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Offline Straatkat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #120 on: July 10, 2017, 11:54:55 am »
Nice part of the world to be riding in. Enjoying your report.
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Offline funacide

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #121 on: July 10, 2017, 03:33:14 pm »
XPat

Loving the ride report as usual.

Finally got through it all.

Post the next day already  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
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Online Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #122 on: July 11, 2017, 09:23:06 pm »
Day 12 & 13

Objective for the day was to make it to Molopo lodge about 300 km away for an early stopover - I wanted to take most of the afternoon off to rest before the second attempt at the Bots dunes. The much shorter and more interesting route would be to cross Kgalagadi NP, but it is off limits for bikes so as a second best I chose to hit again sand dune road D503, part of which I have ridden the day before.


Terra Rouge farm:













After leisurely breakfast I packed up and rode 10 or so km on the main dirt to the turn-off onto D503. I hit the sand with the gusto and enjoyed immensely the next 90 or so km of the red sand dunes. The 30 km section that took me last night about 2 hours against the sun was dealt with in half an hour and I continued another 60 or so km to the sharp right turn, where the road turned into a cement road heading south-west to connect to C11 20 - 30 km away.


Note two parallel double tracks on D503 - one for each direction:


























































The cement section of D503:
















When I connected to C11 the dunes gave way to flat plains and I cruised down to Aroab, where I stopped to fill up. From there I headed east to Rietfontein border post. SA policeman on the border gave me hard time because I didn’t have original of the licence disk - just a copy. He let me go after earful and I cruised another 70 km or so on tar to the Molopo lodge, where I arrived in the early afternoon. Annoyingly all the chalets were booked (it was Easter Friday and there were many people staying on the way up to Kgalagadi NP), so I had to camp - not the best option for relaxation (too hot in the tent during day - too cold in the night as it turned out). They still had chalet available for the next night though, so I decided on the spot to take the next day off as well.
















I spent rest of the day carbo-loading at the bar and restaurant, and then spent another miserable night in the tent. I thought I have left the cold front at the coast, but the night at Molopo was even colder. Even with all the clothes on I didn’t get much shuteye and couldn’t wait to get into my chalet in the morning to catch up on the sleep. Annoyingly there was a liquor shop nearby, where the local alkies gather and they were there in force with that stupid duc-duc noise blasting from a subwoofer. I contemplated for a while if I can take them all, but eventually after lunch they dispersed and I could catch on some sleep.

Route for day 12:



Online Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #123 on: July 11, 2017, 09:25:46 pm »
Nice part of the world to be riding in. Enjoying your report.

Thanks Bertie. I will be back in SA only sometimes in October, so - unless you want to wait for me - maybe you can organize that ride with Tony or Henk. Going in winter or early September will help a lot with the temperatures in the dunes - just bring warm sleeping bag. Let me know if you want those GPS tracks (I may have sent you the tracks already before we set-off).

Online Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #124 on: July 11, 2017, 09:26:28 pm »
XPat

Loving the ride report as usual.

Finally got through it all.

Post the next day already  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

There you go  :thumleft:

Online Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #125 on: July 13, 2017, 01:32:39 am »
Day 14 & 15

The main objective of the day was second attempt at the Khawa dunes in Botswana - the original reason for this whole trip. I woke up, packed up and went for early breakfast, now wiser from my prior failure - plus the border up the road was to be opened only at 8:00 am anyway.

However munching on scrambled eggs I finally admitted to myself that the will to tackle the dunes is gone - I had no oomph left in the system. I was low on energy nursing a little cold from the freezing night in the tent day before and just didn’t feel up for the challenge.

I made peace with it knowing the dunes are not going anywhere and there will always be another opportunity to ride them. All that remained to do was a long commute back home to Joburg. Of course, even in the state I was in the tar was out of question. That is one of the never mentioned benefits of real DS bike - as in contrast to general ‘adventure bike’ - it sucks on tar, so even in the moments of weakness people still go for dirt as the bike is much more comfortable there.

The objective for day one was to get to Bray for overnighter, following the Molopo river track to Van Zylsrus and from there follow the sandy roads along Molopo reserve to Bray . Molopo river track follows as its name suggests Molopo riverbed along the border fence between Botswana and SA. It used to be the ‘red’ route for the annual Desert Run from Kuruman to Swakopmund. While I would dispute if it ever deserved ‘red’ designation (I’ve ridden it few years back on return from one of my trips), I guess it is sad sign of times that even this - quite mild to be honest - track has been eliminated from the latest edition of the Desert Run (or so I was told by somebody). Quite perplexing to me to be honest, but on the plus side, the track is much less used now, which provides for more outdoorsy ‘adventure’ kind of experience.

Here are few pictures from Molopo river track following for many km as a reminder the red dunes that defeated me:




















































I have made it to Van Zylsrus before lunch, filled up and stopped at the hotel for quick bite. Well, it was Easter Sunday and all the farmers from the area brought out their families for lunch. So after ordering I waited in vain for about hour and a half, cancelled the order (I was being spoiled anyway - I do not normally eat during the day when I ride), geared up and pushed on east towards Bray - still about 300 km of sandy dirt roads away away.

I arrived at Bray with the sun setting behind horizon and made it up to completely dark and deserted Tapama lodge fearing the worst (camping). Luckily for me the owner showed up, gave me room and opened for me as the only customer the restaurant where he himself prepared three course dinner for me. And then the breakfast in the morning. I was really impressed!

From Bray next day I continued on the dirt roads along Bots border to Mafikeng, where I filled up and took farm roads to Magaliesburg and tar for the rest of the way to Midrand.

To sum up: It was a good trip - especially as this was the first trip after 9 months of basically just laying around waiting for my broken leg to mend itself. But of course I failed on the main objective - Khawa dunes - twice. I guess Clarkson’s description of the Top Gear trio exploits - ‘ambitious, but rubbish’ - fits very well for some of my latest trips. But I don’t mind really - I am starting to run out of new exciting tracks to ride in the vicinity of SA anyway, so saving few juicy parts (such as Khawa dunes, road to hell, or circumnavigation of the Okavango delta from north I failed at last year) for later, will keep me occupied for a bit longer. At least that is my excuse anyway...
 

Route for day 14:




Route for day 15:





Thanks for following and comments.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 01:34:44 am by Xpat »
 

Offline Mikie

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #126 on: July 13, 2017, 09:26:04 am »
Big balls is all I can say, Nice one XPat
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Offline Beserker

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #127 on: July 13, 2017, 09:51:27 am »
Queue ACDC Highway to Hell ....   :ricky:



Kalahari and Botswana now officially on the bucket list after having to endure the anticipation for the next installment.

Thanks for the effort XPat,

Dave
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #128 on: July 13, 2017, 12:59:14 pm »
From my side also big thanks for sharing Xpat. I will definitely be taking a lot of tips from this RR and plan some short trips with it.
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Offline DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #129 on: July 13, 2017, 01:03:54 pm »
What a lekke RR. :thumleft:
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Offline P.K.

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #130 on: July 13, 2017, 02:10:28 pm »
Phew....epic trip. Xpat ..what a legend.
PROPER trip, great report,stunning pics.
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #131 on: July 13, 2017, 02:46:32 pm »
Excellent ride Xpat, great to see the effort you have made and for sharing it all here..

Thanks!

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Offline CUZZY

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #132 on: July 13, 2017, 03:10:35 pm »
Hardcore!  Excellent RR. Just talking of your luggage set up, do 690s have issues with cracking sub frames ?
 

Online Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #133 on: July 13, 2017, 03:23:24 pm »
Thanks for the comments  :thumleft:

@CUZZY: Once you replace the OEM subframe bolts with aftermarket ones (Rally Raid or Perun Moto - but quite frankly you can probably get them made localy and I think somebody even did) I have never heard of subframe failure on 690 - and I have looked wide and far for any evidence I could find before I bought the bike. So much so that right now I'm convert to the virtue of the plastic tank subframe as very elegant solution to save weight while not sacrificing structural integrity of the bike (at least for single rider).

But you must replace the bolts (which as far as I know almost everybody does anyway) - the standard are crap and there were number of cases when the subframe did collapse with subframe bolts - or rather the bolts sheared off at the frame (once the bottom bushings developed play). Shame on KTM for not fixing this issue, especially as the bolts cost peanuts.

And as far as I know the same problem pertains to 701, so this would be my first modification on that bike as well.

Offline Bernoulli

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #134 on: July 13, 2017, 04:48:50 pm »
Thank you, another riveting read as we have come to expect of you ! :ricky: :ricky:

Now please head over and complete the Africa photoreport :peepwall: :imaposer:

Offline Goingnowherekwickly

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #135 on: July 13, 2017, 10:58:37 pm »
Brilliant report as always!!
You seek and find some of the best routes, thanks so much for sharing
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #136 on: July 14, 2017, 06:09:15 am »
Once you replace the OEM subframe bolts with aftermarket ones (Rally Raid or Perun Moto - but quite frankly you can probably get them made localy and I think somebody even did) I have never heard of subframe failure on 690 - and I have looked wide and far for any evidence I could find before I bought the bike. So much so that right now I'm convert to the virtue of the plastic tank subframe as very elegant solution to save weight while not sacrificing structural integrity of the bike (at least for single rider).

Yes, it's a tough thing, that fuel tank. I crashed heavily in Angola and thought I'd done it in, but turns out the threads in the tank just needed cleaning. One thing I'd be cautious of - I've seen people bolting fuel tanks on top of racks behind the seat to deal with the range issues. Any rear rack is simply screwed into the threads mounted into the tank - to me it would be foolish to cantilever heavy weights off those threads and then bash it around offroad. The tank is bloody expensive if you did need to replace it. But with the style of luggage Xpat has got here, no problems. The tank is designed to support the weight of a passenger, afterall.

Offline Gee S

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #137 on: July 14, 2017, 11:46:41 pm »
Thanks for a great RR Xpat.  :ricky:
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Offline funacide

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #138 on: July 17, 2017, 08:03:59 am »
Very cool ride report as always Xpat.

Stunning part of the country. Definitely need to put some of your route on our next trip.

Thanks for sharing
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Offline aka.Goliath

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #139 on: July 17, 2017, 12:39:13 pm »
Xpat. Have you ever looked at a way to go along the boarder from Twee Rivier to Rietfontein avoiding the main routes. I see there is some sort of track there.
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