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Author Topic: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya  (Read 9335 times)

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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2018, 06:39:28 am »
karibu indeed. :ricky: Looking forward to your next RR.
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Offline Osadabwa

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2018 02 - Makueni work trip, mini RR
« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2018, 02:55:30 pm »
Occasionally, it makes sense to ride my bike to the field for work instead of taking a car, or at least it’s a toss-up. This time was one of those times. Sure, I could have taken a 4x4, but it would have meant sitting in horrible traffic, and my mental health doesn’t allow that. So, I saddled up the Pig and left for Makueni County, staying off the tar as much as possible, and enjoying a totally different corner of Kenya.


Above: There are a lot of people in the hills above Machakos. Farms and homesteads as far as the eye can see. The place is a giant dirt road maze, so you can’t really go wrong as long as you don’t mind taking the scenic way.


Above: The pic doesn’t show it well, but the Kambas have a tradition of building terraces for cropland on the steep hillside. Not a bad practice I’d say.


Above: There was one stretch of “forest” that was actually eucalyptus plantation. These fellas had just dropped two medium-sized trees across the road.


Above: My pig in Ukambani


Above: On one particularly nice switchbacked bit of dirt there were big stone sections done up with campaign graffiti. I don’t know if Mary Mbiu Mutinga made it to parliament or not. Don’t think I care.


Above: Far down near the Chyulu Hills and Tsavo National Parks, the area is flat, red-soiled, and dry as tinder. Pretty tough existence down there, if you’re still trying to grow maize.


Above: Surprisingly, I found a very nice hotel in the Makueni County Seat of Wote. The Kusyuombunguo Hotel (quite a mouthful) has a huge pool, cold beers and decent food, not to mention rooms with bednets. What else can a guy ask for?

 :snorting:



 

Offline landieman

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2018, 06:28:34 am »
Nice  :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2018, 10:06:35 am »
Man, what a lekker read!

And I cannot believe Ricks is still running - we spent a week there doing various maintenance bits on 2 XT500's we rode up and back in 1994!

We stayed at Mama Roche's place near the Aga Khan hospital - ate at the Everest Hotel almost daily.....

And I hav'nt had a White Cap since then!!!
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Offline aka.Goliath

Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2018, 01:25:13 pm »
Nice stuff, what a great read. Keep it coming. Definitely going to be asking for some routes when I make it to Kenya one of these days.
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Offline Roxtar

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2018, 03:37:41 pm »
Those XRR's are legit......... some things in life just add to a picture and make everything look BETTER... :thumleft:
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2018, 08:23:46 pm »
Sounds like you have the dream job. Riding, beers by the pool etc. :laughing7:

What the heck do you do for a living? :scratch:


And where did the rest of us go so wrong? ;D
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 08:24:22 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Osadabwa

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2018 03 - Gear test mud day
« Reply #47 on: March 27, 2018, 07:11:33 am »
I have a friend who shall remain nameless (Panic) who is a real pain in the ass when it comes to the weather. If his old crooked elbow so much as senses extra humidity five days before a ride, I’ll be receiving foreboding texts about torrential rains and doom and gloom. He’s bailed out on one or two rides cause of the possibility he might get wet, only to learn later that his fears were unfounded. Drives me nuts.

So, it was amazing that he announced he wanted to do a day-ride down to the valley only a day after a proper 2-week long deluge that has ravaged Kenya finally passed by. It’s so wet, the Rift Valley itself seems to be opening up again: check out the hyper-dramatic footage from the local news… My god, you’d think it was Armageddon! It’s hilarious how much unnecessary attention this crack has gotten… faksake, it rained like hell, the place is horribly overgrazed and denuded, and it’s on a fault line. A little crack is likely to pop up now and then. Also, you’ll notice that there is a train car being transported on the road… here in Kenya, even the trains know the railroad is a joke!



Anyway, so we went. And sure enough it was a mudbog, but tons of fun! I tried to take us on a new track that would connect us to Mi-46, giving us another option for a long off-road loop, but deep mud and deep rivers turned us back.



So we backtracked a bit and continued on a known-track that took on a whole new feel with the mud. Some sections were fast and grippy, while others were duckpoop slick and almost hilarious. In a couple of places the track picks its way through an open plain, but there was no staying on it, you just had to let the bike lead and try not to fall off.


Above: Very nice to see some green for a change, and not to fight the dust


Above: A little crossing with a stony bottom was okay, but the deeper muddier ones turned us back


Above: Pigs in the grass


Above: Looking back at Esakut


Above: Why go around when you can go over?


Above: Nature’s chain lube


Above: Gerenuks! Long-necked impala’s relatives found in dry semi-arid lands only in the East and Horn


Above: The photo fails to show how close Panic came to seeing his ass… that’s a substantial dip he’s ploughing into

It was a half-day ride. Out and back. Brilliant. On the way back, not far from the tarmac, Panic pulls up with a puncture. I experience a very acute sense of schadenfreude since I’ve been taking a lot of abuse for how commonly I’m the one doing roadside puncture repairs. To add to my delight, the tube he brought as a spare was also punctured, a fact only discovered after he’d installed it and a half-dozen helpful chaps had arrived to stare and make comments. Oh, what a good day!


Above: Panic and the Rastas

This Thursday, I return to Tanzania for a few days to ride with the Dar Bikers. We’ll be exploring the area around Arusha, Lengai, Karatu and Babati, circumnavigating Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park in the process. The area has been getting just as much rain as we have here, so I expect seriously sloppy conditions.

Cross fingers for me.

 :snorting:



 
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Offline ROOI

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2018, 08:08:39 am »
 :thumleft:
FTS
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2018, 06:29:52 pm »
Lekker. :thumleft:

That is a still a bloody big crack! Must be some local cause for it, not just rain I think. Perhaps there was a small earthquake that caused a shift but not one noticed. ;D
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 06:30:33 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Osadabwa

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2018 Easter Ride - Tanzania with the Dar Bikers
« Reply #50 on: April 03, 2018, 01:48:40 pm »
When Ajax told me there would be ten bikers on the ride, I was sure it would be a hopeless disaster. But, to my amazement, it turned out to be a fantastic few days of scrambling down goat paths, blasting washed out dirt roads and laughing hard at our own personal one-man Bulgarian comedy show. My reunion with the Dar Bikers in Arusha was epic indeed!


Above: 1 XR650R (mine), 1 Suzuki DRZ400, 1 KTM620 and 7 cookie-cutter KTM 450s or 500s, one of which suffering an electrical fire... KTM owners understand

Having tested my Pig's readiness the week before, I was chomping at the bit to go. My plan was to leave early and speed down some well-trodden but fantastic tracks in the south of Kenya, down a long, sandy dry riverbed, and slip into Tanzania via the Namanga Border Post. From there, I’d cut over and ride some tracks North of Monduli area which I’d found on Google Earth.

I was so pumped up I could barely sleep. During the night, I’d freak out if I heard what I thought was rain on the roof. I’m usually the guy who says: to hell with the rain, we’re riding anyway! But the prospect of waking up for a long solo ride in the mud was unnerving, so I was happy when morning came and the pavement was dry. I hit the road grinning and roosting, enjoying the grip from a pair of brand new tires installed especially for the trip.


Above: On the way down, I passed the spot where Panic and I had cut a corner earlier and nearly lost it in deep mud. That it had dried out. I took to be a good omen.


Above: Matatu caught in a flash flood I suppose… how else?

I flew down the main dirt tracks I know well, shocked by how badly they’d handled the last weeks’ rains. Huge gullies were everywhere, and I had to be careful not to get lazy or I’d go diving into one as my friend Neb had done not long ago on his Enduro ride. When I ride alone, I get into a zen mode where I just go and go. I don’t think about anything. It’s a wonderful feeling. Before I knew it, I was at the dry riverbed, almost 200km away from home.


Above: This wasn’t here a few weeks back…


Above: This stroppy male Ostrich looked like he wanted a piece of me


Above: Reaching the dry riverbed


Above: Ready to blast the sand



My friend Wry and I had ridden this riverbed a few weeks ago on our way from Magadi to Amboseli. It was fantastic then, and it was fantastic this time around. I felt like I’d really gotten the knack of the rear wheel drift this time, making it around even the sharpest bends without needing to dab a foot down. I was flat out and wanting more.



When I came to the rocky section, I was confident I could ride through it with no problems, but was a bit alarmed to see that the section of riverbed below was muddy in spots. Being all balls and no brains at that moment, I proceeded on, slipping and dragging through some properly slick stuff at times, but still making my way. But then up ahead I saw more stones, and slowing a bit to pick my line, my rear wheel simply disappeared beneath me and when I put a foot down, I sank in up to the top buckle of my boot.


Above: That tributary brought in the mud... I damn near launched straight into that


Above: Innocuous enough looking, that wet sand is grabby as Trump with a pu$$y


Above: That, fellas, is quicksand. The stones downstream create an underground water catchment and the sand is essentially floating on it. Break the surface and you go in!


It was hard work getting the Pig unstuck, but I was still in high spirits. Heck I was on an adventure in Africa alone, stuck in a riverbed! Also, what was I going to do? Call the AA? I got to work, pulling the bike on her side, shoving sticks and rocks under the tire, digging out in front of the front tire, etc. After a couple of attempts, I managed to get to the stones and up the nearside bank.


Above: I look like a deranged stormtrooper on a fishing trip… anyway, I got out of my pickle.

Elated to have overcome my first serious obstacle, I was ready for my second: The Tanzania Border, where I unwittingly ended up hiring the illegal but very helpful services of an “agent” who bribed me to the front of a very long queue and sorted out the bike’s paperwork for me. Fifteen bucks well spent, I was hauling ass down a dirt road with Longido in my rearview mirror. The track was a fun little washed-out dirt road, but I wanted to explore something different and deviated off. At first I wasn’t sure I’d done the right thing as the track was rough and recently washed out, with no sign of any wheeled tracks on it. I walked a few descents to make sure I could get up them again if I had to retreat, and before long, I emerged on another fantastic, wide riverbed, this time dry as a bone and hard packed. It was time to fly.

To be continued...

 :snorting:
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 02:04:50 pm by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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...continued - Getting to Arusha
« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2018, 01:56:59 pm »

Above: Toodling down the little track toward the Tanzania-side riverbed


Above: One of those places I decided to walk first… there was nobody out here but me and I'd already dead-lifted the Pig once today


Above: My sand superhighway on-ramp


Above: Running out of unique poses for happy moments, I went with the “Liberty”, AKA the “Breakfast Club”


Above: The sand river washes out onto an open plain with Ketumbeine in the distance

It was getting on past two, but I wasn’t the least bit tired. From the sand river to Monduli is a nice quick road I know from a previous trip, so I set off at full tilt, but got distracted. Out of the corner of my eye, a low plain seemed to be shimmering with silver and I swore I could smell perfume. As I got closer, I could see that the entire valley floor was a continuous green mat of wildflowers giving off a wonderful odor, and as I rode into it, I saw giraffe, zebra and antelope; all grazing and looking fat and happy as you like. It was idyllic.




Above: Of course, the Pig looks fat and happy there too




Above: zebras with shiny coats

Having taken in as much of the valley as I could, and resisting the urge to just blast straight across it shouting in my helmet, I proceeded up the mountain, through Monduli town, and down the other side on small farm-access paths through fields and farmsteads. The approach to Arusha has never been more beautiful, with Mt. Meru peeking out from behind the clouds and the sparkling town huddling at its feet. I made it to the Outpost hotel, had a beer or two and fell asleep. Ajax and SteeVo showed up late and I joined them for several more. Spirits were high. Things were just beginning!


Above: On the main road up Monduli


Above: Smaller tracks of Monduli down to Arusha


Above: Mt. Meru showing through the clouds


Above: Fertile, hilly land


Above: A beer at the Outpost


Above: SteeVo’s feet attract slugs at midnight… WTF?  Kilimanjaro sweaty cold

That was the end of a very long day for me, but just the beginning with the Dar Bikers. I go from solo riding to leading 9 jokers down goat-paths and washouts. Stay tuned.

 :snorting:
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2018 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #52 on: April 03, 2018, 03:10:19 pm »
OSDBA - You always make me damn envious. :thumleft:

I bet you nipped a bit when that rear wheel got stuck. ;D How many times have we seen three guys almost unable to get bikes unstuck from mud....
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 03:10:48 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Osadabwa

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quicksand
« Reply #53 on: April 03, 2018, 04:53:08 pm »
Yeah, I was a tad nervous at first, but I could see the bike wasn't going to sink further and I had a very clear and rocky way out of the situation.  Patience and the use of levers got me out. I wedged a stone against the swingarm to lift the wheel up enough to get sticks underneath the tire.

Also, if I cocked it up, I had a backup plan. I was in Masailand. All I had to do was climb out of the riverbed and take a piss and half a dozen folks would have appeared out of nowhere. I was actually quite keen to get myself out without having to manage a bunch of knuckleheads who would inevitably burn themselves on the pipe or something, but I was comforted knowing they were out there.
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Arusha to Karatu the back way
« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2018, 08:03:10 am »
The first day with the group would also be the first time I met most of these jokers. I knew Ajax and SteeVo and Wheelie, but the rest were a mystery. I was immediately approached by a short chap that looked like a stuffed leather sofa smoking a cigarette. In a thick accent, he shouts at me: “You are my best friend, yes?” And extends a hand composed of Vienna sausages attached to a ribeye steak. It was Viktory, the Bulgarian mechanic/stand-up comedian, and he only wanted me for my fuel tank. His hideous LC4 620 which looked like it had been hung in a tree for vultures to eat for the past decade had a fuel tank that would make old men’s bladders look spacious. So it began.


Above: At the TanSwiss brothers’ house in Arusha… look at all that shiny pumpkin orange


Above: A sub-section of the crew: Get-It, Viktory, Me, SteeVo, Appy, Wheelie and Sprout (take that, you buggar… capital of Brussels indeed!)

Getting 10 bikers moving is a serious challenge. We were waiting for TS1 to get off work, and didn’t get our wheels in motion til 10AM. Fortunately for us, that just gave the landscape a bit of time to dry out from an overnight drizzle, and the sun was shining by the time we rolled into the hills above Arusha. And what hills! This place was spectacular. Long views over rolling hills, all emerald this time of year, and a crispness to the air that practically twists the throttle for you.




Above: Just outside of town, we regroup and take in the view.

In no time, the winding dirt roads took us to the top of the world. Looking down almost made you dizzy. It reminded me of being on a ski slope or something. The track dissolved into a series of ruts, etched over the years by generations of tenacious Masai goats and cattle into the hillside. It was surreal. You had to put your tire in a rut and follow it wherever it led as it came up to the axel. Choose correctly and all was good, choose poorly and you had some lifting to do. Wheelie being the most keen, decided to do some extra rut-riding and found himself upside down at one point, but there was no harm done. We’d reached the bottom alive!


Above: What a view…


Above: Me at the top of the goat chute


Above: Get-It down the goat chute


Above: Sprout, TS1 and Viktory


Above: Apart from how awkward the ruts were, they were made of nasty clay/dirt… if it had rained, I’d still be there.


Above: Left – A2 helps Wheelie after his little mishap.


Above: A seriously alien landscape. To think that goat feet and rain wore away all that soil… It looks like something out of a story book that doesn’t end well for the protagonist!

It must be mentioned here that I’m leading this hoard of KTM riding punks. Me. On my venerable and highly capable, if slightly gravity-attracting XR650R. Ajax usually does the honors, but he was happy to have somebody around who can read a GPS for a change. Nobody learns to navigate! At one point, I asked Ajax: Do you think they’ll like this track or that track? And he said: Just ride what you want to ride, they just follow! It was true, like a mother hen, I’d go off and my little flock of hair-brained and brightly-colored friends would follow. Like chickens I tell you!


Above: The goat chute opens up onto an endless grassy plain

After the goat chute, the grassy rolling plain spread out before us, sliced up into sections by deep gullies we needed to navigate. It was great fun rolling quick over the grass then picking our way through the gulches. It was easy business, and super enjoyable. The track we followed was an old one Ajax made in ’07, but we were on our way to a section I’d found on Google Earth. I knew there was a chance it’d be tricky. It was.




Above: This bumbling idiot nearly hit me from behind. And he’s holding a beetle.


Above: Like majestic gazelles zipping across the plains


Above: Oh sweet Jeezus… not so majestic with the helmet off!


Above: Here chick-chick-chick! Come to Piggy!

We crossed one gulley after another on our way to my sketchy trail-link. The riding was fantastic, some quick some slow, like a cha-cha but with horsepower. Everybody was killing it and the pace was excellent.







Above: Viktory takes a tumble but gets right back up again. Nobody can stop glorious Viktory! Nobody can silence him either!

to be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Arusha to Karatu continued...
« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2018, 08:14:51 am »

Above: The plains between the gullies were all studded with white and yellow flowers.


Above: It was so beautiful, it inspired Wheelie and TS2 to do a little bike-waltz


Above: Wheelie just loves flowers… holding them and roosting them, it’s all the same to him

Before long we were into the rocky stuff and the boys went for it. We all hammered our way down this slope, stopping to wipe the sweat and let the forearms regain their function every so often. It was hard work, but one of the highlights. Nobody took a serious tumble, though Sprout tried, and we all made it to the sandy river at the bottom and back up the other side in 10 pieces.



Above: SteeVo in the lead


Above: It was steep and stony. Good thing I’ve been riding in the Kenyan Rift Valley…




Above: The end of the stones, now if Sprout can just get up the other side!

Once out the other side of the big gulley, we emerged onto a big road. We’d chewed up a lot of the day farting around in Arusha and enjoying the steep and rocky stuff, so now we needed to make some time. Ajax had booked us into a hotel in Karatu, and at least a few of the KTMs didn’t have any headlights.


Above: Dung beetles rolling a poo


Above: Bikes and wildlife on the main road

Of course, making time with a big group is tough work, especially if guys can’t keep air in their tires. The honor for the first puncture goes to SteeVo who barely saw us past lunch on the first day. Lucky for us, where he stopped had beer and really good rice and beans for lunch. We all chowed down and watched him work.


Above: And here the guy on the right thought he was the ugliest dude in the village


Above: T2, Wheelie, Viktory, T1… faces not even their mothers could love


Above: Sprout and Appy looking decidedly happy

By the time SteeVo pulled his finger out and finished the puncture repair job, it was pushing 3PM. I was still eager to climb the mountain standing in front of us, so I started leading the group up the slope. It was horrible going, full of rolling rocks and no discernable trail to follow. At some point, Ajax reminds me that it’s getting late, so we abandon ship and head back to the main road where we just gotta sit on the throttles and blast.


Above: Waiting for a decision


Above: The big road aiming North West. I may have had it harder in the morning, but I was smiling now


Above: Of course we have to get another puncture: Winner – Viktory!


Above: Herds of Zebra along the way and a massively swollen seasonal lake

The big road broke down into two sections: Section 1 went Northwest almost straight at Oldonyo Lengai, along the southern flank of the mountain I think they call Ketumbeine. It was harrowing! The pics show how smooth it is, and it was nearly arrow-straight, but every so often there were washouts that were very deep and very wide. Miss one of those in the dust and you’re a gonner.

The second section turned essentially South toward Mto wa Mbu town and was just as fast and just as harrowing. We raced along watching for washouts as the clouds and late afternoon sun played over the escarpment to the west. It wasn’t the best riding, but the sensation of flying through that landscape was fantastic.


Above: At the junction, Oldonyo Lengai is the perfect cone in the background.... The XR650R is the perfect bike in the foreground.


Above: The escarpment that contains the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengetti National Park

With so many bikers on a big, dusty road, it was inevitable we’d get spread way out. Eventually Appy got a puncture, so I led a smaller group ahead and we all regrouped at the tarmac at Mto wa Mbu for the short, twisty blast up to Karatu where cold beers and a buffet dinner were waiting!


Above: Parting shot on the way to Mto wa Mbu

That evening, half the team was asleep at dinner and in bed before desert. The combination of the hard sections in the morning and the arguably harder long, fast stuff in the afternoon had tuckered the little fellas clean out.

Get your rest, ladies. Tomorrow’s another doozy.

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Karatu to Babati through the valley and the forest
« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2018, 10:59:12 am »
I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I heard Ajax and SteeVo clumping down the path toward the buffet and the prospect of a cup of coffee got me moving.

To my surprise, the whole bunch of us got our acts together in good time and bikes were idling in the parking lot before 9AM. As is our custom, we lined up to have a group pic taken, and as luck would have it, Get-It’s bike decided to pick precisely that moment to start a small fire behind the headlight mask. Absolute comic gold! Sorting that out took a minute or two more and then we fueled up and got underway. Our destination: a deserted valley between Lake Eyasi and Lake Manyara that promised some pretty remote riding.



Above: Get-It’s smokey startup, the fix, the petrol queue

In the first hour of the day, we had a casualty. Poor Appy’s DRZ 400 committed hari-kari on the road. I don’t yet know what happened to her internals, but she was pronounced dead at the scene and we promptly told Appy to kiss our ass, and left him there to be eaten by lions. The rest of us shook the cobwebs out of our helmets on a pretty but not energizing bit of dirt leading South. The sun was out and the world was ours.




Above: Viktory was really warming up… his comedy routine was as non-stop as his smoking

Soon enough we descended into the valley. The track was great. Rocky in sections, smooth in others, washouts and big trees all over the place. People were warming up and the throttles were loose. The ecology had changed and suddenly there were baobabs and huge acacias everywhere. We rolled deeper into the valley until we hit a potential track I’d plotted into a dry riverbed, but it was a boulder field and common sense won out: we would give it a miss. Most of the KTMs didn’t have enough fuel to play in that kind of place for long, and I was not keen to lift the Pig through there either.


Above: Wheelie on the down-track






Above: Some of the largest and most beautiful baobabs I’ve seen live in that valley


Above: The “riverbed” I was more than happy to give a miss





We continued down the ever-narrow track until we popped out onto a very wide sand riverbed. We played around on it awhile before zipping back into the shad for a bit of a rest, and to let Viktor continue his comedy routine. Guys climbed trees, hugged trees, peed on trees… Wheelie and TS1 had a moment with some flowers. Sprout won the day with a bag of Snickers. It was a thing of beauty. Afterward, we zig-zagged through the forest, drifting wheels around the trees to a duka with some petrol in plastic bottles before ripping up the rocky ascent to Dongobesh where we took an unscheduled stop to let one of the TanSwiss brothers repair his first puncture of the trip. Thank goodness there was beer.


Above: Playing on the big sand playground




Above: Snack time at high-noon in the Hadza Valley


Above: Goofing around


Above: Flower children


Above: Petrol duka in the middle of nowhere


Above: Team TanSwiss farting around fixing a flat

to be continued....
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Karatu to Babati via the valley and forest continued
« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2018, 11:08:29 am »
After Dongobesh, everything got interesting very quickly. I’d located a track that climbs up to, and down through a forested area, popping out just upstream from Babati where we were planning to sleep. Ajax and I were keen to explore that area, so I took off with gusto… leading the Orange mob was like being chased by a pack of rabid squirrels. We ripped through fields, up and around and down and through. I had the fever, so when I saw a slightly wet area at the bottom of the next hill, I just went for it… unfortunately for me, it was either too deep or I was going too slow. I made an abrupt stop, bonked my boys on the tank and nearly fell into the water. To hide my shame, I climbed up on the bike as quickly as I could and did my best Usain Bolt impression, but it turned out looking like I was signaling the arrival of a massive fart.


Above: And here I thought I’d picked the perfect line


Above: I read somewhere that Pigs love water… well mine is a crappy swimmer

This incident required a bit of faffing about. Get-It bravely volunteered to help me climb back into the water to steady the bike as the rest of the lazy boys pulled like 9 week-old dachshund puppies on a tow-rope tied to the rack. This process nearly drowned Get-It who slipped under the Pig, who as he found out, doesn’t float worth a damn, despite the gigantic buoy attached to it. We got the old girl out, but she wouldn’t start without a bit of help. We lifted her up and drained the water out, SteeVo pulled me to the top of the hill and then pushed me back down again. The joy I felt when she revved back to life was precious. On with the ride!


Above: I love her. I don’t always treat her well, but I love her.

Now rested, the boys were really ready to go. We wisely rode around the swamp and connected to our forest track without further incident. The entry to the forest was little more than a steep goat path, but it grew into what looks like a colonial-era road. It went deep into the forest, up and down hills and around corners slick as grease with a layer of green on top. I couldn’t go fast enough for the Orange hoard so I cut them loose. From all reports later, they had a whopping good time chasing each other down until one of them took a decent digger into the ferns. The place was spectacular.


Above: Getting into it


Above: The Orange Hoard telling porky pies


Above: I was happy to hang back and enjoy the scenery. That slick stuff ain’t for me. Look, Liam, a big tree!


Above: Happy, muddy bikers in paradise


Above: This forest had elephant poop on the trail and palm trees in it. Tanzania at its best.


Above: The views, when you could see them, were breathtaking



We popped out of the forest and onto a fantastic dirt road winding its way down the contours of the slope. I was back in the lead and giving it all she had, launching off berms and drifting around corners with the puppies nipping at my heels. I don’t think I held the back too much, and if I did, it was for their own good! Some of those corners had steep ledges on the sides and I didn’t fancy trying to drag somebody up from the bottom of the valley (apparently, Wheelie is likely to be the first to try it). We paused briefly to check out the view and then kept blasting down to the valley floor. From there to Babati in no time. At the White Rose Hotel for beers and an all-star 3 starch buffet.




Above: Climbing up to our viewpoint


Above: Not disappointed, eh boys?


Above: Wheelie’s spring-loaded orange grasshopper




Above: Down in the valley, a tree-lined road


Above: A decidedly more cautious me was happy to let SteeVo be the first to cross this section



...to be continued



 

Offline Osadabwa

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Karatu to Babati via the valley and the forest continued...
« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2018, 11:09:20 am »

At the White Rose, it was comic gold. Everybody was jazzed up from what had been a fantastic day of riding. Nobody slept early. Maybe it was due to the constant stream of entertainment. I did a brief cabaret show, Viktor and I did a two-man clown act, and later the staff demonstrated some of that new math with the beer tally which brought out Ajax’s inner demon “That’s not how you fakking do it!”. It was all good fun, fueled by roughly 764 Serengeti Lights, 245 Kilimanjaros, 553 Safaris, 623 Heinekens and a 20L bottle of Konyagi (Official White Rose staff count).




Above: How on earth can TS2 sit so close to my socks? TS1… that boy can eat!


Above: The spirit of the nation… oof.


Above: The bald and the brick-shaped. Look at those muscles, you gorilla, you! Viktory! Viktory!

We all slept like hell and we deserved it.
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Babati back to Arusha
« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2018, 11:15:50 am »
In the morning, blurry vision and predictions from Viktory that it would rain. Shut up already Viktory! Shut up! On the bikes again, we were prepared for a mostly big-track day. It was big, and quick, and not very interesting. We rode under and along the Tarangire National Park boundary, through huge tracts of maize interspersed with sunflower. Viktory slowed us down with a puncture, and we stopped to check out a herd of wildebeest at one point. Otherwise, it was a transport section that couldn’t be helped. BMW riders would have probably thought it was fantastic.


Above: The conductor and her symphony.


Above: Lessons in perspective out under a gloomy sky


Above: Ajax wonders where his life took wrong turn


Above: Viktory gets a puncture, but SteeVo does the patching… zis is comradery




Above: sunflowers brightened up some sections of the road


Above: Viktor shows how hard he hits it… slices rubber right open…


Above: No, it wasn’t the best track, but I definitely had the most comfortable ride!




Above: A proper pump in a masai village. Wheelie and TS1 did a mini wheelie demo, but the Masai guys didn’t pay us back with the promised dance competition.


Above: Wheelie doing his thing

At last, the big track was behind us and we were on smaller roads heading up to town. It was the kind of riding everybody can enjoy. It was quick and washed out. It had turns and riverbeds all over the place. The speed was good and we were making time. Ajax resumed the lead which put me in back as sweeper. I took the opportunity to rest up. I was the only one of the bunch who had another day of riding after this one.


Above: Starting off on the better tracks


Above: Smaller tracks = happier bikers


Above: Another incredible Baobab with leaves… so cool

to be continued....