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Offline Xpat

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #120 on: October 05, 2017, 11:22:37 am »
Sorry to read about the injury - hope all heals well and fast!

Hey Xpat!!!

Morale of the story? Stick to the Eurotrash??!  ;)

Half way up Van Zyl's without a clutch can't have been much fun - what did you do? Forwards or backwards?



Yep, this was the last straw and after the trip I dupmed that unreliable Japanese piece of junk and opted for the safety of that euro reliability stalwart - KTM 690.  8)

Regarding what I did after the clutch failed me, the whole saga is described in detail here http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=168377.160. The abbreviated version:

The bush repair I attempted following instructions from Shimwells (via satellite phone) didn't work - not surprising as it was the fist time in my life I have seen naked clutch. Just as I was about to abandon the bike and walk up the pass to the next vilage on top about 15 km away, as you would expect by now - my own septuagenarian, retired Swiss mechanic Fritz showed up, cleaned the clutch plates and - hey presto, the clutch worked again (sort of). But even I wasn't stupid enough to try to push up the pass with sick clutch, so I turned back and Fritz escorted me back to Marble campsite (he was part of the germanic group based there, riding on his own around).

Just to demonstrate superiority of the european engineering, Frtiz - much wiser man than me - choose for his solo roaming around remote corners of Africa a bike with reliability record that Japanese will never be able to achieve  O0 - Aprilia RXV450:



From Marble campsite it was just long game of slow attrition back to Joburg - first getting to Opuwo on the main dirt road from Orupembe, then cuising at the slippage limit of clutch through Bushmanland to Maun. In Maun the clutch gave up, so I flew down to Joburg to grab new clutch, flew back, put the clutch in and rode back to Joburg. Easy, peasy  ;)


« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 11:24:38 am by Xpat »
 

Offline Saddle Up

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #121 on: October 05, 2017, 12:33:12 pm »
I met Fritz last December. To be fair, by the looks of things that bike had very little Aprilla left. It does however have many a tale to tell
n Skaap is nie n scrambler
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #122 on: October 05, 2017, 01:07:12 pm »
I met Fritz last December. To be fair, by the looks of things that bike had very little Aprilla left. It does however have many a tale to tell

Good to know he is still going strong  :thumleft: I'm no expert, but at the time the bike looked quite stock to me - maybe he upgraded since:



And I'm sure you caught the hyperbole in my post  :)

Offline Snafu

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #123 on: October 05, 2017, 06:06:36 pm »
how the hell did I miss this one!!
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Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #124 on: October 05, 2017, 06:24:03 pm »
Day 8: Losing our marbles



Whew. Was this trip really only half way in??

I think the first thought on each of our minds on waking up this morning was to check if Gav was still alive.



Happily I didnít have an extremely difficult phone call to make to his wife! It seems we werenít the only ones thinking that way. A flotilla of ladies from the village had arrived to inspect him, led by a few Himba tribeswomen. Unfortunately I only managed to get this shot of them departing. I think perhaps the message had got out that he had a broken leg and was going nowhere, and perhaps some of the more eligible single ladies came to check him out for marriage prospects?

Camel was the real early riser, and this was the sight that had greeted me as I crawled out of my tent at 6am:



Apparently a broken body wasnít our only problem. It looked to be one of those Ďeveryfuckingthinggoeswrongatonceí days. The 690 had started coughing and spluttering like a hamstrung carthorse on the road in to Onjuva the previous day. Likely culprits were the fuel injector or the fuel pump, but the injector was easier, so we started there.



Iíd seen a Youtube video from Norah Horakís round-the-world trip, where he posted a trick for dealing with blocked injectors on the 690. You just take the injector out, reverse it, and blast all the shit out backwardsÖ so we tried that, but there was no fuel pressure. Bugger.



Weíd been carrying a spare 690 fuel pump since Angola because theyíre a known weakness on this bike, so that was the next line of attack. Itís a bitch of a job - you have to empty the tank, undo the lower tank bolts, lift it up, and strip the pump assembly out. KTM, in their wisdom, made the molded hose just about impossible to remove or refit. I left Camel boiling water with a black look, and decided to go fetch the other stranded 690.

Negotiations with the local bakkie guys were going badly - they wanted R4k for the trip back to the Marienfluss, and at this point we realised weíd pretty much run out of cash. Dave saw our predicament and stepped in, offering to take us back. I think he liked the idea of a bit of adventure, but honestly, as if they hadnít done enough for us already!



Heís a fascinating character, with a colourful business past, and the trip back with Midge, Dave and I passed quickly. Lots of game around - again I was sorry for the lack of a long lens.





Weíd left an X on the GPS, but the bike was a lot further south off the main track than any of us remembered. Shows what adrenalin does to you! On the map you can see a green line of our intended route - I guess we were 10km or so south of the main track when we found it under a tree, safe as houses.



I guess itís not like anyone was hot-wiring a bike in these parts. She started at the flick of a starter button, and I rode her out. The Fortuner was moving a lot quicker than she had with a patient onboard the day before, and Dave was handling her like a rally car in the rough stuff. Sensational.

It was hot as blazes, and waiting around in the sun was hard work, but it seemed best to stay together. We didnít need any more drama.



About 2km south of Red Drum, the 690 suddenly cut out. I thought it had run out of petrol, and set her up on a rock to drain the front tanks into the main tank, but I couldnít see any level in the transparent part of the tank. Surely someone hadnít drained the fuel out??! The car eventually caught me, and I looked at them with a worried look. Shit, what now?

Eventually I thought to open the front tank caps and they were actually full of fuel! I hit the button and she coughed reluctantly back into life and eventually started running smoothly.

ďRight, thereís something not lekker here,Ē I told them. ďIím going to just gas it home - weíre only about 40km out now - and see how far I get.Ē

Temperature was ready 45 degrees on the car thermometer, and it wasnít lekker out baking between the rock faces. Everything was fine again, and I pushed the bike quite hard over the rocky terrain for about 10km and then suddenly, nothing. Dead as a door nail.

Bugger.

This time I opened the rear tank cap, and a sudden rush of air into the tank revealed that something was up with the pressure. I flicked the starter and she burst into life cleanly. Obviously there was a breather problem on the tank. I hammered on and the ritual repeated itself every fifteen minutes or so. Eventually I got back, and as I pulled in to Marble campsite, we heard the sound of a chopper in the air.



It was about 1pm, and help had arrived. We scooted down to the clinic to welcome the crew.



Gav had already been carted down to the clinic on one of the bikes, and the paramedic was checking him out. We seemed a lot more concerned than Gav did, but heís tough like that.



It took surprisingly long to lock and load the patient:









They had this crazy stretcher where they suck the air out and it clamps him in an unmovable position:







Then it was stand back, and wave byebye!



A chopper makes one hell of a lot of dust taking off from a dirt patch.



Dave and Midge had finally returned - theyíd slashed a tyre to bits on Joubertís Pass. Damn - not like a good turn deserved that! It was all smiles though - Dave and Thelma extremely generously offered to take Gavís extra stuff back to Hermanus, and then got the hell out of there, in case anything else went wrong. I couldnít blame them!





Absolute saints, these two lovely people!

Itís a horrible feeling, losing one of your tour party like that! Just horrible. There was a sinking, miserable feeling around camp. Camel was anxious about his bike, which didnít seem to be coming right very fast. English had discovered a hole in the Suzieís radiator, and I was just feeling down and stressed about all of it. Midge was walking around trying to distract everyone by showing them the pretty birds fluttering around the river bed next to camp.

Thomas spotted a moment of weakness and decided to try and offload Kitty Bitch with a game of Ďstrike the bottleí.



Even at about four feet I couldnít hit it. Midge had a moment of assassin-like accuracy and was out first. He retired to the veranda and gloated, offering endless chirps of useless advice.



After about six hundred fruitless throws between us, Tom finally knocked the bottle off the pole and I was the pig in the middle. Bugger. And my day just got better!

We decided to try lift everyoneís spirits and take a ride to see the purported marble quarry from where the campsite got its name. We also had to test out Camelís bike, which was now back together, although he wasnít looking too happy about it.



My god - the place is spectacular. Huge slabs of marble disappearing into the mountainside, massive blocks carved out with these incredible straight cuts. How do they do that?





Tom succeeded in trapping a baby goat without its mother, and in a misguided escape frenzy it fell about five metres down a marble face. Shame! I was feeling terrible for the poor bleating animal, and at the same time thinking of goat meat skewers for dinner. Is that wrong?



The Camel machine was running like a filthy, nasty, stuck pig. Farting and burping, refusing to idle or behave, and cutting out constantly. I felt a sense of rising panic. We were heading off into probably the most remote wilderness of the entire trip with this?

I told Mike to try Gavís bike, which at this stage was feeling hundreds, but even that one had question marks around it after all the cutting out this morning. And there was another issue at stake. Whichever bike stayed behind was being left in the loving arms of Exit, the camp manager, in the hope that some plan could be made to get it back to South Africa. Bearing in mind we were sitting some two thousand kilometres north of the border in one of the most remote desert areas on the continent, this wasnít exactly a thrilling prospect. I could tell my brother was less than eager to leave his darling behind - badly behaved bitch that she was right now.

Tension was rising faster than a river in flood.

Night fell, and as we climbed into our sleeping bags, the camp was illuminated by the streaky torchlight, clanking and regular swearing of the Night Mechanic!



Things were not looking good for Team Cape Town in the rugged, uncompromising northern wilderness of Namibia!

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #125 on: October 05, 2017, 06:30:25 pm »
Sorry to read about the injury - hope all heals well and fast!

Hey Xpat!!!

Morale of the story? Stick to the Eurotrash??!  ;)

Half way up Van Zyl's without a clutch can't have been much fun - what did you do? Forwards or backwards?



Yep, this was the last straw and after the trip I dupmed that unreliable Japanese piece of junk and opted for the safety of that euro reliability stalwart - KTM 690.  8)

Regarding what I did after the clutch failed me, the whole saga is described in detail here http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=168377.160. The abbreviated version:

The bush repair I attempted following instructions from Shimwells (via satellite phone) didn't work - not surprising as it was the fist time in my life I have seen naked clutch. Just as I was about to abandon the bike and walk up the pass to the next vilage on top about 15 km away, as you would expect by now - my own septuagenarian, retired Swiss mechanic Fritz showed up, cleaned the clutch plates and - hey presto, the clutch worked again (sort of). But even I wasn't stupid enough to try to push up the pass with sick clutch, so I turned back and Fritz escorted me back to Marble campsite (he was part of the germanic group based there, riding on his own around).

Just to demonstrate superiority of the european engineering, Frtiz - much wiser man than me - choose for his solo roaming around remote corners of Africa a bike with reliability record that Japanese will never be able to achieve  O0 - Aprilia RXV450:

From Marble campsite it was just long game of slow attrition back to Joburg - first getting to Opuwo on the main dirt road from Orupembe, then cuising at the slippage limit of clutch through Bushmanland to Maun. In Maun the clutch gave up, so I flew down to Joburg to grab new clutch, flew back, put the clutch in and rode back to Joburg. Easy, peasy  ;)

Classic! I do say you're a lot braver than I am, riding solo around these parts - sat phone or no sat phone.

And on the 690 - I know a lot of people bitch about them, but my brother's one is a 2008 and has taken him all over the subcontinent without any issues - I think it's on about 25,000 now. The fuel pump went on this trip, but those are a known weakness, and we were carrying a spare. And all the stuff that went wrong on Gav's bike was the aftermarket crap, not the main bike. My 690 took me around Angola and several other trips without a day's issue. Tom's 690 stranded him on day 1 of the Angola trip, but that was a dirty old whore of a bike that had been thoroughly abused. The air filter was held in with silicone, if that wasn't enough of a deterrent. I'd still ride a 690 on a wilderness trip - I think they're great.

The 500, on the other hand, is a fantastic machine. I think they are extremely reliable. The electrics are simple, and everything is designed to be abused to hell and back. I would take that bike anywhere! I just LOVE it - even more after this trip.

Offline dirt rat

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #126 on: October 05, 2017, 06:44:38 pm »
Is it not a wonderful thing when you take a chance on a bike and it meets or even exceeds your expectations ? Pure bliss.
 

Offline Fransw

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #127 on: October 05, 2017, 07:41:10 pm »
Hi Max the Pandaman! Do you mind if I post one of your pics of the Heli evacuation on avcom.co.za aviation forum? We like to discuss the machines and pilot ops etc.. You can check it out there without being a member....cheers!

But I first need you approval..
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 07:46:23 pm by Fransw »
 

Offline Sheepman

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #128 on: October 05, 2017, 10:15:46 pm »
Great place, great riding and brilliant writing  :thumleft:
 

Offline MickeyT

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #129 on: October 05, 2017, 10:20:58 pm »
What a great read!
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Ė Philippe Halsman
 

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #130 on: October 05, 2017, 10:43:16 pm »
Jouberts pass even in a 4x4 driven well couldn't have been a joke!

Lucky as with your luck though!
I wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #131 on: October 06, 2017, 07:01:05 am »
Hi Max the Pandaman! Do you mind if I post one of your pics of the Heli evacuation on avcom.co.za aviation forum? We like to discuss the machines and pilot ops etc.. You can check it out there without being a member....cheers!

But I first need you approval..

No problem!

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #132 on: October 06, 2017, 07:50:52 am »
Jouberts pass even in a 4x4 driven well couldn't have been a joke!

Lucky as with your luck though!

Yeah - and he did it three times - twice up and once down. I was super impressed with that auto D4D Fortuner - it's capable and piss easy to drive. He didn't even go into low range to get up there. It was pretty amazing in the river beds too.

Offline isiTututu

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #133 on: October 06, 2017, 11:16:10 am »
When I saw the branding on that Longranger, I was more than a little worried....   :o

 

Offline edgy

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #134 on: October 06, 2017, 11:26:52 am »
That white KTM690 Rallye is GingaNinjas old bike? How did it run etc?
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Offline isiTututu

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #135 on: October 06, 2017, 11:43:18 am »
That white KTM690 Rallye is GingaNinjas old bike? How did it run etc?

Yes that's right. After sorting out a couple of electrical issues, and in particular, improving the exhaust back-pressure with an insert, it ran just fine on the trip. Those 450 Rally tanks are the bees-knees. The fact that a mounting bolt fell out is my own fault. I should have gone over the bike with Loctite before the trip.

The Omega fairing mount/tower structure however, is a piece of junk. Anyone else who owns such a thing should know that it will eventually break your radiator mount, and then collapse in its entirety. Get rid of it.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 11:55:25 am by isiTututu »
 

Offline edgy

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Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #136 on: October 06, 2017, 11:47:31 am »
That white KTM690 Rallye is GingaNinjas old bike? How did it run etc?

Yes that's right. After sorting out a couple of electrical issues, and in particular, improving the exhaust back-pressure with an insert, it ran just fine on the trip. Those 450 Rally tanks are the bees-knees. The fact that a mounting bolt fell out is my own fault. I should have gone over the bike with Loctite before the trip.

The Omega fairing mount/tower structure however, is a piece of junk. Anyone else who own such a thing should know that it will eventually break your radiator mount, and then collapse in its entirety. Get rid of it.

 :thumleft:
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Offline KTMvan

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #137 on: October 06, 2017, 11:53:57 am »
Brilliant RR!! Keep it coming. I have done most of that solo on my 640, no problem doing it solo.... if you come back alive :-)
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Offline Lou1

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #138 on: October 06, 2017, 11:56:40 am »
SUB!
 

Offline isiTututu

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #139 on: October 06, 2017, 12:19:15 pm »

Gav had already been carted down to the clinic on one of the bikes, and the paramedic was checking him out. We seemed a lot more concerned than Gav did....


Yeah, I think there was a good deal of suspicion floating around that I might have just sprained my ankle, and that this was all a bit over dramatic. I too was surprised that it wasn't more painful, and I did have a twinge of embarrassment at all the drama that was going on around me. But there was no messing around on the part of my wife and Discovery International. Between them, they took charge, and things were going to be done properly.  I kept the boot on until arrival at Swakop Mediclinic, and I think this was absolutely the right thing to do. What better splint could you ask for.

A minor spiral fracture of the Fibula is nothing really, and will heal itself without intervention



The ankle however, is another matter. Some screws and a cable-tie are now holding the bones together. The ligament damage is going to take time....