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Author Topic: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore  (Read 4386 times)

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Offline Drusky

Re: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2012, 10:24:44 pm »
Well as you chaps may have guessed I have been quite busy. I was making cheese and yoghurt and milky things like that. My turn to be at the factory running the plant at 4am.

Thanks again for the kind comments. This was a 2010 trip. I have enjoyed going through this ride in my mind and boy has it made me hungry to go on another!

The rest in the cool of Babes se Winkel seems to have done Scumdog a lot of good because he zips off briskly on the road towards Willowmore. It's about twenty minutes since we left the little shop and it's my turn to follow. I give him the usual minute or so head start before motoring off at a reasonably sedate pace behind him. No desire to catch up to his dust.

3:25pm We've already swapped position again with me in the lead and at the end of my 10km stint. I've started to slow down for my buddy to take the lead when I see a familiar sight; in fact this should be a familiar sight to any of you who have done the Baviaanskloof. I  have never paused to have a closer look. On a whim I lean on the brakes, check my mirrors and make a u-turn. I stop next to a pair of rusted out cars the Funduro pulls up in line with the GS. We are facing the way we have just come. They're Chevrolets I think, not sure, but they squat there on their bellies looking really cool in a ratty low-rider, suicide doors kind of way. We check for snakes before hopping into one of the cars. All I can say is that it is a good thing we are wearing protective gear.

It's been a long day but we dig out some enthusiasm, slap on some happy smiles and before you know it we're laughing like maniacs... We look oddly maniacal too considering the setting; it's probably a good thing that no one comes past while we are sitting there cackling. Examining the wasted shell of someone elses pride and joy is very interesting. Of course we do the usual stuff, wonder about the history of the car and where it has been before discussing what the remaining knobs and gismogads used to do. There's a lot of bright work that has not tarnished and like a pair of baboons we examine them all closely.

It's 3:37pm and we have only been stopped for ten minutes. I remember I have suckers stashed in my bag. Fizz pops, probably apple flavour. Looking at the photos now we look moeg but we are just very relaxed, enjoying the scenery. This is the first time that Scumdog turns to me and says that he thinks his knee is poked. He is a tough, hardy guy so I know it is serious. We both shrug. There's nothing that can be done about it. It will come in to play the next day when we decide which route to take home.

The ride out to Willowmore from the rusty cars is mostly uneventful. It's a very different landscape from that which I am used to and I find it fascinating. Scumdog spots a tortoise and naturally stops to weigh it. This happens at least once on every trip. Sometimes I weigh the tortoise and other times he does. I have argued that it might be better if one person does the weighing (not me). I have suggested that my arms are calibrated differently to his but he argues that these minor details are all relative. Relative to what I wonder. Probably the risk of getting peed on. Scumdog studied Zoology to third year on his first degree and I only took that subject for one year so he overules me on this point. I still think we should be writing our findings down. He looks at me thoughtfully before announcing. “It's definitely lighter than the last one.”

When we do finally reach Willowmore we roll straight up to the Royal Hotel with a thirst and head straight for the bar, not that Scumdog or I are big drinkers, but the Savannah dry tastes fantastic after the hot dusty haul through the hills. It's 4:54pm and there are a few guys enjoying a game of pool in the bar while the out door shebeen behind the white car to the left of my foot are pumping out a lively mixture of base and fancy guitar work to a kwaito beat. I gather that the shebeen crowd don't mix with the bar crowd but I suspect they are having more fun. The still hot air has followed us out of the kloof, or perhaps it beat us to the little Karoo town. You don't need to be a meteorologist to read the meaning of that big fluffy cloud formation next to my big toe. We have almost finished discussing an ancient Readers Digest article about some Skydivers that were sucked into a big cloud when an ominous rumble prompts us to get moving towards our B&B. We are in for quite a treat thanks to that weather.

We're staying at Finchley farm it's conveniently close to Willowmore which is nice because we want to have dinner at the The Willow Historical Guest House. By the time we have showered and emerged from our cottage ready to ride into town it's already 7:30pm. We are going to be late for   dinner because the light that we are presented with is amazing and commands our attention. To the East of us, in the distance, the Karoo storm has now broken after the days still, heavy heat. The sunset beams off the storm clouds, lighting up the plain stretching away into the distance with a weird yellow glow. The photo Eastwards doesn't do it justice. I've never experienced this combination of blue-grays and golden hues before, the desolate landscape enhances the effect. As if this is not enough the sky to the west is vividly painted with salmon, red and purple hues with a blaze of gold above the horizon. It is all too enchanting for words. I'll try anyway. The golden light reflected off the storm clouds in the East lights up the landscape to the West which would ordinarliy have lain in the shadow of the setting sun. The veld with its hardy blooms are as a result lit up below the magnificent sky, while they are very pretty on their own they seem to enhance the splendour of the scene above. Like jewels on a beautiful woman. I can only imagine there are skilled photographers out there who would love to work a scene like this. They are probably grinding their teeth in anguish at the poor quality of my snap shots. Being ordinary guys, not artists, hunger pangs start to gnaw and we leave the incredible views to fade behind us.

Dinner at the The Willow is as charming as ever. All the crockery and cutlery looks like it has been there as long as the old Rectory itself. The place has some seriously high ceiling, Scumdog reckons you could launch a cat, they add to the old world feel. I think I had lamb shank that night although I can't tell by looking at the plate. There's no bone there, I couldn't have been that hungry. Scratch lamb shank, it was lamb something. I never miss an opportunity to devour Karoo lamb, they look delicious to me even in their wooly packaging.

That night I sleep very well despite Scumdog snoring and grunting in the next bed. He smells foul too, although I may have been too near my own riding boots. We take it slow getting going the next morning and are having breakfast on the farm house stoep by 8:30am. Al I have is a single photo of the curiously curved sinkplaat dakkie over the stoep. I have a silly reluctance to photograph other people or their homes and I was too shy to ask permission or I forgot; can't remember which. The farmer's wife runs Finchley farm B&B and she makes a lovely breakfast, the cottage we used was clean and tidy with the usual tea, fridge, milk, telly setup. We have a nice long chat to Mrs Finchley Farm about boerbok meat prices and the way it is marketed as Karoo Red and tasted just like mutton. We also discuss with her the route to Steytlerville. We had considered taking a detour through some interesting offroad paths on our way out of Willowmore but Scumdog's knee has vetoed that notion. He is very distressed about this and keeps apologising for being a useless snoring punk. Usually I would tease the guy a bit before telling him what I really think. His sincere anger with himself makes me cut to the chase. I'm just as pleased to mosey through the Karoo on smooth tarred road as on wild rocky trails. Mrs Finchley points us in the direction of “the concrete road”.

The concrete road is quite an interesting surprise. It is a concrete road. Rather it is half a concrete road. I know what a whole concrete road looks like, we have one in PE. It appears from my crafty examination of the “spoor” next to the road that whilst vehicles travel most of the way centered on the narrow strip they do appear to “move over” in the face of oncoming traffic. I can't help wondering what this will be like for us on bikes. We never find out as the road is very quiet and the one time we did see a vehicle we were stopped next to the road gawking at the veld. We naturally take a few “The Stig” photies before motoring off to Steytlerville.

At Steytlerville you should always stop at The Verandah Coffee Shop. The sign says they serve the best coffee in the world. This may be true but I am not calibrated to evaluate coffee I am more of an olive snob. It's a really nice place to kick up your feet. The owner who is also the waitress and custodian of the motor museum out back is very friendly. You don't even have to say nice things about her many pedigree Shitzus living there to get a guided tour of the museum. That's her Mini in that pic. Her hubby is a bit of a car nut.

The road betweem Steytlerville and PE is hot and windy. We only stop once because the coffee wants to come out. Circle of life. No... we stop twice. Once again at the Cheetah breeding Farm between Jansenville and Uitenhage. We aren't interested in the Cheetahs. We want some rust converter, caffeine, sugar mix. While I am drinking my meat tenderizer I see Scumdog getting friendly with a plant which is strange considering he is a vet. Upon closer inspection it turns out he is actually tickling a cat that lives in the plant. Much more vet like. I wonder how it climbed into that pot.

And that's the trip. Once in PE we split off to our respective homes. I expect Scumdog did what I did. Hauled out his pressure cleaner, gave his bike a good clean before putting it to sleep in it's stable. Definitely a memorable trip. If I did it again I would want to come home from Steytlerville through the mountains over the Elandsrivier road.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 10:44:34 pm by Drusky »

Offline RD

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Re: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2013, 06:05:25 am »
Nice report Drusky. We did the side entry last weekend and it was a jol - not for the inexperienced though.

Offline Hitman

Re: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 03:27:58 pm »
Beautiful RR - well written and documented with great pictures!
A pleasure to read, thank you!!
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Offline XT JOE

Re: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2013, 05:21:03 pm »
Nice :thumleft:
When life gets to hard to stand. kneel

Online dirtyXT

Re: Re: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2013, 09:09:50 pm »
great RR. well documented.
Bike history:
Ital jet 50 - sold, DT 50 - scrapped - AR80 - sold DT185 - confiscated  KDX250 - sold ZZR400 - sold KX500 - XT660R Swapped for R1 YZF R1 - sold - XT660Z - sold

Offline eikeboom

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Re: Eastern Cape: Baviaans Side Entry PE, Kareedouw, Willowmore
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2013, 10:15:29 pm »
Very very nice thanks! In spite of the heat in the kloof this was a fresh breeze in ride report writing and I look forward to some more.
Let's go into the mountains...there's likely to be peace and quiet