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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #180 on: December 06, 2020, 09:00:27 pm »
After chilling for 45 minutes or so, we decide it’s time to head down the steep section with the rocky lip that Van Zyl’s Pass is famous for.

I‘m confident I can clear it in one go. The other two paddle their bikes down without incident. I opt to stand on my pegs and practice my balance skills.

That doesn’t turn out so well for me as my front wheel drops over the lip, get’s stuck in a hole and sends me over the bars in a spectacular off! Fortunately, I'm not hurt.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #181 on: December 06, 2020, 09:01:13 pm »
I see that I’m not the only one who messed up on this section…
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #182 on: December 06, 2020, 09:02:42 pm »
By the time we get to the bottom of the pass, I’m in front. Marc in the middle and Jan Lucas at the back. I blast off towards the Marienfluss excited to see the red sand that it is famous for.

But after a while, Jan Lucas and Marc are nowhere to be seen. I turn around to investigate and discover Jan Lucas like this.
 
He’s fallen and gotten trapped under his bike. Marc found the time to span this picture of him before rescuing him. 😊 Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt.
I wait at the bottom of the hill for him to arrive and we all promptly get off our bikes and fall asleep for 30 minutes. We’re buggered.
 
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #183 on: December 06, 2020, 09:03:59 pm »
We wake up refreshed and for me personally, chomping at the bit to hit the sand and to cross the Marienfluss. The Marienfluss is the vertical stretch or red sand in the middle of the map below.

There’s nothing there but sand.

And perhaps a small hut that is rumored to sell fuel, but nobody can confirm that.

Our plan is to cross the Marienfluss in the south and then ride north to see if we can find this fabled hut that sells fuel.

We don’t need fuel, but it would be great to know for future reference (and it gives us something to do).
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #184 on: December 06, 2020, 09:06:57 pm »
As we emerge into the Marienfluss, the sand gets red colored and deep. The track we’re following is barely visible as nobody has driven it in weeks, possibly months.

We ride around for a while looking for the turnoff, but can’t find it so we decide to just bundu-bash in the general direction of the track on my GPS and hope that we find it.

Soon afterwards I see a faint outline of what used to be a 4x4 track, but is now just virgin sand.

Bingo!

We’re up on the pegs, twisting the throttle and floating over the glorious sea of red sand. I’m giggling like a child in my helmet while listening my Spotify playlist. This is heaven.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #185 on: December 06, 2020, 09:09:14 pm »
After half an hour of hooligan blasting down the Marienfluss, the GPS says that I’m getting closer to the place where the fabled shack is supposed to be. I look left and see something in the distance, so alter my course and head over there.

I see a man leaning up against the shack with something in his hand. He’s obviously heard us coming and went outside to see what we were up to.

As I pull up next to him, I notice that he’s holding an ice-cold beer in his hand.

No frikkin’ way. I must be dreaming.

Ice cold beer in the middle of the desert? Can’t be true.

“Hi. I’m Bruce”.

“I’m Ben” he replies in perfect English.

“Howzit Ben. Do you sell that stuff?”

“Ja. Ice cold. I’ve got lots.”

I grin. Jan Lucas is going to be a very very happy man tonight.

“And do you sell petrol too?”

“Ja. That too. R150 for 5 liters.”

“Lekker.”

Ben is the man.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #186 on: December 06, 2020, 09:11:01 pm »
We waltz into his shop and order beer. I’m overcome with joy. After the epic ride we’ve just had, this is the cherry on top.

Jan Lucas is smiling again after looking somber for most of the day.

We share a few beers and chat excitedly.

It turns out that Ben is saving up money to take his high school exams again (he didn’t pass the first time) so that he can go to the University Of Namibia. He’s running this little store to save up the money. Weird place to save, but each to his own.

Then I realize what might be keeping him here. Three beautiful young Himba girls arrive like an apparition out of the desert sand.
 
I use my one-liner in Otjiherero and make them smile. They also love seeing the photos of themselves on my phone. This is a good time.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #187 on: December 06, 2020, 09:14:12 pm »
We decide to buy some food for our campsite tonight. This will be the first time we’ve camped – not because we haven’t wanted to camp, but because the luxury lodges have been almost as cheap as camping (thanks to COVID-19).

But Ben is more interested in selling us necklaces than food.

He tells us that the necklace was made by a 108-year-old woman in his village that is sick. She needs to go to the hospital for an operation, but cannot afford the fare and the operation. She’s making necklaces, but has no tourists to sell them too. They’re pricey too (for this remote area). One of them R1500 (USD100).

I’m not interested in necklaces, but I am interested in meeting a 108-year-old woman. I ask Ben if I can speak with her and he agrees to go and call her over.

Ben returns with the lady and begins translating for her and us.

It’s a beautiful interaction. She looks old – not 108, but old. Her breasts hang past her hips so I can only imagine that she has given birth to many children.

By the end on our conversation, I’m inspired to donate R200 to her cause. Jan Lucas does the same.

Everyone’s happy and by this time, I’m drunk. I’m a cheap date.

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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #188 on: December 06, 2020, 09:16:12 pm »
But we’re still not finished our riding for the day. We’ve got to find a place to camp.
I decide to use my iOverlander app for the first time on this trip. It’s a great app for finding wild camping spots.
There’s a 2018 listing that says “This campsite lays between 3 mountains. We made a braai spot and for the first people who visit this spot, there is wood left.”

http://ioverlander.com/places/63923-gettin-lost-in-marienfluss

That sounds like a plan to me. Firewood? It’s never going to be there 2 years later in 2020. But let’s go there anyway.
 
“Hey guys. I’ve found a campsite 6km from here. Let’s go check it out!”

So we do. Me drunk. The others tipsy.

Along the way, we decide that Ben needs to upgrade his marketing efforts and that we will help him do just that. 

I happen to have a marker pen for marking bolt torques on my bike. I lend it ot Marc who adds “Cold Beer!” to the noticeboard.
 
We laugh like children.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #189 on: December 06, 2020, 09:21:54 pm »
Then we proceed to race down the Marienfluss drunk, looking for the campsite. I have a video of it that I’ll try to post later. It was SO much fun and we laughed the entire way.   

We arrive at the campsite and it’s incredible.   

Two years later, the wood is still there waiting for us.

We set up camp and make a fire and proceed to have one of the best night’s camping ever.   

What a day. One of the best motorcycling days of my 30 years riding bikes. This trip is turning out better than I could have ever imagined.

And tomorrow, we still have the Hartmannberge mountinans to cross and dunes to ride. The best riding is yet to come…

But now we sleep.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 10:34:35 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #190 on: December 06, 2020, 09:27:00 pm »
Here's a video on the way to Van Zyls Pass:



Here's a video Marc took with his phone while riding drunk down the Marienfluss:



And this one of our campsite:

« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 09:33:59 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline Amsterdam

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #191 on: December 06, 2020, 09:49:25 pm »
This is very usefull - at least for me. So we can conclude based on the real world experience that:

- tubes with Slime in it can be actually patched (I still wouldn't use Slime, but now its just personal preference).

- rubber cemment and vulcanizng glue are the same thing (not 100% conclusive - weird that in this age of google it is so difficult to confirm), but all indications I have seen are in the same direction. This is actually great, as it means you just need to carry any glue that is designated either of those things (and the tip on duct tape is great - I battle with tubes getting destroyed in my luggage and spreadin glue all over).

So now its just question to figure out correct technique:

- clean up and roughin up of tube is pretty clear - never point of contention.

- applying glue is not clear to me. Should the glue be applied generously on both tube and patch for proper vulcanisation to occure (seems to make sense with tubes with high natural rubber content), or should it be applied very sparingly (probably if it is mostly Butyl tube)?

I have tried generous application of glue many times and it basically always failed. Now I didn't always wait 10 - 15 minutes before applying the patch, but on many times I did and still usually ended up in tears. On the other hand application of very little glue on the tube only (though if I would put it sparingly on patch it probably wouldn' make difference apart for potentially endin up with too much glue) and letting it dry before applying patch does seem to work for me in most cases.

In other words, does the vulcanisation actually still takes place with modern tubes (especially Butyl ones) or not. What is you glue application protocol @Amsterdam ?

I have always only applied glue to the tube, never to the patch. Bruce on the other hand swears by applying glue to both the patch and the tube.
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Offline dw1

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #192 on: December 06, 2020, 09:53:43 pm »
Fantastic report. thnx for the effort.
Great trip
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Offline DaveT

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #193 on: December 06, 2020, 10:05:53 pm »
Awesome report, my planning has started...
 

Offline McKracken

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #194 on: December 06, 2020, 10:53:23 pm »
This is very usefull - at least for me. So we can conclude based on the real world experience that:

- tubes with Slime in it can be actually patched (I still wouldn't use Slime, but now its just personal preference).

- rubber cemment and vulcanizng glue are the same thing (not 100% conclusive - weird that in this age of google it is so difficult to confirm), but all indications I have seen are in the same direction. This is actually great, as it means you just need to carry any glue that is designated either of those things (and the tip on duct tape is great - I battle with tubes getting destroyed in my luggage and spreadin glue all over).

So now its just question to figure out correct technique:

- clean up and roughin up of tube is pretty clear - never point of contention.

- applying glue is not clear to me. Should the glue be applied generously on both tube and patch for proper vulcanisation to occure (seems to make sense with tubes with high natural rubber content), or should it be applied very sparingly (probably if it is mostly Butyl tube)?

I have tried generous application of glue many times and it basically always failed. Now I didn't always wait 10 - 15 minutes before applying the patch, but on many times I did and still usually ended up in tears. On the other hand application of very little glue on the tube only (though if I would put it sparingly on patch it probably wouldn' make difference apart for potentially endin up with too much glue) and letting it dry before applying patch does seem to work for me in most cases.

In other words, does the vulcanisation actually still takes place with modern tubes (especially Butyl ones) or not. What is you glue application protocol @Amsterdam ?

I have always only applied glue to the tube, never to the patch. Bruce on the other hand swears by applying glue to both the patch and the tube.
Don't quote me, but I think it depends on the patch.  If the slime brand patches say add vulcanising solution, it's because they need it, where as the red underside of the patches are already (vulcanised? Ready to bond)

Here's a little bit of what I found on the process, and why cleanliness is so important.. it will work a similar way with butyl rubber and natural rubber as the disulphide bonds are present in both:

Chemist here - natural rubber is a polymer (long chain-like molecules).  Vulcanizing adds cross-links (through disulfide bonds) to the rubber, basically turning the strands of rubber molecules into a net, greatly increasing strength.  Bike tubes are vulcanized rubber, but the outer surfaces are treated such that all those cross-linking sulfur groups aren't reaching out and trying to grab anything.  You put on some vulcanizing fluid (henceforth "glue") and a few disulfide bonds in the tube get broken and re-formed with bonds to the polymers in the glue.  Once the glue dries (there's a bit of solvent that has to evaporate) the inner side of the glue spot is chemically bound to the tire.  The outer side is left with a bunch of free sulfur groups waiting to grab onto some other sulfur groups.  Then you peel that piece of foil off the orange side of the tire patch (which exposes the free sulfur groups left on the patch) and press it to the glue spot - you've now made millions of chemical bonds between the patch and the glue spot.  It's not really glued, though - the patch-"glue"-tire system is now one single molecule all chemically bound together.

The chemical bond holding things together is why:

 - The tube has to be clean and dry - the sulfur groups reaching out for something to grab onto will grab dirt, water, and other gunk instead of the patch.

 - You can't use duct tape or regular glue - these are sticky substances that don't vulcanize the rubber together.  Rubber cement may hold a patch in place but it is NOT the same stuff.

- Glueless patches kinda suck - the vulcanizing fluid in the little tubes works better at making bonds with the punctured bike tube. 

- You can make patches out of old tubes - at its most basic you're vulcanizing two pieces of rubber together, so two pieces of bike tube will stick to each other. 

TL;DR - Vulcanization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcanization
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Offline peter stuyvesant

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #195 on: December 06, 2020, 10:53:48 pm »
Great read, keep it coming! Was Ben's shop near camp Syncro or in the middle of nowhere?
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #196 on: December 06, 2020, 11:00:38 pm »

Then I realize what might be keeping him here. Three beautiful young Himba girls arrive like an apparition out of the desert sand.
 
I use my one-liner in Otjiherero and make them smile. They also love seeing the photos of themselves on my phone. This is a good time.

Carefull there Bruce! At least two of them are already spoken for by Justin and he might not look at your attempts there kindly! 

He is a vindictive  fella and left pissed off cobra waiting for me after we met these ladies just to get me as potential rival out of the way - and I didn't as much as sqeek at the ladies...







Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #197 on: December 06, 2020, 11:01:29 pm »
Craig, that was a great explanation. Thanks for taking the time to make it so clear. I might pick your brains a little more tomorrow when you come round. Don't be surprised if I give you a white lab coat and present you with a few tubes of glue and a few patches and inner tubes. :-)

We still need to figure our what the difference between RUBBER cement and CONTACT cement is though. I'm not yet convinced that they are the same. Or that marketing departments haven't butchered the names to sell more product.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #198 on: December 06, 2020, 11:03:46 pm »
Great read, keep it coming! Was Ben's shop near camp Syncro or in the middle of nowhere?

It's on the South West side of the Marienfluss here: -17.626250, 12.513683

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #199 on: December 06, 2020, 11:05:41 pm »
Thanks