Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 08:43:19 pm

Title: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 08:43:19 pm
How did I end up alone in Desolation Valley with my bike upside down and an increasingly concerning pain in my chest?

Well, that is a story to come... so sit back, grab a cup of something comforting and join this WILD ride through virgin sand in post-lockdown Namibia.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Lars on November 30, 2020, 08:50:03 pm
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Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 08:59:58 pm
It all started a year ago when my wife and I were touring South America on our dirt bikes. I had been reading ride reports about Kaokoland by @Xpat, @Minxy, @michnus, @Damaraland and they all had two things in common - amazing pictures and wild adventures. I had to go.

So, one morning while sipping coffee in Ecuador, I opened up my Gumtree app and bought a KTM 500 from a guy in Nelspruit and had it shipped to my brother's place in Cape Town. That story is outlined in my bike build report here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=252547.0

I figured I'd be in a Cape Town a few months later and ride the 500 to Kaokoland. Then COVID hit and my wife and I were quarantined for 7 months in a 2-bed apartment in Chile. Somehow, we survived without killing each other and when we finally managed to get flights out of Chile, I immediately booked a ticket to Cape Town to see my family, my new 500, and head to Kaokoland. "Thank God!" she said. "I've had enough of you for 7 months..."

The problem was, I didn't really want to go alone.  After loneliness set in during a 15-country solo motorcycle trip in 2015, I promised myself that I'd never ride alone again. Not becasue I don't like being alone, but becasue without someone to share my experiences with, it's never quite as fun. Normally, my wife would ride with me. She's pretty badass. But this trip she couldn't make.

So, first things first, I had to find people to join in on the fun with me. None of my friends could take 3 weeks off (and none of them had bikes capable of going where I wanted to go). I couldn't just ride with anyone. I wanted a capable rider, on a small bike, who loved sand, and was good company. A tall order, right?

So, I started a bike build report (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=252547.0) that I figured only other 500 riders would be interested in. I'd bought a bunch of accessories to VARKle my bike with, and I figured that maybe someone reading it would own a 500 and would want to join me.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Noneking on November 30, 2020, 09:08:39 pm
Sub!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Breekbeen on November 30, 2020, 09:17:33 pm
.

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Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Minxy on November 30, 2020, 09:20:25 pm
 :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Hi Bruce, I saw some of your photos going around on facebook, I really can't wait to read all about your big adventure. There is no place like Namibia, and seeing your photos really makes me long to go back! Will be following closely :)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ace Venture on November 30, 2020, 09:24:48 pm
Sub!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 09:25:09 pm
A few days later, @Amsterdam reached out to me and invited me for coffee and a chat under the guise of connecting as we both had 500s and lived in Hout Bay.

In retrospect, I think he was interviewing me for the trip, not the other way round. At the end of our coffee, he said something like "If I were to hypothetically join you on the trip... what route were you thinking of taking?"

Join me? Seriously? Wow. A possible partner to ride with.

Then he said, "And I may have a friend who would like to come too".

Two days later, the three of use met up, sussed each other out and decided on the route we wanted to take together.

The plan was simple. Trailer the bikes to the White Lady Lodge, leave the car there for 2 weeks and ride the shit out of Kaokoland.

I was stoked. This was working out better than I had hoped.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 09:29:25 pm
:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Hi Bruce, I saw some of your photos going around on facebook, I really can't wait to read all about your big adventure. There is no place like Namibia, and seeing your photos really made me long to go back! Will be following closely :)

During quarantine in Chile, I was watching some of your YouTube videos of Kaokoland. Thanks! They gave me inspiration.
Title: DAY 0 - Cape Town to Windhoek
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 09:33:37 pm
A week later, we were set to leave... I couldn't sleep that night. Tomorrow was the big day I had been waiting for for over a year now. It was the virgin journey for my 500 too. I'd spent 2 weeks day and night preparing her, and finally we were going to get to ride...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: exkdx on November 30, 2020, 09:34:55 pm
 :lamer:
This is going to be GOOD :biggrin:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: IDR on November 30, 2020, 09:36:43 pm
sub-farking-scribe!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 10:07:09 pm
But LIFE had other plans for Marc, Jan Lucas (@Amsterdam)  and I.

Jan Lucas's car had gone into the Toyoyta dealer to be fixed prior to the trip, but the Toyota dealer couldn't get the car ready in time. So I spent Thursday sitting at home waiting for Jan Lucas to call and say that the car was ready. Jan Lucas spent the day sitting in the Toyota dealership practicing his best "I'm not pleased" face.

The Toyota dealership never came through and Thursday night came and we were all still in Cape Town feeling dejected. We needed a PLAN B... and fast.

Jan Lucas came to the rescue again by annexing his wife's car, and lending his son's car to his wife. Phew...

Another sleepless night, but this time Jan Lucas showed up at my door at 4am. We loaded the car and headed for Durbanville to pick up Marc.

The banter in the car quickly grew more and more relaxed as we realilzed that the trip was actually happening and that we all liked each other. The biking stories started flowing and smiles appeared on our faces as we got to know each other.

Jan Lucas is a retired mechanical engineer. He's Dutch (I generally like the Dutch) and has a wise, calming demeanour. He decided to take his Husky 701 on the trip instead of his 500. Made no sense to me, but he claims it is more comfortable. He hadn't tried out the new seat on my 500 at that point.

Marc is, well, an enigma. Nobody really knows what he does for a living and how he can afford 3 KTMs. All we know is that he has warehouses that he rents out. Anyhow, he's an interesting cat. I discover that he's originally from Zim, fought in the war and has seen some pretty grim things in his time on this planet. He's also been to Kaokoland 13 times already and this time, packed his 690 on the trailer.

Jan Lucas and Marc ride together often.

And for those of you who haven't met me yet, I'm Bruce. Grew up in Cape Town, been riding since I got my 50cc licence at 16 and now live with my wife in the Dominican Republic (she's Dominican). During the day I help couples save their marriages (I'm a marriage counselor), and when I'm not doing that I'm an avid kitesurfer and traveller.

So that pretty much sets the scene for everything to come...

Our 2-day drive to Namibia started well, but soon turned into an adventure.

Becasue of our delayed departure, our COVID tests all expired within hours of reaching the Namibian border. In fact, one of our COVID tests had already expired by the time we reached Vioolsdrif. That was a problem...

Fortunately, being experienced travellers, we had prepared for this possibility and one of us (no names mentioned) had creatively edited his COVID test report to time travel one day forward. This was his backup COVID test. And it worked. The border official looked at the date, looked again, and then just stamped it.

Phew... The last thing we needed was to get arrested for forgery at the border. A few stamps later and we (and the bikes) were in Namibia!

YAY. Finally.

But our excitement was short lived.

The car was getting harder and harder to steer. We pulled over and discovered that steering fluid was pissing out of one of the pipes. Shit. What now?

We decided that we'd continue without power steering until we could find somone to fix it. I mean, all the roads to Windhoek are dead straight anyway, right? Who needs the ability to turn?

A few hundred kilos later, and the car started overheating. Seriously???? I felt my heart sink. I just wanted to get there without more delays. We pulled into Grunau, a small dorp a few hundred kilos from the border, to try to find help and a place to sleep for the night.

Unbelievably, there was a mechanic workshop in Grunau. We pulled in, explained our situation to the guy there and waited to see what he said. He appeared an hour later with the thermostat in his hand decaring it kaput! It had seized.

We'd have to wait until tomorrow to order a thermostat from Windhoek and get it delivered to Grunau. That would be another day lost.

But, our mechanic had a plan...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 10:14:46 pm
He drilled 3 holes in the thermostat to allow fluid through and reinstalled it.

Jan Lucas took the car for a test drive, and it stayed cool! Yippee!

So, after profusely thanking the mechanic, we settled into a room in the Grunau Country Hotel, ordered some beer and forgot about the day's troubles. We were still on track for Kaokoland.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on November 30, 2020, 10:40:45 pm
We slept like babies, sharing a room together for the first time... Marc farting and Jan Lucas snoring. I was too tired to care and just passed out.

We woke early and hit the road again. We had googled a Jeep dealership in Windhoek and decided to leave the car with them for 2 weeks, and begin our ride that afternoon from Windhoek.

I was excited at the prospect of beginning out ride one day early, but no so much at the thought of 100km of tar on my new knobbies.

When we arrived at the Jeep dealer, they were very accommodating and let us store the car with them promising to fix it while we were riding Kaokoland.

We offloaded the bikes from the trailer, stripped off our smelly clothes and started the arduous process of getting dressed into our bike gear. It took us about an hour to leave, but when we did, the exhilaration I felt was huge! It was happening!

We blasted down the highway for 100km and then turned off into the dirt.

It was sooooo fun, for all of 5 minutes and then it got scary.

My front wheel was swaying all over the place on the sand, like a drunk dance partner. I was terrified. Around every corner, I thought I was going to bite the dust. Whenever I rode faster than 80km/h, my rear wheel would fishtail sending the entire bike into a tankslapping shake.

After a few stops to check out what might be happening with my bike, we discovered a puddle of fork oil on my front wheel and splattered all over my bashplate.

What????

I had just installed new fork seals, heavier springs and changed the oil. How could I have a fork seal leak only hours into the trip?

I donned my surgical gloves and proceeded to probe the fork seak with a cleaning "tool" I made from a piece of plastic lying around. The fork seal was spotless. No dirt came out, just oil gushing everywhere. Perhaps I had gotten a bad seal? Who knows.

Dammit!

I must have already lost 400ml of fork oil. Maybe this was why my bike was handling so badly.

Nothing I could do now. I wasn't going to find any new KTM fork seals in Damaraland, that's for sure.

So, we headed on and found shelter in Omaruru for the night. Beer was drunk and solutions to my bike problems proposed.

Fuck it. I was just going to have to live with it. And if that meant fighting the bike for 2 weeks, then so be it. I wasn't going to let this ruin my dream trip.

Tomorrow, the trip starts for real, so I made a promise to myself that I was going to enjoy my new bike, kak handling and all.

We all slept like babies again (with Mark farting and Jan Lucas snoring). :-)

With that out of the way, the next 2 weeks were some of the best 2 weeks of riding that I have ever experienced. I'll try to write a little every day and let the pics to most of the talking... Invite your friends and let's get this party started.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Sheepman on November 30, 2020, 10:41:24 pm
Loving this already - no plain sailing intro to the trip  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on December 01, 2020, 03:15:41 am
Rock ‘n Roll!

Are those Motoz Adventures on the rear of the Husky?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Vis Arend on December 01, 2020, 06:37:29 am
 :biggrin: :sip:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on December 01, 2020, 07:01:08 am
Digging this, and reading along.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 07:02:19 am
Rock ‘n Roll!

Are those Motoz Adventures on the rear of the Husky?
Almost. Motoz Tractionater Desert I think. @Amsterdam, please chime in.

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Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: woody1 on December 01, 2020, 07:14:37 am
  :ricky:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Rexc-w on December 01, 2020, 08:24:42 am
Sal bietjie volg......
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: dirtyXT on December 01, 2020, 08:40:56 am
subscribe! a perfect trip is boring! sounds like you guys have had a good adventure so far.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Dwerg on December 01, 2020, 09:05:00 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: >Herman< on December 01, 2020, 09:13:51 am
 :sip: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: onderbroek on December 01, 2020, 09:19:41 am
Subscribe ook
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Tabasco on December 01, 2020, 09:24:47 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 01, 2020, 09:28:49 am
Loving this so far keep it coming please.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on December 01, 2020, 09:33:58 am
I dont want to follow this because I am jealous and I cant go.

But I have to.....

 :biggrin:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: african dust on December 01, 2020, 09:40:05 am
perfect antidote to covid blues
thanks
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: I&horse on December 01, 2020, 09:48:10 am
SUB!!!!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: RobLH on December 01, 2020, 10:41:29 am
Brilliant so far, thanks.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Snafu on December 01, 2020, 11:45:12 am
Lets role!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funky_munky on December 01, 2020, 12:00:20 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: MildlyWild on December 01, 2020, 12:04:01 pm
You will start riots all over if you make us wait too long in between reporting, so be warned...
Now get typing!!!!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 01, 2020, 12:17:17 pm
You will start riots all over if you make us wait too long in between reporting, so be warned...
Now get typing!!!!

What he said....

Start typing!!!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 12:51:34 pm
You will start riots all over if you make us wait too long in between reporting, so be warned...
Now get typing!!!!

What he said....

Start typing!!!
OK, OK! 1 hour writing a night is what I can do. Next installment is coming after dinner tonight.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Jakkals. on December 01, 2020, 01:00:01 pm
You will start riots all over if you make us wait too long in between reporting, so be warned...
Now get typing!!!!

What he said....

Start typing!!!
OK, OK! 1 hour writing a night is what I can do. Next installment is coming after dinner tonight.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Typical....marriage counsellor, practice what he preaches  :ricky:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DaveT on December 01, 2020, 01:09:22 pm
There is fork oil wrong with this ride report so far...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on December 01, 2020, 01:42:27 pm
There is fork oil wrong with this ride report so far...

 :imaposer:  :imaposer:  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: White Rhino on December 01, 2020, 02:27:59 pm
Magic!! I'm on board  :sip:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 02:32:07 pm
There is fork oil wrong with this ride report so far...

I love it!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Fenderbender on December 01, 2020, 02:52:20 pm
 :happy1:  Ek ry saam .... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ClemS on December 01, 2020, 03:30:40 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Stroke Her on December 01, 2020, 04:20:28 pm
Eet klaar en tik dammit. Met meer as twee vingers ook asseblief.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 01, 2020, 04:33:03 pm
Rock ‘n Roll!

Are those Motoz Adventures on the rear of the Husky?
Almost. Motoz Tractionater Desert I think. @Amsterdam, please chime in.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Motor Tractionator Desert H/T.  This is my favourite tire for sand.  It makes getting going from standstill a breeze.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 01, 2020, 04:40:44 pm
What Bruce has omitted to mention about the Jeep is not insignificant.  Ten years ago my wife, son and I were going on a family holiday to Namibia.  The Jeep had been a bit troublesome and wife and son declared I could go alone if I insisted on going in the Jeep.  So a new Prado was purchased.  With a hammer and some bloudraad I have kept the Jeep going for another 10 years but it was never meant for a long cross border trip towing 3 bikes.  So it was with some trepidation that I suggested we go in the Jeep, but it was either that or cancel the trip at the last moment.  And apart from a few minor niggles it got us to Windhoek.  I just wish that the failed power steering and the overheating were the only transportation issues that hindered us on this trip.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 2StrokeDan on December 01, 2020, 04:47:53 pm
What Bruce has omitted to mention about the Jeep is not insignificant.  Ten years ago my wife, son and I were going on a family holiday to Namibia.  The Jeep had been a bit troublesome and wife and son declared I could go alone if I insisted on going in the Jeep.  So a new Prado was purchased.  With a hammer and some bloudraad I have kept the Jeep going for another 10 years but it was never meant for a long cross border trip towing 3 bikes.  So it was with some trepidation that I suggested we go in the Jeep, but it was either that or cancel the trip at the last moment.  And apart from a few minor niggles it got us to Windhoek.  I just wish that the failed power steering and the overheating were the only transportation issues that hindered us on this trip.

Sound like there were a good number of transport "niggles". >:D
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Vis Arend on December 01, 2020, 05:00:15 pm
Brave Heart.   :biggrin:

it was never meant for a long cross border trip towing 3 bikes.  So it was with some trepidation that I suggested we go in the Jeep,


Hats of just there....... :eek7: :thumleft: :thumleft: :lol8:
Title: DAY 1 – Omaruru to Twyfelfontein
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:25:24 pm
We woke up at 6am in our lodge at Omaruru to the sounds of birds chirping. Surprisingly, I was cold. I thought Namibia was supposed to be scorching at this time of year!

First things first – COFFEE! I had bought a new camping stove and was trying to come up with a new coffee system that didn’t take up so much space in my luggage.

Instant coffee is out of the question. I cannot drink that stuff. I’d rather drink poison.

I had purchased some paper coffee filters and the idea was to boil the water and pour it over the coffee in the coffee filters.

What I hadn’t thought about was how to hold the paper filter while pouring water over it. Of course, the filter filled up with water, collapsed, then broke and I ended up with moer coffee all over the burner, the table, the cup, my pants and the floor.

Not lekker. That was a spectacular failure and I resigned myself to moer coffee for the rest of the trip. If anyone has a super-small coffee solution, I’m all ears. Remember, I’m on a 500. Packing space is VERY tight, so portable solutions only please.

While the other two were showering and putting on their makeup (I mean bike gear), I ran to my bike (pumped on caffeine) and began attempting to improve her handing before we set off for the day.

The thought of another day of terror fighting the front-end wobble and the fishtailing was too much for me to bear.

Mike @superfoxi  (a suspension specialist in Noordhoek) was helping me on WhatsApp to debug the handling issues… and so one by one, I was trying to implement the suggestions he had offered.

Yesterday, I increased the compression damping, reduced the compression damping, increased the rebound, reduced the rebound. Nothing. Nada. Niks.

The only thing that made a slight difference was removing my toolkit from the front fender and putting it in my Giant Loop bag instead. That helped the front end feel more planted in the fast, sandy tracks.

This particular morning, Mike had suggested I try lowering the forks 10mm in the clamps to balance out the bike.

I borrowed a marker pen from the owner of the hotel and marked the fork bolts so that I could return them to their original torque (because who carries a torque wrench on a 500?).

Note to self: Always pack a marker pen in your toolkit, Bruce!

Then, I saw a tape measure lying about in the garage of the hotel, so roped Jan Lucas into measuring the sag with me. I don’t know what made me think to do this, because just 3 days earlier, @superfoxi and I set the sag to 35mm in his workshop.

Well fuck me if the sag wasn’t 10 bloody millimeters! That’s 300% out.

How the sag went from 35mm to 10mm in 250km is beyond me. I have no idea and I’m not going to speculate. I started to feel some hope. Maybe this was the reason for the bad handling.

Jan Lucas and I set the sag back to 35mm, the three of us ate breakfast and set off for our day of sand.

After a blast to Uis to get petrol, we arrived at Brandberg White Lady Lodge, looked at the map and headed north east into a sea of sand.
I had been waiting so long for this moment.

The track started out corrugated, but we soon hit the soft stuff and off we went. Or should I say, off they went.

Jan Lucas and Marc were flying ahead like demons unleashed. I was a bit timid being that this was only the first time I’d ever taken my new baby offroad.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:27:05 pm
But I didn’t want to be left behind (or to have them think that I couldn’t keep up), so I opened the throttle and held on for dear life.

My god. The 500 just flies. I was struggling to hold on as the wobbly front end made steering in a straight line difficult, but the grin on my face was still getting wider and wider.

I was giggling like a kid in my helmet.

After about 30 minutes of windy red sand trails, we took a left turn into some deep sand climbing a hill.

I was in heaven. The incline and reduced speed had the 500 instantly handle better and I flew up the hill leaving the other two to drink my dust.

This got me thinking… Hmmmmmm. If I lowered the front end 10mm, and then lowered the rear end (by adjusting the sag back to 35mm), then maybe the problem with the handling is that the front end is now too low. If the sag was the problem, then I’ve probably created another problem by lowering the forks 10mm.

The morning continued to inspire us with the most beautiful desert scenery.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:28:18 pm
We stopped under a tree for some water, rehydrate, a bite to eat and some much needed rest…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:29:32 pm
And got back in the saddle continued our journey past Doros crater and towards Desolation Valley.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:30:37 pm
We screeched to a halt as we spotted a giraffe right in the road in front of us.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:35:16 pm
Eventually, we took a right turn (north) into the Desolation Valley 4x4 trail (the Eastern Route). The scenery just keeps getting more and more impressive.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:35:56 pm
My bike’s rear end is definitely feeling better. All the fishtailing has stopped and I’m feeling a lot more confident by this point. The front end was no better, so tomorrow I’ll raise the forks again.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:38:18 pm
It’s only our first day, so our riding pace hasn’t settled in yet.

By my standards, the boys are still riding like it’s a race. I begin feeling like I’m missing out on opportunities to take photos trying to keep up with them. So I slow down and take pics of them instead.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:39:10 pm
Damn, she is sexy. I still can’t fathom why Jan Lucas and Marc chose to take the 701 and 690 over their 500.

But too their credit, the gnarly terrain is not slowing them down one bit on the heavier bikes. These guys can ride like the wind.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:40:09 pm
We meet up to take in a special view of Desolation Valley…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:41:40 pm
As the boys blast off into the distance, I stay back again to avoid eating all their dust and getting my air filter dirty.

But then, the track opens up into a huge sandy trail and I just can’t help myself.

We’re blasting at 100km/h down the track.  It’s insane fun.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:43:03 pm
We meet up again and this time I take the lead.

One thing I didn’t think about before coming here is that because of the global travel restrictions, there have been very few tourists in Namibia. This meant that most of the 4x4 sand tracks have been filled with virgin sand.

This also means that animals haven’t seen many tourists in a while. I don’t know if that made the animals more wary or more curious.

It certainly made the riding more fun and at times it felt like we were the only people in the whole of Namibia. It was quite a special feeling. One that we may never again feel once tourism returns to normal here.

Not 5 minutes later I notice some VERY large prints in the track… then some very large (and fresh) kak in the track.

ELEPHANTS CLOSE BY!

I’ve never encountered elephants on a motorcycle, so I stopped and waitied for Jan Lucas and Marc so that we could continue slowly together.

We drop into the Huab riverbed…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:43:46 pm
And around the corner… Our first elephants – a mom and a calf.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:44:33 pm
We hang around for 5 minutes taking in the scene. It’s amazing to see these beasts from the saddle of a dirt bike. No car to protect me (not that it would, but at least it feels safer).

It was then that I was grateful that I hadn’t put an aftermarket exhaust on my bike.

Marc’s 690 has a freeflow Akro on it and it’s so bloody loud that I can hear it a kilometer behind him. I found myself wanting to get ahead of him so that he didn’t scare all the animals away before I got a chance to see them myself.

Anyhow, the elephants were chill and didn’t pay any attention to us (this time).

We continued in the riverbed for a while riding slowly just in case there were more elephants around the corner.

We were in for a treat. There were.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:45:52 pm
Man, what a first day!

Just when I thought that it could not get any better, we head down a red sandy track towards Twyfelfontein.

It’s heaven to ride and I’m thinking to myself, “If this is only the first day, imagine what lies ahead…”
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:46:58 pm
Now, our plan was to camp half of the time. But as we pulled into Twyfelfontein, camping started to sound less and less appeaing. So we went to check out hte lodge just in case a deal was possible.

We limp from our bikes to the reception (with sore feet) looking like dusty vagrants who have walked out of a Mad Max movie.

The hotel manager greets us. Marc ushers Jan Lucas and me aside and signals that he is going to negotiate to see what kind of deal he can get. I'm grateful becasue at this point, I can barely speak anyway.

We stand back and let Marc do his thing.

The manager asks him if we are just having a drink of planning to stay. Marc says that it depends. We know that this lodge is usually R2000 a night per person.

The manager kindly informs us that she has a special going on of R580 per person per night.

I’m thinking “What??? That’s a bargain! Let’s do it!”

Marc then delivers one of the best negotiation lines I’ve ever heard:

“Can we camp on your lawn?” he asks her.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:48:36 pm
I’m almost choking trying to contain my laughter. I can’t keep it in, so I head to the bar with Jan Lucas while Marc works his magic.

As we leave for the bar I hear him saying something like “I was thinking of more like R250 per person…”

I chuckle, slightly embarrassed, but knowing that this is how the game works and curious to see what happens next.

We order beer. This is good.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:50:09 pm
Before I left Cape Town, Johnny Wood @WildWood  took me aside and told me that as long as Jan Lucas finds cold beer at the end of the day, he will be a great travelling companion. Johnny was not wrong. We laughed and recounted our day.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 01, 2020, 08:52:30 pm
Marc arrives and says that the manager is going to get back to us.

She arrived 5 minutes later and announces, “Gentlemen, I have an offer for you… I can put you all in 1 room for R580.”

“Each?” I ask.

“No, for all 3 of you.” She replies.

I scratch my head. We offered her R750 and she counters with R580?????

Clearly this woman did not pass high school math.

But we are not going to argue, so we unanimously shout, “YES!”

Man, that was a funny and happy moment. Sitting in a luxury lodge, sipping cold beer overlooking the valley and looking forward to a comfy bed and good meal for less than R200 each.

This would not be the last time we ditched camping for a luxury lodge costing less than a campsite.

And that, my friends, is the end of our first day. More fun to come tomorrow.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: cocky on December 01, 2020, 08:55:09 pm
AWESOME reading! :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: XRRX on December 01, 2020, 09:47:19 pm
Awesome!!!  :happy1:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 01, 2020, 11:11:00 pm
Really enjoying the read, thanks for sharing.

Reading your coffee attempt reminds me of our first trip to Namibia, I had a similar plan with coffee filters

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=19247.msg311936#msg311936

Being a bit of a coffee addict myself, I now make sure I chuck out some extra clothes and other non essentials to always take a 2 Cup Bialetti with on trips.

https://bialetti.co.za/product/moka-express/

The rule is that I get up and have 2 cups on my own before making coffee for anyone else.

I have now taken it on all trips after 2008 and would not think of changing. It makes mornings before packing up amazing!!!

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on December 02, 2020, 07:35:56 am
Coffee......

@weskusklong sells drip bags....

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=251657.msg4522677#msg4522677
Title: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: teebag on December 02, 2020, 07:41:15 am
think it’s called a GSI Java Drip

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQswpMn-k3zPs63UlT3yhS_0331DhQ8LfwejQ&usqp=CAU)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 08:59:19 am
Thanks for your COFFEE ideas, guys. Your comments got me searching online and I found this one:

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/camping-and-hiking/camping-coffee/primula-coffee-brew-buddy

I looks more durable than the GSI Java Drip and is still as light. Ordering one now.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 09:13:49 am
Really enjoying the read, thanks for sharing.

Reading your coffee attempt reminds me of our first trip to Namibia, I had a similar plan with coffee filters

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=19247.msg311936#msg311936

Being a bit of a coffee addict myself, I now make sure I chuck out some extra clothes and other non essentials to always take a 2 Cup Bialetti with on trips.

https://bialetti.co.za/product/moka-express/

The rule is that I get up and have 2 cups on my own before making coffee for anyone else.

I have now taken it on all trips after 2008 and would not think of changing. It makes mornings before packing up amazing!!!

My wife have travelled with one of these for years. Normally, I'd use one too as the coffee tastes great. However, travelling on extended trips solo on the 500 doesn't allow me the luxury of space to carry one of those (and carry spares, tubes, camping gear etc...).
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: facmp on December 02, 2020, 11:46:40 am
for a light durable coffeemaker, Google AEROPRESS. they work very well
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Baches on December 02, 2020, 01:42:56 pm
Beautiful part of Namibia to ride with adventure bikes. We are so blessed to have places like this on our doorstep.Sub.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 02, 2020, 08:41:46 pm
As the boys blast off into the distance, I stay back again to avoid eating all their dust and getting my air filter dirty.

But then, the track opens up into a huge sandy trail and I just can’t help myself.

We’re blasting at 100km/h down the track.  It’s insane fun.

Bruce just needed a little time to find his rhythm.  Having spent years riding a Honda XR250 Tornado he was not used to the speed of a KTM when it idles along in 3rd gear.  On top of that I had planned a somewhat overly ambitious distance for day 1 so I did feel we needed to keep moving a bit.  The good thing is that after a while we all settled into a pace that worked well for all of us, that is, a pace that got us to cold beer before dark.
Title: DAY 2 – Twyfelfontein to Palmwag
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:04:40 pm
We woke up early again. A night in a comfy bed had done us all good.

As usual, while the boys were showering, I was working on my bike trying to debug my suspension woes. Yesterday, after setting the sag correctly, the bike did seem to handle better. The fishtailing was gone, but the front wheel was digging into all the sandy corners making it difficult to corner in sand without risking a tank slap.

Perhaps lowing the forks yesterday was the problem. So I raised them in the triple clamps again to the stock position. Let’s see how that works out…

We then enjoyed a hearty farmer’s breakfast with freshly baked bread and pretty decent coffee. We were definitely NOT roughing it as planned. I could get used to this life 😊

We set off looking for fuel and after filling our tanks we all relaxed a little more knowing that we had about a 400km range to play with.

We dropped into the Aba-Huab riverbed.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:05:55 pm
Jan Lucas was up front, Marc behind him and me keeping up the back marker. The dust was unbearable, so I stopped to wait for it to settle.

Of course, by the time I got going, the boys were far ahead of me and I couldn’t figure out where they had gone. These riverbeds are wide with multiple tributaries branching off from the main riverbed.

I took what I thought was the turn they had taken, but quickly realized that there were no bike tracks in the sand. I turned around, but couldn’t find their tracks anywhere.

There’s no cell signal. They have a sat phone. I have a Garmin Inreach. So I could have sent a message to the satphone from the Inreach, but I figured that they were riding and hadn’t realized that I was lost.

I took another turn. No joy.

Then backtracked some more and took another turn.

Joy!

There they were waiting for me. Phew.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:07:31 pm
It wasn’t getting lost that worried me, it was running into a pissed off elephant in the riverbed that worried me.

I was happy to see their faces. We exchanged stories and continued. Shortly afterward, we did run into an elephant.

30 minutes later, we emerge onto an open sandy plain. It’s gorgeous.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:10:21 pm
It’s like being a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Just sand and animals. I don’t think we had seen another vehicle in 24 hours.

I spot a hill to the left and signal to the guys? Jan Lucas gives me a look that I interpret to mean “Be careful, young man. We don’t want any reckless accidents.” After all, he’s 15 years older than me and is proving to be the most responsible of us all.

Ah, screw it. I head towards the hill and blast up it.

I’m rewarded with a breathtaking view of the plains below.

I yell to the guys to join me and they too blast up the hill. We all soak in the view for a few minutes and then like good Wild Dogs, we take a piss to mark our territory!

Savages.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:11:19 pm
 It takes about 5 minutes to cross the plain.

We’re all standing on our pegs to navigate the deep sand.

My front wheel is noticeably better since raising the forks in the triple clamps. Not even close to normal, but better. I can live with it.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:12:25 pm
We exit the plain into another riverbed which eventually opens up into a green grassy area.   

Ahead, lies a river and on the other side, some treacherous trees...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:14:33 pm
Now look at the photo below… 

Looks like fun riding, right?

Nooooooo….

See those trees in the distance?

They hide potential elephants around each corner. You don’t want to come blasting around a blind corner and ride into an elephant. That will just piss the elephant off and he’ll stomp you to death. At least, that’s how I imagine it will go down.

So, Marc and I look at Jan Lucas and say, “You can go first”.

Using Jan Lucas as elephant bait meant that he’d be stomped to death and we’d survive.

As Darwin said – it’s the most adaptable species that survive. Marc and I were adapting fast!

It was nerve wracking riding for about 15 minutes as we crept around each blind corner tentatively, hoping not to find a big beast waiting for us.

Fortunately, we all lived to tell the tale and nobody was stomped.

Thank you, Jan Lucas, for your service.   
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:16:04 pm
We dropped into another dry riverbed.
 
Again, I hold back because of the dust and let the boys go ahead.

I notice a pretty date-palm plantation in the distance and as I get closer I stop to take a photo.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:19:55 pm
Looking down to get my phone out of my leg pocket, I notice two wet patches in the sand beneath my bike.

Then three. Then four. Then ten!

Fuck! My bike is leaking something.

Shit! It’s coolant.

Fuck shit! This is NOT good.

Houston, we have a problem… and it’s not the leaky pipe attached to my radiator… it’s the crazy man sprinting towards me like a zombie in a zombie movie.

I kid you not.

One of the plantation workers is sprinting towards the fence that separates us. Something is not right in this scene.

His eyes are bloodshot red and his dreadlocks flapping madly in the breeze and he yells something at me.

“Are you American?” He shouts as he reaches the fence.

“No, South African” I reply while trying to assess the situation and watch my radiator hose leak more precious coolant.

“German?” he yells, more insistently.

“No, South African!”

He starts parting the fence and trying to climb through it.

Now normally, I’d be cool with chatting to locals, even if they were drunk. But this guy was clearly high as a kite on some drug and was not wanting to make friends.

After frantically climbing through the fence, he makes a mad dash towards me.

Is he going to attack me or hug me?

I’m looking at my radiator leaking more and more of my precious coolant onto the sand. I look at the crazy guy and I have to make a choice fast.

Do I stay here and not waste any more fluid, but risk being attacked (or at the very least harassed), or do I ride away to safety, but lose more radiator fluid and potentially overheat my bike.

I start the engine and spray sand everywhere as I pull away as fast as I can. I’m acutely aware that every second I ride I am losing fluid, so I get about 700 meters from the crazy guy and pull over under a shady tree. I cut the engine and get off the bike to inspect the leak, looking over my shoulder just in case the crazy dude has followed me.

He hasn’t.

The leak isn’t too serious. Looks like the radiator hose is sliding down off the radiator.

I can fix that!

So out comes my Leatherman and I attempt to push the hose back onto the radiator.

Instead, I manage to pierce the hose with the Leatherman and boiling hot fluid comes spewing out in my face.

Fuuuuuuucccccckkkkkk! Nooooooooooo.

This is more than bad. This could be the end of the trip!

I’m such an amateur. Why did I poke a hole in the bloody radiator hose? Why????

I just made a small problem a big problem. No bueno.

I throw the bike onto its side to stop the leaking when Marc and Jan Lucas arrive looking for me.

They can see from my face that I’m concerned. 

After about 10 minutes of throwing around ideas for how to get out of this mess, we come up with a plan.

A pretty fantastic plan, actually.

I figure that it’s a rubber hose, so it can be patched with vulcanizing glue and some tire patches. The problem is that the pressure of the coolant will surely blow off the patch within seconds.

Marc comes to the rescue with a genius idea. He whips out a roll of inner tube cut into a long strip. 

I look at him as if to say, “And now?”

He slowly wraps the inner tube around the radiator hose and over the patch I’ve vulcanized to the hose. He then uses cable ties to keep the inner tube in place.

“This might even work” I think out loud. 

We start the engine and our fix holds.

Phew…

Thank you, Marc!

So, now I’m down to only one fork with oil and a potentially dodgy radiator hose, but other than that the bike is running fine.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:21:39 pm
I comment to the guys that so far, I’ve never heard my fan come on – ever.
They both shake their head and say, “That’s not right. Our fans are constantly on…”

What? Seriously?

Crap. What if my fan is broken AND I’m running on reduced coolant? I could blow a cylinder head gasket overheating the bike. But it’s been fine this far.

Oh, fuck it. I’m not debugging the fan here in the desert heat. I’m just relieved to have fixed the leak I created and want to get a move on so that we can get away from this creepy date palm plantation.

So we keep on riding. The sand gets sandier. The heat gets hotter. And the riders get tireder (that’s not a word, I know).

The fan still doesn’t come on. And now, every time we stop, all I can hear are the fans from the 701 and the 690. Maybe I should take the fan thing a little more seriously.

A few hours of amazing riding later, we arrive at Palmwag Lodge.

Exhausted from the day’s riding, I definitely am not in the mood to set up a tent.

Jan Lucas and I send Marc in to negotiate again.

He scores another great deal and we share a glamping tent with elephants as neighbors.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:23:25 pm
We strip off, hit the shower and search for beer.
 
That night, I had the scare of my life….

The boys had already gone to dinner while I was chatting with my wife on WhatsApp. After I hung up the call, I strolled out of our tent and began walking towards the restaurant in the pitch black of night. My headlamp torch is not very bright, so I might as well have been walking in the dark when…

I bumped into 2 elephants.

They trumpeted loudly as if to say” WTF dude! Can’t you see that I’m an elephant and you’re a measly human? Get the fuck outta here!”

I froze.

What do I do? Run? Stand still? Retreat slowly?

I eventually decided on all three!

I stood still for a while, then I retreated slowly, then I stood still again and then I ran for my life towards the restaurant.

I’m sure that if the locals were watching me, they would have been laughing their asses off thinking, “Stupid white tourist”.

I made it to the restaurant and lived to tell the tale. That was some scary shit.

Elephants are not pets.

And that my friends, is the end of Day 2. More tomorrow.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 02, 2020, 10:34:23 pm
Awesome keep it coming.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on December 02, 2020, 10:36:23 pm
 :thumleft: :drif: :drif:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 02, 2020, 10:38:55 pm
Boy, I'm glad Amsterdam took you under his wing. Day 1 and you are already completely lost. You will reach Ongongo -  where you believe you started on Day 1 - by the look of things only on day 3.  8) :pot:

Ongongo, in local dialect called Warmquelle is where the warm spring is and where I suspect you might have sleep on Day 3 - unless you just passed it and slept in Sesfontein fort given great negotiation skills of Marc.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 02, 2020, 10:45:04 pm
Boy, I'm glad Amsterdam took you under his wing. Day 1 and you are already completely lost. You will reach Ongongo -  where you believe you started on Day 1 - by the look of things only on day 3.  8) :pot:

Ongongo, in local dialect called Warmquelle is where the warm spring is and where I suspect you might have sleep on Day 3 - unless you just passed it and slept in Sesfontein fort given great negotiation skills of Marc.

Awwww crap! You're right. I meant Omaruru, not Ongongo. Will fix it now. Thanks Martin.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 03, 2020, 11:52:29 am
On a bit of a technical note, how often do you service the KTM 500 and how do you handle that on these long trips?

Thanks
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Dustbiter on December 03, 2020, 11:58:36 am
Hi Overland Bruce,

another idea for making coffee, (as I also enjoy coffee when travelling - I do a lot of hiking now-a-days, as unfortunately I have no bike over here), so I have seen a lot of Chase Mountains' videos (an Australian chap now in Spain, who does much hiking in the Pyrenees), he has some useful tips about hiking/camping gear.

You will be able to get this gear online, or adapt your present gear, using some of his ideas.

He uses a Jetboil cooking pot system to boil water/cook his food, and then adds the Jetboil Coffee Press accessory (or "Java Kit" as he calls it, (but any plunger would probably fit this as well).

See: https://kit.co/ChaseMountains/mountain-kitchen-kit

For the video on the kit:  (Coffee press accessory at 10:00)

https://youtu.be/kZORfbXj2Ow

Or one could just use a stainless steel (travel) coffee press,

I am not wanting to hijack your thread - so just link to video above.

Thanks for sharing your trip - I really enjoyed travelling in Namibia - but only been to some of the northern areas in four wheeled vehicles, and your photos have brought back many good memories. I am sure this trip will stay with you for a long time when you return home again.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: bud500 on December 03, 2020, 01:11:52 pm
Loving this so far keep it coming please.

Great read.

But where the hell did Funacide crawl out from? :eek7:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Leo on December 03, 2020, 01:21:47 pm
But where the hell did Funacide crawl out from? :eek7:

I was also very surprised to see the fcuker is still alive and well and still drinking too much coffee.

Sorry, hijack off
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Rooikoos on December 03, 2020, 02:55:48 pm
for a light durable coffeemaker, Google AEROPRESS. they work very well

I agree, My Aeropress goes in the bag whenever I travel.
https://aeropress.com/ (https://aeropress.com/)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Three Dawg on December 03, 2020, 03:13:28 pm
Sub.

Would coffee bags be a solution for on the go coffee?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 03, 2020, 04:18:02 pm
But where the hell did Funacide crawl out from? :eek7:

I was also very surprised to see the fcuker is still alive and well and still drinking too much coffee.

Sorry, hijack off

Been around all the time just not posting much. With all the none riding I am so interested in trips to Kaokoland, I NEED A NAMIBIA TRIP!!!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: punisher on December 03, 2020, 06:13:58 pm
this is toomuch lekker
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Welsh on December 03, 2020, 06:41:43 pm
But where the hell did Funacide crawl out from? :eek7:

I was also very surprised to see the fcuker is still alive and well and still drinking too much coffee.

Sorry, hijack off

Been around all the time just not posting much. With all the none riding I am so interested in trips to Kaokoland, I NEED A NAMIBIA TRIP!!!

Will you get let off the leash?  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 07:47:03 pm
On a bit of a technical note, how often do you service the KTM 500 and how do you handle that on these long trips?

Thanks
Every 2000 - 3000km for an oil change seems to be the agreed milage based on dual sport use. The entire trip was 2800km, so I did it without changing the oil.

Had I been riding more, I would have carried 1.5 litres of oil with me and changed it in the field.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 07:48:17 pm
Thanks for the coffee advice everyone. Going to sit down and write up Day 3 after Cyril's announcement tonight.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on December 03, 2020, 08:48:59 pm
How would the Husky 501 have been on this ride?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: swakop_toe on December 03, 2020, 10:00:54 pm
Thanks for the coffee advice everyone. Going to sit down and write up Day 3 after Cyril's announcement tonight.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
OK, can I also chirp an option?
Been using mine for 7years already.
Very nifty.
https://www.takealot.com/zyliss-hotmug-travel-french-press-combo/PLID55954753

PS: really appreciating your RR Bruce.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20201203/74a728f93901a7d04d92fb93c38b53ac.jpg)

Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk

Title: DAY 3 – Palmwag to Sesfontein
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:37:03 pm
I sleep like a baby that night. Apparently, elephants were walking around our tent all night, but fortunately, I didn’t hear them.

I get out of bed and head outside to make coffee. Fortunately, the glamping setup at Palmwag Lodge comes with a French Press, so good coffee was definitely on the cards this morning.

As I exit the “tent”, I stop dead in my tracks. Right in front of me is a gigantic elephant… It’s quite something to be that close.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:38:12 pm
No bike maintenance this morning. I think I can live with the handling now that the sag is set right. The front end still dives into sandy corners threatening to throw me over the bars, but at least it’s sort of predictable.

After a good coffee, we shower and head to breakfast. Marc gives me a ride to the restaurant on the back of his bike. Marc may be a little homophobic, I’m not sure. So I tease him by clinging tightly to him as he pulls off. Jan Lucas caught the moment on camera and I think Marc’s face says it all! 😊 We laughed so hard at his reaction.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:38:40 pm
Half way there, Marc sees some elephant shit and decided this photo is in order….
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:39:29 pm
We’re having a great time and the morning’s mood is optimistic because we’re well rested and looking forward to seeing the Klein Serengeti and camping at a hot spring tonight.

Also, the night before we met Zulma and her husband Jurgen.

Zulma is a voluptuous, charismatic Colombian who is as charming as she is sexy.

I can’t speak for the other guys, but I suspect that we were all quite taken by her spirit and looking forward to more of her this morning.

It’s her birthday and so the staff come out and sing happy birthday. Zulma jumps up and begins dancing with them. Afterwards her .and Jurgen sit at our table and share birthday cake with us. It was a fun way to start the day. 😊
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:41:24 pm
Eventually, 4 hours after waking up, we leave.

We check out through the environmental security gate where the guard asks us if we are carrying any fruit or meat? Apparently, we’re not allowed to carry meat or fruit products into the neighboring region.

I’m not a dishonest person by nature… In fact, I have presented a TEDx talk on the topic of honesty (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkbWIfP3mLw)

But today, I’m not going to give up my precious droewors just because some security guard is following protocol.

So, we all lie and say "no", because of course we’re loaded to the hilt with biltong and droewors.

We blast down a long straight section for 60km until we arrive at the entrance to the Otjitheka 4WD trail.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:41:46 pm
Along the way we pass this guy on the side of the road.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:42:34 pm
The trail turns into a fun ride with sweeping sandy tracks and challenging rocky climbs.

During one of them, my front wheel deflected of a rock which sent me off to the other side of the rocky 4x4 track onto a rock and then onto my ass. Fortunately, the other guys didn’t see, so I jumped back on and kept blasting pretending to have made it up in one go.

We stop and assess the route…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:45:04 pm
The closer we get to Klein Serengeti, the sandier the track becomes until it opens up into a spectacular plain.   

We open the throttles and blast through the sand for a while.

At one point, a giraffe runs right across my path and turns in front of me and continues loping along at full speed. Almost in slow motions, it’s legs sway from side to side as he runs. Time stand still and I marvel at the immense privilege of being able to ride a motorcycle beside a giraffe.

I slow down so as not to frighten him and let his run into the bushes.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:46:35 pm
My GPS tells me that I need to turn left into the Khowarib Schlucht 4WD trail.

It’s another riverbed trail, but as Namibia is in it’s 7th year of drought, it’s dry.

I catch up with Marc and Jan Lucas and they are looking for a place to stop and have lunch. 

“Lunch” seems to have different meanings for each of us. For Marc, lunch is a cuppa tea. For Jan Lucas it’s instant soup. For me it’s food.

“Guys, WTF? You’re boiling water??? Have you not noticed that we’re in a desert and its 30+ degrees in the shade? You’re seriously going to boil tea and soup now?”

They looked at me as if I was an ignorant child and continued to set up their gas burners and start boiling water. I pulled out my biltong and passed it around. 

Not being a tea drinker, I passed on Marc’s offer of a cup, but Jan Lucas insisted that I try the soup. Actually, it was tasty and quite filling while still being light on the stomach.

Soup for lunch in the desert would become a ritual that I would learn to appreciate over the coming days.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:51:17 pm
As we’re about to set off again, we hear a noise in the distance. Soon afterwards a 4x4 appears with a young German couple inside. These are the first tourists we’ve seen since we started.

We stop and chit chat for 15 mintes. They are very curious about the bikes and what it’s like travellign on the bike.

They also tell us that there are a ton of giraffe further up in the riverbed. Yay!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:52:23 pm
We get back in the saddle and begin exploring the riverbed. The dust is awful, so I try to ride alongside Marc and Jan Lucas, but because we’re all trying to find a safe line, riding side by side in an ever-changing riverbed prevents spontaneous sideways movement, so we soon spread out again.

I’m getting tired of riding at the back and missing out on all the animals, so I make a mad dash for the front position.

It takes something to catch and then safely overtake Jan Lucas.  He used to race, so he's quick.

By the time I have him in my sights, I have my sand shoes on and I’m in my flow, power sliding around the corners and lofting the front wheel over the holes in the sand.

God, I love the 500. It’s the most fun bike I own and if I only had to own one bike, this would be it.

I lose all sense of time as I blast through the river canyon.

It opens up into a greener area where I stop to wait for the guys – exhilarated and feeling amazing.

They don’t arrive. I peer at my GPS and notice that I’ve drifted off our planned track. Perhaps they took the actual GPS track instead of staying in the riverbed.

5 minutes later, I turn around and begin retracing the actual GPS track to see if I can find them.

It takes a while, but eventually I see them under a tree. As I pull up, they are oddly silent. No excitement.

“What’s up, guys?”

“Marc almost hit a giraffe.” Jan Lucas says somberly.

The giraffe had suddenly run out from the bank of the riverbed and crossed right in front of Marc. Apparently, Marc only just missed crashing into it.

Afterward, they had stopped to regroup. I could tell that something was up with Jan Lucas. He was not smiling as usual and had a distracted look on his face.

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:56:46 pm
We continued and eventually left the riverbed behind and started down a Fesh Fesh infested track.

If you don’t know what Fesh Fesh is, it’s extremely fine sand, like baby powder. Riding in it is almost impossible as you just can’t get any traction. Worse still, the fine dust gets EVERYWHERE, and I mean everywhere. In my air filter, in my eyes, in my boots, even in my balls. Everywhere.

Just before the Fesh Fesh section, I notice a solitary man standing on the side of the road in the heat.

I stop to say hello and chat with him.

He’s selling wooden crafts – animals and the like - to tourists.

I look at the ground in front of me and there are no car tracks nor bike tracks, meaning that no tourist has been down this path in at least a week, maybe even in 8 months.

And this man comes out and waits here every day, all day, in the boiling heat, hoping that one day a car will drive by again, like they used to before COVID-19.

I feel for him… and even though I have no space in my luggage to buy tourist shit, I buy a wooden elephant from him (and give him double what he asked) just so that he can buy some food.

Soon the local kids arrive having heard the motorcycle. We take a photo together and talk a little more.

He doesn’t seem to understand why the tourists have suddenly stopped coming. I ask him if he knows about the virus. He nods. I tell him that until 3 weeks ago, the borders to his country were closed and that nobody could enter Namibia.

He nods.

I tell him that hopefully December will be better as South African and European travelers will begin arriving again. He smiles. I hope I didn’t give him false hope.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:58:00 pm
We move on towards Ongongo planning to stay at the Warquelle Hot Springs campsite. It’s a beautiful place to camp I’ve heard and I’ve been looking forward to it all day.

We arrive at the turnoff and Jan Lucas pulls up next to me and says, “I’m not going to camp. I’m not feeling well. I need a bed. I’m heading to Sesfontein (30km away). Why don’t you camp there so that you can see us and then meet us in Sesfontein in the morning?”

I ponder the idea of camping alone and think, “Well, if there’s a pornstar convention at the campsite, that might be fun, but how likely is it that there will be a pornstar convention at Warmquelle Campsite?”

“Tell you what…” I say “You head to Sesfontein and I’ll ride to the campsite just to check it out and then meet you in an hour.

They ride off and I blast up to the campsite. It’s as beautiful as I imagined, nested in a rocky mountain with a (luke) warm spring and waterfall running into a pool.

The only problem is that there is no pornstar convention and I’m the only person in the entire place.

I leave soon after testing the water in the pool.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 10:58:44 pm
I meet the boys in Sesfontein. Marc parks his bike on the street so that I know where they are. They’ve negotiated a simple room in a B&B.

Almost as soon as I arrived, I heard two other bikes approaching. As they flew past, I could tell that they were 690s.

What? More bikers? In Sesfontein?

I jump back on my bike and scream after them until I find them at Fort Sesfontein Hotel.

I introduce myself and they are just as surprised to see me as I am to see them.

They’re from Germany and introduce themselves as Heiner and Peter.

I invite them to come and stay with us at our B&B.

They accept and we ride back together.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 03, 2020, 11:04:37 pm
The sun sets as it only does in Africa.

The company is great. We eat dinner together, drink wine, chat and generally shoot the shit till we’re too tired to anymore.

It’s been another amazing day. Hard riding, but amazing scenery.

Still no accidents, no mechanical failures, and now new friends.

Life is good. Let's see what tomorrow holds... (insert ominous music here)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 03, 2020, 11:21:55 pm
Really enjoying this, keep it coming!
Title: DAY 4 – Sesfontein to Opuwo
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:25:27 pm
We wake up determined to leave early today. It’s a fresh morning, but the weather repost says that it will soon be 35 degrees centigrade.

We’ve got a big (and hot) day ahead that includes Robbie’s Pass – something Marc has been whining about for a few days now. He keeps dropping hints that perhaps we shouldn’t ride Robbie’s Pass.

You see, Robbie’s pass is rocky and steep, and last time Marc was here, it kicked his ass. He’s been anxious about it every time we mention it.

I, on the other hand, am wanting to ride everything I can while I’m here. Jan Lucas is determined to show me as much of Kaokoland as he can, so between the two of us we outvote Marc.

We’re doing Robbie’s Pass. I tease Marc saying that I’ll pull him through if he can’t make it on his own.

We have breakfast with the Germans, enjoying more good coffee, good company, scrambled eggs and sausage.

I’m feeling happy that we’re almost ready to leave and it’s only 8am.

Then, Marc discovers that his front tire has a flat.

There goes our early start. ☹

An hour later, I’m hot and sweaty and we still haven’t left. But soon enough we make it out the B&B gates and head to find fuel.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:26:18 pm
We split the fuel costs using a great free app called SplitWise. It’s designed to help friends split expenses on a trip.

So, in this case, I paid for all of our fuel with my card (to save our cash) and the app keeps track of who owes who what. Then, at the end of the trip, settling up is a piece of cake.

We head out on a very rocky track (thanks @Xpat) behind the Fort Sesfontein hotel. Things are looking up. It’s getting technical and I’m up front for a change leading the pack.

I’ve got my favorite Spotify playlist playing in my helmet. After about the third song, I realize that I haven’t seen the other’s in a while. I stop and wait for a few minutes before turning around to find out what happened to them.

I discover them with the tarp out. Oh no, this can only mean one thing. Puncture repair time.

Marc’s 690 has picked up a nail in his rear tire.

There’s not a tree in sight. It’s getting hotter and hotter and we all want to just get back on the trail ASAP. Marc removes the wheel. Jan Lucas spoons off the tire. I check it for thorns while Marc patches the tube. 

For some reason I cannot remember now, the puncture repair takes another hour instead of 30 minutes.

It 10:30 and we’ve already spent 2 hours fixing flats. This is not a good omen.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:27:14 pm
But things look up once we’re back on the track. Lots of rocky climbs interspersed with sandy tracks and we’re grinning again.

We come across a steep rocky ascent. It’s the most technical hill we’ve ridden so far and I’m chomping at the bit to have a go at it. 

I try to remember everything Alfredo Gomez taught me at the Hard Enduro clinic that I attended last month. Get on the pegs as soon as possible. Toes in. Knees gripping the seat. Elbows up. Arms relaxed. Momentum. Go!

I make it up all the way to the top without dabbing once (and without sitting either). Man, that was fun.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:28:16 pm
From the top of the hill, the track levels out and turns into a rock festival.

Same deal here…

Get on the pegs as soon as possible. Toes in. Knees gripping the seat. Elbows up. Arms relaxed. Momentum. Go!
 
The rocks seem like they are never going to end and by the time they do, I’m happy to sit down.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:28:55 pm
Now is probably a good time to say a thing or two about the 500 seat. It’s a plank.

So, before we left, I had a local seat guy make me a seat based on a design by Fisher Seats. It turned out very well and my ass has been happy the entire trip so far. The best part is that the wide part doesn’t interfere with my “attack” pose at all.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:32:19 pm
After the rocks, we’re looking for a place to rest and almost ride into this – a giant Fesh Fesh hole. That would not have been fun.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:32:54 pm
As we continue looking for shade, I’m reminded that we’re not the predators here. We’re prey.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:35:10 pm
Eventually, Jan Lucas finds a shady spot and Marc erects his tarp.

Now, at first, I thought that carrying a tarp on a trip like this was overkill. I would soon have my mind changed. Tarps not only make great puncture repair platforms, but also great shade cloths.
 
Then, out comes the tea and hot cup-a-soup. At this point, I’m actually looking forward to the soup. 

Jan Lucas decides that a nap is in order and once we’re feeling a little more energized, we press on towards Robbie’s Pass.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:38:33 pm
Once we’re feeling a little more energized, we press on towards Robbie’s Pass.

I let the boys go ahead (so that I’m not eating their dust constantly) and find a comfortable rhythm, enjoying the arid scenery and wheelieing across the dry riverbeds.
Eventually, I realize that I’ve been riding and not seen them for 20 minutes. Either they are blasting really fast or I’m going really slow. Normally they would have waited for me.

I speed up, thinking that they must be around the corner somewhere. They’re not THAT fast.

20 minutes later I’m at the entrance to Robbie’s Pass and the boys are nowhere to be seen.

Shit.

They would definitely have waited for me here. Something must have happened to them. Perhaps they took a wrong turn?

I haul out the Inreach and blast off a (free) preprogrammed text message to the sat phone saying “I’m fine. Where are you?” The Inreach automatically includes my GPS coordinate with the message.

Before I hear back from them, I hear Marc’s (noise polluting) Akro in the distance. At least it’s good for something (locating Marc).

They arrive 5 minutes later with smiles on their faces.

“We took a wrong turn and you must have passed us while we were turning around…”

There I was thinking that I was chasing them, when they were chasing me 😊

Jan Lucas says, “Didn’t you see that there were not tracks in front of you?”

“Actually, No. I was so busy trying to catch you that I wasn’t even thinking that you were behind me!”

We stop to regroup, rehydrate and mentally prepare for Robbie’s Pass.

Then we hit it.

Marc blasts off into the distance trying to get it over with as soon as possible. Jan Lucas makes a more considered approach and I just follow at the back, curious to see what all the fuss is about.

From the bottom, it looks steeper that it is when you’re ascending it.

Robbie Pass beats all of us.

Marc has to paddle to the top. 

I try to impress the guys by blasting up on my pegs and getting stuck ¾ of the way up.

And Jan Lucas makes a spectacular airborne exit off his bike. 

We laugh together, humbled by our failures (not knowing the failures that were about to come.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:40:14 pm
The track towards Opuwo is fast and sandy.

Now you might think that we’re just blasting along and not really taking in the scenery. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But this trip is about the riding as much as it is about the nature. When we blast, it’s mostly because the scenery is dull and the riding is fun.

That all ends when Marc gets yet another flat. This time, it’s the rear again and we discover 18 pin-prick thron holes in his tube. It’s fucked.

Another hour goes by as we take the rear tire off the rim again to get all the thorns out. We stuff in a replacement tube to save time. Marc can fix the 18 holes at camp tonight.

Not 10 minutes after we get going again, it’s my turn. My rear wheel starts fishtailing all over the show and I realize that I have a flat.

We pull over and EVERYONE is not pleased with this situation.

I remove the rear wheel, but the tire is stuck to it and not budging.

Jan Lucas offers his kickstand as a bead breaker.
 
Another hour later, and having removed the nail and the tire, we’re back on the road again.

So far, we’ve spent 4 hours fixing flats. It’s late and we’re never going to make it to the Kunene River tonight.

We readjust our plans and decide to stay over at Opuwo instead.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:42:21 pm
I say a little prayer to the tube gods begging for mercy and promising to atone for my sins if we can get to Opuwo without another flat.

They don’t listen.

With my puncture repaired, I get back on my bike. The boys have already left wanting to make up lost time so that we don’t ride in the dark.

Not 5 minutes later, my rear wheel begins fishtailing again like a drunken sailor.

Nooooooooo. Please nooooooo.
 
I pull over and remove the rear wheel again.

But I just can’t break the bead by myself. I send another message to their satphone and wait. 30 minutes later they arrive. We break the bead and pull out the tube.

The valve has ripped off. Maybe from riding on the flat earlier, maybe from heat buildup. 

Who knows. All I know is that I’m tired of fixing flats.

I can hear my buddy Campbell’s words ringing in my head as he said, “Dude. Put mousses in. It’s Namibia. There are thorns everywhere!”

I was beginning to regret not listening to him. 

Anyways, I happily throw away the UDH tube. I hate UHD tubes because they are so hard to install and remove (see pic below). I replace it with the paper-thin KTM tube that came with the bike.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 08:44:30 pm
An hour later, we’re on the road again. Light is fading fast, so we fuck off down the dirt roads towards Opuwo.

My bike is doing 130km/h and handling great. No fishtailing like before. Totally stable.

I have no idea why, but I’m thrilled.

And then it hits me.

The UHD tube.

That motherfucker must have put the rear wheel so out of balance that it was upsetting the entire bike.

Now, with the stock tube back in, the wheel was balanced again (sort of) and the bike was handling normally.

I grinned in my helmet having finally solved half of the puzzle. Then I remembered that I still have a UHD tube in the front tire. Perhaps that’s what is messing up the front end.

But that’s a story for later…

We arrive in Opuwo, find a place to stay, shower and head out to find food. Opuwo is a grungy town with a lot of character. Himba people, Herero people, White, Black – all co-habituating. I really want to return here on my next trip.

We arrive at the only steakhouse in town.

Shortly after ordering, the 2 guys at the next table come over to talk with us about our bikes.“

Are you guys going to ride Van Zyl’s Pass?” they ask.

“For sure we are…”

“We’re heading there tomorrow… to Otjitanda.” they say.

Turns out that these two guys (Johan and Johan) are missionaries and also bikers. They are heading out to a remote village along the route we’ll be taking 2 days from now.
In that area, it’s hard to know if you’ll ever find fuel, and this is a problem that we’ve been trying to mitigate from the beginning.

Then Marc has a genius idea!

“Johan, do you think you could take some fuel to the school for us and leave it there?”

Johan thinks for a while and agrees. “But you have to give me the fuel now. We leave at 5am tomorrow.” he says.

I jump up from the table and run to the petrol station and buy three 5-liter bottles of water.

Then, I empty all the water out of them so that I can use them for fuel.

The looks I got were incredulous.

“What? It’s just water!” I think to myself.

Finally, it dawns on me that I am in a drought ridden land dumping 15 liters of perfectly good drinking water down the drain. Whoops.

White tourist moment.

I fill the bottles with fuel as Johan pulls up at the petrol station. He takes the bottles and loads them into his truck.

It’s a miracle. I praise the fuel gods for bestowing their blessings upon us and apologize to the tire gods for using their name in vain… Because if it were not for the 5 hours of fixing punctures, we would not have met Johan and Johan.

Johan gives us a map to find the school.

Amen.

We sleep like babies in our air-conditioned room. All the puncture repairs have bonded us, we’re safe, we have fuel, we have bikes, we have beer, we have full bellies…

What more could we want for?

Night night.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 04, 2020, 09:02:19 pm
Good to see a proper old school report again in this age of one post wonders  :thumleft:

Takes one 15 years back when adv riding was not yet overrun by consumerism and corporate messaging, but fresh, exciting and ambitious...

Good job  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 04, 2020, 11:53:26 pm
Good to see a proper old school report again in this age of one post wonders  :thumleft:

Takes one 15 years back when adv riding was not yet overrun by consumerism and corporate messaging, but fresh, exciting and ambitious...

Good job  :thumleft:

Thanks Martin. That's high praise coming from you (whose long form ride reports I love). I'm 6 hours of writing into this ride report and estimate I have at least an other 8 hours of writing to go! I guess it's helping me cement the memories. :-)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 05, 2020, 06:42:37 am
Good to see a proper old school report again in this age of one post wonders  :thumleft:

Takes one 15 years back when adv riding was not yet overrun by consumerism and corporate messaging, but fresh, exciting and ambitious...

Good job  :thumleft:

Totally agree with Xpat :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: THROTTLE JOCKEY on December 05, 2020, 08:43:23 am
Fantastic ride and a brilliant share. Thank you.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: JustBendIt on December 05, 2020, 08:46:42 am
Enjoying every pic and word here ... keep going  :thumleft:

Brings back great memories of my trip with Xpat and Straatkat
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on December 05, 2020, 10:46:08 am
We sleep like babies in our air-conditioned room.

Damn Bruce I hope you packed enough warm pajamas!! ;) :lol8:
Enjoying the RR hope it's not over soon. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: MildlyWild on December 05, 2020, 01:31:09 pm
Good report so far 👌
Think after my next trip I will rather send my pics to Bruce, tell him what happened and ask him to write a report for me  :laughing4:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 04:29:11 pm
Brings back great memories of my trip with Xpat and Straatkat
That trip inspired me a lot.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 04:30:45 pm
Good report so far 👌
Think after my next trip I will rather send my pics to Bruce, tell him what happened and ask him to write a report for me  :laughing4:
Thanks man, but I'll have to increase my prices becasue jirree, this takes a LOT of time. :-)
Title: Days 5 & 6 - Opuwo to Epupa Falls
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:27:25 pm
For a change, we woke up and our #1 priority was not coffee.

It was finding spare inner tubes.

Yesterday had cost us two inner tubes, which meant that both Marc and I were running on our spares. If we blew up one of our spares today, we'd still be OK because Jan Lucas had his spare tube and could share. But, if we blew up two tubes, we'd be shit out of luck. Game over. Thanks for playing.

I start at the local hardware store in Opuwo. They tell me that very few people ride motorcycles here and that the only place we'll find a tube is in Windhoek. I don't want to believe them, so I stubbornly visit every spare parts store in Opuwo.

Nothing. Nada. Nix.

We still have one week of riding ahead of us - riding in the most sparsely populated country on earth, in the most sparsely populated area of the most sparsely populated country on earth.

The only silver lining to my morning's investigation was that I found a place that sold slime. We each bought two bottles.

Now, for those of you who don't know what this Slime stuff is, it's the green sperm of Satan. You put it in your inner tube and it stays liquid until exposed to a puncture (actually, the outside air), at which point it gets all gooey and blocks up hole that caused the puncture.

But it sure is the green sperm of Satan, because getting it into your inner tube will make you curse like the devil himself and earn you so much bad karma that you'll go straight to hell in the afterlife.

Fuck, it's a mission. It took me one hour to get that slimy shit into my tube. More accurately, it took me 1 hour to unblock the holy mess I made in my valve stem trying to get that shit in my tube.

Note to anyone using Slime: Shake the bottle like you're masturbating before you try to insert the green sperm of Satan into in the valve stem hole.

Finally, we hit the road but it's already midday and I'm already hot and sweaty.

The plan is to ride up to the Kunene River Lodge, have lunch and then head on to Epupa Falls. The Kunene River forms the border between Namibia and Angola.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:28:14 pm
The road to the lodge is one long straight boring 2-hour transport section.
 
We arrive happy and order a big lunch. All I want to do is swim in the river, but I’m cautioned that it FULL of crocs.

I can be stupid, but I’m not that stupid. No swim for me.

I ask one of the staff if the crocs ever crawl out of the river and into the Lodge. She says that they stay on the Angolan side of the river.

I ask why?

She says that they have Angolan passports and don’t have Namibian visas.

I laugh out loud. That’s the best explanation for it.

I have a nap on the restaurant floor before eating.

With our tummies full, we take a stroll through the gardens to find the sprinkler and then proceed to soak ourselves in water before climbing on the bikes and heading off...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:29:21 pm
We’re following the old road to Epupa Falls. It’s beautiful and leads us through some sandy single-track, across a vast empty riverbed and then right along the river.

The riding is superb. 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:30:12 pm
It’s along this road that I have my first interaction with the Himba. I come across two Himba huts in the middle of a field alongside the river.

I’m alone at this point. I sit on my bike wanting to make contact with whoever might live there. I see a woman in the distance and a boy. Nobody else.
 
I expect (like in most other third world countries I’ve explored) that the children will show an interest in the bike and come running towards me wanting sweets or to sit on the bike.

Not these Himba.

They keep their distance and appear not to want to come any closer to me.

So, I get off the bike, take off my helmet so that I look more approachable and beckon them to approach.

The boy tentatively comes closer, but remains 30 meters from me and won’t come any closer. He calls his mother who joins him.

I take a few steps closer and I see that they are nervous.

“What might this strange white skinned creature dressed in alien clothing want?” I imagine they are thinking.

I say hello and wave. They look at each other and then wave back.

Waving is universal for “Hello!” everywhere. It works here too.

I reach into my pocket for my phone to take a photo, but decide against it as I feel like it would be impolite and perhaps scare them.

I try to introduce myself.

“Bruce” I say deliberately while patting my hand on my heart trying to indicate that I’m saying my name.

I extend my hand as if to say, “What’s your name?”

They don’t get it. I stupidly try the exact same thing again. Not surprisingly, they still don’t get it.

Then, the mother rubs her tummy.

That’s the universal sign for “I’m hungry.”

My heart breaks.

I have a can of vegetable curry in my Giant Loop saddlebag that I’ve been carrying with me for dinner when we need to Wild Camp. I want to give it to her, but there might not be another supermarket along our route and then I’ll be without dinner.

I’m torn.

Eventually, I remember that I have a granola bar in my backpack. I remove the backpack from my back and it seems to startle them and they retreat.

“It’s OK.” I say in the same tone of voice I use to soothe my clients (I’m a marriage counselor).

I walk towards them with the granola bar and extend my hand. For a while, nobody moves, but then the boy plucks up some courage and comes and snatches it from my hand.

They nod as if to say “Thank you.”

As I walk back to my bike, my heart is breaking. These rural people would normally thrive selling curios to tourists, but now they are hungry and needing food.

As I ride off, I think about riding back here early tomorrow morning with some food for them. I was deeply moved.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:30:48 pm
Later on, I see this notice:

If you want to donate, there’s a bank account number on the image.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:32:29 pm
We pull into Epupa Falls and our first mission is to find a place to stay. The Epupa Falls lodge has a special offer on for R350 each sharing.

We gladly accept and are led far down the path to the furthest corner of the campsite. At first, I’m thinking that we’re being taken to the crappiest part of the campsite, but as the host shows us our room., I realize that we have been given the best room in the entire village.

It’s the closest you can be to the Epupa waterfall. Right on top of it, actually. I can’t believe our luck. Our spirits soar and the first thing that Marc and I say to each other is “Tomorrow is a rest day!”
   
We propose the idea of resting tomorrow to Jan Lucas and he’s open to the idea.
Then we show him the bar and he’s in love with the idea.
 
“But we have to get fuel now!” he says.

I’ve noticed that Jan Lucas gets anxious when he doesn’t know if he has enough fuel, and when he doesn’t know if he has enough beer.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:34:13 pm
Off we go to get fuel. That in itself is an adventure.

We arrive in what feels like the crib of the local gangster. He’s the only guy in the place and is surrounded by women doing all the work.
 
We fill our tanks and our 6 liter fuel bladders too. We’re going to need all the petrol we can get from here on out.

With our bikes full, we head off to find beer and food.

Now, under normal circumstances, I don’t drink much. A beer or two a month. Seriously.

On this trip, I’ve already drunk a years’ worth of beer and I’m loving it!

We call asleep to the sound of the raging waterfall just outside our cabin.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:38:06 pm
The next morning, I wake up and take my coffee equipment outside.

I notice a couple washing their clothes in the river by stomping on them, like some kind of ritual dance.

I decide to walk over to the falls and see it for myself. It’s pretty spectacular.

 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:39:12 pm
While I’m taking in the view, three teenagers arrive. One has a baby on her hip and one of the boys is wearing  a strange looking hat that I’ve seen on a lot of the Himba boys.
   
I approach them slowly, and introduce myself as I had the day before.

Nothing. They don’t get it.

I’m determined to break the ice, but I need to learn some Otjiherero or else they are never going to understand me.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:42:25 pm
I signal for them to wait for me and I head back up towards the campsite where I’d seen a woman selling curios who spoke English.

Her name is Millicent (on the right in the photo below). I ask her if she will teach me how to say my name and ask them their name.
She seems delighted at the idea and teaches me the following:

“e-naranje a mi Bruce” – means “My name is Bruce.
“Ove u-ne?” means “What is your name?”

Armed with these two phrases, I run back to the falls to find the teenagers still there.

“e-naranje a mi Bruce” I proclaim with the biggest grin on my face.

Their faces light up in recognition.

“Ove u-ne?” I ask.

They tell me their names. The girl is Tuka. The boys’ names were too foreign for me to remember. Sorry.

These phrases would become my ice-breakers with every Himba person I met from now on. They always created smiles and I felt inspired to learn more Otjiherero before I return to Namibia next time.

We laugh together a little, but my limited vocabulary can only get me so far. I head back for breakfast.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:43:13 pm
We decide that today is maintenance day.

Marc has convinced himself that he can fix the 18 holes in his inner tube. We all need to clean our air filters. I need to find out what is happening with my radiator fan, which has never come on. If I don’t, perhaps I’ll blow up my engine in the dunes that lie ahead over the coming days.

We get to work.

Seven patches later and Marc’s old tube is almost as good as new.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:44:15 pm
We use fuel from our tanks to clean our foam air filters.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:44:56 pm
Then, Jan Lucas and I get to work on my radiator fan. He whips out his multimeter and we begin probing the electrical connectors around the fan.

Sure enough, the fan is not broken, but there's no power getting to it.

We trace the fan wire up the harness and lo and behold we discover an unplugged connector.

Bingo!

We plug in the connector and the fan whirs to life.

As happy as we are to have solved the mystery of my fan, I’m also concerned that perhaps I’ve damaged the engine over the last days of riding in the desert heat without a fan and with reduced radiator fluid (from the leaky pipe on day 2). I can only hope that my Booysen Supercooler water pump upgrade has helped keep my engine cool enough.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 06:45:38 pm
Next, I have to find coolant.

That begins to seem like an impossible task. I visit every campsite and shop in the town and everyone tells me the same thing. “Nobody in Epupa sells coolant.”

I’m feeling a little frustrated. I suppose I could add water to the radiator, but I really don’t want to unless I absolutely have to.

I notice that there is one more lodge at the top of the hill overlooking Epupa Falls. I get on my bike and ride up there.

A friendly worker named Simon comes to the gate to find out what I want. I tell him my story and he invites me into the (very closed) lodge to take a look around his boss’s workshop.

No coolant anywhere.

Then he pulls out a ladder and gets two old dusty boxes down from the top shelf. They are both filled with dusty half used bottles from a million years ago.

From the bottom of one of the boxes, Simon pulls out a blue bottle and shows it to me to read (because perhaps he cannot read it himself).

The label says C…O… O… L… A… N… T…

Coolant! No fucking way!

I almost give Simon a kiss, but instead opt for a hug. COVID-19 and all. 😊

We walk outside and I fill up my radiator with the blue liquid. I give Simon a nice Thank You tip and head back to the campsite to share my good fortune. The guys can’t believe it. Neither can I.

In the campsite, we meet a fabulous Swiss family who are travelling around Namibia together. We invite them for drinks with us on the deck and share stories of our travels. They are delightful people who I’ve stayed in contact with. Marc develops a crush on the 26-year-old daughter, Vicki. I don’t think anyone blames him!

 Darkness comes and we head out to get some dinner, which almost kills us – literally.

We have arranged dinner at the campsite next door. The manager has prepared a beautiful table under a palm tree on the river bank. We feel like special VIP guests.

And then we almost die.

Bang!

A clump of coconuts fall 30 meters from the highest palm tree you’ve ever seen and land a meter from Jan Lucas. Had Jan Lucas been hit by it, there’s no chance he would have survived.

Phew… That was close.

We quickly switch tables far from the deadly coconuts, shovel down our food and decide that this is enough adventure for one day. We head to bed and fall asleep to the sound of the Epupa Falls for the last time.

Tomorrow holds even more adventure, when instead of being killed, we become the killers…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 05, 2020, 07:15:45 pm
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

Slime makes tube unpatchable - not sure what it is but the chemicals would prevent the patches to stick. So what you have in effect done is you turned two perfectly patchable and hence reusable (many times) tubes into a throwaway once-off ones. I doubt that Slime would help anyway in the heat and distances & speeds you were doing and once you will get hole big enough, the tube is useless.

I would have just stocked up on patches and glue in Opuwo. Most probably you still had 3 x 21 inches tubes, that could be used at the rear in pinch anyway.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 05, 2020, 09:44:03 pm
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

Slime makes tube unpatchable - not sure what it is but the chemicals would prevent the patches to stick. So what you have in effect done is you turned two perfectly patchable and hence reusable (many times) tubes into a throwaway once-off ones. I doubt that Slime would help anyway in the heat and distances & speeds you were doing and once you will get hole big enough, the tube is useless.

I would have just stocked up on patches and glue in Opuwo. Most probably you still had 3 x 21 inches tubes, that could be used at the rear in pinch anyway.

Never used Slime but I have heard the same. Tubes now useless.

So well written though, I actually can't wait for the next episode... Feels like a brilliant Soapie thriller.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on December 05, 2020, 11:15:23 pm
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

I've got that T shirt and earned it the hard way!!! :o >:( :(
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 05, 2020, 11:48:57 pm
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

Slime makes tube unpatchable - not sure what it is but the chemicals would prevent the patches to stick. So what you have in effect done is you turned two perfectly patchable and hence reusable (many times) tubes into a throwaway once-off ones. I doubt that Slime would help anyway in the heat and distances & speeds you were doing and once you will get hole big enough, the tube is useless.

I would have just stocked up on patches and glue in Opuwo. Most probably you still had 3 x 21 inches tubes, that could be used at the rear in pinch anyway.

Your frankness is welcome.

The reason I was comfortable with the slime in the tube is that I'd already successfully patched a tube with it. I carry vulcanizing glue and big Slime (brand) motorcycle patches, not those flimsy bicycle patches. I can assure you, if you apply the vulcanizing glue to both the (cleaned) tube and the patch, leave it 15 minutes and then apply it with pressure, nothing is going to make that patch peel off.

One of these days, I'll make a video demonstrating this.

Personally, I believe (I don't know for sure) that the reason patches fail with slime is becasue often:

1) the patch is a flimsy bicycle patch made in China from a cheap bicycle repair kit.
2) The glue is contact cement instead of vulcanizing glue.
3) The rider is too impatient to wait 15 minutes for the glue to vulcanize.
4) The tube is a shitty Chinese tube with very little rubber in it's chemical makeup, so patches are less likely to stick. I've started using Michelin tubes recently which aparrently have more ruber in their chemical makeup (and are therefore more easily patched with vulcanizing glue).

Would love to hear your thoughts...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on December 06, 2020, 03:44:02 am
Man what a story. We stopped over there some years ago but it was nowhere near as dry as it is now. Great RR!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on December 06, 2020, 08:18:36 am
Absolutely loving this!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 06, 2020, 09:10:21 am
....

Your frankness is welcome.

The reason we were comfortable with the slime is that we'd already successfully patched a tube with it. I carry vulcanizing glue and big Slime (brand) motorcycle patches, not those flimsy bicycle patches. I can assure you, if you apply the vulcanizing glue to both the (cleaned) tube and the patch, leave it 15 minutes and then apply it with pressure, nothing is going to make that patch peel off.

One of these days, I'll make a video demonstrating this.

Personally, I believe that the reason patches fail with slime is becasue often:

1) the patch is a flimsy bicycle patch made in China from a cheap bicycle repair kit.
2) The glue is contact cement instead of vulcanizing glue.
3) The rider is too impatient to wait 15 minutes for the glue to vulcanize.
4) The tube is a shitty Chinese tube with very little rubber in it's chemical makeup, so patches are less likely to stick. I've started using Michelin tubes recently which aparrently have more ruber in their chemical makeup (and are therefore more easily patched with vulcanizing glue).

Would love to hear your thoughts...

I stand corrected then. In the interest of research, I would still like to understand more details though - do you by any chance remember what tube it was you guys patched?

I still would stay clear off Slime or any similar product, unless as a last desperate resort - e.g. I run out of patches in middle of nowhere so will try to pour that stuff in to see if it can stop / limit air leak. I'm skeptical they really work with tubes as these stretch (I believe these product were intended for tubeless tyres, which do not flex much) - and the fact that you already had to patch tube with one in it seems to confirm this to an extent. Also they make proper mess of any future flat fixing with that goo messing up everything. They also do tend to block up the valve stem making pressure reading unreliable.

Patching the tube is topic that fascinates me as it is absolutely essential skill for trips like this and yet - even after years of reseach and trials - it still seems like an alchemy - or rather black magic - to me. I can patch a tube nowadays with reasonable success - i.e. I will usually manage to make it work but it takes sometimes multiple tries.

My current understanding is as follows (and I invite and appreciate comments from fundis who know what they talk about as I would like to get to the bottom of this - it really is essential skill for this kind of riding that I am not able to master 100% for some reason): The root of the problem is that the compounds used for tubes have changed over the years.
- In old days mostly natural rubber was used for tubew, which responds well to the traditional vulcanizing process you described Bruce
- Currently most of the tubes are made of butyl rubber (synthetic one) - including Michelin ones at least according to this post: https://www.bobsbmw.com/store/product/michelin-tube-17-rear (https://www.bobsbmw.com/store/product/michelin-tube-17-rear). The main reason is cost - they are significantly cheaper than natural rubber ones. They have some functional advantages (do not leak air like natural rubber) as well as disadvantages (more prone to catastrophic blowouts). I think it is pretty safe bet, that - unless you specifically seek and order specialized natural rubber ones - most tubes you will buy on the shelves in the bike / HW shops are butyl rubber, especially here in Africa.

And here lies the problem IMHO: the butyl rubber doesn't respond to vulcanizing as the natural rubber does. It actually works exactly other way around - you should not use vulcanizing glue on butyl rubber, but have to use rubber cement.

Here is my understanding of it now after many frustrating hours in various bushes in Africa (Bruce, you might recall my struggle not far away from Epupa Falls on our trip: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=222953.msg4039508#msg4039508 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=222953.msg4039508#msg4039508)):

Natural rubber: follow the vulcanization process Bruce described

Butyl rubber: In many ways the process is exact opposite of the natural rubber:
- use Rubber cement, not vulcanizing glue
- use cement very sparingly - a lesson I have learned in the link above. Ignorantly (or rather being used to vulcanization) I have spread cement generously over clean tube as well as patch, and even after letting it dry for 10 minutes or so, it will always come off. Justin finally explained on satellite phone that I have to use only minimal amount on the tube itself and not on patch at all and after letting it dry up I would press it on with the round end of my wheel spanner.

With this approach I was able to fix even heavy duty tubes, which before were abslutely unfixable for me (and even some shops that tried).

I welcome any feedback on this as I would like to get to the bottom of what the right approach is. It is annoying that one needs to know compound of the tube to be able to apply right solution.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 06, 2020, 09:28:39 am
I guess the situation is further complicated by the fact that most tubes today are probably mix of natural an butyl rubber and it is impossible to find out at what ratio. I guess that is what you were alluding to Bruce when you said Michelin has higher natural rubber content and that cheap Chinese tubes are probably mostly butyl.

So the question then is what to bring on the trip. Vulcanizing glue or rubber cemment and how to decide with to apply as I believe vulcanizing glue is not going to work on Butyl tubes.

I carry rubber cemment (preferrable Rema Tip) and RemaTip patches and once I have learned about the need to apply minimum glue and let it dry, that did resolve most of the woes I run into before. The question is, if by any chance I come across natural rubber tube - will this work or will I be screwed without the vulcanising glue?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: JustBendIt on December 06, 2020, 11:07:27 am
I believe that proper preparation of the area to be patched is vital to the patch actually sticking - the area around the puncture must be roughened up / sanded down and lekker clean - you have to carry and use rough sandpaper - forget about that crap metal tab they include in puncture repair kit

Once puncture area is properly prepared then the glue can be applied sparingly - note as Xpat says above that more glue is not better

Once glue has dried a bit and is tacky to the touch then the patch can be applied with pressure ...a roller stitcher is the best tool to use to make sure the patch sticks to teh tube

Let it cure for a good 10 minutes before refitting the repaired tube inside the wheel
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 12:49:54 pm
I guess the situation is further complicated by the fact that most tubes today are probably mix of natural an butyl rubber and it is impossible to find out at what ratio. I guess that is what you were alluding to Bruce when you said Michelin has higher natural rubber content and that cheap Chinese tubes are probably mostly butyl.

So the question then is what to bring on the trip. Vulcanizing glue or rubber cemment and how to decide with to apply as I believe vulcanizing glue is not going to work on Butyl tubes.

I carry rubber cemment (preferrable Rema Tip) and RemaTip patches and once I have learned about the need to apply minimum glue and let it dry, that did resolve most of the woes I run into before. The question is, if by any chance I come across natural rubber tube - will this work or will I be screwed without the vulcanising glue?

These are all such good questions and I have many of them myself. I'll just share my experience and I'm not saying that I do it correctly or the "right" way, but I've had no issues with the products I use so far. All my patches stick on and stay on.

For the last few years, I've only used Slime Patch Kit #2033. You can see pics on it here: https://www.amazon.com/Slime-2033-Patches-Rubber-Cement

It contains thicker patches that the bicycle kits. I use the Slime Rubber Cement that come with it, which I believe to be the same as vulcanizing cement. I say "believe" becasue the label is unclear and I read online to apply it to both the tube and the patch, wait 10-15 minutes and then apply. That is what I've been doing or 3 years and that has been working very well for me so far, including having patched UHD tubes successfully (I use the massive rectangular Slime patches on UHD tubes).

Sitting on the table in front of my now, I have a tube of Tip Top SVS Vulc cement (which I have never used and am going to test out). This is definitely vulcanizing (as the name suggests and the website confirms), but the name is confusing becasue it's also called cement. Here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/Tubes-Rema-SVS-Vulc-Vulcanizing-Cement/dp/B07GD3P434

To add the the confusion, there's contact cement, which I believe is not vucanizing.

In my glue experiece with the Slime brand, RUBBER cement is the same as VULCANIZING cement.
CONTACT cement is not.

I don't know what the "right" glue to use is for my tubes becasue I don't know what the tubes are made of. All I know is that Slime patches and Rubber Cement have worked on every tube I've patched, from cheapies to expensive UHD ones.

Then, I read this: https://advrider.com/tubes-tubeless-or-mousses-for-adventure-riding/

Lyndon Poskitt claims that Michelin tubes have more natural rubber in them than other tubes. So, I bought a set of Michelin Standard enduro tubes and have them in my bike now. When I get a puncture on them, I'll report back.

The tube that I successfully patched with slime (the liquid) inside of it was a Mitas UHD tube patched with an enormous Slime (the brand) patch and Slime (the brand) glue.

Lastly, I learned a great tip from Marc. Wrap your cememnt tubes in duct tape. That way if they get crushed in your tool kit (as mine regularly do), they won't leak and you won't be stuck without cement when you most need it.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 12:58:55 pm
I believe that proper preparation of the area to be patched is vital to the patch actually sticking - the area around the puncture must be roughened up / sanded down and lekker clean - you have to carry and use rough sandpaper - forget about that crap metal tab they include in puncture repair kit

I agree 100%.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 06, 2020, 02:59:36 pm
Bruce, this is a very nice report and it is lekker to relive our adventure. Because it truly was an adventure.

On the tube repair story I side with the no slime crowd. We discussed it before the trip and I decided not to use it.  The reason was that I have not found it effective before and have had it become a big ball of muck in the tube that throws the balance off. But after Marc needing 7 patches for his back tube and 4 for the front I relented. And a good thing it was too as we had no more punctures afterwards. Either the  slime worked or Marc and Bruce finally got sed my riding philosophy: “don’t be unlucky “.  Simple yet effective.

I have had to patch tubes with slime before and it is no big deal. I clean up the area around the hole with a bit of petrol to get the mess off. After that I sandpaper, glue and put a patch on. Never been an issue for me.  But maybe I just wasn’t unlucky.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 06, 2020, 03:43:11 pm
This is very usefull - at least for me. So we can conclude based on the real world experience that:

- tubes with Slime in it can be actually patched (I still wouldn't use Slime, but now its just personal preference).

- rubber cemment and vulcanizng glue are the same thing (not 100% conclusive - weird that in this age of google it is so difficult to confirm), but all indications I have seen are in the same direction. This is actually great, as it means you just need to carry any glue that is designated either of those things (and the tip on duct tape is great - I battle with tubes getting destroyed in my luggage and spreadin glue all over).

So now its just question to figure out correct technique:

- clean up and roughin up of tube is pretty clear - never point of contention.

- applying glue is not clear to me. Should the glue be applied generously on both tube and patch for proper vulcanisation to occure (seems to make sense with tubes with high natural rubber content), or should it be applied very sparingly (probably if it is mostly Butyl tube)?

I have tried generous application of glue many times and it basically always failed. Now I didn't always wait 10 - 15 minutes before applying the patch, but on many times I did and still usually ended up in tears. On the other hand application of very little glue on the tube only (though if I would put it sparingly on patch it probably wouldn' make difference apart for potentially endin up with too much glue) and letting it dry before applying patch does seem to work for me in most cases.

In other words, does the vulcanisation actually still takes place with modern tubes (especially Butyl ones) or not. What is you glue application protocol @Amsterdam ?
Title: DAY 7 – EPUPA FALLS TO MARIENFLUSS
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:26:02 pm
I’m up at 5am. I want to soak in the last moments of this spectacular place while sipping my morning coffee.

I know that a great adventure awaits today. I’ve been looking forward to this second half of the trip for months.

Why?

Because it’s going to be a little more technical and (if the photos I’ve seen online are anything to go by) stunningly beautiful. Plus, there’s the sand on the Marienfluss – miles and miles of beautiful sand that I can’t wait to dig my tires into.

All three bikes are full of fuel. Today I have 26 liters on my bike – 6 of them strapped to my front fender. And my radiator fan works! Woohoo (thanks Jan Lucas)!

We wolf down some oats, pack the bikes and hit the road.

I pull out at 8am before the other to visit the viewpoint above Epupa (which they have already visited). The morning air is refreshingly cool and the view breathtaking. This is a good way to start the day.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:29:01 pm
We’re on our way to Okangwati first. That’s where we’ll buy our last fuel.

My good spirits are short lived.

Something happens on the way that rocks all of us a little.

Marc has an unfortunate collision with a goat. I wish that I could say that nobody got hurt, but that’s not the case…

The goat doesn’t make it.

There’s nothing that we can do. It was nobody’s fault and accidents happen. A few years ago, my wife also hit a goat running across the road and it almost knocked her off her bike. Goats run across roads and humans ride bikes and shit happens.

But still, killing an animal makes me feel bad, but I feel bad killing cockroaches too.

We’re not going to stop and bury the goat, giving it a funeral. In this environment, it will probably make a healthy meal for one of the area’s human or animal inhabitants.

We talked about trying to see if we could find the farmer who owns the goat and compensate him, but we wouldn’t know where to even start looking because these goats just roam freely and graze wherever they want. Plus we’re in the most sparsely populated country on planet earth. Plus, we can’t speak the language.

We decide to ride on.

Call me a nutjob, but I can’t help thinking, “This will be paid for in karma later on in the trip.”

We take a detour via another dry riverbed. Jan Lucas warns me to look out for deep holes in the riverbed that can swallow a motorcycle whole.

“Ride carefully and slowly” he advises us. I listen, because he’s been right a few times already. Sure enough, he’s right again. They are not small.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:31:59 pm
We arrive in Okangwati and bump into the Swiss family from last night.

It’s great to see them again. They’ve rented two trucks, each with a rooftop tent. Mom and Dad in one truck. Son and daughter in the other. We don’t stick around to chat, because we’ve got a long ride ahead today and want to get going before it gets too hot.
 
We say goodbye to the Swiss family and head straight to the fuel place, which is basically someone’s back yard with a drum of fuel and some women serving it in 5 liter water bottles.
 
I am very glad that I have a Guglatech fuel sock in my tank, as this place doesn’t exactly look like the owner values cleanliness. The fuel sock was expensive, but it actually filters water from fuel – that’s how fine the filter mesh is. There are Youtube videos demonstrating this that sold me on the idea.
Marc had filled up here several years ago and taken a photo (see below) of one of the young girls.
 
He’s delighted when the same girl comes out of the owner’s house. He whips out his phone and shows her the picture of him and her that he took some years before.
She’s also delighted. They bond and take another photo (see below). It’s cute.

We’ve only used 4 liters of fuel by this point, so we don’t need much. Just a top up. It costs more than double what we’d pay in Windhoek, but that’s understandable.
This is the last fuel stop and you can never have too much fuel out here. Plus, remember Johan and Johan? Well, they’ve dropped 15 liters of fuel for us at the school ahead.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:33:15 pm
It feels like we are prepared for anything.

We have food for camping the next few nights and Marc and I are both carrying 6 liters of water. I have two 3-liter water bladders in my backpack and Mark has 6 liters in his (brand new) fuel bladder.

Speaking of water carrying, I’ve been loving my Klim Nac-pac, which is a backpack designed for dirt bikers. I’m carrying 6kg of water in it and some spares, and it doesn’t hurt my shoulders while I ride, nor does it flap around on my back in “attack” position.

Also, it rests nicely on my Giant Loop bad when I’m sitting. It’s been a great buy.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:36:00 pm
We head out of Okangwati in the direction of Van Zyl’s Pass. The track is unpredictable. - sandy in places and then rocky.
 
We pass the Swiss Family on the way, who have made a lot more progress that we had expected them to in 4x4s.
 
I pass a Himba village with a graveyard along the way… and some abandoned Himba huts.
   
Actually, I’m not sure is these huts are abandoned, or if they are used by nomadic herdsmen when they’re far away from home.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:39:44 pm
I meet a sweet Himba girl and her children as we take a rest under a shade tree in a riverbed. She keeps her distance, so I approach and practice my Otjiherero. 

“E-naranje a mi Bruce” I say.

Her face lights up with surprise that this white guy is speaking her language (or at least trying to).

We attempt to communicate, but it’s difficult without speaking her language.

Instead I ask her if I can take photos and entertain her kids by showing them pictues of themselves on my phone.
 
After a while, I say goodbye and give her another of my granola bars. I wish I had bought more of them with me, because they make great small gifts for the Himba.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:46:38 pm
Eventually, we arrive at Heartbreak Hill – a hill that must have been named after the number of cars it’s destroyed. I forgot to take a photo, so I stole this one from another ride report just to give you a sense of it.

Jan Lucas is obviously exhausted from the heat and the rock riding we’ve just done.

He makes it up the hill without smiling and I’m just hoping that he doesn’t lose so much energy that he can’t continue (or can continue but can't enjoy it).
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:52:11 pm
We arrive at Otjitanda and discover a hundred Himba milling about under the trees, chatting, smoking pipes or drinking beer. It’s a Sunday and they are chilling, but I suspect this is what they’d do on any day of the week.

We head straight to the school to pick up our fuel. The principal of the school comes out of his house and leads us to the fuel.
 
Jan Lucas says something about needing rest. The last time he as exhausted, I saw him raised from the dead by a can of Coke. So I offer to ride back towards Heartbreak Hill where I saw a small shop as we had driven by.

He nods gratefully and I’m happy for the opportunity to help out, ride more sand and meet more locals. I return with the Coke and within minutes Jan Lucas is looking much better.

We make a donation to the school and head off towards Van Zyl’s Pass.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:57:16 pm
Van Zyl’s Pass is a bucket list pass for many bikers. It’s notorious for a little steep section that can catch you off guard. I’m excited to ride it and practice my hard-enduro balance skills.

The road continues to entertain us… rocky hills, sandy tracks.
   
At one point, I realize that we are miles off track. We’ve taken a wrong turn, but haven’t had time to look at the GPS because all of our concentration is on staying upright.
I blast past Marc trying to catch Jan Lucas so that I can alert him that we’ve missed a turnoff.

Just as I catch up to him, he stops having figured out that we are lost. I slam on my brakes so as not to collide with him and promptly fall over!
 
Shortly afterwards, we arrive at the top of Van Zyl’s Pass. It’s spectacular.   

I spot a Himba hut on the hillside and go check it out.
 
Marc gets to work with his tarp and sets up some shade for us to rest and cook soup under!
 
For the most part, it wasn’t that hard to ride – just steep.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 08:58:50 pm
...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:00:27 pm
After chilling for 45 minutes or so, we decide it’s time to head down the steep section with the rocky lip that Van Zyl’s Pass is famous for.

I‘m confident I can clear it in one go. The other two paddle their bikes down without incident. I opt to stand on my pegs and practice my balance skills.

That doesn’t turn out so well for me as my front wheel drops over the lip, get’s stuck in a hole and sends me over the bars in a spectacular off! Fortunately, I'm not hurt.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:01:13 pm
I see that I’m not the only one who messed up on this section…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:02:42 pm
By the time we get to the bottom of the pass, I’m in front. Marc in the middle and Jan Lucas at the back. I blast off towards the Marienfluss excited to see the red sand that it is famous for.

But after a while, Jan Lucas and Marc are nowhere to be seen. I turn around to investigate and discover Jan Lucas like this.
 
He’s fallen and gotten trapped under his bike. Marc found the time to span this picture of him before rescuing him. 😊 Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt.
I wait at the bottom of the hill for him to arrive and we all promptly get off our bikes and fall asleep for 30 minutes. We’re buggered.
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:03:59 pm
We wake up refreshed and for me personally, chomping at the bit to hit the sand and to cross the Marienfluss. The Marienfluss is the vertical stretch or red sand in the middle of the map below.

There’s nothing there but sand.

And perhaps a small hut that is rumored to sell fuel, but nobody can confirm that.

Our plan is to cross the Marienfluss in the south and then ride north to see if we can find this fabled hut that sells fuel.

We don’t need fuel, but it would be great to know for future reference (and it gives us something to do).
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:06:57 pm
As we emerge into the Marienfluss, the sand gets red colored and deep. The track we’re following is barely visible as nobody has driven it in weeks, possibly months.

We ride around for a while looking for the turnoff, but can’t find it so we decide to just bundu-bash in the general direction of the track on my GPS and hope that we find it.

Soon afterwards I see a faint outline of what used to be a 4x4 track, but is now just virgin sand.

Bingo!

We’re up on the pegs, twisting the throttle and floating over the glorious sea of red sand. I’m giggling like a child in my helmet while listening my Spotify playlist. This is heaven.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:09:14 pm
After half an hour of hooligan blasting down the Marienfluss, the GPS says that I’m getting closer to the place where the fabled shack is supposed to be. I look left and see something in the distance, so alter my course and head over there.

I see a man leaning up against the shack with something in his hand. He’s obviously heard us coming and went outside to see what we were up to.

As I pull up next to him, I notice that he’s holding an ice-cold beer in his hand.

No frikkin’ way. I must be dreaming.

Ice cold beer in the middle of the desert? Can’t be true.

“Hi. I’m Bruce”.

“I’m Ben” he replies in perfect English.

“Howzit Ben. Do you sell that stuff?”

“Ja. Ice cold. I’ve got lots.”

I grin. Jan Lucas is going to be a very very happy man tonight.

“And do you sell petrol too?”

“Ja. That too. R150 for 5 liters.”

“Lekker.”

Ben is the man.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:11:01 pm
We waltz into his shop and order beer. I’m overcome with joy. After the epic ride we’ve just had, this is the cherry on top.

Jan Lucas is smiling again after looking somber for most of the day.

We share a few beers and chat excitedly.

It turns out that Ben is saving up money to take his high school exams again (he didn’t pass the first time) so that he can go to the University Of Namibia. He’s running this little store to save up the money. Weird place to save, but each to his own.

Then I realize what might be keeping him here. Three beautiful young Himba girls arrive like an apparition out of the desert sand.
 
I use my one-liner in Otjiherero and make them smile. They also love seeing the photos of themselves on my phone. This is a good time.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:14:12 pm
We decide to buy some food for our campsite tonight. This will be the first time we’ve camped – not because we haven’t wanted to camp, but because the luxury lodges have been almost as cheap as camping (thanks to COVID-19).

But Ben is more interested in selling us necklaces than food.

He tells us that the necklace was made by a 108-year-old woman in his village that is sick. She needs to go to the hospital for an operation, but cannot afford the fare and the operation. She’s making necklaces, but has no tourists to sell them too. They’re pricey too (for this remote area). One of them R1500 (USD100).

I’m not interested in necklaces, but I am interested in meeting a 108-year-old woman. I ask Ben if I can speak with her and he agrees to go and call her over.

Ben returns with the lady and begins translating for her and us.

It’s a beautiful interaction. She looks old – not 108, but old. Her breasts hang past her hips so I can only imagine that she has given birth to many children.

By the end on our conversation, I’m inspired to donate R200 to her cause. Jan Lucas does the same.

Everyone’s happy and by this time, I’m drunk. I’m a cheap date.

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:16:12 pm
But we’re still not finished our riding for the day. We’ve got to find a place to camp.
I decide to use my iOverlander app for the first time on this trip. It’s a great app for finding wild camping spots.
There’s a 2018 listing that says “This campsite lays between 3 mountains. We made a braai spot and for the first people who visit this spot, there is wood left.”

http://ioverlander.com/places/63923-gettin-lost-in-marienfluss

That sounds like a plan to me. Firewood? It’s never going to be there 2 years later in 2020. But let’s go there anyway.
 
“Hey guys. I’ve found a campsite 6km from here. Let’s go check it out!”

So we do. Me drunk. The others tipsy.

Along the way, we decide that Ben needs to upgrade his marketing efforts and that we will help him do just that. 

I happen to have a marker pen for marking bolt torques on my bike. I lend it ot Marc who adds “Cold Beer!” to the noticeboard.
 
We laugh like children.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:21:54 pm
Then we proceed to race down the Marienfluss drunk, looking for the campsite. I have a video of it that I’ll try to post later. It was SO much fun and we laughed the entire way.   

We arrive at the campsite and it’s incredible.   

Two years later, the wood is still there waiting for us.

We set up camp and make a fire and proceed to have one of the best night’s camping ever.   

What a day. One of the best motorcycling days of my 30 years riding bikes. This trip is turning out better than I could have ever imagined.

And tomorrow, we still have the Hartmannberge mountinans to cross and dunes to ride. The best riding is yet to come…

But now we sleep.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 09:27:00 pm
Here's a video on the way to Van Zyls Pass:



Here's a video Marc took with his phone while riding drunk down the Marienfluss:



And this one of our campsite:

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 06, 2020, 09:49:25 pm
This is very usefull - at least for me. So we can conclude based on the real world experience that:

- tubes with Slime in it can be actually patched (I still wouldn't use Slime, but now its just personal preference).

- rubber cemment and vulcanizng glue are the same thing (not 100% conclusive - weird that in this age of google it is so difficult to confirm), but all indications I have seen are in the same direction. This is actually great, as it means you just need to carry any glue that is designated either of those things (and the tip on duct tape is great - I battle with tubes getting destroyed in my luggage and spreadin glue all over).

So now its just question to figure out correct technique:

- clean up and roughin up of tube is pretty clear - never point of contention.

- applying glue is not clear to me. Should the glue be applied generously on both tube and patch for proper vulcanisation to occure (seems to make sense with tubes with high natural rubber content), or should it be applied very sparingly (probably if it is mostly Butyl tube)?

I have tried generous application of glue many times and it basically always failed. Now I didn't always wait 10 - 15 minutes before applying the patch, but on many times I did and still usually ended up in tears. On the other hand application of very little glue on the tube only (though if I would put it sparingly on patch it probably wouldn' make difference apart for potentially endin up with too much glue) and letting it dry before applying patch does seem to work for me in most cases.

In other words, does the vulcanisation actually still takes place with modern tubes (especially Butyl ones) or not. What is you glue application protocol @Amsterdam ?

I have always only applied glue to the tube, never to the patch. Bruce on the other hand swears by applying glue to both the patch and the tube.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: dw1 on December 06, 2020, 09:53:43 pm
Fantastic report. thnx for the effort.
Great trip
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DaveT on December 06, 2020, 10:05:53 pm
Awesome report, my planning has started...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: McKracken on December 06, 2020, 10:53:23 pm
This is very usefull - at least for me. So we can conclude based on the real world experience that:

- tubes with Slime in it can be actually patched (I still wouldn't use Slime, but now its just personal preference).

- rubber cemment and vulcanizng glue are the same thing (not 100% conclusive - weird that in this age of google it is so difficult to confirm), but all indications I have seen are in the same direction. This is actually great, as it means you just need to carry any glue that is designated either of those things (and the tip on duct tape is great - I battle with tubes getting destroyed in my luggage and spreadin glue all over).

So now its just question to figure out correct technique:

- clean up and roughin up of tube is pretty clear - never point of contention.

- applying glue is not clear to me. Should the glue be applied generously on both tube and patch for proper vulcanisation to occure (seems to make sense with tubes with high natural rubber content), or should it be applied very sparingly (probably if it is mostly Butyl tube)?

I have tried generous application of glue many times and it basically always failed. Now I didn't always wait 10 - 15 minutes before applying the patch, but on many times I did and still usually ended up in tears. On the other hand application of very little glue on the tube only (though if I would put it sparingly on patch it probably wouldn' make difference apart for potentially endin up with too much glue) and letting it dry before applying patch does seem to work for me in most cases.

In other words, does the vulcanisation actually still takes place with modern tubes (especially Butyl ones) or not. What is you glue application protocol @Amsterdam ?

I have always only applied glue to the tube, never to the patch. Bruce on the other hand swears by applying glue to both the patch and the tube.
Don't quote me, but I think it depends on the patch.  If the slime brand patches say add vulcanising solution, it's because they need it, where as the red underside of the patches are already (vulcanised? Ready to bond)

Here's a little bit of what I found on the process, and why cleanliness is so important.. it will work a similar way with butyl rubber and natural rubber as the disulphide bonds are present in both:

Chemist here - natural rubber is a polymer (long chain-like molecules).  Vulcanizing adds cross-links (through disulfide bonds) to the rubber, basically turning the strands of rubber molecules into a net, greatly increasing strength.  Bike tubes are vulcanized rubber, but the outer surfaces are treated such that all those cross-linking sulfur groups aren't reaching out and trying to grab anything.  You put on some vulcanizing fluid (henceforth "glue") and a few disulfide bonds in the tube get broken and re-formed with bonds to the polymers in the glue.  Once the glue dries (there's a bit of solvent that has to evaporate) the inner side of the glue spot is chemically bound to the tire.  The outer side is left with a bunch of free sulfur groups waiting to grab onto some other sulfur groups.  Then you peel that piece of foil off the orange side of the tire patch (which exposes the free sulfur groups left on the patch) and press it to the glue spot - you've now made millions of chemical bonds between the patch and the glue spot.  It's not really glued, though - the patch-"glue"-tire system is now one single molecule all chemically bound together.

The chemical bond holding things together is why:

 - The tube has to be clean and dry - the sulfur groups reaching out for something to grab onto will grab dirt, water, and other gunk instead of the patch.

 - You can't use duct tape or regular glue - these are sticky substances that don't vulcanize the rubber together.  Rubber cement may hold a patch in place but it is NOT the same stuff.

- Glueless patches kinda suck - the vulcanizing fluid in the little tubes works better at making bonds with the punctured bike tube. 

- You can make patches out of old tubes - at its most basic you're vulcanizing two pieces of rubber together, so two pieces of bike tube will stick to each other. 

TL;DR - Vulcanization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcanization
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: peter stuyvesant on December 06, 2020, 10:53:48 pm
Great read, keep it coming! Was Ben's shop near camp Syncro or in the middle of nowhere?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 06, 2020, 11:00:38 pm

Then I realize what might be keeping him here. Three beautiful young Himba girls arrive like an apparition out of the desert sand.
 
I use my one-liner in Otjiherero and make them smile. They also love seeing the photos of themselves on my phone. This is a good time.

Carefull there Bruce! At least two of them are already spoken for by Justin and he might not look at your attempts there kindly! 

He is a vindictive  fella and left pissed off cobra waiting for me after we met these ladies just to get me as potential rival out of the way - and I didn't as much as sqeek at the ladies...

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/867/41431225812_74c7fc1269_b.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/893/41431101812_eeb15fb6ca_b.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/812/26602038437_781e640156_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 11:01:29 pm
Craig, that was a great explanation. Thanks for taking the time to make it so clear. I might pick your brains a little more tomorrow when you come round. Don't be surprised if I give you a white lab coat and present you with a few tubes of glue and a few patches and inner tubes. :-)

We still need to figure our what the difference between RUBBER cement and CONTACT cement is though. I'm not yet convinced that they are the same. Or that marketing departments haven't butchered the names to sell more product.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 11:03:46 pm
Great read, keep it coming! Was Ben's shop near camp Syncro or in the middle of nowhere?

It's on the South West side of the Marienfluss here: -17.626250, 12.513683

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: peter stuyvesant on December 06, 2020, 11:05:41 pm
Thanks
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 06, 2020, 11:06:44 pm
Carefull there Bruce! At least two of them are already spoken for by Justin and he might not look at your attempts there kindly! 

He is a vindictive  fella and left pissed off cobra waiting for me after we met these ladies just to get me as potential rival out of the way - and I didn't as much as sqeek at the ladies...

LOL! Perhaps you can let Justin know that I'm spoken for and will gracefull bow out of his race to accumulate a harem. :-)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Xpat on December 06, 2020, 11:10:52 pm
Carefull there Bruce! At least two of them are already spoken for by Justin and he might not look at your attempts there kindly! 

He is a vindictive  fella and left pissed off cobra waiting for me after we met these ladies just to get me as potential rival out of the way - and I didn't as much as sqeek at the ladies...

LOL! Perhaps you can let Justin know that I'm spoken for and will gracefull bow out of his race to accumulate a harem. :-)

And what makes you think that he isn't?  >:D
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 07, 2020, 08:52:11 am
Wow, that is amazing. I first off cant believe you guys found cold beer all the way there and also the camp site looks amazing.

Wild camping in places like that is just FANTASTIC. I really need to go to Namibia again soon!

(http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=253677.0;attach=704710;image)

Will watch the videos later today when I am done working with a whiskey!!!

Thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: briv on December 07, 2020, 11:11:20 am
Thanks for a lekker read Bruce  :thumleft: Brings back memories from our trip 2007.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: @offroad on December 07, 2020, 05:09:43 pm
Awesome - what an experience  :sip:.

Also love your writing style, entertaining and amusing at times - you and Minxy do a great job.

Thanks for sharing - keep it coming!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: exkdx on December 07, 2020, 09:58:57 pm
 Stunning report Bruce O0
Keep it going!
Title: DAY 8 – HARTMANNBERGE TO MARBLE CAMP
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:12:49 pm
I woke up feeling sticky. Sleeping last night was difficult because the desert sand beneath my tent stayed warm all night. The only way I can think to describe it is like an electric blanket.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sticky, I’m uncomfortable. And there’s only one cure for that when wild camping – baby wipes (or wipeys as my wife calls them).

I slowly sit up in my one-man tent groaning like an old man. It’s a little cramped inside. I reach for the baby wipes and have a “wipey shower”. Four baby wipes later and I feel almost as if I’ve had a real shower.

I crawl out of my tent and make coffee for Jan Lucas and I. Marc’s a tea guy.

Today is our big dune day. We’ve been waiting for this day the whole trip, because none of us have ever been across the Hartmannberge and into the dunes beyond.

We’ve put so much planning into having enough petrol, food, water, safety, sat phone – all for this one day.

Why?

Because is the most remote we’re going to be on the entire trip. I doubt we’ll see anyone once we enter the dunes. If something happens, we need to be prepared – and I feel that we are.

Except, after I fill my two 3-liter hydration bags, we notice that we’re running low on water.

“Why don’t I ride back to Ben’s shop and see if I can buy water?

They guys look at me as if I’m crazy to volunteer to ride back the way we came, but unanimously agree that it’s a good idea.

I just want to ride more sand. I mean, how often am I going to get the opportunity to be here – and not only here, but here post lockdown after nobody has been here for almost a year. This is once-in-a-lifetime stuff.

I blast off to the shop. The air is crisp and I open up my bike, straying from yesterdays tracks to enjoy the virgin sand.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:13:45 pm
I arrive at 7:30am and Ben is standing outside his shop with a bunch of guys.
 
I greet him with a smile and handshake and he seems curious to see us again.
“Are you guys OK? He asks.
“Yes. We just need some water. Do you sell 5-liter bottles?”
“Nooooo. We don’t sell water. Only Beer!”

“Beer might work…” I think to myself, but then decide that putting beer in my Camelbak and getting hammered in the dunes is probably a stupid idea. Jan Lucas might go for it, though. 😊

“So, what water do you drink?”

Ben points behind me in the distance. “Borehole…”

“Can I use your borehole, please?”

“Sure”, he says. “You need a bottle?”

“Yes! Thank you!”

Ben rattles off something in Otjiherero to his buddy Columbigo. Columbigo starts sprinting across the desert towards the borehole and Ben beckons me to follow him.
There’s no way I’m sprinting across the desert in my bike gear, so I hop on the bike and follow Columbigo.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:15:26 pm
We arrive at the water-well /  borehole thingy.
 
Columbigo looks around for a rope, then winds it around the starter of the big diesel water pump and yanks the rope as hard as he can.

The pump roars to life and water begins gushing from the pipe attached to it into a trough.

Comumbigo washes out the 5-liter water bottle and fills it up for me. Here's a video of it:



I thank him, give him a tip and beckon him to get on the back of my 500. He looks excited and nervous. I imagine that he’s never been on a motorcycle before – let alone a KTM 500.

He climbs on behind me, grips onto me tight and I give him the ride of his life. We kick up a cloud of sand as I blast off from the water well. I’m sure I’m waking the dead, but it’s worth it to see Columbigo’s face.

We screeched to a halt outside Ben’s shop with a rear wheel slide, impressing all Columbigo’s friends. He hops off grinning and I bet all the other boys were envious. It made me feel good to be able to do that for him.

Nobody wanted to charge me for the water, and I zoomed back to camp.

On the way, I couldn’t resist this photo of a Himba hut near Ben’s shop.
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:16:53 pm
By the time I get back to camp, the boys are ready to leave. We decant the water into Marc’s 6-litre bladder and set off to explore the track over the Hartmannberge.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:19:47 pm
The track turns into a rocky hill climb and I'm loving the challenge of trying to ride it without dabbing a foot. I make it.

Here's a video of part of the climb.

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:22:02 pm
As we work our way up to higher ground, the track opens up into a fast sandy riverbed.

And then I almost crash.

Not through any fault of my own, but because two enormous giraffes run right out of the bushes and in front of me. We stop and take in the moment as the giraffe just stand 50 meters away from us staring silently as if to say, “What???”
 
Eventually, the mountain track descends and we can see the Hartmannberge sand dunes in the distance.
 
My heart starts beating a little faster in anticipation of what lies ahead.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:23:33 pm
A few minutes later we go from riding rocks to being surrounded by an ocean of sand...

This video may help you get a sense of it.



Words cannot describe the feeling of isolation out here. It’s magical.

The boys blast off into the distance, but I can’t stop taking photos, so I lag behind. I’m also enjoying the silence not having Marc’s Akro blasting in my ears.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:24:35 pm
What follows is hard to describe. The sand is Virgin. It looks like nobody has driven this road in a long, long time. It’s not even a road. It’s a fine outline of what used to be a sandy 4x4 track and has now been blown over with sand.

It feels other-worldly.
 
The sand is soft and my Mitas C-02 rear tire is loving it. The 500 is made for desert riding. It floats over the sand at speed.



Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:26:00 pm
I catch up with the boys and we’re all exhilarated.

“Fuuuuck, this is amazing.” says Jan Lucas in a rare display of colorful language.
 
We all agree. This is fucking amazing. Like ridiculously fucking amazing.

We race down a hill and arrive at some really big sand dunes.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:27:32 pm
Marc almost rides over the crest of the dune, not seeing the enormous drop on the other side.

I’m able to flag him down and make him stop. He later thanks me for saving his life.

This is not for sissies. We ride a little more conservatively, realizing that one accident out here could mean the end of our trip, or the end of our life.

Marc tries to crest the dune, but gets stuck. I walk up and help him drag his bike over. We’re laughing a lot.
 
But after a while, Jan Lucas gets stuck in some sand and is spinning his wheels going nowhere. I can tell that he’s getting frustrated, and it concerns me. The last thing I want is to cut this section short because one of us can’t continue due to exhaustion or the heebie-jeebies.



I push his bike out of the deep sand so that he can get going.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:28:41 pm
We push on towards Serra Cafema – an exclusive lodge on the Kunene River.

Now, Sera Cafema is known to be super expensive. You can’t get there by car – only by plane. I’ve heard that they charge R20000 ($1300)/night. Rumor also has it that they do not welcome strangers.

But we want to check it out and see if we can buy more fuel and water. We’re having a ball, but using up a lot of fuel playing in the sand.

As we arrive at the Kunene River, the sand turns into a gravel mountain pass that leads us down towards the river (and the Angolan border).
 
We see some buildings in the distance and head over to check out what’s there.

It’s a ghost town. Totally deserted.

It feels like a scene from a post-apocalyptic zombie movie.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:30:33 pm
We find a building with a toilet and a sink with running water, so we replenish our water bladders.

Marc and I walk around to see if there’s any fuel.

Sure enough, there’s a fuel drum, but it’s completely empty.
 
We find 12 quad bikes – each of them covered with and with all the fuel drained from the tanks.
 
Where is everyone. The safari trucks all look like they have not been used in ages.
 
The accommodations are all locked up.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:31:28 pm
It feels eerie and I can see that Jan Lucas is getting uncomfortable. He suggests that we start heading south instead of exploring more. He tells me that he feels anxious here.

So do I actually. But that’s not enough for me to bail on the opportunity to ride the dunes. But I can’t ride alone either.

Marc agrees with Jan Lucas, so the plans change. We’re going to cut the route short by 50km and hightail it outta here.

I’m a bit disappointed. I feel like the fun has only just begun. But at the same time, I don’t feel like trying to convince two people to do something that they don’t want to do.

This is the price of riding in a group. You sacrifice freedom of choice for safety in numbers and company.

But I don’t regret it. Jan Lucas and Marc are great travel companions, and without them, I doubt I’d be out here alone.

I see the main reception for the hotel in the distance, so I get on my bike and ride there to see if anyone can help us out with more fuel. We’re not low. I’ve got maybe a half tank left.

Normally, that’s 200km, but in these dunes, it’s 120km – and we need to get all the way back to Marble Camp.

I pull up at the reception to the hotel and everything is overgrown. I see a lady with a freshly baked loaf of bread in her hand. She looks shocked to see me – as if I’m an alien.

She calls the manager, Michael. Michael is a young guy with dreadlocks who runs the place. He’s happy to see a new face and cannot stop asking questions about how we managed to get here.

At least he wasn’t trying to kick us out.

He doesn’t have fuel and tells me that they have been closed since January – 11 months now. He and his skeleton crew just keep the lights on. It’s kind of sad and I feel for them.

I quickly wave goodbye, not wanting to get caught up in a conversation and keep the others waiting. I ride back to the guys who are waiting for me at the guest camp area.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:33:58 pm
We saddle up and head back south through the sand.

The tracks are almost non-existent in places.
 
Jan Lucas wants to take the same way we came in – the safe way.

I have other plans.

If I’m going to cut my trip 50km short because my friends are nervous, then I’m going to make sure that the way south is something we haven’t seen yet.

I take the lead, forcing the other two to follow me.
 
I’m pretty good at navigating while riding, but this is going to be a test because it’s hard to ride in deep sand and look at your GPS at the same time.

If I stop, I suspect that the guys will catch up with me and question me as to where the hell I’m taking them. Then a debate will ensue. I don’t want that.

I know where I’m going. I’ve secretly researched an alternative route south that doesn’t retrace our steps, nor use up too much of our precious fuel, nor take us too far off the beaten track either.

Trusting my gut, I keep blasting and they keep following.
 
Fortunately, the track is sublime. Fresh sand. Gorgeous views. An abandoned Himba village.
 
The guys are loving it. So am I.

Later on that day, Jan Lucas thanks me for navigating us safely out of the dunes and I’m relieved that he’s not mad at me.

Even if he was mad at me, it was worth it.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:34:53 pm
Four hours and a lot of sandy gravelly tracks later, we arrive at Marble Campsite.

Along the way, I was entertained by these two goat herders who appeared out of the bush to lift my spirits.
 
I succeed in making them laugh and this photo is one of my favorites of the trip.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 07, 2020, 11:36:25 pm
We rent a cabin at Marble Camp and tonight it’s my turn to sleep in the double bed. Marc cooks up a fantastic dinner that consists of a can of vegetable curry, rice and some beer that a friendly local organizes for us.
   
We sit around recounting the tales of the day, relieved to be safe and grateful to have been able to ride such epic dunes.

This is a day that none of us will ever forget. But then, almost every day on this trip has been one of those.

I doze off to sleep to the sounds of Marc’s farts and Jan Lucas’s snoring. What more could I want?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on December 08, 2020, 12:19:12 am
Absolutely epic! Wow! And wow again.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: McSack on December 08, 2020, 06:23:19 am
Legend RR. I can check I'm going to be reading through this and drooling over the pics and vids multiple times

Sent from my BV9500 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on December 08, 2020, 07:59:30 am
Loving the short impromptu vids too! Keep it going! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 08, 2020, 08:22:06 am
It’s true that I was uncomfortable in this area. The bikes were straining like mad and consequently using a lot of fuel. We went to this area because it said on the map something along the lines of: “Very high dunes, impossible to pass”.  The route on the way in was over high yet passable dunes. The planned way out was a loop further West. Bruce went that way and scooted up a high dune at speed. That is, until about half way up. At that point even the lighter 500 could go no further. Down he comes and disappears around the mountain that’s only partly covered in sand. Two minutes later he is back as that too led to impassable dunes.

I was feeling very uncomfortable. I could see us finding a way over one or two dunes and then ending in a hole that would take us ages (and too much water and fuel) to get out of again. A breakdown at that point would be a bit more than a minor hassle.  I told Bruce he can go that way if he wants to but I am taking the easiest way out again. I am not stopping anyone else’s fun but I know when I want to get out of somewhere. And today was not my day.  As you will have read so far Bruce was determined that not a grain of Namibian sand would be missed. I was willing to leave a few for a future return trip.  And I was tired, very tired. In my usual enthusiasm I had not allowed for rest days in the planning. When Bruce and Marc suggested a rest day at Epupa I was wondering what kind of wussies they were. I had not realized how much this ride was taking out of me and how smart they were to suggest a day for rest and maintenance.

To be honest, I was too bushed at that point to navigate and ride at the same time. And Bruce, who was initially saying we were riding to fast, seemed to have found his inner Toby Price.  So he led us over a really cool route out of the dunes. And he did it super smart. He would blast ahead for a bit and then stop and wait. Just as I caught up, and was hoping for a break, he dashed of again into the distance. Today was clearly his day and not mine. Marc seemed to have no problem and he only slowed to make sure I didn’t take a wrong turn.  And today was a day that showed (to me at least) the strength of riding in a good team. Fun after the rides, sharing the good sights during the day and helping each other push along when needed. It really turned out to be a good day.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 08, 2020, 08:41:03 am
This report just keeps getting better and better!!!!

You even have me researching the price of 500's  :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:

Loving it!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: peter stuyvesant on December 08, 2020, 09:28:32 am
Keep it coming Bruce, great stuff. The Kaokoveld truly is one of the most magical places in Southern Africa.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Greenshields on December 08, 2020, 10:39:09 am
Good call to not go further towards the mouth of the Kunene.
The dunes that you were riding cannot be compared to the dunefield further in.The lodge to Hartmans route has a lot of gravel,sand tracks and not just the unending dunes that you would have encountered further in.
There is no way on earth that your bikes could slip slide down the reverse face and then climb through the gullys before attempting the following face.
I did that section with a well organised 4wd convoy and ,in my opinion ,is only doable with a very light unladen bike,but more importantly,your fitness levels would have to be Dakar level.
Amazing report,brings back memories of our fantastic 4WD trip
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Greenshields on December 08, 2020, 10:57:09 am
Some pics to give you an idea of what you missed!
Sorry for the hijack
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Greenshields on December 08, 2020, 10:58:01 am
some more
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 08, 2020, 02:19:05 pm
Good call to not go further towards the mouth of the Kunene.
The dunes that you were riding cannot be compared to the dunefield further in.The lodge to Hartmans route has a lot of gravel,sand tracks and not just the unending dunes that you would have encountered further in.
There is no way on earth that your bikes could slip slide down the reverse face and then climb through the gullys before attempting the following face.
I did that section with a well organised 4wd convoy and ,in my opinion ,is only doable with a very light unladen bike,but more importantly,your fitness levels would have to be Dakar level.
Amazing report,brings back memories of our fantastic 4WD trip

Thanks for this info. Makes me feel better about my decision. I always describe my riding level as “happy hacker” and that’s a long way of Dakar skill level.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Swazi Phil on December 08, 2020, 03:25:24 pm
SUB! looks amazing! thanks for Sharing, definitely a bucket list trip.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 51Mobile on December 08, 2020, 06:05:54 pm
Sub. What an awesome trip, almost topped by the Ride Report.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Minxy on December 08, 2020, 08:50:59 pm
Loving the photographs! We never had a chance to visit the Hartmansberge, nor to go higher up towards the Angolan border due to time constraints. It looks absolutely amazing, I can personally not wait to revisit the area now!!!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 08, 2020, 11:31:15 pm
Thank you everyone for the fantastic feedback. I so appreciate your comments. I've had a long day preparing for a week-long motorcycle trip with my brother that's coming up on Thursday. Haven't had time to complete Day 9 yet, so I'll compelte it tomorrow... I'm sorry for leaving you hanging, but I promise that this ride report will be finished and it will be worth it. :-)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 08, 2020, 11:33:40 pm
Good call to not go further towards the mouth of the Kunene.
The dunes that you were riding cannot be compared to the dunefield further in.The lodge to Hartmans route has a lot of gravel,sand tracks and not just the unending dunes that you would have encountered further in.
There is no way on earth that your bikes could slip slide down the reverse face and then climb through the gullys before attempting the following face.
I did that section with a well organised 4wd convoy and ,in my opinion ,is only doable with a very light unladen bike,but more importantly,your fitness levels would have to be Dakar level.
Amazing report,brings back memories of our fantastic 4WD trip

Thanks for the inspiring pics. What a trip that must have been. That's definintely somewhere I'll return too - next time with a LOT of fuel :-)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 08, 2020, 11:34:42 pm
Loving the photographs! We never had a chance to visit the Hartmansberge, nor to go higher up towards the Angolan border due to time constraints. It looks absolutely amazing, I can personally not wait to revisit the area now!!!

Let me know when you do, and I might join you guys if you're looking to ride in a group.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: geopat on December 09, 2020, 06:21:22 am
Nice to finally put a face to the voice notes hopefully we can catch up for a ride soon
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 09, 2020, 07:14:09 am
Thanks for the inspiring pics. What a trip that must have been. That's definintely somewhere I'll return too - next time with a LOT of fuel :-)

This whole section could be much more doable by leaving all travel luggage and camping equipment at Ben’s shop. You then have an empty bike, a full fuel tank and sufficient water. You can then go explore that area in a way that was not possible for us. An added bonus is the certainty of an after ride cold beer at the end of the day.  Hypothetically speaking, this could be an interesting expedition.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Greenshields on December 09, 2020, 07:17:43 am
There is of course the problem that that area is off limits.
You are only allowed to travel through with a concession holder group.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 08:23:44 am


Thanks for the inspiring pics. What a trip that must have been. That's definintely somewhere I'll return too - next time with a LOT of fuel :-)

This whole section could be much more doable by leaving all travel luggage and camping equipment at Ben’s shop.  Hypothetically speaking, this could be an interesting expedition.

I like your thinking. Hypothetically, of course!

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Stroke Her on December 09, 2020, 11:44:15 am
There is of course the problem that that area is off limits.
You are only allowed to travel through with a concession holder group.

This was my impression as well but I do not have anything "in writing" to substantiate....
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on December 09, 2020, 11:50:42 am
I did that section with a well organised 4wd convoy

I saw a documentary about that section done by 4x4's. There is some serious sand there towards the Kunene mouth!! :o
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ETS on December 09, 2020, 12:22:07 pm
Bliksem! Very good very nice report thank you sooooo much
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Kingchi on December 09, 2020, 02:40:22 pm
"....I was feeling very uncomfortable. I could see us finding a way over one or two dunes and then ending in a hole that would take us ages (and too much water and fuel) to get out of again. A breakdown at that point would be a bit more than a minor hassle.  I told Bruce he can go that way if he wants to but I am taking the easiest way out again. I am not stopping anyone else’s fun but I know when I want to get out of somewhere. And today was not my day.  As you will have read so far Bruce was determined that not a grain of Namibian sand would be missed. I was willing to leave a few for a future return trip.  And I was tired, very tired. In my usual enthusiasm I had not allowed for rest days in the planning. When Bruce and Marc suggested a rest day at Epupa I was wondering what kind of wussies they were. I had not realized how much this ride was taking out of me and how smart they were to suggest a day for rest and maintenance."

  ;D Oh boy! I know that feeling. When Bruce and I ride I usually blame that feeling on him..."In what kind of trouble are you getting me into now?" "Are we going to be able to get out of here?!" "No more exploring, please!" :o <3...I demand the easy route out and extra rest days in return for my suffering (which I secretly enjoy).

Although, after I look back on the experience, it wouldn't have been near as fun if I had a choice in it. You gotta love Bruce's determination!

I'm so grateful you were there for him and can't wait to meet you  :love4:
Title: DAY 9 – MARBLE CAMP TO AMSPOORT GORGE
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:50:02 pm
I wake up to the sound of birds chirping and replay yesterday’s incredible adventure in my mind while savoring my last moments in a comfy bed.

I make coffee while Marc prepares oats for us for breakfast.

Every morning, breakfast signals my bowels to empty themselves like clockwork.

Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about kakking… and if it’s OK with you, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about how to kak properly while on a bike tour.

A couple of years ago, I was Banting. Because Banting involves mostly eating fat, I started taking Psyllium Husk to supplement my fiber intake.

One of the may positive side effects of taking Psyllium Husk is that it makes your kak solid.

Why is this a good thing?

Boskakking!

There’s nothing worse than a boskak that doesn’t go well - especially in motorcycle gear. Psyllium Husk makes it a one-and-done deal. That also means that you pollute the bos less, because you use much less toilet paper.

I mix a teaspoon of Psyllium Husk with a teaspoon of dehydrated greens (a kind powdered salad that I always carry with me) in a shaker bottle each morning.

Try it! It will transform your boskaks. I digress…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:50:45 pm
We’re definitely getting slower at packing up in the morning. I think it’s the length and intensity of the trip catching up with us.
But spirits are still high.

Today’s big mission is to find fuel. The local guy we met in the campsite last night has agreed to sell us 15 liters of his fuel that he’s using to run his generator. What a legend.

That gets us 100km – 125km. But that’s not enough for what we have planned. The plan is to camp tonight near the Huab River and continue tomorrow to Palmwag – probably 400km in total before our next fuel station in Palmwag.

We don’t know if we can get fuel in Purros, so we’re going to stop everywhere we can today and buy as much fuel as possible. If we can’t find fuel, we’ll need to cut our route short, which none of us want to do.

Once loaded up, we head to the abandoned Marble Mine to check it out. It’s an impressive quarry, spoiled only by graffiti. It’s impressive how large the blocks of marble are.
 
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:51:30 pm
We snap some photos and head on into the Otjiha Plains.

The morning light is gorgeous and I get left behind again taking photos, which means I have to blast to catch Marc and Jan Lucas, who are riding swiftly.
 
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:52:19 pm
It’s really fun to be riding with a bunch of guys who are all at a similar skill level. There is no weakest link between us.
At this point in the trip, Marc hasn’t come off his bike once – and it’s not like he’s been riding slowly either. Jan Lucas has fallen a few times, and I’ve fallen almost every day.

My motto has become, “If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough!” at least, that’s how I justify it 😊

I usually fall because I’m doing dumb shit beyond my skill level – like when I exited a river-bed too fast a few days ago…

I came across a hole in the sand that would swallow my front wheel. There was no time to stop, so I instinctively lofted the front wheel over the hole, only to find a knee-height step right after the hole.

Miraculously, I gassed it and somehow lifted front wheel again - over and up the step… but just when I thought I was home free, the step turned into a rock garden that forced an unscheduled dismount. Fortunately, nobody was looking.

That’s the kind of dumb shit I’m always doing. Anyhow…

We arrive at the Orupenbe shop and ask around for fuel. Nobody has any, so we continue towards Purros.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:54:43 pm
We’re making a good pace down the Khumib 4x4 trail. The riding alternates between stony roads and sandy riverbeds.
   
Around 11:30, we find a small spot of shade (hard to do in the desert) and stop for tea and soup; now a crucial part of our group daily ritual.
 
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:56:24 pm
Shortly after brunch, we enter the Hourusib Riverbed. I can see it in the distance as I descend the mountain track. It looks like an oasis in the distance. Just gorgeous.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:57:53 pm
As we enter the riverbed, we spot a guy standing next to a makeshift stall.
 
Marc immediately recognizes him from the previous time he was here and stops to buy a wooden toy. He chooses a really cool truck, with doors and a tailgate that open and close.

Marc collects these things and is thrilled with his purchase. The guy running the stand is happy too because I guess we’re the first people he’s seen in a while.
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:58:57 pm
And then we hit the most epic sandy trail…

You know how a bull charges when it sees red? Well, I do the same when I see white – white sand.
 
The riding is so much fun and the contrast between the white sand, the brown mountains and the greenery is breathtaking.
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 03:59:54 pm
We’re closing in on Purros as Marc hits reserve on his bike. That’s not good. He should have at least 10 liters left in his tank at this point.

This could be a problem because if we can’t get fuel in Purros, we’re not heading down the Purros Canyon.

We arrive in Purros and our first stop is to local shop to get supplies and find out where to buy fuel. The lady behind the counter directs us to Colin’s house not far away. Apparently, Colin does have fuel.

We’re relieved and decide to stock up on water and camp food for tonight’s campfire.
 
I suggest that we buy spaghetti. Jan Lucas grabs a few tins of Chakalaka. That’s good enough for me!

Marc stocks up his backup vehicle with pilchards – also a group staple at this point.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:00:29 pm
We head over to meet Colin and buy 45 liters of fuel.

Colin’s place is like every other place we’ve bought fuel on this trip – a back yard with a few drums of petrol.

We park the bikes under a shady tree and are prepared to pay Colin whatever he asks for the fuel. Surprisingly, he’s cheaper than Ben’s place on the Marienfluss and only R125 for 5 liters.
 
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:01:57 pm
I’m relieved we have fuel because I’m really looking forward to riding through the canyon.
From all the photos I’ve seen of Purros Canyon, it looks lush and filled with wildlife.
We thank Colin and head off into the Canyon.

It’s so different from where we’ve come from – wet and green.
 
Within minutes, my boots are already dripping from 5 river crossings.

I begin practicing my wheelies over the river crossings. I still suck at wheelies. I can lift the front, but can’t keep it in the air for long. That means I can cross tree trunks, but I can’t impress the local kids who always want me to wheelie for them.
 
We spot gemsbok, donkeys, and birds everywhere. Sadly, we can’t see the lions or elephants. Perhaps they’re sleeping.
 
It’s turning out to be a great day – not as exciting or dramatic as yesterday, but lovely riding and great views nonetheless. We’re all feeling good.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:03:32 pm
As we exit the canyon, we begin blasting south. I can almost smell the sea air as we get closer and closer to the Skeleton Coast.

At one point, Marc and I are in the lead and we take a wrong turn. I quicky realize we’re going the wrong way and signal Marc to turnaround.

We backtrack to the place where we had missed the turnoff and see Jan Lucas ahead of us. I later find out that he hasn’t seen us, so still thinks that we are in front of him.

He speeds up, riding faster and faster to “catch up” with us. Except, we’re behind him trying to keep up with him, thinking that he’s just having fun.

This goes on for about 15 minutes – Jan Lucas never realizing that we’re chasing him. He’s a fast rider who used to race, so it’s hard work catching him. Eventually, when I
pass him, he looks puzzled to see me.

We stop and share the story. The wind is howling and we’re tired after our 15-minute “race”.

Marc needs comforting and so gets down in the sand and starts playing with his new toy. He provides some much-needed comic relief. We’re getting tired and it’s good to laugh.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:04:24 pm
The route opens up into a gorgeous sandy plain which keeps us entertained until we arrive at Amspoort Gorge – a beautiful spot on the Huab river.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:05:37 pm
We find a sheltered spot and set up camp in the sand.
 
After setting up my tent, I climb to the top of a koppie and snap these pics.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:06:11 pm
Marc and Jan Lucas bring out their chairs and we sit around chatting for a while as the sun sets.

We hear lions in the distance and hope that they don’t come over while we’re sleeping to check us out.

Dinner turns out well. Chakalaka spaghetti is a winner! 

With full tummies and no beer to drink, we’re all asleep by 8:30pm.
Title: DAY 10 – AMSPOORT GORGE TO PALMWAG
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:07:55 pm
We wake up early and begin our usual ritual of coffee, breakfast and boskak.

There are not enough oats for everyone, so I volunteer to eat last night’s leftovers for breakfast which amuses the guys no end.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:08:22 pm
Then we pack up and hit the Huab riverbed. Within minutes, we spot a giraffe who is surprised to see us.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:10:13 pm
The day’s riding is tough. Rocky trails and sandy riverbeds were exciting during the first few days of the trip. Now they’re tiring us out.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:15:18 pm
It’s beautiful riding, but nowhere near as spectacular as the last few days. We’ve been spoiled and this ends up feeling sort of like a transport day.

I spot a few Welwitschia Mirabilia on the side of the trail.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:16:42 pm
By lunchtime, Jan Lucas is exhausted.

We can’t find a shady tree to stop under, so eventually we settle for a bush and Marc erects his tarp.

I offer Jan Lucas some almonds to help him replenish his energy.

But he’s tired. After a few minutes, he announces that he is done. His trip is over and he’s going to ride back to Windhoek tomorrow.

My heart sinks.

“What? We only have one more day of riding left. You can’t quit now! We’re at the finish line.” I think to myself.

Maybe he’ll change his mind by the time we get to Palmwag tonight. Maybe not.

I’m pretty sure that if Jan Lucas is heading to Windhoek tomorrow, then Marc will follow him and I’ll be riding back through Desolation Valley alone.

I try not to show it, but the thought of riding without the gang tomorrow puts a damper on the rest of my day.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:17:56 pm
We’ve bonded and become a team and riding without Marc and Jan Lucas just feels wrong.

I wrestle with mixed feelings for the rest of the day – trying to put myself in Jan Lucas’s shoes to see if I would make the same decision.

The other thing on my mind is that this is the most remote part of Namibia. I feel anxious about what would happen if I were to have an accident alone in the desert…

I’m just going to have to hope that he changes his mind tonight once we arrive in Palmwag.

He doesn’t.

After having his first beer at Palmwag Lodge, he’s clearly made up his mind.

Later that night, I overhear Marc saying to him, “Come on Jan. Let’s be men. We finish together. We can’t leave Bruce to ride alone…”
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 04:20:24 pm
The next installment of this saga will follow in exactly 7 days when I return from riding the Namakwa 4x4 trail with my brother and some new friends.

If you'd like to be notified when I post the finale, just click "Notify" at the top of this page.

Don’t hate me for leaving you on a cliffhanger. See you in a week for the big finale!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on December 09, 2020, 05:10:17 pm
Namibia. Gods gift to Adventure Riders Inc. Period.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 05:19:49 pm
Namibia. Gods gift to Adventure Riders Inc. Period.

Ain't that the truth, Ian.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on December 09, 2020, 05:43:40 pm
Wow, a ride report that even teaches you about kakking. This must be a first. A brilliant first :imaposer:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 05:46:16 pm
Wow, a ride report that even teaches you about kakking. This must be a first. A brilliant first :imaposer:

Lol. I almost didn't, but it made me laugh to write it, so I decided to keep it in!  :imaposer:
Title: Nice
Post by: Osadabwa on December 09, 2020, 05:58:47 pm
Two things:

1) What is it with Namibian giraffes trying to take you fellas out? I remember riding around there and the damn ostriches seemed to be trying to do the same. Always running across the damn track! Maybe the desert addles their brains. Kenyan giraffe are well behaved... ostriches less so.
2) How on earth did you guys end up camping without whisky on that last night?!

Looks like a blast. The North Namibia rides are always fun to follow along.
 :snorting:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Bokveld on December 09, 2020, 08:19:41 pm
Thanks OB. It brings back good memories.(though not on a bike)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Noneking on December 09, 2020, 08:34:17 pm
Excellent ride report!
Title: Re: Nice
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 09, 2020, 11:47:25 pm
Two things:

1) What is it with Namibian giraffes trying to take you fellas out? I remember riding around there and the damn ostriches seemed to be trying to do the same. Always running across the damn track! Maybe the desert addles their brains. Kenyan giraffe are well behaved... ostriches less so.
2) How on earth did you guys end up camping without whisky on that last night?!

Looks like a blast. The North Namibia rides are always fun to follow along.
 :snorting:
These are important questions! We're more the beer kind of drinkers... but I do like me some whisky from time to time. :-)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Stroke Her on December 10, 2020, 10:14:41 am
Caracal 4x4 in December...been there done that...julle gaan lekker sweet :thumleft:

Enjoy and come back safely...if only to finish this lekka ride report ::)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 10, 2020, 01:19:40 pm
Fantastic, looking forward to the finish in 7 days....

Even though I have ridden some parts of Kaokoland once there are some of the roads you have taken that are definitely on my bucket list...

Thanks :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Plaasseun on December 10, 2020, 03:08:32 pm
Really enjoying this one thank you Bruce, worthy competitor for a place in the roll of honor reports me thinks.
Title: Re: DAY 9 – MARBLE CAMP TO AMSPOORT GORGE
Post by: DaveT on December 10, 2020, 09:39:50 pm
I wake up to the sound of birds chirping and replay yesterday’s incredible adventure in my mind while savoring my last moments in a comfy bed.

I make coffee while Marc prepares oats for us for breakfast.

Every morning, breakfast signals my bowels to empty themselves like clockwork.

Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about kakking… and if it’s OK with you, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about how to kak properly while on a bike tour.

A couple of years ago, I was Banting. Because Banting involves mostly eating fat, I started taking Psyllium Husk to supplement my fiber intake.

One of the may positive side effects of taking Psyllium Husk is that it makes your kak solid.

Why is this a good thing?

Boskakking!

There’s nothing worse than a boskak that doesn’t go well - especially in motorcycle gear. Psyllium Husk makes it a one-and-done deal. That also means that you pollute the bos less, because you use much less toilet paper.

I mix a teaspoon of Psyllium Husk with a teaspoon of dehydrated greens (a kind powdered salad that I always carry with me) in a shaker bottle each morning.

Try it! It will transform your boskaks. I digress…

This is a kak tip
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Amsterdam on December 11, 2020, 09:54:15 am
.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Mother on December 11, 2020, 01:50:17 pm
Awesome adventure ......and a great read ......thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Stroke Her on December 11, 2020, 03:14:14 pm
Yes...the dynamic is very different when you are out there on your own. You very very quickly learn that you are not as tough and brave as you thought you were ;)

But there is also something very special about being in Kaokoland on your bike on your own...for some of us its worth the risk.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 2StrokeDan on December 11, 2020, 03:22:51 pm
Yes...the dynamic is very different when you are out there on your own. You very very quickly learn that you are not as tough and brave as you thought you were ;)

But there is also something very special about being in Kaokoland on your bike on your own...for some of us its worth the risk.

Admit it, you missed my navigation.......
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Stroke Her on December 11, 2020, 04:56:18 pm
As ek saam met jou daar moes deur sou ons seker nou nog in sirkels om die olifante gery het :imaposer:

Tyd vir koffie n slag...
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 2StrokeDan on December 11, 2020, 07:49:26 pm
As ek saam met jou daar moes deur sou ons seker nou nog in sirkels om die olifante gery het :imaposer:

Tyd vir koffie n slag...

Maak n draai, ons moet julle weer nooi vir n ete....
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: big oil on December 11, 2020, 11:07:47 pm
Excellent reporting on an area of this rock I dream of riding someday, though not solo, hopefully a handful of WD's will accompany my tour of Namibia.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: White Rhino on December 12, 2020, 07:45:38 am
Nice hanger .... It's been a special account of a very special part of the world - thank you!  :thumleft:

The 500 It is the most versatile solo adventure bike around - perfect for this sort of riding  :deal:

I got weak in the knees and went for it. Just needs some adventurising.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ktmmer on December 12, 2020, 12:01:32 pm
Boskak Bruce, this rates among the best ride reports on here.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Sheepman on December 12, 2020, 01:23:39 pm
Great report, shot  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on December 12, 2020, 05:11:58 pm
Boskak Bruce, this rates among the best ride reports on here.
Yes, I vote for him changing his forum name :imaposer:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Breekbeen on December 17, 2020, 07:28:43 am
Het Bruce verdwaal?
Kom ons wag.
 :deal:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 09:17:33 am
Hi guys. I just got back from my Namakwa 4x4 trail trip yesterday. I'll complete the ride report tonight - promise.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 17, 2020, 09:58:34 pm
Hi guys. I just got back from my Namakwa 4x4 trail trip yesterday. I'll complete the ride report tonight - promise.

It is tonight :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:24:19 pm
Boskak Bruce, this rates among the best ride reports on here.
Yes, I vote for him changing his forum name :imaposer:
That's a great idea! Boskak Bruce. Now to convince the moderators to allow me to change it!
Title: DAY 11 – PALMWAG TO UIS
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:26:52 pm
It’s 5am. I’m wide awake. I can’t sleep any longer. It’s our last day in remote Namibia.

The trip has been incredible so far. We're ridden rocks, riverbeds, sand dunes - everything I could hope for.

Perhaps more meaningful for me is that I’ve bonded with my two new friends.

I’m feeling a cocktail of emotions as I lay there contemplating the day - everything from excitement to sadness.

The thought of riding through the Desolation Valley again gets me excited, but I’m anxious about riding without Jan Lucas and Marc.

I’ve crossed 18 countries on a mototcycle alone, so it’s not riding alone that worries me - it’s the wildlife that inhabits my route today. I, for one, do not want to end up as lion food or under the paw of an elephant... and as unlikely as those scenarios are, they are a real risk out here.

But, the call to adventure is stronger than my Amygdala's fear response, so I get out of bed secretly hoping that Jan Lucas or Marc have changed their minds.

Jan Lucas gets up shortly after me and it becomes clear that he hasn't changed his mind.

To be completely honest, I feel sad that the two people I had imagined would have my back – whose back I feel responsible for having - have sort of abandoned me. The team I thought that we were seems not to be the team we are in reality.

The thought that keeps looping around in my head is that both Jan Lucas and Marc are physically capable of completing today’s route, they just decided that they were too tired to.

I mean, we’re at the finish line. This is the last day of the trip!

Fuck being tired. But that's just me.

I make peace with their choice and shake off my kak feelings, prepare some coffee, get dressed, pack the bike, give the guys a hug goodbye and hit the road.

It’s 6:30am as I pull out of Palmwag Lodge. The air is chilled and there’s not a breath of wind so the dust from the car that passed a few minutes ago is still lingering in the air creating a kind of eerie feeling.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:27:51 pm
It seems that my fears of running into an elephant may not be that far fetched. I notice some fresh dung and a line of elephant tracks leading down the road into the distance…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:28:13 pm
Before I bump into any, I turn off towards desolation valley on a small rocky track.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:29:10 pm
I’m playing my Electronic music playlist in my helmet and feeling great - focusing on not losing the front wheel on the stony gravel corners.

Soon I see the Desolation Valley looming in the distance.

I pass a well that's pumping ground water out of a pipe and consider filling up my water bladder. But the well is surrounded by elephant footprints and some fresh dung, so I decide not to.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:29:46 pm
A fox runs across the track in the distance, reminding me again that in this place, I’m not at the top of the food chain.,

I descend into the valley and the track turns sandy.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:30:45 pm
The scene is gorgeous in the morning light. I want to speed up and enjoy riding the sand, but I’m too afraid that I’ll miss something beautiful, so I stay in 3rd gear, lugging the engine and taking in the scenery.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:31:31 pm
I stop to pee. It’s dead quiet. Nothing moves. I can’t help thinking that if something goes wrong out here, help is a long, long way away.

It’s around 8:30am when I drop into the Huab River bed.

The riverbed sand is deep and I’m enjoying carving through the corners. At the same time, I'm constantly scanning the horizon for elephants and within 2 minutes, one makes an appearance…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:32:04 pm
He seems to not be too concerned with me, but I’m definitely concerned about him because the riverbed track runs right in front of him.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:33:24 pm
I ride slowly past and pluck up the courage to stop and take a pic. I’m far enough away that if he charges me, I can still make a dash to safety.
But he’s chill and I move on…
And then I hear a roar on my left.
My head swings around like a it’s on a stick to see what’s there.
Fuck.
It’s mama and papa elephant... and mama elephant does NOT like me there.

I hadn’t seen them grazing on the banks of the riverbed.

I stop at a safe distance to take in the scene… but that’s when shit gets real – real fast.

Mama elephant roars and charges towards me.

Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuck!

I hit the starter button and blast off to the opposite side of the riverbed – maybe 150 meters away and stop facing mama elephant. Don’t ask me why, but I’m thinking “This would be a good place to take a photo.”

Any sane human would have sped the hell outta there and not looked back.

I’m clearly not sane.

I pull out my phone to take this pic.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:34:18 pm
But not 5 seconds later, she charges me again. She wants me gone.

This time, I get the message.

I plunge my phone back into my pocket, hit the starter and blast the hell out of dodge in a cloud of sand.

But the river wasn’t done with me yet.

Just around the corner, I stop dead in my tracks.

There in the distance, blocking my way, is baby elephant. Shit! He’s a big baby... and there’s no way around him without passing dangerously close to him and risking being seriously hurt or killed.

He's still a ways away, but I soon realize that I’m surrounded - trapped between two elephants.

I keep looking over my shoulder to make sure that mama elephant isn’t following me. I don’t see her.

My mind is racing and my heart thumping in my chest. Shit, I need a plan – fast!

My head is jerking around looking for exits and checking for mama elephant.

Baby elephant is still blocking the track, so plan A is to just wait for him to move on. But what if mama elephant arrives and chases me? Then I’m toast.

I notice a soft sandy bank to my left and immediately start my engine and ride up it to give me some space to maneuver should the shit hit the fan.

Baby elephant begins strolling towards me while I nervously wait on the bank to see what happens next.

I figiure that if baby elephant gets close enough to me, it will clear some space on the track behind him for me to ride around him and escape behind him.

I wait... and baby gets closer and closer.

When he's about 50 meters away, I hit the starter button. The engine roars to life and I kick it into gear.

Go!

I lurch forward struggling to get traction in the sand in 1st gear. I should have chosen 2nd.

Within seconds, I'm alongside him.

He’s scared. He probably hasn’t seen a motorcycle in 8 months. He starts running away and trumpets loudly in protest.

My heart is pounding as I pass him.

I look over my shoulder and he is runing away from me. I made it!

Thank god! That was too close for comfort.

You can watch last half of the drama on my GoPro footage here:


Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:36:15 pm
Now, all I want to do is get the hell out of this river bed.

I’ve seen enough elephants for 100 lifetimes. I just want some open plains where I can see what’s ahead of me. 😊

Soon, I get what I asked for and arrive at a beautiful rocky plain.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:37:04 pm
I see a hill in the distance that looks like it will make a fun hill climb and a great vantage point for a photo.

“This is probably a dumb idea.” I think to myself.

I’m alone in Desolation Valley. No humans for hours. Why risk a rocky hill climb?

Because it’s fun?

I’m an idiot.

I start riding towards the hill. I’m riding through a rock garden and can’t seem to get enough speed to change into 2nd gear. My plan was to charge the hill, but now I’m at the foot and I’m still in 1st.

Fuck it. I’m just going to have to give it gas and pray I make it.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:38:25 pm
I don’t (make it).

I stop 2 meters from the top of the hill and I run out of steam.

Fuck, it’s steep up here. How am I going to get down???

Here’s how…

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:39:03 pm
After dusting myself off I decide to take it easy… very easy. I’ve learned how quickly things can go south.

“No more dumb shit, Bruce. OK?”

OK.

As I continue slowly on… The sandy tracks become windy, sandy tracks. I see elephant dung everywhere – like in this clip…


Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:39:59 pm
I’m a little shaken, but I’m having a good time… It’s barren and gorgeous.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:40:45 pm
I’ve found a nice slow pace and I’m feeling confident and comfortable. The track is a kind of soft, deep gravel, so steering is difficult.

My front tire keeps riding up the center of the track and sometimes I feel as if I’m steering left, but riding straight. Weird.

And then it happens…

I don’t know how it happened, but it sure as hell happened.

Suddenly, a jolt. I’m in the air… superman style. Over the handlebars.

Actually, under the handlebars. The bike is above me.

Oh shit! Time slows down. I’m landing….

Oooofffff!

Ouch. Crunch. Silence.

I lay there for a while assessing whether or not I'm dead.

I’m not.

I stand up and surprisingly, I don't feel to bad. Nothing broken, I don’t think.

And then I look around and see the bike.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:41:42 pm
Fuuuuucck! My baby!

For some reason, I remember to snap a pic before rushing over to stop the fuel leaking form the tank.

I rush over.

Ouch. My ribs hurt. This is a familiar hurt. The same hurt I felt 2 months ago when I also flew superman style over my bars and broke my ribs.

I’ve fractured the same two ribs – again.

I know how this goes... I'll get a few pain-free hours and then suffering for two weeks.

I’m acutely aware that I’m in the middle of nowhere with two broken ribs and an upside-down bike.

I knock the bike over onto its side and then pic it up. I haven’t lost too much fuel, but the Giant Loop luggage strap has ripped and the luggage is hanging off.

I spend a few minutes making a quick video and then get to repairing the damage.

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:43:24 pm
I get on the bike and press the starter.

She starts first time! Damn, I love my 500.

But she’s been hurt. Her handlebars are bent. Not too badly, but enough that I need to adjust my riding.

I need to get going quickly, before the pain kicks in. I still have a riverbed to ride – a long one with lions and elephant in it. I’ve come this far, and I don’t want to abort now.

Perhaps I can still make it.

I dust myself off and get back in the saddle, this time even slower than before. It was a freak accident. Surprisingly, I wasn’t being an idiot. I was riding at 30 – 40km/h. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it, I tell myself.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:44:17 pm
I stop after a few minutes to adjust the forks. Perhaps the handlebar is not bent and it’s the forks. If that’s the case, I can just loosen the bolts on the triple clamps and give it a few pumps.

I do that, but no dice. It’s the bars. I guess, I’m gonna have to go slow.

I start smiling again as I pass one of the most beautiful rock formations…
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:44:59 pm
I pass some Rhino conservation workers and have a quick chat.

They are completely surprised to see me.

I’m delighted to see humans instead of elephants.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:46:02 pm
“Are you heading to White Lady Lodge via the Ugab river?” one of them asks.

“Yip”

“You know that motorbikes are banned in the riverbed?”

“Really? That’s not what I’ve heard…”

“Yes. The signs will go up in two weeks. But there’s an alternative route you can take.”

I pretend to listen to the alternative route, but secretly I’m thinking that if the Ugab riverbed really is closed to motorbikes, then this is my only chance I’m ever going to get to ride it – broken ribs and all.

I think he sensed that I wasn’t listening, so began another tactic to put me off…

“You know that there are lots of lions in the riverbed with cubs? They’re aggressive when they have cubs.”

“Really?”

“And elephants too. Lots of them. Are you not scared of them?”

“Terrified” I say telling the truth.

They’re lovely, people. But I’m not sure that I believe their story about motorbikes not being allowed in the riverbed.

They eventually drive off and once they are out of sight, I cross a mountain range and descend into the Ugab riverbed. As it comes into view, my heart starts racing.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:46:37 pm
What if there are lions with cubs that chase me?

What if I fall with two broken ribs and can’t pick up my bike? I’d be lunch for them.

I enter the riverbed and ride fast. My goal is to get this over with, but try to enjoy it at the same time. I’m not successful.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:47:12 pm
It’s dry and eerie feeling. I’m scared that death awaits me around every corner. I’m probably totally safe, but those damn Rhino guys succeeded at scaring me.

I’m not really enjoying this, but the GPS says that I have 75km to go. That’s two hours in the riverbed. A LOT can happen in two hours.

I arrive at the Ugab marshes. Marsh areas are terrifying for me because you cannot see what is around the corner. I could very easily ride smack bang into an elllie and have no space to turn around and run. I’d be stomped on and that would be that.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:48:57 pm
To make things even more scary, the marsh area is sandy and I fall twice creeping slowly around the corners.

My ribs are starting to hurt and picking up my bike is getting harder and harder.

After ever corner I say a little “thank you” to the big man upstairs for sparing my life again.

Eventually, after the longest two hours ever, I reach my planned exit. I haven’t seen a single damn animal the entire time.

I’m so relieved.

I put the hammer down and blast out of the riverbed and onto the dirt track to White Lady Lodge, where I’m planning to stay the night.

This has been a lonely day. I enjoyed it, but would have preferred to have had the boys with me.

However, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I did it. I survived. And so did the 500.

I arrive at White Lady Lodge, but there’s not a soul around.

So, I head to Uis and get fuel. That way, I can blast to Spitzkoppe, set up my tent and leave early tomorrow morning to meet the guys in Windhoek.

I arrive at Uis, fuel up and start putting my earplugs in when I hear the sound of a Thumper…

Thumpty, thumpty, thump…

Fuck. It’s a biker.

No. Wait. It’s two bikers.

No. three.

WTF????

Ten motorcycles pull into the Uis fuel station to get fuel.

They look at me with the same look I’m giving them – the “WTF are you doing here” look.

I take off my helmet and greet them. They are all German and one of them is a woman in her 50’s. They’re on a tour together on Yamaha XT660’s.

We’re all so surprised to meet each other in the middle of nowhere that we stop and chat.

Eventually, I decide that I’m going to try to get a room at the same hotel that they are staying at in Uis. The hotel is fully booked out by the bikers, but I convince the owner to let me camp out back.

I meet Bjorn, their tour guide. Bjorn is Namibian born and is simply spectacular. He’s a charismatic, rough and tough kind of MacGyver character.

He generously invites me to join the group on a little excursion before dinner and then invites me to dinner with them.

After setting up my tent, we all chill around the pool drinking beer. It’s an AMAZING way to end the trip and an incredible day.

I didn’t take too many photos because I was probably too drunk to remember, but here’s one of the woman and her suitor on an XT660.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:49:22 pm
Shortly afterwards, we jump in the support vehicle and drive to the top of a mine dump to watch the sunset.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:49:42 pm
The night ends with a glutonous dinner and great conversation. I feel truly blessed.

What started as a lonely day without my friends, ended as an evening filled with new friends.

I awkwardly climb into my tent trying not to hurt myself in the process, set my alarm for 5am, and sleep like the dead.
Title: DAY 12 – 14 UIS TO CAPE TOWN
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:50:45 pm
I’m awake at 4:30 already. Fuck, my ribs hurt.

I make some coffee, shower and attempt to get dressed and pack away my tent. But because I can hardly move my left side without pain, it takes 90 agonizing minutes. I hit the road at 6am.

My plan is to blast down the shortest route to Windhoek, meet the guys, load the bikes on the trailer and begin the 2-day drive to Cape Town.

The shortest route is a largely dirt route. As I turn off onto the gravel, I last about 5 minutes before my ribs are killing me. This is not going to work.

I stop and recalculate my GPS route to take the much less painful, but longer, tar route.

The morning passes quickly and I cover several hundred kilometers at 140km/h. At this point, I don’t care about conserving my rear tire. I just want to get off this rattling tortue device and into a comfy car seat.

Around 11am, I arrive in Windhoek and meet up wwith Jan Lucas and Marc who already have the trailer loaded and ready to rumble.

We’re all happy to be reunited. They have also had a hard ride yesterday. We exchange stories, load my bike onto the trailer and set off.

But the drama continues...

Along the way, the rear tire of the bike trailer bursts, destroying the rim and ripping the axle out of place.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:51:31 pm
We spend an hour trying to repair it, and we do. Our repair lasts about 150km until we hit Grunau. In fact, the axle broke loose 100 meters from the Grunau Hotel.

While Jan Lucas inspects the damage, Marc runs over to the hotel and calls the local “Trailer Repair” guy.

Seriously. He exists.

Obviously, a lot of trailers break down here.

While we check into our hotel room and order dinner, the trailer repair guy fixes our trailer for us. Superb luck.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:52:06 pm
The next day’s drive is long.

We hand around at the border for an hour to get the results of our rapid COVID-19 test that we take in the a little van. We’re all COVID negative and are allowed back into South Africa without issue.

Phew… because I haven’t worn a mask in two weeks.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:54:23 pm
We arrive in Cape Town at 9:30pm – just in time for my 10pm conference call with 30 of my clients. How I led that 2-hour call, I don’t know. I could barely keep my eyes open.

I sleep like the dead.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 10:54:53 pm
This was the best motorcycle trip I have done in my 30 years of riding motorcycles. Nothing compares to Kaokoland. If you haven’t been, go. Go now, while the sand is still virgin (post-lockdown) and the hotels are cheap.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for coming on this journey with me. Thank you for your encouraging comments. Thank you for being part of our amazing motorcycle community that has inspired me so much.

Good night.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 17, 2020, 11:14:22 pm
Hey Bruce

Thanks for sharing, was amazing to join you on this trip!

Couple of questions:

Thanks again, I really enjoyed reading your report :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: peter stuyvesant on December 17, 2020, 11:19:57 pm
Thanks for the time & effort to write the report "boskak". Great entertaining read, well done!
I think everyone should see the Kaokoland by car or bike before us humans fuck it up forever.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 17, 2020, 11:21:57 pm
Thanks for the time & effort to write the report "boskak". Great entertaining read, well done!
I think everyone should see the Kaokoland by car or bike before us humans fuck it up forever.

I can change his forum name.....  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 11:38:33 pm
Hey Bruce

Thanks for sharing, was amazing to join you on this trip!

Couple of questions:
  • Can you share your tracks for the route you did?
  • If you are in CPT over December would love to buy you a beer and talk more about your trip.

Thanks again, I really enjoyed reading your report :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Sure. Here are the tracks.

I'm in Cape Town at the moment, but don't have a ton of time becasue I'm here with family. However, if you're willing to come to Hout Bay, I'm sure I can persuade Jan Lucas and Marc to join us for coffee or a beer.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 17, 2020, 11:39:46 pm
Thanks for the time & effort to write the report "boskak". Great entertaining read, well done!
I think everyone should see the Kaokoland by car or bike before us humans fuck it up forever.

It's my pleasure. Agreed. It's a special place, but how long will it remain so untouched?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 2StrokeDan on December 18, 2020, 06:26:21 am
Thanks for the time & effort to write the report "boskak". Great entertaining read, well done!
I think everyone should see the Kaokoland by car or bike before us humans fuck it up forever.

It's my pleasure. Agreed. It's a special place, but how long will it remain so untouched?

It can unfortunately not remain untouched if we keep on going there.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: geopat on December 18, 2020, 04:02:51 pm
Thanks for the time & effort to write the report "boskak". Great entertaining read, well done!
I think everyone should see the Kaokoland by car or bike before us humans fuck it up forever.

It's my pleasure. Agreed. It's a special place, but how long will it remain so untouched?

It can unfortunately not remain untouched if we keep on going there.

All it takes is a couple of months of lockdown and most of the trace of us blows away in the wind.......
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on December 18, 2020, 05:18:07 pm
Thank you BB for posting this really great RR!! :thumleft: :drif:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Kamanya on December 18, 2020, 06:38:21 pm
Outstanding!

In the truest sense of adventure riding.

Bravo!
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ace Venture on December 18, 2020, 07:54:22 pm
Brilliant ride report, very exhilarating!
Thank you!!!

Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: funacide on December 18, 2020, 10:54:43 pm
Hey Bruce

Thanks for sharing, was amazing to join you on this trip!

Couple of questions:
  • Can you share your tracks for the route you did?
  • If you are in CPT over December would love to buy you a beer and talk more about your trip.

Thanks again, I really enjoyed reading your report :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Sure. Here are the tracks.

I'm in Cape Town at the moment, but don't have a ton of time becasue I'm here with family. However, if you're willing to come to Hout Bay, I'm sure I can persuade Jan Lucas and Marc to join us for coffee or a beer.

Thanks for the tracks.

No worries understand you are busy with family. Enjoy the time.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Three Dawg on December 19, 2020, 12:41:43 am
Cracking read, that was.  Thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: JMOL on December 22, 2020, 10:01:01 am
Thanks for sharing this wonderful trip with us.

I really enjoyed very day.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 22, 2020, 10:55:20 am
Thanks for sharing this wonderful trip with us.

I really enjoyed very day.
Makes me happy to read that. Glad you enjoyed it.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: RrP on December 22, 2020, 04:37:12 pm
Epic ride and report thank you for sharing.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: wobbler on December 25, 2020, 08:18:26 pm
Wow!
Just, WOW!
Epic!
It has me really contemplating getting a smaller, lighter bike to really get out onto the roads less traveled.
I love my 990, but its thirsty! 250km range is limiting.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 8 min Mark on December 25, 2020, 09:22:06 pm
Thanks for the awesome ride report Bruce. Kaokoland on two wheels is a truly special place.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on December 26, 2020, 08:25:29 pm
Just what I needed in these busy times, thank you.

 8)
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: ALLEN I on December 27, 2020, 08:22:33 am
Bloody good RR mate thanks for the  :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 27, 2020, 09:25:59 am
Just do it! You will not regret it. I've had more grins on smaller bikes than I ever had in bigger bikes.

IMO, the only things that big bikes do better are speed, comfort and distance.

Offroad, I'm never going more than 100km/h, so I don't need speed.

With a soft seat, the 500 is comfortable enough. It will never be a GS, but I'm certainly not in agony riding it.

As far as long distance is concerned, I have just gotten used to it taking longer. That means I take in more of the scenery and look for creative back road routes I stead of highway.

If you can afford to keep the 990 and buy a smaller bike, you've got the best of both worlds.

If I had to choose only one bike to live with for the rest of my life, it would be the 500 all day long.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 27, 2020, 09:27:49 am
Thanks for the awesome ride report Bruce. Kaokoland on two wheels is a truly special place.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Pleasure, Mark. Glad you dug it

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Dacquiri on December 28, 2020, 08:19:07 am
Thanks for a great RR Bruce!! The Kaokoveld never seems to disappoint. Now I just need to find a good marriage councillor to convince my wife that such a trip would be an excellent tonic!!  ;) Btw how did that new seat hold out for the trip? Any mods to make to it as I am keen to pad mine up a bit as well?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on December 29, 2020, 07:29:10 am
Thanks for a great RR Bruce!! The Kaokoveld never seems to disappoint. Now I just need to find a good marriage councillor to convince my wife that such a trip would be an excellent tonic!!  ;) Btw how did that new seat hold out for the trip? Any mods to make to it as I am keen to pad mine up a bit as well?
The seat was a winner. The only thing I would have changed was to make the foam a little softer.

I had asked Flying Brick to tell their guy to use a harder foam so that the "wings" of the seat don't flop. He did use a harder foam, but it was a bit too hard for my ass.

Also, don't get a seat like mine with "wings" if you are using giant loop luggage. The luggage bent the wings. In retrospect, I would have had it made thinner had I known this beforehand. Without luggage, the wings make it a super comfy seat.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Dacquiri on December 29, 2020, 08:03:30 am
Thanks Bruce
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: XT JOE on December 30, 2020, 05:03:53 pm
maybe sounding like a stuck record but Wow is in order(thanks 8m Mark for tip)- Thanks Bruce-definitely  Roll of honor material and "Boskak Bruce" would be appropriate - so  descriptive not only on that subject but so many others one could almost smell and as well as experience this ride. Some of these bits could maybe be a hectic for the average Joe among us but shit Nam has always just been the bucket list ride for 99% of the inmates here. Having such a camaraderie with between three amigos just made it even more enjoyable. Cheers
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: m0lt3n on January 06, 2021, 03:06:34 pm
I am late! Had this report open for a while to read and finally got to it!

flippen excellent RR! Thanks for all the effort and good info in general, and in the smelly specifics!

And while I am late, a question on the tube patching discussion...
why not use UHD tubes with slime from the get go and take the thin lightweight backup tube with.
if it fails then fit the backup tube which can be patched to one's heart's content?  25% of the times the valves sheer off anyhow so you really dont want the flat in the first place.

Did you change tubes and slime for your Namakwa 4x4 trip? Any ride report for that?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on January 07, 2021, 10:55:25 am
I am late! Had this report open for a while to read and finally got to it!

flippen excellent RR! Thanks for all the effort and good info in general, and in the smelly specifics!

Did you change tubes and slime for your Namakwa 4x4 trip? Any ride report for that?

Thanks man. I'm never using UHD tubes again - mostly becasue of how much they throw out the wheel balancing and becasue of what a pain in the ass they are to remove and install.

For my Namakwa trip, I bought some Michelin Enduro 2mm tubes. The bike felt a lot better. I recently had the wheels trued and balanced and that's made an even bigger difference.

The Namakwa 4x4 trail was epic, but I don't have it in me to spend another 10 nights writing the ride report. I'm thinking that in future I may narrate a slideshow instead. Less interesting, but much faster I suspect.

Thanks for following along.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on January 09, 2021, 05:50:37 pm
Have you ever considered tubeliss, Bruce?
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on January 09, 2021, 09:10:11 pm
Have you ever considered tubeliss, Bruce?

Hi OomD. Yes, I have Tubliss on my  Husky 300. It's great for enduro, but is not designed for long distance high speed riding. The system heats up and can fail. Also, on a long distance trip, I'd still have to carry tubes in case of a Tubliss failure (of which I've had a few). Tubes are just a more reliable option IMO.

Lyndon Poskitt wrote a brilliant article on it here: https://advrider.com/tubes-tubeless-or-mousses-for-adventure-riding/
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: 2StrokeDan on January 09, 2021, 09:52:34 pm
I do agree that tubes are the most reliable option out there, however I got so tired of fixing punctures that I fitted Tubliss 4 years ago, and while I still got punctures, they are a pleasure to repair on the

Tubliss system, and zero trouble from the system over 4 years.

Lots of problems arise from installation of Tubliss, you have to know what you're doing.  Every time I change tyres, the Tubliss system gets a fresh, liberal coat of red rubber grease.

One of my buddies did destroy his Tubliss through a clumsy repair effort......he put the hole reamer right into the Tubliss high pressure body. :eek7: :eek7: :eek7:

But, yes, into remote places I still have to carry the wheel removal toolkit and puncture repair and tubes.

Yes, "roadbike" type of conventional tubeless has no place offroad. It is dangerous.
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Mikie on January 11, 2021, 03:52:45 pm
Thanks for an excellent ride report, Bruce.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: Damaraland on January 13, 2021, 11:33:08 am
Hey Bruce,

Finally got round to reading the full RR - brilliantly well written and I loved the pics and video snapshots, just blindingly obvious that you lot had an epic adventure. 

To me, adventures like this is what it's about and of course also compliments on fantastic choice of motorcycle :ricky:  As you demonstrated, with the right attitude one can still explore and have magical perhaps even life-changing experiences, even in this sheltered and "safe" age.  I really regret not being able to meet you guys on your way up, but I have no doubts that you will be back :thumleft:

Cheers,
Ruan
Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on January 14, 2021, 10:11:54 am


I really regret not being able to meet you guys on your way up, but I have no doubts that you will be back :thumleft:

Cheers,
Ruan

Thanks for being so willing to share your advice on the area so freely and please thank your wife for the border situation reports.

I will definitely be back, next time with my wife, and we will definitely look you guys up.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: BoskakBruce on January 14, 2021, 10:14:35 am
Boskak Bruce, this rates among the best ride reports on here.
Yes, I vote for him changing his forum name :imaposer:
And thanks to you two, BoskakBruce is now my official forum name!

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Title: Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
Post by: OomD on January 14, 2021, 11:04:31 am
Boskak Bruce, this rates among the best ride reports on here.
Yes, I vote for him changing his forum name :imaposer:
And thanks to you two, BoskakBruce is now my official forum name!

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
It rolls so easily off the tongue. The name, that is. :biggrin: