Husky TE300 in the Sahara

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Chris S, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    Not a sound I'd ever thought I'd hear in the Sahara: the wail of Swiss Tony's 50-horse, 110-kilo Tee Hee Hee 300 shredding another monster dune.
    Swiss T - a desert vet - was no bloater either, and a bit on an enduro ace.
    He didn't let a passing dune go unscarred on our two-week tour in SE Algeria.
    It was some 5000 desert clicks in, with as much left in it before a top-end rebuild, he reckoned.

    Me, I was pleased to survive on my XR400 (also smoking by the end, but not in a good way).
    Not everyone did, but sadly that's par for the course out there.
    XR4 was the best thing I've ever ridden in the Sahara, but that's not saying much.

    I had a quick spin on the TE one afternoon while we waited for 'Mutti', the support truck to catch up.
    Mental - obviously, but a lot torquier than you'd expect (it's a carb model).
    Gassing it momentarily, then ring-ding-dinging on the overun, I probably never reached the powerband, but darting about like a frenzied fish was enough to get lost.
    Looping back, it was the same low rocky hills and trackless slabs all around.
    Panic rises, I blunder around until I calm down and notice there's a Garmin tracklogging quietly on the bars. Well TFFT!
    We were warned the first night: don't ride off alone...


    [​IMG]
    Above: Tony near Tazat mountain. He used the mirror to check his premix cloud was a nice, healthy shade of gnat-choking blue.

    [​IMG]
    Also know as Two-Stroke Tone, our man comes in to land after crossing a spur of the Erg Admer sand sea west of Djanet. Behind him Seb on his Husaberg 400 sloper - also unsafe near dunes - and Josch on his XCh and winner of the Colourful Outfit Award.


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    The photogenic cirque of Moul n-Aga near the Libyan border, as featured on the 1000-dinar bank note. Tony and Seb set out to rearrange some grains. Josch was by now on crutches.

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    Small sand avalanches tremble and slide as the cirque reverberates to the sound of T-ST hauling down a dune like a stunned marlin.

    [​IMG]
    Meanwhile, One Million Years BP (before premix) Raquel Welch's boyfriend, Ug, tries to tame a wild giraffe so he can take her out to the drive-in.
    #1
  2. ridethedream

    ridethedream Globerider

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    5000 desert clicks -awesome. What was your route?

    I just don't have heart to take my ktm300exc to the Sahara. For me a light four stroke is a way to go.

    Having rode both XR4 and XR650R I find the latter more nible, with better suspension and able to run in deep sand for a long time without smoking ;) (water cooled).

    I think that one of the reasons the expeditions to the Sahara are so appealing to us is because of its demanding and unforgiving environment. Riding alone in the Sahara is like climbing without a rope.

    Tomek

    P.S. My XR650R in the dunes:
    #2
  3. BSTT

    BSTT Been here awhile

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    Beautiful pics!
    Can we have of these fantastic pics please.
    Ciao Gero
    #3
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  4. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    This is not adventure motorcycling or even adv riding.
    This is a dual-sport holiday, but I figure it’s fun and educational to share some pix of the epic Algerian Sahara
    which so few visit these days, what with all the regs and stuff.


    [​IMG]
    We fly to Illizi on an Air Algerie hack with sand-blasted windows and fuel leaking from the wing.
    They stop-over in Ouargla to try and patch the leak.
    But for the windows I could have got some great shots of the Grand Erg Oriental.
    Pull back from this to sense the scale.


    [​IMG]
    Illizi is a desert town caught between rocks and a sand sea.
    Our bikes were waiting for us at the abandoned campsite south of town.
    A big storm wrecked it in 2011 and the way tourism was going (Arab Spring and all), it wasn’t worth rebuilding.

    Yes, yes, thanks for the history lesson, but what are we riding?
    • 690 x 2
    • TE300
    • Husaberg FE 450
    • XCh x 2
    • CRF250L
    • 640 Adv
    • 350 EXC
    • XR250R
    • XR400R
    • TTR 250 (~320cc) x 2

    Petrol on; choke up (or is it down?); push past compression and kick.
    No one was more amazed than me when the XR4 fired up into a gentle putt-putt-putt first kick and continued to do
    so, hot or cold, for the rest of the trip (fall-overs excepted).


    [​IMG]
    We set off for a 15-km ride to the famous Oued Djerat across the soft sands which lap the town.
    Some of us know the form - WFO!! - some need to learn real fast.
    Still on road pressures, we struggle in places. George on her 250L finds it a bit much and hops in the pickup.


    [​IMG]
    Waiting for the sand-stunned stragglers at the Oued Djerat turn off.
    I’d like to have a proper look at Oued Djerat where the French first properly discovered
    prehistoric rock art in the 1930s. This whole UNESCO-rated corner of Algeria is one of the richest troves in the
    world, depicting human society's evolution from hunter gathering to pastoralism and agriculture and the advent
    of gods, kings, burials and wars as the current arid phase (aka 'Sahara') tightened its grip. All this is depicted
    across 1000s of caves and rock faces - older engravings like the giraffe above, and less durable paintings.


    [​IMG]
    Ahmed our Tuareg guide takes a breather. Guides/escorts are mandatory in Algeria since the mass kidnappings
    of 2003 which all occured on Ahmed’s patch just west of Illizi.


    [​IMG]
    It’s too late for Djerat so we head for a nearby dune.


    [​IMG]
    Dusk falls across the camp as we all find out spot for the night.


    [​IMG]
    We take our first meal and talk desert and bikes. Tomorrow the riding begins.
    #4
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  5. Manthaten

    Manthaten Adventurer

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    Wow, beautiful photos!! Respect!
    #5
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  6. ridethedream

    ridethedream Globerider

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    I agree. As long as you stay in the group it is relatively easy-peasy. But sometimes things simply go wrong and in the desert it can be fatal (injured and lost).
    My example: Tadrart, Jan2017, riding alongside the caravan of 4x4s in some distance, have not noticed a gap between the dunes. Fortunately I wasn't injured, but if I were, I am sure it would take my group quite a long time to find me... https://youtu.be/zIUOdTrH6pU

    Waiting for more :)
    #6
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  7. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]
    I wake up next morning and survey a sea of tents. Is there a festival on?
    Even Ahmed’s in a flip-out, pop-up number, but he is over 70.
    What would Thesiger have made of these glampards? (see end of link)

    I’m old school: a good down bag in the lee of whatever's going, snug as a grub in a matchbox, once all the strings are drawn in.
    Only desert newb, SteelyTankDan (XR250) sleeps out too.
    And Mohamed in the backie, buried under a sackful of blankets. Not sure if that counts.


    [​IMG]
    Mutti dispenses breakfast.
    Caught with 5 bar in the tyres, Thomas’ truck stuck where it stopped last night.
    On the far horizon the Fadnoun plateau which we'll cross today, part of the
    400-km-long series of ‘fallen-domino’ escarpments which make up the Tassili N’Ajjer.


    [​IMG]
    Back at Djerat Djunction, there seems to be some confusion.
    Left or right?
    The piste leading away goes to Tarat on the Libyan border.
    We went that way in 2003; it was the old, pre-War route over the Tassili before the Fadnoun track was chiselled out by navies.


    [​IMG]
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    It was a tough but epic ride and another Algerian classic.


    [​IMG]
    I like the look of Seb’s 450 - they say the engine configuration is about centralisation
    for improved flickability. I was eyeing one of these up for this trip but really I’m stuck
    in my old trail-bike ways.
    Anything over 100hp/litre is just too rude.


    [​IMG]
    At the last minute I snagged an XR400. Always fancied one of those.
    Until last night I’d only ridden it half a mile up and down the road.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Prep added up to wheel bearings, a Mitas E09 rear, temp gauge, sandfoot, plus risers,
    Slime, fatter pegs, Barks and self-tapers to pin down the tyres. Thanks to Karim and
    TTR-Simon for doing all that.


    [​IMG]
    The Desert Throng heads back to the Djunction.


    [​IMG]
    Dieter leads the truck in on his big Adv - a great-looking bike.
    Why did they never make a 690 ADV?
    Don't answer - there's probably a monster thread right here answering that $690k question.


    [​IMG]
    We were hoping to take the Graveyard Piste - another classic Tassili route running west towards Erg Tifernine
    and beyond. Not been that way for years.
    But banditos are hiding out there after recently stealing a fleet of fourbies from Illizi. Or so the story goes.
    So we take the bleak N3 Fadnoun highway south towards Djanet. Last came this way in 2000.


    [​IMG]
    I’m hoping to spot the old Tyre Tree from 30 years ago.
    That’s it, right there. Our tyres long gone.


    [​IMG]
    In ’88 Pete’s trip with me on XT600ZEs came end here when, changing tyres, he was faced with a wheel full of
    snapped spokes.


    [​IMG]
    And this is the same spot a year later - 1989, my first desert bike tour. At this point I'd already lost 2 guys
    and we'd only just left the road.
    (I've since learned that parking under acacias is a bad idea; park in the sun, walk in for the shade, otherwise your tyres pick up thorns which rocks will push through later).


    [​IMG]
    This was the state of the 400-km Fadnoun track back then – no place for a shonky wheel.
    Riding to Djanet took 2 days; cars took 3. I passed a Citroen once, broken in half.
    Trucks had to take a huge detour out west, taking several days.


    [​IMG]
    in '89 my leaf-sprung Landrover 101 mini-Mutti was so slow compared to the bikes,
    they built me a chair while waiting for me to catch up.


    [​IMG]
    Along with a civil war, the army spent the 1990s building the road over the Fadnoun to Djanet.
    Today we can glide over the plateau like mallards on a pond.


    [​IMG]
    Look, they’ve even carved a track east to Imirhou. I remember reaching there from
    the Libyan side on our XRL tanks in 2003, hoping to find a much-needed well, but all
    there was was a damp soak.


    [​IMG]
    Jan 2003; it was a thirsty afternoon of hard riding and punctures.


    [​IMG]
    Back to the present, a fallen MAN.


    [​IMG]
    Down the road we scoff some lunch then leave the N3 highway SW onto the Afara piste.
    The track’s improved a whole lot since I came this way in 2002 in my Todje, burying
    caches for our 2003 XRL trip.


    [​IMG]
    Afara is famous for it’s monoliths. Dieter rolls through on his Battleship KaTeMkin.
    Diet is another Saharan vet from the 80s. He crossed the Fadnoun on a Paralever GS
    Thou then hacked 700km east to Tamanrasset, when that was an achievement in itself.
    690 Dave and XCh Ian are also desert vets who crossed the Sahara a decade or more
    later, with the usual toll taken.
    Thomas the organiser is another: trans Sahara, late 70s on an SR500 all the way to Togo and many trips since then.
    He has a similar Saharan profile to me: writing and tours, but more of both.


    [​IMG]
    The last known pic of George riding. Patches of deep bulldust (incorrectly known as
    feche-feche - don’t start me on that…) freaked her out for good. The flour-like dust ruts looked nasty, but
    responded to a firm hand and blind hope.
    Traction was actually pretty good, but that stuff was not finished with us.
    We left her CRF at Afara village and picked it up on the way back.


    [​IMG]
    TTR-Robin dusted up like a creme sponge. All he needs is a layer of custard and cherry on his head.


    [​IMG]
    Excellent time to do some speeding ;-D


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A few more shots coming through Afara: SteelyTankDan; Dan350 and XCh Josch.


    [​IMG]
    As the shadows stretch out and yawn, Thomas leads us over the dunes to a back canyon.
    Urgent dropping of tyre pressures and slithering past thorny acacia trees.
    Right of the pic - that’s probably T-S Tone burning off excess hydrocarbons.
    But then again, I’m shocked how much fuel my XR is getting through on the sands.
    It feels like it might be running rich, but better rich than lean out here. Or better still: efi.


    [​IMG]
    Ahmed and Mo relax round a campfire.


    [​IMG]
    We sit under spotlights on benches like schoolboys lined up for a damn good thrashing.
    I prefer the Tuareg way but with 16 to feed, a table is probably more practical and
    easier on the back.
    Tomorrow the ride continues. The first full day on the sands.
    #7
  8. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]
    Last night’s remains.


    [​IMG]
    Ahmed walks over with his plate of wholesome high-fibre muesli.


    [​IMG]
    I pluck out acacia thorns picked up by the front tyre last night. Once on rocky terrain some can get pushed
    through and cause endless flats until you locate then all.


    [​IMG]
    Tracklogs are imported into our (technically illegal) GPSs and we’re divided into 2 groups of six riders led by
    whoever’s got a functioning GPS.


    [​IMG]
    We’re taking a winding backroute northwest, in and out of the Tassili plateau’s eroded outliers.


    [​IMG]
    Soon the riding gets gnarly as we work our way into the outcrops, over dune-chocked passes and oueds
    (watercourses) thick with tussocks piled on low dunes. You can see how soft the sand is here, but at least
    there’s room to get some speed up.
    As I know well, oued ruts are easy in a grunty fourbie with low pressures, but tricky on a bike when trees or
    rocks limit escape options to either side. Because of this, we usually took our chances off-piste through the
    tussocks, but with six of us all intent on the least-hard line, there are a few close calls.
    At one bottleneck I run into 690Dave and fall over.
    “Sorry mate, couldn’t avoid you!”
    Another time 350Dan and I nearly collide – I swing off sideways, jumping 3 tussocks in a row, amazed
    the XR stays upright. Maintaining flow and momentum are vital – better than trying to get moving from a
    standstill when most fall-overs occur.


    [​IMG]
    While taking this shot I didn’t notice my bike had fallen over and someone picked it up.
    Setting off, it wouldn’t start: kick – kick – kick – kick – kick [pant-pant] – kick – kick – kick – kick [rest] –
    kick – kick – kick.
    A bit of a cough and eventually it fires up. I’m dry mouthed and worn out. What was that all about?
    At any other time it’s a first kick starter, but at times like this I can see the value in a button.
    So can SteelyDan – a little later his starter button fell out. He started the button-only 250 with a twig.


    [​IMG]
    We climb a big dune piled against a rock art cave.
    You can see SteelyDan’s XR kicking out the power pulses.


    [​IMG]
    There are prehistoric painting of cows and other bovids.
    Back then this region was more like grassy East Africa’s savannah, but seeing too many of these caves can
    give you Red Cow Fever.


    [​IMG]
    While we wait for the trucks to catch up, Seb and Dieter survey the scene from the rock shelter as Ug and
    Raquel may have done.


    [​IMG]
    Siesta. It’s not just me who’s finding it tiring.


    [​IMG]
    After lunch there’s a bit more tussock-bashing and slow sandy climbs over high-rpm passes then we join the
    Tamajert piste. I am quite relived. Not sure I could have managed another half-day of that.
    In the last days of the Dakar in Africa, it was Mauritania’s tussock fields which finished off many riders.


    [​IMG]
    Entering Tamajert village. Always wanted to come here.


    [​IMG]
    The Stork of Destiny is waiting for us at our campsite.


    [​IMG]
    A rusty jerrican. You don’t often see those lying around in the Sahara.
    One time we found some stamped ‘1942’ below Jebel Uweinat mountain in far northwest Sudan.
    Named after WWII slang for Germans, 20-litre ‘jerry’ cans were a far superior fuel-carrying vessels to the
    1-gallon Shell-fuel tins the Brits used up to the decisive Allied victory at Al Alamein
    when they helped themselves to Rommel's leftovers.


    [​IMG]
    Famous rock art site nearby. Note the horse-drawn chariots commonly associated with the Garamantean
    civilisation
    of southern Libya around 500BC. Around this time the Sahara would have been getting too arid for
    horses. By the Roman era camels were introduced from Arabia and no one's looked back since.
    #8
  9. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]
    Next morning Thomas gives the briefing for the day.
    For me probably the best ride on the trip.


    [​IMG]
    As we ride out an enigmatic, Darth Vader-like figure stalks our camp: the Shaman of Tamajert.
    Widely known to be shape-shifters, that could have been him in stork-form last night.


    [​IMG]
    [Advertisement Feature]
    I am wearing Adventure Spec’s new Linesman jacket. My review.
    [Advertisement Feature Ends]


    [​IMG]
    We are given rather vague instructions to wait 40km back down the track.
    This we do.
    To paraphrase Gregory Peck: 'They pay me for the waiting, the riding I do for free'


    [​IMG]
    But from here the riding soon improves. 690Dave leads us over a huge sand rise.


    [​IMG]
    On the far side a vast plain opens out, ringed by distant lilac peaks.
    ‘Can the eyes gasp?’ asked desert doyen, Tom Sheppard in one of his books once. Out here they sure can.
    This is more like it – less technical but still requiring concentration.
    Note the small crested waves of sand. Dave and 350Dan (pictured) know all about them.


    [​IMG]
    On our 2007 Algie trip Sean hit a bigger one of these crests and as Dave recalled it, it looked
    like he’d hit a landmine. This was down near the Niger border, days from any town or village.
    When they’re aligned north-south against the mid-afternoon sun there are no tell-tale shadows to highlight any
    relief – until you hit one. Even my MAN truck (similar to Thomas’) jumped a foot in the air as I
    caught up.


    [​IMG]
    In the pic above (another trip), coming from the left you will see nothing until you feel it.
    Same story in big dunes when backlit or under cloud which explains all the accidents.


    [​IMG]
    Back to now, Rob and I cruise the pristine sand sheet. Roaming off-piste like this is what desert biking all about.


    [​IMG]
    The two Dans swing past.


    [​IMG]
    While waiting and engaged in a bit of slide-arse hooning, I think I smell burning oil. Is it me? Dipstick check… yes it is.
    Next stop I scrounge a bit of motor oil from Mohamed’s pickup.
    Ex-XR4-ing Dave was just saying how the RFVC heads can ovalise the valve guides.
    Something to keep an eye on. [Pic: Dave]


    [​IMG]
    We’re now heading southeast towards Tazat mountain, riding in and out of the low, rocky hills and over occasional oueds. Being less constrained by the topography than
    yesterday, the tussocks are less dense and more fun.
    Later we pass Dieter whose 640 had crashed heavily on his foot while negotiating in a oued.


    [​IMG]
    That evening arriving at Aheledjem (Ameligane) well, Diet cools his sore foot off in the tank.
    Generally it’s bad desert etiquette, a bit fly-ridden and also a little unsafe to camp right next to wells. [Pic: Robin]


    [​IMG]
    So we move upstream a bit.


    [​IMG]
    While the beer warms up above the camp Two-Stroke Tone blasts up a nearby dune to clear his Husky’s sinuses.
    Note the remains of pre-Islamic ‘keyhole’ tomb on the left. Along with the improved well (with another tomb
    behind it), it suggests this has long been a site of human occupation.


    [​IMG]
    It’s another annoyingly windy evening. 350Dan looks longingly towards the kitchen.
    #9
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  10. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Top ride report, Mr Scott!
    #10
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  11. ridethedream

    ridethedream Globerider

    Joined:
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    Great ride report! I wish I was there. The engine of the XR250 must have had a hard time in these tussock fields.
    When there is an open space one speeds up thinking that there is nothing to worry about and then bang! you hit those small crested waves of sand which are bigger than you thought and have an exceptional ability of disturbing the bike.
    If you don't mind I have some questions:
    1. What was the fuel consumption of your xr4?
    2. How many litres of water/fluid did you drink per day?
    3. How many times per day did you have to wait for the truck and for how long?
    4. What was the average speed of the group?
    5. How many km did you do daily?
    6. Did you split into two groups according to your ridiing abilities?
    7. Did you use PMR radios?
    #11
  12. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
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    889
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    Great Report Chris, thanks.
    Reminds me of the good old days when Algeria was still free to Travel where you wanted - alone.
    What could we do with the posibilities we have today.
    We had fun back then anyway.
    Cheers Thomas
    #12
  13. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    Tomek, I don’t think SteelyTankDan on his XR250 found the tussocks hard because it was a 'only a 250'.
    In this sort of terrain it’s more about throttle control, balance and rider skill.
    I think Dan is an MTB-er, so is 690Dave who I often followed close by.
    Both looked a lot smoother than I felt.
    IanXCh - an SSDT trials rider (but not in my group) - probably also found it easy too.

    I had a quick spin on Dan’s XR250: wider gearing, no lighter, much smoother, less good suspension, electric start. It was a much better bike than he and we expected, like the Tornados we use in Morocco.

    We came across those crests many times on this trip, more than I have ever seen, tbh.
    They are like very low-frequency and high-amplitude washboard.
    We all took them in our stride - maybe because the light was right - but as soon as I hit them
    I looked for a way to get off; a most annoying surface.

    1. The 400 went on reserve as low as 100km and once ran right out at 150km so that’s 15.8kpl (45 Imp/37US). Pretty bad, but on soft sand it was working hard pulling my 95kg along.
    Light riders (on the same bike) make a big difference, I have found.
    2. On the move, half-a-litre. All up 2L per day. It was never that hot.
    3. Good question; only a few times as instructed - waiting altogether up to an hour? But also a lot of waiting within my group every few minutes in mixed terrain because not all had a GPS track, some got stuck/had a leak/took pix etc, etc. Up to another hour? I found this tedious when stopped after a tough sandy section/climb watching my cylinder-head temp rise to 130+, but with groups it is the right thing to do. Keeping together is paramount.
    4. All depends on the terrain - as little as 20kph, as high as 50 (off road).
    5. Full, all-dirt days from 100 to 150km (which was the day above to the well). Not all days were full.
    6. It was not me who chose the groups but not really; the other group’s pace led by T-ST looked more 'diverse'.
    7. No. Nice idea but I bet they’d be unreliable. There were a couple of sat phones.


    Thomas B, I must say I don’t miss my old days as I was too much of a newb on a step learning curve banging out long but easy main pistes and still feeling anxious. Even now, with GPS and sat-phone backup, better economy and a lot more experience, I feel an unsupported bike is always constrained by the need for fuel and water if it is to be rideable. We got round that on Desert Riders in 2003 with fuel/food/water caches buried in advance and were able to cover amazing distances and places off-piste. Austin Vince treid a similar thing on his Mondo Sahara tour, but for actual advriding that is not a realistic way of travelling.

    I have done some of my best exploring in Sahara with guides (in 4x4s), both hired or mandatory. When you get a good one they’re happy to sit back let you do your own thing, join in the adventure or show you places you’d never find.

    Having said that, “alone in the desert, you see it for what it really is” as someone said once.
    It’s not the same in a group, especially a big group.
    #13
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  14. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Great pictures and report - looking forward to the next instalment
    #14
  15. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    Thanks. In the works - may be a few days.
    #15
  16. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    Great report Chris, what an environment. Makes you wonder about how it was there back then before the desert took over.

    You mentioned the gps being technically illegal. Can you explain please?
    #16
  17. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    UK and around
    Algeria is quite restrictive in an old, Soviet sort of way; not like other countries.
    GPS illegal, so are binoculars (but not big zoom cameras), radios probably and sat phones.
    But of course, all easy enough to hide.
    Even the HZJ79 pickup Mohamed has was illegal for civilian use in Alg, last I heard.
    Very odd to see a civilian owning one.

    All because these things are seen as tools for traffickers and other n'er do wells. The army want to capitalise on that.
    More pix soon.
    #17
    squadraquota likes this.
  18. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    UK and around
    [​IMG]
    After another annoyingly windy night we set off down the churned-up oued and back out onto the sand plain.


    [​IMG]
    It’s more low-tech, wide-open riding, but it’s not all sand and can still occasionally catch you out.
    Dave690 leads our group with the tracklog but tends to cut corners; it’s the sort of thing I do when walking to the shops –
    the irresistible allure of efficiency. But in the desert it doesn’t always pay off over rough or cut-up terrain.
    We learned riding cross-county on Desert Riders that the smoothest and quickest path is not always the most direct.


    [​IMG]
    Dan 350 coming through.


    [​IMG]
    Seb’s distinctive over-the-bars stance. Notice the camel footprints heading towards the camera.


    [​IMG]
    Waiting all together for the MAN, some can’t resist a spot of dune bashing over yonder.


    [​IMG]
    Seb's 'berg powers up the slope.
    When dry, dunes rarely settle at an angle steeper than 34°. As you’ll remember from school, the equation for
    the angle of repose of a granular material is:
    tan (θ) ≈ μs
    where, μs is the coefficient of static friction, and θ is the angle of repose.
    But θ can sure feel steeper coming down a slip face with the front tyre burying itself up to the axle.
    Interestingly coconut (shredded) is 45° while coffee beans (fresh) vary between 35–45°.


    [​IMG]
    Josch’s clutch cable snaps before he could get to the dunes and show Seb what for, so he finds himself
    establishing his XCh’s angle of repose in the bed of the pickup.


    [​IMG]
    The dune marauders return like a pack of bloodthirsty raiders.
    Notice the granite in the foreground. Granite weathers into angular sand grains
    which = better interlocking and grip than more rounded sandstone sand.


    [​IMG]
    And granite the rock makes some great formations.
    Through the round window is ‘In Ecker mountain’.


    [​IMG]
    The Frenchies tried to nuke it in 1962. Operation Béryl, fyi.
    Unfortunately the explosion blew the nuke-proof doors off and spat a blast of radioactive
    crap across the valley.


    [​IMG]
    “She’ll be right mate” but in fact many in the region got a dose of radiation.


    [​IMG]
    Just north of In Ekker is Sli Edrar. In 1982 it caught my eye; another comely granite outlier close
    to the trans-Sahara Highway.
    Always wanted to visit.


    [​IMG]
    We finally got there in 2008. Riding bare granite domes is another on of the desert’s many pleasures.


    [​IMG]
    Back to the records.
    Robin takes a nice shot of this TTR on untrammelled sand sheet.
    Tazat mountain at the back.


    [​IMG]
    I’m getting back onto known terrain. Pre-GPS, Tazat was an important landmark on the piste between Tam and Djanet.
    Here you turned north to pick up the main track near Zaouatallaz (aka: BeH) to dodge the Admer Erg.
    In the old days Zaouatallaz was known as Fort Gardel after some French military administrator.
    Illizi was Fort Polignac, Djanet was Fort Charlet and so on.
    After the bitterly fought independence the Algies couldn’t change place names quick enough.


    [​IMG]
    We tried to climb Tazat once; it’s 3500’ above the desert floor. Didn’t even get halfway, but a mate took this
    nice shot of me; waves of stone and sand unrolling north towards the Fadnoun.


    [​IMG]
    I used it for my Sahara book (long out of print).
    That run of sand at my level is a passage which
    separates the peak from the rest of the chain.

    [​IMG]
    As expected, our tracklog led us through this pass; the sand softened right up and it was all horsepowers on deck.
    I narrowly miss running into Dan in a bid to keep moving.


    [​IMG]
    After a couple of tussock oued crossings we pop out the east side of the passage.


    [​IMG]
    Just south of the mountain we cross the now well-formed piste to Tam, about 500km away.
    It’s closed to us but it's hard to believe it stays in such good shape all the way.

    In the old days running down from the Med to Djanet, west to Tam and back up north (or vice versa) was the classic
    Algerian beginners’ adventure.
    That’s where I first met Ian XCh, all set to leave and smoking like a Beagle in a testing lab.


    [​IMG]
    South of the Tam-Djanet piste we wind them open across the Admer Plain. Dave690 hits 80.


    [​IMG]
    I wait at a small dune crossing.
    To paraphrase Gregory Peck: 'They pay me for the ...'
    Oh, I used that one already.


    [​IMG]
    When Thomas opens up Mutti for lunch it’s like pigeon-time at Trafalgar Square.
    Ian makes a lunge for a sausage.


    [​IMG]
    Mohamed lies winded on the sand.
    Ian had just kneed him in the clutch for trying to push in, then walks off as if nothing’s happened.
    Josch replaces his crotch cable.


    [​IMG]
    After gorging on schwartzbrot und tinnedfishpieces the pace and desert heat catch up with some KTMers.
    θ ≈ zero.


    [​IMG]
    My palms are struggling too.


    [​IMG]
    George lends me her undergloves. Never seen these before but they work; problem solved.


    [​IMG]
    My hungry XR needs feeding too.


    [​IMG]
    We’re heading east for Djanet and will need to get across the narrow band of the Erg Admer dunes.
    The tracklog identifies a little-used crossing new to me.
    The curl on the left is where the truck turned back to find another way.
    The bikes managed to get over the low ridge and head east, but the XR only just managed
    the climb round the final hook on the right round a dune. Even Thomas got stuck there.


    [​IMG]
    Without a tracklog or a guide, and with few tracks to follow on the sand, this would be an exceedingly
    time-consuming crossing with a lot of blundering around, getting stuck or worse.

    [​IMG]
    I knew all about that. This was us on the other Admer crossing in 1989. Pre GPS but with a guide, it still took
    all morning.


    [​IMG]
    We pull up and make camp - a short day's riding.


    [​IMG]
    But long enough for some. μs quite high.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Tents pop up; it’s festival time!
    But I know in the dunes it will be cold - maybe even freezing. We’re still at over 3000 feet.


    [​IMG]
    I try out my flash new Fuji mirrorless which I dare not use on the move.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Not sure the results are any better than my LX100 but there’s no compact zoom lens sucking in dust every
    time I turn it on.


    [​IMG]
    We’re not the first to camp here. Ugg and Raquel were here One Million Years BC, give or take.
    On top is a smoothed stone used to grind seeds on a plate of rock; left is a piece of pottery.
    Both these are relatively recent - 6000 years or less, but the finely napped flint spear head which Rob
    found could well be much older.


    [​IMG]
    Night falls and a desert chill rises from the sands.
    #18
  19. everready

    everready Stuck in Ohio....Ugh!!!

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,902
    Location:
    Macedonia, Ohio
    "Mohamed lies winded on the sand; Ian had just nutted him for trying to push in and walks off as if nothing’s
    happened."

    What does this mean? Mohamed tried to cut in line and Ian kicked him in the nuts?
    #19
  20. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    UK and around
    I'm afraid so. Hunger makes people brutal ;-)
    #20
    dandini and ChrisUK like this.