How do you know tomorrow wont be a better day?

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tau Anvil, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

    Joined:
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    A view from the bakkie. The truck cut lane on the right. At 43 celcius the sand flows like water. 5 bikes had just passed here and look at the tracks.

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    Dewald repairs his exhaust bracket with wire.
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    One of our rest stops to wait for the bakkies to keep up. My Africa Twin just kept on going. I would have liked more ground clearance as my feet was getting snagged in the deep tracks.
    #21
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  2. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    These twisty sections was interesting.

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    We reached the tar at 16:31 and still had 100 km to go to get to pur Camp. We inflated our tyres and jumped on the tar. It was horrible, 40 km in Rickus stoppedand said the tar was making him sleppy and all the trucks scared us . Give us elephants and sand, but not this road carrying all the copper from Zambia to the Atlantic port of Walvisbay.
    #22
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  3. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We got to the town of Divundu and refueled our bikes and checked tyres again. Eugene had a slow puncture on the rear. He proceeded to pump the tyre 4 bar and started riding for the camp 14 km away. I caught up to him riding at 70km/h and checked the rear tyre. It was still fine. We reached our camp and his tyre was deflating, but still had enough air in to ride on. We decided to leave the repair for the next morning. We had to wait for or new tubes to arrive the next morning so we would do it when the bakkie went back to Divundu to get our tubes.........

    Anyway Ngepi was full, but as always they make a plan. If you ever go to Namibia and especially the Caprivi/Zambezi region this is a must stay. The place is stunning. Located on the river with hippo next to your camp and Elephant and Buffalo across the river coming to drink in Buffalo National Park.

    They even pushed us in for dinner. And it was delicious chicken curry and veg. After living rough for 4 days it was nice to get some veg in the system.

    We also had a swim in their "pool" it is a wire mesh cage in the river. The river is swamped with Nile Crocodiles and hippos so you get a freaky feeling when jumping in the cage.
    #23
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  4. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Ngepi bar.

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    The swimming cage at Ngepi

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    Hippos next to our camp
    #24
  5. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We had a great nights sleep and the Hippo's grunting in the background is like sleeping tablets for me. I love Ngepi and their service and attitude makes it such a pleasure to visit.

    http://ngepicamp.com/


    The next morning the troops ws stiff, sore and tired. The fact that Ngepi was so beuatiful also didn't help. I was the only one in the group still racing regularly, but they are a tough bunch and riding big bikes in small spaces is their forte. Not many people could ride a 1000cc class bike in the terrain we did the previous 3 days, and remember before that we had 2000km of tar and dirt just to get to the start of our trails in 40 + degree heat everyday.

    I didn't want to push it so said I wouldn't mind a rest day, but that that means Me and Dewald would have to do Grootfontein - home which is 2000km from a Saturday Morning to Sunday evening. i have done this before so would do it again. I went for a shower genuinely calm in any decision they would take, but expected to find them drinking beer on one of the deck overlooking the river when I would return from my shower.....I was wrong. This gang was men of steel and grit. They where packing up and getting ready to repair the puncture on Eugene's bike. I was surrounded by my kind of explorers. We removed Eugene's wheel as it was still on the rim we removed the valve with no air blowing out, what we expected I suppose. When he stopped the previous night the tyre was still ride able. We found a surprise. The tube was melted in the tyre and the valve was torn off. The heat had melted a piece of the tube that made the valve seat. With the higher flow rate from the filling stations airline the tyre had made itself tubeliss for a while. The ductape used as rim liner had sealed the sides of the tyre. evidence of the amount of heat we had put into the tyre the previous day.
    #25
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  6. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Yes the Motoz Tractionators is a hard tyre and yes the “tubeless” didn’t seal 100%, but damn how is this for heat.
    #26
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  7. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    The boys that went to get our tubes with the bakkie also took along this tyre so that it could be buffed at the little tyre shop in Divundu to remove the rough areas. They also took along our punctures tubes so that it could be repaired professionally. They returned at 10:00 and we only left Ngepi Camp for Botswana Border at 11;00..... Horrible timing, but if it was easy, you know the story.

    We hit the road south going thru Bwatwaba National park and to Mohembo Border post. We once again didn't see any Elephants. We started wondering if it was because we were lucky or because a big Elephant encounter was still waiting. The border crossing went smooth for Africa and we took just over an hour to get our passports stamped and paid our Pula 120.00 each for 3rd party road fund.

    We hit the road to Shakawe where we fueled up and got ice. We needed to make up time so no time for lunch or stopping. We did the 60km tar and then 60km horrible white gravel with potholes to Tsodila hills.

    We met a Police Land Cruiser just after Tsodila hills that stopped me. It was 46 C on my temp gauge and the sun was blazing. The Police officers asked where we were heading. I said Dobe border post and Namibia. He immediately said that we had taken a wrong turn and that we where way of route. I explained that we wanted to ride the cut lines and veterinary fence lines. He stated we would not make it. I said we hope we will and thank you for the concern. He tried to convince me that we are crazy, I agreed. We both laughed and he said good luck. I thanked him..

    Not 2km later I realised he wasn't lying about the "track"/ "road"/ " trail". We arrived at 14:00 in the Hottest month af this area November, in the drought, midday, to tackle the worst sand I have ever ridden. Now for those that do not know, I LOVE SAND. I will ride sand everyday of the week. I love deserts and studied Nature conservation and worked for South African National Parks in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I did week long trips in the desert with 4x4's as a guide. I have raced in Namibia and ridden the biggest dunes in Namibia on the coast. I hate mud, I do not enjoy mud and I don't claim to be a good mud rider.


    This sand had us working for it. The sand was just so hot that the bikes was not getting on the "plain" and for some reason the Botswana Police, veterinary services en conservation services that was the only other people to use this track could go straight for more than 50m max. sometimes it was like swerving between traffic cones. The zigzags just didn't stop. I stopped after 10km and the scene that followed was chaos!!!

    Both KTM 950's and the 990 EFI was boiling water out. My Africa twins fans was screaming, but she was not boiling. The KTM 690 was also not happy. Nobody was crashing or duck walking(you would not make 1km if you did) the riders are good sand riders, but the bikes was taking a beating in the heat.

    Dewald was furious he takes super good care of his bikes and they get polished and pampered and literally get parked in his house. His petrol was boiling in the fuel tank. The pump was working overtime and the heat from the engine didn't help either. Eugene's 950's boiled out so much water that at last we realised it was also fuel!!!!

    We decided to rest in the shade and wait for the worst heat of the day to pass, and for the bikes to cool down. When the bakkies arrived they had no such problems. We realized the zig zag track was stopping us from hooking 3rd or 4th and just glide over the sand we had to gear up and down and clutch to make some of the very narrow sharp corners creating so much heat in the engines. It was now 47 Celsius.
    #27
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  8. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Breakfeast of champions...just sorry we packed away all the plates and forks...

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    Water and fuel boiling out of a KTM 950 S.

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    You can see the wheels on the bikes running in the sand rather than on-top of it. We had a 30 min break here to give the bikes and minds a cool down.

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    The view you had most of the way on these tracks. It is brilliant riding, but as you can see not much in the way of "early warning" if a Elephant is around the next corner.
    #28
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  9. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We had to make serious decisions about what next. Strangely the bakkies where having a much easier time than north of Kaudum. We attributed the bikes overheating to them not reaching higher speeds because of the “draai draai” tracks.

    Dewald was finished he was turning around.

    I suggested we rest for a while until the midday heat was over, or just till Dewald cooled down. He is a tough character just over emotional about the whitefaced 990 .



    I suppose if I was riding a bomb I would also be negative.
    #29
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  10. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    After some Tafel lager and refills for the camelbacks and radiators everyone was in beter spirits. We had a game plan. As I was navigating now and not sweeping we would do 10 km if is was real rough giving bikes opportunity to cool down.

    At this stage nobody was crashing or duck walking we where riding as fast as possible without crashing or damaging bikes, but with a tail wind and extreme heat we had to protect the engines. Me and Weskus was riding tandem for large section upfront and it was bliss.

    We reached the Xaudum river and I lost it!!! Having Xpats / Matin’s track that he did earlier this year I could follow it roughly whilst cutting my own route down the river paths. We could stay clear of the worst Fesh Fesh and slide into and out of corners. I rate the riding in this river as my top 3 rides ever. Weskus stop with me under a tree and agreed this was amazing and we were so glad we had come. It felt super secluded with cattle and horses every couple of kilometers, but most villages was empty.
    #30
  11. ex_MGB

    ex_MGB Been here awhile

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    Amazing. I can't imagine a tougher test of man and machine. Be interesting to see how the new Honda Talon would handle something like this.
    #31
  12. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    My Twin running some Fesh Fesh sections.

    Poor Eugene and Attie had a fall in the fesh fesh

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    #32
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  13. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    This picture gives and idea of the depth of the sand and the constant weaving.

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    The Xaudum River section was amazing with nice hard pack inbetween the sand
    #33
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  14. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    The worst heat of the day was over and a light breeze was blowing the dust away. All of a sudden we where making good progress. We reached a veterinary checkpoint. Well it was a gate surrounded by what was once a fence. Poor fellow that manned this post had the fright of his life with 5 bikes arriving on his doorstep. He lived at this gate with his 3 dogs in a tent under some Camel thorn trees and his water source was just a tank on wheels that got resupplied once a month!!!! He was very friendly and asked us to complete the register and continue to flop the gate open as it was not hinged anymore and it's original purpose of keeping cattle out was long gone. I poor man. In the last month 4 cars had passed this checkpoint and before us 10 days ago one car. If you look on a Map of Africa, you cannot think that such an area is so sparsely populated.

    The one bakkie appeared... the other one had to turn around and drive back 28Km in this sand as they lost an Iphone at the last puncture repair site( I don't report on punctures anymore as it became a none issue at this stage). SO we continued until 17;30 where we felt they would get lost if we didn't wait for them. It was just getting dark when they at last arrived after 18;30 just to inform us they found the phone in the bakkie.

    The phone was insured so that was never the problem, but all the photo's that would be lost of the trip was not acceptable. They also had a rather interesting moment when at the veterinary fence they stopped to talk to the lonely gatekeeper and when the departed they forgot they had park close to an elephant proof sign post and continue to drive over it. Thank goodness the bakkie had a aftermarket bullbar and belly plate!!! They could reverse of the sign post redfaced, but with no damage to vehicle or sign. These signs are tapered concrete blocks that the elephants cannot destroy.

    The crew was tired, so I went ahead looking for a good campsite with enough wood and a safe spot to make a fire. I found heaven.
    #34
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  15. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    This was our home for the night. It was stunning.

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    The boys was tired, dirty and happy.

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    Me, I was in heaven. I love the Kalahari and the fact that there was elephant around made it even better....I was now reaching a point where I was certain tomorrow we would see elephant.

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    Eugene was rather tired.

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    Rickus was rather tired and could remove his riding gear before drinking some German fizzy drinks.

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    We made a great fire. And Attie put a old gas cylinder with a cutout in it full of water on the fire. We all had a hot shower as we needed it.

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    Tiaan our back-up brother no.2 and head of the Iphone losing team....he was rather dirty from fixing tires.
    #35
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  16. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Back-up brother no.1 who almost killed the elephant proof sign post/block thingy.

    The trip without the back-up vehicles would not have been possible in this heat due to our water consumption and that all the nomadic villages was empty and water-less and the fuel the 990's was consuming would have left us stranded somewhere with no water or fuel if we had like originally planned been kitted.

    We would have carried an extra 16 liters of fuel each, but just that weight excluding our sleeping gear, food, tools and water would probably have made our fuel consumption even worse.

    SO huge thanks to our support crews!!!!! In winter with water at well points and villages available it will be doable, but if you hit a mechanical problem or injury you have serious problems.
    #36
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  17. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    I would think mud and ice cold rain might be worse than this!!!! :imaposer ( Have I mentioned I hate mud riding???)

    I would never claim finding the holy grail of tough rides for adventure bikes as you could always just throw a adventure bike down the closest Enduro racing trail and destroy the bike, but these conditions did test the bike rather intensively, without destroying it.

    I don't think the Talon would fit in the wider Land Cruiser made tracks, but I know too little of SXS so maybe they will.
    #37
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  18. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We had an amazing night just absorbing the intensity of the day. We made it far worse than it neede to be because we only left at 11;00 that morning.

    As we sat around teh fire drinking beer and braaing some meat Rickus told us about a farmer in their small town down south in Namibia who had commited suicide due to the extreme drought. The person had an old farm hand staying on his one farm far from town. The news had to be brought to him. He was told that his employer had passed away. He then asked but how did it happen, was it a car accident, heart attack or something else?
    When the bearer of the news informed this old Kalahari Bushmen (Bushmen being used here as a compliment) that his employer had infact shot himself his respone was swift and true.

    " but sir how did my boss not know that tomorrow might be a better day?"

    To me at that moment the words and the mindset couldn't be more fitting. We all decided that the next day we would start at 06:00 to dodge the worst heat and ride whilst the sand is still cooler and less like water and well, more like sand.

    We had an amazing feast of steak, pork, garlic bread and sauce. We ate like kings and then all passed out at 21;00, we where poked proper.
    #38
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  19. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Early morning track.

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    We had made our 06:00 departure time. Another stunning African sunrise. It was a cool 18 Celsius and the sand felt so much better than the previous evening. We started of on deep dune tracks. Imagine dunes covered in tress and shrubs. They are not close to each other and have hard sections between them, we call "streets" so before and after each heavy section. It was huge fun and the fact that you kept cool whilst riding was making life so much easier.

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    Dewald was happy even thou the branches was trying to destroy his pretty bikes.

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    Some of the sections was overgrown, and the branches tried to kill us. Removing thorns from your hands and arms was now a non issue like punctures.

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    Then we hit the burnt sections, it made choosing a line so much better as you could see the next corner or the exit of the next corner. The sharp burnt branches trying to impale you wasn't that much fun.

    We had 68 km left of the track before hitting the main gravel road running from Nokaneng to Dobe border post. We decided to break it up in 15km stints as the bakkies was falling behind seriously with the speed we where running with the bikes.

    at around the 35km mark the dunes dissapeared and was rplaced by flatlands covered in dense mopanie bush. AND LOTS Of elephants signs everywhere. Some dung and many huge trees that was pushed over by elephants. The riding was stunning and we made great time. just after 08;30 we had only 5km left and had a long "last stop in the bush". We realised what we had just experienced and how blessed we where. As we drank an early beer and talked smack, we heard the dredded shhhhhhhhhhhhhh of a suddenly deflating tyre. Dewald Mitas E-09 was going down like somebody had cut it with a knife. We where dumbfound. We had been parked for 15 min's at this stage. We started to struggle the E-09 of it's bead. 2 x sets of Motion pro bead breakers + Rickus on his 950 and side stand trying to brake the bead....... One bent stand later we got it of these Mitas E-09 ar amazing, and they last. Getting them of the bead is just about impossible if you don't have serious tools and clamps.

    We found the Michelin Ultra Heavy duty tube had torn it's valve out of the tube. As we just heard it blow all it's air out we knew it wasn't ridden flat. Dewald was also the lightest rider in the group at 80kg's. As stated earlier we removed valve caps and lock nuts to prevent torn out valve stems.

    The heat had probably made the tube weak.
    #39
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  20. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Just for interest Weskus never had a front flat using a TKC80 + Michelin 2.5 mm tube and not the 4.5 mm

    I replaced my busted 4.5 mm Michelin with a secondhand Michelin 2.5 mm I had. With a TKC 80. It lasted all the way home and I only reinforced the tube due to a cut in my tyre that scuffed the tube.

    My rear was the only rear on the trip to never puncture and it was a E09 with 2.5 mm Michelin 2.5 mm tube.

    Yes luck of the draw in which track you where and if there was logs or rocks in the sand played a huge roll, but that the 2 tyres that never punctured was those fitted with Michelin 2.5 mm has to be a sign that they could take the abuse like a Ultra heavy duty, but survive the extreme heat.
    #40