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Offline zacapa

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #160 on: April 14, 2018, 08:46:13 pm »
Very lekka RR Xpat and enjoying it muchly. Takes me right back to 2002 when I did van.Zyls and Marienfluss Camp Syncro trip with a mate on his MZ Baghira and me on my F650GS Dakar. Nevermind the truebliss saga but when next in Windhoek check out these local guys that do the best german tube patches - REMA Tip Top,

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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #161 on: April 14, 2018, 10:20:00 pm »
Day 6 - part 1
(pictures in this episode can be viewed at better resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskwemyDk)


In the morning we had a breakfast at the restaurant, packed up and set-off as usually about nine-ish. We were definitely heading for Van Zylís pass, but the final objective for the day wasnít entirely clear. The traditional route would be to head after VZP all the way up Marienfluss valley and stay at camp Syncro (or community camp) back at Kunene river. Which is the route I have plotted and distributed, but by now I also wanted to have a go at those upper reaches of Hoarusib, which I havenít ridden yet, later in the trip.  So I was tempted to skip Marienfluss and instead turn south after VZP and sleep over at the Marble campsite at Onjuva. That would save us about 120 km or petrol and may give me extra time later on for Hoarusib exploration. I was figuring out how to sell this to the other two (who quite frankly didnít care - I should have just told them we are going Marble and they would merrily follow) as I felt I may be robbing them of Marienfluss experience, but then it resolved itself organically later in the day.


Darth Vader leaving the lodge:




We headed down south to Okongwati about 70 km away on a dirt highway, where we would turn off to the double track west heading to VZP another 70 or so km away. The ride down to Okongwati was a non-event and once there we stopped to attend to few admin tasks - two to be specific. Fill-up on petrol and get patches for tubes as we were down to last two thanks to Justin using up many of my patches, to fix many of his holes and thanks to me using many of the rest to fix one hole (and thanks to the fact that I was the only one who bothered to bring any patchesÖ)

Last time I was here there was only one fuel depot selling petrol, so I was surprised to see petrol advertised all over the show. Obviously it must be a good business and the situation to our relief was the same later on in inner Kaokoland where petrol was available in Onjuva and Puros. Still, the first place we pulled up to was dry, but they send us to their sister in the next street who should have some. The sister - Brenda - did indeed have some and we filled up no only the tanks, but also took 4 - 5 liters spare earh in Coke bottles and fuel container.


Brenda eyeing our ladies man, Justin looking on with jealousy:




You see what I mean:




Again, jealous Capie spoiling otherwise perfectly good photo:










Filled up, it was time to locate some patches. We went back to the first place where we asked for petrol, as they were also advertised as tyre repair shop, but the owner wasnít there and they sent us to the main shop in the village on the main road we came from called creatively ĎGood road marketí. They didnít have any, so Bertie and Justin settled themselves into a shade there and I went prowling the village for patches. Walking the main street I asked in every shop and they all were directing me back to the Good road one - not a good sign. I eventually ended up the tyre repair shop for the third time and the helpful lady directed me to another shop where she was absolutely sure they do have. But no luck, the half dead saleswoman there, barely able to raise her sleepy eyes to meet mine, just shook her head no.

This became a major concern as it didnít seem particularly clever to hit inner Kaokoland with basically our day ratio of patches (if we are lucky). I wasnít keen trying to ride out hundreds of km on rocky roads on flat tyre, so I felt we should not go unless we will be able to sort this out. Walking dejected back past the tyre place I was intercepted by the nice lady asking if I got them. When I said no, she said bullshit or some such and dragged me back to the shop shouting at the woman there and sure enough, she pulled up a box with about 100 of them, of all sizes and shapes. I bought about quarter of them, and the mummy apologized that she was asleep first time (Ďno shit Sherlockí).

I thanked the helpfull lady profusely and walked back to good road with a spring in my step. Bertie and Justin by now developed fondness for lethargy so prevalent among the local men, so it took a while to gear up and get going again.













By the time we set-off, it was way past noon, and naturally very hot. We crossed the village and hit the double track heading west. Initially reasonably good, the track winding through the bush and alternating between sand and rocks gradually deteriorated. Nothing extreme, but the going was quite slow. This is the thing that catches many people going to VZP out - getting to the pass takes much more effort than riding the pass itself, as it is very short (probably 2 km) and not that difficult - at least on the right bike.

We were riding in our usual order, Justin opening the track and me sweeping. And Bertie between us, falling way too often for my liking. Now, we all fall on trips - otherwise we are not trying hard enough, and Bertie fell many times in the prior days. But this was different. In prior days it was mostly (with possible exception of Robbieís pass) easy spills that we all laughed about and took pictures. But now the falls were getting more hazardous - usually at quite a always ending with Bertie stuck under the bike facing in the wrong direction and woven into thorny bush or tree. It wasnít funny anymore and I was dreading the moment I come around and find Bertie in agony with broken leg. I have ridden with Bertie before and could tell what the problem was. It wasnít the terrain or lack of skills - he has already ridden over 800 km of similar terrain without a problem just on this trip. It was exhaustion. Snowball of multiple days of hard riding and late starts has caught up with us and was getting worse. And one day of rest in Epupa clearly wasnít enough for him to recover sufficiently to ride safely.

I didnít say it, but I was contemplating whether we shouldnít turn back, knowing full well that once we are down VZP it is at least 250 km of offroad riding (that is the good alternative - the bad one is onroad riding - i.e. horribly corrugated D3707) to get to some kind of civilization in our direction. But Bertie is a trooper and assured me each time I enquired that all is fine, so we pushed on with me keeping close eye on Bertie.







Justin and Bertie feeling unbelievably blessed and lucky to be able to ride such a nice tracks:







Meeting the locals. Justin keeping them entertained, while I sneak some pictures from the flank. You can also see Bertie trying a little clown trick on the arrival (this one was actually funny, because soft):













































« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 04:02:48 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #162 on: April 14, 2018, 10:58:46 pm »
Day 6 - part 2
(pictures in this episode can be viewed at better resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskwemyDk)


And onwards we go:



















Until Bertie hit the ground again, this time hard. It took him a while to recover and be ready to go again, but luckily no serious injury - though he collected plenty interesting bruises:



















Eventually we came to the IMO toughest bit of the whole VZP section - about 100 meters very rocky climb fe km before Otjihende village. Justin cruised up, but Bertie didnít have such a lack and dropped the bike at the beginning. Seeing him struggling to his feet I suggested to ride his bike up and he agreed. I jumped on his bike and rode it up gingerly immediately noticing few things that made my (and more importantly Bertieís of course) life more difficult than it needed to be. The tank-bag was just real nuisance. But the suspension was even more annoying. There was no rebound dampening in the shock and I was bouncing up and down like on a pogo stick. Which is quite unnerving when you are trying to time your steps between big rocks.

I was glad to make it up without binning it. Justin seeing me come on wrong bike wanted to have another go and went down to ride my bike up. He flew up the rocks like a champ and realized what made me such a smooth operator in the rocks - lowered and properly set-up suspension (his was too hard). And as we speak he had his 500 adjusted accordingly. I cannot stress enough what a difference well set-up suspension makes, especially for newbies and less talented like myself. I see sometimes people say things like Iím not good enough to need good suspension. As far as Iím concerned it should work exactly the other way around; the shittier rider, the better suspension is required to save their biscuit when they will inevitably screw up.







































In Otjihende and stopped for a drink at the shebeen. When I stopped here last time about 5 - 6 years ago, It was a charming Himba village with elders playing checkers or something in the shade under a tree and nice lady selling cold drinks in shebeen. Not anymore. This time it had that mercenary feel with traders who came in being already drunk and a bit rude in shebeen and a dude bothering Justin for money because he took picture of slaughtered and gutted goat hanging off the tree. So we didnít linger, had our down our Coke or Fanta, and pushed on.













Another 10 or so km later, we came upon a sign for Van Zyl pass campsite. It was already past 4 and we asked Bertie, whether he wants to push on or call it a day. Beaten and bruised he wisely chosen the later and we settled ourselves in one of the campsites situated in the dry river bed.

In my head I was already evaluating different options. Quite frankly, I didnít see this coming during planning. I have made it in one day from Epupa to Syncro twice before - once on bike and once in 4x4, and while it was a long day in slow 4x4, I expected it to be perfectly doable on lightweight 500 in good time. I knew we will going to be tired after the first 4 days - that is exactly why we had rest day in Epupa. But it clearly was not enough for Bertie, and the question was how much more tired he is going to be next day.

But there wasnít an easy way out - going back to the main highway was about the same effort as getting down VZP and onto Onjuva - so there was nothing to it but push on and wing it based on Bertieís condition. Onjuva, the next closest campsite was only about 75 km away - although across VZP and Red Drum pass, so hopefully we should be able to make it at least that far.

On the positive side - we were not going to Marienfluss, so I may get the shot at Hoarusib (depending how far we get tomorrow).


Van Zyl's pass campsite:
















Bertie faking elation:







At one moment Justin pulled out his satellite phone, and sneaked away hoping we wouldn't notice. I did and smelled rat straight away. And sure enough - less than 2 minutes later his accountant showed up with a green sleeve in her armpit full of what I'm guessing only could have been Gupta invoices. I'm telling you - you can never trust Capie! It was too far for me to eavesdrop - all I got is this visual evidence. If you know her, call Interpol - or Justin's wife. At the end of the day even Al Capone got finally nailed through his accountant:










They were clearly missing a ledger or something, because next thing this runner rushed in with goodness knows what under that skirt:







Bertie completely oblivious to the corruption happening right under his nose. He must have really been tired:







After we set-up camp, we got nice fire going and had the usual dinner of spam, beans and condensed milk. The night was very cold and I didnít get good sleep. Expecting hot weather (which surprisingly wasnít the case often as we had clouds overhead most days), I didnít bring sleeping bag, just thermal inner liner, and had to put all my clothes on to make it till morning.


Route for the day:


« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 04:03:50 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #163 on: April 15, 2018, 07:25:32 am »
Suspension set up sure is best money you will spend on dirt bikes.
 

Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #164 on: April 15, 2018, 07:54:34 am »
Am loving this RR Xpat ...keep it coming please ... your photos are incredible  :thumleft:

Superfoxi lowered my bike 25mm front and rear and dialled in all of Hylton Haywards suspension settings that I "stole" off Xpat's bike.

I rode my 500 yesterday in some seriously shitty deep sand and enduro trails around Macassar yesterday - what a massive improvement - the lowered suspension has gotten rid of all those "oh shit" moments when my legs are too short and the inevitable fall over happens - 25mm / 1 inch lower is just enough for me to save it every time without affecting ground clearance too much 
The older I get the faster I was
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #165 on: April 15, 2018, 08:05:58 am »
Day 7 - part 1
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmg4D71M)

I was up much earlier than the other two, but tired from the cold night, so it took me forever to pack up and get ready. After quick breakfast of whatever we could find in our packs, we set-off.

Plan for the day was not clear again. We were not going to make detour up to Marienfluss - that much was clear, but I didnít know if we were going to make it all the way to Puros over 200 km away - which was the planned destination for today - or only to Marble campsite in Onjuva about 75 km away (or somewhere inbetween should we get caught out in the bush). It all depended on Berties condition.













We hit the track with the bang:




I mean literally:







We survived and pushed on:




























We were making steady progress and Bertie seemed to be doing fine after the night of rest and we made it to the Van Zylís pass viewpoint in about an hour or so without any major drama. Obligatory stop at the VZP viewpoint where even Justin may have taken a photo - not sure though, he seems to photograph only little babies and animal carcasses:




















« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:45:31 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #166 on: April 15, 2018, 08:27:17 am »
Day 7 - part 2
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmg4D71M)


Going down the VZP the first and only (more or less) serious obstacle is short usually badly eroded section of Ďstepsí. It can be quite nerve wrecking in 4x4, but not too bad on the bike. But I have to be honest here. Not want to - have to, because certain hippie may have photographic evidence that he may use to shake me down if Iím not (strangely enough, he was ready with the camera even though he usually cannot be bothered unless there is dead animal around - maybe he was expecting a roadkill). I have resorted to walking 500 down those steps when I found myself on the line that run along the highest point of the track and a misstep would have been painful. I couldnít be bothered to try to reverse bike uphill into another line, so just dismounted and walked a bit. There you have it, no hard earned money will have to be sent to the peninsula.































I stopped to reflect a bit at the point where I killed the clutch on Tenere few years back and there was another bang:


Blast from the past:







And back to the present - with another bang:




Didn't catch the exact moment unfortunatelly, but you can see the puff of dust left top and the aftermaths:

























There is one more gnarly washed down section close to the end but we managed without any further incident:







We have made it to the bottom at about 11:00 am without single fall for Bertie, so things were looking good. Justin on the other hand, judging on his VZP bang bang record, was clearly somebody to keep an eye on. How he finished those two or three Amagezaís, I will never know.





« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:46:15 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #167 on: April 15, 2018, 08:28:08 am »
Very lekka RR Xpat and enjoying it muchly. Takes me right back to 2002 when I did van.Zyls and Marienfluss Camp Syncro trip with a mate on his MZ Baghira and me on my F650GS Dakar. Nevermind the truebliss saga but when next in Windhoek check out these local guys that do the best german tube patches - REMA Tip Top,

https://www.seppthalmaier.com/

Thanks. I use Rema Tip Top glue already, now just to source box of the patches.

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #168 on: April 15, 2018, 08:29:28 am »
OK, that is it for now - I'm heading out for another trip. Will be back sometimes in the first week of May. Thanks for following  :thumleft:

Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #169 on: April 15, 2018, 09:15:35 am »
For the record I only ever entered and rode in one Amageza ... the 2015 edition ... and I finished 18th

I pit crewed for Kamanya in 2014 and spectated at others

I am certainly no great rider
The older I get the faster I was
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #170 on: April 15, 2018, 09:19:11 am »
For the record I only ever entered and rode in one Amageza ... the 2015 edition ... and I finished 18th

I pit crewed for Kamanya in 2014 and spectated at others

I am certainly no great rider

Relax - just pulling your leg  8)

You also made it up and down Road to Hell few times, didn't you? I chickened out there - because of broken subframe to be exact, bu still...

Offline Draad

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #171 on: April 15, 2018, 09:20:49 am »
Absolutely brilliant....thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
Sies jou VARK !!
 

Offline Straatkat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #172 on: April 15, 2018, 10:09:19 am »
OK lets get things into perspective here, Martin will tell you he is no great rider, to which I say he is a very good rider when it comes to slow technical stuff. He is also very careful out of necessity because he often rides alone and has to be. So you will not often find him speeding, he prefers to ride slower, stop often for photo's and is always thinking one step ahead, simply because he has so much experience in these matters. Justin is the best rider between us, he is fast and fairly good in slow technical stuff, and I say fairly only because he has short legs and his bike was very tall for him. With the Superfoxi fix his 500 is now now lowered and will be a champ in the slow stuff too. It helps a lot if you can put your feet down. Justin is 40, and a little out of shape, Martin about 5 years older and has spent the last 6 months more or less constantly on his bike on trips, so he is probably in the best shape, also lost a stack of weight recently after he gained some with the inactivity that comes with a broken leg. I am the oldest of the group at 56, just had knee surgery and a little overweight so the odds are stacked against me in age and fitness department. I suck in slow technical stuff, (but the 500 helps a lot), and love speed, coming from a superbike-trackdays background. Having said all of this, we all fell down at some stage, when gravity claimed its victims! That speed demon was going to bite me in the next thrilling episode!
Martin, thanks for doing such a sterling job at documenting our trip, I for one really appreciate it. At the time it seems like such a hard ride, but looking back at all the pics I realise how much I enjoyed it and how privileged I am to have been riding with you 2 gents.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 10:14:25 am by Straatkat »
18 till I die.
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Offline Highsider

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #173 on: April 15, 2018, 10:24:31 pm »
Thanks Xpat, this RR is excellent.  I have a question on engine maintenance, having an older 525 I have two air filters which are on rotation and change the oil every 15hrs, filters every 30hrs.
Did you guys do any of this?  I canít see how you could carry liters of engine & air filter oil with you...


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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #174 on: April 15, 2018, 10:36:25 pm »
Thanks Xpat, this RR is excellent.  I have a question on engine maintenance, having an older 525 I have two air filters which are on rotation and change the oil every 15hrs, filters every 30hrs.
Did you guys do any of this?  I canít see how you could carry liters of engine & air filter oil with you...


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Thanks. We had spare airfilter each, which we oiled properly at the beginning in Uis, packed into zip lock bags and squeezed tight with duct tape to the size smaller than tenis ball. We had replaced the airfilters half way through in Epupa Falls. If you are riding in very dusty conditions and may want to replace more often, you can do the same, just put even more oil on the airfilter in the ziplog bag and when you change the filter, just wash the dirty one, and put it back into the same ziplock bag and squeeze and pack the whole thing tight again with duct tape (or Justin used bycicle tube), I"m pretty sure that it will be more than enough oily - that would give you two clean airfilters (maybe more, depending on how much oil is left in the ziplock bag).

Apart from that, we had one little can of chain spray which we used once in a while - like every 3rd/4th day, and that was it. The whole trip was about 2000 km, and in non racing mode I'm pretty sure 500 can do that on one change of oil - no problem. If not, we will find out soon enough  :imaposer:. But I'm not worried at all and after standard service I'm leaving for another 2 week trip on 500 tomorrow.

And I had oil and new oil filter, as well as spare rear tyre (wouldn't need it actually, but had just in case) in the car as I was considering coming back from Nam on the bike doing some tracks in Bots, which I eventually didn't do. But if I wanted, I just needed to do the oil change in Uis once back at the car and I was ready for return trip to Joburg (offroad of course).
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 10:53:38 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Trip according to Justin - the visual artist from Cape Town
« Reply #175 on: April 16, 2018, 12:12:10 am »
Trip according to Justin - the visual artist from Cape Town


I have managed to finally get my grubby hands on Justin's photos. To my surprise, he took almost 500 pictures - Bertie and I expected 10 - 50 pictures (Bertie took couple over 500, myself over 7500). And to my astonishment, some of them are almst good - especially considering he was taking them on some kind of disposable box camera he found at his grandmothers cellar. You might even spot the secretive Russian here and there. But you have to focus - he doesn't like to be seen and uses elaborate disguises such as helmet hair and prosthetic double chin to stay out of limelight. In reality he is very handsome man - in his mind's eye anyway.

So here is quick recap of the trip so far from the Justin's camera point of view:


Day 0 & 1 - SA to Uis to Palmwag


Meeting the A team for the very first time at Spitzkopfe. Must have felt very intimidating, as you can see Bertie and I clean up really well here:




Packing the bikes evening before in Brandberg Rest Camp in Uis:




And the morning - posing before departure. Bertie trying to look confident, like he doesn't give a hoot about sand. Justin just happy that he managed to get his two week pink slip signed:







And the Russian trying in vain to look approachable:




On the way:



















Charlie Chaplin discovering tube for the first time:



« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 12:30:16 am by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Trip according to Justin - the visual artist from Cape Town
« Reply #176 on: April 16, 2018, 12:27:08 am »
Trip according to Justin - the visual artist from Cape Town


Day 2 - Palmwag - Little Serengeti - Khuwarib gorge - Ongongo


Dirt highway:




Crossing the mountains on the way to Little Serengeti:













Ombonde river:



















Crossing Hoanib in Khuwarib gorge:







Fesh Fesh:













Ongongo mall parking lot:




Offline Xpat

Trip according to Justin - the visual artist from Cape Town
« Reply #177 on: April 16, 2018, 12:46:17 am »
Trip according to Justin - the visual artist from Cape Town


Day 3 - Ongongo - Sesfontein - Robbie's pass


Another shopping spree - this time in Sesfontein:




D3705 - heading up north to Robbie's pass:




























Herero fun:






















Robbie's pass rodeo:










Pure nirvana:













Bushcamp at the top of the pass:




















« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 01:00:09 am by Xpat »
 

Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #178 on: April 16, 2018, 05:37:31 am »
Some good pics :)
 

Offline ClemS

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #179 on: April 16, 2018, 08:39:01 am »
Wel Straatkat, ek het vroeer in die RR gese as ek maar net 10 jaar jonger was sou ek so 'n trip bitter graag wou aanpak, ek is nou 57 en ek moet eerlik wees: Ek haal my hoed af vir jou Meneer!  :thumleft: