|10-05-2011, 12:06 AM||#11|
Joined: Sep 2009
Springbok to Noordoewer, Namibia!
To tell you the truth, I am having a hard time writing today's ride report. Going back through all of the photos and videos, I am reminded at just how incredible and surreal this whole adventure was. The camaraderie amongst fellow riders was immeasurable, the level of daily stimulus was off the charts, and the riding was so inviting and liberating. All of this combined to create a tranquil riding experience, devoid of any chaos or stress. I felt so alive and comfortable on my GSA. Rider and bike had fused creating a symphony of bliss. It was something that my mind and body grew accustomed to after 5,000 km in the saddle...and it is something I crave here back in the real world.
I have to talked to quite a few of my fellow mates on this adventure and we all are experiencing some sort of "post Africa depression." I hope it's not frickin' malaria!! It is hard to get back into our daily routines of work, family, e-mail, blackberrys, ipads, iphones, TV's, bills, deadlines, etc. I long for the simple life. I felt like a little kid in Africa. I would go to sleep each night without a care in the world. I would just lay my head down and fall asleep. Like a child, I would awake each morning eager to start the day and "play" with my friends in the sand on giant dirt bikes. What a great feeling! I really don't ever want to grow up. I am a giant toddler!
Well, this particular riding day was bittersweet for me. Like Charles Dickens stated, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." I awoke at our lodge eager to start the day. We were crossing into Namibia today. The border crossing was a highly anticipated event and we were all eager to get a move on. I was feeling extremely comfortable on the GSA. I felt like I could do no wrong. After a great breakfast, I grabbed all of my gear and headed out to the gravel drive to mount my bike.
I noticed that I had parked the GSA on it's center stand facing uphill with a slight camber to the right. I grabbed the 500+ pound bike and tried to yank it uphill to get it off the stand but it didn't budge. I thought about asking one of the other riders to help me, but I decided I would try one more time. I leaned into it and propelled the bike off its stand. It landed with a thud and the shock compressed and recoiled. The only problem was that it shot away from me due to the camber of the hill. The bike tipped over and struck another bike. I watched in what seemed to be slow motion as it fell over despite all my effort to keep it upright. I was embarrassed and pissed at the same time. I picked up the bike...fortunately the only thing damaged was my ego and attitude. It put me in a terrible mood.
I hit the road for the 90 mile ride to the Nambian border. I could not stop thinking about how I had dropped my bike in a frickin' gravel parking lot in front of Charley. By the time I arrived at the border, my mood was back in full swing, and my excitement had returned.
The temps were pushing the mid 90's as I huddled into an un-airconditioned office with all of my riding gear. To make matters worse, there were many families traveling with screaming babies waiting in line with us. I kept telling myself that this was all part of the experience, but in reality I just wanted to clear the border, and hit the open road.
It was amazing how everything seemed to change at the border.
The landscape shifted to a more lunar, desert landscape, the climate shifted slightly, the smells changed, and there was even a change in the road conditions. After about an hour or so, we were leaving South Africa and looking forward to Namibia with its promises of vast, wide open vistas and fast gravel roads. It did not disappoint!
We stayed at a great little lodge on the Orange River that night.
It turned out to be one of the greatest nights of the entire trip. We checked into our huts and then proceeded to the bar for a few Windhoek Lagers.
We were told that we were in for a bit of a surprise. John and Su had arranged for a sundowner cocktail "party" on the top of a mountain, followed by the most unique dining experience I had ever had. We loaded into a couple open aired toyota Hilux trucks and our support vehicles and drove into the surrounding mountains.
We stopped at a plateau to watch the sunset.
Numerous cases of ice cold beer appeared from the trucks and the "party" began! After hundreds of photos of the sunset and each other, we loaded into the trucks again and drove along a narrow jeep trail deep into the canyons.
We rounded a corner and saw what appeared to be a scene from Survivor. Tiki torches illuminated the canyon walls and the smell of varoius meats cooking filled the air.
This was our restaurant! We dined on lamb, beef, chicken and washed it all down with smooth, South African Pinotage wine. What a surreal dining experience!
After dinner, we loaded back into the trucks for the 45 minute drive back to the lodge. Charley and I stood up front in the back of the open Hilux and talked about life and my father, who had just passed away three weeks prior to this trip. It felt great to talk about it, as I had been silent for so long. The stars were vibrant with the Southern Cross constellation shining bright enough to guide us home.
We decided to have a hell of a great time that night. The jagermeister was flowing in the form of double shots for all, and the bartenders were loving all of the attention.
We convinced them to sing for us, and we decided to sing for them as well. One girl even claimed to be a prior Miss Namibia...I believed her. She was beautiful!
The singing and drinking went on until the wee hours of the morning. We all managed to find our way back to our rooms, except for one. He passed out in Billy's hammock and refused to be moved!! I know Jimmy has a photo!! What an incredible day! Bring on Namibia!!
A single adventure can change the course of a life...
globalpilot4 screwed with this post 11-04-2011 at 06:52 PM
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