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Author Topic: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!  (Read 18387 times)

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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2017, 03:42:17 pm »
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2017, 03:45:21 pm »
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2017, 03:48:28 pm »
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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2017, 04:32:33 pm »
Epupa Falls is a stunning place. :thumleft:
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2017, 04:44:22 pm »
At this stage I was settling into the trip nicely. The AIDS was nearly all gone and most of my preconceived apprehension of a solo trip was falling away one by one.

I was planning on a rest day for Day 6 but since the Swartbooisdrift road was a non event I decided to rather press on and get the Van Zyls Pass leg done with. Little did I know I would regret the lack of a rest day...

If the trip was going to come to a grinding halt then this was one of the legs that could possible be the cause of it.

Day 6 Thursday

Owen dropped of 5l of fuel as agreed on the night before at exctly 6h45 am...reliable as a Swiss watch this man :thumleft:

R20p/l for the fuel...steep when fuel in Nam is N$10.90 p/l. But we were about 180km from the nearest fuel station...so cheap really.

Get going by 9h30am SA time (Nam has daylight savings in winter and is 1hr behind us).

Bike is packed heavy. (25l fuel + 6.6l bladder + 2 x 2l Coke Bottles + 6l water)

First leg to Okangwati was very beautifull.

 Good road, green veld and fat cattle. Lots of dust in the air from the 4x4 traffic and no wind so very hard to pass...

Bought 5l of fuel at Okangwati and had some delicious vetkoek. Some of our local boere Tannies can go and take lessons from the Himba on making Vetkoek :pot: Get some bully beef and beens as well for provisions.

As soon as I leave Okangwati the big dirt road disappears and turns to a proper 2 spoor. Mmmmm...this was only supposed to happen closer to Van Zyls Pass. I later learn from Oom Tiempie that this was a proper graded road but that after the heavy rains last year nature just reclaimed it.

Sandy twee spoor, rutted out climbs, loose rocky climbs with big bedrock steps sticking out inbetween. Fuck me Fiddlesticks...what was VZP going to look like?! The going was slow and steady...dont need to buy the farms just yet. Had a close call when I lost the negotiation with a thornbush on lane occupancy around a corner. I was ejected over the middlemannetjie and came to a screeching halt by sticking out my mx boot to prevent a full on connection with aforementioned thornbush' neighbour.

Steady on Van Rooyen...just keep on plodding. You have done much harder than this...Ja jou donner op n ligter plastiek bike fok.

Missed VZP turnoff but luckily my OsmAnd corrected the error of my ways.

Passed Himba settlements and VZP Campsite. Couple of steep staircase like rocky ascents follows...and then some staircase type descents.

I come to a cairn with rocks with names and shit on...I thought:"oh, VZP. Was that it? Not easy but not so bad...what is everyone on about?" Have a ciggie and feel well chuffed with myself ;)

Van Rooyen jou dom twatwaffle...daai cairn was nie die een onder VZP nie! Jou poephol.

I realise this a few kilometers on after some more staircase like climbs. Fuck...this is taking forever. I still want to get to Camp Syncro.

Up one loose rocky climb after a dry stream crossing (you enter it on a turn so cannot view your whole line for the climb unless you walk it first...too much effort) a 40cm vertical step at the end of the climb. Normally not an issue on a plastic bike but on fat arsed Ten? Well as I did not walk the climb first instincs took over and I rode it as I would a plastic. Pielle :thumleft:...I thought as the Ten launched clear of the rock step.

And then we cam down to earth. Touchdown....and stall...and fall over. P03S :dousing:. Dit fokken warm en die kak is nou nie meer snaaks nie. Did I damage my bike? Pick up the beastie...it was lying slightly downhill but I managed...eks kak sterk as ek bedonnerd raak :thumleft:

Start bike and walk it a few meters on to where the road levels enough to use the side stand. Instect....no damage. Thank you Mr Yamaha for building such a "werk-esel" of a motorbike.

Now here follows a bit of hard to believe:

I lit a ciggie. My hands were starting to cramp so I felt I deserved a break. Whilst smoking I walked back the 5m or so to where the bike dropped. Staring at the ground as I walk there. Now dont ask me why I did this...I do not know.

What is it covered in dust there. A plug of sort...pick it up wondering what 4 x 4 bit broke of here.

No wait...I dont believe it. Its the lid of my Tutoro oiler. Fuck me ! What stroke of goodfortune!! How did this lid get stuck on the bike all the way from Windhoek? Only to fall out here? And why did I walk back? Strange...I thanked whatever force was at work here and moved on.

It was so hot my phone dd not want to charge...so I was imited for photos.

Made it to the bottom of VZP without incident. Its steep down there and loose. The actual rock step part is fine...its the general steepness that does not allow you to ride against compression at parts as you would gather too much speed to bring t back n control again on a loaded bike.

Took a few pics and plakked my gat down under a shade tree. Smoked 3 ciggies. It was hot and I was slightly irritated with myself....VZP on a light unloaded trail bike. Fun solo fast no issue...on my overloaded pig in this heat alone...maybe not my brightest idea. Nothng went wrong but I sat there thinking/feeling that I perhaps just dodged a bullet. Or was it the result of my upbringing where one was kept in line by fear of consequences of "incorrect" action? Fuck knows...perhaps my bloodsugar was just low.

I ate a bit, drank a bit and smoked some more.

Some Himba kids were there with their cattle but the language barrier was to much. They only do Himba...no Die Taal or the Queen's English I am afraid.

Some Saffers came up for a day trip from Purros in their 4 x 4's....they flew their drone. I wandered over for a chat.

I was fairly buggered...the 60km to Camp Syncro started to concern me. In this heat how bad will the sand be? I am no Marc Coma but normally I can manage sand just fine...but tired and I was not so sure anymore.

Ah well...fuckit. As ek hier moet neerslet dan moet ek nou maar...lets get it over with then.

Turns out the sand wasnt too deep at all...some tricky sections but then big open corrugated sections that went by at 90km/h. Ostrich, cattle, springbok and 2 herds of big Gemsbok...it was beautiful but most of it was wasted on me as I was 100% focussed on the 2 spoor and pinning it to Syncro before sunset.

Last 10km to Syncro was like a proper corrugated to fuck highway of sand with some rock lurkers inbetween. I was tyred and thirsty....I did not care anymore. Pin it to win it!!! Cold beer awaits at Syncro.

Arrived at 16h30ish and Ryan booked me it. 2 Cokes and an ice cold Windhoek later I started to feel like a human being again. Chatted to Ryan a bit and shared some of my ciggies with him. Once humanized again I walked back to set up my tent etc.

 
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2017, 04:47:55 pm »
nog
 
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2017, 04:52:34 pm »
nog
 
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Offline katana

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2017, 04:55:00 pm »
Daar is ek ook nou by.  Lekker report.  Wens ek het saamgegaan.
"The only man that has to remember anything, is the man who tells a lie" Mark Twain
 

Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2017, 04:55:25 pm »
Nog
 
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2017, 04:55:54 pm »
Well you were invited >:D
 

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2017, 05:10:49 pm »
Right...no fotos for this post but it was on Night 6 that I learned a few humble lessons:

1. 4 x 4 vehicles. Makes dust and corrugations...very annoying. Although they are loaded with fresh food, water, spares and nice food. They are also loaded with warm hearted and sometimes very knowledgeable people.
2. When alone on your bike in Kaokoland...make friends everywhere you go. You may need them later or they may need you.
3. Reserve your judgement of people...I was forced to reprimand myself a few days later. What a tosser I can be.

Poured 6.6l fuel from Desert Fox bladder into my tank...roughly 20km/l. Not bad.

Saffers camped next to me started chatting to me one by one as they passed me on the way too beer at Ryan's house. Next thing I get invited for dinner :thumleft:

I have nothing to add to the feast except stories. Felt like a right leech :(. It was during this dinner prepared by the boere tannies (got bless their souls) that I got to meet Oom Tiempie. A 25yr Kaokoland veteran. He knows the place like the back of his hnd. He had some interesting stories of strange shit they have seen over the years. Him and his dad planted Groendrom.

Over brekkie the next morning Oom Tiempie took out the map and gave me some good route advice to marble Camp, put a rest to my concerns about Rooidrom pass and gave me some tips to avoid the fesh-fesh coming out of Hoanib close to Sesfontein (which I promptly fucked up later...idiot).

Lovely people. Perhaps the fact that I am Afrikaans helped but they made me feel right at home and I let go of any solo riding concerns I may have still held at that point.

Whilst preparing dinner another bunch of Saffers pulled up. I was lying in my hammock and the one Oom made comments to his mates about how stupid I must be and irresponsible to be riding on my own. This now 10m away from me...does he think I am deaf? Then while we are having dinner this group breaks out in song. Evangelie Lofsange...uit volle bors. WTF?! Now I was raised Nederduids Gereformeerd and have had my fair share of disagreements with the church. This group did not go down well with me and I had the audacity to voice this too Oom Tiempies group over dinner. How I was to learn a few days later what a royal p03s I was for this judgement I so willingly bestowed on people I do not know from a bar of soap.

 
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Offline 8minmark

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2017, 05:36:29 pm »
What an excellent story. Waiting for more.


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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2017, 06:11:41 pm »
Day 7 Friday

After coffee and maps with Oom Tiempie I go and brush my teeth. One onf the lads of the Oom Tiempie group wanders over and gives me a handfull of Wilson Toffees...the pity people take on the solo motorcyclist :thumleft: I loved it.

Fucking phone battery is almost flat again. I really need to sort out a photo/nav system separate from one another. This was driving me nuts...best riding ever and I cannot take as many pics as i want. Fokken onnosel Van Rooyen.

Get going by 9am

Oom Tiempie's route advise s spot on. I deviates slightly from the GPX file Dave created for me...avoiding an unneccesary rocky hillclimb and large corrugated section.  I eventually reach the spaza shop Oom Tiempie told me about (this is stil 20km up the Fluss from Orupembe). Have a Coke and get annoyed by the local drunk...fuck this irritates me. Alchohol at its worse...people drinking away their meagre future cause of boredom? Dunno but I really dislike it...so I head out after I tell him he can work for his own money after he begs from me.

Sand this morning down the Fluss was amazeballs...110km/h in sections...luvverly.

After some sand 2 spoor chicanes and further lane negotiations with thornbushes I reach Rooidrom. Ciggie and some foties and I am off.

Rooidrom pass came and went without too much issues...the Ten simply tractoring up in 1st gear.

A note on hillclimb technique here...at least what worked for me. I had to adjust my "pin it to win it" approach as with all the loose rock the bike would just get pinged offline...and when not it would start bouncing over all the exposed bedrock. I found a better approach was to copy the 4x4. Just keep enough momentum to keep going, keep traction and avail bouncing and wheelspin. Worked for me and meant my speed was  a fall should theoretically be less of a show stopper.

The going was rocky and loose. It was only 11am and hot as the devil's armpit already. My hands were also not recovered fully from the VZP leg so I just motored on too Marbe Camp.

Stopped at the Marble Mine and took some pics. Fucking phone is still not charging.
Noticed my left rear indicator is gone. Farksakes I just replaced the rear indicators before the trip at the pricely amount of R850 LED nogal. Well Oxford LED indicators from England clearly are not built for Africa.

Arrive at Campsite...basic but nice. No drinks, food or hot water. Check bike oil level (100%   :)) Replace Tutoro cap.

Tyres seems to be lasting. A note on tyre pressures...I cannot be arsed. Front was 3 bar when I left home and the new rear I pumped to 2.5bar. I left them like that for the rest of the trip. The Ten have fairly soft rims and I hate fixing flats so I erred on the side of caution. The 3 bar front may be the cause of my hands taking strain though...

I still have this lingering unease...almost like my subconscious is berating me for VZP. Weird...Oh well...we live we learn. I try and shrug it off.

I spent the latter half of todays ride thinking that a CRF 250 Rally with lightweight kit may be just the ticket for Kaokoland. But them again....overspecialization dammit. Ride the bike you have...its not about the gear but about the journey you fool...I berate myself.

Hopefully the Ten did not hear me. She truly is a do it all mule. Doesnt complain and keeps on ticking.

I arrived at the Marble Camp just after 12 and after being lazy and hydrating I realized I better find a charge solution for the damn phone. I do not want to risk charging it from the bike without the engine running.

I hear cars approaching...oh no. Dis die Evangelie groep wat my by Camp Syncro ge-irriteer het. Great...Lofliedere vir aandete.

And here I was fed humble pie in the biggest way possible.

After some friendly banter over the camp fence all that travels in a 4 x 4 was offered to me:

1. Charged my phone
2. Fed me dinned with desert
3. Prayed for me
4. Shared stories
5. Showed a genuine interest in me and what I was doing here

I felt like such a proes straat pretoria. They were not aware of my judgement at Camp Syncro but I was pissed at myself. Out of guilt I took it upon myself to sort out the main Oom's iphone and Tracks 4 Africa app as he was struggling with it. This involved a 5 min satphone call to the missus to talk me through iOS as I am an Android animal. Got it working though. The main Oom was a quadraplegic...his Cruiser was modified so he could drive it. They also had a  late model VW diesel 4 x 4 Syncro in their group...that bloody van went over Rooidrom Pass without any lowrange or difflock or tow assist. Unbelievable.

Something funny inbetween all the humble pie I was chewing on:

After dinner the compulsory Evangelie Songs were sang. They even handed me a Gesang Boek. Now I refuse to sing in church...always have and always will. So I kept respectfully quiet whilst reading along. What did strike me was how upbeat the whole affair was...very different to my NG Kerk upbringing.

After song and praying I felt I had to say something...it went something like this:

Me: "Ekskuus maar van watter fakulteit kerk is julle"

Tannie: "Jy meer dominasie?"

Ek: "Ja ek meen so"

Dominee (yes they really had a dominee with them :thumleft:): "Andre, wel ons is van die Evangele bla bla bla..." (Sorry I am foggy on the detail)

Ek: "Wel ek is NG Kerk grootgemaak en ek moet net aanmerking maak van hoe veel meer aangenaam julle dominasie voorkom. By ons word jy vir 50 minute gese hoe sleg jy is en hoe jy sondig, dan se ons vir 10 minute jammer vir hoe sleg ons is en dan sit ons die dankie in die kollekte piering!"

The Dominee nearly fell of his chair laughing. I made some friends :) And I will meet them again later on this trip.

They are also heading for Purros along the same route so  was not alone.


 

 
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2017, 06:14:07 pm »
nog
 
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2017, 06:17:53 pm »
Thank you for the words of encouragement.

Part of the motivation to commit this to writing is so that I can look back at it years from now.

Time tends to wash memories and slightly alter them...and our day to day life in the cities tends to bring out our cynical side (at least mine).

Once jaded and stressed by normal life I hope to look back and be reminded of the gems (people as much as places) that I mined in Namibia :thumleft:
 
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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2017, 06:48:07 pm »
What a gem of report - love your writing style and photos!

Thanks for sharing, keep it coming  O0
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2017, 07:18:30 pm »
Thank you and it is my privilege and pleasure to share.

Sorting out dinner and then Day 8 to follow...on Day 8 we hunt Elephants >:D

With a camera of course :3some:
 

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2017, 08:24:17 pm »
Day 8 Saturday

Bid my farewells to the Evangelie Group and wished them all the best. Got going at around 9 am.

GPS confused me a bit with all the tracks running all over the place...a few U-Turns and eventually start making my way to Orupembe.

I notice quite a few little signs handpainted for petrol...I ignore them as I am still good for fuel and am counting on a few litres at Orupembe.

Ja Van Rooyen...jy wil nie leer nie. Never drive past a fuel point in Kaokoland without filling up you bloody idiot!! Especially in peak holiday season poephol.

About 15km from Orupembe I am on a loose rocky twin track. I see an old Hilux Double cab approaching from the opposite direction going very slowly with only one occupant. I pull over to the side. He stops...ZA plates. I ask if he is ok..."Ja fine just lost some luggage"...

Me: "Your wasjing basin and vanity case is about 2km further down the road...just drove past it"

I wish him good luck and carry on.

2km down the road I find his wife trying to gather the scattered remains of the cooler box and its contents.

Me: "You OK?"

She: " Yes fine they just lost some luggage"

Me: "Yes I just passed your washing basin and vanity case and husband"

She laughed and mentioned how much of a beating they were taking on the bad roads. They were from Merweville and was travelling alone with only a shitty paper map. She also mentioned they only had 100km fuel left. I wished her luck and headed for Orupembe.

Needless to say by the time I reached Orupembe my conscience was already berating me...how could you leave them like that you selfish prick? Kak style Van Rooyen :-[

I enquired at the police station about petrol...none.
I kicked the lady from Orupembe Shop 1 out of bed...petrol? None...
Asked some locals...no fooking petrol gringo.

Fuck.

I bought a coke and some cookies from the shop and stood there having a smoke. I had enough fuel to reach Purros...even if I continued my planned sortie down the Khumib and Hoarusib rivers.

But I could not get the elderly couple from Merweville out of my mind...

100km max range maybe in an old petrol Hilux. Paper map that does not even show distances on all legs between towns.

Fuck

Then 2 mins later...fuck it.

I will help them...Pay it Forward and all that.

I wait for them and when I see them up the road I signal for them to pull in by the shop.

I give them the bad news...no fuel. Jammer mense.

Then I gave them my plan: I will give them 5l thata I can spare and then if the follow the main road and drive slowly they will make Purros. Purros had a higher likelyhood for traffic (other Saffers) and possibly fuel depot than Orupembe. I would then buy fuel at Purros or possibly shoot to Sesfontein and back for refill after my riverbed sortie.

They agreed and Hendrik syphoned the 5l from my tank like a pro...I think he has done this before.

He was the Predikant in Merweville and his wife a teacher. On their holidays. Lovely people and they insisted that they pay for the fuel. I told them that their money is no good here and explained the Pay It Forward concept. They were so thankfull. We took a fotie and exchanged numbers.

Now here is another lesson I learned in Kaokoland...

The help you extend to a stranger is repaid exactly 5 fold. As in exactly....calculated mathemtically.

This was proven before the day was done.

Random observation:

Wherever I bought stuff from local spaza shops the most basic adding up of totals and calculating correct change is done with a calculator. It is enviable to see the desire to be accurate and not cheat the proprietor or patron out of cash. However it highlights the lack of basic mathematical education the local people have access too. It was really noticeable and a little sad. Hopefully this improves as I did notice alot of bush classrooms and desire to build more. The Himba is not a lazy race :thumleft:
 
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Offline Stroke Her

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #58 on: July 25, 2017, 08:30:31 pm »
Dear Reader

Another apology is due...in my two fingered typing haste and lack of spellcheck I see my posts are almost unreadable in sections.

Once done with all the report I will backtrack and clean it up a bit :thumleft:
 

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Re: Kaokoland: I was tired of reading about it!!!
« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2017, 08:44:16 pm »
Day 8 The riverbed Sortie

After wishing farewell to my new friends I set off down the main road to Opuwu...a few km later one crosses the Khumib Riverbed...and here you drop into the riverbed into Adv Riding Nirvana and head South to Adv Riding Vallhalla.

Not 5km down the riverbed and I nearly run into a long necked spotted horse standing in the riverbed. The surfave was loose gravelly sand with big rocks inbetween...it required most of my attention as I did not feel like falling and picking the bike up. 2n and 3rd gear steady on we go. Until we nearly drove into Mr Long Necked Spotted Horse. I remove the phone from the cradle and charge cable and try and take some foties of the dude blocking my way...I become aware of a presence on my right hand side. On the riverbank his mate is standing watching me..."Hey Gringo...what are you doing?" he tunes me. Me: "Just passing through, no worries". I get the phone back into navigation mode and race these two down the riverbed. Now for those inexperienced with racing Long Necked Horses down riverbeds (as I was) be forewarned...these guys are equipped with the best Baja Racing all terrain suspension setups available and at least a 1000HP under the hood. Between all the rocks and sand I did not stand a chance...it was lots of fun though :thumleft:
 
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