Eburru Breakout - C-19 Escape

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Osadabwa, Jul 8, 2020.

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  1. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    708
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    At last, a bit of freedom! I have been properly grumpy lately waiting to ride again, and @Joe Motocross 's recent thread didn't help my mood one little bit!

    The Corona Lockdown of 2020 ended (for now) which meant the boys and I wasted no time getting on the bikes for a ride. Wry had been to Eburru Forest with the family and no doubt realized how much more fun it would be to go there with bikers, so we packed up our Pigs and hit the dirt for a one-night ride and camp.

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    Above: My insuperable XR650R in travel trim minus the extra-large tank. We’d find fuel along the way.

    We met at Wry’s place at 8AM for some weak-ass coffee and dry-ass toast. To be fair, I made the coffee and the toast was perhaps unavoidably and even desirably dry, being toast and all, but I digress. While breakfasting, I noticed something amiss with our newest Pig owner’s kit. Having prepared in a rush to join us – understandably eager as he surely was to hang out with three real cool dudes like us – his soft-bag setup had one big flaw: The strap holding it on was in a position sure to be ripped to shreds by the rear tire on the first big hit. Fortunately, Panic was on the scene and made a plan, relocating the straps and mounting them afresh. The bag was secure, for the time being, and we took off down the valley behind the Ngong Hills.

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    Above: On his maiden voyage with the Pig, Mr Phancy Pants adjusts his equipment at Wry’s place. Being his first trip, it was expected he’d have a few teething issues with equipment etc, but nobody could have foreseen the vintage 90’s Fancy Dress Thor Trousers he’d grace us with on the ride! What a treat!

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    Above: Mr Pants adjusts his equipment, again, behind the Ngongs. It would become something of a theme. Damn those vintage bungee cords… just not enough stretch for the rigors of the Rift!

    The morning warmed up quickly and the throttles cried out for twisting, so we ripped past Saikeri on to Najile. This section of road has great flow, good speeds and one or two nice little tricky spots to keep you within the limits. There are many culverts out there ripe for launching, but at least one of them hides a gnarly washout on the other side. Biker beware!

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    Above: Wry putting kms between him and the office

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    Above: Nice place, Kenya

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    Above: Najile petrol-in-bottle-station. Panic holds forth on the prowess of the BRP to the local bikers. They all agree it is a machine.

    Past Najile, we kept Mt Suswa on our right flank and pounded over the rough tracks. I had my eye on a nice wide riverbed that would take us up to the Narok Road, so we aimed our wheels and let fly. Upon arriving at the lugga, however, it became clear that it wasn’t going to be easy. A few years of floods had cut vertical walls with no visible entry points anywhere. The road dead-ended into a sheer 3 meter drop off and nobody had cared to make a new way in. We diverted South, found an entry point and thought we had it made, but unfortunately a 3 meter dry waterfall killed that idea too. Given the time and the distance remaining, we decided to have a bite to eat in the shade and take the more direct route instead.

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    Above: Me checking out the riverbed. 3 meter drop off and no entry point meant we’d have to divert.

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    Above: Panic wanted to look at the riverbed too, but dropped the Piggy turning around. Luckily, I was there to get this nice action shot. I feel our friendship only grows as we show each other our vulnerable sides. Ha! Muppet!

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    Above: Only a few hundred meters into the riverbed, a dried waterfall blocked our forward progress so we stopped for lunch.

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    Above: A nice little shady water hole made a great spot for our repast of tinned fish

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    Above: Phancy phixing his phucked up luggage while Wry does nothing to assist, and I mean nothing!

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    Above: Leaving the riverbed in a roar… I’ll return with more time to find a way around the blockage and up the lugga.

    Pounding our way along, we reached the Narok road, headed further West and diverted North again. Our tires had just barely hit dirt when Wry decided to examine the soil in detail. And what a spot to do it, too. In a series of tricky mud sections, which I managed to cross with no issues at all it should be noted, Wry pitched himself sidelong into the muck. Of course, he blamed me: “I hit your track and it knocked me in!” What a tw…izzler. A green sheen floated on the surface and his bike was basking nicely in it. I bravely returned to take a photo of his shame, but he seemed to think I should help him pick up his bike. No easy task, that. And just the sheer effort of watching Wry and I struggle and fart around in vain made Panic drop his bike in the mud as well. Comic, really. We’re bad-assed experts for sure.

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    Above: Wry’s bike takes a mud bath with him along for the ride. The smell became known as “Eau de Muppet”

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    Above: Muddy piggy needed a bit of help… the throttle body doesn’t spin well when packed full of cow manure and mud, and we didn’t need Wry launching himself like a missile with no tailfins up the escarpment!

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    Above: Down on the flats, the effect of a series of heavy rainy seasons was obvious

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    Above: Absolutely beautiful… and the scenery isn’t bad either, heading up the Mau

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    Above: A patchwork quilt of farms and weedy, treeless areas roll on forever up here. Conspicuously absent: forest.

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    Above: With one drop of rain, this track would have been a diabolical bobsled course. We got lucky with the weather this time.

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    Above: Over the top of the Mau and down to Kongoni on some of the roughest, least flowy tracks around… It’s scenic, but hard work. The Pig makes it as easy as it can be, just soaking up the bumps with its one foot of wheel travel. Remind me again why people like the 690?

    Fuelled up, we raced the rest of the way to Kongoni, around to Eburru and up the hill to the Forest Gate just ahead of a doozy of a raincloud that looked to me like it was getting closer. It’s now time for my obligatory sawdust grind about the state of the world, trees and overpopulation. Eburru Forest is a little emerald gem, but it’s a fraction of an ecosystem that once extended to the Mau Forest and down to Masai Mara. Now, the fence line of Eburru is as sharply delineated as American Politics and there is nothing connecting it and the Mau, which has dwindled horribly even since I’ve been riding bikes in Kenya in 2003. It’s a shame, but what to do, right? With 360,000 babies born every day and half as many of us kicking the bucket, I guess we’re all on a one-way ticket to Armageddon. Thank heavens I’m going there on a Pig.

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    Above: Google Earth shows the damage to the corridor in the less than 20 years since I’ve been riding through… the Mau Forest is almost gone. Eburru has been salvaged, but without a corridor linking other areas, it’s now an island of green in an Agricultural free-for all, with people planting on hillsides with no terraces, cutting trees, and generally getting it all wrong.

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    Above: Arrival at the gate. Nobody was thinking about deforestation… we were thinking about the whopping rain cloud that was rumbling just over the hill. Wry swore it wouldn’t arrive and for once in all the time I’ve known him, he was right!

    In no time, we were signed in and rumbling to the campsite which was a grassy spot on the edge of a small volcanic crater from which was continually emitted several jets of steam. While we made camp and changed out of riding kit, a motorbike appeared with our beer delivery! That’s how it’s done folks! Any idiot can be uncomfortable, so they say. Well done again Wry! Tucking into some Biltong and swilling beers, we slid down the crater rim to the nearest steam vent and lounged around in the heat created by this giant ball hurtling through the universe we all sit on.

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    Above: Camp all to ourselves.

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    Above: Biltong at camp

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    Above: Taking in the vapours

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    Above: Me wondering how I’m going to get another beer just as Mr Pants arrives with fresh ammo!

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    Above: Inoculating against Corona by licking the prehistoric ooze… (no I didn’t)

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    Above: Not a bad place to chill after a long ride… it’s gonna take me a while to lose the Covid-19kgs I’ve put on. That six-pac would work on the Michelin Man.

    As dusk settled in, we clamoured back up to camp, arranged ourselves around a fire that Wry and Mr. Pants finally got roaring and polished off our last beers. Two packs of sausage and several tuppers worth of goodies from the depths of Pants’s panniers later and we were stuffed. Out came the whisky and on came the music. Bullshit and blather continued well into the night and 1.5L of whisky evaporated just like the mist. The clouds hung low and sped fast across a dimly lit sky. It was a very funky place to be. Good place.

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    Above: Me and Panic. Like two nuts in a scrot. @Joe Motocross - My friends sometimes tease me about using the wheel as a chair back... True, it takes a bit of effort to man-handle the Pig into position by the fire, but later on when the whisky sets in, the muppets sitting there cross-legged with broken backs gaze upon my stable genius with unmasked envy.

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    Above: Evening camp. Note Wry is the only one drying his kit… wonder why that is? Do I smell Eau de Wanker.

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    Above: Someone paint me this still life

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    Above: Not even dark yet and things are getting silly. I often photoshop funny faces on the guys, but this time, there’s no need! Panic looks like a mad arab refugee undergoing chemotherapy while holding back a fart and Wry is the spitting image of a Chameleon just before he tongues a fly to death.

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    Above: More kit drying, unsuccessfully we learned later (to our delight) and an ominous Panic bringing over the next half litre of Whisky (to our detriment).

    Tomorrow's tomorrow... [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. Faceplant

    Faceplant Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    Swahilistan
    Shouldn't you have been demonstrating with the Saba Saba crowds? Very unpatriotic...
    #2
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  3. WHYNOWTHEN

    WHYNOWTHEN where are the pedals?

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    915
    Location:
    closer to Baja
    i'm happy that they finally let you out!!!!

    That Biltong looks good.
    #3
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  4. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    708
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Daybreak found three half corpses and one unphased Mr. Phancy Pants who seemed to be the lone survivor of the night before. Blue skies flitted between cloud and mist. The whole scene was surreal, and we would all have enjoyed it very much if our eyes focused properly and we didn’t have to concentrate on not falling over quite so much. But, to my amazement, one cup of appallingly strong instant coffee and I was right as rain. Wry and Panic, however, seemed a bit wan and maybe looked slightly puffier than usual. Suffice it to say, sentence structure wasn’t a thing, and we took absolutely forever to break camp.

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    Above: What a funky camp

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    Above: Panic and I… I mean, if anyone needs fashion models, we’re available to do the Dads’ Fall Puffy Jackets Line.

    We finally stuffed the gear back on the bike (or in Mr P’s case, lashed it Helter-Skelter all over the damn place) and began our way out of camp. It took a great deal of concentration to ride the fog moistened double-track through grass through the forest. A moment’s lack of focus had Wry on his ass looking back up the trail at Mr. Pants who had been behind him. Suffice it to say, reflexes were not yet flexing.

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    Above: Wry sporting his team logo.

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    Above: Deep in the forest. Definitely worth coming back to explore a bit further on foot.

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    Above: Elusive Forest Hogs

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    Above: Emerging out the northern, sunny and dry side of the forest, Panic points ahead. He’d managed to see one of the 10 rare forest Bongo on the roadside. How cool is that?

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    Above: Waiting for Wry to catch up already

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    Above: Couldn’t fault the views. Could see over Elementaita all the way to Lake Nakuru from up there.

    Once out the Mpesa gate, we looped clockwise around the forest on farm tracks, bumping along in the sunshine, slowly waking up. The going is always slow in heavy agricultural areas. Tracks are badly abused and often washed out, there are many 90 degree corners around fields and everything seems to get in the way of a nice rhythm. It’s why I prefer the desert, the long tracks, the rocks, sand, heat and speed.

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    Above: Picking our way down from Eburru Forest through the shambas

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    Above: Panic checks to see if his carb pilot light is still on

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    Above: Back around the south end of the mountain

    Stomachs rumbling, we raced like limping Clydesdales around the lake to Ranch House where we plopped down at a table and ordered pizzas and smooooozuz. Cokes were heavily favoured by the lads, but I chose one tidy beer which absolutely hit the spot. Sometime after mid-day we saddled up afresh, heavy of belly and thick of head and clobbered ourselves over the hammered low shoulder of the Mau, back to Suswa town and on to Najile.

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    Above: We were just riding now… no time for pics. We were all thinking about our beds, most likely.

    From Najile, we got our second wind. Those desert roads, that sweet, sweet flowing, racing, drifting dirt! The stone sections and climbs, the close calls with livestock, the blind corners and eye-watering straights! In a blink of an eye we were in Saikeri and as the dust settled I found myself pedantically warning Pants: “This is great, but don’t get complacent. You’re not home until you’re home!” And sure as all shit slides downhill, I ate my own words and saw my ass in spectacular fashion.

    That Saikeri stretch is just a blast, and I know it very well… apparently so well I think I don’t have to use my eyes to judge things any more. So, as I flew uphill and into an arcing off-camber right hander, I didn’t need to see if there was loose soil near the edge. And as the front tire was washing out, I didn’t need to see the stones I was about to land on. But I bloody well felt it! It was a biggie, but I came out virtually unscathed thanks to the heavy, hot, whah whah whah etc etc etc, kit I wear. I kept my hands on the bars all the way to the ground and all the way to the end of the considerable slide. The pads saved my bones, but one embedded stone managed to sink its Igneous teeth into the fleshy bit of my forearm. I nearly got away Scott free, but considering the pace, I’ll chalk it up as a win!

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    Above: Last riding shot, and my boo-boo which could have been a lot worse.

    And that’s all folks. Gents, it was another glorious ride in green Kenya. The bikes are perfect, the riding amazing. Like all of you, if I could improve on the quality of the company, I would, but beggars can’t be choosers so let’s do it again!

    Pants, hope to get you out with us again soon. Swap out a few bits of your camping kit, fix your shock and you’ll be sorted. Whatever you do, don’t sell those vintage Thor trousers! Nobody rocks the teal and violet like you do!

    Cheers

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    #4
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  5. ADVer

    ADVer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    606
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Absolutely amazing!

    All that Covid related pent-up energy comes through in your brilliant descriptions.

    Good to see you guys back in the saddle!

    Kenya looks as beautiful as ever in spite of the changes you describe.
    #5
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  6. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,481
    Holy crap man, I’m glad you were finally able to saddle up. Every time I hear news from Nairobi I think of you. Bet that ride felt good!

    You gotta take note when someone whips out something like those vintage Thor pants. Legit.

    I’m curious if the XRs are fairly easy to come by there? And I’m assuming finding parts isn’t a huge ordeal?

    Roost scripture: for the riders disregarded the chair as they new the extra burden It would have on their ripping. Like the discovery of fire, one rider showed the tribe an angled backrest which they all already had in their possession. Soon the other tribe members stopped facplanting and enjoyed their whiskey propped against their front wheel instead.
    #6
  7. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    708
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    @Joe Motocross - Amen on the scripture. Haven't felt the spirit like that in a long while.

    XRRs are rare in Kenya. To my knowledge there are 8 or so. Reason being to license them is no longer legal. Kenya has anti dumping rules about vehicles 8 years old or older. They are not yet sophisticated to have a collectors or vintage plate option. So, we are some of the luckiest bastards out here.

    Hope to get out again soon.

    Cheers from Kenya
    #7
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