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Author Topic: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow  (Read 1534 times)

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Offline Ri

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Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« on: January 04, 2019, 10:08:23 pm »
I was informed that this year, the family - the entire family - will be gathering for Christmas. My brother found a nice big house on a nice big plot near Plettenberg Bay and rented it for almost two weeks, and sommer invited his in-laws along. We are going to have fun if it kills us.

The house, although huge, isn't big enough for 4 families plus grandmas and grandpas and the odd auntie, and a friendly WD loans me a tent and stretchers.

Our subtle family dynamic, along with my introverted and ever-so-slightly volatile nature (ďunhingedĒ is such an ugly word), makes 2 weeks of harmonious unity a bit unlikely and I decide to trailer my bike along for escape.

Another WD also wants his bike trailered to Plett, and I agree on condition that he loads his own bike and helps me load mine. He readily agrees, and even arranges a safe place to park the loaded trailer overnight.

I hook the trailer with some trepidation. It is one thing to trailer a slender Suzuki DR650, but a huge BMW 1200 GS weighing almost double is another matter altogether. Images of the trailer overturning or dragging the car off the road, swirl across my mindís eye. I pray fervently my little Ecosport will manage the load over the East Coastís hilly terrain. I need not have worried - it does fine, and keeping to a maximum of 100 kph it even manages to do so on one tank. I settle in and get ready for all the fun.


Comfort break at Buffelsjagsrivier (it ain't heavy...thanks to a well-balanced trailer)




Idyllic camping spot



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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 10:13:10 pm »
I want to join the Garden Route Dogsí 31st December ride. I consider this a most fitting way to end the year, especially as Iíve been unable to ride for the past 6 months for one reason or another. The ride kicks off from Mossel Bay which isnít that far from Plett, but too far to ride through on the morning. A lovely Dog and his family offer to put me up the night before.

One afternoon a few days into our holiday, my brother-in-law, who also trailered his DR650 down, suggest we go for a ride, and soon weíre roaring mutedly along the Harkerville plantation roads. I use the word ďroadsĒ loosely, as they arenít in the best state; steep washed out hills with deep curvy ruts, sandy sections and big loose stones. It is beautiful.

I tremble inside but press on as BIL eventually turns onto a 2-spoor track. He asks whether Iím OK and I gamely nod my head. Ahead, the spoor drops downwards and out of view, seemingly over the edge of a cliff. I try to paddle the bike down the steep little spoor, feeling like a complete gravel n00b, but my nerves and skill run out and Snow unceremoniously hits the ground, belly up.






Eventually BIL realises Iím not following, and turns around to pick up the bike, clearly eager to carry on.




I wish him Godís speed and settle down to wait for his return.




When he comes back, he tells me he ended up at a fantastic lookout point, but 4x4s have spun out the track and he had some difficulty riding out again. Iím glad I didnít follow. We carry on but I miss him at a turn-off, and I ride a harrowing, curved sandy and rocky section of about 1 km (OK, maybe it was only 10m) before I realise Iíll have to turn back and ride it again, as BIL is not up ahead.

I catch up with him and we decide to turn back home. He suggests I go in front so he can keep an eye on me in the event something goes wrong, and tells me which way to go. I take a wrong turn again, and when I turn around BIL catches up with me and zooms off into the distance. I take a calming breath: Iíd come this way before without incident, Iíll be fine.

The late afternoon shadows make it hard to see ahead. I gingerly speed up another steep slope, trying to avoid the ruts and rocks, and lose my balance. Snow dives into the embankment and traps my left ankle under the luggage plate. It is mostly sand, and I manage to heave Snowís behind somewhat and wiggle out my ankle. I take a few photoís, waiting for BIL to realise somethingís gone wrong.




A sudden thought strikes me: what if I was riding alone? Iíd have had to pick up Snow myself. I look over at Snow; I will be riding alone sometimes, and I know I can lift him up.

Snow fell at an angle and isnít lying completely level. I grab the hand guard, intending to pull Snow upright, but it slips out of the handle due to damage from the previous fall. Arrrrgh, now what?!! There isnít any space on the other side to hunch down backwards and grab the handlebar and luggage rack to lift Snow up like I normally would.




I recall a bike-lifting video posted on WD. One of the ways demonstrated was to kneel beside the bike, but your chest against the seat, grab lower down the bike, and heave it up with your upper body. The demonstrator, though, had a pillion to stand on the wheel and act as counterweight, a luxury I donít have. Still, I canít think of anything else to try.

I kneel on the embankment, lean down and scrabble around for places to hold. I think I end up with the handlebar and the luggage rack, as Iím higher than Snow. I put my chest into the seat and start to heave with all my might. Snow lifts a little, then the handlebar turns and he rolls in a small curve. I groan and let go, but I know Snow is in gear and wonít roll anywhere. I lean down and try again. He lifts and again rolls slightly, but then gets a grip and stays put while I push.

Trembling and perspiring heavily, I manage to push Snow into the upright position. Thereís no space to put down the side stand and I lean against him, trying not to push him over, until I can shakily swing my leg over the seat. I sit still for a moment catching my breath, wondering at my idiocy at not removing my hot gear.

Composed at last, I start Snow. The ignition turns over, but doesnít catch. I remember what my BIL said earlier about not leaving the bike lying down because the carb will flood, and how to start the bike if it does. I turn off the fuel tap and try again. And again. And again. I start to have visions of a flat battery, and stop, but there is still no sign of BIL. I try again, twisting the throttle, and Snow springs to life. I breathe a fervent thanks.

I find my BIL casually lounging next to his bike at the stop sign where we turn onto the N2. He asks if I had trouble, and I tell him Iíd fallen again. For a moment, he looks slightly guilty that he didnít turn back but he quickly shakes it off, not one to dwell in the past. After all, I hadnít suffered any damage. We ride home, a slight confidence settling in me.
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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 10:25:38 pm »
A few days later, it is time to head to Mossel Bay for the Garden Route ride.




I leave early, as I want to ride the 7 Passes road and donít know how long it would take me. It is a perfect morning, cool with a slight breeze. The 7 Passes Road is beautiful, dropping and rising through the forest and crossing scenic streams.






Wrong turn quickly righted




















Some fire damage




I wanted to stop for coffee and all the signs said "Open"... until you look at the sign on the gate. I was miffed.


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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2019, 10:26:14 pm »
I almost miss this turn-off towards Saasveld as it isn't marked. Luckily I'd come this way before, a year ago.

































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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2019, 10:36:55 pm »
To my surprise, I meet almost no bikers on the 7 Passes road. A BMW 1200 GS followed by an XR650 approaches from the front, the rider on the XR waving exuberantly, and near Saasveld when I stop to take photo's, two big bikes pass me, signing if everything is OK. I give them a thumbs up. The road is covered in bicycles though, riding all over from side to side, catching a fright when the quiet DR is suddenly upon them. Very annoying.

Too soon, I reach George and turn towards the airport, to find the gravel road to Groot Brakrivier. The road feels much shorter than I remember - I barely reach a decent speed when itís time to throttle back for the twisty turns into Groot Brakrivier.

I turn onto the highway and take the turn-off towards Boplaas farm-stall. I settle in at Boplaas and order coffee and a gourmet hamburger. The place is filled to the rafters, and everyone looks up when I creak up and down in my MX boots. Women next to me randomly start conversations with me, and I enjoy myself.






Iím supposed to meet my host at 15:30 in Mossel Bay. Itís now 11:45, and I idly wonder how Iíll pass the hours until then. It turns out to be surprisingly easy, as lunch takes a very long time to arrive. The hamburger is not that great but the chips are to die for, cut thick and roasted to perfection. I take my time over lunch, and then wander around the farm stall. When I leave, I turn into every hamlet between Groot Brak and Mossel Bay, meandering around and taking in the sights.












I reach Mossel Bay a little early, and stop at the petrol station for a chocolate soft serve and water. Then I head down to the beach and enjoy the view until my host fetches me. After a lovely evening, itís time to sleep.









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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 10:44:54 pm »
Early the next morning I meet the Garden Route Dogs at the Engen for Wimpy breakfast. MiniDan drops in to say hi, and then we get ready to leave.

As usual, Tony the Boney leads the ride, but, disappointingly, Odd Dog can’t join is due to a nasty noise in his engine. A WD, Piets on his beautiful 1150 GS and his friend Johan on a 1200 Triumph join us, as does KaToom.RSA on - what else - a KTM 990 and Losper - yes, the Lesotho Legend - on his Africa Twin. My bonsai DR is viewed with amazement - hard to believe it is a 650. Then Buttslider and his lovely wife glide in on his 800 GS. He quickly fills up, and we are off.






The roads are a little dusty but in good condition. There are some photo opportunities, but not enough for my taste  :-\






















« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 10:37:43 am by Ri »
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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 10:54:29 pm »
I havenít been on the forum for a few days, and expect the route to be pretty much the same as the previous year. It is, with one notable exception: Attaquaskloof!! I swallow a sudden dryness - Iíd ridden it in May, coming back from the EC Bash, from the ďrightĒ side. It had been challenging but doable. But my confidence had been at an all-time high after conquering Baviaanskloof, including a muted Smutskraal river crossing, without incident. I remind myself: Iíve survived worse. I saddle up with the rest of the group, and off we go.






Attaquaskloof is pretty bad. It is dry, dusty, rutted, sandy, rocky and marbly. Approaching from the wrong side, the uphills feel very steep but short, with tight turns killing my momentum. The downhills feel endless; very steep, very long with many tight turns, rutted and covered in loose stones. And to provide me with a little entertainment, at the end of the long downhill is usually a nasty little twist covered in loose rocks, making it difficult to gain momentum for the next steep climb.

On the downhills, I leave Snow in second gear and roll down with my foot firmly on the back brake, hand firmly on the front brake, feathering the clutch when Snow starts to shudder, praying for grace and skill. Snow amazingly takes it in his stride, staying on track without sliding (much), even when jumping over corrugations. Afterwards I wonder whether the Mitas E09 on the back, which showed cracks after barely 1000 km, had something to do with it. If so, my apologies, Mitas, for the unkind thoughts I sent your way.

After another long downhill, we come to a shed near the road, and stop for a breather. Piet isnít with us, but we see him near the top of the downhill, taking photoís. He is taking his time, and we grow hot as we wait.









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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2019, 10:56:41 pm »
Eventually it dawns on us that something might be wrong, and Johan shouts up at Piet. Piet can hear us, but we canít hear his answer as the wind blows in the wrong direction. The cavalry in the form of KaTooM.RSA and Losper take off to mount a rescue mission.








Piet's situation, through his own lens:








Through my surprisingly sensitive zoom lens, we see them help Piet lift the hefty 1150, which had apparently stepped sideways on a rock. Pietís padded jacket and helmet softened the impact and thankfully he is fine.








Soon they join us, and we carry on towards Bonniedale farm, where we take a long break in the shade of the camping grounds.























« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 05:48:20 pm by Ri »
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Offline BMWPE

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2019, 07:05:47 am »
Awesome  ride report keep it coming  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Been

Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2019, 07:13:05 am »
Lekker Ride report, waiting with anticipation! :sip: Made all the better with lots of pics.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 07:13:59 am by Been »
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Offline husky

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2019, 08:27:23 am »
Nice report and I'm envious. Agree about picking a bike up - you feel a bit vulnerable if you cannot do it by yourself.
 

Offline piets

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2019, 03:22:26 pm »
Nice report and I'm envious. Agree about picking a bike up - you feel a bit vulnerable if you cannot do it by yourself.
Nice report. Thanx Ri
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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2019, 05:22:50 pm »
Glad you're all enjoying it  :biggrin:
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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2019, 06:01:19 pm »
The weather was a bit cooler earlier on, on the other side of the mountain, but here it has grown quite warm. We are enervated, and slump around the camp area like drowzy bluebottles. I drink some of my water and pour the rest over my T-shirt for relief from the heat.








Only KaTooM.RSA looks like he's having a good time :imaposer:




We try again :biggrin:




Then it is time to continue our journey. There are a fair number of gates, and we take turns opening them. I have to fight for my turn, as I'm slow and people would rather I just carry on already ::)










I remembered that the road from Bonniedale towards Eight Bells is easier than Attaquaskloof, but it turns out to be almost as bad.

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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2019, 06:02:01 pm »
Thankfully there are no more spills, and when we reach Eight Bells, we stop at the Boerqi Bistro for lunch and something to drink.
































After we pay, I ask Tony where we are headed now, but it seems the ride is over due to the heat. Iím disappointed, but also a little relieved that Iíll be heading back to Plett sooner rather than later. Tony, who was concerned about me when he saw what Attaquaskloof looked like, laughs at my willingness to carry on riding, saying in that case Attaquaskloof couldnít have been that bad.

Outside the Bistro we say our good byes. I feel a little wistful that I can't spend more time chatting to these great people.

It has been lovely to meet you all, and it would be great to ride again some day :thumleft:
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 
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Offline GRyPH

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2019, 12:13:37 pm »
Lekker ! :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:


We also did sewepasse road over the weekend and surprisingly found almost no other bikes.  (only 2 x 1200 GS  with NC regs)


That was a awesome route you did there. :thumleft:
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Offline Mev Vis Arend

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2019, 01:56:48 pm »
Dankie vir die deel.  Ek wens ek het jou ry-ondervinding gehad, maar hopenlik sal ek daar kom. :thumleft:
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Offline Ri

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Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2019, 07:32:57 pm »
Dankie vir die deel.  Ek wens ek het jou ry-ondervinding gehad, maar hopenlik sal ek daar kom. :thumleft:

Plesier :thumleft:

Ek het nie baie ry-ondervinding nie - dis hoekom ek nog so dikwels val. Het hierdie naweek weer vir my 'n plasie gekoop op Fall Down Hill ::)

Ek dink altesaam ry ek nou al so 2 jaar en 'n paar maande, en dis maar 'n dagrit hier en 'n naweekrit daar. Ek gaan probeer om meer dagritte te doen hierdie jaar, en ek gaan verseker 'n paar kursusse doen, anders gaan my enkels dit nie hou nie :o Funduro's is ook deel van die PVA >:D

Klim maar net op jou bike en ry :ricky: (maar hopelik nie 'n 1200GS nie... :eek: )
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 

Offline McOets

Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2019, 07:48:14 pm »
Dankie vir die saam ry en RR was great om almal te ontmoet en het lekker gery deur die warm.
Sien uit na weer saam ry !


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Offline Sheepman

Re: Garden Route Ride 31/12/2018 - Dust, Heat, and a little Snow
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2019, 07:58:55 pm »
Thanks for sharing, cool RR  8)