Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => 'Roll of Honour' - Best Ride Reports => Topic started by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2017, 02:20:45 pm

Title: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2017, 02:20:45 pm
Quite a claim. I know. Iíve never ridden Mongolia, the Russian Steppes or the high passes of Bolivia, but if any of it can possibly come close to the gob-smackingly insane scenery, rugged remoteness, ride-anywhere bloody impossibly fine terrain, or closeness to Big Nature of north-western Namibia, then strike me down with a big old bolt of lightning. Right now.

Allow me to make my case:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection5.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection4.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection3.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection2.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection6.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection7.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection8.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection9.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection10.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection14.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection15.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection19.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection20.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection21.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection22.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection24.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection23.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/selection1.jpg)

Weíve only been back a day. Itís too soon to be philosophical, poetic or just plain smart about the experience, so forgive me for wallowing in it, sticking my head under the water and coming up spurting a good old mouthful. Itís a bit of a daze.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 19, 2017, 02:21:38 pm
This show has a good old cast of miscreants, many of whom youíve met before. Allow me to introduce:


Everybodyís favourite: The Midget
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/gaza.jpg)
Four feet tall and full of muscle, sort of like an old Men at Work song. Rides an opinionated DR called Buttercup (more like hangs on the reins, wild-eyed, for dear life). By far the quickest in our group.


Camelman (a.k.a. the Night Mechanic / @MechanicalCamel )
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/mike.jpg)
Soul rider, storyteller, most likely to keep his head when those about  him are losing theirs. Inventor of things like Coyote water bottle holsters, and now known to work overnight miracles on ailing 690s.


English / @Professor sprocket
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/tom.jpg)
Absolutely guaranteed to bring any mechanical item to its knees. In the most remote country possible. But so incredibly, warmly charming that absolutely everybody loves him. You may cry, but you certainly will laugh. Dramatically and finally sworn off anything with a KTM badge. Now on a DRZ400.


The Professor / @isiTututu
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/gavin.jpg)

The newbieÖ invited for his incredible knowledge of rocks, his dashing good looks, and as a last ditch attempt to bring some sanity to the entire venture. So committed to the adventure he risked everything - sold his pristine, barely used 990R and struck out into unknown territory on his first small bike - a rallyfied 690.


And me
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/ian.jpg)
I make the maps. And if Jesus is riding Damaraland right now, I absolutely guarantee you heís on a KTM 500.


Like watching roosterkoek rise around the campfire, this story is going to require a little patience. Weíre a desperately disorganised bunch. But if you stick with us, I can promise you all of it: a little love, a little war, some violence, a healthy dose of fear, and a swirling mix of cowardice and bravery.

No good story makes do with just the main characters. And right off the bat I have some people to thank. Iím not going to necessarily say why just yet - you donít want me to spoil the story.

This really is quite an incredible community. Two people in particular I had never met reached out and gave wonderfully generous help right off the bat.

First, a special thank you goes out to Skim/Jimmy who heard my bleating and offered up his trailer to get our bikes up there. What a warm and kind offer - thank you so much!!!

And then to Hardy de Kock. If you know him, youíll know that he is an extremely busy man who achieves almost Herculean things, and yet youíd never have guessed it the way he spent hours talking to me on the phone. He exudes obvious passion about his beloved Kaokoveld. For the routes, the advice and much, much more - thank you! Great to meet you in Windhoek.

And then to two complete strangers who you shall meet much later in this tale: Dave and Thelma Wassung. Theyíre 75 and they cruise the remotest parts of the desert alone in a Fortuner 4x4 without a winch, high lift jack or even a GPS! Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And nowÖ let the chaos begin.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: woody1 on September 19, 2017, 02:26:00 pm
 :ricky:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: RobLH on September 19, 2017, 02:31:20 pm
Kraaist, stop taunting me with those pics.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sputnik080 on September 19, 2017, 02:37:13 pm
This......is going to be epic.... :ricky:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 19, 2017, 02:41:45 pm
I believe I might wait in the office a while longer.....
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Draadwerk on September 19, 2017, 02:52:08 pm
Lekker.....
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on September 19, 2017, 02:53:32 pm
Bring it  :)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Big-G on September 19, 2017, 02:59:48 pm
Yes please  :ricky:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Mr D on September 19, 2017, 03:18:53 pm
Subscribe  :deal:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Ortos on September 19, 2017, 03:39:36 pm
............. :happy1:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: katana on September 19, 2017, 06:29:14 pm
Sounds like a British gangster movie by Guy Richie.  Was there strippers?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Goingnowherekwickly on September 19, 2017, 10:21:31 pm
Aah, I'm super excited to follow this... but not getting the pics for some reason?
anyone else have this?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Pistonpete on September 19, 2017, 10:24:36 pm
No pics Ian  :(
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Big-G on September 20, 2017, 06:59:46 am
I could see the pics lunchtime yesterday.........now i see nada  :(
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: landieman on September 20, 2017, 07:12:01 am
what he said :deal:,should be a great one
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Buff on September 20, 2017, 07:34:12 am
No pics Ian  :(

Noooo... I can't see the pics either  :-\
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: shanti on September 20, 2017, 08:02:11 am
no pics :(
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: RobLH on September 20, 2017, 08:04:05 am
Pics fine for me, using Chrome.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: IDR on September 20, 2017, 08:19:02 am
No pics for me either - by phone or by PC.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Mikie on September 20, 2017, 08:22:44 am
No Pics, I am failing to feel the enthusiasm as the others are about your report  :imaposer:

Come sort it out, I also wanna get excited
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 20, 2017, 08:29:12 am
Oh godamn bloody Google Photos. OK fixed with another host but I better get this sorted before we proceed.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: IDR on September 20, 2017, 08:33:15 am
Oh godamn bloody Google Photos. OK fixed with another host but I better get this sorted before we proceed.

What's the problem with Google photos?  Should be fine if you use the right location and security settings?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Offshore on September 20, 2017, 09:00:32 am
Subscribed.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: P.K. on September 20, 2017, 09:31:20 am
Ahhh fukkit....there goes my productivity !!

Another epic in the making....get on with it please !!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Slim Jim on September 20, 2017, 12:14:20 pm
Ahhh fukkit....there goes my productivity !!

Another epic in the making....get on with it please !!
Yup mine has also gone out the bloody window!!!! I'm going to have to just tell the misses that there is just no work and we going to have to eat Putu
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: eSKaPe on September 20, 2017, 01:14:30 pm
Stunning place to ride and the pics do it justice!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on September 20, 2017, 02:19:47 pm
Ai Caramba--VIVA!

This looks good already ...

 8)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 20, 2017, 03:17:06 pm
Sounds like a British gangster movie by Guy Richie.  Was there strippers?

You mean like...

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/stripper.jpg)
?

I got bad news for you lot. My bunch are being as pig headed reluctant as an incoherent pikey bare-knuckle boxer locked in a caravan. Yadda yadda work, blah blah headspace, na na naaa family etc. Dull as dish water.

Torrents of foul mouthed abuse may help - aimed particularly at the Midge. Key word of advice - he's about as subtle as an elephant in a bird bath, so 'av at it. With any luck he'll come out swinging, and a glorious sight that is... all half size, spitting, and venomous, like a furious little rabbit woken from his midday nap.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: 0012 on September 20, 2017, 03:51:52 pm
skraaip    :sip:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: katana on September 20, 2017, 07:45:21 pm
Sounds like a British gangster movie by Guy Richie.  Was there strippers?

You mean like...

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/stripper.jpg)
?

I got bad news for you lot. My bunch are being as pig headed reluctant as an incoherent pikey bare-knuckle boxer locked in a caravan. Yadda yadda work, blah blah headspace, na na naaa family etc. Dull as dish water.

Torrents of foul mouthed abuse may help - aimed particularly at the Midge. Key word of advice - he's about as subtle as an elephant in a bird bath, so 'av at it. With any luck he'll come out swinging, and a glorious sight that is... all half size, spitting, and venomous, like a furious little rabbit woken from his midday nap.
:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on September 20, 2017, 10:16:42 pm
And... ?  O0

I've been waiting for this one, so get on with it please.

Little sidenote: MTP, now that you have ridden both, how does Doodsakker compare to Kaokoland & Damaraland combo? Is it worth the hassle of getting Angolan visa (which is PITA with my non-SA passport), or would you just rather do Kaokoland again? Ta
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: aka.Goliath on September 21, 2017, 12:52:21 am
Now this is going to be a good read


Little sidenote: MTP, now that you have ridden both, how does Doodsakker compare to Kaokoland & Damaraland combo? Is it worth the hassle of getting Angolan visa (which is PITA with my non-SA passport), or would you just rather do Kaokoland again? Ta

I'm also quite interested what you think MTP. Planning my trip up north for December I'm thinking to stick it to just Namibia
 
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Dunnes on September 21, 2017, 01:09:15 am
Sho, this is a big one. Christmas came early on WD!

Sent from my B15 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hinksding on September 21, 2017, 06:35:41 am
If the Missus catch me in front of the PC reading this report after spending almost 3 weeks in Nam on the same route, I might end up in trouble.  :peepwall:

Looking forward though. O0 O0 O0
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on September 21, 2017, 09:16:38 am
I'd been hankering after a bike trip to Damara and Kaokoland for years, but believe it or not, it wasn't without considerable persuasion that I joined this motley crew. In spite of the fact that they are all some of the finest specimens of humanity, and that I truly felt honoured to have been invited, I had a strong sense of trepidation in joining them. I knew for one that since this was not going to be one of those dirt highway trips, I'd in all likelihood be operating on the edge or outside my skill envelope a lot of the time. The Rock-Star, Ian, has a magnetic penchant for sand. He seeks it out wherever it is, and heads for it like a dog that's caught the scent of a bitch on heat. I on the other hand, have always looked at it as the enemy, and coward that I am I've always sought devious ways to avoid it at all costs.  "Ha", said the Rock-Star, "You'll be styling it by the end of this trip!"

So it was that I, the charlatan prof, reluctantly traded my pristine and super-civilised 990R for a dirty tart of a bike. For reasons of compromise, I settled on a 690 - an imperfect machine in more ways than the 990 is perfect. But it is lighter, this one had the required fuel range, that motor is actually quite impressive.... I suppose if I'm to be honest, I always knew where the weak link was going to be. I was just trying to talk myself out of it all. The trepidation was strong, but the boys were not taking no for an answer, and their excitement was infectious.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: GEE-SH on September 21, 2017, 10:37:19 am
Subscribed :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 21, 2017, 11:04:18 am
And... ?  O0

I've been waiting for this one, so get on with it please.

Little sidenote: MTP, now that you have ridden both, how does Doodsakker compare to Kaokoland & Damaraland combo? Is it worth the hassle of getting Angolan visa (which is PITA with my non-SA passport), or would you just rather do Kaokoland again? Ta

Hmmm. Thought this may come up, and I did think about it as we were riding. Honestly, I think north-west Namibia is in a sensational league of its own in terms of emptiness, wild animals and the sheers size and scope of the vistas. It's the one I'd go back to - probably repeatedly.

However, south-western Angola is definitely worth the effort. The beach area is untouched in a way I've never seen before - the million-strong armies of crabs, the flocks of birds that make the sky go dark, the dune fields you can ride through unlike the Skeleton coast park limits. Crossing the huge stony desert to get to the coast and then the couple hundred kays up the beach is really special. And the culture, people and difference of Angola really stands out. Unfortunately the mined legacy means I'd probably be reluctant to just rampage off-track like you may elsewhere, but it's still a sensational ride. I'd definitely make the effort, but your balls are way bigger than mine if you're thinking of doing that alone.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on September 21, 2017, 11:16:27 am

Hmmm. Thought this may come up, and I did think about it as we were riding. Honestly, I think north-west Namibia is in a sensational league of its own in terms of emptiness, wild animals and the sheers size and scope of the vistas. It's the one I'd go back to - probably repeatedly.

However, south-western Angola is definitely worth the effort. The beach area is untouched in a way I've never seen before - the million-strong armies of crabs, the flocks of birds that make the sky go dark, the dune fields you can ride through unlike the Skeleton coast park limits. Crossing the huge stony desert to get to the coast and then the couple hundred kays up the beach is really special. And the culture, people and difference of Angola really stands out. Unfortunately the mined legacy means I'd probably be reluctant to just rampage off-track like you may elsewhere, but it's still a sensational ride. I'd definitely make the effort, but your balls are way bigger than mine if you're thinking of doing that alone.

Thank you, that is what I thought  :thumleft: I'll have a look at what it actually takes to get Angolan visa - I may as well do them both if I will head up that way. And it has nothing to do with balls, probably just a wire missing somewhere.

Now can you get going on the report...  :peepwall: I'm keen to find out if you were able to do the  Crowther trail without getting confronted by anybody.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Skim on September 22, 2017, 07:10:18 am
Ha - Kom Kom Max and Kie!!!

We are waiting!! Looks VERY good  :drif:
Title: Looks sweet!
Post by: Osadabwa on September 22, 2017, 10:41:36 am
Awesome!
 
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sheepman on September 22, 2017, 11:03:40 am
I fully understand your case...simply out of this world riding territory :thumleft:
Looking forward to absorb your experiences.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: 8 min Mark on September 22, 2017, 12:56:21 pm
Subscribed
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Kamanya on September 23, 2017, 04:16:51 pm
Listen China, though you've been good recently, you'd better not abandon this tale halfway through like you've done before. I know where you live. I know where you work. Don't let me have to come over and have The Chat.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: 2StrokeDan on September 23, 2017, 09:04:38 pm
Waar is julle dan nou?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: TinusBez on September 24, 2017, 06:47:46 am
Been waiting for this one. Gooi

 :sip:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: P.K. on September 25, 2017, 05:12:27 pm
?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on September 25, 2017, 06:47:32 pm
Oi!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: aka.Goliath on September 25, 2017, 08:31:42 pm
Lets go...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 26, 2017, 04:33:58 pm
All right, all right, all right. Indulge me a little while I wait for my companions under this here shady treeÖ

Even if I reach back into the dark recesses of memory itís a little hard to explain exactly why motorcycles in general, and motorcycle trips into the wilderness in particular, have become such an important part of my life in recent years. Yes, I grew up loving machines and engines and things. Yes, I like travelling and hanging with my buddies. Yes, I love the African wilderness. Yes I like the physical challenge and camping out under the stars. But none of this quite explains why these things have grown an almost mythical allure in my consciousness. Or why I look forward to them like a five-year-old dreams of Christmas, and after the fact reminisce about them like a bedridden old geezer without teeth dreaming of his first kiss.

Heading out into the wild yonder on these mechanical ponies strikes some chord deep inside what it means to be a man (sorry ladies)Ö embracing the unknown, feeling, for a moment, the wind of freedom, uncertainty and limitless promise on your skin, alive to the present in a way that little else in normal life provokes.

Big motorcycle trips are often brutal. We plan them meticulously, and then they always seem to come at the wrong time. They rip us away from responsibility, make us lose out on work contracts, force us to abandon families when they are squealing for our attention, cost much more than they are ever supposed to, break our bikes and sometimes our bodies, make us confront less appealing sides of ourselves. But they do also have some downsides.

Like many of you, I guess, weíve gathered a bit of a tight crew. Tom and I bought bikes ten years ago, and have done almost all of our trips together. My brother Mike was pretty much responsible for getting me into this in the beginning. Every court needs a jester, so, The Midget. And this time The Gav would be joining us for the first time. Just to Ďbreakí things up a bit.

The last big trip we did was four years ago. Four what!!!?? What on earth has happened to my life? Itís had its merry way with us. Marriage, babies, homes, careers. So clichťd Iíd like to vommit, but itís true. As lovely as an annual little jaunt around the Richtersveld is, itís pretty familiar territory now, and just doesnít cut it as a Big Adventure. And a Big Adventure was what we all urgently needed!

All the available options came up for consideration. Mongoliaís too far and better on horses. Columbia would be awesome but weíd lose the Midget for certain and weíre all scared of Mrs Midget. Crossing the Sahara is a long held dream, but weíd likely get abducted by Jihadists. The Midge is also terrified of camels. And none of these places have elephants.

Elephants. The more you stare at them, the odder they are. Even compared to giraffes, and those are extremely strange animals.

North west Namibia it was. On our doorstep, but home of the most dramatic motorcycle riding terrain on the planet. Itís wild, itís hot, itís dry, itís sandy, itís dangerous. What more can a man ask for?

And so the slobbering excitement started. Since my last Amageza attempt I havenít had a bike that could take on any kind of adventure, because I sold my 450 to get into enduro riding. This is a pretty sick state of affairs, and needed remedying so I bought this:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-01.jpg)

2013 KTM 500. Feast upon her magnificence. The perfect adventure desert sled. Nothing even comes close.

The new boy didnít have a bike either, so signing up was always going to be a big leap for him. Heíd had a pristine 2012 990R since new, but although heís done a shitload of adventure riding over the years, heís a little new to the offroad scene, and wisely decided the R was going to be a bit of a handful.

We ummíd and aaahhhíd, perved the options and went for some test rides together. A new 701 nearly made the cut but there was a little curfuffle with the dealer and that fell off the radar. A new Honda 250 rally was next, but as nice as it is, the engine was considered not manly enough and it was struck down.

And then a well equipped 2013 690R popped up and the deal was sealed and it arrived in Cape Town on a trailer.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-03.jpg)

If youíve spent any time wading your way through this thread http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=133427.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=133427.0) you may have noticed that The Englishman is not exactly partial to KTMs. Well, heís now a dedicated Suzie man, and after the trauma of 2013 decided that heíd do a little thorough preparation this time. So Suzie got shown some real love: a new 28l Safari tank, serviced suspension, several trips to Claus the mechanic.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-07.jpg)

And thatís before we even discuss her owner. After a stead diet of squat thrusts, he was now in scintillating form!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-09.jpg)

Camel Manís motor was already in stunning shape, so he busied himself with how to take water to the desertĒ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-10.jpg)

And the Little Fella kissed his mount once, kissed her twice and was assured she would take him to heaven and back without a hitch:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-11.jpg)

But Buttercup was feeling a little hard done by, so he splurged on an expensive accessory:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-12.jpg)

and then busied himself with wardrobe:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-14.jpg)

and strategy for dealing with wild animals:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-13.jpg)

Did I mention that by now we were in a frenzy of excitement laced with mortal dread about face eating hyenas and their ilk invading our campsites: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=211797.msg3862568#msg3862568 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=211797.msg3862568#msg3862568)

It was all about to begin.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Dacquiri on September 26, 2017, 05:02:55 pm
And I was beginning to wonder who was going to get to VZP first, the orange/yellow/donkey brigade or the Honda guys and gal!!!?  :pot:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: zetman on September 26, 2017, 05:33:46 pm
 :ricky: :ricky: :ricky: :ricky: :ricky: :ricky: :ricky: BEFOK  :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee: :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Professor sprocket on September 26, 2017, 10:42:12 pm
Last trip I made with these gents - which was somewhere like up the West Coast and Richtersveld or something I was totally undone by that bloody sand. Its demoralising not being able to get on top of sand on a long sand trip when your mates are flying along and having to wait. So I spent months doing exercise, visualising what happens when the lion comes and Im the slowest in the sprint. With the arrival of my new baby boy, Im full of girlie hormones that make me want to really stay alive. And I got my trusty DRZ all geared up - so I thought - more on that anon. And then I went down to Atlantis a few times with Ian and had a session at Zone 7 with coach Dean. They got me finally loving sand. What a difference that is hey? A light went on and Im all vroom vroom on the soft stuff. Kind of.

Our plan was to take the bikes up with a van and trailer. Two of us driving up, two of us driving back, and one of the five getting lucky and flying both ways. Anyway, that was the plan. It didnt totally work out, as you'll hear. The midget and I got lucky as we pulled straws from the bike helmet, and we got the drive up and flight back option. I was thinking that, as with the Angola trip 4 years previously, it was likely that my bike would die after the first day or two and then Iíd be at least able to fly home. And in the unlikely event I finished the trip I wouldnít have to fly home knackered.

The double cab, when we left, was a solid mass of biking gear and camping stuff. Ian didnít even pack his stuff, as his day job was trying to claw him back to the world of deadlines and responsibility. He just flung stuff in. I didnt pack much better. And the morning we set off, I had my iPad out and was half in motorbike land, and half in workville. Its so hard to escape for a couple of weeks. The midget got fed up with me working in the Wimpy wifi zones on the way up. Anyway, its a pretty atmospheric two day drive up to Windhoek where we picked up the others from the airport. And from there, after a night at Urban Camp, Windhoek, a 2 or 3 hours drive to Usakos, our start point.

Turns out only getting the motorbike off the trailer and facing off into the unknown was the only way to our heads out of responsibilities. And as we packed up our donkeys and filled up with fuel, we entered an entirely different world. Almost immediately money seemed way less important that sweeties and whisky and radiator fluid. Wallets, phones and computers were stashed away under spare tubes, liquor, and Rehydrate. Our adventure was beginning.

I have some bad quality video of the trip up. Iíll post it as soon I figure out how.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2017, 03:32:06 pm
And I was beginning to wonder who was going to get to VZP first, the orange/yellow/donkey brigade or the Honda guys and gal!!!?  :pot:

Ya. Don't hold your breath...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2017, 04:16:35 pm
Day 1 (ish): Rock-Stars vs Monkey Division - Cape Town to Windhoek

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map1.jpg)

When does a trip really begin? When you go shopping?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-25.jpg)

When you pack?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-22.jpg)

Or when you leave for real?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-21.jpg)

I unfortunately had to interrupt the frenzy of planning and preparation to quickly pop over to Greece for a family wedding.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-28.jpg)

Which turned the week before departure into a predictable chaotic frenzy. Quickly pull bike to pieces:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-15.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-17.jpg)

collect tyresÖ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-19.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-20.jpg)

put bikes back together...

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-05.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-06.jpg)

and generally feel in woeful shape for a major adventure in some of the most remote wilderness on the planet.

When we went to Angola we naively thought weíd jump in the car and drive our bikes to the Namibian border. With our usual bumbling mayhem (turn around an hour in to fetch car papers, stop to repair Audi Centre Cape Townís lovely cross-thread job on wheel nuts etc.) that little jaunt turned into a three day appointment with motoring purgatory. OH MY GOD we were not doing that again!! And this time we were suitably equipped with a double cab and Jimmyís lovely trailer.

Jimmy:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-26.jpg)

Trailer:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-27.jpg)

What a nice bloke! I probably wouldnít have lent my trailer to a mishmash bunch of Wilddogs strangers. Thank you again Jimmy!

As Tom has said there was an almighty game of numbers. Well, two actually. Initially it was just going to be our Awesome Foursome from Angola, so we drew lots for the Ďorrible drive back home. I came last.

And then when the Professor finally took the plunge and signed up, we had another game for the lucky bastard who would fly both ways. I came last.

Letís look on the bright side. You get to play rock stars while the Monkey Division pilot the ground transport and bikes up to Windhoek. Just donít think about what comes after. So around rolled Friday the 1st of September: cut and run from work, grab daypack, jump into life threatening Uber ride to airport and check in. Bosh! This, my friends, is a bloody cool way to start a bike trip:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-29.jpg)

A hop, skip and five beers later, and our chauffeur awaits in the swish surrounds of Windhoek international airport:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-30.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/pre-31.jpg)

Game on.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Oupa Foe-rie on September 27, 2017, 04:41:21 pm
I like this .............. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: rubiblue on September 27, 2017, 05:35:27 pm
Sub

Love your writing + Pics. Come on, get on with it.
Title: Re: Travels through God’s own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 27, 2017, 06:04:51 pm
Sub

Love your writing + Pics. Come on, get on with it.

Greedy bastard. That's two in two days!!  :deal:

(https://i2.wp.com/www.mac-history.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/retouchphoto_apple_macintosh_1984_high_res_clean1.jpg?resize=580%2C386)

My apple every day keeps me from getting a post away.

The good photos start tomorrow ...  :thumleft: Been trying to get the others on board. Bloody Midget has gone AWOL - got a garbled message about back to the bush, elephants, can't deal with real life, hate work, Buttercup Buttercup Buttercup Buttercup. Couldn't make head or tail of it.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on September 28, 2017, 09:05:48 am
I saw your swanky new Ranger turning up off Settlers Way onto De Waal drive a Sunday or two ago - very dusty and dirty bikes on the loadbay and trailer! I still commented on your 500 thread that I though one of them was a pitbike at first glance, but then figured that it must have been the Midget's Buttercup......

Still trying to figure out what that accessory is that he bought for it (couple of pics back)? Looks like a valve cap?

Looking forward to the rest of the report!

Must have been traumatic to spend so much time away from Caprice.....?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on September 28, 2017, 09:14:55 am
I saw your swanky new Ranger turning up off Settlers Way onto De Waal drive a Sunday or two ago - very dusty and dirty bikes on the loadbay and trailer! I still commented on your 500 thread that I though one of them was a pitbike at first glance, but then figured that it must have been the Midget's Buttercup......

Still trying to figure out what that accessory is that he bought for it (couple of pics back)? Looks like a valve cap?

Looking forward to the rest of the report!

Must have been traumatic to spend so much time away from Caprice.....?

Those tank vent "valves" cause more kak than anything else.

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 28, 2017, 10:03:50 am
I saw your swanky new Ranger turning up off Settlers Way onto De Waal drive a Sunday or two ago - very dusty and dirty bikes on the loadbay and trailer! I still commented on your 500 thread that I though one of them was a pitbike at first glance, but then figured that it must have been the Midget's Buttercup......

Well spotted! Midge makes a pit bike look like a penny farthing.

Quote
Still trying to figure out what that accessory is that he bought for it (couple of pics back)? Looks like a valve cap?

Not just you... he still has no idea what it does, but he was feeling left out and wanted to buy something, and it was the cheapest item in the shop.

Quote
Must have been traumatic to spend so much time away from Caprice.....?

You have no idea.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 28, 2017, 12:43:25 pm
Day 2: Byebyebye civilisation - Windhoek to Spitzkoppe


(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map2.jpg)

I was awoken at 5am by Thomas babbling sweet nothings to his baby over whatsapp. And when I say baby I donít mean the lascivious, blonde-locked bedfellow he calls Ďhoneyí. I mean baby. As in can-I-sleep-train-you-before-I-kill-you future commander of the oceans, breaker of hearts and motorcycle-adventurer-of-excellence Caspian. My godson. What a name! He only has himself to blame if the boy grows up to be a real life pirate. Two weeks away from home was going to be a test!

We were staying at the Urban Camp in Windhoek, just to get into the spirit of things, but it was time to shake off the civilisation and get cracking. Five strapping men, all their luggage, and five motorcycles on one vehicle is a bit of a challenge, especially since the Midget was constantly complaining about his splayed labrador hips and insisted on languishing in the front passenger seat with the seat-back down at 45 degrees. Nobody complained - weíre all a little terrified of him.

Destination no. 1 for the day was Usakos, an Engen petrol station with a small town attached where Hardy had told me we could safely leave the vehicle. Leaving Windhoek we filled up with gas and the first edition of a hallowed trip ritual took place: Kitty Bitch.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-02.jpg)

The Kitty Bitch, for the uninitiated, is the sorry fellow who has to carry the cash and make all arrangements for the day. Itís a terrible job because the rest of the goons delight in making his job as miserable as possible - hence the second part of the name. Kitty Bitch - the game by the same name - occurs before leaving camp each morning (forget to convene the crew and you keep it) and has only one rule: the incumbent gets to decide the rules. Kitty Bitch has no winner and only one very sore loser.

To make the professor feel one of us he was bestowed the honour of presenting the first edition of Kitty Bitch, and frankly it was a ridiculous affair: pick up a match box off the tarmac without any part of your body except your hands touching the ground.

He then proceeded to amaze us with a controlled, but somewhat girly yoga pose:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-05.jpg)

Camel went with a surprisingly successful cartwheel:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-04.jpg)

Midget tried the one handed handstand:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-03.jpg)

He failed badly, but none of us were that happy entrusting the kitty to him. Iím not accusing him of being a filthy, thieving pikey or anything, but letís just say accounting isnít his strong point. By the way, he looks quite large in this photo, but thatís an extreme wide angle lens which makes objects in the background look smaller than they really are.

Next stop Usakos, which was just as Hardy had said. They gallantly allowed us to spill our nuclear waste of a packing situation across the tarmac, and took our vehicle and trailer to a locked up parking. Iím sure they were relieved just to be rid of us.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-06.jpg)

Next: the last 20km of tarmac weíd see for nearly 3000km. Passed in a blur, and with some strange looking mountains in the background, we undertook the time honoured celebratory tradition of letting tyres down for the adventure ahead.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-07.jpg)

Beautiful, isnít it?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-09.jpg)

The Professor is an observant fellow, and it was around this time that he made a truly horrible discovery. It was the dark blotches on my front tyre that gave it away. Glistening around my lower right fork stanchion, like a distant haze on a desert salt pan, was a fine, slippery, utterly disgusting sheen of fresh oil.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-10.jpg)

Faaaaaaarrrrrrkkkkkkkkk?

Let me repeat that: FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAARRRRRRRCCCKKKKK!!!!!!

Day One of a momentous two week offroad ride through some of the most inhospitable and remote territory on the planet and my fork is leaking oil like a rotten old Peruvian tanker. God damn bitch spit hate crap bugger shit aaarggghghghghghghhhhhh!!!

The worst part of this was that I had intended to get the forks serviced and fit some neoprene boots for the trip. The bike had only done 800km since new, but it was four years old, and new to me, and it was certainly a good idea. However, I only had five days between returning from Greece and leaving for Windhoek, Iíd already dumped thousands of rands into the beast and I had just decided to take a chance.

ďIím sure it will be fine.Ē

ďAnd how do you feel right now, fine sir??Ē

This was an ominous start. And there was nothing for it but to ride on and see what happened. Fork oil ainít available anywhere in Namibia outside Windhoek, Iím pretty sure of that, and it was already Saturday afternoon. Returning to get the fork seen to would put me 3 days behind my crew. I decided to forge ahead and see what happened.

In a ferocious bad mood, I might add. Hating on myself for not prepping properly. Now willing to pay 5x what it would have cost to get the fork serviced in the first place to make the problem go away, I could only think of Justinís hallowed six Pís repeated ad-nauseum during Team 525ís 2015 Amageza Campaign: ďProper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor PerformanceĒ.

Well, Spitzkoppe is spectacular.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-11.jpg)

And as we circled it in the dusk and left it to starboard, the track turned to sand:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-13.jpg)

The Professor may have been hating on his Ďnewí 690, but suddenly he felt happy to turn his back on my grumbling beast and look with new favour on his handsome mount:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-14.jpg)

And Camel didnít hold back in expressing his disgust.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-15.jpg)

God, sheís lovely though, isnít she?

We pulled over in a flattish riverbed just as the sun set for our first night of bush camping. I canít say the stress and head noise of civilisation had drained out of us just yet, but a few kms in the bush were at least having a positive impact. What would the new day bring? For me, it would be one day at a time. I was gritting my teeth and hoping I wouldnít be taking a lengthy and utterly depressing detour back to Windhoek.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day2-01.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on September 28, 2017, 12:50:47 pm

Quote
Must have been traumatic to spend so much time away from Caprice.....?

You have no idea.

Could have been worse - you could have said that you missed Schekter's RAW.......an admission from which there could be no recovery.....
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on September 28, 2017, 01:51:45 pm
Awesome read so far
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Orangeswifty on September 29, 2017, 09:09:59 am
I like the way you write MTP.
Awesome use of adjectives and spicy words thrown together
Please carry on regailing us with your tale to tell
Title: Re: Travels through God’s own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 29, 2017, 12:41:47 pm
Day 3: Elephants everywhere. EVERYWHERE!!! - Spitzkoppe to Rocky Mountain High

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map3.jpg)

There’s something special about the first morning waking up in the wilderness. It’s when you know the trip has really begun. We tend to bush camp where we can, so I awoke before sunrise to a huge sky, endless vistas and silence.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-04.jpg)

We’d celebrated a bit last night and burnt half the veld, so the fire burst back into life with a dry twig.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-01.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-03.jpg)

Tom is our movie maker on this trip, and started reviewing his footage and making noises like an excitable chicken. If he gets his shit together hopefully you’ll see some of his wondrous creations start appearing here.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-02.jpg)

And then the sun was up. Morning Namibia!!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-05.jpg)

As you’ll see from the day’s map, today was going to be a veritable flood of elephants. Huge, angry, ear flapping pachyderms in river beds, herds of the bloody things sauntering across the plains, trunk to tail. Babies, big ones, grumpy ones, muddy ones, old ones. I was exceedingly excited for the day, and happy because today would be the day I get vindicated for my enthusiasm in offering to take a free Kitty Bitch on day 4 if we hadn’t seen an elephant by then. Safe as houses.

Route planning for these trips has evolved into a fine art. It sounds highly technical and complicated, but actually any fool can do it. Which always seems to mean me. First - spread the word about where you’re going and start looking for suckers, I mean willing and enthusiastic strangers on Wilddogs, to share their secrets on the best routes. Then stick those into Basecamp and plot the best looking routes on Tracks for Africa. The aim is not just to avoid tar, but if possible all dirt roads too. This fussy bunch start whining like a poodle locked in a cupboard if you put them on dirt roads for too long. Tweespoor = better. Barely visible goat tracks through the bush = best. Compass point for 246degrees and an empty sea of sand dunes? Nirvana.

So then you export the tracks, stick them into Google Earth, and that’s where the fun starts. Any river bed is fair game. Barely visible goat tracks and footpaths are awesome, and if it’s open enough just draw a line between two points. The idea is to take short cuts, draw squiggly lines away from the routes you’ve just plotted in T4A, and generally try and sniff out some new ways to get from A to B. And avoid the roads.

So we got going slowly and ambled along the trail until we hit the Omaruru river. A massive open sand highway turned right, and yes, Siree, off we blasted. The riding was bloody sensational.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-06.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-07.jpg)

And before long we started happening upon very fresh elephant dung.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-08.jpg)

Wouldn’t be long now. We took turns riding at the front - it was full gas 3/4/5/6 gear stuff. Open, flowing and fantastic. Not exactly virgin terrain - there were quite a few vehicle tracks - and the best strategy was to hammer it across the tracks at about 45 degrees, and carve around the outside of the bends on untouched sand. Occasional drop-offs up to about half a metre kept it exciting. Everyone was handling the conditions and excitement was high.

After a while the river bed started to narrow and there was lots of standing water and tall reeds to the side of the trail. I haven’t got pictures for some reason - mostly because I was a bit wary about the angry male elephant we were about to bump into. He was huge, beastly and wouldn’t take kindly to me sitting there faffing with my camera.

And the lions. I didn’t want to be Kentucky Licken Chicken.

We did about 25km in the river bed, emerging sopping wet from the numerous dunkings. English was blabbering excitedly about how his DRZ could walk on water, and how incredible these machines were to take on any terrain and come back begging for more. He was riding like a rally god, leaving Midget flapping his little legs uselessly against Buttercup’s ample thighs in his wake.

Our trip had at long last really begun! And in what style!

We arrived at Uis for petrol and found a late breakfast at a lodge with two grumpy parrots. We even washed off our filth in their huge, delicious swimming pool. Can anyone explain to me why Namibian pools are all icy freezing despite the 40 degree weather?

Dust was hanging heavy in the sky, which made visibility less than we’d like. We were riding past the legendary Brandberg, and you could hardly see her through the haze.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-09.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-10.jpg)

In the lead up to this trip there had been a bit of a frenzy of excitement about wild animals, what we’d be seeing, who would be visiting our campsites during the night, and whether all of us would be returning to loved ones and lives otherwise put on hold. We discussed at length what we’d do if a face-eating hyena removed one of our said faces during the night (leave him out for the crows, set his bike on fire, video everything). As the trip drew closer, excitement twisted towards a slight tinge of fear laced with a side dish of paranoia.

Hardy had warned me that there were a few river beds one needed to be especially cautious of due to the high density of game and lack of sufficient visibility. Three of them he warned me off as being outright dangerous, and one of those three now lay directly in front of us: The Ugab.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-11.jpg)

How about if we were to just peel off our track and instead of crossing it directly, take the last five km down the river bed, just to get a taste of what we were in for and to get the juices flowing.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-12.jpg)

No problem, right?

The very, and when I say very, I mean literally right as we entered the river bed, first thing we saw was this:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-13.jpg)

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like an exceptionally fresh, and very, very large elephant footprint.

I whipped out my camera, started snapping away, and looked up.

So much for friends. Strength in numbers and everything. Gone! Woosh.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-14.jpg)

I was all alone.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on September 29, 2017, 01:25:28 pm
Awesome!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: TinusBez on September 29, 2017, 01:51:07 pm
More please. I'm starting to re-read old ride reports whilst at work home
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Ri on September 29, 2017, 04:42:59 pm
Excellent writing - engaging and addictive!!  :sip:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 29, 2017, 05:32:23 pm
Day 3 continued...

This is something utterly unique about riding in northern NamibiaÖ and it starts only a few hours north of Windhoek. Where else can you expect to see large (dangerous) wildlife around any turn?

I certainly wasnít asleep as I blasted up the river bed. It was wide and open initially, but soon turned and twisted between gnarled, hammered and destroyed trees (wonder who did that) and thickets of dense bush.

Itís this green stuff, snaking its way through the brown palette of plains and mountains:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-15.jpg)

If youíve been there you know exactly what Iím talking about. We were all invigorated and Iím sure I heard at least one of our party giggling in a slightly high pitched manner as we took our helmets off, where the track crossed the main river bed.

There was a steep shale-covered hill in front of us, and, well, the 500 is an enduro bike afterall, so I blasted up it:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-19.jpg)

The views from the top were sensational. From there we turned north on a twee spoor track that soon became extremely sandy, and there were a few tumbles as the heavily laden bikes made themselves felt.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-20.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-21.jpg)

Hot, it certainly was, but you hardly noticed cause the riding was absolutely stunning. I was riding shotgun at the back here, and after an hour or so I found everyone pulled over for a rest.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-27.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-26.jpg)

Thing is, pulling over for a rest in this country isnít quite like pulling over for a rest just anywhere. For one, we werenít the only ones resting. Take a little look at this fellow:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-23.jpg)

Thatís what I call taking a rest. The loneliness and isolation here can make a guy lose his head:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-24.jpg)

Wait! What in Godís name at that thing???? Bloody hell. Africa is not for sissies. I mean, weíre just pottering through some random wilderness and a large horse in pyjamas just got eaten!!!

There was a bit of a consult:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-22.jpg)

Mostly about the face eaters and where weíd be sleeping tonight. Tom looked just a touch concerned, and even forgot to get the video camera out:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-25.jpg)

The little fella just offered his 1000 yard stare. Nothing phases the Midget.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-28.jpg)

Radical riding smoothed itself into even more incredible riding as the afternoon wore on. River beds, dust, sand and more wonderful motorycling beautifuliciousness. Iím going to let the pictures talk for a bit.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-29.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-30.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-31.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-32.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-33.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-34.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 29, 2017, 05:34:22 pm
And then just when you thought youíd used to the sandy bushveld, it fell away like the darkness at morning, and a blast across a sandy plain led to this radical rocky wilderness. At this stage I was feeling pretty gobsmacked by the sheer variety of the desert. I really had no idea what was headed our way over the next two weeks. But check this out:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-35.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-36.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-37.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-38.jpg)

It was starting to get latish in the afternoon when we turned off the Ďmainí track onto Gavís sneaky little Google Earth discovery through the mountains. How fantastic is it when you see a sign like this??

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-39.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-40.jpg)

We began riding up into some hills and the track narrowed and became more rocky. We were tired at this point, the first long day in the saddle, and it became clear that it was time to start looking for somewhere to bed down for the night.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-41.jpg)

I found a perch on top of a tricky little climb and settled in for the show. First, English on the little yellow hornet came racing up, easy as you like, sliding and hopping up the rocks.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-42.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-43.jpg)

And then things took a turn to ohdearfuckedland.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-44.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-45.jpg)

Our war correspondent was on the jobÖ loads of useless advice, taunting and goading. Come oooonnnn Midget!!!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-47.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-48.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-49.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-50.jpg)

And then Camel, unflappable and easy as always.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-51.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-52.jpg)

Sometimes you just got to set yourself down and take it all in.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-46.jpg)

There were some super weary bodies and we took the first campsite option that came our way. Itís a shit, shit life in the river beds of Damaraland.

But somebodyís got to do it.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-53.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-54.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-55.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-56.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day3-57.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Goingnowherekwickly on September 29, 2017, 06:46:48 pm
Lovely stuff!! &  :drif: pics.. how was your fork behaving at this point?
still leaking badly? sometimes a piece of grit gets in there, & prevents it sealing..
can occasionally be fixed by dislodging it with thin blade / plastic etc
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 30, 2017, 06:53:39 am
Yeah fork was working fine but still leaking. I was hoping it was going to hold out, or even knock any dirt out itself and settle down, and reluctant to stick anything in there for fear of damaging the seal further.

Probably too conservative but I decided to let sleeping dogs lie.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on September 30, 2017, 11:36:34 am
Lovely stuff!! &  :drif: pics.. how was your fork behaving at this point?
still leaking badly? sometimes a piece of grit gets in there, & prevents it sealing..
can occasionally be fixed by dislodging it with thin blade / plastic etc

The rest of us were secretly hoping that the porous fork seal might slow the Rock-Star down a little. In spite of the fact that he wasn't riding his usual mount,

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/OYLHonlxGgzhmp7bKfmXlTTYw51RpRkf9kogS0ePQZWRAR2rxN2UYR1jYvgj4Nwu3bh0ukwJcUyj_sLCz8jbHrK_mYZ94XgDoMPg2ZA7uGMVcJrZ_6s8FfCT2zJzLq9YdFIVkwq-ZHVjHQI6T4zny3ZywzRuJhO6B42qwQ4VzNDqSw7gtgDZSBrxew0_fabE76XcEj35-D3Ccyw1JbQGC83m91mzKIakT5uiU_m0Sq_Hbr7Uvc_W-_crVWZD9mSNev1YrGopy4-PhAryAtdOlFCSx9vAuGf7rp65ut4Vyi0aCGV_VuiakCtnDHGOkNPLfJTqsWrKfEYFsJukYEtL5tLnspNCy6SKn5jVkg17srkALwTt3Er5W_ehjJvKn6FPS7HABPmpw6vOohgp44AISX4MF-6ssyISdNV452Y9UmXfuSt9tZISmFEuNATmDPQ-FRCEAgHhFBYyxGvIASt5m_FEqczyFUC5dcqWG5VyrSPf6o-3KTSHjVuhnGCJTBsJQ2cThSgjkNkpJ5Sq7RQ_vEAwS-Cpv201uvrLciDnDr5BvH5d3loBrwrGJF18QHxvJAUe7PfYWqwVyExqqyxgi1VNK2voEy_gXaodsn1qXsY0fs4FRFBRDlTsVcGAbwuNyeJQt8ibVYcMCvI15HmcPj998vApb1UYfJo=w603-h900-no)

he was clearly much more nimble than the rest of us.

Camel-man even tried another trick, thinking that he could flash a bit of leg at critical moments to try and dazzle the Rocker

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/I4m55WOMruHC6a-u_uH-3c4iLQBX9vJ5F8ITDE1IyChOUXd3hWNsnYl-bvxzl_XEx-daNwjnTxHlp3Tn33shAIfEOMhtYE7wGo2VeGj9Hb_h002H5gCni8GOinP95jfOaRDWsqnUGzU6f72No8xn89voUEAS-yz6K7JlLinHvsdQm2CXPLzrxDnbOXc1MOBreQBLhtqekXDM82cA559qrw_uN_SMg_p-9Mz0RFg0v6lEe3duv4Rs2g8cUhn0O1G3IpU62EQjmBlE5Nhk5Tvh4BSWVXdE6YHGtq7Hr5btI1ZInmdvPMIYWgIsMMdlQoYIZUlH7PQj1iVf4OfIXt6paWrLht6LS74J_M-ur6KjM6osn_b8jBrOxIngu1qyLiVb7FnXUsXYr930MicMOHSEPDMW1pdaRnhYOFvoLMjEbrWRs6cebB9UgF4rpt4RMWyeofWmHeI34kxa15-B6tH1xjoDRE05PzQ_kUUAGBa8QXjN0j1xLr7JUmAdZzv00X7GKNTSwHxdbx_e5cKtI3s7nrGfSNglJEdhkICLGPCRWCMBSepHDnr4pHRy75vA6bwG5ey1Duh9LufrA0RX80qqHcfZlhOPxvkyJgjSDjsbb0cwhUO_sZbV8XKMnWvZ3I8hMpGNLr53lzaY8J1TXiy0kyiOQt52ad_BW0Q=w916-h808-no)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on September 30, 2017, 12:10:17 pm
Hahaha

Keep it coming chaps........awesome read.
Title: Re: Travels through God’s own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 01, 2017, 08:15:07 am
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/OYLHonlxGgzhmp7bKfmXlTTYw51RpRkf9kogS0ePQZWRAR2rxN2UYR1jYvgj4Nwu3bh0ukwJcUyj_sLCz8jbHrK_mYZ94XgDoMPg2ZA7uGMVcJrZ_6s8FfCT2zJzLq9YdFIVkwq-ZHVjHQI6T4zny3ZywzRuJhO6B42qwQ4VzNDqSw7gtgDZSBrxew0_fabE76XcEj35-D3Ccyw1JbQGC83m91mzKIakT5uiU_m0Sq_Hbr7Uvc_W-_crVWZD9mSNev1YrGopy4-PhAryAtdOlFCSx9vAuGf7rp65ut4Vyi0aCGV_VuiakCtnDHGOkNPLfJTqsWrKfEYFsJukYEtL5tLnspNCy6SKn5jVkg17srkALwTt3Er5W_ehjJvKn6FPS7HABPmpw6vOohgp44AISX4MF-6ssyISdNV452Y9UmXfuSt9tZISmFEuNATmDPQ-FRCEAgHhFBYyxGvIASt5m_FEqczyFUC5dcqWG5VyrSPf6o-3KTSHjVuhnGCJTBsJQ2cThSgjkNkpJ5Sq7RQ_vEAwS-Cpv201uvrLciDnDr5BvH5d3loBrwrGJF18QHxvJAUe7PfYWqwVyExqqyxgi1VNK2voEy_gXaodsn1qXsY0fs4FRFBRDlTsVcGAbwuNyeJQt8ibVYcMCvI15HmcPj998vApb1UYfJo=w603-h900-no)

R.I.P. Glorious creature! I shall never forget her!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 01, 2017, 12:06:38 pm
Day 4: Desert Proper - Twyfelfontein to Little Serengeti lion country


(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map4.jpg)

Some of us were up again before dawn.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-01.jpg)

Others less convinced.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-02.jpg)

The sun slowly started peeking over the mountains - another absolutely stunning campsite.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-04.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-05.jpg)

Apparently getting out of it was another matter altogether.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-06.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-07.jpg)

Turns out we had camped out in the mountains just a few short kilometres from the rock paintings at Twyfelfontein, which we arrived at through the back door. We had a brief wander around, but to be honest they werenít all that, and the charm of clomping around in heavy motorcycle gear lost its appeal pretty quickly. It was only about 9am, but already pretty beastly hot.

We said our fondest farewells and somehow landed ourselves on a brief detour via the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. I think I was too hot and forgot my camera in the parking lot, but itís a pretty charming place, set amongst the rocks with a stunning view across the plains, and cheerful bar staff who brought us sandwiches and poured a few cold ones for the filthy bikers.

Thereís always a bit of an ambivalent relationship with luxury on these trips. Weíre supposed to be getting rid of civilisation in much the same way you would bed bugs, or a nasty wart. Things is, weíre all really soft. And who wouldnít want to be drinking ice cold beer under a cold, shady boma while arguing about the top speed of cheetahs and elephants.

Good Lord! For a moment there Iíd completely forgotten about that. English is bound to be reading this sooner or later, and perhaps a little gentle reminder is due: Thomas: you owe me a bottle of very fine quality whisky.

Single malt, my boy! SINGLE MALT!!

From looking at the map, you may imagine Twyfelfontein to be a charming little village in the Namibian hinterland, but itís nothing more than a dodgy looking single petrol pump in the dust. The penny should have dropped about what this would mean for the rest of our trip, but alas. More on this later.

Like seemingly every part of the terrain we were travelling through, Twyvelfontein is actually a proper game area, and we passed a few landrovers from the lodge full of guests.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-08.jpg)

The tweespoor heading north was extreme sandy and required quite a bit of concentration, so spotting game from the bikes was unlikely. At one point I saw a huge heard of gemsbok and veered off into the veld to get a closer look. Nope. Cows. Since none of this is registered game park, local populations seem to live in harmony with the wildlife and safari enterprises.

The terrain varied spectacularly from sand bushveld-type tracks to hilly, rocky terrain and open sandy desert.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-09.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-10.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-13.jpg)

After a few dozen kilometres we approached a small hamlet called De Riet - people living in utter remoteness, despite all the odds. I donít know what it takes to deal with the desolation, lack of water and constant threat from wild animals, but letís just say these are not your average city slickers.

Turning to the left, huge dunes started to rise up on both sides of the track, followed by a massive sandy plain. I rode up one of the dunes to get these pictures:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-14.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-15.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-16.jpg)

Utterly, spellbindingly beautiful Damaraland wilderness.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 01, 2017, 12:08:03 pm
Another couple of hours passed in a hot haze. The rocky valleys were retaining heat and booming it back at us like a furnace. It was the fieriest day of the trip yet, and I remember at one point refusing to stop and take a break - it was just to beastly. No more photos - I guess the temperature got the better of me, but before long we hooked up with the C39 for the last few km into Palmwag.

All thoughts of boycotting luxury forgotten, we piled into the Palmwag Lodge like a bunch of thirsty polar bears at the only bar between Anchorage and the North Pole.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-20.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-19.jpg)

Only one of us still looked as fresh as a daisy. Guess who?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-21.jpg)

There may have been a very brief contest over where we would be spending the night, but team luxury lost a close game of fingers so we loaded up again, gassed the tanks and exited the vet fence (again).

There may not be a supermarket in Palmwag, but what there is, is an essential Ďsuppliesí store. A quick whiskey stop and we were on our way.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-22.jpg)

A quick reminder, in case you arenít reading this in one go and had forgotten what I told you just two day agoÖ I had somehow - now unbelievably - backed myself into a horrible corner entirely of my own making. Like an overconfident moronic idiot, I had promised to take a free Kitty Bitch day if we hadnít seen elephants by the end of day 3. Which was today.

I had this horrible, sinking sense of dread that I was going to be on the losing end of a kitty bitch hiding, which is something no gown man will take lightly. In fact, one is required to use every last shred of deviousness, cunning and intelligence to escape becoming the kitty bitch, even if it means cheating. And let the gods witness, I was NOT going to be kitty bitch. Not without a fight.

I was anyway completely flummoxed that we hadnít seen elephant yet. The signs had been everywhere. Dung, tracks, broken trees, more tracks. It was absurd. How on earth had we not spotted one??

But then I saw this, only 5km out of Palmwag:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-23.jpg)

Hope, glorious hope! It was about 4pm and only three hours of daylight remained, but I was clinging to my chances like a drowning man on a blowup doll. Stopping on every rise to scan the valleys below, barely watching the road so I could keep my eyes on the bush. In the rising gloom, every second distant tree looked like a hulking grey animal form.

To make matters worse, Iíd left the bottlestore first and charged off in such a rush on my elephant hunt, that Iíd completely missed two extremely large giraffe swanning about right next to the road. Our first large game spot, these things were worth a dayís immunity and could have saved my ass. The Midget scooped that up gleefully.

We were still on the C40, but would soon be turning off onto a much smaller trail.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-24.jpg)

The sun was slowly dribbling towards the horizon and it was clear weíd need to stop soon. Exhaustion was also high after a long, hot day, and we decided to skip my short cut to the next vet gate - in retrospect probably a good decision as it may have been a touch enduro over the final 5km.

For some unknown reason the vet gate leading into the Otjitheka Trail is an extremely grand affair. I canít believe many people come this way - the road was a shambles (as we like it) and there was an instant feeling of remoteness. Nobody was manning the gate, and for a moment we thought we were stuck, but then a friendly guide popped out of the buildings and sauntered over.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-25.jpg)

ďWhere are you going?Ē he asked. ďDo you know there are lots of lion?? Do you have a gun?Ē

He wasnít joking either. Another guard arrived and they stared at us incredulously.

ďAre you really going to sleep out there?Ē

Oops. We all swallowed hard and chuckled awkwardly, pretending to feel brave.

The gate was at a small village, and along the side of the road we passed some big sculptures of lion, elephant and rhino. Great. Iíd like to say that we were a little nervous, but if I must be frank I was shitting myself. And I donít think I was alone.

Dark was falling and we had no idea where we were sleeping as we left the village and headed into the wilderness.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-26.jpg)

Did I mention that between the five of us we had three functioning one-man tents (mosquito inners only, no fly sheets), and one half-broken one. None of which youíd exactly consider to be lion proof. The trail started hugging a river and it was now getting dark, and thus urgent that we stopped el pronto. Each site we looked at was worse than the one before. As usual English was just proposing we ride into the dark and that something would materialise. Heís all about being scared witless. I was trying to make sense prevail. When our last option turned out to be right next to a huge watering hole I decided it was time for some leadership, and turned tail to drag the pack back to a semi-reasonable sandy site Iíd seen about 2km from the village.

You know youíve found an eminently suitable place to sleep for the night in lion and hyena country when you set up camp right next to this:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day4-27.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Saddle Up on October 01, 2017, 01:31:03 pm
A wonderful read as expected. Thanks for the effort in tagging us along on your adventures, whilst getting the gears in my head oiled.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Big Harriet on October 01, 2017, 04:25:09 pm
Hiya guys! Loving this writeup ,but why arent we hearing nothing from Midget. He's such a shy boy!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Professor sprocket on October 01, 2017, 07:38:52 pm
Im seeing Ian's pics for the first time. Brilliant hey?

By this time the trip was totally finding its groove. This was the best riding ever. We were all filthy and time had readjusted itself around the natural rise and fall of the sun, and our movements and thoughts were consumed only by food, fuel and dodging rocks or Face-eaters on the path. Work and life at home were far behind. Isnt it superb when you can see your normal life in the city like its on another planet?

That night we all went to bed scared of lions. But by midnight part of me was hoping they'd come and do their worst. I was the gullible fool who wasnt in a tent - I had a tarp that I reckoned would be as versatile and sleep more people. That was a bad idea. We had camped under trees where the bones and dung of livestock were scattered around. And, as the Prof announced the next day, that meant parasites.

I was in a thick down sleeping bag, bought while still a happy camper in the UK winter. Totally overheating here. So it was wide open and the insects and god only knows what else were creeping in. I felt a couple of bites and started pulling bugs (or something) off. Then more bites - soon I couldnt pull them off fast enough. There were bugs in my hair - different kinds - soft ones, hard ones, big ones, tiny ones. I was soon covered in itchy welts from unknown origin. By around midnight I was totally undone, and barged into Ian's tent and zipped the door air-tight shut. Im not going anywhere like that without a tent again....

The next day a Himba lady walked into our camp. She had an amazing self confidence about her. Walking into a group of men - not at all aggressive or rude, but also not at all deferential or submissive. After asking where we were going (universal sign language), she took a smouldering log off our fire and walked casually back to her camp, whereever that was. This kind of freaked us out. Apparently fire has some special connotations to the Himba. We were wondering if we'd lit ours in the wrong place, or were burning something sacred, of if she just needed a light. Suddenly we felt pretty ignorant, and were marvelling at the exotic and strange world we had entered. We must have seemed much stranger to our Himba friend - as we stood around with all our fancy kit, clearly struggling to hack it, while she was totally at home.

I've got some video clips to upload of all this - just trying to get the time to edit them. I think most of us, when we got home, were immediately swallowed up by normality and getting the time to even read this now seems tricky. That cant be right....
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Three Dawg on October 01, 2017, 09:52:52 pm
Sub.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2017, 05:55:26 am
Hiya guys! Loving this writeup ,but why arent we hearing nothing from Midget. He's such a shy boy!

Hi Harriet - you and me both! Midge took one look at civilization and went AWOL back into the bush. His boss tells me he's back at his desk this morning so hopefully we'll have word!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2017, 11:36:07 am
By this time the trip was totally finding its groove. This was the best riding ever. We were all filthy and time had readjusted itself around the natural rise and fall of the sun, and our movements and thoughts were consumed only by food, fuel and dodging rocks or Face-eaters on the path. Work and life at home were far behind. Isnt it superb when you can see your normal life in the city like its on another planet?

This, friends, is the mythical face-eater that Tom is talking about. It's a fearsome sight, and just imagine you were the hapless tourist who had just been snuck up on, fast asleep in your sleeping bag...

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/faceeater.jpg)

Quote
That night we all went to bed scared of lions. But by midnight part of me was hoping they'd come and do their worst. I was the gullible fool who wasnt in a tent - I had a tarp that I reckoned would be as versatile and sleep more people. That was a bad idea. We had camped under trees where the bones and dung of livestock were scattered around. And, as the Prof announced the next day, that meant parasites.

I was in a thick down sleeping bag, bought while still a happy camper in the UK winter. Totally overheating here. So it was wide open and the insects and god only knows what else were creeping in. I felt a couple of bites and started pulling bugs (or something) off. Then more bites - soon I couldnt pull them off fast enough. There were bugs in my hair - different kinds - soft ones, hard ones, big ones, tiny ones. I was soon covered in itchy welts from unknown origin.

What he didn't know was that this red blob would grow and inflame and engorge, until in 24 days time about 100 small, disgusting and angry little spiders would come crawling out of the wound....

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-09.jpg)

Wait... 24 days? Good God, that's tomorrow!!! Um... Tom...??
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on October 02, 2017, 12:16:59 pm
lol
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Orangeswifty on October 02, 2017, 02:00:46 pm
Great read......gooi............ :sip:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2017, 06:16:46 pm
Day 5: Little Serengeti to Mordor

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map5.jpg)

I woke up with a flea-infested Englishman by my side. Less said about that, the better. A quick head count and we made sure that none of the crew had been dragged off during the night by the face-eaters. Obviously an extremely close call, but perhaps thanks to the KTM voodoo doll we left out to protect the camp.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-04.jpg)

Tom was up early documenting the survival of Scariest Night on Trip So Far:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-02.jpg)

and Iím sure youíd like to see an obligatory shot of the little fella in his zebra pyjamas, all 4í10Ē of him.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-05.jpg)

As Tom has already mentioned we received a strange visit from a gorgeous local lady. She stood silently by the fire, staring at us as we stared at her, and then rummaged around for a burning log and left without a word.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-10.jpg)

We had a long way to go today, so with some cajoling we got out of camp in the half light. The riding was immediately sensational - an undulating, rocky track through bush, over river beds and between thorn trees.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-14.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-15.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-19.jpg)

It seemed the disquiet of the night before, and the gate manís shocked demeanour werenít entirely unfounded, because soon a few sets of these appeared in the sandy path:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-20.jpg)

Iím no tracker of any description, but Iím guessing that four or five animals with footprints like this, walking together down a sandy track canít be anything other than lion. Everyone was suddenly very wide awake indeed, and scanning the sides of the trail extremely thoroughly as we rode slowly and very cautiously forwards. The tracks continued for about four or five kilometres, right in the middle of the sandy path we were riding, and they looked extremely fresh.

I was at the back, and around this time I got my first sighting of giraffe, about five of them cantering along within 20m of the road. I was already ruing not buying a long zoom lens for this trip. Iíd seriously considered it, but wildlife photography isnít exactly my forte and thought it would be of limited use. Disappointing decision.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-21.jpg)

About 20km in, the trail opened to a wide plain and Mike and I were riding at the back when we came across three gun toting, camo wearing chaps at an intersection, waving us to slow down. ďHere we go,Ē I thought.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-22.jpg)

They turned out to be super friendly - an anti poaching squad assigned to protect the local rhino inhabitants. They laughed that our companions had ridden straight past them, clearly afraid, but I must question the limited sense in doing so - the guy behind the bike had some kind of automatic rifle!

Us: ďAre there lion hereĒ

Them: ďOh yes. Many many lion. Back thereÖĒ

Us: ďYou mean where we slept last night?Ē

Them: ďYes! So many lion!Ē

Jesus.

Them: ďAnd you will see many elephant where you are going.Ē As they waved in the general direction of the trail we were following between the mountains.

Fat lot of good that was going to do me. I was wearing a distasteful badge with vitriol, bitterness and loathing:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/kittybitch.jpg)

What on earth had convinced me to be so blasť and overconfident that weíd spot elephant before today I have no idea. And where were the big bastards anyway??

The rangers waved us on with a smile, and immediately the track opened up into the most glorious plains. Under wheel was sandy and smooth, perfect conditions to twist the 500ís ear hard and really enjoy the riding for a while.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-23.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-24.jpg)
Giraffe and various species of antelope everywhere you looked.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-25.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-26.jpg)

We were now entering an incredible area called ĎLittle SerengetiĒ and itís easy to see where it gets the name.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-27.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-28.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-29.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-30.jpg)

Incredible, wide open planes, dancing herds of Springbok and soft grasses bending in the slight breeze. The temperature was even mild and pleasant, and I kind of wished weíd made it here the evening before to set up camp. The views at dawn would have been world class.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-31.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-32.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-33.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-35.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 02, 2017, 06:26:00 pm
After a bit of a rest and some breakfast (peanuts and raisins), the group charged off and I was left with Gav, who was peering disconsolately at the side of his machine.

ďThat explains the flapping.Ē was all he could offer.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-37.jpg)

One of the main tank bolts holding on the fancy KTM Rally tanks had disappeared. Not a thrilling discovery with only my dishevelled little toolkit to help us. We set about stripping the offending bike, and trying to bum non-essential bolts from things like mud-flaps to help out.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-38.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-39.jpg)

Weíd been at it about twenty minutes when a double cab rolled in across the plain. It had mis-matched everything - wheels, tyres - and was groaning and creaking when it stopped, so I wasnít holding out hope. They asked us for water, or asked us if we had enough water - it wasnít entirely clear - and then roared off in a dust cloud. Somewhat perplexing.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-36.jpg)

Half an hour after theyíd left, our boys rolled back in - itís always a bit tricky with a mechanical straight after you stop, because everyone rides for a while before noticing that the team isnít together. All good - we just cable tied the thing back on and set off again.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-40.jpg)

As mentioned at the start of this report, Gav had sold his 990R for this 690 to come on this trip, and - to be a touch polite - the new bike hadnít all been plain sailing. As a result he hadnít had any time getting to know the bike or getting used to it in offroad conditions.

After a sensational crossing of Serengeti Jr. we were due to drop down into the Hoanib River. Iím a bit gutted about that - I could easily have explored further up the plains - definitely on the list for a future trip. The other three had done the first few kilometres of the river bed and warned the sand was super soft, so after a bit of a consult Gav and I decided to swap bikes for the next section. I handed over the 500 a little wistfully - Gav hadnít been on a 500 before and I knew what was coming. Would I ever get my feet back on those glorious footpegs??

A sharp ninety degree bend into the river bed, and a few corners in extremely soft, powdery sand, and the river bed opened up. What followed was 70km of utterly sensational, Dakar-style riverbed terrain that was a momentously joyous hoot to ride. The 690 was wound up a bit tight on the damper, but once I loosened her a few clicks and got a used to the extra bulk over the 500, she was revelling in the conditions. Third and fourth wide open in sand are a joy on that bike - the engine bellows and shrieks, and the rally tanks carry the fuel nice and low so sheís quite stable. 690ís arenít massively endowed in the suspension department, but she was bouncing over the tracks and handling the drop-offs with the best of them, and powersliding and lifting the front on command like a hooligan.

What a jol! I wish Iíd had a helmet cam, I was laughing all the way to the memory bank. We stopped under some huge trees about 40 clicks in for a break, and eventually English returned - having set off like a mongoose with a cracker up his arse, delighting in his new found heroism on sand.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-47.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-48.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-41.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-45.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-47.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-44.jpg)

One more, just for the ladies:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-43.jpg)

The Professor had finally found his sand legs:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-46.jpg)

and warned me I might as well try prise the keys to the 500 from his cold, dead hands.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-42.jpg)

Fok.

This trip was having a weird effect of making us continually say that was the best goddamn hour weíd spent on a motorcycle. Seriously, the riding, the scenery, the wonderful remoteness was intoxicating.

Oh, and the Midge claimed to have seen three elephant retreating into the bush on the side of the riverbank while he was leading the group. I donít believe him, but he claimed the three days kitty bitch immunity anyway. Dwarves are not to be trusted.

Eventually the wide, empty sand closed in a bit and a proper track appeared between pools of standing water and greenery.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-49.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-50.jpg)
(feel free to caption this photo)

A little turtle dug himself into the track as I tried to take his portait.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-51.jpg)

The scenery was still spellbinding, and constantly changing.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-52.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-53.jpg)

Iíd been warned about a hundred kilometres of fesh-fesh on this route, and eventually it arrived. We climbed out of the river bed and the track started to weave through bushes and then fan out into dozens of smaller tracks. Soon we realised why. In the rainy season, this route must be extremely muddy, and various vehicles have dug deep trenches into the track. Of course itís then impassible, and so a new track is cut through the bush, and on it goes. Then, in summer, fine, powdery dust blows into the tracks - a cross between marshmallows, talcum powder and silt. Well beknown to Baja 1000 and Dacar racers, the stuff is hell on two wheels. You canít see where youíre going, and itís not long before your front wheel lodges in a hard rut, and down you go.

Which is exactly what happened to the little fella.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-55.jpg)

Heíd gone down extremely hard in one of the dongas and was wincing lightly, his face contorted in pain, and holding his left leg out at a very strange angle. ďOh fuck, here we goÖĒ I thought. But the Midget is as tough as an old male warthog, and with a couple of Myprodol and a handful of Cataflam down his gullet he was off.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-56.jpg)

Either heíd be all right or he wouldnít. Whatcha gonna do?

The Hoanib behind us, there was a short purgatory session to Sesfontein on the D3706, for fuel. Actually, it was beastly hot again, and when we got to Sesfontein I saw this sign for banana bread (I know!?!???) and we stopped at this funny little local joint and ate everything they had.

A big decision had to be made. We were doing our best to stay ahead of a big, noisy crowd of Hondas (more on that later), and were slowly losing that battle. In typical fashion, we were also now nearly two days behind schedule. Should we stick to our original plan of bashing up an old 4x4 trail in the west to Opuwo - which would probably take us the best part of a day and a half - or turn tail, take the C43 and be there by nightfall?

It was already after 4, and there was a strong case being made in certain quarters for the chicken run, when we got to the fuel dump and found this:
 
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-58.jpg)
 
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-59.jpg)
 
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-60.jpg)
 
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-61.jpg)

That, my furry little friends, is a KTM ĎRallyí proof fairing gone to meet its maker. The tubular steel frame holding the entire front end of the bike had broken off its supporting side bolts, and snapped clean in two. Glorious.

Decision made, we tied the bike together with cable ties and a luggage strap and headed for the dirt highway.

We were heading for Opuwo, pinnacle of Ďcivilisationí in the north of Namibia, or more specifically, the mountain top fortress of MordorÖ I mean the mountain top resort called Opuwo Lodge. See, this place holds a special bunch of memories for our little group, and particularly the lone Englishman in our midst. Catch up here http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=133427.0 if you donít know the story, but Opuwo Lodge is where he watched his infamous KTM 690 die a miserable death and was forced to endure the sight of the rest of us riding away into the distance towards Angola.

What on earth would the place serve up this time???

Only tomorrow would reveal for sure, but on this day, at least, good things: a beautiful moon rise, and a glorious, ice cold beer. Weíd made it!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-62.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-63.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: zetman on October 02, 2017, 07:00:36 pm
 :ricky: Lekker trip MR Panda en die Boksom Bende  :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 02, 2017, 10:26:39 pm
It's a terrapin Ian. Turtles live in the sea....

Pedantry aside - Who goes on a trip like this on an unfamiliar bike, and without at least going over it with a large jar of Locktite? These are lessons learned I suppose, but to be the one member of the group that's responsible for holding everyone up so badly that C-roads (Namibian dirt highway) are opted for instead of glorious 4x4 routes, does tend to wear on one's psyche a bit.

I'd been making somewhat heavy weather of all the sand that we'd been riding, and had even had an argument with a Euphorbia a day or so back, so I was already feeling a little jaded. So, when the bits started falling off or breaking off my bike, I was right on the edge of throwing more than just my toys. At Sesfontein I was prepared to throw in the towel so that the rest of the crew could continue unhindered by this developing mechanical catastrophe. Gentlemen that they all are, they would hear none of it! "We are not quitters" they said, and "This is what bike trips are all about. They're about MacGyvering and making a plan and forging on through adversity". Of course they're right, and I knew it. It's not as if I've never had to do exactly that in days gone by.

And besides, Tom spoke so wistfully of his time spent at Opuwo Lodge. I wasn't going to let him down by not sharing in his delight at returning to the place that he holds so dear to his heart.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 03, 2017, 10:08:08 am
Look, I never said I was a nature guide, ok?  ;D

Having had the horrible experience of leaving one team member behind a few years before there was no chance we were leaving you to walk the gangplank on your own. We were keeping this thing afloat together, or we were all going down with the ship. And that's that.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 03, 2017, 05:42:54 pm
Lining up to be another classic RR! Thanks for sharing.....although it's doing severe damage to productivity.

This terrain looks quite a bit like some of the stuff you guys did on your Angola trip, on the way from the river to the beach? (although, my memory isn't that great anymore, so could be mistaken)

What type of fuel range do you get with those tanks? The sand riding must be quite hard on consumption?

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 03, 2017, 06:15:52 pm
Lining up to be another classic RR! Thanks for sharing.....although it's doing severe damage to productivity.

This terrain looks quite a bit like some of the stuff you guys did on your Angola trip, on the way from the river to the beach? (although, my memory isn't that great anymore, so could be mistaken)

What type of fuel range do you get with those tanks? The sand riding must be quite hard on consumption?

Hey Sam! I have to say the riding on this trip was even better than Angola - and that's saying something!!

Gav will have to comment on the 690 - my 500 has the KTM/Acerbis 19/20l tank on and I got 380km on one leg with about 2.5l remaining - and that was a mix of babying it on the open stuff, and a memorable 50km chasing the Midge quite hard up a river bed.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: KarooKid on October 03, 2017, 06:19:05 pm
I almost enjoy the writing more than the actual trip if that is possible.

Feels like I was there - oh wait I was. Just on a different trip.

Keep it coming guys. This makes me long for a proper adventure.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 03, 2017, 06:28:41 pm
Day 6: Mountain Mechanical Mecca almost to Uncle Benís famous road down

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map6.jpg)

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses.

Opuwo is a thoroughly uninspiring town of dubious distinction. Plonked down more or less in the centre of far northern Namibia, it is as close as that part of the country comes to a metropolis. Itís dirty, infested with all the downsides of dysfunctional urbanisation, and a stark contrast to the unspoilt remote wilderness that surrounds it on all sides.

But - for travellers at least - thereís an oasis on top of a mountain, looking over the dramatic scenery to the north, and into Angola: Opuwo Country Lodge.

Weíd spent an awful lot of time there in 2013 - it was the launchpad for our Angola trip. We decamped there after a dreadful three day drive north, and promptly discovered Tomís bike had a hydraulic clutch problem. We then wasted half a day sourcing baby oil to keep his KTM happy, and set off, only to be stranded by a broken side stand switch, and tow it back there with our tail between our legs a day later. We couldnít fix the stricken machine, and were eventually forced to abandon the forlorn Englishman and ride off to the border with our touring party in tatters.

The place seems to have a strange, dark, magnetic powerÖ my return two weeks later was at the end of a hellish 18-hour ride through the desert in a freezing mid-winter night, so hopped up on painkillers and anti-inflammatories I hardly knew my own name, after a horrible crash the afternoon before on the other side of the border.

Time to meet the Lord of the Mountain: would he prove to be Satan or Saviour this time??

The Professor was in no mood to mess about. He knew his bike was in bad shape and we werenít going to be able to go anywhere until it got sorted. Job number one - strip and find the source of the issue.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-02.jpg)

Well, that didnít take long:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-03.jpg)

Iím afraid I have to question the wisdom of whichever mechanical genius designed this Ďrallyí (and thatís one huge set of inverted commas) fairing subframe. The thin-walled, mild steel bracket clamps around the steerer tube, and bolts onto the radiator mount studs with two tiny 6mm bolts. Designed to carry only the weight of the radiators, these simply canít take the pace and just break. The frame follows soon after.

Iíd seen several of these things go down at successive Amagezaís, but Prof had had so many hassles with the bike in the lead up to the trip I didnít have the heart to tell him he should replace this entire fairing subframe too. There simply wasnít the time or the resources - Iím certain he would have bailed from the whole venture.

So I held thumbs and hoped. Well that worked out well.

Fortunately, we were now at the Mechanical Mountain Mecca otherwise known as Opuwo Lodge, and were graciously allowed access to the workshop. What transpired there was nothing short of a miracle.

Stripped off the bike, several pieces of rusty angle iron were cut, bent, and welded in place to support the offending bracket.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-04.jpg)

It was a truly incredible and outstanding experience to see what these artisans were capable of. Properly braced, supported, and even better than new!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-09.jpg)

I honestly wouldnít have expected more from the best specialist engineering shop in Cape Town, and this was accomplished with nothing more than a hammer, a large angle grinder and a pretty basic welding machine. Just brilliant!

In the meantime I gave the 500 some love - having decided that 3,000km without an oil change would be a bit hard on the old girl, and carried two litres of Motorexís finest for just this moment.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-05.jpg)

Two of the three KTMs were now getting mechanical attention (OK, one was routine, but still), while the two Suzukis on the trip were happily munching grass in the paddock. So Thomas decided to pop down to the workshop to gloat, and babble on about the superiority of Japanese machinery. None of that hydraulic clutch nonsense for him this timeÖ

Ö until he came to a halt in front of us and made a nasty discovery:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-06.jpg)

Oops. What is this thing about Opuwo, clutches and the expats? The Suzie had had a shitload of loving mechanical attention showered on her prior to departureÖ but somehow that had not included an inspection of the state of the vital clutch cable.

In a remarkable feat of dťjŗ vu, Tom was bundled into the lodge van and taken down to the mecca of Opuwo to look for a replacement.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-10.jpg)

A beautiful trio?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-11.jpg)

Meanwhile, Gavís saviours set about drilling out the offending bolt.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-12.jpg)

Unfortunately thatís the end of my photos here, but a stud was welded in the frame of the 690 which did the job for the rest of the trip. Tom unfortunately returned empty handed from town, but in a turn of mechanical genius a bobble was soldered on the end of his frayed cable and the Suzie was back on the road.

We shook the dust off our feet before anything else could go wrong, and exited stage left to the Opuwo fuel station.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-18.jpg)

The Professor looked a lot happier than the day beforeÖ just maybe our luck had turned:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-15.jpg)

Midge, as usual, was getting all the attention:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-14.jpg)

But English returned empty-handed from his search for a bicycle cable, or anything to stand in for a clutch cable, should the solder bobble not survive the next ten days.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-17.jpg)

Weíd just have to wing it. Whatís the worst that could happen?

Our original plan was to spend the night in Epupa. I had charted a somewhat dodgy looking track over the mountains down to Swartbooiís drift (the green line on the map above). I knew it was dubious that weíd be able to get down on the far side, but was gagging to give it a go, and the crocs and river bed enduro of the Cunene River trail also lay in wait.

But weíd lost most of another day - it was mid afternoon already - and we had to face the reality that a day or two had to be got back somewhere. The decision was made to cut off the entire Epupa loop, and head straight for Okongwati, at the start of the run up to Van Zylís pass.

We plugged in the headphones, headed back onto the C43 dirt highway and banged it over to the ĎGwati, where weíd fill up before hitting one of the more remote quadrants of the trip.

Behold the Engen of Okangwati:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-20.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-19.jpg)

Beats hanging sacks of fuel off the back of an enduro bike, thatís for sure!

On we went to towards the pass. Many of you here have probably done this section of the track - itís a lovely, rocky trail through thorn bushes and past small Himba hamlets. Tom had a slightly wild look in his eyes and was shaking off the disturbance of his mechanical misfortune by dicing the Midge at the front. I pottered along at the back, soaking in the tranquil afternoon. It was a special few hours, as the sun slowly sank towards the tree-lined horizon, casting a warm glow over everything, including my state of mind.

Perhaps it was the symbolic turning point of the trip, even though we werenít quite half way in terms of time - from tomorrow weíd be heading south. Weíd had some bad luck and dealt with it victoriously. It often takes a few days to leave the cares and concerns of normal life behind, and sink into the magical zone of a bike trip, and I felt like I was just there. Happy days ahead.

We camped in another stunning river bed, and braaied some fresh meat from Opuwo. Tomorrow was going to be a great day!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-22.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-21.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-23.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day6-24.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 03, 2017, 07:02:32 pm
And such a fine evening is was...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/6k_rvsnhB-eZv9bByr10DhDHiy3rFknmhbvHBNjMGq1qmoEyghAYe-Sj09oMKbDt10e_BdcLjRvg4_9Coj-OyMioTCqaK2OStIZVvN4YqgdrEM-j4-kq0BntJcknXQ3rpz9ICUB-dYmPIZRtDUcI05-rCPT4ztRpbOtcKOgeA0Pjk8yL0-uXmgGSiIi22IjPNgTJy7pmYa2-5MOW3JX6sJJzxHOVSidWRQ2MVkAsbBK5r6sRk1NpgsT7IIMsOjnA2M8Bm49IaDZDMVB3QoOQ5VlpkizSw4bryRE3or75USmysa-LEync0KvZ4iCW6xQfDiQFsSakxz4f-wdMZu9vVpavbRgyxyddrkwRknHoZYwDBX0tPM7TKKjKCwJa3lBnwi_qe_mR58XszuT1fGQgKR6pM5lKAAFuifbWT7C-Lcd8qjJavhMV7TOPjxOq5eCL8bb4UIMvzVwuto11odNE49RqkE6eJ6NWE5CGEhad97asH0iuQmHqdA4gVRGarvYjFcbVaa5JmyJ3RogvKhKWHiHNgPFzeTdbuIO0OnD5D3FfqNZGNhgRMQh5TpS_64KQ6t3cDL8wVwkIaOz2BOhMFC2QfcDj6gSKQqDVIqVjhkMvUpNcp9knxDs-V2bOiYOMZDZMvpw-nOkNTXPkqYFdRu6J7L4sOnRU88s=w1024-h664-no)

that the Midge entertained us all with magical stories and a fire dance to boot!

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/yXRTXD_QLqxKPOUIFxrVr7w2efzeHXMpQFpLDI-r7qUYMcWbn9oVpZrfbUt0hyRwt2aopOCiLqeFRUs-4R6xieCTPQmuPRBMW-s8CzfzHjF3Ad13jbSBAg7wAs0d0yiNaUNZNoIKpqgOCn-Tu_8ngyLpQvJoAA_ukEC8w-0ywcIvo33ax7mpKOfZ6o2WQJFqBQF6h9xgRzJ0e50NfYTi-0R9iiNQYeO8Z4iaD2FRWvoFoUFxK21bIvLcPq6iRPcXdlRgoJJNnrJ9pcy5cinB5fWLXjKN0PIEuP_0mqGrZAGffk-4RaZpcKp80Ucvjj_yHOQv3Q1DI4jtO9ba-PKd0DRs6yeDOfckC2R2c-VNvlroMa8W4AxCdtpOqwobu3tWs-BbskoyZSgaslnT3dtzzBySggP8VV7cHBE-xZCyDx4IyZPyGdlfOVCsnCf4RAhwkeZiSW9e6rSLFPC-qRUtHn-JCH-v6PjZXKczYUfeMaS7ouGxOyGv_o22qa1ORFpHIzHiPNHCKQerS_JQU4kj4FkvJarUwvQxyLi1Pzsb_-Lmkt4-5fSJHsONAt-hWAhf4jBRJKqY2MX4eFO3VUzVbTEI-SbbOdRWOamUSFnBF0bPRoO_YZzgZb8IZuD4iTg6bbJCMjN3ZKzjTegZlFHY4oirlTh1BWBaQwg=w1024-h547-no)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Three Dawg on October 03, 2017, 10:35:01 pm
Problem with the pics in that last post...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 03, 2017, 11:50:45 pm
...
Oops. What is this thing about Opuwo, clutches and the expats?
...

Yes indeed - what is it? As an expat myself I had two of my Kaokoland trips cut short because of the clutch failure. Once because of worn clutch plates half way up VZP (admitedly my limited skills while trying to ride up the pass played role), and once because of snapped clutch cable in Huarusib river about 10 km north of Purros.

Mind you - it was always on Japanese bike. On the Eurotrash Husky with hydraulic clutch I finished the whole loop no problem...

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8747/16730438409_920105546b_b.jpg)


Anyway - great report, just get on with it please  :pot:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: dirt rat on October 04, 2017, 06:26:07 am
To pack a spare clutch and throttle cable on a trip is really a no brainer- takes little space and is part of my spares I always carry.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on October 04, 2017, 07:08:52 am
Coffee and a ride report update is a great way to start the day .... thanks again
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 04, 2017, 10:39:07 am
Lining up to be another classic RR! Thanks for sharing.....although it's doing severe damage to productivity.

This terrain looks quite a bit like some of the stuff you guys did on your Angola trip, on the way from the river to the beach? (although, my memory isn't that great anymore, so could be mistaken)

What type of fuel range do you get with those tanks? The sand riding must be quite hard on consumption?

Hey Sam! I have to say the riding on this trip was even better than Angola - and that's saying something!!

Gav will have to comment on the 690 - my 500 has the KTM/Acerbis 19/20l tank on and I got 380km on one leg with about 2.5l remaining - and that was a mix of babying it on the open stuff, and a memorable 50km chasing the Midge quite hard up a river bed.

That's actually pretty impressive - I thought the little beasties would be thirstier than that. My old bag gets less than that on 23 litres, with MUCH softer riding. 380would be the absolute max, and that requires some nursing to achieve.

Assuming that the KTM's are EFI and not carbs?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 04, 2017, 10:41:21 am
To pack a spare clutch and throttle cable on a trip is really a no brainer- takes little space and is part of my spares I always carry.

Yup - spare cables and levers are both in the kit that permanently remains on board.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Big Harriet on October 04, 2017, 11:46:05 am

One more, just for the ladies:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-43.jpg)


Oooh. Don't tease us,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The Midget is super rugged andhansome!!! Is he single??
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hinksding on October 04, 2017, 12:27:34 pm
Quote:

A big decision had to be made. We were doing our best to stay ahead of a big, noisy crowd of Hondas (more on that later), and were slowly losing that battle.

 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

BTW, lovin your report MTP!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Scalpel on October 04, 2017, 12:45:49 pm
Quote:

A big decision had to be made. We were doing our best to stay ahead of a big, noisy crowd of Hondas (more on that later), and were slowly losing that battle.

 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

BTW, lovin your report MTP!

You had to take quite a few shortcuts to stay ahead of the Japanese Honda brigade!! Nice report Max!!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Slim Jim on October 04, 2017, 01:45:56 pm
also loving this report ,  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2017, 04:39:30 pm
Day 7: Top of the world, down Uncle Ben to the land of Marbles

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map7.jpg)

They call Victoria Falls the smoke that thundersÖ but stop for a moment, put down your coffee cup, and breathe in the smell of petrol and dustÖ and allow your ears to be smothered in the throbbing menace of the powerful single cylinder on morning song.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-02.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-03.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-04.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-05.jpg)

Weíd made a vow to exit the river bed campsite before dawn, for an early start to a rip-roaring day or motorcycling gloriosity. Today weíd be trekking down the legendary Uncle Ben Van Zylís pass, symbolic pinnacle of a trip through the Kaokveld, and striker of apprehension and fear into offroad enthusiasts the sub-continent over. Excitement was running high, but we still had fifty kilometres or so to get there before we took in the spectacular views over the Marienfluss valley that weíd all seen so many times in photographs.

The sun was just peeking over the horizon as we got on our way, and beauty was all around.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-62.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-07.jpg)

A desert landscape it may be, but the range of fauna and flora is still stunning. For instance these massive trees:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-10.jpg)

The Himba locals build magnificent kraals woven from branches - Iím not sure if itís to keep the animals in or the predators out, but theyíre mightily impressive.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-09.jpg)

And never knock the rocktree - an uncommon sight in these parts - that we were lucky to spot on the side of the track.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-11.jpg)

Couldnít help but stop and photograph some of the beautyÖ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-14.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-13.jpg)

I was bringing up the tail for the moment, and revelling in the 500 in these conditions. My regular ride is a 300 2-smoke and the 500 is such a close cousin of that bike that I felt right at home. Despite her leaky fork she was performing admirably, soaking up the weight of tank and bags, and jumping down the steeper descents like a Swiss cow frolicking in an alpine meadow.

Iíd spent so much time stopped for pictures that I was some way behind when I came across this somewhat concerning trail in the dust. It looked really fresh.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-15.jpg)

Petrol? Water? Oil?

Around the corner another one. Alarm bells started ringing and I upped the pace. What if the rider hadnít noticed his bike was in troubleÖ and who was it? We could ill afford to cook a motor up here in wilderness central. Time to catch upÖ and quickly!

Two hills later I charged a particularly steep ascent and found everyone stopped having a chat. Like no problem dood.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-16.jpg)

No cause for concern - it was just a herd of pissing cows. Good thing I didnít try taste it! This chap was on a long walk to godaloneknowswhere, but we had a pleasant chat in sign language. He was clearly Angolan from the accent - Iím pretty sure borders are an optional line in the sand up here, since we were so close to the Kunene river.

Midget immediately dumped Buttercup in the sand as we set off. Or maybe she was feeling bitchy and decided to show him who was boss. Always hard to tell with those two.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-17.jpg)

It was already baking hot at about 9am when we came across a small settlement with some nice looking Nguni and a water trough.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-19.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-20.jpg)

Camel decided it was time to top up since weíd be heading into land of dubious water availability sooner rather than later. I think there was a solar pump filing this water tank in the background, but who knows how clean the water is. Beggars canít be choosers.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-21.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-22.jpg)

This old fellow managed to communicate that he had a headache and wanted an aspirin in return for his water. How the Professor worked that out, I donít know, but Professors are good at that sort of thing.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-23.jpg)

Did I mention the Professor is a geologist by trade? He was in seventh heaven up here.

I took over the carriage reins now, and gave the five-hunty her head. By god she is a fine thing over the rocky trails. The track was growing markedly steeper and more rugged, which only she only seemed to take as incitement for throttle anger. We passed two 4x4s lumbering down a particularly steep bit, and she whinnied as we rampaged past and disappeared. Happy days for two wheels in these parts.

Soon we were at the famed lookout point, hazy unfortunately, but still a stunning view. Was that Van Zylís done and dusted? Couldnít be, surely?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-56.jpg)

After a short while the rest of the team rolled in. Everyone had been having a blast.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-25.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-26.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-27.jpg)

We were not alone, through. What a truly extraordinary place to set up house!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-24.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-28.jpg)

Eventually the 4x4s rolled in - Dave and Thelma Wassung, a lovely 75 year-old couple from Hermanus, ferreting around the Kaokoveld in an auto Fortuner 4x4 without so much as a winch, a high lift jack or even a GPS! - and a bunch of Dutch tourists in a rented double cab. Strangers are always friends in such remote parts, so we exchanged stories and experiences, looked enviously at their fridges full of ice cold beer and then said our farewells.

It was already beastly hot, but it was time to explore the much-vaunted Marienfluss! We soon discovered that the main part of the pass still lay below us, and English saw a fascinating little lizard on the side of the road, so he went to have a closer look.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-29.jpg)
 
That sobered everyone up a bit, but 4x4 trails are no match for these light bikes, and everyone sailed down without further incidence.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-30.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-31.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-32.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-33.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-34.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-35.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-36.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-37.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-38.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-39.jpg)

The obligatory:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-40.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2017, 04:49:51 pm
(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-41.jpg)

Iím not sure what Midge was trying to communicate - something about Ďhot as hellí, or ĎIím bloody hotí, or Ďdonít you think Iím incredibly handsomeí. I just simply donít understand what heís on about most of the time.

The Marienfluss looks incredible from the air on Google Maps, and there was no chance we were blasting straight across it. I had plotted an incredible looking route straight south, and over the mountains to join the road from Red Drum.

This day was serving up some absolutely sensational riding. Like a massive river bed, the sand snaked south, and it was open as far as the eye could see. Time to play! I jammed on the throttle, whacked it into top gear and bolted off.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-42.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-43.jpg)

Startled springbok danced left and right, ostriches loped along in their odd, jaunty stride and we wove between thorn bushes and large trees dotted around the massive flood plain. The sand was wasnít exactly plain sailing - there were drop-offs and ditches between the wide carving bits, and at one point I had a bit of a sphincter clinching moment as I had to leap a three foot deep ditch at about 80kph. The 500 took it all in her stride though, and strained at her leash, begging for more.

After a while I realised it was only Mike and I left together, and he must have realised the same thing, cause he stopped for a conference.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-44.jpg)

ďWhere are they?Ē Although the sand bed was very open, it was also extremely wide at this point, and there were dozens of route options - obviously formed by different rivulets that must have coursed down here in a wet season some time in the not too distant past.

ďWhy donít you wait here in case they come past, and Iíll go back and see if I can find them?Ē I suggested.

After five or ten minutes I came across Tom, also stopped in the track, but no sign of Prof or the Midge. I carried on - now five and then perhaps ten kilometres back from where Iíd turned around. It prays on your mind a little, being out here in such a remote place. Motocycling is inherently dangerous, and even if one rides conservatively thereís always the chance of something going wrong.

My brief encounter with that ditch was weighing on me a bit. Like a splinter in the thick part of your heel - just enough to remind you that all is not well. I think we often have these feelings, but most of the time they are proven to be wrongÖ and we forget them. But then, just occasionally, life jumps out and grabs you by the throat.

I came around the corner and saw this:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-45.jpg)

My heart stopped.

Well, actually that photo was taken a bit later, when Mike had already arrived, and weíd rolled Gav over onto his back. What I saw when I arrived was a motionless body under the shade canopy and the Midge kneeling next to him in the dirt.

Itís the worst fear of these trips - something going truly and catastrophically wrong. Iíd had a pretty bad accident in Angola on our last big trip, and it had made me ride on the cautious side of responsible on this one. When shit goes wrong out here it goes wrong properly, quickly and with severe consequences.

But what was that Fortuner doing there?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-46.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-47.jpg)

By now Iíd ascertained that Gav wasnít dead, and his spine was in one piece, but heíd fallen badly and broken his right leg. Midge had already hit him hard with his private stash of prescription painkillers but he was still feeling woozy and nearly passed out when we tried to move him.

And so began an unlikely and incredible series of coincidence, good fortune, call it what you like.

Dave and Thelma - remember them? Well, the lack of GPS (and perhaps our tracks) had seen them make a strange turn left and drive south down the Marienfluss. Nobody else does this route, and they were a pretty long way from the main track when they came across Gav, just ten minutes or so after his accident.

What are the chances?

Weíve never taken a sat phone on any of our trips before, and flirted briefly with the idea when planning this ride,t before deciding there was safety in numbers and that modern technology messed with adventure. WeeellllÖ letís just say the sheer idiocy of that idea was now on full display. Shit ainít real until shit gets very real, and shit just showed up.

God bless the retirees!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-48.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-49.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-50.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-51.jpg)

They very kindly bundled the cripple into the back seat, and set off after me in search of a telephone and a place to land a whirlybird. In that order. The 690 was unceremoniously left under a tree. X marked the spot.

We were back on the official trail now, and Red Drum soon appeared. The ambulance was painfully slow in the rough terrain, but the patient must have been thanking his lucky stars more times than a yogi chanting the same irritating mantra.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-52.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-53.jpg)

One part of the trail south is particularly tough, but super guide Thelma just jumped out the front seat and expertly guided Dave over the rocks. Thatís how the septuagenarians roll, baby.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-54.jpg)

Unfortunately thatís where my photos for the day end. I think the stress and heat got the better of me. Marble campsite is pretty famous in these parts, and itís at a place called ĎOnjuvaí on the T4A map, but there are about a hundred different spellings of the placeÖ something that was soon to cause major problems for our evacuation plan.

The fortune was running strong in this dayÖ the American Embassy has recently sponsored a brand new clinic at Onjuva, which had opened just three months previously! Onjuva is a tiny little hamlet with one spaza shop, an elementary school, and a bunch of huts. And that same clinic happened to have a telephone and just-working wifi!!! What are the chances?

The extremely helpful nurse welcomed us, and we set up camp on the porch. The phone unfortunately couldnít dial out, but weíd been there about ten minutes when two 4x4 bakkies rolled past. Tourists!! I took a double take and dashed out the gate, waving frantically. Sat phone! Sat phone!

They stopped and out jumped a smiling German with a bunch of geology students on work vacation. Yes, they had a sat phone!

And then things just got weird. Like the Patient Professor, Chief German was also a geologist, and this very same day, one year ago, in this very same place, had had a climbing accident in the nearby mountains and broken his leg.

He also didnít have a sat phone that day.

I called up the Gavís wife Fotini in Cape Town. It wasnít the best call Iíd ever had with her:

ďUm HiiiI! Fotini! Itís Ian.
Iím calling you on a sat phone.
Weíve got a bit of a problem.
Gavís broken his leg.
But heís okÖ donít stressÖ heís going to be absolutely fine, thereís nothing to worry about.
But in case heís not, we need you to get a chopper here - today would be a very good idea.Ē

What else can one say? Luckily the clinic could take incoming calls, and the wifi sort of worked, so we had comms - first part accomplished.

It was 3pm at this point, and now we were going to test Discoveryís remote recovery and medi-vac chops. Scramble a chopper from Windhoek, or fly a small plane in to the landing strip at Orupembe, just 20km or so further south - how hard could it be?

To cut a long story short, between broken telephones, dodgy wifi and a hundred different spellings of the name ĎOnjuvaí - where is that exactly again? - by 7pm we had no idea what was happening. The clinic was staying open for this bunch of helpless Umzungu and things were looking a bit bleak.

After the fourth different Discovery person had started from scratch and didnít sound like they had a fucking clue what was going on, Iíd barked at Fotini down the phone line and made her cry. Ouch. Did we tell them Gav was in mortal danger and get a chopper here now!!!? Or did we take him to the campsite, make him as comfortable as we could and see what the morning would bring?

His wife was now terrified heíd get a thrombosis during the night and die. Weíd left his boot on to stabilise the leg and I honestly had no idea what was going on down there. The clinic werenít equipped to do anything more than call Opuwo and wait 12 hours for a land ambulance to trek the rough and arduous track just to get there and pick him up.

Finally, we spoke to the chopper pilot out of Swakopmund. Discovery had come through, despite the shitty communication. Flying at night was out of the question, so we were going to have to stabilise him for the night. The evac people were incredible - they even offered to send a ground crew from Hentieís Bay to stabilise him if they could get there during the night, but he was doing all right and we decided it wasnít necessary.

And letís not forget the incredible Dave and Thelma, who were still standing by as ambulance. We decamped to Marble campsite, booked out their little hut for the aged and wounded, cooked a hearty dinner, sent the kitty bitch off for beer and settled in for the night.

The chopper would take off as soon as the mist cleared from Swakop in the morning. Hopefully there would be no more dramaÖ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day7-55.jpg)


Morale of the story? Be careful what you expect from a day - a cow may just land on your head!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2017, 04:54:33 pm
...
Oops. What is this thing about Opuwo, clutches and the expats?
...

Yes indeed - what is it? As an expat myself I had two of my Kaokoland trips cut short because of the clutch failure. Once because of worn clutch plates half way up VZP (admitedly my limited skills while trying to ride up the pass played role), and once because of snapped clutch cable in Huarusib river about 10 km north of Purros.

Mind you - it was always on Japanese bike. On the Eurotrash Husky with hydraulic clutch I finished the whole loop no problem...

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8747/16730438409_920105546b_b.jpg)

Hey Xpat!!!

Morale of the story? Stick to the Eurotrash??!  ;)

Half way up Van Zyl's without a clutch can't have been much fun - what did you do? Forwards or backwards?

Quote
Anyway - great report, just get on with it please  :pot:

Juuuuuuslllike!! Greedy little bastards! Okay, okay... I'm trying here!!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2017, 04:58:27 pm

One more, just for the ladies:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-43.jpg)


Oooh. Don't tease us,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The Midget is super rugged andhansome!!! Is he single??

Harriet!! You naughty little minx you! I will notify you that although the Midge is small of stature, legend follows him, much like the Tokolosh. In the inner circle we call him 'The Coverer' - he's already sired three little ponies and has an appetite for more. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2017, 05:00:39 pm
Lining up to be another classic RR! Thanks for sharing.....although it's doing severe damage to productivity.

This terrain looks quite a bit like some of the stuff you guys did on your Angola trip, on the way from the river to the beach? (although, my memory isn't that great anymore, so could be mistaken)

What type of fuel range do you get with those tanks? The sand riding must be quite hard on consumption?

Hey Sam! I have to say the riding on this trip was even better than Angola - and that's saying something!!

Gav will have to comment on the 690 - my 500 has the KTM/Acerbis 19/20l tank on and I got 380km on one leg with about 2.5l remaining - and that was a mix of babying it on the open stuff, and a memorable 50km chasing the Midge quite hard up a river bed.

That's actually pretty impressive - I thought the little beasties would be thirstier than that. My old bag gets less than that on 23 litres, with MUCH softer riding. 380would be the absolute max, and that requires some nursing to achieve.

Assuming that the KTM's are EFI and not carbs?

Yeah - from my experience on Amagezas the 450/500 KTMs (yes, FI since 2012) will use up the tank in about 270km (13-15km/l) if you hammer them in sand, but you can stretch to 400km (22/23km/l) plus if you baby them. Really impressive!

Gav or Mike will have to chip in on the 690s but I think they will do about 20km/l if you're not racing them.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 04, 2017, 05:03:07 pm
To pack a spare clutch and throttle cable on a trip is really a no brainer- takes little space and is part of my spares I always carry.

Yup... I think that's a lesson learned the hard way!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 04, 2017, 05:42:36 pm
Jeeeeezzz - what a terrible thing to happen man! Bloody hell, that must have been painful.

You guys are really lucky that the old's were around to help out.

Makes me ponder the advisability of going solo.........one would be well and truly stuffed if that happend.

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 04, 2017, 07:23:24 pm

One more, just for the ladies:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day5-43.jpg)


Oooh. Don't tease us,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The Midget is super rugged andhansome!!! Is he single??

Harriet!! You naughty little minx you! I will notify you that although the Midge is small of stature, legend follows him, much like the Tokolosh. In the inner circle we call him 'The Coverer' - he's already sired three little ponies and has an appetite for more. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!

Yeah, he's eager, that's for sure...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/8pYvuByFQhHszN8Yjl-Hr5Fwf0TWKN_Bu1zdyFE0xIZwEEZqEqY2zG8McGqQR_MuUocqd6Pd_avRpuQj8QpO5MSaQmL_rd4NCcFv5NERL8BwAeITC_fPiyr3ZtIu5iuwyO9_TxeW6y_uedPqnYCKjuOjzY32HkRtE5HMoqHrRd5ACrfYibFHhneV-Xu3hzWdeNckh3ISdffK6CLrjzW-IpZbqeXOVSzJOyIsJ_smSM7JOrG61T3yw3NkDNSwnxysppGM7qPV2uwWiO0kdEZ4xubeHZUR_mQ_f1wQfkR4Uhk-XD6hCIkGHtxpdINzUVJMWZ9pWc9_BogNcCU9kIDR7ElvAYQb6zlPiogcqPAhHnFeEzwB1-yEpYJ_JblvbLT8Fqc9IP8oTz8MI0QFWV1FaVQRKTToCEI2-ZkWl9F_1BKFOMDlkebqe3armNY4PhtsCZfpNkKeATXdHWdCrJOruumjnbFhLT3wDLO7F4JEmGj2dXjxAOxKYV_9EugpDUBjvkIraS1dxjPa6EIsvlO_gf_CU6QVMmkJAxatf_vgypmV5f4dSMH-XmAZIbvi94E91uJYROzL3R7QWx0osUqq2LyQsI0a5vey9N3GQiuC_AZi2mFWvjFdlE5VgrkuVYhsgqMXp57PbtfkC3FPFmY3O2oFnciTSIrfNn4=w1024-h651-no)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: katana on October 04, 2017, 08:04:10 pm
If you can enjoy someone breaking a leg, then I am seriously enjoying the read.  Respect guys!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Oubones on October 04, 2017, 08:41:30 pm
Thanks, I am devouring your RR
Interesting point from a safety aspect, Levi the american that was at the bash and came back with me so we could get his bikes clutch fixed, uses spot as it has a help and sos function and includes recovery and repatriation in the subscription!
It also updates position on the net sothat those at home can follow progress.
I can check where he is and give him advice on interesting things or routes and also know his gps position if he needs to be assisted.
As I understand it is not reliant on celphone reception as it uses satelite comms.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 04, 2017, 09:07:07 pm
It was exactly the sort of ditch that nearly undid Ian, that was my undoing. I wasn't going quite as fast as 80. It was more like 50 or 60, but it was too fast to stop, and too slow to leapfrog the ditch. I opened the throttle wide in an attempt at getting the front wheel over the lip, but it just wasn't going to work. Down I came, with a very distinctive crunching sensation in my leg, followed by a bit of pain lower down in the ankle region. The thought that went through my mind just at that moment was "oh, so that's what a broken leg feels like", and I then proceeded to say a few words that don't bare repeating. This was inconvenient to say the least, but I must say, I was quite pleased to have an opportunity to lie down and rest. I was absolutely exhausted from the morning's riding (word of advice to everyone - "fitness"!  Fitness will change your whole experience of a trip like this).

The bike had had a soft landing on me, and I ended up facing backwards, with my right leg under it, and while I tried to kick it off with my left leg, and to pull the damaged one out from under it, it became very apparent that I was only going to do more damage in the process. Luckily the Mighty Midge was right behind me, and was over in a jiffy to assist with extraction. The efficiency with which he moved the bike, erected a tarpaulin for shade, and administered some fine narcotics, was quite astounding. Actually, the whole affair was handled with military precision by my comrades and our friends from Hermanus (coincidentally just an hour's drive from home).

The incredible luck, and the efforts and kindness of all the good people around me is something that will stick with me forever.

Having been loaded into the back seat of Dave & Thelma's Fortuna, it was now a matter of preventing the effects of the rough track from beating up the fractured leg even more. Well, I almost forgot about it as we rocked & rolled and chatted on the way to Onjuva. It turns out that Dave had spent much of his working life in the mining industry, so we had stuff to talk about (another coincidence). And what an interesting chap he is. On the way, he was telling me about the land surveyor after whom van Zyl's pass is named, and that his son, Japie van Zyl is high up in Nasa. As it turns out, I've actually met Japie a few times, and one of his side-kicks at JPL was the external examiner of my MSc many years ago (another coincidence).

There were to be many coincidences along the way. Stars and planets aligned. Sometimes there's magic in the air.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 04, 2017, 09:15:50 pm
Thanks, I am devouring your RR
Interesting point from a safety aspect, Levi the american that was at the bash and came back with me so we could get his bikes clutch fixed, uses spot as it has a help and sos function and includes recovery and repatriation in the subscription!
It also updates position on the net sothat those at home can follow progress.
I can check where he is and give him advice on interesting things or routes and also know his gps position if he needs to be assisted.
As I understand it is not reliant on celphone reception as it uses satelite comms.

I think Spot is great for all the reasons that you state, but when the poo really hits the turbine, there's no substitute for being able to communicate exactly what the situation is, and what is required. An Iridium phone does the job. Good medical insurance that includes evacuation insurance is essential too.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on October 05, 2017, 05:29:36 am
Eina
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on October 05, 2017, 07:45:38 am
Lawdy...... I have to imagine it turned out OK, due to the fact IsiTututu is contributing...

The only thing I can say about the thread is that I am glad that the instalments are not longer, as I REALLY have to get to work today.....

Gripping stuff!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 05, 2017, 11:22:37 am
Sorry to read about the injury - hope all heals well and fast!

Hey Xpat!!!

Morale of the story? Stick to the Eurotrash??!  ;)

Half way up Van Zyl's without a clutch can't have been much fun - what did you do? Forwards or backwards?



Yep, this was the last straw and after the trip I dupmed that unreliable Japanese piece of junk and opted for the safety of that euro reliability stalwart - KTM 690.  8)

Regarding what I did after the clutch failed me, the whole saga is described in detail here http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=168377.160 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=168377.160). The abbreviated version:

The bush repair I attempted following instructions from Shimwells (via satellite phone) didn't work - not surprising as it was the fist time in my life I have seen naked clutch. Just as I was about to abandon the bike and walk up the pass to the next vilage on top about 15 km away, as you would expect by now - my own septuagenarian, retired Swiss mechanic Fritz showed up, cleaned the clutch plates and - hey presto, the clutch worked again (sort of). But even I wasn't stupid enough to try to push up the pass with sick clutch, so I turned back and Fritz escorted me back to Marble campsite (he was part of the germanic group based there, riding on his own around).

Just to demonstrate superiority of the european engineering, Frtiz - much wiser man than me - choose for his solo roaming around remote corners of Africa a bike with reliability record that Japanese will never be able to achieve  O0 - Aprilia RXV450:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8737/16709353637_ba25168f52_b.jpg)

From Marble campsite it was just long game of slow attrition back to Joburg - first getting to Opuwo on the main dirt road from Orupembe, then cuising at the slippage limit of clutch through Bushmanland to Maun. In Maun the clutch gave up, so I flew down to Joburg to grab new clutch, flew back, put the clutch in and rode back to Joburg. Easy, peasy  ;)


Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Saddle Up on October 05, 2017, 12:33:12 pm
I met Fritz last December. To be fair, by the looks of things that bike had very little Aprilla left. It does however have many a tale to tell
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 05, 2017, 01:07:12 pm
I met Fritz last December. To be fair, by the looks of things that bike had very little Aprilla left. It does however have many a tale to tell

Good to know he is still going strong  :thumleft: I'm no expert, but at the time the bike looked quite stock to me - maybe he upgraded since:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8601/16439012239_16b0006e02_b.jpg)

And I'm sure you caught the hyperbole in my post  :)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Snafu on October 05, 2017, 06:06:36 pm
how the hell did I miss this one!!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 05, 2017, 06:24:03 pm
Day 8: Losing our marbles

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map8.jpg)

Whew. Was this trip really only half way in??

I think the first thought on each of our minds on waking up this morning was to check if Gav was still alive.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-04.jpg)

Happily I didnít have an extremely difficult phone call to make to his wife! It seems we werenít the only ones thinking that way. A flotilla of ladies from the village had arrived to inspect him, led by a few Himba tribeswomen. Unfortunately I only managed to get this shot of them departing. I think perhaps the message had got out that he had a broken leg and was going nowhere, and perhaps some of the more eligible single ladies came to check him out for marriage prospects?

Camel was the real early riser, and this was the sight that had greeted me as I crawled out of my tent at 6am:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-01.jpg)

Apparently a broken body wasnít our only problem. It looked to be one of those Ďeveryfuckingthinggoeswrongatonceí days. The 690 had started coughing and spluttering like a hamstrung carthorse on the road in to Onjuva the previous day. Likely culprits were the fuel injector or the fuel pump, but the injector was easier, so we started there.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-02.jpg)

Iíd seen a Youtube video from Norah Horakís round-the-world trip, where he posted a trick for dealing with blocked injectors on the 690. You just take the injector out, reverse it, and blast all the shit out backwardsÖ so we tried that, but there was no fuel pressure. Bugger.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-03.jpg)

Weíd been carrying a spare 690 fuel pump since Angola because theyíre a known weakness on this bike, so that was the next line of attack. Itís a bitch of a job - you have to empty the tank, undo the lower tank bolts, lift it up, and strip the pump assembly out. KTM, in their wisdom, made the molded hose just about impossible to remove or refit. I left Camel boiling water with a black look, and decided to go fetch the other stranded 690.

Negotiations with the local bakkie guys were going badly - they wanted R4k for the trip back to the Marienfluss, and at this point we realised weíd pretty much run out of cash. Dave saw our predicament and stepped in, offering to take us back. I think he liked the idea of a bit of adventure, but honestly, as if they hadnít done enough for us already!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-06.jpg)

Heís a fascinating character, with a colourful business past, and the trip back with Midge, Dave and I passed quickly. Lots of game around - again I was sorry for the lack of a long lens.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-05.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-07.jpg)

Weíd left an X on the GPS, but the bike was a lot further south off the main track than any of us remembered. Shows what adrenalin does to you! On the map you can see a green line of our intended route - I guess we were 10km or so south of the main track when we found it under a tree, safe as houses.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-08.jpg)

I guess itís not like anyone was hot-wiring a bike in these parts. She started at the flick of a starter button, and I rode her out. The Fortuner was moving a lot quicker than she had with a patient onboard the day before, and Dave was handling her like a rally car in the rough stuff. Sensational.

It was hot as blazes, and waiting around in the sun was hard work, but it seemed best to stay together. We didnít need any more drama.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-09.jpg)

About 2km south of Red Drum, the 690 suddenly cut out. I thought it had run out of petrol, and set her up on a rock to drain the front tanks into the main tank, but I couldnít see any level in the transparent part of the tank. Surely someone hadnít drained the fuel out??! The car eventually caught me, and I looked at them with a worried look. Shit, what now?

Eventually I thought to open the front tank caps and they were actually full of fuel! I hit the button and she coughed reluctantly back into life and eventually started running smoothly.

ďRight, thereís something not lekker here,Ē I told them. ďIím going to just gas it home - weíre only about 40km out now - and see how far I get.Ē

Temperature was ready 45 degrees on the car thermometer, and it wasnít lekker out baking between the rock faces. Everything was fine again, and I pushed the bike quite hard over the rocky terrain for about 10km and then suddenly, nothing. Dead as a door nail.

Bugger.

This time I opened the rear tank cap, and a sudden rush of air into the tank revealed that something was up with the pressure. I flicked the starter and she burst into life cleanly. Obviously there was a breather problem on the tank. I hammered on and the ritual repeated itself every fifteen minutes or so. Eventually I got back, and as I pulled in to Marble campsite, we heard the sound of a chopper in the air.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-20.jpg)

It was about 1pm, and help had arrived. We scooted down to the clinic to welcome the crew.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-10.jpg)

Gav had already been carted down to the clinic on one of the bikes, and the paramedic was checking him out. We seemed a lot more concerned than Gav did, but heís tough like that.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-11.jpg)

It took surprisingly long to lock and load the patient:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-14.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-15.jpg)

They had this crazy stretcher where they suck the air out and it clamps him in an unmovable position:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-19.jpg)

Then it was stand back, and wave byebye!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-21.jpg)

A chopper makes one hell of a lot of dust taking off from a dirt patch.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-22.jpg)

Dave and Midge had finally returned - theyíd slashed a tyre to bits on Joubertís Pass. Damn - not like a good turn deserved that! It was all smiles though - Dave and Thelma extremely generously offered to take Gavís extra stuff back to Hermanus, and then got the hell out of there, in case anything else went wrong. I couldnít blame them!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-23.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-24.jpg)

Absolute saints, these two lovely people!

Itís a horrible feeling, losing one of your tour party like that! Just horrible. There was a sinking, miserable feeling around camp. Camel was anxious about his bike, which didnít seem to be coming right very fast. English had discovered a hole in the Suzieís radiator, and I was just feeling down and stressed about all of it. Midge was walking around trying to distract everyone by showing them the pretty birds fluttering around the river bed next to camp.

Thomas spotted a moment of weakness and decided to try and offload Kitty Bitch with a game of Ďstrike the bottleí.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-25.jpg)

Even at about four feet I couldnít hit it. Midge had a moment of assassin-like accuracy and was out first. He retired to the veranda and gloated, offering endless chirps of useless advice.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-26.jpg)

After about six hundred fruitless throws between us, Tom finally knocked the bottle off the pole and I was the pig in the middle. Bugger. And my day just got better!

We decided to try lift everyoneís spirits and take a ride to see the purported marble quarry from where the campsite got its name. We also had to test out Camelís bike, which was now back together, although he wasnít looking too happy about it.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-27.jpg)

My god - the place is spectacular. Huge slabs of marble disappearing into the mountainside, massive blocks carved out with these incredible straight cuts. How do they do that?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-28.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-30.jpg)

Tom succeeded in trapping a baby goat without its mother, and in a misguided escape frenzy it fell about five metres down a marble face. Shame! I was feeling terrible for the poor bleating animal, and at the same time thinking of goat meat skewers for dinner. Is that wrong?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-29.jpg)

The Camel machine was running like a filthy, nasty, stuck pig. Farting and burping, refusing to idle or behave, and cutting out constantly. I felt a sense of rising panic. We were heading off into probably the most remote wilderness of the entire trip with this?

I told Mike to try Gavís bike, which at this stage was feeling hundreds, but even that one had question marks around it after all the cutting out this morning. And there was another issue at stake. Whichever bike stayed behind was being left in the loving arms of Exit, the camp manager, in the hope that some plan could be made to get it back to South Africa. Bearing in mind we were sitting some two thousand kilometres north of the border in one of the most remote desert areas on the continent, this wasnít exactly a thrilling prospect. I could tell my brother was less than eager to leave his darling behind - badly behaved bitch that she was right now.

Tension was rising faster than a river in flood.

Night fell, and as we climbed into our sleeping bags, the camp was illuminated by the streaky torchlight, clanking and regular swearing of the Night Mechanic!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-31.jpg)

Things were not looking good for Team Cape Town in the rugged, uncompromising northern wilderness of Namibia!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 05, 2017, 06:30:25 pm
Sorry to read about the injury - hope all heals well and fast!

Hey Xpat!!!

Morale of the story? Stick to the Eurotrash??!  ;)

Half way up Van Zyl's without a clutch can't have been much fun - what did you do? Forwards or backwards?



Yep, this was the last straw and after the trip I dupmed that unreliable Japanese piece of junk and opted for the safety of that euro reliability stalwart - KTM 690.  8)

Regarding what I did after the clutch failed me, the whole saga is described in detail here http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=168377.160 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=168377.160). The abbreviated version:

The bush repair I attempted following instructions from Shimwells (via satellite phone) didn't work - not surprising as it was the fist time in my life I have seen naked clutch. Just as I was about to abandon the bike and walk up the pass to the next vilage on top about 15 km away, as you would expect by now - my own septuagenarian, retired Swiss mechanic Fritz showed up, cleaned the clutch plates and - hey presto, the clutch worked again (sort of). But even I wasn't stupid enough to try to push up the pass with sick clutch, so I turned back and Fritz escorted me back to Marble campsite (he was part of the germanic group based there, riding on his own around).

Just to demonstrate superiority of the european engineering, Frtiz - much wiser man than me - choose for his solo roaming around remote corners of Africa a bike with reliability record that Japanese will never be able to achieve  O0 - Aprilia RXV450:

From Marble campsite it was just long game of slow attrition back to Joburg - first getting to Opuwo on the main dirt road from Orupembe, then cuising at the slippage limit of clutch through Bushmanland to Maun. In Maun the clutch gave up, so I flew down to Joburg to grab new clutch, flew back, put the clutch in and rode back to Joburg. Easy, peasy  ;)

Classic! I do say you're a lot braver than I am, riding solo around these parts - sat phone or no sat phone.

And on the 690 - I know a lot of people bitch about them, but my brother's one is a 2008 and has taken him all over the subcontinent without any issues - I think it's on about 25,000 now. The fuel pump went on this trip, but those are a known weakness, and we were carrying a spare. And all the stuff that went wrong on Gav's bike was the aftermarket crap, not the main bike. My 690 took me around Angola and several other trips without a day's issue. Tom's 690 stranded him on day 1 of the Angola trip, but that was a dirty old whore of a bike that had been thoroughly abused. The air filter was held in with silicone, if that wasn't enough of a deterrent. I'd still ride a 690 on a wilderness trip - I think they're great.

The 500, on the other hand, is a fantastic machine. I think they are extremely reliable. The electrics are simple, and everything is designed to be abused to hell and back. I would take that bike anywhere! I just LOVE it - even more after this trip.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: dirt rat on October 05, 2017, 06:44:38 pm
Is it not a wonderful thing when you take a chance on a bike and it meets or even exceeds your expectations ? Pure bliss.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Fransw on October 05, 2017, 07:41:10 pm
Hi Max the Pandaman! Do you mind if I post one of your pics of the Heli evacuation on avcom.co.za aviation forum? We like to discuss the machines and pilot ops etc.. You can check it out there without being a member....cheers!

But I first need you approval..
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sheepman on October 05, 2017, 10:15:46 pm
Great place, great riding and brilliant writing  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MickeyT on October 05, 2017, 10:20:58 pm
What a great read!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Kamanya on October 05, 2017, 10:43:16 pm
Jouberts pass even in a 4x4 driven well couldn't have been a joke!

Lucky as with your luck though!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 06, 2017, 07:01:05 am
Hi Max the Pandaman! Do you mind if I post one of your pics of the Heli evacuation on avcom.co.za aviation forum? We like to discuss the machines and pilot ops etc.. You can check it out there without being a member....cheers!

But I first need you approval..

No problem!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 06, 2017, 07:50:52 am
Jouberts pass even in a 4x4 driven well couldn't have been a joke!

Lucky as with your luck though!

Yeah - and he did it three times - twice up and once down. I was super impressed with that auto D4D Fortuner - it's capable and piss easy to drive. He didn't even go into low range to get up there. It was pretty amazing in the river beds too.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 06, 2017, 11:16:10 am
When I saw the branding on that Longranger, I was more than a little worried....   :o

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-14.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: edgy on October 06, 2017, 11:26:52 am
That white KTM690 Rallye is GingaNinjas old bike? How did it run etc?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 06, 2017, 11:43:18 am
That white KTM690 Rallye is GingaNinjas old bike? How did it run etc?

Yes that's right. After sorting out a couple of electrical issues, and in particular, improving the exhaust back-pressure with an insert, it ran just fine on the trip. Those 450 Rally tanks are the bees-knees. The fact that a mounting bolt fell out is my own fault. I should have gone over the bike with Loctite before the trip.

The Omega fairing mount/tower structure however, is a piece of junk. Anyone else who owns such a thing should know that it will eventually break your radiator mount, and then collapse in its entirety. Get rid of it.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: edgy on October 06, 2017, 11:47:31 am
That white KTM690 Rallye is GingaNinjas old bike? How did it run etc?

Yes that's right. After sorting out a couple of electrical issues, and in particular, improving the exhaust back-pressure with an insert, it ran just fine on the trip. Those 450 Rally tanks are the bees-knees. The fact that a mounting bolt fell out is my own fault. I should have gone over the bike with Loctite before the trip.

The Omega fairing mount/tower structure however, is a piece of junk. Anyone else who own such a thing should know that it will eventually break your radiator mount, and then collapse in its entirety. Get rid of it.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: KTMvan on October 06, 2017, 11:53:57 am
Brilliant RR!! Keep it coming. I have done most of that solo on my 640, no problem doing it solo.... if you come back alive :-)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Lou1 on October 06, 2017, 11:56:40 am
SUB!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 06, 2017, 12:19:15 pm

Gav had already been carted down to the clinic on one of the bikes, and the paramedic was checking him out. We seemed a lot more concerned than Gav did....


Yeah, I think there was a good deal of suspicion floating around that I might have just sprained my ankle, and that this was all a bit over dramatic. I too was surprised that it wasn't more painful, and I did have a twinge of embarrassment at all the drama that was going on around me. But there was no messing around on the part of my wife and Discovery International. Between them, they took charge, and things were going to be done properly.  I kept the boot on until arrival at Swakop Mediclinic, and I think this was absolutely the right thing to do. What better splint could you ask for.

A minor spiral fracture of the Fibula is nothing really, and will heal itself without intervention

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/uJ3OR9JvxAPFXB1ulJlxVPHAVfxp7C7XNCFGqPqzGTuuo7lpcoau6nSIOS52P5Lbf676Wl1qs2Mai4K-8yJ0Gl38vwLFKD0LTyJ3m6InlnCYomCEEemoEoBXiTIPSvh-_wO8eJasRJ80VFNQ9Hv04ydH35gVULm2TxSG0RLCHKncDzFfygJ7cs61o5fdrh6kFGzCHHI30BKQsvmsqDPt-1cpV_V0zGUbvEKlsIM0E9RLEcQBN7Wea8oPXq3mDs6PDjueVfLyek6zPKnEK-8qH-ROwFdlN-KhvVKth6dJKHA5Troxmw8zMUqH_9I9F0VSZbKPd95G7XyMtBvRgJ-mUGDtfpySm76vYjyuw13uM9VfTCkmNhaiW9CqVW_mLiJ0Tg0Hyq6wh3BbYTjrfW0D5bSxReQVbQofKlX8MTkVlBOzW1Rxw6XL_flG4UieuqulK0XVbwr-hAqUTFC6Q3PKVoXp5MyKFyJBgU_3Py7LA5lJ8amv6wZE9DGjDcIQuEeoTPXlu9h-nK1mq5njs38ce9Bu52e8XmRF2zJ08ru7A8hwiWpXV9vsdiV-8rp3GxxNxdfUhDdywVqrnm9ExMjUmajmM02m-ufawxxFBc3uTtpsml5_zD923R9LTiWgFDgQtBiKapHVHtr9-qOrIxxg_kpzjr1jfeM4RWs=w366-h764-no)

The ankle however, is another matter. Some screws and a cable-tie are now holding the bones together. The ligament damage is going to take time....

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/vZBWJY1x-xDxpxd63VzyFt5CZIc-jrZe10bE_PH8kwFtKWxm4cprd0aXn5JJ_11BHaLf9XjLMmVw6fbignhKUgVmUr75IaAu_qZoRw-vOPGqHdyIAX9G8b5HAn4c4JBO5_eujYgeOtmLrLPzcvQ5Lfs85CMnASFzCWAryr2tiyv6BEyTWG6yGeCGW1DBJI2a1RsIHqwIrHLWz9cvWIX0GrXKyhrptuTy04XNNHVyn-AT4YEywcAF0eAZ166ZkgNoUNcTwXvySzfBaOEZURT_Mh59ydZiQoHDiE2ii2gBbae5WnUPggP3zGM3KF7CN3Z6iv6UcVmc4d_a9q5roCg4LDPzzbmNNrrM_Dv_ewhYavJebifPbhFhb0yfASMRO6N5FHeQWh8eXUS4B1mnalzqY3Ms_6BZRnGFPOxlP9bTuUJIUdFHBWgYQg_9ovI-phm_U9bu8OTF47AuCI1o24PuamsJdgB2pO-6CZFW1DKKDKfG1mNUTHTbGNpNr7PLuhf9vL8ZobQNqa1aSP_O_9UHrDHnZzrJRR6g5gOFteFUWb5gQfF0X344qqcVJEx3b73mEOU4GHUzRwgKfrrUurZGEz0gwu7eL2x5Gl-gVxaEV1GMN436f_sR6lOAVfTigNtgkCLfR5Rjwg2sm0avZCFEcS6-hj1AyIJw3B8=w382-h764-no)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Fransw on October 06, 2017, 12:56:57 pm
When I saw the branding on that Longranger, I was more than a little worried....   :o

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day8-14.jpg)

Glad you're OK!

How was the chopper ride? And how long?

Good luck with that ankle, be patient......

Lekker RR!! O0
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: aka.Goliath on October 06, 2017, 01:01:55 pm
Were you wearing Sidi Crossfire boots? It looks like it from the pictures, I wonder if it could have been worse if you had a 'softer' boot on.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 06, 2017, 01:36:47 pm
When I saw the branding on that Longranger, I was more than a little worried....   :o

Glad you're OK!

How was the chopper ride? And how long?

Good luck with that ankle, be patient......

Lekker RR!! O0

Thanks Frans - it was about a 3.5 hr flight including a refueling stop, so a 7 hr round trip! Thank goodness for medical insurance. The flight was nice and low, so great from a scenic point of view, but being strapped to a hard board for that length of time is not to be recommended.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 06, 2017, 01:46:58 pm
Were you wearing Sidi Crossfire boots? It looks like it from the pictures, I wonder if it could have been worse if you had a 'softer' boot on.

Yes, they're Sidi Crossfires, and I reckon things would have been much more messy with lesser boots. That said, most of the damage was as a result of twisting, which no boot would have prevented.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 06, 2017, 03:59:32 pm
Day 9: Back on the road! Destination City of Puros

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map9.jpg)

We went to sleep with a thick blanket of trepidation hanging heavy over the camp. Well most of us did - not the Night Mechanic. He was in a lonely race against time to get his machine working. If he couldnít, heíd be abandoning it to fate and the gods, and leaving it at Marble.

We had no idea how things were going to play out in this regard. Our vehicle was sitting over 1000km further south, and I didnít have time or inclination to spend another 2 days at the end of our trip driving around utterly remote parts of Namibia, fetching broken machines. Another plan would have to be made.

While disaster had been sitting on our backs like a mangy crow, pecking at our bare skin and waiting for us to turn to carrion, the flamingoes of peace, love and happiness also appeared to be circling.

Through an extraordinary stroke of incredible fortune, we had met an unlikely pair of septuagenarians travelling the countryside without a GPS, who just Ďhappenedí to find us when we needed them most, and took care of our wounded soldier. Were they even human? Or were they benevolent djinns, cast into the desert to watch over a bunch of hapless travellers? To late to test the theory - they were gone.

Now there was another story playing out in the background. My good mate Andrew was busy engaged in mortal combat in the sand and dust with 19 other motorcyclists for the grand trophy of a brand new Africa Twin! Enter the merry band of the Honda Quest 2017Ö a large flotilla of vehicles and motorcycles chasing hard in our wake around the Nambian countryside, led by a fearless and heroic Kaptein Hardy de Kock!

Hardy had already been extremely generous with his time and energy, spending many hours sharing routes, information and recounting tales about his beloved Kaokoveld. And, donít get me wrong, the Quest sounded like a sensational event. But it just so happened that their dates coincided almost exactly with ours, and they would pass through many of the same waypoints along the route, even if we were charting a bit more of a wayward course.

As much as we love motorcycles, this trip was all about solitude, freedom and wilderness for us, and the thought of being consumed into a 40-vehicle moving flotilla wasnít quite our buzz. So we had gone to great pains to try and stay a couple days ahead of them. This included changing our flights and moving departure a day earlier, and definitely influenced the idea to skip out Epupa to save some time.

But now these hounds at our back had become fluffy St Bernards carrying life-sustaining barrels of whisky into the thick, snowy darkness. They would be our salvationÖ or would they?

The last thing Hardy said to me when we finished chatting was ďtake my sat phone number in case you need some help out there.Ē I never did, mostly because we didnít have a sat phone, but with a stranded bike in the middle of nowhere I suddenly hoped Batman de Kock might be able to swoop in and rescue us.

By morning, Mike had come right with his bike, or thought he had. Heíd discovered the throttle body rubbers werenít sealing properly and the motor was sucking air, which no doubt went at least some way to explaining the troubled motor. I think heíd barely slept, and that may explain the wild look in his eyes the next morning, but after a triumphant test ride he declared the bike 100% sorted.

I whooped and cheered with the rest of them, but if I must be completely honest I had my doubts. It had been so bad the previous night, what are the chances?

Anyway, I wheeled Gavís stricken machine into the Marble reception, wrote out a pleading and desperate letter begging for help from Hardy, sprinkled some holy water over my left shoulder and departed.

Weíd hardly left camp, when Camel announced that his fuel hoses were squirting a strange milky fluid out and were rotten to the core, and he was returning to rob Gavís 690 of all its fuel hoses.

ďGod, I hope you know what youíre doing!Ē I thought. ďIf your bike gives up the ghost in a few kilometres we have nothing to fall back on, and weíre all destination fucked.Ē

Fuel hoses stolen, and bike declared fit and ready, we departed Onjuva a second time, and almost immediately entered this incredible red plain stretching as far as the eye could see.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-01.jpg)

I rode into the middle and took off my helmet. Silent and peaceful. Just what I needed to clear my head and take a deep breath. We were starting phase two of our trip. 1 man down, 1 bike down, a few limping soldiers, but all still to play for. Here we goÖ!

The red earth turned to brown, and the riding was still magnificent.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-02.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-03.jpg)

After a while I realised I couldnít see Mike and Midge behind, and stopped up to wait for them. They didnít come, and didnít come, and didnít come. What now! I turned and started to ride back slowlyÖ

5km back or so I find them stopped in the track, fishing mangled pieces of sleeping bag out of the back wheel. The crows were battering the flamingoes senseless: Camelís bedroll had come loose and fallen into his back wheel at 70kph, locking it instantly. He nearly came off, and skidded to a halt thinking his engine had seized due to dust intake. Not so, luckily, but he didnít get off scott free, either. Tent, mattress and sleeping bag were all mangled. We hadnít even done 20km.

Nobody really spoke - I think we were all a bit spooked - so it was back on the machines and continue. We entered the Khumib River trail - about 70km up a broken river bed - and the riding went from great to sublime.

After half an hour or so I found Tom stopped under a tree.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-04.jpg)

ďClutch gone, mate. Oh, and my radiator is pissing water!Ē

The bobble that had been soldered on the end of the frayed cable had partly come off, and the cable had pulled through the lever. We bodged it back in as best we could, and I told Tom he better practice riding without a clutch. The radiator was another matter. We werenít exactly overflowing with spare water, but we couldnít find the leak - it was coming from inside the fins somewhere - great.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-05.jpg)

Another half hour and Camel lost it in the stones and had a nasty off, hurting his wrist quite badly and mangling his brake pedal. It really wasnít his day!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-32.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 06, 2017, 04:02:39 pm
Hardy had warned us off the Hoarusib River  - one of three riverbeds he said were particularly dangerous on a bike because of poor visibility and prevalent lion and elephant. In retrospect Iím glad we didnít take that route to Puros - with how our day was going weíd definitely have been attacked, and the views and terrain approaching from the other angle were magnificent. But Iíd still like to ride it - it looks the bizznizz.

We hadnít even met up with the D3707 yet, and Midge ran out of gas. Buttercup is a sensationally reliable beast, immune even to the abuse and neglect thrown at her by her rider (short man complex) but even she throws a hissy fit sometimes. And now she was refusing to suck fuel through her reserve tap.

Luckily, with his new 28l Safari tank Tom had fuel to spare, and we offloaded into the hapless DR.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-06.jpg)

More riverbeds followed, and there were animals all over the place:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-09.jpg)

We saw more giraffe than anything on this trip, but Iím pretty sure thatís down to them being hard to miss - even from a motorcycle.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-10.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-14.jpg)

The riverbed terrain got more and more interesting, punctuated by regular stops to check and refill the Suzieís radiator.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-15.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-17.jpg)

Eventually we got to the end of the riverbed, and exited onto a stony plain.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-19.jpg)

We crossed the D3707, and turned onto the corrugated road heading to Puros. Spectacular scenery on all sides. I was gobsmacked by the sheer variety and scope of the terrain. You donít think of desert as being changeable, but this day had a bit of everything.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-20.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-21.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-22.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-23.jpg)

Spirits were high as Puros appeared in the distance. An ATM to replenish our cash supplies, a garage to fill up with gas and hopefully get some radiator sealant for Tom, and a supermarket to get supplies for the next few legs. I thought perhaps we could have a few beers with the tourists, and hob nob with the Safari types who would no doubt be crawling around the place, planning their next adventure into the hinterland.

Clearly I had not done my research. This is all the action youíll find in Puros:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-24.jpg)

What Puros is not, is a bustling metropolis and hub of the western edge of the Namibian safari domain. What it is, is a scrawny collection of tin shacks, two spaza shops and a couple of campsites littered around a broad riverbed crawling with game, including a very active resident elephant population. And thatís it.

I had badly mis-calculated, and the concern set it when we followed the sign to the petrol station to find a disused and collapsed piece of concrete and some broken poles. What now? We were directed to the Okahirongo lodge as the only bastion of civilisation in the place, who would maybe be able to help us.

No, you canít park your bikes here - they will upset our high paying guests - please hide them down the hill.
No, we donít keep cash on the premises so we canít advance you any of that against your credit card.
No, we donít have fuel to sell you.
No, we donít have a workshop or radiator sealant.

But I tell you what - youíre welcome to have a drink on our deck - our guests are out for a sunset game drive.

Iím being unkind - the manager was actually quite sweet, and we were by this point filthy dirty, extremely smelly bikers. Itís a beautiful place - just where youíd take your lovely to chill in the lap of luxury and drink G&Ts overlooking the elephants. We had a quick drink, sitting uncomfortably on the linen chairs, and left.

By this stage heíd warmed to us, and offered to get a guide to lead us to the lone petrol seller in the village, who may be able to help us. Welcome to the Puros fuel station:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-25.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-26.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-27.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-29.jpg)

R400 per 20l plastic can, but beggars really canít be choosers. It looked pretty sketch coming out of those big drums, but it was this or be stranded. We handed over just about our last bank notes and everyone was full at least.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-28.jpg)

The little man was keeping the children happy, and then we set off in search of some food.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-30.jpg)

Oh, by the way, Camelís front tyre had a puncture, to round off a truly spectacularly poor day for the young man. So we parked up in front of the spaza shop, bought some biscuits and beer and set about changing the tube. Twice, as it turned out.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day9-31.jpg)

It was pitch dark by the time we finished. I guided us to the Puros community campsite about five or so kilometres away by the GPS, absolutely blind, with my enduro bike headlamp shining somewhat unhelpfully in the air. Puros is litterally crawling with elephant, and lion are never terribly far away in the Hoarusib, so letís just say we were all wide awake.

Eventually we found the place and got in a very bizarre Twin Peaks-style encounter with a fellow who was encamped there. Tom was convinced he could only be a poacher - he was set up with an incredible range of equipment, was cooking zebra in a potjie-pot, and acting like he ran the place. He insisted we join his campsite but everyone was feeling uncomfortable so we mumbled something incoherently and snuck out to the next site.

ďOh, by the way, donít walk to the toilet in the middle of the night,Ē the camp manager told us. ďThere are elephant everywhere."
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 06, 2017, 04:31:03 pm
Yeah, I think there was a good deal of suspicion floating around that I might have just sprained my ankle, and that this was all a bit over dramatic. I too was surprised that it wasn't more painful, and I did have a twinge of embarrassment at all the drama that was going on around me.

Look, all I want to say is that one of these guys is the real deal, and one of them is a washed-up has-been:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/bond.jpg)

It's also  a little known fact that a certain member of this trip was also a stunt double for Hugh Laurie on a major Hollywood motion picture shot in these very parts of Namibia. Cut from stone, cast from iron, and all that. Once the initial shock had worn off, he wasn't going to be thrown off kilter by something as irrelevant as a broken leg. He took an aspirin and offered to walk to the chopper. We only carried him to make the pictures look dramatic.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 06, 2017, 05:07:32 pm
Ha, you make-a-me laugh  :lol8:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 06, 2017, 08:06:49 pm
Hardy had warned us off the Hoarusib River  - one of three riverbeds he said were particularly dangerous on a bike because of poor visibility and prevalent lion and elephant. In retrospect Iím glad we didnít take that route to Puros - with how our day was going weíd definitely have been attacked, and the views and terrain approaching from the other angle were magnificent. But Iíd still like to ride it - it looks the bizznizz.
...


Hmmm, I have to say I differ on this one. And - if I understand correctly the route Quest guys took, even Hardy did take the party through Huarusib. I agree that the section downstream from Purros (Purros Canyon - which I'm interested to see if you did) is potentially risky, as it gets narrow and you have to navigate sections of dense vegetation with very limited visibility.

But the section upstream from Purros, is a wide valley with very good visibility of potential hazards and enough room to avoid it safely. And you can either ride riverbed (which is wide and very transparent) or ride on the side of the river on very lekker winding double track, where you can see river to one side, but are mostly riding out in the open (with few detours to the river). And as far as I know (and I think Hardy may disagree on this one), there are no lions upstream from Purros. I have ridden it 4 times and always made sure to get the latest cricket intel from the locals. And the message was always clear - no lions north of Purros. I have tendency to believe them as you will often meet locals walking along the river and even kids playing soccer right next to it (and they do respect lions - they have abandoned one village in Huab river due to very high lion danger). Yes there is high probability of bumping into elephant, but your chances to see it coming are much bigger than in Ugab (that is tricky one), Purros canyon, or Huab river - part of which you have already ridden on the way to Sessfontein (if I understood your route correctly).

That upper section of Huarusib is absolutely fantastic (sorry, that horribly corrugated D3707 is no match whatsoever) and the pass between Khumib and Huarusib is also something special to behold. But at least you have something to come back to  8)

Now I'm really curious whether you did the Purros canyon - because that is the really dodgy one (right after Ugab IMO). If I understand it correctly, Quest guys also had to get out of there half way through when they bumped into aggro elephant.

And that luxury lodge in Purros - avoid as a plague! They really like to mix only with people with private jets. There is very friendly and relatively cheap community lodge (right next to the campsite) if you go that side again and do not fancy tenting.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Pilchie on October 06, 2017, 10:56:43 pm
 :sip:loving this awesome ride report
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: zetman on October 06, 2017, 11:04:06 pm
 : :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:

Man dis n BEFOKTE lekker  Trippie hierdie gooi nog  :lamer: :patch: :sip:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Professor sprocket on October 07, 2017, 01:20:20 pm
The night in the community campsite was pretty wild. Weíd arrived late and the guy with all the hunting equipment was in high spirits. He was evidently offended that we were not going to pull up by his fire to eat zebra. As we made our excuses he insisted on jumping on the back of the midgets bike - which is pretty normal for the midget but this guy was giving us the heebie jeebies. We camped a little distance away from him and happily cooked our own terrible stew from whatever battered food we had in our saddle bags.

That night I was giving my bike some attention. Quite a rare event for me.  If anyone should have taken Gavinís bike, by this time it was clear it should have been me.  By Purros my radiator was needing a refill every 20 mins or so. Each day I was carrying around 15 litres of water on my back and still having to ask the others for some of their water by night time. My carb was leaking fuel badly, too. And my clutch cable needed more Pratley Putty and looked like it was starting to shear again.

Most likely the bust radiator was a product of me going faster than my skill level allowed over rocks, as I tried to avoid using the clutch more than I needed to. Going down into 2nd gear seemed like a luxury Iíd probably only be able to enjoy a handful of times so I tried to keep the speed up except on special occasions. Everyoneís comments about the clutch cable spare are spot on. Im going to run a spare one through by the new replacement so its easy to hook up. Though normally thats just the kind of thing I say when Im just about to forget all about it.

At the Purros community camp site I again tried to work out where the radiator leak was coming from Ė it was too late and too dark to take the tank off, but it looked like it was badly cracked quite high up. What I did have, courtesy of the kindly manager of the Purros luxury camp, was a fresh egg. Not an easy thing to transport Ė but it was holding up nicely. Weíd all heard that if you broke an egg into a leaking radiator it seals it up. Is that true? Seems unbelievable. And even if it works on an old car, will it not mess up the finer cooling channels around a bike engine? 

Everyone was egging (!) me on. ďJust crack it inĒ, ďDo it Thomas!Ē They just wanted me to do it for the yarn I reckon. And I have to say, I was keen to give it a go. It would make for a great photo opportunity. But it was a proper leak Ė a 3 inch arc of crack as it turns out Ė so I donít know if it would have helped.

I didnít use the egg in the end. After a day or so more it broke in my bag which finally removed the temptation. Im glad actually. My bike engine (in case I decide to sell it on this forum) is still in wonderful nick. Honestly.

Ian, got any pictures of my egg?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 07, 2017, 03:12:49 pm
Ian, got any pictures of my egg?

How could I not??

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/tom.jpg)

For a man who loves to get into trouble, and who'll do just about anything for a good story, I'm still gutted you didn't go for it.

Option 3: https://www.wikihow.com/Seal-a-Leaking-Radiator (https://www.wikihow.com/Seal-a-Leaking-Radiator)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Saddle Up on October 07, 2017, 03:23:38 pm
Another quick fix for the radiator is,,,,,,,Curry powder, or Tumeric. Pre mix, two table spoons in 500ml of water and pour into the radiator. Run the motor to heat up and thicken the paste then with some praying and luck, the leak will seal.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 08, 2017, 01:43:52 pm
Day 10: Onto the Crowther Trail: Puros to Rock Muncher Land

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map10.jpg)

Today was probably the day I was looking forward to most of the whole trip. The plan was to leave at dawn down the Puros Canyon - apparently the early light looks absolutely spectacular filtering off the high rock walls, and there is the best chance of seeing game.

Like most things on this trip, it didnít exactly work out like that. The Midge had been kept up most of the night by elephant foraging in the bushes next to his tent. And Thomas had been up early trying to Pratley Steel the remains of his clutch cable end into the lever.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-01.jpg)

Eventually we got moving and it was riding wonderment from kilometre one. Puros sits in a stunning, extremely broad riverbed plain between surrounding mountains. Hanging clouds werenít exactly what I was hoping for, but it made for an eerily beautiful view from the saddle.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-02.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-03.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-04.jpg)

We entered the canyon, and immediately there was lots of standing water and green grass replaced the omnipresent sand.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-06.jpg)

We stopped for an early breakfast and debated whether to cook Thomasís egg or save it for his radiator. He was being strangely unadventurousÖ not like him at all.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-09.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-10.jpg)

Maybe the remoteness had affected even the expat! The canyon is a sight to behold. It twists and turns between rocky sides, in many places the track slipping right past bushy areas that could easily hide a herd of elephant, not to mention a hungry lion hunting party. We were all feeling very awake, thatís for sure! I was leading when we came across this small group of gemsbok.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-13.jpg)

After a while we came across the iconic narrow slot between rocky outcrops that youíve seen so often on Puros photos:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-14.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-15.jpg)

Although we hadnít see elephant, the ride through the canyon had definitely been one of the highlights of many highlights on the trip so far. Itís quite unlike any of the other terrain we came across and a must see on any route through this area!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-16.jpg)

Eventually the canyon opens up into a vast plain of cracked mud - this must be a massive marsh during the raining season. We stopped to brew some tea, and certain members of the party amused themselves with some Jackie Chan moves.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-19.jpg)

Englishís bike was already slurping down water and a fairly rapid rate, and I caught him staring disconsolately at it - Iím pretty sure he was wondering if heíd be leaving it in the desert at some point.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-21.jpg)

The mud was extremely dry, but there were swarms of irritating midges pestering us, and our Midge adopted a special new fashion strategy to deal with them.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-20.jpg)

After 25km in the canyon, we turned south into the gateway to the famous Crowther trail through the Puros Communal Conservancy.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-22.jpg)

From a green river bed between high rock walls, the trail now transitioned into open desert. Looking at the pictures now, Iím struck by the beauty, but in no way do they capture the sheer majesty of the place. It was literally gobsmacking. We climbed slightly onto a flat mound and stopped to take in the view to a far-distant horizon.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-23.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-24.jpg)

The trail was so open now we were able to make quite rapid progress, which enhanced the perception of the landscape passing almost as if on a TV-shaped hole in the helmet.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-25.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-26.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-27.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-28.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 08, 2017, 01:45:24 pm
Iím running out of hyperbole to describe the place here - it literally was that sublime. We bombed through the desert for about 50km, and then for another 20km slowly descended from the plateau towards the Hoanib river.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-29.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-30.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-31.jpg)

It was so mesmerising you didnít want to race through it, and we took regular breaks in the desert silence just to soak it all in.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-32.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-33.jpg)

All of a sudden those rocky mounds led into the Hoanib river bed - another wide, dramatic Namibian gorgeousness! We dismounted, awe-struck, under one of the gigantic trees and pulled out our staple trail snack - peanuts and raisins.

We couldnít have been there more than five minutes when a landcruiser appeared down the riverbed - the first humans weíd seen all day. They were super friendly guides from the Wilderness Safari camp - which apparently lay just around the corner.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-35.jpg)

ďYou know the elephants are coming this way?Ē they asked.

ďWHAT?! Elephants? Where??Ē

ďCome - we show you.Ē

In a frenzy of excitement - our first potential sighting of the big mammals other than Midgeís hallucinatory encounter from earlier in the trip - we quickly saddled up and followed them. Bizarrely, that earlier Ďsightingí - for which he got three daysí kitty bitch immunityÖ just saying - was also actually in the Hoanib river, much further upstream.

We literally followed the landcruiser for two kilometres when we happened upon this fellow, chewing contentedly on a tree:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-36.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-37.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-38.jpg)

We were up on a pretty steep river bank, so after a little flurry of enthusiasm on his part I think he accepted we would just look at each other and leave it there. Within walking distance, there was a view across the open plain towards the lodge, where a large family of elephant, some giraffe and a gemsbok were cruising around.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-39.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-40.jpg)

I only have the equivalent of a 24-70 full-frame lens, so everything was a lot closer than it looks in these pictures. After twenty minutes or so our guides waved goodbye and disappeared into the distance.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-41.jpg)

We were now approximately half way down the Crowther Trail, and the plan was to make it another 30-40km further and spend the night out. It was lunchtime and extremely hot.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-42.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-44.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-45.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-43.jpg)

We dropped back down into the Hoanib, passing our friendly elephant bull.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-46.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-47.jpg)

We only did 10km in the Hoanib, but it was again truly spectacular riding. The river bed is huge, wide, and very open, dotted around with absolutely massive trees. Iím pretty sure we were passing loads of elephant but the ground was soft and rutted enough to require a bit of concentration, which makes game spotting difficult.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-48.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-49.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-51.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-52.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-53.jpg)

Tomís radiator was leaking badly by this point, so we were stopping often, but it didnít distract from the sheer drama of the surrounds. Turning south out of the Hoanib - Iíd love to come back and ride the entire river - we entered another river valley, this time for the Mudorib. There was no water to be seen, but apparently this entire area gets wet a couple of times a year. Game was plentiful, especially giraffe.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-54.jpg)

Hardy had told me to expect a stony desert landscape, and sure enough it wasnít long before sand turned to rock and it felt like we were on Mars. Red, red rocks everywhere and absolutely barren, but visually incredibly dramatic. It had been a long day and the group was a bit tired, so we decided to stop early. We turned off the track and rode over a hill.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-55.jpg)

An uncomfortable but starkly beautiful campsite awaited.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-56.jpg)

By now our kit had been taking a bit of a hammeringÖ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-57.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-58.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day10-59.jpg)

Time to catch up on the tan and obliterate our entire remaining whiskey stock. Today had been a day of mystical, rainbow celestial pony goodness. How much more wonderment did this place have to offer? If I never rode another day in my life, this stock of memories would last me forever.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: TeeJay on October 08, 2017, 04:00:55 pm
Great ride report. Ian - is that the 500 XC-W you have?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 08, 2017, 04:26:14 pm
Yup.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 08, 2017, 05:53:16 pm
Well done on passing Purros canyon without drama - that is one of the high risk sections.  :thumleft:


I'm keen to see where you exited Crowther trail and if the guards gave you any hard time. There is a guy permanently stationed at the point where Crowther trail leaves Hoanib and heads south, where you had to pass. I'm guessing you didn't bump into him or he didn't try to stop you, right?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sheepman on October 08, 2017, 06:43:09 pm
Great trip guys  :thumleft:
Title: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 08, 2017, 07:50:19 pm
Hey XPat. We exited at Palwag - they told us we should have passed a hut and guard at Hoanib but we never saw either somehow. He did tell us we shouldnít be there on bikes but didnít have much of an issue - we paid the permit for 4 vehicles (they rip you car price for the bike but itís a silly complaint cause itís not expensive) and one nightís camping and that was that. Itís a spectacular route! You have to do it.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 08, 2017, 08:06:12 pm
Hey XPat. We exited at Palwag - they told us we should have passed a hut and guard at Hoanib but we never saw either somehow. He did tell us we shouldnít be there on bikes but didnít have much of an issue - we paid the permit for 4 vehicles (they rip you car price for the bike but itís a silly complaint cause itís not expensive) and one nightís camping and that was that. Itís a spectacular route! You have to do it.

Thanks.  :thumleft:

I know the trail - I have done it in May with my dad, but in 4x4. I am a bit torn about doing it on the bike. I think it is pretty clear, that the bikes are not allowed there - I was told exactly that in Palmwag lodge, by the guard up on the Huarusib turnoff (the guy you missed, and it is written on the leaflet you get when you enter the conservancy at the gate. Hardy in your planning thread (I think) was of an opinion that it is legal to ride the conservancy on the bike which tickled my interest greatly, but I don't believe now that is correct. While I would most probably get away with it, I prefer not to push boundaries too much as it may result in backlash against all bikers - it is small mirracle IMO that they still let you roam there freely with all the game and unique scenery around. I wouldn't want them to get pissed off and close out for example Hoanib river (which is northern boundary of the conservancy and hence either in or out of the conservancy - depending on who you talk to).

I will think about it, but probably will rather focus on plotting routes through areas that are legal but rarely ridden (like following Huarusib all the way up almost to Opuwo - most people cross over to Khumib and go up to Orupembe (the route you did in opposite direction).

Anyway - thanks for the information!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 08, 2017, 09:26:41 pm
Yeah, I donít disagree with you! We never went through a gate on the northern side - just the southern end when we exited. There are so many brilliant areas to ride in Damaraland and Kaokoveld itís not worth pissing anyone off or breaking rules. More of that in tomorrowís story...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 08, 2017, 11:23:13 pm
Yeah, I donít disagree with you! We never went through a gate on the northern side - just the southern end when we exited. There are so many brilliant areas to ride in Damaraland and Kaokoveld itís not worth pissing anyone off or breaking rules. More of that in tomorrowís story...

Just to be sure - I'm not passing any judgements here. I'm just glad that I got the most up to date info from you and outlined how it may drive my decision to ride the trail. Honestly, if it wouldn't be clear whether it is allowed, I would also rather err on the side of exploration (i.e. ride the trail) than caution (follow Hoanib to Sesfontein). And even if its not allowed, but riding it doesn't cause much of aggravation with the locals (as your experience seem to confirm) - I may still decide to do it.

Anyway - I got my answers and will stop poluting your great RR now. Just get on with it already!  :peepwall: :pot:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Professor sprocket on October 09, 2017, 09:21:21 am
Hi Gents,

On the subject of whether its cool to be in that conservancy on a bike. I'd say totally no. Its my opinion, and we all choose to ride these bikes where and how we want. But... my biggest downer of the whole trip was being stopped by a guy from Wilderness Safaris in a game viewing vehicle. He was slowly driving some tourists around from a nearby lodge.

"Hi! How are you?" I said very merrily, as I was having a blast on the awesome trail.

"Great, until I saw you..." I'd been in such a cheerful bubble and this was seriously popping it.

"Why....?"

"Because you are on that bike"

"Whats wrong with the bike?" But I knew already - we were clearing the game within a wide radius all around us. These bikes are loud and they freak the animals out. We saw a few animals sprinting away from us - but only the tiny boldest minority I reckon.

"You are scaring all the elephants away, they have moved way up the river... "he said.

"Sorry......" I said, shrinking down into my neck brace.

"I dont even know how you got in here. Bikes are not allowed..." He was a kind of old gnarly game warden. Looked like he really loved and knew the place.

And we had seen a sign saying bikes were not allowed, just by our elephant siting a few hours up the trail.

I apologised again, feeling really bad for the tourists paying the big eco-bucks that keep that conservancy functioning and who, because of me, were not seeing anything in the back of the game vehicle. And feeling worse about all the animals we were disturbing. Then I just mumbled something about getting ahead of him to mitigate the impact and then I zoomed off.

Its a fragile environment up there. Those conservancies need conserving. Its also not allowed - according to the wardens and the signs. I loved our whole route, except for that bit. Much better on a 4 by 4 and at 30kms an hour. Then you'd actually see stuff, too.

Anyway - its just my opinion. But I personally am not ever going back through one of those eco-conservancies on a bike.

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2017, 10:54:20 am
Professor Sprocket (aka English, aka Thomas, aka Kitty Bitch - he won it so often the title is now his) beat me to it. His game ranger encounter happened in today's story, which I haven't got to yet.

Just to throw in a 2c of divergent view here... our little party was a bit divided on the subject. None of the rest of us saw that game ranger or his car - Sprocket was racing ahead at this point, trying to overcome the leaking radiator by force of reverse timewarp that would counteract gravity. I must honestly say I'm confused what this game ranger was talking about.

When he accosted Tom he was 50km south of the Hoanib river in huge, big wide open stony desert, and there were definitely no elephants anywhere near there, and they certainly hadn't been frightened off by bikes. After our initial elephant encounter in the Hoanib (actually shown to us by the Wilderness Safari guides, and that ellie didn't seem the least bit phased by the motorbikes either time we saw him) we went back down to the riverbed and travelled east for 10km before turning off to the south. We hadn't seen any further elephants, and we certainly weren't racing around causing havoc.

I think it's possible the ranger may have confused us with someone else. I really don't think we scared any elephants, and what evidence he had for blaming us that he wasn't seeing elephants with his tourists, I don't know. Personally I think he was taking a bit of a flyer.

Regarding the conservancy as a whole, we were generally a lot more respectful of the terrain then many of the 4x4's (from track evidence). There is no fence or gate that we passed through, and no place to get permits (other than the exit gate to the south). The only sign we saw was half way in that mentioned camping and had "no quads or bikes" sign but it wasn't exactly clear which area or in which direction it covered. It seems there may be a bit of a grey area about bikes in this region.

I think there is a tendency for extremely expensive, exclusive lodges to become quite sanctimonious about 'their' property and automatically want to exclude anyone who isn't from their club. Either the land is open, or it isn't, and while I think all users should pay permits and contribute to looking after the land, I personally hate it when vast tracks of land become locked off for the exclusive use of the highly privileged.

Generally, the entire north-west area of Namibia is crawling with wildlife, whether proclaimed conservancy or not, and hunters, motorcycles, 4x4s, tourists, locals, and everyone else need to coexist and both enjoy and respect it together. It's an incredible privilege to be able to tour this area by bike, and I really hope that continues for a long time. I think we should make the respectful most of it while we can, cause it's surely not going to last forever.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 09, 2017, 12:44:40 pm
I'm 100% with you on the private lodges appropriating surrounding area like it belongs to them, which it doesn't. You will bump into guides (I suspect from the Purros lodge) who will tell you that Purros canyon is off the limits for the bikes, and I was told by a guide in Wildlife Safari car that Hoanib is also off limits (though to be fair at the beginning of the Crowther trail - where it meets Hoanib - and he may have thought I came from there, which I didn't). I asked around and believe that is not true.

And I was wondering where your encounter with guide happened. Paradoxically, his comments would make some sense in the Hoanib river (which as far as I was able to find out is open area) as that is the game rich area which may get potentially spooked by bikes reving by, but do not make sense on Crowther trail (which is for some reason off limits to bikes), which is more or less entirely Martian stony desert, which very little wildlife and whatever there is can be easily avoided.

I don't think it is too big deal for the animals - a thunderstorm or lion trying to snatch baby elephant/giraffe probably causes much more havoc than that - as long as the traffic there is relatively limited (a bike or few once in a week or so). But I still prefer to give locals (be it local population or those fat cats owning the lodges, who are way more influential) as little excuse as possible to close the area down for the bikes. So I prefer not to ride in the clearly off limits areas - even though logically it doesn' not make sense for them to be closed (e.g. Crowther trail).

That said, one needs to be particularly sensitive (not a strong point for most bikers) when riding these constrained game rich areas, in order to not spooke the animals more than absolutely necessary and not put other visitors at risk. Which is quite a difficult act on the bike where one needs to keep momentum in deep sand with corresponding noise and speed that animals are not used to. When I rode Ugab river few years back I started from Brandberg White Lady lodge early in the morning and returned about 1 pm due to some technical issues. The manager asked me if I rode in the river, and then told me looking at me intensely  that their safari vehicle has just been badly damaged, and the guide inside almost killed (I talked to the guide later - luckily he wasnt hurt just scarred) by elephants (most of whom he knew for decade or longer), who got spooked by a biker who gunned it upriver full throttle through the middle of the herd (the do take to graze on both sides of the river). As they couldn't get the biker, the animals dispaced their aggresion on the nearby safari car (luckily the tourists were sitting on the nearby koppie when the accident happened).

I raked my brain if I could have caused that - I have followed the herd up the river, but passed them on the opposite bank of the river with good 100m between us and them being aware of me properly (so not giving them fright), and then - when I got stuck with flat tyre and they caught up with me, I just left the bike in the river to its fate and run into the safety of the koppie and let them pass. I was very relieved when it turned out it wasn't me - I was there between 7- 9 in the morning, while the incident happened about noon, but still wasn't sure what to thing about that biker whom I never met. He may have been just so focused on battling the sand that may not have even noticed the elephants (quite plausible - if the sun and shadows are just right), or he may have been just an idiot who just couldn't resist gunning it through the middle of the herd.

Anyway - understandably that incident didn't raise bikers credit in the lodge on that day.

Here is me being the pillar of society (or rather coward) watching the elephants pass in peace from the safety of koppie on that day:

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Yo1J875GDzo/VLwmbfOC97I/AAAAAAAADi8/c2hd9Ji5oXw/s1024/P1010193.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Orangeswifty on October 09, 2017, 01:09:29 pm
how the hell did I miss this one!!
Ja Toppie
Nou moet jy opvang :biggrin: :snorting:

Great storytelling guys :thumleft:
sorry to hear of all your misfortunes and the rider having to retire from the trip.
Not good but better than nothing
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 09, 2017, 02:09:57 pm
I notice that, through all the mechanical carnage of broken radiators, stuffed fuel pumps, slime emiting fuel hoses, leaking forks,etc etc, Buttercup seems to continue waddling along with nary a care in the world....

Is there a lesson here?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 09, 2017, 02:14:10 pm
Was discussing this report, as well as some of your other legendary ones, with another WD yesterday. If you ever put these to video, the general feeling was that Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" would be the ideal soundtrack - ala Wayne's World......heh.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2017, 02:15:34 pm
Hey XPat - great story, and you seemed to have had much more 'exciting' interactions than we did! We had one close encounter with an elephant and I stopped about 50m away, waited for a while and he limbered off into the bush slowly. No drama!

Our interaction with the guide happened 50km south of the Hoanib. He literally told Tom that we had spooked the elephant and scared them all away for his guests. But it was odd all round - if he was from Wilderness Safari's camp on the Hoanib I've no idea what he was doing 50km south at about 9 in the morning, and as you say that area is all martian stony desert - no elephant remotely in the vicinity. If he was talking about the day before, we certainly didn't spook the elephant we saw, which was super relaxed and didn't even move. From there we headed east in the river bed for only about 10km, and it is super wide and open there. I'm pretty sure we would have seen any elephant that were in the river bed there, so that doesn't make sense either.

Honestly, I don't know - it didn't make sense to me, but I didn't even see or speak to the guide. He was pretty aggressive so he was pissed about something - maybe his tourists had been giving him a hard time for not showing them any elephant!

I think we see this the same way - and I agree with your sentiments. Look - there will always be people who ruin it for the rest, whether bikes, 4x4s or anything else.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2017, 02:18:54 pm
I notice that, through all the mechanical carnage of broken radiators, stuffed fuel pumps, slime emiting fuel hoses, leaking forks,etc etc, Buttercup seems to continue waddling along with nary a care in the world....

Is there a lesson here?

Undoubtedly!!! If you can stomach riding such brilliant terrain on a wheezy, anaemic carthorse with a bad temper there really is no doubt. As Hardy said to me on the phone, "All you okes who aren't on DRs are going to be very sorry by the end of this trip!"
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Omninorm on October 09, 2017, 03:35:28 pm

Gav had already been carted down to the clinic on one of the bikes, and the paramedic was checking him out. We seemed a lot more concerned than Gav did....


Yeah, I think there was a good deal of suspicion floating around that I might have just sprained my ankle, and that this was all a bit over dramatic. I too was surprised that it wasn't more painful, and I did have a twinge of embarrassment at all the drama that was going on around me. But there was no messing around on the part of my wife and Discovery International. Between them, they took charge, and things were going to be done properly.  I kept the boot on until arrival at Swakop Mediclinic, and I think this was absolutely the right thing to do. What better splint could you ask for.

A minor spiral fracture of the Fibula is nothing really, and will heal itself without intervention

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/uJ3OR9JvxAPFXB1ulJlxVPHAVfxp7C7XNCFGqPqzGTuuo7lpcoau6nSIOS52P5Lbf676Wl1qs2Mai4K-8yJ0Gl38vwLFKD0LTyJ3m6InlnCYomCEEemoEoBXiTIPSvh-_wO8eJasRJ80VFNQ9Hv04ydH35gVULm2TxSG0RLCHKncDzFfygJ7cs61o5fdrh6kFGzCHHI30BKQsvmsqDPt-1cpV_V0zGUbvEKlsIM0E9RLEcQBN7Wea8oPXq3mDs6PDjueVfLyek6zPKnEK-8qH-ROwFdlN-KhvVKth6dJKHA5Troxmw8zMUqH_9I9F0VSZbKPd95G7XyMtBvRgJ-mUGDtfpySm76vYjyuw13uM9VfTCkmNhaiW9CqVW_mLiJ0Tg0Hyq6wh3BbYTjrfW0D5bSxReQVbQofKlX8MTkVlBOzW1Rxw6XL_flG4UieuqulK0XVbwr-hAqUTFC6Q3PKVoXp5MyKFyJBgU_3Py7LA5lJ8amv6wZE9DGjDcIQuEeoTPXlu9h-nK1mq5njs38ce9Bu52e8XmRF2zJ08ru7A8hwiWpXV9vsdiV-8rp3GxxNxdfUhDdywVqrnm9ExMjUmajmM02m-ufawxxFBc3uTtpsml5_zD923R9LTiWgFDgQtBiKapHVHtr9-qOrIxxg_kpzjr1jfeM4RWs=w366-h764-no)

The ankle however, is another matter. Some screws and a cable-tie are now holding the bones together. The ligament damage is going to take time....

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/vZBWJY1x-xDxpxd63VzyFt5CZIc-jrZe10bE_PH8kwFtKWxm4cprd0aXn5JJ_11BHaLf9XjLMmVw6fbignhKUgVmUr75IaAu_qZoRw-vOPGqHdyIAX9G8b5HAn4c4JBO5_eujYgeOtmLrLPzcvQ5Lfs85CMnASFzCWAryr2tiyv6BEyTWG6yGeCGW1DBJI2a1RsIHqwIrHLWz9cvWIX0GrXKyhrptuTy04XNNHVyn-AT4YEywcAF0eAZ166ZkgNoUNcTwXvySzfBaOEZURT_Mh59ydZiQoHDiE2ii2gBbae5WnUPggP3zGM3KF7CN3Z6iv6UcVmc4d_a9q5roCg4LDPzzbmNNrrM_Dv_ewhYavJebifPbhFhb0yfASMRO6N5FHeQWh8eXUS4B1mnalzqY3Ms_6BZRnGFPOxlP9bTuUJIUdFHBWgYQg_9ovI-phm_U9bu8OTF47AuCI1o24PuamsJdgB2pO-6CZFW1DKKDKfG1mNUTHTbGNpNr7PLuhf9vL8ZobQNqa1aSP_O_9UHrDHnZzrJRR6g5gOFteFUWb5gQfF0X344qqcVJEx3b73mEOU4GHUzRwgKfrrUurZGEz0gwu7eL2x5Gl-gVxaEV1GMN436f_sR6lOAVfTigNtgkCLfR5Rjwg2sm0avZCFEcS6-hj1AyIJw3B8=w382-h764-no)

Keeping the boot on was exactly the right thing to do.
We had a similar situation with a mate. He broke his leg in 3 places really bad on a ride into the sticks. According to the specialist surgeon if we removed the boot there was a very real chance of us having severed the main artery. Keeping the boot on potentially saved his life.

Glad to see you didn't have that kind of injury.

Fantastic RR.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 09, 2017, 03:42:54 pm
I notice that, through all the mechanical carnage of broken radiators, stuffed fuel pumps, slime emiting fuel hoses, leaking forks,etc etc, Buttercup seems to continue waddling along with nary a care in the world....

Is there a lesson here?

Undoubtedly!!! If you can stomach riding such brilliant terrain on a wheezy, anaemic carthorse with a bad temper there really is no doubt. As Hardy said to me on the phone, "All you okes who aren't on DRs are going to be very sorry by the end of this trip!"

Ah - so definitely more about the journey than the destination....

Ag, if Ganjora is to be believed, its gearbox will explode in a spectacular fashion at some stage...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2017, 06:26:54 pm
Day 11: More Crowther Trail: to Palmwag

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map11.jpg)

Somehow the gods spared us from the rock munchers and we all saw daylight. The soft, pink hues of dawn, that is.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-01.jpg)

We were an hour or two in when Tom had an encounter with an angry game ranger in a tourist landy. Donít ask me what they were doing here - itís bloody far from any camp or habitation as far as I can see. But he was spooked.

Slowly, the stark, red, rock-encrusted earth moderated to more of a conventional desert landscape, and I surprised a small herd of gemsbok, who bolted across the trail.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-02.jpg)

There was another, bigger herd over the next rise, so clearly they like this place. 40km or so into the day, we turned eastward and dropped down into an arid valley. The mountains framing the eastern side of the desert were suddenly closer and we rode into a fierce wall of heat, like an oven door that had been left open. I think it was partly the effect of leaving the band of sea air that drifts in - I dunno - 40 or 80km from the ocean.

It was so hot and arid I didnít even consider stopping to get my camera out. Until Mike ran out petrol, that is.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-03.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-04.jpg)

About 10km before Palmwag we hit the exit gate to the conservancy. The Sesfontein Communal Conservancy is a semi-protected area running west of Palmwag and north to the Hoanib. Entrance fees, or some portion of them, benefit the community, which is cool. The guard at the gate was surprised we didnít have permits, but there had been no sign of the gate and guard he said we should have passed when crossing the Hoanib. Apparently bikes arenít really supposed to be there, but he didnít seem too phased about that - we just paid the park and camping fees with the absolute last of our cash, and left through the gate.

Palmwag was destined to be our oasis in the desert - we had run out of cash, fuel, food and water. Tomís bike now had a catastrophic radiator leak and there was no way we were leaving south without that sorted. We were hoping for the best.

The Palmwag lodge is a great place that makes an excellent base for trips in the area. Hundreds of tourists pour through there and itís well run. But they couldnít advance us any cash and had just used their last radiator sealant. We had a hearty steak and Tom manned up to the nasty job of having to ride east to Kamajab and get his bike fixed. It was baking hot and I didnít begrudge him the dastardly job of beating it 200km through that furnace. We filled up his bike on the credit card, he took as much water as he could carry and our ATM cards and left. When would we see him again?

There was nothing to do except decamp to the bar and drink as much beer as we could pour down our gullets. Late afternoon an elephant wandered into the reeds next to the bar. He was literally 3m from the walkway - what a privileged encounter:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-05.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-06.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-09.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-10.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-11.jpg)

Awesome! Thereís not much else to say - we pigged out, drowned ourselves at the bar and washed everything. We went to bed at about 8pm - everyone was a bit knackered - in our tents due to the super dangerous zebra snakes!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day11-13.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2017, 06:28:17 pm
I notice that, through all the mechanical carnage of broken radiators, stuffed fuel pumps, slime emiting fuel hoses, leaking forks,etc etc, Buttercup seems to continue waddling along with nary a care in the world....

Is there a lesson here?

Undoubtedly!!! If you can stomach riding such brilliant terrain on a wheezy, anaemic carthorse with a bad temper there really is no doubt. As Hardy said to me on the phone, "All you okes who aren't on DRs are going to be very sorry by the end of this trip!"

Ah - so definitely more about the journey than the destination....

Ag, if Ganjora is to be believed, its gearbox will explode in a spectacular fashion at some stage...

Haha! I can't believe a DR's engine is strong enough to destroy a gearbox!!  :laughing4:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 10, 2017, 01:34:37 pm
heh - Touche!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 10, 2017, 03:50:34 pm
Day 12: Into the lair of the Fearsome Face-Eater: Palmwag to Torra Conservancy

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map12.jpg)

So much had happened on this trip already that it kind of felt like we were done, even though we had most of a week still to go. When planning the route Iíd kind of run out of steam a bit at Palmwag. There was Desolation Valley to come, but that didnít sound very appealing at all, after suffering through the beastly furnace of the day before.

Camel had climbed into my tent during the night. As you would have noticed in the previous pictures, his had a slight little hole or two after being jammed into his back wheel at 70kph, and when the mozzies kicked off their assault in the middle of the night he gave up and crammed in with me. Two 6í2Ē-plus beasts in the most miniature Ďtwo maní hiking tent ainít fun, I can tell you! By dawn I was desperate to escape, so I left him to it and went for a walk. This is what I found:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-03.jpg)

This is the walkway to the bar, right where Iíd seen the ellie yesterday, and clearly heíd been in to cause some havoc overnight.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-01.jpg)

Apparently there had also been a bit of a bar fight. You never know, with a room full of drunk german tourists. I saw some camp staff and told them what had happened. UmÖ no! That was actually a juvenile male leopard whoíd taken a particular liking to messing up their bar overnight. Apparently heís particularly partial to this handily placed tree branch, and despises the wall clock, cause heís already wrecked that:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-02.jpg)

We know this because he appears on the nightly CCTV feed! Hilarious. I was super keen to see the footage, but unfortunately the office was too busy. Not your average Protea Hotel on the Square, is it?

We had a super hearty English breakfast and lounged around, waiting for English to arrive. Eventually the DRZ roared into view, a triumphant Thomas bearing cash, and aboard a fully functioning motorcycle. Well, sort of, at least. The young man is prone to the irresistible temptations of a bargain, and when the bike was overheating about a year back, he bought an old second hand fan at Craigís Used Parts and had it fitted at some dodgy backyard mechanic on Voortrekker Road. The blades of the fan were now hitting the radiator, and sliced open a nice cut in the fins at the back. Lovely.

Anyway, fan was chucked and radiator was now plastered closed with some kind of gummy sealant that would hopefully get us home. Iím prepared to lay serious money thatís exactly how it still is next time we go riding together.

We immediately loaded up and left before anything else could go wrong.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-04.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-05.jpg)

I was hoping we could head west again into the Achab river area, but I had a chat to the son of the owner of Palmwag Lodge and apparently the veterinary gate at the Wereldsend airstrip is permanently locked. That blank section on the map is is a rhino research area, and Iím sure they are understandably jumpy about people travelling through there. He said heíd only been down there once in all the time heíd been at Palmwag.

So it was back on the C43 to Bersig and then we hooked a right and headed for the very rough track through the Torra Conservancy. Literally as we turned off the road into the grasslands I made a really nasty discovery - Iíd failed to do up my sleep roll bag super tight and it had dropped down and burnt a hole on the exhaust pipe. Fuck. Shit. Bugger. BUGGER!!!!!! For all the wonder of Rox Straps, they do loosen progressively over rough ground, and mine had slipped just enough to allow the roll bag to drop down a few centimetres and melt through.

I was immediately in a super foul mood. Six weeks before we departed I tore a shoulder tendon at the Impi enduro, and it had been giving me a world of trouble. I was hocked up to the eyeballs on cortisone, which made riding bearable, but at night it aches and pains deep in the joint and makes sleeping terribly uncomfortable.

Iíd already had one nightís poor sleep due to my nocturnal visitor, and going without sleep on a trip like this really messes with my vibe. A man needs his napÖ and with my sleeping mat smouldered to smithereens I had severe doubts Iíd now be getting any the next few nights.

It was my worst afternoon of the trip. I was deep in a horrible fog, and couldnít get my head out of it. Furious with myself for not having triple checked the straps, and generally just being a bit of a SOB. In sympathy at my predicament, Tomís bike threw a hissy fit and finally sheered the soldered ball right off the end of the clutch cable. Trust a bike to kick you when youíre down.

A furious mechanic is a great mechanicÖ I grabbed a hose clamp, jammed the sodding bloody cable into the mechanism, and clamped it down tight. Squashed it flat and instructed the damn thing to behave itself. It worked!!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-10.jpg)

Itís a shame I was moping through the mist curtain of misery, because the terrain was utterly unlike anything weíd seen before. Golden grasses covering the rocky ground in a rich matt, waving slowly in the afternoon breeze and lending a whimsical charm to the place.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-09.jpg)

We startled a small herd of zebra, and then minutes later my companions saw first a couple of jackal and then one of the sightings of the trip - the hunched over, lumbering figure of a massive old face-eater, scowling as the trundled off with his lop-sided lope. Unfortunately I missed him.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-08.jpg)

Mostly I was keeping my eye on the ground. Anything not to be sleeping on stones. Eventually we happened on a nice river bed and I dismounted immediately and declared the day over.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-14.jpg)

As we set up camp I made a bizarre discovery. My pillow and mat had been rolled up tight, and burned through in just on area - for a row of holes.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-12.jpg)

Astoundingly they both seemed that they might be holding air, which brightened my mood considerably. There were a hell of a lot of game signs everywhere, and a quick reconnoitre of our campsite revealed these two:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-15.jpg)

Iím pretty sure the first one is a rhino midden. The other? God alone knows. It looks like the lair of an elephant-size face eater! The camp descended into a scene of mild panic. This was definitely the night we felt most vulnerable on the trip. Far too much had already gone wrong, and that face-eater was definitely not a good sign. We parked the tents right up against each other, and in a somewhat pitiful attempt at security, surrounded them with bikes and an utterly ridiculous attempt at a Himba kraal.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day12-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-02.jpg)

It was going to be a extremely fitful nightís sleep, that is for sure!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on October 10, 2017, 04:19:12 pm
awesome
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Pistonpete on October 10, 2017, 06:13:54 pm
 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: frankmac on October 10, 2017, 06:58:18 pm
I can just imagine a lion's consternation on approaching your lager as to how he would manage to break through the perimeter defences
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Pilchie on October 10, 2017, 10:21:12 pm
 :imaposer:
I can just imagine a lion's consternation on approaching your lager as to how he would manage to break through the perimeter defences
:imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: tulips on October 11, 2017, 09:57:34 am
:imaposer:
I can just imagine a lion's consternation on approaching your lager as to how he would manage to break through the perimeter defences
:imaposer: :imaposer:

 F thats funny  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Great read
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 03:41:31 pm
Day 13: Through the Valley of Desolation I shall fear no evil

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map13.jpg)

Alive! Alive! We were all alive!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-01.jpg)

Consternated lions not withstanding, we had made it through the night. The boma had held against the onslaught! We would live to ride another day.

My enthusiasm about my mattress surviving the Great Burning had been premature. The bloody thing would pretend to hold air for about 15 minutes, and then slowly sink down to the ground, depositing me on the semi sandy hardness. I barely slept.

Still, the morning was pretty breathtaking, and we set off into the soft early light.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-03.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-04.jpg)

It was surprisingly cold, and before long we were stopping to pull on extra warmth. If Iím not mistaken this was the very fist time weíd done that on this trip.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-05.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-06.jpg)

The surrounding hills were smothered in a heavy layer of cloud, and for a while I began to think it might actually rain on us. That would have been quite a shock for this part of Namibia, at any time of year.

Literally five minutes after that last stop, the trail suddenly descended, and we rode up onto a koppie for an unobstructed view over the magnificent Valley of Desolation.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-09.jpg)

I must be honest - I hadnít been exactly thrilled about riding through a place called that. Weíd done hot, dry, and desolate to exhaustion on this trip already. How great could another place like that really be? Pretty fucking great, is the answer. Just look at this!!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-10.jpg)

The GPS indicated we were taking that twee-spoor off to the left, but a big part of me wanted to just ride straight for the horizon. After a short while, there was a small encampment in the distance to the left, hidden around a small water hole and some grasses. It looked like a person was standing there watching, following us with binoculars, but it was hard to make out for sure. We rode on, and it was glorious.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-13.jpg)

Iím running out of adjectives on this story, but it really was all that. Magnificent terrain that made you want to look up, and stop concentrating on where you were going. Iím glad I didnít because the next thing I saw was bloody great footprints tromping directly down the track we were on. And very, very fresh too, cause there was wet dung on the side of the road. Rhino!! How amazing would it be if we got to see one of those?? There was basically zero cover for him, either, so I rode on with my eyes super peeled in the hope of spotting the beast.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-14.jpg)

Perhaps he was some hours ahead of usÖ or maybe weíre half blind (probably the latter) but we never did spot him. Disappointing, but the feetprints still seemed like a bit of a win. We crossed the dry Huab riverbed, and turned left between some strange rocky mountains. So symmetrically smashed were these rocks, they looked like the byproduct of some mining operation, but I think itís actually natural.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-15.jpg)

The views across the Doro!Nawas Communal Conservancy were again just stunning in every direction. We climbed out of that little canyon and onto a flat plain, and before long it was time for morning tea.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-21.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-19.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-20.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 03:42:29 pm
After tea, probably - and I say this extremely hesitantly, bearing in mind what youíve already witnessed - one of the most unexpected and dramatic hourís scenery unfolded before us. It doesnít even have a name on the map, but this is the canyon leading down to the Ugab river.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-22.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-23.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-24.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-25.jpg)

The walls of the canyon got progressively taller and tighter, and the rock formations and vegetation ever more strange and dramatic.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-26.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-27.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-28.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-29.jpg)

I mean look at this bad boy:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-30.jpg)

There were old track marks, but Iíd guess that if you broke down here and were unlucky, it could be weeks before someone found you.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-31.jpg)

Suddenly, like passing through a set of gates, we were into the Ugab river. The Ugab was the river that Hardy had warned me off the most. Itís received a fair bit of rain and is overgrown, and literally crawling with animals. This far west thereís also a much higher chance of lion. Evidence of that is everywhere - tracks, dung, broken trees from elephant - I hadnít seen any animals yet, but it felt like weíd walked into a large dinner party where everyone had suddenly got up and rushed outsideÖ plates still laden with food, candles smouldering and drops of red wine slowly dripping down glasses.

The dayís trail was so long Iíd split the GPS route into two parts, and the first one ran out right here:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-32.jpg)

When I saw the Midge stripping off his helmet and looking like he was about to put his feet up and have a break, I literally yelled at him:

ďAre you out of your mind?? Look at this place. Get the hell out of here.Ē

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-33.jpg)

Perhaps I was being overly dramatic. But then again, maybe not. Anything could have run out of those reeds and bushes at any point, and we were sitting ducks. Itís a wild, wild country and we were one hell of a long way from any kind of human habitation or help.

We only had 5km in the Ugab, and then the we hooked a left and climbed to the south, over some rocky outcrops and down into the next valley. Just look at this for contrast!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-34.jpg)

It was like being in some kind of fast-moving time capsule - no sooner had you steadied your feet and taken in your surrounds, then you get whisked away to somewhere completely different. Blink and we were in a wide open, sandy desert plain, stretching away to the south as far as the eye could see.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-35.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-36.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-37.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 03:43:06 pm
The Professor had charted this day on Google Earth and heíd spanked it out of his socks. The sky had cleared and the sun was out, but it wasnít warm at all, and I think that contributed to the otherworldly feeling.

The miles were flowing fast under our wheels, and it didnít seem long before we passed a sign for the Dorob National Park. This place is characterised by more red and black rocks, but they were unlike anything weíd seen before. One thing about el-Professore is that he has a loathing of sand due to the fact that all his riding has essentially been on big bikes. In control of the GPS, heíd charted a careful path around any signs of the stuff, but he wasnít here and I was in charge. Weíd now hit the Messum river, in an area thick with giant Welwitschia plants, and there was no way we were bypassing that river bed. I zoomed out a bit on the GPS and noticed that in about 70km we could cross his track again, and so left it was. Wouldnít you?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-39.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-38.jpg)

The Midget was feeling exceptionally frisky, and so was Buttercup, and he set off at a furious pace.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-40.jpg)

Never one to miss an opportunity for a little desert racing, I hooked onto his right shoulder and started hounding the little Dakar racer. It was hilarious - we were hard on the throttle and the track marks were seesawing wildly in the open river bed. That KTM 500 is sensational in these conditions - so responsive on the throttle you can lift the front at any moment, and the suspension is smooth and progressive enough to feel entirely predictable. Left, right, faster, faster!!! I took out my crop and whipped that lazy carthorse Buttercup into a frenzy of excitement. Faster she galloped, till the cold dry air burned in her lungs and the knobs started to burn off the edges of her tyres.

Out of the river bed, and onto more open plains. I run out of description - it feels like Iím repeating myself over and over - and yet with each new vista the brain buzzed and fizzed with even more excitement. Around 4pm the Brandberg came into view in the far distance, a purple shimmering haze.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-41.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-43.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-42.jpg)

Finally a monstrous plain opened before us, like the red sea before the Israelites, and cross it we must.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-44.jpg)

Light was fading, and the mountains growing closerÖ the end of a truly memorable day. I think, on points, the overall most stunning day of the trip, but that is just a highly subjective title. There had been so much, we had been humbled into a stunned awe.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-45.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-46.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-48.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-47.jpg)

And in that distance is about where we stopped. Another sublime campsite in the shadow of the big mountain, surrounded by sand. The sun duly sank with a golden glow.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-50.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-51.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-52.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-54.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-55.jpg)

We dragged a huge log to the fire, but couldnít work out how to burn it, and it just became camp art.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-56.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-58.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-59.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-60.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-61.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-57.jpg)

How can one put such a day into words? I think the Midge says it best.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-63.jpg)

Camel celebrated the end of a glorious day by cooking us naan bread on some hot rocks.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-64.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day13-65.jpg)

I think I was asleep by 8.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on October 11, 2017, 04:10:08 pm
Incredible terrain
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: WheelieDog on October 11, 2017, 04:16:28 pm
Thank you for this incredible RR gentlemen.

I've been following along in amazement. The pictures and writing are top notch.

I made the mistake of clicking on the link to your Angolan adventure and have basically done no constructive work for the last two days. Certainly not time wasted though, I am richer for sharing your experiences!

Big up to you guys for taking the time and writing this report, and for sharing it here :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Offshore on October 11, 2017, 04:22:31 pm
Awesome, thank you for sharing.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: TinusBez on October 11, 2017, 04:50:01 pm
Epic epic epic

Roll on
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 04:56:36 pm
Thank you for this incredible RR gentlemen.

I've been following along in amazement. The pictures and writing are top notch.

I made the mistake of clicking on the link to your Angolan adventure and have basically done no constructive work for the last two days. Certainly not time wasted though, I am richer for sharing your experiences!

Big up to you guys for taking the time and writing this report, and for sharing it here :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Thanks WheelieDog! The joy is as much in the reliving of the experience as it is in sharing, but one always hopes people are going to enjoy travelling along. Hopefully the wilddogs site lasts forever - my plan is come back and re-read these in my rocking chair in 40 years time!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: TinusBez on October 11, 2017, 05:05:33 pm
Thank you for this incredible RR gentlemen.

I've been following along in amazement. The pictures and writing are top notch.

I made the mistake of clicking on the link to your Angolan adventure and have basically done no constructive work for the last two days. Certainly not time wasted though, I am richer for sharing your experiences!

Big up to you guys for taking the time and writing this report, and for sharing it here :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Thanks WheelieDog! The joy is as much in the reliving of the experience as it is in sharing, but one always hopes people are going to enjoy travelling along. Hopefully the wilddogs site lasts forever - my plan is come back and re-read these in my rocking chair in 40 years time!

I re-read (if there is such a word) many old RR's including yours especially the Ngola one.

I do have a question. Seems you pack awfully light and I like that. You mentioned in an earlier post about carrying oil for the oil change done. How much oil did you carry and where the f... did you put it. I'd reckon the bulk of the luggage was probably oil and the rest camp gear, would that assumption be more or less correct? Guess we're going to get there still and will (im)patiently wait but did you do another fuel change? average km per day/hours. Seems like 7-8 hours of riding per day and at service every 10-15 on the 500 have you only changed oil once?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 11, 2017, 05:20:23 pm
Now you are just getting annoying! I have ridden there 4 times, but never heard of Valley of Desolation. So now - just because of you - I have to go again?!

Thanks a bunch!  :peepwall: :pot: :ricky:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 05:32:19 pm

I do have a question. Seems you pack awfully light and I like that. You mentioned in an earlier post about carrying oil for the oil change done. How much oil did you carry and where the f... did you put it. I'd reckon the bulk of the luggage was probably oil and the rest camp gear, would that assumption be more or less correct? Guess we're going to get there still and will (im)patiently wait but did you do another fuel change? average km per day/hours. Seems like 7-8 hours of riding per day and at service every 10-15 on the 500 have you only changed oil once?

Hey Tinus

Yeah - been trying to cut out stuff every time we go! :) Look, it's probably not necessary for this kind of riding, and I know the Motology crowd did 5,000km between oil changes on their recent ride in S America, but I want to keep this bike a while, and I figured I'd be nice to her. So, plan was less than 2,000km on an oil change. I had 2 litre bottles of Motorex in one side of the Coyote - they're flat so it's not really that bad - the bike uses 1.5l. I also had 2 spare foam oil filters, pre-oiled and scrunched up in ziplock bags - that was probably more important.

We did under 3,000km in the end - the oil was probably necessary! The manual says 20 hours on the 500, I think, but that's race conditions. I'll do a full technical and gear post at the end of the RR.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 05:35:21 pm
Now you are just getting annoying! I have ridden there 4 times, but never heard of Valley of Desolation. So now - just because of you - I have to go again?!

Thanks a bunch!  :peepwall: :pot: :ricky:

Haha  >:D . Writing this I'm looking at all the places I left out. If you haven't done Little Serengeti that's a must. I'd love to ride the whole of the Hoanib and Huab. Damaraland is where it's at!!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: TinusBez on October 11, 2017, 05:43:24 pm

I do have a question. Seems you pack awfully light and I like that. You mentioned in an earlier post about carrying oil for the oil change done. How much oil did you carry and where the f... did you put it. I'd reckon the bulk of the luggage was probably oil and the rest camp gear, would that assumption be more or less correct? Guess we're going to get there still and will (im)patiently wait but did you do another fuel change? average km per day/hours. Seems like 7-8 hours of riding per day and at service every 10-15 on the 500 have you only changed oil once?

Hey Tinus

Yeah - been trying to cut out stuff every time we go! :) Look, it's probably not necessary for this kind of riding, and I know the Motology crowd did 5,000km between oil changes on their recent ride in S America, but I want to keep this bike a while, and I figured I'd be nice to her. So, plan was less than 2,000km on an oil change. I had 2 litre bottles of Motorex in one side of the Coyote - they're flat so it's not really that bad - the bike uses 1.5l. I also had 2 spare foam oil filters, pre-oiled and scrunched up in ziplock bags - that was probably more important.

We did under 3,000km in the end - the oil was probably necessary! The manual says 20 hours on the 500, I think, but that's race conditions. I'll do a full technical and gear post at the end of the RR.

Thanks, yeah I forgot about those hours being race conditions. The motology crew may have gone overboard and agree on air filters, fortunately they're small.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 11, 2017, 05:46:57 pm


Hey Tinus

Yeah - been trying to cut out stuff every time we go! :) Look, it's probably not necessary for this kind of riding, and I know the Motology crowd did 5,000km between oil changes on their recent ride in S America, but I want to keep this bike a while, and I figured I'd be nice to her. So, plan was less than 2,000km on an oil change. I had 2 litre bottles of Motorex in one side of the Coyote - they're flat so it's not really that bad - the bike uses 1.5l. I also had 2 spare foam oil filters, pre-oiled and scrunched up in ziplock bags - that was probably more important.

We did under 3,000km in the end - the oil was probably necessary! The manual says 20 hours on the 500, I think, but that's race conditions. I'll do a full technical and gear post at the end of the RR.

Did you really go through 2 spare air filters on this trip? Couldn't you go with one and just clean it regularly? Ta
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 11, 2017, 06:11:41 pm
The Professor had charted this day on Google Earth and heíd spanked it out of his socks. The sky had cleared and the sun was out, but it wasnít warm at all, and I think that contributed to the otherworldly feeling.

The miles were flowing fast under our wheels, and it didnít seem long before we passed a sign for the Dorob National Park. This place is characterised by more red and black rocks, but they were unlike anything weíd seen before. One thing about el-Professore is that he has a loathing of sand due to the fact that all his riding has essentially been on big bikes. In control of the GPS, heíd charted a careful path around any signs of the stuff, but he wasnít here and I was in charge. Weíd now hit the Messum river, in an area thick with giant Welwitschia plants, and there was no way we were bypassing that river bed. I zoomed out a bit on the GPS and noticed that in about 70km we could cross his track again, and so left it was. Wouldnít you?

That's just plain cheeky! So you opted for yet another sandy river bed in order to circumnavigate the Messum Crater in its entirety. Shame on you  ::)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 06:40:13 pm
What? No surely not. Your road just ran next to the river! We must do Basecamp and check this out!!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2017, 06:41:25 pm


Hey Tinus

Yeah - been trying to cut out stuff every time we go! :) Look, it's probably not necessary for this kind of riding, and I know the Motology crowd did 5,000km between oil changes on their recent ride in S America, but I want to keep this bike a while, and I figured I'd be nice to her. So, plan was less than 2,000km on an oil change. I had 2 litre bottles of Motorex in one side of the Coyote - they're flat so it's not really that bad - the bike uses 1.5l. I also had 2 spare foam oil filters, pre-oiled and scrunched up in ziplock bags - that was probably more important.

We did under 3,000km in the end - the oil was probably necessary! The manual says 20 hours on the 500, I think, but that's race conditions. I'll do a full technical and gear post at the end of the RR.

Did you really go through 2 spare air filters on this trip? Couldn't you go with one and just clean it regularly? Ta
Actually I find that more of a hack. Carrying filter oil and having the right conditions to clean them is a pain if youíre camping. I prefer the spray oil anyway...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sheepman on October 11, 2017, 09:36:55 pm
Absolutely the right title for your report - Stunning !
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Lou1 on October 12, 2017, 07:31:30 am
THIS is adventure riding!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on October 12, 2017, 08:07:24 am
Now you are just getting annoying! I have ridden there 4 times, but never heard of Valley of Desolation. So now - just because of you - I have to go again?!

Thanks a bunch!  :peepwall: :pot: :ricky:

And now I have to get the right bike and go there too....
Oh - and do some sand training....
One day!
 ;)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 12, 2017, 05:58:37 pm
Day 14: Last rites - Brandberg to Spitzkoppe

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map14.jpg)

How was it not possible to wake up feeling a little blue today? It was the last full riding day of our trip - tomorrow weíd be getting back to the car and beginning the journey home. Such a long ride, so many things seen and experienced. I felt jam-packed with sensations, images and memories, happy to be thinking of home, but also down to be leaving this episode of life behind.

But letís not get ahead of ourselves. We still had a gorgeous dayís riding ahead of us! First things first - a filthy filch of a jackal had been in camp during the night and robbed us blind. What could he possibly want with a bright pink, plastic Barbie coffee mug, I ask you? Take it home to luvvie and let her lick out the last remnants of last nightís hot chocolate? Weíd camped  in a huge, flat sandy plain and I walked around for fifteen minutes and couldnít see it anywhere. Oh - heíd also napped a small frying pan/lid of a billy can. WTF??!?

The riding looked great, so we loaded up pretty quickly and got to it. For the last hour yesterday weíd been seeing these massive holes in the track:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-01.jpg)

Please will someone tell me what lives down there? There were dozens and dozens of them spread out all over the place. If you werenít careful your front wheel was going down there - about a metre across and half a metre deep on the biggest ones - and you were going flying.

We were now skirting the southern edge of the Brandberg, no longer purple in the morning light, but still dramatic.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-02.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-03.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-04.jpg)

There was a fierce competition going on. Midge and I both have 5.3 gallon tanks - 20l if you believe Acerbis and 19l according to KTM. Heíd been crowing about the miserly DR650 but Iíd been blown away by the frugal 500 on this trip so Iíd wagered him at Palmwag on who would run out first. The route was supposed to be 360km, and I was pretty confident I could do it on a tank, but Iíd been short shifting and super easy on the throttle the last two days just in case, to try and stretch the fuel out. The only exception was the race through the river bed for 80km yesterday, but Midge was involved in that too, so even Stevens.

When I checked his bike this morning, he looked a lot worse off than I did. I goaded him into upping the ante, and he foolishly got involved, promising to bring me an ice-cold beer on his knees at the next stop if he ran out. Haha! Game on.

The trail stretched out longer than expected, and since I was up front, I threw in every diversion I could. 350 kilometres, 360 kilometresÖ the Midget was looking deeply concerned. The DR was sucking on air, petrol hardly visible in the tank. 370Ö we turned onto the road to Uis and still he was hanging in there. Clocking 380 just as we turned into town, I looked back one final time, hoping to see the little fella off and pushing. Sadly it was not to be. Buttercup puttered into town on her last breath and died at the fuel pump. Bugger.

The 500, on the other hand, was cruisingÖ easy streets!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-05.jpg)

She took 17.5l on board - so still had at least 50km left in her. Thatís a 430+ km range! Just sensational. I knew from my 450 at Amageza that it could do 270 on a tank under race conditions, flat out in the sand, but I think this 500 may be even more economical.

We took on board fuel, food and breakfast in Uis, and then headed out for our final night at Spitzkoppe. From here weíd be retracing our steps - perhaps a fitting way to endÖ re-wind the clock, play back the memories from what seemed like such a very long time agoÖ

Time had faded the memory, I guess, because Iíd completely forgotten about our sensational Omaruru river bed on day two! Check this out:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-06.jpg)

This ride wasnít going gently into that dark nightÖ we were jumping onboard a freight train, and hanging on for dear life. Just glorious!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-08.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-09.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-10.jpg)

Honestly, riding this river bed in reverse was right up there with the best riding weíd had on all our travels:

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-13.jpg)

And then it happened! I was leading and came around a bend in the river flat out in 6th, when I saw this!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-14.jpg)

Jam on the anchors, Lords of the River Gods be praised! A bloody pachyderm!! Right there in our river bed! A parting gift for all the wonderment, perhaps. Believe it or not, this was the first ellie weíd actually ridden into properly in a river bed, the whole trip, and maybe it was appropriate we had to wait until right at the end?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-15.jpg)

He was about 80m away, eating grass and minding his own business. We took photos, marvelled and enjoyed, and eventually decided it was time to pass. I was elected one-most-likely-to-effect-a-reliable-180-degree-emergency-turn and told to test the route past him. I rode slowly forward, and stopped again about 30m out. He slowly turned to look at me, I looked back. He ate some more grass and then lumbered off extremely slowly into the bushes. Gone.

On we rodeÖ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-16.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14.jpg)

Goodbye to the final river bed. And what a ride! As we exited the river bed a ranger of some kind approached us at the gate of a ramshackle farm building.

ďHave you seen the elephants?Ē He asked.

Apparently there were two of them in that river bed - one recognisable by a missing tusk - and theyíd been causing havoc. The elephants had been sucking water out of the farm tanks, and the farmers had been feeding them. Then several nights later they had returned and trashed the place. Now the farmers wanted them shot. A sad reminder of the disturbed and edgy relationship between humans and animals. I hope that wasnít how it ended.

We turned south and made our way slowly towards Spitzkoppe. I think nobody could bring themselves to ride at any speed, and Iím sure it wasnít just me lost in my own thoughts.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-19.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-20.jpg)

Spitzkoppe was as profound and beautiful as it had been the first night. We bought beer, climbed a little koppie and watched the final rays of the sun disappear.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-22.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-21.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-23.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Renrew on October 12, 2017, 06:07:31 pm
Truly magical MaxTP! I hope to be passing through this very route over December if all goes to plan.

Do you perhaps have your route loaded on this thread?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 12, 2017, 06:33:33 pm
I may be wrong, but I think these are aardvark holes. Any place they get the scent of termites or ants, they'll burrow after them for dinner.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day14-01.jpg)
Title: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 12, 2017, 06:47:45 pm
They must have been hungry - there were a shitload of them.

We missed you, brother. The second half was sad without you!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 12, 2017, 06:49:04 pm
Truly magical MaxTP! I hope to be passing through this very route over December if all goes to plan.

Do you perhaps have your route loaded on this thread?

Na - will pull one together soon and post it. Or PM me.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on October 13, 2017, 06:58:54 am
Very very cool and thanks for sharing.

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 13, 2017, 07:04:42 am
Day 15: The good ole wheel of fortune keeps turning - Spitzkoppe to Windhoek

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/map15.jpg)

Perhaps it was a fitting that we started today doing something other than motorcycling. Personally, I thought climbing Spitzkoppe in the dark in motorcycle boots was a ludicrous idea, but I wasnít going to be the only one staying in camp either.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-02.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-01.jpg)

We got a bit lost on the way up, but eventually reached one of the mini summits just in time.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-06.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-07.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-09.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-10.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-05.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-03.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-04.jpg)

And like the undeniable, unmovable mass of the mountain, sometimes you just have to recognise that the trip is over.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-08.jpg)

These are truly odd trees - what are these things called again?

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-11.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-12.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-13.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-14.jpg)

I think it was less than 60km straight out to Usakos, where we picked up the car, thanks to the really nice manager at the Engen, and loaded up on some very wet, sweaty biltong.

And then it was into the car for the three hour drive back to Windhoek, were weíd spend the night. The Midge and The English would be jetting home the next day to their lovelies and offspring, and Camel had pulled the unlucky ticket and volunteered to drive home with me - my original drive partner was languishing in Cape Town with his leg in plaster.

Nobody was very talkative. I think everything weíd been through in the last two weeks - was it only two weeks?? - was still sinking in and thoughts were turning back to home, and the lives weíd put on pause.

We were half way to Windhoek, when The Midge suddenly let out a loud, high pitched squeal!! I almost drove off the road. WTF??

He was gesticulating wildly in front of us at the Amarok bakkie that had just overtaken us. Suddenly I realised what all the fuss was about. There, languishing in the back, like a lone cow on her way to market, was el Professoreís motorcycle!!!

The gods be damned!! I flashed like crazy and put the hazzards on, and the bakkie pulled over. In a few minutes I heard what was going on in the cab. The driver, Loftie du Toit, was on the phone to Hardy de Kock:

ďHardy, Iíve just caught up with a bakkie and four bikes - I think itís the okes who own this bike!Ē

ďOK man - pass them and see if they recognise youÖĒ

Recognise him, we did.

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-15.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-16.jpg)

Iíve never met Loftie, but I know his brother Gerrit from several successive Amagezas. What a small world, and what a strange coincidence! Loftie works in mining in Swakop, and Hardy had called him up and asked him to take a huge drum of fuel to Puros for them.

ďSure, Iíve got nothing better to doÖ Iíll drive 1,000km north for you to bring you a can of gas."

When he got there, Hardy then asked him to drop the 690 in Windhoek, to spare it further indignity of languishing on the back of a Honda rescue caravan in the full glare of the motorcycling media. Perhaps there was an omen there - 20 Hondas travel around the entire northern half of Namibia and the only bike they have to recover and evacuate is a KTM!

But for us, the Good Wheel of Fortune keeps on turningÖ Thank you Loftie!!

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-17.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-18.jpg)

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day15-19.jpg)

We werenít even back in Windhoek and already we had Gavís ride back, ready for the trip home.

We were back in Windhoek in time for a brief afternoon nap, and then I drove over to the Safari Hotel to go and meet the Honda crowd, who had finally caught up with us, and say thank you to Hardy.

Isnít that a testament to the true essence of South African warmth and friendship? We lose a motorcycle in the far north of Namibia, virtually on the Angolan border, and more than 2,000km away from South Africa. We abandon it in a campsite with a local weíve just met, and a letter for someone else weíve never met, and no sooner do we get in our car, a week later, than the the bike is dropped off with us on the side of the road, ready to be loaded and repatriated.

The Safari Hotel was a bit of an experience - all kinds of Friday night Windhoek crazy was kicking off in the various car parks of the huge place - but I located my good friend Andrew Johnstone/Kamanya and hobnobbed with him for a while. I think he knew he was in the running to win his Africa Twin at the function later that evening, so there was quite a bit of excitement bubbling. I believe he was the runner up in the end - bummer Andrew!

Eventually we found Hardy, and I got to shake his hand for the first time. What a cool guy. A whirlwind of admin was exploding all around him, and everyone wanted his attention, but all he wanted to do was talk excitedly about our route - where had we gone? What were the highlights? Which bits did we love? The Valley of Desolation, Little Serengeti - some of our favourites were his secrets shared, and they had been as sweet as you like. What a cool guy - thank you Hardy!!

Then it was back to our corner of the city, and our last supper at Joeís Beer House. We all ate way too much meat, drank way too much, and crawled back to our urban tents to collapse.

All that remained was to get back home.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: edgy on October 13, 2017, 07:43:42 am
Sorry I missed what the issue was, why was the 690 left and why was it on the bakkie?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: RobLH on October 13, 2017, 07:46:02 am
Fantastic report and superb photies, thank you.

PS. Agreed on the holes being made by Aardvark.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 13, 2017, 08:02:03 am
Fantastic report, thanks MTP!  :thumleft:

And kudos to Hardy & his gang for helping the orphaned KTM out.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Damaraland on October 13, 2017, 08:08:32 am
Thanks for a fantastic report, we did much the same two weeks ago and the writing really takes me back.

"Apparently there were two of them in that river bed - one recognisable by a missing tusk - and theyíd been causing havoc. The elephants had been sucking water out of the farm tanks, and the farmers had been feeding them. Then several nights later they had returned and trashed the place. Now the farmers wanted them shot. A sad reminder of the disturbed and edgy relationship between humans and animals. I hope that wasnít how it ended."

His name was Kambonde and unfortunately he was shot, along with another bull called Tsaurab between the 18th and 20th of September.  Word is that the so-called hunter put 7 bullets in Kambonde which didn't kill him - MET official had to put him out of his agony.  One day we will pay the price for all this shit.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 13, 2017, 08:12:48 am
Thanks for a fantastic report, we did much the same two weeks ago and the writing really takes me back.

"Apparently there were two of them in that river bed - one recognisable by a missing tusk - and theyíd been causing havoc. The elephants had been sucking water out of the farm tanks, and the farmers had been feeding them. Then several nights later they had returned and trashed the place. Now the farmers wanted them shot. A sad reminder of the disturbed and edgy relationship between humans and animals. I hope that wasnít how it ended."

His name was Kambonde and unfortunately he was shot, along with another bull called Tsaurab between the 18th and 20th of September.  Word is that the so-called hunter put 7 bullets in Kambonde which didn't kill him - MET official had to put him out of his agony.  One day we will pay the price for all this shit.

Makes me sick!  >:(
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: isiTututu on October 13, 2017, 08:13:33 am
Sorry I missed what the issue was, why was the 690 left and why was it on the bakkie?

Edgy, you're going to have to read the report ;-)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: frankmac on October 13, 2017, 08:21:25 am
"These are truly odd trees - what are these things called again? "

Are those not Impala lilies?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 13, 2017, 08:27:48 am
Thanks for a fantastic report, we did much the same two weeks ago and the writing really takes me back.

"Apparently there were two of them in that river bed - one recognisable by a missing tusk - and theyíd been causing havoc. The elephants had been sucking water out of the farm tanks, and the farmers had been feeding them. Then several nights later they had returned and trashed the place. Now the farmers wanted them shot. A sad reminder of the disturbed and edgy relationship between humans and animals. I hope that wasnít how it ended."

His name was Kambonde and unfortunately he was shot, along with another bull called Tsaurab between the 18th and 20th of September.  Word is that the so-called hunter put 7 bullets in Kambonde which didn't kill him - MET official had to put him out of his agony.  One day we will pay the price for all this shit.

Oh my god this is just horrible. The other bull, Tsaurub, was probably the elephant we encountered in the river bed. He had both tusks, and I believe there were only two in that area. I fucking hate the killing of animals for sport, fun or trophies. I hope one day the perps get to line up naked in front of some angry bastard who gets to wreak bloody vengeance on them.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on October 13, 2017, 08:49:34 am
MTP, what was the problem with the second 690 - the one your brother spent whole night fixing at Marble campsite? I read the report but do not recall you saying what turned out to be the root cause.

Ta
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: KiLRoy on October 13, 2017, 10:40:06 am
Time to move this RR to where it belongs.

Well done okes and thanks for sharing your story
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Slim Jim on October 13, 2017, 11:21:51 am
Well done guys , you did stuff dreams are made of, your report is were it belongs  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Orangeswifty on October 13, 2017, 11:33:55 am
Thank you for a memorable journey through your pen.
Your penmanship is staggering.
I will go so far as to comment that you should put together a small compilation of your journeys through this area and aptly name the book the same as this report.
I'm sure you will sell stax of them :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Sam on October 13, 2017, 11:38:37 am
Jeez - how was that for timing meeting up with the 690 recovery team! Unreal!

Thanks a mill for taking the time and effort to put up the RR. After the Angola one, I though it would be difficult to match  - I shouldn't have doubted

Anyway, count your lucky stars for the opportunity to do these trips, and to have a likeminded bunch of nutcases to join you. Memories of a lifetime!



Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 13, 2017, 11:53:28 am
Time to move this RR to where it belongs.

Well done okes and thanks for sharing your story

That's an honour, Sir!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 13, 2017, 12:10:35 pm
Reflections

OK, itís Friday - letís get this thing wrapped up. The long trip home passed pretty uneventfully. I was wrapped in my thoughts, and happy to be quiet. We spent most of it listening to the first eight  or ten hours of Dan Carlinís Hardcore History, Blueprint for Armageddon, which is a podcast about the in-depth story of World War 1: http://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-50-blueprint-for-armageddon-i/ (http://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-50-blueprint-for-armageddon-i/)

Damn - I wish Iíd had a history teacher like this at school or uni!

Finally, she hove into view, and it was all overÖ

(http://thinkteam.co.za/photos/namibia2017/day17.jpg)

It took a good two weeks to feel fully back into the routine of life, work and everything else. These trips leave their mark. Wading through 1400 photos and writing up this story was the best way to put it all in place, allowing the sensations and memories to linger and work their way further into the fabric of being. When I look back at the last ten years of my life, the big motorcycle trips Iíve done count amongst the very highest highlights. Itís been a privilege and an honour, and who better to do it with than this crowd of misfits and miscreants.

Thank you boys! Itís been a hell of a ride.

I know everyone normally has a lot of questions to ask, so hereís the quick gear review.

KTM 500

The KTM 500 was sensational! And I mean that. I canít imagine a better mount for this kind of trip. Other than the big tank and some indicators, she was pretty much standard, and I wouldnít have it any other way. She didnít miss a beat!

Fast, economical, incredible handling in the rough stuff, happy to eat miles and still behave like a full blooded enduro bike. What more could you ask for? Even the standard seat is comfortable. Thereís a reason Adam Reimann uses these things on his Motonomad trips - I donít think anything comes close.

* Note to self: next time service the suspension and fit full neoprene fork socks!

KTM 690

The 690s are ok. They donít really do anything the 500 doesnít, other than longer mileage between oil changes and probably longer distance between engine rebuilds. Nothing would persuade me to swap my 500 for one.

Camelís bike is a 2008 - old now, with abut 25,000km on the clock. Itís been a reliable workhorse, solid and strong, but it did give a little shit on this trip. It was just the fuel pump, and we were carrying a spare cause theyíre known to go belly-up. But itís a pain to swap out, and if you havenít prepared the way, youíll find the molded hard plastic pipe is an absolute bitch to get off and there will be little left to mount on the new pump.

The rest of his problems were some broken down fuel host and misfitted air intakes - not the bikeís fault, so I canít complain too much. But the electrics can be a disaster-in-waiting and after youíve owned a 500 you look at just about every part of it and think WTF??

The Safari tank on Camelís bike is as tough asÖ well, a piece of old camel. But itís a pain to get on and off, and you need to do that for access to the fuel injector, replacing the pump etc.

el Professoreís 690 was actually a pleasure on this trip, other than the blocked rear tank breather. Itís MUCH nicer to ride than Camelís earlier edition. But the rally kit was a disaster. Itís badly design aftermarket crap. The tanks are pukka KTM rally tanks - take a beating and carry the fuel low, which is awesome. But the mounting system sucks balls and donít even get me started on the fairing. Whoever designed that piece of shit should be taken out and shot at the nearest rally start line. Those flimsy little studs were never designed to carry a fairing - the radiators are a big ask. I believe Paulís PSP bracket is rock solid, so I think thatís what Gav should replace this with. This was an ex-KTM Cape Town bike, so Iím not sure why it had the tubular steel fairing frame.

The 690 was an absolute blast in the river Hoanib bed -  fast and powerful - but Iíd still rather be on a 500 any day of the week. If the 500 had never been invented Iíd have been back on a 690 for this trip.

DRZ400

Does what it says on the can, and the big 28l Safari tank Tom put on for this trip rocks, even if it is expensive relative to the price of the bike. The bike isnít the most economical, so the previous IMS version wasnít good enough. Otherwise, the DRZ is a stellar ride, but Iíd rather have a 525 in this budget, if one could find a really good oneÖ a lot easier said than done.

Itís a shame they donít still sell these in SA - itís a great bike.

DR650

What else can one say about Buttercup the carthorse. She carried Midge faultlessly around Angola as an absolute novice, and did the same on this trip now that heís an aspirant Dakar rally racer. In between she takes him to work and back every day without complaining a jot. I donít think sheís ever been washed.

Yes, itís an anaemic hunk of iron. Not terribly exciting, but utterly dependable. And close to the ground - which is critical for a man of his stature. She also carried the braai grid.

Itís a shame they donít still sell these in SA - itís a great bike.

MORE?

None of the bikes had decent lights except Camelís 690 - we only rode once in the dark, while trying to find the campsite in Puros.

I used my faithful Etrex20, which is a great little GPS. You donít need more if youíre working from pre-planned tracks. Locked away in a ROST mount itís extremely dependable, and I just ran on batteries.

I ran Tubliss - it was awesome. Camelís bike got a front puncture at a very inconvenient time. My front definitely got some kind of puncture one day and lost pressure down to 0.5 bar. I didnít even bother to plug it - the Tyre Shield did its job and I just topped up a few times over the last five days.

TYRES

We ran all Mitas. Everyone had C21 yellow on the front - full MX tyres because I wanted them to have better control in the really rough stuff. Actually, I lie, I bought a C21 then didnít bother, and left the original Dunlop on that had come with the bike.

On the big bikes we had E09 on the back - proven performers. 130/80-18 on the 690s and 130/80-17 on the DR. On the DRZ and 500 we ran MC23 Rock Riders. Why? Theyíre cheap.

No punctures on the back and everyone had a little tread at the end of the trip. The Rock Riders had noticeably less traction than a full enduro tyre in the rough, but thatís to be expected.

The others all had heavy duty tubes, I had Tubliss front and back, with Tyre Shield.

KIT

I rode with an MX helmet, sunnies (with goggles for the odd occasion when it was dusty), and mesh MX pants and top. I wore the Leatt soft body armour on top - itís cool enough when youíre moving - and Klim tactical pants under my MX pants. They have thigh impact strips, which would probably have saved me in my Angola accident, so I apparently can learn something. I ride enduro with full knee braces, so it would have been stupid to leave those at home - my PODs are really comfortable anyway.

The others were a mixed bunch of stuff. Mostly adventure pants and jackets, but everyone was in neck braces and MX boots.

GIANT LOOPS

All of us used Coyotes this time - a mixture of old and new, zip and roll top. Except Midge, who was too cheap to buy new bags. For this kind of bike these are the business. No bullshit with broken racks or loose straps. We all love them. Yes, the Alt Rider or Mosko stuff may be better - but at what price?

I bought a Giant Loop bag with strap holes, that fixes much more securely to the back of the Coyote (ask Camel!) but my rox straps still came loose enough to burn the bag on my exhaust.

Iíve got used to riding with a full backpack (a biggish daypack). Itís actually really comfortable, and takes some weight off the bike.

CAMPING

We took tent inners at the last minute. We havenít taken tents on trips for about three years, but the fear got the better of us. We left the fly sheets behind to save weight, and the tents quickly became a good idea for mosquito protection, if nothing else.

We cooked most of the time on an open fire. Carried a multi fuel stove, but hardly used it. Gavís little gas jobbie did the tea duties and we sent the multi fuel one back when he crashed. You canít cook stew on a gas stove properly though, so that was a mistake.

The one, most important foodstuff, is cappuccino sachets. Iím a coffee snob - you wonít catch me dead in a Vida since they went to shit - but in the desert itís always, and only, cappuccino out of a sachet. For the rest, we made do with what we could and had, since we didnít have much packing space. I come here to ride, and the bike must be as light and responsive as possible, otherwise whatís the point.

We all had an 8l MSR fuel bladder (other than Camel, who had to be different and tied 2l coke bottles on the back of his Coyote). We always left water supplies with a full bladder and 3l camelbak, which meant we could survive 2, maybe 3 days in an emergencyÖ until the Suzie started drinking all the water, that is.

CASH

Is king. Credit cards donít really work in Namibia. This was our one big mistake.

MEDICAL

Discovery came though in a big way with chopper medivac and patient care after a pretty poor first three hours. It was kind of our faultÖ

SAT PHONE

Under no circumstances would I consider undertaking a trip like this in this kind of region again without a sat phone. It was a moronic decision, and I consider we got off extremely lightly. It could have gone so, so wrong, and weíd only have had ourselves to blame. Theyíre relatively cheap to rent now, and worth it 100%.
With a sat phone we could have called them at 12pm on the day of the accident, and Gav would probably have been evacíd out that day. In the end it didnít matter, but what if heíd broken his neck?

PHOTOS

Everyone else had iphones, and I think Gav had a small point and shoot. I carried a Panasonic/Lumix GH3 with a 12-35/2.8. Faster would have been great, but this covers most of the bases and shoots a decent RAW image, even if itís not 5D standard. Most importantly, itís compact, and fits in a tank bag. And itís old, so I donít mind banging it up a little teeny bit.

Thatís about it. Fire away if youíve got any other questions.

cheers
Ian
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Slim Jim on October 13, 2017, 12:59:04 pm
 :thumleft: Thanx I've been on a trip in the work shop for 2 weeks thanx to you . Awsome .
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Professor sprocket on October 13, 2017, 02:54:35 pm
Mate!!!! What a brilliant chronicle of the trip. If I get it together Im going to figure a way of getting it in a PDF, and to keep it for posterity. Well done. And what awesome pics. And most of all, thanks for planning that brilliant route. I doubt it gets much better than that.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Pistonpete on October 13, 2017, 02:57:57 pm
Thanks guys...that was awesome!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: RrP on October 13, 2017, 04:15:35 pm
Awsom ride and write up thank you. The tree you asked about on the hill top is a Commiphora spp.( paper bark) not sure which one there are two that occour
in that part of Namibia.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: frankmac on October 13, 2017, 04:39:59 pm
Awsom ride and write up thank you. The tree you asked about on the hill top is a Commiphora spp.( paper bark) not sure which one there are two that occour
in that part of Namibia.  :thumleft:

I reckon you're possibly right or perhaps one of the other corkwoods (kanniedood)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Rotten on October 13, 2017, 08:25:38 pm
Absolutely amazing. Thank you for all the effort put into the RR. Must have taken more time than the preparation for the trip.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hardy de Kock on October 13, 2017, 09:11:33 pm
Ian

A lot has been said about your trip and even more has been said about your report. I believe places like Northern Namibia needs more riders like you and your friends. You truly have been there, in every sense of the word.  It was an honour to meet you, and I am thankful if the Quest team could play a small part in making your trip better.

One last thing before I go......
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Ri on October 13, 2017, 11:08:32 pm
What a pleasure to read this! Thank you so much for the effort and the photo's. Writing an RR - especially so well - is quite an endeavour.

We can only aspire  :o
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Dacquiri on October 13, 2017, 11:39:26 pm
Great RR guys. Well done!!  Definitely a bucket list trip.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 14, 2017, 07:38:36 am
Ian

A lot has been said about your trip and even more has been said about your report. I believe places like Northern Namibia needs more riders like you and your friends. You truly have been there, in every sense of the word.  It was an honour to meet you, and I am thankful if the Quest team could play a small part in making your trip better.

One last thing before I go......

Haha Hardy - classic! And thanks for the kind words. Hope to meet again soon!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: the ruffian on October 14, 2017, 08:11:51 am
MTP - not only are you an impeccable raconteur, but you have a canny sense of your own irony, and that, together with your infectious style in communicating your relationship with your environment and your comradeship with your mates makes for staggeringly addictive reading! And did I mention the brilliant pics...of course I did.

One always feels honoured when exposed to such broad intelligence...

Thank you!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: m0lt3n on October 14, 2017, 01:02:57 pm
This was a great read! A big thanks from my side as well that you put the effort into writing this RR! It was a great read and definitely worthy of Roll of hounour!
This is a major bucket list ride for me, hopefully i can make it happen per bike that it wont end up being with an SUV.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: aka.Goliath on October 15, 2017, 06:16:04 pm
Thanks a lot for such a awesome read I will have to patiently wait my turn to head up that way. You have definitely inspired a lot of guys to get onto their bikes and take a ride in that amazing area. Roll of Honor for sure! Where to next after this...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on October 16, 2017, 07:57:50 am
Brilliant RR - love the writing style - would love to do that trip at some point - and I REALLY need a 500 in my garage....

Thanks for sharing - its been a blast!

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: bud500 on October 16, 2017, 08:56:18 am
Great read, thanks for sharing. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Rokie on October 17, 2017, 09:05:18 pm
I started reading this last week and just got through the last of it.

Thank you Panda man! It really gave me my fill for a good few days running - now I am dreaming of Namibia again! (I was there on a solo ride on a DR600 more than 20 years ago, but a slightly less ambitious route . . .)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Jaakmh on October 22, 2017, 03:17:58 pm
Max and co.
An absolute terrific RR!! Thanks for making your reality my dream. Hopefully in the near future Iíll have the privilege to own a bike again and ride some memories of my own.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: CUZZY on October 24, 2017, 01:44:11 pm
What a fantastic RR and excellent pics!

I didn't realise you Capies had such a sense of humour!

I hope you can keep it after the Sharks kick your arses on Saturday!!!! ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

Well done man. One day will be my turn!

Love Nam.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: big oil on October 25, 2017, 06:10:58 am
Yeah, this RR was okay :lol8:

Great job fellas.

Professor- yuda man.  I once wrecked my KTM 990.  Broke my shoulder blade and a thumb.  Fractured a few ribs.  Dislocated my shoulder.  Had to ride in a sports car to the emergency room.  I felt every seam on the tarmac, something dripping out me eyes after every seam for the 15 minute journey.  I cannot imagine riding in the back seat of a small 4x4 for several hours like you did.  Hats off to ya, you are one tough man.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Clockwork Orange on October 27, 2017, 06:01:15 pm
Amazing trip and a bloody excellent write up. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Firecoast on October 30, 2017, 08:59:11 am
Jirre, you have got to tell me where you bought these long johns. LOVE IT!!!!!

Besides a broken leg and abandonment of the 690, this looks like a super fun adventure you guys had together.

Thanks for the good read.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: THROTTLE JOCKEY on October 31, 2017, 04:13:58 pm
Fantastic guys! This just makes me want to return there now! A lot of time and effort went into this trip and the RR. Thank you!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: SinisterSmiley on November 09, 2017, 11:02:02 pm
Really Amazing!
Enjoyed reading this so much :D
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on December 10, 2017, 10:57:12 am
MTP, need an advice pls. How bad was your fork leak on 500 when you decided to push on? And were you able to stop it somehow?

Looks like i busted fork seal on 500 in cotton mud in Savuti marsh, and need to decide if i can push through delta or bail. Thank you.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on December 12, 2017, 12:42:51 pm


Xpat try making a seal mate / saver and give it a bash for now

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/E4QAAOSwnw9aBF4-/s-l300.jpg)

I have just bought a seal doctor that will be packed in future since roof trip fork seal leak

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/817dsMvmgpL._SL1500_.jpg)


Good luck and be safe
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Straatkat on December 30, 2017, 12:00:40 pm
MTP, thank you very much for taking us on tour travels, Xpat has been at me to do a Kaokoland trip with him in the future, think I need to update my TE610 Husky though with a 500KTM. Really enjoyed your write-up. Life is nothing if you don't have memories!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: andrew5336 on January 11, 2018, 03:30:46 pm
MTP we are not worthy!

This is proper magazine / book level writing and pictures.

Thank you for a) the cojones to do a trip like this b) the effort to take pics and notes along the way (did you write a mini diary or something - I've always found that the days blend together on a trip like this) and c) compiling such an epic trip report.

Apart from the obvious Van Zyl's Pass and the softer riverbeds, it looks like most of this would be doable in a 4x2 bakkie if one has a brain?

May be an amazing trip win my wifey as a scouting mission for a scoot adventure in a couple of years from now.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hardy de Kock on January 21, 2018, 12:14:42 pm
Hardy had warned us off the Hoarusib River  - one of three riverbeds he said were particularly dangerous on a bike because of poor visibility and prevalent lion and elephant. In retrospect Iím glad we didnít take that route to Puros - with how our day was going weíd definitely have been attacked, and the views and terrain approaching from the other angle were magnificent. But Iíd still like to ride it - it looks the bizznizz.
...


Hmmm, I have to say I differ on this one. And - if I understand correctly the route Quest guys took, even Hardy did take the party through Huarusib. I agree that the section downstream from Purros (Purros Canyon - which I'm interested to see if you did) is potentially risky, as it gets narrow and you have to navigate sections of dense vegetation with very limited visibility.

But the section upstream from Purros, is a wide valley with very good visibility of potential hazards and enough room to avoid it safely. And you can either ride riverbed (which is wide and very transparent) or ride on the side of the river on very lekker winding double track, where you can see river to one side, but are mostly riding out in the open (with few detours to the river). And as far as I know (and I think Hardy may disagree on this one), there are no lions upstream from Purros. I have ridden it 4 times and always made sure to get the latest cricket intel from the locals. And the message was always clear - no lions north of Purros. I have tendency to believe them as you will often meet locals walking along the river and even kids playing soccer right next to it (and they do respect lions - they have abandoned one village in Huab river due to very high lion danger). Yes there is high probability of bumping into elephant, but your chances to see it coming are much bigger than in Ugab (that is tricky one), Purros canyon, or Huab river - part of which you have already ridden on the way to Sessfontein (if I understood your route correctly).

That upper section of Huarusib is absolutely fantastic (sorry, that horribly corrugated D3707 is no match whatsoever) and the pass between Khumib and Huarusib is also something special to behold. But at least you have something to come back to  8)

Now I'm really curious whether you did the Purros canyon - because that is the really dodgy one (right after Ugab IMO). If I understand it correctly, Quest guys also had to get out of there half way through when they bumped into aggro elephant.

And that luxury lodge in Purros - avoid as a plague! They really like to mix only with people with private jets. There is very friendly and relatively cheap community lodge (right next to the campsite) if you go that side again and do not fancy tenting.

Xpat

Myself and SkyAfrica on the forum, once found three lionesses 13 km north - east of the confluence of the Khumib and the Hoarusib.
I believe this to be a route that you still want to do. We were on our way down the Hoarusib from Opuwo, in a south westerly direction. All three the lions were un-collared. Fact is, after having spent over a year collectively in Purros - The lions and elephants, and sometimes rhino's too will go where the food is.
The riverbeds during drought will be the last source of foliage for the herbivores, which means the carnivores will follow.
Philip Stander and a few others monitor the lions as good they can, but there are a few nomadic un-collared prides (Usually the ones without dominant males).
The above mentioned vets are caught up in conflicts with the locals regarding the lions and their cattle, and sadly, these people prefer not to work in the Purros conservancy area no more.
During 2011 the locals poisoned 3 lionesses in Purros and caused an outcry (screengrab attached). These are not the lions I saw as our trip was in 2012.
They are there, and you only see them when you least expect to.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: JustBendIt on January 23, 2018, 04:41:35 am
Epic RR Ian - thanks for making the effort

I can't wait to retrace your steps on my fivehunny ...only about 40 sleeps to go
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hardy de Kock on January 26, 2018, 08:15:30 am
I just spoke to Fritz at Palmwag and he confirmed the following:

Nam government issued a restriction on motorcycles in the Hoanib river and the Crowter trail.
They are busy constructing notice boards which must be up by February 2018.

Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on January 26, 2018, 09:52:49 am
I just spoke to Fritz at Palmwag and he confirmed the following:

Nam government issued a restriction on motorcycles in the Hoanib river and the Crowter trail.
They are busy constructing notice boards which must be up by February 2018.

Shit, ane we are heading there in March! Not a good news at all. Are they shutting down the whole of Hoanib, or only the part between Amerspoort gortge and turnoff to Crowther trail?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on January 26, 2018, 10:07:34 am
Hardy, is there any more information about the restriction on Hoanib. Is it for the whole length of river from Amerspoort gorge all the way to Sesfontein, or will one be able to connect to it closer to Sesfontein from Giribes plains or Ganamub river?

Thank you
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hardy de Kock on January 26, 2018, 10:15:11 am
Hardy, is there any more information about the restriction on Hoanib. Is it for the whole length of river from Amerspoort gorge all the way to Sesfontein, or will one be able to connect to it closer to Sesfontein from Giribes plains or Ganamub river?

Thank you

XPAT - It is the entire Hoanib. Sorry bud.
Also have updated info on Upper Hoarusib if you need.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on January 26, 2018, 10:22:32 am
Well, that is a massive bummer - I hoped to still be able to connect to Hoanib further up. So it is only D3707 now?

Please don't tell me they also restricted Huarusib - as you know I wanted to ride the whole length of Huarusib from Purros all the way to Opuwo (and also Purros canyon). Are there any restrictions there (people from the Purros lodge were trying to get bikes out of Purros canyon for ages, so I have bad feeling)?

Thank you.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: armpump on January 26, 2018, 10:28:47 am
Bike noise and these probably not ideal

(http://c8.alamy.com/comp/CR3NHM/namibia-kunene-region-kaokoland-desert-elephants-in-hoarusib-river-CR3NHM.jpg)
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on January 26, 2018, 10:33:32 am
I just spoke to Fritz at Palmwag and he confirmed the following:

Nam government issued a restriction on motorcycles in the Hoanib river and the Crowter trail.
They are busy constructing notice boards which must be up by February 2018.

This is terrible news. For the amount of bikes that do/have done this route it seems a bit petty, but I guess it was inevitable... sigh... From the tracks we saw the badly behaved 4x4s do far more damage to the vegetation/landscsape.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on January 26, 2018, 10:34:43 am
Jirre, you have got to tell me where you bought these long johns. LOVE IT!!!!!

Besides a broken leg and abandonment of the 690, this looks like a super fun adventure you guys had together.

Thanks for the good read.  :thumleft:

The Midge has tiny, wee, short arms and mine-shaft deep pockets, so I'm betting he inherited these from his late father, who bought them circa 1953.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on January 26, 2018, 10:38:20 am
MTP, need an advice pls. How bad was your fork leak on 500 when you decided to push on? And were you able to stop it somehow?

Looks like i busted fork seal on 500 in cotton mud in Savuti marsh, and need to decide if i can push through delta or bail. Thank you.

Hey XPat - sorry, haven't looked at this thread in a while. I actually noticed the bleed on day 1, and so rode the entire trip on them. I didn't try stick anything in there, partly because I was afraid of making the problem worse, and partly because I didn't have a suitable material. It was only on one leg, and to be honest we weren't racing and the fork handled fine for the rest of the trip. I had tendon surgery when I got back so haven't been on the bike since, or repaired the problem - it needs to go to Martin Paetzold.

I was lazy, and this was entirely my fault. I had just bought the bike, and despite the extremely low hours I really should have had the forks serviced. I wouldn't do a trip like this again without full neoprene gaiters on the forks - I see Lyndon Poskitt was even using them on his Dakar bike this year!
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on January 26, 2018, 10:42:02 am
Bike noise and these probably not ideal

(http://c8.alamy.com/comp/CR3NHM/namibia-kunene-region-kaokoland-desert-elephants-in-hoarusib-river-CR3NHM.jpg)

If there are 10 bikes a month there, I would be surprised. And I have passed all of them on my 2 trips on bike there and they seemed pretty chilled provided you gave them wide berth and showed some respect:



Note: name of the video and subtitles are wrong - this is Hoanib river, not Huarusib, I didn't do my homework on rivernames properly when I did it.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on January 26, 2018, 10:51:40 am
If there are 10 bikes a month there, I would be surprised. And I have passed all of them on my 2 trips on bike there and they seemed pretty chilled provided you gave them wide berth and showed some respect:

I think it comes down to respect. We gave the ellies we saw a wide berth and allowed them to move off slowly and they didn't seem stressed at all. Look, bikers don't have to best reputations, and some have probably behaved badly and ruined it for everyone else, but the same applies to 4x4s. This part of Namibia is one of the last great wilderness areas still open to us... enjoy it while you can - but respectfully! - it's not going to last forever.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on January 26, 2018, 10:57:10 am
I just spoke to Fritz at Palmwag and he confirmed the following:

Nam government issued a restriction on motorcycles in the Hoanib river and the Crowter trail.
They are busy constructing notice boards which must be up by February 2018.
I was waiting for this, sad thing is how much of the sound that bothers the animals are made by bikes and how much are made by quads?
I have a feeling we being punished for the sound that sounds the same but is not the same vehicle and is not ridden in the same way.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on January 26, 2018, 11:02:40 am
I don't think there were many quads in that area. I think Sesfontein lodge used to organize quad rides down the Hoanib (massively stupid move), until only of their guests got killed or maimed by elephant and then they stopped. I asked them about it when I was there, and they pretended nothing like that happened, but I remember reading about it somewhere.

So - while i agree on quads being annoying contraptions, I do not think you can blame them for it. I think it is the rich loadge owners in the are working their long fingers. They never liked dirty bikers around - I was told once or twice when on bike there by some Safari vehicle that it is off limits to bikes, which it wasn't. You just need to visit that expensive lodge in Purros once on a bike, to get a feeling how much unwelcome you are there. None of that natural friendliness you usually encounter in the remote areas between humans regardless of their status.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on January 26, 2018, 11:07:00 am
Xpat i know of people carting quads up on weekends from Windhoek and the coast, but maybe your right could be the lodges wanting a certain type of client.
BUT what about the renthal bike group from Europa that is also dirty and smelly but swipes a gold card when he rocks up? Are they treated the same way as a single rider like you rocking up?
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Xpat on January 26, 2018, 11:12:07 am
Xpat i know of people carting quads up on weekends from Windhoek and the coast, but maybe your right could be the lodges wanting a certain type of client.
BUT what about the renthal bike group from Europa that is also dirty and smelly but swipes a gold card when he rocks up? Are they treated the same way as a single rider like you rocking up?

I can almost guarantee you people who ride bikes - regardless of their nationality - don't end up in those lodges. For example in Purros all of them go to Community campsite or their adjacent Bush Lodge. Those lodges up there cater mostly for fly-in clients who book long in advance, like real gentlemen who have their life planned out properly. They are not interested in walk-in customers of any kind.

Let's face it - if somebody is riding Kaokoland on bike, regardless of their financial status they will prefer to rough it as sleeping in a cozy airconditioned room/tent is just not conducive to sweating it in deep sand among elephants next day. I have met group of about 20 German/Austrian/Swiss bikers there, and they were all camping all the way. And I'm sure they could have afforded the lodges.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Stroke Her on January 26, 2018, 11:31:24 am
River closures is bad news :xxbah:

I am so glad that I finally got off my arse and rode them last year.

In a way though it is bitter sweet...as by the looks of it I will not be able to ride them again. FFS
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on January 26, 2018, 11:39:22 am
All about money in the end. :deal: :(
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: MaxThePanda on January 26, 2018, 11:56:49 am
I've heard that fancy lodge in Purros taking a lot of stick. When we arrived at Purros we'd almost run out of cash (yeah.... cough...) and had a DRZ with a broken radiator, so we asked around for help there. It was around 5pm, and the guests were out on a game drive, but the staff were actually quite welcoming bearing in mind the filthy, low rent state of our appearance. We sat around the pool and had a beer, and then they set us up with one of their 4x4s to guide us to the petrol depot in the 'city' centre (haha).

To be fair - they are high end, and if people are paying $800 per night or something for a small, exclusive experience, it probably isn't reasonable to have some dirty bikers hanging out at the pool and abusing the place when they don't intend to actually stay. They were actually pretty helpful. Even gave us an egg for Tom's radiator, that the chicken shit was too scared to throw in.

On the other hand, the guide from the Wilderness Safari's Lodge we (or just Tom did) bumped into on the Crowther was downright rude. And that's after some of their other guides had been extremely friendly and taken us to see some elephant from the river banks. I think it's just luck of the draw...
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: Hardy de Kock on January 26, 2018, 03:01:27 pm
I've heard that fancy lodge in Purros taking a lot of stick. When we arrived at Purros we'd almost run out of cash (yeah.... cough...) and had a DRZ with a broken radiator, so we asked around for help there. It was around 5pm, and the guests were out on a game drive, but the staff were actually quite welcoming bearing in mind the filthy, low rent state of our appearance. We sat around the pool and had a beer, and then they set us up with one of their 4x4s to guide us to the petrol depot in the 'city' centre (haha).

To be fair - they are high end, and if people are paying $800 per night or something for a small, exclusive experience, it probably isn't reasonable to have some dirty bikers hanging out at the pool and abusing the place when they don't intend to actually stay. They were actually pretty helpful. Even gave us an egg for Tom's radiator, that the chicken shit was too scared to throw in.

On the other hand, the guide from the Wilderness Safari's Lodge we (or just Tom did) bumped into on the Crowther was downright rude. And that's after some of their other guides had been extremely friendly and taken us to see some elephant from the river banks. I think it's just luck of the draw...

None of the two companies mentioned have any more right than you do to that area Ian.
The "fancy" lodge at Purros has hiked their prices and they only now accept fly in clientele. (on flights chartered by them)
I requested a dinner quote for a Dakar group that I am taking their soon, and their price was R1,000 a head. (For fucking dinner :imaposer:)
They market their lodge in Europe as if they are the only beings in the area, and therefore their attitude.
Wilderness Safaris is actively raping governments throughout Africa. They will discourage anyone not making use of their services for the same reason as the clowns at the above mentioned lodge.
In all fairness, the biggest concentration of lions and elephants are to be found in the Hoanib. Really glad you guys and Xpat got to ride it before the closure.
Title: Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
Post by: maria41 on March 27, 2018, 03:01:18 pm
Absolutely amazing ride report. Thanks for writing. Also full of very useful info.
We will be in Namibia this summer ( winter down there  ;D).

Certainly a lot of food for thought.

Cheers,