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Offline LeonDude

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Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« on: November 15, 2011, 09:20:42 pm »
Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia by Cave Girl and LeonDude

After months and months of planning, this is the route that we plan on taking. Our schedule is flexible, and we plan on just following our noses more than our GPSs. The planning route looks a bit rough, because I posted many waypoints to force the gps to go where I wanted it to go. The planned route would be about 4000 kilometers.


This is the actual route we took on day one.
 

Day 1
Coligny to Warrenton



We leave early in the morning after Slakkie, at whose house we were leaving our car and trailler, made us some departing coffee. With fully loaded bikes we make our way out of the quiet little town.
It takes a bit of time to get use to the fully loaded bikes, but we soon set into a comfortable pace and quickly reach the little town of Ottosdal, where we take a picture of our bikes in front of the church. Taking pictures of my bike in front of churches in the little town became a bit of a hobby with me at some time.

Then Cave Girl asks if we can turn back to the cemetary because she thought it weird that such a small town should have such a big cemetary.

The dates in the cemetary explains its size, they go right back to early 1900.

And angel on a grave.


We have a coffee in the cemetary and then push on through Wolmaranstad.


The gravel has a few sandy patches, and we take some time to find our gravel feet.


Getting off the dirt just before Bloemhof we hit what was to be the first of many stop and go roadworks for this trip.
After some more gravel just South of the Vaal river we stop in Christiana just after 2 oclock for a lunch and a beer.
The church in Christiana


This day was to be the first day of only two days that we had a beer with our lunch.

The rest of the trip we did not drink anything before parking our bikes for the night. The only other time we had a beer with our lunch was at Kenhardt Hotel, where Eeton is a difficult character to get away from.
But back to todays riding, after a nice lunch, served with speed usually unknown in small towns at Lillys Grill house and pub, we head out again to Warrenton.
That night we sleep in what feels like a very dangerous campsite and is called Transka campsite, but in the end I dont think we need to have worried. The ablutions were clean and locked, we were the only campers and were given the key to the ablutions, so we had them all to ourselves. Probably the most dangerous thing around that evening were the two bikers drinking beer on the first night of their long journey.
The campsite

We spend the evening with the bat detector turned on listening to the echos of the bats and talking about the day past, and the trip that lies ahead.

A note by CG read The one thing I have realized is If I let Leon ride 200 300 meters in front of me then I tend to look up better (Higher) and because I cant actually see his bikes movements or line I can/do pick my own line and ride my own ride.



Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

Offline Cave Girl

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 12:56:16 pm »
Tahnks for taking the trouble fo do the RR   :thumleft: - really sorry I lots the camera!
Even on days when you don't have the time or the energy, you are still the centre of your pet's world!
Avatar pic courtesy of Gerhard du Preez!!
 

Offline LeonDude

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 08:14:56 pm »
Day 2
Warrenton to Prieska



I had wanted to leave our overnight spot at seven oclock each morning, but this morning we leave at 8. This was to become the norm on this trip, and I quickly made peace with it. Its worth it to take the extra time in the morning to make sure you have a good breakfast and that the luggage is packed correctly on the bike, instead of stopping to try and correct things once your days riding has gotten under way.



We want to change the route a bit, but after ending at a locked gate we make a thirty kilometer detour skirting Kimberly to get back on route, and of course ride straight into a stop and go. We do take the time to go to a site of glaciated rocks along the road.



That is one of the main things about keeping our days riding distances short we can stop at interresting points along the route instead of just shooting past like we sometimes do.
We also start wearing our water vests (Hydravest) to take off the heat, much sooner than planned, as we had actually brought them along for the trip through Namibia. They work wonders, and keep us cool for more than an hour before we have to wet them again.



We visit the confluence of the Orange and the Vaal rivers, a site Ive only seen in the distance from the opposite bank two years ago.



I also piss myself off no end when, getting off my bike wrong, I drag the steel tip of my boot over my tank and leave a long bloody scratch in the paintwork. Idiot.



Because of the detours and stop and go situation we have to skip some dirt to make up time. When we do ride gravel the roads are in excellent condition though, and the patches of thick gravel beds hardly bother us. Even on the second day of the trip, I am really enjoying the fact that I went for training with Hoofseun, it makes the riding easy and I have a lot less work to do to keep the bike true than on previous big trips.


Late afternoon we roll into Prieska. After having a quick look at the municipal campsite we get the hell out of there and find a B&B that will allow us to pitch our tent on their lawn for the night. We spend a wonderful evening next to the campfire, what a pleasure.


Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

Offline LeonDude

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 08:45:52 pm »
Day 3
Prieska to Karasburg



We have a long road ahead of us today, we have to do 510 kilos from Prieska to Karasburg. I plan on taking it easy and sitting out the heat of the day in a pub in Upington.
We hit the N10 and Im going easy, but ten kilos out of town I notice that CG has gone from my rear view mirror, so I pull up and wait for her.
I used to go back to check on her, but we decided that she would stop for pictures wherever she wanted to, and I would rather just wait for her instead of going back all the time.
This time though, it takes her a long time to get to me, and her bike is sick. It will rev to about 2 thousand revs, then fart and burp and refuse to rev higher.
The broken bike


We have no choice, the luggage comes off and the toolkit comes out and I set to work. I check the fuel line, then take of the plastics, seat and tank and replace the spark plug. Now note that Prieska is not a cool town, and Im shedding clothes as far as I go. Everytime I change something I have to put the tank and fuel lines back before I can test the bike, and it takes forever. Eventually, having run out of options, I decide I want to drain the carb float bowl, and miraculously I discover an allan key that will fit in my toolkit. Just as miraculously, the bike fires up and goes after the float bowl is drained, and I feel like a genius. Unfortunately this whole episode has cost us two and a half hours, and we are now well behind schedule. Thats not really a problem though, our schedule is flexible and and we can sleep in Upington if we arrive there very late.

Stopping at a dam to wet our hydravests


The Orange river just before Upington


But we set off and push just a bit harder than I had wanted to. There were a few stop and gos, but they never kept us up for long. At the first stop and go CGs bike wont start, but I dont tell her its because I pulled the clutch switch out while testing earlier I just wait until shes not looking and then put the switch back he he he.

We stop briefly in Groblershoop for cooldrinks and to be begged at, then push on.

We get to Upington at around the time I had actually wanted to leave there, so we just stop for Ice and cooldrinks and to be begged at, then push on.
Being begged at would become a constant irritation on this trip, and on more than one occasion a begger almost came short when he approached a hot and irritable biker.

The road from Upington to the Namibian border






The tar road from Upington to the Namibian border is in good condition and border formalities are quick and painless, and pretty soon my bike is parked with its arse in South Africa and its nose in Namibia. Its always a fantastic feeling, taking your bike into a new country and unknown territory for the first time. 

Playing around on the border line.








We head on and at the Nam border the formalities are also quick and easy, and then we head off to Karasburg, elated to be riding in Namibia.
In Karasburg the plan had always been not to camp, so we find the Karasburg Hotel and settle in for the night. Unfortunately for us the hotel has just been sold and the ex owners are not really looking after the guests anymore, so the rooms and food is not up to much. But the beer is cold, and that is what matters to most to us.


Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2011, 02:27:22 pm »
Lekker man LeonDude :thumleft: .Did you get your camera back or were these pics taken with another camera?
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Offline RobC

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2011, 02:41:40 pm »
Great RR... :thumleft:

For the tank... get some neoprene sheet like I did. :mwink:
 

Offline LeonDude

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2011, 02:51:34 pm »
Lekker man LeonDude :thumleft: .Did you get your camera back or were these pics taken with another camera?
It was Cave Girls' camera that went AWOL, we never got it back. These pics were taken with my camera. CG bought a new camera in Port Nolloth, so from there we have pics from her again.
Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

Offline LeonDude

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2011, 05:01:59 pm »
Day 4
Karasburg to Hobas



Early morning in Karasburg sees us ready to tackle the first dirt road. With the recent threads on the forum about Namibian dirt roads Im a bit sceptical about what we will find, but we make our way down to the Spar where CG goes in to buy ice for our camelbacks and some other supplies while I guard the bikes while being begged at.
While waiting for CG, I go over the bikes and check for missing bolts etc but everything is in order, the bikes are ready for Namibias dirt. Until, that is, CG comes back and mysteriously, by rear wheel has deflated itself.

Oh well, we were expecting this and Im prepared, so we unpack the kit and out comes the puncture repair stuff and after strapping the bike to a pole I set about fixing the puncture.

Inspecting the damage

How to strap up a bike


This turns out to be a messy job as the valve had torn out of the tube and the fuggit was everywhere. I toss the tube with the torn out valve and replace it with a new tube. Now for the lucky bit, there is a petrol station with a pump a mere twenty paces from me where I can inflate the tyre.
After struggling for a while to set the bead I hear the fain sssssss of air escaping. This leads to the reason for the torn out valve theres a nail in the wheel and Id ridden the bike while the wheel was flat. Really irritating, but there is nothing for it but to remove the tube again. We decide to replace the tube with our last spare and to patch the now punctured tube later.

So once again, we leave town much later than we would have hoped.
Right outside Karasburg we hit our first sandy riverbed, and immediately I start having serious issues with my riding. Im not enjoying the riding, because Im constantly on the lookout for sandy patches. Appart from that Im tyred after repairing two punctures, and it takes us until the heat of mid day to reach Ais Ais.

Gravel roads

A short hop on tar

Back onto more gravel.




Its only on the twisties going down into Ais Ais that I finally start enjoying the riding. Forget about everything you might have read about Namibian dirt highways what you want to do here is keep your eyes open for the little drifts every few hundred meters, because the gravel in some of them is deep enough to catch you out. The road going into Ais Ais is spectacular though, well worth the ride down.



At Ais Ais Im surprised that they simply let us in. It is sweltering hot inside the canyon, and we head straight for the restaurant for some cooldrinks and something to eat. After eating we wet and put on our water vests, then to the garage to fill our bikes with fuel. At the garage another biker comes in on a Yammie Tenere, but simply gives us a look and continues on his way.
We fill up the bikes and buy a big bag of ice for the Camelbacks. After filling the camelbacks and the coolerbag there is lots of ice left. In the sweltering heat we decide we will have to look after our ice carefully, so to keep our ice warm we stuff it into our pockets. CG stuffs some down the front and back of her now wet water vest. Into every part of our clothes that does not need to stay dry we pack the ice. Then we leave Ais Ais and head out of the valley, but before we reach the plato all the ice we had so carefully pocketed had melted and even the wet patches are gone.
On the way out the sun was right above us, and I was to learn that this is a dangerous time to be on the road in Namibia. You simply cannot see the road surface to read what is happening. They were scraping the road, and under the glare of the sun I did not see the high sand berm that the scraper had left lying in the middle of the road, and I came very close to riding into this berm without warning. It could have made for interresting times.

 

Once out of the valley I was much more comfortable on the dirt, even though the roads were not in as good a condition as I had been led to believe they would be. Still, I now enjoyed the riding and the road to Hobas disappeared quickly.





A kilometer or two out of Hobas I was to have another scare as I came over a little hill and the road dropped sharply below me, with an even sharper drop just as the road made a slight curve at the bottom. I was doing a good speed, and from the top the road looked in excellent condition but I had read it completely wrong, it was covered in marble like pebbles, and I found myself sliding all over the place on the stuff. Its one of those moments where you just have to look up at where you want to go and trust in your bike. But still it leaves your underpants worried about the rest of the trip.

Hobas


The price they wanted to charge me for wanting to go to the lookout point left a bad taste in my mouth, and I told the guy its a rip off and walked out of his office. Seriously, its just a view and its not going anywhere, and the ablutions at the lookout point are out of order.
That night it took a lot of talking to myself to get back into the right frame of mind to enjoy the trip, but by the next morning I had decided to enjoy the trip come what may.

Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

Offline Heimer

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs – Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2011, 05:07:25 pm »
I have never paid to go see the canyon. You just go. There are no gates

Nice RR b.t.w.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 05:08:14 pm by Heimer »

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Offline LeonDude

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 02:49:04 pm »
Day 5
Hobas to Kokerboom forest



By now were joking about what is going to go wrong with the bikes today, but strangely this morning everything goes well with the bikes.

In the morning I send CG to negotiate about the entry fee and she got us a 30% discount so we were off to the viewpoint.



There is nothing that can be said for the viewpoint at Hobas, except that these pictures really are not good enough. Like all really good sites, it is something you have to go and experience for yourself.







From there it was back to Hobas campsite to buy ice and cooldrinks for the road, and then we set off for Seeheim. Strangely, I found that the secondary dirt roads were in a better condition than the main dirt roads, I suppose because they are used less. What was bad was the clouds of dust that the cars and plentiful tourist busses kicked up.

Namibia is an unforgiving place death is close by, and carcasses dry out quickly.


On the road we met Helga and Bruno, two Europeans cycling through a part of Africa. They were very friendly and allowed me to take their photo, but I did not want to keep them up, because cycling through the hot sun in Namibia is hard work. They are going down to Cape Town and then up our Eastern coast, and we wished them lots of luck with their journey.




CG had a lot of dust to deal with behind me, and kept a good distance away.


At Seeheim we stopped at the Hotel and after getting some cooldrinks and cooling off we found out they could decant fuel for us, so we could fill up on our way through to our camping spot.



(Somewhere along the line I had made a calculation error on Mapsource, and a route that was supposed to be over 400 kilos turned out to be under 300 kilos. Ill have to speak to my computer about this abbarant behaviour. It meant we carried a lot of unneeded fuel.)

From Seeheim we shot through Keetmanshoop to the Quiver Tree Forest (Kokerboom woud) where we were supposed to camp for the night. At their reception I got the price for camping which would include the entry to the forest and the Giants playground and quickly agreed to it. Well, that was just as quickly overruled by CG who had decided on better beds for the night and promply got us an igloo to stay in. Nice place, with an aircon included.
We set off and went and played in the quiver tree forest, but not for long because the lady had said they would be feeding the Cheetahs at 5 oclock. That was to be a bonus for us.









The Cheetah feeding was great. The lady allowed us in and we got to take some great pics, and it was an experience I will always carry with me. We even got to pet the one Cheetah, something that CG just couldnt get enough of.











Ah yes, something was bound to go wrong with the bikes!
Back at camp I want to move the bikes for some reason, and this is where I find a problem. CGs bike has a flat battery. No problem, I think as I take out the electrical cord to jump start her bike from mine. Its only then that I find out that my KLR does not have the power to start CGs bike. After trying in vain for half an hour we call in the help of a car and quickly the bike is running again.





That night we make a good size fire and take time to sort out our kit, all the time running up a sizeable bill by making use of the well stocked fridge in the flat.

Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

Offline eSKaPe

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2011, 03:22:07 pm »
Looking like a great RR so keep it coming L
 

Offline captain jack

Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2011, 03:42:05 pm »
lekker :thumleft:
 

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2011, 03:46:23 pm »
 :thumleft: thanks for posting
 

Offline Laban

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2011, 04:07:50 pm »


Thanks Dude  :thumleft:
..."sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey, they don't need to, it's not for them"...Joubert Botha

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2011, 04:23:30 pm »
great adventure, lovely write up...you two have such fun!  :thumleft: thanks.

 "There is no happiness for him who does not travel...Therefore, wander... The fortune of him who is sitting sits, it rises when he rises, it sleeps when he sleeps, it moves when he moves... Therefore, wander!"...The Rig Veda - 800 - 600 BC..

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Offline LeonDude

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2011, 04:33:00 pm »
Day 6
Kokerboom forest to night camp



We get up early and go see the sun rise at the Giants Playground, and I get to take some nice photies while playing with the sun coming through various cracks and crevices in the rocks
















On the way back from there to camp we pass the Cheetah enclosure and I see the cats walking next to the fence.



After stopping for a few photos I take off again, and as always keep my eyes on the road. Back at our possie CG is very excited. Apparently, the moment I took off on my bike, the one Cheetah gave chace, racing after me. So there you have it, Ive been chased by a Cheetah!

After booking out we head into Keetmanshoop for petrol and some supplies. While watching the bikes outside the shop I befriend the local streetsweeper who surprises the hell out of me by not begging for money. We have a long chat, which he interrupts every time someone walks by to greet them, often by name. When I ask him where I can find some empty two litre coke bottles for extra fuel he quickly produces exactly what Im looking for, and we have a great chat as he tells me a bit about Namibia.
We fill up our bikes and the fuel bottles and buy a take away breakfast, then head out of town to eat the breakfast. Soon we are on the road again and at Seeheim we again fill the bikes, just to be on the safe side.

Just outside Seeheim, crossing the Fish River, a big thud hits me in the throat, immediately followed by a hot burning sensation. Man, dont you just hate it when that happens! Grabbing at my buff to stop whatever it is from stinging me again I quickly get off the road and start pulling off kit with the usual Damn theres a wasp in here somewhere feeling.
The German tourists must have been very ammused when I stomped that little shit into the ground with my boot!
 
Some way further west we take the D463 South towards the Fish River Canyon. The plan is to ride to a spot in a dry riverbed and camp there for the night. The road is not too bad and we make good time, eventually stopping for an hour under the only shade tree for miles around to have a rest before continuing on our dusty way.









Close to the canyon the road becomes more and more sandy, with long gravel beds lurking every few hundred meters.







We get to a watercrossing, in the middle of the desert. I remembered seeing this on mapsource, but had never expected to find water in here.



CG grabs the cameras and walks across, leaving me to bring the bikes through. Its quite deep, and when I put my feet down on a rocky part my boots are immediately filled with water. Usually I would have hated this, but in that hot desert my feet for once thanked me.







CG meanwhile is using my camera to take pictures of me coming through the water, which is a blessing because its at this water crossing that CG somehow manages to lose her camera.
We did ask some guys to go look for it, but they took a different route and did not find the camera. Its a real shame about our photos, so if you hear about a camera found near to the watercrossing on the D463, we only want the photos on the card, the camera can be kept.
After the watercrossing we decide to go on for a while more as its a bit too early to set up camp yet. After another few kilos we start looking for a campsite. Bypassing a few likely looking spots, all the while riding the long sandy and rocky riverbeds, CG comes face to face with the sandmonster. This stuff is thick sand filled with large pebbles, not the easiest stuff to ride.



I rode this particularly bad gravel bed for about a hundred meters around two beds. The moment I got out of it I got off the bike and started walking back, wanting to make sure that CG was doing ok, only to find her trapped under the bike two turns back.
After lifting the bike off her I take the luggage off and get the bike upright again. CG had twisted her knee badly, and was in a lot of pain. No pics of the off, but when your GF has an off in the middle of nowhere you dont think about cameras.
She can hobble along a bit, so I tell her to walk to the end of the graveltrap while I carry out her luggage. Its freaky hot and I sweat like a pig in my gear while I carry the panniers out, then walk back for the bike. I tie the last bit of luggage back onto the bike and ride the bike out.

I know we wont be able to continue for the day, so I tell CG were camping right there in the riverbed. To make sure that I dont make things too easy for myself I try to ride CGs bike up the riverbed to hide it behind some trees. Id barely left the graveltrap when the bikes rear wheel sinks down to the axle in the soft riversand. I leave it standing there and we only dig it out after Id put up our tent and set up camp. In the meantime I move my bike off the riding line in the road and park it where it will be safe in the graveltrap.


By this time CG had decided that shed probably be able to ride the bike, so our situation is not too gloomy, and we spend a fantastic evening under the wild Namibian sky, where there are so many stars that you cannot see the nightsky for stars.













We even had a little sand snake come visit our campsite.



Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N664WIH
Check out my website for free short stories!
http://www.leondekock.com/short_stories.html
 

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2011, 04:54:27 pm »
Real adventure stuff, LD & CG!  It was good to meet you guys on the road after the Bash.
 

Offline Firesquirrel

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    Location: Gauteng
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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2011, 05:04:10 pm »
Lekker julle twee... laat mens wens daar is meer tyd in die jaar ........  lyk soos awesome trip... :ricky:
Current Bikes :  KTM 690
 

Offline Loneman

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2011, 05:54:56 pm »
Lekker man, sien uit na die res.
 

Offline Panjo

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Re: Rides, Reflections and Repairs Year end bash via Namibia
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2011, 03:49:27 am »
Guys, awesome adventure. I love Nam. Beautiful country. Great RR,  you two are Legends. Thanks for sharing.
KTM 990 Adventure ABS
BMW 1150 GSA "DAS PEEG"
Vespa 150 PX -Sold
KTM 950 Adventure S  - Dark Knight -Sold
KTM 640-e -Sold Klr 650 -Sold kle 500 -Sold BMW C1-200 Exec -Sold BMW C1-125 - Sold