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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #60 on: June 06, 2014, 07:55:31 pm »
I discovered how to scrap pictures from video, so here are some snapshot from the north Zim (unfortunately the horizon is badly off):









































« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 10:20:23 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #61 on: June 06, 2014, 08:40:26 pm »
Day 12
In the morning I went to chat to the resort owner to get more information about the route further east and found out that there is petrol in the next town Binga about 120 km east and the dirt starts only after Binga.

There was no restaurant in the resort, so I walked to the shop at the gate and bought milk and rolls for breakfast. In the shop Iíve noticed front page of the local newspaper saying something like ĎMugabeís thugs beating up protestersí or such. This quite surprised me as I assumed that Mugabe controls the country in much the same way as commies used to control my country and I can tell you that nobody would have published anything like that in the communist Czechoslovakia I grew up in. Maybe there is a hope for Zim if there is still free press.

After the breakfast I packed up and set-off again on tar to Binga. The weather for the day was pretty miserable. The whole sky was covered with low heavy clouds, and while it wasnít raining yet, it was obvious that itís going soon.









Iíve made it to Binga dry, found the petrol station in one of the resorts - Kulizwe lodge - on the lake and filled the tank. The weather was getting worse quickly with heavy clouds closing fast from east. In no hurry, I have decided on a dime to stay overnight and paid for a cottage on the lake. Like so:





















Iíve spent rest of the day as the only guest lounging with a book in the pool. For lunch I went to the Binga Restcamp across the road (despite strong discouragement from the reception lady in my resort) and had a very uninspiring lunch of chicken and chips. I cook only in self-defence but it seemed that thatís whatís required for dinner. The whole Binga must have seen better times and was slowly falling apart, with rusting cars and boats laying about in the garden. While the camp in Mlibizi was full and they had lots of private boats parked in their enclosures, here both resorts were empty, except for me and one more Zim family that later that day came to the chalet next to mine. The only traffic on the jetty seemed to be from the local white Zimbabweans - no tourists in sight.






















Offline KTMRICK

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #62 on: June 06, 2014, 10:03:07 pm »
awesome trip.  :ricky:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #63 on: June 07, 2014, 04:13:56 pm »
awesome trip.  :ricky:

Thank you for comment, feels a bit lonely here lately.

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #64 on: June 07, 2014, 04:26:17 pm »
Day 13 - New Yearís Eve: Part 1

Next day was 31st of December. The objective for the day was to hit the dirt heading east along the southern shore of the lake Kariba and go as far as I like. The attraction of this particular road was the dirt riding in the animal rich area as the road weaves between Chizarira national parks and Chete safari area and locals reported good animal sighting opportunities. But Clinton mentioned 12 hours of hard riding to reach Kariba town on the eastern end of the lake and I had a feeling that I may not want to go that far in the rain. In the spirit of the trip I would have to figure how far on the go. As I was riding in the rain I did not stop for pictures - this and the following instalment will have to do with the stills scraped from my helmet cam.

The weather was even worse than the day before and it seemed like I will spent most of the day riding in the rain. I procrastinated a bit to see if its not going to get better, but it didnít so Iíve eventually set-off at about 10 am in light drizzle.  

Once I passed the obligatory police check about 5 km out of town I continued for about 10 km further north on tar and then took the left turn on the dirt road heading east - by now it was raining properly and would continue so for the next 2 hours or so. Dirt at least, but very wet.





Iím not a keen mud rider - on a dirtbike with proper off-road tyres itís fine, but on the big pig with DS tyres (E09) its just headache. Iíve spent once 7 hours riding 70 km through mud in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (yes, I got illegally there by lying about my petrol situation so I guess this was Tanzaniaís way to get back at me) on GSA1150 on TKCs and it was not fun. Trying to lift the GSA about 20 times in a mud when your boots cannot get any purchase, and once they do the bike just slides away from you in circle with bike pivoting on the rear pannier, takes a lot of determination. Especially as you are completely surrounded by the huge wildebeest, zebra and buffalo herds featured in any self-respecting TV wildlife documentary, with attendant predators surely tagging along (at least on TV). The worst part is that once you clean up those tyres with stick or something, they actually track very well in mud - for about 20 meters. Then - as the tyres clog up - the bike just slams to the ground without any warning or provocation. Hard. I was eventually deliberately riding GSA leaning slightly to one side so at least I knew which side will going down.

Back to the future near lake Kariba - I set-off tentatively on the dirt east. To be honest, most of it was reasonably easy riding as the road was compacted sand with frequent corrugations that did not clog the tyres. But then, here and there, there was real mud, which had the bike snaking all over the road without warning. I managed to stay on the bike every time, but as Iím useless in spotting the mud soon enough(when everything around is wet), I had to keep my speed low for the next 120 kms.

For the first half the dirt road snaked through the forest covering surrounding low hills comprising the game areas. But I have seen no game - ground was soaked by the rain, and the forest floor in many areas was covered by standing water for 100s of meters. And of course riding in the rain I had to constantly deal  with the raindrops on my visor/glasses, so I may have easily passed an elephant without a notice.


















The second half of the dirt road run through number of villages with the standard circles of african roundavels, occasionally passing through a little town with shops, market and taxi rank. I was surprised by the level of poverty along the route - I know its an African country and this is frontier area, but over the years I have heard lots of Zim expats boasting about the riches of the country, some of them putting it even above RSA (in the past to be fair). And the Zimbabweans I have met are - together with Nigerians and Ghanians - undoubtedly the best educated Africans I know of.

But this place looked indistinguishable from Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique up north, which are generally way poorer than the countries of the Southern Africa (if you think youíve seen Ďrealí Africa by visiting Nam or Bots, think again). The wet season made the poverty look much worse. There is mud and water everywhere and you can almost feel your skin rotting away after few days in this environment. Well at least it was warm - I was riding through most of the rain in a shirt and body armour (my lazy ass could not be bothered to stop and fetch the rain jacket), so could really empathise with the locals being wet completely through.

















After about 120 km on dirt I came at a T junction with tar. The tar was continuing to the left straight east along the lake and to the right south to Kwekwe.




« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 10:21:50 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline hedleyj

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #65 on: June 07, 2014, 04:34:32 pm »
awesome trip.  :ricky:

Thank you for comment, feels a bit lonely here lately.

Don't feel lonely bud everyone is merely in awe of your report. Too busy reading it to comment too much. Keep it. Coming
I'm sure the sun goes around the earth twice a day.
 

Offline 0012

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #66 on: June 07, 2014, 06:56:57 pm »
awesome trip.  :ricky:

Thank you for comment, feels a bit lonely here lately.

Don't feel lonely bud everyone is merely in awe of your report. Too busy reading it to comment too much. Keep it. Coming

True that! Im checking here regularly for updates  :ricky:
Daym that road south of the lake was properly wet!


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Offline KTMRICK

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #67 on: June 07, 2014, 10:56:28 pm »
I'm naturally drawn to the bikes front end of course but secretly wondering if I would have the guts to take on a trip like this on my own? Keep it coming bud.  :ricky:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #68 on: June 08, 2014, 07:59:15 pm »
Day 13 - New Yearís Eve: Part 2

Once I hit the tar I was literally at the crossroads. I had to chose if Iím going to follow Clintonís recommendation and head east to Kariba town and then down to Eastern Highlands or take more direct and shorter route south towards Joburg. I decided to turn south and head for Kwekwe in the middle of Zim about 250 km south east. The reasons were threefold.

One, the weather - it wasnít raining at the moment, but based on quick look at the sky and my prior day experiences it was clear that I will be riding mostly in the rain, and that gets old quick. Two, state of my rear tyre - while the wear did slow down, it still looked that I will be lucky to make it back to Joburg even if I take the shortest route. Three, Beitbridge - I wasnít keen to potentially spend the tripís accumulated good vibes in this shithole (Is there any good reason why there is only one border crossing open between Zim and RSA?), and rather decided to take route back through Botswana.

The day before in the pool I came up with an alternative to the Eastern Highlands route. The idea was to head south and cross from Zim to Botswana at the southernmost border crossing. From there follow the dirt roads along the Zim/Bots border down to Tuli Block for the last safari and then cross to RSA and head back to Joburg. Minimal total distance with maximum portion in dirt.

My specialized Botswana Infomap and T4A maps were showing Plumtree on the main road between Bulawayo and Francistown as the southernmost Zim/Bots border crossing. Major crossing at the end of holiday season, I didnít like that. My 5 USD Zim map with pictures of animals and stuff, was indicating another border crossing 80 km south of Plumtree called Mphoengs. It was no brainer - small relaxed crossing providing the shortest route back home (bar Beitbridge), and at the same time the longest distance in Zim - what is not to like. And on top of that the route would take me through the Matobo reserve south of Bulawayo and small side roads - hopefully dirt - criss crossing south of Zim towards the border crossing.

Iíve stopped for a smoke break at a viewpoint near the T junction where dirt hit the tar.  The viewpoint on the top of the hill was overlooking green valley below and hills further south. During the break I have noticed that my fancy LC8 front fender was not designed for the splash deflection on Tenere and the inside of my tank as well as the steering column and triple clamps were covered in red clay. But that is small price to pay for its most important function - the looks!




Once back on the bike I headed south on tar . For the first 20-30 km the road was weaving through the hills, with very little traffic and was being reclaimed by the bush overgrowing the road on both sides - which effectively left only 1 lane to ride on. On one or two occasions I had to snug myself in-between the bushes to let oncoming truck pass. Once over the hills the road descended into the plains below with noticeable increase in temperature and beautifull cummulus clouds providing for nice scenery - the rain season can be uncomfortable, but buy it can give you some of the best backdrop to ride in.



















On the plains the road was passing often through little settlements and occasional little town, with people milling around the road. But again it was all very African scene - I have seen no signs of any bigger farms - which I thought were the backbone of Zim economy - anywhere.






















After about 100 km I stopped in first more significant town - Gokwe for petrol. It was late in the afternoon and I could see big dark clouds closing in fast in the direction of Kwekwe. Iíve put on my hiking jacket as it was getting chilly and pushed on towards Kwekwe for the New Years Eve celebration. On the way I run into occasional showers, but the most threatening dark clouds were still still ahead of me centered over Kwekwe. I pushed on to try to outrun the descending darkness and to compensate for the impending doom and gloom I was imagining tranquil African lodge where Iím going to spend the night in Kwekwe after the hard dayís ride over the medium rare fillet, beer and maybe even some candles or fireworks (so much for tranquility) or something.

When I finally came to the T junction with the A5 connecting Gweru and Harare about 5 km north of Kwekwe, the signs were not good. I have immediately noticed huge dumps of coal and smoking power station on the horizon and realized that this is not going to be the resort town I was fantasizing about.

Iíve noticed a petrol station to the left on A5 so went to investigate to see if there isnít some lodge / accommodation out of town. There was - Truckers Inn, with all the attendant drunks already getting in shape for the New Years. So I had a quick coke and smoke and hit the A2 going to town. Kwekwe clearly was one of those mining towns with rough around the edges frontier feel. The town was heave of activity as people were milling around getting ready to celebrate New Years while the dark low clouds were zooming in quickly on the center of town.
















Iíve circled the center of the town twice in the vain attempt to find accommodation and then headed in the direction of Gweru to see if I can find something in the quieter residential areas outside the center. Eventually I have spotted Tropicana Guesthouse on the right and rushed in to get out of rain that was pouring in by that stage. Tropicana seemed to me more like converted family house rather than purpose built guesthouse and judging by the offish attitude of the receptionists must have considered itself one of the finest establishments in Kwekwe. The price was 50 USD just bed no breakfast, which was way too much. But they didnít care about the business enough to entertain discount (obviously they were both just the indifferent help paid by an hour, not caring about the occupancy) and I didnít care about the 50 USD enough to face again the heavy rain and darkness outside, so I just took it. The room was one of those uninspired rooms reflecting African understanding of luxury, with heavy drapes, huge TV taking over the whole table, sagging sofa taking all available space and the over decorated bed lamps without bulbs. But it was clean, dry and warm so what more could one wish for.




Once unpacked, I jumped on the bike in the heavy rain and ridden back about 1 km to the centre of town to buy my New Years dinner at the Nandos I have noticed along the main road. Nandos was packed so my half chicken took about 30 minutes. Unfortunately I have forgotten that Nandos serve their take-aways in paper rather than plastic bag and I did not bring my bags. So I just strapped the paper bag with the food to my rear rack with rock straps and headed back to the tropical paradise.

In the room I took the TV off the table and using my camping utensils (for the first time on this trip) feasted on the sodden chicken and can of condensed sweetened milk for dessert. Then after hot shower I retreated to bed to wait for midnight with book in my hand - but I didnít last that long.

This may sound a bit sad to the family or lady types out there, but I have enjoyed every minute of it.


Map of the route for day 12 (Mlibizi to Binga) and day 13 (Binga to Kwekwe):


Online mtr89

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2014, 06:57:04 am »
Love it!what a great ride you had.looking forward to the rest.
Don't feel lonely,okes are watching and reading.thanks for the effort of doing this RR.
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #70 on: June 09, 2014, 08:59:47 pm »
This is a great report!  I've been following from the beginning and I think the Botswana riding was fantastic.  Bravo!
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2014, 09:16:40 am »
Thank you, I'll try to finish it by the end of week.

Offline dirtyXT

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2014, 01:37:34 pm »
 :thumleft: excellent report, well written. just lost a day at work for this... also love the fact that you have moved away from taking a heave heavy 1200... loving to see the Tenere doing what it does best. keep it up mate. that's how a ride should be. free.
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Offline GIDEON

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2014, 03:46:15 pm »
More than just great!!!
Thanks  :thumleft:


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Offline MegaPix

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #74 on: June 14, 2014, 07:01:04 pm »
Some nice photos telling this story as well
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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #75 on: June 14, 2014, 09:39:20 pm »
Day 14 - New Year's Day: Part 1

The objective for the day was as usually vague. The direction was clear - head towards Mphoengs via Bulawayo but I had not idea where I will sleep over. I wanted to check if I can get the new rear tyre in Bulawayo as some people Iíve met thought. If so I will have to stay the night there and get the tyre next day as today was 1st of Jan - public holiday. If not, I will just head as far as possible towards Mphoengs and beyond if daylight allows.

The weather was the usual heavy overcast sky with rain coming every minute situation Iíve been in every day in Zim. Iíve packed and set-off. According to my Zim map there were two possible routes to Bulawayo. The main A5 road heading south to Gweru with lots of heavy traffic. The other one was small side road heading from Kwekwe west with turn-off south towards Bulawayo about 100 km from Kwekwe - the obvious choice, as it wasnít even on T4A, so I assumed it must be dirt.

As expected the road turned dirt - well sandy mud, soon after I got out of town into the surrounding forest. About 15 km out of town I passed on the right the tranquil lodge in the lush green forest Iíve daydreamed about yesterday while coming to Kwekwe - well, next time (or maybe not - next time sure as hell Iím avoiding Kwekwe). The road through the forest was wet and shortly after I set-off it started drizzling. I had to keep my speed in check as here and there there were patches of real mud that could swiftly punish any bravado.

The dirt lasted only about 30 - 40 km and eventually I got out of forest and hit tar with villages and fields along the road. It was the usual African road scene with villagers and animals milling along the road going about their business leisurely. 











After about 100 km, in a small town, Iíve found a turn-off sigh for the road south towards Bulawayo. I have hoped for dirt (this road was indicated on the map as even smaller than the one I came on), but it wasnít to be - finding dirt in Zim seem to be much more difficult than I would have expected based on other African countries. The road was noticeably smaller than the one I came on as it had only one lane tarred with wide dirt shoulders for passing of the traffic, but it was tar none the less. The road took me almost all the way to Bulawayo - and it was actually quite fun overtaking or passing oncoming traffic at close quarters surrounded by rain soaked lush forest equivalent of which cannot be find elsewhere in Southern Africa.



























Iíve arrived in Bulawayo at about noon. For some reason I expected the place to be tranquil colonial town with tree alleyways and shit, but it turned out to be the standard Southern African town with utilitarian bunker esthetics similar to Pretoria, or Windhoek CBDs (or any other SA bigger townís CBD actually).









Sad remnants of the once most successful Czech multinational company built from scratch by the industrialist Tomas Bata - the Henry Ford of the shoe industry - at the beginning of the 20th century:





Iíve circled the CBD two times looking for a motorcycle shop, but didnít find any and quickly concluded that I would have to be very lucky to get the rear tyre here. So no point staying in Bulawayo. But first I went to hunt for food, as I havenít eaten yet. I thought that should not be a problem in a major town on public holiday when people would eat out, but was surprised to find only one restaurant open in the whole CBD - a busy pizza/patisserie place. Clearly itís not worth doing restaurant business in the second (?) biggest Zim town - at least on public holiday.

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #76 on: June 14, 2014, 09:52:49 pm »
Day 14 - Part 2

After lunch of pizza I headed out of Bulawayo south towards the Matopos reserve. It was raining again. I have thought about staying overnight in some lodge in Matopos as Iíve read nice comments about the place, but the rain was getting more intense and I was keen to get back to Bots in the hope to find a sunshine after 4 days of being wet. So I pushed through Matopos - not sure what the main attraction is but have seen some nice rock formations - will have to come back another time to find out.










After Matopos I continued another 40 km south to Maphisa, where I took right turn west towards Mphoengs border crossing about 100 km west as the crow flies. There I finally hit dirt again. I was not sure if the dirt road goes all the way to Mphoengs as on the map it ended about half way through. It was also almost 4 pm in the afternoon and I had not clue how long is the border open - actually I did not have a clue if it exists at all as the only indication was the illustrated map I had and there was no indication of this crossing on Bots T4A and Infomap.

Well there was nothing to it except to hit the dirt hard to try to make it to the border before 6 pm - which I guessed should be the border closing time. The road was dry and I could get up to good speed of about 100 - 120 kmh - as much as the crappy running engine allowed. Initially I was passing through lots of villages and Christian missions like St. Josephís. Further west the road was visibly less travelled , but still good riding winding on the bush.

































I made it to the border at about 5:30 pm and it was all I hoped for. Small forgotten border crossing with only one or two pedestrian customers. Everybody was very friendly and relaxed and I have already seen myself on the other side until the Zim customs officer asked to see the bikeís Temporary Import Permit. I immediately remembered the glee with which I have dumped all the border paperwork to garbage in Mlibizi. You would think that someone who has been through Africa would know better, but hey.

Just to be sure I went frantically (more for show to elicit some compassion) through all my luggage (the border did really close at 6 pm), but predictably no TIP. The officer said I may need leave the bike there or to go back to Kasane where I came from, but being a nice relaxed guy he eventually said that if I can get a statement from police that Iíve lost it he may use that to let me go. Luckily there was a police officer on the border - young guy in jean pants and flip-flops, who has written in hand the statement and I was good to go with minutes to spare for the Bots side.

On the Bots side I was surprised being asked to fill the little white immigration form - I did not had to do that anymore in Martinís Drift, so I thought they discontinued them. Obviously not here in the sticks. Not a problem except in the hurry on the Zim side I have packed in my pen and there was none available in the office - until they offered me to buy one for 5 Pula. Wow, Bots officials actually having some entrepreneurial spirit, quite a novelty (normally I would expect them to send me back to get some pen). Keen to get over the border I bought the pen without any snotty comments and have been through after few minutes - my road tax Iíve paid in Martinís Drift was still valid, so no hassle there.

By the time I made it through it was getting dark and there were huge threatening clouds looming to the south. The closest town to the south - Selebi Phikwe was about 120 km away and I was not keen to bush camp in the rain. So I took the easy option and hit the tar north west to Francistown for the night of luxury in one of the hotels there. But not before I got lost in Matsiloje - the village on the Bots side of the border about 1.5 km by 1.5 km. Somehow it took me three tries to find the only tar road out of the village - and that was with the tracks on GPS and GPS zoomed in to about 20 meters resolution.

I have arrived in Francistown after dark. I made a token effort to find some cheap accommodation but after passing for a third time through the same street with indicated guesthouse (on the main street, no sign in the actual street) I was chased away but two boerboels who had enough of my Leo Vinces. I used that as an excuse to go squat in one of those luxury chain hotels by the river (or lake?). The cheapest option was a treehouse with satellite TV and stuff (actually pretty good value at about 650 Pula - if you have a family as it had 4 beds), so thatís what I took.



I spent the rest of evening watching flat screen TV in the treehouse. I do not have a TV at home as I do not have the self discipline that would prevent me wasting my life away starring hypnotised at whatever crap the TV people fed me (and I do not have children that need to be anaesthetised regularly). So I used this rare opportunity to indulge. As it was New Years the programs were a recap up of the 2013. I stared in fascination on posh people discussing for an hour new British royal baby and its implications for the well being of us all. Only to be followed by the story of relationship between some golf dude and tennis dudette (both of them apparently very famous), where dead serious talking heads discussed best ways for the two lovebirds to market and monetize their relationship - aka Beckham family. The indicated financial projections made me reflect on my somewhat lukewarm relationship to relationships and start plotting a plan for a hookup between world famous adventure biker and some or other world famous chick. In the funny world weíre living in this seem to be able to generate more revenue than Zim & Bots economies combined. On that pleasant realization I fell asleep.

Map of the route on Day 14:

« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 10:49:40 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline alanB

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #77 on: June 15, 2014, 04:52:52 pm »
Ive been incredibly busy this whole week and haven't had much time to browse the forum.  I kept wondering how  this report was progressing because its such a great trip, especially since its done alone  :ricky: :o

Thanks for taking the effort,  I really would like your gps track because I would love to one day follow where you have lead, as it were.

This paragraph, amongst others, had me chuckling:
Quote
I spent the rest of evening watching flat screen TV in the treehouse. I do not have a TV at home as I do not have the self discipline that would prevent me wasting my life away starring hypnotised at whatever crap the TV people fed me (and I do not have children that need to be anaesthetised regularly). So I used this rare opportunity to indulge. As it was New Years the programs were a recap up of the 2013. I stared in fascination on posh people discussing for an hour new British royal baby and its implications for the well being of us all. Only to be followed by the story of relationship between some golf dude and tennis dudette (both of them apparently very famous), where dead serious talking heads discussed best ways for the two lovebirds to market and monetize their relationship - aka Beckham family. The indicated financial projections made me reflect on my somewhat lukewarm relationship to relationships and start plotting a plan for a hookup between world famous adventure biker and some or other world famous chick. In the funny world weíre living in this seem to be able to generate more revenue than Zim & Bots economies combined. On that pleasant realization I fell asleep.

It seems you and I view life the same way to some extent.  I also don't watch TV, find it boring and mostly just junk (except for things like Mythbusters, which I watch occasionally when I visit the rest of the family on Sunday nights).  The way people are hypnotised by that bloody screen is just amazing to me!  I have very little interest in most of the crap that's being fed down that tube!

Anyway...



 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #78 on: June 16, 2014, 07:34:24 pm »
Thank you for comments.

@Alan: I will post the GPS - at least for the most juicy parts, once I'm finished with this. I need to figure out how to parcel them into smaller portions as currently it is too big - even in that format that you suggested.

@ dirtyXT: In my experience everybody who gets really hooked up on adventure riding - by which I understand riding long distance dirt as much as possible, naturally moves away from GS (or any of its 1200 clones) to smaller bike. GS is actually great bike for complete novices - that non-diving paralever/telelever (the one at the front - not sure which one it is) provides great level of confidence for noobs (I know I was one of them), especially if you need to brake in the corner. And most novices stick to tar anyway and for them easy dirt highway amounts to 'adventure of lifetime'. Once you discover the wonder of remote dirt trips, you quickly realise that GS (or any other clone) is just hugely wrong for that - I know I have dragged fully loaded 1150 GSA through deserts, crossed dunes in Swakpmund across few times and have ridden 1000s of km in deep sand tracks (not sandy farm roads).

The sad thing is - there are actually very few adventure riders that would fit the definition above - i.e. very small niche. As a result adventure riding became just another marketing fad for masses - and BMW mastered this dark art. That is fine by me, except for one thing - overwhelming focus on the 1200 category resulted in diminishing choice of the proper dirt adventure bikes on the market - which ideally are about 650 - 750cc IMO. Currently if I'm not mistaken there is only Tenere being sold (DR, XR and KLR being discontinued). Unless they came up with something new in this category, all future adventure bikes will have to be home made and probably from one of those old models (my Tenere is already like that, modified heavily as the standard is just underwhelming).


Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Christmas Safari
« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2014, 12:54:12 am »
Thank you for comments.

@Alan: I will post the GPS - at least for the most juicy parts, once I'm finished with this. I need to figure out how to parcel them into smaller portions as currently it is too big - even in that format that you suggested.

@ dirtyXT: In my experience everybody who gets really hooked up on adventure riding - by which I understand riding long distance dirt as much as possible, naturally moves away from GS (or any of its 1200 clones) to smaller bike. GS is actually great bike for complete novices - that non-diving paralever/telelever (the one at the front - not sure which one it is) provides great level of confidence for noobs (I know I was one of them), especially if you need to brake in the corner. And most novices stick to tar anyway and for them easy dirt highway amounts to 'adventure of lifetime'. Once you discover the wonder of remote dirt trips, you quickly realise that GS (or any other clone) is just hugely wrong for that - I know I have dragged fully loaded 1150 GSA through deserts, crossed dunes in Swakpmund across few times and have ridden 1000s of km in deep sand tracks (not sandy farm roads).

The sad thing is - there are actually very few adventure riders that would fit the definition above - i.e. very small niche. As a result adventure riding became just another marketing fad for masses - and BMW mastered this dark art. That is fine by me, except for one thing - overwhelming focus on the 1200 category resulted in diminishing choice of the proper dirt adventure bikes on the market - which ideally are about 650 - 750cc IMO. Currently if I'm not mistaken there is only Tenere being sold (DR, XR and KLR being discontinued). Unless they came up with something new in this category, all future adventure bikes will have to be home made and probably from one of those old models (my Tenere is already like that, modified heavily as the standard is just underwhelming).



Well said ... I am embarrased to say my S10 is too heavy for me and it is used as a gravel highway sofa seat. I really hope Yam does an 850/900cc S9 or whatever it will be typecast as, that would suite me perfectly.

Have I said this is a great RR?

 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...

Old bike: '82 Eddie Lawson Replica
Other bike: '05 Honda Varadero 1000
New bike: '16 Honda Africa Twin.