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Author Topic: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6  (Read 1817 times)

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Offline the ruffian

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2021, 04:16:04 pm »
Love your work ‘bru!! You’re a master of style , both in the saddle and in your writing ( effing master of all those arcane elements: dashes, hyphens, ellipsis etc) and unequalled on this forum for a narrative peppered with self-ironising social commentary - all in deliciously long, completely grammatical sentences.

And did I mention the pics ...?!?!

As well as your imaginative vision for a rout(e)!!

I better stop blowing hot air up your arse or on your next trip you’ll be floating that fat red pig over those  cannon balls. :biggrin:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2021, 07:16:18 pm »
Bloody great stuff as always. I dream that one day I can get to ride with you. Seems another world away ...it is world away!

Great photos and good fun to read, thank you! :thumleft:

Well you know, I've just purchased another BRP from a nice chap in CT. It should be here in a week or two. I'll set it up to be a sort of crossbred thing... going to sell my XL and my XT which I used to use in town and use BRP2 for my commuting bike, but with a mind to making it another dirt ripper as well... maybe keep dual sport tyres on it for town and swap in off-road wheels for day-trips and the like... Dunno yet. It was a half-baked idea at best and my wife might divorce me (though I'll argue: "but honey, now I only have 2 bikes!"). Anyway, long story short... I have two BRPs... so I hope to drag up my Dar Bikers friends (@Faceplant) to go rock-riding with me sometime. Shame they're so damn broke all the time... maybe others could come as well??
« Last Edit: March 01, 2021, 07:26:41 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2021, 07:26:13 pm »
Love your work ‘bru!! You’re a master of style , both in the saddle and in your writing ( effing master of all those arcane elements: dashes, hyphens, ellipsis etc) and unequalled on this forum for a narrative peppered with self-ironising social commentary - all in deliciously long, completely grammatical sentences.

And did I mention the pics ...?!?!

As well as your imaginative vision for a rout(e)!!

I better stop blowing hot air up your arse or on your next trip you’ll be floating that fat red pig over those  cannon balls. :biggrin:

Ha! Glad I managed to hurdle the fantastically low bar of "completely grammatical sentences"! Anyway, I appreciate the comment. I started doing these things in Dar 11 years ago and have found that I absolutely love/hate doing them. They are primarily for me and the guys who did the ride with me (so we can relive recent-past glory and have fodder for the long, painful descent into senescence (there's a 5 dollar word for you)) , but if I just wrote them up in a Word Doc and sent them around it'd be weird, you know? So I make them for the world to ignore, which they happily do. Sometimes some wag will say, "You should write a book" to which I promptly say "Ah, fakoff!". I know my audience. Neither of you would buy a fucking book!

I sometimes wonder if I'll be P&G'd for the social commentary I spew, but relative to the shitstorm that is the world, I feel like I'm both more understanding and less assholish than the majority, which keeps me swinging. And don't worry about inflating my ego, my friends routinely bring me back down again... as does gravity from time to time.

Cheers

 :snorting:
 

Offline Elkanah

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2021, 01:01:28 pm »
Sometimes some wag will say, "You should write a book" to which I promptly say "Ah, fakoff!". I know my audience. Neither of you would buy a fucking book!

This is much more interesting. It reads like an old age comic book, you know, like "Ruiter in Swart" and "Grensvegter"etc......
Psychiatry's troubled search for the biology of mental illness.
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Unintentional solo night out
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2021, 06:16:13 pm »
A couple of guys I know were skiving off work on Tuesday to ride up Mt. Suswa via some tracks I shared in the valley. I was busy with work and kids duties so couldn’t join for the ride, but about mid-day I started to think maybe I could rip up there solo and join them around the campfire. Once the idea was in my head, there was no turning back, but there were a few hiccups to deal with. My rack had broken a bolt off inside my subframe and I hadn’t yet fixed it! So I quickly removed the rack and whacked on my old Giant Loop. Very handy, the GL, but not really adequate for camping… not quite enough space, so I had to sacrifice something… I chose my bulky sleeping bag. I left Nairobi at 4:30 for the rocky railroad road.


Above: There was rain everywhere… got caught in several showers. Rule for me is if I can see through it, it’s not worth putting on a rain jacket… but I was aware that I would need to sleep in my kit, so getting soaked could be a problem…


Above: I may as well embrace the development… at least it offers some fun roads to ride.


Above: Stopped in Ewaso Kedong for matches. In the back of my mind I considered the possibility my friends wouldn’t actually be there, and I couldn’t find my lighter… rubbing sticks together’s not my forte.

Turned out it was a good plan to buy matches. I shot the guys a message in Ewaso saying I was on my way up and only checked my message when I paused to take a pic of the rainbow on top of the mountain. Sure enough, they weren’t there! One of them forgot his tent! Undaunted, I just cruised on ahead to camp, actually quite happy to be having a solo night in one of my favourite places.


Above: Rain showers on top of the mountain. Riding directly into the setting sun, blinded basically, I remember thinking how cool the raindrops looked when they hit the dirt, shining briefly like diamonds before being soaked up.


Above: Solo camp established by dusk, greetings to Kiano who came to say high and collect fees and enquire about my injured friend(s). The wind was whipping up there and stoked my petrol-assisted fire to a roar in no time.


Above: Darkness found me nipping Black straight from the bottle and eating sausages off a stick, cowboy style. Once my phone was adequately charged, I started playing classic rock and before I knew it I was out there howling at the stars!


Above: Apparently, I thought this was a cool enough tree to photograph. It’s right on the crater’s edge. Glad I didn’t decide to climb it.


Above: Dawn from my tent. I’d turned in around 11PM which is pretty late considering it was just me, my beautiful bike and half a litre of Black Label (no, I didn’t finish half a litre… but I did make a purdy good dent). Sleeping sans sleeping bag was not great… my legs were tucked nicely into my riding pants which was fine, but my ass (clad only in lightweight off-bike trousers) was hanging out, so I tossed and turned a fair bit, but I made it through.


Above: The morning was beautiful, but I’d made a huge error and forgotten my coffee…


Above: Packed and ready to head out. Not being very perky and needing to get some work done, I bee-lined it for home.

I’d like to say I’m going to ride somewhere besides the Valley and Suswa/Nguruman this year, but I’m not sure I’m going to swing it. Hope I’m wrong, but it’s still fantastic to live where I can get in a couple of excellent dirt hours in the afternoon with a campsite on a volcano on the other end. Staying solo was a nice change of pace too… might keep that in mind!
 
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Offline the ruffian

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2021, 04:50:01 pm »
That kind of off-the-cuff, balls-to-the-wall spontaneity always results in an afterglow to bask in ...
 

Offline evansv

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2021, 08:36:51 pm »
Sub

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Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2021, 06:49:01 am »
That kind of off-the-cuff, balls-to-the-wall spontaneity always results in an afterglow to bask in ...

Totally... and this time a massive hangover to wallow in the following day!
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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New Pigs in town and a half-day out
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2021, 06:35:22 pm »
Gaaah! It’s been ages since I’ve been out on the bike. Work, family and flaky friends bailing out on rides last minute… on the upside though, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of three new XR650Rs which finally arrived. One belongs to a new guy who test-rode one a few weeks back and didn’t hesitate to take the plunge. The other two are mine and Panic’s. That’ll make two XRRs in my stable and Panic bought his for spares (he’s already sold half of it to his mates, everything is for sale but the engine, sub-frame and wheels). Panic and I spent a long day prepping the new guy’s Pig which had been neglected a bit… all the wear items were worn. Brake pads down to the metal, a swingarm bearing that took us both literally hours to extricate, and a few other things. And then I tackled mine. Also had the swingarm nightmare scenario (see drunken educational video below), but in general she’s in good nick. Once the new guy’s bike was ready, he wanted to take her for a spin so we all went for a half day to the valley.


Above: New guy and new Piggy, chuffed to see her on her feet; Panic and I opining on the state of that swingarm bolt, bearings and brake pads.


Above: A few days later, my bike under construction. Came in boxes, so only engine and swingarm were attached to the frame. I went through the forks, added .47 springs and new oil to them, fixed the broken thermostat (by fixed, I mean I tossed it) and was well on my way to finishing until we got to the swingarm bolt:


Above, our boozy swingarm bolt removal nguide


Above: Making some progress in Panic’s amazing garage. Need to have the swingarm repaired (chain had eaten through it) and the subframe fixed and reinforced (I have a way of breaking those) before I’m ready to ride.


Above: It was a long day… 12 hours of wrenching, banter and bullshit

Finally we were ready to do a bit of braaping. I joined Panic, new guy and Lobomoto for a half day out. We intentionally took rocky, fast tracks so new guy could test his bike’s legs. He was blown away. The Pig never disappoints. After a particularly harsh section, Lobo asked to try Panic’s XRR and it was probably a mistake. His KTM 520, while nippier and quicker off the line, just can’t hold a candle to the XRRs suspension and is consequently left in the dust when the stones begin to fly.


Above: Lobo’s only 18… he’s tough enough to handle the beating of a KTM


Above: Three piggies and a 520 punkin


Above: Kickass chapati and chai at the Investment Hotel, perennial breakfast spot for short rides

Ewaso was the half-way point. It had been very fast and rough in spots, but the second half would be quite a bit rougher. The SGR track is such fun. Stones everywhere, but open and fast. No goats to kill, no blind corners. If you can hold on to the handlebars, you can go as fast as you like, so we did, stopping only to give the SGR askaris a few Cokes so they stay friendly when we go zipping past.


Above: Panic ripping along, Suswa in the distance


Above: the new guy was loving it


Above: Lobo not so much! Poor kid kept trying to play with clickers as Panic just shook his head… nothing much to do on the trail. Back in the garage, they’ll try some lighter fork oil, which has had some success on other KTM jackhammers.


Above: the SGR with an actual train on it… first time I’ve seen that. I don’t think with 3 passenger cars a day they’re likely to pay off the Chinese debt any time soon though…

Apparently I’d been enjoying the ride a lot because as Lobo fiddled with his clickers, I noticed my front tyre was flat and I’d broken two spokes! Added a bit of air an the OKO fixed whatever the problem was, zip-tied up the broken spokes and rode on like nothing happened.

Braaaap!

 :snorting:
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 06:36:09 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Odd Dog

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2021, 02:57:25 pm »
Great ride report and your way of writing kept me reading.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :drif:
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Offline Elkanah

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2021, 12:41:27 pm »
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: Looking out for the rest.
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Offline Osadabwa

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Debut of the Nimble Pig
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2021, 07:33:13 pm »
At last, it was time to take the new Piggy out for her first Rift Valley braaaap. I’d been commuting on her for a couple of weeks, roaring around Nairobi and up to Tigoni to see how the motor runs, play with the jetting, keeping an eye on oil consumption etc. Verdict: she’s in great shape and goes like the clappers. When Panic and I finally got a mutually free morning, we decided to take her out and see how she handles the Rift Valley. Still with the laughably small OEM tank (I think it holds 7L or something… giving me just over 120km range), we picked the usual route to Ewaso for chai and mandazi and back along the SGR line.


Above: My new-to-me 2003 XRR. I’ve been calling her “Nimble Pig” since she’s cruising around with that tiny tank on, but it is clear I’ll have to get Panic to do the valves and change the shims on the forks at least, and probably the shock too. Clicking the clickers, I got to a very happy place on quick, moderately rough terrain but as soon as we hit the lava flows, which is like riding over a series of curbs for several kilometers, the Nimble Pig was battering me silly. Panic was up my tailpipe which is not where I like Panic to be. Still, because she’s an XRR and not a KTM, she never once deflected, never bucked, never misbehaved. Love it.


Above: Panic probably laughing at me for shaking out my hands after a particularly brutal section. His Piggy and my Desert Pig are so dialled in we hardly feel stones any more. Nimble Piggy has a ways to go before she’s a Magic Carpet, but in the meantime she gives me a good workout! Coming up the SGR line, Panic overtook me as I negotiated my way through a cattle traffic jam (one of a dozen today… must have been Take you Cattle on a Walk Day or something) and I had to hang on for dear life to keep up, gorilla gripping the bars far more than I ordinarily need to. Rough, but it was a blast.


Above: Nothing better than riding the BRP in Kenya!

It’s been sparse riding this year, so even this half day rip was desperately needed and greatly appreciated. Fortunately, there’s a 5-day ride in the works for early August which will surely merit it’s own RR (at the moment, we’ve got 4-6 XRR riders in various states of commitment), and I hope to squeeze in a few more short outings before that as well.

In the meantime.

Oink.
 :snorting:

And shout out to Ian from CT who sold me this beauty. Watch yourselves, South Efrikans, we are coming for your best bikes! In Kenya, we brought up 3 of them in the past few months... soon you'll be left with nothing but Euro 5 bikes with life support sensors all over 'em that'll leave you stranded on your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Kaokoland!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 10:18:48 am by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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July ride in search of new tracks
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2021, 09:22:40 pm »
Finally a free day and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. Lobomoto and I planned to see if we could find a track we looked for a month ago and Panic and Jimbob were keen to come along. So, we met at the petrol station, then dropped into the valley via what has become a full-on dump truck extravaganza leading to and from a quarry. Our timing was horrible since we arrived just minutes after the water truck sprayed the road down, leaving it slick as ice, but before too long we were on the SGR blasting for Ewaso Kedong and a morning chai and mandazi at the Investment Hotel.


Above: Panic and Lobo getting started

After breakfast, we hammered over the lava flows. Panic and I enjoyed it on the Pigs, the KTM riders… not so much. We waited for them with smug little grins at the turn-off. And up we went, on a little track Lobo and I explored not long ago. We wanted to see if we could get to the top. The going is tricky enough to be very interesting with a couple of steep, loose stone climbs in the tight Leleshwa bushes. Before long, we reached our previous highest point and panyapanya’ed around until we connected with a cow path to what turned out to be a false summit. In the distance we could see our goal, but there was thick bush and a lot of volcanic rock shelves to navigate. At last we made it. Properly chuffed with how pristine the place is, I plan to come back to camp as soon as possible. We chatted with the herder whose camp is there, he seemed cool enough and said we could come back no problem.


Above: Jimbob coming up the top of the rocky stuff


Above: Working through the leleshwa


Above: Our destination.


Above: Panic on the edge. Says the place looks like we’ve stepped back in time. Beautiful view.


Above: My XRR posing for a photo


Above: While chatting with the local guy, Jimbob’s bike decided to take a nap… with Jimbob on it!


Above: Heading back down

It was time for a fast rip to Oltepesi for some grub and a victory beer, so we screwed it on and flew. The road was in good nick and the speeds were clicking. Toward Oltepesi, the feshfesh gets interesting, but deviating off toward the grumpy man’s house, we enjoyed the drifty, slidey, flowy hard pack instead.


Above: Lobo ripping through the fesh


After a nice lunch of nyama, chapati, rice and White Caps at the Friend’s Hoteli in Oltepesi we fueled up out of plastic bottles (my Nimble Pig only holds 8 litres or so and burns Go-Juice at the rate of 13 km/litre, so I was close to dry).

Now it was time to let Panic lead a bit. A while back he and another nguy managed to stumble upon a track that climbs over Olegorsaile mountain, or so he claims. I’ve wanted to see it, so we set off in search of the mythical track. After a few false-starts, we eventually committed to one that looked promising at first, but finally fizzled out in a pile of old charcoal dust.


Above: Panic tries and fails to roost me… sorry muppet, you gotta try harder than that! It may be revenge because I got the three of them earlier in a nice, sweeping 180-degree roost!


Above: The track was pretty clear for a while


Above: Then it got skinnier and skinnier and then crapped out totally


Above: Young lad doing a bit of enduro for the fun of it… we older bucks weren’t going to expend unnecessary energy on that kind of nonsense!

Back down off the mountain, the afternoon was getting long in the tooth so we blitzed it up through familiar, quick tracks. A crew of what looked like surveyors were in the plains being eyed by a small group of local gazelle. I suspect next time I come through there it’ll be fenced. That’s development for you. Progress.


Above: Objectively beautiful. And the scenery is nice too.


Above: Panic coming through the plains.

At the tar, Lobo went left and the rest of us went right… to the bar. We grabbed a kilo of goat meat, a plate of chips each and another White Cap while a guy washed my bike for $0.90 by hand. It was damn good, all of it. And I’m eager to get out there and do it all over again soon!


Above: Second lunch at Drips Point near Dagoretti

Next ride is to the far north in early August… can’t wait!





 

Offline Osadabwa

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North Horring and Lake Logipi - Day 0
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2021, 02:19:11 pm »
Nairobi had been cold and gloomy for two months straight, so we were itching to head North. Four XR650Rs and one KTM 520 would start the journey, taking on some of the Northern Frontier District’s most iconic spots over 1600km and 5 days of riding. The craziest of it looked like this:



It was hot, fast, dusty, sandy, rocky and brilliant. But first, we have to get out of town. So, Wednesday afternoon, essentially day 0 of the trip, Panic, Lobo and I hit the tar for Nyahururu. Wry and Holesaw would meet us there the following day, but it meant a 6:00 AM departure for them, so the three of us took the half day to cruise the beautiful green roads, knowing that the Thompon’s Falls Hotel would have cold beers and a hot fire for us when we got there. As luck would have it, we hit rain near Njabini, so we stopped for a cup of tea before heading on and up to Nyahururu.


Above: Bikes waiting out a cold drizzle at 2500m


Above: Once the sun came out closer to Nyahururu, I deviated off the tar for a little dirt and a nice little climb up the escarpment


Above: Red and green go well together


Above: The agricultural heartland of Kenya is beautiful, but it's just not Pig Country


Above: A proper wheelie from Lobomoto on the climb up


Above: Lake Ol Bolosat in the distance, my still gleaming BRP in the foreground

At the hotel it was cold beers and sunny garden sitting until dark at which point it turned to cold beers and hot steaks with a side of banter around the fire. It’s great to leave town, dust off the cobwebs, and prepare for the real ride which would kick off the next day.


Above: Panic and his favourite golden beverage at the Thompon’s Falls Hotel, Nyahururu


Above: Lobo chatting to his friends asking why the old guys won’t shut up about the Honda XR650R


Above: Perhaps a beer or two later…

We watched some Olympics back in the room and enjoyed a fantastic fire before turning.

Until tomorrow, dream of the desert….

 :snorting:

« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 04:03:25 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline steveindar

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2021, 04:02:05 pm »
And Baldylocks missed the lot! Haha!

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Offline Osadabwa

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Day 1 - Nyahururu to Ngurunit via the Milgis Lugga
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2021, 04:25:47 pm »
Up at a leisurely pace, the Clever Three scratched around awhile before sauntering out for breakfast. It was a lovely sunny morning. We hoped our good buddies were having a lovely time riding up in the glorious sunshine… no, we hoped they were getting soaked! And lo, upon arrival, the first thing I hear Holesaw say is “!@#$ I’m cold”! They’d been drizzled on all morning long. LOLs, suckas!


Above: Five bikes in a line, ready to get clear of this cold weather and ride some riverbeds and deserts.

With no further ado, we shot north. Used to be a torturous, rocky, rutted mess getting from Nyahururu to Maralal. Now it’s tar almost all the way, so there’s nothing of interest there for the avid Pig rider. That said, we did have a nice diversion in Mugie looking for a mate of Wry’s (total legend, always has snacks and beers ready for us when we pass through, except for last time… and this time too…) who unfortunately wasn’t around. We did get to meet the friendly pet giraffe however, and she absolutely loved us and the Pigs.






Above: That giraffe was hilarious… wandered delicately between the bikes, sniffing our helmets, looking for treats. Cool girl.

Enough of the Laikipia experience. We can visit wildlife sanctuaries with the 4x4s and families, it was time to break North where there be monsters. We flew through Maralal, stopping only for go-juice at an out-of-town station (to avoid the muppetry) where I saw a 1990s Cagiva W16 600CC motorbike… you see the weirdest stuff in Maralal! From there, it was a stop at our perennial lunch spot on the side of the escarpment. Four of us got there unscathed, but Holesaw wiped out on a quick off-camber right hander. He spent most of his lunch break fixing his brake lever and hand guards while we ate liberally from his kilo bag of biltong.


Above: Me looking down on it all… I think we should ride that riverbed


Above: Lobo and I ready to rip!


Above: Panic all smiles now that the rain is behind us... but I'll be watching out for the stink eye when the heat comes!

Hunger satiated, we dropped off the escarpment and down into the lugga, ripped around in there for a few km and popped out en route to the Milgis… the 80km long lugga of legend. So wide you can lose your riding buddies, the Milgis is prone to sand storms, you’ve got to mind the drop offs, sand snakes, and tree debris because now and then she’s cause for concussion. Enjoy, but enjoy responsibly! Fortunately, the lugga’s grabby and relentless sand keeps even the torquiest bikes in check to some degree… at our gearing it wasn’t easy getting over 120kph, but it was pure joy trying!


Above: My beauty in the warm-up lugga

Unfortunately, not after the warm-up lugga, Lobo’s bike went poop. While idling, it just flamed out. On the XRR, that usually means one of two things: 1) dirty fuel, so drain the carb bowl 2) dust in the kill switch, so clean it out. Panic advised Lobo to try the Pig Remedies and lo! The 520 started up and we were ripping on our way to the Milgis…


Above: Lobo’s first hiccup

…where the 520 promptly pooped out again and wouldn’t start. I was impressed that the battery kept going so damn long while Lobo tried every variation of choke, throttle and prayer to get her started again, but then somebody pointed out the battery isn’t made by KTM, so that made sense.


Above: At the start of the Milgis, coaxing the 520 to play nicely


Above: And that’s when Holesaw proposed! I’d never been so happy in my life. Whisky! Oh my gawd! I do! I do, you curly haired gorilla with glasses, I do!

After all the excitement and the immediate annulment of our nuptials (fafaksake, I have my own whisky! I don't need no man! Also, wait, I'm already married!) at the start of the lugga, it only made sense that muppetry would ensue. We told Lobo to just head up the lugga, but in no time he’d somehow gone up a track into the bush. Wry took off after him, but of course missed him and kept going for 5km before coming back. I went after Wry, and followed a track up the wrong lugga assuming it would be Wry’s or Lobos… anyway. By the time we found each other again, Lobo’s bike was dead again, so we repeated the procedure and took off… again.


Above: Once we were underway, it was time to take bike portraits in the lugga


Above: Since I write these reports, and it takes approximately half as much time to write them as it does to ride them (not counting the preparation of tracks etc), I feature my bike in the bike and scenery portraits, cause you know what fellas? Mine’s the most beautiful! End of discussion.


Above: That said, I’ll sometimes allow Panic’s bike in a scenery shot too cause if I don’t, he won’t let me wrench in his garage any more… #iamstupidbutnotthatstupid

The best feeling for this riverbed is in the video I’ll post at the end of the story. It is such a joy to rip through. The size of the thing makes it tricky to get your head around. Pics make it look like everyone's idling, and in videos, a guy appears slow unless he nearly grazes the cameraman going past... so that's what we have learned to aim for. Hold it wide open and aim for your buddy with the camera, miss him at the last second if you can! It’s a lovely way to spend a couple hours.






Above: See… My bike makes the scenery look even better IMO

About two thirds the way down the lugga, you reach a stone waterfall. Lobo got there quick, not wanting to stop and tempt fate, and his bike promptly died as he waited for us to show up. So while he did the fuel dump routine again (by this time, it’s not making much sense that this is the main issue) we bragged about our speeds and close calls and generally hooted it up like the 40 somethings we wish we weren't.


Above: Wry and I helping Lobo with his bike


Above: Holesaw, a BRP and a KTM

As soon as Lobo got the 520 running, I was up the trail leading him the short way past the falls. Not having the luxury to find a gradual entry, he just dumped it straight in and then he was gone in a roar of fury. One by one the others came and made a dog’s breakfast of the entry (I may include shameful waddling footage in the outtakes later) but we were soon again on our way, blasting for the entry to Ngurunit.


Above: Wry making it look easy (or more accurately, me picking the shot that makes it look like he made it look easy…)


Above: Panic on his way after roosting himself into a hole a minute earlier

Damned if we didn’t find Lobo again after only a few KMs. Not sure where the exit was (he hadn’t loaded the track on his Garmin… probably because Garmin makes you load each track one at a time and he got dizzy at some point doing it #garminsucks... more on that later) he stalled again waiting for us. We’d of course been taking pics as the hour was nearly golden. Lucky for him, he stopped near a portal and a pair of harmless looky-loos popped out to watch him work.


Above: Looky-loo One and Looky-loo Two watch Lobo curse his luck... note the special way they carry their walking sticks... hmmm


Above: By now the 520’s smaller tank was drying up, so we had to steal from Wry’s Pig to get her moving again. Once he was sorted, we gave him strict instructions to follow the lugga until the track turns out on the left about 20km… little did we realise that the track he was following was actually a river on his basemap, so off he went with no idea where to turn.


Above: What’s that you say? You’d like another pic of my Pig? Oh very well!


Above: This is actually not a pic of my bike, it’s a pic of the Ndoto mountains and a crazy sky


Above: This is also a pic of the Ndotos… but if you look closely, you'll see my bike there as well

We probably should have insisted that Lobo follow us to the turn, but we were so caught up in the beauty of the place we were all gawking at it and taking photos. Wry was closest to him and had him in sight when he went racing past the turnoff. Not wishing to break his neck in a 120+kph race to catch him, Wry stopped and when I got there I took off in pursuit. Eventually I saw Lobo turning back, so I looped around ahead of him.

On the way we passed one or two herders with AK-47s. It’s pretty common to see them, and sometimes they have their guns in their hands, not shouldered… young guys in these places are expected by their cultures to be macho and tough, to fear nothing and nobody, and to intimidate would be adversaries. But one guy took the Theatre of the Morani too far this time… I went past him with a wave, but when Lobo approached, he took a bead on him with his gun, got down on one knee to do it, and followed him squinting along the barrel until he was out of sight. Understandably, this was upsetting as hell for Lobo, who gave it full throttle and got the hell out of there. Again, this is why we don't like to backtrack, and why it's key that everyone follows the tracks I make... you pass people more than once, and some of them will take the chance to be a c*nt. I hope that guy gets liver flukes. I hope his willy falls off. Feel free to wish ill on him in your own special way as well.


Above: Last of the Milgis, Ndotos in the distance

Finally on the road to Ngurunit, me in the lead, Lobo behind me… wait, where’s Lobo. Right, he’s out of gas by now. I hook back and we repeat the procedure for the nth time. Holesaw and Wry toodle on to Ngurunit to make sure beers are ready when we arrive, and Panic and I help Lobo as best we can. Now that we're on hard-packed ground, Panic gives him a pull-start… obviously the pilot jet is blocked, right? Bike fires up. Eureka! Off we go.


Above: A knackered Holesaw on the road to Ngurunit... he and Wry had been riding over 10 hours by that point


Above: Ndotos always impress. I know what you're thinking... this pic would be better with my bike in it...


Above: Okay, okay, if you insist!

At the camp, Lobo gets busy stripping the bike while the rest of us get busy drinking Tuskers and talking shite. I take a quick rip into the village to buy another sarong (they have the best ones up there, so soft! At the coast or in the North, there’s nothing better. Gotta let the boys breathe after a long day on the throttle) and then we settle in to rehash the day. Sadly for Lobomoto, the jet, though clogged, wasn’t the (only) culprit. The stator/coil/or maybe CDI was no longer making any spark. Panic called time of death by headlamp light around 8pm. Lobo's trip was done.


Above: Many dead soldiers and one dead KTM

We shot the breeze in the heat and the wind until the beers were gone.

Tomorrow – Chalbi Desert to North Horr... it's a whole lotta desert!

 :snorting:
« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 06:52:23 am by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 2: Chalbi Desert and North Horr
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2021, 09:50:49 pm »
We all got munched by mozzies in the night and were awakened by the daft cock belting out his cock-a-doodle-doo at 3AM (no it was a rooster, not Wry, but I get why you’d be confused) but slept on and off enough to be lucid by daybreak. The Tuskers of the night before might as well have been mineral water… do they ship the empty cans up country or what? Anyway, we were hale and hearty around the plastic table mixing up powdered coffees and talking rubbish while the absolutely gorgeous morning light painted the stoic stone faces behind us.


Above: Ngoood morning Ngurunit!


Above: Our humble digs… two little twin beds fit in each of these… we let Panic have his own since he is a snorer of note


Above: Coffee please, no sugar, no milk, there’s a good lad


Above: Wry thought this pic contrasted nicely with the Tusker shot of Pete from the night before. Implying I’m a weakling or something. Doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. Gotta hydrate. Meany.

Sadly, one of our party was making preparations to hit the road in a decidedly different and less invigorating manner. Lobo, stiff upper lip firmly attached, stoically pushed his ailing 520 over to the locally sourced rescue vehicle and we helped heave the carcass in the back. Tied down and sides folded up (makes it a lot easier to pass by the cops), we bid him farewell, donned our kit and sent the sounds of 4 x 650 ccs echoing around Ngurunit. To the Chalbi!


Above: Getting Lobo’s KTM on the sag wagon… I know you’re checking out that sarong… is nice, No?


Above: I’ve seen this before in TZ, but that time it was Benny Boom-Boom’s error… who puts a jua kali chain on a 450 EXC then puts your 60+ year old friend on it then goes on a 9 day trip through tsetse fly infested land? Benny Boom-Boom, that’s who.


Above: Panic’s front fender… I’m afraid he needs another hash mark now… sorry Lobo! The Red Pig strikes down another KTM!

Let’s ride already, fafaksake! Boom, out of town we roar, past the last funky stone monolith, over to Ilaut, swinging a hard right then a left onto what was a very fun little scrambly two track that disappears and reappears as whimsically and unpredictably as Panic’s moods, with stones one second, open stretches of untracked sand the next. Before you know it, it’s merged with a larger track, which means faster blasting, but also churned up sand, so hold onto your butts, cause some of you are going to get bucked if you’re limp of wrist and loose of bowel!


Above: What a rippa!




Above: Wry and the conehad racing past stonedome


Above: Panic’s bike… what a beautiful bike, what an immaculate and well-cared-for bike!


Above: Can’t afford your digs? Want to tele-commute? Come to Ilaut, there are egg-shaped stick huts for cheap!


Above: Junction away from Ndotos and on to Korr


Above: Holesaw no longer has issues with sand


Above: Despite it being morning, when everybody is usually groggy, I had a serious case of twitchy throttle wrist. Sometime here or in the Chalbi (or both) I toodled along at 133kph according to the GPS. Not Baja speeds, but it’s quick enough for a 44 year old ADV raveler on an 18 year old bike loaded and full of fuel.


Above: Panic giving her the beans






Above: Singing the praises of the Big Red Pig in Korr at the petrol Coop (hakuna stima, so petrol pump hayifanyakazi)

It’s only a blink to Kargi from Korr… now everyone’s got itchy throttle wrist and we’re flying. The track is deep with sand and long with ruts, but the pigs love it so we rip. In Kargi there’s a little spot I have in mind called the Makuti Bar where we had a nice beer a couple years ago. Far enough from town to keep away the village idiots, and shady enough to keep the beer from evaporating off your lips. Like a laser pointer to a cat, we were on the chase. Wait, what the hell is that? A white flipflop? A pair of undies? Another flip-flop? Ah… Holesaw’s bag has opened up and barfed out all his kit. I’ll carry it to him. Laugh at his expense, roost him for his foolishness. Rip ahead to Kargi for that beer.


Above: Panic shows how to do it and…


Above: Holesaw shows how not to do it… get your weight forward if you're practicing stoppies, Holesaw!


Above: Maybe his unorthodox method of jumping is the cause for his rolling yard sale. I looked suspicious as hell riding with his trunks as a flag off my mirror...


Above: The sand was deep and grabby and thoroughly enjoyable


Above: Wry is still asleep… slow as a tortoise, waving at the trees… what a…


Above: In Kargi, the Makuti Bar looked much the same as before except it was closed… we went around the corner to the Mabati Bar as we dubbed it…


Above: The Mabati Bar! We pulled up to the old place and the barkeep comes running and gesturing over to a spanking new mabati-clad steel hotbox of a place… same floorplan, same name, no makuti. But the beers weren’t hot, so that was something!


Above: The charcoal fridge… evaporative cooling keeps them, well, not hot


Above: It ain’t much, but it’s Kargi's best


Above: After a cheeky beer, some vittles’ and a bit of rest, I’m ready to hit the Chalbi

To be continued...

 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 2 continued...
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2021, 09:51:18 pm »
And hit it we did. Starting at the far south-east corner, our plan would take us all the way through that sucker, pausing at the Rock Dune, an 8km long, arrow straight dirt pile of unknown origin somewhere in the north-centre of the pan near Kalacha. We’d then continue on, bypassing Kalacha (a colossal dump in my opinion, known best for its abundance of wind and rubbish piled against fences… oh and a really awesome Catholic mission with a car/bike workshop larger than the church in case of emergency) and straight into the loving arms of our North Horr. Off then.


Above: An oasis of a riverbed near Kargi… some excellent campsites in there no doubt, but I’m planning to sleep pool-side tonight


Above: We’d just entered the Chalbi flats, so we took pics of it… lots of them. Many like this one. Nice piczzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...


Above: That’s more like it, some freaking action! Dust trails! Speed evident, dust flying, etc! Subject centered, sure, but it's for effect, shows the vastness of the pan on either side!


Above: Oh damn, that’s even better! Lots of speed, hell of a rider that chap is, it’s obvious! What a demon! Subject is clear, dust and debris caught mid-flight, subject is centre of frame (rule of thirds is in full effect here), and again, what a demon!


Above: What on earth inspired these palms to grow here and nowhere else?


Above: Perhaps it’s just to make a nice backdrop for pics?


Above: Seems that way!


Above: The expanse of this place… it just goes on forever. Thankfully it was bone-dry in there. Just a little muck under the surface can end your day really quick. This crackled clay was 100% dry, but still unequally grabby, so you had to keep the throttle on and the weight back a bit


Above: Note my new navigation setup. I have a Garmin Montana (hiding under the sock because #garminsucks) and a Doogee S88plus Chinese hardy-ass smartphone with 10,000mAh battery on the bike this ride. I’m trialling the smartphone so I can throw my Gar-min in the Gar-bage as soon as it proves itself. So far it has and a simple, cheap app for the phone (Guru Maps) is working 100x better than the Garmin software and I think the developers will be open to hearing from travellers to make tweaks. Contrast that with a glitchy, useless Garmin Basecamp (which never recognized my new Montana, never), the twitchy touchscreen (oh, you wanted to zoom in, how about taking a trip across the map a ways first), and the inexplicable UI which doesn’t even let you select all tracks or perform other tasks of Apple IIE-level sophistication. Oh, and the cheap phone, in addition to being a GPS is, you know, a phone! With email, apps, music, the web… all for cheaper than that Montana. Add a Juiced Squeeze mount by Hondo Garage which does wireless charging on the bike and you’re golden, man golden… So, that’s why #garminsucks End rant… for now.

After strafing the Chalbi for a while, we veered off the 4x4 tracks and bee-lined it for the Rock Dune a few kms off the road and not visible from there. It was a very odd apparition indeed… arrow-straight and disappearing to vanishing point on the otherwise flat horizon, it was definitely worth exploring. Unluckily for me, the edges of the dune are very soft and I managed to dump the bike slightly upside down… giving Panic just enough time to take a victory snap of me bench-pressing the bastard vertical again. Then we all played around on it for a bit, I took the bike out and wrote XR in the sand and fell over again, and we carried on, riding the length of the dune before veering back to the road.


Above: Like the Chalbi itself, Rock Dune is hard to photograph from ground level. Google it for myriad areal shots


Above: Me deadlifting my Pig in the soft sand, cheers Panic






Above: It was hot, but nothing like it can be… still clever fellas find a way to shade up




Above: My second drop of the day… alas.

From the dune to the road was a surreal landscape of salt-covered clay that crackled as you rode over it and grabbed at your wheels. We left 4 sets of tracks swerving and weaving across the landscape, comfortable in the knowledge that the next big rain will wash our presence clean.


Above: Rock dune passing by


Above: A Panic three-pete if you will


Above: Really looks like wind blown snow in the Badlands of Wyoming


Above: Blindingly white, this stuff


Above: Under the surface it was loamy… a tiny bit of moisture there and we’d be all over the shop

We still had an hour or more of navigating Chalbi emptiness, weaving around scrubby sections, opening it up through crackled clay pans all the way to North Horr where an enterprising Catholic priest from decidedly cooler climes had built a swimming pool and an attached bar. We stumbled upon it on a 10 day trip to the area several years ago and were very chuffed to be back. First thing was to doff the kit, then hit the pool, then crack a beer. Repeat. Wry and Holesaw were tuckered out by 9pm, the poor dears, and left Panic and I as usual listening to Dire Straits and sipping a cheeky tot or two of Black Label by the star-reflecting pool. We saw two huge shooting stars, burning green in the sky as a reward. That night we slept poolside and were annihilated by mozzies, but it was worth it.


Above: Parting shot of the Chalbi


Above: Hello North Horr Pool (I look like a Neanderthal…damn)


Above: Refreshed, another awesome day in the bag


Above: Poolside shenanigans… beer and biltong coming up!




Above: Those dweebs brought chairs. Yes, they were comfortable. No I’m not envious. Shut up, I’m not!

Apart from the mozzies, the night was hectic with gusting winds (despite Holesaw’s inaccurate prediction that the wind dies down at night… we bikers aren’t really good at meteorology I’ve noticed) that made the palms explode with rattling leaves, and hyenas whooped outside the gates, no doubt wanting a piece of that biltong or a nibble on Wry’s ample ears… we tried to sleep through it, but it was fitful. And I alone knew what was really in store for the following day…

Oink

 :snorting:
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 - North Horr to Nachola via Lake Turkana
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2021, 07:16:11 am »
Dawn. I awake on my camping mattress atop a concrete plinth that looks like a table for pagan sacrifices, look over and see Wry like a great hideous caterpillar squirming on his, dawn light coming through the palms to illuminate the pool. Ah yes, back in the pool. That’s better! Father Denis comes with breakfast. We have a nice chat about the endless skirmishes in the areas and take a group shot with us in our fancy dress and him in his new BRP Kenya T-shirt, courtesy the Panic Mechanic. A bit of used motoroil on the chains, bags strapped, boots buckled and we are off in a roar toward Loiyangilani where I planned to take us on a stone track down the lake shore to Nabuyatom Crater at the Southern tip of Lake Turkana and beyond. Twende!


Above: Wry the worm (where have I heard that before)


Above: At the other end of the pool at dawn, two large men emerge from fitful sleep amid a bomb-crater of gear and beer cans


Above: The lads and Father Dennis

The track to Gas from North Horr is a ripper, with wide open hard-packed plains and fairly well maintained gravel sections. It’s not too boring just because it’s so quick, and we made good time to the first view of Lake Turkana.


Above: A few stones for Panic


Above: A little drifty sand for Wry


Above: Wide, well-maintained road to Gas


Above: This is what the road would look like if there were no road… the Lake Turkana rubble


Above: You’d kind of hate to get it wrong with that stuff as your runout

At the overlook, we paused to group up and Wry made friends with the local ladies by giving them some water out of his camel bak. These are the hardest people in the world, surely. Look at that landscape, and they live there! How? Why? Surviving on milk and blood and walking several kms to the lake for brackish water or digging holes in dry riverbeds? Their bodies are tiny, shoulders and hips extremely narrow, arrow thin, tough as hell.




Above: Sharing water


Above: In the group of Turkana there are no men. I assume they’re out herding or killing other men. They can practically kill you with a stare, but it’s more effective to shoot you with an AK. Turkana, you really are The People.

Now that the lake was in sight, we sprinted down there to the shore and soaked up the cool air coming off it. Extremely scratchy, poky grass along the edges gave the mistaken impression of life, but just a few meters away and it’s a desolate desert. The Jade Sea, out there in all that heat, is usually very soapy feeling, but of late the level has risen dramatically and the water was sweet tasting and not as slimy. Lucky break, that, because with Ethiopia building a dam upstream, we've feard for some time that the thing would dry up completely... The North is ever changing.


Above: At the lake shore


Above: The guys put on a rendition of Swan Lake, Turkana style


Above: Clean water


Above: We really should start a boy-band… Too bad the name One Direction is already taken, that might have suited us pretty well


Above: Onward along the lake to the Oasis Lodge just for some shade so I could repair a loose front wheel (I thought it was wheel bearings at first)


Above: In the car-park, a little scorpion hanging out under a stone we needed

After loading up on water and downing a Coke apiece, we set off on an ambitious journey. I’ve long wanted to reach Nabuyatom Crater on the southern tip of Lake Turkana. It’s a perfect cone, half in the water, half on land, with the most wild character you’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a pic from a biker there, only helicopters. I wanted to see if we could reach it. I had my tracks and we set off. Nobody was very sure what we’d find, but we were keen to try.


Above: First though, a bit more zipping along with beautiful Lake Turkana in the distance. This stretch of road was once the nemesis of visitors to Loiyangilani, now it’s really a mild version of its former self


Above: I’m 100% sure I take a pic of this tree every time I see it. I love it. Look at that thing!


Above: Kicking stones on the lakeshore


Above: Hell with it, how about a bit of a wheelie? That's it Panic!


Above: The people around the lake live on the abundance of fish in the waters… or at least it used to be abundant. Panic’s dad showed us pics of Nile Perch larger than a man being hauled out of there in the ‘70s… haven’t seen any more recent than that though…


Above: The good road and the awi of the local fishermen in the background

Not 100m off the main road, my track deviates down to the water’s edge and we splash through a little channel from one rocky track to the next. It climbs, clattering and clanking up a slope to an outcrop of golden-yellow rock spewed out from some volcano millennia ago, then continues on over more rocks and still more rocks to another yellow outcropping where we found an 80 series Land Cruiser and four wazungu trying their hand at fishing. Almost immediately thereafter, the 2-track road vanishes into single track that includes basketball and larger boulders on it. Only a few kms in and we were done. No way we would try to bash over that terrain for 20 more kilometers. Anyway, spirits remained high as we had alternative plans, and it soon became clear Wry knew the fishermen, and Lo! They had beer!


Above: Panic crosses the stream with skill and aplomb


Above: The first of the golden stone… that’s easy going, the endless rubble, not so much


Above: A flat bit, also not so bad, but still not easy




Above: Only a few hundred meters of this stuff wears you out quick.


Above: Our dead-end beach


Above: A lovely place for a bike portrait


Above: And what a lovely spot for a bit of fishing and a beer or two! This was totally unexpected and appreciated. Cheers!

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 - continued
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2021, 07:16:44 am »
After shooting the shit for a bit with the fisherfolk, we retraced our steps (anathema!) to the main road. Now the plan had to change a bit. We’d blitz it down the big speedway through the wind farm and South Horr valley, up to Baragoi and over to Nachola campsite for the night. Right then, off we go.


Above: There goes a Turkana guy with a string of Tilapia… hard people, I tell you


Above: Soft enough to be described as doughy, Wry nevertheless cuts a decent figure on the rocks leaving the yellow rocks


Above: Rocking it up the hill, Holesaw leaves behind the bay and the scratch of the track not taken going up the other side.


Above: Yours truly on the retreat


Above: Wry on the second yellow rock section


Above: Some foot paddling aside (I’m looking at you, Holesaw), the guys made good time going out


Above: Panic, the lone dog, following the actual track, while the other muppets flail around off-piste and off-camera


Above: The last of the lake shore. Until next time… I have a new plan…

Approaching the windfarm at Mach 1, we stopped briefly to marvel at the technology and also to lament the loss of a real piece of wilderness. No, it wasn’t worth much, just a scrubby bit of nothing in Africa like so many others, but if you travelled through there on a bike in the 90’s or before, you know how inhospitable and otherworldly it was. Now, it’s anything but. Green energy or not, you ruin the landscape to make it happen.


Above: The new and the old as time




Above: Turkana wind farm

Roaring toward South Horr, our progress was slowed by the increasing number of people along the way, so we ditched into the riverbed and opened it up. Never seen such a messy riverbed… garbage everywhere. Can’t people just… oh nevermind… it was still a good fast bit of riding.


Above: Wry in S. Horr riverbed




Above: That’s a nice tree. Long may she live… I give her 3 years.

On the road again. Once past South Horr, the track is actually pretty amazing. Still quite rough in spots, though with cement pads on the really fun bits, it climbs and drops along the side of Nyiro all the way to Baragoi. We had a blast ripping along it.


Above: Panic says bye to South Horr Valley


Above: This is a picture of a cactus


Above: Fuel stop at a perennially annoying petrol station. Maybe because Baragoi is split down the middle between two warring tribes, it’s a bit odd… can’t put my finger on it though.


Above: Out of Baragoi heading for the camp
We arrived to little fanfare. There was a guy sitting on a chair and some women bustled us to a table under a large tree which they covered with a placemat and walked away. I guess they went to make up the tents which were scattered around. So we ate our tinned fish lunches and everybody but me took off their kit and prepared to call it a day. I still had an itch to explore a bit more, so I volunteered to find cell signal to tell the families we were alive and took off on the bike. Riding alone is great. You go where you want when you want. I climbed a few hills looking for signal, then rode back toward town until I found it. Job done, I then raced back to the riverbed and blasted up below the camp a ways, stopping at random and skittering out at what kind of looked like a road. Eventually it turned into something and I followed it for about 20km in a loop through the bush. Fantastic. Kind of eerie being alone so close to contested land… sort of wondered if somebody might object, but the folks I saw were happy so I waved and kept on.


Above: Atop a hill looking for cell signal


Above: Down a little track


Above: Up the riverbed a bit then out again at this amazing tree overhang


Above: The track took me through the bush to an abandoned house


Above: Then I rolled back to the camp


Above: Where they’d let the pet ostrich out to stretch her legs

We were visited by the MCA who assured us our plan to visit Lake Logipi the following day was a good one and bid us safe journey. By then the light was gold and the beers came out. I took a bucket shower and was feeling like a million bucks. We all walked down to the riverbed to enjoy our sundowners. Tall trees on the eroded banks and sand like you’d find on the shores of Lake Malawi to wiggle our toes in (just mind the acacia thorns).


Above: Sundowner spot


Above: Beefcake me and the skinny Minnies


Above: And one without the aid of Photoshop… dammit

That night, the whiskey finally came out properly and we shot shit until late. Eventually we all crawled back to our tents and hit the deck. I was immediately mauled by mozzies, but just doused myself in bug spray and snuggled down in the blankets. It was relatively cold… great sleeping weather.
I doubted it’d be cold tomorrow…

 :snorting: