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Author Topic: Of Dust & Men (Day 4)  (Read 1193 times)

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Offline wino

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Of Dust & Men (Day 4)
« on: January 30, 2006, 11:30:44 am »
Day 4

We got up early, knowing that this would be one of the most testing days of the trip. We planned to ride through the kloof to Patensie, and then take a 4x4 track over to Steytlerville, back onto the backroads that run along the Swartberg mountains to Willowmore, where we would stay for the night. But, it was not to go according to plan?

Our campsite hosts treated us to a filling breakfast while making phonecalls to farmers who have ridden the 4x4 track to find out whether our bikes would make it. When we first told our host what we were planning, he got a devilish grin. According to him, you need a proper mx bike/quad to ride the track. The ultimate message however, was that if we could ride the most difficult part in the kloof, we would have a good idea what to expect from the track, adding a little more difficulty.

Entering the wilderness area:

Yee-ha! That was Good!

Discussing what lies ahead? (notice the wetwipes, again?)

Water crossings were really common, and we enjoyed each one thoroughly.

Are those smiles natural, gentlemen?

Spectacularly breathtaking!

Uhm, but there is no road?!

Having another break:

And, yet another water crossing?!

The next one proved to be the most difficult crossing of the lot, stretching for about 40 metres in total. Luckily it had not rained in the previous few weeks; otherwise it would have been a lot longer. The bottom was full of loose rocks, making the bike leap around quite a bit. Before entering the obstacle, we were wondering who would be first? guess somebody had to take the photos!

Ever so ?cool??

With a shell like that, who needs a helmet! (No animals were in any way harmed during this trip!).

One of the benefits of taking an early ride, you get to glimpse the kudus. This one was standing in the middle of the road, trying to stare us down?

eventually disappearing to join the rest of the herd.

Ze German admiring some of the scenic rock formations:

And then we hit the part that we were warned about, the part that would give a test of what we would experience on the 4x4 track ? very testing indeed on both the bike and the rider. Unfortunately, none of us stopped to take photos, we just wanted to get to the top! At last!

Having a look back at the most tranquil part of the past few k?s?

Exposed bedrock was the order of the day:

It must be a killer to ride here during the rain season?

Close to the end of the kloof:

Suddenly the gravel felt like tar! Well, this stretch was actually better than some of our tar roads ? no potholes!


After reaching the end of the kloof, we realised that we had to speed things up a bit. In particular, Heinie was looking anxious about the unfamiliar that lay ahead. So we set out for Patensie, where we filled up on fuel and had a very quick bite to eat. (Venter, however, raced ahead earlier on and had time to consume a beer, or two. He was going to regret it later!)

We also cancelled our chalet in Willowmore, as it was becoming clear that we would not make it tonight. As yet, we were not entirely clear on where we were going to be for the night. Just about 5k?s outside of Patensie the track started. The first few k?s were not too bad, my only observation being that the stones on the road were a lot more and bigger than the kloof?s.

At our first stop, Heinie looked despondent, something wasn?t right with the klr?s front suspension as it felt like it rocked right back. We did some checks, he tried the hand pump, but nothing seemed to work. There was also no visible damage, so it was thought that maybe one of the seals in the fork got hurt. Well, what to do?

The intrepid adventurer, ie KiLeRSA, decided to carry on at an induced slow pace. But, the road did not get any easier. Rather, at some stretches one could clearly see that it is a 4x4 track, and you?d have to have a proper 4x4.

Interestingly, both Venter and I noted the difference in how we approached the various obstacles with the different bikes. Whereas I tried to do some more slick riding by trying to avoid e.g. large loose rocks, Venter would use the power of the 1150 to steamroller over them. I think that both types of approach provided their own scary moments.

Chris having a relaxing break, inhaling some smoky grass?

Coming down this stretch was the most taxing part of the whole journey; once again the picture does not accurately show the difficulties that we overcame. I actually stalled the bike in one of the ?grooves? and could only maintain the bike in a semi upright position by putting my left foot down. Given the angle of the slope, the specific groove that I was in, and angle of the bike, I had to push the bike up straight, while at the same time use a good measure of power to move out of the groove. Phew! Nearly saw my?!

Another stop to check the suspension of the klr:

When we reached the top of the pass, it presented us with magnificent views. However, the mood was sombre. Heinie?s front arms were getting punished with the absence of shock absorbing and Venter appeared to be dehydrated ? yep, the beers were not helping either! Knowing about the dangers of unknowingly dehydrating on a bike, I tend to always sneak in a bottle or two of Energade. After gulping down the contents, we were ready to move on.

Heinie took the front as he was supposedly going to be the slowest rider. Well, I battled sometimes to keep up with him. On the more flat stretches I sensed his frustration as he cranked the throttle!

The sun was slowly setting?

Just about 30k?s outside of Steytlerville we had some humour. Ze German Leader came down the road in true Paris-Dakar fashion while the three of us were admiring his riding skills, and then the top box flew off! Well, the cookies crumbled, but more importantly the beers were still intact!

First cellphone reception ? Heinie trying to arrange a bike mechanic:

Eventually we reached Steytlerville.

The church in Steytlerville ? even though I?m not a religious person, old churches do have some strange attraction in their architecture:

After enquiring in town about accommodation, we decided to spend the night at the ?notorious? Karoo Hotel. www.karoohotel.co.za  

There are 12 pet cats in the hotel ? no jokes about black ?cats?, please?!

Drinks with friends at the end of a challenging day:

This picture says it all?


Offline LiveInTheOutdoors

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Of Dust & Men (Day 4)
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2006, 11:49:17 am »
hehe - so cool dude...  8)
very minute is a chance to turn it all around - Vanilla Sky

>Mav... started gym. Officially at 95kg....<

Offline toucan

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Of Dust & Men (Day 4)
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2006, 12:12:24 pm »
brilliant dude, i got to get myself out of the office more often.
i'm not a complete idiot. some parts are missing.

Offline sidetrack

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Of Dust & Men (Day 4)
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2006, 04:48:17 pm »
Wino the 4x4 track you talk about from Patensie where does it start ?

PS great report !
Little by little, one travels far
J.R.R Tolkien