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Offline Osadabwa

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2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« on: January 21, 2019, 04:37:01 pm »
Happy 2019 bikers!

Time to start a fresh thread for the year’s adventures. Like I did in 2017 (LINK) and 2018 (LINK), I’ll keep a running update of rides here to tempt the dirt-loving to come explore Kenya.

Karibuni!



I’ve been hot to ride since returning from our fantastic end-of-the-year five-day Xmas Braap out in the North (LINK), but the bike needed some TLC first. Panic helped me stem the drip of coolant from LHS rad, I installed some braces for said rad to help prevent such nonsense in future, replaced a worn and slipping clutch, re-valved the forks with RaceTech Gold Valves set to my weight and riding style, changed oil, set valves, greased the linkage… it was a proper year-end service and now I’m ready.




Above: I don’t know much about it, but there seems to be more sense in the Gold Valve setup than what I found in there…

I didn’t have a solid plan for the day. Mostly just wanted to see how the forks would feel with the new shims. So far so good. Maybe a tad harsh, but I can play with the clickers next time. I ended up dropping into the valley, sprinting over to Baby Head hill to get the blood pumping, then raced past Oltepesi and the amusingly-named Butt Brothers’ farm to Mi46 for a really cold Coke. After that, I played around in the riverbed quite a while before finding myself up on Champaign Ridge on an unexpectedly nice little track. Quick beer and home: 300km of rocks, sand and dirt all before tea-time.


Above: Riding alone, I was able to follow my fancy and I dropped in and out of the riverbed as I pleased, just to do it. South of Mi46 though, there are big rock piles that ejected me after a few kms.


Above: In Mi46 I had already done just shy of 200km and hadn’t really stopped to breathe. I love riding alone. You can just keep on trucking if you want to. It’s you and the bike.


Above: After putting in a drop or two of petrol at Mi46, I decided to play in the riverbed. It was lovely and quick. About 10km up to the rockfall and 10km back was just the ticket to get the juices flowing again.


Above: So happy to have another year’s worth of riding on my favorite bike of all time.


Above: Seriously fun area to ride in, but it was time to head back to Nairobi (it was probably only about noon), so I split out for the Oltepesi road, but a decent looking road at the big cattle reservoir caught my eye. I took it and it led me all the way up to Champaign Ridge, a place I haven’t been in ages.


Above: Up on the ridge it was lovely to have the heat of the valley behind me and to be enjoying big views down below. I’m surprised I’d never seen this road before, but then, the pace of development is off the chain, so maybe it’s actually just new.


Above: High up on the ridge, the fencelines start. It’ll be like RSA before you know it. Masai are starting to settle down and carve out their own territories. Can’t blame them, just sucks.


Above: The road is quick up there, very wide and plenty of room to see. The Pig ate it up, but it’s not my favorite. I shot back at the S. tip of the Ngongs, swung down the tar for a click to the dodgy Jordan Breeze for a cold beer.


Above: At the Jordan Breeze having a White Cap and watching (and smelling) the lovely rain shower that was crawling down the way.

Wonderful way to start the new year with my awesome old bike!

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Oubones

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 04:41:05 pm »
Nice one, looking forward to your rides this year! :thumleft:
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Offline Xpat

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 04:44:27 pm »
Happy, happy!!! :thumleft:

Hope the year throws some new juicy tracks your way!

Offline Osadabwa

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Solo Rocks
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 12:30:38 pm »
After sealing a work deal which is set to commence any day, I decided I’d just as well get back out on the bike today and keep enjoying my freedom. Just off the Ngongs near Saikeri I came upon the giraffe herd I’ve seen here many times. I’m glad they’re still around. I wasn’t in a blistering hurry today so I killed the engine and watched them awhile. Riding solo lets you do that kind of stuff.





The plan for the morning was to ride rocks. Loose, rolling rocks are a particular nemesis of mine, especially on climbs, so I try to get out and ride them when I’ve got the energy for practice. There are two areas in particular that are great for this and I decided to ride them both. It's nothing like the crazy shit I've seen from the Lesotho rides some of you guys do (Xpat), but its what I might find on a long self-supported ride far up in the North, so I'd like to be able to do it better.


Above: Just a shady bike check. Found that one of the sprocket bolts was loose…


Above: Starting down into New Valley which is one of the more pristine areas in the valley despite a lot of charcoal burning going on. It’s not overly challenging, rock-wise, but I wanted to go there anyway.


Above: New Valley has wonderful, tall bluffs flanking it


Above: This time of year, I could ride down the dry riverbed. I’ve been here when that puppy’s flowing… wouldn’t want to try to cross it.

The track dropped me down onto the Oltepesi road after a nice hour of slow going, and I sprinted down to catch up with the notorious Baby-head Hill. It’s a better practice ground. Maybe a kilometer long, it doesn’t let up with rolling baby-heads. I almost always stall it, and sometimes end up off the track. Today I was practicing using my clutch to manage wheel spin, and was doing pretty well, but I need more practice.


Above: Doesn’t matter how I photograph it, it always looks tame, but it's a rolypoly buggar just the same.

I think I’ll be doing a lot of solo riding this year. Kinda looking forward to it.

 :snorting:
 
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Offline XT JOE

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2019, 09:06:18 pm »
nice place- love the big ass dry river beds
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Offline Osadabwa

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2019 02 - XRs and DRs in the Valley
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 06:27:47 am »
Work sucks. Need to ride. This Sunday, a handful of guys were up for a quick taste of the valley. It ended up being no more than 150km all told, but it was new ground for the Suzuki riders and it was a much-needed break from Nairobi for all of us.


Above: A little roost to get us going… I was the dastardly fella doing it. Saw stones start to fly and got the hell out of there.

We had a coffee at my place and in thirty minutes we were in the bush. We were also messing around with bikes. The DRZ400 was spluttering and farting for no apparent reason. When in doubt: check fuel then start cursing electrics. Sure enough, it was a faulty side-stand switch getting in the way of an otherwise perfectly happy bike. Thanks for nothing, Health and Safety (it’s a motorbike for petesake, why does it need safety features?). Panic identified the issue, clipped the wires and we were back on the road.


Above: Mr. E. Man on his DR650.


Above: A Masai fence held us up (literally, in one case) for a bit, but after that it was smooth sailing


Above: Smooth until the Kisimit valley that is. Descending on rolling stones all the way was good practice for everyone.

The bike repair early in the morning put us off our “schedule” a tiny bit, so by the time we were deep into the valley we could use it as an excuse to split off for lunch at Olepoplos. It wasn’t because anyone was hot or tired, no siree. We took a few short breaks in the shade, watched a cattle traffic jam go by, and picked our way to the Najile-Oltepesi road then just blasted it up to the tar for lunch.


Above: Shady spot to watch the cows come home. They kept sniffing my Pig… was worried one would mount her, but couldn’t blame them for wanting to…


Above: Down valley the fesh is starting to pile up already. Not long ago, the place was wet.


Above: A nice little tricky spot, but none of us got caught out.


Above: Cows being sensible, parking under a gorgeous shade tree while it lives… somebody should really cut it down for charcoal. Bikers out in the sun


Above: Panic raises dust


Above: After our nice lunch break, Panic decided it would be fun to have a puncture just to top off the day. If he wouldn’t ride like such a maniac these things wouldn’t happen to him.


Above: Parting shot – Mr. E. Man and the DR650 handled herself admirably.

It was good to get out with a mixed group. It wasn’t as full-on as usual, and it wasn't new terrain, but that’s okay. Everybody was keen to ride, guys had their gear sorted and spares on board, and that makes for a good day out.

Until the next one

 :snorting:
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 06:30:27 am by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline ROOI

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 09:04:14 am »
Nice as always  :thumleft:
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Online >>Thump°C

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2019, 10:17:18 am »
Lekker, thanks for sharing
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Offline DikZol

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 01:29:51 pm »
As ek so na hierdie foto's kyk mis ek weer my DR!!

Offline XT JOE

Re: 2019 02 - XRs and DRs in the Valley
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2019, 09:08:34 pm »
Work sucks. Need to ride. This Sunday, a handful of guys were up for a quick taste of the valley. It ended up being no more than 150km all told, but it was new ground for the Suzuki riders and it was a much-needed break from Nairobi for all of us.


Above: A little roost to get us going… I was the dastardly fella doing it. Saw stones start to fly and got the hell out of there.

We had a coffee at my place and in thirty minutes we were in the bush. We were also messing around with bikes. The DRZ400 was spluttering and farting for no apparent reason. When in doubt: check fuel then start cursing electrics. Sure enough, it was a faulty side-stand switch getting in the way of an otherwise perfectly happy bike. Thanks for nothing, Health and Safety (it’s a motorbike for petesake, why does it need safety features?). Panic identified the issue, clipped the wires and we were back on the road.


Above: Mr. E. Man on his DR650.


Above: A Masai fence held us up (literally, in one case) for a bit, but after that it was smooth sailing


Above: Smooth until the Kisimit valley that is. Descending on rolling stones all the way was good practice for everyone.

The bike repair early in the morning put us off our “schedule” a tiny bit, so by the time we were deep into the valley we could use it as an excuse to split off for lunch at Olepoplos. It wasn’t because anyone was hot or tired, no siree. We took a few short breaks in the shade, watched a cattle traffic jam go by, and picked our way to the Najile-Oltepesi road then just blasted it up to the tar for lunch.


Above: Shady spot to watch the cows come home. They kept sniffing my Pig… was worried one would mount her, but couldn’t blame them for wanting to…


Above: Down valley the fesh is starting to pile up already. Not long ago, the place was wet.


Above: A nice little tricky spot, but none of us got caught out.


Above: Cows being sensible, parking under a gorgeous shade tree while it lives… somebody should really cut it down for charcoal. Bikers out in the sun


Above: Panic raises dust


Above: After our nice lunch break, Panic decided it would be fun to have a puncture just to top off the day. If he wouldn’t ride like such a maniac these things wouldn’t happen to him.


Above: Parting shot – Mr. E. Man and the DR650 handled herself admirably.

It was good to get out with a mixed group. It wasn’t as full-on as usual, and it wasn't new terrain, but that’s okay. Everybody was keen to ride, guys had their gear sorted and spares on board, and that makes for a good day out.

Until the next one

 :snorting:

nice roost pics top two left :thumleft:
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Offline Osadabwa

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Detour - Taking the XT out for a spin
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2019, 04:53:06 pm »
Ok. I planned to do take out the Pig this week, but on pre-ride inspection I found that my frame was cracked, again, where the sub-frame connects. I've stripped the girl nekked from the engine back, and am now waiting to get a TIG welder to do his magic. I'm gutted, but what to do? Answer: Ride your other bike!

Several months ago, I was gearing up for Kenya’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (link for that ride HERE) by preparing my 1981 XT500 “Nairobi Thug” special. A friend of mine and I had been working on a slipping clutch, and we’d managed to fix it, but when re-filling the oil I neglected to properly tighten the oil weep screw. The next day I rode the bike and about 20 minutes later it died a horrible death at 100kph on the road. All the oil blew out and covered my leg, but wearing boots I didn’t notice it. I was gutted. There was no way to get it back up and running by the DGR, though we tried.


Above: Oily boot, dead bike


Above: Child labor doing engine removal


Above: Engine out, continue tear-down


Above: Toasted con-rod and chewed-up piston

It took a while to organize the spares I needed to put the bike back together, and then to find engineers in Nairobi capable of doing good repair work. I needed a con-rod installed and the engineer I took it to left the pins out of alignment by a millimetre. I mean come on! It looked like it was flapping its wings! I also needed a new cylinder because I was already at max overbore with the old one… the list was pretty long and it all had to be shipped in from the USA at volumetric shipping prices.


Above: Re-assembly at Uncle Rick’s


Above: Back together, better than ever: New con-rod, piston, cylinder, valves, clutch assembly and kickstarter

Anyway, this week she finally got buttoned up and I had time to work on breaking in the new engine. The sun has been shining and I’ve been stuck in my home-office working, so I was very keen to take my girl on safari down into the Rift Valley and back up. First day I hit the overlook spots on the Mai Mahieu road and picked up a new sheep fleece for the seat. Ended up coming home and putting the old one back on, but it never hurts to have a spare (this one’s in white… for formal gatherings perhaps). Put about 100km on the new piston and was keen to do more once the seat was more forgiving.


Above: XT500 in sexy mode (aka brutal mode) above the Rift Valley, Mt. Suswa in the background, the dust from the new Chinese SGR railroad’s construction below


Above: Mt. Longonot in the distance


Above: The 3rd World Curio Shop… a tourist trap institution for years. They sell sheep fleeces along with the soapstone and wooden trinkets and I managed to get one for a fifth of their asking price… could have done better.

Couple days later, I set out again. The road down to the valley is actually a joy on the bike. Tar is in good shape and the traffic, though insane, is slow enough grinding down the steep pitch that the bike just chews it up. So, I repeated and extended my previous ride’s itinerary, descending past the lookout spots for the Italian POW made church at the bottom of the hill. The chapel was empty and quiet (apart from trucks Jake-Braking in the background) and much smaller than I’d always thought. Not much of a Catholic myself, I dropped some coins in the collection box anyway hoping to appease the road gods… be good to my resurrected XT!


Above: Cooler morning light with Longonot in the distance, my sheep-fleece adventure saddle cover completing the anti-social look of the XT


Above: The Italian POW chapel at Mai Mahieu

After the chapel and a horrible cup of tea and mandazi at a nearby roadside “lodge”, I split down the arrow-straight road toward Naivasha, overtaking lorries on both sides and singing a song, trying to keep the RPMs moderate for the new piston, which isn’t easy cause the old girl likes to run when the road is smooth. I turned past Longonot village on a rough dirt road toward Njabini, connecting with the Nakuru-Nairobi Road where I shot up to the lookout and gave Clarke a buzz. He was home, so I invited myself to lunch and started up the flanks of the Aberdares to his beautiful abode.


Above: A bit of off-roading with my city-hooligan bike. She’s rough, so much slower than I’m used to, but so low and nimble it’s really fun.


Above: Sizeable sinkhole isn’t done eating this road yet


Above: Volcanoes and vintage bikes make great photo subjects...


Above: Higher up, I detoured into the cedar plantations for a lookysee. It’s much cooler up there than down in the valley


Above: Lovely meadow, classic bike.


Above: At Clarke’s place high above the tea line, cool air, green grass. So much variation in a morning’s ride from Nairobi

Had a nice lunch with Clarke. Shot the shit, talked motorbikes, made plans to fish, etc… Hopped back on the Thug and babbled back to Nairobi, zig-zagging around the cars and maniacs all the way. Lovely way to spend a few hours, and I still need to do a lot more before I can consider the bike run-in. Maybe next time I’ll take a tour of the coffee and tea zones. Stay tuned.

Cheers

 
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Offline Oubones

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2019, 05:39:18 pm »
I like! :thumleft:
Ironicly my son was just saying last night that we must look out for an old XL or XT again as he misses our XL.
I might see if I can bring my SR back and then refurbish it again.
Nice chilled ride and beautifull area!
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Offline Osadabwa

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Another few KM on the XT
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2019, 12:03:15 pm »
Yeah Oubones, the XT and the XL are great bikes. I have an XL600R as well and frankly, I think I'd take that girl to my grave with me. She's so lovely. I mean, shes ugly and soft and doesn't hold a candle to the XRR for ripping around the desert, but for all around easy going riding in all terrain, she can't be beat.

-----

Monday came and I was free again to keep bedding in those rings. Took the XT back toward the Mai-Mahieu road on the now freshly tarmacked Dagoretti Rd, but turned onto the village tracks before I got there (I can’t keep my tires on tar for too long). It was lovely, of course. Early light, nobody really around, soft going on mostly packed dirt tracks and roads. I made my way over to the escarpment for a nice view down to a section of the new SGR Railway and played around between the houses and fields. Got lost, turned around, went up and back again. All good fun.


Above: High above the valley and the new railroad


Above: Lovely views… a few sections were too rocky for me and the XT


Above: On footpaths of hardpacked red soil – great terrain for a light, nimble old bike

Eventually I found myself back on the tar and aimed for Brackenhurst for a cup of coffee. My order grew when I saw mention of a bacon sandwich, and took the opportunity while waiting to let the buzz go out of my hands and feet. The XT has a very visceral thump that travels through your body like waves on the sea. It’s raw and lovely, but it does wear you out. After my brunch, I explored the tea and coffee areas on the way to Kiambu and made my way home, arriving by noon.


Above: Brackenhurst BLT and coffee… oh yes


Above: Tea estate with housing on the horizon




Above: Farther downhill the coffee and tea mix as their agro-ecological zones overlap. Kenya’s tea sector is doing great, but the coffee is only so-so. It’s notable how much former coffee land near Nairobi is now converted to housing or other crops.


Above: Lovely little spot tucked into the tea

The last half hour of the ride was all dust, traffic and speed bumps. To think this is what modernity brings.  Back on the Northern Bypass I rode past the obscenely large money laundering scheme known as Two Rivers Mall and was shocked to see they’d installed a gigantic Ferris wheel. Three staff sat around in the shade. It was completely empty, just like the mall most of the time. Guess this ain’t London.


Above: I’d choose the wheels on the Left over the one on the Right any day

I've been on the XT a lot lately just to run in the engine, but the rides have been really enjoyable. I hope to keep doing more like this. With the XRR I tend to go chew up big sections of dirt, but with the XT I can kind of just do whatever without feeling bad if it's tar or village roads or whatever. Of course, the way it's styled, it's next to useless in the mud or wet, so I guess I have about another two or three weeks before the rains come and I park her in the garage again... which is why it's nice to have lots of bikes in the stable.

Cheers

« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 12:07:04 pm by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Back on the XRR - Post-frame crack bike test
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2019, 11:17:33 am »
At last! It’s been a month since I last went out on the XRR. That’s far too long. The weather has been lovely. Very dry, but that suits us desert rats just fine. Work has kept me cooped up in the office, and then just when a gap appeared, I noticed the frame had broken again, so it took a week to sort that out. This time I tried a different welder and he seems to have taken his time to make it right. People always underestimate the beating this poor girl takes.



In exactly 3 weeks from today I’m leading a group of 3 XRRs up to the farthest point in Kenya on the Ethiopian border. The bikes have to be in top shape. The broken frame made me very worried, so I had to test it to see how she holds up. I took some of the typical tracks and didn’t let off the throttle much. Let at 8 and got in 180km before 11:30AM with total of 30km of tar in that mix. I like those ratios.


Above: The Pig loves the desert


Above: So many of my favourite tracks are turning into good dirt roads. I guess I can’t complain. For the first half year, they’re a place to enjoy the BRP’s fantastic speed, and then after one or two rains the road will be destroyed again and more fun to ride.


Above: Turned up Kisimit Valley to practice my rolling-rock riding since that’s mostly what we’ll find in Turkana. Paused to appreciate this funky layer cake of stone, anthill and tree.


Above: Heading up the valley, riverbed is dry


Above: The rockier sections were made more interesting by the cattle traffic jam I encountered. I’m there trying to climb up this hill simultaneously yelling my best cowboy “Hyaaah, come on now cows! Get up! Come on ye lobber asses!”


Above: The reason I wear a dual-sport helmet instead of goggles is many fold, but primarily because I can ride with sunglasses and open the shield. Today though, I was reminded about the dangers of such a plan… got a nice slice across the schnoot by a wait-a-bit thorn. Maybe I need to make a beak protector like the old-school mountaineers used to do.


Above: Just loving the dust, rocks and scenery. I ride these tracks all the time, but never get tired of them.

So what happened to my frame? Long story short: I screwed up, broke the sub-frame and it translated stress to the frame. I have since had it welded, but apparently not by competent folks. It has cracked a couple of times on me, and if it did so up in Turkana, I’d be stuffed. I’m really hopeful the new weld will hold. It was a 6 pass TIG weld and he managed to get in from both sides because I took apart the whole damn bike for him.



Above: Looking at the frame from the rear wheel-well. The tab is the RHS sub-frame mount.



Above: Looking at the frame from the outside. Looks pretty smart now.

Doubtful I’ll get in any more practice runs before the long trip and that’s a shame. My hands and arms tell me I’m not in riding shape. The bike is ready, the rider is the weak link!

 :snorting:
 
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Offline XT JOE

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2019, 09:40:16 pm »
thks for sharing- love the xt
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Offline Osadabwa

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Just dying! Hurry up Easter Bunny!
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2019, 07:59:41 pm »
I need to vent. It's been too long!

I'm reading how the Ride Report section is dying, and I think: yeah, I've noticed that. And then I think: Well, shit, I better go ride and make something worth writing about!

To wit:

Plan is well in motion. Friday we depart. First day is just a bit of routine blasting of feshfesh and stone-infested Rift Valley and a few km of tar, food and beer, but after that, we've got 10 days of the far North of Kenya which is no-man's land. There's a drought, it's fucking hot, it might rain... everyone has AK-47s etc... We have a vague plan of trying to find a specific border post marker that Panic found 20 years ago, but apart from that, it's just to be free and fast on XRRs.

So, stay tuned, basically, cause Easter out in Kenya is gonna be:



 :snorting:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2019, 08:08:19 pm »
Stop being such a drama queen!

That is a GS territory and I'm sure all you lot are after are the local ladies  :snorting:





« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 08:11:29 pm by Xpat »
 

Online Noneking

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2019, 09:40:06 pm »
Sub
Great pics and enjoy the writing
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NONEKING'S RIDE REPORTS - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226099.0
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2019, 10:00:18 pm »
Oooohhh @Xpat, one day we will ride together and make the sweetest ride report the world has ever seen. With my wit and brains, superior riding skills and photography and your.... big mouth I guess..., we shall be unstoppable. You shall be the weird Dutch Robin to my vastly more handsome and capable Batman.

As to your comment: GS territory, my sweatty balls... just cause you were a wanker and came up here on the wrong steed doesn't make you an expert! Though your comment makes me think you contemplated going for a flabby titted local lady with no teeth and a lip plug hole dripping tobacco juice... And those pics you rudely inserted are fucking Hammers or something, not Turkana, Samburu, Gabra or Dasanech. Now shut up and go write me a story about Lesotho or the Beaches of Mozambique, Mr GastroTourist!     :lol8:

 :snorting: braaaaap!
 

Offline Xpat

Re: 2019 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2019, 01:06:36 pm »
Oooohhh @Xpat, one day we will ride together and make the sweetest ride report the world has ever seen. With my wit and brains, superior riding skills and photography and your.... big mouth I guess..., we shall be unstoppable. You shall be the weird Dutch Robin to my vastly more handsome and capable Batman.

As to your comment: GS territory, my sweatty balls... just cause you were a wanker and came up here on the wrong steed doesn't make you an expert! Though your comment makes me think you contemplated going for a flabby titted local lady with no teeth and a lip plug hole dripping tobacco juice... And those pics you rudely inserted are fucking Hammers or something, not Turkana, Samburu, Gabra or Dasanech. Now shut up and go write me a story about Lesotho or the Beaches of Mozambique, Mr GastroTourist!     :lol8:

 :snorting: braaaaap!

Well, credit where credit's due - well played!  O0

Rest assured that this is not over yet. I will watch your every step and will pounce at the slightest sign of weakness...  :pot: