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Author Topic: Lesotho May 2019  (Read 1180 times)

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Offline rubiblue

Lesotho May 2019
« on: May 10, 2019, 05:18:39 pm »
The entire family of brothers (5 of us) and Dad have ridden our entire lives. My Dad introduced us to bikes when we were very little, as he used to race motocross/Enduro once he was over his Polo days. I had my first bike around the age of 5, and have ridden pretty much since then.

My Dad turned 70 last year and as a gift we sponsored a fully paid for ride with his boys when we could find the time. His 70th turned into a surprise wedding with my Mom, they were divorced for most of my life, around 30+ years or so, this sounds a bit odd, but it worked out great as now we don't need to split our holidays anymore between them - very handy and convenient.

Anyway, so the gift was in his hands to kick off planning, but several months past, so took I took responsibility to start the planning. It was to be 3 brothers, my Dad, his close mate Gary and one of my brothers friends Paul (the "invitees", this was brought up several times every time they got a bit shouty/demanding). We eventually settled on a date using the past few public holidays to limit time away from the office. I set a general plan, and got someone to make all the accommodation bookings. I live in JHB and the rest mostly in PE, with my younger brother residing in CT. We decided to hook up in tiffendell, loop our way through lesotho and depart our ways again from Tiffendell. The general thinking was light Adventure riding, due to some GS1200's in the mix and well as my Dad and Gary being "aged" and thus not wanting to sweat on any silly passes. Well planning off google earth, and previous Lesotho trips (and forgetting where we had actually been), proved to be been to the contrary.  ;D >:D :thumleft:

My younger brother Matthew, didn't have his own Adventure bike, and when we were originally planning the trip, Mike Glover showed interest, so when he had to decline due to work constraints, he offered his Africa Twin to Matthew.

Day 1, from JHB to TIffendell was pretty uneventful, I did mostly tar, ending on Lundeans Nek, and up one of the Ben10 trails into Tiffendell (cant recall the name of the pass, if it even has one, but it was pretty gnarly when being on your own and had quite a few gates, had to pick up the GS more than once and pulled something in my lower back - this was to be my only injury on the trip). They all met up in PE and headed to Tiffendell. From what i heard, it was long'ish but also uneventful.

As per usual protocol on a guy trip, first night was filled with drinking games (quarters) and many many beers and other dops. Next morning was a little blurry.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 10:51:18 am by rubiblue »
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 05:21:08 pm »
Paul was looking for a fatherly figure, so the race was on between my Dad and Gary, albeit neither of them were really looking. Papa! become an ongoing joke throughout the trip.

Paul, as mentioned was an invitee, being constantly reminded whenever he was being cocky or otherwise.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 06:29:20 pm by rubiblue »
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 06:32:02 pm »
Day 2, it was quite chilly in Tiffendell when we got up. The general idea was to take the Tenahead track from Tiffendell, head toward Matatiele and then head towards Ongeluksnek. At that stage to then decide how we were doing for time and either go through Ongeluksnek and turn right and go straight up Qachas Nek, where we were over nighting at the New Central Hotel (which is really not a bad place for the price and location).

After we left, then is a left turn towards Tenahead lodge, I headed off, and after a few Km's, no-one was behind me, I feared the oldies had ducked toward Rhodes to meet us at the Tenahead lodge/Naude's Nek top. After a few gates, Matthew realized he has lost his phone when he left his jacket pocket open. Matthew and myself back tracked a few gates, whilst Paul and Andrew continued on towards Tenahead to catch my Dad and Gary. At the 2nd gate, Matthew looked flustered and asked if we should continue or ditch the phone, as we had no real idea where it had ended up/fallen out. I gave him the decision to make, so we turned around and headed back towards Tenahead . Oddly we passed a sherpa, and he apparently found it and took it all the way back to Tiffendell reception. Great, we can pick it up on the way back.

We caught up with Andrew and Paul, and waited at the top of Naude's Nek, eventually being re-united with my Dad and Gary. The few hundred kms rolled by, mixture of tame dirt roads and some tar. We refueled in Mount Fletcher and grabbed some padkos, and then headed towards Ongeluksnek. By the time we got there, it was already late afternoon so we decided as a group to rather go up Qachas nek and get the the hotel. We refuelled there around 4ish, found our spot, and unpacked. We managed to arrange some booze from the reception, and they gave us their entire conference room for our fines meeting. We first visited the shebeen across the road for a few quart's, met the local police people and bonded with the locals. Was a rough night of drinking from what i recall.
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Offline daveh

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 06:46:21 pm »
wow privelege to ride with your dad, keep,it coming, Lesotho seems to be the place to ride at the moment looking at all the ride reports. Fond memories.
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Offline Highsider

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2019, 01:53:54 am »
Good call to circumnavigate Ongeluksnek under the circumstances.


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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 07:48:27 am »
Day 3

This was set to be an easy day, 240kms, google maps indicated all chilled gravel roads. We left around 8am from Qachas Nek. After around 10kms, i was sensing the road was slightly less traveled. In fact the road suddenly disappeared completely. Picking up a GS1200 shortly after and there was growing concern in the camp. My Dad and Gary wanted to find another route, so in the interest of riding in a group, we turned back. We found a beautiful gravel road just north of the range we were trying to go through, and seemed it hooked up with our original route about 50 kms down the road. It was fast going, with some amazing scenery. The recent rains had obviously abused the gravel in some sections and there were a lot of ongoing road works. Once we passed all the road works, the road was sill pretty good but quite loose and bumpy.

We passed Ramatsiliso's Nek border post, and then turned north toward Katse Dam. The road quickly changed into a rocky pass. I heard disagreements with choice of road, but I just continued going up, I assumed they would simply follow, and luckily they did. Matebeng Pass. Pretty great pass, but the older generation on the GS1200's were struggling. We got to the top without too much incident, but it was already afternoon. At the top we stopped for a break, some were already tired and moany, but we just had to go down and could see the end in sight, about 25kms in the distance, saddle up roll out.

The down was very rocky, my Dad fell over once coming down when the GS1200 simply plotted its own course. No injuries, picked it up and continued. Once down, we were all in high spirits, but there was more to come. There were 3 or 4 really rocky/muddy sections that really slowed us down. We had to help the larger bikes through, in fact I rode my Dad's bike through one of them, and recall thinking, HOLY SHITBALLS - this beast is difficult to handle in the technical stuff, and now i understood why the big bike riders looked like they were pulling too many amps. Regardless we plodded along, knowing the light was going to run out before we got to Katse.

Going through some hard rock river crossings, seemed to be the low point of the trip. My older brother Andrew and myself were riding with my Dad as we could see his energy levels were dwindling and were there to assist as needed. On one specific crossing he got halfway through, stalled, put foot down on the deep side, and fell over, HARD. He started slipping into the water and when we got to him he was badly winded and groaning holding his ribs.

Oh Shit. Ribs and Lungs are not to be messed with. We took some of his kit off, moved his bike and assessed the situation. He was groaning for quite sometime, and after doing a light assessment and refueling him with peanuts and fluids, we got him up again and onto his stead. Tough bugger, I must say, tougher than me no doubt, old school tough. We still had another 180km odd to go and knew the sun would be setting within 2 hours.

When we eventually found the main gravel road, we had to push it a little to make haste while the sun was shining. We refueled 60km short of Katse, grabbed a coke for some energy and we flew the last 60kms as the sun was setting. We finally got to Katse around 7ish, well after sun set. All tired, drained, and my Dad was really struggling with his injury. We sorted a day long issue on Andrews bike, his tubeless was needing air every 20-30 mins as the rim had a few peeling back issue and was only getting worse with the constantly flattish front tyre - we put my spare front tube in, got showered and unpacked. We decided to play a few drinking games to take an edge off and started discussing the options open to us, I rightfully received a few penalties.

Tomorrow was 450kms, down sani, past underberg and heading to Matatiele for the over night.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 10:55:34 am by rubiblue »
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 07:49:47 am »
More Pics, Day 2
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Offline eberhard

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 08:38:07 am »
Great stuff  :thumleft:
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Offline JonW

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2019, 09:18:08 am »
Awesome pictures and story so far. You are very brave taking your 70 year old Dad on his 1200 on this trip.

Kudos  :thumleft:
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Offline ETS

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 10:02:00 am »
Vaaaak those roads on a 1200? 70 y old? Great respect!
If i had to explain you would not understand anyway......
 

Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2019, 11:41:28 am »
So we awoke, injured and battle hardened. My Dad was hurting so instead of heading down towards Sani, Underburg/Himeville and back to Matatiele, we opted instead to head toward Semonkong on tar. We were to overnight at Semonkong 1 day later, so we adjusted the booking, had a good breakfast and headed on our way. We stopped at the dam wall for some proverbial pictures, and headed on our way.

Unbelievable passes, albeit tar. The road went quickly and we ate up the kilometers, getting a little over confident along the way and racing a little too much. Went through Pitseng, and just before Maseru my bike started giving issues. The hooter kept blasting, bike died and locked up twice (once through a steep downhill pass so it got a bit nerve wracking as I had no idea when it was going to happen again). Just before Maseru, it died completely. Electrics kaput. I was at the back so i pulled over under a tree, and started trying to find the fault. The other came trundling back and joined me. I had seen this before on my F800, but couldn't recall the issue. Got into the battery area and noticed the terminals were loose thus causing the erratic behavior.

A quick tighten up on the terminals and all sorted. Yay, no towing today. We were on our way again.

We stopped in maseru for some lunch at a very busy KFC, and then refueled and headed toward Semonkong. This is really were we took a few chances and sped along the beautiful passses through Roma, Rammabantu and then toward Semonkong. We went down to Maletsunyane Falls for a few pics, had always wanted to see it, during various previous bike trips and was really finally happy to have made it here. Amazing scenery. On the way down to the falls, a little Honda Jazz had kind of blocked to road, not sure what the driver was attempting, but certainly no place for a 2 wheel drive passenger vehicle. Managed to get past him without any bumps to take some pics.

We were suddenly surrounded by many kids, Andrew gave them each a sweet, and some other tourists hopped on the bikes for some pictures. We then made quick haste towards Semongkong Lodge. Lovely place, highly recommended. We had a quick few beers, unpacked, got showered and headed to the pub. Things got a little crazy that night, met a few people and had a solid sleep.



« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 05:28:56 pm by rubiblue »
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2019, 11:43:06 am »
Day 4 more pics.

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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2019, 11:44:52 am »
Vaaaak those roads on a 1200? 70 y old? Great respect!
Totally Agree. In hindsight the route was a little technical given the circumstances.
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Offline eberhard

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2019, 12:16:03 pm »
 :thumleft: I like very much!
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Offline Losper

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2019, 12:22:44 pm »
Lekke trip Rubiblue.
A big thumbs up for your old man. :thumleft:
Lesotho is riding heaven, just a pity most guys just want to ride Sani and not explore the rest of the country.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 12:23:20 pm by Losper »
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Offline Casting from Turd

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2019, 12:37:12 pm »
Paul was looking for a fatherly figure, so the race was on between my Dad and Gary, albeit neither of them were really looking. Papa! become an ongoing joke throughout the trip.

Paul, as mentioned was an invitee, being constantly reminded whenever he was being cocky or otherwise.

Little shit Paul.........  My baby step brother
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2019, 05:15:51 pm »
Paul was looking for a fatherly figure, so the race was on between my Dad and Gary, albeit neither of them were really looking. Papa! become an ongoing joke throughout the trip.

Paul, as mentioned was an invitee, being constantly reminded whenever he was being cocky or otherwise.

Little shit Paul.........  My baby step brother

Hahaha. Great guy. Andrew has been mates with him for a while but first time I really got to spend time with him.
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Offline Casting from Turd

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Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2019, 05:48:05 pm »
Paul was looking for a fatherly figure, so the race was on between my Dad and Gary, albeit neither of them were really looking. Papa! become an ongoing joke throughout the trip.

Paul, as mentioned was an invitee, being constantly reminded whenever he was being cocky or otherwise.

Little shit Paul.........  My baby step brother

Hahaha. Great guy. Andrew has been mates with him for a while but first time I really got to spend time with him.

you guys actually rode past me in Rhodes on the Tiffandale road. I was in the Silver SUV that pulled off the road for you lot to come past
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2019, 05:53:38 pm »
Paul was looking for a fatherly figure, so the race was on between my Dad and Gary, albeit neither of them were really looking. Papa! become an ongoing joke throughout the trip.

Paul, as mentioned was an invitee, being constantly reminded whenever he was being cocky or otherwise.

Little shit Paul.........  My baby step brother

Hahaha. Great guy. Andrew has been mates with him for a while but first time I really got to spend time with him.

you guys actually rode past me in Rhodes on the Tiffandale road. I was in the Silver SUV that pulled off the road for you lot to come past

Cool. Wasn’t part of the group at that stage. This must have been on their way up to the meeting point in tiffendel.
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Offline dw1

Re: Lesotho May 2019
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2019, 08:07:35 pm »
Great story and ride report. Kudos to the old man for doing this on a beast of a 1200
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