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Offline Dux

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #100 on: November 02, 2018, 01:46:29 pm »
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Offline Sandban(g)k

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2018, 01:51:27 pm »
Getting the call from Hardy was seriously unexpected.  I had no hope of getting to the final 14.

However, that phone call changed my life – but some “life-things” had to happen.  In a short period of time!!

My wife was happy for me, but not so happy to be left alone with our 2 terrorists for 2 weeks.  At work we were two weeks away from planting season, so it really was a tough task to make sure I am at Kaleo on time.

I had a meeting in Cape Town scheduled for the 29th of October so had to just change my flight tickets.  It turned out to be not so easy as when I tried to change my flights, it changed the flights for our MD and vice-chairman of directors also.  So I had to go to our closest SAA office which is in Bloem. I could then also visit Dischem amongst other places to stock up on what would be needed to survive an epic trip of this proportions!

I needed some helmet time and some time to sort out few things happening in my life, so it was never a competition for me.  Stuff at home and at work was not what I wanted or needed it to be and I knew something had to change.  Little did I realise...

I was without a bike for about 3 years, and had one again for 8 months and did a full 2000km on it, so I was by no means comfortable on a bike, but got a slight bit back from muscle memory.  There was just a little time in order to go for a small preparation time, but on that day we got some rain.  Being in the farming sector, you never say no to rain and I thought I will get enough time to be comfortable on the bike at Quest.

Most of us met up the day before at Cape town Airport and took a shuttle to Jannievandievaaldams uncles farm in Ceres for the first evening.  I still think that was a great idea, but also made me realise that sleep will be a luxury.  Luckily I don’t need too much sleep, so I knew I’ll be okay on that!

I was excited, nervous and scared all at once, but I had huge expectations of the Quest and the team under oom Hardy ;). All the competitors were very nice and competent people and I was looking forward to spend time with people that you want to be like – the saying goes “meng jou met die semels, dan vreet die varke jou op”.  I believe that works the other way round too.

Roll on Quest...
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2018, 10:51:03 am »
I had the immeasurable privilege of joining the Honda Quest 2018. Here’s my ten cents worth.

The call

When Hardy gave me the call, the one to confirm that I’ll be a part of Quest2018, things happened very quickly. Some quicker than others…
Booking flights, easy.
Prepping and buying all that I would need during the trip – relatively easy.
Begging my boss for unpaid leave – near on impossible, but we managed to strike a deal of sorts.

All was arranged, and my family was very exited about my upcoming adventure. I was giddy with anticipation. You know how it goes… those last few days before you leave on a big trip… you start dreaming about it, during-wake time you are basically useless because your thoughts are already on the ride. Counting down the hours. And then, the evening before I set off… mamma drives the kids-mobile straight into the back of a substantial SUV. At speed.  “Hoe de donder!?” I asked. “ Ek weet nie...” she replied with tears in her eyes. Ag well… aardse goed… the panel beaters will have to wait till after Quest.

The build-up

On the way to the official launch, I mentioned to the rest of my fellow travellers that I would like to ride bike #14. I fitted the Rumbux crash bar and bash plate on that bike during Boot Camp, and most importantly, it was also involved in an incident at Boot Camp when a fellow contestant rode it into some rocks, leaving a sizeable dent in the petrol tank. All of this made #14 so much more appealing to me. A bike with personality. You know… that sexy lady with the scar… gggrrr… hoendervleis… Ag, if only #14 could be mine for the Quest!

The whole event kicked off at Kaleo Guest farm in the Kouebokkeveld. On arrival, it was rather impressive to see how much value Honda SA and Specialised Adventures attached to the event. The big boss of HondaSA himself, Konaka-san was there to address the participants. Riding in on an Africa Twin, wearing ATGAT and hugely exited. The “Main-Konyn” of Honda Motorcycles SA, Barend Fouchè, and the other Honda staff was also in attendance, and would follow us in the logistics convoy on this rough and tumble trip. Not just a gang of desk jockeys, but truly exited about adventure.

The first item on the programme was to pair the 14 contestants into 7 teams. Specialised adventures had us all complete psychometric test beforehand. Using these results, and some clever thinking, they paired us into the teams. Low and behold! I was paired with the perfect team mate. One that I’ve mentioned as an ideal option during the Boot Camp! Rickus Vermeulen from Koës in Namibia. Ja, that Rickus. The one from the Koës Rally. Little did I know how perfect this partnership would be, and how much we would learn from each other. Looking back, now, at the end of the Quest… Rickus is probably one of the most honourable, solid people I have met in a very, very long time. As I confided in him at the end of the trip, I’ve found a brother. What a man. Maar, nou ja! Enough off the emotional stuff! Back to the trip!

We had a long transit ahead of us too Springbok, where the bikes were awaiting our arrival. So, off into a buss we went.
En-route we were held up at roadworks just before the N7. A hawker passed, selling wooden spoons. I bought a big one, with the plan of handing it over as a daily floating trophy for the biggest daily stirrer. This would eventually become a much more positive element to the whole trip. “JesseH” re-named it to the THOMAS BAINE LEGENDS AWARD, and the contestants handed it over at the end of each day to the person who did something legendary. It became quite special. Causing many a late-night teary-eyed acceptance speech. Because there was one thing that this Quest would not be short off, Legendary persistence, camaraderie, team-work and guts.

On arrival in Springbok the most beautiful sight awaited us. A row of shiny, (for the time being) brand new Africa Twin DCT’s… 18 in total… 14 for the contestants, and another 4 for the Instructors who would be riding with us and monitoring us during the entire adventure.

Now, remember #14? That lady with character? Guess what?! She was assigned to me. Yes. How’s that for fate?!?! I was in my element when we arrived at our first campsite that glorious late afternoon. Before dinner, we were given some time to prep our steeds and make the necessary riding and suspension adjustments. I have a black manual Africa Twin at home, called Fezile. Fezile gladly donated some of his organs to be temporarily transplanted onto #14. Bar raisers, wider foot pegs, a small fuel cap mounted tank bag, and a 12-volt cigarette lighter harness (Courtesy of Conrad @ Offroad Cycles) for charging the GoPro and phone and running the pump when we have that inevitable flat.

After dinner it was already close to midnight, and we hit the sack. I’m proud to say that Rickus and I never slept under a roof of any kind during the entire adventure (maybe because we weren’t quite sure if we’ll both fit into that tiny little tent) We opted to rather pitch our stretchers in the open under the stars. Every night. One of the best decisions of the trip. It had its repercussions, though. Sure, keeping the scorpions, snakes and haarskeerders out of your kit and bag took some getting use too. But the biggest issue is that I’ll never be able to go on another bike trip with a tent, or without a stretcher!

Day 1 - the first day of propper riding

We headed north-east from Springbok, mainly riding dirt highway with some substantial patches of sand. This was deliberately planned, to give us some time to get use to the riding settings of the Africa Twin DCT, and to tweak the suspension a little more. We eventually reached a little place called Witbank. No, not the stinky one. This Witbank was on the banks off the Orange river. After “Losper” assisted in fixing the first of many punctures to the 4 Instructors bikes…many more than the 14 contestants, we headed west along the banks of the Orange river on a rather gnarly rock strewn, deep sandy 2spoor with some patches of Fesh-Fesh thrown in, just for fun. It caught out a couple of the contestants, not realising that there are always deep ruts and rocky lurkers at the bottom of such a powdery quagmire. Propper PLOFSTOF. 

Along the way we managed to find a solitary tree for some shade against the searing mid-day heat. It eventually degenerated into a lot of lying around and chatting. Lazy bunch of adventure bikers…wink.

We met the logistics convoy at Die Groot Melkboom. Sadly, the old tree burnt down a couple of years back. Probably due to a lightning strike. You can still find the marked spot on Basecamp and even Google maps.

It didn’t take long for me to remove my helmet and boots, and plunge into the river with the rest of my kit. Its surprising how buoyant that ballistic is, drifting down the Orange! Before long, everyone was in the water, scaring the local fish population into the reeds.
While some of the teams were called out to an impromptu sand riding-class, I used #14 as the Multi-tool that it was designed for. This time, as a drying rack for my kit. 

That night we made camp on a sand dune plateau just above Die Groot Melkboom. What a view over the Orange valley! It was an absolute gift experiencing the sunset from my stretcher, tightly pitched against #14… until the wind decided to shift all that dune into my sleeping bag, mouth, dinner, crack, kit, and everything else. A hell off a wind. The entire night. Sleeping in constant pelting sand, with sand inside your sleeping bag, with your buff up around your face. Hell. Again, for the third night in a row, I had almost no sleep.

But this was nothing compared to the sandy tracks we would experience on the following day. Maybe it was mother nature’s way of preparing us. Sand was lying in wait for us. Soft, swallowing sand with lurkers everywhere. Lots and lots of it.
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2018, 11:02:00 am »
My team mate Rikus Vermeulen. Rather fittingly, in front of the Cop-Shop in Springbok.
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2018, 11:03:21 am »
Our brand new steeds! Waiting for us to take them into the great beyond.
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #105 on: November 03, 2018, 11:08:47 am »
The start of that interesting 2spoor along the Orange River bank at Witbank
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #106 on: November 03, 2018, 11:17:06 am »
The tree. That tree. The one with all the luigatte. Then again, it was 38 degrees celcius
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #107 on: November 03, 2018, 11:18:06 am »
Orange river drifting... with ATGAT... almost
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #108 on: November 03, 2018, 11:20:04 am »
The brand new Africa Twin Drying Rack. Now available at your nearest dealer. Who said Honda cant do commercial Lifestyle products, like BMW?
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #109 on: November 03, 2018, 11:21:41 am »
All astern, on top of the dune plateau after a lovely days riding. 
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #110 on: November 03, 2018, 11:24:08 am »
The best spot to spend the night, in the world. Well, at least until the sandstorm from Hell rocks up.
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #111 on: November 03, 2018, 11:51:15 am »
Team 7 - riders #13 and #14.
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline Rickus

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #112 on: November 03, 2018, 01:05:03 pm »
Team 7 - riders #13 and #14.

Bliksem ou Pierre....as dit Africas next Top Model kompetisie was, het ons hom waaragtig gewen....al moet ek dit nou self
uiter.


OMVAL EN OPTEL.....
 

Offline Hollywood

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #113 on: November 03, 2018, 08:39:10 pm »
Team 7 - riders #13 and #14.

Bliksem ou Pierre....as dit Africas next Top Model kompetisie was, het ons hom waaragtig gewen....al moet ek dit nou self
uiter.

Absoluut pêl! Span Grysbaard was nogal sag op die oog. Maar watter modelle sal ons wees...een rolmodel, en een sportsmodel?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 08:40:22 pm by Hollywood »
Addicted to riding big bikes in tricky places.
Rode most of Southern Africa.
Currently riding a slightly pimped black Africa Twin Manual, named Fezile
 

Offline LanC

Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #114 on: November 03, 2018, 10:04:08 pm »
Keep it coming  :sip:
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #115 on: November 03, 2018, 11:39:36 pm »
Team 7 - riders #13 and #14.

Bliksem ou Pierre....as dit Africas next Top Model kompetisie was, het ons hom waaragtig gewen....al moet ek dit nou self
uiter.

Absoluut pêl! Span Grysbaard was nogal sag op die oog. Maar watter modelle sal ons wees...een rolmodel, en een sportsmodel?
Dink Rickus moet die rolmodel wees, hy is gebou daarvoor!! :deal: :lol8:
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Offline ockiemedic

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #116 on: November 04, 2018, 06:08:50 pm »
2018 Honda Quest through a medic’s eyes

I was once again given the honour to be part of the Honda Quest crew. My task was to look after the physical and emotional well-being of contestants and crew, by monitoring each person daily to ensure that we were sending the 14 contestants and 4 instructor’s safely out on each day’s adventure.

Both Quest adventures had their unique challenges. Every day had it's own obstacles to overcome which left the contestants constantly wondering what Hardy had in store for them for the next day. Both areas had their own unique Wild African experience and the thought of being in the middle of nowhere with no signal is always in the back of your mind.

The boot camp medical and environmental emergency awareness training is one of the most important aspects in preparation for the Honda Quest Adventure, highlighting the fact that we would be in the middle of nowhere and it may take hours or even days to get to a proper medical facility. This haunting thought also assisted the contestants in keeping the wheels safely on the ground in most cases.

As with every Quest, it also has it's challenging medical moments where the well-being of the contestant needs to be weighed up against the competition factor. I would say that is every medic’s worst nightmare, to try and convince a contestant not to get back on the bike due to his/her injuries, but as per the typical South African/Namibian hard hardheadedness, never give up attitude and a bit of stubbornness, there was no talk of anyone getting off the bike during the Quest. The contestants were tried and tested in some of the harshest environments and conditions that adventure biking could offer, with temperatures in the high 40’s on some days, severe wind conditions on others and nail biting cold in the northern part of South Africa. The contestants could not have asked for a wider variety of climate conditions as what they experienced on the 10 days of Quest. The responsibility of me and my co-driver, Mark McIntyre, was to follow the contestants in one of the back-up vehicles to cover where needed as the sweep, mechanical back-up, medical support and to carry the extra water. We traversed the same rough routes as the contestants and instructors but at a slower pace than the bikes. I forgot to mention that the gravel roads we drove were chosen specifically for their rough terrain, so you could just imagine the speeds we were traveling, but due to good route planning by Specialised Adventures we were never too far behind the bikes. With each major obstacle for the bikes to cross, we were always there to assess and help.

The Quest has taught me so many life and people skills through observing, interacting and being involved in the daily evaluation of each contestant. The Specialised Adventures crew have a very unique skill in observing, evaluating and assessing people skills, reactions and body language. They make the daunting task of assessing the communication and messaging of contestants look like an easy daily routine. I have the world of respect for this life skill.

Honda and Specialised Adventures stay true to the fact that this event is no race, but as the slogan states, a true adventure in all its meaning.  I’ve seen and experienced how the Quest has changed people's lives for the better, not only on the bike but as a father/mother/friend/brother/sister/team mate. Quest tested you on every level of passion, patience, team work, communication, endurance and ability.

I’m proud to have been part of the Honda and Specialised Adventures team on Quest for the past 2 years. Thank you to each contestant, instructor and crew member for making it a joyful and memorable experience.
 

Offline Hardy de Kock

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #117 on: November 04, 2018, 06:42:35 pm »
Baie cool post Ockie
Dankie vir jou harde werk ook - soos altyd.
 

Offline Kobus Myburgh

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #118 on: November 04, 2018, 07:29:59 pm »
To have the opportunity to partake in the Honda Quest - True Adventure is a privilege bestowed upon a few lucky ones ..........

To be part of the second one, not as participant, but as instructor, was something even more surreal .....

It has been exactly a week since this years event came to an end, yet it is only the beginning for many who shared the hardship, the jubilation and the tears.

Martin Luther King, Jr, said the following:  “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

For 13 men and one lady, from all walks of life, this would be the ultimate challenge.  Never did it cross my mind that this would also apply to the instructors ........

I shall add my 2c as the adventure unfolds, but for now it’s a story to be told by 14 very special people ......

"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them.  I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

-David Livingstone-
 

Offline JannievandieVaaldam

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Re: Honda Quest True Adventure 2018
« Reply #119 on: November 04, 2018, 09:40:05 pm »
After we played around, adjusted our suspensions, received some advice and got acquainted with the bikes on the plateau overlooking the Oranje river we lined up the bikes and set up camp.