Day 80 – Blazing Saddles

Blog — By on December 10, 2012 7:31 pm

It is only 2 weeks today to Christmas eve, the day we arrive back in Cape Town. Rather like the day of the week (which no one here has any clue about as it is simply an irrelevance) there is no consciousness of Christmas. It is hot not cold, there is only sun no drizzle, and there is not a Christmas tree, card or present anywhere in evidence. Funny.

This morning was just fabulous. The ride of 100 kliks had everything. Sand, gravel, rocks, corrugations, bends, humps, bumps and dry river beds. Sun shining, hot, staggering scenery. Orxy and ostrich racing the bikes, eagles flying overhead. Just heaven on an off-road motorbike.

Most of us have now cracked sand. It has taken some time and many ‘offs’. The bike snakes and weaves around, never getting traction, a little like being in the powder on skis. You have to accept that the bike is never stable. It will gyrate and, from time to time, weave violently left and right and sometimes will oscillate unnervingly. One must maintain momentum simply because the gyroscopic effect of the spinning wheels helps keep the bike upright. If the bike starts to slide off-line a blip of the throttle (completely counter intuitive) helps right the bike (the gyroscope again! But you need to believe!). It takes a little time to master, but, like many things that are difficult, it is highly rewarding once you have cracked it. It does, occasionally, crack you however!!

We have just stopped for coffee in Sesfontein. The town is, as usual, a collection of mud huts, but it has a rather nice lodge which serves coffee. Our first midday cafe for as long as I can remember. Tim has just arrived with a football commentary on that splendid game yesterday where we (Man U) thrashed City in the first half, and then made a bit of a game of it in the second half before the coup de grace rapier strike by Van Persie in the last minute! We were born to entertain!!! (Thank you Will, our home based correspondent).

The afternoon was different. Blazing along white dirt roads. Dead straight, rolling hills, a wide and smooth dirt road. It was like the Big Dipper in a straight line. One could maintain a good speed in 6th gear leaving a billowing white dust trail across the plains and hills of Namibia.

It is another day of well over 200k, still travelling South, but on a map we are still sitting in the North West corner. This is a big place. People from the UK are not used to vastness!!

The day finished with a short, but mega climb up to the Grootberg hotel. It was near vertical, a sharp right hand bend towards the top, rubble the size of footballs and then two narrow concrete strips. It was so steep it would not otherwise be possible to ascend without the concrete for traction. We all made it in one piece. A month or so ago it would have been carnage. We are all dreading the descent the day after tomorrow, particularly over the rubble. Heyho that’s another day.

Tomorrow we are tracking black rhino on foot. Thank goodness for a rest day!!!!!!!!

And Richard informs me that there have been 17,376 hits (items read) on the Africa100 website. Good to know someone is reading it. J


  1. Sally says:

    Wow…….sounds amazing. Careful on your descent guysxxxxx

  2. Jill says:

    Jim, i think we are all hooked on the blog, its a great record and visual diary of your adventure, and to throw in some angular momentum theory into the mix is just showing off! Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable journey back to Cape Town over the next 2 weeks.