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Old 05-01-2006, 06:43 AM   #46
metaljockey OP
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Oddometer: 279
Day 6 starts with three helluva hangovers.

We're back in the saddle and before long we hit a riverbed again. Nardus & Hennie are the type of riders that are only happy if the terrain is difficult. Therefor we stick to riverbeds and single track as much as possible. Twin track is still allowed but when we have to use a gravel road they bitch and moan like you won't believe.

This specific river is to be a shortcut rejoining the road we were on. Hennie says "it's about 7km as the crow flies". A word of advice; if anyone uses the phrase 'as the crow flies' in your presence, slap him immediately. You are bound to want to slap him some time later.

This 7km turned into 4 hours in the riverbed from hell with no escape route. The 1200 doesn't like sand. I don't like sand. It's all good and well to say stand up look up open up. It doesn't work that way however in a narrow twisty riverbed with rocks that you have to swerve trough.

This river had the loosest sand that you can imagine. I fell off that front wheel probably 10 - 15 times. After the pick up it's pull away, bog, push the bike over to get it on top of the sand, pick up, pull away, bog, push over, pickup, pullaway, bog, push over etc. By the 4th time someone will help push with the pull away. I will then go for about 30m with engine screaming and then bog again.
I even once went from floating along nicely at 45km/h to bogging down to the belly plate with the back wheel still doing 45km/h.

It was fckng hot. My legs was already shaky to start off with due to the previous nights excesses.

All the while the river got narower and twistier. Mentally you are in a bad way because after 2 hours of this you still don't know whether it is even possible to follow the river to where the twin track crosses again. for all we know there can be a drop off or step up that we can't do. The GPS shows that no-one had gone this way previously. Also, you are past the point where you have the strength to turn back and redo all the suffering you just went through.

I really worked hard. My shins were also getting an almighty bashing.

Pleading, praying or letting the tyres down. Take your pick.

I took my tyres down to 0.7 of a bar and left it at that for the rest of the trip.

I'm used to heat and humidity at the coast. The heat here is something different entirely. It's like a fckng furnace. The sun just plain blasts away at you like it wants to kill you.

Then we come to an area where the river level goes up three steps. We can't get out of the riverbed to go around and we don't have the balls to turn around and go back.

We walk the area and it looks do-able. I go first.

Its a little tricky, when your front tyre starts climbing onto the rock your back wheel is still doing about 50km/h. I get to the top of the first step no problem.

I make it to the top of the second step.

I also clear the third one and I'm feeling like No1!

Things were to turn ugly really quickly though.

Hennie lining up for the first step.

Clearing it nicely.

After Nardus also makes it to the top he notices that the 1200 is bleeding profusely.

We......... are......... FUCKED!

No recovery vehicle can even get close to here.

We quickly throw the bike on it's side to try and keep what oil is left inside.

There's the problem. just above the bashplate mounting thread.

Now, lets turn the clock back 24 hrs. We're at Epupa falls. The river is thundering over the falls, lovely shade under the palm trees and Nardus & I go to have a beer or two at a nearby cuca shop. I am surprised to see four cans of motor oil on a shelf between the normal cans of chilli sardines and bars of sunlight soap. I think to myself :wtf, motor oil, here? It's got to be a sign. So I buy a can.
24hours later , hell yeah, it was a sign.

An hour or so later and we are almost ready to roll again. Pratley Steel to the rescue; the best thing since the invention of the crank case.

The bike must have come down straight onto a bash plate bolt. It's not recessed like the original plate. Also the mounting rubbers was removed when they sheared off three days prior. So, it appears the german engineer bstrds are brighter than me. But let me say this; it's a bonehead idea to mount a bashplate straight onto an engine casing in the first instance. It is the achilles heel of the GS and will also be so for the HP2.

Back to the trip. We also finally make it out of that damn riverbed. I used up two days supply of water though and when we come to a borehole I fight a herd of goats for a refill.

metaljockey screwed with this post 07-01-2006 at 10:43 PM
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:33 AM   #47
reading is hard
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great report, outstanding

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Old 05-01-2006, 07:39 AM   #48
My bike... my lifestyle!
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Joined: Mar 2005
Location: BRAZIL
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Keep the pics coming!

And hey... drinking and driving!
São José dos Campos, São Paulo, BRAZIL
'91 XT600Z Ténéré (a.k.a. YAMAHA 2VG)

Visit my Flickr!
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:13 AM   #49
X Banana Boy
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Location: St. Louis
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Eish this is a very lekker report. I have had braaied goats meat when it was still South West Africa. I can feel the pain of your teeth. Waiting patiently for the next installment.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:37 PM   #50
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It's stuff like this that makes a life worth living. Thanks for a great report.
I cannot bring a world quite round,/ Although I patch it as I can./ Stevens
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:41 AM   #51
Andrew to most
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Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Southern Tip of Africa
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Got to agree with you, that part of the world is incredibly beautiful and affects me a lot when I do go there.

Stunning photo's, great adventure!

I think that part of the world is truely a great adventure bike paradise and one can dial in your adventure experience to suit any taste. You guys seemed to have dialed into the red zone.

I often wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost
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Old 05-02-2006, 02:28 AM   #52
need constant supervision
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Location: Canberra ACT
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frikken brilliant, an adventure indeed
Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out? Will Rogers
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Old 05-02-2006, 04:02 AM   #53
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Tip of Africa
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Only in Africa Boet

Nice report, a stage up on Baviaanskloof i'd say.
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:59 PM   #54
metaljockey OP
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Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Oddometer: 279
We again pass through the rocky hills where my bashplate was ripped off before. Now, I have to be extra carefull and the going is slow. One more hit and that casing will break properly.

We reach Van Zyl's pass and the going is getting more difficult. Hennie fell at the exact spot where I am In this next pic. I should've taken a pic but the bike landed on his leg, and the decent bloke that I am , I instead lifted the bike to free him. Prime leg-breaking situation.

Halfway down the pass there is a viewpoint.

Down below lies the Marienfluss. We will shortly be riding down there.

In 1995 this is where we turned around; I get to finish what I started. It feels good.

Down below the pass continues. It's almost impossible to take a mediocre photo in Namibia.

A happy chappie at the bottom.

Having spent four hours in the riverbed from hell, we ran out of daylight. We still had some way to go as we wanted to move up the Marienfluss to reach the Kunene river again. So, sorry no pics, we were making time.

When we get to Camp Syncro on the Kunene just after dark we cannot help ourselves and we jump and roll around like children on the soft cool green little patch of lawn. The staff looks on in amazement. Here's the lawn.

That concludes day 6.
Definately the hardest day, also the low point of the trip, (what with the sump problem and all), still, an excellent day's memories, good riding, natural beauty, some personal growth, the good feeling of having accomplished what you set out to do and an amazing experience.
There's a saying: 'a bad day's fishing still beats a good day at the office'; I say, there's no such thing as a bad day's riding.
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Old 05-02-2006, 05:04 PM   #55
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Location: South Ockendon, Essex, UK
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Originally Posted by metaljockey

When I was there in 1994 we avoided this pass because we thought it would be too dangerous - and we were in 4x4's! We were right. Respect!
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:36 PM   #56
Ogri Rules!
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: $h!thole, CT
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Thumb Wow!

Absolutly unfreakingbelievable!!
Allergic to stupidity

Wrathchild screwed with this post 05-29-2006 at 12:26 AM
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Old 05-02-2006, 10:14 PM   #57
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Outstanding report in all respects!
Always mindful of obstruction, do your duty, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail.
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:07 PM   #58
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Location: Denton, TX
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These types of reports are my favorite. Beautiful country, great bikes, great pics, great cultures, great........ everything.

Keep it up dude, we want more!
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:06 PM   #59
metaljockey OP
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Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Day 7.

We meet the owner of Camp Syncro, Koos. It turns out to be one of those rare people that has actually spent some time thinking about life. It was an absolute treat to have long discussions about all kinds of topics with him.

Even though we had a rest day only the day before we decide to have another one. The Marienfluss is a really remote area. Even with the extra 10l of fuel we each carried, we could not make it to the next fuel stop. Hennie had arranged with Koos some months before to stock up on fuel for us. It meant a 4 day round trip for Koos to fetch the fuel. And he knows the route by heart. He charged us a 50% mark up, fair enough.

We spent most of the day just lying in the shade solving all the world's problems and philosaphizing.. phisolofising.. philosophzing,, phsolofi...... you know what I mean. We covered every topic under the sun, I was surprised to find that we were ad idem on many things. I don't normally get too many people agreeing with my sometimes 'different' views on several topics. It was such a laid back day that no-one took any pics of our outing to swim in the river, the dead croc we found, the live crocs we passed while canoeing, the incredibly beautifull mountains on the Angolan side of the river or anything else for that matter.

The next morning before sunrise, just before we left, I tried to take some pics. Not much, but they do
to some extent convey the remoteness and solitude of the place. I won't pollute them with words, here they are:

There you go.

metaljockey screwed with this post 07-01-2006 at 10:47 PM
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:29 PM   #60
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: SF, California
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Spectacular adventure!

Thanks so much for sharing with us.
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