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Author Topic: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)  (Read 17197 times)

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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #300 on: December 17, 2020, 10:30:45 pm »
The scene is gorgeous in the morning light. I want to speed up and enjoy riding the sand, but Iím too afraid that Iíll miss something beautiful, so I stay in 3rd gear, lugging the engine and taking in the scenery.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 11:11:34 am by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #301 on: December 17, 2020, 10:31:31 pm »
I stop to pee. Itís dead quiet. Nothing moves. I canít help thinking that if something goes wrong out here, help is a long, long way away.

Itís around 8:30am when I drop into the Huab River bed.

The riverbed sand is deep and Iím enjoying carving through the corners. At the same time, I'm constantly scanning the horizon for elephants and within 2 minutes, one makes an appearanceÖ
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 11:14:03 am by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #302 on: December 17, 2020, 10:32:04 pm »
He seems to not be too concerned with me, but Iím definitely concerned about him because the riverbed track runs right in front of him.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #303 on: December 17, 2020, 10:33:24 pm »
I ride slowly past and pluck up the courage to stop and take a pic. Iím far enough away that if he charges me, I can still make a dash to safety.
But heís chill and I move onÖ
And then I hear a roar on my left.
My head swings around like a itís on a stick to see whatís there.
Fuck.
Itís mama and papa elephant... and mama elephant does NOT like me there.

I hadnít seen them grazing on the banks of the riverbed.

I stop at a safe distance to take in the sceneÖ but thatís when shit gets real Ė real fast.

Mama elephant roars and charges towards me.

Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuck!

I hit the starter button and blast off to the opposite side of the riverbed Ė maybe 150 meters away and stop facing mama elephant. Donít ask me why, but Iím thinking ďThis would be a good place to take a photo.Ē

Any sane human would have sped the hell outta there and not looked back.

Iím clearly not sane.

I pull out my phone to take this pic.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #304 on: December 17, 2020, 10:34:18 pm »
But not 5 seconds later, she charges me again. She wants me gone.

This time, I get the message.

I plunge my phone back into my pocket, hit the starter and blast the hell out of dodge in a cloud of sand.

But the river wasnít done with me yet.

Just around the corner, I stop dead in my tracks.

There in the distance, blocking my way, is baby elephant. Shit! Heís a big baby... and thereís no way around him without passing dangerously close to him and risking being seriously hurt or killed.

He's still a ways away, but I soon realize that Iím surrounded - trapped between two elephants.

I keep looking over my shoulder to make sure that mama elephant isnít following me. I donít see her.

My mind is racing and my heart thumping in my chest. Shit, I need a plan Ė fast!

My head is jerking around looking for exits and checking for mama elephant.

Baby elephant is still blocking the track, so plan A is to just wait for him to move on. But what if mama elephant arrives and chases me? Then Iím toast.

I notice a soft sandy bank to my left and immediately start my engine and ride up it to give me some space to maneuver should the shit hit the fan.

Baby elephant begins strolling towards me while I nervously wait on the bank to see what happens next.

I figiure that if baby elephant gets close enough to me, it will clear some space on the track behind him for me to ride around him and escape behind him.

I wait... and baby gets closer and closer.

When he's about 50 meters away, I hit the starter button. The engine roars to life and I kick it into gear.

Go!

I lurch forward struggling to get traction in the sand in 1st gear. I should have chosen 2nd.

Within seconds, I'm alongside him.

Heís scared. He probably hasnít seen a motorcycle in 8 months. He starts running away and trumpets loudly in protest.

My heart is pounding as I pass him.

I look over my shoulder and he is runing away from me. I made it!

Thank god! That was too close for comfort.

You can watch last half of the drama on my GoPro footage here:


« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 11:27:45 am by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #305 on: December 17, 2020, 10:36:15 pm »
Now, all I want to do is get the hell out of this river bed.

Iíve seen enough elephants for 100 lifetimes. I just want some open plains where I can see whatís ahead of me. 😊

Soon, I get what I asked for and arrive at a beautiful rocky plain.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #306 on: December 17, 2020, 10:37:04 pm »
I see a hill in the distance that looks like it will make a fun hill climb and a great vantage point for a photo.

ďThis is probably a dumb idea.Ē I think to myself.

Iím alone in Desolation Valley. No humans for hours. Why risk a rocky hill climb?

Because itís fun?

Iím an idiot.

I start riding towards the hill. Iím riding through a rock garden and canít seem to get enough speed to change into 2nd gear. My plan was to charge the hill, but now Iím at the foot and Iím still in 1st.

Fuck it. Iím just going to have to give it gas and pray I make it.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #307 on: December 17, 2020, 10:38:25 pm »
I donít (make it).

I stop 2 meters from the top of the hill and I run out of steam.

Fuck, itís steep up here. How am I going to get down???

Hereís howÖ

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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #308 on: December 17, 2020, 10:39:03 pm »
After dusting myself off I decide to take it easyÖ very easy. Iíve learned how quickly things can go south.

ďNo more dumb shit, Bruce. OK?Ē

OK.

As I continue slowly onÖ The sandy tracks become windy, sandy tracks. I see elephant dung everywhere Ė like in this clipÖ


« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 12:21:12 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #309 on: December 17, 2020, 10:39:59 pm »
Iím a little shaken, but Iím having a good timeÖ Itís barren and gorgeous.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #310 on: December 17, 2020, 10:40:45 pm »
Iíve found a nice slow pace and Iím feeling confident and comfortable. The track is a kind of soft, deep gravel, so steering is difficult.

My front tire keeps riding up the center of the track and sometimes I feel as if Iím steering left, but riding straight. Weird.

And then it happensÖ

I donít know how it happened, but it sure as hell happened.

Suddenly, a jolt. Iím in the airÖ superman style. Over the handlebars.

Actually, under the handlebars. The bike is above me.

Oh shit! Time slows down. Iím landingÖ.

Oooofffff!

Ouch. Crunch. Silence.

I lay there for a while assessing whether or not I'm dead.

Iím not.

I stand up and surprisingly, I don't feel to bad. Nothing broken, I donít think.

And then I look around and see the bike.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 12:19:11 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #311 on: December 17, 2020, 10:41:42 pm »
Fuuuuucck! My baby!

For some reason, I remember to snap a pic before rushing over to stop the fuel leaking form the tank.

I rush over.

Ouch. My ribs hurt. This is a familiar hurt. The same hurt I felt 2 months ago when I also flew superman style over my bars and broke my ribs.

Iíve fractured the same two ribs Ė again.

I know how this goes... I'll get a few pain-free hours and then suffering for two weeks.

Iím acutely aware that Iím in the middle of nowhere with two broken ribs and an upside-down bike.

I knock the bike over onto its side and then pic it up. I havenít lost too much fuel, but the Giant Loop luggage strap has ripped and the luggage is hanging off.

I spend a few minutes making a quick video and then get to repairing the damage.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 12:17:37 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #312 on: December 17, 2020, 10:43:24 pm »
I get on the bike and press the starter.

She starts first time! Damn, I love my 500.

But sheís been hurt. Her handlebars are bent. Not too badly, but enough that I need to adjust my riding.

I need to get going quickly, before the pain kicks in. I still have a riverbed to ride Ė a long one with lions and elephant in it. Iíve come this far, and I donít want to abort now.

Perhaps I can still make it.

I dust myself off and get back in the saddle, this time even slower than before. It was a freak accident. Surprisingly, I wasnít being an idiot. I was riding at 30 Ė 40km/h. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it, I tell myself.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 12:12:09 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #313 on: December 17, 2020, 10:44:17 pm »
I stop after a few minutes to adjust the forks. Perhaps the handlebar is not bent and itís the forks. If thatís the case, I can just loosen the bolts on the triple clamps and give it a few pumps.

I do that, but no dice. Itís the bars. I guess, Iím gonna have to go slow.

I start smiling again as I pass one of the most beautiful rock formationsÖ
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #314 on: December 17, 2020, 10:44:59 pm »
I pass some Rhino conservation workers and have a quick chat.

They are completely surprised to see me.

Iím delighted to see humans instead of elephants.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #315 on: December 17, 2020, 10:46:02 pm »
ďAre you heading to White Lady Lodge via the Ugab river?Ē one of them asks.

ďYipĒ

ďYou know that motorbikes are banned in the riverbed?Ē

ďReally? Thatís not what Iíve heardÖĒ

ďYes. The signs will go up in two weeks. But thereís an alternative route you can take.Ē

I pretend to listen to the alternative route, but secretly Iím thinking that if the Ugab riverbed really is closed to motorbikes, then this is my only chance Iím ever going to get to ride it Ė broken ribs and all.

I think he sensed that I wasnít listening, so began another tactic to put me offÖ

ďYou know that there are lots of lions in the riverbed with cubs? Theyíre aggressive when they have cubs.Ē

ďReally?Ē

ďAnd elephants too. Lots of them. Are you not scared of them?Ē

ďTerrifiedĒ I say telling the truth.

Theyíre lovely, people. But Iím not sure that I believe their story about motorbikes not being allowed in the riverbed.

They eventually drive off and once they are out of sight, I cross a mountain range and descend into the Ugab riverbed. As it comes into view, my heart starts racing.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 12:03:02 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #316 on: December 17, 2020, 10:46:37 pm »
What if there are lions with cubs that chase me?

What if I fall with two broken ribs and canít pick up my bike? Iíd be lunch for them.

I enter the riverbed and ride fast. My goal is to get this over with, but try to enjoy it at the same time. Iím not successful.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #317 on: December 17, 2020, 10:47:12 pm »
Itís dry and eerie feeling. Iím scared that death awaits me around every corner. Iím probably totally safe, but those damn Rhino guys succeeded at scaring me.

Iím not really enjoying this, but the GPS says that I have 75km to go. Thatís two hours in the riverbed. A LOT can happen in two hours.

I arrive at the Ugab marshes. Marsh areas are terrifying for me because you cannot see what is around the corner. I could very easily ride smack bang into an elllie and have no space to turn around and run. Iíd be stomped on and that would be that.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #318 on: December 17, 2020, 10:48:57 pm »
To make things even more scary, the marsh area is sandy and I fall twice creeping slowly around the corners.

My ribs are starting to hurt and picking up my bike is getting harder and harder.

After ever corner I say a little ďthank youĒ to the big man upstairs for sparing my life again.

Eventually, after the longest two hours ever, I reach my planned exit. I havenít seen a single damn animal the entire time.

Iím so relieved.

I put the hammer down and blast out of the riverbed and onto the dirt track to White Lady Lodge, where Iím planning to stay the night.

This has been a lonely day. I enjoyed it, but would have preferred to have had the boys with me.

However, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I did it. I survived. And so did the 500.

I arrive at White Lady Lodge, but thereís not a soul around.

So, I head to Uis and get fuel. That way, I can blast to Spitzkoppe, set up my tent and leave early tomorrow morning to meet the guys in Windhoek.

I arrive at Uis, fuel up and start putting my earplugs in when I hear the sound of a ThumperÖ

Thumpty, thumpty, thumpÖ

Fuck. Itís a biker.

No. Wait. Itís two bikers.

No. three.

WTF????

Ten motorcycles pull into the Uis fuel station to get fuel.

They look at me with the same look Iím giving them Ė the ďWTF are you doing hereĒ look.

I take off my helmet and greet them. They are all German and one of them is a woman in her 50ís. Theyíre on a tour together on Yamaha XT660ís.

Weíre all so surprised to meet each other in the middle of nowhere that we stop and chat.

Eventually, I decide that Iím going to try to get a room at the same hotel that they are staying at in Uis. The hotel is fully booked out by the bikers, but I convince the owner to let me camp out back.

I meet Bjorn, their tour guide. Bjorn is Namibian born and is simply spectacular. Heís a charismatic, rough and tough kind of MacGyver character.

He generously invites me to join the group on a little excursion before dinner and then invites me to dinner with them.

After setting up my tent, we all chill around the pool drinking beer. Itís an AMAZING way to end the trip and an incredible day.

I didnít take too many photos because I was probably too drunk to remember, but hereís one of the woman and her suitor on an XT660.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #319 on: December 17, 2020, 10:49:22 pm »
Shortly afterwards, we jump in the support vehicle and drive to the top of a mine dump to watch the sunset.
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