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Author Topic: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya  (Read 10749 times)

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Offline ROOI

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Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #80 on: June 20, 2017, 02:59:49 pm »
So true  :imaposer: :imaposer:
FTS
 

Offline ianb

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Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #81 on: June 20, 2017, 03:06:24 pm »
Brilliant RR  . :snorting: :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Up the Aberdares in the rain
« Reply #82 on: July 28, 2017, 07:29:22 am »
Back in Kenya after a couple of weeks driving the speed limit in the US, I was dying to get back on the Pig. Panic and I hatched a plan to visit Clarke on the slope of the Aberdares for some forest motorbiking and maybe a spot of fly fishing, and we blasted out of Nairobi down into the Rift Valley at dawn. Sure, it would be faster to get there on the tar road, but not half as fun.


Above: Panic hopping one of the dozens of berms on the Pipeline Road


Above: The Kenya Pipeline Company PSA is completely lost on us

Past Mai Mahieu and curving up to Kijabe, the gray skies were washed out by heavy fog and we donned our rain jackets. Fortunately, it dissipated a bit as we continued and by the time we arrived at Clarke’s mountain retreat, the sun was shining and promising a brilliant day. As usual, Clarke had organized a lovely breakfast and we tucked in before heading out to cruise some tracks through the local community and the surrounding tea estates.


Above: Panic in the Kijabe fog


Above: Clarke’s pad and coffee/tea service on the veranda


Above: Cruising some of the local countryside below the forest line

After a while, Clarke pointed us back up the hill into dense forest along an overgrown double track largely composed of slick, red clay. Being desert lizards, Panic and I suffered some to find grip on the slick stuff, but Clarke zoomed through it effortlessly. In a couple of places, and despite my best efforts to feather the clutch and get my balance right, I found myself with my rear tire on one side of the track and my front on the other, both sliding fecklessly backwards down the hill. Graceful as a giraffe on ice.




Above: A rare pic (L) of Clarke in the far distance… he was as elusive as the forest Bongo, only appearing briefly at intersections before vanishing again into the bush. Right, Panic botches a slippery ascent.


Above: Like riding through Jurassic Park, but with only Elephant and Buffalo to worry about

We emerged from the overgrown trail at Clarke’s bamboo camp, and I took the opportunity to drop the air pressure some more to give me a bit of grip for the rest of the day. From there, we trundled over the pass down through his bamboo allotment, inspected the bamboo chipper and paid a visit to a school Clarke helps with grounds keeping (a real green thumb, this guy). At the school, a drizzle kept us holed up awhile and debating our options. We decided to bee-line it back to Clarke’s house rather than continue exploring, but on the way home we were hit by a whopper of a rain storm, so black it felt like we were heading into a cave. Soaked in an instant and frozen solid soon thereafter, we were relieved to be back at Clarke’s where we spent the rest of the day in front of the fire, cooking meat, drinking booze and telling lies.


Above: At Clarke’s bamboo camp


Above: A good look at an increasingly rare thing: an in-tact East African forest


Above: Panic navigates a bamboo fall


Above: Back at Clarke’s, three frozen bikers

Next day, we restarted our engines and went for a little tour of the nearby tea estate bordering the forest where Clarke is hoping to invest in tourism if he can get permission. Higher up, at his place, the sun was shining, but down in the tea, it was gloomy once again. Still, the emerald blanket of tea rolling over the hills is something to behold. I tried not to be pissed off that this particular tea estate belongs to the Kenyatta family (Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta started it, and it now belongs to the current president, his son…) who stole the land in the 60’s from the protected forest, but it didn’t work. In time, greed will destroy Kenya.


Above: At Clarke’s place, the warm sun is welcomed by all


Above: Worker’s housing in the tea


Above: Kenyatta’s tea estate, well inside the forest, bordering the forest…

Back at Clarke’s for yet another huge breakfast, Panic and I donned our kit, bid our farewells and slipped down the mountain past Kijabe again and into the valley. The rain cut short the riding, and we didn’t get a chance to go fishing but I guess that just means we should go back soon!

 :snorting:
Oink!
 

Offline bud500

Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #83 on: July 28, 2017, 08:46:56 am »
Another leka ride and read.  :thumleft:
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline Clockwork Orange

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Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #84 on: July 28, 2017, 11:20:35 am »
What amazing riding areas you have there...droool :thumleft:
When in doubt...grab throttle!!!
 

Offline Osadabwa

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2017 11 - Tire tearing mud ride
« Reply #85 on: November 06, 2017, 07:16:05 am »


Seasons be damned, it was time to ride. Frogger and I waited for the rain to quit on Friday afternoon, donned our kit and fired up the XRs for 2 nights out in Kenya.


Above: Me and the pigs pre-ride, still shiny and clean…

We dropped into the valley via the usual track and were skirting the Ngong Hills, just outrunning a shower that was creeping down-valley. Early on, there were some slick sections, but by this point the roads were perfect: not dusty, not muddy, just right. We were making time.




Above: Isolated downpours in the distance, an nice carpet of green starting to show out of the drab

Past Olepolos and onto the notoriously rocky track leading to Elengata Waus (AKA Mile 46), we were playing leap-frog to make time – where one guy rides ahead for 5 minutes, stops and lets the other guy speed past – when Frogger noticed his tire had a gash in it. That’s ride-ending kind of news… you can’t really just keep blasting deeper into the bush with your tube visible through the tire. Good thing is: we are in Africa. After a couple of calls, we arranged to have a spanking new tire sent by motorcycle and bus to where we would eventually be later that night. Now we just had to get there.


Above: (L) Frogger adds a bit of pressure to the slit tire, and (Right) a truck carrying sand out of the rivers heads to Nairobi… sand mining is destroying the river systems here

Frogger had just set off down the road when I got a call from my friend in Nairobi about the tire. I was supposed to call the bus driver to confirm where I wanted the tire delivered, but a massive rain cloud was scrambling cell signal. Worried a delay would scupper the plan, I quickly put in an SMS to my friend saying to go ahead, and then donned rain kit and blasted down the track to Mi 46 where the area’s cell tower is.





In Mi 46, I had texts asking where I was, and I hoped I hadn’t missed our chance. Luckily, rain in Nairobi had also delayed everything on that end, so the plan was still in motion! So, with daylight waning, we continued – our sights set on the Masai Eco Lodge halfway between Kajiado and Bisil.


Above: Down in Mi 46, we stop to catch up


Above: Lovely riding into the African evening past the marble quary down to the main road

The Masai Eco Lodge was great. The staff were super and the rooms were fine. After doffing all the wet kit, we hit the bar for some French pate (which we brought, obviously) and Kenyan beers while we waited for Frogger’s tire to arrive. After a long delay – the bus got a flat in Isinya – we finally got word that they were nearby, so we hopped on the bikes and sprinted out to the roadside. I illuminated the signboard with my headlight and we waited. Soon a giant bus rounds the bend, downshifting. A man pops out, greets me, hands me a tire and climbs back on the bus. In 5 seconds the transaction was complete and we had our new Bridgestone ED78 Gritty!


Above: Pate, the new tire, the old one…

Jazzed up from successfully making a plan, we enjoyed a couple of hours outside drinking Black Label and telling lies, listening to funny birds chattering to each other by the light of the climbing moon.

To be continued...
 
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Offline bud500

Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #86 on: November 06, 2017, 08:19:25 am »
YES! Another one.... :sip:
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Tires and mud continued...
« Reply #87 on: November 06, 2017, 08:49:00 am »
Up at quarter past six, we were on the bikes and cruising down the road to Bisil in search of somebody with an air compressor.


Above: Morning light at the Masai Eco Lodge

The first petrol station we checked had a moborbike fundi shop next to it that suited us just fine. We let the guy there do it (with some strategic management from us… he’d never seen a bead lock before) and after an hour or so we were headed back to the lodge for a much-appreciated breakfast.


Above: Frogger manages the procedure, careful not to do any of the actual work.

After breakfast, we blasted lovely tracks south toward Ngataitek where we’d cross the tar again and proceed around Oldonyo Orok toward Torosei. The riding was great. With fresh rubber, Frogger could let the bike scream along the sandy tracks, no longer worried about a blowout. Across the tar, the first few km were excellent as well, a bit smaller than before, and winding in and out of acacias. We stopped at one point to take in the view, just as a bodaboda with some Masai pulled up. We were talking about the bikes when a charcoal poacher on his boda arrived. Just barely making it through the small, flooded riverbed, he struggled up the sandy incline and toppled over. Frogger, eager to help out, rushed down to lift the bike upright again and promptly tossed it over on the other side! Comic genius.


Above: Frogger back on the rip, my Pig looking pretty as a picture


Above: Great tracks for a little drifty braaaping


Above: Oldonyo Orok viewpoint


Above: Frogger, you are a handsome man. Anyone ever tell you that?


Above: Frogger the Good Samaritan (those bags weigh a ton and the bodabodas are 125cc Chinese things… the guys are so overloaded they sit on the tank. It’s amazing, but also highly destructive… this area is losing trees at an alarming rate, exacerbating effects of drought, erosion etc… and the Masai around wonder why things seem to be getting worse. What a mess.)

After the charcoal incident, we set off to see if we would be able to ride the riverbed upstream. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was flooded so we had to search for an alternative along the bank. For about half an hour, we struggled through the thorns to no avail before turning back to a wonderful track that weaved in and out of the trees like a snake, the sandy surface perfect for a little drift here, a little drift there. Wonderful riding.


Above: First time I’ve seen it so wet here. Long overdue.


Above: Frogger’s loving the tracks




Above: Some professional photography, this is.


Above: Zebras in the bush. I also spotted an Eland at one point, and there were two fast racing pigs out there too you simply couldn’t miss.

We zipped along without stopping much. Our late start had put us behind schedule, and rain clouds were threatening on all sides. The tracks had been moist, but not sloppy thanks to their sandy composition, but I knew up ahead that might well change. If we got stuck in the dark in the rain, it would not be great....

...to be continued...



 

Offline Osadabwa

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Rough camp and mud, heading home
« Reply #88 on: November 06, 2017, 08:59:13 am »
Then we were hit with a bad-luck one-two punch. It had just started to rain. My visor was speckled with raindrops, and I was riding uphill toward a bright patch of sky. Essentially, I was riding by feel. We’d slowed down due to the rain, but it didn’t stop me from hammering a large stone hard enough to puncture BOTH TIRES at once. That’s a new record for me, but not one to be proud of. To make matters worse, it was raining… and to make matters a lot worse, I noticed that not only had I punctured both tires, the front one had a 2 inch cut through it where the bead lock had taken a bite.


Above: Me resigning myself to the fundi work ahead

On the positive side, once again we were in a position where we had to make a plan. I swapped out the rear tube in 25 minutes (I’ve gotten very good at this) and got to work on the front. To keep the tube from puncturing at the cut (from abrasion, as the gap opens and closes over the grit of the road), I cut a section of the old tube to make a sleeve to put over the hole. Pumped up, it looked like it would hold, but I was now forced to tone down the speed a notch or two.


Above: Getting down to business… not too happy about that deep tire gash

All back together, we took off for Torosei to find fuel and a bit of water. There was still a chance we might make it down the small, rocky track to the bottom of the valley, but it was a small chance. And that chance turned to an impossibility an hour later when Frogger got another puncture. He was brought down by one of the thorns from earlier in the day while hunting for a track. So, one more roadside repair and we were ready to meet the biggest riding challenge of the trip: bring on the mud!


Above: Frogger starts his repair… in about 5 minutes, this scene will include 3 Masai who will stand around and watch, commenting and getting in the way

Just down from where Frogger went flat, there was a nice long section of mud. I knew this because I’d already ridden through it before realizing he was gone. This time, I watched Frogger go first and he was doing well, throwing a nice roost and going generally straight… then he hit a football-sized rock and the rodeo dropped him in the slop.


Above: Frogger is in the slop… it would take both of us to back him out of there

A bit further down, there was an even longer, slimier section which I went cautiously and ungracefully through. Frogger was close behind me and because I slowed down too much, he lost his momentum. Wisely, rather than trying to mudbog it through from a standing start, he chose the round-about way where the ground was a bit more firm.


Above: Mud pit part deux

The mud never stopped, but I did quit taking pics of it. By this point, it was nearing 5pm, the track was a disaster, there were rain clouds on the horizon, and we were nowhere near the valley floor. Frogger had fallen again and I found him lying on his back in the mud, crying for his mommy or maybe cursing the gods, exhausted from trying to kick the flooded Pig back to life. Helping him out, (why is it I am always kickstarting bikes for people?) I, too began to feel the fatigue, so when the trail took us up to a nice, rocky ridge, we decided we’d found our home for the night.


Above: Muddy aftermath

We pulled off the track far enough to be somewhat hidden, but perched nicely atop a little rise. If it rained, the water would at least not flood our tents. All set up, were finally ready to sit back, enjoy the evening, sip some Black Label and listen to the sounds. A bird (or frog maybe) out in the distance made an excited, repetitive chirp for hours on end, otherwise it was silent. The air was perfect, not hot or cold, the rain clouds thinned and never squeezed out a drop. The full moon behind the clouds was incredibly bright, lighting the scene brilliantly. We slept like the dead.

It’s always necessary when camping in Kenya to get up early. First, it’s hard to sleep in… the birds make a huge racket and the sun is intense from the second it rises, but there’s another reason: the looky-loos will find you, and you’ll be happy you took your morning shit before they get there. Sure enough, as we were packing our tents, two bodas full of guys pulled up on the track below. After a brief chat amongst themselves, they of course rode up to stare at us. These guys turned out to be benign… nobody asked us for money or told us we were doing something wrong, but it’s still just a bit “boring” as Frogger would say. Thankfully, they left eventually, and we popped on down the track.


Above: the view out toward Mt. Shompole and our early morning guests (note the tight, pleather trousers… Masai fashion is evolving)



The track out was lovely. There was no mud, and the place looked fresh after the rains. It’s a good mix of rocky, technical stuff and quicker singletrack. Sadly, we came across a dead giraffe (I smelled him before I saw him) who must have had a hard time of it during the drought. Of all the animals we come across regularly, I never tire of seeing giraffes… so it was sad for me to hear recentlly that they, too are not doing well as a species. They are now classified as vulnerable, since their population has declined 30% in 3 generations.



Above: Pole bwana…

Down on the valley floor at last, we were now resigned to just head over to Magadi and hit the tarmac home. With my slashed tire, we were in survival mode, and I thought we’d now made it out of the woods. Oh, not so, not so… the road crosses Lake Magadi in several places, and normally it’s dry, like riding over toast. Today however, after the rains… it was like riding through the bottom of a duck pond. The muck was special… the color of birdpoop and giving off a sulfurous stench, you definitely didn’t want to fall down in that stuff. Of course, I did. I’d done fine navigating the first deep section, even diving into a pool of standing water that was a lot deeper than I expected without putting a foot down, but my luck ran out. I was sliding this way and that across the pan and eventually saw my ass. The Magadi Mud Bath.


Above: My pig wallowing in the Magadi Mud… that stuff is awful… air bubbles in it were iridescent blue

After my slip’n’slide action, it was smooth sailing. We took in the view at the usual overlook, cruised into Magadi for a Coke, and hit the tar back home. The front tire wobbled worryingly, but brought me home without giving up the ghost.


Above: Frogger checks out the flamingos


Above: Parting shot, XR650Rs over Lake Magadi

The trip was shorter than we’d planned, and a bit more fraught, but somehow the challenges of the tires and the mud made up for it. I love being prepared for (almost) anything, going to remote areas and sorting out problems as they arise, camping at a moment’s notice and really feeling like you’re out in it. There are other things you can do on a weekend, but none are as rewarding as this.

Cheers  :snorting:


 

Offline bud500

Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #89 on: November 06, 2017, 10:09:39 am »
Luv it!  :thumleft:
Thanks for sharing.
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #90 on: November 06, 2017, 12:17:39 pm »
We camped at the Magadi Pans many years ago - 2 x XT500's and a R80GS - on a "golf course"?
We were told it was a golf course, we camped in a reed roofed structure that a masaai chap assured us was the clubhouse. In his defense, he had 2 clubs, a putter and 2 balls and was making his way around the course - it required an amount of imagination...
I will look for a pic!
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Offline Osadabwa

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The Magadi Links
« Reply #91 on: November 06, 2017, 02:34:01 pm »
Yes, Magadi has a golf course. We rode past it on the way into town. It's nothing more than a place where they scraped the biggest rocks away. The "rough" (which is obviously relative) is outlined with painted white rocks. Sleeping in the clubhouse would have been a good move I'd say!
 

Offline steveindar

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Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #92 on: November 06, 2017, 03:08:34 pm »
Tigo has a bald patch as big as the pan... :o
#Nipplecaps must fall!!!
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Offline Osadabwa

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Ha!
« Reply #93 on: November 06, 2017, 04:06:25 pm »
Steve, I miss you!

I considered accentuating it with Photoshop, but that pic falls entirely under the #nofilter category!  :lol8:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #94 on: November 06, 2017, 07:41:04 pm »
Yoh, i just love your riding areas! I’m sitting in Afri Ski in Lesotho despondent after being humiliated by lesotho rocks for 4 days (at this stage i was supposed to be in Sehlabathebe on the other side of country), and you post this???

Not cool!

Real shame about the destruction of environment and giraffes though.

Offline Goingnowherekwickly

Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #95 on: November 06, 2017, 10:27:33 pm »
Lovely!!
been waiting for your next report.... :)
( somehow, you failed to mention, Frogger is now on an XR, no longer the 690 :) ? haha
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Oink
« Reply #96 on: November 07, 2017, 06:53:31 am »
Xpat, where do you get off complaining about riding in Lesotho for four days?  :lol8: I saw a pic of your bike in the rocks. It looks amazing! Maybe it's a bit too challenging for my tastes and for the size of the Pig but you have the right weapon at your disposal. Pull the 690 out one of these days, ride it up here and go explore. I can hand you 15 days of tracks to ride you would never forget... more maybe. We can get you from the coast, past Kilimanjaro and Amboseli, down to Magadi and up to the Loitas... on to Masai Mara, then up to Turkana and back. Un. Forget. Able.

Goingnowhere... You noticed the Frenchman switched teams eh? He is gaga for that Pig and rides it very well (the bastard). The first ride he took with me on it, it was so badly tuned it was spluttering and the suspension wasn't set up for him. He didn't even notice. But after we got it back home and fixed it up, now he can really see how great it is.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: 2017 - Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #97 on: November 07, 2017, 07:03:28 am »
You are a bit fast and loose there with the words like ‘riding’ Lesotho. It’s more along the ju-jitsu lines...

Hmmm, 15 days you say? 🤔

Offline Osadabwa

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Ju-jitsu!
« Reply #98 on: November 07, 2017, 07:41:49 am »
Ha! Ju-Jitsu...

Easily 15 days of riding dirt, yes. Nairobi to Turkana and back is 10 days and you could do more if you have the energy. Ride from Coast to Masai Mara could be 5 or more. I also have tracks in Southern Tanzania, coastal Tanzania and Northern Tanzania that you would love. So basically, yeah. Get planning and when you are ready I'll send tracks.  :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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2017 11 - Paraglider Hill Ride
« Reply #99 on: November 19, 2017, 08:07:16 am »

Teaser: The top of a very tough climb... this ride was full of surprises

One of the best things about Kenya is the variety of terrain accessible without ever putting the bike on a trailer. This ride was a prime example of that. Friday, I left home at 1:30 and rode 100km of dusty, rocky, beautiful, fast, Rift Valley dirt. Every time I drop in there I’m amazed at the pace of the development though. The Railway being constructed by the Chinese has brought a lot of new roads, loads more vehicles and people. Progress, I guess.


Above: A stone quary. Many of Kenya’s old houses were made with this gray stone.

Speaking of progress… I stopped at the Riba Springs Lodge opposite the Catholic Chapel built by Italian POWs in 1942 (link) and was having a refreshing road soda when my phone rang. It was a colleague in Tanzania asking me to organize a meeting for next week in Ethiopia. So, beer in hand, clad in enduro gear, sweating in the Rift Valley, I made an international call and sent an email. Job done. Maybe folks in the 1st world take that for granted already, but not this mzungu. When I first came to Kenya in the late 1990's, a phone call to the US was $3/minute if you could even get an outside line, and the echo meant most of the time was spent saying: "no you talk, yeah, I hear you...go ahead".


Above: My office for the Friday afternoon

Having quenched my thirst, I bee-lined it past Kijabe up to Bwana’s place (I’ve called him Clarke in the past, but knowing him longer now, this better suits the man) enjoying warm sunshine all the way, a relief after several days of gloomy drizzle in Nairobi. I doffed my fancy dress and we climbed in the Range Rover to bump around some slick red-clay roads into the forest for a nice evening with a group around a camp fire. Not a bad start to the weekend.


Above: Arriving at Bwana’s… that’s a beautiful lawn ornament if I do say so myself

The following day we got up early to do a loop through the bottom of the forest passing through the tea and agricultural areas on the borders. If you put to one side that all this area was forested and inhabited by elephant less than 100 years ago, it’s very pretty. Tea especially has a nice look on the rolling hillsides.





Entering the forest, we were pleased to see that road works have not proceeded apace (hopefully somebody has already eaten the money). Cutting a good road into a natural environment invites poachers and squatters, and given the flimsy rule-enforcement that characterizes Kenya’s standard operating procedure, it would only be a matter of time before the trees vanish completely. As we rode, the track became more and more overgrown and slick, and there was sign of elephant in places where they’d pushed through the undergrowth and pooped on the road (elephants seem to love a good road-poop). Brilliant.










Above: Grown over… fortunately

A quick stop at camp for Bwana to stuff his face and we were off again, this time through the bamboo and out to the North, through fields and colonial-era evergreen plantations. Bwana was less than thrilled to see that the road he recently paid to repair has already been destroyed by the farmers accessing their fields. I believe we were witnessing the ill effects of the economic “free-rider” complex.



to be continued...  :snorting: