Angola, it's not like they said.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by metaljockey, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. metaljockey

    metaljockey Dodgy SOB

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    Eastern Cape, South Africa


    Michnus and myself have no idea what's happened behind us. All we know is it can't be good.

    When we ride in remote areas such as this, we always try to be at least three riders. This allows one to stay with an injured rider while the third goes for help. Behind us are three riders but not one of them made it out of the doodsakker. I would expect at least one to come through with an update.

    With no-one forthcoming, I can only think of two explanations.
    I was in front and I don't have the GPS. Maybe the route veered away from the beach through an unseen gap in the dune. I very seriously doubt it though. I've been hugging that dune like I hugged Leonie Van Der Walt when she pulled me into her ample bosom the first time at a school dance.
    If there was a gap, I would have seen it.
    The other reason could be that someone is dead. I cannot think of any other reason that all three bikes will stay away.

    We cannot go back. We had hoped that we could all leave Foz do Cunene with a full tank of fuel. This did not happen. Except for one bike, everybody had already started using their last tank in the desert. Fuel moved from being the main priority to being the only priority. On this, both Michnus and myself agree. There's no way we are going to be riding in any direction, but to Tombua.

    We can make camp here and wait until tomorrow, but what if they still don't turn up? Then we've wasted a day and we're still in the same position. And it's not like we're overstocked on food either.

    Michnus says he still saw Fred's headlight behind him not too far back. Maybe one or two kilometres. So we decide to walk back.

    The walking turns out to be little different from the riding. It's more slogging than walking. Every step sinks in. In the beginning we still take a picture or two when we come across something interesting.

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    This one is my favourite:
    Jackall spoor.

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    After about an hour's walk I climb onto the dune to see if I can get a better view. Surprisingly it's easier to walk on the dune. So we move upstairs.

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    We also get to see what the interior looks like. Damn!

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    And we walk and we walk.

    Two and a half hours walking brings us upon this scene.

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    We learn of what happened. At this stage we don't know his ankle is broken. Fred isn't willing to take off his boot for fear of not being able to get it back on. Good call. We are over here:

    [​IMG]

    It's not like we can summon an ambulance. He's gonna need that boot to get out of here.



    The twenty minutes or so it took to get Fred and his bike recovered from the sea, had shut the door on the doodsakker. So they decided to ram the bikes as far up the dune as they can and wait out the tide. It would have been plain stupid to try and send one rider through to us.

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    We are very lucky that the sea is relatively calm. The waves make us nervous but it does not reach the bikes.

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    I had always reasoned that, worst case scenario, we can always drag the bikes up the dune. Being here it's clear that that was never gonna happen.

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    Fred's bike amazes everyone. The only damage from the cartwheel is a bent handlebar, a throttle that is now manual and some broken indicators. By the time Fred was sorted, the bike had been lying in the waves for probably 15 minutes. Yet it fired into life like nothing untoward had happened. Score! Two problems solved; we do not need to recover a broken bike and Fred has transport.


    It's too bad that it had to be Fred. It could have been any of us. Every day so far he had to work three times as hard as the rest of us. Every day so far he had an off. Twice he got hurt. The ankle that now broke is the same one that took the punishment two days before (remember the helmet wedge pic?). Every night he would be pleased at how he exceeded his own abilities that day.

    He has a lot to digest whilst lying against this dune. Taking a tumble like that messes with your head quite a bit. By this afternoon when the tide goes out again, he needs to be ready to get back on the bike and once again attack the sand monster. This time with one leg he can't use, bent handlebars and a sticky throttle.

    I really feel for him, I feel even worse for not being able to offer any help. He is on his own in this.




    We agree that they will try to ride out on the afternoons low tide. If it comes too late they'll catch the next morning's. Me and Michnus should return to our bikes and wait.

    We rest for an hour or so and then start the walk back. As we leave we see a grey mass come in from the south. It's a cold wind racing over the Benguela current.

    Neither Michnus nor myself can be called fitness freaks. This time it takes longer than two and a half hours. We are so knackered that we stop to rest three times with our bikes already in view. They are filthy dirty. There will have to be a total strip down.

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    This foul wind is icy cold and we pitch tents to get out of it.




    The poor bastards against the dune don't have that luxury.

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    Beach holiday my ass.




    Late that afternoon we hear the bikes over the wind. They made it. While we pull our tents down Nardus is doing his 'Tough Biker' impression.

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    While the rest of us kick the shit out of my bike, Hennie and Fred gets going. While he can, he must ride. They'll wait for us where the route veers back into the interior.
    When we finally get going the riding is suddenly easy. We still ride the wet stuff but there is grip in most places and we can get the speed up nicely. There's also a wide beach to run to when the waves come in.

    As the afternoon slows into a sunset, one after the other the bikes start hitting reserve. We are still carrying about 7 litres in containers. Everybody knows how far his bike can go on reserve and we only stop for fuel when empty is imminent. We start sharing out the fuel at about a litre a time. We know we might not make it but now we are close enough to Tombua to walk out in one or two days max. It may be unpleasant, but it is do-able.




    Along the beach the scenery is spectacular. It is really enjoyable riding. In our country all beach riding is banned. We are getting our fill now.

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    At the final wreck Hennie and Fred is waiting.

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    When we get there, the day is gone.

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    It is here that we turn inland. With the wind, camping does'nt look like such a peachy idea. We decide to keep going.

    As Fred tries to clear the shelf dropping onto the beach he goes down. He goes down on the sore leg. I feel it. This would not to be the last time. If you cannot use your leg to steady the bike, then that's the side you will fall onto more often.

    It gets dark. My bike has no lights and neither does Hennie's. We are riding in the desert again on a reasonable track with the odd sandy stretch. It's not that pleasant without lights. But it is possible for us to get to Tombua tonight still. It's been three days since we've seen a beer.

    We suddenly hit a tall dune and Fred just plain flies up it. Both me and Hennie have to take more than one run at it. Looks like Fred wants to get to Tombua without any fannying about.

    I find that riding sand blind is actually easier as I do not see the sandy bits coming. I only feel it and respond. Who would've guessed.

    In the mean time, our reserve fuel is no more. The next bike that runs out, runs out. It's just incredible that we can cut it this close after 6 days of riding over all kinds of terrain.

    Five guys caress their throttles in the most sensitive manner. We roll into Tombua on fumes and millilitres. We pull straight into the filling station. Relief! Shit, we made it. We're back in civilisation. People all over!

    We are filthy and fucking tired. Tombua is a fishing port. I know that there is no accomodation, not even a camp site. But once again the good people of Angola humble us. We ask a car at the fuel station where we could sleep. He takes us to a mate of his called Ze. Ze speaks English, he has a factory that we can sleep at. He directs us first to a restaurant, promising to fetch us when we are finished eating.

    We chuck down beers like oysters. We eat food prepared by someone. Meat. Man, it's difficult to describe what one feels. When Ze fetches us and takes us to his factory grounds, I feel like I have a father again, looking out for me. Showering will have to wait till the next day when the factory generator is started. We pitch our tents and pass out.



    continued here

  2. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
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    10,863
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    A Worldly Traveller
    Wheeewwww, great read MJ :clap
  3. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
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    2,368
    Location:
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    mute.
    I am.
    guts tear off story.
    /thierry
  4. photo.moto

    photo.moto off-road n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
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    110
    Location:
    Southern Pines, NC
    Great report, I looked forward to it all weekend!
  5. LostRider

    LostRider Motorcycle Addict

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Just what I needed on a Monday morning!!!! Fantastic writing and adventure!


    :clap :clap :clap :clap
  6. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free!

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    Jan 12, 2003
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    Location:
    Where the stupidest people on earth run things
    Wow!
  7. George Papadopolis

    George Papadopolis between

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    Neverland
    Holy shit MJ...keep it coming:clap:clap

    Leonies apple bossom:evil:lol3
  8. Chilipepper

    Chilipepper Baja wannabe

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    950
    Location:
    BC
    This is an excellent read. Good to hear that you all got off the beach. I've never seen anything like that before.

    You're a fantastic story teller- my doG the internet is great how else would I hear of your story!
  9. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Supporter

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    Location:
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    worth the wait.
  10. sidawg

    sidawg Adventurer

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    Jul 9, 2006
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    24
    Location:
    Colorado
    Amazing and inspiring story.. thank you for sharing! Looking forward to more. :freaky
  11. svs

    svs Posts too much... Supporter

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    Location:
    Huntington Beach
    Awsome.....Michnus and Nardus..names not to common in HB.....Names I wont forget.
  12. Oxbone

    Oxbone n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
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    3
    Location:
    Oxbones Republic Of Great Britain aka OxUK :)
    MJ... that is simply amazing...... Respect to Fred for a show of TRUE GRIT :clap
  13. bacon

    bacon KZ5TLP

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
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    615
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Still breaking my rules about not polluting GREAT threads with my dribble.
    But I can't help it FANTASTIC simply FANTASTIC:clap :clap :clap :clap
    That was the longest weekend of my life waiting for Monday morning to come.
    I feel sorry for all the people in the world that will never read this adventure.
    Thanks for sharing.
  14. Wings

    Wings RockiesToSandbox

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
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    14,633
    Location:
    Merritt Island, FL
    wow.




    wow.












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    The Marlboro man ain't got nothin' on you Nardus.
  15. Trailrider ZA

    Trailrider ZA Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    This is the best ride report I've read ever. It's like I'm on the ride! Great stuff. :clap:thumb


    Neither could they...

    (Hehe - also just had too...)
  16. Mercury264

    Mercury264 Once you go Triple...

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    Masshole
    Hard as fookin nails :deal
  17. Uzay

    Uzay Adventure Dreamer

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    Istanbul, Turkey
    moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee please:super
  18. Gordy

    Gordy SUPPORTER

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
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    Location:
    NM

    No kidding Nat. :wave

    Baldy should change the entire (old and tired) front page rotation to entirely pics from this report!

    I tried explaining this RR to guys I was with this weekend and couldn't even begin, so I sent them all a link this AM.
  19. gothamAlp

    gothamAlp happy to be here

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
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    805
    Location:
    flagstaff and/or tucson, az
    da bomb.
    da shizzle.
    the bee's knees.
    the cat's pajamas.

    whatever the term in whatever the language or country, you guys are it. :deal

    and those of us riding along on our computers at home and at work salute you. :thumb
  20. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    City Of Angels
    Wow, this was itense, I'm glad you guys made it back. :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap