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Author Topic: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)  (Read 45876 times)

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Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #340 on: July 08, 2010, 03:37:23 pm »
From the falling, mud have caked on to the engine and to some extent sealed up the crack in the HPN's
valve cover. We never attempted to fix it as the "bleeding" almost stopped.

This is such a beautiful country. Even nearing the town of Semonkong the landscape still inspires. Having
managed to ride up the, once thought, impossible road we were very chuffed with ourselves. The last 5 km
we rode in heavy rain, sliding around in the mud but luckily not falling again. Neither of us has ever been to
Semonkong but from reading ride reports I know that there is a lodge of some sort. This will be our
accommodation for the night.

Cold, wet, chronically tired but relieved and happy we saddled down for the night. Sack wanted to treat
himself to some good lodging and booked a single room while Dusty and I shared a rondawel with some
backpacker chicks.

The night was spent relaxing, eating and drinking in the restaurant. Dragged our tired bodies to bed and
slept like babies, blissfully unaware of the virus festering in our stomachs.

The original plan was to ride one more difficult road before leaving Lesotho. This section would take us due
South from Semonkong. We dubbed it "Plothond se pad" after a ride report Plothond did when he and some
friends went through there. Talk was that the Chinese has started construction on a bridge where this road
crosses the Senqu River. At the time we were hoping they haven't fixed the road up yet because we wanted
to ride it as Plothond and his gang did.



All of this was always up for discussion as we weren't sure how much time we would have left by this stage of
the trip. Although we were right on schedule Sack did hurt his hand badly and couldn't ride difficult trails anymore.



Come the morning everything was wet and thick mist hanged in the still air. After having breakfast we weighed
the situation one more time and decided that we will leave Lesotho by the easiest roads, exiting at the Maseru
Bridge Border.



Sack agreed to ride the stretch to go look at the famous waterfall nearby Semonkong. At a 192m
it is the 2nd highest in Southern Africa. This was it. We got our cameras out for the last time. Made some video
entries for the last time. By now the sun has dispersed of the mist and another beautiful day began.



The Western part of Lesotho, the Lowlands, is not as interesting as it's more rugged Interior and Eastern half.
We reached Maseru with time to spare and parted ways soon after entering SA. The roads back to our families
seemed vanilla. We will never look at roads in the same way again.

I travelled the shortest distance, only to Jagersfontein, where I  stayed with my family before returning to
Cape Town. Dustdevil arrived safely to his family in Middelburg soon after but Sack sat on his 800 for two days
to get back to Cape Town. By the next morning the writing was on the wall. I don't know all the details of the
other two but my stomach was turned upside down and it felt like a train hit me. Nausea, drowsiness, loss of
appetite and severe stomach cramps soon set in followed by chronic diarrhea and a fever I've never experienced.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 03:54:27 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #341 on: July 08, 2010, 04:02:13 pm »
While this ride report is still rolling I need to ask advice/info...

Does anyone know the current state of "Plothond se pad"?


This is the section of road between Semonkong and the Senqu River to the South.



If I have my way we will be riding this section in December. Go visit the Morena at the bottom of that
"God forsaken mountain" and give her the picture I took. It will be good to know if "Plothond se pad"
is still in original condition and has not been fixed up by the Chinese.

Please let us know if you do.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 04:03:59 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline ThinkMike

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #342 on: July 08, 2010, 04:18:02 pm »
Very very lekker guys. Thanks to all of you for a truly inspiring RR.
Sorry Babe I am still riding.
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #343 on: July 08, 2010, 08:36:29 pm »
"Blacktop" is the reference made by adventure riders to a tarmac road. I might have mistakenly overheard somebody refer to the thick, sticky black mud of the Lesotho mountains as "blacktop", but then again I could have been mistaken. Either-way this stuff is nasty, it builds up on the tire thread to the point where any traction is lost completely.
After our big ordeal with impossible inclines, rocks and deep ruts we were suddenly faced with this awful black stuff. I was hoping there will be a way around but no luck, through this lot we will have to go and the idea that this could go on for kilometers made me depressed.  :P It was not long before my bike literally just started to go sideways on me with no hope to regain control. I nearly did the splits and ended up on my back for a second and by the time I was back on my feet Stefan was standing next to his fallen bike also.
We helped each other to get the machines in an upright position and opted to paddle ourselves through this section.


This fall in the Lesotho mud cured the oil leak from the left valve cover.


Ominous thunder clouds promising lots more muddy tracks to follow.

The mud lasted only for a few hundred yards never to bother us again. What a relieve as I believed I had my fill of adventure for one day.
We stopped for one final group shot before heading of to Semonkong.


Stefan and myself is very obviously finished but Michiel still seem to have the energy to go another 1000 myles.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 08:41:25 pm by Dustdevil »
 

Offline Kreef

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #344 on: July 08, 2010, 10:16:49 pm »

Ominous thunder clouds promising lots more muddy tracks to follow.

There has been alot of amazing photos in this thread, but I have to say, this one stands out above the rest. It tells the whole story. How it must have been to get there, how Sack must be feeling at that point in time and what troubles are ahead. It doesn't only speak 1000 words...
From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered. We lucky few. We band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #345 on: July 08, 2010, 10:29:04 pm »

Stefan explaining with enthusiasm what happen in the mud.

We arrived at the Semonkong lodge cold and wet and very, very exhausted. After a good meal we hit the sac and slept till late.
Next morning the decision has been made that we will be tempting fate to attempt another difficult section and although Stefan was happy to hightail it out of Lesotho on his own should Michiel and myself want to carry on, it just did not feel like it was the right thing to do. If one of us need to go home then we all go home.



Admiring the local transport in downtown Semonkong.


Locals admiring our transport in Semonkong.




Local beer delivery.

The road out of Semonkong to Maseru is meandering through varying landscapes as we eventually start dropping down the escarpment into the Free-state lowlands.
I am mesmerized for a last time by the beauty and simplicity of the peoples inhabiting this landscape. Sometimes it is with disappointment that I notice how the influence of the western world is spoiling the scenery, cell towers, sun panels and satellite dishes. I wish I could tell the people that once you crossed that line you can never go back. Today it might be a simple pleasure you spoil yourself with but soon you will be overwhelmed by consumer nonsense that complicate ones life to the point where all you do is manage all this material crap instead of living and being free to express who you are in a natural way and not through what you wear or what you drive.






Out the other side of the Maseru border control and we took some dirt roads in a part of the Freestate where I have spend part of my childhood. We stopped for lunch under a large willow and after filling our tummies with fresh buns and potato chips we said our goodbyes and headed of into our respective directions.



It did not take long before I was crossing back into the Eastern Cape over the mighty Orange river, I felt I have a special connection with this river having crossed it's upper reaches a number of times in the past weeks.
 

Offline letsgofishing

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #346 on: July 09, 2010, 07:22:14 am »
Epic trip guys!  :thumleft: Major respect!
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Offline madmike999

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #347 on: July 09, 2010, 07:43:31 am »
think this needs to be a "Roll of Honour " RR


very nice gentlemen!
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Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way. (RR Complete)
« Reply #348 on: July 09, 2010, 09:40:09 am »
think this needs to be a "Roll of Honour " RR


very nice gentlemen!

Thanks MM999, Michiel give the man one of those videos  :biggrin:



Michiel

Michiel was technically our group leader and up front most of the time, this because he was the only one with extensive experience of Lesotho and knew most of the way but he was also the guinea pig, if the shit hits the fan he will be the first one to tell us about it. That damn KLR of his just refuse to fall all through some of the worst riding know to man and big bikes. He did not even remove his luggage when the going really got tough. Anyone considering to buy a KLR just do it, those Kawa's have my respect, they can run with the best out there.
Michiel studied photography and is currently working at the biggest photographic studios in Cape Town. The things we will do just so we can ride a bike ::)




Stefan / Sack

It was Stefans first time in Lesotho and he was the quiet one, mostly just going with what Michiel have dished up for us. Stefan handled that F800GS like a pro and in my mind not the easiest bike to handle on this kind of terrain, the twitchy throttle makes precise throttle control very hard when the going is slow and difficult and having so much power on tap it does get tricky at times. Stefan spend long ours waiting patiently while Michiel and myself were filming and photographing the scenery and the people of Lesotho, thanks Stefan "jy's n yster".
Stefan is working as a naval architect and he commutes with is bike on the N1 from Belville into town and back. Better you than me :P



Altus / Dustdevil

Although I have been in Lesotho a number of times I have never really explored the mountainous areas to the East. I wanted to get there for a number of years but every-time my plans were foiled, once even by missing passports. You think sometimes you know something about a place but I was pleasantly surprised by what we have experienced. I can recommend it to anyone even for those with very basic riding skills, loads of road surfaces is in very good shape and it's not necessary to risk limb and life if you don't want to.
I am normally the more cautious one and like to take things a bit slower. I can get very verbal when I do not agree with others on a decision but in the same breath I must add that I am a very patient man. Guys I hope I was not to verbal at times and that I did not slow you down to much in the end.

I have been in photography most of my life, studied at PE tech and then spend time in the USA assisting and later worked with many international photographic teams in Cape Town helping with production and being photographers assistant. I have also done assignments with most of the major editorials and some advertising agencies before starting a rental studio business in Woodstock.
After 6 years my patience was up and the business started to loose many clients to other studios that keep on opening as well as economic pressures and I decided it was time to get out. Currently I am living in Middelburg with a perfect workshop to build HPN's, so lets see what the future will bring. I am also importing the Giant Loop saddlebags, so watch the Vendor section for more details once I have received the cargo.

For those that have never been to Lesotho this should be the first big venture on your bucket list. It is the best way to get abroad and explore the rest of Africa without really even leaving South Africa if you think of it.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 10:00:09 am by Dustdevil »
 

Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #349 on: July 09, 2010, 10:13:36 am »
This has really been a great RR ! It has been insperational , had many ups and downs and for lack of a better word been frustrating waiting for instalments ! But it has all been worth it ! Thanx Michiel and Dusty for all your effort with this RR there are many WD's out there who really appreciate the time and effort you guys have put in . Thank you very much for sharing !So when's the next adventure ?


 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #350 on: July 09, 2010, 11:37:54 am »
Dankie DD en julle ander ouens, dit was 'n moerse RR!!!  :thumleft:
 

Offline Kreef

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #351 on: July 09, 2010, 11:53:24 am »
:hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
Well done on a great report and an awesome ride!!!

I cant believe it's over :crybaby2:

Let me know when/where I can buy one of your DVDs!! I would love to see it!
From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered. We lucky few. We band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.
 

Offline EtienneXplore

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #352 on: July 09, 2010, 11:49:13 pm »

Ominous thunder clouds promising lots more muddy tracks to follow.

There has been alot of amazing photos in this thread, but I have to say, this one stands out above the rest. It tells the whole story. How it must have been to get there, how Sack must be feeling at that point in time and what troubles are ahead. It doesn't only speak 1000 words...

I cannot agree more, this photo says it all. Of all the photos this one is tops. F*ck its a good pic!!!!!

thanks for the ride report, it was a long time in the making but a HUGE thank you all for your efforts.

I need to go back to Lesotho  :drif:

 

Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #353 on: July 10, 2010, 08:45:25 am »
MMMM..... I wonder how I am gonna get my morning fix now  ???
Come on guys I am sure you still have just a little bit to share with us  :peepwall:


 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Waynan

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #354 on: July 10, 2010, 10:43:55 am »
Awesome Stuff guys, truly inspirational. I now know where my next trip is taking me :)
 

Offline SGB

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #355 on: July 10, 2010, 01:39:51 pm »
Great stuff guys!  Nice story and good pics. 

The road you refer to as "Plothond se pad" is being fixed up and is not as bad as it used to be.  They are building bridges over the river and it is now much easier.

Enjoy!
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Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #356 on: July 10, 2010, 09:26:24 pm »
Great stuff guys!  Nice story and good pics. 

The road you refer to as "Plothond se pad" is being fixed up and is not as bad as it used to be.  They are building bridges over the river and it is now much easier.

Enjoy!


Yes I noticed a KTM990 with pillion and hard luggage plus top-box went through there with Alfie's group recently, couldn't have been too difficult.
 

Offline SGB

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #357 on: July 10, 2010, 11:17:06 pm »
Jip, Anthony and Monya went up there two - up.  But still a bit of a challenge here and there.  That black mud between the rocks is still there.  Do-able though
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Offline Kwis

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #358 on: July 11, 2010, 08:48:51 am »
Feel your pain, enjoy that, been there. :)

Come-on Kwis, show us some pics and tell us more of your ordeal, when did you guys do your trip and how long did it take you to get through? You are welcome to post here or to start your own thread if you have enough images. ;)
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Offline Kwis

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)
« Reply #359 on: July 11, 2010, 08:58:02 am »
Die KTM se cluch flued het klaar geraak.