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Online Ri

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #260 on: May 09, 2018, 02:57:01 pm »
@Ri : by day three you may see the camp/ food aspect as more than nice to have. In fact i believe Bertie could have been able to finish the trip with some of those amenities available. Again riding for two weeks in hot sun and kaokoland terrain is very demanding, and energy margins are thin. So every little bit matters much more than on weekend trip to cederberg.

I remember reading interview with Birch after his Dakar, where he didnt exactly excel. He said the terrain was easy peasy - nothing to compare to roof. But the day in day out grind for two weeks was what made that race really tough. This is similar - of course relatively speaking. Energy preservation is everything and will be deciding factor between enjoying the trip and/or just pure suffering and bailing out early.

Understood. Do you think he would have made this trip in June, when the weather is a bit cooler?
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #261 on: May 09, 2018, 03:12:58 pm »
I dont think so, it wasnt very hot when we were there most days, because it was cloudu most of the time. Bertieís downfall was the unresolved knee injury prior to trip, and resulting absolutely minimal time on bike for 6 months before the trip

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #262 on: May 10, 2018, 06:40:31 am »


Good thing you have good memory considering you didn't bother to bring camera on the trip  :pot:

Later on in Valley of Desoation I have tried to spot those desert rhinos you bumped into, but annoyingly all I found was a spoor. And I had proper telephoto camera ready...
[/quote]

Yes I knooooow...I need to get my photo shit sorted out :o

Must be the bark of that 500's exhaust that scared of the rhinos for you... :lol8:

[/quote]

Nah, i have stock exhaust on 500 that is quieter than leo vince i had on tenere. Im done with loud exhausts, they are stupid for long distance trips in remote areas with animals unsuspecting locals.

Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #263 on: May 10, 2018, 08:43:54 am »
 :thumleft:

brilliant recollection of our trip Martin ...thank you very much for all your effort in this RR
The older I get the faster I was
 

Offline Straatkat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #264 on: May 10, 2018, 11:29:11 am »
+1000
How did the op go?
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Offline isiTututu

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #265 on: May 10, 2018, 01:47:52 pm »
Superb trip report Xpat, Bertie and Justin - Thank you!

It makes me want to go back and do it properly, and to see all those epic scenes that I missed after I came to grief on MaxThePanda's trip.

And it's quite obvious to me now where I went wrong: Bike too big, bike overloaded, lack of sand skills, and above all, lack of fitness. The look of exhaustion on Bertie's face brings back palpable memories for me.

Thank you. How is the leg?

Funnily enough, I'm actually going for surgery tomorrow with my leg - getting pin removed from my tibia (or is it fibia? - both of them were broken) I got inserted 2 years ago in Nelspruit when I broke it in fall in Swaziland.

My leg's more or less healed thanks Martin. The itch is returning....   the itch to ride.
I hope your pin removal went well?
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #266 on: May 11, 2018, 09:08:26 pm »
OK, back from the hospital - I have some titanium for you Bertie, if you don't mind it comes with pieces of myself embedded.

Since the powers to be seems to be keen to shut down the Hoanib river, here is a shameless re-plug of a video from ride through Hoanib river I've done about 5 years back on TE630. The initial route from Puros is somewhat different from the one we took with Justin (doesn't include Puros canyon), but it joins the Hoanib river (in the video incorrectly called Huarusib river - my fact checking wasn't up to task at the time I made the video) at 2:19.



Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #267 on: May 11, 2018, 10:38:06 pm »
Day 10

Despite going into bed very late last night, I was up in the morning still in the dark and headed out for breakfast as soon as the restaurant opened at 7am. To my surprise, both Bertia and Justin were there already, in their full riding gear and with bikes packed up and ready to go in the front yard. Let me get this straight: for almost two weeks I tried my best to get those two to start early in the morning to get a good start on a days when it really mattered without much success. But now with only couple of hundreds of km of dirt highway commute left, they just couldnít wait to hit the road and be done and over with the trip!! I must have done something wrong somewhere. But hey - I enjoyed the trip immensely anyway and was keen to make most of the remaining 2 - 3 days of proper riding left.

We said our farewells after breakfast, and the other two set-off towards Uis about 300 km away with gusto. Even on an easy peasy commute like that Justin still managed to squeeze in a bit of drama. He rode way ahead of Bertie (due to Bertieís shorter sprockets and mousses keeping him within 100 kmh speed) and ignored my advice to fill up at Palmwag as he keen to get to Uis as soon as possible. He then got lost taking wrong turn to Burnt mountain few km from Twyfelfontein, and as a result run out of petrol few km short of Uis. Where he was saved by Bertie who did fill-up in Palmwag and siphoned few liters for Justin to make it to Uis.

They were both so keen to put this trip behind them that they didnít even chill in Uis, and instead packed up (Justin) bakkie and set-off home straight away, making it that day to Windhoek for sleepover. Bertie was stuck waiting for me, so he left his bike in Uis took my bakkie and drove down to Swakopmund for a shopping.

Justin on the way home:










And the chicken route for the day:




I on the other hand got again snagged in the Fortís wifi network on my return from breakfast, and by the time I disentangled myself it was almost 10am. With no obligations, the gastro tourist took over and I decided to have a first rest day that I have spend chilling in the shade of the courtyardís palm trees and the cool water the lodge pool.

Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #268 on: May 12, 2018, 10:28:21 am »
Think Straatkat should make you a nice tour knife out of that titanium ;)
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #269 on: May 12, 2018, 12:30:16 pm »
Day 11 - part 1
(pictures in this episodes can be viewed at higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmhKKvFT)

I had two days of riding left before I was to meet Bertie back in Uis. The plan for today was to get to the beginning of the Valley of Desolation track off the main dirt highways as much as possible. Ideal route that would eliminate need to ride again some of the tracks we have already done on this trip would be backtracking down the Hoanib river and take Crowther trail down to Palmwag. Unfortunately that track and the whole area west of C43 is part of Palmwag conservancy and definitely is - and was for a long time - off limits to the bikes. So the only option left was area east of C43 - i.e. Khowarib gorge and Little Serengeti, that we have done on the way up on Day 2. So I would be backtracking, but at least on the track that I wasnít very familiar with yet (first time Iíve done it on this trip). And to mix things up, I would get out of Little Serengeti using different route following the track MaxThePanda & the gang did that connected with C40 at Erwee.

Route for the day:




I woke up early and packed up still in the dark to set-off straight after breakfast. It was a special morning as there was short, but intense shower earlier that night - first rain in the area for the past either 2 or 5 years (canít remember which) I was told by the ranges in the lodge. Hence the air was uncharacteristically fresh and cool.

After fill-up at the lodge petrol station I gunned it down the dirt highway 30 km to the turn-off to the Khowarib gorge, where I turned east and hit the gorge.































The rain earlier made for pleasant riding and even the fesh fesh section we battled through on day 2 was noticeably easier. Which lasted up until I hit the Hoanib river crossing, which now held quite a bit water. If there is a slightest chance, I always avoid water crossings religiously, so I stopped and went to scout the route across on foot. It took a while, but eventually I found line through the reefs that I was sufficiently happy with, with only about 2 meter long puddle at the other side of the river. Which I didnít walk through as it looked pretty harmless. I cruised through the 30 meters of the riverbed without glitch, but as soon as I hit the puddle ready to wheelie over the bottom gave way and I fell through into a deep hole. Taken completely by surprise I got thrown left and found myself totally submerged in the muck under the bike which was balancing at precarious angle keen to go for swim as well. There were few tense seconds - that felt more like hours  - when I watched with horror tank cap getting to within few mm of the water surface right in front of my face while trying desperately do keep the bike upright while with one legged squat neck deep in the water. Eventually, using everly little bit of strength left I prevailed and managed to get the bike back up again. But there was no time to relax - I was painfully aware that my iPhone and camera were floating in a pool of water in my waterproof jacket pockets - which now worked as perfect scoops holding the water in rather than letting it drain out.

I had to get out of the water as quick as possible, but wasnít sure if starting the bike was the best idea, as during the ju jitsu the airbox and seat ended up under water for quite a while. I stalled the bike as soon as I fell through so hoping no water made it into the engine I hit the starter button and to my great relief the bike fired up and I was able to gun the front wheel up the river bank and dig the rear one into the bottom. Not ideal, but stable enough to jump off the bike without risk of it falling over and start get all the electronics out of my pockets and wet backpack.

The camera seemed to handle the bath fine, but the iPhone started acting straight away, with touch screen behaving erratically and water clearly visible in the phone camera lens. For next few days it took quite a bit of sophisticated fingering to get the phone do what i wanted, as sections of touchscreen worked fine, while others didnít so I found myself looking for creative ways to for example start the phone. But to Appleís credit, the water eventually dried out and the phone went back to normal.

Luckily there were two guys from the nearby kraal collecting water, who helped me to push the bike out of the hole and up on the river bank. I gave them beer money for the trouble and then settled in for half and hour or so waiting for the electronics to dry out sufficiently before setting off again.
















With that sorted I rode up the Khowarib canyon without further drama, just wet from toe to the top of my head which made for pretty chilly ride:






















Once out of the gorge, I hit the Ombonde river bed for next 15 km, encountering quite a bit of game that came out to enjoy aftermath of the precious rain.








« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:32:37 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #270 on: May 12, 2018, 02:21:35 pm »
Day 11 - part 2
(pictures in this episodes can be viewed at higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmhKKvFT)


After 15 km in Ombonde river the track turned out of rivebed and hit the Little Serengeti plains. It was very dry with very little game to be seen. The only animals I bumped into were turned into biltong already.



















After dozen or so km the Serengeti plains gave way to the mountains with rocky trails winding south through thorny bush. I have seen few springbok and elephant spoor, but no pachyderm itself unfortunatelly:



































































I eventually made it to Erwee - little settlement on C40 at about 2pm, where I stopped for a cold Coke at the local spaza shop. Once done I hit the C40 for the 50 km or so west to Palmwag, where I stopped at the garage to fill-up. By that stage it was 3 pm and the gastro tourist was lobbying strongly for sleepover at the Palmwag lodge, with pool, restaurant, bar and stuff. The alternative was to bush camp somewhere along the Valley of Desolation track. I have prevailed as ithere were still good 3 hours of daylight left and I was keen to still get some km under the belt, as I had quite a long route planned next day.










So I hit C43 south for next 50 or so km, until the turn-off to Valley of Desolation. By now the sun was getting low and it was a time to start looking for campsite. As far as I knew it is not allowed to bush camp in Damaraland, so I started looking for secluded place not easily visible from the main track. Which was difficult as the landscape is very barren and open and I didn't want to go just bundu bashing across the plain with attendant new tracks and stuff. So when I saw a sign for Damaraland camp about 13 km away, I decided to go check it out. I had a hunch that it is a trap, but witout obvious alternative went to check it out anyway And yes, it was a trap. By the time I came around rocky escarpment hiding the camp, I knew I'm not going to beat gastro tourist on this one. It was one of those luxurious establishments in the middle of nowhere catering mostly for the high net worth fly in clients. there was still a chance they will not let the dirty ride-in biker in, but no - they were happy to have me, and I just gave in.

Now, it was expensive and not somewhere a self respecting adv biker should be seen, but the only other clients were an elderly aristocratic couple from UK, so as nobody would see me anyway, I just settled in. The cost didn't bother me - it was reasonable IMO for the excelent service provided (it was one of those experiences with your own personal butler). Where I did feel guilty was that it was the establisment owned by the biker's arch enemy in Kaokoland - Wilderness Safari company. But I didn't have a spine to reject the lovely challet, white linen and three course dinner, so I sold my soul and settled in for the night, including intriguing discussion about degenerate and despicable nature of communism and land grabbing/nationalisation with the aristocratic couple over candle light dinner, pretending that I also consider 6 bar house in Western Cape an interesting opportunity to park spare cash.


Damaraland:










Damaraland camp:





























« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:32:14 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #271 on: May 12, 2018, 10:12:37 pm »
Day 12 - part 1
(pictures in this episodes can be viewed at higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjqufPE)

Last day of the trip. The objective was Uis about 200 km away. But those 200 km promised to be one of the absolute highlights of the trip, including exquisite sceneries of Valley of Desolation and Zebra mountains.




I knew that to get full hit of the beauty that is Valley of Desolation I better start early while the rising sun provides for the most beautiful display of colors of the breathtaking Damaraland landscape. Damaraland camp being the upmarket establishment obliged readily and provided early breakfast at 6:30 to allow me to get going just as the sun started colour the eastern horizon.

Iím not even going to apologize for the number of pictures in this episode. I tried my hardest to select the absolute best, but there are still way too many I just couldnít leave out. So unless you are into pretty pictures of rocks, or have limited bandwidth this episode may not be for you.


As I set-off the sunrise just about started coloring the surrounding mountains in dramatic shades of red:































Later on with sun above horizon now, the colors turned orange and yellow, giving the whole scenery very otherworldly feel:






























































« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:30:47 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #272 on: May 12, 2018, 10:46:23 pm »
As ever you have again delivered a masterpiece of inspiration, information, observation and motivation. I had intended to wait to the very end of this magnificent RR before I start my yapping ... but alas, I cannot. Thank you for the tremendous effort you make in posting something of this magnitude, no doubt you only have 18 photos left of the 7500 you took that you have not posted ... I for one study each photo thoroughly.

Agreed on the pointlessness of loud exhausts on any adventure ride ... it is all about the sights and sound of nature and not piston noise, I still have the baffle in the ATís Akra for this very reason.

Lastly, I now know what bike I am to get if I ever want to see Namibia proper as it will not be done on the AT.

Oh ... I am also willing to sponsor you a Lifeproof cover for your iPhone for your next ride through wet terrain.

Cheers. Ian

 8)

1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #273 on: May 13, 2018, 11:39:19 am »
Thanks Ian, appreciate that  :thumleft:

And yes, if you really want to get under the skirt of Namibia, I would recommend to get bike in the lightweight 500 category - doesn't need to be KTM, can be WR450 or KLX or some such if you have Jap preference - to do it. I think it may even get your riding buddy Alan to ride some of these places despite of his busted knees. Basically these kind of bikes will allow people who may be older or not 100% physically OK, to explore places they came to believe are off limits to them.

And if you buy second hand cleverly, you can probably sell it with very little financial loss after the trip. So you may consider to get the bike just for a specific trip like this one, and then sell it afterwards if you don't have more use for it.

Not selling 500s (or similar), just pointing out that with a right bike, one can get to ride places they may have thought are way out of their limits. Especially older people (which I'm not saying you are, just using an example) who sometimes have this attitude that that boat has sailed for them already just because they are too scared to take their 1190, AT or GS into sand. I have seen some people in their 50s here acting like the life is over, when most of them are perfectly capable of trip like this - just get the right bike and maybe get yourself on one of those guided tours for a bit of safety net and comfort. And if they need big bike for easy peasy touring they normally do, just keep it for that and sell the small one once not needed.

Offline SchalkL

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #274 on: May 13, 2018, 11:55:54 am »
Thanks Ian, appreciate that  :thumleft:

And yes, if you really want to get under the skirt of Namibia, I would recommend to get bike in the lightweight 500 category - doesn't need to be KTM, can be WR450 or KLX or some such if you have Jap preference - to do it. I think it may even get your riding buddy Alan to ride some of these places despite of his busted knees. Basically these kind of bikes will allow people who may be older or not 100% physically OK, to explore places they came to believe are off limits to them.

And if you buy second hand cleverly, you can probably sell it with very little financial loss after the trip. So you may consider to get the bike just for a specific trip like this one, and then sell it afterwards if you don't have more use for it.

Not selling 500s (or similar), just pointing out that with a right bike, one can get to ride places they may have thought are way out of their limits. Especially older people (which I'm not saying you are, just using an example) who sometimes have this attitude that that boat has sailed for them already just because they are too scared to take their 1190, AT or GS into sand. I have seen some people in their 50s here acting like the life is over, when most of them are perfectly capable of trip like this - just get the right bike and maybe get yourself on one of those guided tours for a bit of safety net and comfort. And if they need big bike for easy peasy touring they normally do, just keep it for that and sell the small one once not needed.
And those 4 points are VERY applicable to a lot of dogs, so glad you post this  :3some:
I capable enough on my AT for gravel paths and a little bit of technical but after that it gets to heavy!
Because i dont know lightweight 500 class bikes i am just scared of the maintenance when doing 2-3000km solo trips but like Xpat explained to me on a pm the KTM is more than capable to handle that.

Thanks again for definitely the RR of 2018 !!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 11:56:41 am by SchalkL »
Sometimes you don't need a plan, just balls :)
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #275 on: May 13, 2018, 05:05:48 pm »
Day 12 - part 2
(pictures in this episodes can be viewed at higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjqufPE)


After first 20 km covered in the previous part which headed more or less west, the track turned south and followed a valley down to the Huab river swamp another 20 km away still covered in the morning fog at the bottom of impressive mountain range:













































A short break at Krone canyon running down towards Huab river:



















Abandon ruin overseeing the Huab swamp valley below:


« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:30:11 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #276 on: May 13, 2018, 05:16:54 pm »
@SchalkL: Cheers  :thumleft:

Offline RobLH

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #277 on: May 13, 2018, 05:25:56 pm »
Xpat, your ride reports really are the gold standard, thanks.

It's going to be a sad day for us vicarious travelers when you go back to work.
 

Offline Straatkat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #278 on: May 13, 2018, 07:21:10 pm »
Martin you really did leave the best for last, some of that scenery is just breathtaking. Wish I was there when you crossed the water to lend a hand.
Next time I will prepare better and hopefully last the whole trip. That gorge is just stunning!
18 till I die.
If hard work pays, show me rich donkey.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #279 on: May 13, 2018, 08:24:05 pm »
Day 12 - part 3
(pictures in this episodes can be viewed at higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjqufPE)


From the house the track turned south west and was to follow Huab river for another 20 km. But first I had to get to the riverbed at place called Huab swamp.


Mountain range overlooking Huab swamp:




And the dunes to the east of the range and south of the river:


























































As I approached the river I kept my eyes open for animals, especially the rare desert rhino. But again, all I've found was a spoor - both elephant as well as rhino one. That is if rhino has three toes on its feet - sorry no picture.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:29:07 pm by Xpat »
 
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