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Offline Wayne Duck

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A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« on: February 12, 2013, 07:04:58 pm »
Gravel roads across big sky country, a little rain, a dollop of mud, many tight twisties and clear, fresh high altitude air...a recipe for a great trip!
Oh yes, and very importantly, a magnificent motorbike on which to ride   :ricky:

This trip was conceived when my fiance's dad suggested we all celebrate his 60th birthday at De Vlug (on some maps it is spelt De Vlught) on the Prince Alfred Pass between Uniondale and Knysna. There was no way that I was going to do another mind numbing trip there in a car (was there briefly over Xmas) so I promptly opened up MapSource and started planning a route.

Day One
Leave was tight so Ronelle and I decided to save two days (rtn trip) by getting up at 4am and towing the bike to Thaba Nchu (from Jhb) where we would continue on the bike to Venterstad, our first overnight. That would make it 460 something in the car and 244 km on the bike for day one. After parking the car and trailer safely at Naledi Sun Casino (in Thaba Nchu town) we set off straight onto gravel roads, great to be out of the car and on the bike!

Very soon we were confronted with a huge thunderstorm moving across our path in front of us...interesting!





Reaching the edge of the storm we stopped and waited for it to pass in front of us. It was a magnificent show! Lightning and thunder all around and over us as we stood there watching it move across from right to left (west to east). It really made us feel so small out there on the Free State "vlakte"!

After about 15 minutes it had moved off to our left and we continued on our way.



Obviously the storm had dropped a few million liters of water across these "vlaktes" so the roads and tracks had became little streams in places and rather muddy. The bike soon started to look like the veteran tourer it is...a bit of "houding".

We stopped at Buckley's in Smithfield for lunch (nice place) and in Bethulie to refuel, reaching Hotel Wild in Venterstad at about 5pm.
(Day two to follow...)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 07:45:02 pm by Wayne Duck »
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
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Offline AndriesGS

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 07:32:48 pm »
 :sip:
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 07:39:20 pm »
Day Two
My day started off on a rather low note - I dropped my new Nokia Lumia (from the seat of the bike) and the screen shattered, so much for the "gorilla glass" bla bla sales crap! Quote to fit new glass is R1500  :eek7:  Note to self: leave the fancy goeters at home and take the old dependable.

Distance for today was to be 403 km so we set off early. I must apologise now for the lack of photos, my fiance normally snaps away like crazy but for some reason on this trip not so much snapping was done!
I wanted to go over Bulhoek Pass in the Steynsburg region but we were confronted by a locked gate  :(  and had to go via Steynsburg to get back on my planned route (I'll post the route at the end).



Yesterday's rain had covered most of the region so there was water everywhere.







Just after this stop we came across a huge Kudu bull in the road...just glad it jumped away and not at us!



We came across two of these old chaps on this trip...Ronelle was distraught after discovering how many massive ticks this poor chap had on it's legs and neck!



Some weird rock formations near Steytlerville (formed when this area was still a sea I'm told!)
We stopped off at the Karoo Hotel, or now known as the Karoo Theatrical Hotel just outside Steytlerville for a look-see and a cold one...built 70 years ago!



...and then continued into town to the Royal Hotel for swim and very pleasant evening.


(Day three to follow...)
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline Sidpitt

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 07:56:03 pm »
Sub
Looks like a great trip (and lekka RR)
If you dont like something, change it!
If you cant, change your attitude.
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Offline JMOL

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 08:10:08 pm »
 :sip:   :thumleft:
Life is hard - even harder if you are stupid.
 

Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 08:21:47 pm »
Day Three
Today was a short hop of 187 km to join the folks celebrating a 60th birthday at De Vlug. From Steytlerville we cut down past the western entrance to Baviaanskloof, on to Uniondale for breakfast and then down the Prince Alfred Pass and to De Vlug.

That night, after a sheep on the spit, a few speeches and a few more beverages I slept very well...we had to be up early to tackle day four!

Day Four
The plan for today was to enter Baviaanskloof from the western side and sleep over somewhere in the (eastern side of the) kloof. We left De Vlug at about 7.30am and had breakfast in Uniondale.





From Uniondale we backtracked on yesterday's route to the western entrance of Baviaanskloof...being careful of the early morning traffic!  :)



Down the kloof road until the entrance gate, paid our R20 per person and entered the "die kloof" proper. A few of the river crossings were about my knee height (550 mm) but most were shallow. Some of the river bed (rocky) crossings were a bit slimy but we were able to ride through all without Ronelle having to get off her comfy pillion perch!
We did take time out to enjoy the scenery and have a rest or two!





...and then suddenly, we were at the exit gate of the kloof! I was expecting this part of the trip to take much longer. Ah well, we pushed on to Patensie and were sitting having lunch at Padlangs by 1pm.



So, where to stay the night? I looked at my planned route on the GPS and gave Casting From Turd (John) a ring. He had a room for us at his Orange Elephant Backpackers just outside Addo, so off we went. Total distance for the day was 370 km.
(day five to follow)
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 09:35:35 pm »
Day five

Due to yesterday's oversight at how long it would take us to ride through Baviaanskloof, and then continuing all the way to Addo, we only had 137 km to do today as I had booked accommodation in Bedford. This allowed us to have a nice sleep in and a leisurely breakfast at the Orange Elephant. After packing up we left at about 10.30am.

Today's route took us up and over Zuurberg (Suurberg) Pass (the R335). The pass is the usual gravel and tight twisties until the Zuurberg Mountain resort (where we had tea and scones!) but from there until Ann's Villa (a little museum and B&B) it was mostly a twin track. The condition was not bad, but it has lots of sharp slate type rocks and stones for much of the way. I was worried about puncturing my rear Heidi K60, which was pretty knackered after serving me for the last 11000 kms! Luckily all went well and we arrived in Bedford at about 4pm.

Along the way we crossed (what I think was) the Groot Vis rivier?



Day six

It rained all night in Bedford, and had not stopped by the time we were ready to leave. So, on with the rain suits and off we went.
Today was 380 km. We took the Baviaans Valley road outside of Bedford (see route file at end) making our way to Tarkastad and then Sterkstoom. The rain cleared somewhat (passed through a few showers now and then) but remained heavily overcast until after Dordrecht.

After Dordrecht we zig zagged over some great gravel and twin spoor tracks to the R58 near Lady Grey. We turned right on the R58 to get to the start of the (Eastern side of) Joubert's pass and then west over Joubert's pass and into Lady Grey for the night. This pass is not difficult but it is one of the most scenic of the many I have ridden in my 32 years of exploring on motorbikes! It lifts you up to just on 3000 meters above sea level, magnificent.

The small heard of Alpaca's at the B&B we stayed at were unusual to say the least...looking like giant poodles just after their soft fur (wool?) had been clipped!

The next morning was back to the car and trailer at Thaba Nchu. This was 236 kms away, some tar but also some fast gravel highway  :)
We loaded the bike and left for Jhb.

All in all a super trip, no hiccups (besides smashing my phone!). Total GPS distance was 1997.7 km. Total time in the saddle (moving time) 28 hours 20 minutes. (the stopped time and total time are irrelevant due to me not always keeping the GPS switched on when stopped, etc.)



Fuel cost +- R1380 with an average fuel consumption of 5.95 liters per 100km.

Route attached (I hope!) Enjoy  :)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 09:48:30 pm by Wayne Duck »
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=121459.0

 

Offline XXL

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 02:56:31 pm »
Very nice indeed. Thanks for sharing!
 

Offline Hentie @ Riders

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 03:13:38 pm »
Nice rr  :thumleft:

Offline Brandt

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2013, 03:27:40 pm »
Lekker trippie, dankie vir die mooi foto's  :thumleft:
 

Offline DRAZIL

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2013, 04:23:53 pm »
great breakaway you had  :thumleft:
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 05:26:49 pm »
Thanks for the positive comments  :)
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:
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Offline ShaunF

Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 11:37:28 pm »
thx
 

Offline jimjim

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2013, 09:52:45 am »
Lekker! Those first two pics with the rain in the distance are gems  :thumleft:
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Online Casting from Turd

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2013, 09:57:25 am »
Nice one Wayne. Good to meet you here at the Orange Elephant  :snorting:
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Offline Difflock

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2013, 09:53:56 pm »
Lekker saam gery  :thumleft:
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2) R1150GS Adventure 2003
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Offline Kerritz

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 06:15:49 pm »
Dankie vir die deel.....goeie werk. Oos Kaap en Vrystaat ook van my favourites. Lekker paaie.....lekker storie en pics...en nog lekkerder bike!  :thumleft:
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Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 06:23:24 pm »
Dankie Carrots!
Links to my Ride Reports...
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Online Casting from Turd

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 07:13:54 pm »
Dankie vir die deel.....goeie werk. Oos Kaap en Vrystaat ook van my favourites. Lekker paaie.....lekker storie en pics...en nog lekkerder bike!  :thumleft:

Niknak, So when you coming down??
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Offline Kerritz

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Re: A bit of the Free State and Eastern Cape
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 07:16:16 pm »
Dankie vir die deel.....goeie werk. Oos Kaap en Vrystaat ook van my favourites. Lekker paaie.....lekker storie en pics...en nog lekkerder bike!  :thumleft:

Niknak, So when you coming down??

 :thefinger:....the day you can start taking proper pictures of the so called hotties that frequent your very fine establishment...you might just have my undivided attention.....Sir Drol!!  :ricky:
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