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Author Topic: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya  (Read 5847 times)

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Offline 0012

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Re: Just dying! Hurry up Easter Bunny!
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2019, 10:52:42 am »
So, stay tuned, basically, cause Easter out in Kenya is gonna be:



 :snorting:

 :imaposer:   :imaposer:

Tuned!   :thumleft:


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Offline Bommelina

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2019, 11:32:47 am »
Tuned in

hh
 

Offline Osadabwa

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XR650R Borderlands Braaap - Return to Lake Stefanie
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2019, 03:02:53 pm »
Just got back from the far North, folks. Here's the RR Teaser:

Three XR650Rs make a 2000km, 10-day loop to the Northern Frontier of Kenya.



Once a year the stars align and a couple of guys have time to do a serious trip. This year, three of us took 10 days to explore the Far North of Kenya. Our mission for this trip was to revisit Lake Stefanie, a dry salt pan on the border with Ethiopia that Panic had visited 28 years ago on his overloaded XT500. He has a pic of him standing on border stone C29 that we used as our inspiration for returning. It was just the kind of mission I love: random, achievable, far out, and quirky, and on the XR650R, it would be a pleasure.


Above: The goal of the trip: return Panic to Lake Stefanie.

Most folks (including me) have always referred anything near Lake Turkana as “going to Turkana”, but after this ride I think we need a new term for the area in the extreme north, East of the Lake where the Turkana are actually few on the ground. The post-colonial name for the place: Northern Frontier District better encapsulates the feeling of the place and lets the Samburu, Rendille, Gabra, Borana and Dasanech people we met along the way not be side-lined. We had a blast. Here’s a nibble.























That should be teaser enough.
More soon…
Oink
 :snorting:
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 07:47:57 am by Osadabwa »
 
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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2019, 04:38:41 pm »
 with rolling baby-heads.

I've heard gruesome names, but this one takes the win!! :eek7: :o :deal:
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Offline Sam

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2019, 01:32:01 pm »
Looks awesome as always - looking forward to the rest.

Do you guys ever work.....?
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day one - Nyahururu
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2019, 08:02:39 pm »
Panic and I left on Friday, kitted and ready for the long journey. We’d meet Neb in Nyahururu later that evening, but first we had some valley blasting to do. The bikes initially felt heavy in their full travel trim, and like the last ride I did, I managed to drop mine within the first hour (Moses, see this trip report from December!). Fortunately, this time I didn’t puncture the radiator, and I quickly got back into the rhythm of the heavier setup, allowing the XR650R to soak up the rocks and ruts, which loaded she handles even better than light.


Above: The Ngong Hills wind turbines in the morning


Above: Panic and a local giraffe… a good omen!


Above: Later, I found a dead thing… maybe not such a good omen?


Above: Descending the usual tracks, letting the BRP run like a train






Above: Everyone laments the ongoing drought… I can’t help but think maybe there are simply too many people, cows, sheep and goats. Regardless of the meteorological situation, what do we expect will happen?


Above: Across the Narok road and heading up the Mau… dusty as hell it was. In the past month, I know of 2 guys on Baluga Bikes that were punished by the fesh-fesh… the Pig isn’t laughing at you, she’s laughing with you fellas, but she just roared through it all.



To be continued...
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Borderlands Ride - Day 1 continued
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2019, 08:11:29 pm »
Having zipped through our usual backyard terrain, I was keen to explore some little tracks that might drop us past Soysambu and into Gilgil in an interesting and hopefully greener way. I caught sight of a little track and took it up to a pretty little overlook that seemed quite promising. In the distance, paths could plainly be seen going over the hill. We dropped in and scampered up the other side and were rewarded with fantastic views of L. Naivasha below, but the track vanished into fields and the gorge on the other side looked rather imposing, so we looped back and found a bar to quench our thirst for adventure instead. The Pigs had places to be, we couldn’t be farting around all day.


Above: That track wasn’t on my GPS… why? Probably because I could see it would dead-end




Above: Panic descends as a donkey cart comes up.




Above: Somebody parked their boda on the trail… Panic stalled the Pig getting past!


Above: At the top, not caring we were going to have to abandon ship


Above: They were lovely views… with less kit I’d be keen to try again


Above: Panic gets the hell out of Dodge


Above: Later, crawling through a dusty riverbed where yet more livestock eeked out a pitiful existence, I managed to run right square over a baby goat. RIP little fella, the Pig takes no prisoners.


Above: Miserably dusty and windy, we found a bar and took a load off.


Above: The place had the right idea: we’re on holiday man! Relax and enjoy!

From the wee bar, we set off through more and more dust and not many trees. It didn’t seem right considering where we were, fairly high up and not far from Eburru Forest which Wry assures me is quite a nice little place. But it’s back to the numbers: too many people, cattle, sheep and goats. Below is a comparison of LandSat images taken in 2003/4 when I first came through Kenya on a bike, and now. I guess it’s pretty clear the direction we’re heading in. In 2003/4, there were 34-35 million souls, now there are 49 million. It’s the way of the world I guess. I read somewhere that Iowa has only 2% native prarie where it used to be 100%, and England is only about 10% forested… change is inevitable, but in Africa, it’s just happening faster and right under my nose and one never has any faith whatsoever in those in charge at any level to do the right thing. Anyway… on the positive side, desertification is great news for XR riders.


Above: The track we took overlaid on the formerly green Mau Escarpment vs now. Spot the difference, kids.

We split down toward Gilgil past Soysambu, through more dusty misery where a few camels nibbled between the thorns for a gob full of leaves. To my complete surprise, I stumbled upon a memory from 2004. When I passed through here on my BMW Dakar (gak) back then, I took a pic of a monument to a Mexican Priest who had died in a car crash at that spot in 1974. Lo and behold, there was the monument again! It’s an odd sensation, like stepping back in time. It would turn out that time and our grasp on it during this trip would be decidedly flexible… this was just the first taste.


Above: Soysambu camels probably faring better than the cattle


Above: The Mexican Priest’s monument… flashback to 2004 for me


Above: Lunch stop in Gilgil… pretty damn good eats… made me ponder the meaning of life… or I was just worn out already!

From Gilgil, we tarsmacked it to the Thompson’s Falls Hotel where Neb showed up in time for beers and a hearty dinner. None of us slept worth a damn… to excited for the day to come.

Stay tuned.

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2019, 08:54:11 pm »
Ok, Im tuned. Spoil us  :sip:

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 2 - Ngurunit via the Milgis Lugga
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2019, 05:47:56 pm »
We were keen to get up North as quickly as we could, so after we dinked around at the hotel a bit in the morning and had a full breakfast, we shot up the road to Rumuruti to Mugie and on to Maralal. As riding goes, it’s fairly horrible, and soon the Nairobi super bikers and BMW bandits will be able to test their speedometers there… tarmac cometh. I wonder if it will continue on to Loiyangilani?


Above: The hotel at Thompson’s Falls


Above: Stopped for a whiz near the Mugie gate and watched lazy zebras out for a drink.

In Maralal, we did a quick fill-up and turned down the track that falls off the escarpment. It was only a few months ago we were here, but I still got caught out by a deep dip. I’ve done it before and it punished me badly this time: I approach something fast and decide I’d better not hit it full speed (usually a bad idea, but saves you breaking stuff), so I slam the brakes and downshift. On hard-pack, this sometimes stalls the engine and locks the rear wheel. A bike moving at 50-60kph with only one rolling wheel is in deep shit when it hits the obstacle, and when I hit this one, I went flying. Hit hard, smacked my noggin, rolled around a bit, but was absolutely fine (cheer, AGATT warriors!). Not even a bruise, but the lingering sensation that I am doing something dangerously wrong nagged me most of the trip. Public Service Announcement: Cover your clutch folks! I probably don’t have to tell you, but my stupid ass needs reminding.


Above: See that huge dip? Me either, hence the surprise. Bike melted plastic against the dirt on impact.

On with the show, we scooted down the concrete slabbed road to a nice look-out spot for a picnic that included cheese (thanks Neb! But what, no butter?) and some tasty sardines and bread. From there it was a shot straight to the Milgis on an ever-improving road. The first time through there, it was a challenge to find it. In December, it was twisty and tricky. Now, the motor patrol has made it mostly arrow-straight, if still quite whoop-y in spots. Anyway, in Kenya, a dirt road always tends toward entropy. It’ll be shot in a couple of seasons.


Above: Neb gets it up


Above: Descending the valley


Above: Our lookout lunch spot


Above: Troglodytes at table, and remnants of a child’s game on the stones




Above: Post-prandial braaping - it’s quick going from the hills to the riverbed


Above: Those two guys, I’m thinking, are not right in the head.

The Milgis was sandy and dry and we were gagging to get tracing. In December, we rode the riverbed to the top of the Mathew’s range, this time we’d be taking her all the way to Ngurunit, 80km away. On the pigs, that was accomplished in very short order, even with stops to admire the scenery. It was quick, and loud, and very, very enjoyable as always.


Above: Panic comes around the rocks a bit askew, as you do


Above: The Milgis. It’s a blur






Above: My weapon of choice

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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To Ngurunit via Milgis Lugga... continued
« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2019, 05:54:59 pm »

Two thirds of the way down the Milgis, past the turn to the Mathews is the riverbed’s only impassable feature. The stone barrier several meters high must be an impressive waterfall when there’s rain. It forces you out of the riverbed under a nice shady tree where you can watch the goings on below. We rested for an hour watching herd after herd of livestock walk slowly up the hill and around behind us. Herders were interested but mostly left us be. One guy had a modern rifle, another carried a tanned cow hide in a roll. The heat was pretty serious, being early afternoon, so watching the moving matinee was just the thing to do.






Above: Panic and I under the sit and wait tree


Above: Samburu fellas watching the wazungu watch the riverbed

Dropping back into the riverbed for the last half-hour of blasting, we were treated to great views of the Ndotos in the background, and some big, soft, white sections of sand interspersed with the more common brown, cracked clay from above. In a couple of spots, there were fairly high drop-offs where a cross current had cut a channel in the sand that caught us all by surprise, but the solution was throttle open, lean back and launch. So much fun. On our return trip, we’d find out that the Milgis isn’t always so forgiving…


Above: Neb drops back in for the rest of the ride


Above: The Ndoto mountains are spectacular things




Above: The Milgis is so wide in places you can lose track of the other riders


Above: That soft, white sand is fantastic




Above: Out of the riverbed for the 10km clip into Ngurunit. A very lovely way to end the day.


Above: Ngurunit town entrance

We arrived to our usual spot, the container shade camp. It’s great because you don’t have to fiddle with your tent, you just put your sleeping mat down and they provide a mosquito net. Neb skipped that step as well and just tossed his mat on the ground. We lighted up Panic’s East German Jewel stove and hammered a huge pasta dinner Neb organized while sipping fancy infused vodka some ex girlfriend had gifted him. It was a pretty cosmopolitan night, and would kind of set the standard for what to expect, even as we ventured farther and farther into the remote north.


Above: Ngurunit container camp


Above: Warm beers and crusty bikers… can’t guess why we weren’t swarmed by the local ladies while we were there. I guess, unlike our wives, they have high standards.

It's probably worth watching the re-cap video... it was certainly fun to make.



Tomorrow: Chalbi Desert

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Sheepman

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2019, 06:46:20 pm »
Cool report and vid  :thumleft:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #31 on: April 24, 2019, 09:50:47 pm »
Alright, you have my attention.  For my next sabbatical I may need to plan a ride up there for a month or three.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Good exploratory DS riding is very difficult to come by here in Southern Africa (though I just found and explored a local Simpson desert that for some reason none of the locals know about, even if I told them about it already few years back myself - will do write up on that later on), so a trip up to your village where the exploration possibilities still look alive and kicking may be in order. Just keep at least some of that forrest going till I come - a break from all the dust will be most welcome.

Anyway, carry on, I'm watching with great interest  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 10:05:51 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Xpat
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2019, 06:20:49 am »
Hey Xpat, karibu sana. Come on up!

I have a million places I'd like to go, but sometimes get deterred by tribal bullshit or extreme weather (heat, mostly, but also rains... we dodged a flood by 2 days this trip). There are big sections of excellent territory that most sensible people won't go to because they're afraid of being caught up in a gun battle. The US Embassy et.al. are on the extreme end of the spectrum, saying you can't even visit the places I've just returned from, which is silly, but it's hard to filter the truth in the unnecessary fear mongering.

Anyway, the writeups are done, so let me just dump them all in here and have it over with!

 :snorting:

 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 - The Kaisut, Koroli and Chalbi Deserts
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2019, 06:42:09 am »
We slept soundly despite the heat and were up at dawn to a cacophony of bird song. Quick coffees, ablutions, some bites and we were on the road again, blasting toward Korr and Kargi gutting the Kaisut desert on the way to the Chalbi and Kalacha beyond.


Above: Monkeys above and monkeys below, leaving the Ndotos behind


Above: Leaving Ngurunit is always fast and beautiful




Above: Near the junction to Ilaut, camels, camels everywhere.




Above: Quick going in the early morning – check out the Kori Bustard in the lower left… largest flying bird.


Above: Through an open, flat plain, we arrived to Korr where a line of Rendille igloos hunkered behind a beautiful riverine tree.


Above: Korr – Yes – O K. Wheelie Neb!

It was only about half an hour from Korr to Kargi, but it was good fun. The road kind of spluttered and vanished at times and we were left to braap over dunes til we found it again, and then there was a large, empty reservoir which afforded a great opportunity to do some track racing. In hindsight, I think we should have had a 3 way race. Next time, boys.


Above: The guys bundu bashing


Above: Me in the reservoir

In Kargi, it was noon somewhere, so we rousted around for a cold one. Failing that, we settled for a warm one at the absolutely fantastic Makuti Bar. Why was it fantastic? Because it was far away from the town centre, there were no kids or mentally ill around, and the clientele were fascinating. I spent an hour chatting with an old fellow who had been a peace keeper in Yugoslavia in the 90’s, had fallen in love with and American bird, but alas the cultural/political/passport issues separating a mzungu from Minnesota and a Rendille peacekeeper from Kargi proved insurmountable. So there he was, sharing a beer with his Christian friend (he was Muslim), and his bag of Khat with me (mild stimulant, no big deal). It was the best bush beer I’ve ever had.


Above: Ta-daaaah! The Makuti Bar in Kargi! Come one, come all!


Above: The boys and I and the wazee.


Above: Me with my Khat leaves, the Muslim mzee Sandap from the Peace Keepers (he was also a paratrooper) and his Christian mate, and former Chief of Kargi, Mr. Wambile. Take note, world. This is how you do it. I took their numbers for the next time I pass by, and we bought a round before saying adios.

The beers made us peckish, and it was still hotter than the hammers of Hell, so we asked the wazee where we could grind some goat. Sandap whips out his phone and calls up one of his wives and directs us to the Bismallah Hotel, a place we would definitely not have taken seriously otherwise… it looked a bit like a goat shed. We chowed some delicious mbuzi stew with potatoes, fresh chapos and cabbage, had a cup of pre-sweetened, smokey tea and were geared up to head out into the unknown. I had planned an off-piste section to get us to the Chalbi Desert that would be, possibly, kind of interesting.


Above: The Bismallah in Kargi


Above: Happily chowing down

The track out of Kargi started out very clear. It was a big, dusty double-track that led through the fesh to a black stone-covered island in the middle of the Koroli Desert that borders the bone-dry and flat Chalbi. My track petered out at the stones, so I followed the compass north to find where we were headed. The Koroli is white-sand with little dried flat-spots in between. It all winds through thorn bushes that leave just enough space between for a bike, but you still need to watch out for thorns if you’re running tubes. I loved it, the oppressive heat notwithstanding. It was fun to wind your way through the soft stuff, hit the pans and open it up, slam it back down into a dune… magic. Not sure the others liked it as much as I did.


Above: The black stones start, Koroli is on its way… yes that rim is as bent as it looks


Above: Primates make extensive use of body language to communicate: Panic, the largest gorilla on the trip, is displaying clear body language in the photo above. My years of riding with him tell me he is conveying a particular message to me. It says: If I get a puncture, I’ll have your nuts.

To be continued...



 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 - Borderlands braap continued
« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2019, 06:48:21 am »
It was hot, so it felt like forever, but quickly we were on the white sand dune that borders the southern edge of the Chalbi, that empty lake-bed maybe 20km wide and 100km long that has long fascinated, and sometimes swallowed visitors. From the dune we could see what at first looked like black stones shimmering in the distance, but Panic’s eagle eye said: that’s green… there is an oasis there. Sure enough, it was. As we approached you could make out the daum palms eeking out an existence in the salty soil. Four or five wells had been dug, each about as big around as a really big hot-tub. Two were dry, but with mud just below the surface, one was full of brown murky water, and the last was full of beautiful, clear green water. The green pool was the most appealing, but very salty. We ladled a bit out just to cool our necks, enjoyed the weirdness of the place and pressed on. I wanted to bee-line it for Kalacha, but Panic has seen what the middle of the desert can hide: mud just below the surface, so we stuck close to a pre-existing doubletrack and flew.


Above: From the white border dune, looking out to the Chalbi


Above: Neb approaches the Chalbi, the oasis a black dash-dot-dash in the distance




Above: Panic drops in


Above: At the oasis, a muddy pool


Above: The sense of space here is surreal… you couldn’t be more exposed. And it was oven hot, set on convect with a steady wind. According to Butterball, our three turkeys should have been cooked in 4 ½ hours or so, basting with the juices every 30 minutes to keep moist.


Above: Left – I stepped into one of the “dry” holes only to sink to my ankles in mud. This is what Panic predicted we’d find in the centre of the lakebed


Above: The green pool. Obviously at some time in the year people water animals here, but the water was very brackish when we visited. I badly wanted to swim in it too, but the idea of diving in there kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies… it looks like a porthole to another dimension, and I imagined myself crawling out covered in clay I had no way of washing off.


Above: Crystal clear jade water, salty, but good for a splash bath.


Above: This is the iconic Chalbi… cracked clay as far as the eye can see.




Above: Try to take a pic of guys riding and they just vanish into the heat-shimmering distance




Above: Turning toward Kalacha, we stuck to the double-track and flew. Neb hit 148kph just because


Above: Most of the time in the North, a wicked wind blew constantly, like an industrial hair dryer on you all day. The only positive side: the dust was usually blown laterally out of the way of the next rider.


In Kalacha we found suitable digs run by a nice chap near the now very run-down AIC camp that used to have a pool which is now dried up. The place had a solar fridge that they switched on only when we arrived, but it was full of beer and water, so it won our hearts (also, it was the only option). They made good grub and the huts were breezy enough. There was plenty of water in the showers for a periodic cool-down too. Soon there will be a place near the entrance of town among the palms that has a pool, but also boasts a hearty pong of cattle and camel shit, since it’s right next to a massive watering hole, and it no doubt buzzes with mozzies. If I’m honest, I’d give Kalacha a miss next time, knowing what I know now.


Above: Our digs. Comfortable enough to be sure. We slept like the dead, despite it being on the main road.


Above: The AIC church wire fence makes beautiful modern art in the evening light… that’s me trying to spin the fact that there was garbage everywhere


Above: We were in Gabra country now, but the cloth, cardboard and plastic igloos remain unchanged.

It was another fantastic, rip-snorting day... see the vid for a sense of the space out there:


Next up: The mysterious Huri Hills...
 :snorting:
« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 06:49:30 am by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 - Huri Hills and the Stone Racetrack
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2019, 07:15:49 am »
We crawled out of our huts at dawn and right away Neb noticed an issue with his bike: one of the puny ass 6mm bolts holding his rack and 25kg of kit had snapped. Panic, I’m not positive, but I think I remember suggesting Neb replace those with larger, 8mm bolts last time we were with him? Or? Or? Or? Anyway, we knew this would delay us, but because Kalacha had options for help, it wouldn’t end the ride.  Neb zipped off to the Catholic church to pray for redemption and forgiveness. While he was there, he met a German priest who had a massive workshop and opened it for our use. He said “I’m here to save souls, but I probably save mostly travellers! The Chalbi breaks everything.”


Above: Me, doing my best visual representation of schadenfreude… Neb, look it up


Above: The workshop in Kalacha is as big as the church, and very well stocked. Many thanks for opening your doors for our little brother!

Neb drilled out his 6mm bolts and tapped in 8mm ones (finally) and we were on our way. It was approaching noon when we left, but we didn’t have too far to go. The plan was to ride through the Huri Hills to Forolle at the Ethiopian border, then cut west to Dukana where we would stay at a mission station manned by Neb’s friends. It was 100% new territory for all of us, and it turned out to be a fantastic day.


Above: Neb admiring a bit of volcanic art




Above: At first I thought these little towers of stone were grave markers, but later I saw them put to use as mini baby goat corrals. Clever.




Above: The approach to the Huri Hills was all loose stone, very rideable, but treacherously sprinkled with those rim-bending, bar-wrenching embedded buggars that for some reason you can never see until it’s too late. Probably a good idea to slow down a bit, but we didn’t.

The higher into the Hills we rode, the cooler it got. Coming from the blast furnace of Kalacha, it was absolute heaven. The place was serene. Bright, dry, yellow grass carpeted the scene. Big, funky trees huddled in groups along ridge lines, and the breeze was almost what you’d call cool. We were sight-seeing properly here, toodling along and taking it in. In future, I’ll fuel up in Kalacha and ride up here to camp.


Above: Panic! You forgot to turn on your beauty filter… and the enigmatic Huri Hills




Above: We parked under a tree for a noonish nibble

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 of Borderlands Braap continued...
« Reply #36 on: April 25, 2019, 07:21:25 am »



Above: These trees all had white bands around their trunks and had signs indicating they were protected. Now that’s a crazy assed idea in Kenya. Think of all the charcoal you could make instead!


Above: I’d happily return to the Huri’s to figure out more about the sacred landscape. For whatever reason, it was really endearing. Probably because it was a little island of cool air above all that Northern Frontier District heat




Above: Neb believes he can flyyy!






Above:  These purple flowers were a nice break from the bleakness around.








Above: Sacred to whom? Sacred for what? Qalqach Gandille sounds like something out of DUNE

We were descending the Huri Hills and trundling down to the superheated plains once again. Soon the Forolle Mountain marking the Ethiopia border loomed into view. On the way down, we saw the first of only maybe 3 vehicles on the roads for the entire trip. This place is that remote. High from the riding, we made a plan to find a cold one in Forolle to celebrate. Again we had a great experience at the local bar. The piss warm beers were Harar from Ethiopia, and the drunks were all very pleasant. Neb went inside to chat, and Panic and I held court by the door, joking and laughing with a guy who turned out to be the local police sergeant. I asked why he was pissed on a Wednesday afternoon, but he assured me it was fine because he had sent all the rest of the police to Marsabit for work!


Above: Neb descends toward Forolle, the border of Ethiopia




Above: Neb and his drinking buddies in the Forolle bar. Of course we bought the house a round.


Above: Harar beer and a lady from the Borana tribe that criss-cross the border region




Above: Right, our friendly police sergeant points accusingly... he was funny

To be continued...
« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 07:28:16 am by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 4 of borderlands braap continued again...
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2019, 07:27:37 am »
We were bouncing from good experience to good experience up there in the North. Just loving it, and so happy the US Embassy keeps telling everyone to stay away for their safety… So after the pit-stop, we were exactly half-way to Dukana and it was getting on in the day. Fortunately, we were on the time machines and keyed up for a trace. The road was a bull-dozer track pushed through endless miles of basket-ball sized basalt boulders, leaving only baby-heads and marbles on the track. We just went for it. Overlapping each other every 10 km or so, we kept everyone together without needing to stop, and it was excellent.


Above: Leaving Forolle… hope to return again soon!




Above: In the background, under the tree, you can just make out Neb, nearly going off the track… his ambition exceeding his abilities


Above: These two knuckleheads picked the exact same spot to nearly ride into oblivion, just by that tree in the distance. I was on the hill waiting to take a pic and saw them both hit the brakes and skitter off the side… hilarious! Full moon was already up… maybe that’s what had gotten into us.


Above: The rocky track was so much fun, Panic’s leg tried to race him around every corner.


Above: Neb



By the time that magic afternoon light had gold-plated everything, we were within view of Dukana. I pulled off to admire Gof Dukana, a big volcanic crater. We organized a selfie and slipped past a really long camel train into Dukana where Neb took us the back-way into the mission over a rockfield and we were warmly greeted. That night, we were invited to either pitch tents on the stony ground, or put mattresses in the church. We chose the latter and it was fantastic. The wind never stops up here, so we cooked inside among the pews and spent the evening watching the moon and stars on the porch. Neb and I put mattresses on the porch and Panic slept inside… I think it was the best sleeping of the whole trip.


Above: XRRs, happy bikers and Gof Dukana


Above: Keep your Marlboros. This is Camel Country




Above: Neb asking for the kanisa


Above: A kid, his sheep and his igloo


Above: Arriving at the mission in the stones and wind.


Above: Panic, our happy chef, whipping up Rat Pack #13, Lamb Rogan Josh… oh man, that is indeed heavenly.


Above: Clever makeshift stained-glass cross. I love the ingenuity of people in these places.

That was a fantastic day. Have a gander at the moving pictures:


Next time: Ileret

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 5 - Ileret and the petrol debacle
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2019, 07:50:13 am »
Rested from our night in the church, we kitted up and blasted off early before the church resumed its former duties, but not before this fateful discussion:

Our host: Do you have enough fuel?
Me: [Confidently] Oh yeah, totally. Let’s go.
Panic: [Sotto voce] Maybe we need fuel, or?
Neb: [even more Sotto voce] Yeah, umm, maybe we need fuel, nguys.
Me: [Confident AF] Nah, we’re good. Let’s go.
Panic, Neb: [Shrugging meekly] Sawa…

And just like that, a German Master Mechanic and a mechanical engineer allowed a guy with an arts degree to do the math for our fuel needs. This is how you end up with the Holocaust people! Smart people listening to idiots! Off we braaaaped... Dumb, Dumber and King Doofus.


Above: Panic counting his bressings.

The ride out of Dukana in the early light was simply splendid. The road is BMW worthy at first and the views are spectacular. The mountains in Ethiopia lord over the scene here, as we skirt the border area. We rode fast and loose for about 50km. At a lovely spot where the road starts to get a bit rocky, Neb says: Um nguys, we shouldn’t be too macho about this fuel situation… once the level ngets down where it is, it ngoes fast. And only then did I realize we weren’t going to make it to Lake Stefanie and on to Ileret, and it was my fault. Shit. Grim faced all around, we decided (again idiotically) to ride to Sabarei police post to see if they have fuel (they didn’t, of course they didn’t) and then on to Ileret in safe mode, rather than turning tail and going back to Dukana then and there. We decided if the levels got too low, I would poach their fuel, leave them in the bush, fill up in Ileret and come back for them. Thankfully, as we got closer, it became clear we’d make it, but only just.


Above: Early light on parallel with Ethiopian border




Above: The road cut through a lot more greenery than I thought we could expect up North




Above: The a-ha moment for me: Neb says we’re screwed, fuel-wise and it finally sinks in.




Above: Down we go, rather than turning back to Dukana for petrol like clever people would have


Above: At least the scenery was lovely


Above: Puttering slower than a 990 through fesh-fesh with a bubbling clutch, we crawled towards Ileret. I felt just like this cow… if the Pigs can’t fly, they make you cry.


Above: In Ileret, we found the most expensive fuel in Kenya: 200 KES/L, and we were thankful to have it. Panic’s red tank was totally empty as we ploughed through the deep sand.

To be continued...
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 5 of the Borderlands Braap, continued...
« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2019, 07:51:07 am »
Thankfully, spirits quickly revived. All of us jointly owned up to being morons for not sorting out the fuel situation in Dukana, and it made me feel a lot better. We found first world digs at the Turkana Basin Institute and were promptly fed a hearty lunch with cold beers to boot. Settling in to a half day rest period, we got into the right frame of mind. After a nice little afternoon nap and several showers (hot, I tell you, hot), we set off in the afternoon for a little recce of the border. The semi-permanent Kenyan researchers we met indicated there may be Ethiopian beers in the villages up the way, so we went for a lookysee.


Above: TBI makes Ileret a fantastic place to be.


Above: Views from the dining pavilion over L. Turkana. This place hosts dozens of students and researchers each year, and has a full-time staff that were super organized and accomodating.

In cruising trim, we set off for the lake and the border. A big raincloud was sweeping the area ahead, and the light was amazing. We passed by Lake Turkana, but here there were high reeds that precluded a good view. At some point, I was riding along through a village, looking for a bar, and I hear Neb hoot somewhat insistently and a little testily I thought. I see him roosting back the way we’d come, and quickly realized why: we’d entered Ethiopia by mistake. Amharic writing on signs, Ethiopian flags ripping in the wind… it was time to head back.




Above: Panic in his day-glo green cruising shirt. This man is a fashion icon.

As usual, I stopped to take a pic of the guys riding by. Neb takes it as his cue to pull a wicked wheelie, and I’m ready to capture the moment it all goes horribly wrong. Braaap! Up goes the nose…. Out come the feet… down goes Neb… here comes his bike! The whole thing happened in slow-motion, but I was pretty sure he was going to take me and my bike out as well. Thankfully, he missed, but he did manage to break his rack (again). After that, we cruised home, got more 200/= fuel and watched the sunset over L. Turkana with some very refreshingly cold beers.


Above: About as far from home as you can get, Neb sends it and bites the dust.


Above: Dust still settling, we were happy to see Neb wasn’t hurt despite not wearing his gear (AGATT fanatics, sharpen your pitchforks).


Above: More extortion at the fuel spot


Above: I don’t know why, but in Ileret, all the Igloos are made out of corrugated iron sheets! They must literally be like bread ovens in there! This must be proof that the Dasanech are the baddest ass folks in the region…


Above: Good night, you yellow burning ball of plasma. We’ll meet again.

Tomorrow - Lake Stefanie and the best ride of the trip

 :snorting:




« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 07:51:41 am by Osadabwa »
 
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