|05-11-2008, 08:55 AM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: South Africa
Namaqua land, and the three adventurous girls.
From the onset, this was going to be a trip like no other. For one it’s going to be the woman’ first proper, “challenge yourself”-type trip, and to add some fun to the trip Metaljockey’s 4 year old daughter accompanied us. We could not do this trip without her, she loves riding bike, and this was going to be good fun for her.
Metaljockey had the planning sorted and because they previously did this trail with their vehicle, had a better knowledge of the area. It aided the planning around stops and sleepovers, accommodating the needs of the ever-playful MissMJ.
The plan was to start at Pofadder and ride our way quite leisurely towards the Richtersveld and then towards Port Nolloth. Off road all the way, even trying to skip the bigger dirt roads. We booked into a B&B in Augrabies called The Fox’s lair, a wonderful place with very friendly people, who even allowed us to leave the Combi and trailer there for the week under a huge carport.
When did Namibia get independence? 20 What! Years ago? And this board still shows Suid Wes Afrika?! Some things never change.
Springbok is an antelope and translate to Spring buck, Pofadder is a Puff adder, very toxic snake in Africa
Somewhere-Els and myself loaded the bikes and rode of towards Onseepkans from Augrabies the next morning, while MJ went the tar way to Onseepkans to leave their bus there. We were met by a friendly KLR riding farmer who just told MJ, “No problem leave your bus here on the farm, it will be save”
It took some time to get them kitted up and to make sure missMJ is comfortable and save. We just can’t wait to get on our way for some serious fun. As we leave Onseepkans, I stop next to MJ and I quote: “Don’t worry I will look after the girls, you can get use to riding sitting down with MissMJ.” Those words would still come back to haunt me!
Just outside Pofadder we turned of onto the Namakwa 4x4 trail that runs along the Orange River to Vioolsdrift and then into the Richterveld.
It’s a little evil piece of dirt track, no warning and sand, sand, and sand!!! Two spoor track and with the holiday makers and all the big 4x4’s creating new tracks and worsening the old ones for us. This is not sea sand, or dune sand, this is proper river bed sand.
If you have never ridden in a riverbed with river sand, it’s difficult to describe. It’s a very course sand with virtually no grip or resistance to help with steering or cornering. The sand grabs your wheel and forces it into a direction, while the back wheel just spins up and you have to keep the bike floating at high speed, and when you tap off, you snake like hell until you hit the dirt like a slaughtered ox!
Add to that sharp 90-degree corners, bushes in your track, round riverbed rocks, and it all adds to the excitement and white-eye ball look.
Everybody got a quick wake up call, like getting a bucket of cold water in your face you did not expected.
The first riverbed and the struggle starts, the DRZ did the best of the lot, it’s the best thing since sliced toast. Mrs MJ struggled the first 2 days just getting the nerves calmed down and adjusting to the bike and sand, after that she was riding that DRZ like Satan was on her ass chasing it to hell.
Some more riverbeds and more assistance, slowly the girls adjust to the idea of full throttle, look up, and stay on the pegs. We were sweating and heaving like unfit scrum forwards. It was not going any better for me, as I was riding at the back picking up bikes. Stopping the 1200 in sand and getting it to float is a kind of scary dance all of it’s own.
As we enter Klein Pella the afternoon MrsMJ got a puncture on the DRZ 500m before the camp, we were already bloody hot and it was late. ‘Some’ beers were consumed while fixing the puncture. This bloody piece of shit puncture came back to trouble us with more problems over the next 2 days!!
Klein Pella is a welcoming oasis in this arid landscape, wonderful affordable aircon bungalows, and lots of cold beers in an honesty bar. We paid 30US$ per bungalow, and the food was great. Camping facilities were available, but at that stage we though it better to splash out than camp, not even one debate came up. The heat must be unbearable when you build an additional roof to escape the heat!
As for MJ, he suddenly had his work cut out for him. MrsMJ made it clear he will not drop his bike!! He had to use all his hard earned sand riding skills, and, it took him a while to get used to the sitting down all the time. They got a special harness from the USA specifically for children that want to enjoy riding with mom or dad. It gets attached around your waist, the child sits in a harness that holds them upright in case they fall asleep or have no footing on the pegs. Quite an ingenious contraption.
We never really saw MJ, he was riding in the front finding the track, because Tracks4Africa and the actual route was sometimes a bit off, nothing serious, just a couple of u-turns every now and then.
The next morning while the MJ’ family was busy loading Somewhere-Els and Myself rode down to the date plantation, situated right along the banks of the Orange River. It was absolutely beautiful seeing those old date trees. The contrast between the dry mountain background and this luscious green piece of earth is difficult to explain.
The Nile must look and feel like this. Add to the dry hot air and it’s easy to imagine yourself a couple of thousand miles away.
This route snakes through most of the dry river beds along the Orange river and for obvious reasons, it’s actually easier and faster for 4x4’s here. Bikes, more difficult and demanding, but for sure the most fun!!
If you ever want a migraine early in the morning, go ride a stretch of sand like this just after a hearty breakfast, it’s scary as hell, but the fun factor is off the chart. The best way to start … never ease into a ride, it makes you lazy, start with the wake up juice!!
We frequently stop to rest and give MissMJ a chance to explore her surroundings. She just loved it, not once did she moan or bitch, we could not believe that she actually adapted to the ride that easily. We planned to adjust to her level of energy and ride according to her willingness. She made it easy for us all, she even fell asleep on the back of the bike letting MJ work his ass off keeping the bike in the sandy tracks.
Getting her back on the bike while she’s playing turned into a game itself …
I just wanna ride man, riiiide, riiiide!!!! (Wild Hogs) 8) ;D
michnus screwed with this post 05-11-2008 at 09:06 AM
|05-12-2008, 12:57 PM||#7|
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: South Africa
The beauty of the surrounding area was just mind blowing, if only I had the capacity to keep a mental video clip. The smells, the heat, the dust, all contributed making this a perfect memory. Just a pity my picture taking ability can’t do justice to this incredibly beautiful place.
We took another break just outside the small settlement called Witbank on the banks of the Orange River. It’s midday and it’s close to 37 degrees. The puncture in the back tube on the DRZ was back ... This was becoming a mild irritation ... MJ and myself thought we knew how to fix punctures, but for some stupid reason we were unable to kick this ones ass.
The electric pump MJ brought with on the trip had a short swim in spilled petrol and the seals inside got damage. It was up to the tried and tested hand pump to stand in, exactly 100 strokes per bar, give or take some.
Just to mention, we figured we would be able to get petrol at Vioolsdrift, so no need to carry extra petrol except for the DRZ, and again the trusty doos-wine-silver-plastic bags had to do. It was one of them that got a small leak and damaged the pump.
Close to our overnight-spot at the river the DRZ back wheel went flat again. Fuck!!! It was around fourish in the afternoon and the sun was still trying to burn you into the soil. We had to get out of here, and fast. As long as you ride it cools the body, the moment you stop your heat gauge hit max and the sun sucks the moisture out of you.
Decided to fit a new tube and fix the other later that night, in haste I did not do what I was suppose to do ... inflate the tube slightly before fitting ... it happened, the tube got a snakebite!!! FucK me!! Basterd, this was all we needed now in this heat!
In the end we left the bike there for the night and decided to come back early the next morning with the fixed tube. It was already close to six.
A beautiful morning, how would you like to own a property right here, and wake up every morning to this view? Just spectacular. We had some coffee, enjoyed the cool water and were off into the direction of Goodhouse.
Again a puncture, we haven’t even travelled 40km and it’s flat again! For some reason the patches do not stick, we tried new solution different patches, drying longer. Nothing worked. One thing I vowed to do when back home, was to find ways of fixing a flat when every thing else fails. Surely duct tape can also work!?
We have used most of the patches and we could not take a chance for the rest of the trip, somehow we had to fix it and get new tubes somewhere.
Goodness, the people from Goodhouse are all just the Goodest people you will meet in your life. We had a rest at this house serving as a tuckshop. We bought all her cold drinks and even got a guy to organise us some big Carlings.
MissMJ, as usual, quickly made some friends and a KLR badge oil leaking wire car took up all of her interest.
We left an hour later and as we rounded a corner outside Goodhouse the DRZ back wheel was flat again!!!!!
At this stage both of us were really tired of the shit, and we decided, I would ride to Springbok and go buy some new tubes. It was only a 160km round trip. In the meantime the rest could enjoy the hospitality of the river.
The road to Springbok is biking nirvana, fast, lots of fish tailing, turns, and slides. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Coming back I was met with this picture panorama of desolation and expanse. What a place!!
The sun was setting fast and we decided to camp at the nearest place we can find close to the river. As with all the locals a friendly young man at a home next to the river showed us a perfect camping spot right on the banks with our own lawn and splash pool.
The next morning the moment the sun broke the back of the mountain, we were up. It was going to be a difficult day, we just did not knew it yet.
We stopped at the house again to say thanks for the help and got offered water and a 5L frozen water bottle. What a pity none of us could carry it.
The locals beds are under the carport, everybody sleeps outside. I ask the man what they do for a living, he just replied. “ No not much, we just stay here” Does not sound to bad to me, I can get quite use to this laid back no nonsense life. Some people are truly rich!
More sand, great, but this is a different style, fast, “sand grabbers” and the sand ridges weaves into each other, gas it! gas it!! Because you open up the throttle all the time, you end up fish tailing going down the road at high speed. This is fall-your-ass-to-kingdom-come-country. Why is it then so difficult to stop smiling I just loved it, it's addictive, crazy, man it's pure fun.
What are we waiting for dad? Let’s go!
The three most important things on any trip........The third: Always carry new tubes.
The riding would get much more challenging..........
|05-15-2008, 02:01 AM||#10|
Alaska Born Ducatisti
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Man, that looks HOT & DUSTY! Still looks like a lot of fun.
Really great photos. Thank you for sharing.
From the other side of the world, Mark H.
|05-15-2008, 09:52 AM||#11|
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Denver, CO
That looks like a lot of work and a TON of fun.
RISK: "The loftier your goals, the higher your risk, the greater your glory."
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