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Author Topic: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best  (Read 3427 times)

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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 continued...
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2017, 09:04:47 am »
I’ve heard tell about the Milgis. If it's flooded, you can’t ride it. If it’s too dry, the sand is so soft you sink. We arrived to a Milgis of wonderfully compact sand as far as the eye could see. From where track started to Ngurunit was over 30 km of choose-your-own-line riding. The going was surprisingly tricky. In a littler riverbed, there’s just one line to take, where the water flows. In a river bed of this size, there were multiple deep cuts that snaked across the width of the river, sometimes with deep holes in spots, sometimes with unexpectedly soft sand. The sharp edges took Rawlence down at one point and the changing surfaces nearly claimed Kolobus as well (fortunately both incidents are recorded for posterity in the attached video... you're welcome fellas).








Above: In 30km of riverbed, there was only one impassible place, and it afforded us a chance to climb the riverbank for an amazing view of the valley.


Above: Kolobus looking like special forces






Above: Rawlence takes a seat


Above: I love this bike! I love this place!


Above: The guys each take a different line. No need to eat dust in the Milgis.


Above: Out of the lugga now, toward the Ndoto mountains from the Milgis, onward to Ngurunit

We arrived in Ngurunit in early afternoon, hammered some sardines etc and organized water, food and beer. The camp’s kids were put to work that day. They brought back 20L of drinking water, 60L of washing water and many beers. They set up the showers, brought our mosi nets and rousted up the old guy who sweeps away the thorns. Having cooled off a bit, I volunteered to hop back on the bike for a run down the road in search of cell reception to send the all’s well to loved ones. It was a joy. Dressed in tennis shoes, t-shirt and normal pants, I flew down the road, feeling the sun burning my arms and neck, drifting against better judgement around corners on the unburdened Pig. Later I went in search of the mythical hot spring, but was turned away by a very rocky road and a powerful thirst for a beer. We frittered the day away in an attempt to recover our strength. The plan for the following day was going to be very ambitious…


Above: Letting the boys cool and telling tall tales


Above: My little solo-run in search of “network”


Above: The track to the spring. End of the line for me in my tennies.


Above: Our digs, the container bungalow of Ngurunit


Above: Chilling… Rawlence organizes food from the local mama… good thing he brought his dress-up boxers

We slept well despite the heat which had sunk into our very bone marrow, dreaming of riverbed riding and elephants.

Tomorrow will be a challenge… to put it mildly. Makes me thirsty just thinking about it.

Stay tuned, but before you go, check out the video... it's worth watching:



 :snorting:

« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 09:06:46 am by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Malcolm

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2017, 10:51:48 am »
Hey Osadabwa

Lekker kiff report, but man its killing me.  I am missing Kenya too much when i see this stuff.

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Offline badballie

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2017, 11:25:33 am »
Awesome  :thumleft:

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Offline sidetrack

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2017, 12:16:49 pm »
That was a close call at 1:00  :o
Little by little, one travels far

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Ride reports :
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=134175.0 Penge's pass and the Old Forest http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=9421.0 - Orange Atlantic adventure http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0 - 805 km day trip http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=20260.0 - East Cape Bash http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=70199.0 - Two KTM thumpers head north
 

Offline D man

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2017, 01:48:50 pm »
Every now and then a truly stunning RR appears, this is one of them.  Well done!
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Offline big oil

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2017, 05:15:07 pm »
Man that was a hell of a save, can't believe he didn't go down.
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Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2017, 06:13:37 pm »
Very kiff story. Jealous as hell!

Offline Gottoride

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2017, 07:10:10 pm »
Man that was a hell of a save, can't believe he didn't go down.
Neither could I, Big Oil, but the throttle is your friend! Surprised there wasn't a bite mark in my seat  :snorting:
 

Offline big oil

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2017, 08:56:54 pm »
Man that was a hell of a save, can't believe he didn't go down.
Neither could I, Big Oil, but the throttle is your friend! Surprised there wasn't a bite mark in my seat  :snorting:

 For sure:lol8: :ricky:
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 - Lake Logipi... the Stone Oven of North Suguta
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2017, 07:38:51 am »
Settle in, folks, it's gonna be a long, eventful day.

A peaceful morning greeted us. Nice light. Not yet scorching hot. Not yet. By the time we were packed up, the broiler of a sun was preheating nicely. I took a rinse in the shower with my kit on to benefit from a bit of cheap AC as we blasted out of Ngurunit en route to Tuum where we would decide which of the tracks I’d made we’d follow down into the volcanic rift that makes up the northern end of Suguta Valley and the southern end of Lake Turkana.


Above: The Ndotos from our Ngurunit camp

Leaving Ngurunit is a joy. The road is sandy and quick as you please and races past the stoic stone faces of the Ndoto mountains and through clutches of acacia trees. The first 20km or so is a nice dirt road, the type you expect out in the middle of nowhere, but by the time you reach Ilaut, it merges with the mega dirt superhighway that the Turkana Wind Power Project has constructed to ferry the hundreds of wind turbines and high tension equipment to the stony hills south of Loiyangalani. Once on that, it’s really full-throttle time. But take care, we all found ourselves basically asleep at the bars and some of those bends are more abrupt than you take them for. Approaching with the throttle open, only to suddenly realize you won’t make the turn is a sphincter puckering experience. The only remedy is a quick downshift and another fist full of throttle to drift that rear end around to face the open end of the turn. Once it’s done, you feel like superman, but damn…


Above: Kolobus charging past the Ndotos


Above: Rawlence rips into the last turns before the superdirt


Above: On the superdirt (and some big cat tracks in the sand I found later on)

We like going fast. Who doesn’t? But that Wind Farm road is too much. We’re on XRs, not GSs, so we deviated at the first chance to find a more challenging track leading towards Tuum. We knew it would add time, but also grins, so we went for it. We were not disappointed. Right away the track was more exciting, and it just kept getting better, climbing a scrambly rockstrewn mess of a hill and kicking us out on a double-track through some open plains with views of Nyiro in the distance on whose western flank huddles Tuum. What a blast. And out in all that scrub, right in the middle of the track I spooked a large gray Lynx, pointy ears assaulted by the noise of our approach. Brilliant.


Above: Yeah, XRs are the way to go. Look at the flying stones!







In a flash we were at the iconic Tuum turnoff. The stone marker has been there since before I passed through here in 2004, as is the Desert Rose mailbox, though the lovely plant by the same name has since been ploughed under in the name of progress (flashback link HERE to see the area a decade ago). It was at the turnoff that I realized my luggage system was still doing the hula (I’d noticed it first in the Mathews)… as I feared, one of the heli-coils that attaches the rack to the aluminum subframe had given up the ghost and the looseness was playing havoc with the other bolts. This was bad news. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep going with the rack loose, and I was 100% sure I’d be stuffed if the subframe broke again (as it did during THIS RIDE down in S. Kenya). So, it was time to get clever. I unsheathed my travel hammer (thanks Panic!) and jury-rigged a system out of a stone and several robust cable ties to anchor the rack to a nearby support. Amazingly, it held fast the entire trip!


Above: The Tuum turnoff on the South Horr – Baragoi road


Above: For years, the Turkana and Samburu have had tribal conflict in this area. The Tuum diocese has tried to mediate with limited success. This sign has been standing in the scorching sun long enough to have lost the red circle backslash that is meant to tie the depiction of the AK-47 in with the suggested “Land of Peace” slogan. Sadly, these days, the AK is no longer the weapon of choice, with much more sophisticated arms falling off government trucks left and right it seems. Modern day politicized tribalism requires modern weapons. These ain’t your grandpa’s cattle raids.


Above: Roadside rack repair using local materials


Above: My stone-aged rack repair. Fred Flintstone would be proud (geologists, feel free to correct me on type of stone used…)

From the turnoff, it was a scenic blast to Tuum, a dot on the side of Nyiro. Our objectives there were threefold:

1) Water. We knew if we were descending to the edge of Lake Logipi or toward the Southern Tip of Lake Turkana we would need more of it. Both lakes are saline, and the Tuum folks were telling us the Logipi water is positively poisonous… not that we’d try to drink it anyway.

2) Fuel. The big tanks needed a top-up.

3) Info. My “tracks” to both Logipi and Mt. Telekis were sketchy at best, so a bit of local intel would come in handy.
Amazingly, we managed to get fuel and info, but no water! Water, the stuff that we literally could not live without! Apparently the Nyiro spring above Tuum is sweet enough that none of the dukas even bother selling drinking water. This was bad news. I was very concerned that we would get down into the depths of that stone-lined pizza oven from hell and not be able to get back before nightfall. Camping without extra water would be uncomfortable at best, perilous at worst. Despite this legitimate worry, we went for it. Guess it was too early in the morning to be making sensible decisions.

Lake Logipi here we come.






Above: Politicians are masters of self-promotion. “Legendary”. My my my.


Above: Tuum is a one-horse town for sure. Dukas had warm Cokes but no water.


Above: The petrol “station” was a drum at a guy’s house decanted into 1 liter bottles. There’s a lot going on in this pic… Note the satellite TV dish in a town with no electricity, the kids with petrol covered hands (the old dude let one of them do the siphoning… what a gent) and the cow about to step nonchalantly into the sitting room.

The ride from Ngurunit to Tuum merits its own short video... it was lovely



To be continued...
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 07:40:22 am by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 - Lake Logipi continued...
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2017, 07:49:02 am »
One of the men helping fill the bikes said he’d been to Logipi recently on a boda. “Well, not all the way… I stopped and got in a 4x4 at some pont… the rocks get big down there!”. That was interesting intel. As was his declaration that the track was pretty good down to the next village called Parkati, but then it proceeds to get “bad”. Noted. So we fueled up, stocked up on take-away Cokes in lieu of water, and aimed down the valley.


Above: After only a few km we come across this ominous marker. We later find out that a catholic priest was killed in this spot in the 1980s. Not a lot more info was forthcoming. We rode on.


Above: The man’s portrait on a ceramic tile attached to the left side of the crucifix

If the track down to Parkati was meant to be the easy part, we knew we were in for some serious riding. Although clearly a road, it was not well maintained and had many washouts and billions of rolling, fist and softball sized rocks to contend with. Rideable, to be sure, but not remotely easy. Every fiber of muscle in our upper bodies remained taught, awaiting the next rock that would shoot the wheel unexpectedly to the side. We rode along a stunning, deep canyon edge and eventually sloped downward along the fall line to the bottom. The final approach to the riverbed below was quite steep, very rocky and increasingly hot. It was a serious workout, and we rested and snacked at the bottom to build strength for “the hard part” that was yet to come, sweat dripping and flies swarming around us.


Above: The easier riding, making pretty good time


Above: It really is a stunning bit of road


Above: Rawlence begins the rattly final descent to the riverbed below


Above: Cactus… yes, this is now becoming proper desert. I was just a speck making my way down the last hill.


Above: Our rest point. Easy part over, time to get ready for the main event.

By now, it was past noon. We had descended into the heat, and needed to keep moving if we were going to get down there and out again before dark. We rode a bit further and came to the village. As we entered, we spooked a herd of camels that was wandering up the road and couldn’t easily get off due to the big stones on either side. One of the little guys fell and got stepped on by a big one, but he was up and running (if you can call what camels do “running”) in no time. I was relieved. I didn’t want to be negotiating payment for an injured dromedary with some Turkana guy in this heat. We proceeded down to the village proper. It was very picturesque. Everybody there was dressed in traditional garb, and the nest-like houses made of sticks and thatch sat huddled on either side of the road… or at least we thought it was the road. As we got going, I realized that the proper road probably went around the village. No matter, on we went. Out into the plains. Away from people. Away from life. Into the heat.


Above: Very quickly, it got hotter and drier. There was no life apart from knee-high shrubs and head-high acacias, all leafless and dry as bones.

From Parkati, the road was smaller and rocky, but very ridable. I began to think we had been fed a line of baloney from the kid in Tuum. This wasn’t that hard. We were going to make it. Again, I spoke too soon. The heat was now rising from the stones and falling from the sky in equal measure, the few clouds that hung overhead gave the impression of coolness, but none of the reality. The track, while ridable, was taking a toll on our minds and muscles, and it was about to get worse. We crested a hill and in front of me lie a massive khaki-colored volcano frozen for millennia with a black flow of lava spilling like a massive tongue out of its ruptured side. That tongue had cooled into billions of black rolling stones and had been eroded into steep cliffs. The track was etched into the side of one of those cliffs. I crested the hill just in time to see Kolobus, a speck on the other side of the valley, grinding and spinning his way to the top. It was going to get heavy now.


Above: Rawlence gets a view of what’s to come


Above: Top right corner is the khaki volcano with the black tongue. We were riding on its million year old vomit


Above: Kolobus attempts to breathe


Above: The khaki volcano and a lone red bike


Above: Kolobus climbs up the rubbly cliff side


Above: I wait in the blistering heat for my turn to descend and climb up the other side. Don't let the clouds fool you, it was no cooler than 45 C out there.


Above: Kolobus is a speck on the horizon


Above: Group selfie. Foolishly thinking the worst was behind us…


To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 - Lake Logipi continued...
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2017, 08:05:33 am »
From the top of the first wicked climb, we could see Lake Logipi. It was only one or two big valleys away. We were knackered. The length and roughness of the road, and the increasingly stifling heat were starting to take their toll, as was the calculus going on in my head that at the rate I was going, I’d be out of water in an hour or two… I had to conserve. We pressed on. Down one valley and over a slight shoulder we went. All of it was loose, fist and Nerf football sized stone. All of it was hot. There was no reprieve. We’d ride as far as we could, then stop, panting and swearing, ripping off our helmets to breathe better in the close air. Finally, we reached the bottom again where a few daum palms managed to survive. Lo and behold, human life was there. A rail-thin man in a pea-colored hat and shirt, toting an AK-47 emerged just as Kolobus collapsed off his bike into the sand. He and his two kids lived out there, only God knows how, tending their small herd of goats one ridge over from L. Logipi. We crashed in the sand for an eternity, trying to gather enough strength to continue. A weak drizzle fell on the stones and acted like a spoon of water in a dry sauna. Finally, Kolobus decides to walk over the next little hill. Reporting back, he said the lake was only one ridge away. We had to keep going. Apparently it was now too hot to be making good decisions.


Above: Kolobus takes his dying selfie


Above: My view of Kolobus’ dying selfie

The last thing I wanted was to put on my kit, but put it on I did and up the hill we went. At the top, a spectacular view came into focus. Lake Logipi, not even a lake at this stage in what is shaping up to be a brutal dry season, lay steaming in the bottom of the valley, encircling Cathedral Rock, a massive volcano core, like a mirror. On the horizon, crawling down the black volcanic plug that keeps Lake Turkana from spilling into the Suguta Valley, a raincloud hung in the heat. At this point, Rawlence looks at his Trail Tech temperature gauge: 122 F/ 50 C. I don’t recall the conversation about who should go first, but Rawlence drew the short straw. In 50 feet, fell over in the stones. I went next, making it about 50 feet farther before also falling in the stones. Barely able to drag the bike up on to its stand, I looked up at Kolobus who had wisely stayed put on the shoulder of the hill. His face mirrored my own: Abandon ship! It said. We’d come as far as we should. Reason had prevailed over bravado...


Above: Kolobus crests the final ridge above Lake Logipi


Above: Rawlence’s view from below. That ain’t gravel, folks


Above: As far as I went. And now I’d have to get myself back up again.


Above: But what a beautiful place to die.


Above: Nothing about this picture shows how I felt. Mixture of elation, exhaustion, worry and dread… and sunburn… and heat, my god it was hot!


Above: It was no small effort coming back up. Had we gone all the way to the bottom, one or all of us would be there still.


Above: Kolobus helps pull Rawlence’s bike the last feet up the slope


Above: It was an otherworldly place. The rainclouds made it all the more amazing, and eventually saved our bacon.


Above: I badly wanted to see if that lakebed was firm enough to ride on… next time maybe.

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 - Lake Logipi continued...
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2017, 08:06:40 am »
Rawlence and I had finally fought our bikes back up to the top of the hill when the heavens opened and a proper, quenching rain hammered us, our bikes, our gear and the rocks around us. It hit hard enough to kill the oppressive heat just enough. We were soaked to the skin and thankful as dogs rescued from the pound. I still had to hike down to where my bike had been to collect my luggage, and when I got back up, the three of us just sat in the rain and watched it fall. Beautiful, forbidding, harsh place, Logipi. A Mars analogue if I ever saw one.


Above: The rain man


Above: Just leave me boys! Tell my wife and kids I love ‘em!


Above: Some call me Gorgeous George, but I am completely, utterly, knackered...


Above: Final, final shots. Lets get the hell out of here.

Our ordeal was not over. Although it was certainly true that the last 100 feet of road was the worst, hottest and most difficult, there were still several kilometers of road that under ordinary circumstances would be considered grueling. Since we’d left most of our energy in the form of heat out there on the stones, we were starting to make mistakes. Rawlence was having a hell of a go. He kept staling the BRP, and as all Pig fans know, this means you gotta kick start her back to life. Nothing doin’. He’d twisted his kicker ankle on the last fall, so I became his manual kickstarter. This meant I’d have to walk back down to him, kick the bike to life, ride it up to my bike, and proceed. Fortunately, it wasn’t necessary much because I was one kick away from either lighting the bike on fire or running screaming into the distance, never to be seen again. Eventually, we made it past the really loose stuff and had a brief powwow. The crux was: Lets get the hell out of here, back to Tuum, fall on the mercy of the Catholic mission there and beg for food, water and accommodation. Rawlence heard this and was off up the track, not to be seen for another hour. He rode like a man possessed!


Above: Final shots looking back: Logipi and the khaki volcano


Above: Descent into Khaki Volcano alley

Rawlence was gone, Kolobus and I coming on behind him. We were making good time. Something about wanting badly to get out of a place will do that to you. So we rattled right along. Then we got back to the village. Parkati. Something was off. Kolobus was just ahead of me and as he disappeared between the thatched walls of the village, some girls ran out and started gesturing animatedly to me to go around. So, I nodded and obliged, but now we were separated. What I saw up ahead took my heat-addled mind a second to comprehend. Some men were carrying a long ladder and attempting to rush toward the exit of the village. They were trying to block Kolobus from getting out. But because I was coming at them, they got confused, and he slipped by. At this point, two dozen angry people, mostly women, came pouring out of a community building/church thing, all shouting and brandishing fistfuls of stones and sticks. Still idling along, I looked at Kolobus and he looked at me. Then I made eye contact with a mean old lady with braided mohawk hairdo, beads from shoulders to neck, lump of tobacco in her jaw (no lip-plug though) and stones in her clenched fists. She didn’t seem to be in a mood for polite discussion so we turned and proceeded calmly but quickly toward the exit. Why were they furious? Dunno. Maybe we did maim their camel. Maybe in their minds stoning is a perfectly acceptable punishment for the offence of riding through the village. I don’t know. All I do know is it was bad diplomacy on their part and I ain’t gonna stop for no angry mob with stones and sticks when I’m on a goddam fire breathing XR650R and covered head to toe in riot gear! No sir, not this mzungu!


Above: Back to the “easy stuff” at last… but wait, it’s rained…

If we were riding quickly before, our encounter in Parkati only added coal to the boiler. We were cruising now! Up the steep hill we flew, onward and upward. Eventually we caught up with Rawlence who had finally tested the grippiness of the wet red soil and found it lacking. That stuff was slick in spots, and he’d gone down like a sack of potatoes. We all needed a rest anyway. We were now in striking distance of Tuum, the mad villagers were far behind us (even if warriors mounted their swiftest camels, they’d be hours away from our current location) and it was considerably cooler than it had been down in Logipi. And moreover, what a day! We were starting to ride the high of our exhaustion, and it was great.


Above: Rawlence’s enforced rest stop

Of course, elation from exhaustion is still exhaustion. At one point, the road takes a hard left, but appears it could go straight too… if you plough through a thicket of thorn trees. And that’s just what Kolobus did. I saw the tracks vanish into the shrubs, so I rode past, found a nice spot on the road and waited. In the distance I heard a bike roar, splutter, roar again, putter along, and stop at idle, followed by a semi-human howl of exhaustion and relief. I guessed he’d made it back to the road.


Above: Kolobus back on track. Muppet! Look at your GPS!


Above: Red soil, red bikes, red tires… almost out of there

Soon the red clay gave way to dark black mud, but it was tacky so we started to fly. Nyiro rose up, followed by Tuum. We roared into town, knocked at the mission, took off our boots and waited. Soon we were surrounded by kids, coffee was served, we were shown our rooms, cold showers were made available and we were invited to a feast. I’ve said a lot of unkind things about organized religion in my time, but it’s true that the humans inside the missions deep in the heart of Africa can really be saviors. Thanks Fathers, and feel free to pray for us sinning bikers.


Above: The last of the riding, and a claustrophobic clutch of kids checking out Logipi pics at the mission.

We celebrated with a wee dram of rum before collapsing into our cots that night. It had been nearly 300km of some treacherous riding and we dreamed about it fitfully through the night.

Those dreams looked something like this:



Cheers and see you tomorrow!

 :snorting:
 

Offline Slim Jim

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2017, 09:09:24 am »
wow wow wow , that's adventure riding at it's best . :laughing4:
 

Offline Rooi Wolf

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2017, 02:30:56 pm »
 Epic scenery. Epic riding. And epic storytelling!!  :thumleft:
 

Offline KiLRoy

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2017, 04:03:30 pm »
Awesome awesome awesome :thumleft:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 5 - Tuum to Loiyangalani
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2017, 09:58:20 am »
We weren’t in a hurry to get out of bed. Our bodies were feeling the abuse from the day before. Still, we couldn’t exactly just hang out at the mission forever, so we put on our civvies and walked over for a nice breakfast with the Fathers. There we learned some of the recent history of this place, with Samburu chasing Turkana out, warriors sitting up on Nyiro and taking pot-shots at anyone that doesn’t look right to them (including one of the priests) and how that nasty horde of camel herders in Parkati did not choose that sunny spot themselves, but were chased there after they lost a fight. It’s dog eat dog out here, no joke.


Above: Our humble and cosy digs at Tuum mission

After breakfast, we hit the road. And what a sweet road it was, too. From Tuum north is just a blast to ride. It’s winding, it’s sandy, its stony… it’s got a bit of everything, including daft ostriches that race you down the track. I followed this female for a kilometer, clocking her speed (50kph and throwing roost) and wondering if there was anything in that tiny brain at all. I even stopped to let her chill and was embarrassed for her when I saw her low-side on an off camber left-hander. I mean geez… aren’t they supposed to be evolutionally suited for this stuff? She’s got 2x2 wheel drive ffs. I digress.


Above: Kolobus buzzes past Nyiro under a mercifully cloudy sky






Above: That daft ostrich… seriously what a dumb creature


Above: We hit the sandy section and twisted that throttle on!



To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 5 continued...
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2017, 10:07:22 am »
Eventually the fun road rejoins the sand superhighway that services the wind farm and all the fun and remoteness is immediately sucked right out of the place. For those of you who have been here in the past, you wouldn’t recognize the place. When I struggled through here in 2004 (on a sad assed BMW F650 Dakar), the road was nothing better than a wide double track through the sand. From South Horr to Loiyangalani was just a windy, scrubby wasteland. Fast forward to today: That road makes you feel like you’re in Nevada or something and then you hit the wind farm. Acres and acres, no, miles and miles of access roads, fences, electric wires and hundreds (no exaggeration) of wind turbines. The magic of this place is well and truly gone. And while I am pleased they are turbines and not oil wells, and am aware of the hypocrisy of a mzungu lamenting infrastructure development in the developing world, I can’t help but think ‘there goes one more remote place on the planet’ and ‘how long before Starbucks arrives?’.






Above: Lake Turkana Wind Power is almost online. They just need to hook them up to the grid and let the blades spin. It remains to be seen who will get the electricity of course… hii ni Kenya

Thankfully, after the wind farm, the road down to the lake looked more or less like it used to. There were more concrete patches than I remember and somebody had recently run a grader over the worst of the stones, but nobody can reasonably lament that, not even grumpy old me. And man, the heat and wind was the same as ever, like sitting under an enormous hair dryer in the sun. We stopped under a sad specimen of a tree to scarf some tinned fish and descended to the shore road where it took Kolobus a moment to realize he’d picked up the first puncture of the trip! Congrats mate, get wrenching!








Above: When a friend is doing puncture repair, it’s important to help out… not literally of course… in my case, I helped out by admiring the lake while he repaired the flat.


Above: I’ll give Kolobus one thing, he at least picked the one properly shady spot in all those stones


Above: Lake Turkana will always be impressive, even when they do tar the road to Starbucks.

From before Tuum, I had been talking about one place in Loiyangalani that has a pool: The Oasis. I had been dreaming about soaking in it for days by now. The heat was killing me and I just wanted that pool! Well, no such luck. The Oasis Hotel – an institution in these parts – and the only place with a pool was in the process of cleaning theirs when we arrived. Even so, we nearly stayed there until we inspected the rooms and had a chat with the uninspiring staff. Rawlence summed it up: “I don’t want to give my money to the largest hotel in the town, owned by a bigshot who doesn’t even pay to keep food in the fridge or renovate the place. Lets go to the little mom and pop place instead.” So off to Malabo resort we went and we were glad we did. No, it wasn’t cooler there. No it wasn’t shadier, but the guys jumped to help out, the food was good, the rooms were much nicer and the beers were ice cold. Still, I’ve decided that the next time I go to the north, I’m not going to stay in Loiyangalani at all!


Above: Me telling the Oasis what I think about their place and their empty ass pool. Pick up your game, Oasis. And Kolobus on Main Street.


Above: A quick stop at the “Cold Drinks Hotel” for warm drinks and way too much beans and chapatti. After that, no matter what, we couldn’t quench our thirst!

While in Loiyangilani, Rawlence feverishly worked on sorting out our next ambitious plan.

Stay tuned, and have a peek at the day's video:


Remember to poke the HD button...

 :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 6 - Loiyangalani to Eliye Springs over Lake Turkana
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2017, 12:16:31 pm »
Frankly, we couldn’t wait to get out of Loiyangalani. The heat was just too much. It seemed our bodies hadn’t recovered at all from the Logipi experience as a result, so we were desperate to move on. Rawlence had quizzed everybody at the hotel about the best way to get to Moite, a fishing village on the East side of the lake, and we had memorized a hand-drawn map that one knowledgeable guy drew for us. We just had to blast out of town the usual way, North toward Gas, past the concrete slab and hang a left. Lets bloody do it!


Above: Leaving Loiyangalani is a rip at first




Above: We were increasingly seeing signs of serious drought in the quantity of dead animals around. This camel hadn’t been dead more than a few hours, the one in front maybe a day.


Above: 20km North of town, we got to the big concrete slab and started looking in vain for our junction


Above: Eventually it became clear we’d misunderstood our instructions, and we confirmed it with a boda guy roadside in the rough section of the road.

Nothing is more painful than having to backtrack, but backtrack we did. Why? Because in our previous Turkana trip, some interpersonal foibles led us to forgo good riding simply because we didn’t have the heart to say: NO, dammit, we are going back to do what we said we were doing! So, heavy of heart and open of throttle, we blasted back Lakeside to find our missing track… and I promptly got a puncture as a result. Those damn stones are sharp, man! Kolobus helped me repair my puncture (psychopathically of course) and a half dozen kids, an armed man and several teens watched as well. Thankfully nobody gave me any advice.


Above: Shady spot for a puncture repair… with good friends on hand to lend support

In no time we found the proper track and we were laughing again. What a gem! This track doesn’t even show up on Google Earth as a faint scratch on the landscape. The usual road up the Lake goes near the shore, and by all accounts is a deep sand and stone sprinkled mess from truck traffic. On the other hand, the upper road was new, winding, sandy and fast as hell. But don’t be fooled, you had to be on your game for this section boy, as Rawlence found out on a blind uphill off camber right hander. I’d come over that crest and nearly lost it, Kolobus came over and nearly did the same… Rawlence was third time unlucky and went onto the shoulder and into a heap. No harm done, but it was a stark reminder of the laws of physics.


Above: Rawlence drifts a fesh sprinkled corner


Above: In case it hasn’t been made clear, I reckon the XR650s are the best bikes for this amazing place (And if my BRP loving brethren are reading, it’s time to acknowledge that, in the right hands, the XR650L is an amazing tool a long trip like this. That E-button is worth the bike’s weight in gold, and she keeps up just fine thank you very much. The R will kill the L in a race, but the L might beat her on a cross-continental tour… if the rider is sensible and doesn’t go ape.)


Above: The XR650L… she ain’t the purdiest, but she does the job like a boss


Above: A rare spot of shade on a very common pebble riverbed


Above: Right – The three lines… Mine in the middle (pretty damn good, but just about deadly), Kolobus’ on the Left (nearly off the edge), Rawlence on the inside (too tight! Brake! right off the side).


Above: So much fun…

Have a gander at the video:


To be continued...  :snorting:

« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 12:33:36 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 6 continued...
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2017, 12:20:52 pm »
I practically came into Moite sideways. By the time we reached the village, I was essentially going flat out. Way too much fun, and I didn’t want to stop, but now it was time to get serious. We intended to hire a boat to cross 600kg of motorcycle and 250kg of human across to the other side of Lake Turkana. We rode down to the shore, but nobody was there. So while Kolobus and I sat by the bikes, Rawlence went back up to the village to sort out our ride. Of course he had to visit the local Police post to explain our presence and be regaled with tales of drought and banditry. He was gone an hour. Kolobus and I were getting tired of the small herd of kids that was just sitting there staring at us, so we asked them if they knew any songs. Pretty soon, we had our own dance troupe going. Gotta be creative.


Above: Arrival at Moite boat launch… but where’s the boat?


Above: This boat looks the part, but had serious buoyancy issues by the looks of it (slats missing in the bow)


Above: Our afternoon’s entertainment… better than just being stared at

Rawlence pitches up eventually with good news. He’s organized the boat and it’ll be here soon. I was sick of sitting still, and thirsty as hell, so Kolobus and I rode into the village for a very warm Coke at the duka where some serious old Turkana ladies (still no lip plugs) tried to sell us some cool Geodes and one bored policeman from fertile Luoland told me how miserable living in this place is. Cokes finished, Kolobus and I went back down to the beach to explore a bit, leaving Rawlence (who said he was exhausted and didn’t want to go) sat in the sand to wait. It was a blast. We ditched our kit and just enjoyed the easy riding, compact sand. We rode out to the local Cape and watched eagerly as our boat slowly came into view, munching peanuts and thinking deep thoughts.


Above: The place is dry… even goat carcasses were everywhere… here I thought goats were immortal thanks to an agreement they made with the devil


Above: A very cool spot… a tiny sliver of sand juts into the lake and points at our destination on the other side


Above: Your bikes would be jealous of this pic










Above: We followed the boat back to where Rawlence was waiting, but didn’t fancy arriving early, so we parked up under a palm and watched the waves a bit (little did we know, Rawlence was in the midst of a very annoying discussion over where he was… something about who would pay what for lifting the bikes into the boat, etc. In our defense, I doubt our presence would have assisted! Sorry Rawlence!)


Above: That, my friends, is the skullcap of a mud fish over my face… nope nope nope

To be continued...  :snorting: