Namaqua land, and the three adventurous girls.

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by michnus, May 11, 2008.

  1. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    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.


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    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? :deal And this board still shows Suid Wes Afrika?! Some things never change.



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    Springbok is an antelope and translate to Spring buck, Pofadder is a Puff adder, very toxic snake in Africa

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    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.” :lol3 Those words would still come back to haunt me!


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    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. :eek1 :lol3

    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. :pierce



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    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.



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    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!!



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    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!


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    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.


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    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!!



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    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 …


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    I just wanna ride man, riiiide, riiiide!!!! (Wild Hogs) 8) ;D


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    …...................
    #1
  2. richardp

    richardp n00b

    Joined:
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    Great story and pictures! My best wishes to you all.

    Richard
    #2
  3. advjackass

    advjackass orange crusher

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    awesome:clap
    #3
  4. gatling

    gatling Long timer

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    Super. I hate riding in that soft stuff...
    #4
  5. m0x

    m0x the VooDoo Child

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    lovely picture with the little kid
    #5
  6. Spicy McHaggis

    Spicy McHaggis Darth Peach's cracker...

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    Great pics!

    One question...why just a bicycle helmet on the little kiddo???
    #6
  7. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Our average moving speed was around 27km/h, and there's no traffic. Trying to source a helmet that small in SA is all but easy.
    Also for that reason MJ rode out front so that he can set a quite leisurely pace.
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Wow!! What an amazing ride!! Thanks for the detailed report and pics, amazed to see little MissMJ tagging along too! :thumb
    #8
  9. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.


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    Close to our overnight-spot at the river the DRZ back wheel went flat again. Fuck!!!:bluduh 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!! :patch 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.


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    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.

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    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.

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    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. :lol3

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    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!!

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    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.

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    The next morning the moment the sun broke the back of the mountain, we were up. :D It was going to be a difficult day, we just did not knew it yet.

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    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!

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    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. :lol3 Why is it then so difficult to stop smiling :D I just loved it, it's addictive, crazy, man it's pure fun. :ricky :super :thumb

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    What are we waiting for dad? Let’s go!

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    The three most important things on any trip........The third: Always carry new tubes.

    The riding would get much more challenging..........

    #9
  10. Incredulous

    Incredulous Peanut Gallery

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    Michnus

    I always enjoy your threads. This one is turning out great! :clap Thanks.

    Tyler
    #10
  11. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    :D :D :D :clap :clap :clap
    #11
  12. metaljockey

    metaljockey Dodgy SOB

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    I was concerned about the forces on her neck, there was going to be a lot of bouncing around.

    The lightest motorcycle helmets we could find was still over a kilogram in weight. So I decided to go with the weightless bicycle helmet, at least I could to a large extent control the risk of falling, but I could not control the roughness of the ride.
    #12
  13. flan8tive

    flan8tive Flea Tibet!

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    I believe MissMJ wins the prize as youngest rider featured in a ride report...
    #13
  14. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    She's a true adventure rider, taking everything in her stride. She really enjoyed the riding. :ricky
    #14
  15. duitswes

    duitswes NAM Biker in CA

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    I think we will see a lot of hats in this thread. There will probably be lot of standing around and fixing stuff if all the talk about the Richtersveld is to be believed. For the Richtersfield you must take a spare everything. And that is before you hit the sandveld before the Port (Nolloth).

    Better if you all move to the west coast. It looks like you spend most of the year trailer the bikes from the east coast to the west coast. West coasts are the best.
    #15
  16. bg

    bg Rainbow puppies Super Moderator

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    :bow -----> lovely MissMJ
    #16
  17. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones AdventureDeficitDisorder

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    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    Outstanding!

    I like the pictures of the date palms juxtaposed on the rock moonscape behind it. It looks very similar to the desert east of San Diego. You'll find a similar green/brown look around the golf courses in Palm Springs and Palm Desert.

    Looking forward to more! Carry on Lads! (and Lasses) :lurk
    #17
  18. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    The next 50km section was going to be riverbeds with serious sand and some rocky spoor to make things more interesting. The girls did not expect any of this, for myself, I thought “just another great day sand riding”. Metaljockey’ had "selective memory" he did not recall the difficulty of the sand since their visited to the area was by car. :lol3

    We stopped for a quick break at some dams but we were out of luck for a swim and some water. The dams were build right in the middle of the riverbed.

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    We were still in high spirit, it was hot, but the scenery was awesome and the riding as good as it gets, BUT it wasn’t long and I started picking up bikes. MJ was having a great time out front, but still had to work his ass off not dropping his bike with little missy.

    For me picking up a bike is somewhat along these lines. First pick up used 20% of my reserves, the second time 30% of my reserves were gone and by the third time the remainder was gone!

    I can’t remember the amount of times I had to help pick up the bikes, 12 or more times that day. Every time it got more and more difficult.

    The biggest lesson learned, even if you CAN ride a bike, if you can’t pick up your own bike or keep it up right, rather make use of a smaller bike for D/S riding.

    Somewhere-Els did extremely well in riding the bike, the biggest draw back came when she stopped or when it moved over the balance point, she was just not able to pull it up and keep it there. So more than often she just dropped it and could not pick it up by herself. MrsMJ did well, she only dropped her bike once or twice that day, and it helped with conserving her energy. Somewhere-Els and myself was seriously fast running out of water and energy.

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    The sand tracks got worse and worse as we kept to the riverbeds. Lots of bushes in the tracks and with sharp bends around rocks. The cars that passed before us had the most impact on the rideablity of the track.

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    I am the boss on this farm.:D

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    All of us had cameras, but concentration on riding took priority over picture taking.

    The area had an above average rainfall and some of the riverbeds were still wet. This seriously heightened the difficulty rating. It made it very difficult to gauge the direction and route you needed to take. The sand was so soft, it was like riding into damp pudding! :lol3

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    Sweets was all she wanted.

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    It wasn’t long and the Dakar got buried to the belly pan in the sand. Somewhere-Els followed MrsMJ’s tracks, the DRZ floated, the Dakar not! With Cracklin’s Dakar being repaired a while ago for a gearbox that broke in a riverbed, still stuck in my mind, I feared the worst because there were no movement in the drive train. Luckily when MJ kicked the bike in neutral, we started it and all seemed well. Man, you just don’t kill a Dakar. :super
    Luckily Somewhere-Els didn’t cursed me too hard, because I raised my voice a bit at that stage. :augie :D

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    On her way, riding like the devil is on her tail.

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    We had to rest, it was after midday and in between the hills, it was nose-bleeding hot.

    The second most important thing to remember on a trip ………WATER!!!!!!!!! And enough thereof. We were working so hard, we drank a lot and were seriously low on water. That morning we thought it was only going to be a short ride for the day and we would be fine with the water we had. HUGE mistake!! Your water intake quadruples, and a 50km stretch took us the better part of the day. Never under estimate the terrain.

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    The scenery was beyond belief. If you really want to appreciate this kind of beauty you have to visit this place and see it for yourself.

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    Things never seemed the way they looked, you would storm up a hill and halfway there a ‘tarred road’ becomes an enduro type rock filled crater!! The incline was nothing special, but the loose fist-size rocks, strewed across a hard pack rock surface, turned it into a little bastard hill.

    MrsMj, nailed it and got a good way up the hill!

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    MJ who got out quick with the help of the WP (thanks to KTM), ran down to ride MrsMj’s bike up as we could not afford any breaking bones!

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    By now I was really, really, fucking tired, a Dakar is one heavy bike, ask me I know. :nod My mouth was like a piece of bark, my tongue stuck to the back of my teeth!!

    This was to be the first time on the trip I dropped my bike. I knew what was happening, but there’s nothing I could do about it. The more tired you get, the more you loose concentration, the more difficult it becomes to ride the bike. Still Somewhere-Els and MrsMJ, surprised us, they rode like Dakar competitors, I could not believe they were doing this well under these circumstances.

    1200’s don’t break easy, they sometimes get narcolepsy. :rofl

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    MJ helped to ride my bike up the rest of the way while I went down to get the Dakar up the hill.

    Good god woman!! She actually made it up halfway. :super :thumb A bit more practice and these two girls will keep up with us!

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    The scenery from the top was just spectacular. This is life, taste it, smell it, it’s great, absolute joy and happiness. LIFE IS JUST F-ING GREAT! Tiredness and thirst got replaced by adrenalin and extreme pleasure.

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    Where we came from:

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    It did not go better onwards … it got worse, and we still had many miles of sand to cover for the day. At least we had some good patches to pick up speed in between.

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    We saw some real "half mens trees"

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    This fucking sand just did not stop! Every time you get out of one riverbed and there is one more. Eventually we ended up at this water hole, but seeing that we are so close, according to the GPS, we decided not to take a break or a chance on the water.

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    And then more sand …….. Maybe it was because I was so dead bloody tired, but it felt as if it went on forever. And I was still picking up Somewhere-Els bike every now and then. It was getting harder for her to keep the bike up right when it got off balance, when she got going again she nailed it just fine … just don’t stop Honey, don’t stop!!!

    MrsMJ by now was floating the DRZ like a pro enduro racer. She really was in tune with the bike! :ricky

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    How de hell all of us, except MJ, passed this huge big Gnaap nobody knows, what a beautiful plant.

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    This girl is always as happy as a kid can be … :ricky

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    Much later that day we booked in at Vioolsdrift’ Bushwhacked (Bozbafok) back-packers/camping site. All of the hard work and pain and all we can show is this foto … the best effort of the barman, one lousy shitty out of focus picture, the crunt! :lol3

    But it does not matter, when we look at this picture we will forever remember the good times, hard work, sweat and joy of the girls first proper off road trip. It's just great having them share our biking passion with us. You girls rock ! :beer :super :thumb

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    My first beer gave me brain freeze and throat lock, but man, it was great to feel Carling run down my throat.

    We had plans to carry on through the Richterveld, but Vioolsdrift did not have any petrol, so our trip had to abruptly take a new direction. MJ had their passports there and was able to source petrol from the Namibian side of the border.

    As for Somewhere-Els and myself we had to ride for SteinKopf. 30km before Steinkopf the Dakar ran out of petrol and Mrs had to take the 1200 to get petrol. She made it to Steinkopf with 9km left on the 1200 computer!!

    The most important thing on any trip, PETROL!! make sure you always have enough.

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    Best of all, planning for the next trip. :deal :thumb

    #18
  19. cojoel

    cojoel Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    765
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    Denver, Colorado
    Great ride report. South Africa looks beautiful.

    Keep it comming.

    :lurk
    #19
  20. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak Aussie BM rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
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    Perth.
    Great report.

    Mrs Beak and I take our 7 year old daughter on our rides, but not off road. Well done to little miss MJ and and both ladies.

    :thumb
    #20