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Author Topic: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis  (Read 2421 times)

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Offline Osadabwa

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The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« on: May 25, 2014, 08:52:33 pm »
Since my first Kenya ride a few weeks ago (HERE), I have been dreaming and scheming about another loop around Mt. Suswa.  This time my friend King Louis was up for a ride since I agreed to leave at 9:00 AM so he could get his beauty rest (though it ain't working).  The plan was to make a loop around the south of the volcano, coming in on the West side and leaving on the East.

Above: Red = last trip, Orange = this trip (250 km, all but 40 on dirt)

The first part of the day was a carbon copy of the previous ride.  We slid quickly through the fields, past loaded donkey carts and cattle being let loose for the morning.  At the very edge of the escarpment, the road turned rutty and steep before disintegrating completely into stones and rubble.  The views of the valley were gorgeous.

Above: Mt. Longonot, King Louis in his hi-viz yellow vest

Above: King Louis takes the stony bits astride his XR400

The previous trip, Atreyou and I got to the bottom of the escarpment and fought for an hour through hellish stones before re-connecting with a track.  Eager to avoid this, I scoured Google Earth for a safer descent and found what looked like a very obvious road.  The only thing obvious about it from ground-level was that it would be tough going.  Once upon a time there may have been a road, but years of neglect had left nothing but a boulder field.  It was only slightly less challenging than the bushwhacking Atreyou and I did, but considerably shorter, so we hammered through in good time, forearms on fire.  I even managed to dump the KTM and was pleased to come away without a broken clutch lever (the proper hand guards are still in the mail).

Above: Getting to the escarpment floor on a road paved with cooled brimstone

Above: King Louis’ XR400 hanging in there, big tank and all

With the boulder fields behind us, we were free to let ‘er rip.  The path, while still stony by any measure, was mostly sand-and-dust-covered cattle paths winding through bushy, jersey shredding whistle thorns.  I was enjoying myself, but unfortunately my velocity quickly outpaced my wits and I saw my ass in spectacular fashion as the front tyre washed out and sent me tumbling in a pile of dust and stones into a whistle thorn.  Pricked, but not buggared, I lifted the feather-weight EXC and examined the damage: there was none.  Onward then. 

Above: Yours truly posing with his whistle thorn lover, King Louis raising dust

Another rest, tea and fuel stop at the Ewaso Kengong Investment Hotel and we were back on the track.  We were now covering new ground for both of us, sweeping south first then cutting back to the west.  There were cattle and herd boys everywhere and we kept getting stuck in traffic jams in the most unlikely places.

Above: Yo! I’m ridin’ here, I’m ridin’ here!

Above: Our dual-selfie (duelfie?) photobombed by a Masai  cow

We were now on the southern skirt of Mt. Suswa.  The crater loomed to our right as we blitzed along some seriously worn out old dirt roads.  It was brilliant riding with a good mix of dirt, stones and the occasional ancient lava flow to cross all blended together.  Twice, the road dead-ended into a quite precipitous wash out leaving us to retrace our steps a bit and find the crossing du jour.

Above: King L on the throttle on the lava

Above: Maybe Evel Knievel could, but not us…

Above: King L in the heat of it

Above: No stones?  Have some feshfesh?

Above: Following a riverbed awhile, another be-helmeted selfie, pretty flowers and bikes

It was satisfying but taxing riding.  There was no respite.  If it wasn’t stones, it was feshfesh, if it wasn’t feshfesh it was a washout, etc.  In a word, it was awesome, and we were chuffed to find ourselves on the western flank of Mt Suswa at 14:00… and at 14:20 we were at the crater rim… motorbikes rock!

Above: This way to lunch

Above: Climbing the western flank, view of my temporary, jua-kali engine guard (Lavik is floor cleaner... my KTM approved bash guard in the mail too)

Above: Mt Suswa plateau, a Goldfish (this time we had food) and a pair of bikers at the crater’s inner rim

We killed half an hour soaking in the view from the crater rim and nibbling on what little snackage we’d brought along.  With no broken bones to contend with, we were in no rush to blast out of there.  It’s a very beautiful place to be able to ride to on a motorbike (legally, I’d hasten to add). Of course, having rested awhile, we were noticeably less nimble on the bikes and the joints and muscles were letting themselves be heard in a symphony of complaints from every limb.

We ripped down the slickrock Eastern face and hit the valley floor with a thud.  By then it was past 15:00 and we opted (begrudgingly) to hit the tar for the ascent.  As soon as our tyres hit tar, Old King Louis hit the gas.  Watching him weave through the trucks and rickety buses was at once heart stopping and impressive.  I just let him get on with it and we re-convened at the top of the escarpment where I led us back home on the dirt.  Another amazing ride in Africa, just the other side of the Ngong Hills…

Above: Suswa descent and the White Cap sundowner to cap off the day

Offline Crossed-up

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Re: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 09:11:19 pm »
Great stuff!  Thank you.

Offline Buff

Re: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 09:35:27 pm »
Wow, awesome riding terrain  :thumleft: Thanks for sharing, I'm jealous as hell though  ;) :thumleft:
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Offline JonW

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Re: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 10:27:24 pm »
Great Ride Report  :thumleft:
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Offline steveindar

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Re: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2014, 08:13:21 am »
So sad your mates only ride with you once  :biggrin: I know how they feel. :pot: Hope you're building up to a two page report!
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Offline Malibu

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Re: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2014, 08:23:14 am »
Really enjoyed that RR! Thanks for sharing... :thumleft:
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Offline DirtRebell

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Re: The Kenyan Volcano, Take II - Adventures with King Louis
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2014, 08:30:34 am »
Great RR and nice way of presenting the peetchas. :thumleft: