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Offline Dusty

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2014, 02:53:13 pm »
Every now and again a RR comes along and while reading it, reality fades away and it feels like I am there riding the sand. This is one of those ride reports, thank you    :thumleft:
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
 

Offline mtr89

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2014, 06:02:48 pm »
Really enjoying this RR,keep it coming. :thumleft:
Oh,nice bike by the way.
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Offline alanB

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2014, 07:25:49 pm »
Love the video, just looks like such a nice place to ride!  Love the soundtrack as well who's the band?

Could you post your GPS tracks when you get a chance.

I'm going to have to go to Kubu soon!
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Offline alanB

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2014, 07:29:50 pm »
Quote
Tenere weight: I did not weight it but I would assume that it weights the standard weight plus all the stuff added - bash plate, central stand, pannier racks etc. I know that the main objection to Tenere is its weight and it would be nice if it would be 10-20 kg less, but this is not a major factor for me and for this kind which combines long distances on tar, sand and rocks its fine - I have TE630 for technical adventures.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts at the end of the pro's and cons of the two bikes.

Also agree wholeheartedly on the need to carry lots of water in those sorts of places.  That's the only weakness of my current setup is that I only have 3L in my daypack.  Need to put some thought into that.
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Offline 0012

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2014, 08:35:52 pm »
Loving this RR!
 :ricky:


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:(    Yamaha XT1200Z - written off - R.I.P.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2014, 09:19:41 pm »
Thank you all for support. I'm not going to manage another instalment tonight - will try to post two tomorrow evening.

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2014, 09:33:31 pm »
Love the video, just looks like such a nice place to ride!  Love the soundtrack as well who's the band?

Could you post your GPS tracks when you get a chance.

I'm going to have to go to Kubu soon!

The soundtrack is duet 'Lately' from Isobel Cambell & Mark Lanegan. I can try to post the GPS track later - the problem is too big for WD limit, will try to figure out if I can somehow split it into smaller parts. Alternatively I can send it to you via email.

I will try compare TE and XT once done with the report.

Offline alanB

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2014, 06:25:35 am »
Love the video, just looks like such a nice place to ride!  Love the soundtrack as well who's the band?

Could you post your GPS tracks when you get a chance.

I'm going to have to go to Kubu soon!

The soundtrack is duet 'Lately' from Isobel Cambell & Mark Lanegan. I can try to post the GPS track later - the problem is too big for WD limit, will try to figure out if I can somehow split it into smaller parts. Alternatively I can send it to you via email.

I will try compare TE and XT once done with the report.

Thanks

If you save the GPS trac as a .gdb its usually a lot smaller file size, dont know if that helps
Husqvarna '09 610TE - Great Bike!

I just finished a SciFi novel Extinction: Task Team, download the preview.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2014, 11:40:22 pm »
Day 4 - 5: Maun

I have planned one day off in Maun to get more definite information on the cutlines and make final call about where to from there. The options were wide open:
Option 1: original plan to circumvent the Okavango delta from north via cutlines through Kwai village and Seronga. From there quick dash to Kaokoland through Bushmanland in Namibia (Richtersveld was at this stage already out). This was still the most prefered option and the key point for decision was the water-level of the Selinda river.
Option 2: Clintonís recommendation to take the 19th parallel cutline from Mababe Chobe gate east to the Nata - Kasane tar, sleep-over in Pandamatenga and then take the Old Hunters Road on the Bots/Zim border up to Kasane. From there - if I can get in - go Zimbabwe. This was close second.
Option 3: chicken route - option 1 except for the circumventing the delta from north - i.e. head from Maun on tar along the southern shore of delta and take dirt across the border in Dube. Definitely the least desirable.

I also wanted a mechanic to check the brakes and either bleed them or replace the brake fluid. But it was Sunday and all workshops were closed. Telling sign of a good trip is when you lose sight of what day of the week it is. And the iron rule is that if you need to arrange something urgently, its Sunday (or Friday in a Muslim country). Never one to miss an opportunity for procrastination I decided to stay one more day and sort out the brakes on Monday.

In the meantime the focus was on intelligence gathering. Iíve positioned myself strategically in the bar using variety of beverages for cover. The bar was perfect for two reasons. It overlooks the Audi entrance and therefore lures in the human traffic for interrogation. Itís also the only spot for the electronic data gathering as you may occasionally get wifi signal if you sit just right and do not move too much. The downloading speed brought back nice memories of loading ZX Spectrum games from magnetic tape in the 80s. But the camp was very quiet and there was nothing else to do so I searched for brake bleeding instructions and waited patiently sipping on the beer and swiping the flies away.

The patience eventually paid off. First, the camp manager walked in and apologised for the day before. He thought about it and realized that he does not have a clue whether cutlines go through parks or not. He advised to check in town with the Bots Wildlife authority and Kwai Development (or Conservation?) Fund, so I pencilled that into my busy Monday schedule. He also told me that it has been raining heavily for month or two already - so much for dry season, not a good sign for Selinda crossing.

Next, 4 or 5 muddied 4x4s rushed in and screeched to halt, but not before the doors flew open and people fell out shouting ĎBeer!í. After they cleared their throats I swooped in to check where they came from. And sure enough,they came from Kasane via the 19th parallel cutline - thank you universe! Not to push too hard too soon I let them settle in - they looked ready for little R&R and one of their cars had to be towed with an alternator problem, so they had a work to do. They were a big group from Durban and surrounds and have been on the round trip through northern Botswana.

I continued to man the waterhole throughout the day and intercepted them one by one as they came for inevitable re-fill . Their accounts sometimes contradicted but eventually I pieced together the following: They came all the way west from the Nata / Kasane road via the 19th parallel cutline in 3 days. They did the longest part - 200 km of cutline from tar to about 1 km east of the Mababe gate, in one day. But the track stopped there (they could see ahead the flags on the gate through their binoculars but could not reach it) and they couldnít find any alternative so spent most of the next two days hacking their own track through the bush and cotton mud to the Mababe village (about 30 - 40 km south) and from there took the public dirt road to Maun (about 130 km south-west). I was surprised by them not finding the track to the village as there was one indicated on the map and Clinton told me that there is one. Somehow, despite our efforts, we were not able to decipher their GPS tracks so I had to figure that one out on my own. Otherwise the cutline according to them was reasonably easy straight sandy track - just watch out for elephants that are everywhere and their dug-outs some of which could swallow a car. They also did (or tried) the Old Huntersí Road but said that the cotton mud was horrific and nobody goes there.

To get some info on how to bleed the brakes Iíve started threat on WD. Lecap and Andy660 kindly replied with the instructions, but Lecap recommended to find someone who knows what they are doing, or rather leave it alone (as they were still working most of the time) and just pack some brake fluid for emergency.

By the end of the day the route seemed clear - with heavy rains for at least past two months my chances of getting across Selinda were really slim, so it was north-east to Kasane via the 19th parallel and Iíll decide there between Zim and Nam.

Audi Campsite:


Hornbills trying to look cool:




Middle aged Eastern European trying to look cool (sincere apologies for this redneck porn, I do not have any nice african scenery or animals pictures for this instalment, so this ape will have to do):



Next morning was Monday and I headed to town to sort things out. First I looked for mechanic, but it was December 23rd and all workshops were already closed for holidays. To have a backup for emergency Iíve bought little plastic bottle with hose for brake bleeding and half a litre of brake fluid. Next I went to enquire about the cutlines to the Wildlife authority and the Kwai Development Fund. None of the people there felt itís off limit - except the parts in the national parks. I did not get a sense that they really knew what Iím talking about, but it was good enough for me to justify that Iím not trespassing. Last, I went to resupply with water, food and petrol. Iíve filled up my tank as well as additional 7 liters in the military green collapsible jerry can. If everything went OK, the next petrol station in Pandamatenga was 400 km away which I should be able just about to make on the tank. The additional 7 litres were for emergency should I need to turn back or get lost.

Iíve spent rest of the day in the campsite by the pool chilling. The Durban gang, who took day off to recoup from their road building up north, invited me for a dinner of potje. I did not want to abuse their hospitality after all the help I got from them, but they insisted and realizing that Iím just being an asocial dick and I accepted gladly. The potje was fantastic and we chatted a bit about our travels. One gentleman in the group has ridden with his son, who was also part of the group, on two KLRs from Durban to London (or Dublin?). It was quite interesting to compare our experiences. They were very unimpressed with Africa and ended up shipping their bikes from Kenya (due to some conflict up north) to Italy to finish their trip through Europe - which they loved. Iím exact opposite could not care less for Europe and loved every minute in Africa - to the point that it got stuck with me.

After dinner and farewell, I packed my stuff for the early start next morning and hit the bed. For a while I could not sleep as I was contemplating wisdom of this whole thing. I was to ride solo through at least 200 km of no-mans land in Kalahari in the middle of Botswanian summer with big 5 and all the other african crickets for company. I had no satellite phone and no GPS tracks to follow (except the ones Iím going to be making should I need to retrace back) and one waypoint from Clinton. The bike was running crap and the brakes were failing here and there.

Iíve done similar shit before - Kaokoland riverbeds, Flat Dogs to Petauke in Zambia, crossed few parks in Eastern Africa, but somehow this one felt a notch riskier. On those other trips there were usually some people (be it Masai or Himbas) within 50 km. I always argued with myself that given enough water, some food and no major injury, I should be able to walk out 50-60km. On this trip the worst case scenario - midpoint of the cutline - was 100 km walk. With the daily temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius, my only chance would probably be to walk in the night among the prowling predators. Hmmmm.

But then - fuck it, I really wanted to do this and there was no point dwelling on what-ifs. Iíll use my standard Ďfrog in the slowly boiling waterí operating procedure, which is to proceed tentatively telling my scared little self that I can always turn back, then proceed little bit more, then some more until Iím at the point when itís clearly less scary to make it through.

On that note I fell asleep.

Offline KTMRICK

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2014, 11:53:55 pm »
Had a good chuckle at the ZX Spectrum chirp.  :biggrin: Technology has moved on a bit but we have seen every iteration in our lifetime. Great RR.  :ricky:
 

Offline IRISH

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2014, 05:36:37 am »
Such a good read. Keep it coming.
 

Offline alanB

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2014, 06:36:11 am »
I've done Kasane-Savuti-Maun in my 4x4 as well, but we followed the normal roads, not the cut lines.  Some very thick sand for long distances on that route.  I managed to get through OK but my mates had to grind along in low range for very long distances (I actually was starting to think I would need to go back and look for them at one point!)  On a heavy bike that would be hard work - at least for me.   I'm not sure that I would have the balls to try that alone.  You're a long way from anywhere in the middle!

We also did portions of that Hunters road (the track that runs along the Zim border up to Kasane?).  For some reason we exited the route and got back onto tar, I think only because it was taking too long and the guys were keen to get to Kasane.

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Offline hedleyj

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2014, 07:11:56 am »
This report is an undeniable inspiration to ride more, an consider the consequences less and later.
I'm sure the sun goes around the earth twice a day.
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2014, 01:24:44 pm »
Absolutely classic stuff this one!

Thanks for sharing.

 8)
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Man from Nam

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2014, 02:29:50 pm »
Epic trip ;D
You need big balls to do such a trip solo, thanks for sharing
 :sip:
Life is great LIVE IT!!
 

Online popipants

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2014, 03:14:11 pm »
Now what am I suppose to do for the rest of the day???
I've been on the Jameson diet for a week, so far I've lost 7 days....
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2014, 07:16:33 pm »
Thank you all again for the encouraging comments. I have to do some riding over weekend - so next instalment should be out Sunday evening. Hopefully ail be worth waiting for.

Offline hedleyj

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2014, 07:26:23 pm »
Thank you all again for the encouraging comments. I have to do some riding over weekend - so next instalment should be out Sunday evening. Hopefully ail be worth waiting for.

Weather report is for snow, hail, sleet, rain and high wind. Best you stay at home it'll be safer for all of us waiting for the next installment.

Sunday will lead to mass suicides I'm sure. We also don't want you hurt in the inclement weather.  :peepwall:
I'm sure the sun goes around the earth twice a day.
 

Offline GRASSHOPER

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2014, 10:19:35 am »
Cannot wait for next r.r The best i have ever read.
 

Offline tankgirl

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2014, 02:42:16 pm »
amazing! :o
looking forward to more!