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Offline Osadabwa

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2018 02 - Amazing 3 day safari... maybe.
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2018, 07:34:03 am »
8 AM, the bikes are ready. We’re at Wry’s house rearing to go. It’s the first time we’ve been able to coordinate our riding calendars in many years, and we’re both stoked.



So it’s a serious bummer when an hour later this is the scene:



Will our heroes salvage the ride? Can they make it one for the ages? Stay tuned to find out!
 

Offline ROOI

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2018, 08:28:33 am »
NO that is NOT right  :xxbah:
FTS
 

Offline bud500

Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2018, 09:01:17 am »
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline Knucklhead

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2018, 09:09:58 am »
very cool  :thumleft:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2018, 09:50:03 am »
ROOI and Bud500,  :lol8:

 :snorting:
 

Offline pietas

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2018, 10:00:12 am »
Something is off with that pickup?
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Offline Wooly Bugger

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2018, 11:08:24 am »
Great story and awesome pics. Thank you for sharing!
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Of course we salvaged the ride.
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2018, 12:34:29 pm »
To make a long story short, I broke my throttle cable 30 minutes into the ride, Wry organized a pickup to drag my carcass back to Famous Rick’s place in Karen where in a jiffy a new one was fabricated using the last spares in Africa, and we were on our way again – albeit several hours behind schedule.

We hit the valley like a ton of bricks, rocking over the stones and slashing through the bush. I wanted to make time, but was unwilling to cut out some of the highlights of the valley for Wry, so we shot for the new track I found with Panic not long ago.


Above: Wry descends into the deep valley


Above: Taking a break under the big shade trees, Wry remembers how awesome KTM side stands are




Above: A magnificent umbrella tree on the valley floor. It was hot, but a breeze kept it bearable.


Above: A quick splash at the standpipe… This is one of a kind as far as I know, and a welcomed thing to find on a hot day. I was encouraged by Wry to make an ass of myself, so I obliged.

Once out of the valley, it was a throttle-stop blast to Oltepesi for a reasonably cold Coke before crossing over to the feshy eastern side of Olegorsailie. I think I say this on every ride, but my god it was dry. And the wind was whipping it even drier. I wonder if someday my grandkids will be down here riding with paddle wheels over dunes. Surprisingly, however, there was a ton of wildlife on display. We saw all the little antelope, groups of ostriches and more than one large herds of giraffe.


Above: Wry rides the fesh fields


Above: The flat basin… ride as fast as your little Pig will take you. In my case, not much over 130kph, but what a thrill! The giraffes seemed to be asking WTF?


Above: Farther down the way, we caught up with another herd of mature giraffe that got the zoomies. It was amazing watching them run. They make pretty good time when they’re so inclined.

We hit the T-junction between Mi46 and the GSU camp fairly late in the afternoon, but I didn’t want to ride the 30 km of tar into Magadi. I’ve always suspected there are off-road options, but have never had time or a willing partner to go explore. I was watching my GPS (I’d put in a few probable tracks, but Google Earth is pretty fuzzy in this area) and dove off the road without warning when I saw a faint 4x4 track heading off in vaguely the right direction. Before long, it merged with another, and we were on our way.


Above: Face it, that bike is the bees knees, the dog’s bollocks, the cat’s ass, the giraffe’s neck, the elephant’s ears, the cock’s wattle… no?


Above: Koora! The mythical dot on the map exists. There’s nothing there but a railroad crossing, but it meant we were going to make it.

The evening light was making everything wonderful and we had itchy throttle hands. There were animals everywhere, and the riding and temperature was fantastic. After a couple of missteps and misunderstandings (all the Masai think we want to know how to get to the tar road… Jesus people, do we look like BMW riders to you?) we clacked down some rocky tracks and wound up on the soda pans behind Magadi town. We raced up and back through the surreal terrain. It was fantastic.






Above: Five hours riding stuff like this. No tarmac after leaving town. You can’t beat it.


Above: Wry takes in the rapidly setting sun. The whole time we were finding our way down to the pans, the sun was shooting out rays like an old painting. As if God was saying: Behold, boys! Follow the light to your next cold beer!


Above: I love this pic.


Above: Happy bikers


Above: In the year 2118, a lone wanderer cautiously approaches the abandoned city. The smell of Sulphur in his nose, he checks his equipment for trace signs of radiation and prepares to fight the local wastelings for what remains of the water…


Above: An odd formation of soda and salt makes a nice setting for a bike portrait

We rode into Magadi like conquering heroes, had a cold White Cap at the club and watched the rest of the light fade away. We ended up only riding half day, but what a half day it was! Sometimes you’re lucky like that.

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 2 - Magadi to Amboseli
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2018, 12:45:35 pm »
Aaaand sometimes you’re less lucky! First thing in the morning, not 10km out of Magadi, I saw my ass. Those soda pans are bloody tricky, I tell you. Last time I came through here, the place was 10” thick with sloppy mud the consistency of duck shit (into which I fell). Now it looked dry, like white pavement, and given just yesterday I was riding my Pig full blast on similar stuff, so I was not expecting to go down like a sack of potatoes on a totally innocuous, perfectly flat section. Turns out sometimes that stuff, when packed, keeps a wee layer of slime just on the surface that is deadly as oil on tarmac.




Above: It was a looong slide… I wasn’t going fast, but I wasn’t going slow. My hip now looks like a handful of strawberries and a bunch of grapes exploded just under the skin. Otherwise, none the worse for wear.


Above: Lake Magadi in the morning

We were riding into the early sun, through an extinct volcano, out of the deepest part of the Rift Valley on a track nobody but a handful of boda boda guys ride. Brilliant way to start the day! In the beninging, the track is very rocky and slow, but once you pass through the volcano and rise up a ways, it’s fast and furious all the way to Torosei where we stopped for a quick Coke.


Above: Looking up through the eroded remains of the volcano… our track goest through there somewhere




Above: Wry enjoying the early rock riding


Above: Again, luck found us surrounded by game. This time, a big group of ostrich.

From Torosei, it was about 20 km of quick, lovely dirt roads, the kind the Pig just eats alive. Wry kept calling it the Big Red Rock Eater, and I couldn’t argue. Especially at speed, the XR650R is a dream over rough terrain. Eventually, the road we were on disappeared into a well-worn cattle path leading to a water point. It’s a great ride, but this time around it was positively jam packed with cattle and donkeys on the move. We pushed through the tides of hides and popped out the other side in time for an early lunch in the shade of a tree.


Above: Wry starts down the cattle/donkey superhighway


Above: With or without the helmet, Wry does resemble domestic livestock


Above: Shade-tree lunch and an odd pile of burned bones… I prefer not to question the motive

After lunch came what was undoubtedly the highlight of the ride: thirty kilometers of hard-packed riverbed winding all the way past Oldonyo Orok. I’ve been in this riverbed with Panic before, and last time I was there with Frogger, it was a running river so we had to give it a miss. This time, the sand was perfect for riding. Not churned up, it was hard enough to ride quickly on but soft enough to make drifting a breeze. We flew for ages until we reached a rocky section that up to now I had not explored beyond. This time, we rode around it and dropped back in for more. It’s fantastic, beautiful, hard, fast… awesome.


Above: Wry’s goofy expression says it all: This is awesome!


Above: Sometimes open, sometimes tight, the riverbed was always a delight.


Above: As we continued, Oldonyo Oruk grew nearer. The riverbed goes all the way around its northern edge to the tarmac road and is rideable (almost) all the way.


Above: In some sections, the sand gave way to odd volcanic rock formations. With a little patience, we could ride through it, which in itself was fun, and we always found sand on the other side.


Above: Some of the rocky segments left deep holes on the other side… take care!


Above: Just before we climbed out of the riverbed, we came upon a couple of Masai guys. One had a hunk of butchered goat in a plastic bag and the other had bone marrow in a small bucket. They’d come from donating some of their goats to the local church: Read that closely: they’d given their animals away to the church, not vice-versa.

Knackered from the riverbed, but riding a high, we climbed out and headed the 10km to Namanga. It would be the first tar we’d seen so far, and we’d done over 300 km total. Namanga, like most border towns, is a dump, but we wanted a mid-day beer so we suffered through the annoyance of the local madman (John), the sound of a grinder next door, and the smell of raw meat and enjoyed our beer dammit. The next bit would drop us into another world.


Above: Scenes from Namanga: John, the madman; A high kwality KTM, and lunch if you want it (to be honest, it looked really good… If we could have gotten John to pose in the middle of the butcher shop, it would have looked a lot like a Lucian Freud painting.

To be continued...
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 12:46:21 pm by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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... continued
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2018, 12:52:16 pm »
It’s time to descend into Surrealism. I had been looking forward to riding under Amboseli National Park since Panic and I did it a year ago. It’s so bizarre there… odd rocks jutting out of an otherwise plane-flat wasteland… dust storms and devils playing on the horizon, Mt. Kilimanjaro looming in the distance… masai houses in the middle of it all. It’s a nightmare scape that just happens to be absolutely stunning. We were not in a hurry, so we explored the rocks and blasted the pans. We climbed up a hill and sure enough came across elephant again. The acacias in some areas are so serene and majectic, but they’re contrasted by utter devastation… it does your head in. Wonderful stuff.


Above: Out of the flat looms a spine of vertical stone


Above: Wry climbed it a ways and then thought better of continuing on… a fall from 15 meters ain’t good for your health




Above: The lee side of the rock was the only place protected from the blast-furnace wind


Above: Wry adds a whiff to the already dustblown world




Above: Our lookout hill. Mt Kilimanjaro hides in the clouds in the distance, her presence very much felt


Above: I’d been vandalized some time in the night with this abomination of a decal… Wry, it seems, is a big Pizza lover and thought the Pig looked like an ideal delivery bike.


Above: Like the surface of Mars, but with acacia islands




Above: Wry and I go to check out the elephants


Above: Been here twice, and both times found Eles. I love those creatures… respect them too… didn’t want to press our luck getting too close.


Above: I had to wait for Wry as a continuous cloud of dust obscured him from view… like Mad Max out here


Above: Dust Devil


Above: Out of the worst (best) of it, on the rocky stuff on the way to a camp.

We hadn’t reserved anywhere to stay, but as luck would have it, my track brought us right to the front gate of Kibo Camp where we were received with utterly underwhelming hospitality by three women with the personalities of belly button lint. The place was lovely though, and the pool and good food was much appreciated after a long, hard day.


Above: As all of the other guests were out on safari, we had afternoon sundowners by the pool undisturbed.


Above: Kili made an appearance at dusk. Photos don’t do her justice.
Damn what an awesome day! Over dinner, I heard tourists eagerly telling their waiters (who must have wanted to kill themselves) about seeing animals… all of which I’d seen from the back of my motorcycle outside the park gates, after having ridden 200km of the most exhilarating terrain around (on Earth maybe?). I wouldn’t have traded places with any one of them.
:snorting:



 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 - Back home
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2018, 12:59:55 pm »
We had ground to cover, so bikes were packed and rolling by 8:30. We bid farewell to the duds at the Kibo Camp and made dust toward Selengei, on the way back to Nairobi. Within half an hour, we’d seen elephant, nearly been trampled by giraffe, and scattered countless antelope, all while being constantly distracted by Mt Kilimanjaro who was just so damn photogenic in the early light it was hard to concentrate on riding.


Above: Checkout please


Above: I mean, come on! Kili is just too cool.






Above: The Pig in her element. Big, fast tracks in the savanna.

In order to avoid backtracking, we’d opted to push ahead rather than fuel up in Kimana which would have delayed our departure. This meant we’d forgo a small part of the track I’d planned, but all the roads in this area are amazing, so it didn’t matter a lick. First you pin the throttle and fly across arrow-straight sand tracks, then you meander through ever thickening bush, then you bushwhack awhile til you reach the Kajiado Governor’s house (mansion… how the hell did he get that money I wonder?) til you eventually hit the big riverbed near Selengei. All morning was a joy, and we were making serious time.




Above: Wry just had to test out the BRP. He enjoyed it. I also liked the KTM’s immediate power, the light feel etc… but for this, the Pig is the winner.




Above: Wry drops into another river bed. This one was 100m across in most places and much trickier than the one from the day before. The surface was less uniform, more textured, and it was very difficult to see the hidden lips and dips. Still, it was a blast.



We popped out of the riverbed, fueled up in Mashuru, crossed back over the riverbed and climbed up in the hills. I was all out of kilter on the tracks up there. Hard packed with a dusting of sand on top, I couldn’t keep my front tire planted and the rear wanted to run around me at every turn. After a while, we stopped for an early lunch. My god it was dry, but the views were nice. Later on, we scrambled up a road that was in appalling condition, cut through a Masai homestead, and hit the big dirt to the Kajiado tar, which we jumped and followed the cattle right-of way on to Mi-46 for a break.


Above: The hills above Selengei and Mashuru are lovely, but man are they dry


Above: Our early lunch spot. Good tuna and horrible Carrefor biltong!


Above: Wry pushes at a masai fence… no dice


Above: The cattle path to the Marble Quary and Mi46

After a quick stop for a Coke, it was just one quick blast back to Nairobi. My front tire was now pissing green slime from multiple thick puncture wounds accumulated in the Masai country, but because I am running the Tubeliss system, I was able to inflate it to 30psi and run for an hour before topping back up again. I guess I’m sold, so far, on that technology.


Above: The Mi46 road was in a sorry state following what was clearly some seriously heavy runoff recently. This Purple Beast was not going anywhere.


Above: Parting shot… guess which one is me and which one is my sarcastic, ball-busting amigo…

So, an epic ride, snatched from the jaws of early defeat! Really good to get out with Wry. Thanks for being up for exploring, pushing the limits of daylight and riverbed challenges, etc. We’re too young not to take those risks, and too old to let the chance of a good ride pass us by!


Above: Our route. Yellow = Nairobi to Magadi; Orange = Magadi to Amboseli; Red = Amboseli to Nairobi



Oink!

 :snorting:


 
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Offline bud500

Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2018, 01:36:26 pm »
Great penmanship, once again. Enjoyed it.
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2018, 03:12:24 pm »
Excellent stuff. Good thing it was just an accelerator cable. Normally when a bike is up on a truck like that its a BMW or something more serious. :laughing7:

Goodness gracious but its so dry. Animals must be battling a bit. When is the rainy season in that part of the world?
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Offline Xpat

Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2018, 04:05:54 pm »
Holy Moly - how heavy is that brp that it broke perfectly fine bakkie in half?!

You should consider getting something lighter and more reliable, just take a cue from your mate  :pot:

Offline Osadabwa

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Them's fightin' words, boy!
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2018, 04:43:30 pm »
Okay Xpat, that's it! Them's fightin' words, disrespecting my beloved Piggy! The gloves are off! Get your malingering ass up here with that cutsy little 690 showpiece of yours and lets go ride! You've got the tracks already, we'll be waiting! :lol8:  Pretty funny comment, but I promise found the bakkie that way. And by the way, funny guy, I'll have you know the 690 is reportedly 140kg dry and the XR is 133kg dry... though, yeah, I'd have to use 50% more go-juice per km, but that's not the point. It's about grunt and style, pure muscle! Pure bliss! The magic carpet!

BlueBull - Truth is, I have broken that cable twice and I'm not sure why. Nobody I know has ever broken a throttle cable. The real issue isn't the cable, but that tank... it's such a huge pain in the ass to remove that I'd only do it on the roadside in an emergency. And you're right about the dryness... I wonder if that's why we saw so many this time around. Maybe they were moving around out of desperation.
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2018, 06:09:16 am »
Why, I do believe you may have touched a tiny nerve there Xpat :laughing7:

Osadwaba: Interesting comments regarding that cable...I'm gonna guess you have two speeds. Stationary, and full-gas!  :lol8: Easy on the throttle there, matey.

Thanks again for a great report.  :thumleft: :thumright:
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Offline pietas

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2018, 01:40:19 pm »
Beautiful, beautiful landscapes. Love the reports. Thanks  :thumleft:

Cable option: fit two cables (second one being a backup). That way it will be much easier to swop over.  Just cover the ends up so that it does not become dirty. And do the same for clutch.

Oh, and XPat bought an orange 500 so he can keep up with your piggy  :lamer:
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Offline armpump

Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2018, 01:57:56 pm »
Presume Osadwaba does not know you been raving about the 500 Xpat
 

Offline Osadabwa

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500 eh...
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2018, 05:56:56 am »
pietas, Yes I know about the in-line cable replacement backup plan. Had one ready to go for clutch but not for throttle. I shall soon be remedying that you can be sure.

Um... so you say Xpat has a 500 now, not that Trojan Horse looking 690 eh? Yeah, that's light weight alright, but bring it on, dammit! I sold a 450 EXC and replaced it with my Pig cause I wanna eat raw meat not salad!

All machismo and bike tribalism and my-piston-is-bigger-than-yours aside, I rode Wry's 450 for a stretch this trip (not because I wanted to, mind, but because he wanted to ride the Piggy) and remembered how they are:

-   Pros = e-start, amazing throttle response, brakes that leave your face glued to the inside of your helmet, narrow feel
-   Cons = a seat hard as marble, a shock like a jackhammer for your ass and forks raked so hard it's a tank-slap a minute going quick and a jerking pogostick-on-marbles feeling over babyheads.

Obviously the Pig is a lot to hold up when going gets slow, but I look for riding that is hard, fast and rough, and that old girl with her plush suspension and 1970's souped-up muscle car analog feel really twists my grip.

If Xpat comes, he might be faster, but  I'll find ways to slow him down (rocks in the rucksack, heavy drinking the night before, a quick trip to Kenyan jail etc). So karibu!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 06:32:34 am by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline bud500

Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2018, 08:02:50 am »
 :laughing4:
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