We finished off our adventure with a (hung over to the shit house) ride to a lookout point for coffee and rusks, unfortunately by the time we limped up there the view was clouded over, to add to this by the time I got there my AGB (After Grog Bog) knocking at the back door.
After destroying the accommodation’s toilets, we sat down to a hearty cooked breakfast before heading down the pass.
The ride down was stunning, we frequently stopped just soak in the view. The first part was pretty steep and rocky but nothing too hard, we ripped down it pretty quick, thankfully with no major incidences.
Unfortunately the descent took it’s toll on our machinery, with the suspension on Dobsey’s goose basically calling it quits half way down, my front forks had developed a terminal rattle and my gears were not happy about changing at all.
It took us about 45mins to reach the bottom, including stopping to take photos and re-group, seeing it took us 4.5 hours to get up you can get a idea of the gradient. We stopped in at the pub we stayed at the first night for a well deserved shower then started the long trip home…
Thanks has to go to Mike for organising such an awesome trip.
The Start – The Sani Pass Hotel was about half an hour from where we stayed, we unpacked our bikes here and started to climb, it was about a 10 km easy climb to the border post.
No mans land – The actual pass is in no mans land, exit South Africa before it starts and only cross the Lesthoto border at the very top. I found out why the “goat hearder” is a derogatory term… they smell really bad… a lot worse than the goats!
On top – Here are some shots of the Lesthoto locals and one of their houses, looks like they’re given a blanket and gum boots at birth. It’s a total time warp.
The highest pub in Africa – We rewarded ourselves with a few cold Maluti beers in the pub, quite a few actually… we drank them all… then started on the Amstels. The accommodation was fairly basic, comfy enough but the pub was awesome, very cozy, the publican was great, while we all sat down to the home cooked set menu he ripped out his guitar and played a song to each table… in the native tongue of whoever was sitting there, English, Afrikaans and two other black languages.
Apparently we set a new record by staying up past 10pm, after we did go to bed we discovered Lesthoto is the darkest place on the planet (the generator got shut down so no lights at all), eyes open or closed made no difference, everyone had a story in the morning about their mid-night pee experience.
The weekend before last Me, Zett and 4 other members of the Mongoose Massive namely Iron Mike, MG, Slap Chips and Dobsey set out to ride our mountain bikes up the Sani Pass to Lesthoto (a land locked country with in South Africa) and the highest point in southern Africa.
Mike runs a safari tour company and we were the ginni pigs for a new product he wants to offer, so we all chipped in a bit of cash and he organised the rest (did a bloody great job!).
We all rolled up a Mikes before lunch and pilled all the garb into these cool personalised camo bags that Mike had orgaised and into the Landi, cracked a beer and headed off, starting the 6-7 hour road trip down to the Heimville pub, where we were to stay the night.
Dobsey obviously doesn’t get out much as he shouted “This is the BEST weekend ever!!!” after his second beer…maybe he’s telepathic or something. Dobsey again became the victim when he had to pee first (we all had to go actually, verbalised it first) so we all toughed it out a bit longer just to watch him sweat it out.
About half way into the trip things got a bit quiet so I broke out the stash of Aussy road porn (Zoo and Picture) I have been collecting on my return trips to reinvigorate the party, certainly had the desired effect, particularly the 3D Zoo edition.
Unfortunately we didn’t get any shots of the pub the first night, we had a nice counter attack then plenty more beers, the last ruminants of my jet lag thankfully knocked me around and I retired around 11, not sure when everyone else headed but Kreik (aka Slap Chips) took a shine to the bar maid “Kate” and stuck it out to try his luck with Dobsey his (now mute) wingman.
I managed to sneak in a few rides up the Nail Can while I was back, this one was a particular treat as we managed to drag the Chimp along with us and we didn’t have any mechanicals.
One day we’ll have a proper Mongoose Massive Australian Assault and drag a couple of the South African contingent over.
I got caught out mid flex when the second picture was taken… I swear!
One Saturday I was lucky enough to drop in on Nige and George while they were just about to take Nige’s old man’s river cruiser/party barge out.
It’s one pimp booze cruiser, there’s few things nicer than cruising along the Murray sinking a couple of quiet ones. Little Franky is talking heaps now and obsessed with this old ice cube grabbing apparatus, the “rip off machine” he calls it, it looks a bit like one of those dodgie grab the teddy bear with the claw game’s claw.
I couldn’t have too many (these trips never end without everyone betting smashed) because I had to head to Albury straight after for a BBQ at Sam and Lamby’s, which was a great night… unfortunately I didn’t get any pics.
On the 6th of Feb we didn’t have a bucks weekend for Mowli, it was just a bunch of blokes getting together in the bush to get rotten drunk and talk filth.
Due to the threat of fires we decided to camp much closer to the Main road and Myrtleford on the Buffalo river than originally planned, a good thing seeing that Myrtleford itself was on ember alert while we were there Saturday night, we could see the glow from the fires in the next ridge and some spot fires at the end of the valley.
The weather was pretty bloody disgusting 45 degrees and windy as hell, even though we were poring the beers in, we had to supplement them with plenty of water to keep the headache at bay and prevent our eyes from scabbing over. We were in and out of the water all day, even with a wet t-shirt on you’d be dry again in 15 minutes.
Everyone just tooling around, trying to stay cool.
Johno stepped things up a notch with this superb water entry, blowing the arse out of his boat!
Trav, Mowli and I dragged our canoes along, we managed to find some awesome rapids and have some fun in the river. We almost lost Mowli at one point when he got dragged under a rock shelf after a particularly tricky rapid, Buggy and I decided it would be better to drag the “Pocahontas” across the hot rocks rather than brave it (seeing we’d tipped out of every rapid before that one).
One night in my first week in town the Chimp and Jess put their boat in for a good ole after work wake board, a part of the Corowa life style I really miss.
First up Jess busted out a good selection of grabs and 180s, then the Chimp tore it up the usual array of massive raily and flip tricks, next Johno displayed his tail grab backside 180 proficiency with no less than 50 in a row finishing off with some 360 attempts.
Lastly I sketchily attempted my old array of tricks, didn’t do too bad, no toe-side love (not enough control) or blind 180… I knocked up very quickly.
Then arguably the nicest part of any arvo board session was a couple of quiet beers in the boat while floating home… bloody lovely!