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Author Topic: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650  (Read 5196 times)

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Offline the_wes

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3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« on: December 23, 2012, 01:31:37 pm »
It's been a long year. I was feeling tired, stressed, burnt out. The solution - some much needed R & R, but every time I thought I'd be spending a weekend away something came up. Eventually I made up my mind - come hell or high water, 18th of December I was out of here. As a bonus, my very good friend Antonie (who I've known for many years) was in town (he works in Dubai) and was keen to join me on his newly acquired and sweetly kitted HP2. One final delay saw us leaving on the 19th, but the important thing is we were off and ready for adventure.



We headed off in the direction of Wellington, then it was over Bains Kloof and onto Ceres. The plan was to get to Citrusdal, and then go from there north, into the Cederberg and onto Cederberg Oasis for the night. Antonie's brother Rall joined us for half of the first day on his monstrous B-King. That thing truly is a beast - I was cruising at 140 at one stage and he came past me like I was looking for parking. Rall suggested stopping at Die Tolhuis on Mitchell's Pass for a bite - great suggestion. Their roosterkoek is amazing and the cherry crumble didn't put up much of a fight.



Brothers - Antonie (left) and Rall (right)



After lunch Rall headed home and Antonie and I pressed on to Ceres, and over Gydo Pass.



The HP2 is one helluva bike. I am suffering from serious coveting issues after this trip.



My original plan was to get to Citrusdal via Gouda and Porterville - the long, boring way. What I didn't realise was that if you continued north via Op Die Berg, you would arrive in Citrusdal. Rall pointed this out to me on Google Maps on his Galaxy Note before he headed home, and I changed my route. I'm glad I did, because the bit between Op Die Berg and Citrusdal has some very nice and very scenic bits.







We topped up again in Citrusdal - where I decided to fill up my jerry can for good measure. Turned out I didn't need it once this whole trip. Since I've never entered the Cederberg from Citrusdal's side before, their town map came in rather handy. If it's one thing I learned on this trip, it's that asking for directions pays off (except in Sutherland, no-one really seemed sure of themselves in Sutherland when it came to directions).



Shortly after Citrusdal another shady stop off was in order. Antonie and I have very much the same approach to adventure riding - stop often, take it easy, never be in a rush, take it as it comes. It paid off - we had a great day's riding...



...and before we knew it, we were finally in the Cederberg.

« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 04:46:27 pm by the_wes »
 

Offline ratrap

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 01:51:44 pm »
.
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 02:10:31 pm »
The Cederberg is gorgeous this time of year. I lie - it's gorgeous any time of year. Endless vistas and layer upon layer of mountains - just what I needed to unwind.



It was, however, a tad hot and dusty. Still we had a good time puttering through the relentlessly beautiful landscape.





It has to be said that the W650's suspension is not very good. In fact I'm lying again - it's non-existent (particularly the back). Still, I was surprised by just how capable a bike it is. Shod with Pirelli MT60 and MT90 tyres, it was all too happy to blast along at between 80 and 120, at times side-by-side with Antonie to avoid kicking dust in each others' faces. Where I noticed the lack of suspension capability was on corrugated or rutted roads, and on steep, loose inclines (where I would lose traction easily). The bumpiness eventually started taking its toll, and arriving at Dwarsrivier Antonie pointed out that my sidestand was dangling. 1 x side stand spring kaput - side stand cable tied out of the way, and centre stand used for the rest of the trip. A quick top up from Dwarsrivier's old timer petrol pump (pity I didn't take a photo) and it was onto Cederberg Oasis.





« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 02:22:34 pm by the_wes »
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 02:18:18 pm »
Cederberg Oasis is really a killer place. Gerrit is an awesome dude, their honesty system is great, and they even have WiFi (so I could let my better half know where I was, since there's no cell reception there). The facilities are great, the sirloin is delicious, the company is top notch and the scenery amazing. What better place to stay over? We set up camp, took a dip in the pool (water was perfect), bumped into some other riders, including Rov Rat and his family, and chatted lekker for hours.





There's that HP2 again. Oh mamma.



Unfortunately there wasn't really space for us in the camp site - Gerrit had a house for us (as Rall and his pregnant wife were originally going to join us by car) but the camp site was full - he squeezed us in off to the side next to a big mulberry tree. It turned out to be the perfect space to sleep under the stars. The mulberry tree provided plenty of shade, and I was woken by Antonie delivering a fresh plunger of coffee (rather than by the sun beating down on me).







Early morning house guests.





Pretty soon we were back on the road, digesting more awesome Cederberg scenery.







Sadly this was Antonie's only stopover as he had to head back to Cape Town. After accidentally missing the turn off to Katbakkies pass and the R355, we ended up at Op Die Berg again, where I turned around and he split...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 09:29:13 am by the_wes »
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2012, 02:37:24 pm »
And so there I was, on my way to crossing Katbakkies and Skittery Passes for the first time. The solitude came as a bit of a shock after riding with a mate for a day and a bit, but I soon settled into a nice rythm.







Many people had told me I HAD to stop at Tankwa Padstal. They were right. Even though I was in the mood for some chow (and they only serve meals on Sundays), I nevertheless enjoyed an ice cold (and delicious) home made ginger beer, some shade, and some lekker geselskap. And of course, more directions :)









I originally wanted to head over Gannaga Pass to Middelpos, but I decided to skip that leg and go over Ouberg Pass to Sutherland instead. It was hot and dusty, and I wasn't 100% sure I'd make Middelpos on the fuel I had. Well, I probably would have, but like I said, it was hot an dusty. Sutherland was already going to be a stretch...





 

Online woody1

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 02:53:10 pm »
Nice one..  :ricky:

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Ducati 100cc Mountaineer, Honda 550 K3, Suzuki Gs1000E, Suzuki Gs1000G, Suzuki 1100 Katana, BMW R1100RT, BMW R1150RT,,,,,All gone. Only 2014 ST in the garage at the moment... And Honda XL 600
 

Offline Flatout

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2012, 08:39:26 pm »
The_wes can't wait for the rest. Hope there's action photos of you and your bike. Would like to see and hear it on the gravel  :3some:
 

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 11:07:37 pm »
 :thumleft:

the_wes, don't worry about coveting that hp2, your kawa is sublime!!

enjoy
 

Offline Inprogress

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2012, 11:20:46 pm »
I was staring a long time at the one pic of the HP2 and the W650 looking at each other. I must say, I will not be able to choose if I had to. I've wanted the HP2 for a long time, and the W650 ticks all the boxes for sukkel-free vintage biking.  :-\
If an idle mind is the devil's workshop, then a busy mind is God's canvas

 

Offline Rynet

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2012, 11:27:15 pm »
Very nice young man . :thumleft:
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2012, 10:07:44 pm »
Thanks guys :) I'll post more after boxing day - Merry Christmas to all  :thumleft:
 

Offline Cheetah

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2012, 10:46:11 pm »
Great stuff  :thumleft:
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Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2012, 12:33:13 pm »
As I mentioned before, the suspension on the Kawa isn't exactly great. To quote a friend of mine (after he rode it): "I've figured out what's wrong with your suspension - there isn't any!"  :deal:

The lack of compliance meant that parts of my ride were pretty bumpy. It also meant that hitting ruts or rocks was a pretty harsh feeling. Somewhere between Tankwa Padstal and Ouberg Pass I hit one such rut. Suddenly I heard a rattle and a growl coming from the right of the bike.



Fantastic. I had no choice but to push on - I wouldn't have enough fuel to head back without going all the way to Ceres, and, since the header and can were each secured individually, all I had to contend with was the rattling and the right hand side of my bike sounding like a Harley.

Ouberg pass was hard work, but as expected the scenery from the top was more than enough reward. It was loose, rocky and steep going up, but, other than the rattle, noise and occasional lack of traction, the W650 didn't complain much. I was amazed at how I was climbing tight, steep and loose corners on my "road bike" better than I had on my Dakar all those years back. What a long way I've come  :imaposer:







Endless Northern Cape landscape, with big skies thrown in for good measure. One feels a profound sense of isolation and loneliness riding these roads. I stand in awe of God's creation:

« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 12:35:25 pm by the_wes »
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2012, 03:12:10 pm »
Fantastic. And great seeing something else bike wise on a RR. 8)
 

Offline DikZol

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2012, 03:28:17 pm »
I admire you for taking on those roads with virtually no rear suspension.  Doen jy darem so af en toe die Gansdans?

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2012, 09:06:39 pm »
I'm not familiar with Die Gansdans, you'll have to elaborate  :deal:

Turns out my bike took more of a hammering than I initially thought... not only did I crack the right exhaust weld right through, but the left has developed a smaller crack, I had to re-rivet the little strut at the front of my seat and on top of everything else I just discovered my under seat battery / electronics tray has cracked right through!
 

Offline Difflock

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2012, 09:35:46 pm »
Mooi kiekies chaps. :thumleft:
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2) R1150GS Adventure 2003
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Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 12:35:15 am »
I eventually arrived in Sutherland - which was much smaller and quieter than I'd expected. I'd never been there before and didn't really know what to expect to be honest. The petrol pumps are conveniently located next to the local workshop. The workshop owner wasn't particularly friendly, but, after I made a quick trip to the co-op (less than a hundred metres down the road) to get some stainless steel welding rods, he agreed to let his guys take a crack at repairing my exhaust (even though they'd never welded stainless steel). I told them cosmetics weren't important and they set to work.



When they asked me where the battery was I explained to them that it was under the seat (which meant unpacking everything). Needless to say we never disconnected it, and it's not quite as strong as it used to be. They also took the "cosmetics weren't important" bit to heart. Still, it worked (although by the end of the trip I had holes all around the weld).



I decided to keep pressing on. Merweville via Rammelkop pass was the original plan, but no-one that I spoke to in Sutherland knew about Rammelkop pass, and I wasn't sure which direction I should have headed out in. Guess I should have printed some maps before I left :) I set off in the direction of Matjiesfontein - along the way I saw a turn off to Merweville (via another pass), I turned off but soon decided against it and got back onto the tar road.



I hadn't made a lunch stop yet and was a tad hungry, so I pulled off and dug into some tinned mussels...



Once in Laingsburg I asked the petrol attendant which road to take to get onto Seweweekspoort. I headed out of town and, when I saw a turn off labelled "Ladismith", headed onto a stunning gravel road. Something didn't feel right though, and a quick check on my phone's map confirmed that this road would take me straight to Ladismith, and not via Seweweekspoort.



Once I was back on the right road, I started looking out for a place to camp. It was already pushing 6 / 7 o'clock...
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 04:52:16 pm by the_wes »
 

Offline DikZol

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 09:25:50 am »
I'm not familiar with Die Gansdans, you'll have to elaborate  :deal:

Turns out my bike took more of a hammering than I initially thought... not only did I crack the right exhaust weld right through, but the left has developed a smaller crack, I had to re-rivet the little strut at the front of my seat and on top of everything else I just discovered my under seat battery / electronics tray has cracked right through!

Die Gansdans is when your bike tries to throw you like a bull and you try your best to stay on!  Something like a severe speedwobble that gets amplified intp a proper side to side tankslapper thing (nearly high siding and constantly recovering on both sides) with you having to stand up, look up and throttle it out...hoping for the best.  When looking at someone else performing this you see his @ss shifting to the rear with knees bent looking like a goose walking.  Hope you get the picture.  Clearly not a problem for you!!

There is also the Goose Air move which is more regularly performed on plastic bikes when ramping over ruff stuff and loosing footing on both pegs, seat hitting @ss and sends you low flying above the bike whilst still holding on.  Does this only happen to me?????

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2012, 10:24:56 pm »
Die Gansdans is when your bike tries to throw you like a bull and you try your best to stay on!  Something like a severe speedwobble that gets amplified intp a proper side to side tankslapper thing (nearly high siding and constantly recovering on both sides) with you having to stand up, look up and throttle it out...hoping for the best.  When looking at someone else performing this you see his @ss shifting to the rear with knees bent looking like a goose walking.  Hope you get the picture. 

thankfully I didn't do that  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: