Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 118 - Sesriem to Windhoek, Namibia

After a couple of good nights under the ubiquitous stars, we took our time packing  up camp this morning.  Only 300 km (190 miles) of gravel road awaited us, so it was going to be an easy day. 

 The restaurant at our campsite.  The large clump of straw in the tree is a communal bird's nest.  The weaver bird.

First destination was a place called Solitaire, 82 km (75 miles) away.  We were told there was a river crossing and that the water should have subsided by now.  Yesterday it was impassable.  We reached the river crossing and thought it looked like it was passable today.  Rule number one (ed. we know now) when doing a river crossing is to wade across it, check for depth and a path across without obstacles.  Well, we didn’t do that.  You can guess what happened next.  (Ed. valiant and stupid) RobC proceeded across only to get half way before the force of the water swept the bike from under him.  Down he went.   I rushed to help out in the 2-foot deep rapidly flowing river, we got the bike upright, were able to start it and walked it the rest of the way across.  Unfortunately, due to the fall everything was soaked, the tank bag with RobC's camera and Blackberry phone took a bath.  We then walked my bike across with the motor running and manipulating the clutch.  One person could not have done it, as I almost lost my grip on the bike even with RobC helping.

It looked tame enough ......

 ... maybe not.

We arrived in Solitaire and yet another destination with old beat-up vehicles decorating the premises.  The only things in this "town" were a lodge, a cafe, petrol station with a store that was like something out of the forties and a bakery where the famous apple strudel could be purchased.  We were told by several people and guide books that the strudel could not be missed.  Actually, it was more like an apple crisp, but it was quite delicious, nevertheless.  The guy behind the counter was a large guy by the name of Moose McGregor, wearing a big baker's hat  (Ed. he looked like the butcher in Fiddler on the Roof). He was quite a character with an accent that was a cross between South African and Scottish.  He reminded me of a biker, not a baker.  We also met a guy by the name of Didi, a German on a year long motorcycle trip through Africa, yet he was only one-third of the way.  He said it was looking like a two-year trip instead.

On the other side of the fence Moose lives with his famous apple strudel.

We climbed out of the valley on a steep (22% grade) gravel road (in the middle of nowhere) and came across workers who were placing interlocking bricks in the sharp and steep hairpin curves.  Interlocking brick!!  This country has not been what we had imagined.  Very sophisticated and well-run, yet it lacks things like bridges.  Strange!

Winding our way up the steep mountain pass.

Workers laying interlocking bricks in the hairpin curves.

Great views!

We had 130 km remaining before we reached the capital city of Windhoek and the skies up ahead looked like they were about to unleash a nasty storm.  We continued to run into the usual mud pits along the way, but as the rain started the entire road surface became a sea of water.  The rain came down harder and harder as we rode along.  We found the best track along the road was where the water ran in the tracks, since it cleaned the treads in the tires.  We tried the dry route along the edge of the road but that was very slippery and soft.  By the time we finally arrived in Windhoek we were glad to reach paved roads.  It didn’t matter that we were cold and soaked to the bone.  

1 comment:

  1. Mud seems to be becoming a recurrent theme....