The Wife, the Ex and the kid do Namibia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by metaljockey, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. Matthendurocat

    Matthendurocat sleeps on ground by bike

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    Jul 9, 2009
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    122
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    Goodyear Az. Where it never Rains!!!
    When you say "cold" just how cold do you mean? Any idea what the temps are there right now? Thanks for such a good report and pictures. -Matt:1drink
    #61
  2. the venturer

    the venturer Long timer

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    Never in my life have I been so envious. I'll show the wifey your report. Kids? They are all ready to ride:)
    Thx for sharing. Ride happily you all!
    Cheers...
    #62
  3. goinsideways136

    goinsideways136 Perma frost hands!

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    Las Vegas
    :lurk Awesome. I have no idea what goes on on that continent. Excuse my ignorance, but is it safe to tour africa? Is there still conflicts going on?
    #63
  4. praveenkm

    praveenkm Speed Demon

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    Bangalore, India
    MJ is Back:clap:clap
    The family adv report is already looking great.
    Fantastic pix of the wide open space and balancing rocks.
    :lurk
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    #64
  5. Watty

    Watty Guest

    [​IMG] vir 'n lekker RR. Kom, gooi nog 'n aflewering.....
    #65
    jorrie likes this.
  6. kennyh

    kennyh Been here awhile

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    Friendsville, TN
    Great stuff, thanks for taking the time to write it.
    #66
  7. metaljockey

    metaljockey Dodgy SOB

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    Eastern Cape, South Africa
    Day 5 &#8211; Solitaire to Swakopmund

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    The next morning it&#8217;s like a zoo, with springbuck eating books and meerkat using our tent as a playpen.

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    Cute little nippers.

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    It&#8217;s a most beautiful setting on the grasslands with the mountains as backdrop. Peanut also wants to take pictures but we think it best to ease her into it with the tripod only.
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    This here is a Rosy Faced Love Bird. They occur naturally from the Southern Border Right up to the Northern Border of Namibia.

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    Our first order of business is to do a loop up the Spreetshoogte pass and down the Remhoogte pass. The Spreetshoogte pass is not open to vehicles that are towing anything. It turns out to be not that extreme at all but it also turns out to be really beautiful. One should descend it if you have a choice. Tharina&#8217;s downhill phobia that I referred to before, is the reason we chose to go up.

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    When we finish the loop, we are back at Solitaire and it is close to mid day. When Tharina met me in Vioolsdrif she brought the flu with her. Today is the day that the flu peaks, she is coughing and her eyes are so sensitive to light that water just streams out of them wetting her helmet foam. She just feels like crap and the better thing would be to get her into a proper bed for the rest of the day. So we try to get a room at the lodge we camped at last night &#8211; sorry, rooms fully booked, camping too. We check the lodge at Solitaire &#8211; sorry fully booked. Now and then when your girl really needs you to step up and organize some luxury, one likes to perform. I really want to, but it is not to be.

    So after having had lunch and wasting time to try to get accommodation, when we finally decide to hit the road to Swakopmund, it is late. I am not too happy with the decision. We have already done 150km this morning doing the passes loop. The C14 is one shitty piece of road. It is as wide as 4- 5 lanes of traffic. Now that sounds quite lekker but it isn&#8217;t. It is probably one of the most used C-roads and therefor in a bad condition. A narrower road would have had clear tracks, but because this thing is so wide, cars and trucks go all over to avoid corrugation and holes. So you cannot pick a line because there is none. Just corrugation, ruts, sandy ridges and then extended sandy parts full of tracks, all at high speed because the thing is so wide and we are late.

    I have modified the DRZ quite a bit to allow Tharina to get her feet on the ground; this includes changed rear suspension linkages and dropping all preload. It gets the job done but unfortunately messes up the geometry and consequently the handling.

    I ride at her 4 o&#8217;clock and I get too clear a view of the DRZ repeatedly getting out of shape at 100km/h. When it starts going ape shit she jumps up on the pegs and gasses it. That&#8217;s right and that&#8217;s how I taught her but it&#8217;s not a good thing to watch in real time. I pull her over and we turn the damper up. It looks like it is a little better but this road is not nice, and Tharina is not fresh and perky. When she hits those sand ridges combined with heavy corrugation especially, the bike just gets violently out of shape.

    Watching her ride turns into an ordeal for me. I know that if she goes down at this speed on this road, she&#8217;s gonna get hurt properly, breaking bones and shit. Twice I feel the adrenaline shooting into my scalp when I think she's going down, but she rides the throttle hard and long, and she pulls it through.

    But the reality of it is, that this is what I expect of her every time I go away on a trip. She sits at home not knowing if I&#8217;m going to come back happy, broken or not at all. And this is her choice, she wanted to do this trip, she is a grown woman who knows the risk and accepts it. I should respect that. So for my own sanity I fall back a kilometer or two. Not having to see it makes it easier.

    When the C 14 finally leaves the plains and turn into the Kuiseb canyon I feel really relieved. Slower speeds and better surface.

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    Out of the canyon and onto the desert plain and it is easy fast riding, and beautiful, I can feel her enjoying it as much as I am now. I love this country, testing you and rewarding you, always and in so many ways.

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    As always , the coastal strip is foggy and cold as we hit the 40km tar between Walvisbaai and Swakop. When we pull into Swakopmund half frozen, we get a nice self catering unit at Alte Brücke and take off our filthy clothes and have a hot shower and get into bed &#8211; for two days.

    We talk about the day&#8217;s riding and how crap the C14 was. I am taken aback when Tharina says that she never felt that the bike was out of control, never thought that she may lose it. And here I was having one panic attack after another watching her. Probably one of those things that just looks a lot worse than it is.

    One noteworthy thing. There is a pizza called a Napolitana at the Napolitana restaurant in Swakopmund with springbuck, chili, garlic, mint, etc. in a calzone. This is the best pizza in the world. The best pizza in the world. If you are ever in Swakopmund, remember, Napolitana.

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    Oh yeah, another thing, there is a bar right on the beach at the south end of town called Tiger Reef. Also recommended.


    &#8195;
    #67
    Rich Rider and klaviator like this.
  8. metaljockey

    metaljockey Dodgy SOB

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    Eastern Cape, South Africa
    Day Seven &#8211; Swakopmund, Uis, Brandberg

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    Moving up the Skeleton Coast from Swakopmund is a salt road. It is made of salt and the perpetual fog next to this cold ocean keeps it wet and clear of sand.

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    Turning away from the coast towards Uis you are rewarded with one of the best open desert roads to be had. Now, just try to tell me this doesn&#8217;t appeal to you.

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    We ride directly inland in a cold coastal wind for 50km. Then, suddenly the wind direction reverses and the temperature shoots up by easily 15-20 degrees, leaving us totally overdressed and having to stop and get rid of clothing.

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    After refueling in Uis (abandoned, bought and resurrected mining town), we travel north to get to White Lady Lodge and Camping at the foot of the Brandberg. Peanut is sleeping again.

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    We get camp set up and I am just pleased as punch. We are now in the territory of the Goat Meat trip. The Goat Meat trip was one of my trips that was really special, opening my eyes as to what was possible. If you have some extra time between updates, have a look at this: Goat Meat, Good Friends and Riverbeds.

    At the time I so much wanted to have Tharina experience the things that I did, because I knew that she would absolutely love it. Yet, I knew that she would probably never have the skills to do that kind of trip with me.

    Let me give a little background on my wife. Tharina does not have the obsession that I and a lot of you have with bikes. She rides because I ride. Because she likes me and wants to be with me.

    Regardless, she has done a lot as far as riding goes. Here&#8217;s some pics.

    She did Rhodes on the DRZ.

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    She did the Transkei many times on the DRZ.

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    She has done Gamkas kloof and Baviaans on the DRZ. She enjoyed that trip.

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    She did Lesotho on the 640. She did not enjoy that trip.

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    She did a 6000km, six country trip around Southern Africa on the 1200. It blew her mind.

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    So she is well travelled, yet, she only does these trips and no riding in between. Her skill level stays pretty much stagnant.

    Then we did a trip in the Northern Cape where I misjudged the difficulty level somewhat. Also, it was my first trip with my kid on the back, so I could not give the necessary support to my wife and she kakked off. I personally saw her go over the handlebars of that DRZ three times, and there were more.

    But at the end of that trip I saw that she saw. She saw what it was about, where I found the joy. For the first time she felt that elation of having been pushed far past her limits and finishing the job, sore and battered maybe, but the MAN. Because she did it, she started it, she finished it, and by herself.

    I think it is that trip that made all the difference. When I on a whim suggested a Namibia bike trip with the kid, she immediately responded &#8220;Yes, let&#8217;s do it&#8221;. I didn&#8217;t expect that, but there it was and in a very short time I planned my ideal route.

    And now, here we are, on my ideal route, doing what I love best, with my wife and kid with me. Fucking fantastic man! Sometimes life is just so good that it feels unreal.

    And Namibia delivers sunsets like only Namibia can.

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    This day, this night, here, right now, is where I want to be. Everything is as it should be. Look at that.







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    Perfection.




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    #68
  9. Lash

    Lash Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Terrific! :clap :clap Your wife is a real trooper!
    #69
  10. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    I'm smiling. Wide. :)

    Good writing, Mein Herr, good writing indeed.
    #70
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  11. dustdonkey

    dustdonkey Been here awhile

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    Oct 2, 2007
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    Cape Town, South Africa
    :clap

    Nice MJ.
    #71
  12. Marco Moto

    Marco Moto Voyager

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    Tuscany and Michigan
    Wow, looking at your pics is like looking through a window on a different planet. Amazing how the flora, fauna and landscapes are so different from what I am used to. It's also wonderful to see how comfortable your daughter is with the animals and the life on the road, it truly shows the open mind and adventurous spirit.
    A sincere thank you for sharing, you made me richer.
    #72
  13. Foundry

    Foundry Molten Metal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
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    138
    Location:
    NY / NE PA

    This day, this night, here, right now, is where I want to be. Everything is as it should be. Look at that.


    Brings a tear to my eye.

    Great ride report.
    #73
  14. v4rider

    v4rider Re-tread

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
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    1,090
    Outstanding RR. Great pics and commentary. :thumb:thumb
    #74
  15. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    I just have to +1 on that :clap :clap :clap
    #75
  16. Golevi

    Golevi Been here awhile

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    Nov 24, 2006
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    Wyobraska
    Thanks for taking us along with you in this journey! :beer

    Great report!
    #76
  17. picoda

    picoda Dalmatia

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    Croatia
    Beautiful :thumb :thumb :thumb
    #77
  18. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    Dec 5, 2003
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    Keep up.

    When finished, I will save and keep dearly your thread , because every rider with a family will have to face the "family or bike" question, and your trip (and attitude) is a ray of light in the darkness.
    #78
  19. Blackbert

    Blackbert Factory Rambler

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    Belgium, wrong side of the river
    Thanks. :clap
    #79
  20. neduro

    neduro Addict

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    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    MJ- So many people reveal the what but not the why, tell us where but keep their feelings about it to themselves. I'm really glad you don't and it makes your reports my favorite on the site. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

    :thumb

    :lurk
    #80
    klaviator likes this.