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Author Topic: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars  (Read 6888 times)

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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #60 on: February 05, 2019, 09:08:22 pm »

 Just when we think ‘woo-hoo.... the roads are improving’  we curve our way  around a corner and there’s more delayed construction and we’re slap bang in the middle of a quagmire  with a  heavily loaded truck axle deep across our path. It looked as if it had been there a while as rocks had been placed underneath it in an attempt for it to get some traction but as of yet no luck. Kingsley and Roxy managed to get past but I slipped down over a rock but with assistance managed to continue. We were now almost knee deep in mud but still with humour intact.








Roxy up front in a deep hole.








Firmly planted on a rock.





















Nice n easy on a pikki pikki  ::)

We set off once again onto a new stretch of tarred road...yippee!!  We always try to avoid tar but at times it’s such a relief and you just want to get off your bike, onto your knees and embrace it. Picking up a bit of speed was a treat but also short lived as it only took us down the mountain, into a village and then back to mud as we rode out of town. As the morning passed we began to tire and Roxy slipped in the mud, so we took this opportunity for a rest as we had been slip sliding around now for over 3 hours.  This was when Kingsley noticed that, to our horror, the nut from Roxy’s back axle had disappeared and the axle had started to slip out.  Our ‘limp wristed’ mechanic, who had obviously forgotten to tighten the nut after adjusting the chain the previous day, made a wonderful temporary plan with the, must always have, cable ties. Blondie had no idea of the risk involved. We constantly had to keep an eye on this axle and it became quite stressful. In Njombe we spent a bit of time trying to find a take away coffee but they don’t cater for the coffee craving tourist and even with the help of one of the locals we came out empty handed so decided to continue on our way to Songea, 233km of wonderful tar and about another 4 hours of riding.






Negotiating the busy street of Njombe.

"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 #61 on: February 05, 2019, 09:21:12 pm »

We stopped at little villages along the way to look for a nut for the axle. The chaps repairing bikes were very willing to help but also came up with nothing suitable as the size was always wrong.
So between Kingsley and I, we kept a sharp eye on the axle.




Reinforcing the cable ties.


Rain and road....just a different surface.

It was actually a pleasant ride, despite the intermittent rain and regular stops to check axle and a relief to arrive in Songea which was a busy town with lots more to offer than Njombe. Our first thought was to get to our accommodation as it was still raining and we were keen to find the Ruhuwiko Hunt Club which was a few kilometers out of town on the A19 road heading west towards the lake.

We soon settled into our room with a mattress on the floor for Roxy. It was a pleasant spot but very quiet. While relaxing at the bar and restaurant I phoned my son in Indonesia as we hadn’t made contact for a few days now.  He was in such a state and had already put out a missing persons report after contacting the embassies and various lodges that I had on our itinerary which changed after the second day of our trip. The Matema Lakeside Lodge reassured him that we had been there but left no forwarding address and that was the last he had heard about us. Panic stations. He firmly believed that we were very irresponsible doing this trip. If he had his own way he would have had us on a plane, out of there and back home.

I prepared him for our next 3 days of no contact as once again we would probably have no network. He politely informed us that our next holiday was caravaning at Shelly Beach, south of Durban. We enjoyed a little chuckle over this.




"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 Man from Nam

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2019, 08:19:07 am »
RESPECT!!!
One of the best RR's ever, cannot wait to read it daily.   :sip:
Thanks for the nice report and photo's, this is a bucket list adventure riding at it's best.
Thank you for sharing.
Life is great LIVE IT!!
 

Offline Mikie

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #63 on: February 06, 2019, 09:21:18 am »
Those muddy road are just insane
:paw:

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Offline RobLH

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2019, 09:55:58 am »
Those muddy road are just insane

Agreed, my sphincter is knypping just looking at them on the screen.
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2019, 05:13:08 pm »

DAY 8 :   23 DECEMBER 2018
SONGEA to MBAMBA BAY
DISTANCE:  165 km
10 am to 4 pm



“On soft sand, the sunlight’s colour shows it’s late.
All travellers sorrow fades away,
What better place to rest
Than this.”                     Du Fu







Can you believe it...it was raining again. Regardless, we got ourselves ready and at breakfast Roxy suggested we wait until the rain subsided...now this could take all morning. Kingsley’s creative side came out as he reinforced Roxy’s back axle with a make shift plastic handle from a dustpan. It was actually sitting nice and secure....this axle was going nowhere. I also decorated our handlebars with my travelling Santa buddies.....they’ve done a few Christmas trips now. We had to get a bit of Xmas spirit going as out here in this type of environment where there are no reminders of the festive season, spending most of our time on the bikes and only focusing on the trip one is inclined to forget ‘tis the season to be jolly.








 After whiling away more time in our room and after some coercing I convinced Roxy we had to move on. Despite it being a shorter ride today, 65 km of it would be a mud road up over the mountains and down to the shore and who knows what curved ball Africa would toss us today!
We put on our boots and got ready to get rained on.












This 100km of nice tarred road to Mbinga has been referred to as ‘the adventurous gateway’ out of Songea. There are buses that can take backpackers up to this town but from here on to Mbamba Bay you need to use the 4x4 dala-dalas (taxis)...which generally means ‘bad roads up ahead.’ The ride to Mbinga was good....and wet.

Despite the continuous rain, low lying grey clouds and occasional misty areas heading away from Mbinga we were once again spoilt with picturesque landscape. The lush vegetation interspersed with little huts and agriculture could only lift ones spirits. The rougher muddy roads required some attention from us but nothing too hectic that could spoil the day. Tight zigzagging corners merely slowed us down a bit.













But the best part of today’s ride was heading down the Rift Valley escarpment towards the eastern shore of Lake Nyasa. We stopped at the top to admire the view which sadly was being restricted by cloud cover. This was the start of a hard compacted beach sand pass.









"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 Oubones

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2019, 05:38:15 pm »
Nice, hehe you did not go down that single lane highway in the last photo? :laughing4: :peepwall:
Good on you all for carrying on in the rain!
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #67 on: February 07, 2019, 06:22:16 pm »
Wow!

I try to imagine myself on the AT attempting that ...  :o

So, when is the best time to do this the easy way?
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 punisher

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #68 on: February 07, 2019, 07:01:09 pm »
Great RR
YOU GUYS ROCK
VERY HUMBLING TO READ YOUR ADVENTURE , WHAT AN AMAZING FAMILY , WHAT AN AMAZING ADVENTURE
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #69 on: February 07, 2019, 07:33:05 pm »
We took a slow ride down to allow us time to absorb the beauty around us. In places the road had been slightly washed away at the edges but it remained a good road. We were treated to the occasional waterfall tumbling down in the distance and thanks to the wet season the vegetation was bursting with new colourful growth. As we rounded one corner we encountered a stationary bus. Initially we thought it had broken down but on passing through the narrow gap we realised that all the passengers were disembarking and taking the safe option to walk down a certain section of the pass. As we continued down we realised that this was a very good idea as the road was steep and extremely slippery with some serious drop offs. Perhaps this is the reason why the buses don’t go beyond Mbinga!













The river at the bottom of the pass was swollen and pumping.  Fortunately the bridge was strong and intact and we stopped here to check out the flow. I started to feel the excitement and was looking forward to seeing the lake.












Ol' Santa hanging in there.   :santa:


 I couldn’t believe it when I saw that road construction was happening down here as well. We still had a few kilometers to go before we reached the village and this soon to be completed road led us into the Lake Nyasa port of Mbamba Bay which was lined with tall coconut trees giving it such an exotic and tropical appearance. Little clay-brick houses with scruffy thatch rooves lined the new wide sandy road. Wow...this was really a pretty spot and worth every bit of discomfort experienced along the way.










We were heading for the Bio Camp Lodge which was another 5 km further north out of the village giving us some lovely but brief views of the lake. I was bowled over by this place.
Now if we had kept to our initial plan this would have been the last part of the road that we would have traveled south on from Manda. It was a good road up to the lodge turn off but apparently from there up to Manda it was not recommended in the wet season.










"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: Goingnowherekwickly, wilfwalk

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #70 on: February 07, 2019, 08:18:59 pm »

On arrival at the Bio Camp we were initially disappointed and wanted to find alternative accommodation. On glancing around it looked unkempt and poorly maintained and when Roxy discovered the monkeys in a cage she was furious. Peter was the guy to talk to and he showed us around the place.
 The rondavels were out of our budget as there were no card facilities and we were keen to pitch our tents on the beach next to the lapha but this was not allowed as the local fisherman and friends walked through this area as we discovered later in the day.  So after a bit of discussion amongst ourselves we decided to hang around here and pitched our tents under the insect infested thatch roof structure further back from the shore that passed as the campsite. It was a tight squeeze but we weren’t letting Roxy pitch her tent under another shelter which was a bit further away from us...she was to stay close to us.








The joys of your own room   :biggrin:

Kingsley chatted with Peter, who kindly offered to find out for us, about options of catching a ferry to Likoma Island from here. As we didn’t want to return to Songea, or take our short cut from Mbinga that we had so confidently plotted, in order to reach the Matchedje border post that was 130 km south of Songea. From the border post is was another approximate 130 km to Cobue (Mozambique) over a range of mountains and down to the shoreline about 40 km north of Cobue via an insignificant little road that spelt trouble in this wet weather.

 Being the only visitors here we could enjoy the shelter on the beach for ourselves as we spread our wet washing around. The setting was so pretty and magical making the lake look inviting and within minutes Roxy and I were in that water enjoying a good soapy, and much needed, wash down in the warm crystal clear water. Peter had arranged for his wife to make us a lovely big pot of fresh filter coffee. We made some popcorn to nibble on and decided that perhaps two nights here would be an awesome treat. The fishermen in their dugouts  had started returning and were selling off their fresh supplies.




















Popcorn flying ...and beers flowing!!

















The setting sun cast a stunning light across the beach and as it started sinking over the western horizon a beach fire was being made and chairs dragged out for us to lounge on and chill. What a perfect setting. We settled back, relaxed and started to appreciate this little patch of paradise.












Dinner was provided and was a delicious spread of rice, cream spinage, roast potatoes, a spicy tomato salsa and desert was chopped pineapple. We devoured this meal with great speed and enthusiasm.



By 9 pm we crawled carefully into our tents so as not to upset any creepy crawlies in the thatch and slept soundly.


"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 MRK Miller

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #71 on: February 07, 2019, 11:35:21 pm »
The young lady, Roxy, is she your daughter, is she spoken for  :deal:

Find it interesting that she rides without the jacket most of the way, and no one has had anything to say about it. Must be that charming smile, that keeps the silent.  :lol8: Anyways, awesome report and worthy of honory role. Would also love to see that area, as i would a 100 other areas :imaposer:. Love your outfits, i am cutrious though if the back packs don't put a lot of straighn on your shoulders, and when standing, does it not impact your movements. I am lucky in the sence my wife is also my riding partner, with now my eldest son who just turned 18, and after doing one elegal trip he is now legal on the raod. Dec we whent riding as a family, all 5 of us. Was awesome. So having your girl tag along i know is really special. Enjoying your writing, and your trips. You choose your areas well. Thanks for keeping our dreams alive

Thanks for your  response and interest in the RR. Roxy is so used riding around Bali, where she lived for 3 years, with no protective gear. On all our adventure rides safety has always been compromised for a degree of comfort and we have settled for helmets and boots. The other protective wear are uncomfortable and on longer, wet/hot trips come with hygiene problem. During normal travelling the backpack rests on the seat and one is actually unaware it's even there. When standing we find it best to have the backpack weight added to the body weight on the foot pegs rather than strapped to the bike, baring in mind we are slow riders. We also don't pack them heavy and they're very comfortable. I believe it also offers us some sort of a back brace in case of accident..
You are very fortunate to have your family share your interests and experiences with you. Wishing you many happy and safe trips together. :thumleft:

Thank you for the feedback. We feel the same around the safety gear, although i got my wife one of those amatilda vests. The back pack theory make sence when you think about, weight on pegs and so forth. I know from a lot of hiking done in previous years that they are very comphy. Enjoying your writing still. Makes night shift sweeter. Looking forward to the rest
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 12:01:48 am by MRK Miller »
Op God vertrou ons vir wysheid om Sy wil te aanvaar
 
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Offline MRK Miller

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #72 on: February 08, 2019, 12:04:19 am »
Please anyone. Some of the pic's are not showing is it because i read to fast for them to download, or am i missing a certain program or app
Op God vertrou ons vir wysheid om Sy wil te aanvaar
 

Offline wilfwalk

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #73 on: February 08, 2019, 12:07:02 pm »
The value of good photography ! What beautiful sunsets and scenery. Thanks for an amazing trip report. It makes my day. What are we readers going to do when its over - perish the thought ! Much respect to you all three of you in those tough conditions, well done.

MRK - I think your internet is just slow.
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2019, 05:01:25 pm »
RESPECT!!!
One of the best RR's ever, cannot wait to read it daily.   :sip:
Thanks for the nice report and photo's, this is a bucket list adventure riding at it's best.
Thank you for sharing.

Thank you very much...pleased to hear you're enjoying it. Will be posting more shortly.
"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 #75 on: February 10, 2019, 05:10:01 pm »
Those muddy road are just insane

These muddy roads were tossed into our daily riding so eventually we got used to it and at times actually  perversely looked forward to the muddy challenges.and we always rode slowly through the mud. Thanks for taking the time to read.
"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 #76 on: February 10, 2019, 05:11:47 pm »
Those muddy road are just insane

Agreed, my sphincter is knypping just looking at them on the screen.

Hahahaha....I know that feeling  ::)
"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 #77 on: February 10, 2019, 05:13:35 pm »
Nice, hehe you did not go down that single lane highway in the last photo? :laughing4: :peepwall:
Good on you all for carrying on in the rain!

Hahaha....nope...we stuck to the highway :ricky:
"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 #78 on: February 10, 2019, 05:18:40 pm »
Wow!

I try to imagine myself on the AT attempting that ...  :o

So, when is the best time to do this the easy way?

Probably never....hahaha ;D   No seriously.....we actually don't know as we've also been told that in the dry weather everything is brown and not as pretty but people do go at these times and enjoy 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
 
The following users thanked this post: Ian in Great Brak River

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #79 on: February 10, 2019, 05:21:00 pm »
Great RR
YOU GUYS ROCK
VERY HUMBLING TO READ YOUR ADVENTURE , WHAT AN AMAZING FAMILY , WHAT AN AMAZING ADVENTURE
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Thanks so much for that  encouraging  support...glad to hear that you are enjoying it. Thanks also for taking the time to comment :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