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Offline JourneyMan

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A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« on: October 20, 2008, 10:25:53 pm »
I have these friends of mine who ‚??re-introduced me to DS riding back in 2004 with the Desert Run. I missed their Baviaans earlier this year but managed to get round work issues to fit in a few days to go down and ride some of the passes in the Eastern Cape near Lesotho.

As usual, the work interfered with the planning again and I could only go down to the Rhodes area on Thursday while the rest left Wednesday already. :rolleyes:

No problem. I‚??ll solo down on Thursday, overnight somewhere and be with them early Friday morning to have at least two full days of mountain pass riding. At least, that was the responsible planning done at that stage.

Come Thursday morning, I got on the road at about 10H00, trying to survive the first 1 ¬Ĺ hours through Gauteng towards the Freestate. Just managed. Gauteng must be the worst place anywhere in South Africa to start your trip.  :BangHead:

As I had a long haul for the day, I took my first break just after entering the Freestate. Very noble idea and I saved about 3 smokes. I then went and had those 3 + another with the coffee anyway.  :glasses12:



On I went after trying to assist my friend over the phone. His Dakar has cut out near Aliwal-North and they couldn‚??t get it going. All the usual suspect faults were discussed and appropriate treatment prescribed but with no joy.

Bike on the trailer and I‚??ll throw in my enormous expertise and know-how as a Sunday mechanic when I arrive early the next day.  :imaposer:


Just past Kroonstad I had another break after responding to flashing headlights and managing to evade the radar trap. Good to see road users still doing that for others and even more so, for a biker.  :cool:

The Freestate is dry. Signs to come for the rest of the trip as well.








The road ahead. I enjoyed it thoroughly since my last trip of any kind was back in early June this year.  :razz:



Fueled up at Ventersburg and at Winburg took the R 708 towards Marquard in search of the first dirt for the day.

Found the dirt turn off but was met by heavy overhead clouds and thunder. Decided to try and out run the storm approaching from behind.



This I achieved very successfully but I think the fact that the wind came from in front of me, helped immensely in this regard.  :mrgreen:

The storm behind me and receding.




Some pics of the dirt road encountered. Glad to do some dirt riding again.










Got to a Y-junction with no indication on where either of the splits will take me. Eeny-meenie-meini-mo didn‚??t seem a good option so I took out the GPS- on- loan and tried to figure out what road to take.  :scratch:

At the Y looking back the way I came.



Made a decision and got going again. This turned out to be a very enjoyable stretch as it went downwards with different road conditions being encountered. From rocky two track, sandy dirt, twisting corners and finally higher speed gravel. A half-circle type of route where one got to see both sides of the mountains along the way.

Going down.



Had the urge to stop and take this one. Not sure why though.  :biggrin:



There was rain here at some stage. Not in this year if I had to make a guess.



Towards Clocolan.



Erm. I‚??ll take left.



Atr Clocolan I had a break and saw some rain clouds in the distance of Ladybrand, my next point on the route. No option but to go on, though.

To follow: Interesting, foolish, irresponsible and hair raising.
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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2008, 10:46:50 pm »
Went through the small town of Clocolan towards Lady Brand.

Just past Lady Brand a massive wind and rain storm coupled with small hail, hit me just as I started up the mountain. Nearly got blown off the road twice and immediately decided that I will take my chances with lightning under the Bloekom trees.  :eek:

I think the chances of lightning hitting me were far less than the wind blowing me in front of an oncoming vehicle.  :eek:

I had just reached cover when the rain and hail stopped. Soaking wet as I don‚??t have liner fitted and no rain suit.  :rolleyes:





From there it was a constant battle with the gusting wind. Hitting me from different directions as you go along the escarpment.

Somewhere between Lady Brand and Hobhouse. The storm is past but the wind was very strong all the way to Zastron.






Smoke break near Vanstadensrus.



Near Zastron



Near Sterkspruit and it was decision time. Go back to Zastron, get a nice B&B (There was quite a few I saw) or push through to my mates near Rhodes. The GPS showed the farm where we are staying as just 57km‚??s away. Even realizing that it is as the crow flies and that it will be much further than that due to the twisting passes/roads ahead, I made the foolish decision to push ahead. Lekker ramkat en vol bravade!  :razz: :rolleyes:



A few km‚??s down the road and I realized I‚??m in for a hard time riding.




Fully committed now and starting the dirt near the Lower Telle section in late dusk.



As soon as the sun was away completely, I dropped the speed down to between 20-40km/ph. The Dakar‚??s shitty light once again biting me.  :BangHead:

By now I was ruing my decision to go ahead, not realizing this is still the easy part. Twisting road the whole way, going through the local settlement with the odd pedestrian and odd donkey/horse on the road.

About halfway up, I was standing up, going around a sharp U-turn when the bike just slid out from under me. After a second I realized I was getting wet, jumped up and picked up the bike in one go.

What happened was that the rain of the earlier the days has caused a small stream to come out of the mountain, across the concrete section which was the turn, (didn‚??t know it was concrete when I saw it in the bike‚??s lights) and the small stream has deposited silt on the concrete. Was in the turn with the wheel turning. No chance of rescue.

The scene.





The very first time my knee guards came to my rescue. It did the job superbly since I took the impact on the left knee as I went down. ATTGATT!! Don‚??t scoff at it. It eventually came to good use after three years of riding with them on!



Damage to the bike:  Broken indicator lens. Slightly bent foot rest. Not sure about the handle bars. First impression when I got back on was that it was slightly off line but later on didn‚??t notice it?



After a few smokes and the first chat with my Oloff Bergh for the day, onwards I went. Slightly shaken, not stirred, and no option but to press on.  :biggrin: It was a lonely feeling and just fell short of feeling totally sorry for myself.  :redface:

Eventually arrived at the top of Lundean‚??s Neck Pass. Around 21H00. Thought the worst was over now.




Downwards and suddenly there were muddy patches which are undistinguishable in the bike‚??s lights as well as rocky sections. Had a few hair raising moments but managed to stay on the bike the whole time.  :neutral:

From there it was a time consuming affair to navigate between the different paths/road to the farm where we stayed.  It was dead quiet when stopping and no light to help. The stars were hidden by over head clouds. Pitch dark.



The fact that technology in the form of cell phone reception in even the most remote places was available, helped me through it all. I was in regular contact with my friends who just wanted to go out and come find me.  :cool: I had a hard time convincing them I‚??m OK since I didn‚??t want 5 okes dashing around on unknown roads and in the dark searching for me. But their encouragement certainly kept me sane and focused. Thanks guys! You are the best!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :cool: :cool: :cool:(They are not WD members. Computer illiterates. The blerry moegoe‚??s!  :biggrin:)



I arrived there at 22H48. I have done 842km‚??s for the day.

Had a bite to eat, of few drinks and was out of it the second my head hit the pillow that evening, having survived which was most probably the most foolish and irresponsible thing I have done to date.

Day 2 to follow after getting more pics from the other okes as well.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 10:49:29 pm by JourneyMan »
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Offline Lito

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 01:48:04 am »
JM does a ride?  :o Whats the world coming to?

 :biggrin: Nice one so far JM - I love the pic of the huge cloud cover/front coming in... 8)
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 01:56:32 am »
Thanks for the report, quite epic!! Looking forward to the rest!  :thumleft:

I feel for you with that light. Must have been hectic not seeing what you were in.  :o

My wife & I got caught out at night a couple of times and I must say at least the new 650 and 800 light is a HUGE improvement. Having said that, the old 650 and Dakar is a fantastic bike and I miss its nimbleness.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2008, 02:01:11 am by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Ronť

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 02:59:54 am »
Awsome !!! - hope u were at least dressed warm. does not look like u had much in luggage
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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 06:11:42 am »
Was not cold. My luggage went with the bakkie the previous day. Just had bare essentials and tool etc. with me.

Yeah. Was a softcore, armchair weekend planned.  :biggrin:
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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2008, 06:12:51 am »

I feel for you with that light. Must have been hectic not seeing what you were in.  :o

My wife & I got caught out at night a couple of times and I must say at least the new 650 and 800 light is a HUGE improvement. Having said that, the old 650 and Dakar is a fantastic bike and I miss its nimbleness.


Yip. Next ship that actually makes it past the rocks, lighting will be the first priority.
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Offline Hidalgo

Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2008, 08:10:41 am »
Hey JM

Lekka report so far Im riveted !

Keep it coming

Tx H

PS - Like your bike alot - the checkered flag dakkies are the best  :thumleft:
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Offline letsgofishing

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2008, 02:22:22 pm »
Great report so far  :o keep it coming!
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Offline TerrorSA

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2008, 02:56:14 pm »
What a ride  :thumleft:
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Offline popipants

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2008, 03:06:40 pm »
Holy Crap JM rides again!!!
Almost fell out me chair reading this.

Nice report JM. Cannot wait for the rest.
Don't like the look of that pass in the dark?!?!?
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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2008, 03:10:11 pm »

Don't like the look of that pass in the dark?!?!?


Came back the same way on Sunday. In day time. And almost shat my pants for the first time. Good thing I couldn't see the drop off's Thursday night!  :biggrin:
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Offline Stofstreep

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2008, 03:13:15 pm »
Respect! :thumleft:
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Offline bmad

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2008, 03:31:44 pm »
Well  done JM  :thumleft:

Like you say, dumbest thing you could do  >:D but at least you made it.
Riding at night in an area i have no idea about, is my wost fear.

Looking forward to the next installement  :biggrin:
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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2008, 03:49:42 pm »
tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock
where's the rest???
 :deal: :deal:
I've been on the Jameson diet for a week, so far I've lost 7 days....
 

Offline JourneyMan

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2008, 03:50:51 pm »
Tonight some time. Maybe.  :biggrin:
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Offline Malibu

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2008, 04:14:26 pm »
Great reading so far...

Waiting....

 ;D
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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2008, 07:27:44 pm »
Day 2 ‚?? Tiffendell Ski Resort Circle Route


Awoke bright and early and got my first daylight view of the Eastern Cape just below Lesotho.








The old farm house where we stayed.






Then threw in my weight behind getting my friend‚??s Dakar running again. Battery OK. Comper OK. Sparkplug is sparking.  All electrical connection points checked and cleaned. No go. Seems as if no fuel is pumped through to the EFI. This took a while and it was decided to let it wait for the afternoon as we will be missing out on riding time.

The workshop on the Stoep




Early tande borsel and refreshment. Workshop duties are thirsty work. :biggrin:







This is a kak job! :biggrin:




Had a quick brekkie and we got going for the day‚??s riding.

The following are views and road conditions encountered on the way to Rhodes. Easy riding conditions. Twisting down and up the whole time. Good practice ground for cornering skills and the ‚??look-through-the-corner‚?Ě principle.












Piet - Funduro




Jaen -  XR500




Bennie ‚?? KLR650




At Rhodes.





The main street in Rhodes. You are through Rhodes before you know it.  :biggrin:





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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2008, 07:38:50 pm »
Turnoff to Tiffendel Ski Resort



At first it was a lekker mellow ride through the mountains. Very enjoyable. :razz:





Then came the last part to the plato. Very steep with first and second gear riding, rocky patches, then two trail concrete on which you had to stay because going of the concrete would mean going down (Heavy erosion alongside the concrete spoors)

It gives an idea of the incline. The 2 guys in the bakkie said it felt as if they were going up 90 degrees!  :eek: :eek:








Then the plato towards Tiffendell.






Didn‚??t know Tiffendell was Australian owned! :imaposer:




Tiffendel in the distance.





Piet ‚?? Funduro




The resort was closed for construction. Not even the bar was open! :rolleyes:

Luckily we had own refreshments along. :biggrin:





The Dakar and KLR not wanting to talk to each other.  :biggrin:





Then onwards along the Wartrail path.



Even saw Ryperd‚??s family.  And no, I have no idea whether Ryperd has the same attributes.  :rolleyes: :mrgreen:





Continuing on towards the descent from the plato.








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Offline fixit

Re: A Fool, Friends and Eastern Cape Passes
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2008, 08:02:13 pm »
Excellent stuff JM :thumleft:

Can't believe, that is my back yard & have never been there. Got to make a plan :drif:
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