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Offline JonW

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #100 on: October 04, 2019, 09:01:25 am »
Well done Minxy and HSK

Loving your Ride Report.
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Online Grunder

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #101 on: October 04, 2019, 09:02:32 am »
Hond se kierie ons moet lank wag tussen posts!!!!

 :lol8: :ricky:
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Offline wildside

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #102 on: October 05, 2019, 02:59:37 am »
Enjoying your report....well done. Great photos of a dry, hot and beautiful country.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #103 on: October 05, 2019, 12:21:53 pm »
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

The notorious "Step". The crux of Van Zyls pass. Trust me when I say, it is MUCH steeper than it looks...





There will be no heroics today. A decision is made to just go down slowly, if there's anywhere you are going to break your leg, chances are good it will be here.

"And all the kids they say
Live to fight another day
Live to fight again, again, again, again" - Kasabian


HSK says he'll go first.


In this moment I cannot help but hold my breath.




Yes, all clear! I can breath again ;D Not for long though, cause I'm up next :P


I stare down at the one who didn't make it. A grim reminder of how it can all go wrong. Ok, no pressure.




Let's do this. HSK gives me a good line to follow, and I just need to focus on the task at hand.


Looking over the abyss... Easy does it now.


"Why are you staring at all the big rocks you dummy, just go over them!" :laughing4:


Ok, now I can really breath again... It was not as bad as it looked :)

Flashback to our descent down the step in 2017, what an awesome trip down memory lane this has been.




Minxy - 2, HSK - 1, Van Zyls Pass - 0. Take that you Van Zyls Pass Bastardo, we will not be thwarted that easily! 8)




Oh and you can't go down VZP without a selfie :D

« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:16:08 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Ri

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #104 on: October 05, 2019, 01:15:56 pm »
So cool and well done! :hello2:
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #105 on: October 05, 2019, 01:25:35 pm »
Well done!
Dooie visse gaan saam met die stroom...
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #106 on: October 05, 2019, 01:43:05 pm »
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)


The last bit of the pass. Loose rocks and steep descents. You can't lose focus even for a second!


That smile says it all.



I have made pretty much a full length video of our ride through Van Zyls Pass. I am not 100% sure where it officially starts (recording started where things got interesting, not too far from VZP camp). I figured it would be nice and educational for those who plan to go ride it at some stage, just to see what it is all about. I cut out our stops and photo moments to keep it slightly shorter:


The part with the step is at about 25:00. There are plenty of other challenging bits on the way though, it's a nice video to skip through if you don't want to watch the full 33min.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:16:29 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #107 on: October 05, 2019, 02:59:15 pm »
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)


The bottom of Van Zyls Pass, how good it feels to be here :)


Time to take a short break.


We are not alone for very long.


Real Himba, these women barely spoke a word of English. We exchanged some friendly gestures and smiles. We must look so alien to them with our armored suits and steel horses.


The Himba gather and watch as I write a short message on a rock as per the age old VZP tradition.


 I go to put the rock down under the message tree. I am not sure when the tradition started, or how it came about, but I do know that it is has to do with safe passage through the pass.

More flashbacks, and some happy memories of our time here in 2017 @KarooKid


I had a very quick look to see if I could find our rock from 2017, most of the older ones on the pile seem to have faded though, and only a few of the newer messages remained.


I put down our rock, a tribute to the trip and ride report we could not complete in 2018.

*Just a note and some thoughts*

Later on our trip, when I eventually had enough signal to update facebook that we had ridden Van Zyls Pass, there were two or so people who left crude remarks about the VZP rock writing tradition. The signal in this part of the world is very limited, so when I did eventually manage to log in again a day or so later, and saw these remarks, I got a lovely reminder as to how messed up our society can be... Instead of saying something nice, like "Well done", or "Oh that is cool!", I get crucified by this random woman (who doesn't even ride bike) and some bicycle Piet (who also doesn't seem to ride a real bike, hhhmmmm), I guess that alone should have ascribed to the fact that they have no clue as to what they are talking about, but either way it was still unpleasant.

When politely writing back that it is a tradition to do this on VZP, and we don't exactly go about doing this every five minutes just for the hell of it, the lovely lady answered that stoning woman in Afghanistan is a tradition too. Wow, ok that escalated quickly :o I was going to say, ok eco nazi lady, I'd like to know what you did for your environment/community today, cause you know, other than writing on a rock (and trust me there is NO shortage of these at VZP...) and putting it on a tidy o'l rock pile, I think we've been at least 100x greener than you. Even the Himba at the bottom of the pass were happy to see me put the rock on the pile... So yes I can rant forever and go on how we've been supporting local communities by using their facilities, how I gave some money to a himba lady with a sick child to source medicine, how our motorbikes leave a much smaller footprint than her fancy airconditioned SUV, but you know what... I just blocked the haters on my facebook instead. We don't need that kind of negativity in our lives :)

It did make me wonder, have people lost focus on real things? Is it too easy to voice your opinion on matters you have no knowledge about on the internet these days? Do people not get the true spirit of adventure thing anymore? Instead of going out on a journey of discovery and seeing for themselves what this incredible place is about, they'd rather just leave sly comments on social media rather than trying to understand?

I wonder what people would say if Thierry Sabine was to set out on his desert journey and plan the first Dakar rally today? Would they only be able to remark about how his efforts are not eco friendly enough, about how new tracks in the dunes would surely kill everyone and how spilling a drop of oil would mean the end of the world? I give up, sigh...



It's time to go. The day is not over yet.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:16:41 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Ri

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #108 on: October 05, 2019, 05:05:01 pm »
The thinking, it hurts. Easier just to follow the popular line without doing one's own research :(

Anyway very well done and what an awesome moment! Can't wait to follow in (some of) your tracks!
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #109 on: October 05, 2019, 07:14:59 pm »
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

Once we leave the pass the landscape changes again.






We go have a look at this burnt out vehicle. Supposedly the grass (when there actually is any) is a huge fire hazard for the 4x4 fellows.


The sandy roads are lovely on the 500s. It is so dry though, almost no grass at all.


Yay we get to Red Drum, it has become quite a landmark around here.

Some history behind this random drum:

The original drum was a red Caltex 44 gallon drum that Mr Ben Van Zyl (Van Zyl's Pass) put down there after using it as a petrol stash. In those years you could actually leave petrol like this there without being stolen!! In the end he used it as a marker and called it Rooidrom. The original drum at Rooidrom was taken by Herero's penetrating from the south in their bakkies. They would fill it with river water and take it to their cattle in the Marienfluss. This is one reason why the area about 20km from Otjinungwa is so badly overgrazed.

Chris Eyre, who was the nature conservator there, replaced it with a new drum that he painted red and it was immediately taken again. The last and third drum, he made full of holes and put gravel inside. A joker came by in about 1997 and installed a neat telephone on the drum plus the little metal extension where he put a neat menu with all types of food that you could order by phoning. This was destroyed by vandals.




Flashback - What a team this was. Honda Quest 2017.


It was an incredible experience riding here with this team, so much camaraderie. It is also a completely different, and in my opinion, even more magical experience riding here alone :)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:16:53 pm by Minxy »
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Offline billy-joe

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #110 on: October 05, 2019, 10:13:40 pm »
More pls!  Shit i have to do this one day.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #111 on: October 06, 2019, 05:25:37 pm »
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)


In the distance we spot two vehicles. When traveling in the Kaokoland, seeing people sitting in the scorching sun next to the road working on their vehicle usually means there's trouble.

These two Toyota's had been traveling down from Camp Syncro (I so wish we had more time so we could visit that place) when the u-bolt which keeps the suspension in place went missing... They asked us if we happened to see it. Ermmm no we haven't seen it... And unfortunately we don't have a spare or anything they can use either. We tell them, what we can do is ask around for help at Marble camp and the small village of Otjimenje nearby, to see if there is anything they can use to repair the vehicle. Cool, they say if they don't come right they'll come looking for us at Marble Camp.


We head out again. First we have to navigate some more rocky landscapes and go through Joubert's Pass.



A short video showing Joubert's Pass, Van Zyls baby brother ;D




We also take the opportunity to stop at the old abandoned Marble Mine.


Nope, no u-bolt here, hmmmm.


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I wish I could bring some of this marble home.  I also wonder what the history of this place is, when did they open it and when did they abandon operations? It must have been a daunting process to transport marble from here back to civilization.






So far today has been the most amazing day, we have done and seen so many epic things, it is almost too much to process!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:17:07 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Rynet

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #112 on: October 06, 2019, 06:27:41 pm »
WELL Done Minxy and HSK .  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Great report , love the inspirational quotes and the videos and snippets from the Africa Twin Trip.

Love the details and the photos :biggrin:

And thanks for sharing the planning bit and the luggage used, good information.

I am in for the ride and enjoying every minute .  :ricky: :ricky:
Its impossible, said pride. Its risky, said experience. 

Its pointless, said reason. Give it a try, whispered the heart.
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #113 on: October 06, 2019, 07:14:01 pm »
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)


Finally, we reach Marble Camp. What an epic day this has been!

*A quick detour*
Before we unpack we decide to quickly go to the village and stop past their little shop. We also want to ask around and see if there's anyone/anything which the people stranded in the 4x4 could use to fix the u-bolt issue. They said they'd come past Marble Camp (at least the vehicle that is fine) if they don't come right.

We go down the riverbed and into the "town". We speak to the first local people we meet driving past in a landcruiser. The lady speaks english well enough as she's working at one of the lodges in the area. They say if the people don't come right, there is a mechanic that can go out to help them, it might cost them a bit though. We tell them it's fine, and we'll look for them and get the mechanic if the 4x4 people don't come right. Great, at least there is help out here in the middle of nowhere, and a plan can be devised if you get "stuck".

We get to the little store and buy some cold cokes. Anything cold is delicious out here! I think it must have been around 40 degrees again most of the day. This is sooooo rewarding! We get a coke for the older himba gentleman at the Marble community camp as well, he was very helpful and also recommended some things the 4x4 people's could do if they were still stuck.


We return to camp. Now it is finally time to kick up our boots and pat ourselves on the back.




There's never much time to rest and we start putting up camp, there's also a few chores that need to be done every evening.

Things that need doing:

Unpacking necessary things from bikes, putting up the tent, blowing up air pillows/mattresses. Unrolling sleeping bags etc, putting all our electronics on charge using the powerbank. Getting our little gas stove and foodie things together so we can make coffee and nom noms. Washing socks, clothes (if needed) and riding shirts. We packed two riding shirts and three pairs of socks each. Next time we'll take one riding shirt and two pairs of socks each to save even more space. Taking camp down also takes a bit of time as you have to roll everything up again, wash up dishes etc that were used in the morning and pack everything back on your bike. If you don't do it properly then you struggle to get everything back in your bag again :P




Oh, we even have a visitor :) Shame I always feel sorry for the animals we encounter and give them our leftovers, which normally isn't much, but at least it is something.


It is so lovely out here. It was good to shower after a long days ride and we decide to go for a little walk.

Gettin' a message? A message for me
I'm caught up in love, and I'm in ecstasy
What can I do now, when nothing's the same?
And all that I know, I wanna do it again!

Life is so simple when you are with me
'Cause when we're together, I'm in ecstasy
I'm in ecstasy - Kasabian



#NoMakeup #NoFilter ;D

We notice the two Toyota's which we saw stuck in a pickle earlier today drive past. I guess they must have fixed the u-bolt problem. They said they would camp here too, but they just drive past without stopping. Guess they made another plan? They knew we were camping here though so we did think they'd at least stop past and tell us they are ok, oh well, hope they'll be alright for the rest of their trip.

We walk along some more...


Nothing weird is happening here, moving along now.




Another beautiful sunset over the Kaokoland.


Did somebody say it's dinner time!? :biggrin:


The masterchef at work :laughing4:

On the menu for tonight:
Starter - Tuna snacks and Spicy tomato soup for HSK and Hearty Beef soup for me, also Pringles chips that miraculously survived the ride.
Main Course - Couscous with black peppered shredded chicken.
Dessert - Oreo Cookies and a Cappuccino

It's not exactly Michelin star restaurant food, but out here, for us, this was a feast fit for kings!


After dinner, packing away some things and getting as much as we can ready for the following day so we can have an early start again.


Time to hit the hay. The riverbeds await us tomorrow.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:17:18 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #114 on: October 06, 2019, 07:33:45 pm »
WELL Done Minxy and HSK .  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Great report , love the inspirational quotes and the videos and snippets from the Africa Twin Trip.

Love the details and the photos :biggrin:

And thanks for sharing the planning bit and the luggage used, good information.

I am in for the ride and enjoying every minute .  :ricky: :ricky:

Always glad when people enjoy reading my reports as much as I enjoy writing them :) I'll post some more details about the exact stuff we packed later on. Every time we think we did well packing light, we notice we could have actually packed even lighter :P
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Offline Straatkat

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #115 on: October 06, 2019, 11:21:20 pm »
Really enjoying the report Barbara, you guys had a great trip this time.
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #116 on: October 07, 2019, 07:31:58 am »
how did those foldable kettle and cups work for you?
seems to be the perfect solution for packing light. they are expensive to just buy unproven
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #117 on: October 07, 2019, 08:14:05 am »
how did those foldable kettle and cups work for you?
seems to be the perfect solution for packing light. they are expensive to just buy unproven

The fold-able kettle was one of our best buys ever! Saves so much space. The fold-able cups I think you can get at major plastic shops for cheaper than outdoor warehouse. We didn't take pots/pans either. The food I made only required boiling water (oats for breakfast, couscous), tins you can heat up directly on the gas stove. I planned it all so we have pretty decent food with little effort and carrying minimum cooking utensils.

The only thing that we did kinda miss when camping was chairs haha! But most of the places we camped had a log or some surface where we could sit so all good :D
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Offline KarooKid

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #118 on: October 07, 2019, 09:30:05 pm »
Tuesday the 16th of September 2019 (continued)


The bottom of Van Zyls Pass, how good it feels to be here :)


Time to take a short break.


We are not alone for very long.


Real Himba, these women barely spoke a word of English. We exchanged some friendly gestures and smiles. We must look so alien to them with our armored suits and steel horses.


The Himba gather and watch as I write a short message on a rock as per the age old VZP tradition.


 I go to put the rock down under the message tree. I am not sure when the tradition started, or how it came about, but I do know that it is has to do with safe passage through the pass.

More flashbacks, and some happy memories of our time here in 2017 @KarooKid


I had a very quick look to see if I could find our rock from 2017, most of the older ones on the pile seem to have faded though, and only a few of the newer messages remained.


I put down our rock, a tribute to the trip and ride report we could not complete in 2018.

*Just a note and some thoughts*

Later on our trip, when I eventually had enough signal to update facebook that we had ridden Van Zyls Pass, there were two or so people who left crude remarks about the VZP rock writing tradition. The signal in this part of the world is very limited, so when I did eventually manage to log in again a day or so later, and saw these remarks, I got a lovely reminder as to how messed up our society can be... Instead of saying something nice, like "Well done", or "Oh that is cool!", I get crucified by this random woman (who doesn't even ride bike) and some bicycle Piet (who also doesn't seem to ride a real bike, hhhmmmm), I guess that alone should have ascribed to the fact that they have no clue as to what they are talking about, but either way it was still unpleasant.

When politely writing back that it is a tradition to do this on VZP, and we don't exactly go about doing this every five minutes just for the hell of it, the lovely lady answered that stoning woman in Afghanistan is a tradition too. Wow, ok that escalated quickly :o I was going to say, ok eco nazi lady, I'd like to know what you did for your environment/community today, cause you know, other than writing on a rock (and trust me there is NO shortage of these at VZP...) and putting it on a tidy o'l rock pile, I think we've been at least 100x greener than you. Even the Himba at the bottom of the pass were happy to see me put the rock on the pile... So yes I can rant forever and go on how we've been supporting local communities by using their facilities, how I gave some money to a himba lady with a sick child to source medicine, how our motorbikes leave a much smaller footprint than her fancy airconditioned SUV, but you know what... I just blocked the haters on my facebook instead. We don't need that kind of negativity in our lives :)

It did make me wonder, have people lost focus on real things? Is it too easy to voice your opinion on matters you have no knowledge about on the internet these days? Do people not get the true spirit of adventure thing anymore? Instead of going out on a journey of discovery and seeing for themselves what this incredible place is about, they'd rather just leave sly comments on social media rather than trying to understand?

I wonder what people would say if Thierry Sabine was to set out on his desert journey and plan the first Dakar rally today? Would they only be able to remark about how his efforts are not eco friendly enough, about how new tracks in the dunes would surely kill everyone and how spilling a drop of oil would mean the end of the world? I give up, sigh...



It's time to go. The day is not over yet.

Such great memories.

Great report. Glad you got to go back there with Johan!
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies
 

Offline Clockwork Orange

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    Location: United Kingdom
  • Posts: 2,323
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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #119 on: October 08, 2019, 06:14:57 pm »
Fantastic trip and I am really enjoying this report. Then again all your ride reports are special
When in doubt...grab throttle!!!