Caldera to cool water.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Osadabwa, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    It rained all week. Tired memes about rain flooded the WhatsApp groups. Last minute queries kept coming through: “Are we still going?” “You carrying a snorkel? A wetsuit?” But when the time came to saddle up on Friday afternoon, the gunmetal gray sky held her water and we were off for a 2-night camping ride to perennial favourite destinations, Mt. Suswa, the dormant volcano, and the Ewaso Nyiro river near Ngurumani.

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    Above: First day’s destination, Jurassic Park

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    Above: Second day’s destination: Jungle Safari

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    Above: The riders: 3 XR650Rs and 1 DRZ400

    Right off the bat, I saw my ass. It was rather more annoying than that, actually. Having waited an hour for Wry to get his act together, we finally set off to fuel up. Waiting to cross the busy Ngong Road, my bike conked out. I kicked and kicked but couldn’t get the bastard going. Usually (always) draining the carb will do the trick, so I pushed across the street to where the others were waiting. Stupidly, I thought: “I’ll just hop on and see if I can bump start her…” while rolling into the petrol station. Instead, I bumbled a couple of steps forward, tossed my heavy boot up like a dog pissing on a tree, kicked the luggage (oh yeah, forgot that was there), lost my balance, and ended up head down in the freaking flowerbed. Wry and Puddles busted a gut laughing (cheers fellas) as did many on-lookers and matatu riders. Always happy to get stupid shit out of the way early, I ignored their goading, drained the carb and we were off.

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    Above: Having recovered from his laughing fit, Wry manages to ride without incident down along the new Railway that has properly altered the state of the valley. Tunnels are one thing, but there’s a bloody train station down there in the middle of nowhere… are Masai supposed to take their goats to greener pastures on the SGR?

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    Above: Puddles, the only thing wet in the whole valley

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    Above: Quick beer stop at Ewaso Kedong. Late afternoon coming on and not far to go to the campsite. Puddles finds a like-minded individual.

    While the three of us were enjoying a cold one in Ewaso Kedong, Neb, coming from Naivasha, was playing enduro champion on goat paths at Suswa’s foot. Having destroyed his GPS in a crash on our long trip north in January (along with some of his memory, a few dirty words in French, and ability to do long division), he was riding by instinct. A natural navigator, is our Neb.

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    Above: Neb’s alternate route to Suswa

    From the bar, we rode in brilliant late afternoon sunshine all the way to the top of Suswa in one push. Recent rains had knocked out all the fesh-fesh and the going was easy peasy. Arriving on the crater’s inner rim is always stunning. Despite having grown up in Kenya, Wry had never been to this amazing camp site. What a tosser.

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    Above: Wry enjoying the view

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    Above: Camp set, time to get a fire going and relax

    At dusk, we heard a rumbling in the distance. Neb arrived in a blaze of Day-Glo yellow with stories of misadventure written all over himself. His Hi-Viz jacket was shredded from the detour through the thorns and his hands were bloody because he was too lazy to put on gloves. Silly Neb. We quickly stopped teasing him, however, when he pulled a cold six-pack of White Cap out of his bags. Clever Neb! We, too had been clever and asked a boda guy to head down to Suswa for a few brews as well. Our boda man showed up just as we were wondering if we’d been duped. How’s that for 5-star service? The night was long and raucous. At 11 or so, our beers were done, as was Wry’s contribution to the whiskey fund and a steady drizzle had settled in, closing the bar before things got out of hand.

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    Above: Left: Neb’s arrival. Right… I know I’m just talking about motorbiking… I don’t have any idea what Puddles is on about

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    Above: Evening scenes

    Tomorrow, to the river...

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    #1
    LC8TY and BruceWA like this.
  2. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Day 2 - From Suswa to the muddy river

    Conscience nagging him no doubt, Wry was up before dawn stoking the fire and taking in the spectacular view. The inner crater wakes up to the echo of distant birdsong, fogged with steam from dozens of geothermal vents. One by one, the rest of us clawed our way to life, chewed down our instant coffees, replied to Nature’s call, and packed our bikes. Wry, the sly guy of the group, also brought a little surprise with him. Somehow, he ended up with a dozen stickers that say “Team Wanker” on them, with a chubby version of the iconic Trucker Babe silhouette in the middle colored in with a rippling American Flag. Unbeknownst to me, this lovely adhesive art piece had been applied to my bike, and throughout the ride, the stickers would find themselves affixed to one or another of our faithful steeds. Classic Wry. What a tosser.

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    Above: Suswa is surreal in the morning

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    Above: Wry on the edge. Don’t do it mate! Be the best version of you.

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    Above: The first victim of the Team Wanker vandal… after my flowerbed incident, I reckon I earned it.

    The ride out of the crater and down the slope of the mountain was cool, beautiful and a little bit tricky. It was not easy to tell where the dirt was friendly, tacky and dust-free and where it was evil, slick and treacherous. Puddles underestimated one spot and saw his ass, and there were several close calls for the rest of us. Before long, though, the little tracks we were following connected to the big dirt road to Mosiro. The dry murram was welcomed, but I of course managed to get a pinch flat against the edge of the bead lock on my XRR. That pissed me off. Happens all too often. Solution: chuck the bead lock and keep high pressures. I’ll run the risk of ripping the valve stem.

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    Above: Boys in the mud and Puddles’ mishap… no biggie, it’s not like he’d recently had knee surgery or anything… oh wait.

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    Above: Wry takes a break from updating his Grinder profile (he swears it’s Christian Tingle, but we know better) long enough to say a prayer for the Big Red Pigs

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    Above: Crossing a sand riverbed

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    Above: Puddles (d)ripping up the road

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    Above: A lone giraffe and a solo DRZ400

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    Above: Mosiro fuel stop… highly disappointing

    Out the south end of Mosiro with full tanks, we were surprised at the state of the road. It was in good nick, apart from the fact that every culvert had washed away, it was quick going. And even further down, where many kilometres of large, loose rocks usually lie in wait to trip you up, recent heavy equipment work had smoothed things considerably. It made the riding a breeze, and I had a twinge of regret about that. I suspect soon it will be a proper road, which means more people, more junk and fewer trees. It’s the reality in a country the size of Texas whose population is growing at 1 million people per year and is ruled by thieves.

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    Above: A quick lunch-stop under a wide acacia. Neb brought cheese and bread and Wry had tins of chicken with rice cakes. Not a bad combo.

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    Above: Weaver birds were busy making their nests

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    Above: Neb rides the new-and-improved road… a shadow of its former arm-pumping self

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    Above: Closer to Ngurumani, the sand and pebbles appear, inspiring hooliganism

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    Above: Through the weird plain dotted with hundreds of 2-meter-tall termite mounds

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    Above: Waiting for Puddles

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    Above: Muscleman Neb, the hairy-armed spider monkey

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    Above: At Ngurumani at last, we stopped by the bar for a quick beer before continuing on to our campsite on the riverbed

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    Above: I made a friend in the meantime. Considered wringing her neck for the evening’s vittles but she was nothing but skin and bones. Reminded Neb of an old girlfriend of his.

    With a few to-go beers and waters packed up, we made our way down to the Ewaso Nyiro. The approach to the river was a nice, hard path down to the sandy horseshoe bend and nobody was stupid enough to try riding across the river to the other side (Rawlence!). Tents up, boots off, beers open and to the water. We lounged around in that flowing mud for an hour then stoked the fire and settled in with beers, British ration packs and biltong. Puddles called it quits by 8PM, but the rest of us continued on until the last drop of whiskey had burned somebody’s gullet.

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    Above: Camp on the river's edge

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    Above: A very muddy Ewaso… Neb didn’t even get in, saying it’s cleaner to stay out!

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    Above: Barefoot, beer in hand, fire going, pig resting, middle of Africa… I win life.

    Tomorrow, the long way home...

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    #2
  3. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    The call of nature had me out of the tent at dawn, and we were out of there in short order despite lumping, feckless Wry trying his revo best to hold up the show. After Neb and I returned the bottles, we moved down through the vacant Shompole Conservancy and the Ewaso Ngiro plains. There were a few zebras and sign of elephant dung, but the wildlife were vastly outnumbered by cattle, sheep and goats. The riding was lazy and beautiful though, with stretches through the short grass and down sandy double-tracks. Shortly, we were on the vast flood plain beneath Mt. Shompole.

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    Above: Neb can’t help himself… has to do some early morning donuts. Cold engine be damned!

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    Above: On the far right corner, you can make out the defunct Shompole Lodge. Rumoured to have once been one of the best in Kenya, the community and the mzungu owners couldn’t play nice so it now sits in ruin. There’s a moral there somewhere…

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    Above: Mt. Shompole in the background, on the Tanzania border

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    Above: A couple of real cool fellas

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    Above: Puddles splashes through the dust

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    Above: The HMS WryGuy nearly sees his ass on the other side of this crossing

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    Above: My lovely Piggy

    I have a track that goes around Mt. Shompole to the edge of Lake Natron. I’ve never used it because it cuts into Tanzania, and the last thing I want is to get myself into an international incident with one of the most useless governments in Africa over a harmless 10km toodle through a deserted part of their territory. However, I have always wanted to ride down near the lake just to have a look, so I led the guys down keeping a close eye on my GPS to make sure we didn’t stray (too far) into Tanzania.

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    Above: Wry riding to the border

    Neb and I were on a nice vantage point looking at the lake when Wry and Puddles go trundling past, oblivious, out across the border (not that there’s an indication of a border, mind you, but I can see it on the GPS). I give chase, and turned Puddles back quickly but Wry just kept riding. Finally, he realizes he’s gone too far and we head back together to the village. When we get back, the others are gone and I knew we had a problem. I see a man on his mobile staring fixedly at me. A bit later, there’s a guy on a boda-boda trying to block the road with a line of rocks (silly man, I’m on a Pig). Not interested to discuss where the arbitrarily drawn line of national demarcation between nations is, or whether I may or may not be in a wholly unmarked “conservation area” with some plain-clothes guy in the bush, we ignored it and kept riding. Later on, we encountered another roadblock where a couple of guys had piled a bunch of sticks across the road. That's what bandits do, I thought as I wheelied over it and continued down the road.

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    Above: Wry may or may not be slightly inside Tanzanian territory, but we were both once residents so I’m sure we’re all good… certainly anyone who lives anywhere near this border can come and go as they please, so why not us?

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    Above: Looking back up the trail… too bad we can’t just ride the whole loop

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    Above: Neb showing how he crosses home-made roadblocks

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    Above: Past Oloika, off the main road, we stop for a rest… Wry is a handsome devil...

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    Above: Puddles had chewed a fair amount of fesh-fesh in a low-speed oopsie and I’d acquired the Team Wanker sticker again…

    Once we started up the volcano to Torosei, I forgot the unpleasantries with the roadblock nonsense and got into the rhythm for the first time all weekend. Up to now, I’d felt sluggish and off-balance, but the tight, rocky track flipped a switch and kicked my ass into high gear. I raced Neb up the mountain, through the villages to Torosei for a lunch and beer stop before the long, fast stretch home.

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    Above: Coming up the volcano track

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    Above: Here’s looking at you, Wry… I had to fix a loose bolt in my carrier… of course. In a nice twist, the place was serving Tanzanian beers!

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    Above: Puddles got Team Wankered, Neb talks shop with purple cat boy

    From Torosei through Mile 46 and all the way to Olepolos for kuku choma, it was business as usual. Twist, splat, growl, pop-pop-pop blaaaap! After lunch we should have been only 30 minutes from home, but you are never home til you’re home and Mother Nature had a trick up her knickers. It had been raining steadily all day at the higher elevations and we found our usual exit spot very slick with slimy red clay on shiny black rocks. I skittered very gingerly past a place I’d previously dropped the bike and damaged my radiator and was very pleased to get away scot-free. I was even more pleased to see Wry lose half his bike in a hole! Ah sweet schadenfreude!

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    Above: I was really enjoying the ride by this point…

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    Above: Wry, you right tosser!

    Once we extricated Wry from his predicament, it was just a matter of sliding sideways up the hill to the Pipeline road and the Southern Bypass where we splashed through the black gunk on Nairobi’s wet tar thoroughfares with the freaks and idiots. Almost totally fed up, I was granted a bit of comic relief as, in heavy traffic, I spotted a weak little 800cc Suzuki Alto with a huge sticker on the rear window proclaiming “Real men drive stick!” If you say so, Chuck Norris.

    Great ride fellas!

    Until next time.

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    #3
    pontier09, snglfin, mick and 3 others like this.
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,628
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Effin' awesome report @Osadabwa :ricky :thumb

    How'd the wrist do on this rip, any issues? Don't imagine swapping out the pinch flat was much fun, did you actually pull the rim lock out of the tire and roll without it for the rest of the rip? Imagine the torque of the piggie would mean lots of pressure in the rear if that was the source of the flat. Easy to spin the tire and rip the valve stem when having too much fun with the happy handle...lol.

    I'm too lazy to go back and look, but wasn't it Neb who suffered the broken leg (arm?) from one of your previous reports and had to be flown out by a bush pilot?

    That looks to be about the perfect weekend rip and camp, and that camp spot you guys had on Mt. Suswa...wow :nod :nod. Epic trips where you're gone for more than a week are always great, but these shorter trips keep the sanity and are always a blast.

    Appreciate you taking the time to post the report and capture all the pics, great commentary about the stops and I do appreciate your wit.
    #4
  5. pontier09

    pontier09 n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1
    Liv2day, that was Rawlence who broke his leg.
    I’m the one who broke my head in the Milgis!
    #5
  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,628
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Doh...thanks for clarifying @pontier09. And welcome to the chaos of advrider - glad your bean is back to "normal"...lol.
    #6
  7. ADVer

    ADVer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    406
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Awesome ride report and pictures - as usual!!

    Enjoyed locating the stops on the map.
    I guess you didn’t need to go to TZ for the Kilimanjaro after all!

    And all that within a couple hours of Nrb.

    As you said - you guys are living the life - what else do you need?

    Ps. Wouldn’t mind a screenshot of your route as you have posted sometimes - enhances the experience for us following along.
    #7
  8. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Hi @ADVer -

    You know, it's only a hop-skip-and-jump from the USA to Kenya (direct flights from NYC on KQ) and you could be riding that same area. There's a good tour operator from Nairobi (Rhino Riders) that has KTM 450s and they do tours (the link goes to the Shompole route, but the photos don't match... they seem to highlight pretty, wet areas, but Shompole is usually pretty and dry!). Short of living here, it's probably the best option. Combine it with a safari for the family and you're golden.

    As requested, here's the map with some of the place names in the RR:
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    I still can't believe how much great riding is literally 15 minutes from my doorstep. I just popped out yesterday for 5 hours of solo braaping (LINK) and managed to find new-to-me tracks. I just keep peeling back layers of awesomeness like some kind of riding onion.

    Cheers

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    #8
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  9. ADVer

    ADVer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    406
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for the map @Osadabwa!!

    Will check out your recent solo ride.

    Have to make that hop skip and jump soon!! Appreciate the info on Rhino motors.
    #9