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Author Topic: Round the World - Do you have beer we are coming to visit?  (Read 102496 times)

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Offline michnus

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It’s funny how people’s opinions differ on road conditions. We have learned a long time ago not to take the opinions of all overlanders and locals too serious when they tell us about the road conditions we are likely to travel.


Sommer early morning outside Loiyangalani road to Sibiloi, take the conservative option rather than be a hero and break the bike or yourself.

Most of the times they get it wrong, and sometimes horribly wrong. When I did the research on this route next to Lake Turkana I stumbled onto a website of a South African that did the same route in a Toyota VX big ass 4×4 a year or so ago. He stated that for motorcycles this is an absolute no-no.  If an 4×4 driver is not a biker as well, they will most of the time not be able to tell a biker what he or she wants to hear.



Then you ask a local about the roads around his own village and they normally can’t even get to a point where you understand it’s either horrific or a highway.  Well, that is generalising, it’s not always like that, we got some good info on this route from an overlander that did it weeks before, just to mention he is a very experienced overlander.



As we embark on the next leg of the route up to Sibiloi Park, some local guides greeted us and in the same breath and sentence told us, this is a good road you will be there in 2 hours! Yaaaa right, I thought to myself, and ask them when last they drove that road. Long time ago, and cannot remember, and with that I just laughed, greeted and rode off.



The road turned rocky just outside the town up the escarpment as the lava fields surround the town and continues north.  There were some nasty bits which we cleared with much ease. The resting day we had in ‘oasis’ town paid off and we were able to make up time before it got too hot.





To sum up this road, short and sweet, you have a choice of sand or rocks and for rocks you have a choice between big, small or lava rocks.


Specially for Pauli GPS4Africa  ;)

We each carried our additional 15L petrol, an additional 10L water with me and full trippers were  on our backs. One small miscalculation was that I am heavier consuming water than my bike is on fuel. Even the early morning sun was already trying to dry us into biltong.



From Loiyangalani it’s all rock riding only the size changes with nice hard pack sand in the many dry riverbeds we crossed. One thing I absolutely loved about the terrain and riding here was the absolute desolation. The places people can visit and really be alone are getting less and less all over the world. There’s a strange excitement about being this alone and knowing if things go wrong the outcome might not be that positive.  There’s no back up, no phone call to 911 or quick helicopter evacuation.

Offline michnus

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I guess it’s that what keeps us all alive and happy, well for us for sure. It’s exhilarating stuff and it’s wonderful to get away from people for a while.




Die Duiwel uit die kinder bybel  :lol8:

Up on the escarpment the road turns into a rocky track that snakes through the empty open spaces. In one of the river beds we came across group of people scooping water from a well for their camels. We pulled in under the trees and were greeted with sceptic looks from them. I walked closer to them and greeted the men that were dumping the water into the buckets for the camels.



It was only then that we saw how big this water well was. It’s roughly 4meters deep and 5meters across tapering down. They build steps down to the water and the men stood in a row passing the bucket to the top guy. It looked like a very old well.

They offered us one of the buckets, I tipped it over my head, basted, it felt good! I wished I could sit there the entire day throwing water over myself. Elsebie washed her face and got some water over her back, but it was time to leave, the sun was sucking water!







Before Karsa gate the road really turned nasty, the two track road turned into one bad rocky bed. Our hands took a real beating and the bikes fans were working overtime in the heat. In the back of my mind I could not stop worrying about the tyres, these rock are sharp and it does not take much to slice a tyre.


take a rest 40degree plus heat.


Poor bikes are heavy with all the fuel and water.


It is 44'c 111'f we stop frequently to let the bikes cool. They are working hard in the sand and we do not want to take a chance with overheating.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 08:47:43 pm by michnus »
 

Offline GSLaaitie

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Beautiful!

Daai klippe is 'n bliksem en julle bikes was swaar gelaai. Well done! :thumleft:

Love hierdie RR.
Beer isn't the answer. It's the question. The answer, is Yes!

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Offline michnus

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Route from Loiyangalani to Karsa gate along lake Turkana.

Eventually, late the afternoon, we rode up to the park gate and just fell down on the cement under the cool shade of the roof. The two guards just smiled and went on their merry way watching soaps on their solar powered Dish TV. We did not have the energy to ride any more, and asked whether we could camp there.


this is fun!!


Karsa gate Siboloi park.

No problem, they replied, but if you want to, at Head Quarters 9km away there’s a small canteen they might have a beer or two! After half an hour rest we dragged ourselves back to the bikes and head off to HQ 9km away. Man, 9kms can be far!!



We could not believe it, at HQ, they had a small canteen and they had COLD beer. We sat down and gulped down some beers and drinks while some of the staff told us all their food and necessities gets delivered by boat from the other side of the lake. Nothings gets trucked or driven into the park from the outside. They claim the road down to Nairobi and Eldoret from the other side of the park is in a very good condition.  People stay for 2months duty at a time. Even their drinking water gets delivered in 200L drums.



There are dedicated camp spots in the park, all non-serviced and in the worst places imaginable. We stocked up on more beers and some eggs and pulled in next to a dry river bed under some big trees for the night.



At Karsa gate the guards showed us a map of the park roads, and which route we were supposed to take up to Illiret.  I heard from other people some of the roads in the park are disused and the map, they still sell for 6USD, is not correct. Luckily Tracks4Africa had some tracks that I thought would help so it should not be a problem to get to our next destination, Illiret 170km away.




Dinner!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 05:08:47 pm by michnus »
 

Offline GSing

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Offline funacide

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Offline dirtyXT

thanks for sharing!!! I'm loving all the different beers you are having. i see you got your priorities right! good luck, enjoy and keep them coming
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Offline michnus

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As we left the next morning early. The first 10km of road was quite good and we thought if that could last we would be in Illiret late the afternoon. Well it did not last! One thing we learned was that planning goes out the window on routes like these.


Sort of nice road turned into this shitty sand track.

Also the claims that the park are maintaining the roads were bullshit.  Our speed dropped to 20km/h average and our fuel consumption to a 16km/p/L range, which presented another new problem. Our next place to get fuel would only be in Turmi, Ethiopia and still a good 500km away.



The bikes kept digging into the sand, when we got them to start to float the track changes. Add to that the track is over grown with bushes and thorns and our progress slowed to a crawl. Neither of us are new to sand riding and can cope with any sand track. This was the first time that we got into sand tracks that just did not wanted to play ball. The weight of the bikes were a serious disadvantages.



This was bad, it took us 3 to 4 hours to cover the 12km. We would work our asses going forward and then fall forward onto the bike's tank I could see on the GPS we only did 400meters.

Eventually just before Koobi Fora, there was a small uphill and I decided to gun it through the field to the houses. Elsebie got behind me but got stuck and in all the mayhem the bike started overheating.

We were fucked!! Totally and utterly fucked from exhaustion. I showed her to stop and walked back to fetch her bike.


Sucking water like a half dead camel!

One man gave me an old 5L oil can wrap in dirty old sponges and tied with old electric cable as a home make cooler for their water. We were really tired, and took us some time to cool down and feel normal again.


Moer toe!

Eventually the men showed us around and they even had the nicest showers, we decided to set up camp in front of the main house for the evening. Without us asking they told us they would make us some fried fish and rice as it will help with building energy for the next day, we are going to need it.


Land Rover grave yard

They filled our water bottles from their 200L water drums that have been shipped to them. Other than that there’s nothing except old Land Rover wrecks that once in days gone by made it there and died there.


More dead Land Rovers


Still some wild life left.


About only this and grass growths there.

The setup is a research centre for fossils and they are just looking after the place. We went to bed knowing that the next day’s riding were going to be as hard.


Dinner, Turkana fish and rice.


Lake Turkana -baptism

« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 03:37:59 pm by michnus »
 

Offline Wheelman

Reading this I can feel the heat and the thirst....I'm definitely going for a beer right now :ricky: Hardcore stuff Michnus :thumleft:This kind of stuff makes for the best memories. You should send a pic of those Landies to the 4x4Forum so that the Toyota manne can gloat :pot:  Thanks for posting....
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Offline mountainboy

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how much weight did you lose during the trip??  :lol8:
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Offline michnus

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how much weight did you lose during the trip??  :lol8:

farking a lot. And to matters worse, locals eat shit hot food that no local Bobotie eating saffer boy can try and consume without it feeling like you are dumping toxic waste down your throat. Thank God for beer.   :biggrin:

« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 08:11:35 am by michnus »
 

Offline Bessie

geen BS RR.

dankie Michnus!
 

Offline mountainboy

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how much weight did you lose during the trip??  :lol8:

farking a lot. And to matters worse, locals eat shit hot food that no local Bobotie eating saffer boy can try and consume without it feeling like you are dumping toxic waste down your throat. Thank God for beer.   :biggrin:



jy lyk seker nou rerig sexy!!! Remind me not too hump you when I see you  :3some:
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Offline charlw

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Offline Funtana

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Om  n skoeter in sand tery is eending. Swaar gelaai met kit vir lang afstande in sand is weer ander ding. Dit is lekker harde werk.  Sterkte en geniet dit !
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 03:32:44 pm by Funtana »
 

Offline michnus

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We were seeing forward to Ethiopia and some Injera and beers, but for now we still had to get out of Turkana and to Omarate, the first town in Ethiopia. Little did we know we would get a load more adventure for the day.


Early wake up call. Since we did not know what the days riding had in store for us.
The coffee was brewing while we packed up the tent and stretchers. We weren’t talking much both of us were busy with our own thoughts as the days riding were still going to be on the difficult side of interesting.


This part from Koobi to Elliret is not used by people and only the occasional traveler use this route.

The first piece out of Koobi Fora is sand and with the bikes warmed up, we stormed into the sandy field next to the sand road. Soooorrrrryyy  Kenia for riding off the road in your game park and buggering up the veld but it’s either that or we would have struggled through the sand till mid-morning.


The morning sky is beautiful, at least it was overcast and made the riding more pleasant.

By now it became quite a lot of fun riding the rocky roads, skills got sharpened up in a jiffy, progress were good and we were in good spirit chasing down some of the dry pans that formed next to the lake. The bikes were keeping up well, and for once when they had to work and not drop us they came through.



The GPS shows small turns and curves on the track in Tracks4Africa, those are the places we knew we would be slowed down by rocky hills.  The big ‘baddy’ was an insignificant little curve on T4A. A few bikers in the past spend some time in the extreme heat trying to get over with loaded bikes, nearly killing themselves in the process.



Riding this terrain for the last few days taught us it will only be a short piece and should bottom out in the valley where the rocky road would be easier to ride. There were a few more but we cleared them quickly. As we got closer to Illiret the terrain and road turned into a great little rolling double track that was banked enough to carry some speed through the corners. Zebra’s and some other big buck were trotting away as we past them.


The terrain switched between rocky patches and sand tracks, keeping us focused

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-mZ8TbKV/0/L/i-mZ8TbKV-L.jpg


And then some flat open spaces again.

In Illeret we signed out at the local police station and headed off to Omarate, 60km away. God knows how de hell people make a living here and from what. The people and police are extremely friendly, even escorted us to the closest cold drink.


There's many dry river crossings on the way to Elliret.



About 20km away, when a guy came out of a small building waving his arms, we had to stop again. Initially we decided to ignore him but he made such an effort to stop us we rode into the fenced off area he was standing.


Last view of Lake Turkana. The Turquoise colours is stunning.

He made it clear to us he is the local police officer, certainly not dressed like one, and he must see our passports before going into Ethiopia. I passed our passport over to him and he started to flip the pages which to me seems like he knew what he was looking for. After a minute or so it became apparent the guy can’t read or do not really understand English.


Some of the steep down hills are better walking the bike down than dropping it on rocks.

I quickly showed him look here and here and here and this is it and cheers we must be going there are beers in Omarate with our names on. A waste of time, but with a smile on our faces and him very grateful for the quick lesson we were on our way once again.


Done it! Sibiloi is now behind us
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 10:38:28 pm by michnus »
 

Offline michnus

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This is the official GPS border between Kenya and Ethiopia


Nearing Ethiopia the vultures were as plenty full as Pigeons in Cape town inner city.

In Ethiopia there was an early start to their rainy season and the only two big rivers we still had to cross, 25km before Omarate, were full flowing, we only figured that out later. The first one I walked and we managed to pushed the bikes through. By now it was midday and hell hot.


One horse town, the horse died and nobody can you in if you decide to just pass them.

Around 5km away, as we came round a turn we found the second river. A big mother of a river, in full flood.  From this side of the river it initially looked good for us, to at least be able to walk the bikes through. It was close to 500 meters wide and as precaution I walked the river first. I nearly got washed away by the force of the water on my way to the other side.  The bad news was that the bank was washed away too deep for us to get the front wheel on the bank.


What a good laugh, she rode a hellova road and then dump the bike on a puddle!

We walked up and down the river to look for a better spot with no success. Second problem, we had only 5L water with us and weren’t sure if we could wait for it out. As we stood there contemplating what to do next, a local came up to us on a pikipiki with an AK46 over his shoulder.


River in flood at Omarate, the first of two.

Quite a friendly chap, we tried to communicate with sign language and smiles as he did not understand any English. We gathered that he had to get to Omarate himself and that he is a policeman (the reason for the AK). He indicated to us that the river can take around 3 days to get low enough for us to pass, a problem for us with our little bit of water and food. He then suggested we follow him, he knew a round turn to Omarate.


The policeman in the back helped us to get a detour to Omarate



We looked at each other with very tired expressions but had no other choice. It meant riding back 20km and crossing the one river again then take a northerly direction towards Omarate. This confused the shit out of me, we had to cross these two rivers again, according to my map, and they flow into a bigger river that runs past Omarate. With the language problem I could not ask more questions and had to follow him in good faith.

Offline michnus

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Second river near Omarate in flood, I am the small figure in the distance.

He rode his little Yamaha off road bike like a real pro and we made good progress on the cattle tracks leading towards Omarate. It was evident that the locals used these tracks to get cattle and goods to and from the Omarate market.


Damn hot!

Around 17km before Omarate the man stopped and showed me his tank is empty. We still had no idea how to get to Omarate as these tracks were not on T4A and I could not leave the man there. I gave him my last 2L that were in our jerry cans and hoped for a few more litres in Omarate.


Many locals use this route with donkey-cards with no one single track.

The small town of Omarate is a busy little place with friendly people. We were greeted by the familiar “you, you, you…money, money” that all the other over landers warned us about. The locals directed us to the local immigration office and a small skinny man came over to greet us.


Uncle the Baboon, a 3 year old local thinks I have just the type of hair for tasty ticks.


Ethiopia ended up being the mecca of punctures, we came in with one and we eventually left Ethiopia to Sudan on the border with a puncture. I can not remember how many but it was some 9 front on both and 6 or 7 on the back of both bikes.

He had to look in a book to see if he can find our names as we might have passed through there previously. It was an old accounting book he paged through, strange how they do things in Ethiopia, and what on earth would our names be in a book that looked like “my drag through the mud” homework book in pre school.


Omarate hotel, five star eco living, with complementary condoms on the floor

He then stamped our passports with a stamp that could only go to 2010, and then changed the 0 to a 1 with a pen in our passports. We objected as police or other officials were going to give us loads of shit when they see the date have been changed with a pen. He laughed and assured us it would be no problem and in any case the entire Ethiopia is on some old time format and not on the time format the rest of the world use, it is 2003 in Ethiopia now and they do not care what’s on the passport.  Well, we can’t argue with that logic and in any case you talk to much, where’s the beer?

 
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 03:29:01 pm by michnus »
 

Offline J-dog

 :sip: