2020's little braaaaps, riding right up to the New Year.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Osadabwa, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    715
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    A combination of a million little things has kept us from going on many long rides this year. Mostly, I guess it can be chalked up to Covid, but I’ve also been trying to kickstart a new business and it’s been two steps forward, one step back, keeping me in Nairobi whether I want to be or not. Nevertheless, I have done some amazing riding. Apart from THIS 3 day adventure, THIS epic 9 day braaap in August and and THIS fun one up to the Eburru Forest just before curfew ended (shhhhh!), I've been on plenty of day-trips on my own down to the Great Rift Valley to climb Mt. Longonot for a bit of cross-training, and one or two with the boys as well.

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    So, I’m going to smoosh all those day rides into one and wrap up with an eventful overnighter on Suswa for New Year's Eve, sprinkling in links to other rides so I can find them easily later. Once I would have done a writeup on each individually, but I’m getting lazy and all of this area has been well and truly documented elsewhere.

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    Above: Morning out with Panic. Our usual first-stop point within view of a broody Ngong Hills and the new tar road coming down.

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    Above: We’d taken off down to Kisimit Valley to ride some rocks. Had to open and shut a few Masai gates. Plan was to see if we could find a route out upstream.

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    Above: After some bushwhacking, the walls of the valley and the sheer dropoff finally turned us back. I walked up a ways from this pic and found stones rolling right into the washout.

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    Above: So we headed out the usual way. We took an alternative route, away from the pipe, through some fesh and out the bottom.

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    Above: Staying on the East side of the water, enjoying a bit of shade. We found this area two years ago HERE and it's still one of my favorite day-ride places.

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    Above: The stream down to a trickle.

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    Another day, I headed out solo to climb Longonot as I was doing last year in preparation for a trip down to Oldonyo Lengai, the Mountain of God in Tanzania (an awesome ride: HERE). We hoped we’d be back there this year to finish what we started, but alas. Since Covid shut borders between countries and then I took Wry out in August and separated his shoulder (on THIS trip...), it wasn’t meant to be. I still love hiking Longonot though. The gate is just an hour from my front door on tar down the escarpment road, weaving around lorries like a madman. Two and a half hours of hiking alone on the hill and another hour and a half home taking the valley dirt roads. Good workout for me.​

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    Above: The hiking path at its flattest on Longonot

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    Above: The cloud cover kept it mercifully cool

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    Above: After the ride, I decided to explore a track heading up Paraglider Hill. I spotted it from Longonot (mtn in the distance)

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    Above: Until recently, there were no fields on this hillside… HERE's that ride with Bwana from 2017... the human flood splashes along.

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    Above: Another day after Longonot, a rip through the valley along the SGR and back to “Drips” for some chips and beer before heading home.

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    Then a few days of half-assing it around.

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    Above: One afternoon, passed by Neb’s place for a cup of tea. The buggar gave me the Grumpy old Man cup…

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    Above: Another day I just went for a climb and rip.

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    Above: Longonot in the morning

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    Above: Tipping my fisherman’s hat to the ladies. (Aside, that hat was bought 18 years ago in N. Namibia at a little Himba shop (HERE's that epic ride). Been going strong ever since).

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    Panic has been fixing up his XR’s suspension. For the past 5 years, we’ve all been pleased as punch with our Pigs handling on the rough desert/rock roads we ride, but there’s always a way to make it better. Panic, being an actual mechanic, got the internet’s Wayback Machine to take him to Borynack’s old XRR setup pages. From there, he learned to re-shim and re-valve his forks and shock as well, so after he was done tweaking, we went out for a braap to test. Verdict: Magic carpet ride!

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    Above: The new railway with an actual train on it. But given the billions of USD it cost, and the paltry number of containers they transport, it’ll never pay for itself. Sorry, Kenya... you've been screwed.

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    Above: Morning pitstop under a flawless sky

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    Above: Selfie at the Kedong Investment Hotel for the usual mandazi and chai... nice cool morning... no sweat

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    Above: Then on to the testing. Pigs do fly!

    Pleased with the reports of the fork rebuild, Wry asked Panic to do his up the same. So on a Saturday morning, we made this how-to video for the Borynack Desert Race setup. Enjoy, XRR nerds:



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    Then one day we were graced with the presence of our newest Pig rider: Aladdin de Braaap. He’s a youngster, and full of piss and vinegar. I teased and cajoled him until he relented to join us on a ride, but he first had to go out and run the spine of the Ngong hills both directions! So by the time we met up with the guy, he’d already done more exercise than Panic has in the past month. We offered up a sampler of the Valley’s good stuff. Started down some goat paths, zipped tar down to the first entrance to the Butt Brothers’ valley (discovered by us in 2016 HERE) and back up the Oltepesi road where de Braaap found out how useless HD tubes are for stopping pinch flats. He’s a fast rider and I reckon he’ll have to be following Panic’s lead soon to re-valve and re-shim his forks or this may be a common occurrence! Also, a higher-profile ultra-stiff-sidewall tire is a must out here.

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    Above: Aladdin (in the mzungu Afro and bellbottoms) and Panic at the start

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    Above: Surprisingly, we saw a lot of fauna. Gerenuk, giraffe, gazelles, ostrich, zebra… hardy creatures to still be kicking out there.

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    Above: Panic out in the flats, Esakut behind

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    Above: Alladin’s pinch flat stop. The rocky sections before this spot are treacherous and fast. Fantastic riding, but hard on gear! He’ll have to work on his forks before he has a Magic Carpet of his own.

    A few more to come...
    #1
  2. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    715
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Another week, another Longonot ride and hike. This time, I was feeling relatively fit and set off at a nice pace up the flank of the crater. At the crater’s rim a guy that was still putting on his shoes in the parking lot when I left passed me at a breathless jog. Insulting as that was for my ego, it gave me a motivational boost and I jogged the crater rim as well, properly knackering my middle-aged ass. Honestly, if you want to feel out of shape and inferior, go running with some Kenyans.

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    Above: Paraphernalia at the Longonot gate and yours truly at the summit mid-jog… kind of looks like I’m gonna die…

    But getting to the bottom I found I still had the energy to go hit the dirt, so I donned my riding kit and stowed my sweaty hiking stuff and blasted out, taking a small track I’d never seen before that linked two of the main roads in the valley. Take that, Mr. Fitness, and enjoy driving home in your cage!

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    Above: Less than a decade ago there would be no power lines in this pic. Kenya’s developing fast and the Kedong valley is taking the brunt of it with a new tar road, power lines, the SGR and all the charcoal burning, garbage tossing muppets that come with it.

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    Above: My Piggie at a dead-end

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    Merry Christmas everyone, and merry Christmas to my Piggie who finally got a new handlebar after possibly years of the old one being bent. You can suffer for ages with something like that, but it doesn’t make any sense to do so. Straight bars are so much nicer!

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    Above: New Pro Taper Pastrana high bar to replace the old, bent one

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    For New Year's, my wife and kids took off to the beach without me. I needed to be home to be close to work. It’s one of those things where you absolutely have to be there half day each day or the whole thing breaks, so I was stuck. Fortunately, a couple of neighbors that Covid have brought closer (they were part of our "bubble" this year) were keen for an idea I hatched: Let’s set up a camp on Mt. Suswa! It was brilliant: I’d ride up there after work and then commute back and forth through the valley each day while they went on hikes and chilled around the camp. Perfect compromise!

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    Above: Me ready for a 2-night camping trip up to Mt. Suswa… LOL, JK, etc…

    Actually, I did pack all that stuff and more, including a real pillow and a proper foam safari bed roll, a couple 6-paks and some leftover ham from Christmas... but I let the neighbours carry it up for me in their Defender! That way I could be lean and mean and ride like a bastard, which I did. (Quick aside... I wonder if this means I violated the tenants of ADVF, which I believe are good and true, or simply exploited a loophole? @Joe Motocross what say you?)

    First thing's first, it was up to work for the afternoon among the tea fields of Tigoni, a bite in the little shop on the road and then a quick tar rip to the nearest valley descent for some stone bashing.

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    Above: Tea fields are always nice. Really great to be working in this area instead of being stuck in Nairobi behind a computer screen... One day I’ll bring a proper camera and zoom into the dip in the valley where the Nairobi city skyline is framed perfectly.

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    Above: At the petrol-station fruit shop. They serve up a pretty decent samosa for $0.50 and have ice cubes for your Coke. Now that’s service!

    At the descent (which I first did many years ago on my first ride in Kenya on a KTM 450EXC I thought was the dog's balls and which ended with my friend breaking his thumb! HERE) which used to be in a total state of disrepair, Mt. Suswa awaits in the distance. I’d received a message that the crew was already installed at the campsite and the beers were chilled, so I glued the throttle back and crashed my way over there, hammering over the stones.

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    Above: Follow the arrow for the campsite and cold beers. This pic shows you a good cross-section of the changes that have happened in the last 10 years in the Kedong. You can see the huge earthworks supporting the new railroad, in the distance the dust coming up is for a new tar road soon to be complete, and the road I’m on used to be little more than a goat path.

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    Above: Turn your shoulder a bit to the right, past the Euphorbia in bloom and you can see Mt. Longonot peaking out of the valley in the distance. All of this is my playground.

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    Above: Ok, let’s go.

    The ride is great. Starts out in rocks, rocks and more rocks, descending the escarpment. At the SGR, I stopped to chat with the armed guys guarding the railway line - who ogled the bike with appropriate reverence - before speeding on through some sandy washes and goat paths until I crapped out onto the new tar road. Construction zones are always insane in Africa… you have to ride through clouds of dust through loose and rocky side-paths without being run over by a dump truck or motorpatrol. At last, it kicked me out at the feshy end of the construction zone, right at the turnoff to Suswa. From there it was a volcanic blast all the way to the inner crater rim and the cold beer waiting. Took under an hour from the viewpoint shots above.

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    Above: I arrived and created a huge fesh storm

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    Above: Dust devils are a regular feature down here. Love ‘em.

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    Above: Inside the outer rim of the crater on the way to the inner edge and campsite.

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    Above: Arrival! After a camp shower, I grabbed a cold beer from the cooler and sat on my big ass camp chair with my friends. Brilliant!

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    Above: The camp. My little tent and red bike accompanied by the huge Defender with roof tent and coolers of food and equipment. Unusual for me to have a support crew but I didn’t mind at all!

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    Above: Such a fantastic place…

    Digging around in the boxes, I discovered the ladies had brought not only beers but also Flor de Cana rum. I’ve grown quite fond of that tasty beverage after being introduced to it by my friend Colobus up in the North several years ago (even if he was a bit stingy with the portions!) and then through reintroduction during this long 2020 Covid nightmare around fires in back gardens all year long. Good times indeed.

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    Above: Starting to feel like a party!

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    Above: The ladies whipped up a wicked meal and we all settled in by a roaring fire on the crater’s edge to watch the moon rise.

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    Above: Amateur night cellphone photography

    Following morning I was a bit rough around the edges. The rum is tasty, very tasty, but also has a bite! While the ladies prepared to go for a hike up to the crater rim peak, I packed up my things and began my commute down the volcano, through the construction, back up the goat paths and rocky tracks and into the tea again.

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    Above: My red girl on the way off Suswa with Longonot in the distance and a beautiful clear sky above

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    Above: Stopped in Brackenhurst in Tigoni for a coffee to clear my head… I rode up there in a bit of a fog if I’m honest… This place is awesome and has been a good spot to end up when toodling around on my XT500 HERE)

    So half way through my day, I get a call from my friends on the mountain… there’s been an accident. One of them slipped and hurt their leg badly (seriously, 2020, piss off already!). Can’t walk, etc. and they’re still high on the mountain wondering what to do. I finish up and start racing back up to see how I can help out. Messages coming through indicate a helicopter might be on its way, which was good news but there was rain on the horizon…

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    Above: Almost back to the camp, seeing some rain out there which might complicate rescue a bit

    Back at the camp, I get a message to pack up the Land Rover’s roof tent. A guy on a boda boda pitched up with the key and directed me to where he’d left the party. Sure enough as we were arriving, here comes the chopper. It was a bit comical and surreal… huge crowd of onlookers, phones out recording, no sense of personal space etc… on the floor is my friend being tended to by a very serious AMREF responder who whacks an IV in my friend’s arm and proceeds to strap her into one of those full-body immobility stretchers as if she’d broken her back (so many straps!), and then recruits 6 Masai guys to lug her in a flurry of vowels and normally incongruous syllables over to the helicopter. Then before you knew it, she was airborne and we were on our way back to the camp.

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    Above: Like something out of an action movie

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    Above: Masaai in their shukas, but also on smart phones… mzungu on the ground with a chopper in the distance… you know, the usual.

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    Above: So pleased to see that crazy looking woman and her “Can’t Ban THESE Guns” T-shirt in amongst the throng

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    Above: Driving back at golden hour after a little rain… Africa is fantastic

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    Above: Checking the phone to make sure everything’s okay with the patient (her Huawei gets reception, not my Samsung... go figure), having a few drinks before calling it a night.

    December 31, 2020. At last. The final day of the longest year I can remember. It sure has had its share of ups and downs, highs and lows. Still, we made a good go of it and I am optimistic heading into the new year. There were some omens for sure... rain on the horizon meant I’d get wet, but the valley would be greener soon… I think that’s a metaphor. Things are happening. I'm pushing out of my comfort zone a bit. Friendships this year have grown. Family’s healthy and happy. Bike’s as beautiful as ever. I’ll probably be too busy to ride as much as I have in the past years, but I’m sure the rides I take will be fantastic.

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    Above: Looking into 2021

    So in short, I'm looking forward to 2021 with optimism! Ride on, bikers and see you next year!

    [​IMG]Oink.
    #2
  3. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    715
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Oh yeah, just one more thing. I just worked up our biking calendar for the year... since I"m late, it'll start in February! Better late than never. Braaaaap!

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    Pig lovers in Kenya, how many should I print?
    #3
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  4. bykemike

    bykemike "ready to navigate" Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,299
    Location:
    St. Augustine FL
    great write up! Best thing I've seen all year :D
    #4
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  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,607
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Brilliant @Osadabwa!

    Fantastic write up and wrap up to the year man, always know it's going to be something great when I see a thread started with your name attached to it. Have not only completely enjoyed the various RRs you've posted this year, but had great laughs from the reports you ghost-wrote for some of the folks there and then I believe one from someone in the US too?

    Killer job on the calendar for 2021, here's to hoping for something akin to normalcy and who knows...maybe the development will slow in Kenya so you're not dealing with more crap.

    And congrats on starting the business man! Can only imagine how daunting that is, especially with the current worldwide situation, but good on you for taking the plunge.

    Look forward to seeing reports from you when you're able to get out and rip.

    Until then, keep the knobby side down and safe travels.
    #5
  6. NAVIGATOR

    NAVIGATOR Wanderer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,928
    Location:
    SOUTH OF THE USA BORDER(friendlier Mexico)
    Thrilled to see that you´ve had some Africa red pig action, and hope that you fullfill the 2021 monthly program.

    Stay safe and have a great 2021:clap:photog
    #6
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  7. ADVer

    ADVer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for sharing your 2020 RRs and experiences.

    You certainly made the most of this crazy year.

    Good luck with your business endeavor!

    Awesome calendar.

    Driving a Land Rover on African dirt roads (Serengeti, 1982) is probably one of my most memorable driving experiences! It doesn't get any better than that!
    #7
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  8. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    743
    Location:
    Langley,B C
    I want to bottle your attitude and take a big slurp. All the best in 2021.
    #8
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  9. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,483
    I don't see that any ADVF ethics were broken due to stating goals ahead of installing your bedroom on the back of Piggy. I don't see that the bedroom addition interfered with the ride. That was a good look by the way, holy crap.......
    #9
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  10. Davethestick

    Davethestick Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
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    1,308
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Awesome Pics! - Long live the XR650
    #10
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  11. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    715
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Cheers everybody and Braaapy New Year,

    Joe, Joe, Joe... I packed up like that and rode around the block where I promptly unloaded all that crap into my friends' car then ripped lightweight down into the valley to meet them, spewing stones and sand and scaring children and goats. I'd never sacrifice the ride for a comfy bed (well, if I have to carry it that is... you've seen I know how to accept luxury when necessary)! And, though a camp chair was brought, and this is true, I quickly ditched it for the wheel-chair. Honestly, there's not a more comfortable seat around a camp fire!

    May all your rides be fast and dusty in the New Year.
    #11
  12. WHYNOWTHEN

    WHYNOWTHEN where are the pedals?

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    933
    Location:
    closer to Baja
    Happy 2021!!!!!
    #12
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  13. doppler94

    doppler94 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2014
    Oddometer:
    71
    Still, incredible 2020 journey there!
    #13
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  14. SIF

    SIF Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Nairobi
    Camped on Suswa a couple of weeks back, they are still dining out on the Helicopter drama. Hope she's OK.
    #14
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