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Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #160 on: September 21, 2013, 07:11:29 pm »
It's true, I do respond rather well to a light whipping.

I just got distracted by this saucy minx...

Quote


hang 5....
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #161 on: September 21, 2013, 07:32:44 pm »
It’s fair to say I was kuking myself that morning. Scary adventures do exactly that – they scare me. I do them anyway cause in the end they’re always brilliant and the adrenaline is good for my hair. But heading in, I’m a big baby. I would have been useless in war. Unlike the Midge – he was in the SAS. In Afghanistan he was in the Airbourne Midget Division where they’d shoot small people out of cannons armed to the teeth (literally, their arms had to be at their side to form a tight seal so they had to hold their weapons in their mouths at launch time). They notched up massive kill counts before they even landed.

A tight seal:



Uptight Seal:




So yes, I was more than a little nervous that morning. It was compounded by the fact that I lost kitty bitch that morning. As I said before, I’m a second place specialist but things went wrong this morning and it felt like a bad omen. The upside was that in terms of admin, there is pretty much zero that can be done on the beach - tactically, a good one to lose.

The reality was that this turned out to be the most chilled day of riding we had had up to that point. The implications for getting it wrong, however, were not.

So we woke up here…


and then discovered these…


A wild dog had been sniffing around our campsite that night looking for food. We saw him and his mates later in the day on top of a dune – pretty sweet. Given the miserable state of our food situation by this stage, I’m fairly confident he left hungry.

And then we were off…. For summa this:


and with a wee bit of this….


This had all the makings of Another Epic Day




« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 07:38:42 pm by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline Offshore

Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #162 on: September 21, 2013, 07:45:43 pm »
 ;D bring it on!
 

Offline jimjim

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #163 on: September 21, 2013, 09:35:31 pm »
Brilliant!!
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.  - W. C. Fields
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #164 on: September 22, 2013, 01:17:26 am »
It’s very hard to describe the experience of setting off on a motorcycle, up a beach, in a place that feels like the moon, to ride through a place you’ve been dreaming about for a year or so. But I'll have a go. My dawn jitters and kitty bitch gloom lifted with the morning fog and pretty sharpish too, cause cruising up a beach on a bike is FKN BRILLIANT! And not just cause it’s normally illegal. You can spank along at great place, the beach is smooth and predictable, and the scenery is second to none.

We were riding right down on the hard stuff drifting in and out with the waves, ostensibly to find the hardest sand to ride on but more cause it's a super fun way to ride. We hadn’t seen a hint of another human since Foz and between us decided that going to a place once a year where you don’t see a hint of another human would be a Very Good Idea.

The first hour or so we ambled up the beach like this:



And this:



And (I know I’ve shown this already how but cool is this shot!) this:


   
And this (obligatory photographer’s static bike shot):



Then we stopped:



And gathered round to discuss this:



In the distance you’ll see sand dunes. Now I’m sure, dear reader, you’re aware that the infamous part of this stretch is where the dunes drop down pretty much straight into the sea. Before that section starts, however, there are these cheeky little spits of sand that run out, parallel to the beach. If you’re not a super alert navigator (none of us are super alert navigators) and you’re riding north, you’ll ride out on these spits, only to discover that you need to turn at the end and ride all the way back on the inside of the spit. Because we’re such magnificent planners, we didn’t have enough gas to do too many tour-de-spit’s, so we donned our Super Alert Navigator hats and tried to spot them. The pause in that pic was for a suspected sighting.

“Ah ha!”, said we, “we have cheeky land spit.”
The land spit said nothing.
“We will bypass this nefarious obstacle by riding directly towards the dunes. The dunes are our homing beacon.”
 “They are the Star in the East to the three wise men” we didn’t add.

So Max set off, making a beeline for the dunes.

Aside – why is a straight line referred to as a beeline? Any observer of nature will know that a bee flies in a particularly meandering pattern. There can be no poorer example of a direct path than that which a bee follows. I bet the Angolan’s don’t have silly sayings like that.

Back to Max. He heads off at great pace, and then slows to a less great pace. There’s huge plume of mud coming off his back wheel and he’s inching along at walking pace – taps wiiiiide open. This was going to be trickier than expected. The Midget and I quickly decided that this wasn’t Buttercup territory so we took a proper bee line trying to avoid the Augustus Gloop.

It’s hard to avoid the attentions of Augustus Gloop. If you’re food.




I would ride ahead and find myself getting bogged down, then leap off and frantically direct the midget this way or that. The wee man was doing a remarkable job given his lack of saddle time but he had certainly never ridden anything like this so keeping the bike upright was taking 300% of his prodigious focus. There was no room for navigating, he just put his head down and followed my tracks. If I’d ridden off a cliff he would have come right after me, sweet little lemming that he is. If I didn’t get off my bike and leap about screaming “THAT WAY – HIGHER FKN UP!” he’d just ride straight into the back of my (stationary) bike.  

On one of these occasions I safely got him onto harder sands and he chugged off comfortably. I must say I felt rather good about myself doing this – like a shepherd tending his little midget sheep.

I felt less good about myself when I hopped back on the bike and promptly buried the rear wheel:



By this time the Midge had disappeared out of view so there was naught to do but have a pee and wait for Max.



It did occur to me that I would be in a right spot of bother if I was on my own but that seemed like a bad line of thought to pursue so I resumed scanned the horizon for Max. Who pulled in shortly thereafter flying like a rally champ, clearly quite pleased with himself for mastering this gloop. I’d say possibly even smug.

Smug mug or not, I was pleased to see the fat panda and with some mutual pushing and shoving and gratuitous throttle work my little beauty popped back out and was good to go. “Happy days” said I, and roared off up the beach in search of the Midget who could have got himself into god knows what sort of trouble by this stage.

I did notice that my mirrors were devoid of headlights but Max stops a lot for pics so didn’t think much of it. When I finally caught the Midget we stopped and waited for the regroup. Which didn’t happen because Max, not to be outdone, had done this:



A stout effort I’m sure you’ll agree. Were it not for his panniers I’m sure he’d have struck oil. I might add that this was in EXCACTLY the same place as where I’d got stuck. Ahem...

More digging and pushing and shoving and spraying of sand and he was out too, and we were off. Again.

At this point we were all a little wary of the Augustus and none more so than the Midget. In the pic below, the dark stuff is the gloop (yes I know it doesn’t look like it and I’m sure you could fly through it if you just opened it up a liiiittle more. Make sure you’re filming). The light stuff is sand, obviously. Soft sand. With lots of ridges and old tracks and all manor of tricks n treats half hidden by the wind.



Neither of these were too inviting for the midget but buttercup was clearly not going to handle the gloop so high road it was. He ploughed on gamely but this was tough going. Buttercup’s front wheel was not tracking in a beeline. He fell once, then twice, then thrice, the third time twisting his knee a bit and resulting in a pair of rather wide eyes. I was riding behind him (that’s how he likes it), having to balance the humour of a harmless sand fall with the fear of something serious going wrong. And with each successive fall we were tending toward the latter.

The Midge was getting tired, but we were also running out of time. In our one and only act of meticulous planning, we had tide charts for Southern Angola so we sort of knew how much time we had. With each fall and stuck bike, we were cutting it finer and finer. Now I possibly have a tendency for over concern when there is a risk of my bike getting washed out to sea and me going without any dinner but I tried to contain my anxiety and told him to chill, take a rest and try find his groove. 5 deep yogic breaths, harmonic earth balance restored, he hopped back on and roared off riding with the skill of a man at least twice his height. He was looking brilliant… until he wasn’t. One second he was hammering it like Coma, the next he was face down on the sand. Unmoving.

My over-concern tendencies so straight to DEFCON 1 in situations like these. I charge over to him and help him get right side up.
“Dood, are you OK?”
“I face planted in the sand” he says.
I feel confident saying that this was the most superfluous statement I will ever hear. The peak of his helmet was shattered, with just one shard sticking straight up like a unicorn. His whole face was covered with sand, it was in his eyes, up his nose, and he could barely breath for the amount that was in his mouth. He had a wheelbarrow of sand down the front of his jacket. He stacked so fast he didn’t even have time to put his hands in front of his face before making contact with the floor.

All this Grand Adventure and we hadn’t even made it to the doodsakker proper. And from what we could tell, the tide had turned…




« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 01:35:10 am by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline JC

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #165 on: September 22, 2013, 02:08:05 am »
gogogogo, don't stop now

some motivation:

 

Offline Kaboef

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #166 on: September 22, 2013, 06:41:48 am »
Brilliant entertainment!

Hurry up!

And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."

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Offline adventure hunter1

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #167 on: September 23, 2013, 12:00:23 am »
A truly inspirational read so far. Keep it up........ we are waiting!
The early bird catches the worm.....but the second mouse gets the cheese.
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #168 on: September 23, 2013, 08:34:35 am »
yep, yep, it's coming. I just got terribly distracted by that camel cleavage.... saucy stuff....
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #169 on: September 23, 2013, 08:42:49 am »
Augustus Gloop indeed! And his demise...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/_J-st0WDeag" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/_J-st0WDeag</a>

I don't want to interrupt the Flying Camel's flow, but the thing about riding around Angola is that one gets utterly enveloped, consumed - some may even say mired - in the sinking sand that is obsession with a motorcycle trip as fabulous as this one. And occasionally one forgets to remember that not everyone has a complete handle on what it is that one is talking about.

So... to backtrack a little. We had woken up on this pretty little beach and were planning a day's route that looked something like this:



Looks like a happy little jaunt up the beach, and indeed it is, and can be. But there is something standing in your way called The Doodsakker. Apparently this is a military term and is quite straight forward - bomb the living shit out of a tract of land (where you're hoping the enemy will be) and there will be nobody left standing, hence: Dead Man's Acre.

And the reason this little 80km stretch of beach is called the 'Doodsakker' is because of a unique combination of big tides, flat beach and huge, very steep dunes. Get it right - a perfect combination of full moon and low tide - and you'll be presented with a lovely 5-10m wide strip of beach to blast your way up. Get it wrong - just about any other time - and the angry sea will be bashing into the dunes with calamitous force and you WILL be on the wrong end of a mammoth hiding. Note call to Outsurance: "I was just riding along this 'road' and this big wave came and took my bike. I swear... No, I don't have it any more.... [cough] that's why I'm calling you."

See, these dunes are like no other - they are monstrous and have very steep sides. You'd think you could just pull the bike up and wait out the tide, and you may be able to in some spots. But in others they descent like steep cliffs into the sea. Complete with sand-avalanche-waiting-to-happen. It's an exciting day out.

And it's also a very beautiful one.





The wildlife along this stretch, untainted by human footprint, is truly extraordinary.

Augustus was filling you in on the gloop. Well, here's a better picture of it.



What I don't have images of, cause I was riding through it at pace trying not to get stuck or fall off, were the tracks around these little lagoons which lined the side of the dunes. Pretty little temporary lakes, filled with flamingos and jumping fish. But a truly exciting prospect to navigate on a motorcycle. Consider a 1m-wide slot of very deep, soft sand between a steep dune and a lake. Get it wrong in either direction and there was going to be trouble.

I decided there was only one approach - on the pegs in second and third gear with the throttle pinned and no stopping for scenery. The bike was bucking left and right (did I mention the track was also winding severely left and right?), groaning and roaring at the effort of it all and no doubt drinking fuel like a prize college beer team. It went on for about half an hour, and then opened out, at last.



I got off and took some pictures, waiting for the Midge and his chaperone Camel. Fifteen minutes ticked by.... nothing. I became concerned, but was also running out of fuel, so there was no riding back. I decided to walk back a bit and see what I could see.





Another half an hour, and still no sign of them...

Offline heti

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #170 on: September 23, 2013, 08:54:50 am »
Keep it coming!!!!!!   :deal: :laughing4:
 

Offline A/T

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #171 on: September 23, 2013, 10:00:42 am »
Great RR! Cant wait for the doodsakker part!
 :spitcoffee:
 

Offline pietas

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #172 on: September 23, 2013, 10:11:18 am »
Lekker!
Groot berge en lang grond paaie
 

Offline Hammerhead

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #173 on: September 23, 2013, 10:39:55 am »
Brilliant!!!
Keep it coming!!
 

Offline J-dog

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #174 on: September 24, 2013, 07:52:09 am »
riveting.
 

Offline J-dog

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #175 on: September 24, 2013, 08:07:46 am »
Please post more pictures of the midget. There's a certain morbid fascination about him.
 

Offline Betsy

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #176 on: September 24, 2013, 10:10:07 am »
yes i have to say I find myself strangely attracted to this wild half man. Did you say this was only his second ride ever!!! hmm yummy. :drif:
I did some digging around for more information on this mysterious midget and i think i may have found a picture of him in his military days?
Cowgirls ride full throttle
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #177 on: September 24, 2013, 11:47:09 am »
So here we are... at the very threshold of the mythical Doodsakker. The eater of bikes and humans. The highlight of the Most High-Lit adventures, in possibly the best motorcycling country on the planet. And we were about to tiptoe tenderly into its clutches, tread respectfully across its threshold in the fragile hope of being allowed through unscathed, like devotees bowing before Kali the Destroyer.

Except it could have been different. We could have been charging through, standing on our seats, harpoons at the ready, bellowing the throaty wail of a thousand Viking marauders setting upon a sleepy Scottish village full of gorgeous untainted virgins. The missing ingredient was our Heroic Leader of the Banshees, King Thomas.

I've done just about all my biking with this crazy man. When Camelman took me on my first ride he was there, on his first ride on a rented fugly green monster.



And we took our first solo rides together, and crashed borrowed bikes (including Camel's pride and joy) together:



We learned to ride sand together...



and embarked on a heroic, 5000km cross-country trip as our first real bike ride, rank amateurs with no clue whatsoever what we were doing.



Thomas owned a beautiful (to him at least) KLR because it was an honest, reliable and simple machine, and can be fixed in the bush by a tractor mechanic with a rock and a piece of string. He's a simple-at-heart fellow and its beauty appealed to him.



I was there with him in the Tankwa, during moments of motoring self expression



and triumph



and even just plain idiocy



I even managed to talk him into dressing up his KLR in fancy clothes to take it to the desert





for his 40th birthday



And while I am a particular fellow, with a love of mechanical things and a hardly hidden petrolhead streak,



Thomas is simply a hooligan, who likes to let it all hang out and just ride





And ride we did. Here, there, everywhere. Back to the desert in fancy clothes







That KLR was a hero, just like its master. (And no, don't ask me to tell your about the week it spent underwater in a river).

I must blame myself. I planted that seed. I got him excited about fancy toys. He's a simple man... he never should have been looking at dem fancy toys. Especially not with his KLR, kick-it-leave-it-in-the-gutter-then-ride-it-hard mentality. KTM's are uptight little bitches. They need love, caring and fettling or they turn round and bite you in the face.

And now here we were, short of a fun leader, missing our totem pole extraordinaire. The much dreamed of Doodsakker was going to be crept through rather than be attacked with a tomahawk. And we were so, so , so much the worse for it.

I present an ode to a fallen comrade. The MIA King Thomas.... may we ride together again one day.



<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/LnvElNEXQB8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/LnvElNEXQB8</a>

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #178 on: September 24, 2013, 11:51:59 am »
And because I'm a little behind on the video... here's an update from a few days back...

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/xC8x9hiVkTU" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/xC8x9hiVkTU</a>

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #179 on: September 24, 2013, 12:09:31 pm »
yes i have to say I find myself strangely attracted to this wild half man. Did you say this was only his second ride ever!!! hmm yummy. :drif:
I did some digging around for more information on this mysterious midget and i think i may have found a picture of him in his military days?

Dear god, Betsy. You are so on it! How did you discover this? You are either (a) a very good journalist - do you work for The Sun? (b) a witch or (c) work for the NSA.

Since you know this much already, it's probably safe to just come out and confess that The Midge is in fact The Highlander. One and the same. Here he is in 1352 after defeating an army on his own and shortly before becoming King of England.