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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN
« Reply #60 on: October 04, 2011, 08:27:12 am »
brilliant!
hak vrystaat
 

Offline Stevie

Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2011, 05:42:35 pm »
We scoured the mountainside for firewood, 3 of us managed to collect just enough to braai the chops for supper. The howling wind causing the wood to burn much quicker.

While walking the harshness of the enviroment was evident, but not without some beauty...


This guy had the right suspension for this terrain



This guy well camouflaged...



After a scrumptious supper, a quick air filter swop - Jim educated us on stars, surveying and suchlike.
The moon was brilliant

 

Jim showing me where spillers of brandy should go and sleep....



Chris suggesting I go sleep on top of the mountain...



After a very windy night the dawn broke, crispy cold, brilliant sunrise



The rest of the team taking their time to get up



This very interesting Praying Mantis took up residence in my knee guard, giving me the willie's when I picked it up and he ran over my hand....



Time to go, 30 seconds to departure, the long road home.



We warmed up very quickly coming down the gnarly road from the campsite. The day crystal clear, truth be told, I didn't want to be heading home yet.



This sign is not that interesting, but the trip to get there - wow. We came in from Tses and departed through Berseba - destination Keetmanshoop.

 

About 20 odd km's from Brukkaros the ground is littered with fairly large white stones not unlike quartz, I stopped to collect some for the kids. It reminded me of a hailstorm just past. These stones were  visible on the road from Tses, at about the same distance  from Brukkaros - I can only assume a remnant of the days when the volcano was active.



Crossing the Fish River, first bit of water we had seen in ages



After a short break in the valley we moved on, Jim leading. I gave myself a decent dust gap before following Jim. I had got to about 100km/h when something ahead did not look right, no dust from Jim, and an odd movement up front on the left of the road. As I rode closer I saw rider down
No!, not Jim, this is a dead straight road....??????
Jim was sitting up, leaning back, his bike facing the way we had just come. The goat was off the road in the last throws of death.





Obviously shocked by the sudden turn of events, Chris and I moved Jim's bike and checked that he was ok. The Shepard, an old guy that looked about 70 (turns out he was only 55) hovered about 40 meters away - too scared to come closer to these aliens that had invaded his otherwise peaceful world.
Lesson learnt from Jim's actions immediately after the accident, his leg had taken an almighty thump, he sat and checked it to make sure nothing was broken before it possibly started swelling, although not before making sure that Chris and I cleared his chain of stones and debris - priorities.

Chris (ops medic from army days) put some happy white pills into Jim, with Jim protesting all the way. After about 10 minutes Jim was up and about and ready to roll.

In Jim's own words

Day 5.
Brilliant sunrise.  Lazy start, and an easy 100km to Keetmanshoop, again crossing the Fish River – no bridge this time. 

An incident to break the high speed monotony of Namibian roads occurred near the Fish River when a herd of goats crossed the road R. to L. in front of me.  All fine, except I did not see the last straggler (A large ewe) desperately trying to join the herd, and on a collision course with my front wheel.  At the point when I decided impact was inevitable, I managed to get a bit of back brake on in an attempt to drop the bike.  No time for the bike to go right down, but down enough for me not to go over the top.  Impact was dead center, bike half down, and myself and bike slid fairly harmlessly to the edge of the road.  Goat stone dead, and quite broken.  A few minutes to check bike and self.


From Chris

We then turned for home the next morning and very soon Jim was in an incident with a goat. Amazingly he hit rear brakes and put the bike down at about 100kmh. Choosing not to hit the goat head on. All in all it worked out good for Jim but not for the goat. Jims years of off road experience coming to the fore when he most needed it.

We got going as soon as Jim was ready, heading toward Keetmanshoop.
Interesting landscape along the way.



The ride to KMH was chilly and refreshing. We rode into town - Chris on a mission - Russian and Chips



PINE NUT, they had PINE NUT - lovely


Jim choosing not to sit with the riff raff and rabble... (probably had something to do with the nick-name Chris and I had given him following the goat incident!!! :mwink:)

Jim's grumble

At Keetmanshoop, Chris insisted we all have Russian and chips.  OK, I suppose.  Carried on to Aroab, and again fuelled up (Cheaper Namibian fuel), and crossed the border back into RSA early afternoon.



The ride to Molopo lodge was uneventful as we sat on the straight and narrow until the turn-off to Askham - this must be the worst road in SA, suffice to say it was torture. We varied speed from 80 - 120 km/h - nothing helped, dusty, bumpy sandy - just plain crappy.

Jim's comment


Stevie had developed a work related problem in Johannesburg, so I decided in the interest of time we would travel via Askham to VZR.  We slept on a friend’s farm 35 km west of VZR.  Quite cold there at night.  Note: The gravel road from Askham to VZR is really unpleasant.  (Irregular corrugations without let-up). 




The late afternoon saw us about 30km from VZR, riding some very loose sand at low speed. Chris and I both falling over at 0km/h. I was suffering from sense of humour failure by this stage, Chris and Jim quite unflappable.




Our camp for the night was in the confines of a homestead enclosure,  behind fence and gate, supposedly safe from the creatures of the night....


   
 

Offline White Rhino

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN
« Reply #62 on: October 05, 2011, 03:42:57 am »
Jim handled the incident like a pro. :thumleft:

Love this picture with the halo above the moon - looks like the Close encounter scene with a mature Richard Dreyfus :ricky:

Enter it into the monthly comp...

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Offline Stevie

Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN
« Reply #63 on: October 05, 2011, 11:06:52 am »


The evening breeze was suprisingly chilly as we went about preparing camp and supper. The evening sunset once again - peaceful and beautiful.
The hospitality of the Kalahari folk is to be commended, upon chatting to the farm owner via cellphone we went about our business getting ready for an early night. It wasn't long before a bakkie rolled up at the closed gates - the farmer- his wife had sent him out with fresh fruit & colddrinks. This turned into a very pleasant and interesting visit.
Now just to give a short backround into the event that followed, Chris had been quietly nervous about comments regarding Lions and suchlike, so much so, that he positioned himself snugly in his tent at night - assuming that Jim or myself sleeping under the stars, would appear more appetising to a free roaming Kalahari lion than his green dome tent. His minor concern was some blood that had leaked from one of the packs of chops onto his only pair of shorts!!  ;)

He did not really take the subtle comments that Jim and I had made very seriously and believed we were taking the mickey out of him. I confidently stated that Jim was too tough and leathery (to which Chris agreed) so the lions would only consider him as a last resort, I was too skinny so at best they would use me as a toothpick, Chris however showed promise as the tastiest morsel out of our trio.
I had commented and Jim nodded in agreement that the fence surrounding the homestead (see pic above) was not there to keep burglars out.... the stage unknowingly to us , was set  :3some:

Now on all farms there is usually a big dog of dubious ancestry - this particularly friendly Kalahari one was tall, fawny grey in colour, with a long tail, similar to an Irish Wolfhound, we did not take too  much notice of it as it sniffed around us when we arrived  and then, satisfied, sauntered off to do what farm dogs do best.

Farmers visit over, he got ready to leave, Chris and I walking to open the big silver gates. On the way to the gates Chris jokingly said to "watch out for these supposed big Kalahari Lions".
I just chuckled, enough subtle ribbing had kept the lion issue on his mind, but I gave it no further thought.
I cannot put into words the events of the next 15 seconds to accurately portray what went down, I cannot even remember what Chris said, but herewith the events as they unfolded.
As boys do, after an evening of liquid consumption they will look for the nearest tree - spot the big one just outside the gates in the pic above.... Chris's intended target...
Now with the full moon torches were not necessary, everything visible and coated in that eery moonwash, dark shadows contrasting with the very light Kalahari sand.......
I opened the RHS gate and Chris the left as  he made his way to the tree....
Halfway to the tree,  the safety of the fence and gate 5 paces behind him, Chris spotted the crouched beast in the shadows watching him intently, its tail twitching from side to side. As he stopped it shuffled forward, belly flat on the ground, preparing for the final assault.
Faced with the fight/flight options that presented themselves, Chris did what any Hardcore Nabian biker would do under these circumstances - he ran - towards me!!!!  :o

Now I was totally unaware of the events taking place 10 paces away from me  until Chris was at my side - I still cannot remember what he was saying apart from some squeaks and much relieved sighing -

 ... the farm dog doing figure of eights around our legs, happy for any attention he could get.
 
It took 2 seconds to piece together what had just happened,
that was me ..... :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

Chris told me later during my fits of laughter, that he could feel the cold steel of the claws already in his back as he made his escape bid, thinking that he never imagined leaving this world as Lion Doo-Doo.

Chris was given his Nabian name - NOIL  
He admitted to only being able to do his wee-wee about half an hour later  :ricky:

While lying in bed we were consumed by fits of laughter that lasted well into the night, the best therapy in years.  

Jim's comment of Day 6

Day 6.
Could have stayed on this farm forever, but instead had to get moving.  This was the dreaded fuel-less, water-less 350 kms from VZR to Bray.  Again the road played navigational tricks on me.  I decided to try an alternate road out of VZR in order to avoid all the gates I knew only too well. The alternate route from VZR to Molopo border fence went well until we came across a well and truly locked gate across our path.  65km out of our way and forced to return to VZR and again fuel up.  This lost time now made haste the order of the day, and did I mention those tiring gates.  I wanted to get to Bray, and at least 100km further that day to be sure of making it to Jhb. the following day.  You could say we rode all but flat out the rest of the day, stopping only at Bray for a short fuel and snack break.  Stevie alleviated the gate problem by suggesting that the first rider both opens the gate, and then shuts it again after the others are through without stopping.  The first rider then repeats the procedure. Amazing how much energy this plan saved.  There was some reluctance among the troops at Bray to continue on the additional 100km, but to their credit they responded well to direct orders.  We had all ridden hard for well over 500km that day.  We slept soundly on the fence line knowing we are now only 157km from Mafikeng.  


While on the detour we spotted this Vulture nesting, the mate circling high above. I did not want to get too close and disturb them.
 

So back on the border road all was going well, Chris and I riding hard to keep up with Jim.
After passing the point of my last fall - and hey it was a very sharp corner, I was relieved and settled down to a good pace. Out of no-where with some added brain-fade I was caught again by a sharp right-hander, again not bleeding off enough speed before the corner....

 




I lost about 2 liters of fuel in the fall and had to borrow from Chris later in the day.

Chris had a wee in Botswana while standing in SA (keeping a beady eye out for Lions and suchlike!!)


We stopped in a the shade of a nice tree at the entrance of a game lodge and found Wilddog evidence. Jim scorched his hand when he put it up against the sign that had been baking in the sun all day - much to our amusement.




Customary salute



Jim pushed us hard into Bray where Chris organised emergency takeout padkos.



Chris and I were dreading the next section as this was the baptism of fire we had endured only a few days previously. But our fears were totally unfounded, we managed the 100km past Bray without problem and actually enjoying the conditions. While setting up our last camp Chris and I agreed, that by comparison, this stretch was much easier than what we had just accomplished on worse roads.
Jim inflated and then deflated our ego's in one sentence ...
"if you can ride these roads as you guys have done, you can ride anything. If you fall now, well then, thats just silly" Talk about performance pressure.





Sunrise final day



Campsite



There was to be one last sting in the tail for me on this ride. I woke up feeling very tense about riding, we only had a relatively short section to complete as Chris had arranged for us to be trailered back to JHB from Mafikeng.

The ride started well with us having to slow down and dodge cows and donkeys along the fence line. I had again let Jim get well ahead giving myself time to anticipate corners and the varying terrain. At some point Chris stopped me and told me to relax, my state of mind evident in my riding.
All went well for some time and I slowly got back into my rhythm.
We slowed down for some obstinate cattle that kept running in road, not allowing us to pass. When the break came we were approaching a hill crest, I stood up and gassed up the side only to be greeted by a massive wash-away with the only way out, hard to the right.

 

No escape to the left



I was going fairly quickly, and managed to avoid the big dipper which would have seen me going over the bars. My route to the right was littered with stones, rocks and thornbushes. I chose the best line under the circumstances.I am not sure if I locked the rear wheel or not. My final escape route was blocked by this mother and her two kids lying in the shade of an impenetrable thornbush. My intended line was between them  with only some risk of thorn damage. The front got through  the obstacle, but the bashplate connected with mother and threw me off in a pile of snot, dust and thorns.
I took a heavy hit in the left side that had me gasping for breath - I knew all was not well.
You see where she was lying in wait to where I knocked her - serious kinetic energy. The two lurking kids visible just behind her.
   

Chris was running a little behind me and did not see the fall. He crested the ridge was confronted by the donga and my disappearance (I was out of view behind the bushes). I was very relieved when he was there to lift the bike off my leg and pop me with some happy white pills.
I could feel that my chest and ribs were not too well despite the protection of the chest protector.
I developed a nasty bruise on my left arm, and am still struggling with rib cartilage front and back.

We took 10 minutes to check Gruffy and myself and then set off to find Jim.

Comment from Jim

Day 7.
Another lazy start.  157km of fence line through the old Bophuthatswana Homeland.  A lot of cattle, goats and donkeys to look out for.  I set out at a fast pace, I really like this kind of riding on full alert.  I waited once for Stevie and Chris, and they were not far behind.  I decided not to wait again, and carry on to Mafikeng.  

But soon after this decision I came across a genuine S.A. Police border patrol in the form of Inspector van der Merwe with his 4 x 4 bakkie, and chatted with him for some time.  Infact worryingly too long before Stevie and Chris pitched up.  It transpired that Stevie had taken a tumble in a rocky section and hurt a rib or two.  Stevie decided to take the tar to Mafikeng, and Chris agreed to escort him.  I was left to enjoy the remaining 55km of border fence – which I surely did.  I rejoined the troops at Nandos Mafikeng, and then returned to Johannesburg – very satisfied.  

Chris's comment


Other than three minor falls by our least experienced rider and one standing still fall by me, we got back to Mafeking in one piece.

After a couple of days at home the enormity of the adventure we had just completed struck me. 2700km of serious riding doing between 400 – 500km per day.

Now I know there are some serious guys who can put their leg over just about anything and go anywhere and back but for us mere mortals take care when you plan a route like this.

Here are some pointers:

1. Have an experienced rider with you to help with conditions,
2. Get fit and practice lots before you go,
3. Get the right bike for you,
4. Get the right tyres (Dunlop 606 for me),
5. Get the right size tank and check out fuel points (one of them was closed on our trip),
6. Don’t overload your bike and don’t let the weight go past your rear axle,
7. Try carry luggage very low down. Have a look at the Coyote saddle bag.
8. In soft sand riding at high speed consistently makes the bike more stable and easier to handle at higher speeds.

Finally, I would like to thank Jim Morris (Jimbo) for taking us on this trip and teaching us so much. It was a total blast. Thank you! I still cant believe he is 66, what a Legend!


Tyre condition before the start of the last day
Chris DRZ 400 - started brand new TW52 - handling impressed everyone, lost most tread on the last 2 days


Stevie DR350 - started slightly used D606 (680km - mostly tar) - brilliant, cannot fault it for this type of riding


Jimbo DR350 - D606, already had on Desert Run under the belt (4000km) but was ready to be retired)


What it was all about



My GPS readings, I only switched it off when we stopped for the night.



The Hardcore Volcano run completed, no fanfare, just Nando's and good memories.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 11:49:11 am by Stevie »
 

Offline DeepBass9

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #64 on: October 05, 2011, 11:24:34 am »
 :hello2: Awesome!

Suzooks rule!
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 03:39:20 pm by DeepBass9 »
 

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #65 on: October 05, 2011, 11:51:59 am »
Really really liked reading this. :thumleft:
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Offline Tyre kicker

Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #66 on: October 05, 2011, 03:15:46 pm »
Very very nice report to have read,I must do this more often I tell myself daily!!!!! :thumleft:
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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #67 on: October 05, 2011, 03:23:56 pm »
flippin' awesome!
 

Offline RobC

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #68 on: October 05, 2011, 03:25:43 pm »
Another lekker RR! :thumleft:
 

Offline Malibu

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #69 on: October 05, 2011, 04:31:28 pm »
Terrific report guys, and an experience to remember forever!

;D
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Offline goingnowherequickly

Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #70 on: October 05, 2011, 06:35:29 pm »
Great report
well done, some serious mileage in these conditions daily
 

Offline ernies

Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #71 on: October 05, 2011, 07:15:42 pm »
This looks like that trip of a lifetime. Nice report and picks ….. thanks  :thumleft:
 

Offline Berty77

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #72 on: October 05, 2011, 10:52:57 pm »
B-a-e-utifull!!! This is what its all about  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Lynn

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #73 on: October 06, 2011, 07:36:46 am »
Awesome!   :thumleft:

More gas you say.....
 

Offline Kerritz

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #74 on: October 06, 2011, 07:47:16 am »
Great stuff......very impressed with the Suzie's....showed what can be done on smaller and lighter bikes!!

Thanks for sharing!  :thumleft:
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Offline JIMBO

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Re: NAMIBIAN HARDCORE VOLCANO RUN - Completed
« Reply #75 on: October 06, 2011, 08:07:48 am »
STEVIE, thank you for faithfully and elegantly recording our little ride.  Some embarrassing episodes you could have left out, but did not.  That is fine with me.  

CHRIS, thank you for your companionship and generosity.  It was great having both of you along for the ride.  

When I first conceived this ride, back in May / June this year, it was intended to be 7 days of hard riding on various off-the-road terrain with minimum distractions such as cage traffic, camp sites, and daily targets etc.  I researched with only myself in mind.  Then I started to wonder who was going to open the gates, collect the firewood, light the fire, cook the chops and pick me up when I fell over etc.  The invitation to W.D.s netted two perfect candidates.  Stevie's ability to find wood (where there was none) and get a serviceable fire going was nothing short of amazing.  Chris with his little 250mm x 250mm braai grid and  tongs (Hand pliers) was able to take care of any catering demands.  

All things considered the ride went pretty much as expected.

Thanks again Stevie and Chris.