Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya  (Read 7737 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline White Rhino

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS HP2
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 3,918
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • Save the White Rhino
Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #80 on: May 08, 2019, 04:37:39 am »
Really great Adventure expedition in parts of Africa that we don't get to see. A nice mix of terrain to keep it interesting. Good skills show-off's and sharing the OMG moments.  You portrayed this through a fantastic RR - congrats!!.  :laughing4: :thumleft:
I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy
Nothing clears the head like a throttle twisted and the fresh air on the tip of the nose

Beta 300RR, WR450 Rallye, KTM990 Adv, HP2, HPN635, 1200GS LC
 

Offline Dustman

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Triumph 800 XC
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 471
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • We know less than what we don't know
Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #81 on: May 11, 2019, 06:16:36 pm »
Doing great. One of the best reads. Keep it up.
"Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
2019 05 - Breaking Rad...
« Reply #82 on: May 13, 2019, 03:29:01 pm »
Couldn’t sit still. Had to go ride. Over the weekend, I got replacement body armour for my slowly disintegrating, but trusty, Alpine Stars armadillo thing. This one is a shiny, white Leatt and I wanted to see how it felt… I already knew it made me look like a Stormtrooper. I left early and struggled to get into the rhythm. On the way out of Nairobi it was sketchy as hell with wet red clay on the tar roads where dump trucks had spilled it. Like riding on ice, particularly with a quite bald rear tire and a falling-apart front. It put me in a cautious mood as I started into the valley along the new railroad.


Above: Everything’s better on the dirt. I spent some time adjusting clickers and enjoying a cooler, greener, less-dusty valley.

There are so many new roads now that service the railroad. I followed the main one awhile and ended up in a huge, barren area where they’d mined soil and stones for backfill. A little track led out of it, and, though I could see it was rocky and steep, I was warmed up and keen to give it a go. My enduro skills let me down, and I stalled in a large stone section from which a bit of off-bike manoeuvring to extricate myself was required, but I managed and was feeling good. I often end up doing more technical stuff alone. I try to make sure it’s nothing that I can’t handle one way or the other.


Above: A new road down into the valley servicing the new high-tension lines and the railroad


Above: My rocky ascent from the quarry… another day I’d have cleared this spot, but today I needed to do some pushing and pulling to get out once I’d dug myself in. A nearly bald rear tire didn’t help matters, but it’s my lack of skill that cinched it.

Having successfully broken a sweat, I kept up the exploration and dropped off the big dirt onto a rocky path leading to a quarry in the distance below. I don’t know what the stuff is useful for, but it was gleaming white in the morning sun and quite a funky spot to explore.


Above: Back off the main roads in search of littler tracks


Above: Red bike down in the white mine


Above: I imagine all of that stuff was spewed out of Mt. Suswa or Longonot a few hundred thousand years ago in a hot, toxic ashcloud

Having reconnected to one of the usual tracks, I sped into Ewaso Kedong for a Coke and the worst mandazi I’ve had in a good long while. It would have made a better roofing shingle, frisbee or floor tile than a food item, but I was hungry so it went down anyway. From there over to Najile on what has become a truly abysmal road full of ruts and stones, and even more annoyingly: bodabodas. There’s so much more activity down there than only a few years back.


Above: Having turned toward home, I paused under a lovely shade tree to tinker with the clickers again and explored off-piste where I had a great view of the rift. Nice pics I took too, but they died with my phone a little later on…

I’m always looking for little tracks that crisscross the valley, hoping to open up new riding possibilities in a place I sometimes think I’ve explored to death. To my surprise, today I found some, and even though they didn’t connect anywhere really, it was fun to see a new place and it somehow highlighted just how rugged and beautiful this place is (despite the charcoal burners). Again, better pics went to digital heaven along with my Samsung.


Above: Looking down on a school in the distance… I think the teachers just gave up and let the kids go on recess when they saw me… the kids were kind of distracted by me and the bike. The many bluffs of the valley become more obvious from up above. It’s a rough place to eek out a living.

I zipped back home on the usual track beneath the Ngong Hills, but I don’t think you can really call anything “usual” anymore. This time, there were washouts from previous rains that made me pucker and a few new culverts that startled the hell out of me because they looked like huge holes (black soil being used, not wisely, to cover them up). The amount of effort being put into trying to keep this road alive is silly. They won’t succeed. The forest that used to climb the shoulder of the Ngongs is going going gone… now when the big rains come, water rockets down the slope like a freight train.

Then, just like that, I crashed.  Hard. I was within a few kilometres of the tar on a bit of track I know like the back of my hand. Just coming down the hill to where the pipeline crosses, I hit something and was on the ground crashing over embedded stones in an instant, the bike making an awful racket as it left metal and plastic bits everywhere. Turns out my new protector is the bee’s knees… didn’t feel a thing where the pads were… badly sprained my wrist, but that’s cause I still haven’t learned to fall right.


Above: Beats the hell out of me why, but here’s where I went down. I actually think it was a front wheel wash out… I have a shagged tire and a tired mousse up there and I think I just came in to the rocky part off-centre and maybe a little bit relaxed and lost the front. I’ll be ditching that setup post-haste.


Above: Unfortunately for me, I cracked my radiator… again… and it was leaking pretty heavily. I tried in vain to fix it with JB Weld, but just ended up making a horrible mess. Lots of people came by to offer help. One lady offered to let me leave the bike at her place while I organized a pickup etc. Considering how we ride through this place sometimes, engines screaming, dust flying, spooking the animals and kids… I was humbled by how empathetic they were to me and my plight. In the end, I just started the bike and took off for home, sprained wrist screaming over the last km of recently deposited stones to the tar. I stopped every so often to top up the radiator at petrol stations and made it home with no problem.


Above: Well, almost no problem… I killed my phone. Body armour worked though. Thumbs up for Leatt!

My new phone has been delivered to my house already (3 hours after getting home… sometimes Nairobi’s service industry blows me away). Now to place an order for replacement radiators… Oh the joys of off-road motorbiking!

 :snorting:

 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
Rad's fixed... wish my wrist were...
« Reply #83 on: May 16, 2019, 02:11:16 pm »
This afternoon, the radiator came back from the shop. Initially I was told they would block off four channels, but they ended up soldering it up instead. The guy said he didn't want to reduce my flow to 60% which I appreciated. He also threw in a couple emergency rations of cooling system Stop Leak which I may take along in future (pending a bit of research... not sure how it works yet).


Above: On the left is my road-side repair attempt plus a bit of faffing Panic and I did at his place before wisely sending it off. The middle is the rad out of the bike, so shiny after it's acid bath or whatever they do. No traces of that crappy JB Weld left and soldered and straightened (a bit). I don't mind at all that it's a gloppy job... I'd rather have 100% certainty against leaks than something purdy. On the far Right, the radiator is installed, this time with a brace for the big IMS tank I'll install soon. The brace is a copy of something the Acerbis guys include with their tanks (IMS does not... crap design all around), so I'm having it fabricated. I'm off by an inch with this latest iteration on one side.


Above: As I was refilling the radiators, this guy rocked up and challenged me to a race. I backed off, making excuses about my sore wrist... I know an ass-kicking when I see one.

 :snorting:
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

  • Forum Vendor
  • Castrated Dog
  • ******
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 28,841
  • Thanked: 419 times
    • dustriders.co.za
Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #84 on: May 16, 2019, 06:08:28 pm »
 for a Coke and the worst mandazi I’ve had in a good long while. It would have made a better roofing shingle, frisbee or floor tile than a food item, but I was hungry so it went down anyway.

 :laughing4: :lol8: :imaposer:
Hope your wrist heals quickly. :deal: :thumleft:
MOTORCYCLE ACCESSORIES RETAILER
info@dustriders.co.za
ENDURISTAN SOFTLUGGAGE IMPORTER
www.dustriders.co.za
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
2019 05 - Up where the bamboo (should) grow
« Reply #85 on: May 26, 2019, 10:55:10 am »
Still nursing my swollen and bruised wrist, I had no intention of getting on a bike for a while. Then Bwana called and invited me up to his forest retreat to go ride in the muddy, overgrown ferns and forest on his XR650Ls, and I gave in. 


Above: The pair of XRL’s. I am an XRR lover through and through, but for slower speed, all-around riding, the XRL is okay in my book. I wouldn’t enjoy it in the desert though…

The ride had a purpose. We wanted to go see how much illegal farming was going on in areas that are meant to be protected. Needless to say, we found a lot. This is important because recently an African Golden Cat was found near this area. This is a cat so rare that the National Museum of Kenya didn’t even have a taxidermy example of one after 100 years of stuffing and studying Kenya’s wildlife. If farms bisect all the traversable habitat, and farmers make permanent camps in protected areas, the cats (and wild forest hog, and elephant, and antelope of various types) will lose out.


Above: That red clay is amazing. Soooo slick! If you lose momentum, you’re going to have a hell of a time getting it back again!


Above: Amateur remote sensing before-and-after work. On the Left is imagery from Google Earth taken in September, 2014, on the Right, the most recent from February, 2017. It’s pretty clear how much land has been taken over by illegal farming in that time. If you look closely, you can also see a decent chunk of dark green is missing from the bottom centre of the 2017 pic, this was old plantation forest and was meant to be harvested. The lower left of the 2017 pic shows more green, which was supposed to have been eucalyptus plantation, but it’s so poorly planted you can’t tell… What’s clear is, things are changing quickly, and if it’s like elsewhere in Kenya, it’s changing without any plan, or worse, with outright politically motivated, tribal maliciousness.


Above: Some areas of planted forest and a bunch of ferny scrub


Above: The tracks were slick and interesting. We climbed around past poorly planted plantation forest and potatoes… neither are meant to be here. It should all be bamboo.




Above: Down in the valleys, people have largely left the bamboo and wild foliage reign. I suspect this is because the areas are difficult to cultivate, not because they want to retain a watershed or create wildlife corridors.


Above: On the motorbiking front, this swamp was lovely and challenging to cross… once you got to the other side, your wet tires made escaping up the hill a proper mission!


Above: Ferns and bamboo… that’s what’s supposed to be there. Given time, the bamboo will crawl its way up and over the rises.


Above: Potato fields and burned out bamboo. I have to say, blankets of green are always appealing, but it’s tempered by the knowledge that it’s eating into protected land.


Above: Potato blossoms are purple and beautiful this time of year


Above: The dead-zone underneath the canopy of cypress plantation. Nothing lives here. You don’t hear a peep of a bird or see a single antelope track. Again, it should be repopulated with native bamboo which thrived here naturally in colonial days. All manner of wildlife live in bamboo, which doesn’t completely cut out the light to the floor, making it a much better alternative to plantation trees (and can be used as highly efficient wood fuel, if permitted to be sustainably harvested).


Above: Two types of plantation trees separated by a nice, muddy track we assiduously avoided.


Above: The plantation’s edge, looking down into another natural, bamboo and fern-filled gully.


Above: Along a section of new potato fields. To the left is native bamboo. In the far distance is Aberdares National Park


Above: Potato harvest at the far end of the road. As recently as 2017, this was not cultivated land (see below).


Above: The far right is where the potato sack photo was taken. Neither Google Earth’s 2014 nor the 2017 imagery shows fields. This means they are brand new encroachments. Interestingly, the black cypress forest we rode through is also newish… in the top pic, you can see the trees were immature, whereas in 2017 the canopy had closed up. Now in 2019, it’s a dark, cavernous dead zone.


Above: Back at Bwana’s in the late afternoon. We’d gone only 40km or so, but I was worn out. My weak wrist made a convincing argument for not riding a second day as we’d planned, so we settled in with some beers and whiskey and chilled the evening away.

 :snorting:
 
The following users thanked this post: Fudge

Offline Dustman

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Triumph 800 XC
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 471
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • We know less than what we don't know
Re: 2019 05 - Up where the bamboo (should) grow
« Reply #86 on: May 30, 2019, 10:25:58 am »

Above: The dead-zone underneath the canopy of cypress plantation. Nothing lives here. You don’t hear a peep of a bird or see a single antelope track. Again, it should be repopulated with native bamboo which thrived here naturally in colonial days. All manner of wildlife live in bamboo, which doesn’t completely cut out the light to the floor, making it a much better alternative to plantation trees (and can be used as highly efficient wood fuel, if permitted to be sustainably harvested).


I once camped in such a plantation. It is so quiet in there the absence of sound is deafening. You hear your own heart beat and the blood wizzing in your ears at night.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 10:26:21 am by Dustman »
"Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
 

Offline Mooch

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #87 on: May 30, 2019, 10:45:57 am »
Sub. I still need to read this from the beginning...
If in doubt, flat out.
 

Offline sidetrack

  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: AJS (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 11,624
  • Thanked: 229 times
  • Beware the 250 roost !
Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #88 on: May 30, 2019, 11:31:00 am »
Great stuff, Xpat you will have a ball on your 500 there
Little by little, one travels far

J.R.R Tolkien
Ride reports :
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=134175.0 Penge's pass and the Old Forest http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=9421.0 - Orange Atlantic adventure http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0 - 805 km day trip http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=20260.0 - East Cape Bash http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=70199.0 - Two KTM thumpers head north
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
2019 06 - Caldera and cool water ride
« Reply #89 on: June 10, 2019, 04:23:40 pm »

It rained all week. Tired memes about rain flooded the WhatsApp groups. Last minute queries kept coming through: “Are we still going?” “You carrying a snorkel? A wetsuit?” But when the time came to saddle up on Friday afternoon, the gunmetal gray sky held her water and we were off for a 2-night camping ride to perennial favourite destinations, Mt. Suswa, the dormant volcano, and the Ewaso Nyiro river near Ngurumani.


Above: First day’s destination, Jurassic Park


Above: Second day’s destination: Jungle Safari


Above: The riders: 3 XR650Rs and 1 DRZ400

Right off the bat, I saw my ass. It was rather more annoying than that, actually. Having waited an hour for Wry to get his act together, we finally set off to fuel up. Waiting to cross the busy Ngong Road, my bike conked out. I kicked and kicked but couldn’t get the bastard going. Usually (always) draining the carb will do the trick, so I pushed across the street to where the others were waiting. Stupidly, I thought: “I’ll just hop on and see if I can bump start her…” while rolling into the petrol station. Instead, I bumbled a couple of steps forward, tossed my heavy boot up like a dog pissing on a tree, kicked the luggage (oh yeah, forgot that was there), lost my balance, and ended up head down in the freaking flowerbed. Wry and Puddles busted a gut laughing (cheers fellas) as did many on-lookers and matatu riders. Always happy to get stupid shit out of the way early, I ignored their goading, drained the carb and we were off.


Above: Having recovered from his laughing fit, Wry manages to ride without incident down along the new Railway that has properly altered the state of the valley. Tunnels are one thing, but there’s a bloody train station down there in the middle of nowhere… are Masai supposed to take their goats to greener pastures on the SGR?


Above: Puddles, the only thing wet in the whole valley


Above: Quick beer stop at Ewaso Kedong. Late afternoon coming on and not far to go to the campsite. Puddles finds a like-minded individual.

While the three of us were enjoying a cold one in Ewaso Kedong, Neb, coming from Naivasha, was playing enduro champion on goat paths at Suswa’s foot. Having destroyed his GPS in a crash on our long trip north in January (along with some of his memory, a few dirty words in French, and ability to do long division), he was riding by instinct. A natural navigator, is our Neb.


Above: Neb’s alternate route to Suswa

From the bar, we rode in brilliant late afternoon sunshine all the way to the top of Suswa in one push. Recent rains had knocked out all the fesh-fesh and the going was easy peasy. Arriving on the crater’s inner rim is always stunning. Despite having grown up in Kenya, Wry had never been to this amazing camp site. What a tosser.


Above: Wry enjoying the view


Above: Camp set, time to get a fire going and relax

At dusk, we heard a rumbling in the distance. Neb arrived in a blaze of Day-Glo yellow with stories of misadventure written all over himself. His Hi-Viz jacket was shredded from the detour through the thorns and his hands were bloody because he was too lazy to put on gloves. Silly Neb. We quickly stopped teasing him, however, when he pulled a cold six-pack of White Cap out of his bags. Clever Neb! We, too had been clever and asked a boda guy to head down to Suswa for a few brews as well. Our boda man showed up just as we were wondering if we’d been duped. How’s that for 5-star service? The night was long and raucous. At 11 or so, our beers were done, as was Wry’s contribution to the whiskey fund and a steady drizzle had settled in, closing the bar before things got out of hand.


Above: Left: Neb’s arrival. Right… I know I’m just talking about motorbiking… I don’t have any idea what Puddles is on about


Above: Evening scenes

Tomorrow, to the river...
 :snorting:



 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
Caldera to cool water continued...
« Reply #90 on: June 10, 2019, 04:32:19 pm »
Conscience nagging him no doubt, Wry was up before dawn stoking the fire and taking in the spectacular view. The inner crater wakes up to the echo of distant birdsong, fogged with steam from dozens of geothermal vents. One by one, the rest of us clawed our way to life, chewed down our instant coffees, replied to Nature’s call, and packed our bikes. Wry, the sly guy of the group, also brought a little surprise with him. Somehow, he ended up with a dozen stickers that say “Team Wanker” on them, with a chubby version of the iconic Trucker Babe silhouette in the middle colored in with a rippling American Flag. Unbeknownst to me, this lovely adhesive art piece had been applied to my bike, and throughout the ride, the stickers would find themselves affixed to one or another of our faithful steeds. Classic Wry. What a tosser.


Above: Suswa is surreal in the morning


Above: Wry on the edge. Don’t do it mate!  Be the best version of you.


Above: The first victim of the Team Wanker vandal… after my flowerbed incident, I reckon I earned it.

The ride out of the crater and down the slope of the mountain was cool, beautiful and a little bit tricky. It was not easy to tell where the dirt was friendly, tacky and dust-free and where it was evil, slick and treacherous. Puddles underestimated one spot and saw his ass, and there were several close calls for the rest of us. Before long, though, the little tracks we were following connected to the big dirt road to Mosiro. The dry murram was welcomed, but I of course managed to get a pinch flat against the edge of the bead lock on my XRR. That pissed me off. Happens all too often. Solution: chuck the bead lock and keep high pressures. I’ll run the risk of ripping the valve stem.


Above: Boys in the mud and Puddles’ mishap… no biggie, it’s not like he’d recently had knee surgery or anything… oh wait.


Above: Wry takes a break from updating his Grinder profile (he swears it’s Christian Tingle, but we know better) long enough to say a prayer for the Big Red Pigs


Above: Crossing a sand riverbed


Above: Puddles (d)ripping up the road


Above: A lone giraffe and a solo DRZ400


Above: Mosiro fuel stop… highly disappointing

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
Caldera to cool water continued...
« Reply #91 on: June 10, 2019, 04:32:59 pm »
Out the south end of Mosiro with full tanks, we were surprised at the state of the road. It was in good nick, apart from the fact that every culvert had washed away, it was quick going. And even further down, where many kilometres of large, loose rocks usually lie in wait to trip you up, recent heavy equipment work had smoothed things considerably. It made the riding a breeze, and I had a twinge of regret about that. I suspect soon it will be a proper road, which means more people, more junk and fewer trees. It’s the reality in a country the size of Texas whose population is growing at 1 million people per year and is ruled by thieves.




Above: A quick lunch-stop under a wide acacia.  Neb brought cheese and bread and Wry had tins of chicken with rice cakes. Not a bad combo.


Above: Weaver birds were busy making their nests


Above: Neb rides the new-and-improved road… a shadow of its former arm-pumping self


Above: Closer to Ngurumani, the sand and pebbles appear, inspiring hooliganism


Above: Through the weird plain dotted with hundreds of 2-meter-tall termite mounds


Above: Waiting for Puddles


Above: Muscleman Neb, the hairy-armed spider monkey


Above: At Ngurumani at last, we stopped by the bar for a quick beer before continuing on to our campsite on the riverbed


Above: I made a friend in the meantime. Considered wringing her neck for the evening’s vittles but she was nothing but skin and bones. Reminded Neb of an old girlfriend of his.

With a few to-go beers and waters packed up, we made our way down to the Ewaso Nyiro. The approach to the river was a nice, hard path down to the sandy horseshoe bend and nobody was stupid enough to try riding across the river to the other side (Rawlence!). Tents up, boots off, beers open and to the water. We lounged around in that flowing mud for an hour then stoked the fire and settled in with beers, British ration packs and biltong. Puddles called it quits by 8PM, but the rest of us continued on until the last drop of whiskey had burned somebody’s gullet.


Above: Camp on the river's edge


Above: A very muddy Ewaso… Neb didn’t even get in, saying it’s cleaner to stay out!


Above: Barefoot, beer in hand, fire going, pig resting, middle of Africa… I win life.

Tomorrow, the long way home...

 :snorting:
 
The following users thanked this post: Goingnowherekwickly

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
Caldera to cool water continued...
« Reply #92 on: June 10, 2019, 04:41:19 pm »
The call of nature had me out of the tent at dawn, and we were out of there in short order despite lumping, feckless Wry trying his revo best to hold up the show. After Neb and I returned the bottles, we moved down through the vacant Shompole Conservancy and the Ewaso Ngiro plains. There were a few zebras and sign of elephant dung, but the wildlife were vastly outnumbered by cattle, sheep and goats. The riding was lazy and beautiful though, with stretches through the short grass and down sandy double-tracks. Shortly, we were on the vast flood plain beneath Mt. Shompole.


Above: Neb can’t help himself… has to do some early morning donuts. Cold engine be damned!






Above: On the far right corner, you can make out the defunct Shompole Lodge. Rumoured to have once been one of the best in Kenya, the community and the mzungu owners couldn’t play nice so it now sits in ruin. There’s a moral there somewhere…




Above: Mt. Shompole in the background, on the Tanzania border


Above: A couple of real cool fellas


Above: Puddles splashes through the dust


Above: The HMS WryGuy nearly sees his ass on the other side of this crossing


Above: My lovely Piggy

I have a track that goes around Mt. Shompole to the edge of Lake Natron. I’ve never used it because it cuts into Tanzania, and the last thing I want is to get myself into an international incident with one of the most useless governments in Africa over a harmless 10km toodle through a deserted part of their territory. However, I have always wanted to ride down near the lake just to have a look, so I led the guys down keeping a close eye on my GPS to make sure we didn’t stray (too far) into Tanzania.


Above: Wry riding to the border

Neb and I were on a nice vantage point looking at the lake when Wry and Puddles go trundling past, oblivious, out across the border (not that there’s an indication of a border, mind you, but I can see it on the GPS). I give chase, and turned Puddles back quickly but Wry just kept riding. Finally, he realizes he’s gone too far and we head back together to the village. When we get back, the others are gone and I knew we had a problem. I see a man on his mobile staring fixedly at me. A bit later, there’s a guy on a boda-boda trying to block the road with a line of rocks (silly man, I’m on a Pig). Not interested to discuss where the arbitrarily drawn line of national demarcation between nations is, or whether I may or may not be in a wholly unmarked “conservation area” with some plain-clothes guy in the bush, we ignored it and kept riding. Later on, we encountered another roadblock where a couple of guys had piled a bunch of sticks across the road, but it, too was easily bypassed and we pressed on.


Above: Wry may or may not be slightly inside Tanzanian territory, but we were both once residents so I’m sure we’re all good… certainly anyone who lives anywhere near this border can come and go as they please, so why not us?


Above: Looking back up the trail… too bad we can’t just ride the whole loop


Above: Neb showing how he crosses home-made roadblocks


Above: Past Oloika, off the main road, we stop for a rest… Wry is a handsome devil...


Above: Puddles had chewed a fair amount of fesh-fesh in a low-speed oopsie and I’d acquired the Team Wanker sticker again…

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
Caldera to cool water... concluded.
« Reply #93 on: June 10, 2019, 04:41:57 pm »

Once we started up the volcano to Torosei, I forgot the unpleasantries with the roadblock nonsense and got into the rhythm for the first time all weekend. Up to now, I’d felt sluggish and off-balance, but the tight, rocky track flipped a switch and kicked my ass into high gear. I raced Neb up the mountain, through the villages to Torosei for a lunch and beer stop before the long, fast stretch home.


Above: Coming up the volcano track


Above: Here’s looking at you, Wry… I had to fix a loose bolt in my carrier… of course. In a nice twist, the place was serving Tanzanian beers!


Above: Puddles got Team Wankered, Neb talks shop with purple cat boy

From Torosei through Mile 46 and all the way to Olepolos for kuku choma, it was business as usual. Twist, splat, growl, pop-pop-pop blaaaap! After lunch we should have been only 30 minutes from home, but you are never home til you’re home and Mother Nature had a trick up her knickers. It had been raining steadily all day at the higher elevations and we found our usual exit spot very slick with slimy red clay on shiny black rocks. I skittered very gingerly past a place I’d previously dropped the bike and damaged my radiator and was very pleased to get away scot-free. I was even more pleased to see Wry lose half his bike in a hole! Ah sweet schadenfreude!


Above: I was really enjoying the ride by this point…


Above: Wry, you right tosser!

Once we extricated Wry from his predicament, it was just a matter of sliding sideways up the hill to the Pipeline road and the Southern Bypass where we splashed through the black gunk on Nairobi’s wet tar thoroughfares with the freaks and idiots. Almost totally fed up, I was granted a bit of comic relief as, in heavy traffic, I spotted a weak little 800cc Suzuki Alto with a huge sticker on the rear window proclaiming “Real men drive stick!” If you say so, Chuck Norris.

Great ride fellas!

Until next time.

 :snorting:


 
The following users thanked this post: halfjob, Fudge

Offline RrP

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #94 on: June 15, 2019, 07:13:39 am »
Thank you for another good larf n ride!!

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
5 hour solo ride - New tracks
« Reply #95 on: June 28, 2019, 11:57:03 am »
It doesn’t seem possible, but I keep finding new tracks. I’ve been waiting impatiently for a bit of sunshine to take my beloved Pig out to the Valley. Finally a small crack in the impenetrable cloud cover let through a few rays and I was off. Being only 15 minutes from dirt means a guy doesn’t have to plan much, and that was the plan for the day: No plan.


Above: Don’t you just hate evangelists? Always trying to get you to convert to their way of thinking. Why don’t they just shut up and go back to their FB bike-specific circle jerks forums?

The last trip I took, I was off. Just didn’t feel one with the bike. I was loaded with fuel and camping gear, but I don’t think that was the only factor. Sometimes, the weight makes the Pig more planted, but I felt nervous and didn’t trust myself. I think I just needed some distance between myself and a recent tumble that shook me up and bruised the hell out of my (still aching) wrist.

That feeling is gone. As soon as my tires hit dirt I was back in my happy place. The setup felt stellar (minimal gear…), the grip was spot-on, and I had all of the horses at my disposal. The dry ground helped, too, I suspect. Anyway, I went blasting in search of a track I remembered from several years ago. Didn’t find it, but spent several good hours on new stuff.


Above: Yes, the bike will be in every photo. She loves the hard-packed sand…


Above: …and the marbles and stones.




Above: I remember this little valley from 2014. Surprised to see the trees are still there!

After playing around on new tracks, it was still early so I set out for Baby-Head Hill to practice my rolling rock riding. A plan has been hatched to attack an area of Kenya I’ve had my eyes on for years… Suguta Valley… and I’ll need to get my rock-riding legs under me for it. Early August… stay tuned.


Above: Some valleys got more rain than others, clearly


Above: Such a nice area, sliding off the Rift


Above: Baby-Head Hill is only an approximation of the loose rock stuff up North, in terms of looseness, steepness and length … Even though I ride it all the time, I need more practice


Above: Amazingly, I bumped into a herd of 20 giraffe, some zebras and a small flock of Ostrich right after Baby-Head


Above: Having had a good 5 hours on the rocks, I decided to head back. On the way, my stomach started growling so I stopped for some ugali and a beer at Drips Point. Look rather glum in the shot, but I was happy as a pig in mud.

Riding solo always makes me happy. I love making decisions on a whim, not hesitating, turning back, going the wrong way, stopping or not stopping as I please. Many of the best riding is uncovered solo too… you don’t just wonder where that track goes, you actually go explore it.

Cheers

 :snorting:
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

  • Forum Vendor
  • Castrated Dog
  • ******
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 28,841
  • Thanked: 419 times
    • dustriders.co.za
Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #96 on: June 28, 2019, 04:45:47 pm »
Stunning area you have to ride/play in!! :deal: :thumleft:
MOTORCYCLE ACCESSORIES RETAILER
info@dustriders.co.za
ENDURISTAN SOFTLUGGAGE IMPORTER
www.dustriders.co.za
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
More rock and roll
« Reply #97 on: July 03, 2019, 06:28:29 am »
Invigorated by my solo day out, and by the re-emergence of steady sunshine, it was time to grab Panic and go for another rip. I wanted to show him some of the tracks I found the week before and to continue practicing the loose rocks. I forgot to load the right track but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we re-discovered an old gem and a connecting route down-valley to the Magadi Road. From there, we ripped through the sandy flats near Olegorsaile, spooking gerenuk, giraffe, ostrich and gazelle and hit Oltepesi for a quick Coke break before launching through the white chalk and rocks, capping it off with a bottom-to-top ride up the New Valley.


Above: Our usual entry point to the valley has been left with no trees and a hole in the ground, but the view of the Ngongs from atop the denuded hill is nice


Above: On a track I discovered in 2014 but haven’t ridden since. Pretty valleys and hills and the rocky, overgrown 4x4 trail leads down to the Magadi tar road.


Above: Descending a pretty long stretch of loose and embedded rocks. Nice way to get the blood pumping.


Above: Out in the flats on sandy, drifty track separated by rocky outcrops. The less travelled path is the more enjoyable at this junction.


Above: Climbing over a rocky outcrop and emerging into a little valley oasis full of giraffe and gazelle


Above: A wild desert hog takes a short break


Above: We practiced a few pivot turns on this forgiving sand and gravel plain before ripping back to Oltepesi for Cokes


Above: Starting up the New Valley track and pausing for a splash at the broken water pipe


Above: Looking up valley


Above: Side-tracked by an opportunity, we followed the riverbed but it fizzled out


Above: At the end of a couple kms of rolling rocks, great practice in the mid-day heat


Above: Always stop to smell the flowers


Above: Panic rests, roadside in the New Valley


Above: We popped out of the rocky section and flew on the fast dirt. 200km of rocks and sand had worked up quite an appetite. Off to the Drip for a beer and some chicken and chips.

Probably won't be back until August for the trip to Suguta... cross fingers for us on that one.

 :snorting:
 

Offline XT JOE

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #98 on: July 28, 2019, 05:31:45 pm »
 Pain in the ass not finding this thread for 2 months and then catching up when you do find it, sweet. Good reading and pics as always thanks. How did the new Leatt survive your wipe out- rocks look gnarly, assuming wrist as good as can be. Xr is lookin real good
BEER IS PROOF GOD LOVES US.
 

Offline Osadabwa

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: Honda XR650R
    Location: Rest of Africa
  • Posts: 311
  • Thanked: 120 times
  • Don't be surprised
Leaving tomorrow. If I don't come back, tell my wife I love her.
« Reply #99 on: August 05, 2019, 06:25:50 pm »
Well, it's finally arrived. I got two guys to agree to head to the Suguta Valley with me. 5 years ago when I arrived here, I started scouring Google Earth for riding areas and found a place that looked positively unimaginable. It was a valley surrounded by volcanic flows and craters with a sand dune field in the middle of it and a black volcanic cone plopped right in the center of it all. Suguta has been my White Whale. Every time I want to go there, it's too dangerous (Samburu and Turkana slaughtering each other) or too hot (in Easter when I have my long ride, the place is running 50C every day). The only people who go in there are helicopter safaris, military and bandits. This time Thursday, it'll be helicopter safaris, military, bandits and XR650Rs.

Here's what I'm talking about:


Above: An areal view of the Black Cone. I want to ride the bikes up to that sonofabitch and take a photo.


Above: From the Black Cone down... I doubt I'll be keen to climb it in MX boots... rather ride! And the cone is only one of the crazy features down there that I want to explore. If we're up to it, we'll try to ride out the North end of the valley past Lake Logipi, where I nearly left my ass a few years ago.

I can't wait.

 :snorting:
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 06:27:50 pm by Osadabwa »