Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Lesotho Boogie Woogie  (Read 6740 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TK

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Husqvarna (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 358
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Life's an adventure, enjoy the ride.
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2019, 01:05:41 pm »
Very jealous!

Looks like another fantastic ride guys!  :thumleft:

Very impressed with Bertie just shrugging off a broken leg!

I need a 500 it seems....

Its the drugs.
 

Offline TK

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Husqvarna (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 358
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Life's an adventure, enjoy the ride.
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2019, 01:08:49 pm »
Gees Bertie.
Looks like Alan is alive after all.
 

Offline Straatkat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2019, 12:06:22 am »
Gees Bertie.
Looks like Alan is alive after all.

Stranger things have happened, but it was very long ago!
18 till I die.
If hard work pays, show me rich donkey.
 

Offline alanB

  • Vendors
  • Forum Whore
  • ****
  • Bike: Husqvarna (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 6,769
  • Thanked: 10 times
    • www.extinction.co.za
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2019, 01:33:18 pm »
Gees Bertie.
Looks like Alan is alive after all.

Stranger things have happened, but it was very long ago!

Does this mean I have reached mythical status?
Husqvarna '09 610TE - Great Bike!

I just finished a SciFi novel Extinction: Task Team, download the preview.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2019, 08:12:14 pm »
Back again from Lesotho where we managed with Losper to plot new routes for this lot, that should ensure no shortage of broken legs this year either.

So, let's get going on this one again.

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #45 on: January 20, 2019, 08:46:23 pm »
Day 2 - Mohale to Semonkong

We woke up in the morning after heavy overnight downpour glad to see the sky clearing out. View from the lodge:




Plan for the day was to ride to ride two iconic passes of the ROA fame - Jock Strap and Baboon's, and overnight at Semonkong lodge. Bertie didn't feel fit enough for both passes so he would join us for the ascent up the Jock Strap and then take tar from top of the pass to Semonkong:




After breakfast at the lodge we geared up and set-off on A3 west towards God Help Me pass (who comes up with these names?). First few dozen km was winding tar up and down the pass and I was leading up front. Tony and Greg usually go into sleep mode on tar so they fell behind out of sight. Bertie on the other hand is speed damon and despite his near death experience when he overcooked corner day before blaming it on mousses or some such, I could literally feel his breath on the back of my sunburned neck. So I just waved him of and he disappeared withing two curves down the pass - mousses nothwithstanding.

I eventually caught up with him at the turn off to the dirt road heading south towards Jock Strap and once Tony and Greg caught up with took the dirt - this time in reverse order. The road was initially good wide dirt road heading up wide valley in the morning sun:










Soon enough we caught up with stationary Greg and Tony at a turnoff to little single track. I was surprised as I thought the road will take us all the way to the bottom of Jock Strap, but they said that is where the track I have came up goes. So we assumed the dirt road probably ends soon and took the track:



Bertie needed a little encouragement and Tony tried to cheer him up:







The track was a local footpath and it soon got noticeably gnarlier and off-camberish. I was following Bertie and could see that he is not enjoying himself. Eventually he felt enough is enough and decided to turn back, retrace to the tar and take main road to Semonkong. I could understand it but was still a bit perplexed how we ended up on the track as I could clearly see the dirt road heading up the valley on the other side of the river. So I had a closer look on the track and it said something like Roof 2016 or 2014 or some such and suddenly I understood. I downloaded this track I think from Losper without giving it the second glance, and this was clearly used on one of the previous Roofs. While the track was extreme, Bertie with his unknowingly broken leg rightly decided to err on the safe side and opted for the comfort of tar:







The rest of us kept pushing up the valley on the Roof track that weaved back and forth on both side of the dirt road all the way to the bottom of the Jock Strap about 10 - 15 km away:
















Sooner than I expected we arrived at the start of the Jock Strap:


« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 08:49:39 pm by Xpat »
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #46 on: January 20, 2019, 09:28:33 pm »
At the bottom we took obligatory photo and then, flanked by swarm of kids from the nearby village who circled us like vultures expecting to make quick rand or two pushing us up, we set-off up the pass:







Heading up the pass:
















Greg boogie woogieing up the pass:










Kids eagerly awaiting inevitable stumble:



















Right about here Tony who supposedly has done the pass already some time ago said that the most difficult bit is over. Not sure what his point was as it turned out to be BS, but given his age his memory was most probably just failing him:







This turned out to be the only place where we needed help on the pass itself from the kids when Tony dropped his helmet down the hill. He will still need to get bailed further, but that was just on easy peasy meadow as we will see soon enough:




We continued to push up now the easy part of the pass:










There was little village half way up:




























We have made it to the top of the pass fairly quickly and without any major drama. There was a spill or two but all resolved before I could get them on camera, so they didn't really happen. Top of the Jock strap is wide  valley/meadow sloping slowly up to the tar road running higher up the valley between Rambanta and Semonkong. It is easy peasy riding and Greg and I made it up the valley in no time where we checked on Tony. And there was no Tony. He has this maverick streak where he always has to look for some other routes than us normal people take, but the thing was we could see at least km or two down the valley in all directions and there was no sign of Tony. Greg went back to investigate little river running at the bottom of the valley - the only place where he could have possibly crashed out of sight. but alas no Tony.

So being the good friends we are we figured he is big and ugly enough to take care of himself and headed up towards tar. And then from the higher ground we spotted Tony stuck deep in a mud in higher part of the valley surrounding by clump of local herdsmen. We rode down, laughed at Tony and let hersmen earn their keep by pulling him out. Some of the herdsmen were quite excitable as you can see:
















Once Tony paid his dues we headed up the valley, hit the tar and headed down the road to Rambanta about 10 km away for lunch break at the lodge:


« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 09:48:30 pm by Xpat »
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Online Amsterdam

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Husqvarna (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Thanked: 101 times
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2019, 11:26:14 am »
Xpat, some great photos here.  So nice to see some areas where you can ride without fences etc.  The Western Cape has its limits.
KTM 500 XCW, Husqvarna 701, KTM 1190 Adventure
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2019, 03:01:11 pm »
We had lunch break at Rambanta Trading Post and then went out looking for petrol. Tony was very keen to get some as he had small standard 8 liter tank on his Beta, plus two plastic bottles with petrol one of which he has already lost by this stage. We have been sent all over the place by variety of people, but no luck, Rambanta was dry.

Eventually we managed to calm down Tony by promise that we will siphon petrol of our bigger tanks should we run out and we set-off towards the pass. We calmed Tony so well that he headed off first with gusto, missed turn-off to the pass and went for a sightseeing tour around Rambanta for about 15 minutes making his bike lighter by burning some more petrol. Greg and I knowing we will have to cover that petrol deficit and hence not keen to burn more of ours didn't follow and rather waited at the turn-off, until Tony stopped daydreaming around and came back. With that sorte we hit the track heading up the pass.

None of us has done Baboon's before (I think Tony claimed that he might have done bits and pieces, but with him you never know if it may not have been somewhere in Limpopo), and we have heard that it is about 20 - 25 km long with most of it easy peasy and only last 2 - 3 km geting a bit gnarly. Now we got a bit of surprise when Losper while still planning to join us during preparation said that he may skip Baboon's and rather do some cattle tracks he knows from the top of Jock Strap to Semonkong, as he is getting too old to kak off, or something to that effect. Also, Tony has spoken to Russel Campbell a roof veteran if there ever was one, who has done the pass recently and told Tony that it was the gnarliest he remembers it. Well there wan't much to it but to find out for ourselves.

We hit it off and the track straight away started to climb up the valley side in series of in places quite gnarly serpentines. It continued climbing up gnarly rocky sections with only few short smoother sections giving a bit of relief. We have stopped after km or two and agreed that we must have got it wrong - it was the first 2 km going up that are tough and the rest of it will be easy. Nope, it turns out we understood it exactly right.

Now, it wasn't super extreme or anything like that - all of us could and did ride all the way up without assistance with exception of one step at the very top where we helped each other (well the youngsters did, the old man made it up no his own). But it was a relentless workout from the beginning till the end for 20 - 25 km, when we had to constantly bash through big loose rocks, with only short smooth sections where we could get out of 1st/2nd gear. And yes, the top section was the gnarliest, but we didn't notice it much as we were trying to outrun a storm (unsucessfully) and were riding with a bit of reckless abandon at that stage.

Initial sections getting up on the ridge we were to follow to the top of the pass 20 km away:


















Higher up near the top of the ridge the riding eased up a bit, but not for too long. The views though were impressive, especially with the clouds above colouring the mountains in different hues of brown and green:


































Eventually we came to the point where we could see the mountains at the top of the pass where we were heading:









« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 04:50:42 pm by Xpat »
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2019, 04:36:13 pm »
By this stage nasty clouds were closing in so we were pushing on trying to outrun them to the top of the pass.










About two thirds of the way we came to a village, where the road on my online maps ends. So we assumed that the real fun will only begin - which it did, the track got steeper and gnarlier, but still manageable. The biggest concern was hitting the electric storm right at the top of the pass, which eventually despite our best efforts did happen:



















We came upon something called Yeehaa hill on GPS (again, who comes up with these names???)- a very steep lose dirt section of the track probably - 100 - 150 meters long. This one looked as proper challenge, but by the time Tony and I arrived Greg already made it to the top, so we had no choice now but to make it up on our own to preserve our dignity:




Tony digging trenches up the hill:













This is what it looked like from Greg's perspective:









« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 04:38:43 pm by Xpat »
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Tom van Brits

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #50 on: January 21, 2019, 04:49:02 pm »
 :o wow....that's some serious riding in a day!
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 313
  • Thanked: 121 times
  • Don't be surprised
Sure... easy peasy!
« Reply #51 on: January 21, 2019, 04:50:31 pm »
You boys really get stuck in! I hope I can ride Lesotho before it's ruined. Probably wouldn't choose the BRP for that trip, I'll grant you. The photos are especially crisp. Place looks stunning!

Ok. Continue.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #52 on: January 21, 2019, 08:33:00 pm »
After Yeehaa hill there was the last 2 km or so of the pass to cover. I'm guessing this was the sectionthey told us to be the toughest - to us it more or less looked the same. We pushed on trying to outrun the storm, but got caught by rain almost straight away:



















At this point the lightnings were hitting all around and Greg managed to block the only good line over these rocks. Greg and I - compared to ancient Tony more or less easily frightened millenials - huddled under a nearby rock with little bush on top that gave us false sense of security from thousands of ampers hitting around. Tony who was born before electric age and therefore blissfully unaware about what strong electric current can do to human body, just rode off up the pass probably too deaf to hear the regular lightning hits.






















Once the lightnings receded and rain eased up, Greg and I picked ourselves up from underneath the bush completely soaked and followed Tony up the pass:







We caught up with Tony few hundred meters further on at a big rocky step. He somehow managed to walk his bike up the step and was no directing us to the right line. Greg had a different idea, tried to bypass the step on the side and paid the price:










Tony helped me to get my bike up the step and then rode off leaving the youngsters to help each other:







With Tony gone I helped Greg get his bike up the step and we followed Tony. We were now very clearly very near or at the top of the pass so it was just matter of finishing few km to the tar.










Soon enough we caught up with stationary Tony and situation reversed - he needed us to bail him out as he run out of petrol. But first why pass an opportunity for a little piknik:







The refuel turned out to be a bit more complicated than we initially expected. As our bikes are fuel injected, we coudn't get any petrol out just by unconnecting the fuel line from the tank as it was self closing. So we had to turn Greg's bike (he had biggest tank) almost upside down to get petrol out from the normal filler neck.  Greg and Tony get on with the job, I played the role of health and safety officer, reminding in regular intervals Greg that doing this operation with cigarette stuck non-chalantly between his fingers or his lips makes him a bit clumsy.







With couple of liters in Tony's tank we set-off again and made it to tar about 3 km away. Earlier I have sent message to Bertie asking him to come back from Semonkong and bring us petrol to the top of the Baboons. There was no Bertie waiting at the tar, so we agreed that I will gun it fast down to Semonkong about 20 km away, fill-up and come back to fill them up, while Greg and Tony will take it easy down the road conserving fuel.




Few km down the road I bumped into Bertie coming in opposite direction with full tank and let him sort out Tony and Greg while I continued to the lodge in Semonkong. The other three arrive shortly after me and we settled into our respective chalets that Bertie organized for us already.

This was the toughest day of the trip (even for Bertie despite his tar route - when he arrived to Semonkong and got into his chalet, he sat down on sofa in his full gear to take a breather for a bit and woke up about 3 hours later in the same position), but I was properly chuffed that we have done Baboons as it was on my list of things to do for a long time.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 08:37:50 pm by Xpat »
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline IanTheTooth

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: AJS (all models)
    Location: Australia
  • Posts: 1,200
  • Thanked: 64 times
  • The past is a foreign country
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #53 on: January 22, 2019, 01:56:12 am »
Congratulations again! I haven't felt a pressing need to do Baboons again since I did it in the roof. I was quite intrigued to see your pictures of Jockstrap pass and realise that was the "shortcut" that Iain McDonald took me and Barry on when we were spectating the Roof last year. I've always been a bit suspicious of Iain's "shortcuts."
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 01:56:39 am by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 

Offline Rexc-w

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2019, 10:20:58 am »
2008 was the last time I've been up Baboons and riding in that area. Somehow seeing these pics makes me lus to go and do that again - on the 300 though :thumleft:
Rex
(KTM 1190 Adv R - 2013, KTM 300 XCW - 2016, Specialized Epic S-Works)
 

Offline TK

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Husqvarna (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 358
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Life's an adventure, enjoy the ride.
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2019, 10:38:11 am »
Gees Bertie.
Looks like Alan is alive after all.

Stranger things have happened, but it was very long ago!

Does this mean I have reached mythical status?
No

Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk

 

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2019, 12:34:41 pm »
Xpat, some great photos here.  So nice to see some areas where you can ride without fences etc.  The Western Cape has its limits.

Thanks  :thumleft:

And yes, if you want to ride freely without the constraints of private property, you need to head to Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zim or Mosambique. I'm afraid WC is not the place to be for that.

Offline Xpat

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #57 on: January 22, 2019, 12:38:17 pm »
@IanTheTooth and @Rexc-w : Baboon's wasnt actually that difficult technically, just relentless hard work. For me it was quite doable on 500 even with luggage. I guess combining it in one day with Jockstrap may be a bit too much for normal weekend warrior (we were properly tired afterwards, but enjoyed every minute of it), but if you start in the morning in Rambanta, Baboons itself will provide for nice ride to Semonkong IMO - if one likes to ride rocks of course.

Offline Rexc-w

Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2019, 01:41:37 pm »
We used to stay at Ramabanta (Tannie Rose was our host) and do day rides from there.  Will gather the old riding buddies and organize a weekend.
Rex
(KTM 1190 Adv R - 2013, KTM 300 XCW - 2016, Specialized Epic S-Works)
 

Offline alanB

  • Vendors
  • Forum Whore
  • ****
  • Bike: Husqvarna (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 6,769
  • Thanked: 10 times
    • www.extinction.co.za
Re: Lesotho Boogie Woogie
« Reply #59 on: January 22, 2019, 01:56:14 pm »
Gees Bertie.
Looks like Alan is alive after all.

Stranger things have happened, but it was very long ago!

Does this mean I have reached mythical status?
No

Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk

Oh
Husqvarna '09 610TE - Great Bike!

I just finished a SciFi novel Extinction: Task Team, download the preview.