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Thread: Gael back in Africa.

  1. #161
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    There was a lot of work on the side of the road today and ladies and gentlemen waving red flags as I approached, each with their own level of interest and enthusiasm. It seems they are planning a second carriageway. They were putting in culverts, I believe. Now 'culvert' was a word only used by road engineers until the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland gave it more prominence. Culverts are drains under a road for small rivers and streams. They became a popular location for the IRA to place bombs, to blow up vehicles, as the bomb could be hidden and the force of the bomb would be directed upward, maximising impact. This was an unwelcome thought intruding my mind today, as I rode along peaceful Namibia.Name:  PH000022.jpg
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  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern jock View Post
    Nice to pay respects and acknowledge what has gone on, I quite often wander round graveyards just to see a little history and learn some perspective. Nationality doesn't matter, life is life.
    Yes indeed. These deaths are the result of failed political action. Strange to think that because Serbian nationalists did not feel heard and therefore Gavrilio Princip shot Arch Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, these SA guys had to die.

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  3. #163
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    OK I'll round the day off with a link to my first observation today, of the springbok being chased by the dog. I looked at the menu tonight and the lady recommended the first item on the list, so I accepted and ordered springbok. Just another thing not to tell my youngest granddaughter, that grandad is eating Bambi's cousin. It is also against my natural instincts to post photos of meals but here goes.Name:  20220127_191211.jpg
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  4. #164
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    Great informative write up. Thank you for taking time to take us on your exploits. Stay safe, Best Wishes

  5. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumacoon Lad. View Post
    OK I'll round the day off with a link to my first observation today, of the springbok being chased by the dog. I looked at the menu tonight and the lady recommended the first item on the list, so I accepted and ordered springbok. Just another thing not to tell my youngest granddaughter, that grandad is eating Bambi's cousin. It is also against my natural instincts to post photos of meals but here goes.Name:  20220127_191211.jpg
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    Looks very tasty Jim!!!

  6. #166
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    It was Ed!

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  7. #167
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    Some of you may have wondered why I headed south for a couple of days to Grunau. There's not much here and the road is not the most scenic. Also, I had passed through here in September 2019. Well its the earlier visit that brings me back. Grunau is around 96kg from one of the biggest canyons in the world, the Fish River Canyon. The issue is that the 96km is gravel. When I stopped here before, on the Suzuki 125 I was advised against trying the drive, but its been an itch ever since, that needed scratching. In buying the XT250, I always had this 96km in mind. I asked the hotel owner last night what the road was like and he said the washes are not great after the rain and nearer the Canyon the road is corrugated. From reading my earlier trips you'll know I'm no off-road rider, so that news wasn't overly encouraging. Anyway, I took the topbox off, loaded up with fuel and water and headed off.Name:  PH000050.jpg
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  8. #168
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    Well the first wash nearly had me, I aimed to the side to some apparently solid damp sand and the wheels went in 15 - 20cm but I struggled through. Washes are where the floodwater runs across the road depositing sand and stones. There were a lot of washes on the first half of the trip, some were fine some pretty bad. The tricky thing was working out which could be taken at speed and which needed more care. I didn't always get it right.

    I hit one sandy wash thinking it was OK and suddenly I'm stalled in deep sand. OK, deep breath chose the right gear and the bike extracted us both. One challenge on this first half was a kind of snow blindness where deep sand and a light covering looked the same in bright sunshine, till you got close. In fact apart from the washes the rest of the road was good. I wasn't speeding but going along at about 60km on the good bits. Name:  20220128_090043.jpg
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  9. #169
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    After just over 50km you leave the C12 and join the D601. This was the road that worried me most but in fact it was fine. This time a grey gravel and it was easier to differentiate between a build up of loose gravel and where it was well bedded in. This was a great relief and there were less washes on this section, and where the contained sand, it stood out against the grey of the gravel. I was able to keep a good steady speed on this section. After about 34km I arrived at the gate of the park and paid my entrance fee.

    I now had 10km to do to get to the viewpoint and this was the corrugated section. One effect of traction control on 4X4s is that the power cuts on and off on slippery surfaces. This creates a washboard effect on the road creating ridges. Riding on these ridges is not much fun, as it pitches the wheels off the gound. Anyway I got there, upright and in one piece.Attachment 523171Name:  20220128_103504.jpg
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  10. #170
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    Well the Canyon is spectacular and I had it to myself. Well I shared it with two Pale-winged Starlings. The Canyon is so big its hard to capture on camera but hopefully they give you an impression. Name:  20220128_113208.jpg
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  11. #171
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    I've added a little comparison to the Grand Canyon which has some facts.Name:  20220128_113954.jpg
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  12. #172
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    I went back to the ticket office and got a cold drink. As I sipped my drink, a large 4X4 pulled up with German number plates. I asked if they had driven from Germany, but from the pristine look of the camper, I suspected not. They had it shipped of course and come down regularly to tour around in it. I was struck with the contrast in size and value of the 2 vehicles, both touring Namibia. I wasn't jealous at all.Name:  20220128_122316.jpg
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  13. #173
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    The way back was fine, particularly on the grey gravel road. I'd ridden it with some trepidation this morning waiting for it to deteriorate, which of course it didn't. This time I could trust it better and ride with more confidence. Getting on to the sandy road again I had to still concentrate and I was getting a little hot and tired. There were a few times I misjudged a wash but we all stayed upright.

    I took a better look around me on the way home and noticed this Weaver bird nest. This is a nest for a community and has multiple entrances, to confuse predators.Name:  20220128_090620.jpg
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  14. #174
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    Some of the rock formations are interesting, like something from a cartoon. The flintstones perhaps?Name:  20220128_140449.jpg
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  15. #175
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    I now have grubby panniers of course, won't be able to sell them as new! In fact the panniers did great. I love the water bottle holders at the front, as this wasn't a road to be drinking out of a camelback, and I'd stop and reach in for the bottle and have swig.Name:  20220128_155833.jpg
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  16. #176
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    Of course I haven't mentioned the bike. Well it got me there and back, safe and well, so that's a big plus. In fact I think it was perfect for the trip. If I had lowered the tyre pressures I'm sure the sandy washes would have been easier to handle too. How it performed also gave me some confidence in riding off road, as I now know what it can do. Taking off the topbox also reduced the centre of gravity. I know the suspension is a bit soft but I never bottomed it even on the worst of the corrugations. I think it will be a great bike for travelling in Africa.Name:  20220128_120817.jpg
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