Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => 'Roll of Honour' - Best Ride Reports => Topic started by: Dustdevil on January 08, 2010, 09:40:49 pm

Title: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on January 08, 2010, 09:40:49 pm
Yes we wanted to stay off the well beaten paths and go and explore areas where the local kids run away scared because they do not know what to make of a white man and his noisy, awkward two wheel machine.

We found what we were looking for and then some more. What a spectacular country and what a spectacular nation. Everywhere we went we were greeted by friendliness and concern and a helping hand when needed, and although along the main routes there is always expectance of some sort of reward, the people from more remote villages were only to glad to help, asking nothing in return.

.... for now I must first run for the loo..., as Lesotho rewarded my efforts with the dreaded runs. Fever, headaches, joint pains and a lethargic body, you name it and I've had it for the last three days. And so did the other two.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 09, 2010, 09:32:40 am
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/_MG_9386.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/_MG_9411.jpg)

One year ago Michiel and a friend, John, did an epic trip through Lesotho. At some point they both found themselves out of their element but there was no stopping Michiels unquenching need for adventure. John on the other hand was not having such a great time and at a particularly difficult section crossing through the Senqu river he freaked out and threatened to break Michiels camera and declared their friendship over if they did not turn around.
A group of 4x4 riders that managed to get through the river assured them that the road on the opposite side is very steep and slippery and that they did not think they will make it on motorbikes.
Michiel had to accept defeat. RR of this trip is here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=32388.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=32388.0)

At the start of planning a revisit of Lesotho and to take care of some unfinished business by Michiel, there were four of us, Michiel, Stefan (Sack), Mike (Airhead) and myself, Altus (Dustdevil).
Michiel made it clear as to what to expect and the general consensus was that we will need to tackle some really tough 4x4 routes in order for us to get familiarized with the group dynamics but most importantly to develop our riding skills to be able to cope with some of the most inhospitable riding conditions imaginable. We visited the Helderberg 4x4 route as well as routes in the Elands valley and Hex river and also the infamous Matroosberg 4x4 route. Here we learned to drop bikes, pick them back up and to get them going again on the steep, slippery slopes. We figured out what is the best tire pressures and that rim locks is most essential if you want to run at pressures giving any form of traction.

At the start of the trip in December there were only three of us, Mike (Airhead) was still busy building his dream HPN waiting for backorder parts from Germany and could not join us anymore. Read about it here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=41149.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=41149.0)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on January 09, 2010, 09:57:02 am
Nice one DD , can't wait for the rest  :thumleft:

Ps glad you are all back in one piece  ;)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on January 09, 2010, 10:37:16 am
this looks really cool

a mate of mine did the same in '92  and they were in lesotho for 10 days just following the donkey trails,

can't wait for the rest DD!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rooies on January 09, 2010, 10:39:52 am
Subscribed!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Oetie on January 09, 2010, 10:42:43 am
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: mrhyde on January 09, 2010, 06:35:56 pm
drum roll!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Sir Rat on January 09, 2010, 08:39:13 pm
Kan nie wag vir die ene nie!!!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: zetman on January 09, 2010, 09:05:25 pm
Kom kom ons wag in spanning...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 09, 2010, 09:52:54 pm
Kom, kom waars julle geduld? Michiel is nog nie eens terug in die Kaap nie, en ek het meer as 50GB video en fotos op my hardeskyf om deur te werk, maar ek belowe dat dit elke oomblik se wag die moeite werd sal wees.
Ons het van die mees onherbergsame terien aangepak en alhoewel ons eenmaal moes omdraai omdat die pad nie meer gangbaar was nie het ons ander male deurgekom tenspyte van paaie wat lankal in onbruik gelaat is.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 10, 2010, 07:00:33 pm
Ge Duld? ge!!
het nie tyd vir geduld nie


Hoe dan nou so? jy ry dan n KLR!!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on January 10, 2010, 07:19:19 pm
Ge Duld? ge!!
het nie tyd vir geduld nie


Hoe dan nou so? jy ry dan n KLR!!!




:imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: serf on January 10, 2010, 07:55:55 pm
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: CaptainWobble on January 11, 2010, 08:31:57 am
Quote
Kom, kom waars julle geduld? Michiel is nog nie eens terug in die Kaap nie, en ek het meer as 50GB video en fotos op my hardeskyf om deur te werk, maar ek belowe dat dit elke oomblik se wag die moeite werd sal wees.

Veskonigs verskonings...   :pot:

Ons wag geduldig! :bounce:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on January 13, 2010, 06:02:24 pm
Goed, ek is ook nou terug in die Kaap. Die siekte wat Altus van praat is blykbaar e-coli of so iets,
op die alfabet net onder e-bola en omtrent net so erg. Ons wou die dood haal! Ek was gelukkig op die
plaas in Ouma Kosie se sorg toe die eerste simptome begin het. Myself in 'n koma in ge-skittery!

Ouma het my dadelik op 'n dieet van bitter druppels, kookwater en suurlemoensap gesit. Was nie lank toe
is al wat in my derms oor is net bitter druppels... drup, drup, spuit!

Altus (Dustdevil) het in sy inleiding die storie baie mooi opgesom, na hy my dokumenter gesien het wou
Stefan (Sack) graag Lesotho besoek en het my daarna gevra, ek wou terug gaan Lesotho toe om onklaar
dinge te gaan klaar maak en Altus het ons sentimente gedeel. 'n Groot deel van die fokus van die besoek was
gewees om video materiaal te versamel sodoende 'n dokumenter te kan maak wat iets spesiaals van Lesotho
na die kyker sal bring. Op hierdie forum sal ons dus baie fotos en video brokkies deel, maar ongelukkig, vir die
eintlikke spesiale kykgenot sal julle geduldig of ongeduldig moet wag tot die sowat 10ure van video materiaal
gesny is tot +-1uur.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Sir Rat on January 13, 2010, 06:34:54 pm
Ons sal wag!   :pot:  Maar volgende keer is n ander storie!!!  :deal:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 13, 2010, 10:48:25 pm
Alhoewel ons Lesotho been van die reis eers na Kersfees sou begin het ek en Michiel besluit om saam uit die Kaap weg te spring na ons onderskeie families vir die Kerstyd. Die idee was om grondpad langs te hou tot by Orania waar ek baie graag wou gaan rond loer.

Saterdag 19 Desember kry ek dan vir Michiel dou voor dag by my werkswinkel, omtrend so net na vier. Die dag belowe om nog lank te word en ek moes maar met n driekwartuur se slaap vrede maak nadat ek die olie "sump plug" se draad belemer het toe ek die vorige aand wou olie ruil. Dit kos my die hele "sump" verwyder en een van n ander motor "leen" om weer aan die gang te kom, die hele nag se gesukkel.

Hierdie is dan ook so ver as wat ek met die Afrikaans kan uithou, my "spell checker" laat my komper skerm soos bloedrivier lyk aangesien alles nou vir hom vreemd lyk.

Just to ensure that we will make this a 25 hour day Miciel invited a friend and a complete dirt noob, Alian along. He would join us up to Sutherland and then find his own way back the following day.
We were going at half pace all the time and at every stop to check if Alian is still ok he would arrive white in the face from what he would refer to as the last close shave. Obviously he has not yet got used to the fact that the bike tend to feel a bit loose on dirt.

We finally made it to Sutherland by 2pm and got both bikes and bellies fueled before gladly saying goodbye to Alian. Now we can start making up some time. I did not get far before my battery started fading on me and at Frazerburg we had to lay down on someone's stoep to get recharged again. A 30min powernap and I was ready for the next leg of the trip. At this point a fellow WD pulled up on his way from Gauteng. Miepels I hope you had a good time in Cape Town!!!

Loxton was our next refueling station but to our surprise there is no petrol station here and being after 12 on a Saturday meant that the Co-op was closed.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: CaptainWobble on January 14, 2010, 09:39:47 am
 :bounce: :bounce:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: MrBig on January 14, 2010, 10:04:58 am
:toothy5:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Archangel on January 14, 2010, 02:02:59 pm
Subscribe...

PS. Is die ou se naam Alian? (Jy bedoel nie dalk Alain nie?)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Mother on January 14, 2010, 02:21:48 pm
look fwd to the rest of this story.... i once did a very harsh cross country trip on the south side crossing senquenane and senque (little orange and orange rivers)we had to pull bikes up the mountain with a rope at times and had to cross the orange river(senque) in an aluminium boat it was hard and there where times i thort we wouldnt make it but we did....will never forget that trip...was on a DR650 and my mates on XR600s...did it twice nogal..the second time tried it down the mountain we used the ropes thinking it would be easier...man was i wrong.....
but theres no pill for this....pity boutu picking up all the germans hope u get beta soon
im sure u had a massive adventure non the less :thumleft:
cheers
M
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: SACK on January 14, 2010, 07:40:45 pm
A little mishap whilst looking for a place to cross the river.

Altus and Michiel took most of the pics. I'm also still waiting to see them. It was a great adventure and parts of the route were really challenging. Sometimes it was a challenge just to find the route.


(http://lh6.ggpht.com/_LFIT0LLBnP4/S04goGUvwDI/AAAAAAAAA1U/LZsXoYSYZJM/s800/SANY0456.JPG)


Come on guys... post a few more pics!


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on January 15, 2010, 07:35:19 pm
Lekker little teaser you're giving them Sack...  :ricky:

The idea was to ride together, Dustdevil and I, to the Free State and from there Dustdevil would descend
once again to his family in the North Eastern Cape for x-mas. He wanted to check Orania out and since I
know a friend there we decided to try and make it all the way from Cape Town in one day. As the crow fly
we travel on gravel.

Alain is a friend I met about 3 years ago when I still had my beloved Honda CX500. As he also still ride one,
this was the point of interest that brought us together. Since then I swapped the CX for a KLR and took to
Adventure Riding. Alain soon took interest in this as I shared all I got up to. Long story short, I love it when
people show interest and enthusiasm in the things that make my boat float and as Alain did I thought it well
to invite him to ride to Sutherland. He jumped for the opportunity, went out and rented a KLR and before
we knew it we were ready to roll.

After endlessly nagging Dustdevil to make sure he's got all his ducks in a row for this trip I arrived on the long
awaited morning to a chaotic workshop with a very tired Dustdevil still tightening bolts on the HPN... We were
supposed to leave town on that Saturday morning at 4. By 5 we finally got going. Alain was already waiting at the
Winelands Engen. Just as the knoblies started howling along the N1 Dustdevil flagged me down. He explained that
his backpack is hurting his back, ain't gonna do and we have to try and get Leftless to get out of bed and sell him
another backpack/hydrapack.

So, for the next 30min we rode around Leftless's neighbourhood trying to locate his house. Finally found him and
gentleman he is Leftless sorted us out, no questions asked.  

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010001.jpg)

By 6AM we rocked up at the Winelands Engen and found Alain patiently waiting. Here's one of the HPN finally
ready to roll...  

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010002.jpg)

More picture opportunities in the Bainskloof Pass. I thought we would roll through here with the sun just rising,
we were seriously behind schedule. Dustdevil and I.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010003.jpg)

Alain with his rented KLR.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010004.jpg)

On towards Sutherland riding from Ceres. As soon as we hit the first dirt it was clear that this day would become
a long one. I completely overestimated Alain's dirt riding abilities and started to realize we were in for a looong day.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010005.jpg)

On these Karoo Highways one can, in some places, open a 1200GS up full taps but we were doing at best a very
shaky 70km/h. I couldn't even shift into 5th gear!

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010006.jpg)

Stopping to check out this weird-looking bush I took my time to give Alain a head start so I could at least shift into 5th.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010007.jpg)

Here Dustdevil proved to be a much more worthy a soul by taking Alain under his wing and handing out lessons on
how to stand up and use his weight to control the bike ex ex. I helped by making sure Alain was running correct tyre
pressures.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010008.jpg)

I should admit, I lost patience way too easy and was it not for Dustdevil's endless sources of it things might have gone
the wrong way. We FINALLY made it to Sutherland... 4 Hours behind schedule! Alain was to stay here for the night,
check out the town and surrounding countryside and make his own way back to Cape Town the following day. After
we had a much needed lunch and organized Alain acommodation for the night Dustdevil and I made speed for Fraserburg.
For as far as the KLR could keep up the HPN could now show off it's racing heritage.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010009.jpg)

By the time we roared into Fraserburg Dustdevil was in desperate need of a little power nap. As we've done before
we scouted for the nearest shady stoep, he collapsed and started snoring almost immediately. I also setteld down
but was too exited about the awaiting adventure to fall asleep.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010010.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010011.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010012.jpg)

A short while later another Dog on his 1150GS rolled into town. He was going in the opposite direction heading
for Cape Town but having left Jo-Burg that morning he decided to stay over in Fraserburg. Now let me tell you,
there is no quicker way to get Dustdevil going than to point at his bike and ask: "what is this?" This oke obviously
looked right past my trusty steed and, pointing to the HPN, asked: "what is this?" With that Dustdevil rose from his
grave and as if somebody pushed his nitro button started talking a hind leg off a donkey...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010013.jpg)

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 15, 2010, 08:37:37 pm
Subscribe...

PS. Is die ou se naam Alian? (Jy bedoel nie dalk Alain nie?)

Jy's reg maar almal noem hom sommer Allen.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 15, 2010, 09:59:56 pm
Nog so paar fotos;

Stopping in Bainskloof.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Lesotho-2010-009330.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Lesotho-2010-009341.jpg)

On the way to Sutherland.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0001_2.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0003.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: CaptainWobble on January 18, 2010, 09:52:34 am
 :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Ons wag geduldig...

 :amazon:  ;D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on January 18, 2010, 10:26:39 am
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Ons wag geduldig...

 :amazon:  ;D


baie baie baie
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Doerengone on January 20, 2010, 06:00:02 pm

Lekka report. I was riding the Sutherland area about a month ago. Check out the Silhouette guest farm if anyone ever needs a magic stone cottage to sleep over at sometime. Real cheap and very scenic. About 15km outside Sutherland.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on January 20, 2010, 06:06:04 pm
subscribed  :happy1:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 20, 2010, 11:28:32 pm
Loxton
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0004.jpg)

We pulled into Loxton for fuel only to be informed by a couple wandering the deserted streets of town that there is no petrol station. Only the Co-op sells petrol and being Saturday afternoon it was all locked up. We worked out that we might just make it to Vosburg when the couple point out that Vosburg also does not have a petrol station anymore. We are stuck, but the couple advise us to go knock on the door of the house next door to the Co-op as apparently the lady running it lives there and should be home at the moment. It was with great apprehension that Michiel knocked on the door hoping that we will be helped.

We were forgetting the hospitality of people from these small communities and in now time at all the yard gate gets unlocked and our tanks are filled from the antique pumps housed under a lean to zinc roof. It is clear the middle aged woman don't often fill bikes as she accidently overfill Michiel's tank spilling petrol down the sides.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0006.jpg)

Loxton NG Kerk
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0005.jpg)


Soon we were rambling down another deserted dirt road in the direction of Vosburg via the small station of Pampoenpoort. It was here we decided to have a short break and started to add the daylight hours left together with the amount of miles still needed to cover to Orania only to come to the conclusion that the sums does not add up anymore and riding a large portion in the dark was inevetable.
It was Michiel's suggestion to put up tent right here in Pampoenpoort stasie but I reckoned why put up tent when the old station building is providing a perfectly good stoep to sleep on.
So that was exactly what we did...
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0013.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0007.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0010.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0011.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on January 21, 2010, 05:52:15 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Brakenjan on January 21, 2010, 08:34:54 pm

Squatting on the stoep of the Pampoenpoort station building - adventure riding at its best!  :biggrin:

Great stuff guys - please keep it coming  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on January 22, 2010, 07:53:46 am
Great RR so far ... I'm not a patient man and I need my adventure fix ! So please finish the RR !!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Yefimovich≤ on January 22, 2010, 09:23:26 am
Subscribed!

Brilliant so far, cannot wait for the rest!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 23, 2010, 12:17:05 am
Okay so it's still a long way before getting to Lesotho. That part happened only after Xmas.
I though I will wet your appetites so long, so while I am still editing the Pampoenpoort video, here is a short trailer of what is still to come.
I loaded this with full quality so rather hit pause and wait for it to download completely before watching.
Enjoy!!

Lesotho Trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eE3_ErNirU#)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: gummikuh on January 23, 2010, 06:42:20 am
Argh!..That hurt's!!!

Looks good!!!


Werner
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on January 23, 2010, 07:10:53 am
My appitite was wet ages ago !!!! Maak nou die fokken ding klaar !!!!!!!!!!! :drif:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: LouisXander on January 23, 2010, 07:41:25 am
My appitite was wet ages ago !!!! Maak nou die fokken ding klaar !!!!!!!!!!! :drif:


Mooi gese, kan hulle nie lees nie?  :mwink:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: airHEAD on January 24, 2010, 05:05:37 pm
Great job so far guys. Looking at the trailer video I am completely torn. Half of me is really jealous that I missed out on such an amazing adventure and the other half of me is so relieved that I didn't have to put my "brand new" HPN through that!

Lets see some more...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: JMOL on January 24, 2010, 07:16:23 pm
This is gonna be a very very nice report.

Can't wait for the rest.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on January 27, 2010, 06:36:01 pm
That old lady at Loxton was a real sweetie, she had no obligations to open up for us on that
Saturday late afternoon. Because she's short and couldn't quite see inside the petrol tank and I
was distracted with a phone call to my dad she overfilled the tank and spilled about half a litre
of petrol over my tank bag and engine. She was so kind I didn't even mind...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010014.jpg)

The Dutch Reformed Church in Loxton is all overgrown with a Venetian creeper. Must be a sight to behold
in autum when the leaves turn red.

From Loxton we hurried along in the direction of Vosburg via Pampoenpoort. The road is a joy to ride.
Unfortunately the end of the day has caught up with us and by the time we reached Pampoenpoort it
was evident that we won't make Orania unless we travel the remaining +- 250km of dirt in the dark.

With nocturnal creatures emerging from their daytime hiding places the risk of killing a furry animal
was just too great so we decided to rather make an unscheduled stop. Another reason I don't like riding
dirt roads at night is that one miss all the beautiful scenery, what a waste!

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010015.jpg)

So we settled down on Pampoenpoort Train Station's stoep.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010016.jpg)

I went in search of water as both Dustdevil and I only had 1/2 a litre of water left. Not only was I thirsty but
I also desperately wanted to wash my hands. (I've got a obsession with washing my hands)
Believe it or not but I couldn't find a drop of water! There was a enclosed concrete reservoir a little distance
into the veld but the tiny amount of water that was left in it was not reachable unless I climbed inside. Uuum,
nah, I'll wash my hands tomorrow. We were just too tired to care much.


Dustdevil fell asleep as soon as his head hit the custom, made from clothes, pillow. Decent or not, who was to see?
I was so inspired by the atmosphere I scurried around the thorns and bushes to take some pictures.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010017.jpg)

With only the slightest kiss of a breeze blowing across the vast open plains of the Northern Cape the
night sky was crisp and clear, the stars were out in quantities that made us lyrical. We even witnessed
some sort of shooting star, only it was stranger as it burnt too long and bright to be just that.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010019.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010018.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on January 27, 2010, 09:28:25 pm
nice shots michiel,  like allot
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Stofdonkie on January 28, 2010, 08:53:09 am
Hierdie laaste foto is 'n beaut!
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Inglsman on January 28, 2010, 10:25:17 am

hey, I really liked your packing, simple n neat.
On the red bike, is that side doo dah holding what looks like a sleep bag, is it  a commercial product? what bags are those on the kawa?

ta

Inglsman
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Hondsekierie on January 28, 2010, 01:14:38 pm

hey, I really liked your packing, simple n neat.
On the red bike, is that side doo dah holding what looks like a sleep bag, is it  a commercial product? what bags are those on the kawa?

ta

Inglsman

That doo dah on the red bike is from Bacbones (Google it)

Michiel, jy mag maar fotos neem.  Daai laaste klomp is van die beste Adv Riding pics wat ek nog ooit gesien het.  Briljant
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: neil123 on January 28, 2010, 04:05:14 pm
Wow  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on January 28, 2010, 06:02:45 pm

hey, I really liked your packing, simple n neat.
On the red bike, is that side doo dah holding what looks like a sleep bag, is it  a commercial product? what bags are those on the kawa?

ta

Inglsman

That doo dah on the red bike is from Bacbones (Google it)

The red bike, the HPN, has some Bones bags indeed. I'll get Dustdevil to say more about that.
The bags on my KLR are a combination of what Kawasaki sell for the KLR (the top box bag) and the rest are bags
I made up myself with moms help. Pooratech huh?
Even if I have to say so myself, they work beautifully! With some patience you'll
see just to what extent we tested man and machine.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 29, 2010, 01:31:00 am
I hate the Bacbones stuff, but at the same time it is the best there is for this kind of riding.
Why do I hate it? it damn well take an hour a side to attach a Silo and just as long to get all the fiddly straps and buckles undone  :xxbah:, but I guess thats why they stay in place so well and they don't shift or flop around when the going gets bumpy. The secret is to leave them on the bike when doing long trips and to only remove the contents. Left side holds my tent and right side a Mosquito down sleeping bag from Cape Storm and a Ultra Light Therma-a-Rest sleeping mattress.

The pillion position is the place on your bike that can handle the most weight without endangering sub-frames and carrier or pannier frames from cracking and braking. Yes it might negatively influence handling because  of the higher centre of gravity but I believe that disadvantage is offset against keeping your luggage out of harms way when falling. The Bacbones trailbag could be removed and fitted in seconds. At first the flimsy plastic clips look like they will brake around the first bend but in reality the bags gravity make it stay put and you need something light-duty to keep it in place. Bones believe it is easier to repair a broken buckle than a torn bag so his choice of the cheaper buckles is for a very valid point. I myself had to make a repair on one of these clips and it was done in seconds with a simple cable tie.
I carried an Apple Powerbook in my luggage and have had my share of heavy crashes with no damage done to the luggage bags or its contents.

 :thumleft: I can surely recommend the Bacbones luggage system as one of the best for when the going starts to get really tough, you must just learn to be patient when fitting and removing the Silo's

http://www.bhi.co.za/bacbones.htm (http://www.bhi.co.za/bacbones.htm)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/picture.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/picture-2.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/picture-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Mark Hardy on January 29, 2010, 06:37:09 am
I'm in for the ride....this is going to be good  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Wolfmother on January 29, 2010, 12:36:04 pm
Van julle dudes kan ek net 'n bedonderde video verwag!!   (ek sien `n vid of the year kom.  :peepwall:)

Gaan julle dit bemark? (en al die dawgs afslag gee)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on January 29, 2010, 05:49:50 pm
 :peepwall: uuum.

Op hierdie stadium gebeur daar basies niks in terme van video editing nie. Ek sit sonder die regte sagteware,
verdere spandering is ook nie meer 'n opsie nie  :'( en Dustdevil het meer dringende dinge om uit te sort.
Wees egter verseker, die beeldmateriaal wat op ons hardeskywe le is om mee rekenskap te hou en defnetief
genoeg om 'n lekker video van te maak.

Kom tyd kom raad.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 29, 2010, 09:55:33 pm
Van julle dudes kan ek net 'n bedonderde video verwag!!   (ek sien `n vid of the year kom.  :peepwall:)

Gaan julle dit bemark? (en al die dawgs afslag gee)

Nie n slegte idee nie!! as daar geld of bier by betrokke is dan is daar altyd genoeg "motivation"om n ding te doen. Net een brobleem, Michiel drink glad nie bier nie en ek glo nie hy sal "editing" sagteware kan koop met bier nie :-\.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Martin-DR650 on January 30, 2010, 11:34:20 am
Baie nice trip! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Vaufi on January 30, 2010, 04:42:59 pm
If that stoep in Pampoenpoort would have been smaller I'm sure you guys would have slept outside just to make sure the bikes were comfy  :biggrin:
Die moiste kikies is die met die rooi buzz-bike  :ricky:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: LeonDude on January 30, 2010, 07:58:06 pm
Very nice!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on January 31, 2010, 11:17:04 am
If that stoep in Pampoenpoort would have been smaller I'm sure you guys would have slept outside just to make sure the bikes were comfy  :biggrin:

 :imaposer:  :laughing4: Yea, something like that... I somehow have to take care of her after a day of rough riding.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on January 31, 2010, 09:25:27 pm
If that stoep in Pampoenpoort would have been smaller I'm sure you guys would have slept outside just to make sure the bikes were comfy  :biggrin:
Die moiste kikies is die met die rooi buzz-bike  :ricky:

What do you mean!, the bitch can sleep outside as far as I care. We pulled them on the stoep so they were out of sight. We did not have permission for camping there so we tried to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Jacko on January 31, 2010, 09:39:53 pm
I had a pair of Bacbones silo panniers so here's my take on them:

They are very well made and very clever. BUT, they were designed for a 1200GS. To fit them to the HP2 meant a compromise i.t.o. positioning. They never felt quite right, always interfering with my legs when standing.

Great products, but not a natural fit for the HP2. Which was a pity, as I like the minimalist approach.

I now use Kappa soft luggage if I ever feel the need for panniers (which, if truth be told is not often these days). I reckon I can tour lekker with my HP2 tankbag, my tool bag at the back and a 20 - 30lt day bag/water bladder on my back. By now I have so much clever f*cking clothes (quick-dry stuff) and kit that I honestly don't know how you can fill three aluminium panniers with shit. Oh, I just realised why: Because it's shit.

I hate clutter and shit like farking dangling blikbekers and pans and waterbottles and blooming esspresso pots and dream catchers and KY Jelly and black dildoes and camping chairs and fishing rods. But I guess some people need them.

By the way, farking lekker photies!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: the_BOBNOB on January 31, 2010, 10:15:07 pm
awesome ride guys  :thumleft:

michiel what camera do you have - those night sky photos are amazing  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 01, 2010, 07:44:25 am
Thanks for the compliments on the pics, I used a Canon 350D but what really made the difference
was the 14mm L-Series lens Dustdevil lend to me for the trip. As with the bike you must remember
that some of the results come from the technique applied and not just from the hardware.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: DirtRebell on February 01, 2010, 12:56:48 pm
Nice report and even nicer piccies!

Nice meeting you guys. Sorry Michiel, you KLR looks very nice but my eye was drawn to that Beemer. You know, almost like two equally beautliful woman standing side by side, but one of them is topless. Which one would you have looked at? :D

You definitely had one helluva trip. I ended up not sleeping in Frasierburg, but continued to Sutherland where I camped at the local site. Went for the best shank under the stars so I'm glad i pushed through.

Gonna try to get my RR on soon as well...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 01, 2010, 06:26:14 pm
Hey Miepels! :ricky: Good to hear from you. This RR is not going anywhere fast but just keep looking.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Camelman on February 01, 2010, 08:03:55 pm
Flippen great report ouens.

Michiel! Ek gebruik Windows Movie Maker op Windows Vista. Dis heel okay.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Beserker on February 02, 2010, 07:45:13 am
..
that some of the results come from the technique applied and not just from the hardware.

Read a couple of your reports, your technique is definately improving .... some really good compositions.

Keep posting!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Outthere on February 02, 2010, 02:09:03 pm
 This RR is not going anywhere fast but just keep looking.

Can you do us a favor and add a completed to the end of your subject when you done so we dont have to keep looking .

Much appretiated. and awaited

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: the_BOBNOB on February 02, 2010, 02:16:36 pm
As with the bike you must remember that some of the results come from the technique applied and not just from the hardware.

sure  :thumleft:

but unlike bikes certain cameras can and others just caint  ;D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: WheeLZ on February 02, 2010, 04:13:24 pm
Great report guys.  Now put your work asside and get on with the next installment.....PLEEEAAAAZE!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 03, 2010, 06:16:28 pm
Dustdevil is working on a little video we made during the 2nd part of our 1st day of riding but in the meantime
I'll share more of what Pampoenpoort was like the next morning, Day2.

As we were facing the sunrise lying on the stoep of Pampoenpoort station I woke rather early to the glow of a
rising sun still far under the horizon.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010021.jpg)

Boy, what a beautiful morning. The air was crisp and I felt slightly chilled. Today we will visit Orania and then head
for my home town, Jagersfontein. I really look forward to ride those familliar roads and see my family again.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010020.jpg)

In no time the sun was out and another stunner of a day greeted us.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010023.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010022.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: the_BOBNOB on February 03, 2010, 06:58:29 pm
really nice stuff  :thumleft:

pampoenpoort looks like lekker plek  :D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: White Stripes on February 03, 2010, 07:29:17 pm
Sadists. :drif:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 04, 2010, 07:49:36 am
This RR is not going anywhere fast but just keep looking.

Can you do us a favor and add a completed to the end of your subject when you done so we dont have to keep looking .

Much appretiated. and awaited



Kapish
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 05, 2010, 10:10:50 am
Hi Guys I have to explain that I am in the process of moving house and business all at the same time and to top it all I'm not even moving in anywhere. I only have temporary storage. Telephone is already suspended and no internet connection but mostly this stuff is just keeping me real busy. I will be back after the weekend and I promise things will go much faster then.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Beserker on February 05, 2010, 11:47:24 am
Hi Guys I have to explain that I am in the process of moving house and business all at the same time and to top it all I'm not even moving in anywhere. I only have temporary storage. Telephone is already suspended and no internet connection but mostly this stuff is just keeping me real busy. I will be back after the weekend and I promise things will go much faster then.

Forgot to add "got to ride as well..." to the list.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Doerengone on February 05, 2010, 12:48:20 pm

Nice photies M.

Sterkte A.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 06, 2010, 12:57:12 pm
Pampoenpoort - "On the Run"


Pampoenpoort-on the run.mov (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsdsejsn7HY#)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Doerengone on February 06, 2010, 05:36:02 pm
Nice video. n Paar loslyf oomblikke daar by 1.02 , of lyk dit erger op die movie as wat dit op die bike gevoel het? A, het jy n steering damper op jou HPN?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: tankgirl on February 06, 2010, 09:51:59 pm
moar?!!!!  :D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: BlueBull2007 on February 07, 2010, 05:04:08 am
Lekker stuff so far...cant wait for the next one!

What vid camera did you use and can you tell us a bit about how you did some of those shots? Were you filming by hand or was the cam setup on the bike?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Just Blip It! on February 07, 2010, 09:20:28 am
Looks like my kind of trip! Awesome Guys! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 07, 2010, 08:56:50 pm
Nice video. n Paar loslyf oomblikke daar by 1.02 , of lyk dit erger op die movie as wat dit op die bike gevoel het? A, het jy n steering damper op jou HPN?

Desert front wheel behaving badly!! got me shitting my pants for the first 100k's but I worked out that the bark is far worse than the bite and could go up to much higher speeds safely. It only happens when hitting the softer "middel mannietjie" and will wodle like that till you take a firm grip and then it disappear. The Desert front have funny behavior patterns and can be brilliant in some conditions and lousy in others. The Desert rear is highly recommended and stable, but use the front very cautiously and only when you feel it can make a real difference like when riding deep, soft sand.

I removed the damper for the slower technical riding in Lesotho but I am sure it would not make much difference in those conditions.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 07, 2010, 09:04:46 pm
Lekker stuff so far...cant wait for the next one!

What vid camera did you use and can you tell us a bit about how you did some of those shots? Were you filming by hand or was the cam setup on the bike?

We make use of digital still cameras. The quality of these videos is not exactly broadcast quality but it is much better than what you'd expect. These small cameras allow us to shoot much faster and is much less intrusive so we tend to get more natural behavior from our subjects than when you shove a large video camera in their face. The compact size is also a bonus when traveling on a bike.

The tracking shots is done handheld and also by mounting the camera to a specially modified helmet. Very low tech but incredibly effective and much better quality than most helmet or pencil cams.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 07, 2010, 09:39:13 pm
So the next morning saw us up bright and early and fully refreshed. It was a quick run to Vosburg, one of those little Karoo towns that will take you by surprise, the place is still mostly the same after a hundred years. Beautiful little cottages most of them in a well kept and original condition.

We needed water and it is obvious that either the whole town is still asleep or at church being just after 8 on a Sunday morning.
We drove around some of the back streets appreciating the victorian architecture of the place when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. We pulled over and asked the woman if shed help us with some tap water to fill our bladders and water bottles.
She was friendly but cautious at first pointing to the garden hose but after some chatting she warmed up to us and started sharing all the latest town gossip. Her young, friend still in his pajamas, arrived and was very impressed with the bikes.

Soon after we were on our way to Orania still following only dirt tracks through the back country.

Friendly Vosburg residents.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0016.jpg)

Vosburg architecture.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0017.jpg)

Getting lost between Vosburg and God knows where.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0018.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 08, 2010, 07:50:45 am
What vid camera did you use and can you tell us a bit about how you did some of those shots? Were you filming by hand or was the cam setup on the bike?

This is the camera I used for the riding shots, as mounted on the "specially modified helmet"  :thumleft:

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddog%20Stuff/Cam001.jpg)

For the riding shots I had it hand-held though. The dust and sand that HPN kicked up got into the workings
of the lens and today the camera is no more...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 08, 2010, 06:03:07 pm
Good thing we left the remaindure of the 1st day's ride for the next because the road between
Pampoenpoort and Vosburg is a stunner. One can easily do up to 120km/h while drifting into turns and
flying over cattlegrids here and there. They are off-set from the road but choosing your line you don't even
have to slow down.

Once in Vosburg we found what seemed to be a ghost town. After a while of searching I almost jumped
a fence to get some water. By now we were facing dehidration. Luckily a young lady made her appearance
and came to the rescue by allowing us to use the tap in her garden. She's been living in this town her whole life.
Warming to our conversation she offered some frozen bottled water as well. Dustdevil cut this up and into
his Hydrapack it went.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010024.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010025.jpg)
 
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 09, 2010, 11:49:15 pm
Orania have been on my mind for a very long time. It is the only community in South Africa that is using its own currency and one of a small handful in the world doing the same. The purpose behind this is to encourage community members to buy and support local produce in an effort to reduce carbon footprint but also the reliance on larger corporations and suppliers.
In my mind Orania have become the model for political independence, self-sufficiency and sustainability.

There was one aspect about Afrikaner culture that I have misjudged and this ensuring certain failure of their ideologies and complete disappointment on my side.
The Afrikaner and his religion has been inseparable over decades, even though it acts like cyanide in small doses, never aware of it killing you gently over time.

It is then no surprise that the biggest split in the 600 plus community is church related. So why can the concept of an independent community not have a healthy chance in a religious group?
Simply because religion makes its subjects judgmental and it breeds intolerance toward those that do not conform with their believes and cultural dynamics. Religion even have the ability to foster fanaticism.
To proof my point Michiel and I visited a family that have been a part of Orania almost from the start. We were invited for dinner but after I made some comments about the fact that Jesus is nothing more than a mythological figure created by the original christians, I got a scalding by the youngest daughter and the wife informed Michiel that I would not be welcome at their table on account of my believes.

My biggest disappointment though was that although the town was neat and well kept it had no character. There does not seem to be a feeling of cohesion, it is still everyone for himself. I found no community veg gardens or other projects one would expect that will bring community members together to help each other create something more than just a bunch of individuals with the same ideologies.
The only shop open on Sunday was selling "imported" goods only and their was no restaurant open anywhere even though many town members believed there was, sending us of driving in circles only to find another closed place or somebody's pipe-dream that never got of the ground.


The sun food I was eventually denied by the christians, what happened to the good samaritan?

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0019.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/RR0020.jpg)

  PS: If you feel you need to make a comment about my religious and political views, please do so by starting a new thread in "Religion and Politics" under "jou Ma" You are welcome to post a link from this thread but remember I am only telling a story from my perceptions and experiences and it is not intended to be a statement in any way.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on February 10, 2010, 08:44:29 am
I don't want to comment on your religious views or interpretations of christianity , but I would ask you to please keep it out of a otherwise brilliant ride report so far . I don't think a ride report is a platform for these subjects to be mentioned , I thinkl most readers want to know more about the riding , and see photos etc ... keep it upbeat , these type of subjects are very dear to some peoples hearts and might end up souring a sterling RR .

Now more photos of that HPN doing what it does best please , and MIchiel gooi daai fotos !  :drif:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Doerengone on February 10, 2010, 04:41:54 pm

You write with an obviously keen interest in the workings / economic potential of the system. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 10, 2010, 07:44:25 pm
As we sat there in my friendís (Jacobus) parents living room, eight people in the round, the air so
thick I was choking on it. First thought that went through my mind was that Dustdevil could have
been a bit more gentle in stating the facts. Unable to stand the tension I quickly changed the subject
by asking about vegetablesÖ

Later on Jacobusís mother pulled me aside and asked if I shared Dustdevilís views. Sadly and rather
cowardly I sidestepped her by telling what she wanted to hear. With this I secured a place at the table
and some sun food but we decided to get back on two wheels. Rolling out of Orania with full petrol tanks
and empty stomacks I could barely hold back my excitement. Home and my dear family was now only a hour away!

Fauresmith is a neighbouring town to my hometown, Jagersfontein. The town boast a very peculiar attraction
right in the main street. Train tracks running right through the centre of town. Nowadays there are no more trains
running this way but I can remember a time when they still did. Imagine.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010028.jpg)

Town Hall.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010026.jpg)

The old Standard Bank. Closed down a couple years ago but the building did once feature in a television commercial.
They parked a train right in front of it. Fancy that...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010027.jpg)

Now in Jagersfontein I just had to go show Dustdevil the famous myngat. This Big Hole was dug
completely by hand and some of the biggest diamonds in the world were found here. According to
sources the quality of the diamonds mined here set the standard for Blue-White Diamonds in the world
and were subsequently called Jaggers Blue-White.

"1893 Saw the discovery of the Excelsior Diamond measuring 972 carats. Formed from the purest water
this gem now described as a blue white diamond is estimated to be worth R1.2 Billion."

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/pc138.jpg)

They mined in total something like 9,5 million carats of diamonds before the operation was closed down.  

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010029.jpg)

In itís heyday Jagesfontein had no less than 5 hotels. One can still see the remaindures of this once sprawling
town in the amount of churches from the different religions to be found. I can think of at least 6.

Once the mine closed down in 1971 a downhill battle started. As a young boy during the late 80ís I can still
remember the town to be a clean and stately place but in more recent years things really turned for the worse.
The municipality, as in many other towns in our country, found it better to spend the residentís taxes on flashy
parties and shiny cars.

Today even the most basic services have ground to a halt. Itís not uncommon for residents not to have water
or electricity. The roads are in an appalling condition and people have to remove their own refuse. All this caused
a uprise of the townís poorer and more vulnerable people and they decided to show their dissatisfaction by burning
to the ground the Municipal Buildings. The Town Hall narrowly escaped with repairable damage as farmers and police
intervened. I can only wonder how this will help the situation. They should have targeted the bloody mayor's house...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010030.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Chairman Meow on February 10, 2010, 10:04:34 pm
Really captivating ride report. As for the above statements and opinions regarding Orania and it's demented inhabitants, write what you like., it's your experiences and your ride report , way better than the usual 101 pics of dirt roads,bikes and the same type of scenery anyway.
Keep it up! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 11, 2010, 01:11:15 am
Thanks for the thumbs up Chairman. 8)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Beserker on February 11, 2010, 01:22:20 am
Thanks for the thumbs up Chairman. 8)


After 1 in the am...no rest for the sinners, eh?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Mark Hardy on February 11, 2010, 06:01:22 am
 :thumleft:

More please and keep keeping it real. Express what you see and what you feel.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Sir Rat on February 11, 2010, 08:52:34 am
Nice story and pics guys!!   ;D  :-[  Ride reports are about the experience in it's whole. Keep it coming!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Hondsekierie on February 11, 2010, 09:46:45 pm
I don't want to comment on your religious views or interpretations of christianity , but I would ask you to please keep it out of a otherwise brilliant ride report so far . I don't think a ride report is a platform for these subjects to be mentioned , I thinkl most readers want to know more about the riding , and see photos etc ... keep it upbeat , these type of subjects are very dear to some peoples hearts and might end up souring a sterling RR .

Now more photos of that HPN doing what it does best please , and MIchiel gooi daai fotos !  :drif:


+1

Brilliant RR and photos :thumleft:

(DD:  If you're disillusioned, tell us about it in R&P)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 14, 2010, 10:06:21 am
I think the time for being "politically" correct is over, besides being political is hardly ever correct.
We are entering a period where huge change is inevitable, large developing industrial nations is placing ever more pressure on resources and environment alike and in the end we will find ourselves in one of two situations; we will be forced to live almost imprisoned lives over regulated by laws and taxes to the extend that we will completely loose our freedom to do what we want, this of coarse except for the ultra rich that will demand more from the rest of us and being able to buy their way around all the laws, regulations and taxes.
We do on the other hand have the freedom to chose to leave behind our consumer oriented lifestyles forming smaller self sustainable communities similar to that of Orania. Now this is where my inspiration for this trip was born, I wanted to travel to communities, new and old to try and see what makes them successful and where they fail.
If you will bear with me I have a lot to say once we are in Lesotho being able to first hand experience the Basotho lifestyle. Perhaps we did not take enough time to learn to understand their political and social structures but I saw enough to know that they are very successful at being self sufficient and have been able to sustain this lifestyle for hundreds of years.

I would have liked to spend more time with the people of Orania and although I do not agree with their religious preferences, I appreciate their hospitality and friendly nature.
We needed to move on to our next stop so we left the unattractive flood-plains of the Orange behind us heading for the farm on Jagersfontein.

The next day I said my goodbyes to Michiel and his wonderful family as I headed of to my own family in Hofmeyr.
On the way I needed to stop at another small community in Oviston to visit a friends parents that chose to retire in this quiet little town build to accommodate the construction workers building the Fishriver tunnel. The name in Afrikaans from Oranje, Vis, Tonnel.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/IMG_0449.jpg)

HPN at the abandoned and deserted Steynsburg Station.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/DPP_0013.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/DPP_0014.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: oo7 on February 14, 2010, 11:25:52 am
As always I find myself facinated with your extremely interesting views & next level pic's, A! (& Michiel's pic's as well of course)

Looking fwd to some more of that, provided you gents keep that HPN monster in the loop too.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Brakenjan on February 15, 2010, 09:51:48 am
As always I find myself facinated with your extremely interesting views & next level pic's, A! (& Michiel's pic's as well of course)

Looking fwd to some more of that, provided you gents keep that HPN monster in the loop too.


Well said Dabbelou! Ditto  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 15, 2010, 04:09:53 pm
So the time have arrived, it is 28 December and I am packing my bike on the family farm 35km outside of Hofmeyr. Besides the usual luggage I carry for camping, roadside repairs and everyday needs I am also packing a Mac Powerbook, 320Gig portable drive, 30Gig worth of memory cards in both SD and CF cards for the Canon 5D and G11 as well as batteries, chargers and cables.
We wanted to make sure we will cover this trip from all angels with both stills and video.

I set of on the Karoo gravel highway into town where I am meeting Michiel around noon. I was early and stopped by my dad where our conversation quickly turned political. He was cut short with a doctors appointment and Michiel also arrived at the Co-op across the street to fill up with fuel.

The dusty streets of Hofmeyr.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/DPP_0011.jpg)

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on February 15, 2010, 04:16:36 pm
We wanted to make sure we will cover this trip from all angels with both stills and video.

 :angel13:      :imaposer:     :pot:  

Is that ANGELS OR ANGLES  ???
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 15, 2010, 04:26:38 pm
We wanted to make sure we will cover this trip from all angels with both stills and video.

 :angel13:      :imaposer:     :pot:  

Is that ANGELS OR ANGLES  ???


Stupid spell checker??? it should know when a word is out of context and warn me before I make an ass of myself. :lamer:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on February 15, 2010, 04:35:19 pm
 :laughing4:    :thumleft:   
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 15, 2010, 06:25:35 pm
Aaah, the time has surely arrived! With reluctance my dad wished me a fairwell as he still had lots
of little jobs for me on the farm. I will travel from Jagersfontein to Stynsburg and overnight at my mom's
family on their farm before I join up with Dustdevil in neighbouring town Hofmeyr the next day.

The 'ol KLR is already groaning under the weight of my luggage and I haven't even filled up with water.
I don't have a hydrapack and since we have to carry at least 3L of water each I opted to use some old
empty papsakke my aunt gave me. Rinsed them out a couple of times but the taste of red and white
wine still lingers. (Later on I would have lots of omplaints from my riding buddies about this.)

The total weight of my luggage comes in at +- 30kg, or that's what Ouma Kosie's 60 year old scale measured.
Just the camera gear I will carry on my back weighs 8kg.

On my way to Stynsburg I took small dirt roads as far as possible, even had to break through a fence once.
The farmers sometimes close off some off the tracks that used to be a through road in the old days. I got
caught out and didn't want to backtrack a 20min ride.

At Bethulie I admired the longest bridge in South Africa.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010031.jpg)

All around this part of the country Rooijakkals are a big problem for sheep and goat farmers and they kill them
on sight as many as they can but their numbers never seem to drop.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010032.jpg)

The most amazing lekker-ride roads in the country exists in this part. The landscape just rolls on and on and on.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010033.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on February 15, 2010, 06:38:50 pm
more more !

no sleeping please this looks like the story of the YEAR
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 16, 2010, 03:17:20 pm
We left Stofmarai (Hofmyer) in a pile of dust and aimed for Barkley East where we will meet up with the third member of the group Stefan or Sack as he is known under the Wild Dogs.
The route was gravel only and took us past interesting places like Spitskop, Sterkspruit, Dortrecht and Rossouw.

Padkos at Sterkspruit, a neck of lamb lovingly prepared by mum.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/DPP_0010.jpg)


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 16, 2010, 06:02:53 pm
Although we were already travelling through all enspiring landscapes I took few pictures.
Sack decided to start riding a day earlier than planned and this made myself and Dustdevil
a little behind schedule. It will take us some time to get into camera mode but once we did
we probably overdid it. Or so Sack said...  :3some: More of this later...

Some chickens in Rossouw.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010034.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Spore on February 17, 2010, 08:10:52 am
Keep going - can hardly wait!! Great quality!! Thanks :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 18, 2010, 04:51:35 pm
The Eastern Cape never fail to amaze with its ever changing landscapes and vistas. Dirt roads are in good shape and we were making good time rolling along past quiet farmsteads and endless expanse of the most beautiful open landscapes. Trailing along twisty roads following short on Michiels tail we were winding our way amongst the most spectacular sand stone koppies and valleys. The road between Dortrecht and Barkley East being especially spectacular. We stopped at a small shop in the one horse town of Rossouw and not being able to locate a cold Coke I had to settle for a Fanta Grape. I don't know how people can stomach drinking that. I never drink any alcohol when riding so beer was out of the question. I have noticed how drinking a single large glass of wine can influence my concentration the following day. When on the bikes we are constantly doing stuff that require our utmost focus and attention, being under any influence is just not acceptable.

We arrived on the farm in Barkley late afternoon to meet up with Sack and to get ready for the first leg of our trip the following day.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 19, 2010, 08:03:13 am
Like John and I did the year before, we stayed on Wallace Hardie's farm about 10km outside of Barkley East.
Wallace was kind enough to accommodate us. We arrived on the farm even before Wallace and his wife did as
they were returning from a weekend at the coast. Sack was 1st to be there and had to wait a couple of hours for
the rest of us. Wallace's dogs got a hold of one of his boots but I'll leave him to tell the story.  

The old farmhouse has, amongst all the other, one huge room with 3 single beds and this is where we spent the night.
Dustdevil compared the beds to rowing boats but Wallace made up by preparing a proper dinner and much needed
breakfast himself.

The next morning the HPN was to be the 1st bike to need some attention...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010035.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on February 19, 2010, 08:27:25 am
julle ouens is maak skaam met die photo's nť
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 19, 2010, 09:06:00 am
julle ouens is maak skaam met die photo's nť

We did not spend to much time stopping for photography at this time saving it all for Lesotho.


Hey Michiel, stop reminding my about having to chuck a perfectly new UHD tube on account of a lousy rusty piece of nail.
It was quite embarrassing as I was floating around wasting time and then as we were ready to go I had to stop the bus and fix the flat first. Fortunately it was the only one I had for the whole trip.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on February 19, 2010, 09:39:10 am
julle ouens is maak skaam met die photo's nť

We did not spend to much time stopping for photography at this time saving it all for Lesotho.


Hey Michiel, stop reminding my about having to chuck a perfectly new UHD tube on account of a lousy rusty piece of nail.
It was quite embarrassing as I was floating around wasting time and then as we were ready to go I had to stop the bus and fix the flat first. Fortunately it was the only one I had for the whole trip.

:laughing4:  :laughing4:  :laughing4: That's Murphy's law for you !  :imaposer: These things always happen at the kakkest times !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 25, 2010, 12:34:34 pm
On the way to Matatiele we took a wrong turn and landed up in this place, as Stefan called it "Teletubby Land"

We played around here like a bunch of kids :biggrin:

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0018.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0015.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0016.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0021.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 26, 2010, 08:45:49 am
These shots of Stefan on his bike is rare, in fact shots of Michiel and myself in motion on the bikes are even more rare. I don't even recall any photographs of myself while riding.
The reason for this is simple... we were always filming our video when there was some movement.

The video Michiel and I are busy editing contain some really spectacular shots of us cruising through these awesome landscapes and even more spectacular shots of us crashing and wrestling our bikes over and through some of the toughest terrain rideable on a large heavily loaded DS bike.

Our time is divided between writing this report and editing the video that will be over one hour long. So do bare with us, the best is still yet to come and I promise it will be worth the wait.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0020.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on February 26, 2010, 09:48:48 am
These shots of Stefan on his bike is rare, in fact shots of Michiel and myself in motion on the bikes are even more rare. I don't even recall any photographs of myself while riding.
The reason for this is simple... we were always filming our video when there was some movement.

The video Michiel and I are busy editing contain some really spectacular shots of us cruising through these awesome landscapes and even more spectacular shots of us crashing and wrestling our bikes over and through some of the toughest terrain rideable on a large heavily loaded DS bike.

Our time is divided between writing this report and editing the video that will be over one hour long. So do bare with us, the best is still yet to come and I promise it will be worth the wait.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0020.jpg)

Will I be able to buy one of these vids pleeze ! ????
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on February 26, 2010, 01:53:26 pm
These shots of Stefan on his bike is rare, in fact shots of Michiel and myself in motion on the bikes are even more rare. I don't even recall any photographs of myself while riding.
The reason for this is simple... we were always filming our video when there was some movement.

The video Michiel and I are busy editing contain some really spectacular shots of us cruising through these awesome landscapes and even more spectacular shots of us crashing and wrestling our bikes over and through some of the toughest terrain rideable on a large heavily loaded DS bike.

Our time is divided between writing this report and editing the video that will be over one hour long. So do bare with us, the best is still yet to come and I promise it will be worth the wait.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0020.jpg)

Will I be able to buy one of these vids pleeze ! ????
You'll love it, the HPN was styling!...err most of the times at least when the rider had all his marbles together and did not loose faith in the bikes ability.

We will make sure everyone have access to the video even if we have to load the whole damn thing on Youtube in stages. Getting a DVD will be first prize though because this must be viewed full screen to be really appreciated.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on February 26, 2010, 02:14:54 pm
I have a beeg 55' lcd to watch it on .... does this mean I get the first dvd ??   :drif:
Youtube will just use up my cap !

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on February 26, 2010, 03:58:42 pm
On our first day or riding as a trio we headed from Barkley to Lundin's Nek and on towards the Tiffendell ski resort.
The usual stuff. Road was lekker with a couple of steep climbs and descents but nothing too difficult.

Crossed paths with this lot, the oke on the KLR had a nasty fall almost taking out the radiator, but dispite them heading
to the same acommodation in Matatiele as we were we didn't see again.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010036.jpg)

At Tiffindell the usual picture taking commenced.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010038.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010037.jpg)

From Tiffindell we headed for Rhodes where we made a lunch stop. Just outside Rhodes Sack was the 1st one to take
a little tumble but in his defense I should add that it was to be blamed on a stupid sheep. For some reason all the
cattle and sheep in the Eastern Cape were on the roads we travelled.

One thing that I did notice was how dry the whole region was. I remember seeing a magnificent waterfall coming
down from Tiffendell the year before. Done some water crossings too. This year one wouldn't say it rained at all.
This will be good news for Lesotho as we have got planned some serious roads and rain would make things really
difficult, quite possibly impossible...

Crossing the Naude's Nek Pass I just had to go show my buddies the 5star hotel Tenahead. This place was built to
blend with the landscape and since it's right on top of the mountains it relies on a huge diesel generator for electricity.
I was surprised to see that since last year they have started construction on a power line. It sort of spoils the landscape
but hey, what can we do? We wanted to have a look inside but were showed the door as they clearly didn't want our
sort hanging around their high-paying guests.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010039.jpg)

The other side of Naude's Nek.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010040.jpg)

On towards Matatiele I got confused with the roads and led the group down the wrong way. No harm done though as we
discovered a really interesting place a bit like a playground for giants. Sack playing to the camera.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010041.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010042.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010043.jpg)

The evening saw us enjoying comfortable accommodation at the Resthaven Guest House in Matatiele.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Doerengone on February 26, 2010, 04:23:00 pm

Lekka photies. Sack must be a surfer dude, thats classic longboard styling. Like doing a zen hang ten on a glassy 3 foot on a perfect day out.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 03, 2010, 10:45:51 am
Time to get this show on the road, the rocky road!

So we spent the night at the Resthaven Guest House in Matatiele. A year ago John and I stumbled upon the
place as we didn't intend on staying in Matatiele but were forced to as we ran so late on our journey to Lesotho.
The owner, Philip, and his wife runs a splendid facility and I can recommend it to any biker passing by. I liked
the fact that every room has its own bathroom and ample space to put all my luggage. Double bed, large
lounge/kitchen with full facilities, safe undercover parking and a moerse nice buffet breakfast you can gorge
yourself on. All this for something like R300/head. Clean and tidy. They even hauled out a hose on my request
so I could wash my 'ol KLR. (Didn't want any extra mud weighing me down.)

Philip introduced me to his friend, Pieter, who knows Lesotho inside out. Speaks Sotho in a way I can only envy.
Pieter had a look at our maps and the route we want to follow and he reckons that we should get through in most
places. The Chinese has invaded Lesotho and in return for her resources they are building infrastructure. The one
section of road, from St. Francis Missionary to Sehonghong, that worried me most has apparently recently been overhauled.
Pieter explained that, what used to be Roof of Africa stuff, can now be negotiated with a Corsa bakkie. He did warn us
though that the valley we intend to cross right by Sehonghong is very deep and riding in the river can be dangerous as,
what he described as quicksand, can bog one down even on a motorcycle.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/f05.jpg)

Further serious warning came regarding the road between Mantsonyane and Semonkong. Pieter believe that, given
we set aside a whole day to get up the mountain on Semonkong's side of the Senquane (Little Orange River),
we should manage. I've been in sight of this road and should admit it scared the hell out of me. Later on it became
apparent that, regardless of my specific cautions, neither Sack nor Dustdevil understood the full extent of what
they were in for...

We also used the opportunity to prep the bikes. Both Sack and I opted for installing a "low range" by swapping
the front sprocket for one with one tooth less than standard. Dustdevil can't pull out the same trick as he runs a
shat drive but he will rely on the HPN's party piece, massive torque right from idle speeds.

Crossing the border via Ramas Gate turned out to be a little less 4x4, as the map indicated, and more 4x2 but it
still beats Qacha's Nek by a long shot as we were just about the only people using the road and didn't have to
contend with the dust thrown up by trucks.

Dustdevil dealing with customs. A quick process I should add.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010044.jpg)

Some friendly fellow travellers as we entered the Lesotho side of Rama's Gate.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010045.jpg)

Now we were off heading towards Sehonghong but via St. Francis. The simplicity of these houses make them true
and beautiful.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010046.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010047.jpg)

Some kids at the house I photographed. Look at the valley under the settlement. For some reason the kids always
seem to bend forward to pose for photographs.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010048.jpg)

Crossing the valley across from St Francis Missionary. There used to be only a suspension bridge but the
Chinese has built a concrete bridge recently. The suspension bridge has become a antique piece only used by
people, donkeys and occationally some adventure riders.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010049.jpg)

Half way through the day and about half way to Sehong Hong we are on top of the mountain that concerned me most.
Pieter was right, the Chinese bulilt a road up here that one can negotiate with a car!

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010050.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010051.jpg)

Looking down into the valley on the other side. This path is only used by people on foot going down towards the village.
The Chinese road carries on on the right hand side out of the frame.

 (http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010052.jpg)

As we near a fork in the road we decide to take the time, go off the way, to see the nearby village. A friendly bunch
greeted us. The elders in the village were pointing this way and that way trying to explain something about the road
but we couldn't make out a word.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010053.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010054.jpg)

Back on the road again we now descended a steep, roughly graded section and soon discovered what all the pointing
around was about. The road has been dinamited apart to make way for a bigger cutting on the edge of crossing a
little ravine. Aah bloody hell!

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010055.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010056.jpg)


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on March 03, 2010, 02:28:54 pm
The road up to Ramatsiliso's gate turned rough for about 50 yards but besides it being smoother than expected it was a very scenic drive.

Stefan admiring the scene at the top.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0035.jpg)

Just inside Lesotho and the scenery has picked up a notch.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0036.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0038.jpg)

We stopped at this remote village before we were forced to turn around by the exploded road. These people must have been cut of from the world by regular transport for years. It would have only been possible to transport their most basic provisions by horseback or donkey across these frightening mountain passes.
It is incredible to find such low levels of pollution in these rural villages. One would very seldom find a packet or discarded piece of plastic anywhere, do they know that it is not cool to throw stuff around or do they simply not consume the kind of products that would produce rubbish through wrappings and containers.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0037.jpg)

I saw this guy working his fields passing by at around noon, the other two was in front and the sun was to harsh for a good picture so I did not stop. Later we were forced to turn around because the road was blown to bits by the Chinese. Heading back in the direction of Rama's gate I found the man still busy tilling his field after 5 in the afternoon. I could get this image with the setting sun.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0025.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0028.jpg)


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on March 03, 2010, 03:00:49 pm
 :drif: keep it coming bru !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 04, 2010, 11:41:43 am
I was really hoping that we could travel this road all the way through to Sehonghong. The ironic thing is that,
if the Chinese haven't been constructing/upgrading the existing road we would never have made it this far but
because they are working here they blasted away our pass to the other side. Not wanting to give up so easily
I scouted the kloof below to just shortcut but it quickly became apparent that it won't be a sensible thing to try
as there is a vertical drop of about 2m on each side.

Dustdevil and I invested into a rope and pulley system to hoist/lower the bikes where we really get stuck.
By putting in the time and effort we should be able cross this section... The one thing that does concern me
is that we still have about 10km to go before the next big road and I know from studying Google Earth there
is a hell of a gorge to cross further on. I suppose so early on in the trip we probably shouldn't burn ourselves out.
My riding buddies agreed. Turning back we have a long way to go just to get back where we started this morning.
At least the roads are descent. Now we are hurrying along what is a familiar road.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010057.jpg)

The plan is to fall back on the conventional road to Sehonghong going over the Matebeng Pass. I think secretly
Dustdevil is rejoicing because he really wanted to go see the Matebeng Pass. Sack just follows the pack.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010058.jpg)

Back on the suspension bridge we are waiting for Dustdevil. He always falls behing and it's not the HPN's fault
as she has a racing heritage, no, it's all the picture taking and video making that is to blame.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010059.jpg)

I know that there is a official campsite in the Matebeng Valley and suggest we try and make it there by nightfall.
As usual I was totally over optimistic. As dusk starts to set in we roar back to the parking lot at Rama's Gate.
Now Sack is starting to voice his concerns. The whole day he patiently waited while Dustdevil and I stopped for
pictures and video. Played along by riding some sections a couple of times to get the perfect shot. Time to speed things up!

The consensus was that we would probable make camp on the road side a couple of times during the trip as we
didn't want to set out a fixed schedule. We agreed that by 5pm we should start to look for a suitable sight so we
could settle down by 6. Being already after 7 I understood the urgency. We agreed that it will be better to get out
of the Rama's Gate settlement and find a nice spot on the hills. The local chief wasn't available but his wife was so
kind and agreed to our request, no questions asked.

Now we went shopping for the perfect spot. Oh boy! Did we find it? Hell yes!

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010060.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010061.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010062.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: The TRANSPORTER on March 05, 2010, 05:21:39 pm
Nice, this last pic wow calendar stuff....... :thumleft: :thumleft:

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: hawkeye on March 06, 2010, 12:56:06 pm

Excellent RR

we hoping to do some of the same in June

keep it on  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on March 07, 2010, 06:29:58 am
The first night we spend in Lesotho would turn out to be one special experience all on it's own. Running very late after
we were forced to turn around and change our course we arrived back at Rama's gate settlement. The Police officer
welcomed us to camp in the yard and he assured our safety, but the facilities did not leave much to be desired so we
wanted to push on and find a more remote and quiet spot. We were all a bit tense at this moment as there was little
time left to find a camp site and we had a long day behind us.
There was also the uncertainty about the safety of our equipment, after all we are in Africa. Later on in our trip we will
realize that this fear was well misplaced. In general the people of Lesotho have a great respect for another mans stuff,
besides it appear that although they are constantly asking for food and sweets they do not seem to be easily impressed
by other consumerist goods.

A short ride from Rama's and we came across this grassy knoll, it was perfect, tucked away from the road nearby and
far from any settlements. We felt like we were on top of the world.

The HPN getting ready for the night.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0032.jpg)

We were surrounded by 360 degrees of the most spectacular views imaginable.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0030.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0040.jpg)

A cold wind came up during the night and the tent noise woke me a couple of times. In the morning a cold wind was
still blowing but it could not chill our excitement for the day ahead.

Sunrise the next morning.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/DPP_0042.jpg)


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 08, 2010, 04:06:02 pm
Besides having to turn around and backtrack our 1st day really turned out better than I could have imagined.
So we settled down for the night, tents up and a holy calmness in the air. Not even the faintest sound of
anything we city dwellers are so used to. Only some goats and a cattle bell to be heard alongside the distant
conversations in a unfamiliar language.

Sack invested in a little gas stove and proceeded to cook himself a hot meal. Dustdevil and I could only watch
in envy. Sack was kind enough to share but I'm too proud of my "dried fruit and nuts system" to accept.
Dustdevil though made sure he got his fill.

Waking to the mere glow of the sun still far under the horizon we found ourselves in a slightly less friendly
landscape. The wind was blowing and I felt cold.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010064.jpg)

Nothing could dampen the spirits though as today we would head into the direction of Katse Dam but via a
track we dubbed "West Route". The normal road over the Matebeng Pass will be a scenic cruise but once we
reach Sehonghong we will attempt to cross the Senqu River and ride another unknown track.

The new day revealed just what a spectacular place Lesotho really is.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010065.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010066.jpg)

The trio.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010067.jpg)

On our way to Seshlabathebe.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010068.jpg)

The Chinese shop near Seshlabathebe. Now we had a chance to stock up on Bully Beef and Pilchards.
Oh yea, and petrol.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010069.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010070.jpg)

This guy came to buy some petrol for his car. Ironically he placed the containers in the saddlebags of his trusty steed.
With all the greenery around this mode of transport will never run out...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010071.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010072.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on March 09, 2010, 06:31:13 pm
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on March 09, 2010, 07:41:35 pm
Great photos, and report ,when is the movie coming out ? ;D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 10, 2010, 02:56:16 pm
I don't want to sound too dramatic but this Ride Report has been dawdling because of some setbacks
suffered by the parties involved. Dustdevil has had, what can bee seen as, a long sick bed and now he
has, what can be seen as, died...

I fear to say that the nature of this report might change for the worse as I will fail to tell the story as only
Dustdevil can. I am grief stricken for losing the only friend that was willing to follow me down the red routes.
We all suffer a great great loss...  :'(
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: MrBig on March 10, 2010, 02:59:03 pm
Michiel stop playing for time and finish the report.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Jadon on March 12, 2010, 06:27:24 am
You care to explain yourself Michiel?  ???  ???
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: domstes on March 12, 2010, 08:17:21 am
You care to explain yourself Michiel?  ???  ???

+1

I am sincerely hoping that I am misunderstanding something here and please do explain.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: AntonW on March 12, 2010, 01:28:14 pm
Michiel you are scaring the guys. Dustdevil is moving from Cape Town and Michiel is sad to lose his ridding buddy.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: RobC on March 12, 2010, 01:33:50 pm
Then say so... this hidden weasel talk is seriously unprofessional in the light of the current situation with regard to accidents and murders. :xxbah:
I was under the impression the Dusty onel had met his end! ::)
Phew! :ricky:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 12, 2010, 01:42:29 pm
It's really for Dustdevil, or what spirit remains, to explain or not explain the situation.

All I should say is that I really felt exited about the trip we did and how the ride report
started out. For me there lies great personal reward in sharing these things with my fellow
adventure riders. Dustdevil and I managed to team up and write in such a way that we
inspired each other, or at least I felt inspired. Sadly as time went by Dustdevil got increasingly
distracted by serious difficulties and obstacles and no amount of encouragement nor nagging
nor threatening from my side seemed to urge him on. I feel that we aught to finish what we
started and do so within a reasonable amount of time.

The unfortunate thing is that I really only focussed on capturing video for the film I'm busy
editing and don't have enough images to tell a complete story. Dustdevil did take some
absolute spectacular shots and it will be a crime not to share them.

My plan of action is as follow: I will ask you lot to be patient and wait till I made a final attempt
to resurrect Dustdevil. We are going on the Easter Desert Run including a little jaunt up North
and there in the presence of desolation we will either celebrate a new beginning or cast Dustdevil's
ashes to be blown over the Namib in to eternity.

If all is lost I will finish the report solo. Maybe Sack will lend a hand.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: RobC on March 12, 2010, 01:46:15 pm
Relax Michiel! :thumleft:
Clearly some of us, myself included jumped to the wrong conclusion, glad we are wrong and understand how you feel.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: JonW on March 12, 2010, 02:49:07 pm
Drama Queen   :pot:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: domstes on March 12, 2010, 06:24:58 pm
Wow this is a relief!!  :thumleft:

I just thought we lost one of the great 'geeste' van die DS scene in South Africa. I have met him only once, but his knowlegde about the BMW airheads AND his willingness to share that knowledge made a lasting impression.

Dustdevil, all the best and just go out and enjoy the Desert run.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 13, 2010, 03:33:10 am
Great photos, and report ,when is the movie coming out ? ;D

Rynet, I'm working on it. For the last two weeks I got up every morning between 3 and 4 to put in a few hours
before work. Weekends are also taken up. It's a hell of a process but very enjoyable. The 1st cut will be of
everything I feel is telling the story or special to me, my private cut. This will add up to be 4 episodes of about
40min ea. Way too long for the commercial market but for you hardy adventurers out there that don't mind getting
dehydrated, tired and bruised I guess it will be in order.

Later on there will be a 90min cut and even later a 50min cut but you can imagine how much footage will be lost
in this process. Thanks for your support out there, after all, it would be worthless without an audience.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on March 13, 2010, 03:38:05 am
Relax Michiel! :thumleft:
Clearly some of us, myself included jumped to the wrong conclusion, glad we are wrong and understand how you feel.

Yea, I like being a Drama Queen. It is though a hard thing to lose a friend, if only to distance. Funny how I almost feel a bit suicidal.
Thanks for the support and understanding.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: airHEAD on March 13, 2010, 08:13:34 am
After getting an SMS for Michiel that read "Have you heard the news? I am devastated. Dustdevil is dead" I jumped to the only conclusion I could!  :o
 
By the time I got some more airtime and got hold of Michiel I was actually extremely happy to learn that Altus was just leaving Cape Town! Seriously dude please dont ever do that to me again...

Although I am really going to miss Altus' friendship, advice, and tireless ability to explain technical details again and again  when I still wasn't getting it, I know we will ride together again ;)

As far as this report goes I wouldn't be surprised if things don't accelerate once Dusdevil has some time to focus on it without any distractions. I cant wait to see the rest of the trip I missed out on...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on March 15, 2010, 10:46:14 am
Dappled sunlight is dancing on my laptop screen, birds chirping in the background, I am slurping my coffee and tapping the keys of the computer at the same time.

The place is Picadilli's, a quaint little coffee shop in Middelburg, Eastern Cape. I am sitting in a quiet back garden next to a small and lush nursery, paradise!  :glasses10:
Outside life is moving in slow motion, at least in comparison to what I am used to, I have a whole new life to rethink but I am not feeling any of the old stress and anxiety counting every day and every cent I am spending to work out weather I can make it or not.

I'm going to take the next year very slow and figure things out as I go along. At least here I can afford to; rent for a character 3 bed house for R2500.00 per month and this includes water and electricity :mwink:
The same in the Cape would cost me no less than R 18,000.00 per month ???

So Cape Town it's bye, bye :wave: and you can keep your crap lifestyle, I am done with that shit :thefinger:

Ride report will be resumed once I have moved all my stuff toward the end of the week.

Sorry Michiel, it is equally as hard leaving the most daring, adventurous, and willing ride buddy behind. I will miss those crazy one day rides out of Cape Town, the Macaser loop, Atlantis, Matroosberg etc.
We will ride together though so don't despair :ricky:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on March 15, 2010, 11:17:16 am
Will you still be working on bikes ? How far are you from Mossel Bay ? I am determined that one day you will work some of your magic on my PD ! Good luck Altus I sincearly hope things work out for you ! Take care !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on March 15, 2010, 11:58:19 am
Ag nee Altus, ek is nou baie geskok en ontsteld  ??? ,  jy was een van my beste maatjies op die forum , en nou is jy so skielik weg. Ek huil sommer  :(. Ek gaan ons chats en jou tegniese advies baie mis, die telefoon kan dit nie regmaak nie . Geen wonder Michiel is so ontsteld nie !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on March 15, 2010, 12:00:03 pm
Great photos, and report ,when is the movie coming out ? ;D

Rynet, I'm working on it. For the last two weeks I got up every morning between 3 and 4 to put in a few hours
before work. Weekends are also taken up. It's a hell of a process but very enjoyable. The 1st cut will be of
everything I feel is telling the story or special to me, my private cut. This will add up to be 4 episodes of about
40min ea. Way too long for the commercial market but for you hardy adventurers out there that don't mind getting
dehydrated, tired and bruised I guess it will be in order.

Later on there will be a 90min cut and even later a 50min cut but you can imagine how much footage will be lost
in this process. Thanks for your support out there, after all, it would be worthless without an audience.

Thanks Michiel , can't wait  :thumleft:

ps sorry to hear about Altus leaving  :(
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Highlander on March 17, 2010, 08:20:58 pm
Cool shots, with that 14mm you really need to get up there, you handled her beatifully, next time gooi a PR filter on for those bright shots.

First RR I checked out this year, lekker man
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: DirtRebell on March 17, 2010, 08:30:25 pm
Come on, we want to see more!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Butch on March 19, 2010, 01:08:16 pm
JŰ, dis mooi pics.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Fishy on March 19, 2010, 05:28:20 pm
Super post  :biggrin:

Just dont know how you ous manage without a stove , what about the morning Java? :eek7:

Really inspirational, cant wait to get out there
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 08, 2010, 05:13:12 pm
Thank you very much for everybody's patience these last few weeks. Dustdevil and I attended
this year's Easter Namib Desert Run and went for a little jaunt up North afterwards. It seems like
he is still very much alive and kicking but from now on his own terms.

During this time I very closely observed Dusty's habits in his natural terrain...

It seems like he is neither nocturnal nor diurnal. The only time 'ol Dusty is active is during the "golden hour"
of the day. This time is basically the hour in the morning just after the sun has risen and in the evening just
before the sun is about to set. Photographers cherish this time for it makes for the best light in pictures.

During his active time Dusty can be seen riding his HPN and getting up to all sorts of mischief.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Namibia%202010/nam017.jpg)

Unfortunately as soon as the "golden hour" has passed Dusty quickly retrieves to a shady spot and commence
to eat, drink and lie down... and lie down some more and some more. This time is also spent engaging in deep
philosophical conversation with anybody who happen to be around. While lying down of course.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Namibia%202010/nam018.jpg)

So, to reach an conclution: This ride report will continue and we will be delighted to share our best pictures
but this will happen only during the golden hour of the day...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 10, 2010, 03:22:01 pm
Okay so where were we? mmm I think we were about to leave this most spectacular campsite driving in the direction of Sehlabateba and the Matabeng pass.
In Lesotho you don't only drive on Chinese roads but everything you buy including petrol seems to be coming from a Chinese shop as well.

The Basotho does not seem to have any entrepreneurial skill but I believe it is the other way around! the Basotho knows exactly the amount of headache and hassles this kind of activity brings so they left it to the colonialists and Chinese and carried on with their carefree lifestyle high up in the mountains.
There is talk in the news of Lesotho becoming part of SA because it has no means to an independent economy. Politicians is concerned that it can not cope with the economic collapse of bigger neighbors as the SA have experienced in the past two years.
I say BS! most Basotho will never even know of any change as they do not rely on fuel, phones and other consumer crap in their day to day life. They are hardly aware of the effects of inflation, interest rates, market shares and all the other economic regulators.



The stretch of road from Rama's gate to the Matabeng pas is in very good condition and the surroundings is idyllic. We travelled trough here during the golden hour of the morning and I stopped to photograph the men working the fields with some very traditional equipment and methods.
We filled up with fuel and provisions at the local Chinese shop where petrol gets decanted into 5 liter canisters.

The Matabeng pass is equally beautiful and a truck driver waiting next to his stranded truck is just a reminder of how treacherous these roads are.

Before Sehonghong we passed an odd scene in the road, a white young woman walking with an umbrella accompanied by a local Basotho woman.
I could not wonder about this for to long because next I had to negotiate a sneaky and steap switchback to the right and nearly did not make the tight turn missing a large rock with millimeters to spare.
The road gets even tougher and the next turn was ruined by the spinning wheels of taxis and pickups as the gradients have become to steep for regular cars to safely travel up here.
At the top I got the explanation for the odd scene earlier on, A brave rider on is fully loaded 1200 GSA was psyching himself up for the decent into hell. His girlfriend thought it best to rather walk the kilometer and a half down to safety. He dropped the bike on the first loose section but after some advice and encouragement from Michiel and myself he made it down safely probably with shaking legs.

We were ourselves about to enter our own decent into hell but more about this later.

Waking up to a scene like this in the morning.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_0844RR.jpg)

Getting ready to hit the road.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9473RR.jpg)

Traditional Basotho house, door in the middle and two windows to the side, what more do you need?
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9490RR.jpg)

Basotho men working the fields with oxen and a hand plough.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9482RR.jpg)

The Basotho rely on their horses for transporting goods and people across these rugged mountains.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_0891RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_0881RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9468RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 10, 2010, 03:38:39 pm

Excellent RR

we hoping to do some of the same in June

keep it on  :thumleft:

You'll have to get something a bit more maneuverable than a 1150GS, :pot: if you keep following the story it will become clear that most would not like to do some of what we did. (hens the title "the hard way") On one of the most difficult sections Stefan proclaimed that he was sure his R1200GS would not have made it this far and he took that 1200 up Matroosberg to the lookout point over the gorge. :o Anyone that have ever driven up Matroosberg will tell you that that would be impossible. On the other hand Stefan is not scared to see his bike on its side and it spend a helofa lot of time on its side on Matroosberg and Lesotho, but so has mine.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: buzzlightyear on April 10, 2010, 07:33:46 pm
Lekker so see action again, keep it coming  ;D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Spore on April 11, 2010, 08:08:41 am
Jinne DD, ek geniet jou RR's so baie en met jou fotos is dit werklik n sensoriese ervaring! Dankie vir al die moeite om met ons te deel - sien baie uit na nog en die volgendes!! Groetnis :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 12, 2010, 01:44:06 pm
Ah, nice to have you back and in good shape by the sound of it Dusty. Now I've got to get my act together...

Over the Matebeng Pass we went and down into the valley. It's as beautiful as I remember.  Right on the
crest of the pass they have built a radio mast which really spoils the view but yet again I guess one can't
hold back progress for the sake of aesthetics? Where are we progressing to though?

The road drops down fairly steeply and ever so often one crosses little streams of mountain water. Dustdevil
and Sack is visibly enjoying the ride.

http://www.youtube.com/v/2nM-gZP8M3g

En route we bump into Greg and Lindie on a GSA! They stopped to scout and try negotiate the worst looking
section we've seen all day.  The bike is heavily loaded and they came all the way up Sani Pass like this. Lindie
has opted for walking about 1km ahead and meet Greg on the other side of the section of road in question.
So came another opportunity for Dustdevil to tell a fellow adventure rider about his theory of tyre pressure
meets traction. Tyres deflated Greg still fell over twice before he made it to Lindie. Man van staal old Greg.

http://www.youtube.com/v/WtN3l5zQXjg

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010073.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010074.jpg)

Nearing Sehonghong we can see in the distance the road we were on the day before. This road did go right
up to the Senqu River. At the time we thought it would probably be impossible to ride along the river to
Sehonghong but now we are traveling on the foothills along the Senqu and it looks totally possible. Mostly flat
and sandy with what looks like a shallow stream criss crossing left and right, left and right. I've always fancied
riding in riverbeds and now I really feel an urge to get into the river and travel along it up to Sehonghong
where we will cross it anyway. Scouting the valley sides the opportunity to drop down into the river only
present itself when we actually get to Sehonghong.  A blessing in disguise as I completely underestimated
the sand and mud the riverbed consists of.

Riding around the Sehonghong air strip we find a faint track leading down into the river. A steep rocky descent
brings us to a section completely washed away. I have noticed all along the ride we've been doing for the last
3 days that there must have been some really serious rain storms throughout Lesotho in the months before.
Although today the place is rather dry the erosion tells a different story.

Sack and I quickly sees an opportunity and descends the last couple of meters into the river by just sliding
down a steep embankment. Dustdevil on the other hand will not be convinced so easily. Once the HPN is
down there we won't be able to get it up the steep lose gravel in the event of having to turn around.
He wants to be sure we can actually cross the river and find our way up the other side, which looks a bit
more intimidating now that we are in the river, before he makes his descent.

We actually took very few pictures of the ordeal to follow. Mostly focussed on making video and just wresling
the bikes but Dusty did make a nice little teaser video which showcases some of the events. I'll get him to
attach the link again.

Sack saw a section of riverbed covered in rocks slightly down stream and indicates that he will go check
it out. I will have a look at the chances of crossing further up stream and Dustdevil will wait by his bike
and prepare mentally.

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

Now both Sack and I are riding right in the riverbed and with this comes a big wake-up call. The sand is
nothing like we thought it would be, Atlantis my arse. The moment the bike's wheels makes contact with
the lose gravel-like sand it just sucks it down almost pulling my poor KLR to a stall in 1st gear. The only
way across this obstacle will have to involve speed.

Some of the local children were playing in the river and has now gathered to see what we are up to.
The are keeping a distance though. The sun is shining warmly and friendly. a Perfect day for fishing I'm
thinking. Besides the sound of water rushing over rocks and children calling to each other the air is clear
of any other sounds.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010075.jpg)

The spot where I will investigate a possible crossing point is almost underneath the foot bridge that we
already saw on Google Earth months ago. At the time we thought we could just cross on that but little
did we know the road leading up to it has a series of sheer drops barely negotiable with donkeys. Getting
my boots off I am reminded of my childhood as the soft mud pushes in between and past my toes, makes
fat worm like shapes that falls back on top of my feet. The stream is slightly stronger than I imagined
but at least it doesn't become much deeper than knee depth. The problem is though that, although one
can just about still negotiate water this deep on a KLR, the river bottom consists of the same soft mud
that squeezed past my toes on the bank. Heavy bikes will surely get stuck in this stuff and sink down to
a drowning point.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010076.jpg)

Nice to waddle in the mud but this aint gonna work. Now all our hope is on Sack and his rocky crossing.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: EtienneXplore on April 14, 2010, 09:34:46 pm
Awesome report guys keep it coming!!!

This report brings back such good memories of my solo on this very same road after the FS Bash. I remember riding down this part, it got the adrenalin pumping!!


(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010073.jpg)


Thanks for sharing  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:



Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 15, 2010, 06:29:57 pm

Just dont know how you ous manage without a stove , what about the morning Java? :eek7:


Sack actually did take a little gas hob and prepared one meal in it. Sadly the little stove only made it as far as the Senquane River.
Because of the difficult terrain we had many "side stand incidents" and it got bent beyond use. Probably still sits there in the middle of nowhere.

Have a look at my earlier post. Because of the lack of pictures I threw in a couple of video clips.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: GO GIRL on April 17, 2010, 07:50:22 pm
What a stunning RR, The pics are amazing, the thoughts and emotions shared are super... 8)

Love those typical calendar pics ... :thumleft:

That soitude of waking up on the crest, your tent, your steed, with a valley of miles n miles of spectacular views  :ricky:
The only thing to think of is the route to travel with a close bunch of buddies...... :ricky:

I think I missed the lenght of time you guys did it in...you all very fortunate to have done it.... :thumleft: :thumleft:

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 18, 2010, 07:51:54 am
Thanks Go Girl. Thanks for responding, gives me some motivation.  :thumleft:
Dusty is still mid moving his stuff to a new home far far away so he has a lot on his plate.
Without him this report won't float so we have no other option but to patiently wait and wait and wait.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Kreef on April 20, 2010, 06:42:12 am
Hi Dustdevil / Michiel

Haven't read to much of the report yet, but have been checking the pics (will get to reading at some point :))

Just wanted to comment that the photo below is one of the most stunning ever!!!

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9473RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on April 20, 2010, 09:18:06 am
Hi Dustdevil / Michiel

Haven't read to much of the report yet, but have been checking the pics (will get to reading at some point :))

Just wanted to comment that the photo below is one of the most stunning ever!!!

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9473RR.jpg)




 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 20, 2010, 12:09:22 pm
This picture was taken by Dustdevil and it captures the moment spot on. Cartier Bresson would have been impressed...
Sack is at best a bit camera shy but no one can dispute he is a handsome fella.  ;D

Dustdevil has much more and better still coming, we must just not lose faith, so to speak.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on April 20, 2010, 01:20:49 pm
I'm still faithfull ... at the moment , but how much longer I can hold out I don't know !!! ???
This RR is driving me nuts ! Every day I open it and just get teased !!! Hurry up now !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on April 20, 2010, 03:51:21 pm
Thanks Michiel and DD ! I am enjoying the RR, keep it coming   :thumleft:

ps Michiel no rush,  its actually cool getting this report in drips and drags , and by the time it is finished it will be a nice read for the Chrismas holidays   :imaposer:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on April 20, 2010, 03:54:13 pm
Thanks Michiel and DD ! I am enjoying the RR, keep it coming   :thumleft:

ps Michiel no rush,  its actually cool getting this report in drips and drags , and by the time it is finished it will be a nice read for the Chrismas holidays   :imaposer:
Christmas ??????????? more like easter !!  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 21, 2010, 10:48:12 pm
Hey stop complaining and read the story ;)

Thanks for the compliments on the imagery. I have worked for years in the commercial photographic industry and was assistant to some big guys out of Europe. Everything is always so set up and pre-planed and sometimes you believe it is impossible to get good images if it is not done in this way.
It's just nice to be able to haul out a camera and shoot a picture because you really want to.


At Sehonghong turn in next to the small runway in a westerly direction and head toward the end of the runway where a track leads of down into the Senqu river valley. I felt nervous following Michiel down this path that clearly have fallen into disuse a long time ago. Some distance down I saw an erosion donga cutting through the road and felt a bit relieved, this mean we will have to turn around and abandon this idea of getting through the Senqu river so that we could connect to a lesser travel road on the western side of the river.

I would love to go explore the road on the other side but the part that lay between this road and us is a big question mark. No map or any other source could give any information on whether it is possible to get through here. On Google Earth there is signs of a track but then the entire Lesotho seem to be covered in tracks that are not in use anymore.

We got to the donga and it became clear why the road are not in use anymore, The soil is washed away on both sides to the point where only animals, people and of course a motorcycle could still cross.
My luck is out; we are going to follow this road right down to the bottom of the valley.
Large sand stone slabs of loose rock are covering the entire road surface. This was the material used to help fill up the foundation of the road, everything else have been washed away. The heavily loaded bikes are slowly being nursed over this harsh road surface, blipping the front wheel over the largest obstacles. Bouncing down this impassable track the one thing that kept me positive was the long footbridge that appeared in sight. The though of being forced to turn around and try and negotiate this same peace of road was just too much.

As we got near the river the track veered away from the bridge and it did not take long for us to realise that we will not be able to get close to the bridge with the bikes, we were going to have to cross the river and get up a near vertical wall on the other side. The steep hillsides were also not giving away any possibility of a road leading up the other side of the valley.

The only solace is some vehicle tracks in the soft sandy riverbed. Somewhere there must be a road.
The last section of washed away road was particularly crazy with step-downs, jagged rocks and deep ruts. We made it down to a grassy knoll just to be stopped by a very deep donga that have cut off the access to the river completely.
I started to do a little scout around by foot and found a very steep bank next to the river used by locals on foot. We will be able to get down but not back up, this might be the proverbial flytrap; once we are in the river we might be stuck.

Some locals were crossing the hanging footbridge and Michiel asked them the way to Thaba Tseka, they are all pointing in the direction we just came from ???.

I decision was made that Michiel will take the KLR down, the KLR being the lightest, and first to go and scout the river for a possible point where we could cross.
Stefan then decided he would follow Michiel into the devils claws as he was beyond the point of turning around come hell or high water.
I waited patiently by the big HPN while Michiel was checking the river to the north and Stefan went down South.

It took them long enough but once they returned Michiel was sure that we would get stuck in the mud even though the water was shallow enough to cross and Stefan was sure we could cross at a rocky section further down.

Everyone waited in anticipation as I started my decent down the riverbank. The dilemma here was not only the steepness of the bank but the fact that there was a deep donga cut right across the slope forcing you to do a hard left as you start sliding down. The soil is dry and very loose giving very little traction, I dropped down the bank like a piece of lead and came to a crashing halt with the bike on its side at the foot of the riverbank but at least I was far away from the edge of the donga.

We followed Stefan down to the rocky section The dry river sand turns out to be something else and not getting up enough speed I got stuck quickly. By the time we reached the waters edge it was midday and I was exhausted from pushing.

I carried my luggage across to minimise the weight but I also do not want to take chances with my computer and camera gear in the water.  It was immediately apparent that the round river rocks are incredibly slippery; they seem to be covered with a thin layer of algae and the strong current washing over the rocks does not make things easier as one canít see below the surface.

Up to this point we have all been standing on the pegs when the going got tough but here we decided that paddling the bikes with the other riders walking alongside will be the safest way to get the bikes across.

This took up a lot of time and we were all somewhat nervous about finding a way up on the other side, every step we take we might have to do again if we canít reach the other road up on the hill.

Up to this point some kids have been following our antics getting through the river but they suddenly started to seem useful as they know of a road past the cornfields. This turned out to cut through one section of cornfield and crosses a number of deep and gnarly ruts and dongas but as long as we could get the bikes through these we were happy about the bucks we parted with in exchange for the info.

Paths are crisscrossing the hillsides and confused us a few times but finally we arrived at the village on the other side. One last steep hill right through the village and suddenly we were on a beautifully crafted Chinese road all the way to Thaba Tseka.

We filled up with petrol at Thaba Tseka and did a hare run for the Katze Dam Lodge. This road is 60 km but measured across on the map it only covers 23 km, as the crow would fly. This is giving one some idea of the scale of this small country. Michiel often underestimated distances because on the map it looks like only around the corner, but donít forget about the thousand of corners you will do to get there.

We reached Katze right before dark but I did not appreciate the fast pace rushing past many beautiful scenes and scenarios.

The footbridge in the distance.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_0943RR.jpg)

On the way to Katze I forced a stop at these kids playing with there home made bike.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_0972RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_0976RR.jpg)

Sorry for the lack of images here but I guess you will have to get the video as we were so busy shooting video footage we forgot to get some stills as well.


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on April 22, 2010, 08:13:18 am
DD please put my name down for a copy of the video !  :drif:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: GStry on April 22, 2010, 10:43:45 am
Great RR and pics, Thanks enjoyed it a lot. :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 22, 2010, 01:52:15 pm
Crossing the river on the rocks was going to be the only way but it did prove to be a bit more tricky
than I imagined. The rocks are anything up to the size of rugby balls and more or less the same shape
while being as slippery as a greasy weasel.

Getting the bikes across took lots of energy and had all three of us huffing and puffing. Neither Sack nor
Dustdevil filled up with water since we left Qacha's Nek Border Post last evening and by now they were
basically out of water. Ironic since we are right in the middle of a big river.

At this point I realized it was time to get out my reserve water system. Two wine pap sakke my aunt kept
for me after she held a biduur on the farm. 1st they put their noses up for the water tasted a bit like wine
but soon Dusty and Sack realized that dehydration can be a real danger and took their share without more
complaints.

http://www.youtube.com/v/noICYQWVLAc&h


The way up the opposite side of the valley was not clear and after paying them some boys pointed the way.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010077.jpg)

Long story short we did eventually make it all the way to a road again but not before negotiating a lekker
steep track with a intimidating camber.

Sack with great relief, now back on roads again.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010078.jpg)

Some bystanders in the village on top of the hill.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010079.jpg)

This lady patiently kept her pose as I tried different methods of capturing her image against a brights sky.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010080.jpg)

By now we realized we were running short on time and stopped fooling around in preference of reaching Katse
before nightfall. Leading the pack I put in a pace as stiff as the KLR can muster.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010081.jpg)

The road to Thaba Tseka winds it's way up the most spectacular mountains.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010082.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010083.jpg)

Stopping to take the pictures above a taxi stopped and the driver immediately asked if I was from Cape Town.
Must have seen my number plate. A happy bunch in the taxi I still regret not having time to make conversation.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010084.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010085.jpg)

We reached Katse without further incident and chose to settle in their dormitory accommodation.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: GStry on April 22, 2010, 07:38:21 pm
ONCE AGAIN NICE REPORT, BUT ITS NO WONDER THEY THROW STONES AT US IN LESOTHO WHEN GUYS RIDE THROUGH THEIR PLANTED FIELDS.... AS PER YOUR VIDEO. :patch:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: eikeboom on April 22, 2010, 08:20:19 pm
Thanks guys for an awesome report!
Looking forward to the rest  :ricky:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 23, 2010, 08:53:01 am
ONCE AGAIN NICE REPORT, BUT ITS NO WONDER THEY THROW STONES AT US IN LESOTHO WHEN GUYS RIDE THROUGH THEIR PLANTED FIELDS.... AS PER YOUR VIDEO. :patch:

Yea, you're right. Not about the stone throwing though. That apparently is the fault of French Missionaries
about a century ago...  :pot:

Dustdevil, to this day, feels bad about the fact that we "ploughed" through that field but I should say that if
you were there you would have understood. I have gained the greatest respect for these people and would
obviously not have done anything of the sort on purpose or without a good reason. Studying the contours
of that foothill this patch of corn field might have been planted in the path of the old road that obviously
don't exist anymore.

Thanks for your concern though, it's good to know that there are people out there who think about these things.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 23, 2010, 07:01:15 pm
ONCE AGAIN NICE REPORT, BUT ITS NO WONDER THEY THROW STONES AT US IN LESOTHO WHEN GUYS RIDE THROUGH THEIR PLANTED FIELDS.... AS PER YOUR VIDEO. :patch:

It is interesting though that they plough their planted fields themselves.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9482RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 24, 2010, 05:04:05 am
Im so glad you guys are finally continuing with this report. Its the best one this year by far! Respect to you all! :notworthy:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on April 24, 2010, 07:36:16 am
Im so glad you guys are finally continuing with this report. Its the best one this year by far! Respect to you all! :notworthy:
:laughing4: So am I ! It's starting to become my morning "fix" I read the next episode of this RR instead of having a smoke !  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: SGB on April 24, 2010, 05:45:54 pm
ONCE AGAIN NICE REPORT, BUT ITS NO WONDER THEY THROW STONES AT US IN LESOTHO WHEN GUYS RIDE THROUGH THEIR PLANTED FIELDS.... AS PER YOUR VIDEO. :patch:

It is interesting though that they plough their planted fields themselves.
NEVER EVER   ride through a field in Lesotho - planted / ploughed / weeds / corn - NEVER!

I like the report - lots of adventure.  Nothing wrong with that.  May I suggest you remove the piece of video in the field from whatever you publish.  And if you (meaning anybody here) want to give give something back for the fun you have had, you are welcome to talk to me.  I am closely involved with the Basotho and we always look for ways to help making agriculture more sustainable in Lesotho, and we are trying to break the bondage that the aid organisations have on those people by handing out food and agricultural inputs (fertilizer, seed, etc) - it creates a dependency which removes the incentive to work.  
Sorry - I have said too much already.  
Looking forward to the rest of your story. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 27, 2010, 11:55:07 pm
ONCE AGAIN NICE REPORT, BUT ITS NO WONDER THEY THROW STONES AT US IN LESOTHO WHEN GUYS RIDE THROUGH THEIR PLANTED FIELDS.... AS PER YOUR VIDEO. :patch:

It is interesting though that they plough their planted fields themselves.
NEVER EVER   ride through a field in Lesotho - planted / ploughed / weeds / corn - NEVER!

I like the report - lots of adventure.  Nothing wrong with that.  May I suggest you remove the piece of video in the field from whatever you publish.  And if you (meaning anybody here) want to give give something back for the fun you have had, you are welcome to talk to me.  I am closely involved with the Basotho and we always look for ways to help making agriculture more sustainable in Lesotho, and we are trying to break the bondage that the aid organisations have on those people by handing out food and agricultural inputs (fertilizer, seed, etc) - it creates a dependency which removes the incentive to work.  
Sorry - I have said too much already.  
Looking forward to the rest of your story. :thumleft:

The riding through the field was not a planned thing, at this point I was following the directions given by the children and because this was the end of the field it was not till I was in the field before I realized that it was planted. Besides there was just no way around this section. We traveled for some kilometers next to and through the fields on footpaths and tracks not setting a foot into the cultivated part. I would not have been in the field if there was any alternative at that point. I come from a farming community myself and do understand perfectly that it is completely disrespectful to drive right though a field for fun but at the same time most young plants easily recover from some abuse and the damage left was negligent considering that we were at this point without water and still some distance to go on a track that might not get us to where we needed to be.
I am glad the issue is in the air though because everyone reading this forum will appreciate the importance of consideration and respect needed when traveling through other peoples land and property. This brings me to the next point though, and a hard one for all of us and especially for myself, I don't feel regret riding my bike though that field but I am regretting riding my bike. In a world full of disrespect, selfishness, intolerance and indifference it does not help when we keep doing things that will inevitably lead to this kind of situation willingly or unwilling. It starts at filling your tank with fuel at the nearest gas station where you pay for petrol that are mostly coming from parts of the world where people are dying because of famine and warfare and sometimes these are directly related to the mining of crude oil.
I know you guys don't want to listen to this green BS babble but it is a fact that our consumer money empowers governments and corporations to exploit the poor and the uneducated. I think the Basotho nation have been lucky up to know considering.

I would love to be able to go to the village chief to apologize and give him something in return for the damage but then because of my selfish nature, rushing to keep up with a ridiculous schedule so that I can get back to work because I need to be paid in order to be able to do this driving through someone else's field, I can't spend half the day looking for the right chief that might now be on the opposite side of the valley.

Nothing I say can justify me riding through that field but then nothing I say, or you say, can justify our ridiculous materialist lifestyle either.

Enough of the heavy stuff, lets get carried away and numb our senses with some more ride report :biggrin:

The Katse dam have never been one of the things on my list of places to visit, sorry I have to say this, many people was displaced and many fields covered underwater so some people far away can profit through their material lifestyle, me being one of them. Here is just the perfect example of what I was talking about earlier.

But none the less here we are standing at the feet of this great engineering feat marveling at it's greatness :-[
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1000RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1001RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: SGB on April 28, 2010, 06:14:25 am
I like your response and the way you think.  The tension between the first and third world will always be there.  Personally, I am in the first world but not from there.  You do a good job explaining the bigger picture.  But way down in that valley, there is the guy who owns the field, and I always try and look through his eyes when I am in Lesotho.  I am fortunate to have grown up with the Basotho, I speak their language and can relate to their culture.

I fully agree with your view.  That is why I decided some time ago that I will put in some time, effort and money to try and make a small difference.  It has been an amazing journey.  And I get more from it than I can ever put in.

Thank you for your constructive approach.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: eikeboom on April 28, 2010, 07:00:56 pm
Hijack:
Good show guys - the regulars on R&P should come and read here how to get along with each other... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: husky on April 29, 2010, 05:26:54 am
Great report. At the river crossing, could you not ride over the pdestrain bridge. I know some are impossible with the approaches washed away but on the Mantsonyane - Semonkong short cut riding over the pedestrian bridge save a lot of pain in a rocky river bed.

I agree with SGB, Lesotho is a really good place with generally friemdly people. Sadly the billions poured into the water scheme (by SA taxpayers so okes in Jhb can waste water!! ;D) has not really helped the average Basotho.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 29, 2010, 04:38:44 pm
Waking up to the sight of Katse Dam I felt an excitement for today we will travel a section of road
I've been curious about for the last 12 months. Sleeping in the Katse Lodge dormitory we were
probably cheating a bit as this doesn't really make for adventure but after yesterday's excitement
we all needed a good rest and some proper cooked food. Speaking of food, in anticipation of having
to ride a long way today we decided to leave Katse at the crack of dawn and rather have breakfast
somewhere en route. (Breakfast will consist of whatever we've been carrying in our luggage.)

During my previous visit to Lesotho John and I traveled on a road that was basically a shortcut between
Mokhotlong and Katse Dam. It took us past a Missionary which was about half way between the main
road (that goes to Mokhotlong) and Katse.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/119.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/120.jpg)

Just after the Missionary (going in the direction of Katse) the road splits in two and here we got confused.
John's GPS didn't indicate a road at all but the little arrow that pointed towards Katse said we had to take
the left fork. The map I had and my interpretation of it said we had to go right. At the time we were running
seriously late and John was in a bad way. He blundered down in the direction he's GPS pointed and used up
time having to turn back while I halted after some local kids told me it wasn't the right way. Long story short
we ended up taking the other way, which turned up to be the right way for what we had planned.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/121.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/123a.jpg)

Once back in Cape Town I consulted with Google Earth and discovered that John's GPS road does actually
go to Katse all be it a bit longer and by the look of it slightly more "adventurous". The plan is then to take
this road but this time only in the opposite direction as for today we are heading towards Mokhotlong and
on down Sani Pass to stay at my Aunt's in Pietermaritzburg.

The view right from the Katse Lodge.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010086.jpg)

The usual picture taking commenced at the dam wall.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010088.jpg)

To get to the turn-off of the road we need to take we had to backtrack towards Thaba-Tseka for about 30km, I think.
Along this road we rushed yesterday there turned out to be a couple of picture taking opportunities.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010090.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010091.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010092.jpg)

Since first discovering Lesotho I've been all to aware of the, call it nuisance, of children begging. Everywhere
one goes, well, actually not everywhere because this habit only seem to occur along the bigger more travelled
routes. I've heard people comment and expressing their dismay for this sort of behavior can become a bit
intimidating/irretating if you are on an extended stay in the Mountain Kingdom. This is the part where the
French Missionaries come in... Apparently they used to hand out sugary treats in order to lure the Basotho
into their God's house. Now the children see every passing white man as a possible opportunity to get some
sweet reward.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010093.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010094.jpg)

Some who know Lesotho a bit better than the rest of us reckon it's because of people handing out sweets
that the children throw stones at passers by. If you won't take note or stop they might just as well throw a
stone to vent frustration or something of the like. It was my idea then to try and make a closer photographic
study of this begging phenomenon. In my pictures maybe one could read deeper into the matter. I got some
images that, today, make me want to weep. I'm having difficulty in putting to words exactly why. I suppose
I am experiencing some real empathy for these children as it is my modern world that has brought them a
longing for things that they really don't need.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010095.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010096.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010097.jpg)

I do need to strongly say that once you give these kids a chance they really open up to you and it becomes
a joy to be around them. At first most travelers might try to avoid them crowding around but when you conquer
your preconceived notions a whole world opens up.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: eikeboom on April 29, 2010, 09:29:39 pm
I see some of these kids are quite cocky!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 29, 2010, 09:39:29 pm
I see some of these kids are quite cocky!
You know what, sometimes they really are but only from a distance. Once you stop and pay them some attention they run away scared.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 29, 2010, 09:43:13 pm
Great report. At the river crossing, could you not ride over the pdestrain bridge. I know some are impossible with the approaches washed away but on the Mantsonyane - Semonkong short cut riding over the pedestrian bridge save a lot of pain in a rocky river bed.

This section was between Sehonghong and a road that followed on the western side of the Senqu river to Thaba-Tseka. This footbridge here is not accessible by bike but if you keep following the story we will get to the bridge you are revering to :mwink:.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on April 30, 2010, 11:49:21 am
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1034RR.jpg)

We left Katse in the direction of Pietermaritzburg to stock up on supplies and to do maintenance and repairs on the bikes if needed. We did not need to do any of this at this stage of the trip but the routine was already build into our plans and it was going to be the only way for me to see Sani. I have never been on Sani pass even tough I have started numerous trips with plans to go through Lesotho via Sani but needed to change my plans during the trip.

Michiel had another section of heavy riding on the agenda for the day although these were roads still in use so they turned out to be far more manageable. The road here on the forum is known as the Village chiefs road and will take you in the direction of Mokhotklong and a short jump to Sani Pass.

I will leave the pictures to tell the story but basically a very scenic drive with some rough and technical sections making for some exiting riding.

We wasted to much time here and ended up arriving in Pietermaritzburg in the dark and in the rain, erm, waste is the wrong term here, in Lesotho no time is wasted, what I mean to say is that we stopped a lot and spend a lot of time making videos and shooting pics plus a stop or two for snacking and just enjoying the scenery.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1012RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1015RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9504RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1054RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1060RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1083RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9534RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9520RR.jpg)

Reaching the top of Black Mountain Pass these black clouds spell rain and surly before Sani we ended up riding in a light drizzle that continued till we reached the bottom of Sani Pass.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9539RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9544RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on April 30, 2010, 01:39:30 pm
Ag nee man Dusty, wat het nou in jou gevaar? While in Lesotho no time is wasted. The longer you're
stuck somewhere the more colourful and memorable the experience becomes.

Here is the route we took...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/f06.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: FarScape on May 03, 2010, 01:52:50 pm
I've been reading your trough your RR a couple of times now and it is probably the reason why my cap gets finished so quickly each month.

I have been in Lesotho only once and that was over Easter weekend this year. Unfortunately I had only two days to take as much of the country in as possible. Manly stuck to the main road from Sani to Buthe-Buthe and exit at Caledons poort.

People warned me of all the stone trowing on the roads but I do believe because I was alone they let me passwith out incident. However I did notice on passing some of the settlements the children comes running screaming down the hills waving with their right hands and with a stone in the left.

I think if there was someone riding a short distance behind me he would not have been so lucky.

I do not see of myself as a very experienced rider and going up Sani alone and it been my first time was nerve shattering. Luckely I did not come off but I had a lot off close shaves. I can still see myself going down that shear cliffs at some off those hair pin bends. I must say on my way up I passed an Indian family in their volksie bus going up. They clearly did not see the sign in the bottom. Think they are still there.

I think going down Sani is more difficult than going up. That I will leave for my next visit to the mountain kingdom.

Ps. On reaching the top the Customs official asked me why my hands was shaking so much. It was not the cold that I can tell you for sure.


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 03, 2010, 03:52:39 pm
Riding solo is a totally different cup of tea.. and Sani doesn't look the same as time goes by. I've been up
and down it a couple of times during the last 4 years and this year was by far the worst. Congrats for not
taking a tumble!  :ricky:

Just for the interest, Hennie and I went to the same school although he was two years ahead of me. Good
to see you on Wilddogs Hennie.

Now back to the report.

The road turned out to be very pleasant. Not so difficult that we were falling over but just technical enough
to justify standing on the foot pegs. In the dry one will be able to negotiate this section on bikes like Vstrom's,
Vuka's, 990's and maybe a Katana. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=38766.msg761251#msg761251

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010098.jpg)

For the more cautious Adventure Rider this section will be a great adventure. From where we turned off the
Katse - Thaba Tseka road it crosses a deep valley and once up on the opposite side it becomes a tweespoor that
winds along a stream and occationally goes up the foothills. By the time one pass the 2nd of three villages, along
the way to the Missionary, one start climbing on to the top of the mountains. The road used to be in good shape
but has deteriorated over the years.

Dustdevil and I took some time making video and taking pictures. Sack felt that we need to get going. Dustdevil
had other ideas. Sack has been very patient all morning and I felt torn between two. Sometimes we would actually
spend 40min around a village, ride for 10min and stop again to take pictures of another attraction. A day can go
by very quickly this way, if you're the one holding the camera, thus I appreciated Sack's predicament.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010099.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010100.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010101.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010102.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010103.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010104.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010105.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010106.jpg)

From the Missionary onwards though the Chinese are building some brand new roads.

I guess for the people who have to travel through here on a regular basis this is a blessing but for me it just ruined
the experience. I prefer things to feel a bit more rustic. From the Missionary I knew the way and once we were in
Mokhotlong I was in familiar territory as I've been here on three previous ocations.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010107.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010108.jpg)

By now it was a good while into the afternoon and according to Stefan's GPS we wouldn't make it to Pietermaritzburg
on that day. The GPS were obviously using our slow progress of the morning to calculate the remainder of the day's
travel. The road from Mokhotlong to Sani can be traveled at a brisk pace so we did. Stopped once for a bite to eat
and one more time to put on our rain suits as we were heading into some serious storm.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: zetman on May 04, 2010, 10:11:57 pm
Lekr man julle vorder mooi
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: billy-joe on May 09, 2010, 03:18:28 pm


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1054RR.jpg)

hey guys, where is this road and where did you get a well detailed map?  we're doing a trip in 4x4's on august, do you think that section will be doable in winter?

regards and great trip report.
bj
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on May 09, 2010, 07:01:00 pm


hey guys, where is this road and where did you get a well detailed map?  we're doing a trip in 4x4's on august, do you think that section will be doable in winter?

regards and great trip report.
bj

Don't know much about Lesotho in winter although I am trying to convince Michiel that we should go back in the winter months.

The maps you can get from the department of surveys and mapping in Mowbray.
The only maps that cover Lesotho is the 1:250 000.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 11, 2010, 11:14:54 am
Hey Billy-Joe

The road you're interested in will probably be do-able but I think it's going to be mighty wet during
August - October so be prepared to slide around and even get stuck. On top of the mountain there
was a huge boulder right in the middle of the road but the Chinese seem to be upgrading the roads
on that side so by the time you go they might have bulldozed it over the ledge.

This is a very nice road though and takes one through a most beautiful area.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 12, 2010, 08:23:11 am
As I'm sure you all feel, I've really become impatient with the slow progress of this Ride Report.
Having said that I'm distressed to say that we are suffering yet another setback.

I have good news and then I've got bad news... What do you want to hear first?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on May 12, 2010, 08:27:59 am
bad first
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 12, 2010, 08:37:28 am
bad first
+ 1 gooi the bad , cause the good better GOOOOOD !!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 12, 2010, 08:40:07 am
That HPN bit the hand that feeds her. Dusty had a really bad accident. Andrea, his wife, sms'ed
me this morning with the news. At the moment he is in a hospital in Port Elizabeth. The details are
vague but I understand he broke his shoulder and a couple of ribs, which punctured his lunge.  :'(
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: DRAZIL on May 12, 2010, 08:48:10 am
This RR is like national geographic slow but worth the wait for the awesome pics. :thumleft:
 >:D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Crossed-up on May 12, 2010, 08:59:51 am
Ag no!  That's such bad news.  I wish him well for a speedy recovery.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on May 12, 2010, 10:15:13 am
Ag no!  That's such bad news.  I wish him well for a speedy recovery.


same from me!!!!!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on May 12, 2010, 10:53:55 am
terrible news , strength to Dusty and his family
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 12, 2010, 03:23:52 pm
This RR is like national geographic slow but worth the wait for the awesome pics. :thumleft:
 >:D
  :imaposer: Glad you're enjoying it.

Thanks for everyone's support.

I will keep you lot updated but in the meantime here are some pictures to remember Dustdevil by.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty001.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty002.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty003.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty004.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty005.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty006.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty007.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty008.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddogs%202010/Dusty009.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Outthere on May 12, 2010, 06:10:10 pm
Very sorry to hear .

Keep you and yours in our pray's.

Get well soon.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on May 12, 2010, 06:47:38 pm
Very sorry to hear .

Keep you and yours in our pray's.

Get well soon.


There is now also a thread open about his accident on Bike Banter , see here  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=49626.0

ps great pics Michiel  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: eikeboom on May 12, 2010, 08:36:31 pm
Ok Michiel now what is the good news?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 13, 2010, 09:43:57 am
Ah! At last somebody is asking. The good news is that Dustdevil's fingers are still intact so now
that he's got lots of time lying around he will have no more excuses to make us wait for more
entries on this ride report.  ;) I asked him about his fingers to which he confusingly replied: "uh,
they're fine..." When he realized where I'm going with the question he quickly added that he does
have bad bruising/burns on his one hand.  ;D

Picture compliments of Jughead. Thanks.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Polo on May 16, 2010, 06:51:25 am
I love those pics of Pampoensport at night....awsome !!!!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 17, 2010, 02:07:14 pm
Thanks for the audience.

Dusty just sms'ed me to tell he has been discharged from hospital and on his way home. He said his ribbetjies
is quite painfull and he think it might be a while before he can look that HPN in the eye.

Come on Dusty, put us out of misery and post something...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 17, 2010, 02:41:50 pm
Thanks for the audience.

Dusty just sms'ed me to tell he has been discharged from hospital and on his way home. He said his ribbetjies
is quite painfull and he think it might be a while before he can look that HPN in the eye.

Come on Dusty, put us out of misery and post something...
:laughing4: + 1 !! Tell Dusty I will look after that HPN for him !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on May 25, 2010, 11:02:37 am
Laying down at night still results in an awful crunchy feeling as broken ribs and cartilage rub against each other with every move I make.
As Michiel would put it "there's nothing wrong with your fingers" so practically I should have all the time in the world to get this RR finished. Only problem is that I need to be mentally there as well and the severe discomfort leads to a constant state of exhaustion. Sleep does not come easy and I can't maintain it for very long. When you wake up because of the discomfort there is not much I can do to relieve it as I can't turn on my sides at all.
Getting up is quite painful but sometimes doing that for a few minutes and then trying to get back to sleep in the same position is the only way to break the cycle. The result though is that I wake up tired in the mornings.

All excuses to an end, the report must go on so here goes...

We got through customs real fast while one of the officials asked if we could bring back a MTN prepaid voucher when he heard we will be coming back the following day. By now it is drizzling constantly and although not muddy the road surface is soaked, not the best conditions for descending the infamous Sani for the first time.

I was awe struck by the sheer beauty of the Drakensberg mountain cliffs and lush green slopes and valleys.
I could not take to much of this in as the treacherous road surface requires all of ones attention and before you know it you are down in the valley approaching the SA border-post.

Our journey to Pietermaritzburg ended up in a night time race through driving rain and really bad visibility. To top this I was unaware of Stefan's predicament riding behind me, my tail light was blown and the dirt covering my number-plate made it near impossible for him to see where I was in front of him. The possibility of crashing into each other in the dark and rain was a real threat and I could sense his frustration when we finally arrived at the destination. I made a point of fixing this first thing the next morning.

We spend the night with Michiels family sharing some of our experiences so far. It was a welcome stop over to get our gear washed and cleaned and to do a few minor repairs on the bikes before we were of after lunch the following day.

I am amazed that I have no images of this part of the trip although there is lots of video footage. ::)

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 25, 2010, 11:18:36 am
Welcome back boet ! Thanx for the effort !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on May 25, 2010, 11:28:51 am
glad your doing well there DD!!!


THANKS FOR POSTING
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 25, 2010, 11:58:09 am
Hallelujah brother, praise the Lord!

The remaining few km's to Sani rolled on quickly. Making the Sani Top border post stop I saw Sack
already waiting, ready to make the descent. This will be both his and Dustdevil's first time to ride the
famous Sani Pass. The rain has a constant presence although it hasn't actually come down hard, not yet.

Descending Sani in the wet is slightly tricky but we make fast progress and without incident. The whole
Sani valley is covered in a misty veil with super bright green mountain sides stretching out of sight. Now
and then a beam of sunlight makes it to the ground with rainbow effect. Waterfalls beside and streams
crossing the road.

Nothing unusual about the South African border post. Realizing how late it has become we now hurry
along to Heimville where we stop to inflate our tires to highway pressures. After a quick phone call to
my Aunt, who is already expecting us, we head off to complete the final stretch of today's ride. By the
time we're past Underberg I realize we're in for it. My Aunt warned that it is pissing down in Pietermaritzburg.
The remaining 120km odd we struggle along a busy road in heavy rain. Visibility is just about down to a
couple of meters. Leading the pack, I don't mind "feeling" my way along a road but I can tell the other two
are having a hard time. Dustdevil's tail light got damaged by his heavy luggage and now Sack has to ride
close behind to protect his arse. By the time we get to the N3 Sack has had it! He can't see Dustdevil and
nearly connected with the HPN a couple of times. Neither of them know where we're going so I have to lead.

Hilton is a little town on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg and finally we arrive to a dry warm house at my
Aunt's. Good food and wine followed and my Aunt did miracles by washing our smelly swaety kit. We all
slept like babies only stirring later the following morning.

Today we will only have to ride back up Sani and to Molumong, about 80km into Lesotho.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010109.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: SACK on May 25, 2010, 09:47:52 pm
Welcome back Altus! Good to hear from you.

So far I've been lousy at adding to this ride report but I plan on chipping in occasionally from here on in. Even if it is only to make pathetic excuses for falling so much.

At the risk of getting ahead of myself I plan on blaming most of it on the way I packed my luggage. Too much weight too far back, and my whole setup was much too wide. I should have listened to Altus.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 26, 2010, 11:50:50 am
Sack, I know you got some pictures of Sani going down in the rain. Give it up!  :deal:

Sack let me ride that 800 in Atlantis over the weekend. Boy, was that fun! Unlike my farm
implement the 800 delivers so much power over such a long reff range that I just couldn't
get enough of doing or trying to do power-slides. Although in sand it makes no difference I
did notice that "snatchy throttle" thing everybody talks about.

Unlike my farm implement, which has a very sluggish reaction, the 800 jumps from idle to
pulling hard with the slightest turn of the throttle. While the KLR can "tractor" along in idle
without stalling the 800 does need a bit more throttle to keep it going over obstacles.

I guess you can see where I'm going with this... All I have to say at this stage is that I was
very fortunate to be riding my KLR on the 2nd leg of the journey and Sack, yea, I still take
my hat off for you persisting till we made it all the way through... You and Dusty just didn't
know the full extent of what we were in for.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 26, 2010, 11:59:58 am
 :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif:  Come on now guys , my salivary glands are starting to work overtime again in anticipation of this RR getting going again !!! Don't keep us waiting to long pleeezzzzeeee !!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: domstes on May 26, 2010, 01:14:21 pm
 :bounce:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 26, 2010, 01:43:10 pm
Kom nou Dusty! :whip2:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 26, 2010, 06:41:37 pm
By midday we managed to get Dusty back on to the HPN and off we went. My uncle is an old accomplished
Engineer and Lawyer always hungry to learn more, a keen listener and Dusty is a keen talker. A time-consuming
combination as you can imagine. We only need to get to Molumong today. This village is well known for there is a
Backpackers Lodge situated within the old Trading Post residence.

We make speed along the same road we came yesterday. I actually know a delightful little dirt road winding
through the forests that will cut out most of the highway riding but that will take up too much time.
Near the SA Border Post a 4x4 came round a tight corner completely on the wrong side of the road. He wanted to
avoid a big puddle of mud. Here Leonís Country Tracks training came in handy as I had to do an emergency stop.
Locking the back wheel, as Leon taught us, I made the rear end swerve left and right and left again coming to a
stop a safe distance from the 4x4. The driver must have got twice the fright I got as he apologised profusely.

A year ago I can remember being truly tensed up before making the ascend to Sani Top. This time we all make
small change of the pass, stopping often but for photograph and video purposes. We really made an effort to
practise our ďmountain ridingĒ skills during the months leading up to the trip. Helderberg 4x4, Matroosberg,
Elandskloof 4x4 and the Cederberg.

Look at my trusty steed! She seem to have been cut out of the landscape, like Eve from Adam's rib.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010110.jpg)

Near the top we find a deserted taxi. The front wheel tore from itís mounts, just a reminder of the condition of
the roads we travel.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010111.jpg)

A quick picture taken at the famous Sani sign, Border Post formalities and off we go.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010112.jpg)

I am really exited for, by this time tomorrow,  we will be in the part of Lesotho that scares the hell out of me.
For now though we have it easy as we scoot along beautiful mountains on a smooth winding road.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010113.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 27, 2010, 08:39:54 am
 :drif: This is better than coffee in the morning !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 27, 2010, 12:18:09 pm
:drif: This is better than coffee in the morning !  :thumleft:


Fat b, you know, you've become our most loyal viewer. I think you've just earned yourself a copy of the video.
I am exited to announce that I've completed the "first cut", my personal edit of the trip. This feature consists of
4 episodes each +- 40min long. It builds up beautifully to a climax at the last episode. Since I didn't have to
adhere to the rules and restrictions for commercial films I put in all the footage I felt helped to tell the story or
that I just liked. We did this trip with more emphasis on video than photographs so the images in the ride report
only serves as a trailer to the video.

The idea was that Dustdevil and I would then work on a more commercially acceptable cut or edit to be broadcasted
and sold if it got to that. Given circumstances I should add that there is no guarantee this will actually happen.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: MrBig on May 27, 2010, 12:27:21 pm
Michiel do you know that it'll be JUNE next week?   >:D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 27, 2010, 12:33:04 pm
:drif: This is better than coffee in the morning !  :thumleft:


Fat b, you know, you've become our most loyal viewer. I think you've just earned yourself a copy of the video.
I am exited to announce that I've completed the "first cut", my personal edit of the trip. This feature consists of
4 episodes each +- 40min long. It builds up beautifully to a climax at the last episode. Since I didn't have to
adhere to the rules and restrictions for commercial films I put in all the footage I felt helped to tell the story or
that I just liked. We did this trip with more emphasis on video than photographs so the images in the ride report
only serves as a trailer to the video.

The idea was that Dustdevil and I would then work on a more commercially acceptable cut or edit to be broadcasted
and sold if it got to that. Given circumstances I should add that there is no guarantee this will actually happen.

Hey bru !!! That's fucking fantastic !! I am speechless !! Ja I must admit I am probably You and Altus's greatest fan , because your trips epitomise true adventure !!! I have even been inspired to start getting fit again so that I may also start doing more streneous trips in the near future !
Thanx again !!
Now when can you send it ?????? Or what must I do to get it ????  :drif:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on May 27, 2010, 01:10:19 pm
:drif: This is better than coffee in the morning !  :thumleft:


Fat b, you know, you've become our most loyal viewer. I think you've just earned yourself a copy of the video.
I am exited to announce that I've completed the "first cut", my personal edit of the trip. This feature consists of
4 episodes each +- 40min long. It builds up beautifully to a climax at the last episode. Since I didn't have to
adhere to the rules and restrictions for commercial films I put in all the footage I felt helped to tell the story or
that I just liked. We did this trip with more emphasis on video than photographs so the images in the ride report
only serves as a trailer to the video.

The idea was that Dustdevil and I would then work on a more commercially acceptable cut or edit to be broadcasted
and sold if it got to that. Given circumstances I should add that there is no guarantee this will actually happen.





me tooo me tooo me tooo asb.

were to get?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Sir Rat on May 27, 2010, 01:59:30 pm
Waar en wanne?

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on May 27, 2010, 03:19:48 pm
Welcome back to the Forum ou sieke  :thumleft:

And please I also want a copy of the video  :3some:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Diesel & Dust on May 27, 2010, 03:43:23 pm
Can't believe I am only reading this now :ricky:

Well done, you ous are ysters :patch:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 27, 2010, 04:35:12 pm
Can't believe I am only reading this now :ricky:

Well done, you ous are ysters :patch:

Hold on now, the best is still coming. We just have to get the HPN started.

Kom nou Dusty :whip2: wikkel daai fingers.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 27, 2010, 04:36:23 pm
Ok gents, hold on a bit. Rynet, don't worry...  ;)

If I'm going to be sending the "box set" out in any numbers I will have to get the logistics
sorted first. For now fat b will get his earnings and the rest of you will have to wait and hear
what he thinks of it. The other very important matter is that of copyright. Dustdevil owns a
significant part of the footage. I would go as far as to say he shot the majority of the key
footage. We will have to wait to hear what he makes of all this.

My only expectation is to be able to share our "art" with the public. Dusty though has
expectations of making this venture more sustainable by generating an income as to fund
the next adventure video. Non profitable organizations gets away with lots of copyright
issues because they don't make money of it. As long as I stay poor nobody will care what I
do. Making money complicates matters. My "first cut" will fail because of copyrighted music
I used.

I am awaiting a reply from the forum moderator regarding the non-profit distribution of the
video using this forum. As you can imagine, at small scale, just producing the paper and
plastic that makes up the box set costs around R30. Then there will also be postage and
packaging. I would love to hand these out for free as my reward lies in sharing our "art" but
then I will be broke and the KLR will starve. We don't want that...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on May 27, 2010, 04:44:41 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:


can't wait!!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: vellies on May 27, 2010, 08:27:44 pm
Hey Michiel. Daardie eerste trip van jou en "moerige" John het ek aangegee na Thump en ek glo die ou het dit al met ander makkers gedeel. Geen disrespek John dit was net classic as jy so die vieste in geraak het vir die vallery. Julle trips en moeite met die kykgenot word opreg waardeer en ek dink daar is min threads wat met soveel afwagting dopgehou word. Terloops ek hoop nie julle het daar by ou Derek by Mulomong dieselfde fout as ek gemaak om die berg medisyne te administreer nie. Die goed het my voete en lippe gevat maar ek het 'n salige glimlag op my gesig gekry wat 'n hele ruk in stilte gehou het  :ricky:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: MrBig on May 28, 2010, 08:25:39 am
Hey Michiel. Daardie eerste trip van jou en "moerige" John het ek aangegee na Thump en ek glo die ou het dit al met ander makkers gedeel. Geen disrespek John dit was net classic as jy so die vieste in geraak het vir die vallery. Julle trips en moeite met die kykgenot word opreg waardeer en ek dink daar is min threads wat met soveel afwagting dopgehou word. Terloops ek hoop nie julle het daar by ou Derek by Mulomong dieselfde fout as ek gemaak om die berg medisyne te administreer nie. Die goed het my voete en lippe gevat maar ek het 'n salige glimlag op my gesig gekry wat 'n hele ruk in stilte gehou het  :ricky:

Dis nou nog n favourite line van my vrou as ek aanhou fotos neem
"Michiel... ek gaan daai kamera uit jou hand uit BLIKSEM!"
 :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 28, 2010, 09:49:04 am
 :imaposer: Take it easy on poor old John, Lesotho can make for a very stressful ride.
As specially if you don't want your bike to fall over and get scratched.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on May 28, 2010, 10:04:01 pm
Welcome back Altus! Good to hear from you.

So far I've been lousy at adding to this ride report but I plan on chipping in occasionally from here on in. Even if it is only to make pathetic excuses for falling so much.

At the risk of getting ahead of myself I plan on blaming most of it on the way I packed my luggage. Too much weight too far back, and my whole setup was much too wide. I should have listened to Altus.


What Stefan is referring to is that I recommended to him a luggage system from Giant Loop. The bag is called the Great Basin and holds app. 50 L of luggage in different removable compartments.
The main advantages of this kind of luggage system is that it provide the ultimate spread of weight over the rear frame reducing damage due to stresses, improve handling of the bike especially when standing while riding real technical terrain and last but very important, it keeps the luggage out of harms way in case of dropping the bike.
On the Lesotho trip I used the stuff from Bacbones and although it was very good and also met those three key requirements for a trip of this nature I found the loose fitting central bag nerve wrecking and the flimsy clips also did not instill a lot of confidence. The Bacbones bags are four separate bags and can be a pain to install and remove. Dust and water also get in very easily where as the Great Basin is made from waterproof canvas with a waterproof zipper keeping most of the elements out of the bag.(It is not completely waterproof due to stitching.)

The Great Basin and it's smaller cousin will fit any dual purpose bike and sit very securely, and completely out of the way of legs and feet as you move around on the bike while standing.

I recently tested the Great Basin on a Namibian ride of over 6000 km with BIG sand, lots of offs and rough gravel surfaces and if Stefan only knew how well this bag was handling and holding up he will kick himself one more time.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Tech%20and%20Workshop/GL/_MG_9534.jpg)
Stefan's Kappa bags and frames. Low centre of gravity, but not good when the going gets tough as the bags takes a lot of abuse when falling over and because they are not well supported they put a lot of strain on the pannier frames when hitting potholes and stones. The fact that they are loose fitting cause a lot of movement that will interfere with the bikes handling and feel.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Tech%20and%20Workshop/GL/great-basin-yellow.jpg)
Giant Loop, Great Basin. The bags I recommended to Stefan for the trip.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Tech%20and%20Workshop/GL/IMG_0309.jpg)
Giant Loop on the HPN; Perfect.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Tech%20and%20Workshop/GL/IMG_0307.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Tech%20and%20Workshop/GL/IMG_0301.jpg)
From the back it is clear that the Great Basin is very streamlined where it does not interfere with the riders position and when the bike is dropped.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Tech%20and%20Workshop/GL/_MG_9373.jpg)
The Bacbones is also very streamlined.

A great advantage of the Giant Loop bags is that it does not need pannier frames, it only needs a pillion rider spot and footpegs + small rear carrier for attachment.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on May 28, 2010, 10:40:59 pm
The Ride back up Sani proofed easier than getting down the previous day.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1182RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1177RR.jpg)
Broken down taxi.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1175RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1173RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1169RR.jpg)
The surface was rough enough and the switch-backs tight enough but with some confidence, standing on the pegs it is not at all to hard.

At the top of Sani we did not waste time at the usual watering holes and such but hit the border post and got going in the direction of Mulumong as soon as possible.

Black Mountain pass was wet and slippery but the road is in good condition.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1203RR.jpg)

Michiel knew about a short cut to the backpackers and just as we turned of on this little rough and ready track Stefan became concerned with the temperature gauge on the 800GS that went up into the red for the third time now with the bike spewing liquids from the radiator expansion bottle.
Suddenly things look very dark for a moment, this could mean the end of the trip. :-\

Low and behold we had cell reception and I called a BMW mechanic in Cape Town. I was not very hopeful because this is like calling your GP expecting him to make a diagnoses without seeing the patient and even if he knows what is wrong he will simply tell you to bring the bike in as it will require parts or special tools to fix the problem.

Alf, always being the helpful self casually let me know that we are dealing with a common problem on these models, there is an airlock in the radiator system and in minutes he explained what we need to do to fix the problem.

Thanks Alf, your a star.

Only problem was that it did not take minutes to fix the problem as the side covers need to come of in order to get to the radiator and this took for ever. At least long enough that it was now dark by the time we were finished.
In the meanwhile we had some local interest offering help and assistance but Stefan was on top of things and before long the bike was primed and running with now problem. Now only waiting patiently while the covers are bolted back on.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1257RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 29, 2010, 08:35:58 am
Looking good Dusty !!  :thumleft: Keep it coming , I don't know which part of this RR I like the best , the text , the scenery or the pics of your mouth watering HPN ??? Maybe it's the combination of all of the above that makes this RR so great ! 
PS... I'm counting the minutes till I receive my dvd's of the trip !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 29, 2010, 10:35:15 am
Hey hey hey !!!!! The courier just dropped of my dvd's !!! I was expecting a couple of plain unprofessional re written DVD's but just check this professional looking box set out !!!
Thanx a million Michiel  :thumleft:
(http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss12/pictures_028/lesotho/29052010002.jpg)
(http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss12/pictures_028/lesotho/29052010.jpg)
(http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss12/pictures_028/lesotho/29052010001.jpg)
Just looking at the cover makes you want to watch it !!! This set will take pride of place in my collection , I can't wait to watch it this afternoon ... fuck the rugby I know what I will be watching this afternoon !!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on May 29, 2010, 03:42:07 pm
Thanks a million Michiel for giving me a copy of the DVD  :3some:  ,  what a NICE surprise  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Am having a soup and drinks evening with 3 other biker chicks tonite, and we going to watch the DVD's, can't wait  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on May 31, 2010, 09:04:25 am
man o man , what a nice adventure ! I enjoyed every minute of it and felt like I was part of the action !! Well done Michiel and Altus , this was a great adventure !!! .... mmm I think I will watch it again tonight ! Thanx again ! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 31, 2010, 03:13:05 pm
The normal road to Molumong Backpackers Lodge is straight forward but I noticed on Google Earth that
there is a little shortcut. Nearing our destination with Sack in the lead I realize he won't know where to
turn off as the shortcut isn't well marked. As a stroke of luck, all be it bad luck the 800 started overheating
leaving Sack no other option but to stop... a 100m after he should have turned... Luckily I could now wave
him back but as he pulled up to myself and Dustdevil the bad news came. The bike has been running hot
for a while and now it's properly overheating. Sack explained the instrument panel lit up like a christmas
tree with warning lights flashing!

My heart sank... This is a state of the art modern motorcycle so chances are that, unlike the old HPN or
simple KLR, we won't be able to do a roadside fix. Dustdevil stayed calm and collected, as usual. I already
saw how we were limping back home without riding what would have been the most exiting part op the trip.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010114.jpg)

By now we were already a good part into the 2nd half of the afternoon. On top of the mountains the sun
shines for the longest time but where we are, somewhat in a valley, we were already in shadow. Along the
mountain ridges towards the East the falling rays made for a dramatic display. More luck, this time good luck,
came in the form of a cellphone signal. Dustdevil could now phone a friend. Long story short, the 800 is
known to make a air-lock in the cooling system which can be cured by bleeding the system. An easy little job
but since Sack has to remove the side cover panels it took a while. And another while to "put Humpty Dumpty
back together again" as Sack commented.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010116.jpg)

It was the most beautiful peaceful evening. Not a breath of wind in the air. In the distance we could see the
smoke from a dung fire rising and then hanging still. Contrasting those in the East the mountains in the West
were now etched into a silhouette upon the horizon.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010115.jpg)

While we stood there we obviously became a point of interest for the nearby villagers and bypassers. Some
offered their help, afterwards while translating the Sotho for the video, I realized that one young man offered
to fetch some water from the river. We can't speak Sotho but they understood when I said the bike was "too hot".
As night fell our torches drew more attention. I still laugh when I look at the video footage. This one teenager
loved my little cheap torch for when I switch it on the whole thing lights up, as in the torch body. He kept on
saying/asking: "give me my torch" just like that.

As the veil of darkness silently pulled over us I couldn't help but to feel a tiny bit frightened. Here are no street lights.
What the bike produce in light is all you have to go by. Humpty Dumpty back together again and running well we
left this memorable spot to complete the last 15km to Molumong and the Backpackers accommodation. I'm leading
with the other two a hesitant distance behind.

Riding has now become a bit precarious as one can't see any hole or rut in the road until you actually hit it. Hills and
bumps in the road obscure what is to follow them as well. All of this while sliding around in the mud. Not 5km down
I lost my following... What the hell! Now I was getting frustrated! What's happened now?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on May 31, 2010, 03:20:52 pm
no please don't stop :o :o
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on May 31, 2010, 04:51:02 pm
I'm sorry guys, I know this is frustrating, but I'm trying to lure Sack and Dusty into participating
by leaving open ends... Dustdevil seem to be having a writer's block but I promise he's got some
really beautiful pictures coming. Nearly all the images on the DVD cover fat b showed comes from
Dustdevil. I hope he doesn't sue me.  :3some: Come on Dusty.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on May 31, 2010, 04:55:28 pm
Thanks Michiel  for the DVD , you 5 made chicks ( and one guy) very happy on Saturday evening  :thumleft: We loved the first DVD , but haven't even got to the second one yet , we're watching that next Saturday night  :D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Just Blip It! on May 31, 2010, 09:27:35 pm
I am enjoying this.......more please!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on June 01, 2010, 12:45:18 am
I was following Stefan's muddy trail in the stark blue light of the HID when he came to a sudden halt. Although I asked him to repeat the words he uttered for a video later on it was impossible to capture the same disappointment in his voice as he explains to me that he has a flat front wheel. How could it be possible to have a flat only minutes after having a major breakdown.
It is pitch dark and we must have stopped next to a village because we were drawing a spectator crowd in seconds. Stefan decided to try his luck with a can of tire weld but that was all he managed to do, try. A few yards down the luck ran out of the tube and the wheel was flat again. He decided to carry on at a snails pace rather than fix a tire in the dark and mud, and with a crowd that is all around you but that you cant see most of the time. I must add that our uneasy feelings were unfounded and that these mountain people you could trust with your life. I guess we all suffer from the "black wave of destruction" syndrome.

It took a while to get to the backpackers where a warm soft bed was waiting for us.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1260.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 01, 2010, 10:34:42 am
Keep it coming ... keep up the momentum ...  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on June 01, 2010, 10:39:12 am
yes yes don't stop
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 01, 2010, 05:08:07 pm
Leading them to the Backpackers in the pitch black of night Sack and Dustdevil had no idea what the
landscape around them looked like. I know this feeling. It does make for a pleasant surprise in the
morning though. It has become custom for me to ride the bike round to the front of the building,
over a trench bridged by a stone slab, and park right by the bedroom window. I assumed they would
follow my track but to my amazement both Dustdevil and Sack aimed right for the trench and just
blipped the bikes over a  40cm wide and rather deep sloot.

We were happy to be safe and sheltered and settled down for the night. There were also a group of
mountain bikers sharing the backpackers but we didn't really get to chat to them till the next morning.
The facilities has been described as rustic, this basically mean no electrisity and no whatever comes with
electricity.

Getting his gear off Dustdevil pointed out his knee was all swollen. Inflamed he called it. Another dark
cloud hanging over the trip I thought. We slept well.

The next morning the inevitable procedures followed.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010117.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010118.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010119.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: MrBig on June 01, 2010, 07:17:31 pm
You guys really know how to drag this out hey
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on June 02, 2010, 08:57:03 am
I'm still busy catching up on the RR, I'm still on page 8. Enjoying the read so far!

I'm planning a 3 week trip later this year and am hoping to film the trip. Can I bounce some stuff / questions off you guys?
Also, would it be possible to get a DVD? My internet connection is not really appropriate for streaming video of more than 5min.

btw, if you want to put your video's up on the net and don't want to break them down into chunks for youtube, have a look at vimeo.com
They seem to allow longer video's.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 02, 2010, 09:06:07 am
I watched my dvd's again last night ! Better than Multi-Choice anytime !! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on June 02, 2010, 09:27:49 am
So we woke to this landscape at the backpackers the following morning;
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9584RR.jpg)

I took a nice warm shower and went walking about with my camera;
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9578RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9582RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9593RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9611RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9598RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9601RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9604RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9595RR.jpg)


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on June 03, 2010, 08:56:38 am
respect respect respect DD,

Those images are unbelievable  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 03, 2010, 03:24:47 pm
Last night Dusty and I were a bit loud and the cyclists banged on the dry wall separating our rooms to
voice their frustration. Being a bit wary I approached them the next morning but they turned out to be
a pleasant bunch. While Sack fixed up his flat tyre they had their bicycles upside down on the grass to
clean the gears ex. Heading towards Sehonghong they asked about what we knew on the area.

It has become an must for me to make at least one stay-over at the Molumong Backpackers each time I
pass by the area. The house was built by an Scot and served as residence to the people who ran the trading
post. Nowadays no more trading happens here, as far as I know, but there does exist an interesting and
alluring aura around the place. I have been recieved here with no less than open hands and hospitality.

We have another exiting day ahead of us so I hurried Dusty up and off we were. The road from Molumong
towards Thaba Tseka is one of the most beautiful in Lesotho. One winds along deeply cut valleys with streams
down below. The landscape is just spectacular. Not far from Molumong we came across a village right by the
road side. Dustdevil had been searching for opportunities to take pictures of the Basotho huts and houses.
I stopped as there was a magnificent specimen to be sampled.

Here are some of my images but Dustdevil has some really special shots. Come on Dusty, give it up...  :deal:

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010120.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010121.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010122.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 03, 2010, 04:07:03 pm
Yes dusty kom nou !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Hitman on June 04, 2010, 07:35:58 am
Hoe meer ek lees, hoe meer hoop ek dat ek ook eendag in van julle spore sal kan volg! :)

Julle ouens weet hoe om 'n storie te vertel - Uitstekend!!  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Saam met almal kan ek nie wag vir die res nie.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on June 05, 2010, 02:28:32 am
Not much to say here, but again I am awestruck by how clean and unspoiled the surroundings of this villages are and by the pure simplicity of village life and yet the people do not come across as being poor although they are always asking for stuff. I guess it became a habit but I always found that they are content when you explain that you do not have something to give them.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9557RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9634RR.jpg)


The Houses are simple and mostly constructed with natural materials. I like the symmetry of the centrally placed door with one window each side.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9626RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9649RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9648RR.jpg)

We spend a lot of time at the village filming and taking stills so when we got going again we did not stop much till we got to Thaba Tseka where we filled up our tanks and bellies and recharged camera batteries and download all the memory cards. We will not have another opertunity till we get to Semonkong, if we ever get there! :o

I managed to get some interesting shots on the fly.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9655RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9660RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/_MG_9664RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 05, 2010, 08:35:26 am
Altus thanx for the pics , I can see by the time you posted you probably could not sleep , that's the kakkest thing about broken ribs , comfortable sleep becomes almost impossible . But hang in there this will be one of those campfire stories you will tell your grand children one day !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 08, 2010, 09:12:03 am
Stopping by these villages and taking the time to observe the smaller details really make a trip like this
more memorable. In front of that hut grew some bushes with small blue/purple flowers. Bees were busy
gathering nectar while piglets grazed on the grass a short distance further. The Basotho seemed to be
interested in what we were doing and didn't mind the cameras. As Dustdevil has mentioned, have a look
at how clean the village is. This is right next to a busy road between two big towns in Lesoho and not a
single piece of paper or plastic were to be seen. More than I can say of my family's farm...

The Bloemfontein - Jagersfontein road cuts right through the middle of it and one can pick up a bag full of
rubbish at any place along the 10 km stretch within 5 min. This is from people throwing things out of their
cars. Dreadful.

After crossing the Senqu River, just upstream from where we crossed two days ago, this time on a long
low water bridge we track the same piece of road we were on back then.

The day is getting on and by midday we make a stop in Thaba Tseka for petrol and lunch. At this stage we
are lucky for the weather is beautiful. On the surface we have a carefree and light spirit but underneath
and deep down there is a growing concern. I like to fill up with petrol before looking for lunch because the
petrol attendants usually know the best eating spots. The lady at the pump pointed us back the way we
came into town and at a new white building. A hotel and conference centre of some sort.

Parked safely our pony's basking in the Lesotho sun we stepped into what, at first, looked like a kitsch styled
receiving area. The dining room did surprise us though. Heavy curtains, deep soft carpets and luxurious wooden
trimmings from floor up to and on the ceiling. Very decorative.

On the menu we only had one option for food, the day's meal. Well, I suppose we don't have much of a choice then...
We didn't expect much. Boy, was I impressed when our meal did arrive. It came with salads and a pudding as well.
This for only R50 or something like that.

Both Dusty and Sack had some beer to wash the food down. Not a good idea to take alcohol at this point I thought
but I kept that to myself.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010123.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010124.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 08, 2010, 09:35:14 am
Both Dusty and Sack had some beer to wash the food down. Not a good idea to take alcohol at this point I thought
but I kept that to myself.

MMM.... I am sure I remember reading somewhere that Dusty NEVER drinks even the evening before he is gonna ride ???? So WTF ????  :imaposer:  Just goes to show we all break our own rules sometimes , guess that's what makes us human ?  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 08, 2010, 10:39:13 am
Both Dusty and Sack had some beer to wash the food down. Not a good idea to take alcohol at this point I thought
but I kept that to myself.

MMM.... I am sure I remember reading somewhere that Dusty NEVER drinks even the evening before he is gonna ride ???? So WTF ????  :imaposer:  Just goes to show we all break our own rules sometimes , guess that's what makes us human ?  :thumleft:


He would say: "Dis net 'n biertjie man!"

Don't worry though, they're going to sweat it off before the sun goes down...   ;)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 08, 2010, 12:10:28 pm
The route that we had planned for today included a little detour I saw on my map. It will take us off
the A3 right on top of the Mokhoabong Pass. See v-shaped route on map. On Google Earth it looked
like a very faint track though. We decided to make the call when we get there. Our destination will be
to camp in the Senquyane River en route to Semonkong.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/f04.jpg)

To get from Thaba Tseka to Mantsonyane one has to cross yet another mountain. Unlike the landscapes
we've seen today this one has suddenly become barren and rough. A cold wind is now howling around
the jagged edges of exposed hard rock. Not a village in sight. No animals grazing on the slopes, just a
eerie empty landscape.  Given the hour of the day we decide to give this one a miss and rather aim
straight for Mantsonyane. The Chinese has been hard at work around Montsonyane. There is a big bridge
going up and the road has been widened to highway scales. I am disappointed to see that they have
buried under landfill the charming little low water bridge as one enter Mantsonyane. Now this highway
just steamroller straight ahead!

Mantsonyane will be the last big village before Semonkong and although they are less than 60km apart
we will have to stock up on food because this is going to be a slow and strenuous 60km. I also want to
swing by the Police Post and see if Inspector Makheta is around. I met the Inspector last year and he was
very helpful to convince John that the road we were going on was, as he said: "very drivable". This wasn't
really accurate but that's what I wanted to hear.

By the Police Post Sack parked the 800 in a rather unconventional way. He will have to explain exactly
why but at the time we did have a good laugh about it.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010125.jpg)

We were in luck because the Inspector was there and indeed available. Nice to see him again. A large strong
man with a gentle friendly face and a good command of English. Saying our goodbyes the Inspector wished
we will return again and promised that he will be there to "welcome us in any way".

A picture from last year. Inspector Maketha sitting at the desk and John standing by my side.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/154.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: PinkGoat on June 10, 2010, 10:52:16 am
I've only just stumbled upon this RR and have to start from the beginning!!!

How is one meant to work when you've been reeled in by such awesome pics and a great adventure unfolding?  :-\ Can't wait to stuck into it!!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 10, 2010, 11:04:46 am
I've only just stumbled upon this RR and have to start from the beginning!!!

How is one meant to work when you've been reeled in by such awesome pics and a great adventure unfolding?  :-\ Can't wait to stuck into it!!!
:laughing4: It's addictive bru ! Just give in and let it suck you in !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Waynan on June 10, 2010, 01:26:45 pm
I've only just stumbled upon this RR and have to start from the beginning!!!

How is one meant to work when you've been reeled in by such awesome pics and a great adventure unfolding?  :-\ Can't wait to stuck into it!!!
:laughing4: It's addictive bru ! Just give in and let it suck you in !  :thumleft:


It is worse than addictive, I am sitting here waiting for the next update and trying to concentrate on work but all I have is the overwhelming urge to go and ride.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: PinkGoat on June 10, 2010, 03:35:10 pm
The dusty streets of Hofmeyr.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/DPP_0011.jpg)

Hofmeyr gets a mention!! Whoo hoo!!

Home, sweet, dusty, in the middle of nowhere home!!!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 10, 2010, 04:47:19 pm
Thanks for watching ladies and gents.  :thumleft: I am itching to get this ride report done.
Problem is that Dusty also has to participate otherwise we'll lose more than half of the good stuff.
I've been nagging him all week to make an appearance but with no result. Any sugestions?  ???
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on June 10, 2010, 07:57:42 pm
So you got any of those dvd's lying around?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Hitman on June 11, 2010, 10:40:21 am
So you got any of those dvd's lying around?

Yes please, let us know......and what medium of gratification you accept!! All this effort shouldn't go unrewarded!!

Dusty, whenever you're ready  :pot: NO PRESSURE!  :pot:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on June 13, 2010, 10:51:41 am
Our route for the day took us quite a distance from Molumong to Mantsonyane along the main route running east-west between Sani and Masero. Parts of the road even comes with a tarred surface.

At Montsonyane we would leave the smooth roads behind for a smaller village road that according to all maps does not connect with another road from Semonkong. Michiel have assured us that there is a road connecting these two roads, nobody uses it anymore but that should surely not be a reason why we cant get through.

After leaving the main road it does not take long for the road to deteriorate to low range conditions very quick, only problem is that our bikes don't come with low range.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1383RR.jpg)
Mantsonyane village. It is strange how exposure to capitalism and western influences seems to strip these rural peoples from their culture and self worth. As soon as you enter bigger centers there is suddenly pollution, alcohol abuse and the structures of their architecture looses its appeal in a random mess of haphazard building and cheap materials  produced by the colossal consumer machine of western "civilization".


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1372RR.jpg)
Construction equipment on the main road between Thaba Tseka and Mantsonyane.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1412RR.jpg)
Some more progress most likely unwanted and useless to most people living in rural Lesotho.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1432RR.jpg)
Back to the ride and Michiel thought it wise to take a detour around a gnarly section only to find himself in even deeper s&#@t. I almost followed him into that.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Waynan on June 13, 2010, 01:32:25 pm

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1383RR.jpg)
Mantsonyane village. It is strange how exposure to capitalism and western influences seems to strip these rural peoples from their culture and self worth. As soon as you enter bigger centers there is suddenly pollution, alcohol abuse and the structures of their architecture looses its appeal in a random mess of haphazard building and cheap materials  produced by the colossal consumer machine of western "civilization".

I guess what this just illustrates is how Lazy humans have become, we all are always looking for the quick fix or easy way out, slapping together a "shack" is far quicker and easier than packing stones/bricks. I mean even look at the more affluent areas, we rather pay other people to deal with simple tasks like mowing a lawn or sweeping a floor. Modernisation just serves to make us lazy and useless.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Kwis on June 13, 2010, 03:12:21 pm
Wat het gebeur? Myself tussen Montsonyane en Semenkong met n KLR gery, + GS800,950KTM en nog n KLR. My hart klop nog steeds erg as ek daarna terug dink. :drif:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 14, 2010, 01:49:03 pm
Wat het gebeur? Myself tussen Montsonyane en Semenkong met n KLR gery, + GS800,950KTM en nog n KLR. My hart klop nog steeds erg as ek daarna terug dink. :drif:

Just keep watching. We are now on our way to try cross the Senquyane and ascend the mountain on the Semonkong side.
In the upcoming posts we will report in detail about our endeavor/ordeal.

One thing I should touch on... Maybe some of you can help. I once read that some guys successfully travelled this road
on amongst other bikes, a Triumph Tiger, in the snow, at night. For anyone who have actually done it in recent years this
might sound a bit thick. I certainly think so.

A year before a friend (John) and I were naive enough to think we could ride this section between Mantsonyane and
Semonkong with full luggage, extra petrol, no extra water or food in a afternoon. We had no idea. This piece of road,
about 60km long, isn't your usual ride. We decided to give up about 1/3 of the way in with the most difficult section still
far out of our reach. At least I now had the opportunity to travel the same stretch of track in the same direction exactly
one year apart. This gave me the chance to see how much the track deteriorate as time goes by.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/162b.jpg)

Obviously this road was built some years ago and at the time it should have been quite motor-able. Within the 12 months
that elapsed since my visit here I could clearly see the increased deterioration of the road surface. More lose rock, more
and deeper ruts/dongas ex ex. It would be reasonable to think then that the older this road becomes the worse the condition
of it until of course the Chinese get their hands on it.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 14, 2010, 02:48:04 pm
Mantsonyane has a small business centre where one can buy food, petrol and obviously alcohol. For tonight
though we will need some bread. Asking around we quickly get what we need. Dustdevil and Sack bought
warm fresh vetkoek while I went next door and got some bread. Nothing like I've tasted before. Also still
warm from the oven the piece I got was heavy and dense while being suprisingly tasty and sweet.

The day was getting old and although we were all still in good spirit there was a sudden urgency to get going.
I am the only one who know what's lying ahead and the other two are trusting in me to lead them in a
responsable way. From Mantsonyane we head towards Aruy, another official settlement, and from there we
will only pass small villages. Navigating becomes a bit more tricky now and although I couldn't remember
before hand exactly where to turn it came to me as we went along.

Interesting enough was that Sack's GPS actually picked up on the road. Sack jokingly announced that the
GPS says we can: "continue on the bad road".

Aruy has a modern church building marking the beginning of our road to Semonkong. This building is considerably
bigger than those in the rest of the village. Towering higher than any other man-made structure it's spire resembles
that of a European cathedral. I believe those cathedrals were built to showcase God's almighty power and the church's
influence. Medieval men were surely in awe and trembled when they stood in these houses of God. Actually, I visited
some cathedrals in England and they are pretty amazing. I wonder if the Basotho see these places of worship in the
same way. I mean, are they in awe by these structures and does it make them fear God?

We didn't stop for pictures at this stage so I'll put some in I took the year before.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/156.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/160.jpg)

Looking back towards Aruy.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/197.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 14, 2010, 02:52:08 pm
Move it move it !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 15, 2010, 05:01:55 pm
Leading out of Aruy the road climbs steeply up to the top of this mountain ridge and from here it runs
in a Southerly direction all along the ridge. Inevitably the ridge gives way now and then to a break in
the mountain and this is where the trouble start. To cross these gaps in the ridge the road has to veer
off along the steep slope. The road is still in a good condition apart from deep dongas that has eroded
here and there. I am fascinated by the amount of work that has been done to allow this road to run here.
In places there are beautifully stacked rock retaining walls of several meters high. There are at least four
substantial villages along this way and as we make swift progress we pass one or two 4x4 bakkies heading
in the same direction.

Coming around yet another sharp bend the road has been badly washed away. A deep rut runs from the
inside with a slanting angle to the outside of the road. No matter how one approaches it you will have to
cross the rut at some point. We are riding in convoy with a good pace and stopping won't be possible.
Leading the pack I narrowly escape by swerving sharply and then crossing the rut at an, closest to, right angle.
Sack, unfortunately, didn't have it so lucky and as he hits the rut it just washes out the front wheel making
him come off very hard. Sliding down the road on his arse with rocks and gravel flying all over. Ouch!

The impact of his fall bursted something in his hydro-backpack. Upon investigation we discover with a relief
that it wasn't the water bladder but a small tetra-pack of juice. Fortunately Sack and the 800 seemed to be fine.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010127.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010126.jpg)

By now I am starting to realize that we are running behind schedule. The other problem is that Dustdevil is
sweeping and he apparently doesn't get it when I say we need to get a move on. Frequently Sack and I have
to stop because Dustdevil has fallen behind. Along this road there are lots of opportunities for pictures and
Dusty doesn't want to miss any. At one point we even turned around and tracked back up a difficult section
of road to see where the hell he is. Now I am starting to feel the tension John must have felt last year. I want
to try to get us down for camping in the river and Dustdevil is taking his time. With this the road has also
deteriorated to a really difficult muddy and rocky track.

Luckily the weather is still beautifully sunny and pleasant.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010128.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010129.jpg)

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 17, 2010, 06:35:40 pm
This ride report will become a little disjointed from now on but I just can't wait anymore. Want to give you something to
look at over the weekend. Between the two of us we are posting in steps, me then Dusty and me again. Dustdevil promised
to put something up on Wednesday and I'm really disappointed to find still nothing by this evening. He has some nice
images to post, to keep the time line correct, before I continue with the story but I guess you lot will be able to make sense
of it all.

Maybe it is supposed to be like this. I mean, my frustration, Dustdevil's despondence and the fact that everything will seem to  
start spinning around. At least, this is what things started to feel like towards the 2nd half of the afternoon riding the road to  
Semonkong. By now the road has really deteriorated to such an extent that we might just as well be bush tracking. In fact,
instead of going around one of the hills on a muddy road we just scoot right over it on a little foot-path, the other two following
me hesitantly.

It is evident now that no vehicles travel here anymore. The traffic that we saw earlier was just to get to those first villages on this  
cul-de-sac. By the time we reach the last village situated on this ridge of the mountain, Motsoanakaba, the sun is already sitting  
low. There is a primary school situated here. A sign announces it's presence but since everybody must be on their xmas holiday the  
buildings on the hill that resembles a school are deserted.

I rely on more pictures from last year to show you what Motsoanakaba looks like.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/193.jpg)

This is also the spot where John and I pitched tent alongside two families with their 4x4's after we gave up last year. These two  
families actually made it all the way from the Semonkong side but it took them the whole day. The men are experienced 4x4
enthusiasts but  they admitted to this being their most difficult trek so far.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/195a.jpg)

Descending the mountain leading up to the Senquyane they had to make their passengers walk in places as the vehicles became
too unstable and dangerous. They told us that at one stage the 4x4's were sliding out of control and the wives and children sat on
the rocks crying. All this made John and myself very scared. At the time I never would have thought I'd be back here to actually
try and ride up this mountain.

For now though we were just trying to get down to the river. Having had the time to wander around last year I discovered a tap
with spring water near the school and this is were we make our last stop to fill up before making the descend to the Senquyane.
It has become very clear to me that we won't have enough time to get to the river before sunset. The sensible thing to do is to
discuss this fact with my riding buddies and make camp here where I know we are safe. I refrain from doing this. Stupidity and
selfishness takes the upper hand as I really looked forward to camping in the river and don't want to camp in the same place twice.
Hurrying them up we saddle up and embark on the descend to hell. Dustdevil wants to know what the road looks like from here to
which I respond: "it gets really bad, even steeper and more rocky". Sack has been rather reserved and quiet, as usual, but as I look
towards him for a response he breaks the silence by saying: "let's go".

The view from Motsoanakaba towards Semonkong.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/180.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/168.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/169.jpg)

No more pictures were taken from here on but the video cameras were rolling so I include some snippets to help tell the story.

http://www.youtube.com/v/pGpkj-eJnUQ
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: CliveG on June 18, 2010, 12:05:56 am
  After watching your video, I have to laugh.  I have done that same ride twice, on a DRZ with no problems. 
  Just don`t lose your sense of humor ..... or all will be lost.   Really looking forward to the story of going up the other side.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 18, 2010, 08:59:16 am
This is one of my favourite pieces of your trip !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 18, 2010, 09:19:00 am
  After watching your video, I have to laugh.  I have done that same ride twice, on a DRZ with no problems. 
  Just don`t lose your sense of humor ..... or all will be lost.   Really looking forward to the story of going up the other side.

I'm glad we can be a source of amusement.  ;D  Keep on watching, there are more funny bits on the way.

I should admit that, at the time we were really tired and stressed. I enjoyed every minute of it but not without
being frightened as well. I suppose it will be easier to ride through there on a plastic with no luggage, laptop,
video cameras, stills cameras/lenses, tripods, Sack even carried a stove! and only a small amount of petrol but
that will take the challenge out of it and make the excursion less memorable. And we wouldn't have been able to
make you laugh.  :mwink:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on June 18, 2010, 09:28:19 am
i humbly beg for only one  :mwink: copy of that DVD, hoeveel soek julle een?

asb oom groot asb
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on June 18, 2010, 03:12:15 pm
I'm still keen to shoot some questions your way regarding videoing your trip if you're willing to answer.
If so shall I stick them here or start a new thread.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 18, 2010, 04:29:30 pm
I'm still keen to shoot some questions your way regarding videoing your trip if you're willing to answer.
If so shall I stick them here or start a new thread.

Sorry about not responding to your earlier question about the DVD but this is a bit of a difficult one.
I need to have Dustdevil in on the venture if we're going to spread the video commercially.
At the moment Dustdevil is, well, ummm, lets call it busy.  :bueller: More on this later.

For now though I think it would be in order to just fire away with whatever questions you have. Post
them here in this thread because:
1 - Others reading this thread might also have similar questions and would like to see me answer yours.
2 - Dustdevil is going to the EC Bash this weekend so we will have to wait for him to get back before we
can continue the story anyway.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on June 19, 2010, 01:42:07 pm
I'm doing a 3 week trip with a friend in October and am planning to film the trip. Hence:

- How much footage did you shoot in total? per day?
- What recording kit did you take / use?
- How did you store all the footage? Laptop/harddrive?
- How much of the footage is on the road footage and how much is from stops? (I suppose after editing)
- Did you do any interviewing or video diary stuff?
- How did you do the drive by shots without slowing progress to much? Leap frog?
- Did you do less mileage each day as a result of shooting?
- Have you added narration for on the road scenes? Music?
- Now that you're editing is there anything that you wish you had recorded or had done differently?
- Do you find you have an abundances of any particular kind of shot or lack of another?

Perhaps I'm making this too cerebral.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 19, 2010, 05:45:13 pm
Right. I'm going to answer best I can. You obviously thought this through already. Good start. Good questions.

First I would advise that you decide what you want to have, where do you want to go with the video? Personal?
Family? Wider audience? Bikers? Other viewers? Pull up a simple storyboard with ideas and shot angles. Think about
how are you going to tell the story. What sort of footage will you need to capture? When you know before hand what
to look out for it makes it much easier.


- How much footage did you shoot in total? per day?


Some days we shot more than others. The more interesting the landscape the more we stopped. We also made a HUGE effort to
stop by people and villages to get footage of the Basotho and their surroundings. We wanted the video to be more than just bikes
roaring past. In total Dustdevil probably had 6 hours of video (+-1hour/day), I had 5 Hours of video (+- 50min/day). Don't be fooled
though. To get 1 hour of various interesting usable footage one probably spend at least 4 hours stopping, getting the cameras out,
setting up and planning a shot.

On days where we struggled a lot, like the day that is to follow in this report, we subsequently moved slower and this gave the
opportunity for getting the cameras out more frequently. Always be on the look out for interesting moments and things to capture.
Rather spend some extra time with your subject and lure out that relaxed natural moment.

We tried to shoot selectively, in other words, thought it trough before hand where we had time. This makes for much more usable
footage. It does mean though that one has to stop what you're doing, pushing a bike for example, and move the camera for a
different angle and continue pushing again.

- What recording kit did you take / use?


We actually used low quality kit. The sound recording was poor most of the time. The sort of cameras a family would have
for their holiday movies. Money is unfortunately a scarce commodity for us and we had to do with what we got.
I used a Canon MVX100i miniDV camera and a Sony point&shoot stills camera video function. (mounted the latter on my helmet)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Wilddog%20Stuff/Cam001.jpg)

Dustdevil has a Canon G11. This is also a point&shoot but at the high end of the market. It shoots amazing stills and good 480x640 video.
The interesting thing is that for viewing on a TV this 480x640 resolution is actually not too shabby. I've got a friend with one of these big
flat screen TV's and the video looks fair on it.

- How did you store all the footage? Laptop/harddrive?

Dustdevil carried his Mac Laptop. Also had a 160GB rugged hard drive with. Downloaded our footage as often as he could to free up the
memory cards. I had enough miniDV tapes to film the whole trip and only download/import back at home.

- How much of the footage is on the road footage and how much is from stops? (I suppose after editing)

From the start we wanted to show what Lesotho and it's people was like. We also wanted to let each of our own characters grow as the
movie progressed. Subsequently "my edit" consists of about 30% of bikes riding, 30% of Lesotho and it's people and 40% of us, the riders.
In other words - 70% stop footage and 30% riding footage. I already had some good feedback on what people thought of my edit and
funny enough the audience, which consisted of girl bikers, were bored with the Basotho people bits and liked the parts where we were
on the move i.e. riding.

- Did you do any interviewing or video diary stuff?


Not interviewing as such but we did film people as we had a conversation. Video diary is very important. Dustdevil did amazing work here.
I also tried to convey my thoughts and emotions as we went along. It might feel weird but turn the camera on yourself and say how you feel.
Tell the viewer what is going on. Making a video diary while in the middle of the trip and in that landscape beats voice-overs afterward.

This is also where you have to decide how you want to make your film. You might want to rely on interviews if it is what you need to tell your
story. Decide what it is that you want to tell. A film of you riding through a country or more about the people? What is it that you will want to
know from them? What is it that you want to tell your viewer?

- How did you do the drive by shots without slowing progress to much? Leap frog?

Leap frog always work great. This way one doesn't lose riding time. We have many shots like this. It does mean though that the "cameraman"
won't be in the shot. We chose three of four places during the trip that we took time and set the camera up for a shot of all the riders passing by.
This will typically be a place where there is something interesting in the shot. A nice winding road, a water crossing or bad section of road. This
does take up a lot of time and sometimes we would do more than one pass to be sure we got the shot.

I did lots of riding shots with my camera mounted on the helmet. We then rode in close procsimity to fill the frame with the bikes.

- Did you do less mileage each day as a result of shooting?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Making video takes up a hell of a lot of effort and time. You have to decide before hand that you will devote time to the capturing of
your footage you need. Please, hear me, take the time because you will not regret it. Beautiful footage is worth so much more than saying you rode
so many km's in such little time. Guys that race through places really don't know what they're missing out on. When you stop you also enrich your
experience of a place. Stop and get that camera out!

Plan ahead so that you won't have to cover too much distance in one day. Regarding Lesotho and the difficult roads: This is also where a heavier DS
bike shines. It can be compared to a gentleman and a passionate lover while a light plastic bike is a rapist. The bigger bikes force you to take it slower
and stop more often. It commands respect. It will make your trip more memorable. I want to advocate that this is and should be the essence of
Adventure Riding.

It is important though to make sure that everybody in your riding group is on the same level. Warn your buddies before hand and explain to them
what videoing the trip will involve. Sack was absolutely great in accommodating us although he didn't make much effort with the videoing himself.
He did though get fed up with us taking up so much time and this resulted in some tension but nothing serious. I say again, Sack was a star. He didn't
mind us putting the cameras in his face every time he had a bad off and when he got hurt and when we were so tired and worn-out. Most guys won't
play along like this so choose your buddies very carefully. As specially if you're going into difficult places.

I obviously gave Sack his copy of "my edit" and it would be interesting to hear what he thinks. Now that you have something tangible to remember the
trip by and share with your family and friends, was it worth all the stopping and putting up with us putting the camera in your face so many times?

To be continued.....

- Have you added narration for on the road scenes? Music?
- Now that you're editing is there anything that you wish you had recorded or had done differently?
- Do you find you have an abundances of any particular kind of shot or lack of another?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on June 19, 2010, 10:09:33 pm
Thanks! This is really useful info. It looks like you Dustdevil really put a lot of care into your filming.

Now I'm especially keen to check out your DVD. But I understand that you need to finalise the scope of the venture and it's implications.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 22, 2010, 02:48:31 pm
- Have you added narration for on the road scenes? Music?

The idea was to add narration or music everywhere the sound quality was too poor to use. Obviously the
wind noise while riding is just horrendous. By adding interesting information about what you're busy doing
or on the country/people one makes the footage more interesting/pleasurable to watch. In "my edit" I only
added music to the riding scenes. I tried to choose music that enhanced the atmosphere.

- Now that you're editing is there anything that you wish you had recorded or had done differently?


We and as specially I should have shot more footage. One can always decide not to use it but if you don't have
it, you don't have it. Decide before hand what you want out of your trip. Do you want to dedicate it to making
video or do you want to just have a nice ride with minimal effort and subsequently minimal footage. We tried to
strike a balance, leaning towards getting more footage. The draw back is that the final video comes out to be a
compromise.

After every trip I find that we lack footage of the places and moments where we were really so stressed and tired
that we didn't have the energy or time to get the cameras out. Most of the time we are also running late/out of
daylight and need to hurry up to get to a safe overnight location. Unfortunately these are the moments you need
to be able to build the tension to a climax in the video. A good example would be when we rode the section from
Mantsonyane to Motsoanakaba. I knew we were running late and hurried everyone along. Today I regret this as
we passed so many interesting places without stopping. In future I would rather plan the distances between
destinations to be smaller and rather spend time in and around the countryside and people. Or better even, make
no plans for overnight destinations and just put up camp wherever we get by late afternoon.

When one travel your brain subconsciously gathers a collage of images and moments that you see throughout the
day. This then becomes your experience. Afterwards you might not be able to tell or separate all the information
but you have a collective experience. If you're going to make a video of your trip and you want to let the viewer
experience the same delights and horrors you will have to start thinking what individual things and in what
quantities will make up this collage of an experience. Small things like cattle grazing, a house with smoke from a
wood fire, flowers in front of a hut, pigs in an enclosure, a woman hanging out washing and some kids playing
might be the individual moments that make up the whole of a scene when showing your viewer a Basotho village
for example. Don't miss the smaller things... the dog that was lying by the feet of the woman hanging out washing
or the bees gathering nectar off the flowers in front of the hut. Don't be scared to go in close. Shoot different angles
and at different distances. Dustdevil done great work here. In hindsight I wish I made the same effort as well.

At times Dustdevil and I shot the same moment/action at the same time but from different angles. This was great
for afterwards as it gave another dimension to the video. I was able to choose to show something from this angle
and then from that and back again. You might find that the sound from one camera is better and choose to use it
throughout the scene. We should have done more of this.

Another very important thing I didn't always do was to use a tripod. Use a tripod! Dustdevil was pretty good at
getting his out but I just wanted to shoot on the fly. By cutting out on shaky and bouncy footage you will push
your video up at least two notches towards perfection. Make sure you got those horizons straight as specially if
your shooting landscapes.

- Do you find you have an abundances of any particular kind of shot or lack of another?


Not really. By knowing in advance what we wanted to do we could focus on getting a balance. Both Dustdevil
and I have studied photography and know the importance of editing out bad or unusable images thus we could
put this concept in use even before the camera started rolling. We try to plan a shot so that we get it right the
first time thus we don't have a unbalanced bundle of footage. Think before you shoot. I wrote down what I
wanted to capture and reviewed my list at the end of each day. Having said that, this was basically Dustdevil's
first and my second attempt at making a video like this and it is also a video with easy margins. We didn't have
to adhere to any restrictions, guidelines or deadlines. I am very much an amateur.

We tried to touch on issues like sustainable living and Communism vs. Capitalism/Consumerism but I don't
really know what I'm talking about so all the footage we shot on this is a loss for me. I didn't put anything in
"my edit".

I would like to warn against using too much footage from a "helmet cam" or bike mounted camera. Because
shooting this type of video doesn't take up riding time people tend to have too much of this. I think it is important
to have something interesting going on in the frame for most of the time. When you ride along it might feel really
interesting and intense but remember, the viewer at home doesn't get to feel the wind in their face, the movement
of the bike and the excitement of riding down the road. All they see is some shaky, blurry and skew images of a
road with things on the side flashing by. Video also flattens everything so that really scary slope or incline you
skidded down/battled up will look flat and not scary at all. Let the camera roll but use the footage very selectively.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on June 28, 2010, 04:48:35 pm
Thanks again for the answers Michiel!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 28, 2010, 05:25:46 pm
Thanks again for the answers Michiel!

Pleasure. These things are subjective. Take it and make it your own.

As for the rest of this ride report I'm almost over it. It's a shame this is taking so long.
Dustdevil indicated last week that he has more time on hand to get back into it but how
long we still have to wait I have no idea.

If nobody here has any objections to it??? I think I will just steam ahead and let Dustdevil
come in whenever he see fit.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 29, 2010, 08:44:18 am
No objections bru , steam ahead !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Hitman on June 29, 2010, 10:19:53 am
No objections bru , steam ahead !

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: more, more, more!!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on June 29, 2010, 11:44:58 am
Michiel, this is absolutely amazing!  :thumleft:
My respect to all of you!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: J-mo on June 29, 2010, 01:40:06 pm
Nice Pics.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on June 29, 2010, 03:40:50 pm
No objections bru , steam ahead !

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: more, more, more!!!


what they said
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 29, 2010, 05:30:59 pm
The sun has now dropped to a position right on top and touching the big mountain on the other side of
the valley. I can feel it's fading warmth on my face. We are so tired but I think Dustdevil is having it the
hardest. Despite the HPN's capabilities it is still the heaviest bike here and then Dustdevil also carries the
most equipment, tools and there must remain about 40 liters of petrol in the tank.

We are making such slow progress some children from the village up on the top has gathered and is now
following us down. They are helpful as well, rolling away some of the biggest stones. I wonder what they
make of us? I wonder if they think we are mad and if they think we are intruding onto their land? There,
after all, is no reason why we should be here apart from the fact that we want to travel through this valley.
I wish I could understand their language.

By now the other two must realize that I've cocked it up. The river is within sight, it has been for the last
30min, but we are not going to make it. The sun has now officially set and "we are basically stranded in the
middle of this mountain pass on a narrow little rocky road" Dustdevil announced. He also made clear his
intentions by parking the HPN on a little flat spot and refusing to ride any further till the next morning.
"We will just have to roll out our mattresses there next to our bikes" he instructs.

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

Sack decided to walk a bit further round a bend in the road to see if we can maybe just carry our luggage
to a spot suitable for pitching a tent. A 100m further there is indeed such a little spot, even with a patch of
grass.

Priority is now to get the tents up before it's pitch black dark. We haven't even asked permission yet. We
intended to visit the village across the Senquyane and ask the villagers if we may spend the night in their
territory. This will have to be done 1st thing in the morning.

Although this is only our 2nd night of camping we are sorted and have the tents up in no time. Now that we
at least have shelter for the night a temporary feeling of calm descends upon us. It's a relatively warm and
quiet evening. Not a cloud in the sky, a few stars has already appeared. In retrospect I'm thinking we are lucky
to have made it this far without serious incident. Sack has come off hard once or twice but luckily he's still ok.
And the bike seems to be in good order. The only casualty it seems is the little gas stove. From the repeated
impacts it got bent out of shape. The gas cylinder has also taken a knock. Feeling a little guilty I try to bend it
back but quickly realize it might rupture. Sack, having already handed out his two mirrors to the Basotho children
that followed us down the pass, indicates that he's going to leave the stove as well and I shouldn't bother.

For dinner we have the bread we bought at Mantsonyane. I also still have a big stash of nuts and dried fruit left.
Out of the now complete darkness suddenly appears three Basotho men. For a moment I feel afraid but then
I realize we are camped right in the middle of the road and they're most probably just passing by. These people
are kind and friendly. They do come to a stop right between our tents. After greeting us they ask if we have
anything to eat for them. I offered up my bread and Dustdevil also gave something. Off they went back into the
pitch black night.

I now decide to see if I can take a picture of the stars that has come out in their millions. The lights from
our torches must be visible from the furthest mountain tops. We really must be conspicuous indeed. As I
fiddle around with my camera and tripod about 20m away from the tents someone from across the valley
suddenly starts shouting. The person sounds extremely upset although I don't understand a word. The
shouting continues and it seems like he is moving towards us at speed. Echoing against the mountains
there are other people answering him in short scentinces. This shoots a shiver down my spine and sends
me running for my tent! Oh shit, now we've done it. The lights must have attracted bad attention.
We haven't asked permission to camp here and now somebody must have decided to come and remove us.

"What now?", I whisper to Dustdevil. "I don't know", he replies. Sack doesn't say anything. Fark, what the hell
are we going to do? The shouting is still continuing and is now so close I am shitting myself. I'm trying to look
down the road in the direction of the noise still closing in but I can't see a thing.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010130.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on June 30, 2010, 08:11:45 am
nice nice nice

this is the highlight to my mornings!!!

keep it up M


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on June 30, 2010, 08:40:21 am
That's a great pic Michiel!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 30, 2010, 09:36:22 am
That's a great pic Michiel!  :thumleft:

Thanks. The guys and girls seem to like the night, long exposure, stuff. I'll try to do more during future trips.
Nice to get feedback.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 30, 2010, 09:39:01 am
There is a small stream running alongside the road we're on. It's spitting distance from the spot where we are
camped, a couple of meters down into the ravine though. With this absolute silent night one can clearly hear
the sound of water falling from two places further up and down the stream. For now though the silence is disturbed
by the loud and clear voice of a very upset Basotho man. These people must have perfected their method of
making their voices be heard loud and clear over distances. We don't know what to expect. I admit that we are
trespassing. It sounds like the man is standing right in front of me but in reality he must be passing by down at
the stream level for we never saw him.

With the speed he approached he also went without even taking notice of us. Up, up and over the ridge he climbed
still in loud conversation with presumably himself. Mad man? I don't know. Phew, what a relief. Dustdevil, having
been his usual calm and collected, paid better attention to what the man was shouting about. Ever so often he could
make out the word "pere". Pere must mean perd, in Afrikaans, or horse. These people rely very heavily on horses
and donkeys for transport and surely it must also be a status symbol. Dustdevil figured that someone must have
done something to his horse, maybe set it free or made it run away into the night. He was then upset about that
and was on his way to find his horse. In the pitch black of night. Hopefully it's a white horse... I have no idea how
he saw where he was going in this rugged terrain. One wrong step could send him falling to injury or even death.

There were more people passing by soon afterwards, presumably to help in finding the horse. Nobody showed any
bad intention nor did anything happen to the bikes parked further up and out of our sight. I've heard stories of bikes
being pushed over cliffs but this certainly wasn't the case here.

We were past exhaustion and fell asleep quickly despite all the action we saw today. I can't remember if I dreamt
anything that night. Must have. As a kid I used to get some sort of epileptic disturbance during sleep which sent
me walking around and talking. All very confusing and distressing as you can imagine a small kid having no control.
It used to be worst when I went to bed in a foreign place like the first couple of nights in boarding school. Would wake
up with no bedding and had to scout the cold and dark hostel to find it. Would wake up in places other than my own
room. I once walked right off my bed and came crashing to the floor hurting my wrist really badly. This was during the
1st week in a new boarding school when I moved on to Standard 6.

Nightmare or no nightmares I woke up at about 1AM that night to the loud noise of thunder, lightning and rain...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on June 30, 2010, 10:09:12 am
nice nice nice

this is the highlight to my mornings!!!

keep it up M



snap !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on June 30, 2010, 12:43:13 pm
For a moment I'm taken back to those confusing days of my childhood. Where am I? What's going on?
I feel disorientated. Slowly I come round. The raindrops are coming down hitting the tent hard but luckily
they are widely dispersed. We pitched tent right in the flow of a small kloof going up from the road.
My first instinct is to feel around the tent and establish if we're not in a stream of runoff water. Pulling
my rain suit over the upper half of my body I quickly have a look outside. We are still safe. No runoff yet.
Back into the tent. I'm cold. My tent cost R150 when I bought it more than ten years ago. It's not very
good at keeping rain out. This is going to be interesting. Rustling around in my tent the other two must
also be awake and aware of my movements. I wonder what they're thinking? For the first time during
this trip I feel horrified. The weather is heavy with deep loud thunder every so often. I feel exposed, vulnerable.
For the first time I wish I wasn't here, only for a moment though. This is where the adventure start, we should
be cherishing this moment although the other two might not share my sentiments.

We blundered down this mountain into a valley which won't be easy to get out of. This place feels really
remote although we are fairly close to Semonkong now. It's raining and there is no telling how long it will
continue. We might not be able to ride tomorrow, we might not be able to get the bikes out of here. My
fears are running away with me...

Rustling in his tent I become aware of Dustdevil also being awake. I didn't want to scare the other two by
making an entry into my video diary and voicing my concerns. Between thunder and raindrops I can hear
Dustdevil making an entry into his diary. Sack doesn't stir. Within 4 hours it will become light again so we
will just have to wait this out...

By 5h30 it's light enough to have a look around. It's still drizzling lightly. Being the first one up I decide to
visit the village across the valley. I need to ask for the Morena, chief, and explain what we are doing camping
on his land. This will also give me the opportunity to scout the road ahead and establish if we will be able to
cross the river. Fear and horror put aside we are finding ourselves in the most beautiful valley. This place
seems untouched. According to the 4x4 families I met last year there is a foot bridge over the river. One can
also see it on Google Earth. On closer inspection I establish that we will be able to ride across it. From the rain
the slope leading to the river has become muddy and extremely slippery.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010135.jpg)

The village on the other side is a model of a Basotho settlement. Round huts, stone walled buildings and a kraal
for the cattle. There is no rubbish, plastics, bottles or cans to be seen anywhere.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010133.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010134.jpg)

Looking back I could see the spot where we camped.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010131.jpg)

The Morena turned out to be a lady and I took the liberty of asking for water as well. I spent some time with the
Morena but conversation was down to what little Sotho I had written in my book and the English she could speak.
She was a real delight to be around. The water came in a beer mug from the cabinet in her house. It's the biggest
rondawel in the village. Best kept as well. On the left after entering stands a small table with chairs and on the
right is her bed. Right in front is the cabinet/cupboard. The walls are painted a turquoise colour. The Basotho
seem to like turquoise.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010132.jpg)

I'll let the video do the talking.

http://www.youtube.com/v/RWhWIqsF0rY
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 01, 2010, 10:49:49 am
Beforehand I asked one of the ladies on the family farm to help me write down some simple Sotho sentences.
Like: Where can I find water? Please show me the way to Semonkong. Is this your horse? May we put up a
tent for the night/camp on your land? ex. Upon asking the Morena she indicated with clear gestures that they
didn't mind us camping where we did. I think she appreciated the fact that we did ask. The impression I got
while being in the village was one of pride, kindness and compassion. These people were hospitable and
respected others. I wish I could communicate in Sotho but unfortunately I didn't take it serious when I had
the chance to learn during Primary School. They should have made it a exam subject like the other two languages.

On my way back to the camp I found Dustdevil also having a look at the road ahead. He also used the opportunity
to get some beautiful video footage of the valley and river.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010136.jpg)

Phew, so this is it! We are here! It's still drizzling lightly but chances look good that things will clear up towards
tea time. We planned this for months in advance. We looked at this place over and over on Google Earth. We
practiced to ride our bikes on the sort of terrain that we thought we will encounter here. I've been looking forward
for so long to come back here and try to ride up where the 4x4 families reckoned we won't be able to ride up.
We are here!

I should be very exited but to be honest I am scared, really scared. Concerned as well. Worried about the other two.
I'm hoping they're not resenting being here. Only time can tell if we will succeed to ride to Semonkong.

Last night I decided to ride my bike to the camping spot but the other two didn't want to tempt fate any further
and left theirs further up the pass.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010137.jpg)

Sack has been very quiet and is also the 1st one to have everything packed and ready to go. Enough anticipation
for him, I think he wants to get this done.

While loading up our trusty steeds two Basotho men passed by, halting for a moment to greet us. Our two wheeled
horses might be good at covering long distances on flat ground but here in Lesotho and as specially this part of this
beautiful country a four legged mode of transport is by far the best and quickest way around.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010139.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010138.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: ThinkMike on July 01, 2010, 12:02:18 pm
Michiel - I've been quietly watching this RR in the background but I must admit that I am now really enjoying this part. In addition to the beauty of the land and the people, the fun, excitement and enjoyment is when the adventure dishes out the unexpected challenge (whether physically or mentally) or forces you to deviate from the plan somewhat.

It is interesting to hear the dynamic of the 3 personalities and how you each possibly handle the situations quite differently. Very lekker keep it coming.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: domstes on July 01, 2010, 12:19:32 pm
It is an interesting phenomenon that we always treasure these times. The times when we were really scared, but just forced ourselves to keep going and get on with it. Maybe that primitive part of our brain needs that workout every now and then. Remembering the times when our ancestors challenged dangerous animals and discovered unknown lands.

Thanks for making the effort in writing this report AND being honest about your feelings at the time.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 01, 2010, 05:32:27 pm
You are absolutely right. I couldn't have said it better. Yesterday I was practically enjoying the descend
to this spot. I was running on adrenalin! Today is a different matter. Where we are camped we can see
the road going up the mountain on the other side. It looks impossibly steep. We have our work cut out.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%20Tour%202008/174.jpg)

This picture I took last year. The vantage point is a bit higher up back the way we came but one can see
the scale of our challenge. If this road was in good condition with a smooth gravel surface one will be able
to ride up it on a Harley with Grandma on the back but because of years of neglect and erosion the original
surface has been washed away leaving the rocky bowels exposed. Chunky bedrock, eroded basalt and lose
rock, lots of lose rock. The road has also been eroded in such a way that it has a camber and in some places
steps as high as one or two feet. All this while climbing at an constant and relentless 25 - 35 degree angle.

Unfortunately without Dustdevil's input this ride report is becoming increasingly impoverished. I know he's got
some beautiful images of us crossing the Senquyane on that footbridge I've been talking about. The two of us
managed to cross without much hassle but Sack had to take his luggage off because on the bike it was too wide
to fit between the bridge rails. This bridge must have been designed for bikes because the rails are just low
enough so the handlebars clears them.

Once on the other side I take the lead. We now make fast progress passing the village, just waving the people
there a goodbye. To this day I regret not stopping and letting Dustdevil and Sack also meet the Morena. I guess
we were so nervous that we wanted to try keep the wheels rolling. Climbing the foothill is easy enough and we
make our first stop to catch a breath and look at the vista below us. For a moment we are fooled into thinking
this is going to be a doddle.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010140.jpg)

I am itching to post a whole day's carnage in just one video! Should I? No more talking?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Crossed-up on July 01, 2010, 06:12:08 pm
Go for it!  That's what you did there - do it here!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on July 02, 2010, 08:15:52 am
Wonderful stuff Michiel :thumleft:
Can't wait for the ascent!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on July 02, 2010, 08:27:02 am
nice nice nice, just sitting her, I'm already nervous.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on July 02, 2010, 08:45:13 am
Keep it coming bru !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Rynet on July 02, 2010, 09:14:36 am
"(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010130.jpg)

I just love this foto, and I love reading this report . :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 02, 2010, 01:04:29 pm
As a youngster on the farm I used to go in search of eroded places around the dried up streams and
rivers in the area. There I would fool around trying to ride up the slopes and make the rear end step
out a bit. All very mellow I should admit. I've never had the courage nor skill to do what the serious
guys do. I grew up in an area where I was almost the only person keen on Adventure Riding, never
got to mingle with other riders and learn from them. I would line my old Suzuki DR500s up to a incline,
halt for a moment while my heart started racing, my throat went dry and sweat would come from my
hands and then pull off in attempt to ascend what intimidated me. For some sadistical or primeval
reason I still love this feeling. Numerous times I would fail to reach the top and find myself in an awkward
position. Once accidentally flipped my neighbor's KLR600. Ooops. Very irresponsible. How does one deal
with a bike when you come to a halt on a steep slope? Back then I had to figure it out by trial and error.
Learned early on that using the front brake won't help. Trying to run/ride it backwards always fails, I can
still remember a very embarrassing moment on my dad's Suzuki 185cc Agri bike.

Today those hills and slopes of my childhood will be laughable. Back then my current KLR would have been
like a monster. Today to some extent I've managed to suppress the fear I had of stalling on a slope by putting
myself in situations like that again and again and again.

It must be said that there is a difference between fooling around on the farm, riding on the mine dumps in JHB,
ripping up the quarry here in CT and riding in Lesotho or any other more remote place. If I get it wrong and
hurt myself in the quarry, CT I can bet on being in a good hospital within the hour. Someone can also recover
my bike without hassle. If we get it wrong here in Lesotho it will be a complete different matter. Getting to a
hospital might take a whole day and recovering the bike will take a Land Cruiser. We agreed beforehand that
in the interest of personal health and the health of our bikes there will be no heroics while we were in Lesotho.
Our bikes are heavily loaded and we still need to go a long way before we are back home.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010141.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010142.jpg)

So, here we go!

In addition to sweaty hands, a dry throat and a racing heart my legs all of a sudden feel like jelly. We will have
to stand on the pegs to make this work. Soon enough we do realize the luggage we carry is really making things
difficult. A lot of the weight is purtched high up and at the back of the bike causing it to be very light in front.
We will have to ride up this mountain in managable bites. Carry the luggage over the worst sections ex. All of this
making for a very exhausting exercise.

http://www.youtube.com/v/zi0HNujJ6AM
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on July 02, 2010, 01:35:21 pm
hoew long the trip up "the mountain", and how long did you guys take? :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on July 02, 2010, 01:39:02 pm
Bugger - Did you fix it with Pratleys Steel?
I would rather ride up that trail than down it!
Please post the rest.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: g1_ on July 02, 2010, 03:30:36 pm
Enjoying the updates. Do you have your route marked out on (google) maps? Otherwise maybe you would be kind enough to post some gps coords if you have.

Thanks,
g1
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Kwis on July 03, 2010, 09:06:51 am
Feel your pain, enjoy that, been there. :)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Brakenjan on July 04, 2010, 06:34:27 pm
Wow Michiel - some of the best RR writing I have seen on this forum, not even talking about the pics and the vids.

Thank you so much - absolutely loving it!!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: vellies on July 04, 2010, 08:22:53 pm
Me can't believe ...... julle was bedonnerd maar dink aan wat julle nou kan vertel. Bok van Blerk gaan 'n liedjie maak oor jou Michiel :-)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 04, 2010, 11:23:34 pm
Feel your pain, enjoy that, been there. :)

Come-on Kwis, show us some pics and tell us more of your ordeal, when did you guys do your trip and how long did it take you to get through? You are welcome to post here or to start your own thread if you have enough images. ;)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 05, 2010, 12:40:43 am
In Thaba Tseka while having dinner I decided in a state of pure stupidity that I will have one beer with my meal, a Maloti at that. Now one beer can hardly get you drunk and you should still be very safely under the legal limit to drive. But heres the thing, as our decent into the Senquane valley started and as fatigue started to take its toll half way down the mountain my brain just stop working. I found it ever more difficult to focus on the task at hand but the thing that is the clearest indication that even the slightest amount of alcohol in the system can't be good is fact that I can hardly remember the entire decent to where we stopped and camped for the night. My recollection is purely based on the videos we could play back afterward but as far as the sections in between, there is very little there.

I also did not shoot any still because again to remember to cover all bases between video-ing and shooting stills you need to have a sharp brain, and mine was clouded over.

So my story of this almost impossible ordeal will only begin at the campsite the following morning. One thing I did clearly recalled from the decent was that I protested a few times quite audibly to the other two and more specifically to Michiel because he was leading and have been here before part of the way, I felt that we should make camp at a suitable place. It was clear that we were not going to make the river and I was concerned that a small mistake could send rider and machine down one of these ravines and we were getting very exhausted from traveling hard the whole day only to end up riding one of the worse roads down into hell. I was also worried that darkness might catch us on one of the long relentless sections where it is to steep and rocky to pitch a tent. My harsh words and swearing fell on deaf ears and we pushed on, between me and Stefan taking turns to crash more often. Michiel was having fun and did not seem to be suffering from the same problem as he was the only one that did not drink a beer earlier in the day.

At one point I felt very uncomfortable driving my bike down a couple of step-downs, about three sets very close together each dropping two to three feet at a time. The step-downs was not what concerned me but right after the last set the road suddenly makes a 90 degree turn with a shear 30 meter drop-off into a small ravine. If you collect to much momentum down the step-downs and can't recover on the loose shaley section before the drop-off... it is tickets.
I opted to push the bike down walking next to it with Stefan helping. We managed to get past this section safely but it turned out that only 50 meters further down the shit hits the fan again. By now it was getting dark rapidly as the sun has set behind the mountains a while back and we are only riding in the dim light of dusk. By now I was so exhausted fiscally but also mentally that I just did not see how I was going to manage to cary on. When I mentioned this to the others they did not seem to want to argue with me and by now it was clear that Stefan felt the same way I did but we faced one more problem, where shall we camped? When I get tired my sense of humor also turns into a very dry form of sarcasm that is often taken seriously by those who don't know me and even some who do. In the fashion of "I told you so" I told the others we will have to roll out our mattresses there right next to our bikes, Stefan did not think that I was funny but looking at the steep gradient and the rocky surface anybody else would have told me I was crazy. :eek7:

Walking down the track another 200 yards around the next bend produced a level section right on the road surface large enough for three tents. Michiel opted to drive the KLR down to this spot while me and Stefan rather carried our stuff down leaving the bikes right where they were. The local kids from the small village further back were so eager to help and not asking anything in return. Our tents were up before sunset, just in time.

The next morning driving my bike down this section end up being as easy as pie, the difference between an exhausted mind and one that is ready and rested.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1478RR.jpg)
In the background one can see the road, or what is left of it, that we are going to have to attempt. We did not know if it would at all be possible to get up there and at this time we were also not to sure if we would be able to get back up where we have just came down the previous day.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1502RR.jpg)
Stefan having to unpack because his load was to wide for the narrow bridge.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1498RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1519RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1520RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1501RR.jpg)
The approach to the bridge is along a slippery and very narrow footpath with a drop-off into the river sometimes only centimeters away from the wheels.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1522RR.jpg)
Stefan packing his bike most likely on the spot we would have camped if we had more daylight left the previous day.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on July 05, 2010, 08:49:36 am
Yay ! Welcome back Dusty , we missed your contributions !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 05, 2010, 10:27:44 am
Yay ! Welcome back Dusty , we missed your contributions !  :thumleft:



 :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :3some:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 05, 2010, 10:30:53 am
hoew long the trip up "the mountain", and how long did you guys take? :thumleft:

It took us about 5 hours to ride up that mountain. Nearing the top I felt like crawling. A lot of time
was also devoted to the making of video, carrying of luggage and rolling away of the worst rocks.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 05, 2010, 10:33:22 am
Bugger - Did you fix it with Pratleys Steel?
I would rather ride up that trail than down it!
Please post the rest.

Lesotho fixed it... If only temporary. Video to follow later. I'll let Dustdevil explain what "black top" is.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 05, 2010, 05:45:01 pm
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1538RR.jpg)

After crossing the footbridge we gathered ourselves again and with a feeling of apprehension and Michiel in the lead we headed of into the unknown. We passed the village on it's left side and although I would love to stop and visit, the tension was just to big, I needed to find out if we will be able to survive the next 5 km of road. I have stared at Michiels old images and Google Earth for hours trying to figure out where the track is running between the myriad of Basotho footpaths. I needed to know what kind of obstacles will be in our way. It did not help as the longer you stared the more impossible it looked.

In no time we have reached a level much higher than the area where we camped the night before. I started to relax, it looks like its not that hard after all... the next moment the bike is on its side, the front washed away on the loose shale as I changed direction for a better line up a steep wall.

And suddenly we have arrived, from this point on we will have to pull out all the resources, skill and energy to get up this mountain.


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Kwis on July 05, 2010, 06:24:30 pm
Lyk dit bekend?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 05, 2010, 06:56:44 pm
Lyk dit bekend?

Fantasties ;D vertel ons meer :mwink:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 06, 2010, 01:36:21 am
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1584RR.jpg)
This images shows parts of the road by which we came down the previous day.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1546RR.jpg)
This is the spot where I went down the first time and where the going suddenly got a whole lot tougher. One might be mistaken to believe that the camera was tilted to get the increased gradient but look at the mountain in the distance, the cliff top clearly shows the camera was perfectly horizontal.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1536RR.jpg)
Stefan tried a different line than mine but it proofed to be even more difficult.

We decided that it will be easier to remove our luggage and carry it up the worst sections to an area where it will be safe to stop the bikes. This although time consuming was working like a charm. with the additional weight of the back of the bikes it was just so much easier to handle. Stefan did not always followed my example and came short on two occasions where I manage to get through with no problem.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1605RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1599RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1600RR.jpg)
We needed to carry our luggage one last section of nearly 300 yards. Coming back down me and Michiel carefully planned our lines and reconstructed the road in the worse sections. We have collected some spectators that eventually were helping to throw the biggest rocks out of the road.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1603RR.jpg)
 After all the climbing and road building we needed a good rest.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1602RR.jpg)
The next and longest leg waiting to pounce on us.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1619RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1613RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1633RR.jpg)
Finally we all made it but not with mishaps, I had a nasty crash, Michiel stalled in an awkward spot and fell over trying to turn his bike around to roll it some distance back for a restart and Stefan also came to a standstill in an awkward spot battling to get going again with me and Michiel to far up to go to his aid. The big 800GS spit rugby ball size rocks out from under the back-wheel but finally Stefan got it going and made it to the top of the leg without falling over.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1629RR.jpg)
We were exhausted after this and in need of another long rest.

Now one thing I need to mention is that you do not see many images of bikes on their wheels here and some of you might think what a bunch of losers, but the riding from both Michiel and Stefan "was uit die boeke". When ever the wheels were rolling so were the cameras to capture video, so if you want to see the type of riding you will have to look at the videos we made. Only once the action came to a standstill did we have the time to get out the stills cameras to shoot some pics.

Some more random images:
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1613RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1630RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1582RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1590RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1525RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1586RR.jpg)

At this point we felt like we were so close to the top, but the Lesotho mountains were still not finished with us. Being in the lead passing next to the village on top of the hill, I approached a section that did not look to good, at the last second I decided to go for it but the large HPN cannot perform miracles as the wheels try and keep their grip on soccer ball size rocks rolling around underneath. The bike came down hard, crashing into a big pile of rocks but amazingly no real damage was done, only the oil-flow from the previously damaged valve covered have increased somewhat but still have not reached alarming proportions. For this I have a perfectly good solution, I carry a spare valve cover in my luggage. These are cut in half so I can make two repairs with one cover.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1634RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1580RR.jpg)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 06, 2010, 02:17:47 am
So to proof a point I have converted some of the video footage into still frames. The quality is not great but it tells the story and is visual proof that we were not just lying around sleeping. ::) there were some serious riding being done by all three of us.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/VideoImage3.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/VideoImage4.jpg)
Stefan


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/VideoImage5.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/Michiel7.jpg)
Michiel



(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/Videoimage1.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/VideoImage2.jpg)
Myself
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: h≤/hh on July 06, 2010, 06:42:58 am
Dustdevil,
Respect for traversing that piece of nightmare. Glad to see another LewensGevaarlik managed it.  ;D That stretch is built for plastic playbikes. I managed to roll my 800 on that section of road. We have done it from the opposite direction. On the way out I managed to burn the clutch of the 800  >:(  Stupidity - geen pille vir domgeid. Spent three days camping up that mountain waiting to be repatriated

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on July 06, 2010, 07:01:39 am
nice nice nice :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on July 06, 2010, 08:23:49 am
Awesome guys - respect  8)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: fat b on July 06, 2010, 08:50:54 am
Lekker lekker lekker ! This RR is getting some lekker momentum again . Thanx !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 06, 2010, 09:40:43 am
 :wav:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: ThinkMike on July 06, 2010, 09:45:20 am
Fok!!!! Brilliant guys!!! :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 06, 2010, 09:49:40 am
Dustdevil,
Respect for traversing that piece of nightmare. Glad to see another LewensGevaarlik managed it.  ;D That stretch is built for plastic playbikes. I managed to roll my 800 on that section of road. We have done it from the opposite direction. On the way out I managed to burn the clutch of the 800  >:(  Stupidity - geen pille vir domgeid. Spent three days camping up that mountain waiting to be repatriated

Bloody hell! That must have been quite something. I think I would have bailed it if I was stranded for 3 days!

I'm dying to have a go riding this stretch the opposite way, as you did. Started nagging Dustdevil about going back.
So, hoesit? Sien jy kans Dusty?  :deal:  Sack?  :peepwall:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Gat Slag on July 06, 2010, 10:09:46 am
Great photies!!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 06, 2010, 10:26:20 am
Decreasing the overall weight of the bikes by carrying the luggage up the worst sections was a very good
strategy but it was bloody hard work. One so easily take for granted what the internal combustion engine
does for making our lives easier. All be it at the cost of our and the rest of the planet's future...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010143.jpg)

We are all just too unfit for this kind of thing. Dustdevil and I made some effort to get some exercise by
riding bicycles up Devil's Peak in Cape Town but to ride heavy bikes in this sort of terrain, and enjoy it,
one really have to be super fit. I should admit that today I'm glad it took us so long to get up that mountain
because I can remember so many precious moments. Just sitting there and looking at the landscape, the
sun kissing my cheeks, the lose Lesotho soil under my hands and feet, the presence of the kids intrigued
or amused by us. When I'm at work and at times hating it, I wish I could escape and just go sit on that
mountain again. Feel the lose soil and let the sun kiss my cheeks again...

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010147.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010148.jpg)

All this exercise obviously made us drink lots of water and before w knew it we were out of water. I shared
my last reserves from those papsakke. Now Dusty and Sack didn't mind the taste of wine, we were just too
thirsty.

By the time we were 3/4 up the mountain some heavy clouds were gathering in the direction of Semonkong.
An urgency to get up this "God forsaken mountain" as Dustdevil called it, set in. Sack had a particular bad fall
and hurt his hand. We now felt like we had our fun fill for the day and a overnight break was in order.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010144.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010145.jpg)

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010146.jpg)

We spent lots of time walking up and down some stretches in order to carry the luggage and roll out the worst
rocks. It was at one of these places where Dustdevil discovered a little fountain. It was shallow, muddy and the
water murky but after scooping out the worst residue it ran clear. It was evident that the animals drank from it.
 All three of us filled our water containers at this little fountain. All three of us consumed it's water greedily. All
three of us didn't know what we were in for...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Hitman on July 06, 2010, 01:47:30 pm

.... All three of us filled our water containers at this little fountain. All three of us consumed it's water greedily. All
three of us didn't know what we were in for...
[/quote]

"These are the days of our lives"
Wish they were mine as well!!!  ;D

This RR really makes for great reading and plenty of (day)dreaming - THANKS!!! :thumleft:  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 06, 2010, 02:19:46 pm
So, it was not in vein.  ;)  Thanks for the audience.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 06, 2010, 02:27:23 pm
We made it!

Dustdevil had one last crash on the rocks of this mountain, we rolled away some stones for the last
time and off we went. Those heavy clouds were closing in and starting to make threatening noises.
By now even I was too tired to want more challenge and Sack was looking forward to a beer.

The stretch from here to Semonkong looked pretty simple on Google Earth. We will cross between
some corn fields on small tweespoor before getting to the bigger roads and from there it should be
a piece of cake. +- 15km of piece of cake. Little did we know Lesotho had one last little skills challenge
waiting.

http://www.youtube.com/v/q2Wj-55Uokg
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on July 07, 2010, 07:46:36 am
waht a trip guys,

+1000 0000 00000 000 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 08, 2010, 03:37:23 pm
From the falling, mud have caked on to the engine and to some extent sealed up the crack in the HPN's
valve cover. We never attempted to fix it as the "bleeding" almost stopped.

This is such a beautiful country. Even nearing the town of Semonkong the landscape still inspires. Having
managed to ride up the, once thought, impossible road we were very chuffed with ourselves. The last 5 km
we rode in heavy rain, sliding around in the mud but luckily not falling again. Neither of us has ever been to
Semonkong but from reading ride reports I know that there is a lodge of some sort. This will be our
accommodation for the night.

Cold, wet, chronically tired but relieved and happy we saddled down for the night. Sack wanted to treat
himself to some good lodging and booked a single room while Dusty and I shared a rondawel with some
backpacker chicks.

The night was spent relaxing, eating and drinking in the restaurant. Dragged our tired bodies to bed and
slept like babies, blissfully unaware of the virus festering in our stomachs.

The original plan was to ride one more difficult road before leaving Lesotho. This section would take us due
South from Semonkong. We dubbed it "Plothond se pad" after a ride report Plothond did when he and some
friends went through there. Talk was that the Chinese has started construction on a bridge where this road
crosses the Senqu River. At the time we were hoping they haven't fixed the road up yet because we wanted
to ride it as Plothond and his gang did.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/f03.jpg)

All of this was always up for discussion as we weren't sure how much time we would have left by this stage of
the trip. Although we were right on schedule Sack did hurt his hand badly and couldn't ride difficult trails anymore.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010149.jpg)

Come the morning everything was wet and thick mist hanged in the still air. After having breakfast we weighed
the situation one more time and decided that we will leave Lesotho by the easiest roads, exiting at the Maseru
Bridge Border.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010150.jpg)

Sack agreed to ride the stretch to go look at the famous waterfall nearby Semonkong. At a 192m
it is the 2nd highest in Southern Africa. This was it. We got our cameras out for the last time. Made some video
entries for the last time. By now the sun has dispersed of the mist and another beautiful day began.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010151.jpg)

The Western part of Lesotho, the Lowlands, is not as interesting as it's more rugged Interior and Eastern half.
We reached Maseru with time to spare and parted ways soon after entering SA. The roads back to our families
seemed vanilla. We will never look at roads in the same way again.

I travelled the shortest distance, only to Jagersfontein, where I  stayed with my family before returning to
Cape Town. Dustdevil arrived safely to his family in Middelburg soon after but Sack sat on his 800 for two days
to get back to Cape Town. By the next morning the writing was on the wall. I don't know all the details of the
other two but my stomach was turned upside down and it felt like a train hit me. Nausea, drowsiness, loss of
appetite and severe stomach cramps soon set in followed by chronic diarrhea and a fever I've never experienced.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Michiel on July 08, 2010, 04:02:13 pm
While this ride report is still rolling I need to ask advice/info...

Does anyone know the current state of "Plothond se pad"?


This is the section of road between Semonkong and the Senqu River to the South.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/f03.jpg)

If I have my way we will be riding this section in December. Go visit the Morena at the bottom of that
"God forsaken mountain" and give her the picture I took. It will be good to know if "Plothond se pad"
is still in original condition and has not been fixed up by the Chinese.

Please let us know if you do.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: ThinkMike on July 08, 2010, 04:18:02 pm
Very very lekker guys. Thanks to all of you for a truly inspiring RR.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 08, 2010, 08:36:29 pm
"Blacktop" is the reference made by adventure riders to a tarmac road. I might have mistakenly overheard somebody refer to the thick, sticky black mud of the Lesotho mountains as "blacktop", but then again I could have been mistaken. Either-way this stuff is nasty, it builds up on the tire thread to the point where any traction is lost completely.
After our big ordeal with impossible inclines, rocks and deep ruts we were suddenly faced with this awful black stuff. I was hoping there will be a way around but no luck, through this lot we will have to go and the idea that this could go on for kilometers made me depressed.  :P It was not long before my bike literally just started to go sideways on me with no hope to regain control. I nearly did the splits and ended up on my back for a second and by the time I was back on my feet Stefan was standing next to his fallen bike also.
We helped each other to get the machines in an upright position and opted to paddle ourselves through this section.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1646RR.jpg)
This fall in the Lesotho mud cured the oil leak from the left valve cover.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1652RR.jpg)
Ominous thunder clouds promising lots more muddy tracks to follow.

The mud lasted only for a few hundred yards never to bother us again. What a relieve as I believed I had my fill of adventure for one day.
We stopped for one final group shot before heading of to Semonkong.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1658RR-1.jpg)
Stefan and myself is very obviously finished but Michiel still seem to have the energy to go another 1000 myles.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Kreef on July 08, 2010, 10:16:49 pm
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1652RR.jpg)
Ominous thunder clouds promising lots more muddy tracks to follow.

There has been alot of amazing photos in this thread, but I have to say, this one stands out above the rest. It tells the whole story. How it must have been to get there, how Sack must be feeling at that point in time and what troubles are ahead. It doesn't only speak 1000 words...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Dustdevil on July 08, 2010, 10:29:04 pm
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1656lowRR.jpg)
Stefan explaining with enthusiasm what happen in the mud.

We arrived at the Semonkong lodge cold and wet and very, very exhausted. After a good meal we hit the sac and slept till late.
Next morning the decision has been made that we will be tempting fate to attempt another difficult section and although Stefan was happy to hightail it out of Lesotho on his own should Michiel and myself want to carry on, it just did not feel like it was the right thing to do. If one of us need to go home then we all go home.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1679RR.jpg)
Admiring the local transport in downtown Semonkong.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1693RR.jpg)
Locals admiring our transport in Semonkong.

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1687RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1676RR.jpg)
Local beer delivery.

The road out of Semonkong to Maseru is meandering through varying landscapes as we eventually start dropping down the escarpment into the Free-state lowlands.
I am mesmerized for a last time by the beauty and simplicity of the peoples inhabiting this landscape. Sometimes it is with disappointment that I notice how the influence of the western world is spoiling the scenery, cell towers, sun panels and satellite dishes. I wish I could tell the people that once you crossed that line you can never go back. Today it might be a simple pleasure you spoil yourself with but soon you will be overwhelmed by consumer nonsense that complicate ones life to the point where all you do is manage all this material crap instead of living and being free to express who you are in a natural way and not through what you wear or what you drive.
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1727RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1720RR.jpg)

(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1721RR.jpg)

Out the other side of the Maseru border control and we took some dirt roads in a part of the Freestate where I have spend part of my childhood. We stopped for lunch under a large willow and after filling our tummies with fresh buns and potato chips we said our goodbyes and headed of into our respective directions.


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1738RR.jpg)
It did not take long before I was crossing back into the Eastern Cape over the mighty Orange river, I felt I have a special connection with this river having crossed it's upper reaches a number of times in the past weeks.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: letsgofishing on July 09, 2010, 07:22:14 am
Epic trip guys!  :thumleft: Major respect!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: madmike999 on July 09, 2010, 07:43:31 am
think this needs to be a "Roll of Honour " RR


very nice gentlemen!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way. (RR Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on July 09, 2010, 09:40:09 am
think this needs to be a "Roll of Honour " RR


very nice gentlemen!

Thanks MM999, Michiel give the man one of those videos  :biggrin:


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1667RR.jpg)
Michiel

Michiel was technically our group leader and up front most of the time, this because he was the only one with extensive experience of Lesotho and knew most of the way but he was also the guinea pig, if the shit hits the fan he will be the first one to tell us about it. That damn KLR of his just refuse to fall all through some of the worst riding know to man and big bikes. He did not even remove his luggage when the going really got tough. Anyone considering to buy a KLR just do it, those Kawa's have my respect, they can run with the best out there.
Michiel studied photography and is currently working at the biggest photographic studios in Cape Town. The things we will do just so we can ride a bike ::)


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1703RR.jpg)
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1709RR.jpg)
Stefan / Sack

It was Stefans first time in Lesotho and he was the quiet one, mostly just going with what Michiel have dished up for us. Stefan handled that F800GS like a pro and in my mind not the easiest bike to handle on this kind of terrain, the twitchy throttle makes precise throttle control very hard when the going is slow and difficult and having so much power on tap it does get tricky at times. Stefan spend long ours waiting patiently while Michiel and myself were filming and photographing the scenery and the people of Lesotho, thanks Stefan "jy's n yster".
Stefan is working as a naval architect and he commutes with is bike on the N1 from Belville into town and back. Better you than me :P


(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1710RR.jpg)
Altus / Dustdevil

Although I have been in Lesotho a number of times I have never really explored the mountainous areas to the East. I wanted to get there for a number of years but every-time my plans were foiled, once even by missing passports. You think sometimes you know something about a place but I was pleasantly surprised by what we have experienced. I can recommend it to anyone even for those with very basic riding skills, loads of road surfaces is in very good shape and it's not necessary to risk limb and life if you don't want to.
I am normally the more cautious one and like to take things a bit slower. I can get very verbal when I do not agree with others on a decision but in the same breath I must add that I am a very patient man. Guys I hope I was not to verbal at times and that I did not slow you down to much in the end.

I have been in photography most of my life, studied at PE tech and then spend time in the USA assisting and later worked with many international photographic teams in Cape Town helping with production and being photographers assistant. I have also done assignments with most of the major editorials and some advertising agencies before starting a rental studio business in Woodstock.
After 6 years my patience was up and the business started to loose many clients to other studios that keep on opening as well as economic pressures and I decided it was time to get out. Currently I am living in Middelburg with a perfect workshop to build HPN's, so lets see what the future will bring. I am also importing the Giant Loop saddlebags, so watch the Vendor section for more details once I have received the cargo.

For those that have never been to Lesotho this should be the first big venture on your bucket list. It is the best way to get abroad and explore the rest of Africa without really even leaving South Africa if you think of it.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 09, 2010, 10:13:36 am
This has really been a great RR ! It has been insperational , had many ups and downs and for lack of a better word been frustrating waiting for instalments ! But it has all been worth it ! Thanx Michiel and Dusty for all your effort with this RR there are many WD's out there who really appreciate the time and effort you guys have put in . Thank you very much for sharing !So when's the next adventure ?

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Gat Slag on July 09, 2010, 11:37:54 am
Dankie DD en julle ander ouens, dit was 'n moerse RR!!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Kreef on July 09, 2010, 11:53:24 am
:hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
Well done on a great report and an awesome ride!!!

I cant believe it's over :crybaby2:

Let me know when/where I can buy one of your DVDs!! I would love to see it!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: EtienneXplore on July 09, 2010, 11:49:13 pm
(http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp55/Dustdevil/Ride%20Reports/Lesotho%202010/IMG_1652RR.jpg)
Ominous thunder clouds promising lots more muddy tracks to follow.

There has been alot of amazing photos in this thread, but I have to say, this one stands out above the rest. It tells the whole story. How it must have been to get there, how Sack must be feeling at that point in time and what troubles are ahead. It doesn't only speak 1000 words...

I cannot agree more, this photo says it all. Of all the photos this one is tops. F*ck its a good pic!!!!!

thanks for the ride report, it was a long time in the making but a HUGE thank you all for your efforts.

I need to go back to Lesotho  :drif:

 
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 10, 2010, 08:45:25 am
MMMM..... I wonder how I am gonna get my morning fix now  ???
Come on guys I am sure you still have just a little bit to share with us  :peepwall:

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Waynan on July 10, 2010, 10:43:55 am
Awesome Stuff guys, truly inspirational. I now know where my next trip is taking me :)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: SGB on July 10, 2010, 01:39:51 pm
Great stuff guys!  Nice story and good pics. 

The road you refer to as "Plothond se pad" is being fixed up and is not as bad as it used to be.  They are building bridges over the river and it is now much easier.

Enjoy!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on July 10, 2010, 09:26:24 pm
Great stuff guys!  Nice story and good pics. 

The road you refer to as "Plothond se pad" is being fixed up and is not as bad as it used to be.  They are building bridges over the river and it is now much easier.

Enjoy!


Yes I noticed a KTM990 with pillion and hard luggage plus top-box went through there with Alfie's group recently, couldn't have been too difficult.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: SGB on July 10, 2010, 11:17:06 pm
Jip, Anthony and Monya went up there two - up.  But still a bit of a challenge here and there.  That black mud between the rocks is still there.  Do-able though
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
Post by: Kwis on July 11, 2010, 08:48:51 am
Feel your pain, enjoy that, been there. :)

Come-on Kwis, show us some pics and tell us more of your ordeal, when did you guys do your trip and how long did it take you to get through? You are welcome to post here or to start your own thread if you have enough images. ;)
Die 800 moes hulp van Primrose kry!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Kwis on July 11, 2010, 08:58:02 am
Die KTM se cluch flued het klaar geraak.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on July 11, 2010, 06:36:52 pm
Ja nee, dit lyk my hierdie is n pad vir HPN's en KLR's.
Dit lyk asof julle ouens in die winter daar deur is. Daar was een kort stukkie wat my nogal bekommerd gehad het as ons sou moes omdraai. Dit was so om en by 30 meter van fyn gruis en die agterbrieke was "locked-up" al die pad tot onder. Ek was nie so seker of dit moontlik sou wees om weer hier uit te ry nie, net te glibberig en styl.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Kwis on July 11, 2010, 06:58:18 pm
Ja, dit was verlede jaar die tyd, maar daai turf het ons goed opgedonner, daar was n moerse donnerbui deur in die middel van die winter, die KTM kon net nie, staan net stil in die turf, die KLR het later tot by die klein mission (skoolkie) gekom, die ander twee het ondertoe by daai klein stroompie gekamp. En daar is bogarol hout! Maar lekker!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on July 13, 2010, 09:11:30 am
Dankie vir die fotos Kwis. Lekker om te sien daar is nog mense wat daai deel van Lesotho gaan
verken het. Dustdevil het sy bedenkinge, maar ek dink dit is moontlik om van Semonkong na
Mantsonyane te ry. Die geheim is om dit in twee dae te doen en dit rustig te vat. Easy does it.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on July 13, 2010, 09:15:12 am
Lesotho might not be a ten thousand miles away and it might not be a vast country but there is something
really special about the place. Over the last four years I have become completely obsessed with Lesotho.
Alongside the hospitality of the Basotho Nation, Lesotho provides a riding heaven that caters for anybody
from a guy on a Superbike on his way to see Katse Dam to okes on Plastic Bikes looking for the ultimate
off road challenge and in-between some Adventure Riders wanting to see where the Plastic Bikes went.  :peepwall:

Two years ago John's and my own attempt to explore this Mountain Kingdom partially failed because of poor
planning and the wrong attitude. Since then I was very lucky to meet Sack and Dustdevil. Both of them were
inspired by the video that followed from the trip John and I did. Both of them has the right attitude, spirit and
riding skills to make a trip like this not only possible but also a great adventure.

In time I hope to be riding with them beyond the borders of South Africa and bring back the story to share
here with you lot. Thank you for watching and sharing in the adventure.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 13, 2010, 10:35:27 am
Well Im for one will enjoy riding withn you guys at the CABC !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Rynet on July 13, 2010, 12:14:41 pm
Wow thanks guys, respect !!!  You get my golden balls award  :thumleft:

I eventually managed to get a replacement DVD player and a more relaxed buddy to watch your DVD with and I watched the whole thing in one go and it was nail biting and beautiful and just plain lekker to watch. The beautiful artistic images, the informative chats , seeing the camaraderie between you guys , the amazing bike riding, hell in some places , wow I admire your bravery and resillience and grit ,unbelievable.  :o

The DVD was made all the more special for me, because you are my friends , but even so I still want your autographs    ;)

Well done guys, you were all so calm under pressure  :3some:, hehe Michiel nothing like your poor friend of the previous year's Lesotho trip >:D :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 13, 2010, 12:53:35 pm
The DVD was made all the more special for me, because you are my friends , but even so I still want your autographs   

Good idea Rynet , I will bring my copy with to the CABC to get autographed as well !  :mwink:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: neil123 on July 13, 2010, 02:25:30 pm
WOW AMAZING THANKS GUYS

Where can we purchase a DVD from ?


Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: MrBig on July 13, 2010, 03:20:30 pm
Thanks for FINALLY finishing this report  :biggrin:
Now where's that movie dammit!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Abel on July 13, 2010, 08:51:47 pm
Very impresive thankyou for this excelent report.Will be keeping an eye and ear out for THE DVD.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: JMOL on July 18, 2010, 07:14:26 pm
Wonderful. 

I enjoyed reading / watching the footage of this wonderful RR - manne van staal!!  ;D

Thanks for sharing and please let me know where I can buy a DVD.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 20, 2010, 09:10:59 am
hey Michiel , that DVD you gave me is the gift that gives on giving ! I had Jupiter over at my place on saturday evening and we had a great evening enjoying you guys adventure in Lesotho ! Thanx again !  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on July 20, 2010, 10:41:01 am
Awesome! Spread the "word". As photographers we are also artists and what would
art be without an audience to appreciate it?  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Hitman on July 20, 2010, 01:14:06 pm
Awesome! Spread the "word". As photographers we are also artists and what would
art be without an audience to appreciate it?  :thumleft:


....and appreciated we did!!!  :thumleft:
Thanks Michiel and Dustdevil for a fantastic RR. Hope there will be more in future!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: g1_ on July 20, 2010, 04:44:14 pm
Awesome! Spread the "word". As photographers we are also artists and what would
art be without an audience to appreciate it?  :thumleft:


What's the point in Fat B spreading the word, when it's impossible to get a copy :-P
I'm doing my trip in October and planning on filming, I want to see your DVD before then :)
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: michnus on July 20, 2010, 08:31:57 pm
The RR with the best pictures ever posted on this site, well done  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Brakenjan on July 21, 2010, 05:36:21 pm
The RR with the best pictures ever posted on this site, well done  :thumleft:

+1000  :thumleft:

Nogmaals dankie dudes - dit was 'n belewenis!!

(DD, onthou asb om 'n paar DVD's saam jambo toe te bring  :deal: )
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 22, 2010, 08:42:56 am


(DD, onthou asb om 'n paar DVD's saam jambo toe te bring  :deal: )
[/quote]
Jambo ??
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Brakenjan on July 22, 2010, 11:33:39 am


(DD, onthou asb om 'n paar DVD's saam jambo toe te bring  :deal: )
Jambo ??
[/quote]

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=47148.0    :3some:   :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 22, 2010, 12:11:26 pm


(DD, onthou asb om 'n paar DVD's saam jambo toe te bring  :deal: )
Jambo ??

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=47148.0    :3some:   :biggrin:
[/quote]
 :thumleft: Sorry ek het gedink dalk kom jy CABC toe ? Lucky bugger het jy 'n HP2 ook ?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on July 22, 2010, 02:06:14 pm
Awesome! Spread the "word". As photographers we are also artists and what would
art be without an audience to appreciate it?  :thumleft:


What's the point in Fat B spreading the word, when it's impossible to get a copy :-P
I'm doing my trip in October and planning on filming, I want to see your DVD before then :)

I am working night and day to get the video finished.
Michiels copy was only a rough cut and still needed lots of work before we can finally make it available to the rest of the guys.

I would not want to make solemn promises but the idea is to get it finished before the CABC.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on July 22, 2010, 02:19:36 pm
Awesome! Spread the "word". As photographers we are also artists and what would
art be without an audience to appreciate it?  :thumleft:


What's the point in Fat B spreading the word, when it's impossible to get a copy :-P
I'm doing my trip in October and planning on filming, I want to see your DVD before then :)

I am working night and day to get the video finished.
Michiels copy was only a rough cut and still needed lots of work before we can finally make it available to the rest of the guys.

I would not want to make solemn promises but the idea is to get it finished before the CABC.
Great ! Then I can get my "rough" copy and my finalised copy autographed ?? LOL ! ps .. het jy my e-mail gekry oor daai r100 ?
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Brakenjan on July 22, 2010, 07:26:05 pm

 :thumleft: Sorry ek het gedink dalk kom jy CABC toe ? Lucky bugger het jy 'n HP2 ook ?


Sou graag CABC toe wou kom - klink of dit great gaan wees  :thumleft:

Ja, wat kan ek sÍ? My vrou is baie goed vir my.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Brakenjan on July 22, 2010, 07:29:09 pm
I am working night and day to get the video finished.

Yeah right!! As dit nie vir jou forum time was nie het ons al laaaaaaankal daai video gekyk....   :peepwall:  :biggrin:

Sien uit om jou weer volgende week te sien DD!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: husky on July 25, 2010, 02:22:25 pm
That rocky outcrop just up from the bridge was the spot where the Triumph (not mine) decided to throw itself down resulting in a cloud of oil smoke and subsequent application of Pratley's. Tricky section, particularly after a shower of rain. Thank Ashley Thorne's Roads for Food initiative, it's a spectacular route.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on July 25, 2010, 05:10:07 pm
Thank Ashley Thorne's Roads for Food initiative, it's a spectacular route.

So there is a story to this route? Please tell us more.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on July 25, 2010, 06:45:19 pm
The intro to "Lesotho Calling", the video.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on July 26, 2010, 07:54:27 am
Thanks Dusty, looks cool! Somebody recently showed me how to make the video appear like this on the forum.

http://www.youtube.com/v/zW3fTIGvXeE&hl=en_US&fs=1
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Crossed-up on July 26, 2010, 08:10:54 am
Cool!  I look forward to the finished product.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Captain Zef on August 06, 2010, 08:58:30 pm
Excellent i love it.... ;D

Respect manne
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Brandt on August 06, 2010, 09:37:21 pm
Would love to buy one when you are finished!!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: madmike999 on August 09, 2010, 09:33:21 am
any reason why you guys never made any fires in Lesotho?

what a cool story,  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: thanks Michiel!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: husky on August 09, 2010, 01:50:55 pm
Ashley Thorne - roads for food.  I was with a few Durban guys at the Roof at Ramabanta some time ago (maybe 2005??, when Jade won after Elemer lost it near the finish) when Ashley casually drew in a few ballpoint lines on a map that he'd organised as hiking/4x4/bike trails in the area. They had scouted out tracks that with just some clever route finding and handwork turned into spectacular raods.  I remember 2; the one you roade and one down to the Senqu/Orange from Semonkong then up to the Qacha's Nek Rd.  I had ridden this years ago with a few lads from Matat. In thise days you could ride across the river in winter but now I think its boats only since the Katse Dam. SGB etc have reported on this.

At that time, the route you took was just a line of stones (which we battled to find and Mr Thorne was called some nasty names) down to the river and that stiff pass up towards Semonkong.

All really tough but beautiful routes for a ds bike, demanding except for enduro riders on any other bike. Ramabanta Lodge can advise as well as others on the forum.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on August 13, 2010, 08:31:40 pm
any reason why you guys never made any fires in Lesotho?

what a cool story,  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: thanks Michiel!

Good question!
One problem was that there wasn't much firewood even if we wanted to.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: LuckyStriker on August 17, 2010, 10:49:47 am
While this ride report is still rolling I need to ask advice/info...

Does anyone know the current state of "Plothond se pad"?


This is the section of road between Semonkong and the Senqu River to the South.

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/f03.jpg)

If I have my way we will be riding this section in December. Go visit the Morena at the bottom of that
"God forsaken mountain" and give her the picture I took. It will be good to know if "Plothond se pad"
is still in original condition and has not been fixed up by the Chinese.

Please let us know if you do.

I will be doing this route in the first week of January 2011. If you haven't already been there by then yet I will report back on it
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Mother on August 17, 2010, 01:35:15 pm
fark i did that route years ago first time up.... then like a dick thort it would be easier down.......on the piece/staggered line below semonkong to mokopung we had to help one another and use locals to push and pull the bike.....camel trophy style se moer.....hope for your sake its in better condition and we where on XRs and DRs those days.....ons het gekak.....i will never forget how i prayed to get out of there.... i was so farked from pulling the bike up the mountain
we where able to ride across the senquyane(little orange) but had to use alluminiam boats to cross the senque(orange river)

dit gaan n leka adventure wees .....just be prepared
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on August 17, 2010, 03:46:25 pm
Thanks for sharing your info Husky and Mother.  :thumleft: Helps to make better planning for the next trip.  :deal:

As far as I can tell the Chinese has since built a bridge over the Senqu River and the road to Semonkong has
been refurbished. One can now travel from Ongeluks Nek or Quatchas Nek to Semonkong with no difficulty.
Or that is what my information sugest.

Please let us know what you find there LuckyStriker. Will be interesting to see what the Chinese has done.

I'm still in the process of luring Dustdevil and the likes into another trippie end of the year. Will go specifically
to travel this section South of Semonkong since we missed out on it because of SACK's injury. Besides the usual
road, as indicated on the map I showed, there are some tracks leading off it on to a fainter track running parallel
but only Westwards, about 2-3km, and ends up directly in Semonkong. This track used to be indicated on Google
Earth's Tracks For Africa and was labelled "bikers and baboons only".

Been in e-mail contact with Peter from the Roof of Africa and although he haven't been on this "bikers and baboons only"
track in ten years he recons it can be done but not without a huff and a puff.

Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: IDR on September 16, 2010, 01:27:10 pm
Is this "Plothond se Pad" you okes are referring to?

(http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/9287/semonkong.jpg)

I'm looking at a route to / from the bash, and this fits in nicely with it - does ANYONE know what this is like?


EDIT: Ha, seems it is Plothond se pad... T4A says Off-road, but check this (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=10561.0) Ride report
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: g1_ on September 16, 2010, 01:44:53 pm
Michiel: do you mind having a look over a route through Lesotho I'm planning for next month. I haven't finalized it yet, but I'll stick it up in the planning form when I have.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Dustdevil on February 04, 2011, 07:59:58 pm
"Plothong se pad" turned out not to be as easy as originally thought. We did this route in the reverse meaning that we were going up where Plothond and crew came down.
although a small section of the road has been fixed it is already washed away badly in places.
This is for sure not the pillion and pannier box friendly road is was made out to be recently. Your pillion will divorce you before reaching Semongkong and your panniers will forever have their shape modified to resemble a soccer ball.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: ThunderBearer on May 19, 2011, 10:18:35 pm
Really cool - Thanks for sharing....
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on May 26, 2011, 09:35:38 am
I watched my dvd's that Michiel made about this trip again last night , and was just as captivated as the first time I watched it ! Man if only I wasn't such a kak rider !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Hanno @ Mad Macs on May 26, 2011, 03:40:14 pm
I sat here and read this whole report from beginning to end.

EPIC !

Would love to get a view of that famed DVD. Fantastic guys. I salute you !
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on May 28, 2011, 12:10:43 pm
Thanks again for the audience  :thumleft: I'm glad readers out there are still enjoying the story.

I am in the process of getting the right hard and software to bring the long awaited video into production.
It will happen, I promise. Will post something here to notify everybody.

Remember this picture I took down at the bottom of that valley?

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010132.jpg)

The story continues...
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: fat b on May 28, 2011, 12:43:27 pm
Now thats nice ! I wondered if that ''Morena'' would ever get her pic . Did you give it to her personally ? Did you go down there again with your bike ?  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Aprilian on May 28, 2011, 01:05:40 pm
Can one beg borrow or steal a cpy of the dvd or is there one available for ready cash....
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: ALLAWYN on June 06, 2011, 07:40:06 pm
Dit is nou die tweede keer dat ek die RR lees, en ek is gefrustreerd hier agter my computer, manne julle wys wat gedoen kan word met die regte "attitude" en deursettings vermoe, om aan te pas by omstandighede en paaie en terrein wat nie altyd uitwerk soos jy beplan het nie' ongelooflik en 'n voorerg om met julle te kan deel, baie dankie  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Kerritz on March 05, 2012, 02:05:57 pm
I sat here and read this whole report from beginning to end.

EPIC !

Would love to get a view of that famed DVD. Fantastic guys. I salute you !

EK ook....weet nie hoe dit gemis het nie!!

RESPECT en great stuff......awesome peekchas ook.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Just In Time on June 05, 2012, 04:45:06 pm
Just had 2 of the most unproductive days reading this EPIC ride report.  Truly inspirational,  so looking forward to a trip up Sani and out at Matat.  And all the fun in between. 

Well done for an excellent RR
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: chicco on June 05, 2012, 06:55:51 pm
wow wat n adventure.....

en dis nie net BMW wat so sukkel nie..... :mwink:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Vance on November 29, 2012, 12:11:08 pm
.
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: JMOL on December 01, 2012, 09:21:07 am
wow wat n adventure.....

en dis nie net BMW wat so sukkel nie..... :mwink:

Agree  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Just In Time on December 05, 2012, 11:15:05 am
An update on the roads in Lesotho.  A good mate of mine has been up there doing all the land survey work.  The road from Roma to Semongkong is in the process of being tarred, and should be completed during next year.  This is being built by EXR (Ex Rumdel).  The road from Semongkong to Quachas Neck is being done by the Chinese and as far as i know, it has been tarred all the way through. 
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: ALLEN I on November 30, 2013, 11:05:53 pm
And another epic is born. Thanks for sharing the great RR guys
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: BiG DoM on December 01, 2013, 06:24:53 am
An update on the roads in Lesotho.  A good mate of mine has been up there doing all the land survey work.  The road from Roma to Semongkong is in the process of being tarred, and should be completed during next year.  This is being built by EXR (Ex Rumdel).  The road from Semongkong to Quachas Neck is being done by the Chinese and as far as i know, it has been tarred all the way through. 
[/b]

Ja was there this time last year and they were probably half way finished - a MAJOR highway operation and a real shame as they have fooked up a beautiful ride and opened the back door to all types of twats and day trippers.  :'(
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Robust on January 21, 2017, 04:58:59 pm
So ...I have just spent (I was going to say wasted, but it definately wasn't) an entire saturday reading this RR seven years down the line.   WOW.   About that video?   If it is not available for purchase perhaps fat b could give me his address so i can arrange a "collection".   Dude, I'm sure you have watched it enough anyway  :ricky:
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Michiel on June 02, 2018, 04:10:38 am
Thanks again for the audience  :thumleft: I'm glad readers out there are still enjoying the story.

I am in the process of getting the right hard and software to bring the long awaited video into production.
It will happen, I promise. Will post something here to notify everybody.

Remember this picture I took down at the bottom of that valley?

(http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp14/michielkaapstad/Lesotho%202009/lesotho2010132.jpg)

The story continues...

Hello everyone. Yes, the years has indeed flown by. So much have changed. I don't even own an adventure bike anymore
but the sweet memories will last forever. It was such a good part of my life and the privilege to share it here.

Coming back to the promises I made in the post quoted: turns out it was a mountain we couldn't scale. Following the events
of this ride report we wanted to make another video, this time with a storyline, in returning the picture I took of the lady in the
valley, Mamponyane. Her name translates to "mother of give".

All dreams that never saw the light. Eight years down the line I do want to share a little moment that really shouldn't go to waste.
Ever since our second adventure I wanted to share the following sequence of events. Lesotho is infamous for its black mud
and here is why. (You got to watch this with sound.)

&t=24s
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: BiG DoM on June 02, 2018, 07:47:47 am
 :eek7: :o ::)

Yes the Lesotho black ice that becomes black porridge  >:D

Michiel I guess that vid is now out there in the muddy archives forever.  >:D
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: BlueBull2007 on June 03, 2018, 05:34:46 am
:imaposer: :thumleft: Mooi man!
Title: Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
Post by: Oubones on June 03, 2018, 06:17:07 am
Nee kyk, dit is nou sukkel op sy beste!
Met maats soos dit kan mens enigiets aanvat!
Dankie vir die deel.