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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2018, 12:48:35 pm »
A little GoPro action of the ride to Sinazongwe

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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2018, 06:03:28 pm »
Day 15: Kariba to Bridge camp
Distance: 560km, Time: 8.30hrs

I knew today was going to be a long one all the way up to Lusaka and across to Bridge Camp. The T1 is generally in good condition except for a few potholes near Kafue, but the worst bit is the amount of trucks on the road that all seemed to have last been serviced in a time when Jesus wore short pants. I was definately getting high on the fumes after making it through Lusaka. Lusaka traffic is horrific, no two ways about it, I was glad to see the back of the city and make my way out onto the great east road that leads to Malawi.

About 80 km before Bridge camp the road turned into a lovely twisty piece that looks like its recently been tarred. I arrived at camp in the late afternoon but still had plenty time to set up camp and sink a few more Mosi before dark.

Pic: Camp

Pic: Camp


The camp itself has been here for years and is widely known to the overland community as there are not many places to stay in the area. Sadly, it has not had any investment into it over the years and is starting to look a bit shabby. Talking to the camp manager I learnt that the owner hasnít been back for a while due to disagreement with the local chief!.

Pic:




The staff are very friendly however and made sure the boiler was going for a nice hot shower. As it was nearly dark I thought I would have the camp to myself, until an overland truck pulled in loaded with Dutch tourists. The amount of kak that was offloaded off that truck blew my mind, they really did have the kitchen sink with them.

Day 16: Bridge Camp to Senga Bay
Distance 600km, Time: 8hrs

Knowing that I had a lot of millage and a border crossing to deal with, I left bridge camp as the sun was coming up. The first 150km towards Chipata have recently been re-tarred thanks to the Chinese and were some of the best roads I have ever ridden on, twisting through the hills for miles with very little traffic.

Chipata is the last major town before you cross the border and is far more agreeable than Lusaka so was a good opportunity to spend the last of my kwacha on fuel and get my ducks in a row for the border.

The border process on the Zambian side was straight forward and I was out in 10min after changing money. The friendliness of the Malawian people become apparent as soon as I walked into the immigration building on the other side. Unfortunately, friendliness didnít go hand in hand with efficiency, as it took me 1.15min to complete all the formalities, and there was no queuing at any stage! I have now identified what the issue is, the process of bringing the bike/car into a country is overly complicated with handwritten forms that then need to be transferred to colourful typed documents. All of this leads to the problem of ďThe system is downĒ.

After amassing enough paperwork to fill a dump truck it was time to get some km under my wheels in a country that I have always wanted to visit. I was immediately struck by how many people seemed to be in Malawi, there was never a stretch of road that didnít have people walking next to it, and villages seemed to be a plentiful.

A quick pitstop in Lilongwe for a garage lunch and I was on my way to the lake shore.

Pic: Bike at garage


The ride down to the lake drops off the escarpment from Lilongwe so there were some great twisty roads. I passed through countless road blocks without getting stopped once, a theme that would continue throughout Malawi.

My destination for the night was the famous Cool Runnings camp. Arriving at the camp I saw that many bikes were parked there so I was immediately happy to be among like mined folk. However it was not be, the whole placed was booked up so I had to find another spot to set up my tent.

I settled on the safari beach lodge. I planned to take the next day off but the place just didnít have the vibe I was looking for, so after a bit of time looking over the map I decided to take a slow ride north along the lakeshore in the morning to find somewhere more vibey.

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Offline Three Dawg

Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2018, 10:43:24 pm »
Great trip!   You should thank your lucky stars that the owner (and wife) of Bridge Camp weren't there... ::)

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2018, 12:55:14 am »
Yep, Malawi. Thatís where too next, great research for me.

 :thumleft:
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2018, 02:18:55 pm »
Day: 17, 18 and 19 Senga bay to Makuzi beach lodge
Distance:320km Time:4hrs

The road the leads along the lake shore is scenic and passes through many villages. The national flower of Africa(blue plastic bag) was in full bloom around the villages unfortunately. Ambling along slowly affords you the opportunity to see how daily life is in Malawi, just about everyone seems to have a smile on their face and children love to wave at you.

I decided to check out Makuzi beach lodge after hearing a from a few people that they had memorable stays there. The lodge is located about 5km from the main road down a sand track and has its own private beach sheltered in a bay.

Pic: Sign to Camp


Pic: Reception


Driving through the gates, I knew that this was more my scene. The place is incredibly beautiful and has a calmness about it. They have 9 houses on the property as well some of the best camp sites I have ever seen. All of the camp sites are on lovely grass with lots of trees around for shade, and best of all, there were great views of the lake.

Pic: Camp


Pic: Camp


There was an abundance of cold beer and fantastic food at the bar so I decided to settle in for 3 nights. The next morning I was treated to fantastic sunrise over the lake.

Pic: sunrise


Pic: Sunrise


Pic: Camp in the early morning


The next two days were spent lounging on the beach and swimming in the lake. The owners are very friendly and really take pride in their place. They built jt from scratch more than 20 years ago.

I met a family from KZN that come here every year when travelling around Southern Africa, they spend at least a week here, I can totally see why.

Pic: Beach


Pic: Beach


Pic: Beach


Pic: Campsite


On the second day, a British couple rode into camp on their touring bicycles and camped close to me. they are riding from Nairobi to Cape Town over the next few months. I take my hat off to them, cycling up some of the hills in Malawi must be bloody exhausting. It was great to bump into people who live no more than 5km away from in London, all the way in Malawi. What a small world




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Offline mtr89

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2018, 08:47:38 pm »
Great report so far!
Looking forward to the rest, you have some quite high mileage days
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2018, 04:08:30 am »
Great report, enjoying the vid and pics. Thank you!  :ricky:
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2018, 11:08:44 am »
Day 20: Makuzi beach lodge to Livingstonia
Distance: 240km Time:3.5 Hours

I was very sad to leave Makuzi, the place is very special, and I highly recommend anyone travelling through to stay there for a few days. I know I will definitely be going back in the future.

The plan for the day was to ride up the shore to Mkondwe then head up the Gorodi pass to Livingstonia for the night. 

I made my way up towards Mzuzu, which is set high up in the hills and is the northern capital of Malawi. It was surprising to see the difference in temp between the lake shore and 40km inland, it was cold and drizzling and it reminded me of Sabie in winter. I stopped at the local Shoprite and got chatting to an Australian guy and his wife riding up Africa on Transalp. They had spoken to guy who had recently done it on DRZ400 and he mentioned that the pass was very tricky and rocky. The aussies decided instead they were going to take the back road to Livingstonia. Now Iím not one to let the side down, especially not in front of Australians, so I stuck to my plan to go up the pass.

Riding back to the lake shore you go over a pass near the town of Chiweta. I have no idea how they have managed to get the road to stick to the side of the mountain in some of the spots, I have never ridden down a paved road that is this steep. Broken down trucks are parked up everywhere.

Turning off the main road at Mkondwe, you hit the gravel pass almost immediately. Its approximately 11km long and has lots of switchbacks. @ClimbingTurtle did this pass back in 1994, I donít think it has changed much since.

Some of the switchbacks have concrete on them but this has mostly broken up due to the heavy rains. Safe to say that the pass was an absolute blast to ride, I was happy to get some dirt under the tires as there had been far to much tar riding up until this point. The guy on the DRZ400 must have been a bit inexperienced, or over cautious. The 1200 climbed up there with ease, a DRZ must have been a walk in the park.

I didnít take any pics but I have GoPro footage of the whole climb.

There is two places to stay at the top of the pass. Mushroom farm, for those who are more into the backpacker/vegetarian vibe, and Lukwe eco camp which is made out of fantastic bits of wood work done by the owner. I initially thought of camping but they have amazing tree houses overlooking the valley and mountains behind.

Pic: Lodge and Views from the deck


Pic: Bike in the forest


Pic: Treehouse




The food here was absolutely amazing with most of the vegetables and bread grown and made on site.

Pic: Lunch and Menu




After lunch I took a walk to the waterfalls near the lodge. Of course, this being a tourist trap there was an abundance of children asking for anything, sweet, pen, money, your daughterís hand in marriage. The falls themselves are pretty cool but after Vic falls all others seem to lack a bit of gravitas.

Pic: waterfall


Pic: waterfall


I tucked into the biggest bowl of spaghetti for dinner and hit the bed early ready for the next day.


Day 21: Livingstonia to Luwawa Forrest
Distance: 270km Time: 5Hours

The Australians never arrived the day before so I assume they stopped along the way to Livingstonia for the night, They didnít seem to be in rush as it had taken them 4 months to ride from CPT to here.

I rode the short distance to the town church to have a look from the top. The views of the surrounding area are fantastic from up here.

Pic: Church

Pic: Church


Pic: Church view




I hit the road again on the gravel road that leads to Rumphi. This was a fantastic bit of dirt that winds through the mountains and valleys. There is sections of fesh fesh dust on some of the corners but the hard base is not to deep so it was great fun getting the back end out on the corners. By the time I got to Rumphi the weather was starting to get heavy with rain on the horizon.

I stopped in Mzuzu for fuel and to put on the wet weather gear. It was now very cold with the temp not much above 4 degrees. I made my way along the M1 with visibility in some place places down to less than 20 meters. The road reaches over 1700 meters in some parts

Luwawa forest lodge is located deep in the pine and blue gum forests high in the mountains. The scenery is very similar to the eastern Transvaal. The road leading in made for some interesting riding through red clay mud that was churned up by logging trucks.

Pic: Bike in the car park, dirtier than it looks


The place is run by an Englishmen named George and has a very homely feel about it. The thought of camping in the mud and cold did not sound appealing so booked into one of their rooms and set about emptying their bar of all its scotch. The afternoon and evening were spent in front of the fire discussing Brexit with a group of school kids from the UK and what it means to them.

Pic: Luwawa lodge


Pic: Room (Spreading my kit out to dry)

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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2018, 11:12:09 am »


Here is a little taste of the pass up to Livingstonia. Its epic fun to ride and easily manageable on the big bikes. In the wet season it can get pretty hairy from what I hear.
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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2018, 11:31:53 am »
Yup - we did that road up the hill on XT500's....

Roadcat & I also went to that church....
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2018, 11:57:34 am »


Some footage of the dirt road to Rumphi and leaving Luwawa the next morning. My GoPro got covered in mud on the way in so the footage wasn't usable.
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2018, 12:03:06 pm »
Day 22: Luwawa Forest to Cool Runnings
Distance: 370km, Time: 5 hrs


Thankfully the rain had stopped and the weather had started to clear when I left in the morning. My original plan was to ride the forest roads back down to the lake, but after speaking to George it was advised against with all the rain they had had. Apparently, the roads turn to red clay bogs very quickly.

I decided to head a bit further south to Kasungu then ride the dirt road through the Nkhotakota wildlife reserve. The reserve recently had elephants reintroduced to the prospect of running into one was exciting. The road through is about 40km and sadly I didnít get to see any elephant. The bush is very thick and I had to keep my eye on the road as it was a bit rough in parts so there could have been elephants right next to the road and I would probably have missed them.

I joined up with the M5 lake shore road again and made good progress back to Senga bay where I tried my luck again getting into Cool runnings. Fortunately, they had space so to camp so I set about setting up the tent.

Pic: Camping at Cool Runnings


Pic:Camp

Cool Runnings is run by a lovely lady who can only be described as an uber hippy. The primarily cater for the budget backpacker as the place is dirt cheap to stay at. Fortunatley, the beer is also really cheap so I made the most of their watering hole.

Pic: Bar at Cool Runnings


I had dinner with a young Dutch couple who were getting around Malawi by mini bus taxi. I think they had different ideas on how taxis are in Africa before they left and I donít think they would be doing it again. They recommended I head down to Majete Wildlife reserve south of Lilongwe, so I decided I would make that my next destination to have a few days off.


Day 23: Cool Runnings to Mangochi
Distance: 210km Time: 3.5 hrs

I took a leisurely start the next morning as I did not have far to go. I stopped in Senga to get a fridge magnet for the girlfriend and a few other bits of tat for family members. I did not feel like staying at Cape Maclear(to busy) or riding all the way to Majete so I decided to stay find a place near Mangochi to spend the night. Most of the places on this stretch of the shore are pretty pricy and the camp grounds are not great at others. I eventually settled on staying at the Sunbird hotel camp. The camp itself is about 1.5km away from the hotel which makes you work for that first cold beer, but it was somewhere to rest my head for the night. Oddly enough there was no cold water in the camp so showering had to be a quick affair before you got burnt.

Pic: Sunbird camp


Pic:


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Offline Goingnowherekwickly

Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2018, 07:26:41 pm »
Really enjoying your report, and eagerly awaiting more..
Malawi has been on my radar for a while, spent 1 night there in '09, need to head back..
Thanks for the ride along
 

Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2018, 07:22:06 am »
Lost.
I believe the dude is lost.
Or maybe go waylaid by some Malawi Gold...?
 :biggrin:
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2018, 11:39:36 am »
Sorry chaps, been a busy few days. More to follow shortly.
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2018, 11:47:59 am »
Day 24, 25 and 26: Mangochi to Majete Wildlife reserve
Distance: 270km, Time: 5Hours

I was rather happy to put Mangochi behind me, the place really has no vibe. I decided to head down to Majete wildlife reserve on the border of Mozambique. While filling up in Mangochi I bumped into the guys from Wild@Heart Cape Town, they were leading a tour through Malawi with 10 other people. They mentioned that they tow all the bikes up from CPT to Malawi, gawd I would hate to be that guy who gets the kak job of doing that long drive.

Leaving Mangochi on the M3 I hit a lot of roadworks which made the riding rather fun as you could just hammer it down well made dirt roads with jumps every 200m. Itís good to see Malawi spending money on its roads, I hope it bring more investment to the region.

After Liwonde the road starts to climb up into the hills towards Blantyre. I decided to stop in Blantyre for a late breakfast and also procure the most fantastic condiment of all, Nali sauce. There was no way I was leaving Malawi without taking a few bottles back with me.

Pic: Nali


Blantyre was a bit of a shock to the system, I hadnít been in such a busy city in weeks and I immediately wanted to get out of it. I left Blantyre on the M1 towards Chikwawa. The road drops nearly 1000m into the Shire river valley and the vegetation changes from pine trees to veld bush in less than 20km. The pass down to the valley has some lovely switch backs, pity the road surface was not a bit better though to maximize the fun factor.

The last 20km into Majete is gravel, which was nice and greasy after the unexpected winter rain they recently got. Apparently, itís got something to do with a mountain in Mozambique creating weather systems this time of year!

I decided to stay at Ngíona lodge for the next three night. I intended to camp but the lodge owner gave me a great rate on a room with all meals included. For those looking to camp, they have some wonderful sites on the waters edge under the trees. They are working on putting more ablutions soon apparently.

Pic: Room


Pic:Lodge


Pic Lodge


Pic: Campsite


Pic: Watering hole(for humans)

I spent the next few days going on game drives and just chilling out by the pool. The food here was amazing and the apple strudel was one of the best Iv had. The reserve itself is now home to the Big5 and has been restored after decades of neglect and poaching. For anyone who is big into their birds, this place is a must visit. I was fortunate to see a Livingston Suni antelope, according to the guide, they are extreme rare and skittish. The pride of Lions is still small and scared of humans so they are not seen often. I really hope that this park turns into a success story for Malawi, it truly is a wonderful place.

Pic: Elephant


Pic: Hippoducks


Pic: R1200GS Washing line







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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2018, 11:51:23 am »
Really enjoying your report, and eagerly awaiting more..
Malawi has been on my radar for a while, spent 1 night there in '09, need to head back..
Thanks for the ride along

I can't recommend it highly enough. The people are friendly, its relatively cheap and there is a good mix of dirt and tar roads. And if you live in jhb area, you can actually get there in two days if you put some hours in.
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2018, 12:22:16 pm »
Day 27: Majete to Tete(Moz)
Distance: 210km Time: 4.5hours

Will at the lodge, I poured over my map on possible routes to Tete. The normal route is to go back to Blantyre and then head to the border at Mwanza via the M1. This seemed to be a massive loop around, so I wanted to try find a dirt way up to Mwanza as it wasnít that far as the crow flies. T4A has a small off-road route mapped on it that ran along the opposite side of the Shire river then crossed back over it closer to the M1.

I spoke to the lodge owner and a few of the locals on what they knew of the route, most said it was very rough and were a bit sceptical if I would be able to do it on the big bike. I decided to give the route a shot anyway, if It got way to difficult I could just turn around and go the long way as Tete was not that far anyway.

I set off early in the morning, eager to see what the road would be like. Man, I am so glad I chose to do this route, what followed was probably the best 80km of riding Iív done in a while. The track was not particularly rough at all, only a few sections required first gear and some careful wheel placement. I passed through a few remote villages that obviously donít see much traffic coming this way as I got some wide eyed looks. Unfortunately, the locals are very poor around here and have burnt most of the trees for charcoal but there were still some very beautiful sights up in the hills.

It took me about 1.30 to reach the main road 10km from Mwanza. I would highly recommend this route to anyone going towards or from Blantyre. It is far more scenic than the tar and wonít add to much time to the journey. I will post a video showing some of the tracks a bit later.

Exiting Malawi and entering Moz was a painless affair, I was through both in about 30 min. I had heard some much about the shithole of Tete from friends and family. Mostly that it was always hot. Well shortly after the border it started to rain, and the rain did not stop for the next two days!!! Rain in bloody winter. The temp was in the low teenís so I was struggling to see what all the fuss was about. The road to Tete was uneventful and I made it in good time to my overnight accommodation at a family friends place. The one major advantage of being back in Moz was I could finally have a 2M beer, arguably one of the best beers in Africa. Before I knew what had happened, we were many beers deep and enjoying a fantastic sunset over the Zambezi.

Pic: Sunset in Tete


We enjoyed some prawns and more beer at the Tete Zambezi sun.

Day28: Tete to Juliasdale (Zim)
Distance: 350km Time: 7 Hours

I set off the next day with a slightly sore head and an incredible thirst, which was surprising considering how much I had to drink the night before! Once again, the rain gods were blessing Africa with unseasonable winter rain, much to my displeasure. Although, I was glad it was not hot because it would make me feel even worse.

The ride to the border was quick and I exited Moz in no time at all. The Zim side took a bit of time as the sniffer dog had a reaction to my bike so I had to unpack the whole thing. The border guards were very friendly and apologetic about having to do the search which was a nice change. Ah, it was great to be back in Zim. I hadnít been back since 2005 and I was eager to see how the country was getting along. I stopped at the shops just outside the border to get some bread for the road.

I decided to take the dirt road the runs along the border and down to Nyanga. The tar road is a massive detour and less exciting. I stopped to make lunch about 20km along the road in what I though was the middle of nowhere.

Pic: Lunch stop in Zim


Pic: Zim Dirt


As I was packing up after lunch, I heard an explosion not to far way. This was a bit disconcerting, so I quickly got my stuff together and hit the road again. A few km further I worked out what the noise was as I started to see demining activity. There were loads of paths cut into the bush and blokes walking around in full blast kit. I wonder if these mines are new from the latest military activity a few years ago on the Moz side or if itís still remanence from the Zim war.

Not long after seeing the de-mining activity I came across the biggest obstacle of the trip. The bridge over the Nyamasandzura river was broken, which meant I would have to cross the river the old fashioned way. I went down to the water edge to see how deep it was. It looked relatively shallow, so I decided to give it a go. The river was probable 200m wide but the water section was less than half of that.

As soon as I entered the water the rear sank into the soft sand. I knew that I had to get the weight off the rear so it wouldnít dig in. As I started doing this, three lads arrived and offered to help me push it across. I was grateful for their help as I would not have to make multiple trips through the river to get my panniers across. We managed to get the bike across relatively quickly, but the dam thing kept cutting out at slow speeds, I think it had something to do with the bad quality fuel in Zim making the bike run a bit lean. I will post a video of the river crossing below as I did not take any pictures. The guys where very grateful for the dollars I gave them and the rest if the bread that I had with me.

The rest of the dirt road down to Elim Mission was pretty rough gravel and I had the first ďmechanicalĒ of the trip. The bolt on the underside of the front mudguard fell out and it started to rattle. I probably did not put enough locktite on it when I changed the steering damper. The only way to replace the bolt would be to take the front wheel off, which I could not be bothered to do at this time of day, so the good old cable ties will have to do the trick.

The tar started at Elim mission and made its way towards Nyanga, climbing high up into the hills. The temp really started to plummet as I got closer to Juliasdale. Most of the roads seem to be in decent shape in the area so it was good to stick it into a few of the bends.

My overnight stop was a cottage near Montclare hotel. It was nothing fancy, but they had the fire going so I could try dry out my boots.

Pic: Cottage


Farm


Room


I had dinner at the hotel. There was seemed to be a good few guests staying there so I hope they are making some money, I know how tough itís been for them over the last few years. The staff are extremely well trained and friendly as all Zimboís are generally.
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2018, 12:23:57 pm »
The Original Barstool Prophet

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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2018, 12:29:46 pm »
Great research thanks.

On a tangent, how did the new block E07ís do?

 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...

Old bike: '82 Eddie Lawson Replica
Other bike: '05 Honda Varadero 1000
New bike: '16 Honda Africa Twin.