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Offline Partyranger

Botswana fence ride
« on: July 19, 2021, 02:42:47 pm »
So lets start this first with a little background.

Quite some time ago it all started with one of our members, Xpat who posted a ride report and photos of tracks along the Botswana fence. 
After that many hours have been spent dreaming about this ride and staring at google earth and T4A maps.

Another big dream of mine is the Kalahari Rally, yet rally racing is an expensive game and has always been on a back-burner dreamers list.  I then got an opportunity to get involved with KRXX and plans were falling in place to join a KR training camp. 
Arrangements were being made and even less sleep was to be had trying to research as much as possible regarding rally riding, roadbook terminology and navigation.

Then our fellow countryman decided to put a spanner in the works and postponed my KR dreams again.
BUT, Swambo has already given her permissions, the weekend has already been planned and set aside to go and ride bike and have an amazing time. 
Come hell of high water I will go on this weekend.  Permits was organized but now new routes and plans had to be made due to not going to the KR event.

Once again, more sleepless nights and reading old ride reports to plan a route.  There are so many amazing places our members have been that it took me ages to get a plan and GPS tracks.
I was planning on flying solo, due to being unemployed I may just have an extra day or 3 on my hands, just in case my handlebars pointed in a different direction.  ;D

Then, 1 day before my planned departure my, brother from another mother, @Fielies_RSA called and said if I postpone my departure by 1 day he will come along.
And just like that it was time once again to restart the planning and changing routes.  We were now limited to a weekend ride and having to ensure that a heavy "tank" is able to join and complete the ride.

Now, once again enter Xpat and his Bots fence ride.  I asked Xpat to share his GPS track, so that I have a backup track to follow should we start running short on time.  I did not want to sleep outside in the winter. :o
Xpat's response was " I will send you my track on 1 condition, you share video footage of the GS attempting the route"   :o :o

So this triggered a few questions inside me.
1.The photos I've seen posted of this route did not look that hard??
2. Is it really that technical?
3. Should I warn Fielies before hand or just leave it as a surprise?
 :imaposer: :pot:



   
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Online roxenz

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2021, 03:11:40 pm »
This sounds like it's gonna be good!  :biggrin:
Ek sal laaik van n prentjie hier sit, maar is te f0kken onnosel...
 

Offline Partyranger

Re: Botswana fence ride Who is Partyranger and Fielies
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2021, 03:23:41 pm »
Some background on who is Partyranger and Fielies and our bikes for this intrepid adventure.

I've been on the forum for quite some time however I've only really been reading and not posting much.
Fielies on the other hand is relatively new on the forum.  He joined for the 4x4 event at Hennops offroad..

Partyranger is on a '09 KTM 690 with virtually brand new Dunlop 908RR rear tyre.  Ready to eat the sand and shred the dirt.
Fielies is on a very old (i dont know the year model but i think its almost as old as me) BMW GS with a Karoo 3 tyre. 
Now rumour has it that this tyre is even older than me.  At least I believe it has seen more miles than most BMW's on the market.

Now, we all know the rumours of the heavy tanks and how the GS stands for Geen Sand.
We've also heard the rumour of Xpat's comment for pics how the GS attempted the route.
We've seen the tyre of choice the GS brought to this challenge.

Considering above mentioned, the questions are:
1. Did the GS complete the adventure?  :pot:
2. Did @Fielies_RSA enjoy the ride?  >:D
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Offline geopat

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2021, 03:27:16 pm »
After taking a mate on a gs into the sand in Namibia I had to let out an evil laugh at expats response
 

Offline OomD

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2021, 03:49:27 pm »
That's one nice looking 690. :thumleft:

Following along on the radio...
 
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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2021, 03:51:09 pm »
Sub!! :thumleft:
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Offline Partyranger

Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2021, 04:02:49 pm »
So Friday rolls around and were all packed and ready to go.   This was one of the longest days of my life because Fielies has to work unitl 1pm.
Nothing for me to do but pack and repack my bike. As if I haven't been packing the entire week.  :biggrin:
After all, how many times can you pack 2 Tshirts, Socks, underwear and jacket.  (all of our clothes fit into the tank bags, so we weren't heavy laden.)

Finally the time comes and I can leave my house.
We meet up at the Garage, fill up and finally get underway.  Friday was actually just a commute with a little bit of gravel thrown in just to loosen up and get used to the bikes with luggage on.

Destination: Zeerust.Via Koster.
Inevitably you cannot escape the tar bits, and due to our late departure we also cannot get too adventurous and waste time.  We need to reach Zeerust in time to still order dinner.

The gravel roads were mildly entertaining and apart from a small fright in the form of a vehicle coming around a corner the miles passed rather uneventful.
I realized my front tank does not drain into the main and had to stop to vent the tanks. (seems as if the breather vent locks up)
The ride is still pretty and it felt amazing just to be out of the city and on the open road knowing you're heading for a destination other than home.

We checked into a lodge in Zeerust and due to level4 they were not at all interested in even discarding of a few beers into a trashcan or anything.  So we settled for a few expensive cokes and a bucket of ice.  (Luckily our bikes brought some anti-rust treatment so we could indulge in a few dirty cokes.)  ;)

This was the first night of the cold front which had passed Cape town recently and dumped some snow.  It was chilly to say the least and I was glad we had a room and not a tent.  :biggrin:
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Offline Chukudeer

Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2021, 05:40:01 pm »
Nice  :thumleft:
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Offline Partyranger

Re: Botswana fence ride Day 2 Rama to Derdepoort
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2021, 06:24:21 pm »
Day 2 we started leisurely.

I had checked Xpats track previously and saw they started the track at 11am and finished at 17;30 so in my mind we had plenty time to first eat breakfast and then start at 9am. (later I realized my miscalculation, They were on the fence at 11, we were still in Zeerust.)

After a breakfast outside on our very cold porch we headed out.... or maybe not so quick.  The BMW wont start, apparently he does not like the cold. :lol8:
Luckily all it needed was n tow. ... Is this a bad omen? will we have to do this in deep sand?  :-\

On our way to the fence there is a liaison of some tar and dirt where we passed the luckiest mongoose.  He managed to do a hand brake turn in cloud of dust and passed between the 2 bikes unscathed.

Finally we turned off on the Botswana fence track just after 10... I am chuffed, at least we made it before schedule so we have some time to spare, I tell myself.
It's quite a nice 2 spoor track with minimal sand which is great to get us in the swing of riding smaller tracks.

I am loving it and start pushing a little faster and faster.  This is what the 690 was made for, I am in my element and loving it.
I stop to get some footage of the GS on the track after which I jump out to try catch the GS again.
Mere seconds after pulling out the first sandy corner catches me and I promptly head straight for a wait a bit thorn tree.  I mumble a few colorful words and remind myself about "jy gaan jou gat sien as jy windgat wil wees"

But now that the first fall is done and dusted we can go on and enjoy the ride.  Lets hope it's the one and only  :biggrin:

We stop where Xpat's track splits off from the fence, after a few minutes discussion it's decided that we shall not be over adventurous on this first trip and rather just follow the track.  We can come back on another trip to do more exploration.
With that we split off and follow Martin's track.  It is only after this that we decide to deflate the tires a little bit.  We deflated the BMW to 25 Psi or about 1.8bar, while I drop the KTM to about 1.5bar.
This was still to hard especially for the 908RR rear which has super hard sidewalls, but we did not know how much rocks are still ahead so decided these pressure should be OK. :xxbah:

David Attenburough also wanted to stop and admire the beautiful aloes.  So following in the proverbial Xpat footsteps we had to take a few photos.  ::)

By this stage it was already starting to get warm and we can see lots of mountains ahead.
Xpat's words are running through my head all the time and I start to get nervous that we may run out of daylight, we still have a long way to go.
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Offline Partyranger

Re: Botswana fence ride Skilpadshek area
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2021, 07:22:44 pm »
The ride continued quite uneventful for a number of kms. We are moving closer to the ever looming mountains.

It feels like a lifetime of anticipation  expecting a big climb around every corner.
However even with this brewing in the back of my head I am loving the riding.
It's an amazing mix of 2 track which changes from hard pack to loads of small rocks like crusher stone.
There are so many tracks in the area so we had to backtrack a few to times to correct navigation errors.

The GS is hanging in there and although not as fast as the 690 we keep the pace going and I am surprised that every time I stop the GS is only a minute or so behind. 
I am smiling from ear to ear and whenever Fielies pulls in next to me his smile might not be AS big as mine but at least I see a smile and I know he is still enjoying it immensely.

Then suddenly, in front of the mountains lies a tar road. :o  We hit the tar to skilpadshek borderpost.
And the luck seems to be on the side of the GS, there is a concrete road up the side of the mountain to a cell tower.
We stop for a quick bite to eat (its 12:30) and to contemplate the track ahead, I see rocks, Lots of rocks and more mountains beyond the rocks.

The rocks directly in front of us lies in the form of a steep decent strewn with coconut sized loose rock, but unlike coconuts or tennisballs in dewildt these rocks are sharp. :o
Not planning on turning around we head out into what now really feels like the unknown.

I realize half way down that there is no way we will be able to get the GS back UP this hill if there is no other way out.  ::)
We stop at the bottom of the hill for a breather and to fix a bag the GS lost. The rocks caused a strap to chafe, luckily we saw the bag fall this time.

The GS made it down with flying colors and a look of pure concentration on fielies' face as he comes past indicates this was not a walk in the park, but he does manage a nervous smile after a few minutes.  :ricky:
 
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Offline Partyranger

Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2021, 08:08:48 pm »
With the downhill done and dusted and little adrenaline in the veins the trail turned into sheer bliss.

I was having the ride of my life with the most amazing 2 spoor track ever.  Mostly hardpack with just a hint of sand.
I was waxing lyrical in my helmet with thoughts of "sweet dreams are made of these" with the beautiful base rifts of the 690 and wings exhaust in the background.

It felt like no one can wipe the smile off my face due to pushing the pace along tracks and resulting adrenaline high.
Suddenly I remembered there used to be a GS behind me at a stage this morning and the smile faded waiting for Fielies to catch up.  Lo and behold he was only a few minutes behind me.
Well done bud, see the GS can ride dirt.  :biggrin:
Looking at the video footage its evident that we both thought this section was amazing due to both cameras we recorded the exact same stretches of the trail.

Then I realized I had a dreaded and known bolt failure on the 690.  Exactly the same bolt Xpat had broken on 1 of his previous trips.
The 690 navigation tower mounts to a bolt which also holds the radiator and front fairing.
Lucky for me Fielies had 2 straps which I could use to strap the nav tower bracket as tight as possibly to the frame to try and prevent excessive vibration which could result in a broken radiator.
I also added a strap around the top of the nav tower for additional support.
Luckily this was not my first rodeo and I had the whole debacle sorted in less than an hour.

After the repair it was only a short ride to Ngotwane dam and THAT IS WHERE THE FUN STARTED.  (for me at least) >:D >:D
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Offline Avontier

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2021, 08:26:14 pm »
Sub
 

Offline skydiver

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2021, 08:47:59 pm »
I like your writing style
Looking forward to the rest
 
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2021, 07:29:57 am »
 :sip:
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the the couch
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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2021, 08:12:47 am »
This looks like great riding!

About 20 years ago, I did the short bit from Khuis, just above vanZylsrus, to just above Askham, along the tweespoor on the Molopo river.

Problem was that this track was flooded, and for much of the route, the XT500 ran with it's points cover under water.

For those that knows XT500's, that is water above your clutch housing.

Not a single misfire, nothing.

But it was difficult riding, as you could not see what you are riding on, or over, or into. :eek7:  But memorable!
 

Offline Tampan

Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2021, 08:29:21 am »
Lekker, ek ry saam...
 

Offline Kamanya

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2021, 08:39:31 am »
Now that's a fine way to start a ride report.
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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2021, 09:27:51 am »
This is so on my to do list, maybe later this year..... @Halfdaft ?
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Offline Partyranger

Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2021, 10:02:04 am »
This looks like great riding!

About 20 years ago, I did the short bit from Khuis, just above vanZylsrus, to just above Askham, along the tweespoor on the Molopo river.

Problem was that this track was flooded, and for much of the route, the XT500 ran with it's points cover under water.

For those that knows XT500's, that is water above your clutch housing.

Not a single misfire, nothing.

But it was difficult riding, as you could not see what you are riding on, or over, or into. :eek7:  But memorable!

This is the area which I wanted to go explore when the plan was still to do the solo ride.  The sand and tracks down that way looks epic however I think taking a friend on a GS there would simply be sadistic.  >:D
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Offline LeonDude

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Re: Botswana fence ride
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2021, 10:35:39 am »
Sub
Ride reports, books and more on my website.
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