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Offline Osadabwa

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2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« on: January 21, 2021, 09:50:44 am »
2020 is officially over! Scream it from the rooftops, bitches!

Ok, nobody really expects 2021 to be too much different, but even still it’s nice to turn the corner, make a change, have a colon cleanse from a whole year of really shitty stuff. And good things are already happening up here. We've been on our first of what I hope shall be many rides, and this thread will be where I blather on about it as I have for throughout the entirety of the last five years, which, for ease of reference for my lazy ass, are linked here:

2016 – Pig Arrival… First impressions and tweaks, Rift Valley exploration, Magadi, Loita hills, Amboseli… figuring out which tyre lasts (answer, none of them), White Caps and kuku choma

2017 – Pig Initiation – New converts to the way of the Pig, more Rift Valley, breaking things, getting faster, new tracks, Shompole and Nguruman, Aberdares, Chyulu Hills & Kilimanjaro, Epic trip to the far north White Caps and kuku choma

2018 – Pig Maturation – A changing Rift Valley, New tracks and new Pig riders, a sunken XRR, wildlife, a Tanzania reunion with the Dar Bikers, North to Ol Olokwe, 5 XRRs to the north for Xmas, White Caps and kuku choma

2019 – Ultimate Pig Fest – Most active year ever, tons of valley, getting properly quick now, lots of solo riding, epic ride to Ethiopian border, epic ride to Suguta Valley, epic ride to the Mountain of God in Tanzania and much more including White Caps and kuku choma

2020 – Hellfire Corona Pig – Discovering Little Lake Magadi, four BRPs escape to Eburru Forest, epic ride to both sides of L Turkana and a return to Suguta Valley, many small ones to round out the year… White Caps and kuku choma!

And now  2021 – Pig Resurgence maybe? Guess we’ll see. I’ve decided to buy another XRR in RSA to bring up to my stable, so you South Africans with Pigs, hit me up with options. Remember I need to ship it to Kenya, so don’t bust my balls on the price!

Without further ado… in short order, we were riding. Panic and Jimbob took an afternoon toodle up to Mt. Suswa to camp out under the stars and drink beers in a fantastic spot. I wasn’t free, so I did the next best thing: got up early and did a solo braaaap up via Saikeri, Najile and Ewaso Kedong. Swallowed up 100km of non-stop rocky roads in the early light and arrived on the mountain in time for a cup of Nescafe. My version of a Starbucks Run.


Above: Not a bad start to 2021, cup O’ joe up on Mt Suswa


Above: The boys’ campsite… smoky fire and steamy crater


Above: panic showing off his Covid-19(kg)


Above: Kenya off-road bike of the year 6 years running… bring your KTMs, we’ll sacrifice them to the volcano.

With caffeine in our veins and camp broken, we took off through the inner crater where a crazy, swirling flock of some exotic looking European storks pirouetted through the sky above. We paused to look at the steam pipe water collection apparatus the local Masai use to keep hydrated, and then we settled in to a steady blasting pace. Down the face, a minute on the new tar (RIP Mt. Suswa in another 2 years I predict), sliding the little short-cut to Najile for a Coke then one long fast blast down to Oltepesi and up to Olepolos for a leg of goat and a couple of White Caps.


Above: Water collection and swirling birds


Above: Leaving the volcano


Above: Jimbob, me and Panic at Olepolos, stuffed full of mbuzi choma and White Caps

It was a modest start to the year, but let’s see what we can make of it.

Cheers

 :snorting:
« Last Edit: January 25, 2021, 01:11:18 pm by Osadabwa »
 
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Offline Grunder

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2021, 10:35:42 am »
Lekker man [verrry niiice]  :biggrin: :ricky:
« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 10:36:45 am by Grunder »
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Offline Oubones

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2021, 11:29:34 am »
Nice! :drif:
Can you maybe explain how they collect the water?
Lot of mist there?
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Offline Bommelina

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2021, 07:16:02 am »
.
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2021, 07:17:08 pm »
Nice! :drif:
Can you maybe explain how they collect the water?
Lot of mist there?

The volcano is riddled with steaming Geothermal vents, so they collect the steam from the vents and condense it with those pipes. It's apparently enough water for the people, sheep and goats, but not the cattle, so they have to walk down the mountain when reservoirs dry up.
 
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Offline steveindar

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2021, 01:51:48 pm »
Nice one

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2021, 01:58:39 pm »
Very nice...looking forward to see the rest of your 2021 adventures  :thumleft:
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Offline bud500

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2021, 02:05:16 pm »
Nice start!
Hope you have many happy miles, White Caps and kuku choma.
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Offline steveindar

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2021, 02:08:35 pm »
Nice! :drif:
Can you maybe explain how they collect the water?
Lot of mist there?

The volcano is riddled with steaming Geothermal vents, so they collect the steam from the vents and condense it with those pipes. It's apparently enough water for the people, sheep and goats, but not the cattle, so they have to walk down the mountain when reservoirs dry up.
Doesn't look a very efficient setup. Definitely needs some NGO input and free foreign money.

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Offline Osadabwa

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2021, 05:51:09 am »
Nice! :drif:
Can you maybe explain how they collect the water?
Lot of mist there?

The volcano is riddled with steaming Geothermal vents, so they collect the steam from the vents and condense it with those pipes. It's apparently enough water for the people, sheep and goats, but not the cattle, so they have to walk down the mountain when reservoirs dry up.
Doesn't look a very efficient setup. Definitely needs some NGO input and free foreign money.

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There's the grumpy bastard I know! First of all, you can be 100% sure the Masai didn't come up with those contraptions on their own. I'm guessing the church group that works there did. And second of all, soon the whole volcano will be destroyed as the geothermal potential has already attracted investment... private investment. Point being, nobody has a monopoly on fucking things up here, it's well distributed.

Going back up there this evening to camp again (beers are pre-ordered) and then down to the muddy river camp Saturday night.

 :snorting:
 

Offline XT JOE

Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2021, 10:10:51 am »
Nice one  with the standard good chirps from your Starbucks to Panic's covid  :thumleft:
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Offline steveindar

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2021, 02:54:35 pm »
"There's the grumpy bastard I know! First of all, you can be 100% sure the Masai didn't come up with those contraptions on their own. I'm guessing the church group that works there did. And second of all, soon the whole volcano will be destroyed as the geothermal potential has already attracted investment... private investment. Point being, nobody has a monopoly on fucking things up here, it's well distributed."

Yes Greta...

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Offline Osadabwa

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2 nighter - Volcano and valley
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2021, 01:46:58 pm »
A whole two weeks dragged by before we could braaaaap again. Two weeks! This time it was going to be a proper gaggle of bikers, with 3 XRRs representing and three others to make it a proper mess of an adventure. Panic was sending out photos of his packed bike 5 days in advance and the WhatsApp banter was hopping.


Above: That's how we'd roll...

Unfortunately, tragedy struck one of the riders just a day before departure, pulling two other guys out to help the family any way they could. A really sad situation that caught us all off guard. I thought hard about whether to cancel the ride, but Panic and I sort of agreed that accidents, illness, troubles of all kinds reaffirm our imperative not to cancel, not to back away from what others view as a frivolous weekend out because on the other hand, it is also a big part of what makes us feel like us. So, we rode. With heavy hearts, for sure, thinking about our friends, yes, but also ripping around on this ball of dust in the Universe making memories until our time is up. And when the other guys are ready, say the word and we’ll go again.

OK, enough of that. On with the ride.

Panic and Jimbob took off for Suswa again to the same campsite again in the afternoon of a Friday AGAIN! And yet again I couldn’t join them, but this time I managed to get out of the house at 4pm for my solo journey, something I’ve become quite fond of. I planned to take the SGR rockyroller, zip over to Ewaso for petrol and rip up the crater face. In no time two things happened. First, was a bummer… my ROKStraps both gave up the ghost at the same time, sending my top bag thwacking into my ass and scaring me shitless thinking I was being attacked by a Masai mama. While sorting that out, the second thing happened and it was great: I clicked the clickers a bit more on compression and a bit less on rebound and that Pig was like riding a cloud over absolutely every stone after that. It was miraculous! I always think it’s great but this blew my mind. I threw myself down the valley, full tank, full camping kit and all. Got to camp around 6PM and the boys hadn’t even opened the beers yet, now that’s either serious biker solidarity, or they’d just arrived!


Above: Not 20 minutes in and already doing roadside repairs


Above: The road to the SGR in the evening.


Above: My destination in the distance


Above: This road is a ripper


Above: The evening light even makes Ewaso look kind of pleasant… kinda


Above: Plenty of banter and laughs around the campfire. Sausages to eat, a bunch of beers delivered from town… so eager was I to crack open my beer that I forgot to pin down half my tent and it blew over… toward the crater’s edge! I tell you it would have been tricky picking a backup option… I think I’d prefer to sleep al-fresco than snuggle either of those other smelly chaps.


Above: Nearly full moon rising over an escarpment dotted more and more with lights from homes, and an artistic fire shot.

Crashed at midnight under the boiled-egg moon with a whisky head and a happy heart.

 :snorting:

To be continued...
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Volcano to valley day 2
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2021, 01:58:41 pm »
Next day up with the dawn. Jimbob wasn’t eaten by hyenas much to his relief and our chagrin so we all slowly emerged from our tents to make various hot caffeinated drinks, and later, trips to the loo. The tents were put away by the time the sun got too high and we bid the rest of the campers (there were no fewer than 6 groups!) a hearty BRAAAAAAPY farewell as we pissed off over the other side of the crater rim.


Above: Morning at Suswa. Every single time it’s fantastic.


Above: Panic again posing at the rim… what’s with this guy’s trousers? Fashion icon, our Panic.

The track would be some of the old mixed with a bit of the new. Since I found a way to cut off the rather tedious Mosiro part of the trip to Nguruman last year, I’ve been searching for more tracks. Just before this one, I sniffed out the potential for one to go directly to the top of Little Lake Magadi and had to give it a go. So, we took off in search of it.


Above: Both of the above muppets nearly launched into the riverbed by mistake… alas


Above: Panic in the riverbeds.


 Above: Jimbob coming along through the dust


Above: Both of them making dust


Above: I firmly believe that the universe was created by a giant blue gorilla on a BRP blasting through stardust and sending it out over the vast expanse of nothingness. Here, Panic does a recreation. In fact, I’m considering starting a cult, er, religion about it… We shall shun heavy luggage, making concessions of course where needed to accommodate the vagaries of the weather and the distances from civilization found in Kenya… we are XRR zealots - we worship no other bike, and while we hold council against the wheels of bikes around camp fires, Black Label shall be our rotgut, er, elixr of choice and is considered sacred by the adherents . I’d like my tax-free status please. Amen. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses.


Above: Panic on the dusty doubletracks having a gander at a stately Secretary Bird in the long grass.


Above: Behold, a sign from above! We must be on the right track.

In fact, we were not on the right track. I took us on a short boondoggle in search of the new way to Little Lake Magadi, but was turned back by a convincing boda rider. Now, my time in Tanzania would have told me to ignore him completely and try our luck anyway, but here in Kenya they seem to be more knowledgeable about, well, just about everything, so I relented and went back. Turned out to be a great compromise… a bit of the track I found previously and with a bit of effort, I found the track was looking for. It started at some odd earthworks the Tata company must have erected in an effort to force the water from heavy downpours somewhere it doesn’t naturally want to go… (dickheads…) but we jumped their dyke and found a track that was fantastic.


Above: Back on last year’s find


Above: Having deviated, we were now on the hunt for the new track


Above: The going was rocky in spots, but that’s no surprise in the Rift Valley. Rocks and sand, if you don’t like ‘em, stay out of my valley!


Above: It was a mix of all kinds of odd stuff, from riverbeds to tree tunnels. In the lead I chased a mixed herd of giraffe, eland and zebra a bit before backing off to give them a chance to make a plan. Thumbless, quadrupedal muppets… wildlife is so duuuumb!


Above: We’d been riding parallel to what I assume is Little Lake Magadi’s natural inlet (the one Tata seems to want to drain elsewhere… dickheads…) so I lumbered over some stones to have a peek. A deep canyon sliced through the red clay and in the bottom of it downstream some Masai had dug small waterholes to water their cattle with. Surprise, fellas, this river’s gonna be dry from now on! But I guess the shipping container school block we saw with Tata written all over it will make up for it… (dickheads…)


Above: Pigs at the canyon’s edge

We grunted along on the boda boda paths. The guys had moved bowling-ball sized rocks out of the way for their path, but it had some kind of built-in speed limit of about 40kph… it’s like following a cattle path, you have to go the speed of the cattle to make the turns. We went through the stones and through the riverbeds and under the trees until behold! Little Lake Magadi appeared in the distance. Not a minute too soon… it was hot and we were due for a bite and a rest in the shade.


Above: Panic down the stony track


Above: Jimbob flicks a booger with his thumb… or maybe he’s saying he’d like to carry more weight on his back? Instructions unclear.


Above: Me zipping up the trail… Jimbob, like a Kenyan version of Atlas teetering astride a 350 KTM, holds the Earth on his back… but not even a single pat of butter. I say… rather disappointing, old chap! Rather disappointing indeed!

At last we spotted the lake in the distance and our bundu-bashing track linked up with something Panic and I had done earlier. Nothing for it but to open the throttles and aim for a shade-tree for a rest and to enjoy the view. While rocky, it was a bigger track, so quicker and driftier than hit had been for the past sweaty hour.


Above: Me, vindicated, with the mirror surface of Little Lake Magadi in the distance


Above: A nice lunch spot with a view

After a half hour of nibbling on mixed nuts turned into cashew-and-macadamia-butter (a delicious combo, by the way, for any entrepreneurs out there looking to cash(ew) in… ta-dum-CHING!) we kitted up again for the last quick rip out of there. Jimbob hefted his rucksack and the Earth’s centre of gravity shifted slightly, almost knocking the bikes off their side-stands. Panic and I started the XRRs and the shaking sent waves across the lake. We are a subtle bunch, and soft-headed.


Above: Panic descending. Plan was to check out the lake from that little cliff top dead centre (kick-start only folks know where that is… Beemer guys, not so much… Katoomers will know, even though they have an e-start, cause it won’t be working by this point in the ride…)


Above: A crusty, helmeted shot above a lake that a year ago, none of us had even tried to visit


Above: Confusing perspective… am I levitating a land mass somehow?


Above: On the other side of the ridge we were riding is the salt/mud pan that heads to the larger Lake Magadi proper. I keep saying I’d love to rip around down there, but even from on high it is clear that place would be a death trap… rivulets of standing water not far down the way tell you everything you need to know: it’s the kind of place dinosaurs would have gone to become fossils if you catch my drift.

Our post-prandial throttle joints were in the mood for more kerplaaaping, so we ripped on past the lake and aimed for Ngurumani for petrol and a beer. Unfortunately for me, I let my guard down and got stung for it. Glancing at my GPS with the visor up, I failed to notice I was approaching a tree at sub-orbital speeds and didn’t have the reflexes to duck the wait-a-bit bush dangling a ripping tentacle across the trail, catching my proboscis with a trident of hellish thorniness and jerking my neck sideways as I let out a “owshitforfucksakedammit!’ or some such similar ejaculation while blood immediately dribbled down my highway patrolman’s moustache onto my now pouting lower lip. Fekking things are lethal! Had to beg a bit of bog roll off the Panic to daub my throbbing schnoot dry before setting off again apace. The big road from Magadi to Ngurumani is a ripaaaa, feshy as you like with some stones for the lads and we made decent time up to the village for our barely-afternoon beers.


Above: It says it all… my schnooot was kapooot!


Above: The long straight(ish) blast to Ngurumani and the Sky-Breeze Bar/Deep C Pub in Ngurumani where we paused to quench our parched palates


Above: They even had beans and chapati! I can see Jimbob is okay with that… never clear what Panic thinks apart from: Die! Die! Die!, Burn! Burn! Burn! Wacken!

After our second lunch, we had turned enough, planetarily speaking, to merit arrival at the riverside camp. If you go too early, you toast in the sun on the sand bank, but at this time, it was just right to organize things, divest from our fancy dress and hit the cool waters of the Ewaso Nyiro river. So, with little ceremony (and no muppetry like when Rawlance of a Labia tried to ride across the river, unexpectedly and unnecessarily a few years back… still by far the [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs23vffPZVg]most popular of my highly unpopular YouTube vids[/youtube]) we kicked off our boots, hit the water and heaved a collective aaaaaaahhhhh as the cool, muddy water flowed around and the freaky catfish nibbled our toes.


Above: arrival at camp


Above: The two wazee, nutz-deep in the muddy river, jumping and squealing like citified sissies periodically from the catfish and startling the locals and the wildlife alike with their outrageous swimwear… I mean honestly, those colours don’t belong in a modern art museum, let alone upon the person of a human being! My eyes! My eyes!... and then there’s me… Made in Gord’s image, just like our middle-eastern Jesus or one of those wankers who stormed the Capitol on Jan 6th… white as the driven snow… pure as Colombia’s finest… comments about me being so white as to be glow-in-the-dark, a solution to global warming, an armpit with teeth, etc aw shaddup! We were the freaking UN of riding, a veritable colour wheel of bikers! And, but, yet, let’s be clear, I’m all for diversity, but this KTM shit’s gotta go… Jimbob, convert now to the ways of the Piggy, or there may be consequences!


Above: Clearly a specimen of perfection, yours truly doing the BRP dance of joy in his culturally appropriated lower-extremity cover


Above: A lone Masaai kid wondering, like, literally WTF yo, LOL, LMFAO… I’m totally putting this on TikTok, look at those knob ends!

Around the campfire, it was meagre rations compared to the night before and rides past. Our British military Rat Packs had run out or expired beyond what we’re comfortable with (4 years is kind of our limit) so we were slumming it with ramen noodles and cans of beans and tuna, FFS. But, BUT, we had snagged a couple of Tusker Ciders from the bar in Nguruman and we did have our Black, so about the time the KTM fanboy passed out, cashed in his chips, called for a taxi, hit the hay, Panic and I were riding the wave, laughing again over old stories and howling at the moon. All as it should be.


Above: Darkness at the campsite, 3 bike/chairs arranged in the sand around a fire.

To be continued...
 :snorting:
« Last Edit: February 03, 2021, 02:01:18 pm by Osadabwa »
 

Offline Osadabwa

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Day 3 - Valley to home
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2021, 04:30:56 pm »
Wisely, I popped an ibuprofen or two as I was hitting the sack and consequently slept like Death’s grand-daddy. Not until the first crack of dawn did I reopen my peepers. First thing I did was check to see if any elephants had squashed Jimbob in his sleep as he had so ardently sworn would be the case. Alas… no such luck… so I greeted him hello as he scrambled up the feshy hill to find a spot to squat and I crawled out of the rack, scrawled my name in the sand with yesterday’s hooch and boiled water for coffee. The rest is a wash/rinse/repeat of every other morning: groggy tent deconstruction, sand everywhere, check for scorpions, forget what you’re doing, cuss a bit, somebody farts (probably me), note the rising sun and impending heat, don the gear, start the bikes and finally, at last, por fin, get on the road again!


Above: A serene morning. Who in their right mind would try to ride over to that peninsula? Rawlance? Is it deep? LETS CHECK

We ripped all morning, really. Ripped out of the riverbed. Fesh flying. Ripped out to Olkirimatian for water. Ripped (proper ripped) down to Oloika through sand and stones. I love ripping. Ripping is a joy. The Pig was meant for ripping, so we ripped! I’d like to get Dr. Seuss to make me a rhyme about ripping… Something like One Pig, Two Pig, Red Pig… uh, Red Pig… etc, you get the idea.


Above: Out of there


Above: Out of there!


Above: OUT OF THERE!

A blink later, we were near Shompole and turning toward Oloika and the volcano dubbed Longomot (according to some old nguy we met once) the blown-out volcano standing between us and Torosei. It’s a funky spot… tall anthills, flat, wasted lava fields… goats eating gord-knows-what. Always an opportunity for a photo op before diving into the little, slower tracks of the volcano.


Above: Lava and anthills


Above: The insuperable XRR dwarfing Mt. Shompole with her beauty


Above: A nitwit and a pair of piggies in deepest Africa


Above: But that nitwit likes to riiiip! One Pig, Two Pig, aaaaw shaddup!

The approach to Torosei is another gruelling one. It’s a great time to practice your rubbly-rock bike handling skills. I guess you can pay someone to show you how, or you can just go try it… up to you. Anyway, there we are, in the shadow of puny trees and stony gullies, dragging ourselves out of the deepest parts of the valley. I nearly see my ass in a horrible mess of stones practicing fast climbs on uneven surfaces. Jimbob decides he’d like to crash at speed and come away with not even a scratch (thanks Panic, for the loan of the armadillo, eh?) and we arrived in Torosei with only a messed up hand-guard (Jimbob) and low tyre pressures (me).


 Above: Heading through Longomot




Above: In Torosei… couldn’t find beer, so we settled for Coke and a quick repair job on the XRR’s rear tyre. Again, I cut the tyre. Looks like a nail cut, but who knows. Short work thanks to the TuBliss system… I swear it’s every single tyre! Jimbob was shaken but not stirred, banged the handguard back in place and we blasted on.

And as usual, there’s nothing left to say. The Torosei-to-Mi-46 track and the Mi-46 track to Olepolos are practically etched into the backs of my retinas. They’re fast, they’re tricky, and you can really screw it up, but this time nobody did. So we blasted. Past ostriches, over the railroad, below the ridge newly adorned with windmills and finally up the tar to Olepolos for, you guessed it, kuku choma and White Caps.


Above: I said there were ostriches


Above: Now Panic’s doing the XRR appreciation dance… loosen up those hips, bwana, relax the shoulders! Hii ni Kenya!


Above: Jimbob distorting the space-time continuum with his rucksack atop the underpowered KTM just before the RR tracks at Mi46


Above: The rucksack a.k.a. The Planet, the windmills… and the rucksack some more… the eyes are drawn to it, no? Much like the light to a supermassive black hole…


Above: Olepolos at last… my god how waiting for these guys can age a man… I hope I have a couple rides left in me.
Boys, it was a great ride. Sad we couldn’t all come along, but we’ll make up for it soon.

Until the next one,

Braaaap!

 :snorting:
 
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Offline Osadabwa

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Lobomoto's 18th - Ngurumani
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2021, 09:48:06 pm »
A lad I’ve known for seven years, a smart, kind and helpful kid was about to turn 18 and his dad says to me, he says: “All he wants to do for his birthday is ride his bike like a hooligan. Why don't you take him out and we’ll meet you guys down in Ngurumani with the 4x4s and families and food and beers and celebrate it properly. All you have to do is ride and try not to injure yourself trying to keep ahead of him.” To which I said: “Are you sure this isn't my birthday? I’m in!” So on Friday, Lobomoto and I played hookie for a 3 day ride. We took on all my favourite tracks… the rocky ones I get in trouble for suggesting too frequenlty, and even attempted a few unknowns I’d been hoping could become part of the usual itinerary. It was excellent. Let’s go!


Above: Lobo and I about to hit it… the dry, clean faces wouldn’t last long!

First up, we zipped past the Ngongs, decided to ignore a small leak coming from Lobo’s 520’s recent starter repair and ripped past Saikeri to the much-improved track to the Kisimit Valley, one of the valleys within the Great Rift Valley that I enjoy so much for it’s relatively untouched appearance. It was dusty, rocky and just a wee bit hot for only being 10:00AM. We popped out on the Oltepesi-Najile road and twisted it on. Lobomoto asked me later how much I throttle back on the rocky stuff, for which that track is notorious, because he could tell I was pulling away. I think that was the last time the whole trip he lost ground to me.


Above: Lobo enjoying the Kisimit


Above: A bit of a break in the shade


Above: Funky rock formations


Above: A bird of prey in a tree in an anthill on a stone… and a petrol station in Village X half way to Oltepesi

After topping up (there wouldn’t be any petrol until Ngurumani), we aimed straight for Mt. Suswa. I wanted to ride a bulldozer/charcoal burner/goat track to the rim, or at least give it the Old College Try. We picked our way through the leleshwa, scrambling over rather steep and stony sections in spots on a very promising track that did what promising tracks sometimes do… they vanish into the bush without a trace. We could have gone macho-enduro out there, bashing much rockier stuff in washes and gullies, but I would have probably died of heat stroke and I feared the long-term impact this would have on the lad’s psyche, so for the good of all concerned, we got the hell off that sweltering hillside.


Above: Lobomoto on one of the easier sections


Above: Where the road ends, the GPS tracks turn to spider webs of hope and disappointment… a decent view from Suswa you don’t usually see


Above: Skittering down the babyheads and bowling balls


Above: Suswa aiming south


Above: My Piggie chewing up the rocks. She likes ‘em faster, but she’ll handle the slow stuff if you can


Above: Retracing our steps (anathema to bikers, but necessary at times if you’re really exploring) through a Masai fence which we opened and shut, just like your grand-daddy taught you.


Above: Down of that infernal volcano, looking a little less fresh, but look, pretty flowers!

It was pushing noon and I thought we could find a spot in a riverbed for a snack and a rest. I should have known better though since we are located at like 1.5 degrees South of the Equator, and at noon there are no damn shadows! Still I took us screaming up a wide, packed riverbed, enjoying the rip of the wind and then saw my life flash before my eyes. A wire fence that spans the riverbed had snagged a fallen tree in the last washout and pulled one solitary strand down in the centre of the riverbed… neck height to a biker. I saw it just in time. We cut that thing and decided to move on.


Above: Wire garrotte over the riverbed has been cut to save somebody’s life down the road.

Giving up on finding proper shade, we kept on for Oldebe, the weird little village in the middle of nowhere with a big rectangular dirt plaza like space surrounded by closed up tin shacks for a warm beer in the scrutiny of the villagers. From there, we’d bee-line it for the shortcut track to Little Lake Magadi.


Above: In that area, it’s not uncommon to see gerenuk, impala, gazelles, ostrich and zebra. This time around, only cattle and a skull-cap


Above: 1PM in Oldebe and the beasts of burden get no relief from the burning sun


Above: Turning onto the spectacular track to Little Lake Magadi

Discovered earlier this month, the track to Little Magadi is fantastic. It starts out civilized enough on a pretty clear dirt track strewn with stones, but then after veering off into a wide riverbed it descends into a rather unruly stony singletrack through bush tunnels and odd open rubble fields just before you pop out onto the Northern tip of the lake. It’s long, slow, hard riding and it was rather toasty in mid afternoon!


Above: Lobo making short work of the early bit of track


Above: Ripping the riverbed… that’s my dust he’s eating


Above: Funky rubble meadows. I’d stop to get a bit of video of Lobo pass, then try to chase him down. Most of the time I’d wave to him as he found himself dead-ended in the thorns and stones, having missed a turn. Perhaps it’s a perfect analogy for youth… all throttle, no navigation!


Above: Getting closer, the bush dwindles and the rocks increase. The little bodaboda track we follow is a pleasure


Above: At last! Arrival at the lakeshore. Three PM and we were ready for a snack and a rest. A nice shade tree did the trick, but it wasn’t any better than the typical KTM kickstand and Lobomoto had to revive his 520 from her slumber before he could take a load off himself


Above: Lucky punk. What were your friends doing on Friday at 3PM? You will find that week-day rides are particularly sweet for that very reason.


Above: Not surprisingly, despite there being no signs of life anywhere, a Walker, er, a Masai morani appeared out of the ether to stare at us and make little commentitos, even when we closed our eyes for a rest. It’s never not annoying, but it’s quite something to think about… that kid was probably just about the same age as Lobomoto… how’s that for juxtaposition?

After our rest, I swore I could hear beers being opened in the distance and I could feel the cool water of the Ewaso Nyiro river lapping at my chin… so we blitzed it. The ride along the lake is amazing. We took in the mud flat on the left and the lake on the right and crushed the rocks on the road in between. A quick rip up the very nice road to Ngurumani and before we knew it, we were at the campsite where a great huzzzah erupted for Lobo’s arrival and cold beers were pressed into our hands as though we were returning from the crusades, having murdered, er, converted a bunch of heathens to our ways!


Above: Always been green at Little Magadi on my visits… but very green it was this time around


Above: That mud flat is muddier than ever this week… bikers beware!


Above: Parting shot


Above: Lobo is the tip of a dusty arrow heading for Ol Kirimatian


Above: The warriors arrive from their harrowing adventure and are greeted with mead and a soothing bath in the river


Above: It’s a damn muddy river… but it makes a fella feel brand new… or was that the beer?


Above: The usual camp setup for me is… well, not like this. It was a joy to find a group with grub and drinks awaiting.


Above: Also my gigantic 6-person Coleman family tent! My kids and I, who apparently never left the river for 5 minutes once they arrived, would risk it and leave the rain fly off to let us see the stars.


Above: Oh, the poor little pup got tuckered out. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty chuffed that my middle-aged ass could wear out an 18 year old! Slept til dinner time then ate the whole pot of food and one of his siblings. The rest of us went hungry. Lesson learned!

And that night, the kids watched a movie projected on a tablecloth while we listened to baboons in the distance (not hippos!) and sipped our single malt. It was a great day!

Happy Birthday Lobomoto!

More to come...

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Offline Osadabwa

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Lobo18 - Day 2
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2021, 09:57:18 pm »
Following day we were all up with the sun, the birds and the kids… none of which really get the concept of sleeping in I’ve noticed. I felt like a million bucks having slept on my 4” foam mattress in a castle of a tent, and was very happy to wait for a more responsible adult to begin making coffee before I made my appearance. In short order, coffee was served, along with egg, bacon and sausage breakfast burritos in hand-made flour tortillas… now that’s service! And shortly thereafter, the smell of sweat and petrol and the roar of engines as Lobomoto and I kitted up and struck out for Shompole conservancy, the mythical southern passage to the Loitas and Lake Natron!


Above: Seriously, have you ever seen such a cool camp? The tree monkeys are a bit weird down there though...


Above: The kids, just past dawn, already thinking about getting in the river (which they would do at 8 or so and not leave until evening)

Our day’s plan was ambitious and, if I’m honest, fairly certain to fail. I had long ago plotted a track from Mpakase village near Natron up to the Loita Hills, determined to find a way up there that would allow me to flip the proverbial bird to a certain mzungu muckitymuck who shall not be named (Locals call him Pilihp Ykael, or Elohssa for short) who won’t let motorbikes pass on his road. Anyway, I knew it was a long shot but I wanted to see with my own eyes and now I had an 18-year-old to force me to do it. If I had tried this with Panic, he’d have killed me with his death ray zombie stare, so it was now or never.

Truthfully, it started out promising and there were a few boda tracks that lead past a derelict boma or two before taking the inevitable turn for the worse. It was pretty overgrown and at one point, not wanting to have my face shredded by a bush, I put my head way down on the handlebars as I passed under a branch only to look up and find myself heading straight into another bush, much to Lobomoto’s amusement.


Above: Still pretty early, we were already sucking our camelbaks dry… at only about 600M in the bottom of the Rift Valley, it’s always toasty


Above: The track was rocky always, but baby heads have become my bread and butter… when they turn into bowling balls and bigger, though, it’s only fun in small doses

After maybe half an hour or so of really tough going, I finally called it quits and sent my faithful scout ahead to see what he could see. There were 3 km left on the track and at the pace we were going I figured it’d take him an hour easy to get there and back. It’d be faster to walk, though not in MX boots. So, I parked myself under a tree, doffed my kit, queued up some music on my phone, and was just starting to chill when I heard his engine. Nope. Just too many rocks for too many more kilometers. And since we hadn’t yet reached the steep bit of the track, it was time to retreat.


Above: The end of my line. Happy to rest in the shade and wait for the folly of youth to return


Above: Which he presently did…. It was just too damn rocky, and we hadn’t even reached the steep bit in the distance.

Task failed successfully (being able to check that unknown track off my list is priceless, thanks Lobomoto!), we rockhopped back the way we had come and aimed for the shores of L. Natron on the border of Tanzania where we hoped to meet up with the 4x4s for a picnic and some cold drinks.


Above: Surprising nobody, it was just as rocky going down as it had been coming up


Above: One downside to riding with young guys… when they drop their bikes (and they do…) they are also quick to pick them up again! Lobomoto had flopped in the rocks, but by the time I got the camera ready, he was up again. My, shall we say… more mature friends… take substantially longer to right a toppled bike.


Above: Mpakase, looking down on L. Natron and into Tanzanian airspace

Approaching the lakeshore track, I called up Lobo’s Pa, Patient P who informed me that the team at Camp Intrepid were still there and the kids were all in the river… It had turned from Camp Intrepid to Limp and Tepid, but it suited everyone just fine. The drive to Natron in a 4x4 is a 2 hour affair one way and it was awful nice to be lazing around by the river. This suited Lobo and I just fine. We would check out the lake ourselves, try one more track I had been meaning to explore and then rip back to camp, hopefully before the beers were gone.


Above: The track to Natron is a brilliant, sandy doubletrack with a few herds of Zebra (livelier than the one pictured top right) and gazelle. It heads straight over to the steep escarpment through a dozy village where a few women were washing clothes under the trees. Once again we made an unplanned entry into a foreign country as I was enjoying the riding too much to notice until it was too late that we were in fact in Tanzania! We beat a hasty retreat and came back to Kenyan soil to reach the Lake Shore.


Above: Beat a quick U-Turn and get back to Kenya before the TZ zombies attack!

The lakeshore is surreal. Birds hang out on their mirror images and the distant horizon wobbles into shimmery nothingness where it kisses the sky. I’m a huge fan of this area… it’s just so damn weird and extreme. As if to punctuate this feeling, as Lobomoto and I approached the edge, we were riding on what looked like dried seaweed and turned out to be millions upon millions of dead and desiccated fish each about as long as a swiss knife. Bizarre. We spent a while in the direct, baking noonday sun admiring the harsh view then decided unanimously to stop riding immediately and go back to camp. Ha! Not a chance, we had to go see about the upper level track I had planned.


Above: Fish apocalypse


Above: Lobo admiring the view… and peeing, possibly, if I’m not mistaken… The KTM sidestand, again doing absolutely nothing to deserve its name in the soft soil of the lakeshore


Above: Horizons Unlimited...


Above: Lobomoto was planning to splash over to that little island and then thought better of it… kind of unclear how deep that toxic water is. Better to pose for a photo with Mt. Shompole instead


Above: How and when did that tree live?


Above: Flamingos… Beautiful and exotic creatures indeed. They will forever conjure the original Miami Vice opening credits and theme music where flamingos feature prominently… and a few other interesting birds as well if you catch my utterly obvious meaning… have a look below


(0:13 and 0:47 left a big impression on many a young lad from my generation I’d wager!)


Above: We ain't no Crocket and Tubbs... Looking fresh as a couple of daisies wilting in a convection oven. Where's my linen suit? Someone fetch me a gin and tonic!

Ok, enough sightseeing, it was time to hit a new track. The Nguruman escarpment lower level awaits! We skittered up the rolling rock road, the defunct and burned out original Shompole Lodge, white as a buffalo carcass wasting away in the long grass within view. In no time the track was tight on both sides with thick bush and was so overgrown as to not be able to see what your tyres were rolling on. Clearly nobody comes here often. It was kind of eerie… like maybe nobody should be there. I started to think about buffalo and elephant, but pushed on anyway cause, you know, bikers, until I saw a junction that looked like it might yield a viewpoint.


Above: Old skull reminding me that while the chances of being killed by buffalo may be slim, they’re never zero.


Above: Surprisingly, the track led to a bush campsite with a view over the Lake Shompole dry lake bed and the fancy new lodge being built below. Lovely spot, but I’d rather gargle with petrol than stay there it was so hot.


Above: From our vantage point, I could smell the river and the cold beers… and lunch, somewhere to the North… it was time to blast it. No protest from Lobo either, we’d put in a solid effort for one day. It was time to have day-beers and a long swim in a muddy African river!


Above: And that’s just what we did. Back at camp, there was chilli and cornbread, cold beers, fancy G&Ts and that long, brown river of cool goodness.

The evening came and brought the rain. Kids had to abandon their evening viewing of the Lion King so the adults could eat the amazing Karoga that had been prepared. They grumbled for about 3 minutes before conking out. The rest of us didn’t last much longer. An early night for the bikers meant we’d be fresh for another long day!

 :snorting:



 

Offline Osadabwa

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Lobo-18 - Heading home
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2021, 10:06:49 pm »
Dawn and a cool breeze rustle the acacia leaves to the sounds of doves and hornbills, bla bla bla… durn kids! Shaaaddaaap!


Above: Another rare form of monkey spotted near camp. She’s adorable, but very cheeky. Don’t approach with pancakes if you wanna live!

Up. Breakfasted (pancakes, coffee, bacon and sausage oh my). Packed. Petrol. Sweat. Braaaap! Lobo and I were just this side of useless, thinking only about riding. Knowing we’d be more trouble than help, the rest urged us to get the hell out of camp, so we obliged in a flurry of feshfesh. I hoped it wouldn’t be a bad omen, but not 100m from camp, I came around a corner and thawhacked a very sizeable branch on the arm, nearly tossing me from the bike. It would be worth keeping ones wits about one, especially since it had rained… beware the Skid Demon!


Above: After a bit of fuel near the bridge, we were off between River and Lake, ripping a little more gingerly than usual owing to the mud that had formed in the night. Usually it was fine, but I didn’t trust it…


Above: In a blink we were back in view of Shompole and Natron


Above: One more blink to Oloika and pitcher petrol (not enough back at the bridge for my liking… I was Lobomoto’s backup and we weren’t sure of his range)

The plan was to expand yet again my ever-growing web of most excellent riding options, my dudes. We’d cut Longomot volcano, hang a leftie, swing up kidogo, try not to ride on the active railroad again (Panic!), bash a few rocks, slide in a bit of sand and then take the Butt Brothers Farm track milk run North for some grub at Olepolos. Ready? Go!


Above: Lobo seen here with a brilliant view of Longomot ahead asking me if his ass looks fat in his riding pants… I swear, kids these days…


Above: Longomot track is not as tough as it used to be, but it’s still a blast with lots of rubble and baby heads and a couple of tricky sections. It’s all about the funkiness in there.


Above: Emerging from Longomot, just after our run-in with the only proper dickhead of the trip.

Warning! Turn away now if you’d rather preserve the image of the Masai as the stoic keepers of the land you’ve seen in sepia toned movies and read about in books, cause unlike those stories, this tale is 21st century Kenya non-fiction.

I’d let Lobo go ahead and was chasing him down. After a few minutes I found him, still astride his bike, with a pair of guys next to a boda, looking livid. I’ve seen this before. Eager young biker having fun connects with boda riders in tight track just going about their business… boda guys go down, get bruised, maybe a bit scratched up and the mzungu all padded up is fine… not a great situation. One guy was so pissed off, I felt sure that was the story here as well. Lobo was protesting a bit, but I was in crisis aversion mode, so I waved him off and addressed the guys in the sweetest Swahili I could muster while handing the grumpiest buggar some cash to shut him up and calm him down. Which it did. I gestured for Lobo to beat it. I apologised again and followed him.

Only when I catch up to Lobo do I realize I’d been scammed. Lobo hadn’t hit the guy at all. He’d seen them coming, stopped, and the guy kept coming and bumped into HIM… lightly too… barely turning either of their handlebars and then adopting the poor, abused, misunderstood, used-to-be-fearsome-warriors-woe-is-me-give-money-for-changaa routine on my boy here. I, of course, ate it up in the name of a quick resolution, but if it ever happens again, I swear I’m gonna… why I’m gonna…! A) Serve the guy a carbon-fiber knuckle sandwich and follow it up with a Sidi Crossfire croissant and an Arrow Headbutt… and then be in a heap of trouble because they’d be waiting next time I pass by… B) Do the same thing again and risk this becoming a get-rich-quick-scheme for Masai vampire bullies sucking motorbiker petrol money or C) Something in between… If I remember right, you were always supposed to pick C if you didn’t know the right answer. I’ll go with C.

Anyway, that story was long but didn’t take anything from our ride. We were back on throttle sliding around hard pack in the blink of an eye. Weirdly though, we did also pass what looked like a little Suzuki that had recently been abandoned and was full of bullet holes… maybe this is Masai thugland? Anyway, I managed to connect the dead volcano to the railroad track and it was fantastic. Seriously rocky stuff, we bashed along sharpish for an hour or so, crisscrossing the railroad until the track turned sandy and fast.


Above: The Magadi Soda railway line… trains aren’t frequent, but I’d discourage riding for long down the middle anyway… trust me, it’s freaking scary


Above: When the track was a track it was a rocky track, when the track wasn’t a track it was a rocky track anyway


Above: This U-turn's for the ladies…


Above: Only one week earlier, we’d have been a pair of sad sacks in this black cotton stuff…


Above: Out on the South Side of Olegorsailie, a proper Ostrich partu was under way… It was a sausage fest though


Above: This bit was a blast

Reaching the Mi-46/GSU road, we gunned it toward the Butt Brother’s farm road, or somewhere near it. Things there have changed a ton. We came upon huge earth works that honestly befuddle the imagination. It was like a dirt maze for 4x4s or something… only thing I can think is fish farm… probably the last time I’ll get close enough to see it. It’ll be fenced soon…


Above: Taking the high-road above the farm, these massive earth works… no idea what it’s going to be.

Out on the dusty pan, I paused to have Lobo do a flat-out ride-by for the video. He took a couple of passes letting the 520 scream. Ready to go, I take off in the lead and he’s right at my hip. I gun it and he’s still on my hip! I slam on the brakes and call him back for a drag race! Of course neither of us really know how to do a drag race, but we counted down, put it in 2nd and dumped the clutch. Wheels spinning, a hellish cloud of dust no doubt roaring above us, that little punk slowly pulled away! He got a few meters ahead of me until we were both pinned in top gear, but sure enough, the little sh*, er, Lobo whooped me fair and square. Of course, I wasn’t really trying that hard, and I have a family to think about, and I’m easily 10kg heavier, plus there’s the weight of the tank to consider, and I think the wind was coming from my side so… you know, I guess I won.


Above: Lobomoto giving it the beans in the pan

From there, to Olepolos for kuku choma. Lovely way to end the ride, but wait! If you haven’t learned yet, the ride isn’t over til you’re home! On the way back, the smallest little rain storm decided to grace our exit point from the valley, leaving behind some red clay that was absolutely the most slippery stuff you’ve ever seen. I quickly saw my ass in a comically slow low-sider, but Lobo doesn’t carry a camera, so there’s no real proof. Luckily, from there it dried up again and we rolled home unscathed.


Above: Olepolos for a beer and kuku! Did we really get here in 4 hours?


Above: We’re not like the other girls…


Above: Hiding under the railroad as the rain comes down… just minutes before my graceful but unexpected dismount


Above: At the petrol station, the KTM’s side stand lets the 520 fall into the fuel pump… and that’s our parting shot

Lobo, happy birthday my man! Best of luck with everything, and remember to always carry cash, carry spare oil and keep your rubber puncture-free!

And as ever, here's some moving pictures of the ride


Til the next one

 :snorting:


 
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Offline Elkanah

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2021, 02:06:46 pm »
One of those stories that I can't get enough of  :sip:  :spitcoffee:
Psychiatry's troubled search for the biology of mental illness.
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: 2021 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 6
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2021, 09:48:39 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:
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