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Author Topic: Lesotho, the hard way.(Complete)  (Read 47424 times)

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Offline airHEAD

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #140 on: March 13, 2010, 08:13:34 am »
After getting an SMS for Michiel that read "Have you heard the news? I am devastated. Dustdevil is dead" I jumped to the only conclusion I could!  :o
 
By the time I got some more airtime and got hold of Michiel I was actually extremely happy to learn that Altus was just leaving Cape Town! Seriously dude please dont ever do that to me again...

Although I am really going to miss Altus' friendship, advice, and tireless ability to explain technical details again and again  when I still wasn't getting it, I know we will ride together again ;)

As far as this report goes I wouldn't be surprised if things don't accelerate once Dusdevil has some time to focus on it without any distractions. I cant wait to see the rest of the trip I missed out on...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 05:40:15 pm by airHEAD »
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #141 on: March 15, 2010, 10:46:14 am »
Dappled sunlight is dancing on my laptop screen, birds chirping in the background, I am slurping my coffee and tapping the keys of the computer at the same time.

The place is Picadilli's, a quaint little coffee shop in Middelburg, Eastern Cape. I am sitting in a quiet back garden next to a small and lush nursery, paradise!  :glasses10:
Outside life is moving in slow motion, at least in comparison to what I am used to, I have a whole new life to rethink but I am not feeling any of the old stress and anxiety counting every day and every cent I am spending to work out weather I can make it or not.

I'm going to take the next year very slow and figure things out as I go along. At least here I can afford to; rent for a character 3 bed house for R2500.00 per month and this includes water and electricity :mwink:
The same in the Cape would cost me no less than R 18,000.00 per month ???

So Cape Town it's bye, bye :wave: and you can keep your crap lifestyle, I am done with that shit :thefinger:

Ride report will be resumed once I have moved all my stuff toward the end of the week.

Sorry Michiel, it is equally as hard leaving the most daring, adventurous, and willing ride buddy behind. I will miss those crazy one day rides out of Cape Town, the Macaser loop, Atlantis, Matroosberg etc.
We will ride together though so don't despair :ricky:
 

Offline fat b

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #142 on: March 15, 2010, 11:17:16 am »
Will you still be working on bikes ? How far are you from Mossel Bay ? I am determined that one day you will work some of your magic on my PD ! Good luck Altus I sincearly hope things work out for you ! Take care !  :thumleft:

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

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline Rynet

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #143 on: March 15, 2010, 11:58:19 am »
Ag nee Altus, ek is nou baie geskok en ontsteld  ??? ,  jy was een van my beste maatjies op die forum , en nou is jy so skielik weg. Ek huil sommer  :(. Ek gaan ons chats en jou tegniese advies baie mis, die telefoon kan dit nie regmaak nie . Geen wonder Michiel is so ontsteld nie !
 

Offline Rynet

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #144 on: March 15, 2010, 12:00:03 pm »
Great photos, and report ,when is the movie coming out ? ;D

Rynet, I'm working on it. For the last two weeks I got up every morning between 3 and 4 to put in a few hours
before work. Weekends are also taken up. It's a hell of a process but very enjoyable. The 1st cut will be of
everything I feel is telling the story or special to me, my private cut. This will add up to be 4 episodes of about
40min ea. Way too long for the commercial market but for you hardy adventurers out there that don't mind getting
dehydrated, tired and bruised I guess it will be in order.

Later on there will be a 90min cut and even later a 50min cut but you can imagine how much footage will be lost
in this process. Thanks for your support out there, after all, it would be worthless without an audience.

Thanks Michiel , can't wait  :thumleft:

ps sorry to hear about Altus leaving  :(
 

Offline Highlander

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #145 on: March 17, 2010, 08:20:58 pm »
Cool shots, with that 14mm you really need to get up there, you handled her beatifully, next time gooi a PR filter on for those bright shots.

First RR I checked out this year, lekker man
 

Offline DirtRebell

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #146 on: March 17, 2010, 08:30:25 pm »
Come on, we want to see more!
 

Offline Butch

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #147 on: March 19, 2010, 01:08:16 pm »
J, dis mooi pics.
Live and let live.
 

Offline Fishy

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #148 on: March 19, 2010, 05:28:20 pm »
Super post  :biggrin:

Just dont know how you ous manage without a stove , what about the morning Java? :eek7:

Really inspirational, cant wait to get out there
He with the most toys wins!
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #149 on: April 08, 2010, 05:13:12 pm »
Thank you very much for everybody's patience these last few weeks. Dustdevil and I attended
this year's Easter Namib Desert Run and went for a little jaunt up North afterwards. It seems like
he is still very much alive and kicking but from now on his own terms.

During this time I very closely observed Dusty's habits in his natural terrain...

It seems like he is neither nocturnal nor diurnal. The only time 'ol Dusty is active is during the "golden hour"
of the day. This time is basically the hour in the morning just after the sun has risen and in the evening just
before the sun is about to set. Photographers cherish this time for it makes for the best light in pictures.

During his active time Dusty can be seen riding his HPN and getting up to all sorts of mischief.



Unfortunately as soon as the "golden hour" has passed Dusty quickly retrieves to a shady spot and commence
to eat, drink and lie down... and lie down some more and some more. This time is also spent engaging in deep
philosophical conversation with anybody who happen to be around. While lying down of course.



So, to reach an conclution: This ride report will continue and we will be delighted to share our best pictures
but this will happen only during the golden hour of the day...
« Last Edit: April 10, 2010, 12:55:56 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #150 on: April 10, 2010, 03:22:01 pm »
Okay so where were we? mmm I think we were about to leave this most spectacular campsite driving in the direction of Sehlabateba and the Matabeng pass.
In Lesotho you don't only drive on Chinese roads but everything you buy including petrol seems to be coming from a Chinese shop as well.

The Basotho does not seem to have any entrepreneurial skill but I believe it is the other way around! the Basotho knows exactly the amount of headache and hassles this kind of activity brings so they left it to the colonialists and Chinese and carried on with their carefree lifestyle high up in the mountains.
There is talk in the news of Lesotho becoming part of SA because it has no means to an independent economy. Politicians is concerned that it can not cope with the economic collapse of bigger neighbors as the SA have experienced in the past two years.
I say BS! most Basotho will never even know of any change as they do not rely on fuel, phones and other consumer crap in their day to day life. They are hardly aware of the effects of inflation, interest rates, market shares and all the other economic regulators.



The stretch of road from Rama's gate to the Matabeng pas is in very good condition and the surroundings is idyllic. We travelled trough here during the golden hour of the morning and I stopped to photograph the men working the fields with some very traditional equipment and methods.
We filled up with fuel and provisions at the local Chinese shop where petrol gets decanted into 5 liter canisters.

The Matabeng pass is equally beautiful and a truck driver waiting next to his stranded truck is just a reminder of how treacherous these roads are.

Before Sehonghong we passed an odd scene in the road, a white young woman walking with an umbrella accompanied by a local Basotho woman.
I could not wonder about this for to long because next I had to negotiate a sneaky and steap switchback to the right and nearly did not make the tight turn missing a large rock with millimeters to spare.
The road gets even tougher and the next turn was ruined by the spinning wheels of taxis and pickups as the gradients have become to steep for regular cars to safely travel up here.
At the top I got the explanation for the odd scene earlier on, A brave rider on is fully loaded 1200 GSA was psyching himself up for the decent into hell. His girlfriend thought it best to rather walk the kilometer and a half down to safety. He dropped the bike on the first loose section but after some advice and encouragement from Michiel and myself he made it down safely probably with shaking legs.

We were ourselves about to enter our own decent into hell but more about this later.

Waking up to a scene like this in the morning.


Getting ready to hit the road.


Traditional Basotho house, door in the middle and two windows to the side, what more do you need?


Basotho men working the fields with oxen and a hand plough.


The Basotho rely on their horses for transporting goods and people across these rugged mountains.





 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #151 on: April 10, 2010, 03:38:39 pm »

Excellent RR

we hoping to do some of the same in June

keep it on  :thumleft:

You'll have to get something a bit more maneuverable than a 1150GS, :pot: if you keep following the story it will become clear that most would not like to do some of what we did. (hens the title "the hard way") On one of the most difficult sections Stefan proclaimed that he was sure his R1200GS would not have made it this far and he took that 1200 up Matroosberg to the lookout point over the gorge. :o Anyone that have ever driven up Matroosberg will tell you that that would be impossible. On the other hand Stefan is not scared to see his bike on its side and it spend a helofa lot of time on its side on Matroosberg and Lesotho, but so has mine.
 

Offline buzzlightyear

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #152 on: April 10, 2010, 07:33:46 pm »
Lekker so see action again, keep it coming  ;D
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
 

Offline Spore

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #153 on: April 11, 2010, 08:08:41 am »
Jinne DD, ek geniet jou RR's so baie en met jou fotos is dit werklik n sensoriese ervaring! Dankie vir al die moeite om met ons te deel - sien baie uit na nog en die volgendes!! Groetnis :thumleft: :thumleft:
Courage without conscience is a wild beast...
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #154 on: April 12, 2010, 01:44:06 pm »
Ah, nice to have you back and in good shape by the sound of it Dusty. Now I've got to get my act together...

Over the Matebeng Pass we went and down into the valley. It's as beautiful as I remember.  Right on the
crest of the pass they have built a radio mast which really spoils the view but yet again I guess one can't
hold back progress for the sake of aesthetics? Where are we progressing to though?

The road drops down fairly steeply and ever so often one crosses little streams of mountain water. Dustdevil
and Sack is visibly enjoying the ride.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/2nM-gZP8M3g" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/2nM-gZP8M3g</a>

En route we bump into Greg and Lindie on a GSA! They stopped to scout and try negotiate the worst looking
section we've seen all day.  The bike is heavily loaded and they came all the way up Sani Pass like this. Lindie
has opted for walking about 1km ahead and meet Greg on the other side of the section of road in question.
So came another opportunity for Dustdevil to tell a fellow adventure rider about his theory of tyre pressure
meets traction. Tyres deflated Greg still fell over twice before he made it to Lindie. Man van staal old Greg.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/WtN3l5zQXjg" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/WtN3l5zQXjg</a>





Nearing Sehonghong we can see in the distance the road we were on the day before. This road did go right
up to the Senqu River. At the time we thought it would probably be impossible to ride along the river to
Sehonghong but now we are traveling on the foothills along the Senqu and it looks totally possible. Mostly flat
and sandy with what looks like a shallow stream criss crossing left and right, left and right. I've always fancied
riding in riverbeds and now I really feel an urge to get into the river and travel along it up to Sehonghong
where we will cross it anyway. Scouting the valley sides the opportunity to drop down into the river only
present itself when we actually get to Sehonghong.  A blessing in disguise as I completely underestimated
the sand and mud the riverbed consists of.

Riding around the Sehonghong air strip we find a faint track leading down into the river. A steep rocky descent
brings us to a section completely washed away. I have noticed all along the ride we've been doing for the last
3 days that there must have been some really serious rain storms throughout Lesotho in the months before.
Although today the place is rather dry the erosion tells a different story.

Sack and I quickly sees an opportunity and descends the last couple of meters into the river by just sliding
down a steep embankment. Dustdevil on the other hand will not be convinced so easily. Once the HPN is
down there we won't be able to get it up the steep lose gravel in the event of having to turn around.
He wants to be sure we can actually cross the river and find our way up the other side, which looks a bit
more intimidating now that we are in the river, before he makes his descent.

We actually took very few pictures of the ordeal to follow. Mostly focussed on making video and just wresling
the bikes but Dusty did make a nice little teaser video which showcases some of the events. I'll get him to
attach the link again.

Sack saw a section of riverbed covered in rocks slightly down stream and indicates that he will go check
it out. I will have a look at the chances of crossing further up stream and Dustdevil will wait by his bike
and prepare mentally.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/SPMQwOJpjjA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/SPMQwOJpjjA</a>

Now both Sack and I are riding right in the riverbed and with this comes a big wake-up call. The sand is
nothing like we thought it would be, Atlantis my arse. The moment the bike's wheels makes contact with
the lose gravel-like sand it just sucks it down almost pulling my poor KLR to a stall in 1st gear. The only
way across this obstacle will have to involve speed.

Some of the local children were playing in the river and has now gathered to see what we are up to.
The are keeping a distance though. The sun is shining warmly and friendly. a Perfect day for fishing I'm
thinking. Besides the sound of water rushing over rocks and children calling to each other the air is clear
of any other sounds.



The spot where I will investigate a possible crossing point is almost underneath the foot bridge that we
already saw on Google Earth months ago. At the time we thought we could just cross on that but little
did we know the road leading up to it has a series of sheer drops barely negotiable with donkeys. Getting
my boots off I am reminded of my childhood as the soft mud pushes in between and past my toes, makes
fat worm like shapes that falls back on top of my feet. The stream is slightly stronger than I imagined
but at least it doesn't become much deeper than knee depth. The problem is though that, although one
can just about still negotiate water this deep on a KLR, the river bottom consists of the same soft mud
that squeezed past my toes on the bank. Heavy bikes will surely get stuck in this stuff and sink down to
a drowning point.



Nice to waddle in the mud but this aint gonna work. Now all our hope is on Sack and his rocky crossing.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 12:30:19 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline EtienneXplore

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #155 on: April 14, 2010, 09:34:46 pm »
Awesome report guys keep it coming!!!

This report brings back such good memories of my solo on this very same road after the FS Bash. I remember riding down this part, it got the adrenalin pumping!!





Thanks for sharing  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:




Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #156 on: April 15, 2010, 06:29:57 pm »

Just dont know how you ous manage without a stove , what about the morning Java? :eek7:


Sack actually did take a little gas hob and prepared one meal in it. Sadly the little stove only made it as far as the Senquane River.
Because of the difficult terrain we had many "side stand incidents" and it got bent beyond use. Probably still sits there in the middle of nowhere.

Have a look at my earlier post. Because of the lack of pictures I threw in a couple of video clips.
 

Offline GO GIRL

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #157 on: April 17, 2010, 07:50:22 pm »
What a stunning RR, The pics are amazing, the thoughts and emotions shared are super... 8)

Love those typical calendar pics ... :thumleft:

That soitude of waking up on the crest, your tent, your steed, with a valley of miles n miles of spectacular views  :ricky:
The only thing to think of is the route to travel with a close bunch of buddies...... :ricky:

I think I missed the lenght of time you guys did it in...you all very fortunate to have done it.... :thumleft: :thumleft:

 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #158 on: April 18, 2010, 07:51:54 am »
Thanks Go Girl. Thanks for responding, gives me some motivation.  :thumleft:
Dusty is still mid moving his stuff to a new home far far away so he has a lot on his plate.
Without him this report won't float so we have no other option but to patiently wait and wait and wait.
 

Offline Kreef

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Re: Lesotho, the hard way.
« Reply #159 on: April 20, 2010, 06:42:12 am »
Hi Dustdevil / Michiel

Haven't read to much of the report yet, but have been checking the pics (will get to reading at some point :))

Just wanted to comment that the photo below is one of the most stunning ever!!!


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.