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Author Topic: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best  (Read 3435 times)

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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 6 continued...
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2017, 12:27:23 pm »
The boat arrived and things happened quickly. One by one, we pushed our bikes through shin-deep water to the boatside then stood back as a group of sinewy men with a flurry of syllables lifted each over the gunwales. It was remarkably drama-free, and before we knew it we were perched in the back of the boat next to our twenty-something captain and being pushed out to sea. At first, it felt like the boat would capsize, but once we got moving, we all settled in and enjoyed a brilliant 2 hour ride across the lake, stopping at one point to have a much needed swim. It was a highlight of the day!




Above: Not everybody there was helpful, but enough were to make the job go quickly


Above: Note the girl in the foreground… we learned that beads on young girls like that means they’re promised to a man… sigh, what is she, eight? ten?




Above: O captain, our captain!... and his 15 horse motor






Above: The three bike ferry

The boat ride was lovely until the western shore became visible. Then it seemed to linger there, without getting closer, for days. From the port side of our little vessel we could see sand blowing hard from the shore out onto the Lake, carrying with it some larger than usual waves. The sun was setting, and I just wanted to be ashore already! At last, we arrived and we all started grabbing gear and ferrying it to the shore, only to find out that we’d landed half a kilometer off course. So, we loaded up the gear and puttered down the last leg of the journey where the palms of the Eliye Springs Lodge waited for us. While the sun sat, we hammered a couple of very cold beers and recapped the day. It was brilliant, so nice that by 9:45 your narrator was fast asleep in his bed.


Above: Almost there...






Above: The bikes came off the boat 10 meters from shore. Kolobus could ride his over, but kickstarting a Pig in deep water in bare feet was not gonna happen for me and Rawlence






Above: Sunset over Lake Turkana… the hills in the distance are Moite. Somewhere out there, our little boat was making the return journey and would arrive in the dark. This place ain’t for sissies.

Tomorrow, we rest. At last, we rest.

But first, here's the video of the crossing:


 :snorting:


« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 12:34:34 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Dustman

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2017, 01:56:23 pm »
Wow......this is epic!......................... that's all i can say. :biggrin:
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 01:57:21 pm by Rhino2 »
"Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
 

Online exkdx

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2017, 09:43:04 pm »
Awesome stuff!
Real adventure  bike riding :biggrin:
Gets my vote for "roll of honour" status :ricky:
KDX200 gone
YZ 250 gone
Husky TE610 one left
KTM 500 XC-W latest addition
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 7 - Eliye Springs rest day
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2017, 06:50:44 am »
I wish I could say I slept well, but with the heat, I just couldn’t. The hut was awesome, posh even with its Turkana hut looking design incorporating wooden floors and a full bath, but there was no breeze and it was like being baked in a scone. The sunrise was amazing though.





My original plan for the day at Eliye was to ride sand dunes. Do you think I even so much as looked at the bike? Hell no! It was hot (it’s becoming a theme, isn’t it) and we were far more interested in morning beers and chilling out. I did repair my puncture, but it wasn’t looking good. There were 3 acacia thorns in the tube plus the offending puncture which was actually a patch that had given up the ghost. Patching over where a patch once was… I didn’t like it. But, what to do? Take a nap and go for an afternoon swim is what!



That evening, we sat up drinking a unique-to-the-world liquor called D&G which is made from daum palm seeds and sold exclusively at the lodge. The owner, Rolf, kept us entertained with stories of trial and tribulation in Turkana, and warned us against taking some of the tracks I hoped we could use going back toward Nairobi. With elections plus drought plus the usual banditry and cattle rustling, we were strongly advised to just hit the main road. “Don’t worry though,” said Rawlence, “it ain’t tar!”.

 :snorting:
 

Offline McSack

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2017, 08:02:44 am »
Wow. Awesome ride.

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

~ Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself ~
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 8 - Eliye Springs South, the marathon to Iten
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2017, 08:14:45 am »
Okay. Back to it.

Up early, we were determined to get going before 9. After a swim in the lake at dawn (oh, what a joy after another sweaty night) we packed up, scarfed down breakfast and hit the road. To Lodwar from Eliye was excellent. Sandy doubletracks all the way. Me and the boys hardly paused, just blasted it. In no time we were looking for fuel in Lodwar for what was going to be a very long day.








Above: Apparently Lodwar has its very own Jesus the Redeemer

At the lodge, we were told there might be a petrol shortage due to the long Easter Holiday draining the reserves, and sure enough that’s what we found. We rolled into the station and there was a long queue of men, some carrying 1 liter bottles, many on bodabodas, all waiting to be served a ration of fuel. I thought we were stuffed. Rawlence went to try his hand at bribing the pump guy when out of nowhere the owner invited Kolobus to cut in and take as much as we need. His argument was that we were going far and needed the fuel, these local guys could wait. Nobody made much of a fuss, we fueled up and off we went, relieved.




Above: Petrol station hubbub

Here's some video of the ride and the petrol station stuff...



Rawlence was right… there’s nothing tarred about the Lodwar road! I rode a matatu on this thing in 1998 and I think I remember it being mostly tar… well forget it. Truth is, for many kilometers it was a lot of fun. Trucks, sick of riding one tire on the broken asphalt and one on the edge, had made a maze of parallel tracks that were a blast to follow. Eventually, though, corrugations and rough surfaces replaced the sand and the hammering was ceaseless. Rawlence got a puncture at some point, and both of us started noticing that our steering bearings were going. As we approached Kainuk, the road became sinister as well… it was bandit territory and we’d been warned that it was just a matter of luck whether you were hit. It was desolate there, eerie despite being in the middle of the day in the full sunshine. We rolled into Kainuk without incident, however, and, pleased to see that there was no political activity going on in town, we stopped and had a Coke.








Above: The only features of note on this leg of the journey: broken roads, wide horizons, the occasional craggy rock outcrop and very tall, pointy termite mounds. Those termites really gave it their best out there.


Above: Rawlence gets puncture number two


Above: I decided to lend a hand this time…

 




Above: Kainuk. One week after passing through, friends report being turned around North of Kainuk by a crew of bandits in the act of looting a lorry. Back in Kainuk town, however, they found political nonsense kicking off… fun times in Pokot land.

To be continued...







 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 8 - Continued...
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2017, 08:27:51 am »
Just south of Kainuk, a wonderful track crawls along under the escarpment east of Marich Pass toward Tot. It was a great ride. The Pokot seem to understand the value of mature trees which towered over the road and stood high on the hills. There was a lot going on, roadside. Many people moving up and down. Finally, after hoping against hope that the low pressure I was noticing in my front tire would go away (you know, by magic), I succumbed to my second puncture of the trip. A political rally was in full swing near the tree I chose to shelter under, but everyone was in good spirits and paid us no mind. This was good, but it was clear tensions were high. We passed two fully armed military units on that little dirt road, one of which was accompanied by a larger than average troop carrier. We slowed waaay down and waved politely…


Above: The bridge South of Kainuk


Above: Track East of Marich Pass




Above: Yes, that makes two… probably happened when I hit a series of speedbumps at full speed coming into Kainuk… or it might just have been bad luck.







The road was amazing, the views vast, but the speeds had to be kept under control. There were many bends and hundreds of people on the road. It was getting late in the afternoon already and when we pulled into Tot, it was time to assess our options. We wrongly assumed we were 60km from Baringo and a nice guest house. Nope. 150km was more like it. Just as this news was setting in, it started to rain. Things were looking bleak. A woman said that taking one of the roads out of Tot was inadvisable due to a group of warriors killing each other down there… “if you listen, you’ll hear the gunshots”. But then a lightbulb went on and she gave Rawlence the best idea of the day: Head along down the Kerio River valley some more then climb up the escarpment and overnight in Iten. Deal done, water packed, blaaaaap! We didn’t even wait for it to quit raining.





Kolobus and I were racing daylight, and it took us awhile to notice that Rawlence was nowhere to be seen. Damn. Probably another puncture. It’s nearly dusk now, and by the time we turned back we had agreed we would find Rawlence, patch up his tube and beg a schoolteacher to let us pitch tents in the school yard. Fortunately for us, Rawlence didn’t have a pinch… he was waiting at the turnoff we blew past like a couple of dorks. Chesongoch was the turnoff to Chesoi, and once we were on it, we were in for a treat. The dirt road climbed and twisted up the mountain, affording brilliant views of the Kerio Valley below and leaving the bellicose Pokot behind in favor of the peace-loving Nandi. Eventually, the dirt turned to a narrow, fresh tar road which was brilliant after 400km of pounding dirt. I was playing supermoto boy, leaning hard into every turn and hammering brakes on descents until I boiled my Dot 4 and had to settle into a sensible rhythm.


Above: Kolobus and I wait for Rawlence, contemplating plan B




Above: Up the hill we go, what a beautiful road








Above: The winding dirt turned to tar and we made great time, gaining altitude





Above: Me pretending I’m on a supermoto… the tires felt like they were glued to the tar after all that rough stuff

We rode an hour in the dark to Iten after pausing to devour a hunk of biltong Kolobus had made, cutting it to pieces with my big Masai Kisu, much to the delight and mild consternation of the looky-loos. Rawlence’s headlight was laughable, so he piggy-backed off of mine and Kolobus’ down the slow dirt track. All the while, a massive thunderstorm hammered away in the distance, throwing so much lightning that it looked like a movie played in fast forward. In Iten, we were in for a treat: The Kerio View Hotel turned out to be an awesome old-school wooden lodge with nice rooms, cool air and colder beers. We hammered a pepper steak each and sat by a fireplace so big you could literally (and I don’t abuse that word), literally barbeque a whole steer in it.



Above: Arrival at the Kerio View… aaaah

That night, for the first time in a week, we slept like the dead. Cool air, hallelujah!

Here's a bit of video of the road from Lodwar past Kainuk to the rains in Tot:















 

Offline frankmac

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2017, 08:36:12 am »
Great stuff!

Those Pokots and Turkana don't take crap. When I was in the Lokichar area druing 2012, the locals led a bunch of tribal police into an ambush and killed 45 of them.
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Turkana and Pokot
« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2017, 10:16:55 am »
Yeah, frankmac, they are some seriously tough nuts. That's why we just kept that throttle open around Lokichar and Kainuk... we were not interested in testing their marksmanship. For what it's worth, I feel like bikes afford you a bit of leeway with baddies of all sorts. Sure, we're exposed, but we're also faster than 4x4s and perceived to be less lucrative quarry... at least that's what I tell myself.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 10:17:16 am by Osadabwa »
 

Offline frankmac

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2017, 10:20:34 am »
 :thumleft:

That said, in the same area some locals in a 4 x 4 were also robbed of their belongings but fairly close to a military outpost. We all suspected it was a couple of rogue soldiers
 

Offline keithk

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2017, 11:11:13 am »
Huge "kudo's" guys this is an amazing cool adventure super RR and pics . Respect and thank you for sharing  :thumleft:

ROUTE DIFFICULTY:1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillion friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillion friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding
5 = expert only (we are not worthy, still to meet one)
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 9 - Iten to Nyahururu via the Baringo/Bogoria basin
« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2017, 11:19:11 am »
Despite our best efforts, none of us could sleep past 6:30. I blame my small children for ruining my ability to sleep in, but it could just as well be the various aches and pains I’ve begun to cultivate as I mature. Hey, at least I still got a strong stream of pee. Anyway, the early morning views off the cliffside down into the Kerio Valley were worth it. Absolutely stunning. Add a cup of real Kenyan coffee, and it became one of the best mornings of the trip.







Above: Views down valley from the Kerio View Hotel




Above: Okay, that’s a creepy bas relief and one might be concerned about the leg decorating the side of the lodge if you didn’t know that Iten is Kenya’s premier long-distance runner training ground. Some combo of altitude and mystique keep the elite runners and coaches coming back.

We had options to consider over breakfast. Should we hit the twisty tar to Baringo and ride around there a bit in the afternoon, crashing in Bogoria at a posh spa for our last night or should we explore this funky highland environment a bit in the morning and bee-line it for the spa? No contest, we took option B. The cool air and extreme topography was too appealing after all that sweltering desert flatland. We set off down farm roads in search of a wee dirt switchbacked descent to the valley, stopping occasionally to admire the view and eventually pulling in for a nice cuppa tea at another resort where I promptly realized I had another puncture. Dammit.








Above: Yes, that’s three.

I’m a quick puncture fixer, if I do say so myself, but I don’t relish the job anymore than anyone else, so I may have cussed a little bit when, less than half a kilometer after our tea stop and puncture fix, I was wobbling off to the side of the road to repair another one! Unlike the others I’d had on the trip, which were to do with patches giving up the ghost, this one was a direct result of a wicked pinch and odd circumstances. We’d just turned onto the road and I couldn’t have been in 3rd gear yet when a stone (one of many gray, loose, sharp ones that keep the road from turning into a red clay quagmire) bucked me sideways. As soon as I landed, I was completely flat. The tube revealed a nasty snakebite pinch that no patch would remedy. Later, I’d find out it was worse than I thought.


Above: My fourth puncture of the ride… I win the prize!

To be continued... :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 9 - Continued
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2017, 11:30:17 am »
An hour gone from tire repair, we were keen to ride the descent track down to the valley. I was navigating (poorly, it must be said) by stopping to check out my phone’s slow Google Maps and finally found the road. It was surprisingly wide and well maintained. Turns out it services the Kenya Fluorspar mine (fluorspar, of course being a mineral used in industry… Google it yourselves). Although there were definitely some open pits that weren’t very nice to look at, the rest of the ride was beautiful. The Kerio Valley here is dense with acacias and the road hugged the foot of the escarpment nicely, kicking us out eventually on the tar (I missed the track I wanted which would have kept us on dirt longer, but it ended up being for the best as we were burning daylight).




Above: On the Fluorspar road




Above: In the Fluorspar mines


Above: The Kerio Valley up close

If I’m honest, I didn’t enjoy the riding down in the valley much. I was paranoid about getting yet another puncture, so I was riding like a granny. The tar stretch through Kabarnet and Marigat wasn’t thrilling either, for guys who prefer dirt, but it certainly was scenic. Part of the reason for the nice scenery, though, was the quality of light which had yellowed as the late afternoon set in. At the petrol station in Marigat, we changed our minds on Plan B and developed Plan C: Skip the Bogoria Spa nonsense, lets see if we can get to Nyahrururu offroad before dark. I had a few tracks, or snips of tracks and the petrol station guys confirmed the road, so we went for it. And as soon as we did, I got my mojo back. It was a blast! The track was fast, challenging and beautiful, starting down in the gap between Baringo and Bogoria before climbing a loose section up the hillside to give us brilliant views back down.



Above: Working on plan C, climbing up above and between the lakes




Above: The evening light and amazing riding had a curious effect on my throttle hand… braaaap!


Above: Kolobus making dust


Above: Rawlence rides the rubble


Above: An amazing viewpoint after the climb





At the viewpoint, we confirmed we were on the right track to Nyahururu and just twisted it on. I followed Rawlence and Kolobus full speed through villages and farms until we hit the tar and blasted through the golden afternoon light (complete with rainbow) to town. While checking into the Falls Hotel, I had a look at my rear tire and found a little reminder of the rock that took me out earlier on the escarpment. Whatever it was must have been purpose built to attack tires. It had slashed the sidewall AND the nearest lug, pinching my tube in two places in the process. The Gods must have been angry with me (no shocker there). I was grateful I didn’t notice earlier, or I wouldn’t have enjoyed my afternoon so much. What a thrill!


Above: An evening sunset and the slash that could have ended the ride

We had a fire built in Rawlence’s room and sat around trying not to admit that the next day would be the end of the ride. Exhaustion overtook us before the show could get too melancholy, and we called it a night with a snort of Black Label to ease us off to Dreamland.

Tomorrow, home.

For now, how about one last little video:


 :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 10 - Nyahururu to Nairobi, the Breakfast Run Home
« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2017, 11:40:15 am »
Up. Breakfast. Pack. Beautiful light and cool air, but nobody really eager to move. We’ve gone all out on this ride, been to some pretty wild, remote and wonderful places. Going home is always difficult. This time it was a chore.


Above: Some "art" at the falls hotel

Kenya is developing quickly, unequally, but quickly. The fertile areas of the country, where we now were, are very built up with access roads being tarred every year. The prospects for excellent riding were few, so the plan had to be to enjoy the show and cruise home in style. So after a group shot in the early light, we set off.


Above: A damn good trio

I’d made a little track past Lake Olbolosat, but getting down to it proved more tricky than we expected. Then, for some reason there were a couple of cops at the turnoff, so we decided to wave and give it a miss altogether. This was okay though because we ended up following farm tracks high up a hillside that dead-ended at the Aberdares forest. Not able to get through there, we backtracked a bit until we found a good road that took us high above it all, affording lovely views down on the fields and farms and distant Lake Naivasha.




Above: It’s breezy and cool, nice cedar posts still hangin on after years of service.



Above: The road took us up to the Aberdares Park turnoff at some point


Above: Kolobus may have been demonstrating his sore hand, or doing his best naughty kitty impression. You decide.

After a nice break atop the hill, we decided to start wrapping thing sup. There were only a couple of hours left to Nairobi and most of that would be fast, traffic choked tar, so we decided to stop at the viewpoint petrol station, have a bite to eat, and get it over with. I was now conscious of the gash in my tire and both Rawlence and I were suffering from badly notched steering bearings, so it was time. As we washed down our pizza with a surprisingly good cup of joe at the petrol station, we kicked around the best moments of the trip… and began planning for next time.


Above: Parting shot, down the hill, onward to home.

As we always say, the ride ain’t over til you’re home, and never before has it been more true. I got within half a kilometer of my exit off Wayaki Way and started noticing a weave in my hips… the rear tube had gone again. Absolutely NOT interested in fixing it roadside, I just waived Kolobus goodbye and limped home. Meanwhile on the other side of town, Rawlence noticed a hop in his rear as well and was surprised to find several large bulbous protrusions mushrooming out of his non-DID approved enduro tire. He was moments away from a proper blowout when he puttered through his gate. Africa’s tough on gear, but man is she ever the place to use it!

Until next time fellas, Oink!
 
:snorting:
 

Offline ROOI

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #54 on: May 02, 2017, 01:53:39 pm »
Great report as always thanks for taking the time to share  :thumleft:
FTS
 

Offline bud500

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #55 on: May 02, 2017, 03:12:17 pm »
Yes man!
What a ride.
Thanks for the effort of sharing.
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline pietas

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #56 on: May 02, 2017, 03:15:06 pm »
A fantastic trip. Thank you for sharing it with us  :thumleft:
Groot berge en lang grond paaie
 

Offline big oil

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Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2017, 05:49:40 pm »
Awesome pics + videos + maps of your route + your writing style = Brilliant Ride Report. 

Thanks for sharing :headbang: :hello2:
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 05:51:32 pm by big oil »
I’m da Yooper, eh and I like to party...
 

Offline Xpat

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2017, 06:51:52 pm »
Great ride  :thumleft:

Actually, very annoying ... makes riding we have down here look desperately inadequate  >:(

Offline Goingnowherekwickly

Re: 2017 04 - Three XRs do 2000 km of Kenya's Best
« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2018, 10:18:51 pm »
ROH stuff...
thanks, made my evening, once again  :)