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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #140 on: December 05, 2020, 01:31:09 pm »
Good report so far 👌
Think after my next trip I will rather send my pics to Bruce, tell him what happened and ask him to write a report for me  :laughing4:
As a man thinketh, so he becomes...
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #141 on: December 05, 2020, 04:29:11 pm »
Brings back great memories of my trip with Xpat and Straatkat
That trip inspired me a lot.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #142 on: December 05, 2020, 04:30:45 pm »
Good report so far 👌
Think after my next trip I will rather send my pics to Bruce, tell him what happened and ask him to write a report for me  :laughing4:
Thanks man, but I'll have to increase my prices becasue jirree, this takes a LOT of time. :-)
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Days 5 & 6 - Opuwo to Epupa Falls
« Reply #143 on: December 05, 2020, 06:27:25 pm »
For a change, we woke up and our #1 priority was not coffee.

It was finding spare inner tubes.

Yesterday had cost us two inner tubes, which meant that both Marc and I were running on our spares. If we blew up one of our spares today, we'd still be OK because Jan Lucas had his spare tube and could share. But, if we blew up two tubes, we'd be shit out of luck. Game over. Thanks for playing.

I start at the local hardware store in Opuwo. They tell me that very few people ride motorcycles here and that the only place we'll find a tube is in Windhoek. I don't want to believe them, so I stubbornly visit every spare parts store in Opuwo.

Nothing. Nada. Nix.

We still have one week of riding ahead of us - riding in the most sparsely populated country on earth, in the most sparsely populated area of the most sparsely populated country on earth.

The only silver lining to my morning's investigation was that I found a place that sold slime. We each bought two bottles.

Now, for those of you who don't know what this Slime stuff is, it's the green sperm of Satan. You put it in your inner tube and it stays liquid until exposed to a puncture (actually, the outside air), at which point it gets all gooey and blocks up hole that caused the puncture.

But it sure is the green sperm of Satan, because getting it into your inner tube will make you curse like the devil himself and earn you so much bad karma that you'll go straight to hell in the afterlife.

Fuck, it's a mission. It took me one hour to get that slimy shit into my tube. More accurately, it took me 1 hour to unblock the holy mess I made in my valve stem trying to get that shit in my tube.

Note to anyone using Slime: Shake the bottle like you're masturbating before you try to insert the green sperm of Satan into in the valve stem hole.

Finally, we hit the road but it's already midday and I'm already hot and sweaty.

The plan is to ride up to the Kunene River Lodge, have lunch and then head on to Epupa Falls. The Kunene River forms the border between Namibia and Angola.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:22:23 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #144 on: December 05, 2020, 06:28:14 pm »
The road to the lodge is one long straight boring 2-hour transport section.
 
We arrive happy and order a big lunch. All I want to do is swim in the river, but Iím cautioned that it FULL of crocs.

I can be stupid, but Iím not that stupid. No swim for me.

I ask one of the staff if the crocs ever crawl out of the river and into the Lodge. She says that they stay on the Angolan side of the river.

I ask why?

She says that they have Angolan passports and donít have Namibian visas.

I laugh out loud. Thatís the best explanation for it.

I have a nap on the restaurant floor before eating.

With our tummies full, we take a stroll through the gardens to find the sprinkler and then proceed to soak ourselves in water before climbing on the bikes and heading off...
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:28:38 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #145 on: December 05, 2020, 06:29:21 pm »
Weíre following the old road to Epupa Falls. Itís beautiful and leads us through some sandy single-track, across a vast empty riverbed and then right along the river.

The riding is superb. 
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #146 on: December 05, 2020, 06:30:12 pm »
Itís along this road that I have my first interaction with the Himba. I come across two Himba huts in the middle of a field alongside the river.

Iím alone at this point. I sit on my bike wanting to make contact with whoever might live there. I see a woman in the distance and a boy. Nobody else.
 
I expect (like in most other third world countries Iíve explored) that the children will show an interest in the bike and come running towards me wanting sweets or to sit on the bike.

Not these Himba.

They keep their distance and appear not to want to come any closer to me.

So, I get off the bike, take off my helmet so that I look more approachable and beckon them to approach.

The boy tentatively comes closer, but remains 30 meters from me and wonít come any closer. He calls his mother who joins him.

I take a few steps closer and I see that they are nervous.

ďWhat might this strange white skinned creature dressed in alien clothing want?Ē I imagine they are thinking.

I say hello and wave. They look at each other and then wave back.

Waving is universal for ďHello!Ē everywhere. It works here too.

I reach into my pocket for my phone to take a photo, but decide against it as I feel like it would be impolite and perhaps scare them.

I try to introduce myself.

ďBruceĒ I say deliberately while patting my hand on my heart trying to indicate that Iím saying my name.

I extend my hand as if to say, ďWhatís your name?Ē

They donít get it. I stupidly try the exact same thing again. Not surprisingly, they still donít get it.

Then, the mother rubs her tummy.

Thatís the universal sign for ďIím hungry.Ē

My heart breaks.

I have a can of vegetable curry in my Giant Loop saddlebag that Iíve been carrying with me for dinner when we need to Wild Camp. I want to give it to her, but there might not be another supermarket along our route and then Iíll be without dinner.

Iím torn.

Eventually, I remember that I have a granola bar in my backpack. I remove the backpack from my back and it seems to startle them and they retreat.

ďItís OK.Ē I say in the same tone of voice I use to soothe my clients (Iím a marriage counselor).

I walk towards them with the granola bar and extend my hand. For a while, nobody moves, but then the boy plucks up some courage and comes and snatches it from my hand.

They nod as if to say ďThank you.Ē

As I walk back to my bike, my heart is breaking. These rural people would normally thrive selling curios to tourists, but now they are hungry and needing food.

As I ride off, I think about riding back here early tomorrow morning with some food for them. I was deeply moved.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:27:06 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #147 on: December 05, 2020, 06:30:48 pm »
Later on, I see this notice:

If you want to donate, thereís a bank account number on the image.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #148 on: December 05, 2020, 06:32:29 pm »
We pull into Epupa Falls and our first mission is to find a place to stay. The Epupa Falls lodge has a special offer on for R350 each sharing.

We gladly accept and are led far down the path to the furthest corner of the campsite. At first, Iím thinking that weíre being taken to the crappiest part of the campsite, but as the host shows us our room., I realize that we have been given the best room in the entire village.

Itís the closest you can be to the Epupa waterfall. Right on top of it, actually. I canít believe our luck. Our spirits soar and the first thing that Marc and I say to each other is ďTomorrow is a rest day!Ē
   
We propose the idea of resting tomorrow to Jan Lucas and heís open to the idea.
Then we show him the bar and heís in love with the idea.
 
ďBut we have to get fuel now!Ē he says.

Iíve noticed that Jan Lucas gets anxious when he doesnít know if he has enough fuel, and when he doesnít know if he has enough beer.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #149 on: December 05, 2020, 06:34:13 pm »
Off we go to get fuel. That in itself is an adventure.

We arrive in what feels like the crib of the local gangster. Heís the only guy in the place and is surrounded by women doing all the work.
 
We fill our tanks and our 6 liter fuel bladders too. Weíre going to need all the petrol we can get from here on out.

With our bikes full, we head off to find beer and food.

Now, under normal circumstances, I donít drink much. A beer or two a month. Seriously.

On this trip, Iíve already drunk a yearsí worth of beer and Iím loving it!

We call asleep to the sound of the raging waterfall just outside our cabin.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #150 on: December 05, 2020, 06:38:06 pm »
The next morning, I wake up and take my coffee equipment outside.

I notice a couple washing their clothes in the river by stomping on them, like some kind of ritual dance.

I decide to walk over to the falls and see it for myself. Itís pretty spectacular.

 
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #151 on: December 05, 2020, 06:39:12 pm »
While Iím taking in the view, three teenagers arrive. One has a baby on her hip and one of the boys is wearing  a strange looking hat that Iíve seen on a lot of the Himba boys.
   
I approach them slowly, and introduce myself as I had the day before.

Nothing. They donít get it.

Iím determined to break the ice, but I need to learn some Otjiherero or else they are never going to understand me.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 06:41:44 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #152 on: December 05, 2020, 06:42:25 pm »
I signal for them to wait for me and I head back up towards the campsite where Iíd seen a woman selling curios who spoke English.

Her name is Millicent (on the right in the photo below). I ask her if she will teach me how to say my name and ask them their name.
She seems delighted at the idea and teaches me the following:

ďe-naranje a mi BruceĒ Ė means ďMy name is Bruce.
ďOve u-ne?Ē means ďWhat is your name?Ē

Armed with these two phrases, I run back to the falls to find the teenagers still there.

ďe-naranje a mi BruceĒ I proclaim with the biggest grin on my face.

Their faces light up in recognition.

ďOve u-ne?Ē I ask.

They tell me their names. The girl is Tuka. The boysí names were too foreign for me to remember. Sorry.

These phrases would become my ice-breakers with every Himba person I met from now on. They always created smiles and I felt inspired to learn more Otjiherero before I return to Namibia next time.

We laugh together a little, but my limited vocabulary can only get me so far. I head back for breakfast.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #153 on: December 05, 2020, 06:43:13 pm »
We decide that today is maintenance day.

Marc has convinced himself that he can fix the 18 holes in his inner tube. We all need to clean our air filters. I need to find out what is happening with my radiator fan, which has never come on. If I donít, perhaps Iíll blow up my engine in the dunes that lie ahead over the coming days.

We get to work.

Seven patches later and Marcís old tube is almost as good as new.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:33:31 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #154 on: December 05, 2020, 06:44:15 pm »
We use fuel from our tanks to clean our foam air filters.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:34:19 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #155 on: December 05, 2020, 06:44:56 pm »
Then, Jan Lucas and I get to work on my radiator fan. He whips out his multimeter and we begin probing the electrical connectors around the fan.

Sure enough, the fan is not broken, but there's no power getting to it.

We trace the fan wire up the harness and lo and behold we discover an unplugged connector.

Bingo!

We plug in the connector and the fan whirs to life.

As happy as we are to have solved the mystery of my fan, Iím also concerned that perhaps Iíve damaged the engine over the last days of riding in the desert heat without a fan and with reduced radiator fluid (from the leaky pipe on day 2). I can only hope that my Booysen Supercooler water pump upgrade has helped keep my engine cool enough.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:36:03 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #156 on: December 05, 2020, 06:45:38 pm »
Next, I have to find coolant.

That begins to seem like an impossible task. I visit every campsite and shop in the town and everyone tells me the same thing. ďNobody in Epupa sells coolant.Ē

Iím feeling a little frustrated. I suppose I could add water to the radiator, but I really donít want to unless I absolutely have to.

I notice that there is one more lodge at the top of the hill overlooking Epupa Falls. I get on my bike and ride up there.

A friendly worker named Simon comes to the gate to find out what I want. I tell him my story and he invites me into the (very closed) lodge to take a look around his bossís workshop.

No coolant anywhere.

Then he pulls out a ladder and gets two old dusty boxes down from the top shelf. They are both filled with dusty half used bottles from a million years ago.

From the bottom of one of the boxes, Simon pulls out a blue bottle and shows it to me to read (because perhaps he cannot read it himself).

The label says CÖOÖ OÖ LÖ AÖ NÖ TÖ

Coolant! No fucking way!

I almost give Simon a kiss, but instead opt for a hug. COVID-19 and all. 😊

We walk outside and I fill up my radiator with the blue liquid. I give Simon a nice Thank You tip and head back to the campsite to share my good fortune. The guys canít believe it. Neither can I.

In the campsite, we meet a fabulous Swiss family who are travelling around Namibia together. We invite them for drinks with us on the deck and share stories of our travels. They are delightful people who Iíve stayed in contact with. Marc develops a crush on the 26-year-old daughter, Vicki. I donít think anyone blames him!

 Darkness comes and we head out to get some dinner, which almost kills us Ė literally.

We have arranged dinner at the campsite next door. The manager has prepared a beautiful table under a palm tree on the river bank. We feel like special VIP guests.

And then we almost die.

Bang!

A clump of coconuts fall 30 meters from the highest palm tree youíve ever seen and land a meter from Jan Lucas. Had Jan Lucas been hit by it, thereís no chance he would have survived.

PhewÖ That was close.

We quickly switch tables far from the deadly coconuts, shovel down our food and decide that this is enough adventure for one day. We head to bed and fall asleep to the sound of the Epupa Falls for the last time.

Tomorrow holds even more adventure, when instead of being killed, we become the killersÖ
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 11:39:15 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #157 on: December 05, 2020, 07:15:45 pm »
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

Slime makes tube unpatchable - not sure what it is but the chemicals would prevent the patches to stick. So what you have in effect done is you turned two perfectly patchable and hence reusable (many times) tubes into a throwaway once-off ones. I doubt that Slime would help anyway in the heat and distances & speeds you were doing and once you will get hole big enough, the tube is useless.

I would have just stocked up on patches and glue in Opuwo. Most probably you still had 3 x 21 inches tubes, that could be used at the rear in pinch anyway.

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #158 on: December 05, 2020, 09:44:03 pm »
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

Slime makes tube unpatchable - not sure what it is but the chemicals would prevent the patches to stick. So what you have in effect done is you turned two perfectly patchable and hence reusable (many times) tubes into a throwaway once-off ones. I doubt that Slime would help anyway in the heat and distances & speeds you were doing and once you will get hole big enough, the tube is useless.

I would have just stocked up on patches and glue in Opuwo. Most probably you still had 3 x 21 inches tubes, that could be used at the rear in pinch anyway.

Never used Slime but I have heard the same. Tubes now useless.

So well written though, I actually can't wait for the next episode... Feels like a brilliant Soapie thriller.
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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #159 on: December 05, 2020, 11:15:23 pm »
Yoh - I hope that Slime didn't bite you in the butt. Excuse my frankness Bruce, but as far as I can see that was very wrong decision.

I've got that T shirt and earned it the hard way!!! :o >:( :(
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