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Offline Gee S

Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #220 on: October 27, 2009, 04:48:17 pm »
Great Report. Respect to Tharina she's got more guts than a lot of men I know
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Offline GStry

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #221 on: October 27, 2009, 08:03:38 pm »
MJ, absolutely amazing.
Can just imagine, (or maybe I can't),  how tough some of what you did, was for Tharina, she is one tough lady to have got back on that bike, again and again and attacked those rocks. It would have been a challenge for anyone.
Photo's, just don't show exhaustion, pain, aggravation, the heat, how big the rocks really are and a host of other factors. I imagine she must have hated that day.....she deserves a medal, as does Peanut....wow!
Again, well done to all of you :thumleft: and you spin a good story and love the photo's.  :thumleft:   
 

Offline blazes

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #222 on: October 27, 2009, 08:44:11 pm »
What can i say  ??? Nothing--I am Totally Speechless. What a Trip-Awesome Pictures and what a awesome RR.

Great stuff MJ and family-Thank's for taking the time to share this epic trip with us.
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Offline Leftless

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #223 on: October 27, 2009, 08:50:38 pm »
fantastic - respect
One's ability lies in what you let yourself to believe is possible, and not the perceived limitations your body might have.

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Offline Jerrycan

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #224 on: October 27, 2009, 09:47:39 pm »
Thanks for sharing, excellent writing, photography and riding skills!  This should be published to do it justice  :deal:
Have petrol will move
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Offline funacide

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #225 on: October 27, 2009, 10:04:49 pm »
Damn awesome MJ, thanks...

Looking forward to my next fix.
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Offline TTMAN

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #226 on: October 27, 2009, 10:50:04 pm »
Ek wou vannaand werk.  Toe begin ek by bladsy 1.  Nou etlike ure later is ek hier.  In one shot gelees.  Wat se dit vir jou?


MJ Tharina & Peanut julle is n inspirasie.  Ja ek weet almal het dit al hier gese. Maar hoe kan ek dit als lees en nie lieries raak oor wat julle beleef het nie.  En die FOTOS!!!  

Julle is net GREAT.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 10:26:25 pm by GS-Dawid »
Voorheen GS-Dawid
 

Offline Metaljockey

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #227 on: October 27, 2009, 11:49:11 pm »
Day 16 Epupa to Swartbooisdrif





Morning rituals, hot chocolate and Pro Nutro.





We take our time packing the next day because we are going to bush camp again and have nowhere to be. The plan is to follow the Kunene eastwards towards Swartbooisdrif.

We first have lunch in the settlement that has grown markedly since I was here last.  









Ready to rock and roll.













One of the reasons I included Epupa in our route is that this track brings me opposite Monte Negro, the village where we had such a memorable time on the Angola trip.





That is the tree that we camped under.





I brought with me a selection of pictures we took when we were in Monte Negro. Unfortunately I cannot swim across because I am afraid of the crocodiles. I leave Tharina and the kid to picknick while I try and find a way across the river.





Late that afternoon I finally arrange someone from the Angolan side to row me over. Before I get in the boat I show them the pictures and it turns out that every single policeman that we partied with had been transferred. Now, Iím all for sneaking across borders, but I am not stupid. Who knows what the new policemanís attitude will be to such willful disrespect? So I just ask my ferryman to pass the pictures on to the locals that are still in Monte Negro.

My mission semi-accomplished we move up river to where we find what looks like a lekker place to camp. While the sun sets we sit in the river, so different from two nights ago.

















Just 20km for the day, thatís probably a record.



The new day starts with fresh wings, so to speak.





We have the whole day, or even more if we feel the need, to get to Swartboois drif. Itís the most scenic route up the Kunene, I can recommend it to anyone.









We stop at various Himba to enquire about the whereabouts of one chap whoís picture I still carry. But we have no success.









See the leaves circling their tree.





You  ride either rocks or sand, nothing inbetween. That is actually pretty accurate for the whole of Kaokoland.













Like I said, happy to ride, and happy to stop.





We cross a lot of streams and washes leading into the Kunene.





And we also ride a lot of rocks.













It seems that the serial falling down of the other day has not done Tharina any good. The switch in her head flipped back and today she just cannot force herself to let go of the brakes on any loose downhill. After she dropped the bike about three times I rather take it down the gnarlies.





In the meantime the kid is trying to get some shuteye and is not enjoying being loaded and unloaded repeatedly. When she wants to sleep, she wants to sleep.









Periodically we see Makalanis with footholds sticking out of them and I have been wondering what it was for.  





It seems we are about to find out.





It turns out the Himba are making beer up there. They start with a live palm and cuts off all the leaves and opens the soft top part which is then hollowed a little, and it ferments with some muti I didnít understand.

You need to spit out the insect pieces but otherwise it is quite an enjoyable drink. It tastes like ginger beer without the ginger and without the sugar. Refreshing and fizzy.  I have three cups, Iíd hate to be known as the type that turns down a free beer.





They tell me that they can make it like cooldrink or they can make it as strong as brandy, Each palm is used to make a different strength.

I go up to get a better look, you are supposed to sit in the top when you drink. It is plenty flippen high and some of those pegs are spaced just so that you have to pull yourself up before your feet reaches the next rung.





The fermenting liquid boils over and the good stuff drips into this container, which is where you scoop out of.





My companion  will make a convincing elephant track impression. By the way, this the preferred foot wear for Himba men. Long lasting stuff. Women go barefoot.





I take a picture of the inside of the palm, but I maybe shouldnít have.





These are very nice, genuine guys and if you pass this way, try to stay at Eniandi Camp. It is a community thing and because they have an English speaker, you can learn a lot.

We continue on our way and I have to say, you need to have a love of rocks if want to ride here.





Tharina seems to be getting back her groove.













We find the exact place that we camped at in 1995, fourteen years ago.





We stop for a swim.





I keep the crocs at bay with my ďWhat the fuck do you want?Ē look.









Itís very hot and we wet our clothes before we pull off again.





That lasts about six minutes, then we are dry and the heat returns.





When we get to Swartbooisdrif we pull into Kunene River Lodge. This is the official end of our Rambo part of the trip, from here on itís more tourist orientated, staying at lodges, riding proper graded gravel, you know, holiday stuff. Cold Savannahs never tasted so good, I gulp down half a dozen.





The kid has long fake conversations with Ouma. She just loves this kind of thing.





Electricity too, I am not holding back, nothing is too good for my girl.









Check it out, just the kind of thing that we need.









That night we eat steaks, big man sized meaty steaks. Aaaaahhhh.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 03:23:04 pm by Metaljockey »
 

Offline Swanniebraai

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #228 on: October 28, 2009, 01:58:39 am »
MJ, brilliant, you give the needed "flavour" AND "defenition" to true adventure riding, this is it!!

ME VOTE: Best RR of 2009!! :thumleft:
May the WORS be WITH you!
 

Offline funacide

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #229 on: October 28, 2009, 05:42:36 am »
At the airport this morning thinking what am I going to do while I wait... Well the latest installment made my day, gone is the tiredness, just a yearning to be on my bike....

Thanks for the update MJ. You guys really are an inspiration to us all. Respect to you and mostly to your family for having the guts to join you on this trip. Peanut you are an inspiration to us all. Well done!!!!

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline eSKaPe

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #230 on: October 28, 2009, 08:29:09 am »
Just brilliant - the words, the pics, the story - and yes, to have done the trip with the wife and the kid must be for you the best part. Little Peanut seems to have taken it all in her stride so well - she must be a great daughter - trips like this build extra-special bonds, not to mention the everlasting memories for all of you. Wish I could get my daughter on a bike...
 

Offline Katundu

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #231 on: October 28, 2009, 09:10:13 am »
This is inspiring to change the my mind about my December plans

Offline BiG DoM

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #232 on: October 28, 2009, 09:30:48 am »
Just more 'amazing' stuff ! A family adventure of a lifetime, and you have a wife that many of us dream about ... one who will 'ride the ride at our side' ... and the kid is top drawer and is going to make a man very happy too one day - for sure this is character building.  :3some:
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Offline Metaljockey

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #233 on: October 28, 2009, 02:08:03 pm »
Day 18 Swartbooisdrif to Rundu


We find it difficult to leave, opting for a couple of hours next to the pool first.









Tip for packing light Ė pack underwear that can pass for a swimming costume.





What did I say about graded roads? Have a look at this beauty.





And this one.





When we get to Ruacana we are completely flabbergasted at the variety of everything in stock at the garage shop. We have 150km of tar left to get to Oshakati, but one hell of a headwind and the fact that Ruacana has a very nice lodge catering for the staff of the Hydro Electric Scheme, makes the decision to stay easy. We sleep in a bed for the second time on this trip,  and again, we take a lot of stuff for granted. It is positively luxurious. 

Offline Metaljockey

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #234 on: October 28, 2009, 02:14:04 pm »
Day 19 Ruacana, Oshakati, Eenhana



My trip started a week earlier than the familyís and I have covered 6000km so far. The Michelin Desert on the rear of the X is just about on itís last legs and will certainly not last the remaining 3000km until the end of this trip.

I was able to get an SMS through to Michnus Ďthe OrganizerĎ some days ago, so hopefully a new rear tyre would have found itís way to Oshakati. Thatís our first target for the day.

Thatís if Angola isnít calling too strongly, we do have our passports. Unfortunately visas are also required.





True to his reputation, Michnus delivers. Thanks swaer. One of the local bikers bring the tyre around that had been forwarded to him by post from Windhoek. And having the luxury of a fitment centre means I just have to remove the wheel.





We continue, swinging away North to avoid the tarred roads.





We aim to stop over at Eenhana. The town is bigger than I thought having even a clothing store.
We stop for the night at the NRK, which just happens to be the only accommodation around. We get a room with aircon and breakfast and dirt cheap too.





Here in the far north on the Angolan border we notice that a lot of the commerce is geared towards Angolans.




« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 03:21:17 pm by Metaljockey »
 

Offline Metaljockey

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #235 on: October 28, 2009, 02:30:03 pm »
Day 19 Eenhana to Rundu





We hit the gravel and itís wide and fast and boring as all hell. This used to be known as Oom Willie se Pad.









Sitting on one straight road for 300km is mindnumbing and butt numbing. And the arseholes sharing this road with you just choose a line that feels good and stick to it, so you get bakkies coming at you on the wrong side of the road and they just donít move over resulting in us dodging oncoming traffic all over.

We take a break at a store but it is closed as it is Sunday.





That proves to not be the biggest problem and within 20 minutes the shopkeeper is fetched from the bush and theyíre open for business.





That is one trait of Africa that I really like, no rigid rules, you need something, it can be organized.

Daily chores, fetching water for the household.





We make it to Rundu and have lunch at an upmarket lodge. Then we move to a spot recommended to us by the chap in Oshakati. Friends of his had set up a new camp on the banks of the Kavango river. It is called camp Hogo. We pull in just in time for sunset.









There are platforms for pitching your tent and I find that to be an excellent idea. No lying in the dust.





The spotlight at a long exposure. You can see the individual wing strokes of the moth.






« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 03:25:32 pm by Metaljockey »
 

Offline Sakkie

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #236 on: October 28, 2009, 02:55:37 pm »
Riviting stuff!
If it's not broken - ride it until it is!
 

Offline Metaljockey

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #237 on: October 28, 2009, 03:13:04 pm »
Day 20 Rundu to Divundu

















The DRZís chain have been giving warning signs for several days now and I have to tighten it almost daily. It is certainly going to go in the next 3 -4 days. Rundu is the last town of any significance that we will be in so this morning it is into town for shopping.

I was never made for shopping. Tharina have taken over those duties and avoids taking me along because I have such difficulty to be a pleasant person when shopping. We have been traveling in bliss for three weeks now. Less than an hour in this bustling people setup and and both me and Tharina start to become tetchy with each other.

The short and the tall is that the only place to get a chain from is Windhoek. That means staying put in Rundu for another two days.

I strike it lucky though. The Toyota dealer has two brand new CRF250Xís that are awaiting delivery to a client. The dealer is amenable to me stripping one off a bike and paying him cash for a replacement. The OEM chain is a continuous chain with no master link. Lucky for me I packed a chain breaker and it takes me seconds to get the chain off.

We leave Rundu, where by the way, we come across the first bike travelers since we left south Africa. A quick 200km of tar and we reach Divundu, at the beginning of the Caprivi Strip. Here we turn south for the first time.

We go to Nunda Camp because I had read good things about it. And it turns out to be all true. A very nice place, owner run by very nice people and the best staff complement we have come across on the entire trip. Good, mature, courteous people. Their camping is full but we can stay on an undeveloped part of the property until tomorrow when a camping spot will open up.

We pitch our tent here.





It is still the Kavango river but by now it has been joined by the Quito river and it flows dark, fast and silent.





There are hippos all over and during the night they splash all around our little laager.





Sunset on the Kavango, I love it here.





The next day we move to our new site and I have the time to do a leisurely maintenance job on the bikes. I change the chain on the DRZ. Having the chain cutter, it is light work to cut the old chain off and cut the new one to length. Neither the new or old chain has a master link, luckily I packed one.





While I am entertaining myself thus, Tharina and Peanut are swimming and sun tanning at the pool.





Peanut makes new friends. This is Thandiwe, from Zimbabwe.
 








I also take a ride out to Ngepi Camp to see how it has changed in the 14 years since I was there last. Itís still a very relaxed setup, but I am happy to confirm that we are staying at the better spot.





Nunda is a high end lodge with quality everything, construction, dťcor, setting etc.





That is one of the idiosyncrasies of Namibia that I like, lodges charge top dollar for a room or chalet, yet you can camp at R80 per person and have access to everything that the well heeled patrons have.





And another sunset on the Kavango.





Iím starting to feel guilty for bombarding you lot with the sheer volume of sunset pics.





The sun making way for the night.





The moon taking over the watch.





This is our second day here but we like it so we stay another.

Early the next morning Iím up to get some hippo pics and an otter comes out the water to have a look around just meters from me, but by the time I get the tripod to do what I want, it has disappeared again.





The tripper hanging in the tree becomes a very popular watering hole for ants. At night it is quite disgusting to grab a hold in the dark and it is just hairy ants.









Tharina goes for a boat ride.





These rapids are called Popa Falls.









Our camp as seen from the river.





Young crocodile.









I find this pic particularly potent. In the background man putting up permanent structures. In the middle the next step, leisure activities. And in the foreground the wildlife that can do nought but look on as their way of life is being destroyed.













While Tharina is on the boat I get comfortable at the lodge.









Damn, life is tough here in Africa.




.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 03:41:51 pm by Metaljockey »
 

Offline Wooly Bugger

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #238 on: October 28, 2009, 03:18:37 pm »
 :thumleft:
 

Offline lemac

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Re: The Wife, the Ex and the Kid
« Reply #239 on: October 28, 2009, 03:19:35 pm »
Thanks for the great photo's of Rundu!! We know the South African doctor there and want to go no more than ever!!!!