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Author Topic: 7 Days up the Westcoast and to Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed: Completed!  (Read 8796 times)

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Offline Briekmerk

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #100 on: September 05, 2009, 05:15:12 am »
This is the promised video - Klaing had a little self contained flash video camera connected to his Strom's crashbar.

This is a little bit of footage of a riverbed crossing in the eco 4x4 trail.


Please bear in mind that this is a guy that 2 weeks before the trip was not comfortable with riding sand.

This was also deeply rutted and very soft...







Surf, not many guys can handle a mothership the way you do. Respect!
 

Offline surf

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #101 on: September 05, 2009, 09:36:02 am »
This is the promised video - Klaing had a little self contained flash video camera connected to his Strom's crashbar.

This is a little bit of footage of a riverbed crossing in the eco 4x4 trail.


Please bear in mind that this is a guy that 2 weeks before the trip was not comfortable with riding sand.

This was also deeply rutted and very soft...







Surf, not many guys can handle a mothership the way you do. Respect!

Nee wat bra, dis nie ek wat die bike handle nie, hy handle vir my :mwink:

Maar ons praat maar nie oor die 2 keer wat ek moes afstof nie :ricky:
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Offline BoJangels

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #102 on: September 05, 2009, 09:37:14 am »
fantastic RR and great photies...Eisbein & Co, thanks for sharing.....
will do that oneday  :thumleft:
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Offline Baches

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #103 on: September 05, 2009, 03:44:11 pm »
Wat 'n nice RR Eisbein. Ons het laas jaar 'n groot gedeelte van die selle trip gery as julle. Definitief van die beste ry areas in Suid-Afrika.
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Offline Cane Rat

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day
« Reply #104 on: September 05, 2009, 07:00:58 pm »
AWESOME!!! Dis al wat ek kan se.
Wat ek is, is net genade.
Wat ek het, is net geleen!
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Offline Tweets

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #105 on: September 05, 2009, 07:49:35 pm »
Lekker, :thumleft: Lekkerder,  :thumleft:lekkerste. :thumleft: Dis wat so tripie is. Great report guys. Obviously you're planning the next one already. All I can say is I envy you guys. Some day I'll do that part of the world too.
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Offline Eisbein

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #106 on: September 06, 2009, 10:27:26 pm »
day 6 - And then there were 5 :(


After everyone got sorted and into bed we had a very good (and comfortable) night's rest.

The sleeping arrangements were two rooms of 3 each and then 1 one sleeper.

Topbox opted for the 1 sleeper as he snored the least (although the jury is still out on that - we might need Biesie to clear that one for us...)  :P
Ok, ok - I need to somehow get him back for even doing a little dance on 'Waterskoeter' ;D ;D


Sounds lekker 'till you realize that the only room with a shower was his.

So he was woken (and disturbed) from early onwards by groggy looking guys with towels.

Could not have been too much fun ;D ;D ;D ;D


After all took care of their sanitary and 'ablusionary' needs we booked out and were off for a last time to 'Die Windpomp' for a breakfast of champions. :)

Somewhere during the week Ektoknbike started mentioning a bit of an ear ache, which have now developed into a proper middle ear infection.
He decided to gun it over some Karoo gravel highways for his farm with Piksteel in hot pursuit.

Us five (Operator, Topbox, Surf, CJ and me) was still weighing up going at it for another day or going home to the loved ones.

Operator and Topbox are self employed, while CJ, Surf and me all work for places where you have to fill in a form and hope you have enough 'credit' to be able to get some time off.

In both instances it isn't that easy to just take a day or three off at the drop of a hat, so we argued that a) we were packed and ready and b) all of us had anyway organized another day off from our respective grindstones and it would be rather difficult to be able to organize another couple of (synchronized) off days any time soon.

So we decided to proceed with the original schedule , continue riding as we had all already booked the time off - Calvinia, Botterkloofpass, the Biedouw valley, Wuppertal and across Eselbank to Cedarberg Oasis where we would spend the night and then leave the next morning early for home.

It was sad to see Ektoknbike and Piksteel go, but (again) sense prevailed and it was probably the best for Ektoknbike that they were on their way home.

Besides - farms also have this nasty habit of not taking care of themselves and I can imagine that a true farmer never really switches off from worrying about the duties on the farm, the workers and the running of everything. ;D

So we said our goodbye's to the two of them and watched (for the last time on this trip) as the two big KTM's pulled out of the filling station and pointed their front fenders towards the horizon.

Due to the time having moved on a little we figured we would not do the gravel roads from Brandvlei to Calvinia, as the coming satisfaction we knew we would get from the gravel roads over Botterkloof pass through Wuppertal and over Eselbank would more than make up for the boring 150km to Calvinia.

And so then we too were on our way.

On the tar it was business as usual (another headwind) with Operator hooking onto either my or Surf's rear wheel and (again) it wasn't that long before we saw 1st the church tower and then the rest of Calvinia appear before us.

At Calvinia we refueled and got some snacks for the road and then 30km out the other side we finally turned off onto the amazing gravel road towards Botterkloof pass.

And what a cool road this was.

My camera was still acting up, so I am really sad that I have minimal photos for this day, but lucky this is close enough to home to come back and do it again in a weekend.

I want to show these parts to my wife soon.

We were treated to very good condition (and for the 1st time on the trip no sandy/loose surface) gravel highways..

We also saw a lot of flowers.

Apart from only being 5 now and not having our other friends with, this day was the perfect riding day.

Man, machine, road, weather and scenery just came together in one amazing experience.

It was not too hot or too cold.
The wind was a little from the side - just enough to clear the dust of the bike ahead, but not enough to annoy you.

We were in every moment.

Taking in every single one and trying to make as much of it as we possibly could.



This was effortless riding. As fast or slow as you want to. I was alternating between riding with one hand on the throttle looking around at 50km/h and then speeding up again to not fall too far behind. Watch, spin, repeat... ;D )


As majestic and amazing (and soul touching) as Namibia and the Northern Cape was I must confess that it was also amazing to start seeing more familiar surroundings and softer vegetation.

And as much as I love these parts regardless of the season, I must say my favourite time is like it was when we passed through - green everywhere.





Looking down into the Biedouw valley. I love this piece of land. When the time comes to cash in my chips and hang my helmet on that Big Helmet Stand in the sky I wouldn't mind if my ashes can be scattered in this valley



The road down to Wuppertal and the start of Eselbank climbing out the other side.


I have been wanting to do Eselbank for a while now and finally - there it  was waiting for me.

What was cool about the week was that we had about every type of normal and technical riding (and surface) that you could think of.

I remember as I was doing the bit on Botterkloof pass I was thinking to myself - the only thing we haven't done yet was a little bit of steep inclines, tight(ish) turns and some slow technical riding. If we could get a water crossing or two thrown in to boot we would have had every single type of adventure riding that you could think of.

Except mud.

But I didn't mind. I had my fair share of fighting the big pig with pillion and luggage on Southern Cape and Boland snot thank you very much. ;D ;D


The rise up Eselbank was to me very relaxing and really much fun. Every now and then a loose rock or three or a rut would make you get up out of the seat, but all in all I was enjoying myself of a nice technical but relaxing ride.



Even CJ (self proclaimed duck walker) was in the groove. He was letting the rear step out on purpose every now and then and as you can see from this photo, there are no evenly spaced footsteps next to the groove his tires made in this patch ;D ;D ;D


Sadly this was the last photo that my memory card let me take. :(

Not far from where the last photo was taken we went through a couple of houses and then after that (about 30km from Oasis) there was a little water crossing where Surf (leading us for today) pulled over for a quick (!) break.

I passed CJ just before the crossing and then parked.
As I got off the bike I saw him coasting in to a halt behind us.
We were joking about him switching off the engine before he stopped, when he told us the engine just sputtered and died as soon as he crossed the little stream.

That didn't sound good...

He tried to start the AT, but you could hear that it wasn't interested.

We did suspect the fuel pump, but also due to the bike doing it just after a water crossing that was what we looked for 1st.

Figure out how to get to the fuses to see if they are all fine: Check
Take the tank off - make sure there's spark: Check
As a precaution we (again) got fuel out of one of the other bikes (about a liter).


At that time I put my ear against the pump (that was drained when we took the tank off) and couldn't hear it ticking.

Bingo.

But by this time it was too late - we still had 25km+ of Eselbank to do and the sun wasn't doing us any favours.
We reluctantly decided to tow the AT as far as our nerves would allow. :)



A worried looking CJ. Still can't figure out what was a bigger contributing factor for that look - the AT being 'sick' or the prospect of being towed further... ;D )
This photo and the following of the towing by Operator


Operator got a length of proper mountain climbing rope before the trip for just in case.
We had mixed emotions about that - glad that we had a rope that helped our situation, but also apprehensive about the fact that we now had an option and would probably need to take it ;D ;D ;D

Due to bike issues in past lives I've had the most exposure to bike towing so I volunteered to be the 'sleeper' for our slightly less than enthusiastic 'sleepee' ;D


Allow me to go on a tangent quickly with regards to equipment.
The fact that it was mountain climbing rope in my opinion made all of it so much easier.
There were times when I would climb over an obstacle with a little ditch on the other side - as I go over it I slow down a little, creating slack.
Then as CJ hits the same obstacle the slack gets taken up abruptly as he slows down as well. The 'give' that these ropes have built into them made that far less traumatic than what it could have been.

Thanks Operator for not only remembering to take a tow rope with, but also to not skimp on it and buy any old R19.99 nylon washing line, but getting a proper one. This to me from now on on an unsupported trip like this would be as non negotiable as taking a camelbak with water.


Hooking up:




I know it is best practice under normal circumstances to have the rope from 'right front to left back', but this wasn't normal circumstances, so we hooked up right foot peg to right foot peg.

I needed to not only tag him along, but sometimes I needed to make a quick decision with regards to a line that we should take.
Sometimes it was also a very quick decision to cross the 'middelmannetjie' and go into the other side of the tweespoor.
By having linked same side pegs I was sure that he would be able to follow in exactly my tracks.
I think the issue for him was also that he couldn't see past my bike, so he only saw road 'features' as it emerged from under my rear wheel.

The lack of 'anticipation ability' must have been scary for him. Having been on both ends of a towing exercise I can honestly say that being on the back bike is more scary. Cudo's to CJ.


Taking up the slack and getting it going

We decided that Topbox and Operator would go ahead and organise the sleeping arrangements. We also agreed that if they haven't heard or seen us in about an hour and a half that they would try and organise a bakkie or some other form of recovery(Or at least bring us food for the night ;D ;D )

We had about 30km left to the Oasis and most of that (about 25) was still rather rough.
It wasn't long after that that I got my wish of earlier granted...
CJ joked afterward and said that the longest and deepest water crossing he's ever done was the one that I towed him through that day.
;D

We had a proper hand signal language for when I wanted him to brake (not break ;D ) us and when we needed to quickly change lanes in the tweespoor. The 1st bit was a bit jerky and unsure, but we settled into a (albeit little uneasy) rhythm and before be knew it we were operating as a team.

We got stuck in a water crossing once. It had three 'pools' and very very soft sand. As my bike dived down more than expected in the 1st one I could feel that it was about to bog down. We made that one, but as CJ's bike hit the 1st 'pool' I hit the second and there we were.

I didn't want to risk my clutch, so we got off and me, CJ and Surf fought that AT out from where it wasn't willing to let go.
All three of us knee deep in the water.

There were once or twice where the rope slipped (once we were on an incline where we would go back to flat and then start again and once we were close to the top of another so we just pushed it to the top)

And then the sun sunk behind the mountains.

It was fun to not be able to see what was on its way to me, so I asked Surf to go ahead and ride on the edge of where my light reached.

Up to now he was riding beside me using the GSA's lights to brighten up my day ;D

Him riding ahead helped a hellova lot as I could now see what his bike did about 7 meters ahead of mine and it was then easier to anticipate what was coming.

It wasn't a moment too soon that we disconnected the AT for the last time (about 2 km from Oasis) on a lekker downhill.

We coasted into Cederberg Oasis tired, but very satisfied. We got everyone and the bikes to where we were supposed to be that day.

I must also say that you need to have your head on right for what happened that day.
We had absolutely no doubt that if given a choice CJ would not have wanted to be towed for 25km on a 4x4 route (I was feeling the same - didn't really felt that comfortable with having the responsibility of having him and his bike in my throttle hand if I didn't have to)

But even with him feeling uncomfortable and us getting very tired, we were joking and laughing all the way and never once did any of us get negative or gatvol.

To me that is the most important skill to have in a situation where the going gets a little tough.
Everyone can be friendly and chirpy when all goes well.
But it is when we are all tired and the proverbial tropical fruit hits the rapidly rotating cooling device with daylight running out when someone's true character shows.

And I can honestly say (not only for the 3 of us there, but also for Operator, Topbox and the other four that was at home already) that in a tight spot I would happily face whatever happens with you guys there.


We had some of the best steak I had in a long time there.
There was lots and lots of mulling over the trip (and not just the day, but the whole week filled so full of amazing things that weirdly all of a sudden felt so long ago...)
Laughter and pleasant company again 'till late.

We were making this evening last.


Somewhere during the evening we made plans for the next day.

The owner of Cederberg Oasis lent us a multimeter so we could try and establish if it was the pump or the current going to it that was shot.

If it was the pump one of us would go to Midas in Ceres to get a Facet pump, bring it back and replace it before riding off.

The next morning I opened the pump itself and scraped the contact points for the regulator mechanism clean, squirted some Q20 into it and heard it clicking when CJ turned the key.

I can tell you - the only sound sweeter than that little pump going 'tick tick tick' that morning was when the Africa Twin roared into life (with the help of jumper leads of a friendly chap that was there for the weekend).

Not long after that we were off home.


Ready to roll for the last time
Photo by CJ

« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 12:20:31 pm by Eisbein »
02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline Eisbein

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #107 on: September 06, 2009, 10:28:16 pm »
Day 7 and wrap up.

Unfortunately I have no photos of the road from Cederberg Oasis home, but the road is easy enough to get to for a weekend, so I will fix that soon.

;D ;D

It was an uneventful ride, but awesome scenery and still the best biking company.
The day was (again) perfect riding weather and the AT was again purring like clockwork.

Although the trip was almost over we still had a little bit to go and we were still a couple of good friends doing what we enjoyed - getting onto the road less traveled.

Just before the gravel turned into tar we saw a couple of bikes come from the front - amongst others a DR650, a CTX and what I thought to be Generaal's Varadero sweeping.

Everyone eagerly returned the waves we gave them, but we had too short notice of them coming to stop and have a chat.
I spoke to Generaal afterward and he said that it was indeed his Vara, but his dad taking it to the Calvinia Vleis Fees.
;D ;D

At 'Op-die-berg' we said our goodbye's and we were off.

Operator and Topbox formed the 'thumper splinter group' and left together, Surf did the low flying bit as he somehow smelt home and a switched flipped on that GSA of his.
I think it was marked 'super pursuit mode' ... ;D ;D

I went with CJ - partly because I wanted to make sure his AT's heart kept on ticking, but primarily because both of us were in the mood for a leisurely ride through Slanghoek and then over Du Toit's kloof. We also wanted to quickly check up on Biesie in Paarl before heading home.

Surf told us afterwards that just after Mitchell's pass all of a sudden he found himself in a group of about 50 superbikes.

I can just imagine what that looked like - one dirty rider on one heavily loaded and even more dirty 1150GSA amongst a couple of very sleek very clean superbikes. ;D ;D

Not long after that he worked his way through them and could leave this minor obstacle behind...
;D ;D ;D


CJ and me stopped on top of Du Toit's at that lookout point to phone Biesie to hear if he had some colddrinks for two dirty bikers ;D

Upon seeing the Boland both of us had the same thought: As much as it is amazing to broaden your horizons and experience what we have done, it is always good to come back home to the familiar site that was below us - Paarl Rock and Paardeberg ahead of us, Wellington and Hawekwa off to the right.
Simonsberg on the other side and then far behind the one and only Table Mountain.

This was our valley.

Our home.

And we were proud to see it.

We popped in at Biesie's house to find him in high spirits and wanting to know all about the rest of our trip.

Not long after that my bike and the Africa Twin turned onto the same stretch of road for the last time on this trip.

Waved our goodbye's at my turnoff and 3 minutes later pulled into my driveway.

Very very satisfied, but sad that it was officially now over.

If you take the time off and go through the effort and expense of doing something like this and you come back feeling that every sent and leave day was thoroughly well spent and oh so worth it, then the memories of it all is just so much sweeter.


In wrapping this up I cannot help but to think back about a thought that repeatedly jumped into my helmet during the duration:

In thinking about doing a trip like this you can think of many many reasons not to do it and why it might be a bad idea.
Legitimate ones.

You could argue that I'm not fit enough.
Or that the thumpers were not made for covering long distances.
Or that the GS's are too heavy.
Or that not all of us had the experience we needed for some of the sandy bits.

But then again, with proper planning (with regards to the bikes, the situations, daily distances and strengths and weaknesses of our own abilities etc) I can think of a couple of reasons why we should have done this. ;D

Granted - much all of the success of this trip was due to Ektoknbike's meticulous planning, taking into consideration all of the above factors.
He literally spent hours and hours in front of mapsource and his map books making this work for all of us.
Planning something that we were at the same time comfortable with, but that would also stretch our abilities and broaden our horizons.
Enabling us all come back with stories of a little bit of struggle, but also with a strong sense of personal victory and accomplishment.

You could of course only ask the ones that would have answered the 'why you shouldn't do something like this' questions.

But in the end the really important ones would be the answers to the questions as to why you should do something like this.
Remembering why you got your bike.
What you love doing.
What you would rather be doing.

And those questions are the really important ones.


I close off with a little recipe that I discovered somewhere in our journey:

Take 10 good friends.
Add 10 bikes that they know well.
Add a little bit of west coast sand.
Add a couple of liters of high octane and bit of oil to taste.
Cook it for seven days in perfect weather, stirring in good scenery while every now and then letting it just simmer over evening campfires and other times bringing it to a rapid boil under the West Coast sun.

Add jokes and good times to taste.

I can guarantee that you will end up with some West Coast, Namibian and Northern Cape biking cuisine that you will not only enjoy to the max, but that will make you come back with an empty plate, asking that famous question that Charles Dickens wrote so many years ago:

"Please sir - can I have some more?"




Thanks to Ektoknbike, Piksteel, Operator, Surf, CJ, Biesie, Topbox, Highlander and Klaing for making this an unforgettable week.
One that I will fondly think and talk about for years to come.


Forra you - I'll killa de bull!


;D ;D ;D


Varkkneukel over and out.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 11:29:12 pm by Eisbein »
02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline topbox

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Re: 6 Days up the Westcoast and into Namibia, or how I got waterskoeter'ed - day5
« Reply #108 on: September 06, 2009, 10:30:23 pm »
Thanks for posting the report for all of us

RIDE SAFE

T
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Offline Eisbein

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Thanks for posting the report for all of us

RIDE SAFE

T

Thanks, man!

Don't stop posting your own stories though!


;D
02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline MrBig

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awesome! thanks for a great report Eisbein!  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
that line was from Oliver Twist written by Charles Dickens..
"I know you think you understand what I said, but what you don't understand is what I said is not what I mean."
 

Offline Eisbein

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awesome! thanks for a great report Eisbein!  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
that line was from Oliver Twist written by Charles Dickens..

Oops!

Brain fart...


Fixed.

Thanks!

02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline BoJangels

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 :thumleft: stunning stuff Eisbein....thanks
It is never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be.

Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.
 

Offline Briekmerk

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Thanks Eisie for report, great stuff!!
 

Offline bradleys

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That was a nice report and pics thanks for sharing :thumleft:
ROUTE DIFFICULTY
1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillian friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillian friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding 5 = expert only
 

Offline Sir Rat

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Thanks Eisbein. What a great read.  Next time I go on a ride want you there to do the RR for one.  :thumleft: Towing. :pot:
Cheers

Riaan
 

Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Thanks Eisbein for a moerse report  :thumleft: Well done to all you guys  :thumleft:
Yamaha XT1200Z ........... Take your soul everywhere and back
 

Offline topbox

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Random pics





THe guys arriving after the towing session, towed at night over a 4x4 route   :o :o


 
after being knee deep in water, you have wet boots the next day  :imaposer:

the solution !

[size=7.5pt]www.advrider.co.za [/size]


Kickstarting an XR is like a raindance, once you know the secret ritual you can make it rain on command.
 R1200GS, XR650R, XT500, WR450, XR250 BAJA, CT110
 

Offline Eisbein

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Nice pics!

;D
 Does no one have pics of the guy who supposedly passed out at the Windpomp ?
::)

 :peepwall:


Thanks all.

Rovrat - I still need to go on a ride with you - not because of the ride report, but because of the photo's I've seen of where you've taken your bike and I want to take mine there as well!

;D ;D
02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline Eisbein

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    Location: Western Cape
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This is the promised video - Klaing had a little self contained flash video camera connected to his Strom's crashbar.

This is a little bit of footage of a riverbed crossing in the eco 4x4 trail.


Please bear in mind that this is a guy that 2 weeks before the trip was not comfortable with riding sand.

This was also deeply rutted and very soft...







Surf, not many guys can handle a mothership the way you do. Respect!

Nee wat bra, dis nie ek wat die bike handle nie, hy handle vir my :mwink:

Maar ons praat maar nie oor die 2 keer wat ek moes afstof nie :ricky:

Just to put it into a little perspective - here is a video of Klaing crossing that same patch with his Veestrom.

Bearing in mind that he had to slow down and start again, but this will give you an idea of the surface that Surf crossed so smoothly with his GSA.

Also - the camera is attached to Klaing's bike's crashbar, not the handlebars. So when the image swerves left and right, that's not the bars going, but actually the bike snaking like that... :eek:



02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away