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Author Topic: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES  (Read 695 times)

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Offline GRAVELTRAVEL

KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« on: July 11, 2016, 10:47:46 am »
Intro
I first heard about the Koës Pan Rally a few years ago.  Since then, I have always wanted to go but it somehow never materialized, either due to work commitments or just plain budget constraints. However this year, I decided that despite all of that, I would somehow make a plan and go.
After discussing the matter with Road Hog, WanderingWeeHen (WWH), Flossie, Shimbungu, Eduan and Chris (our small group of Bike Buddies), it was decided after a good few glasses of red-out-the-box (read papsak) that everyone was keen to go.
As usual it turned out that some couldn’t make it.  Eventually only WWH, Shimbungu and myself (GT) set off.
On Tuesday evening I was still fabricating and fitting aluminium support plates for WWH’s soft luggage on her XT. Shimbungu and I also had work to do our bikes.   Shimbungu buckled his front wheel about two weeks ago and had to have the rim replaced and respoked.  He only got the bike back two before. In the same incident he also broke the wind deflector and caused some damage to the electrical system. The wind deflector was put together like a puzzle and repaired with Q-bond. We gave up on the electrics as it only involved the indicators and tail light.
In my case I decided a few weeks ago to replace the rear wheel with a car rim and tyre (not having to lean the bike anymore) The mods to the wheel and the machining of the adaptor took longer than expected and on Wednesday evening at about 22h00 the last stud was only tightened. No chance to test anything! That was quite worrying but I had no choice. That completed my first Dark Side conversion.
Flossie (who lives across the road from me) was kind enough to get a braai going while the rest of us packed and tightened everything. Shimbungu crashed at my place (as he is notoriously late when we have to set off anywhere). On Thursday morning we completed the packing and the last tightening of straps as well as a whole spider’s web of straps and bungee cords to hold on WWH’s new Enduristan soft luggage (we could not properly figure out all the various straps and buckles at short notice).
 

Offline GRAVELTRAVEL

Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2016, 10:56:08 am »
Day 1
Eventually we were ready to leave and after final adjustments, we set off towards Vogelfederberg as our first fag break (WWH to this day still cannot pronounce the name even after repeated attempts at elocution!)
I was quite apprehensive about the new rear wheel as I had no idea what effect it would have on the handling of the rig and if the various studs and nuts would be strong enough to hold it together. In any event, it turned out to work really well except for some light snaking on sandy patches due to the tyre not being “off-road” enough. (You cannot find off-road tyres in that size here).
About 20km on the other side of Vogelfederberg, WWH’s XT suddenly developed a hiccup. For no apparent reason it just cut out and stopped. We left it for a minute or two and then it mysteriously started again.  This was a bit worrisome at first but we kept going and repeated the same stop-start procedure a few times until the fault suddenly stopped.  We’re guessing it’s due to an intermittent loose electrical connection.
The road to Solitaire was unusually bad. Mainly due to the number of South African terrorists, tearing along the roads during the holiday season with their fancy SUV’s and bakkies. Not to mention the amount of tour busses. It was like a convoy on a normally very quiet road.
We made Solitaire by about 14h00, refuelled and set off towards Maltahohe. Apart from a few treacherous “stofgate”,  about 50 km from Solitaire, the road was good although we were starting to run out of daylight, particularly as we had to stop and help out two policemen to blow up their spare car tyre.  Unfortunately knackering my compressor in the process. We fuelled up again at Maltahohe and proceeded to Hudup Camp about 15km away in the direction of Marienthal. This was quite a pleasant surprise as there was even water in the Hudup River. The amenities were basic but at least the shower was hot. The only negative comment was the firewood burnt to ash very quickly. Not the usual doringhout but some other light crap.
In any event, WWH made a mean lamb shank potjie while Shimbungu provided the entertainment with his guitar and the excitement he generated by inadvertently scooping up a live scorpion as he filled a jar with sand to take a candle. We had a very good meal, copious amounts of red-out-the-box and a few cups of Polisiekoffie. After a good sleep and a shower, we set off the next day at about 09h00 towards Marienthal.
 

Offline GRAVELTRAVEL

Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 10:58:27 am »
Day 2:
We arrived in Marienthal to refuel and had a nice brekkie at the Wimpy. We also stopped at a local Supermarket for additional supplies (more beer) before setting off South eastwards towards Koës.  The road was really good and we managed to get there shortly after lunch. Having never been there before, we searched around to refuel but had to leave this for later as the bulk tanks were being filled at the same time.
We took the first turnoff which showed “rally” on the sign but we didn’t realize that the track would be quite so loose and sandy.  We were even more surprised to find a dune at the end which we had to get over. I managed to get the rig there but WWH bought a piece of Koës sand at the beginning of the track and shattered her wind deflector, broke off one of her mirrors, ripped a strap out of her new Enduristan bags and twisted the forks and handlebars.
Shumbungu’s Apache also decided at this time to seriously start farting and burping but he managed to get over the dune with some coaxing.  Apparently the fault started some 30km before Koës.
We returned with the help of a friendly local to the scene and Shimbungu managed to ride WWH’s  XT over the dune.
Once at the Pan, we cracked a cold one or two, met with Rickus and Eugene and found out we were the first Wild dogs to arrive. We hung about for a bit watching the racing while Shimbungu desperately tried to find out what was upsetting Apache’s digestive system.
Eventually, Eugene took us to the campsite (using an easier route across part of the pan). By this time, WWH had taken off all the ATGATT she had on and made quite a scene riding the XT over the pan in front of the spectators wearing only cycling shorts, T-shirt, adventure boots and a helmet. It should have been a picture for “Girls with Bikes”!
When we got to the campsite, Peter was already there. We started setting up our tents over the straw bales provided (thanks Rickus and Eugene!) and while we were busy, the rest of the Dogs started to arrive.  At last there was the opportunity to personally meet people who were only known previously from the Forum. Nimmo, JC, ChrisL and Weskus to name a few.
We got the fire going and started heating up last night’s leftover lambshank. We had a very good chat to the rest of the Dogs and I laughed myself silly at the stories coming out. All of this to the accompaniment of various rev limiters doing their job in the distance.
WWH felt a little bit left out at times as some of the manne’s grasp of the Rooitaal after a few drinks became more and more limited. Anyway, most of the stories are probably better not translated, especially in female company. After Rickus/ Eugene brought the braai packs, things got going at full tilt. Some left for the Boerevereninging saal to attend the festivities but we spent the rest of the night sitting by the fire, busting a gut at the stories coming out, e.g. when Weskus arrived back in a cloud of dust and started relating the details of an altercation that took place earlier at the hotel.
I eventually crawled into my tent at some late hour. The night was cold and it did not help that I’d broken the zip on my sleeping bag. I had to sleep with my jacket on! I got chased out by the law (of nature) now and again and as usual, this corresponded with the time I was most comfortable.
 

Offline weskus

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2016, 12:02:37 pm »
Hey, looking forward to this one.. Nice meeting you guys Martin, believe me, I somehow only understood the female company we had Saturday morning :imaposer: always so excited to see all the guys after a year that one overestimate one abilities(or capacity for that matter) I'm still plannnig my trip with my girl that we spoke about during September, will definitely give you a heads-up for a cold one or so.. Almost camp with you guys at Canyon Roadhouse after a flat that kept us buys..
Vorige scooters : Suzuki TS 185, Honda CD 200, Suzuki PE 250, Kawasaki Z650, Yamaha 495 IT, Kawasaki KLX 300, BMW F 650 GS Dakar, BMW F 800 GS, KDX200, KTM300, Suzuki GSXR1000, Honda CD200, tans KTM 990 Adv - toer,  KTM 300 XCW- funrides, KTM 1290 Superduke teerpad en Buff toe & Honda CX500 Custom - bar toe..
 

Offline GRAVELTRAVEL

Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2016, 02:01:07 pm »
Herewith some more pics that I left out
 

Offline GRAVELTRAVEL

Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2016, 02:02:29 pm »
And more
 

Offline GRAVELTRAVEL

Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2016, 02:04:53 pm »
And more!
 

Offline Road Hog

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2016, 08:16:37 pm »
...............AND if you haven't left me behind, I could have met the other dogs as well!!  :peepwall: :imaposer:

I am glad you guys enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the RR.
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2011 Honda XR650L

If you think you can, you're right.
If you think you can't, you're right.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2016, 08:49:43 am »
Day 3
Now it’s my shot at continuing this ride report (WWH).  The main thing I can say about day 3 (Day 2 of the rally) is that it was bloody cold.  People had told me it would be, but I assumed all the heat loving Namibians were getting carried away.  How could daytime in the dessert be as cold as Scotland.  How wrong I was!  After a couple of Polisiekoffies, kindly delivered to my tent by Graveltravel (GT), I managed to surface and head to the pan to watch the drag racing.  Having dropped my bike the day before, on the sandy and rutted car track leading into the pan, I was more than happy to be a passenger in GT’s side car which also had the cool box ;-)
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2016, 08:52:03 am »
We watched the racing close to the pits but also took a turn up the big dune to get a better view.  We didn’t stay long.  It was Baltic.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2016, 08:53:16 am »
The Lewerkoekie and coffee Josef bought afterwards took the edge off it.  As did several tins from GT’s cool box.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2016, 08:54:06 am »
The racing was good but I didn’t have a programme so I wasn’t really sure of all the race classes.  I did get chatting to one biker before his race who let sit on his KTM.  My feet dangled at least a foot off the ground.  He told me he was pretty slow, so I was surprised to see the same guy win his race by miles.  What a modest feller.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2016, 08:54:55 am »
At about 13:00, GT and I headed back to the camp to get some food.  Shimbungu never made it to the races as he was fixing Apache.  I crawled into my tent for a quick snooze and was surprised to wake up 4.5 hours later in the dark.  I was also very pleasantly surprised to find that GT had sorted out my skewed forks and handlebars and Shimbungu had expertly glued the pieces of windshield that I’d collected after my fall (he’s had much practice at it).  A bit of a papsak and some duct tape made up for the missing piece.  Feeling happy and refreshed, I sprung into action and made potjie No.2 of my repertoire.  Oxtail.  It went down very well with Shimbungu who normally hates it.

That evening, we headed to the Boerevereninging saal to watch the prize giving.  Turns out I’d chatted to a number of the winners including a young guy riding a quad.  I’d asked him to pull a wheelie so I could take a photo.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 10:17:33 am by Wanderingweehen »
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2016, 08:56:27 am »
I was informed that the event was a typical Boere affair with couples doing the quick step and enjoying themselves.  I preferred to hang out by the huge braai trailer for heat though.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2016, 08:57:50 am »
Day 4
GT and I were the last people to leave the WD camp.  Shimbungu couldn’t fix his bike so left early with pals from Walvis who were driving back.  Way too early for me to say goodbye ;-).  I did say my farewells to the other WD’s though.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2016, 08:59:10 am »
GT and I finally set-off at about 10:00 and headed straight for the petrol station.  My XT’s only got a range of 260km so I have to refuel everywhere.  We arrived just in time to see Shimbungu’s bike leaving in a trailer, together with a stock car, heading for Windhoek.  After a quick last look and photo shoot of the nasty sand track I fell off on.  X marks the spot!
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2016, 09:00:33 am »
We headed for the Canyon Lodge Roadhouse in the Ai-Ais National Park.  Stopping at Keetmanshop along the way for fuel, coffee and a slice of carrot cake.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2016, 09:02:10 am »
With electricity and lights, the Canyon Lodge Roadhouse was the most luxurious campsite we stayed in.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2016, 09:04:38 am »
We heated up the left over oxtail potjie and tanned the box of wine the WD’s left for us.
 

Offline Wanderingweehen

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Re: KOES AND OTHER PLEASANT PLACES
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2016, 09:06:01 am »
Day 5
After packing up our camp, I left my XT at the lodge and jumped into GT’s sidecar for a 40km round-trip detour to the Fish River Canyon.  The views of the second largest canyon in the World were spectacular.