Back in South Africa, these jagged peaks definitely earned their name. Like towering stone monoliths ruling over the landscape from their lofty thrones, they say that it was the scenery of South Africa that inspired J. R. R. Tolkein to create Middle Earth in his fantasy books The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. And I certainly agree that there seemed to be magic there, like I could just picture a dragon hiding behind the crags, protecting his hoard of gold and treasure.
The breezes were refreshingly cool when we hit Bloemfontein, and we met up with one of the great motorcyclists of South Africa: Stefan Boshoff. Besides the awards he's won for motorcycle competitions around the world, he also won us over with his friendliness, hospitality, awesome family, and all around great stories. Because of people like him and his welcoming family, we will forever think fondly of the wonderful town of Bloemfontein.
If you don't know what Namibia's like, have you seen the movie Mad Max: Fury Road? Well it was filmed there, and is a pretty perfect representation of Namibia's long stretches of gorgeous desert nothingness.
No amount of warnings were going to deter us.
We'd been told the road there was bad, but it didn't look that bad at first. Just a wide straight stretch of gravel. 4x4's were flying past us, leaving us coughing in the dust they created. There were no big rocks, river crossings, patches of slippery mud, and certainly no ice. Yeah it was bumpy with corrugations, but that wasn't dangerous. So what could go wrong?
Oh yeah, sand.
Only a sore right ankle for Tim, and a bunch of hurt pride were the noticeable consequences from our fall (not so much a fall as an NHL-style power slide). We took a drink, ate some lunch, and after feeling better, we hopped back on to continue to Sossusvlei when not half an hour later we felt it: crunch! And the horrible grinding of a broken monoshock rung in our ears.
Now we were in a country without a KTM dealership, and would have to order the part from Cape Town to be flown in from Austria, then shipped to Windhoek. There were a lot of moving parts to replace our part that wouldn't move. And moreover, we were in the middle of nowhere, many hours from anything. How were we going to get ourselves and our broken bike back to civilization?
And perhaps worst of all, we were running low on water.
We looked at the positives: the bike still worked, it was just grinding on its hinges as we rode it, creaking and complaining. But after a few minutes of plugging along, we noticed a gate to a building. Private property certainly. But oh well, we just opened that gate and rode right in.
The owner came out and was extremely helpful. He called all five people who lived in the surrounding thousand hectors to see if any of them knew a guy with a tow truck, and told us there was a man down the road who owned a farm/campsite who just happened to be leaving for Windhoek (Namibia's capital city) with a nearly empty trailer the following morning. I couldn't believe our luck!
Allen graciously allowed us to put our broken motorcycle in his trailer, and the following morning at sunrise we drove six hours to Windhoek. We will forever be thankful for this man's incredible and serendipitous generosity.
So now we just have to wait, and during that time, we're going to rent a car to go see Sossusvlei and other things in Namibia so that our time isn't a complete waste. Not the same as being on the bike, but it'll be something at least.
Stay tuned, and we'll keep you posted on how the adventure goes...