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Author Topic: 2020 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya  (Read 661 times)

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Offline Osadabwa

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Suswa to Magadi continued...
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2020, 05:15:32 pm »
From the worker’s camp, we paused for a bit of lunch and were surrounded by young Masai men, as usual. One of the younger chaps (12-14 years old maybe) was dressed in all black and adorned with a belt of cowrie shells and a bizarre necklace constructed of cheap ball-point pen bodies. It’s very rare to see this type of getup these days and underscored the feeling of being off the beaten path. The fancy dress indicates the kid was prepping for circumcision. No anaesthetic, just an old man with a hot razorblade grabbing a pinch of rather sensitive skin and whoop! Can’t flinch! Can’t show emotion! Pour some milk on it and go rest! So, tough guy bikers, who’d like to be next? All the young guys were really cool and then a middle-aged guy shows up and starts taking photos of us with his phone. We’ll call him Dick… Dick by name, dick by nature. He was part of a local neighbourhood watch of sorts and was documenting our passage in a most salty fashion. Ended up asking for money but wasn’t rewarded for the effort.


Above: Just past the worker’s camp, we parked in a sea of pink wildflowers that compliment the DR’s masculine all-black uniform… come to think of it, maybe the DR is ready for circumcision?

The road south was a rock-strewn double-track that was pretty quick going. Unfortunately, MisterE saw his ass in a high-speed off that banged up his knee pretty bad. He and the DR stood back up with nothing broken though, so we carried on, deviating for a quick look at Little Lake Magadi (which, according to my wonderful ‘90s Kenya Route Map is actually called Lake Nasikie Engida, which is funny cause in Google Translate, “engida isn’t found”. But if you put in “nasikie ngida”, assuming it was a spelling thing, it comes out “hear me a dick”! I’m going to need some local help on this one!)


Above: Old scratchy path down to Nasikie Engida




Above: Panic cuts a manly figure at the lake


Above: Not watching where I was going, I stupidly dumped my girl on her side on the rocks. No harm done, thankfully, but a drizzle of coolant that must have escaped from the breather made me nervous for a minute.


Above: My beautiful piggy resting after her silly tumble.


Above: Back up and out of the hole. The grass was long and in seed, so it was hard to see what you were riding over. It was already a lot drier than the last time we were here. I suspect next time it’ll be dry and hot as ash.

After Nasikie Engida, we were off for Magadi Sports Club for a cold beer to celebrate the discovery of new tracks. But, fate intervened. Panic had warned me that the causeway across Lake Magadi had been under water only one week ago, but I confidently said: naaah, it’ll be fiiiine, and we pressed on. I was partly right… we crested the hill and I saw the causeway stretching out across the water, but about ¾ of the way across was a dump truck… hmmm. We rode up in time to see him dump a load of rubble into the water where the causeway used to be, and then waited for an hour in the 37 C heat and no shade for three more loads and a bulldozer to flatten it down. But then, we weren’t done. There was some fording to do. Fortunately, a couple of tough piki riders led the way, paddling through the brackish, smelly water up to their engines. We gingerly crossed as well, trying to minimize the splashing of that bike-eating stuff, and then bee-lined it for a petrol station and a car wash before hitting the club for that cold celebratory beer.


Above: Top – See, it’s all good… Bottom – Crap, spoke too soon…


Above: The bulldozer in action. There were at least 100m of combined nasty water crossings, even after they fixed the gap they were working on. I was the colour of a tomato when I got home from broiling in the sun.


Above: Following our pikipiki guides and trying to go dead slow, we motored through the unpleasant smelling, caustic water


Above: Panic between swims thinking about the barnacles growing on his engine covers… He hates that Magadi water with a passion! Feels the salts rusting and corroding like acid on his own skin!


Above: The Magadi petrol station. They always have fuel, but they close for lunch… our delay helped us on that score.


Above: Finding a car wash substantially improved Panic’s mood.
The beer was ice-cold and wonderful. We rested a while and set out for home.
And that’s the end of the ride!
Cheers!
Oink.
 :snorting:
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But wait! Not even close! We had decided to just hit the 70kms of tar home, so we settled in and started up the road. It’s pretty good riding as tar goes, so I was enjoying myself. Nearly to Olepolos, however, I realized the headlights in my mirror had vanished. Puncture… again… on MisterE’s DR… again. And another coin-sized hole again! That’s right… a foreign body had been left in the tire two tubes ago… it was that little washer that comes with some tubes that strengthens the valve stem. Vibration and heat chewed neat little circles in 2 tubes. We had a laugh about that and headed home.


Above: So THAT’s how the hole got there…

And that was the end of the ride.
Cheers
Oink
 :snorting:
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But wait! Just on the outskirts of Nairobi we were in for another roadside repair! The heat on the tarmac bubbled off the patch. At least it was late afternoon now, cool air, shade, and no hassles. A tube was found and we were finally free to head back home. Knackered.


Above: Remember, Outer Space is Our Limit at Great Vision Schools!

And that’s the end. Really. Great ride fellas!
Cheers
Oink
 :snorting:

Before you go, check out the DR's view of the weekend:
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 05:27:26 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Twister

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Re: 2020 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2020, 05:25:29 pm »
Awesome ride, great pictures
 

Offline Clockwork Orange

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Re: 2020 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2020, 03:48:09 pm »
Man I love all your reports. You really are spoiled with the most incredible riding areas
« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 03:48:30 pm by Clockwork Orange »
When in doubt...grab throttle!!!
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Solo day on Baby-Head Hill and mud tracks to Mi46
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2020, 06:38:07 am »
Yesterday, I woke up and just couldn’t bear the thought of not riding. I’d tinkered on the XRR all week at Panic’s, tweaking the carb, rebuilding the brake callipers and installing new radiators and a fresh battery. I’d put on the small tank for a change as well cause I love how lean and mean it makes her look. I gave Panic a shout, knowing full well that a week’s full of nightly rains and an utterly gloomy sky would keep him from coming along (solar-powered, is our Panic). So, it’s just me then.

I love riding solo! Leave when you want. Pick the trail you want. Go fast. Go slow. Forge ahead or surrender… it’s all up to you. No compromises. But, whatever you and the bike get into, you’ve got to get back out of. If something breaks (on you or the bike), you’ve got to deal with it somehow. I’ve been doing solo rides in Kenya when I can’t get a friend to go with me for several years now, and I can’t get enough. I’ve broken the bike and I’ve broken myself on solo rides, scared myself and run out of gas, but I keep going back. Paradoxically, my solo missions aren’t tamer because I’m alone. If anything, I’m more likely to try out that sketchy track I see out of the corner of my eye, or ride a bit harder or longer than if I’m with a friend. Perverse, maybe, but I love it.


Above: Who’s a happy piggy?

I’d clawed my way through Nairobi’s morning traffic by about 8:30 or so and launched off toward our usual track. Today, though, there was nothing usual about it. Usual is dry, hardpacked red-clay with smooth banking curves crashing into embedded stones. Today it was slick as a fish. My half bald tires weren’t helping, but there’s no sense blaming the equipment… this kid doesn’t ride mud enough, and it shows. I was skating around like a dope and flopped in the mud within minutes. But that was the best thing that could have happened. Sliding on my ass and knocked the jitters out of me. Happy to have it out of the way, I proceeded to enjoy the gloomy skies and cheeky terrain.


Above: May not look that slick, but just dismounting from the bike was challenging without falling over.


Above: The gloom was total. Usually, there’s a decent view down-valley from here. Today, it was just gray skies and a hopelessly stuck station wagon.

I still hadn’t decided where to ride yet. I was hankering to head South. Most day-riders do the utterly predictable 100km run up to Ewaso Kedong and back (a sort of KLR-rider’s version of going to Starbucks), but I have more tracks up my sleeve than that. Baby-Head Hill kept banging around in my head. It’s a largely abandoned track I found four years ago that creates a spectacular, if rather tricky short-cut to Oltepesi. It weaves through Masai bomas, past sheer cliffs and bluffs, and drops you down to the valley on a descent of fist sized rocks from which the track derives its name.


Above: Such weird skies. Clouds rolling off Mt. Esakut splatted flat against the treetops, creating an eerie fog on the track to Saikeri.


Above: The evil mist


Above: On the flowy part of the Baby-Head Hill track, unusually green at this time of year

As I’d just rolled out of the sack and declared today would be a riding day, I hadn’t put anything in my GPS. Baby-Head Hill wasn’t in there, but I knew how to find it… or so I thought. I drifted my way to the rocky part of the trail and found that there were many more junctions than I remembered. I knew I needed to keep right at some point, so I followed a likely path that headed to the bush. Right away I knew it wasn’t the right thing, but my solo-riding curiosity told me to see where it goes. The track was really rough. Much rockier than Baby-Head, with large, embedded stones on an overgrown 2-track that hadn’t been used much or recently. At many points I thought: “This ain’t it, man, turn back before you get stuck.” Only to keep riding. The bike and I were both overheating when it finally became obvious that the track was a dead-end charcoal-burner’s track. I killed the engine to enjoy the solitude before retracing my steps, begrudgingly, back to the main track. 


Above: Some views near my detour


Above: The charcoal burner track was quiet and lovely when I wasn’t growling and cursing through it


Above: Me and my steed

Successfully climbing back up the rocky section without mishap, I found a Masai guy at a junction who pointed me in the right direction and I was off. No further detours, I found my way to Baby-Head Hill and clattered down it without any problems. Although it was overgrown with grass, the lack of activity on it recently actually made it easier to ride… most of the baby heads were wedged in the ground. Once down on the plain, I decided I’d keep the ride going and pointed my tire across the tarmac at Oltepesi toward the Butt Brothers’ farm.


Above: Back on track


Above: Baby Head Hill was rough but enjoyable, as long as you don't get caught in a wait-a-bit bush


Above: Down on the plain with Esakut in the distance (poor-man's drone footage from atop an anthill)

to be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Baby Head and Mi46 Continued...
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2020, 06:42:44 am »
The ride past Butt Brothers’ was quick and enjoyable as always, with less fesh-fesh and more grass than usual. I kicked out on the “main” dirt road between Mi46 and the Magadi Tar and was in for a surprise. I figured the real riding was over, and I was ready to coast over to Mi46 for some petrol and an afternoon beer, but the recent rains had turned the road to pudding in spots, so I had to remain on my toes.


Above: Why do they keep building these? They don’t last a single season!


Above: Recently, this road was a small riverbed… only a couple of pikipikis and I had been down it since, and it was messy


Above: Then it got messier


Above: Then I picked the wrong line and ended up wallowing in a rut. Things were going fine until I lost momentum and started spinning on the stones some trucker stuck down in there. It was a bit tricky balancing the bike, removing the stones then kickstarting her again with muddy boots!


Above: Still, where else would I rather be?

After digging myself out of my muddy grave, I kept on toward Sigiriani. The road was toast. A shadow of its recently-refurbished glory, and the gray skies kept the feeling of gloom alive. At Sigiriani, I almost crashed gawking at a lone rail-trolly on the tracks. Turning back, a Tata employee graciously allowed me to have a look at it. It’s basically a railway matatu, with seats in it for workers. I asked if it was a million years old, and he said it was brought in 2007! Africa’s hard on equipment. After that, I rode through several flowing seasonal rivers including the big one with the falls before arriving at Mi46 for my beer and petrol stop.


Above: At Sigiriani lay-by, my XRR and the TATA Magadi rail matatu


Above: I’ve never seen these rivers with water in them. Thankfully, they all have firm sand bottoms


Above: At the waterfall, there was water… falling


Above: The color of that water tells you most of Kajiado is on its way somewhere else


Above: Found a new bar at Mi46 complete with pool table and properly cold mbeers


Above: Refreshing pit stop, but the thunder outside kept me moving. It’s one thing to ride mud, it’s another to get stuck riding mud in a downpour

I downed my brewsky and donned my rain-jacket. The thunder and clouds ahead looked serious, and did give me a bit of a dousing, turning the black-cotton sections of the poorly maintained road to grease. I had to ride around a few stranded trucks, but mostly it was just a sprinkle and the sandy/rocky track was primed for braaaaping. Ripping along, I still didn’t really want to go home, so when I saw a track jutting off to the right, I took it, and enjoyed a nice climb up beneath the holiday houses clinging to Champaign Ridge that kicked me out right at Cona Baridi. From there, a quick drop down the tar to my dirt return track.


Above: Above Olepolos on the high-road to Cona Baridi

250km solo day. No trailers, little tar, lots of mud and smiles. Kenya, you’re my favourite playground!

 :snorting:


 

Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: 2020 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2020, 07:41:12 am »
Nicely done!
www.majita.co.za - we sell tools!

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Offline Clockwork Orange

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Re: 2020 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2020, 01:20:43 pm »
Awesome as always
When in doubt...grab throttle!!!