Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya  (Read 12281 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bud500

Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #80 on: July 27, 2016, 01:13:23 pm »
Enjoying it.  :thumleft:
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #81 on: November 06, 2016, 11:20:42 am »
It’s rare to get 4 guys on a ride at the same time these days. Work schedules, family and other assorted excuses often take priority (clearly, we’re not good at prioritizing). So, it was my intention to make it a big day when it looked like we had a crew together. It would be Panic and I on our XR650Rs (finally in their final form as long distance raid/travel bikes with XXL tanks and light luggage systems fitted and tested), Kolobus on his XR650L (it may be the Big Red Pig’s little sister, but that thing hauls itself over anything you ask it to, and not slowly), and Frogger on his modern, utterly boring and yet obviously capable KTM 690.


Above: Panic (XRR), Frogger (KTbla 69bla), me (XRR), Kolobus (XRL)

Leaving Nairobi was the hairiest part of the day: a light drizzle had coated the tarmac with slick and we all had that puckering sensation where one or both tyres wants to try a little lateral dancing around a bend. It was the first time I’d filled my new IMS 26L fuel tank, and I was feeling the top-heaviness a bit, but once we got onto the dirt, all was forgotten. The Pig will lift that front tyre whenever you ask her to, big tank or not, and we racied along below the escarpment toward a new powerline access road that has recently appeared.







Panic and I had explored a part of the powerline road a few weeks ago, but this time we wanted to see how far it would go. The powerlines hugged the side of the escarpment, affording lovely views of Mt. Suswa and the valley below. From our vantage point, we could see isolated rainclouds moving across the landscape like enormous brooms sweeping away the dust. Unfortunately, the densest cloud was hanging out right above my proposed lunchtime destination (a riverbed, so maybe not the best place to be in the rain), so we changed plans and swung down to Ewasso Kedong for a mid-morning cup o’ tea.






Above: three monkeys at the now familiar Investment Hotel in Ewasso Kedong.

By the time we’d finished our tea, the ceiling had fallen and rain was on the way. In Najile, most of us donned rain jackets (Kolobus felt no need, claiming to be the manliest among us, despite the lusterous, flowing, Fabio-esque hair) before we rode into the gloom. The cloud never really gave us a soaking, just putting down enough water to settle the dust a bit. Sooo… we blasted it. Frogger will be annoyed with this comment, but I continue to be impressed with the XRR’s stability at speed over rough terrain. She won’t buck you when you slam a washout, she rarely hits bottom, she drifts with the grace of much lighter bikes and your head feels like it’s on a steady-cam all the time regardless of how rough it gets (quite unlike much lighter bikes). I’m so hooked.

Also, the Pig doesn’t fall apart on the trail… more than I can say for the 690 on this trip. At our customary pit stop at the pass, Frogger was surprised to see his number plate holder had snapped and was sticking up in the air like a spoiler. To be fair, it’s probably not entirely KTM’s fault… Frogger has still not set up his suspension and rides like a demon anyway, so the bike is being jackhammered to pieces!


A conga line of 650+cc Africa-ready bikes







At the pass, I hatched a plan to slow things down a bit and to keep our tyres off tar by climbing the flank of the escarpment that slices South toward Oltepesi. Last time I rode it, I tweaked my wrist tumbling off the bike on the loose rocks, but it was time for a little Hair of the Dog… plus, I knew it would annoy the hell out of Frogger who was sporting road tyres and gearing on that 690.  The first part of the road is rough, but clearly marked, then it vanishes completely, appearing only as a track on my GPS, then it shows itself as a wait-a-bit-and-acacia-thorn lined ascent that has been liberally peppered with baby head rocks. It was all about keeping momentum and finding a good line, which we all did… mostly. I flailed, Panic stalled, Kolobus toppled over, and Frogger complained bitterly, but we made it, arms pumped and lungs working overtime.





After only about 20 minutes of hard going (and what seemed like an eternity of Frogger’s whinging), the track smoothed out and became a scramble through the brambles. Having satisfied my urge to ride just a little bit more than usual, I was now content to make a break for Olepolos and their world renown kuku choma and cold White Cap.  So, we buckled in and blasted it. The track climbed up to one of the bigger roads, then split onto a lovely smaller road full of tricks and surprises. We were making great progress and I could almost smell the roasted chicken when I suddenly lost sight of headlights in my mirror.





A sizeable washout across a very quick section of road, too wide and deep to drive a car through, had been filled with stones. Big stones. When I saw it, I did a nice combination fishtail skid / wide open splat to get over it, aiming for a place that looked a bit less gnarly than the rest.  Panic saw it and skipped the braking, opting to simply give it more gas and rely on the Pig’s suspension to save him. Then came Kolobus… not so lucky. He must have got the front tyre light enough to keep him alive, but the rear came down so hard it bent both sides of the rim and split the tube lengthwise a foot or two. By the time I got back to them, Frogger had Kolobus’ bike propped up with a stick, and the boys were well under way changing the annihilated tube… so I crawled under Panic’s bike and took a rest in the shade, offering abuse from the sidelines like a good friend.





Tube fixed, job done, onward to Olepolos! Rip, splat, roar we arrived, sat, ate, drank, lied, teased and laughed. Fed like kings, we picked our teeth in the shade a bit before stiffly donning our gear and remounting our bikes for what never ends up being a leisurely ride home. Panic thinks the bikes are somehow more powerful in the afternoon… I know he’s nuts. It’s the familiar track below the Ngongs and the afternoon light that makes the bikes roar a bit louder. In under an hour, we arrived back home, had Kolobus’ wheel straightened passably in Panic’s 20,000lb press, and were piled on the ground with cold beers to celebrate the end of another great day.





Good run, boys. Next time, lets go farther!  :snorting:


 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Solo Tuesday Expedition
« Reply #82 on: November 15, 2016, 08:23:17 pm »

Another break in work opened up, freeing my Tuesday for a rip in the valley. Nobody was able to go with me, so I took full advantage of being solo to explore places I ordinarily wouldn’t drag others. I’ve had my eye on a section that promised interesting tracks to remote places, but I was sure there’d be plenty of missteps and backtracking, so I’ve never pushed my friends to go there. Today was my day, and I had a blast.



Right away, I got into scrambly, rocky sections and unused roads that vanished into livestock paths. I passed a couple of Maasai houses and a water point or two and chatted with a lone kid moving his 20 head of scrawny cattle through a dry riverbed. I was trying to drop off of the escarpment, and the number of tracks I found was promising, but when I came upon a pickup I realized why: they’re just charcoal burners access tracks. One I was on petered out, leaving me to bump across an open area strewn with large loose rocks, slowly picking my way and sweating hard. The bike spewed coolant when I stopped.


Above: Kid in the riverbed, just knee high to the BRP



Above: The charcoal booty being transported out – the leaching bastards. Something for nothing... free money... to hell with the consequences (just like the rest of us, I guess). The off-road section and a bit of fast double-track.

Though I searched, I did not find. After some time crunching stones, I ended up making my first of several loops back to where I began. Every road dead ended. Later, I would verify what an old Maasai man I met told me: there are no roads off the escarpment. A sheer stone face keeps each level of the valley separate from the others, like massive steps, and only cattle (and maybe some intrepid two-stroke endure nuts) make their way up and down on sketchy, rocky footpaths.



Above: On a whim, I climbed a steep track to nowhere on a rocky hillside. I think somebody may be putting a homestead there soon. As I went up, I passed a minivan trying to climb up it, a guy out in front tossing the bigger stones off the road, but by the time I descended the passengers were afoot.

Down the tar for a bit more, I pulled off again to explore a rut or two. The riding was fantastic. It was that kind of sandy hardpack that the Pig loves to eat alive. Every corner is an opportunity to drift. With thorn trees on the inside of each one, it’s like a high-stakes giant slalom course and I love it. There was great visibility, so velocities are unchecked and grins are encouraged. I hit a couple of dead-ends that were hard work (roads recently etched from the stones by guys with crowbars and pick-axes), but eventually linked up with a track I’d found before (the famous and unfortunately named Butt Brothers loop), which put me back firmly in the land of the known. I didn’t want to live there long, so I sucked down a hot Coke at a shack in the dust and went back to hunting the new.


Above: Great tracks and a big green excavator, there was a whopping big area cleared in the dust that I can only assume will one day be a school


Above: My Coke stop

After the Coke, I was zipping along a small rock face and began to feel a tad hungry. Spying a volcanic rock with a flat top under a “tree” offering some “shade” I decided to stop for lunch. A tin of mackerel in mustard sauce and another of tuna hit the spot. The place was lovely. In the distance, towering dust devils churned up the landscape. The sun played in and out of the clouds and a breeze kept me cool as I chilled against the rock and enjoyed my solitude.


Above: Lunch stop and a bloody tough tyre: Mitas Stone King CO2


Above: The XR650R – now with 26 L fuel capacity. Best damn bike in the world: no sh*t.

My post-prandial ass was dragging for a bit, and I had visions of just puttering back home, but then, as always happens, I spied another tempting track and had to test it out. It was tantalizingly close to a track I’d made with Google Earth, and I was very sure I’d find a way to connect to the tar, but I ended up in a boulder field instead. Not wanting to backtrack, I let myself be drawn in the wrong direction and ended up linking back up with the previous track. From there, it was a full-throttle fesh-feshy mess of truck ruts and dust to the tarmac and a blitz back across known ground to home, a light sprinkle of rain extracting that brilliant smell from the old, old soil.




Above: My salute to the f***ing charcoal burners, that was a nice sized tree you cut down, ye bastards.


Above: My rambling ramble.

Solo riding is really addictive. I’m so in love with my bike and have it set up so well that just shy of really horrible stony climbs, I’m comfortable to go wherever I feel like going… whether I feel like it or not is another story of course. Today was a brilliant mix of stones you can ride, stones you can barely ride, and a whole lot of fast, sandy drifting goodness. If there’s something better than riding an XR650R in Kenya, I’d like to know what it is!

 :snorting:
 

Offline bud500

Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #83 on: November 16, 2016, 08:27:12 am »
Still brilliant to follow.  :thumleft:
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline ROOI

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 3,323
  • Thanked: 22 times
  • KTM 990 S KTM 500 EXC AKA Red Rider
Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #84 on: November 16, 2016, 08:35:15 am »
 :thumleft: Thanks as alway very enjoyable
FTS
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Gear-test Friday
« Reply #85 on: November 19, 2016, 06:51:11 am »
Rain during the night left the tarmac cold and damp. Two large XR650Rs rumbled out of the quiet Loresho neighborhood, keeping speeds and RPMs to an appropriate level for the hour, and taking it easy with knobby tires on the damp streets. All was going well for the first five turns, but on the sixth, Panic decided to perform a slow-speed low-side right in the middle of the street.  You know, just to test his gear. It was like an omen of ill things to come, but we ignored it. Dusted off, bike none the worse for wear (tough beasts, these) and rider only a bit bruised and annoyed with himself, we set off down the familiar madcap streets of Nairobi, searching for the safety of dirt, stones and whistlethorns.

Riding bikes on tarmac in Africa is a form of torture, especially during rainy season. In Nairobi, a bit of rain makes people insane… as if they were Gremlins squirted with a garden hose or something. Never adept, respectful or even sensible in the best of times, during or after a rain the city’s drivers become positively mental. Suddenly they’re all on high alert for potholes and swerve madly to avoid even the smallest of them, oncoming vehicles be damned, eyes fixed only a few feet in front of their bumpers if they’re not glued to their cell phones. Our day rides only include 15km of tarmac, but I swear it felt like 150 today. There were half a dozen different types of slick stuff on the roads: red clay from dump truck wheels, oil from broken down lorries, the mysterious black grease of human habitation near shops (maybe it’s refined banana peels, I dunno), etc.  By the time I got my tires on the dirt, my nerves were jangling like a Lingala guitar riff.

But soon, all was right in the world. We left the cars and drivers behind and sped down our familiar tracks, out toward the Magadi Road and down a brilliant track I found Tuesday on my solo ride. Some tracks have a good rhythm. This is one of them. Lots of little twists and turns, all drift-able, interspersed with a rocky section or two and ending in a flat flood-plain where I raced behind a male Grant’s gazelle –taking chunks of dirt to the visor, kicked up like a roost – and clocked him doing 75kph before I ran off the track, having missed the corner. Brilliant.


Above: The pigs ain’t no gazelles: as far as motorbikes go, they’re the king of the beasts, and this is their kingdom


Above: The flood plain, not yet flooded, great for chasing gazelle


Above: Ladies, ladies, ladies!

The new section led us to the long, fast zip down past the Butt Brother’s Farm and connected us with the stone-embedded track leading to Mile-46 that has maimed the rims and pinched the tubes of many a fancier bike. The plan was to grab a soda and maybe play around in a riverbed awhile, but Mr. Panic had other ideas. Just before the village, the bone-racking stone road turns to flowing hard-packed sand, and the only thing to do is drift every corner. But, get overzealous with the throttle and you might see your ass, which is just what Panic did. Coming hot into a gentle right-hand bend, he gave it that extra squirt and found himself sliding sideways and looking at his headlight, performing some form of low-side/high-side routine (we can’t figure it out) and ending up in a heap gasping for breath.

It was time for that soda. We stopped, pushed his handlebars back to some semblance of straightness (again, the bike was fine otherwise), yakked with a booze-reeking Masai mzee. Panic popped an ibuprofen, very Zen about the whole thing: “falling’s part of riding”. Still, it probably didn’t make sense to keep pushing too much, so we aimed for Olepolos and a big kuku choma and beers. On the way, I nearly had a head-on with a pickup grinding its way out of a rocky riverbed (me: “Oh chips!” Brake, skid 45 degrees left, skid 45 degrees right, throttle on and around) and had a number of close-calls with would be tank-slappers (thank you GPR stabilizer). The Universe clearly wanted to remind us who was boss.


Above: Somewhere near Butt Brothers Farm


Above: Always classy at Olepolos

Usually, we eat and head straight home, but after resting awhile, we had regained some of our energy and it wasn’t even 3:00 yet, so we made an extended loop. The bikes, the afternoon light, the terrain… it’s just the best thing ever. Fast on the hard pack, over the ruts, around the trees, battle down the stones, hard on the throttle and brakes… more, more, more, something like the sound of Beavis and Butthead in your brain grunting “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”


Above: Panic double-take down the Honda suspension test section


Above: That’s a quick corner, Mr Panic… nicely done!

Home and alive to ride another day.

 :snorting:



 

Offline Probie

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1150GS
    Location: Free State
  • Posts: 1,234
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • The Great Outdoors are waiting for us
Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #86 on: November 19, 2016, 03:33:58 pm »
 :happy1: :thumleft:

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Oruk and Amboseli - Southern Kenya 3 Day Blast
« Reply #87 on: December 09, 2016, 07:07:33 am »


A three day ride was in order. The Pigs were restless and so were the riders. I’d been plotting tracks on Google Earth until the whole southern part of Kenya was a veined network of possibilities, but I didn’t plan to ride as far as we did through such incredible scenery. We ended up riding around the southern border of Amboseli National Park, along the northern flank of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We saw all manner of wildlife, elephants included, and the tires barely ever touched tar. It was a blast. More to come.  :snorting:



« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 09:32:46 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline ROOI

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 3,323
  • Thanked: 22 times
  • KTM 990 S KTM 500 EXC AKA Red Rider
Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #88 on: December 09, 2016, 09:17:35 am »
SUB :sip:
FTS
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Nairobi to Orok - O sweet dirt and riverbeds!
« Reply #89 on: December 09, 2016, 10:12:24 am »
It’s been a busy month, but we saw an opening for a ride and we grabbed it. This meant getting the bikes in order. I dumped the oil and replaced the front tire, extracting and patching 4 long thorns from the HD tube in the process (for a total of 13 patches up front… all holding strong). Looking at the knobs on that Kenda, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it the 15km from home to the dirt, and I was almost right, but only because some guy came all the way over onto the shoulder of my lane to avoid a series of potholes, sending me into a hard braking, fishtailing maneuver. Red flag. Full brake. Tunnel vision. Chase ensues. Shouting so loud spittle stars the visor. Thinking how to kill him and get away with it. Heat receding now. Shouting will suffice. Maybe kick out his taillight… damn, missed. Onward to the safety of the dirt.



We covered 90 km in about an hour and a half with a non-stop splat down very familiar tracks. Under the Ngongs, past Olepolos and down to Mile 46. Loaded heavy with camping gear, spares and big tanks full of fuel (more than 26L in my case) you’d think the bikes would be top-heavy and awkward, but it’s the opposite. They sit firm, the ride is smoother and the speeds need not diminish. One noticeable change is the effort required to slow the train, but we’ll be sorting that out in due course as well (280mm rotor and adaptor on the way). At Mi46, we stopped for a Coke, and though it was only around 10 AM, the dogs had already established themselves in full rest position under the shade trees. Even the explosion of the engines didn’t disturb them.



The road South from Mi46 is madness. It’s so good for riding fast. There are tricky sections and washouts, but nearly all of them are hittable at pace and there aren’t many stones. The only question is: what’s on the other side of that culvert, and if I go flying, will I end up in a pile on the other side. We had reached the Tanzania border town of Ole Seni before we knew it. Once there, a fascinating bit of recon intel emerged: there is a track west to Magadi! Very exciting news, but we had plans to explore the East this time around, and puttered out of the village having heard from almost everyone that there is no way over the hills…







Many times we thought we’d found a way over the hills, but they were usually the tracks of the ubiquitous and loathsome charcoal burners of Kenya, an extreme version of the rest of humanity who really, truly don’t give a f**k about the environment they live in, and will trade anything for a quick buck, particularly if what they’re trading wasn’t theirs to begin with. It was a bit frustrating not finding the passage, but the track we did find was awesome. We dumped down into a dry riverbed that dead-ended in a stone waterfall, then diverted up what looked like a very suspicious cattle path that happily delivered us safely to the top of the hill.







Once atop the hill, we got back into the quick riding groove. The roads were spectacular, long, open, winding and surprisingly well maintained. We were following one of the tracks I’d made earlier that was heading toward the Namanga tar road, but deviated off of it to continue south on dirt. What a great choice. It went and went, smooth and fast, and then vanished in a village in a valley. From there, it was a cattle path, rocky and slow, connecting at last with a stony mess of a road that kept the right trajectory toward Meto, another border village with a view of Oruk, the high stone landmark of this area at whose feet we planned to rest for the night.







With Oruk in the distance, we pulled into Meto to stock up on drinking water. Being basically a border town, you could be forgiven for thinking everyone there would be some version of pushy, aggressive or drunk, but the opposite was true. Everyone was happy, chill and eager to just ogle the bikes and let us get on with it. In fact, charcoal burners aside, every single person we met on the trip was good to us. They gave directions, asked if we needed help and never begged us for anything. Our surprise at this tells me one thing: Nairobi is a diseased environment, a contagious aberration, and we need to keep that in perspective. The rest of the planet (charcoal burners, again, notwithstanding) is predominantly good.


Above: Oruk in the distance


Above: Meto water stop

It was pushing 4 PM. Time to find a campsite. From Meto we headed towards Namanga on the dirt until we crossed a wide riverbed. This would be our entry point to the deep bush. We blasted the riverbed in search of a campsite along its banks. Our criteria: 1) must have good views of Oruk and 2) should be discrete and not too close to anyone’s house. Polite as everyone had been, it would still not do to have a half dozen kids standing around watching us all afternoon.







Every bend we came around brought us closer to Oruk, and the angle of the sun made her look more warm and inviting. Finally we settled on a flat spot among the thorns to set up camp. As the day waned, we put up our tents, got the stove going, made a fire, tucked into the British MREs we bring on these trips and sipped Black Label under the 4 day old moon. It was, as you might have guessed, a very good day. And tomorrow would be another. 





More soon  :snorting:
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 10:14:35 am by Osadabwa »
 

Offline pietas

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R80GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 1,230
  • Thanked: 24 times
  • Gryskop seuntjie
Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #90 on: December 09, 2016, 10:37:31 am »
Like usual, great pix and great landscape. Thanks.
Groot berge en lang grond paaie
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Day 2 - Under Amboseli, over Kilimanjaro
« Reply #91 on: December 09, 2016, 04:19:06 pm »
My sleeping mat leaked. Three times I had to get up and blow it back up, but in between I slept like the dead. Only heard hyenas once, but I’m sure they were whooooping all night long. Morning was like being in the middle of a war, only instead of bullets the ammunition was birdsong. Tweets and warbles and screeches ricocheted through the trees as the sun tried to peek over Oruk’s head. Panic had the coffee going, and soon we were packed up and pushing downstream, following the riverbed until it wasn’t ridable any more.





Clear of the riverbed, we sped along lovely tracks in the morning light, riding around the northern side of Oruk and heading fast to the Namanga tar road. We topped up the fuel tanks and splatted down the slab for a few kms, turning toward Amboseli National Park at Namanga. The road leading to the park gates was wide, white and corrugated, but the loaded Pigs didn’t falter (and mine, with the GPR turned to 5, didn’t even wiggle).







After 30 minutes or so, we came to a village that held promise. The road split: one way seemed to angle down along the border towards Kilimanjaro, and the other seemed to go around to the north of the park. Keen to explore (we were off track by this point) we opted for the southern route based on one man’s suggestion that a “pary-ferry” (or periphery) road around the park existed. We were not disappointed. First the track went through bush, then it emerged into a spectacular wasteland with dune sand whistling around our tires, past seriously desolate and half abandoned looking villages, over the top of a dried lakebed dozens of kms long, puffy clouds playing with the sunlight. It was dusty, fantastically dusty, and a offroad bike lover’s dream.













The track was nearly touching the Tanzania border. To our right was Kilimanjaro, her head covered in clouds as is typical during midday, and the plains spread out before us. To get a bit of perspective, I climbed up a steep little hill to have a look around. What a view! As we were eyeing our options, a Masai climbed up to greet us and encouraged us to continue onward, pointing out the track in the distance. As we were looking, I spotted a large lone elephant making his slow way along next to the track. In a few minutes, we’d meet him close up.









Elephants are always stately, but this guy took the prize. Our bikes are uncorked and loud… obnoxiously so, one might say, but do you think this big Tembo gave a damn? Did he alter his snail’s pace to glance at us even? Not once. He just trudged along, one foot in front of the next… the king of the savannah. It was so great seeing him, knowing how much poaching pressure elephants have been under in Kenya and Tanzania lately. Still, being there with nobody around for miles, a border within 3 easy kilometers of us, he also seemed extremely vulnerable. Good luck, mzee! As we went, we rode through herds of gazelle, zebra and impala… all in a day’s ride you know







to be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
day 2 continued
« Reply #92 on: December 09, 2016, 04:20:32 pm »
... continued (exceeded character length... thanks to useless Google Photo which now has links a mile long)

Up to now, we’d had great luck finding tracks without help from the GPS. It couldn’t last forever. Once we left the edge of the park boundary, we needed to swing back around to the North West to get to our Selengei campsite, but the roads weren’t cooperating. We finally got aimed in the right direction (again by a very nice guy I mistook for someone who was going to ask me for something) but dead-ended in the stone village from hell. There, nobody knew anything. It seemed to be populated with zombies. We went around and around in the stones, cursing audibly trying to get out of there. When we were finally back on track, we wisely stopped for a quick bite to eat. Morale can go to hell really fast. Sugar and a rest can bring it back just as quickly. And after that, we flew! Straight, sandy roads. No vegetation. Throttle at the limit! Amazing bikes, amazing scenery! Kili never showed her face, but you could feel her watching and saying: yeaaaaah!



We deviated from the arrow-straight roads and onto a 4x4 track through the bush. It was tricky, and lined with thorns. Placed between Amboseli and Selengei conservancy, the road was chockablock with animals too. I’ve never seen a herd of Eland, let alone watched them launch over the road. We spooked a group of Giraffe who sprinted ahead of us in their unique way. It was stunning. We stopped to catch our breath under a tree and to call the campsite. Motive: to get beers ready, we would be there soon.









I can’t tell you how quick the approach to Selenkay camp was. We’d paused for a Coke, then once again the bikes lurched down the road at the throttle limit. Drifting corners fully loaded is a supreme pleasure. It was just after 3:30 when we pitched up to Leonard’s Selenkay Camp, a nice little spot we’d visited on a previous ride. He’d organized hot water for the showers and the beer boda arrived as we were still unpacking. We agreed on a kuku dinner, and set about chilling out. The beers were the temperature of the rest of the world, but they still hit the spot. We sat around the fire until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more (well before Orion came up… so probably just about 9:30). Another fantastic day gone.








Above: A thumb-sized spider skitters off as the flash bulb snaps: he was chowing a juicy fly... spider stuff.

 :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Day 3 - Home again...
« Reply #93 on: December 09, 2016, 04:28:46 pm »
Slept even better than the night before. This time, we broke no records getting on the road. Going home has a way of making a lazy bones out of you. We packed, chatted with Leonard a bit, and took off up the big riverbed toward Mashuru for fuel. This year there was a lot more activity in the riverbed: sand miners, digging up the riverbed and trucking it to Nairobi to complete the city’s sprawl toward Armageddon. Apart from making cities less livable, this practice also increases erosion and (in conjunction with, you guessed it, charcoal burning) is just a monumental environmental timebomb waiting to explode. One day the Masai, the old keepers of Kenya’s wilderness, will wake up and go: what happened around here? Answer: You sold your future, b*tches.









Above:  A little repair needed… my makeshift heatshield flattened down and melted through my makeshift side cover’s makeshift patch job…
We did about 40km in the riverbed. To me it feels like riding a snowmobile in deep powder. The engine roars, the bike wallows around, you lurch ahead over hard packed areas and bog down in the soft stuff. You don’t really have to watch where you’re going, but occasionally a stone or something could pitch you off in a heap. It’s fun. Heats up the Pigs though, so eventually we pulled out of there and headed for the hills. It was a direct repeat of the trip we did with Frogger in July, and it was just as fun as before. The road is just perfect. Lightning quick in spots, slower in others, but great flow overall. It took us all the way back to the Namanga tarmac where we slammed a Coke and chapatti before launching back towards home; through the washed out cow path, up the stony quick road to the marble quarry and past mile 46.













We stopped once under a tree to take a breather. A pair of young guys came by on their boda. The scene was hilarious. They kept saying “Whoooooweee!” back and forth, ogling the bikes and yakking in Masai. Every time we answered a question of theirs, it was met with another “whooooweee!”

It went like this:
Them:   How much is a tyre
Us:        10,000 shillings each
Them:   Whoooeee!
Them:   How many cc’s
Us:        650
Them:   Whooowee!
Etc etc etc

It was a great parting moment. After a little while, they said goodbye and hopped back on the boda, spluttering off down the road and we mounted up and splatted the other way, home.

Go ride, people… unless it’s cold and snowing where you are, in which case :imaposer:

 :snorting:
 

Offline ROOI

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 3,323
  • Thanked: 22 times
  • KTM 990 S KTM 500 EXC AKA Red Rider
Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #94 on: December 12, 2016, 09:57:38 am »
Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
FTS
 

Offline bud500

Re: XR650R Rebooted... In Kenya
« Reply #95 on: December 12, 2016, 10:48:16 am »
Awesome writing and riding!  :ricky:
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 376
  • Thanked: 146 times
  • Don't be surprised
Freezing this thread
« Reply #96 on: January 07, 2017, 07:55:18 pm »
Hey bud500 and ROOI (et al),

I'm done posting on this thread. It's soooo 2016. This year, I'll be posting in a different thread found HERE

Happy New Year!  :snorting: