Adventure Log


WH with Cheetahs

Leaping Cheetah

This is about as close as you can get to a wild Cheetah family without getting mauled.  At this distance they were growling and hissing much like a house cat does.  However when communicating whit each other, Cheetahs chirp like birds.  The Cheetah is the only species of cat that does not have retractable claws, and as most people know is the fastest land animal on the planet and can reach speeds greater than 70 mph.  Cheetahs hunt in packs for antelope but are fearful of animals such as warthogs due to their razor sharp tusks.

 

Namibia Stories

2/1/219

From Windhoek I drove the C14 to Swakopmund. Swakopmund is on the Namibian coast and is simply stunning. Imagine San Diego at population 30,000. Amazing hotels and restaurants, beaches. When you look across the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil is next. Wind is at an elevation higher than Han Denver.
The road. First things first. You have to find the road out of Wind, and I had not driven from Wind to Swak. Cities in Africa are not gridded out. They are simply organized as a mess of roads on which are your various and usual locations, that you may see every day...the Russian embassy, next door to the U.S. embassy (I wonder what those guys right next door to each other in Africa right?). Anyway you really have to dig to find that road out, because the driving in a straight line out strategy doesn't work.
There are many different kinds of roads here. The tar, the gravel, the salt, the sand and just dirt. So I find the road. 30 Kim's out, tar road, you lieterally run out of road. This a major road too. This road from Wind to Swak didn't just turn into dirt, it turned into a winding, narrow, hilly, 4x4 goat path..mountain passes included. As soon as Irealized this I got out of the car and let air out of my tires. Last year I Had a clutch burn out, on this road, I am, praying that I don't get a flat tire. I know how to change a flat, but there is no where to change it. No where level enough. I made it 5 hours for a roughly 350 km drive. When you get to Swak, you are rewarded with African San Diego paradise. (Sorry about those Chargers Trav). I highly recommend going to Swak.
Hit the road to Solitaire. The road begins the same, tar, then runs out, but from Swak to solitaire most of it is a nice wide flat gravel road that that just winds through the Namib desert. The only tricky part is the Kuiseb canyon. A narrow stretch of winding tough road where leopards have been known to attack people while driving. As mentioned, I have not seen my leopard, but at the end of the day, snatched out of car while driving that canyon would be a spectacular way to go. For those calling B.S.n me, leopards hide, watch, sprint 50 km per hour, kill their prey and drag it to the top a tree to eat it. When a leopard attacks a person, every second that it is on you requires 100 stitches...if you live. The Kuiseb canyon, only a 20 km run is notorious for these attacks. You can do the canyon with the windows closed, but since the temp is 110F, the air con must be on, which in turn hurts the car. No leopards for me this year. But if you think that a leopard cannot or will not snatch you out of car driving this pass at 20 km per hour, if it is hungry, it will.
Solitaire. Elevation 3,000 feet.  Square in the Namib dessert. The Namib is the oldest desert woman in the world. It is as big as Switzerland. Beautiful and spectacular, it is still hot as hell. It is a good thing Pasquale has a pool. PV has just had a knee replacement. When I meet him, someone s driving his truck, a sweet, tan 1995 Toyota Land Cruiser, it is not a diesel, which is unusual here. Almost all vehicles are diesel, they handle the heat better than petrol apparently. PV is clearly hurting. He is one tough son a bitch, but he is on crutches, which is driving him nuts, and is kind of done with the drugs (when you have surgery, you get kind of done with opioids they given you, I still have half a bottle of oxy from 2006 from ACL surgery). Despite that. Namibia just passed a new labor law that is giving every employer fits. Pasquale employs about 100 people.the goverment here has just enabled each and every person, who is not white the ability to file a complaint about anything, such as "I do not have enough salt" on the food that I do not pay for at my job. It's is a legal and admistrative nightmare. Now Pasquale and his mangers must have weekly meetings so that the workers can share their feelings. TIA. Zimbabwe gave their country back to the natives and its in ruin right now, destroyed. The Africans do not seem to care, they do not get it. I can talk at length about this subject, but I will stop there.
Solitaire is as beautiful as ever. Desert landscape and mountains. Cacti, desert trees. Busy lizards and scorpions and huge ants, big red wasps, spring bok, cliff springers, oryx, warthogs, desert ground squirrels, and weaver birds. The weavers are stunning. Red, blue, yellow, green, magnificent colors. They build their nests upside down and hang them from trees so that snakes cannot get them. This morning, I found a dead one. It was old. I buried it.
I hope everyone is well. I am off to Luderitz and the Fish Canyon. Fish River is the third largest canyon in the world behind the Grand in Arizona and the Blyde in S.A.
Would love to hear from you guys as well.
WH -out
Solitaire.
2/4/2019
Sandro is the manager at the solitaire guest farm. 5 foot 3, he is is a little Portuguese guy, has a a daughter, one sister, parents killed ina car accident when he was three in Cape Town. When I arrived he would follow me around. Hey will, can we do coffe, can we do breakfast, can you drive these guys down to the lodge, on your way back, grab me a meat pie? We were friends instantaneously. Two days ago, he came and woke me up, grabbed me a cuppocino, and wanted to hear stories. I told him pool stories from Martha's Vineyard, Denver and Seattle. 
One of the best stories that I have for the vineyard, is that when I left, I put an ad in the local paper, that eventually got picked by the boston globe. The ad ran "free monkey" with my friend Jay Pappas' telephone number. Pappas is from a family of Boston cops and he was working as an officer at the vineyard while I was doing pools there.  As Pappas tells the story, he was looking at the newspaper in the vineyard, saw my ad laughter his ass off and then started dialing the number to call the person with free monkey. He dialed eight digits in and realized it was his number. Pappas had roommates on the vineyard, we were all friends and still remain in contact. What these guys did waster 200 people called them from all over the east coast asking about the monkey and or monkey, they got high. Sat around their answering machine listening to the messages, video taped it and sent to us a Gonzaga. It was clear that there was one group of peoples home also decided o get high and call about the free monkey. Those people could not keep straight faces obviously at their inquiry and just on the answering machine just burst into laughter, Pappas group could not keep it together either. They called them back. You can imagine where it went. Sandro loved this story.
Last night, Sandro tells me it's his birthday. Him,two other guys, and me stayed up drinking beers, playing cards, grilling cheeseburgers,  carrying on, midnight swim, betting on the Super Bowl until 3am. Just an unexpected bachelor party in the middle of the African night. It was fun.
What was not fun was waking up. My plan for Monday, today was to drive south to Luderitz. It is tough to make it in one day there fromthe middle of the country, very tough at 110F with a hangover. I made it two thirds of the way. Two hours left to go. Tomorrow. 
I drove 5 hours today, not ever being this far South, and you start to watch your gas gage go down driving in the middle of nowhere. I had to divert and stop at a town that really has one street, one hotel, one restaurant, a petrol station  with two pumps. But it would be catastrophic to run out of gas in the Namib desert.  You might not see another person for days on a gravel road.
I am going to go take a nap. Hope everyone is well, much love.
WH-out
Helmeringhauser
Luderitz tomorrow.

 

2/11/2019

When Oddyseus left Troy, they had kind of done their job. Troy burned, but no Helen. They took off out of there and found themselves on a cliff dwelling, which they stayed for over hundreds of years. This is Luderitz. It is difficult to find, harder to get here and even more difficult to leave. When you open up your door every morning, the sea is ten feet in front of you, coffee brewing, and just out of the shower, the freshest feeling in the world. Go there.
It was time to leave though, Oddyseus would agree. I had had to give myself orders to leave, otherwise there would be no leaving. You have to follow orders. The food is amazing, the hotel is amazing (and cheap), the people are fantastic. So why leave right?. Orders. My orders. It is almost endgame to get back, I'm very far off the reservation here. And I'm probably not done yet. Fish river canyon tomorrow. I am up in Aus tonight. 4200 feet. Al out a mile high again in 100 Kim's. About halfway there. I'm staying at a guest farm, very nice, this area is known for its wild desert horses. They are beautiful. I wnt to go find some this afternoon.
I found the female heard, same as the elephants. The chicks stick together. Then I found a stallion, by this point other cars had been following me, looking for animals. So I found this beautiful stallion, broke the rule and got out of the car for pictures. There was no problem, but he obviously liked the attention because he followed me back to the car. My windows were open, that guy stuck his head right into the car. He is a horse and I have been around such animals (around such horses, a bull.. named Will chased me around one Christmas morning., and in case you are wondering, bulls horns are hot) and I remembered that I took an apple from the restauarant this morning. He could smell it and he wanted it. Of course he found it, got it. I fed it to him. There are herds of wild horses on every continent.  Mustangs in Nevada, Utah Wyoming and Colorado, Mongolian horses and Australian wild horses, this guy was and still is a Namib wild horse.
It felt good to get back n the road again. It was too comfortable in Lud. Off to find the second largest canyon in the world, ten times smalller than Arizona. Internet is and will be spotty. Forgive my spelling errors. And the iPad auto correct is driving me nuts too.  Correcting the auro correct is is like driving a a car into a wall then backing up and doing it again. At the same time, google is telling me that there is no connection every 5 seconds. No shit, thank you apple, google and Samsung. Samsung just capitalized itself. Facebook cannot find me., I need them up my ass like Snapchat or something.
Much love,
Will -out
Aus
P.s.
Headhone errors. Is anyone else pissed off at the continual let down by headphones that come with your, phone iPod etc., such POS's they break like light bulbs.

 2/12/2019

This is very far south in Namibia. Very heavy rains have knocked out most communication services, this means ATM, and all other ways to pay via credit card. Im back in Cuba. Cash works....
I knew it before I left Luderitz .and I saw it when I had to stop, put the car into 2nd gear and rally through the given out road.
I have done that before, (like in Idaho) but never, had I known how fucking deep that river was would I have done that.
The river swept me from left to right, and I shifted into high 4. At this point i am floating. I caught a rock and just hit it. 1st to 2nd, boom on land. Say your Hail Mary. 
You get on high ground. Turn the car off take a breath and turn around. "WILL! YOU FUCKING DUMBASS" 
Is what I told myself. 
Eerlier I had elected to forgo the shortcut here. The C12 was going to be my rout. Through the dam. I had heard there were heavy rains. 
When I am talking about heavy rains here, the road last night was closed. The water was coming over the dam road. Imagine the water coming over the road at Hoover. That what was occurring.
The road to Fish was closed. It is good thing I picked up a hitchicker.
This guy picks dates and grapes in the middle of the Kalahari. He was so grateful. His walk would have been three hours, rather than 20 minutes had I not picked him up (10 kms earlier I decided against a short cut).
He brought me through the gates of the dam, where no one could pass, and I am off to the races once more.
We had a mutual goal.
Fish River Canyon. Beyond exceptional..
He needed to get to work. I needed to....
Will-out
Fish River, Namibia.
2/21/2019
Left Solitaire this morning. Always hard to leave. The entire staff at the Desert Farm came out, they did not want me to leave. I did cry in the truck out of the gates. I have known some of these people for four years and I don't know If I would be coming back. High Style Adventure needs to spend more time in South Africa and the United States.
After spending 3 weeks on dirt roads and small towns I rolled back into Windhoek. I came in from the west. The drive took six hours. Road not good. Immediately you find yourself downtown in Thursday evening rush hour. No matter how many times you study the map, I never get this city exactly right. There is no rhyme or reason to the city layout. So basically you come from the country into a huge city, traffic lights, horns honking, (people actually crossing streets). Shell shock. Plus, you are still driving on the wrong side of the road...with traffic.
The hotel that I stay at in Wind is owned by the same guy who rents me the truck. It is kind of one stop stop shopping of some sort. It works. I found the hotel after being lost in the city for about an hour. The high ground. I am safe and sound, truck intact, out of Africa Saturday.
Hope everyone is well.
WH-out
Windhoek
Stories form ZA  (South Africa) to follow.