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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #40 on: September 29, 2019, 03:11:59 pm »
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

In the morning we rode towards a burning mountain, now we ride in the shadow of a black one.










We move away from the black mountains.


And reach the place where the red sands meet the rocks.



Why does this all look so familiar? Ah yes, we've been here before. We followed another route then, but met at this same place.

Flashback of our trip last year.



-And after you had a look at how challenging some of the terrain looked in the video:

A quick note about bike weight and how much things add up when traveling unsupported.

HSK's loaded 690RFR with 36L fuel must have weighed around 225kg that time, my Husky 701 must have been near 175kg.

It is without question that riding this terrain is MUCH easier on the KTM 500s. Taking into consideration fuel and luggage, the weight of our bikes was closer to 130kg. We literally flew over the rocks and sand this time around. Oh what a pleasure! It allows you to not focus on survival and the next immediate obstacle on the way, but instead on the scenery. Your body also takes so much less strain. I'll put together another video of us riding here on the 500s soon.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2019, 04:28:06 pm »
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)


HSK almost opted for another ride. If only the aircon wasn't broken :imaposer:


Keep on moving, don't stop, no.


The closest thing resembling a highway around here...




Moving further and further away from the majestic Brandberg.




We reach the Goantagab riverbed.

Another flashback... I remember this section from our last day on the Honda Quest in 2017. We did the route a bit differently then, and from the other direction of course. This was really touch and go on the big Africa Twin. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the last day of the Honda Quest was by far the toughest. I remember watching @tau coming down this exact section of riverbed. He's riding the big Honda at Dakarian speed, the bike bucking and trying to throw him off in the thick, churned up sand, I remember he went sideways, I gasped, he saved it and landed back on track. Pheeewwwww! I grip my handlebars tighter at the thought, again I am glad we are on the lighter bikes.


What stories would these walls tell if they could speak?


We ride the most beautiful tracks through the desert.




I want to take nice photos for the ride report, so I stop every now and then. As I usually ride in front I just tell HSK it's cool, ride past me when I stop. Photos are often more interesting when there is a bike or person in them. I just catch up again and so it goes.




It started to get hot, really hot. I think today was the hottest day of our trip. The temperatures reached over 40 degrees. The fact that there was no greenery didn't help either. It felt like the heat just radiated off of the rocks and sand. I make a mental note to not miss taking our rehydrates, I packed quite a few. If there is one thing you cannot skimp on in the desert, it is rehydrate. They are a life saving elixir. So much so that we'd end up mixing an additional bottle each so we could drink rehydrate every other time we stopped.








This place also brought back memories, although I almost didn't recognize it. It is evident Namibia is suffering a severe drought. Below are the photos of just about the same area from our trip last year, See the difference?


The same area in 2018.


2018
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Offline Twister

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #42 on: September 29, 2019, 05:48:40 pm »

We reach the Goantagab riverbed.

Another flashback... I remember this section from our last day on the Honda Quest in 2017. We did the route a bit differently then, and from the other direction of course. This was really touch and go on the big Africa Twin. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the last day of the Honda Quest was by far the toughest. I remember watching @tau coming down this exact section of riverbed. He's riding the big Honda at Dakarian speed, the bike bucking and trying to throw him off in the thick, churned up sand, I remember he went sideways, I gasped, he saved it and landed back on track. Pheeewwwww! I grip my handlebars tighter at the thought, again I am glad we are on the lighter bikes.


Awesome memories, thanks for the pictures. This picture immediately reminds me of Grant and his broken collar bone. One of the toughest guys I know.
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #43 on: September 29, 2019, 06:03:42 pm »

We reach the Goantagab riverbed.

Another flashback... I remember this section from our last day on the Honda Quest in 2017. We did the route a bit differently then, and from the other direction of course. This was really touch and go on the big Africa Twin. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the last day of the Honda Quest was by far the toughest. I remember watching @tau coming down this exact section of riverbed. He's riding the big Honda at Dakarian speed, the bike bucking and trying to throw him off in the thick, churned up sand, I remember he went sideways, I gasped, he saved it and landed back on track. Pheeewwwww! I grip my handlebars tighter at the thought, again I am glad we are on the lighter bikes.



Awesome memories, thanks for the pictures. This picture immediately reminds me of Grant and his broken collar bone. One of the toughest guys I know.

I still have no clue how he managed to ride this terrain with his broken collar bone!!! And the fact that none of us knew until after :o This last day was tough enough as it was. I tip my hat to you sir @McSack
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #44 on: September 29, 2019, 07:45:33 pm »
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)


Enter the Huab river. More beautiful memories from last year here as well. Last time we turned right. That took us up the riverbed and out onto the main road (C39), from which we then reached Palmwag. This time we'd be turning left.

At this stage we are both getting pretty damm hot. It was now nearly 2pm and the heat has been absolutely unbearable. HSK asks if we shouldn't turn right up the riverbed again, like we did last year. It is a fairly short hop (about 15km) and pops out on the easy dirt highway. I say, well Xpat's route takes us left and gives us more time off the beaten track, I don't know what to expect though.




The next part of the route we don't stop much, we just keep moving to try and stay cool. Almost pointless as the air feels like it's coming from an oven.

The sandy terrain becomes rocky again and is really not a pleasure to ride at all. It isn't that its challenging or anything, it's just rocky enough to slow you down and bounce you around a bit :P That with the added heat reflecting onto us from off all the rocks wasn't helping... Normally I wouldn't think much of this section of road at all, it could even be quite pleasant, but today has been quite long and the sun was beating down on us. We really should have gone down the Huab river I thought. HSK stops me, mmmmm :o He must have read my mind...

Basically it went something like this:

*Typical lovers quarrel ensues*.

HSK - "Why didn't we go down the Huab river!? This is kak! We could have been in Palmwag sipping a cold drink by now!"

*What is a quarrel without some added sarcasm?* ;)

Minxy - "OMG how could I have known the condition of the road, it's not like I was here to recce ride it last week now was I!!!???"

HSK - "And your distances are all messed up! We should have been done sooner, it is too hot!!!"

Minxy - "Oh, now it is all my fault this place turned out to be some red hell!? Next time you plan everything then, I won't even touch the computer, lets see if you can do it better!?"

This continues for a min or two.

Now we normally never ever fight haha ::) Actually as a couple, we've been through it all and have always come out on top. But the heat seemed to have gotten to both of us today... At least it was not far to the main road now and the only way we could go was forward anyway.

Then suddenly (just down the road), coming out from behind the bushes we see this:








Not one, or two, but about six desert elephant!!!

This is absolutely incredible!!! We are both at a loss for words.




Suddenly everything is forgotten, everything is forgiven. Why fight over something so silly, look at what opportunity going down this road has given us.


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Offline Xpat

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #45 on: September 29, 2019, 09:04:28 pm »
So I guess that is where you kept me in your thoughts...  :peepwall: :pot:

In the light of this I feel you might have looked at my recommendations later on with more then just a hint of suspicion  ;)

Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #46 on: September 29, 2019, 09:24:16 pm »
So I guess that is where you kept me in your thoughts...  :peepwall: :pot:

In the light of this I feel you might have looked at my recommendations later on with more then just a hint of suspicion  ;)

:imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

Hahaha, yip that was it :P

It's ok though, we still love you Xpat and your routes. The rest more than made up ;D
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 09:33:50 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #47 on: September 29, 2019, 09:32:19 pm »
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

The last bit of the ride up to Palmwag went quickly. It feels good to be back on the dirt highway after quite an eventful day of riding.

Just before Palmwag I mention to HSK, if the guard at the veterinary fence asks him if he has any red meat, don't dare tell him about our drowors :imaposer:

There is an interesting article on the Vetrinary fences of Namibia and Botswana here:

https://blog.tracks4africa.co.za/veterinary-fences-in-namibia-and-botswana/

The guard at the vet fence lets us off with no more than a quick nod of approval. We stop and get fuel at the Palmwag fuel station. The attendant tells us it is very busy at the lodge though. We are only camping, so we should be alright I guess?

We get to the Palmwag Lodge gate and the guy tells us they are full. Completely over capacity.

My heart sinks in my stomach, it feels like it's Friday the 13th again...

No way... We didn't think to book accommodation, as this was all last minute and we weren't certain how our progress would be. Shit... We tell the guy we want to eat at the restaurant anyway, and we'll hear from management if they can't squeeze us in somewhere.

We park in front of camping reception and the booking attendant tells us the same thing, no space. Mmmmm....



Bummed, we make our way to the restaurant and immediately order some rock shandy's. The drinks are so cold, nice we really needed this!
The head waiter, who is also part of management overhears our conversation. He says he'll see if he can get permission for us to stay somewhere from top management, but he can't promise anything.


I am hot, red, sweaty, dusty, dirty and on top of that I'm starting to get a bit tired. I was really hoping I could have been through the shower already...

The waiter comes back. Management said no... They are indeed completely over capacity, even their overflow camping is full. He can however call and book us a campsite at another place, Khowarib Lodge. There is nothing else nearby, except a fancy lodge which is way out of our price range.

This is a bit of a low blow. Khowarib Lodge is 80km away. It is already 4pm. We haven't eaten anything but a energy bar today. Also, going to Khowarib Lodge means we will miss tomorrows route, the Khowarib Schlucht loop we have been meaning to do on our way to Opuwo. The turn off for the loop we wanted to ride is only about 40km away from Palmwag. We consider wild camping and still riding our route as intended, but replenishing all our water (we drank nearly 6 liters each today) would be a hassle if we are out in the sticks.



We bite the bullet and just book the camping at Khowarib Lodge. We have ordered some food as we weren't sure if any would be available later on. After quickly wolfing down our burgers, we get back on our bikes, grit our teeth together, and do the 80km to Khowarib.

It is just after 6pm when we finally arrive at our destination after a hell of a long day and we are all too happy to see it is actually a lovely place!

We get ourselves booked in and go put up our tent, take a shower and all those lovely things we've been looking forward to all day.


A tidy camp site with electricity, clean ablutions and a hot shower. Wonderful!


We take a walk up the lit path to the bar to have more rock shandy's. What an adventure it has been, and it is only our first day. (photo borrowed from Khowarib website).
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 09:34:52 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Xpat

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #48 on: September 29, 2019, 09:37:43 pm »
I don't recognize that elephant waterhole. Maybe it's just my memory, but are you sure you followed my Day 1 tracks from Hoab onwards or did you combine it with another route (possibly my Day 12)?

Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #49 on: September 29, 2019, 09:45:54 pm »
I don't recognize that elephant waterhole. Maybe it's just my memory, but are you sure you followed my Day 1 tracks from Hoab onwards or did you combine it with another route (possibly my Day 12)?

We definitely followed your route ;D it was near here somewhere, just a bit before the little village. I'll double check when I'm on Johan's laptop which has Tracks4Africa and your route tomorrow.

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Offline Xpat

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #50 on: September 29, 2019, 10:10:20 pm »
OK I see.  :thumleft:

But then you were acually at the shortest route to C39 from Hoab river more or less. Even if you would have turned right at the river, it would be roughly the same distance to C39, plus you would have more distance to cover on C39 in that case. I think the route you took was actually the shortest way to Palmwag.

Offline Bikerboer1973

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #51 on: September 29, 2019, 10:43:33 pm »
Nice RR, lekker jaloers!
Tans.
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Offline geopat

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #52 on: September 29, 2019, 11:51:36 pm »
think thats gaias fountain in the desolation valley
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #53 on: September 30, 2019, 10:14:58 am »
Monday the 16th of September 2019

The alarm goes off at the crack of dawn.

Minxy:



We sleep another hour ::) Hey! This is supposed to be a holiday isn't it?

We pack up all our things, it takes a little bit longer than expected. We are still rusty haha! Over the next few days it would go much quicker/easier as we got into the knack of things.

Today we'd just be riding the dirt highway from Khowarib Lodge to Opuwo, as the accommodation problem at Palmwag messed us around a bit. Oh well, we could do the Khowarib Schlucht loop when we are on our way back I suppose.



The other option was to ride Robbie's Pass. Which is just to the west of the C43 - D3704 we were taking.

It is high up on my to do list, but we didn't want to risk it by ourselves. This looks way more difficult than Van Zyls Pass judging by the photos/footage I've seen.

Video of Robbie's Pass from 2010 which I found on youtube below. I don't think the condition would have improved since then either :P



We did have a lot of practice in the rocks not long ago with @JonW though, maybe we would have been ok? :ricky:



In a big way it feels like a lot of the riding we did this past year all built up to this trip. We've practiced riding rocks and hills on the 23 Rivers near Tzaneen and on the Darkest Africa route near Weenen. We've ridden many kilometers of deep sand in the Steelpoort riverbed. We did an extended trip down to the cape and back on our big bikes as well, where we did the Old Postal Route, Baviaans and some other interesting passes. It was good saddle time. As far as biking fitness went, we weren't doing too bad for weekend warriors I guess. :ricky:

Anyway, there was also another option I very briefly looked at when doing route planning (please see highlighted below in yellow). I didn't plot it though as I have no idea what conditions etc are like. I don't quite recall seeing anyone go that way in the ride reports that I've read before. It would actually be nice if somebody who knew this road, and could share more info on it. I see there is also an Aap river? Does that part of the track follow the riverbed? It could be nice to go explore on a next outing.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 11:27:39 am by Minxy »
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Offline McSack

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #54 on: September 30, 2019, 10:43:24 am »
That adaption of John Muirs quote in your first post is so on point @Minxy   :thumleft:

Jeez I wish I could find some time to visit Nam right now. Oh well ...will just have to tag along vicariously on your trip

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« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 03:39:29 pm by McSack »
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Offline Grunder

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #55 on: September 30, 2019, 11:37:01 am »
That adaption of John Muirs quote in your first post is so on point @Minxy

Jeez I wish I could find some time to visit Nam right now. Oh well ...will just have to tag along vicariously on your trip

...sub
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #56 on: September 30, 2019, 01:41:51 pm »
When we did the car trip in Namibia we were not to impressed at Palmwag. Pity they couldn't help you. You couldn't just make a turn at the ablutions the night and morning and wild camp next door out of sight....?
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #57 on: September 30, 2019, 08:44:36 pm »
When we did the car trip in Namibia we were not to impressed at Palmwag. Pity they couldn't help you. You couldn't just make a turn at the ablutions the night and morning and wild camp next door out of sight....?

We didn't want to push our luck, I'm happy it worked out the way it did though, otherwise we wouldn't have discovered Khowarib Lodge. It is actually very nice there, and at R150p/p camping is super affordable. It was R540 at Palmwag. Palmwag is nice and central though, so we'll probably stay there again. Will just have to remember to book next time :-[ The place was overrun with tourists! :o
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Offline Minxy

Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2019, 09:59:16 pm »
Monday the 16th of September 2019 (continued)

We ride the big dirt road to Opuwo. We didn't stop to take too many photos as we wanted to keep moving and not die of boredom lol :laughing4:


Beautiful baobab trees next to the road.

We booked into Abba guesthouse while in Opuwo. It was just easier as we could take things off the bikes while we go shopping. I could also get some washing etc done and we could get going really early the next day as we wouldn't have to pack up the tent etc.

We also needed to buy a couple more things while we were in the last bastion of civilization. We went shopping at the Opuwo Spar for some essential items, such as cookies, chips and other goodies. If you haven't been to Opuwo yet, it is the weirdest place. You'll walk around casually in the shop, then suddenly get passed by a bunch of beautiful, bare chested Himba ladies, who are going about their business like it's any o'l Monday. And then you have the Herero women, with their long Victorian inspired dresses, elegant and wearing the most colourful fabrics.

I don't feel comfortable snapping paparazzi photos of people walking around the shops, so I borrowed this photo from google to show as an example. It is mind blowing, they are just complete opposites.


Also, we just had to stop at the Kaokoland Restaurant. This is the last stop for pizza and other yummy food before you go properly off the beaten track.


Having some ice cream in the Kaokoland. Life is good :biggrin: 8)

There is only one fuel station operating in Opuwo and it is EXTREMELY busy. The owner at the restaurant tells us it's better to go later when it's dark.


We leave after 8pm to get fuel. There are just about no people around and we get helped quickly. We full up with 17L in our bike tanks, and both take an additional 5L in our fuel bladders.

Ooooohhh, and I nearly forgot. There are kitties at the guesthouse!!! They are in alright condition as the owner feeds them in the evenings. I got to touchy all the kitties and give them extra snacks. This could only mean one thing, much good fortune for tomorrow :D



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Offline ROOI

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Re: Hearts in the Desert
« Reply #59 on: October 01, 2019, 07:47:11 am »
 :peepwall: sub
FTS