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Offline JIMBO

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WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« on: December 21, 2009, 06:00:20 pm »
Not really a ride report, but offered as an idea for a ride - if you are short on ideas.

Last week Wednesday (Day 1) I saw a gap and decided to go and re-explore the Molopo River.  This river, for its greater part forms the South Africa / Botswana border.  I had been there before, but it was in another life when I was a surveyor.  The first leg was to get from Fourways to Mafiking - all tar and easy going.  Top up with water and fuel and head for the river. 

By my reconning I should have access to the river after the first border post at Phitsane.  This is old home lands, a remnant of the old Bophuthatswana.  This turned out to be the case, and I had about 150km of uninterupted border fence.  The road / track fits the description of police border patrol route.  Rocks / sand / overhanging thorn bushes - pretty OK.  The incident of the day was when I came over a rise to a rocky downhill when I saw some old fence wire on the right.  I felt it hook over my foot and immediately felt the rear tyre grab the wire.  I decided to jump of the bike backwards, but as I did so I felt the the wire pull off my foot.  Too late, the bike was down on its left side (with the wheels higher than the seat, naturally) and the wire arount the disc and caliper.  I had to lift the bike to get at the tools, and then lay it down again to get the wire away from the wheel and brakes.  No shade and very very hot and tiring.  I carry a piece of tie-down webbing to put over my shoulder and around the handelbar to lift the bike to at least 45 degrees, so not too bad, but it did exaust me for some time.  There was an all female Botswana police border patrol on the other side of the fence.  They said they would like to help me but were forbidden to leave Botswana.  We parted on good terms.

The border track in the homelands carries on to Moloporiver / Vergelee, where it becomes commercial farms.  Each farm has gates either open, closed or closed and locked.  It is not worth the effort of trying to stick to the river.  I took the gravel road to Bray, arriving about 18h00.  The shop and service station were open, but could not serve me because it was past closing time.  That old attitude goes back a long time.  Any way no matter, I will find a place to sleep.

I selected a farmers cattle kraal 2 km out of town and pulled in.  I hailed a passing police bakkie to ask if they knew the farmer, would they inform him I was there.  A little while latter (after I had unpacked) the farmer (Rex Barnard, I think) came along to tell me he had an alternative proposal.    He had 3 other bikers on his farm with roof, shower, toilet etc.  I thanked him but said I was too tired to pack up again, and would stay here if I may, and call on the other bikers in the morning after I had fuelled up.  I was facing north and set the Pot and Pleades as my night clock, had a very sound peacefull sleep and nealy recovered from the days exertions. 

Day 2: After fuel went to visit the other three bikers.  They turnrd out to be Wild Dogs.  We chatted and I got coffee.  They had some repairs to do, so I carried on with the intention of getting to Van Zylsrus, wher I could enter the Molopo riverbed again.  I must say I got quite carried away riding on the gravel roads that I left the Molopo by quite a bit and ended up in Morokweng, still in North West, but a bit too much South.  It was now unbelieveably hot.  From various sources it was 42C.  I headed North West to go through Heuningvlei / Jordan to Mc Carthys Rest.  The Incident of the day commenced when I decided to stop under a tree at Heuningvlei for a rest and drink.  The heat was really getting to me (In the desert you cant remember your name).  This was the most dry, windy, desolete, desperate place I have seen for some time.  Thinking I had sufficiently recovered, I mounted up again, Jacket off and bungied onto the back rack, or so I thought.  It is coincidental that only this morning I discussed with the other Wild Dogs how best to carry your valuables.  I had decided to carry money, passport, phone, licence etc in my jacket.  42 km later I decided to stop again and try to recover from the heat and found a nice shady tree to do it under.  Shock struck, my jacket was not there, nor was the bungie even hooked to the back rack.  The race was on.  The jacket was somewhere in the last 42 km if it had not been picked up.  I thought the D.S. was pretty good chugging along at 90 to 100kph.  but this was flat out at about 130 plus, knowing there were no traps in the road.  This is when the bike was really at its best - wow.  The first vehicle was a farmer, yes he had seen the jacket in the middle of the road way back.  Next was a truck, yes the passanger had seen the jacket way back near the village.  Next was a single man on a donkey cart - he must have picked it up.  I skidded sideways in front of his donkeys and asked nicely if he had seen the jacket.  He had not!! and it was not in his cart.  The race was still on.  It was in the middle of the road as close to the village as it could have been - Phew.  I actually love this kind of excitement, it makes you sleep well.  That night I sneaked through an unlocked Eckom powerline gate onto a farm near Mc Cathys Rest.  Faced East and set the Pot as my night clock.  But onl;y saw dawn next day. 

Day 3.  I got to Van Zylrus mid morning after joining the Kuruman River.  Topped up with fuel (22l) and water(6l). To get to the Molopo River proper you go on the Middelputs road and left through farm gated and down into the Molopo valley.  This is part of the Desert Run Route.   It is extremely hot here.  I had intended to follow the river bed to where it joins the Nossob River, But the heat and gates were too much for me.  One 4 x 4 party told me it was again 42C.  I decided to do 100km from Van Zylsrus, then sleep and turn around.  It was obvious the 6l of water would not last a day if I kept going.  Any mishap would have used more water.  One should have 8 to 10l of drinkable water per day for this kind of ride.  A flat tire or fall would cost even more water. 

Day 4: Well slept (in the valley) and somewhat recovered I headed back to Van Zylsrus, then back along the Kuruman River via Severn (a ghost town) and got with in 50 km of Vryburg just before sunset.  Made use of an open gate and slept well in an open field.  It was a much cooler night here, good for sleeping. 

Day 5:  Was packed up and in the saddle at the crack of dawn, and home at Fourways by 10h30.  What to do with the remaining half day.  Clean the bike and ask my lady to cook me something nice and have an early night. 

In hind sight this time of year is too hot for this trip.  But I was fairly sure of no rain.

Total km 2 020.  Cost = In Pocket at start minus in pocket when finished = R.920, 00. 

Try it when it is cooler.

Thank you.

Offline JonW

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2009, 07:59:34 pm »
Great stuff Jimbo

Sounds just the kind of trip I would enjoy

Only got back from my last trip on Friday afternoon and I'm itching to go again, pouring over Mapsource and Google Earth, sussing out routes...

Thanks for posting
How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?
 

Offline Gee S

Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 09:25:15 pm »
Jimbo, it was great meeting you on the Molopo and am glad to see you at least made it to Van Zylsrus. We never made it to Heuningvlei or Van Zylsrus. Respect for doing that trip solo. I had the option to solo the rest of our planned trip but chickened out.
All that wander are not lost
 

Offline ThomTom

Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2009, 09:55:23 pm »
Nice trip!
"Jacket off and bungied onto the back rack"...  bungies is sh****, ... never use them to tie something on a bike.
 

Offline JO GSA

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 10:37:53 pm »
Nice report, thanks
a Great man is known by how he treats people that can't do anything for him.
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Offline ThinkMike

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2009, 11:29:11 am »
Jimbo, Very lekker.
Sorry Babe I am still riding.
 

Offline roxenz

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 04:10:38 pm »
Thx, Jimbo, I enjoyed that!  I know the country you rode through, so no piccies needed and I can only sympathise with your comments on the heat - days are easier in winter, but then the Kalahari easily gets to -12 at night!  Anyway, seems you had a great time - certainly the proper DS spirit.  :thumleft:
Ek sal laaik van n prentjie hier sit, maar is te f0kken onnosel...
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2009, 05:05:50 pm »
Many thanks for that.  I am collecting info for a trip I plan and that is very useful.
Will try it when it is cooler though.
 

Offline JIMBO

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2009, 02:26:27 pm »
GEE S,

Thank you for the kind words. 

What then happened to you guys that you did not carry on??  Did you have difficulty repairing the pannier box?? 

I would also like to get Farmer Rex's number to thank him for the use of his veldt.  Can you help me with that?? 

I think you said you were in the Fourways vicinity, maybe you and your pack would like to call in in the next few days to trip gossip. 

Chers

Offline Spore

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 12:00:09 pm »
Hi Jimbo! Spoken to GeeS re your RR on the Molopo where we've met at Rex Barnard's farm. Many things to discuss with you because our trip unfortunately ended not as planned! Will contact you for a get-together. GeeS does not have Rex's contact detail but I have. Rex would also like to make contact with you - we spoke to each other last week. Please PM me your contact detail so that I can pass it on to Rex.

Mighty impressed with your skills / experience and free spirit!! Lots to learn form riders like you - so glad we have met!

Regards
Spore
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Offline JIMBO

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Re: WHAT YOU CAN DO IN 5 DAYS WITH A DS BIKE
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 06:34:44 pm »
SPORE,

PM sent. 

Cheers.