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Offline BoskakBruce

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Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« on: November 30, 2020, 08:43:19 pm »
How did I end up alone in Desolation Valley with my bike upside down and an increasingly concerning pain in my chest?

Well, that is a story to come... so sit back, grab a cup of something comforting and join this WILD ride through virgin sand in post-lockdown Namibia.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 08:25:58 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Offline Lars

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 08:50:03 pm »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2020, 08:59:58 pm »
It all started a year ago when my wife and I were touring South America on our dirt bikes. I had been reading ride reports about Kaokoland by @Xpat, @Minxy, @michnus, @Damaraland and they all had two things in common - amazing pictures and wild adventures. I had to go.

So, one morning while sipping coffee in Ecuador, I opened up my Gumtree app and bought a KTM 500 from a guy in Nelspruit and had it shipped to my brother's place in Cape Town. That story is outlined in my bike build report here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=252547.0

I figured I'd be in a Cape Town a few months later and ride the 500 to Kaokoland. Then COVID hit and my wife and I were quarantined for 7 months in a 2-bed apartment in Chile. Somehow, we survived without killing each other and when we finally managed to get flights out of Chile, I immediately booked a ticket to Cape Town to see my family, my new 500, and head to Kaokoland. "Thank God!" she said. "I've had enough of you for 7 months..."

The problem was, I didn't really want to go alone.  After loneliness set in during a 15-country solo motorcycle trip in 2015, I promised myself that I'd never ride alone again. Not becasue I don't like being alone, but becasue without someone to share my experiences with, it's never quite as fun. Normally, my wife would ride with me. She's pretty badass. But this trip she couldn't make.

So, first things first, I had to find people to join in on the fun with me. None of my friends could take 3 weeks off (and none of them had bikes capable of going where I wanted to go). I couldn't just ride with anyone. I wanted a capable rider, on a small bike, who loved sand, and was good company. A tall order, right?

So, I started a bike build report that I figured only other 500 riders would be interested in. I'd bought a bunch of accessories to VARKle my bike with, and I figured that maybe someone reading it would own a 500 and would want to join me.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 11:40:24 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Offline Noneking

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2020, 09:08:39 pm »
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Offline Breekbeen

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2020, 09:17:33 pm »
.

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Offline Minxy

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2020, 09:20:25 pm »
 :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Hi Bruce, I saw some of your photos going around on facebook, I really can't wait to read all about your big adventure. There is no place like Namibia, and seeing your photos really makes me long to go back! Will be following closely :)
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 09:36:11 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Ace Venture

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2020, 09:24:48 pm »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2020, 09:25:09 pm »
A few days later, @Amsterdam reached out to me and invited me for coffee and a chat under the guise of connecting as we both had 500s and lived in Hout Bay.

In retrospect, I think he was interviewing me for the trip, not the other way round. At the end of our coffee, he said something like "If I were to hypothetically join you on the trip... what route were you thinking of taking?"

Join me? Seriously? Wow. A possible partner to ride with.

Then he said, "And I may have a friend who would like to come too".

Two days later, the three of use met up, sussed each other out and decided on the route we wanted to take together.

The plan was simple. Trailer the bikes to the White Lady Lodge, leave the car there for 2 weeks and ride the shit out of Kaokoland.

I was stoked. This was working out better than I had hoped.
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Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2020, 09:29:25 pm »
:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Hi Bruce, I saw some of your photos going around on facebook, I really can't wait to read all about your big adventure. There is no place like Namibia, and seeing your photos really made me long to go back! Will be following closely :)

During quarantine in Chile, I was watching some of your YouTube videos of Kaokoland. Thanks! They gave me inspiration.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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DAY 0 - Cape Town to Windhoek
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2020, 09:33:37 pm »
A week later, we were set to leave... I couldn't sleep that night. Tomorrow was the big day I had been waiting for for over a year now. It was the virgin journey for my 500 too. I'd spent 2 weeks day and night preparing her, and finally we were going to get to ride...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 09:34:42 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline exkdx

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2020, 09:34:55 pm »
 :lamer:
This is going to be GOOD :biggrin:
KDX200 gone
YZ 250 gone
Husky TE610 one left
KTM 500 XC-W latest addition
 

Offline IDR

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2020, 09:36:43 pm »
sub-farking-scribe!
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2020, 10:07:09 pm »
But LIFE had other plans for Marc, Jan Lucas (@Amsterdam)  and I.

Jan Lucas's car had gone into the Toyoyta dealer to be fixed prior to the trip, but the Toyota dealer couldn't get the car ready in time. So I spent Thursday sitting at home waiting for Jan Lucas to call and say that the car was ready. Jan Lucas spent the day sitting in the Toyota dealership practicing his best "I'm not pleased" face.

The Toyota dealership never came through and Thursday night came and we were all still in Cape Town feeling dejected. We needed a PLAN B... and fast.

Jan Lucas came to the rescue again by annexing his wife's car, and lending his son's car to his wife. Phew...

Another sleepless night, but this time Jan Lucas showed up at my door at 4am. We loaded the car and headed for Durbanville to pick up Marc.

The banter in the car quickly grew more and more relaxed as we realilzed that the trip was actually happening and that we all liked each other. The biking stories started flowing and smiles appeared on our faces as we got to know each other.

Jan Lucas is a retired mechanical engineer. He's Dutch (I generally like the Dutch) and has a wise, calming demeanour. He decided to take his Husky 701 on the trip instead of his 500. Made no sense to me, but he claims it is more comfortable. He hadn't tried out the new seat on my 500 at that point.

Marc is, well, an enigma. Nobody really knows what he does for a living and how he can afford 3 KTMs. All we know is that he has warehouses that he rents out. Anyhow, he's an interesting cat. I discover that he's originally from Zim, fought in the war and has seen some pretty grim things in his time on this planet. He's also been to Kaokoland 13 times already and this time, packed his 690 on the trailer.

Jan Lucas and Marc ride together often.

And for those of you who haven't met me yet, I'm Bruce. Grew up in Cape Town, been riding since I got my 50cc licence at 16 and now live with my wife in the Dominican Republic (she's Dominican). During the day I help couples save their marriages (I'm a marriage counselor), and when I'm not doing that I'm an avid kitesurfer and traveller.

So that pretty much sets the scene for everything to come...

Our 2-day drive to Namibia started well, but soon turned into an adventure.

Becasue of our delayed departure, our COVID tests all expired within hours of reaching the Namibian border. In fact, one of our COVID tests had already expired by the time we reached Vioolsdrif. That was a problem...

Fortunately, being experienced travellers, we had prepared for this possibility and one of us (no names mentioned) had creatively edited his COVID test report to time travel one day forward. This was his backup COVID test. And it worked. The border official looked at the date, looked again, and then just stamped it.

Phew... The last thing we needed was to get arrested for forgery at the border. A few stamps later and we (and the bikes) were in Namibia!

YAY. Finally.

But our excitement was short lived.

The car was getting harder and harder to steer. We pulled over and discovered that steering fluid was pissing out of one of the pipes. Shit. What now?

We decided that we'd continue without power steering until we could find somone to fix it. I mean, all the roads to Windhoek are dead straight anyway, right? Who needs the ability to turn?

A few hundred kilos later, and the car started overheating. Seriously???? I felt my heart sink. I just wanted to get there without more delays. We pulled into Grunau, a small dorp a few hundred kilos from the border, to try to find help and a place to sleep for the night.

Unbelievably, there was a mechanic workshop in Grunau. We pulled in, explained our situation to the guy there and waited to see what he said. He appeared an hour later with the thermostat in his hand decaring it kaput! It had seized.

We'd have to wait until tomorrow to order a thermostat from Windhoek and get it delivered to Grunau. That would be another day lost.

But, our mechanic had a plan...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 10:11:55 pm by Overland Bruce »
HardADV enthusiast. Bikes: XC-W500, Husky FE501, Husky TE300, XR250 Tornado

Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2020, 10:14:46 pm »
He drilled 3 holes in the thermostat to allow fluid through and reinstalled it.

Jan Lucas took the car for a test drive, and it stayed cool! Yippee!

So, after profusely thanking the mechanic, we settled into a room in the Grunau Country Hotel, ordered some beer and forgot about the day's troubles. We were still on track for Kaokoland.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 10:17:15 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2020, 10:40:45 pm »
We slept like babies, sharing a room together for the first time... Marc farting and Jan Lucas snoring. I was too tired to care and just passed out.

We woke early and hit the road again. We had googled a Jeep dealership in Windhoek and decided to leave the car with them for 2 weeks, and begin our ride that afternoon from Windhoek.

I was excited at the prospect of beginning out ride one day early, but no so much at the thought of 100km of tar on my new knobbies.

When we arrived at the Jeep dealer, they were very accommodating and let us store the car with them promising to fix it while we were riding Kaokoland.

We offloaded the bikes from the trailer, stripped off our smelly clothes and started the arduous process of getting dressed into our bike gear. It took us about an hour to leave, but when we did, the exhilaration I felt was huge! It was happening!

We blasted down the highway for 100km and then turned off into the dirt.

It was sooooo fun, for all of 5 minutes and then it got scary.

My front wheel was swaying all over the place on the sand, like a drunk dance partner. I was terrified. Around every corner, I thought I was going to bite the dust. Whenever I rode faster than 80km/h, my rear wheel would fishtail sending the entire bike into a tankslapping shake.

After a few stops to check out what might be happening with my bike, we discovered a puddle of fork oil on my front wheel and splattered all over my bashplate.

What????

I had just installed new fork seals, heavier springs and changed the oil. How could I have a fork seal leak only hours into the trip?

I donned my surgical gloves and proceeded to probe the fork seak with a cleaning "tool" I made from a piece of plastic lying around. The fork seal was spotless. No dirt came out, just oil gushing everywhere. Perhaps I had gotten a bad seal? Who knows.

Dammit!

I must have already lost 400ml of fork oil. Maybe this was why my bike was handling so badly.

Nothing I could do now. I wasn't going to find any new KTM fork seals in Damaraland, that's for sure.

So, we headed on and found shelter in Omaruru for the night. Beer was drunk and solutions to my bike problems proposed.

Fuck it. I was just going to have to live with it. And if that meant fighting the bike for 2 weeks, then so be it. I wasn't going to let this ruin my dream trip.

Tomorrow, the trip starts for real, so I made a promise to myself that I was going to enjoy my new bike, kak handling and all.

We all slept like babies again (with Mark farting and Jan Lucas snoring). :-)

With that out of the way, the next 2 weeks were some of the best 2 weeks of riding that I have ever experienced. I'll try to write a little every day and let the pics to most of the talking... Invite your friends and let's get this party started.
HardADV enthusiast. Bikes: XC-W500, Husky FE501, Husky TE300, XR250 Tornado

Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Online Sheepman

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2020, 10:41:24 pm »
Loving this already - no plain sailing intro to the trip  :thumleft:
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2020, 03:15:41 am »
Rock n Roll!

Are those Motoz Adventures on the rear of the Husky?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 03:39:25 am by Ian in Great Brak River »
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2020, 06:37:29 am »
 :biggrin: :sip:
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the the couch
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Offline OomD

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2020, 07:01:08 am »
Digging this, and reading along.  :thumleft:
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2020, 07:02:19 am »
Rock n Roll!

Are those Motoz Adventures on the rear of the Husky?
Almost. Motoz Tractionater Desert I think. @Amsterdam, please chime in.

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HardADV enthusiast. Bikes: XC-W500, Husky FE501, Husky TE300, XR250 Tornado

Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab