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Author Topic: Barberton - Cape Town and the wrong way home, my Epic Solo ride (Finally done)  (Read 7454 times)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Firstly, thank you to all of those who made this trip possible.   :deal: My official sponsors: Tytan Solar & LED Warehouse (Jozi), Friendly Supermarket/Amazing Water (Barberton), Rissington Inn (Hazyview), Total Signs (Nelspruit, thanks for making the stickers), Annatjie of Perfect Nails (Great job, the paw prints held up the whole trip and it's still looking good, never mind that my doggie is missing a toe :imaposer:) .
And then of course all the family, friends and new friends who contributed in some way, you guys rock!  :thumleft:

For over 25 years I have wanted to see this city built around a flat hill that everyone makes such a big deal of!  But I'd pretty much given up on ever actually getting there.  Somehow there was either not enough cash, or not enough time, or some other disasters got in the way.  

So when my ex-Roomie, Wanita, sent me an invite to join her for her birthday at Kirstenbosch on Sun 3rd Feb, to watch Freshly Ground perform, I didn't have much hope of actually getting there, but just in case, I ticked the 'maybe' reply box.

Then I got the crazy idea to find sponsors and make it into a Epic (for me anyway) solo bike trip.  I didn't think I would get any offers, but WOW, I cannot believe the response I got!  The first one to offer a tank of fuel was my ex-mother-in-law (seriously!!! She likes me)  :lol8:... and it all kinda came together from there.  I only had a few weeks to plan, get my household sorted, service the Africa Twin and determine a sort of a route.  I also had a time constraint, as I had to be back by Fri 15th Feb, as my daughter was moving back to Jo'burg the following day  :'( .  

Now as some of you know, I don't do the GPS thing, so I got out the maps, logged onto Google Earth and started researching possibilities.  I didn't really want to do gravel as I was alone with a fully loaded 'Broom', so initially I looked mainly at tar roads.  But that changed a bit when I discovered that the road from Ladybrand to Bethulie is not tarred and neither is the (northern) road to Nieu Bethesda... no matter, I guessed I could manage a bit of gravel without incidents.

The last few days before my impending departure, I was sooooo nervous as hell, but also really excited.  I actually couldn't believe I was doing this!  It was almost surreal.  
But on the morning of Tuesday the 29th January 2013, I was no longer nervous, just keen to get going.  I hugged my daughter, Natascha, good-bye and promised her I would not ride like a maniac, I would take all due care to come back in one piece.  
Tascha took this pic of me and my fully loaded Broom, ready for action and hoping we could both make it at our old ages.  :lol8:

And so my adventure began and what a perfect day it was:    :3some:




« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 02:24:07 am by Chrissie B »
Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 04:38:05 pm »
 :happy1:
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Offline Crab

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 04:47:51 pm »
looking forward to this one.
Look for a shooting star and see Lynda's trail and remember all the great places you shared with her,she will never forget what she shared with you and will show you that in every starry night .
 

Offline madmike999

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 05:03:16 pm »
nice clean bike....
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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 05:09:42 pm »
This was more or less the route I planned, but I did deviate from the initial route just a little bit now and then... as one does when you have no one to report to!  :lol8:




Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 05:10:42 pm »
nice clean bike....


Not for long.... and she's still filthy, poor Broom.
Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 05:30:35 pm »
The first part and first night's stop overs were very much familiar territory, I had done that trip many times on the bike and in the 4x4 over the last few years.  The many Stop n Go's were rather annoying and took up some time, but I managed good speeds in-between.

Badplaas, Carolina, Hendrina, Bethal, Standerton, Vrede (so glad they finally finished the roadworks there!), Warden and finally my first overnight stop, my 'other' home town, Bethlehem.  (480km)

Thank you B3 (Brenda) for putting up with me, it was soooo good to see you again.   ;D
And as an added bonus, Baglady (aka Kevin) from GP, joined up with me in the holy town and we all had some drinks at O'Hagans and later a lekker dinner together at Nix Pub.   It was great to catch up on news and skinner  :biggrin:  And of course show Brenda my beautiful nails...  She introduced me to gel nails and I must admit, I'm hooked (Ja ja, it's a girl thing  ;) )

« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 06:13:40 pm by Chrissie B »
Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 06:08:21 pm »
Kevin was going to tag along with me to my first over night stop near Gariep Dam and then go off and do his own thing in the East, while I would head off to the West.  So we agreed on a time for the following morning, looking forward to a good day's ride, which would also include my first taste of gravel roads on this trip.  Kevin had a nice route planned, with some input from B3 who knows the area much better.  It was going to take us along the border of Lesotho, to eventually come out near Ladybrand and then onto the other gravel road to Smithfield.

But the weather did not play nice... when I woke up on Wed morning it was pissing down... ach no!!!   ::)  And I had decided in the end not to buy a rain suit, I hate wearing them and the colours they had at Pit Lane in Nelspruit would have really clashed with my colour scheme!  Besides, they were darn expensive too!

So eventually B3 had to go to work, so Kevin and I decided to sit and wait it out a bit at the Wimpy.  By the time we left there it was only drizzling, but we lost quite a bit of time.  So due to the time factor (I'm a bit slow on dirt) and the fact that we didn't know how muddy the road would be, we had to skip the first bit of fun.

So we rode tar from Bethlehem, past Fouriesburg & Ficksburg, to finally arrive in Ladybrand.  We managed to dodge the rain all the way, it was really funny!  We kept thinking we'd get wet, but we were so lucky, either it had just rained and the road was wet in front of us, or it was following us, or it thundered in the distance, so we stayed dry all the way.  
While we were having brunch in Ladybrand it looked like we were in for a big thunder storm, but in the end we managed to escape that one too!  :laughing4:

After Ladybrand we cruised on to Hobhouse and then turned towards the west to Wepener, which is where the gravel road to Smithfield started.  By this time the weather had become just perfect and the rain no longer followed us around!   :biggrin:

I started off very carefully when I got onto the dirt, as it had just been freshly graded and was rather soft!  But soon we passed the grader and were back on more solid ground.  Around then I got a bit more daring and eventually found myself cruising at 120kph.... until a big gust of wind decided to almost shift me off the road!  The wind had been rather hectic and I was really fighting to keep my Twin running straight.  I got a big fright and decided to slow down a bit!  

This is also the first time I have traveled with side luggage, since I only had the racks and bags fitted by DPA (Michael Steyn), in December.  But all in all I was quite happy, I often forgot they were there.  Not sure if the bags had any negative effect in the wind... I think either way I would have battled.

And thank you Kevin for waiting patiently for me at the end of the dirt.  :thumleft:






« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 06:14:37 pm by Chrissie B »
Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 06:17:14 pm »
Pics
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Offline woody1

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 06:31:48 pm »
Lekker om te lees... ek ry saam... gooi nog

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


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Offline Kevin_ZA

Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 06:39:54 pm »
Great RR Chrissie...gooi nog!!!
Everyone knows the saying " a day without wine is like a day without sunshine"  Truely applicable but as important - a day without my bike is like a day without sunshine !!!
 

Offline Heimer

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 07:22:26 pm »
Ek en my popcorn het meer geduld as ek alleen.

En ek het nie popcorn nie. Laai suster, laai.  :biggrin:

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 08:18:43 pm »
I must admit that I am rather fond of the Eastern Freestate, but the Karoo, now the Karoo does it for me somehow.  It is just so inexplicably beautiful in a rugged sort of way.  The Klein Karoo is also one of my favourites and soon I was on my way there.  But first things first…

Just outside Bethulie I decided to take a ride into town to see if I could find us a nice pub to have some well-deserved refreshments.  I did see a sign on the way in, but we rode around a bit and didn’t see anything.  So finally Kevin decided to ask for directions… wow, I was impressed, a man that asks for directions!  We found Da Wilda’s Pub & Grill, where we enjoyed some cold ones.  I rather like going to these little backwater kinda Pubs, makes me curious what goes on there and one gets to chat to some really odd folk.   :biggrin:

It was in Bethulie where I started taking photos of Churches; and I continued this trend throughout my trip, although admittedly, sometimes I forgot…  ???
Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 08:22:33 pm »
More pics.... sorry guys, it is taking a while to write the RR and to re-size and sort all the pics!  On top of it, after this point I also used my camera and not just my phone to take pics.... so gonna be a while before this report is finished!    ::)  Sawwy...
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Offline buzzlightyear

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 09:59:54 pm »
 8)
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
 

Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 12:05:47 am »

Soon we were on our way again, to just outside Venterstad, where I had booked our accommodation for the night.  I googled a few places around there, but Morning Glory ( :imaposer: yeah, I know what some of you are thinking :P) kinda caught my eye and upon a closer inspection it turned out to be a B&B on a race horse stud farm.  Well, I thought that was just perfect since horses are the other love of my life, even though they sometimes end up breaking my bones!  I was still wearing my wrist guard from the fall I had off a bucking young Arab gelding a year ago!

When we arrived at Morning Glory it was just perfect!  Maggie took really good care of us and the family chalet she put us in was perfect.  I took the room with the double bed, hehehe… Kevin had to contend with the ‘kids room’. 

After off loading the bikes, Kevin went for a swim while I wandered around a bit.  Then we consulted the map & his GPS and decided on the route for the next day, which would take us to Steynsburg, via another stretch of gravel.

We decided to pay the horses a visit before dinner and encountered a baby goat, some sheep, 2 cute friendly Springbokkies and other animals milling around.  Man, I could easily live in a place like that!

Distance from Bethlehem to Venterstad (Morning Glory) – 455km
Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 12:10:25 am »
And some more pics of 'Morning Glory' and it's friendly residents.  ;D

Sadly I got no pics of the Springbokkies... I think my phone went 'pap'!


Chrissie B. (Just Heksie)

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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 12:12:58 am »
Dinner was mind boggling, such a pity I didn’t take a pic before we dished up! 
Maggie brought us enough food to feed a family!  Karoo lamb, a range of veggies, fritters, home made chicken pies, freshly baked bread, a big bowl of salad and Malva Pudding for dessert… we looked at this and decided there is no way in hell we would ever finish all this… but it was absolutely delicious!!  And no, we didn’t manage to eat it all! 
We tried to eat the Malva Pudding a little later, but it was just too much and too sweet.  So we had an early night and looked forward to another day of good riding the following day.

I would recommend this place any day!  The rate was R440pp (single rates) and this included dinner, bed and breakfast.  I was even thinking of having my 50th birthday bash there next year!  I think that would be rather cool!  But I’m getting ahead of myself, first I have to turn 49 later this year, lol…
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Offline Chrissie B

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 12:20:35 am »
The following morning our breakfast was ready, but once again it was hopelessly too much and I just couldn’t face all that food so early in the morning.
So Kevin and I set out on the last leg of riding together, after this it was just going to be me and my Broom again.  Kevin had programmed the GPS to find the gravel road…. But when we got there we found a locked gate!  Something to do with Eskom… oh bugger!!! 

Ah well, that left us no choice but to take the tar all the way to Steynsburg, where we parted company.  I went to Middelburg (EC) and Kevin headed east.  It was great riding with you, thanks for your patience, you are a good companion and a perfect gentleman (Mandy is a lucky lady).

At this point I must just add… I was thoroughly enjoying the first couple of days of my adventure… up until now I was still in more or less familiar territory, but that was about to change!  Now I was well and truly on my own… the butterflies did a few somersaults, but soon calmed down and my Africa Twin and I thundered along towards Middelburg (EC), where I would have to stop for fuel. 
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Offline Bosparra

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Re: Barberton - Cape Town and return, my Epic Solo ride
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 09:05:49 am »
Lekker RR so far... :thumleft:
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