dune to get a better view.  We didn’t stay long.  It was Baltic.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:53:16 am
The Lewerkoekie and coffee Josef bought afterwards took the edge off it.  As did several tins from GT’s cool box.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:54:06 am
The racing was good but I didn’t have a programme so I wasn’t really sure of all the race classes.  I did get chatting to one biker before his race who let sit on his KTM.  My feet dangled at least a foot off the ground.  He told me he was pretty slow, so I was surprised to see the same guy win his race by miles.  What a modest feller.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:54:55 am
At about 13:00, GT and I headed back to the camp to get some food.  Shimbungu never made it to the races as he was fixing Apache.  I crawled into my tent for a quick snooze and was surprised to wake up 4.5 hours later in the dark.  I was also very pleasantly surprised to find that GT had sorted out my skewed forks and handlebars and Shimbungu had expertly glued the pieces of windshield that I’d collected after my fall (he’s had much practice at it).  A bit of a papsak and some duct tape made up for the missing piece.  Feeling happy and refreshed, I sprung into action and made potjie No.2 of my repertoire.  Oxtail.  It went down very well with Shimbungu who normally hates it.

That evening, we headed to the Boerevereninging saal to watch the prize giving.  Turns out I’d chatted to a number of the winners including a young guy riding a quad.  I’d asked him to pull a wheelie so I could take a photo.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:56:27 am
I was informed that the event was a typical Boere affair with couples doing the quick step and enjoying themselves.  I preferred to hang out by the huge braai trailer for heat though.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:57:50 am
Day 4
GT and I were the last people to leave the WD camp.  Shimbungu couldn’t fix his bike so left early with pals from Walvis who were driving back.  Way too early for me to say goodbye ;-).  I did say my farewells to the other WD’s though.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 08:59:10 am
GT and I finally set-off at about 10:00 and headed straight for the petrol station.  My XT’s only got a range of 260km so I have to refuel everywhere.  We arrived just in time to see Shimbungu’s bike leaving in a trailer, together with a stock car, heading for Windhoek.  After a quick last look and photo shoot of the nasty sand track I fell off on.  X marks the spot!
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:00:33 am
We headed for the Canyon Lodge Roadhouse in the Ai-Ais National Park.  Stopping at Keetmanshop along the way for fuel, coffee and a slice of carrot cake.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:02:10 am
With electricity and lights, the Canyon Lodge Roadhouse was the most luxurious campsite we stayed in.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:04:38 am
We heated up the left over oxtail potjie and tanned the box of wine the WD’s left for us.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:06:01 am
Day 5
After packing up our camp, I left my XT at the lodge and jumped into GT’s sidecar for a 40km round-trip detour to the Fish River Canyon.  The views of the second largest canyon in the World were spectacular.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:06:56 am
After collecting my bike, we re-traced yesterday’s journey back onto the B4 and continued further South of Keetmanshop towards some liquid refreshment, apple cake and fuel at the Seeheim Hotel.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:08:22 am
One pint stretched to two but we eventually prized ourselves away to continue our journey to Helmeringausen.  The road was tar until Bethanie, then good gravel after.  But the wind was so strong, GT and I were grateful to arrive.  We marked the occasion by sharing a bottle of red, which we had to finish before either of us could even contemplate springing into action.  GT had his first technical glitch at Bethanie.  For some reason his bike wouldn’t switch off.  He had to pull out all the fuses and relays when we arrived at Helmeringhausen so the battery wouldn’t drain.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:10:03 am
Fortunately our pal Flossie knows the owners of Helmeringhausen and had made arrangements for us to stay in rooms and get an evening meal.  GT even put on a clean shirt to mark the occasion.  The soup, Springbok fillet and dessert was excellent.  We both slept very well after that.  I liked a painting by Paul Munro that was hanging over the fire place.  Such amazing detail.  It reminded me of the Dutch fine artists and their bowls of fruit.  I found out later that Paul Munro is a South African surfer, artist and adventurer.  Maybe that’s why I liked his painting.  Kindred spirits.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:15:27 am
Day 6
After helping ourselves to the buffet breakfast and a number of coffee’s, we were about to take a tour of the farm when Bjorn mentioned to me “Do you know you have a flat front tyre?”  Always the optimist, I was grateful it happened at the Hotel and thought it a good opportunity to learn how to change my first inner tube.  It was fairly easy, particularly as I didn’t have to do it at the roadside.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:17:07 am
Turns out the flat was caused by the tube rubbing against the rough edges of a restraint, installed within the tyre to prevent it slipping from the rim.  Fortunately I’d brought two new tubes with me.  I carefully inserted one and used Bjorn’s compressor to inflate the tyre (GT’s compressor burned out after inflating the policeman’s tyre on day 1).  I was chuffed to get the work done but annoyed when the soapy water we added to the rim started bubbling.  Indicating that I’d pinched the tube.

I repeated the process with a new tube and mended the punctures in the others.  This time I took extra care not to pinch the tube and hey presto! I pinched it again.  By the time I’d returned with some beers from the coolbox in GT’s sidecar, Bjorn had replaced the tube and was successfully inflating it.  I later learned I should have partially inflated the tube before fitting the tire  You live and you learn.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:22:15 am
A little later than anticipated, Bjorn took me on a tour of the farm and showed me the cottages he had built and the partially constructed Chapel he was busy with.  Made from Windhoek draft bottles.
We got back at midday to find a happy GT.  After a phone call to BMW Windhoek, he’d discovered his bike wouldn’t turn off due to a loose cover on the ignition.  Based on Bjorn’s advice and as it was getting late, we changed our plan and took the C14, rather than the C27, North from Helmeringhausen.  Apparently the C27 is pretty sandy and many bikers fall in it.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:23:04 am
I think the worst section of road we encountered was the last 40km, leading towards Maltahohe.  It was shockingly corrugated and my bike snaked plenty.  I was pretty shook up by the time we stopped for fuel.  But slamming my fingers in a door helped take my mind off it. Doh!

After this, the road became good again and we managed to dodge the same treacherous “stofgate” we encountered on the first day.  We got to the road leading to the Solitaire Guest Farm at about 17:30.  I hesitated at the start, as the sandy track brought back memories of my fall at the entrance to Koes Pan.  I didn’t have time to think though as GT’s “stof” and his words “Take it slow” drifted past me.  Fortunately the track looked worse than it was and I got to the campsite in one piece.

We unpacked our tents, paid a small fortune for braai wood and started cooking up two of the seven braai packs we’d been given by the WD’s leaving Koes.  We kicked ourselves for not taking the spare Koes wood too.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:23:46 am
Day 7
GT had me awake much earlier than I wanted, but softened the blow with a Polisiekoffie delivered to my tent.  I surfaced as GT returned from a shower, which apparently had turned cold just at the end. 
After breakfast (Thanks GT)….. and some detective work.  We found another shower block with a water heater.  I jumped in but soon after, the water was freezing.  With soapy suds in my hair that had to be washed out, I shouted so much, GT came to check that I was okay.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:25:36 am
We set-off early and kicked ourselves that we hadn’t gotten fuel the evening before as we had to wait for a supply tanker to off-load.  We were actually very lucky.  Shimbungu said there was no fuel two days earlier when he’d passed through.  The car he was in, tried to make it to Walvis, but ran out of steam 20km away.  The guys in the same car also told us that the road was terrible for about 40km outside of Solitaire.  They were wrong.  The road was terrible all the way through Kuiseb Pass.  For about 120km.  Completely ripped up by the huge volume of tourists.

After stopping at all the usual fag landmarks, including my favourite and the closest to home, Fogglefeederburg……

Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Wanderingweehen on July 12, 2016, 09:26:12 am
We got back to Martin’s at 14:00, unpacked and sat in his garage for a few hours, reflecting on the monster journey and drinking the remainder of the red papsak I’d bought in Bethanie.  After a shower, we shared a Springbok potjie which was very good and spicy. Thanks again Flossie.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: DirtRebell on July 12, 2016, 09:34:31 am
Truly fantastic RR.
Thanks.
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on July 12, 2016, 10:00:59 am
Lekker trip and RR you two. It was great to meet. :thumleft:
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Vis Arend on July 12, 2016, 10:19:46 am
 :thumleft:  :thumleft:  Very nice, thanks for sharing. 
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: weskus on July 12, 2016, 10:36:51 am
Nice one indeed, I like guys that kuier around the "kospotte" while camping..
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: GeoED on July 12, 2016, 11:04:40 am
Awesome!!!!
Next time. Ps. Eduan
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: JC on July 12, 2016, 11:23:14 am
It was great meeting you, I'll definitely look you up for a drink or two if I am ever in Walvisbaai.  This is a nice travelling group, and very well organised. Everything just appears out of the sidecar  :thumleft:
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: Nimmo on July 12, 2016, 06:55:12 pm
Lekker RR  ;D

Nice meeting all of you  :thumleft: till next year then  :pot:
Title: Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
Post by: BlueBull2007 on August 15, 2016, 03:52:29 pm
Wow, that was a great RR. Thanks for sharing :thumleft: