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Author Topic: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650  (Read 5215 times)

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Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2012, 10:40:35 pm »
The plan was to find a place to camp, but since it was getting late I was happy to stop anywhere. At about 7pm I happened upon a guest farm called "Middelplaas", owned and run by Bertha and De Vos Nel. They only had self-catering accommodation, but were able to offer me a bed in the flat on their stoep for a reasonable R180, plus another R50 for 2 moerse karoo lamb chops and a piece of wors. Bertha also made me 2 cheese, tomato, onion and chutney braai broodtjies, while De Vos helped me get a fire going. As we waited for the fire to turn to coals we chatted about anything and everything.





The door in the middle of the photo is the flat I stayed over in.



The only "people" friendlier than my hosts were their dogs. This poor chap got his foot caught up in a barbed wire fence, then chewed his bandage off along with his mangled toe.



This little one will hug and nuzzle you to death, if given half a chance.



While prepping to leave the next morning, a buckle on my saddlebags came off. Since the stitching was dodgy to begin with (and I should have had it repaired before leaving) I had packed a spare bungee, just in case.



Smart phones are dumb when it comes to battery life. My solution was a universal car charger in a cigarette lighter socket that Dux wired in for me.



After thanking my hosts I had a quick chat with their son, De Vos Jnr. He rides an Africa Twin, and obviously knows the area quite well. I told him of my intentions to travel via Seweweekspoort and down to the R62, and asked him if there was a way I could avoid the R62 and travel via gravel instead. He told me that once I get into Ladismith I must turn right at the church, then left at the Standard Bank. Somewhere on that road would be a sign board marked as "Montagu" (maybe) where I should turn left. Sounded good to me, so I headed off to experience Seweweekspoort for the first time.
 

Offline RobC

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2013, 02:57:19 pm »
Looks like you had a lot of fun! :thumleft:
 

Offline Motties

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2013, 03:04:54 pm »
Great photography! Some very beautiful pics there.
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Offline Lourens ツ

Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2013, 03:46:39 pm »
Nice to see a "different" bike on a RR. Well done!  :thumleft:
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Offline Rough Rider

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2013, 03:51:30 pm »
I am enjoying this RR  :thumleft:
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Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2013, 09:10:43 am »
Thanks guys  :thumleft:
 

Offline superten

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2013, 09:26:21 am »
Thanks Wes! Please continue.
It is time.
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2013, 09:27:57 am »
Not 10 minutes after leaving Middelplaas, I found myself stopping to take photos again. The scenery in this part of the world is breathtaking - if you haven't ridden out this way yet I suggest you add it to your list.





After a little while I arrived at the start of Seweweekspoort, and the turn off to Gamkapoort Dam. Since I was in no rush, I decided to take a ride down to the dam (for exploration purposes). The dam itself is nothing to write home about, but the road in and out was pretty interesting.





I nearly dropped the bike while opening and closing gates - that's what happens when you're too lazy to dismount  :imaposer:





Once I was back from my detour, I decided to dump the fuel I'd been carrying in the jerry can into the tank (so as to carry less weight on the back). As it turned out I never needed the extra fuel, and only went to reserve once (on the way to Sutherland). Had I gone via Middelpos the previous day I might have needed the extra 5l.



The roads were dry and dusty out here:



Once that was out the way, I headed into Seweweekspoort for the first time. It took me quite a while to pass through, partly because I was taking it easy and partly because I kept stopping for photos. If you've never been through Seweweekspoort, I suggest you stop reading immediately and hop on your bike. It's a very easy, winding pass with positively breathtaking views.











Seweweekspoort spat me out onto the R62, and on to Ladismith for a quick refuel. I headed out of town following De Vos Jnr's directions - right at the church, left at the Standard Bank - and before I knew it I found myself on a quiet country road, heading for Montagu.

 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2013, 09:31:25 am »
7weeks poort is awesome 8)
 

Offline Frannarossi

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2013, 09:58:58 am »
Nice report so far :thumleft: Gooi die res!
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Offline Gat Slag

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2013, 10:21:10 am »
baie naais  :thumleft:
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2013, 11:42:45 am »
The quiet country road soon turned to a gravel road, and I once again found myself in the middle of nowhere, albeit with the occasional farm. I followed a sign board directing me left towards Montagu, chuffed with myself that I'd managed to find an alternate route that didn't involve any tar.

Eventually I came across another intersection - left towards Barrydale, or right towards Montagu. As much as I was enjoying the solitude Barrydale seemed closer, and the prospect of a cold beer and big lunch sooner rather than later was appealing, so I turned off. Not long after I came across a security checkpoint - the guard advised me that Barrydale was about 40km on, but Montagu was closer. I turned around.





40km came and went. The dude was misinformed - either Barrydale was closer, or his 40km estimate was off. It was dry, dusty and hot. Incredibly hot. Enough to make me gatvol.



Since I skipped most of R62, I would miss the obligatory Ronnie's Sex Shop photo. Oom Jan's would have to do.



As gatvol as I was, I still enjoyed some last bits of wide open scenery.



Roughly 70km later I had crossed another Ouberg Pass, met a dude with a broken bicycle on his way to Barrydale (to which I gave all the camping food I hadn't used), and arrived in Montagu. Hungry and thirsty I pulled into the first establishment I found and swallowed their last bottle of Windhoek Draught like it was Oros. The Draught was followed by one of the most epic chicken pies I've ever had, a coke, and lots of water. I had a chat to a chap on a 1200 Bandit on his way home (upcountry). In between everything an invisible parrot kept saying "hello". I checked the parrot cage, but it was empty. Apparently it was cooler up high in the shade.



Soon I was back on the bike, refuelling, and on my way to Robertson. Despite the fact that Roberston is only 25km from Montagu I stopped at the Dros for more beer and more water (a lot of which found its way into my empty hydration pack, along with some ice). I met another Capetonian on a XR650L on his way home - he wisely asked the Dros' gardener for the hose pipe and promptly drenched his head and tshirt. I took the opportunity to soak my cotton scarf, twice.

I had a route in mind for the last leg of my journey since before I even left home - to leave Robertson via the McGregor turn off, and go via Villiersdorp and Franschoek. It was the longer option and the heat was unbearable, but I stuck to my guns for the sake of the scenery, and the opportunity to avoid the N1. I couldn't remember 1 or 2 of the roads to turn off into, but slowing down alongside a tractor and asking the driver for directions, and pulling in at a little collection of houses on the side of the road, did the trick. Soon I found myself in the welcome shade of Franschoek Pass, and not long after that at my parents' house (where my family, and a pool, were waiting).



We had done it. My beloved W650 and I had taken to the road. 1325km over 3 days. All the boxes ticked - take the W650 on a tour, stay off the beaten track, sleep under the stars, ride with friends, meet people, chill, get lost and explore. I was so proud of my little bike - of all the bikes I've owned, this is the one I hope I never sell. She took a beating - just this week I started stripping her and the damage is extensive. Not only did my exhaust crack and my side stand spring give in, but it turns out the other exhaust had developed a crack as well, and the battery / electronics tray had not only cracked, but had been riding on the back wheel for who knows how long. It, and the battery, had been chewed right through, and battery acid had spilled onto the swingarm. I've been stripping parts off and will soon have to go about removing corrosion, fabricating a battery box, getting powder coating and welding done and a host of other things.

But I'm excited. I know when I'm done she'll be stronger, and ready to take on more trips like this.



Thanks for listening. Now go ride.


 

Offline RobC

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2013, 11:59:17 am »
Lekker and epic... bike is going to be better after you fix it. :thumleft:
 

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2013, 01:35:27 pm »
Great report.
Sounds like my kind of trip.

Thanks for writing it.
A pic of your route would be nice.
 

Offline Rodlau

Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2013, 03:45:21 pm »
Nice report and great photos.  You Mountain Goat people sure have a great area to ride at your back door.  Glad you making the most of it.  Good luck with the clean up of the bike.
 

Offline Frannarossi

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2013, 05:01:53 pm »
Great RR.Thanks for sharing :thumleft:
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Offline Tommy Transalp

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2013, 05:43:34 pm »
Nice RR!.... good to see that "non-DS" bikes can also do gravel roads... Things like Royal Enfields and Triumphs should be quite happy on the roads you travelled as well  :thumleft:
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Offline Bring It On

Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2013, 12:21:50 am »
Wes,....that really was a super RR of a really Gr8 trip :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: Thanks so much for taking the time to share the story & your awesome photos with us all :thumleft:
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Offline the_wes

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2013, 12:51:38 am »
Thanks for the kind words guys  :thumleft: If there's one thing this trip taught me, it's that you don't need a fancy bike and fancy kit to go on an adventure. Just hop on your bike and ride. I love my bike so much thanks to this trip, in fact it was awesome riding it. It also taught me to take it easy when using a bike that some may consider the wrong tool for the job (not me) - there's a lot of fixing to be done now  :imaposer:

Here's a rough outline of my route, minus detours ;)
 

Offline BradT

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Re: 3 days, 2 provinces, 1325km & 1 W650
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2013, 03:48:57 pm »
Wow!  Stunning report, and amazing pics.  As per the other comments, nice to see a non-DS bike doing this type of ride.  Big up to you for riding so far on gravel... :ricky:  :laughing4:
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