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Offline Amsterdam

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2018, 05:40:06 pm »
Also the camera and it's accessibility is a big factor, the camera needs to take high quality pictures and be handy when you need it. If it is hidden somewhere in your luggage you are not going to stop and take it out enough, jacket pocket is first prize here.

This is the reason why I like having a tank bag.  But as you say, you can get awfully pinned down that way.
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2018, 05:52:47 pm »
Day 3 - part 1
(pictures in this episode can be viewed at better resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzbfRuw)

In the morning Bertie and I broke the camp keen to get going, except Justin had different idea. Last evening he has patched the inner Tubeliss tube and was keen to put it in and try it out. Naturally Bertie and I were not crazy about the idea, as the current tube was working just fine so why change something that isn’t broken. But Justin persevered and claimed that it will be very quick (yeah, right), so Bertie not keen to argue decided to join in to get it done and over quickly.

I bitched a bit longer, but eventually let it go as I thought we should be able to make Opuwo comfortably even with another late start and on alternative route I haven’t done before. The only potential snag may have been Robbie’s pass we were to encounter. But I figured - if 4x4s occasionally make it and even some German D650s did, how difficult can it be on 500? It turns out - quite difficult…


Beautifull bodies in motion - pure poetry:







The idea of riding Robbie’s pass came from Hardy de Kock, who suggested it as an alternative to my original plan. Which was to ride over to Purros (already night before instead of stopping early in Ongongo as we did) and take Hoarusib river from there all the way to Opuwo. I have done the lower reaches of Hoarusib around Purros few times, but haven’t ridden the upper reaches heading up almost all the way to Opuwo. Hardy has done it in a 4x4 and said that the route is beautiful, but he also warned me off strongly as had two friends ride through there recently coincidentally also on 500s and one of them ended up falling into deep hole trap covered completely by fesh fesh, broke his collarbone and had to be evacuated. Apparently there is this phenomena happening every few years at the confluence of Hoarusib and its non-name tributary when I guess (complete speculation here) the flowing water - a rare occasion in this parts - creates whirls at the confluence of the two rivers which dig out deep holes in the riverbed and then covers them later on with soft sand that dries into fesh fesh. So Hardy’s friend was riding nice sandy riverbed same like dozen others in Kaokoland, when the ground let go from underneath, and he hit the hidden hole ending up to his neck in fesh fesh and with broken collarbone.

That was definitely something to take note of, but to be honest on it’s own wouldn’t dissuade me from riding there - now that I knew about the hazard, we should be able to avoid it. But Hardy suggested alternative (understanding that the main C43 dirth highway is not an option for us) - riding from Sesfontein over the Robbie’s pass to Kaoko Otavi and from there on D3707 to Opuwo. He called it very technical which naturally tickled my interest, so I found a video on Youtube of couple of Germans doing it on DR650, and was converted. Here is that video:




So the plan for the day was to make it to Opuwo riding the tracks over Robbie’s pass. Here is the route we did and as you will notice, we made it to Robbie’s pass, but not Opuwo - you will see why by the end of this episode.




Back to Ongongo and the Tubeliss experiment, once the other two got the inner tube finally installed, we packed up and set-off - as usually past 9 am. First we had to do short 20 or so km dash on C43 highway to Sesfontein and I led the way. About 15 km in I stopped at the crossing where C43 turned north towards Opuwo, waiting for the other two to make sure they take the right turn. Bertie arrived soon after, but no sight of Justin.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened. And sure enough much later Justin crawled in on flat front tyre. On the upside - in scientific experiment even negative result is good, because the rest of humanity (that includes Justin - not completely sure about that though) can avoid the mistake of trying to patch 7 bar tube. On the downside - we were going to lose more time.

As Justin was able to ride the bike, there was no point trying to fix it on the side of the road, so we pushed on the last 5 km to Sesfontein, where we first stopped at the supermarket to stock up on goodies we have used up last night like Spam and most importantly sweetened condensed milk, and then we drove another few hundred meters to the petrol station adjacent to the Sesfontein Fort lodge. Where we were told that they are out or petrol (unexpected funeral sucked them dry). They were expecting petrol truck sometimes later that day from Otjiwarongo 450 km (half of it dirt) away.


Leaving Ongongo camp:




Sesfontein street life:













We rode back to the town enquiring if there may be somebody selling petrol from drum, but while that is now widely available even in very remote villages in Kaokoland (as we were to find out later on), there was no point selling drum petrol here - at the end of the day they were a proper town (speaking in relative terms here) and had a petrol station.

We (or rather Justin) still had to deal with flat front tyre, so we retreated to the Sesfontein Fort lodge, where we had proper breakfast after which Justin proceeded to put in the tube he took out 2 hours ago.













Waiting for Justin to finish I became suddenly acutely aware of the grave danger we were in and the other two were completely oblivious to. Beautifully maintained palm tree shaded courtyard with blue pool and virtually unlimited supply of cooked food and drinks and most importantly - WIFI - stirred one of my worst demons - the inner gastro tourist. Cloaked by the fog that has settled over my brain, his claw reaching from my guts got a good grip on the brain. His voice whispering things like ‘there is nothing we can do - we have to wait for the petrol here, which will probably only arrive tomorrow, so we may as well settle into one of the air conditioned rooms right now’. I have lost this fight many times before - indeed 2 or 3 times in this very same establishment.

On the brink of another crushing defeat, I jumped into the action with whatever little willpower I have left and called for a conference. Luckily, Justin was just about done with the tyre so we sat down and pondered our options. We knew this is Africa and the truck would be there at best in the evening (‘I told you’ said gastro tourist in my head smiling, his golden tooth glistering brightly). Theoretically we should have enough petrol to make it to Opuwo 170 - 180 km away (we’ve done so far about 180 since last refill), as we should be able to make 400 km on a tank. But we didn’t know how much our consumption was affected by all the sand and rock riding. Our best guess was that we will either just make it, or just not make it. But we figured, we might be able to get petrol in Kaoko Otavi about 40 km short of Opuwo and even if not, as a last resort - should we see we are running low - we would just get all the remaining petrol into one of our bikes, and one of us will then shoot up to Opuwo and bring petrol back to the other two left behind.

With that settled (and gastro tourist positively pissed off), we had one more Coke for the road, geared up and set-off again. By now it was past noon and we had about 180 km of unknown terrain to cover. I have investigated two routes up to Robbie’s pass - the preferred one following up the Ganamub riverbed, and the back up D3705. With such a delay, I settled for the D3705, which was shorter and headed up north straight out of Sesfontein  - while the Ganamub required ride out west towards Puros.

D3705 turned out to be much better than expected. None of tha nicely maintained D road stuff like D3707 (which to be perfectly honest I like as well), but rather almost abandoned rocky double tracks with few tricky climbs thrown in to keep it entertaining even on 500, while still enabling us to keep pretty steady pace covering good distance in decent time. These will give you an idea:



























































































We were making good progress and made it to the last village before Robbie’s pass, about half-way through to Kaoko Otavi, at about 14:00. At this pace it looked like we may still be able to make it to Opuwo for the night, so the inner gastro tourist started to visualise medium rare steak straight away.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 03:58:21 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2018, 05:56:15 pm »
So sad to see hardly any rain fell there this year. :(

Why do you say that Chris? I'm no expert, but I have never seen the area so green and full of water. Hoarusib was even flowing down the Puros canyon. And we had clouds overhead most of our trip and even had pretty good rain in Sesfontein - first in 5 years.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 05:57:01 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2018, 05:58:32 pm »
Great stuff  :thumleft:

XPat, some of your photo's are so good you should consider listing them on shutterstock. Might make some spare cash to pay for the next trip

Thanks, but I'm old school and do not like to mix business and pleasure. Maybe next life I'm lucky and a bit more Kardashiani. Plus all those images were taken with little compact camera with ultrazoom lens (meaning crappier quality than less ultras), so once magnified, the technical quality is not there for example for wall print. They are good enough for screen.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 05:59:12 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2018, 06:00:54 pm »
Also, I am leaving for another trip this week, so will start now, but finish only when I’m back sometimes in May, sorry about that.

Jesus. You weren't joking about biking non-stop, were you?

Nope. Though I do spent quite a bit of time being idle, so that balances it out...

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2018, 06:08:55 pm »
So sad to see hardly any rain fell there this year. :(

Why do you say that Chris? I'm no expert, but I have never seen the area so green and full of water. Hoarusib was even flowing down the Puros canyon. And we had clouds overhead most of our trip and even had pretty good rain in Sesfontein - first in 5 years.
No grass or hardly any. If the rivers had water in it means it could have rained higher upriver.

It could look like this after good rains.

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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2018, 06:15:12 pm »
Also the camera and it's accessibility is a big factor, the camera needs to take high quality pictures and be handy when you need it. If it is hidden somewhere in your luggage you are not going to stop and take it out enough, jacket pocket is first prize here.

This is the reason why I like having a tank bag.  But as you say, you can get awfully pinned down that way.

I have tried that - doesn't work for me. Too much effort to unzip and zip the tankbag, especially if there is a lot of dust and one's hands are tired from days of bundu bashing. And it gets in the way - especially on small bike like 500.

After long experimentation with different options, I came to believe that the best choice is quality compact camera in the jacket pocket. I would have ended up with way less pictures if I would have to get the camera from tankbag.

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #67 on: April 11, 2018, 06:17:30 pm »
So sad to see hardly any rain fell there this year. :(

Why do you say that Chris? I'm no expert, but I have never seen the area so green and full of water. Hoarusib was even flowing down the Puros canyon. And we had clouds overhead most of our trip and even had pretty good rain in Sesfontein - first in 5 years.
No grass or hardly any. If the rivers had water in it means it could have rained higher upriver.

It could look like this after good rains.

Well, that is Marienfluss, further up north and in different valley that may have different climate. But don't know that for sure. The riverbeds were definitely the most wet I have ever seen them and the rain in Sesfontein also seemed indicative of good level or rain - may have been just freak accident though.

Edit: Oh yes, and I almost drowned the bike later on in Hoanib...
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 06:20:39 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2018, 07:05:42 pm »
I'm going to dip my oar in here

I have totally lost faith and given up on Tubliss - even though I have good experiences with this on Amageza

It is way too delicate for DS touring type riding and way too complicated and time wasting to try and fix in the bush

Since coming home from this trip I have junked the Tubliss in both wheels and reverted back to good old fashioned tubes ... but with a twist

I am now running heavy duty super thick enduro tubes inside a cut open old tube - total thickness for something to have to penetrate and puncture is 8 mm ...and the enduro tube is filled with self sealing slime

and as a backup I am carrying normal lightweight spare front and rear tubes

Straatkat used Michelin BIB mousses on this trip and had absolutely no problems whatsoever ...but he did nurse them constantly and never exceeded 100 kph - I can't do that - drives me insane to ride so slow
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 07:07:01 pm by JustBendIt »
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Offline Ri

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2018, 07:15:31 pm »

But Hardy suggested alternative (understanding that the main C43 dirth highway is not an option for us) - riding from Sesfontein over the Robbie’s pass to Kaoko Otavi and from there on D3707 to Opuwo. He called it very technical which naturally tickled my interest, so I found a video on Youtube of couple of Germans doing it on DR650, and was converted. Here is that video:



 :o :eek7:

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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #70 on: April 11, 2018, 11:47:41 pm »
Day 3 - part 2
(pictures in this episode can be viewed at better resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzbfRuw)

We arrived at the affluent suburbs of Ohohorwa with a bang. The orange Darth Vader upfront scared local kids so much that a 10 year old girl run in blind panic past her parents and past their huts and literally run up a tree about hundred meters away. Leopard wouldn’t stand a chance against her in tree climbing competition. Now kids in remote places usually run away from bikes they never seen or heard before, but generally they run to hide in their houses or behind their parents, not just cut loose completely.

This is the reason why I insist that open face helmets should be used for proper adventure riding in the remote areas like this. I mean I would have run up a tree should that lifeless figure would came rushing towards me in Midrand, just look at it once again:




The rest of the locals were gathered in the shade under a tree cooking a communal meal in a big pot. Justin, who as the only extrovert in the group by now established himself firmly as the group’s liaison officer, zoomed right in jabbering even before he disrobed and turned from an alien into russian babushka (ouma).

On his prior engagements with locals he showed keen interest in their sex life - or ‘jiggy-jiggy’ as he called it accompanied with demonstrative pelvic thrust, and the price of women and children. Sometimes his little risque jokes left a local or two somewhat baffled and missing the gist of the joke (or rather getting it crystal clear?). So I suggested earlier to rather play it safe as we didn’t need any unnecessary misunderstanding. Should we have an emergency here, the locals were our best (or rather only) chance to get it sorted out (yes, we had two satellite phones with helicopter squadron on speed dial, but check MaxThePanda’s report how well that worked for them), so I didn’t want to risk antagonizing them by misunderstanding.

Justin took the advice to the heart and in an attempt to present himself as funny uncle (or rather let me and Bertie score few pictures without having to fork-out money - thanks Justin!) let every kid in the group sit on his bike. He seemed to really like playing with little kids - but then he also likes to play with animal carcasses, so I was ready to intervene should he start putting them in his mouth. Which to his credit, he didn’t:



















After this little hearts and minds soiree - or rather clandestine photoshoot - we asked where is the shebeen, and set-off in the indicated direction. Elated from all the kiddy interactions, Justin lost concentration for a moment and wiped out on perfectly flat double track, breaking of his GPS mount in the process. Which he then proceeded to cable tie back onto the handlebars:








When we arrived the spaza shop/shebeen, Justin was genuinely dumbfounded by the shop set-up, with bars over the counter and such. In turn Bertie and I were dumbfounded by Justin being dumbfounded, as the shop looked more or less the same as any other spaza shop/ shebeen in Africa north of Tankwa Padstal and east of Baviaans. Looks like the Cape hippies don’t get out of their little peninsula much.

I have checked with the shebeen lady where they get their stock from and was surprised that it was from Sesfontein. Opuwo was about the same distance to the north and bigger and better stocked town. Clearly the Robbie’s pass much have had something to do with it…













Rehydrated, we got on the bikes and headed few km north where the track turned east and headed into the gap in the mountains - i.e. the Robbies pass. The mood was good and we pushed on up the initial section of the pass.




























The going was slow, but nothing could dampen the spirits of these men!




The pass was basically a rocky riverbed cut into the mountain and the going got progressively tougher as we went deeper into the mountains. Bertie had a spill or two that luckily ended without any injury and we pushed on. However both Bertie and Justin struggled quite a bit in the rocks and the progress was slow.







Whoopsie































Whoops - seems like I was a bit hasty. Looks like Robbie's pass may be actually able to dampen the spirits of these men...




On the other hand a month of riding I have spent in Lesotho between November and January was paying off and I was actually enjoying the rocks quite a bit. So much so, that when the clouds closed in the rain looked imminent (that would be the first I would see in these parts), I have overtaken them both and went ahead to look for a place where we could find shelter should the storm catch us. I could see on GPS that few km ahead was supposed to be dry waterfall with cave so pushed on ahead to see if I can find some shelter. I have made quite quickly it to the top of the pass and saw that the nearby cave was deep in a ravine and we could not get to it easily.







With nothing else to do, I left the bike there and walked back to see if I can help the other two to get over the pass faster. They were still quite far behind, but pushing slowly ahead, even though the initial enthusiasm was long gone overtaken by exhaustion. Now it was just business of getting it over.


Darth Vader on the outside / Ouma on the inside in a tricky section:
















Bertie holding up faster traffic:






















Ravine with dry waterfall and cave at the top of the pass:

















By the time Justin and Bertie made it to the top of the pass, there was very little daylight left. So we decided to sleep right there on the road, set-up a camp and warmed up variety of cans for dinner. Luckily, the rain didn’t come and we ended up having a good night of sleep up there.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 03:58:49 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline TinusBez

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #71 on: April 12, 2018, 05:10:09 am »
 :sip:

Proper trip.
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Offline frankmac

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #72 on: April 12, 2018, 06:18:57 am »
Paparazzi everywhere, just when you don't want them  :biggrin:

 

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #73 on: April 12, 2018, 07:53:41 am »
 :drif:

Very cool ride report

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Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #74 on: April 12, 2018, 08:16:11 am »
That sure looks like tire eating loose rock/stone :(





 

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #75 on: April 12, 2018, 08:23:41 am »
That sure looks like tire eating loose rock/stone :(

What tyres you running?
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #76 on: April 12, 2018, 08:27:29 am »
That sure looks like tire eating loose rock/stone :(

What tyres you running?

I had Mitas C23 upfront and E09 on the back (which was total crap and did not last)

Bertie and Martin both had Mitas C02 StoneKing on the rear (which was brilliant and lasted well) and some cheapy Maxxis upfront which was also good

Robbie's Pass has a few small stones and pebbles ...with some sand in between  :biggrin: .....this "pass" makes Van Zyls look like a freeway

I did the Montague National Enduro about 10 years ago on a KDX200 ... basically riding in riverbeds over rocks for 50 km laps ... this is what Robbie's Pass is like - but now you are on a loaded bike
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 08:29:52 am by JustBendIt »
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Offline ClemS

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #77 on: April 12, 2018, 08:28:57 am »
Bliksem Manne, dis nou 'n EPIC trip! As ek 10 jaar jonger was sou ek dit regtig graag wou doen!! Hats off to you all!  :thumleft:
 

Offline BiG DoM

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #78 on: April 12, 2018, 08:37:30 am »


I had Mitas C23 upfront and E09 on the back (which was total crap and did not last)

Bertie and Martin both had Mitas C02 StoneKing on the rear (which was brilliant and lasted well) and some cheapy Maxxis upfront which was also good

Robbie's Pass has a few small stones and pebbles ...with some sand in between  :biggrin: .....this "pass" makes Van Zyls look like a freeway

I did the Montague National Enduro about 10 years ago on a KDX200 ... basically riding in riverbeds over rocks for 50 km laps ... this is what Robbie's Pass is like - but now you are on a loaded bike
[/quote]

Any tyre insurance?  :peepwall:  :pot:

I use the C02 on my Husky 610 and been very happy with it and good lifespan  :thumleft: Definitely more gnarly than the E09 I use on the HP2 (you get two versions - Dakar is stronger with extra sidewall ply).  That said - what was the contingency if one of you got a large sidewall cut?

« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 10:19:31 am by BiG DoM »
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #79 on: April 12, 2018, 08:50:46 am »

I had Mitas C23 upfront and E09 on the back (which was total crap and did not last)

Bertie and Martin both had Mitas C02 StoneKing on the rear (which was brilliant and lasted well) and some cheapy Maxxis upfront which was also good

Robbie's Pass has a few small stones and pebbles ...with some sand in between  :biggrin: .....this "pass" makes Van Zyls look like a freeway

I did the Montague National Enduro about 10 years ago on a KDX200 ... basically riding in riverbeds over rocks for 50 km laps ... this is what Robbie's Pass is like - but now you are on a loaded bike

Any tyre insurance?  :peepwall:  :pot:

I use the C02 on my Husky 610 and been very happy with it and good likespan  :thumleft: Definately more gnarly than the E09 I use on the HP2 (you get two versions - Dakar is stronger with extra sidewall ply).  That said - what was the contingency if one of you got a large sidewall cut?

What is tyre insurance? Tyre is a consumption material like oil filter. Can you get oil filter insurance? Quite frankly if one has a mindset to buy tyre insurance, they shoiuld not go for trip like this. On this kind of trip the whole bike is consumption material.

Contingency is very simple and I already mentioned it here - spare tubes (regardless whether you have extra rubber, pure air or foam in your tyre) + lotsa patches (something I forgot to instruct the other two to bring and it has almost bitten us in the ass later on). Nothing beats good old tube out in the sticks.

Edit: and just to put things into perspective, Robbies pass is about 5 - 7 km long, so not such a big load on the tyres (even though it took us about 3 hour to cross). I think faster riding on rocks like you have seen on those more open sections kills tyres faster. That said C02 worked like a charm - Bertie had new ones and I believe at the end of our 2000 or so km long loop he had probably over half of the thread left and mine  - which I already used in LEsotho prior to this trip - still had plenty left.

Justin's E09 wasn't new and wasn't Dakar version (they do not import it in the approximately right size for 500). So unsurprisingly it was a toast at the end of this trip.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 09:01:37 am by Xpat »
 
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