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Country Trax Adventure Riding Tips 1 - preparation for the 'Doodsakker Ekspedisie' Trip (2010)

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I am writing this thinking about the little phrase we have all heard so much in the last while – Feel it, it’s here…. By the time you read this, the winner of the 2010 Soccer World Cup will be known to all of us. And hopefully we can all remember an amazing event, which touched the everyday lives of all of us in some way or another, with a smile on our face and a new attitude of general “positiveness” towards the great place we live in. There is a very different added dimension to my personal “Feel it, it’s here” experience – our trip to Angola is getting under way and I have just loaded my bike and packed the last few things.

written by Stefan Boshoff (Senior Instructor - Country TRAX Off-road academy, Free State)

Seven bikers – a motley crew consisting of BMW HP2’s, KTM 950 Super Enduro’s, a 990 and a Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere are heading to Angola for an expedition. Expedition is the right word, because on a tour you know where there is food, fuel, accommodation and all that go with it. We don’t know any of that. It does something for your mind to wilfully give up control. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone every once in a while is highly recommended if you want to make your stay on planet Earth a colourful one. So, I can “Feel it – it’s here”, we are leaving tomorrow morning!

The preparation for this expedition started some months back, when a letter from Jan du Toit arrived on my screen, announcing that the dice fell on me, and that the non-existing logistics team needed to make some arrangements that cannot be made and therefore they needed a deposit to confirm my commitment if I was interested in joining. Well, at that point I already lost control and reserved my spot. Applications for Visas and stuff followed and the paperwork process was actually quite simple with the help of Angolan Getaways in Cape Town.

Deciding what to take was not too difficult – I fully subscribe to the “faith” called “minimalism”. It is not a religion – it’s real…. The best way to practice this “faith” is to start at home and give away everything you have not used in the last two weeks. Tools excluded of course…..

Once you understand this “faith”, you will be able to fit your entire accommodation into one saddle bag, and your clothes and other belongings in the other. Add to that a Camelback on your back, extra 10 litres of fuel and some tools on the carrier and under the seat and you are packed for a two week outing. Some interesting finds in order to keep things light was the “Life Straw”, a filter tube thingy with which you can suck water from any river / well in Africa and drink it, and a down sleeping bag weighing 550g. The sleeping bag, together with a Mike Glover Rallye Raid style tent and a self inflating mattress all fit in one saddle bag! I will report back on the suitability / efficiency of this arrangement once back. Clothes are easy – a couple of t-shirts and shorts and stuff, just pack until the other bag is also full and stop. All done….

Another interesting aspect is the medicine. I have never owned so much medicine in all my life. My visit to the pharmacy to get a yellow fever injection was an adventure on its own. When the pharmacist enquired about the reason for the Yellow fever jab, I told him a bit about our plan. His eyes went round and he disappeared into his well stocked shelves. Just when I thought he’s not coming back, he emerged with a whole lot of boxes. Malaria, antibiotics, Strepsils, dehydration, stomach aches, headaches, and all kinds of stuff he thought can go wrong was to be treated even before it happened! I asked him to select the most important 50% of what was spread out on the counter, and then we further narrowed it down to 5 boxes.

Still a lot, but I figured that if I throw the boxes away I can fit the tablets in somewhere. He got me back by administering one or two extra injections, but that is not too difficult to carry so I agreed. I asked for some Myprodols to be added, he did not think of the possibility of falling off the bike! So, I am now as healthy as can be and ready to cope with any ailment Africa can throw at me.

Our general idea is to tow the bikes to Rundu, cross the border and ride up along the Cuito river to Cuito Cuanavale, then West to the coast and on the beach to the Cunene river mouth and back to Rundu via Ruacana. Yamaha kindly offered us a new 1200 Super Tenere to take along, and it is an exciting prospect to go and form an opinion about the bike in an area where I am told no bikes have ever been (Eastern leg of our journey).

In the mean time, Country TRAX is making some cold winter days warm for some lucky riders without having to buy the energy to fire up heaters and the like. The cold mornings are very soon forgotten once the adrenalin and sweat start flowing during the various training courses all over the land of the World Cup. This last Saturday, I was once again blown away by experiencing how much the guys and girls enjoyed the one day Introduction to Off-road Riding course.

Witsand Nature Reserve, a beautiful resort in the Northern Cape was also amazing, and those who attended the Weekend Off-Road Riding course there in May have lost all respect for the dreaded sand monster! Some very positive feedback also emerged from the Sand training at Klipbokkop in the Western Cape. Sand riding is a mind thing…. Angola, here we come!

Catch up with all of this and a whole lot more at www.countrytrax.co.za. Feel it, it’s here!

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