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Offline doublediamond

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Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« on: July 30, 2009, 09:33:59 am »
(I realize it is impossible to post anything new  that has not already been said a 1000 times about a Namibian trip on this forum, however I have decided to write this ride report for many reasons , but the 2 primary reasons are ;-
•   Firstly I Hope it encourages & motivates those of you considering a similar trip, and perhaps provides some valuable information    that can be used in the planning of your trip, in the same way I found insight & inspiration from the many RR's on WD's & I feel it only right to give back a little, to in some small part make up for the plenty I have so unconditionally received from this forum.

•   Secondly it gives my non WD friends &  family a brief glimpse into why I feel drawn to ride rough shod & bareback  into the relative unknown……. So please excuse & indulge the stuff that is blatantly obvious to WD’s  :)

And finally, no amount of words, no matter how dripping they are with metaphors & no award winning photos of desert roads with distant horizons drenched in sunsets can even begin to convey the “feeling” that is Namibia ………………….


Nam’s Labyrinth

Of late this song has become one of the many “anthems” for my life, and was my anthem for this trip, so in my attempt to convey the spirit & mood that permeated my thinking in planning this trip please start here and allow me this 5 minute indulgence.
TURN IT UP AS LOUD AS YOU CAN & READ THE WORDS OF THE SONG IN THE VIDEO & ALLOW ME TO SET THE MOOD BEFORE WE CONTINUE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dq_RQl_gHU

(If this song dont light your fire then your wood is wet!!)


So that this RR does not become a tome of male menopausal angst I will spare you all my self indulgent ramblings as to why I felt the need for this trip suffice to say that there is a lot of multiple meaning in the title of this RR.

My facebook  status before I left read as follows
My Namibian desert adventure 2wks solo me & my bike. I am grateful for abundance in my life& for tolerance of my wife & daughters who continue to indulge my selfish dreams. The spirit of the seeker & adventurer burns deep in my soul & I am driven to explore the magnificence of the universe both inside & outside of me, and in so doing reinforce what i know to be true, i am one with all &there I find my peace. I wish u love & freedom xx

Much research & discussions with many of you led me to a state of temporary concern, the most common advice I was getting was to not attempt the trip I was planning solo.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and go solo and just be vigilant in my route planning.

For some reason I cannot recall right now but  appeared completely valid at the time I decided  to start in the South West & head up North in a clockwise direction – I posted this in the planning a ride section of the forum  “I have key destinations & a direction UPINGTON - FISH RIVER CANYON - D707 - SOSSUSVLEI - SOLITAIRE -SWAKOP - SPITZKOPPE - PETRIFIED FOREST/TWYFELFONTIEN - PALMWAG - EPUPA FALLS - EAST OF ETOSHA - WINDHOEK - TRANSKALAHARI - HOME everything in between is as the wind blows & as the mood takes me. No reservations made & no plans for where to sleep - camp/lodge/B&B “
An so it was written, follow my nose, camp & meet the locals & get to experience the Namibia that is almost fanatically ranted about in all ride reports on WD’s



I truly felt I had reduced my packing & luggage to bare necessities, but was most disappointed when I laid out everything on my study floor to see that my “essentials” was far  too much stuff, but I had to make it work because it was all stuff I needed……..or so I thought !! I had consciously decided not to take panniers on this trip as I personally prefer soft luggage & held the misguided opinion that Panniers ad to the potential for problems by vibrating loose & the breakage possibility in the event of a fall. This decision would come back to give me the middle finger within the first 50 K’s of my journey. I have come to realize that as ungainly & cumbersome as panniers appear, there is a very good reason you see them on the larger majority of adventure bikes doing any type of long distance trip, but more on that later.


Everything to pack all over my home office


Can u see the concern on my face about all the luggage


Eventually all strapped on & readyto go



Day  1 JHB – Upington (778km)  - planned destination for the night “Die Eiland”

With a frustration that was palpable to my long suffering wife, who wisely chose for the sake of her continuing good health to not comment on the issue, I eventually managed to get everything strapped to the back of “donkey” (indeed an unflattering term of endearment for such a magnificent marvel of modern engineering that is the BMW 1200 adventure, but I shall later reveal how it came to be so named).
I said my final goodbyes and less than 10 meters later, rather unceremoniously and in a mild state of embarrassment ,needed to dismount donkey to relieve some of the pressure on my bladder, which up until that moment I had not discovered was about to explode. My wife found the whole thing incredibly amusing & proceeded to chastise me for peeing on her hanging baskets, invisible to me, as was a certain part of my anatomy, all hidden beneath a leatt neck brace. I am sure in this process I removed any possible doubt that might of remained in my wives mind that I was an absolute idiot & that before long she would be spending the insurance money.


Trying to avoid giving the camera a full frontal


OMG that feels good


To get into any journey always takes me time to unwind and I immediately started running through my mental check list….. toolbox – check ……. Puncture repair –check……sleeping bag check and slowly but surely the clutter that was the unwelcome occupant of my mind was been cast into the slipstream & I started humming the song…….”roll, roll me away, wont you roll me away tonight……”
My bliss was short lived, about 50km’s from potch, donkey was becoming decidedly unsettled & I was struggling to keep him straight & true. I was uncomfortable & could not find a comfortable spot to sit, this despite having made the investment in an air hawk comfort seat, which appeared to have the single minded intention of repositioning my testicles to the underside of my appendix. I stopped to reposition my manhood & investigate what was causing donkeys involuntary stagger from pavement to pavement  & all across the road. One of my bags had been jettisoned by donkey & and was barely been held on by the tie down, this was the cause of my drunken swagger.
Operation re-pack phase 1 had begun. But by the time I got to Potch I was in serious trouble again, my tent was threatening to erect itself on the back of my seat & my sleeping bag was inflated & been dragged behind me, like the parachutes used to slow down drag racers.
I needed a solution. I bought a large but practical bag from Cape Union Mart, found a bike shop & bought his remaining supply of cargo nets & stopped in the parking lot of the local McDonalds for operation re-pack phase 2. Two hours and 2 quarter pounders and a new choc mint milkshake later I was en-route to Klerksdorp, I’m lovin it.


Before repack


After Repack


The prettiest thing I could find to photograph in delareyville


Donkey quenching his thirst

Petrol in Delareyville & by 19h00 I was on the outskirts of a very cold & dark Upington. I don’t think I had quite entered the city when I saw the flashing neon lights of the desert palace casino & hotel advertising rooms at R350 per night & I seriously tested the ABS braking to make the turn into their entrance, while all thoughts of camping at "Die Eiland" were quickly erased from my mind.

 A warm room & and a room service order for some oxtail, which came highly recommend, had me quite joy filled.
That is until I dropped the tray emptying the contents of the pooitjie with the oxtail all over my bed,redecorating the duvet cover in the process, more of a mess you have not seen. I swear to you none of this have I embelished it is all the truth!!!!

This would not be the first time on the trip I would be reduced to a whimpering 3 year old who just wanted his Mommy.

I went to bed.



......
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 07:47:18 am by doublediamond »
DON'T EVER COMPROMISE YOUR FREEDOM, YOUR DREAM, YOUR INDEPENDENCE OR YOUR TRUTH !!
 

Joyrider1

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2009, 09:44:11 am »
Welcome back DD, I can see this is one RR I am really going to enjoy.  :thumleft:
 

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - oop's
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2009, 09:47:25 am »
sorry all, I pressed post instead of preview & posted my test thread. This thread will be deleted & I will ppost the correct one shortly  ??? ???

LOL. i was about to say that was the shortest ride report ever.

 

Offline funacide

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2009, 11:02:13 am »
Really nice start to the report, I will be watching this one... I love the song by Bob Seger as well...
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Offline edgy

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2009, 12:22:25 pm »
 :happy1:
www.astonesthrow.co.za

 BEER..."I drink it when I`m happy or when I`m sad. I drink it when I`m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. Trifle with it if I`m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I`m thirsty"
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2009, 12:45:52 pm »
This has the makings of a good read. Please continue sir!
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Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2009, 12:58:03 pm »
Very nice and interesting start  :thumleft:
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Offline rubiblue

Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2009, 01:25:07 pm »
cool, keep it coming
Past; PW50,PW80,YZ80,KX80,KDX200,CR125,KX125,KTM250SX,KTM250XCW
Current; F800GS, KTM300TPI, KTM450XCW
 

Offline XRV-Boy

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2009, 02:28:58 pm »
look forward to the rest
 :thumleft:
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Offline Bernoulli

Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2009, 04:32:04 pm »
Subscribe... :) :) :)

Offline ThinkMike

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane (all sorted dont delete)
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2009, 05:16:12 pm »
DD, I think your biggest challenge is how to convey the full content of the ride report in a timeframe U can accomodate. After our chat on the phone, this is one ride report that will certainly keep the readers riveted.

You just have to share this in full - even if it means doing each day of your trip a day at a time. I am certainly not going to let the "Cat" out of the bag about the one specific experience you told me about today - which by the way kept me glued to my phone. WOW. I can almost garauntee that none of the WD have had that - well I have certainly never read anything similar.

So get going - I look forward to a fantastic report on a life experience like few have had!!.

TM
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Offline eikeboom

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2009, 10:25:45 pm »
waiting ancxiously patiently...
Let's go into the mountains...there's likely to be peace and quiet
 

Offline Oetie

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2009, 10:57:11 pm »
Subscribe, waiting for the next chapter :thumleft:
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Offline doublediamond

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2009, 01:19:48 am »

Day 2 - Upington to Ai-Ais (403km) planned destination Fish River Canyon

The bell boy, motivated in no small part by my gratuitous tip the evening before, had kindly left the luggage trolley outside my room & by 6 am I was checked out.
The security guard, who no doubt had heard of my benevolent nature from the bell boy, insisted enthusiastically on pushing the luggage trolley for me. On Exiting the hotel, this delightful human being, a South African of mixed racial descent named Jan, asked “Waar’s meneer se kar?”  (Where is Sir’s car?) & when I pointed to Donkey, he asked rather quizzically in the most descriptive & beautiful Afrikaans  so common in these parts “not a fok, waar gaan meneer al die goed sit, waar’s hom se boot?”  (No fucking way, where you going to put all this stuff, where’s the boot?)

He was suitably impressed with my packing skill’s & donkey’s carrying ability.
The coup de grace however was when I placed the GPS in the bracket & it started firing up. He stared spellbound & and I told him it’s a GPS & struggling to explain what it was I told him “dit wys jou waar jy ry “ (it show’s you where you going) in retrospect I can see where my translation set me up for his comment…… he looked at me & innocently asked “ Meneer kyk net voor jou daan sien jy waar jy ry dan het jy nie die TV nodig ” (just look in front of you & you will see where you riding & you won’t need the tv)


My friend Jan & donkey's load


30 minutes later & I am good to go.


The road to the border was cold , minus 2 on the display!! I was starting to regret my decision to leave early, I was  freezing cold!!!!! For the record the heated grips work great for the bottom of your hand but unless there is a way to get your blood to circulate through your hands to heat the rest of your body, there is truly no respite from the cold!!

The border transit process was going smoothly until they asked for my vehicular registration number. The (sincerely friendly) customs lady looked up & said “a red Renault scenic?” Before long I had our local SAP in a frenzy as this was the most excitement they had seen all year. Donkey’s registration number did not match the license disk or registration papers.  After they did a thorough inspection & confirmed the engine & chassis numbers etc all matched up, I was instructed to return to Upington to get a new number plate fitted.

No matter how I begged & pleaded our boys in blue remained steadfast & refused to allow me through, even my hinting that I could let a few buffalo’s fall from donkey's arse as I drove away would not get them to budge.  Apparently the challenge would be on the Namibian side of the border. Eventually, I think due the fact that he was too cold to continue standing outside negotiating with me, the senior officer agreed that I could try to get through the Namibian side of the border. I drove to Ariamsvlei border post & was not even questioned & drove through in no more than 10 minutes.


Nakop


My drive along the B3 to Karasberg was completely uneventful, except for the bone chilling cold & gusting wind which had decided to complete our little ménage a trois, hell wasn’t this a fun day in Africa.
Karasberg I filled up with fuel & bought a pie at local spar - onto C10 (wohoo dirt!!)


I was so cold in this pic I was shivering - I went for a 2k run up & down the road to try warm up


I truly don’t recall much about the landscape or anything in particular on that ride , it was really that cold and the wind was getting stronger & stronger.  The  helmet that is meant to protect your head seems to magnify the intensity of the constant barrage of wind induced snot klappe, I was starting to feel punch drunk.

The sand roads weren’t bad but they weren’t  great , the wind & soft sand  tag teamed  to ensure your concentration never  waned. The cold ensured I rode slow & besides donkey was feeling very ungainly on the new sandy surfaces.

At the intersection of the C10 & C37 I was to turn right & head north towards Fish River Canyon, at no point was I even planning to visit Ai-Ais, however at the intersection  a road side information board said “Ai-Ais hot springs now open”………….manna from heaven.

This approx 25km’s of sand road to Ai-Ais  was  breathtakingly beautiful with  time weathered hills, but on a road surface that was treacherous – just like riding on marbles on an  ice rink, it was my “Delilah” road for the day - if you got seduced by the beauty of the surroundings you would have your arse handed to you on a silver platter by the road. Donkey couldn’t find his footing & even though I was taking it easy I over shot two tight right hand turns.






My camp site for the night with the fish river in the background



My portable home, is this location not just spectacular?? for R50.00 including all facilities


View of the campsite & new ablutions from main building patio



Resturaunt, with really good food & I had an awesome T bone & the Oryx sosatie for dinner


The hot springs were great & incl in price of camping.I made good use of them & I met some wonderful people here & we chatted till late in the night


I was the first paying client at the health spa which opened the day I arrived. I had a great massage while roughing it in Nam. This pic is of me & the manager of the health spa who really inpressed me with his great & friendly attitude. We are showing the sign for freedom (your fingers in the shape of a diamond, you will see the freedom sign in many pictures to come it is the mantra for my life!!)







Random pics I took while walking along the fish river


That memory of arriving at Ai-Ais will always be a defining moment for me. Ai-Ais truly was my metaphorical oasis amongst the maelstrom of events during the preceding day & a half, in which time I never once considered not continuing with the trip, I just was not “feeling” it yet.
But all along I just knew there would come a defining  point where I would unconsciously become completely present in that moment & fully absorb my surroundings, a moment where I would experience a sensory awakening and start resonating with the natural splendor that is Namibia ……………………..this was that point  ;D






« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 02:06:10 pm by doublediamond »
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Offline Metaljockey

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2009, 05:47:59 am »
Quote
(I realize it is impossible to post anything new  that has not already been said a 1000 times about a Namibian trip on this forum, however I have decided to write this ride report for many reasons , but the 2 primary reasons are ;-
•   Firstly I Hope it encourages & motivates those of you considering a similar trip, and perhaps provides some valuable information    that can be used in the planning of your trip, in the same way I found insight & inspiration from the many RR's on WD's & I feel it only right to give back a little, to in some small part make up for the plenty I have so unconditionally received from this forum.

Yes, and encourage others it will.

 Secondly it gives my non WD friends &  family a brief glimpse into why I feel drawn to ride rough shod & bareback  into the relative unknown……. So please excuse & indulge the stuff that is blatantly obvious to WD’s  Smiley

This is my main reason, short of taking them all with, this is the next best thing.

And finally, no amount of words, no matter how dripping they are with metaphors & no award winning photos of desert roads with distant horizons drenched in sunsets can even begin to convey the “feeling” that is Namibia ………………….

You said it baby, nothing compares to Nam.

Offline JourneyMan

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2009, 06:19:02 am »
Great stuff! Keep it coming. Enjoying this and like your writing style. 8)

Namibia will see me again!
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Offline Ama ride ride

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2009, 07:30:16 am »
DD, a great RR in the making. Keep it up. Like your style.
((Please resize your pics to 800 X 600 otherwise one have to move around to read the whole page))

I like your child-like excitement as it reminds me of my own when I was in Namibia for the first time 31 years ago…..hell I am getting old…..

The Afrikaans speaking folks in the Northern Cape are some of our country’s most down to earth people and they usually hit the nail square on the head with their sayings.

There was a time that people avoided Ais Ais like a plague, but it seems there had been a turn around in the management. Its great news. :thumleft:
Gewoontlik n@@i ek reguit aan op fyndraai.

 

Offline Frannarossi

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2009, 07:37:33 am »
Great stuff :thumleft:
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Offline popipants

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2009, 07:39:39 am »
Wow, first time I've Ai-Ais.
Looks like a nice place to take the family.
Very nice writing!!!
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Offline Dusty

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Re: Nam's Labyrinth - Solo & Sane
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2009, 08:22:05 am »
Thank you for sharing, really enjoying your writing  :thumleft:
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.