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Author Topic: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars  (Read 7278 times)

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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #100 on: February 24, 2019, 01:56:14 pm »

Our day wouldn't be complete without one of these off moments.




Shortly before we reached Metangula there was a turn off to the left that led us onto a narrow  road which cuts through the bush to the tar road that would take us to Lichinga. At this point I was keen to go via Metangula but the other two wanted to get a move on and get to Lichinga via this shorter route.










On taking this route we realised it was a road less traveled. But despite this we actually enjoyed it...there was nothing tricky about it and eventually found a nice shady spot for a break and a snack. We saw no vehicles, villages or people along this track and it was nice and quiet.

















After about 4 hrs we popped out onto the much desired tar road. We couldn’t resist opening up the throttle and accelerating towards the distance. The freedom of speed felt good....It was like a horse smelling home. From here it was another 165 kms to Lichinga. This was going to be a breeze...all on tar and a quick ride despite the occasional potholes.




We made such good time during the first 100 km or so. Then the heavens opened, dumping buckets of rain over us. Water gushed down the roads and visibility was poor, slowing us down considerably.



The rest of the rainy ride to Lichinga took forever. As we had not originally planned on stopping in this town we had no idea of accommodation availability. We sort shelter at a fuel station and Roxy found the Lichinga Hotel on Google. We punched it into the GPS and carefully following Kingsley we negotiated the traffic, pouring rain and huge puddles.  When the security guard saw us approach the front door he was rather hesitant in opening up for us.  Two extremely cold and saturated girls squelched their way through the clean tiled foyer leaving huge puddles of water prints marking our pathway to reception. I don’t think they were too impressed with these messy, dirty, wet and unattractive travelers. Roxy kindly sponsored our nights accommodation. We had planned to do so much more camping but due to circumstances it wasn’t always possible. While Roxy finished up at reception we took the bikes around to the back of the hotel.  Leaving our luggage strapped to the bikes and lugging only our sopping backpacks we found our way up to our very spacious and comfortable room.




We hung up clothes in the empty cupboard, draped some over the windows, spread them out over the furniture and hoped that by some miracle they would be dry in the morning. Our room or place of rest always looked like a bomb had hit it....there was always stuff all over.









It was hot showers, dry clothes with toasted sarmies and chips in bed.




"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline husky

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #101 on: February 24, 2019, 03:37:23 pm »
Great adventure - thanks for writing it up and particularly well done navigating through the mud; never a favourite and, seemingly, retaining your senses of humour.  Excellent.
 
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Offline Goingnowherekwickly

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #102 on: February 24, 2019, 07:44:15 pm »
Wow, what an adventure... been checking every day for updates :) Well done!
 
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Offline WILDSIDES offspring

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #103 on: February 26, 2019, 08:41:35 pm »
best memories. seeing these photos just take me back to those wet and muddy roads. would do it all again with you guys... well.... maybe not
" the chrome and steel she rides " -  unknown legend, Neil Young
 
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #104 on: February 26, 2019, 09:08:18 pm »
I am so enjoying this RR!  In absolute admiration of your spirit of adventure and your fantastic attitude.
 
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #105 on: February 26, 2019, 10:15:22 pm »

DAY 12 :   THURSDAY  -  27 DECEMBER 2018
LICHINGA to MANDIMA BORDER POST (Moz/Malawi)   155 km
    SKINNY HIPPO (MALAWI)  --- 65 km  [Total 220 km]
TIME :   9.00am  -  8.00 pm



“Roll on thunder shine on lightnin’
The days are long and the nights are frightnin’
Nothing matters and that’s the hell of it.”       Paul Williams




We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, dry clothes and in good spirits.






Soon after breakfast we set off once again on a beautiful newly tarred road. The map indicated a  main road heading south to the border post and once again we gobbled up the miles. Now this was more like it...yup we were heading towards Malawi. Once again we were meant to be heading west to Meponda on the eastern shores of the lake, but Cape Maclear was calling...so we gave it a miss.





It was fun watching Roxy and Kingsley up front. The little 200 took a bit of strain up the hills and we often rode alongside each other encouraging the little bike to make more of an effort. From experience we knew that this easy riding on lovely roads would be short lived and sure enough after about 25 km the wonderful road came to an end and we were dealt a new set of cards. The road surface changed and once again under construction...which always spelt M.E.S.S!! We were now required to weave through the many detours crossing over the unusable road that was under construction. We often came across a trucker, tanker or taxi firmly embedded in mud unable to move any further for perhaps a day or two. It was necessary for us to find a little gap to squeeze through or another muddy, squelchy exit to negotiate our way out. Despite the mess we all managed to manouver our way through without any mishaps. [ Roxy’s comment for the day was... “Oh , it was f*^#~king horrible – such an awful day.” ]   Hahahaha...we can laugh about it now.
























One dirty girl.


We stopped on the edge of a little village to confirm with the GPS we were on the correct route and a bunch of little kiddies came to check us out. In Tanzania they kept their distance, but in Mozambique they were curious and friendly. We took some photos of them and to their amusement and amazement we showed them what they looked like on screen. This would always elicit much laughter.
As we were getting ready to leave one youngster came up to me and handed me a mango with a huge smile on his face....well this small but kind gesture nearly brought me to tears as he moved over to Kingsley and Roxy offering them one as well. It’s moments like this that really touches the heart and makes up for all the discomforts we’ve been experiencing. These guys are living such simple lives yet have feelings of compassion towards strangers. This took me back to our previous East Africa trip when on returning through Malawi we stopped on the side of the road for a rest, when some locals, busy with ’agricultural activities’ alongside the road  walked up to us with  peeled mangos and a bucket lid full of water for us to rinse our hands. Wow...this was truly generous and polite offerings!!











"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #106 on: February 26, 2019, 11:10:42 pm »

We were aware of a storm brewing over to the west. The grey clouds hung low and heavy and were  split by the occasional flash of lightening while the thunder rumbled towards us. Keeping a beady eye on the distant we picked up our pace as best we could on these troubled roads. Over some time and distance the storm slowly worked its wet way in front of us and it looked like we were heading straight towards it.





Kingsley decided now would be an excellent time to stop, have some lunch and wait out the storm. Well...who were we to argue...what did we know about the weather? So out came the provitos, cheese and chocolates which we had unexpectedly found at a little shop at the fuel station on leaving Lichinga – a bit of civilization!








While munching away we could hear the sound of gushing water. Puzzled, we followed the sound up the road and noticed volumes of water running down the ditch to right of the road. We looked further up the hill and a deluge of rain water was heading our way. Without hesitation we packed our food away as quickly as possible, got on our bikes and within seconds we were caught up in one almighty storm with nowhere to seek shelter.

Zeus, ‘God of the Sky’, ‘Ruler of the heavens’, had decided he was not finished with us yet and needed to know what he was really made of.  We had no option but to slowly continue on our way through the down pour with thunder rumbling over head. We were now riding through so many puddles, rain filled ditches, streams of water and poor visibility. Poor Kingsley and Rox didn’t have visors to keep the stinging rain off their faces which made riding even more difficult. But, as on all my adventure rides, I have always convinced myself that as long as the wheels are turning all was well.





All was well until we rode through deep water over a cause way and Roxy’s bike decided that enough was enough. Her bike lost power.  We limped into the outskirts of a little deserted village where eventually her bike spluttered to a hault. The wheels had stopped turning!
Good old Offside brought out his tool bag and took up his now familiar post once again alongside the bike. In the pouring rain he tried to find and fix the problem. Eventually off came the seat and the tank.





Kingsley at his familiar post









In the mean time the little river running through the village and alongside the road was getting higher and flowing stronger.




































A sopping Santa.

 Kingsley tried for about 45 minutes to solve the problem and started talking about having to now tow the bike back to Malawi. Well for me this wasn’t even an option...it was simply too dangerous.
As the rain started to subside so the locals started appearing from their homes and shops. It resembled ants crawling out from the woodwork.  Of course we were now the center of attention and had attracted a huge inquisitive crowd. Fortunately, there’s always one saviour in the crowd!!










This particular guy could speak a smattering of English and he came forward to assist Kingsley and mentioned that there was a bike mechanic further on up the road.
In the meantime, there was also a broken down truck in front of us and another truck tried to drag it and turn it around but only managed to get it firmly stuck across the road with its front in the torrent of water. Laughter erupted from within the spectators, losing interest in us and running across to witness more excitement at the new source of entertainment. There was also a loud crashing noise as the walls of a nearby building succumbed to the downpour. Once again much cheering and clapping of hands. This was like something from a bad movie.




"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #107 on: February 26, 2019, 11:50:03 pm »

We proceeded, along with the youngsters help, to push Roxy’s bike to the mechanic further on up the road. He knew exactly what to look for as he was familiar with this type of bike. Within half an hour he had cleared the jets in the carb. As he started the bike there was a loud cheer of relief from us and the gathering crowds.  We promptly paid the guy (R200) and said our farewells and were eager to get on the road again as we were a bit concerned now about this unexpected delay as we needed to get to the border post before they closed at 6 pm.






Shelter from the pouring rain











We got life  :ricky:

Once on our way again the weather improved but not the roads.



 We came across another construction area where we were instructed to stop. One of the excavating machines was being used to rescue a taxi that had slipped off the road and become embedded in a muddy ditch. Once it was recovered we cautiously followed another huge, heavy vehicle which slowly led the way down this messy area and half way up the other side it also proceeded to get stuck. Often on our trips we were grateful for being on motorbikes, as mentioned before we could negotiate a way around these tricky spots and pop out the other side without a hassle. So once again we slipped and slid our way across to the other side of the road and hurried on our way once again.


There she goes again :lol8:




















It was with great relief when we finally arrived at the insignificant little border post late in the afternoon. It only took a few minutes, a look of disinterest, a stamp and we departed Mozambique.





We had already prepared ourselves for our entry into Malawi. We had allocated funds for our TIP’s and road tax. We now knew how to do it and were ready for a quick entry into Malawi as we were now running so late and still had another 65 km’s of riding to do to reach our overnight stop. But....it wasn’t to be!!

We promptly filled in the forms and went to the cashier to pay. I had $20 for one TIP and the equivalent in Malawi kwacha (MWK) for the other two TIP’s as well as the 30 000 MWK for the 3x road tax. But now they wanted only dollars, no MWK for the TIP’s. Now we had to find someone to exchange the MWK’s for dollars. They wanted a lot more MWK in exchange but we didn’t have any and after a lot of haggling and begging we managed to find some Mozambique Metical (MT). When the one guy saw our 1000MT his eyes lit up and he tried to snatch it from us. With Roxy’s and Googles assistance we made up the balance of funds and eventually got our damn $40. This bartering and time restraints at border posts was getting too stressful for my liking and there and then decided East Africa on motorbikes was over for me. No longer could I handle all this hassle!!

Eventually our paperwork was over and we entered the busy and dirty village of Chiponde. There was very little riding space making progress slow. We were now really pressed for time as the sun was dipping low creating the dreaded long shadows. Once again we were doing what we had promised ourselves NEVER to do again – riding in the dark!!

To make things worse Roxy’s bike had no headlights..somewhere along the trip, unbeknown to us,  they had failed. While we could we made good headway. We were heading to Skinny Hippo on the southern tip of Lake Malawi, shortly after Mangochi.  As darkness descended Roxy put on her right indicator, stuck close to dads tail light with mum close up behind her and just to the right trying to shine some sort of light in front of her. We all needed to really concentrate and we worked well together. There was just enough light for us to get an idea of what would have been beautiful view of the southern part of the lake as we carefully worked our way down to the bottom of the pass by which time it was now pitch black. The traffic was now quite hectic as we neared the next town and the going slow.
Eventually we arrived in Mangochi. Without the GPS we would never have navigated our way through it. Again we had to be careful not to get parted from each other.  This part of the trip seemed never ending but as we moved away from the town the traffic was less but by now we were exhausted, neck and shoulders tense and eyes battling to focus in the dim headlight. But we had to look on the bright side...we finally had a day that ended with no rain.
We eventually saw the Skinny Hippo sign and followed it for another few kilometers and to our surprise and relief they were still open and had accommodation for us. An added bonus was the open kitchen and much needed pub.






A ride ahead and a bath behind. ::)

It didn’t take long for us to shed our dirty clothes, admire the rarely seen star studded sky and order our well deserved G & T’s whilst overlooking the 'lake of stars'. It was a relief to be back in Malawi unharmed, safe, still friends and happy!  :3some:

"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #108 on: February 28, 2019, 04:56:27 pm »
All I can say is "Wow!"

 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...

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Offline Amsterdam

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #109 on: February 28, 2019, 06:01:48 pm »
I am probably not the only one who dislikes riding in the mud when on holiday.  Well done for having stayed so cheerful for the duration.  This certainly made for great reading.
KTM 500 XCW, Husqvarna 701, KTM 1190 Adventure
 

Offline wilfwalk

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #110 on: March 01, 2019, 10:22:10 am »
Real tough stuff folks, well done for getting through all that and managing to look cheerful for the photos ! I'm not sure I'd have been that willing to pose for photos having been through the washer the way you guys did. Utmost respect. This was a family adventure that few others will ever match. You can be very proud of yourselves.
 

Offline weskus

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #111 on: March 02, 2019, 08:09:27 am »
Respect, well done and with that attitude life can only be good..one day when I'm big :thumleft:
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Offline CUZZY

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #112 on: March 02, 2019, 12:33:29 pm »
Hardcore family! Well done Karen and thanks for the superb ride report.
 

Offline daveh

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #113 on: March 02, 2019, 01:02:59 pm »
Really enjoying this report. Thanks for your efforts on "taking us along for the ride"
AT
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #114 on: March 03, 2019, 04:22:38 pm »
All I can say is "Wow!"

 8)

So encouraging to know you are enjoying the RR. Thanks for following :thumleft:
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #115 on: March 03, 2019, 04:24:59 pm »
I am probably not the only one who dislikes riding in the mud when on holiday.  Well done for having stayed so cheerful for the duration.  This certainly made for great reading.

That mud just became part of our every day routine and we kind of accepted it. Glad you're enjoying it.
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #116 on: March 03, 2019, 04:33:35 pm »
Real tough stuff folks, well done for getting through all that and managing to look cheerful for the photos ! I'm not sure I'd have been that willing to pose for photos having been through the washer the way you guys did. Utmost respect. This was a family adventure that few others will ever match. You can be very proud of yourselves.

Thanks Wilfwalk...somehow we managed to keep up our spirits and make the most of whatever situation we were in. Having Roxy with us also encouraged us to stay positive and make sure that she also had a good time and enjoyed it. Hahaha...going back now and watching all her gopro footage I came across a lot of cursing though!!
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #117 on: March 03, 2019, 04:35:21 pm »
Respect, well done and with that attitude life can only be good..one day when I'm big :thumleft:

Thank you....and never give up thinking about it and hoping for it.  ;)
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #118 on: March 03, 2019, 04:37:01 pm »
Hardcore family! Well done Karen and thanks for the superb ride report.

Thanks Cuzzy...glad to hear you are enjoying it and thanks for following it.....nearly finished ;)
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #119 on: March 03, 2019, 04:38:59 pm »
Really enjoying this report. Thanks for your efforts on "taking us along for the ride"

Thanks for taking the time to follow this RR and for the positive feedback.
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle