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Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #80 on: April 17, 2013, 11:44:09 am »
When you camp, its awake at first light and up, but I don't mind the early morning. It would become our pattern in the years to follow. I hate waisting sunlight when on a trip.

There's no rush. I've planned an easy distance day's riding, as I've done with the whole trip, because I don't want to put pressure on myself with little DS experience. I ensured I had the time to enjoy every bit of the route.

Today would be Prins Alfred Pass, Uniondale, Kammanasie Road, Deyselsdorp, Perdepoort, Harold, Quteniqua Pass, The Forest Road, and around the Lakes to Sedgefield to my cousin, Annelie, for a monster New Years Eve perty.

I time my departure, (after the requisite amount of copious cups of coffee  :imaposer: ) to be in Uniondale for brekfis. I love riding passes and in the mountains early morning and late afternoons. There's something about the quiet, hazyness of the day that makes it special.

Cruising up Prins Alfred pass is always spectacular. I look back often, as that is where the foto is. I know the road well, having done the Karroo to Coast MTB race a few times, but never tire of it. All to soon I'm at the top, invigorated by the ride and hungry, so I hoink it to Uniondale.

...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

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Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #81 on: April 17, 2013, 12:31:07 pm »
I fokus on doing the things that give me joy, the rest I avoid. Not always easy, as life tends to interfere. I then deal with, and get on with it, which would mean getting on my bike to go ride. Thus I take great pleasure in the things I do, no matter how simple it may seem.

Its my first time to ride the Kammanasie road and I enjoy the twisties through the poort along the river. Quite uncanny how it appears the the river flows uphill. Ever noticed it ?

When I get to the fourway cross at Buffelsdrif I stop for a smoke break. I ponder a bit... which way ? The planned route is straight ahead, but it looks just that... straight. To the right it turns to Buffelsdrif and heads towards the mountains. I wonder where the road goes, and that is always a (intensional ?) mistake I make, because if I wonder, I want to know.

I turn in to the farm and sitting against the wall of a skuur in the sun I find some farmworkers. I stop to chat about the road. I'm told there's a mountain pass that goes to De Rust. Sounds good. I ask if it is used and whether bikers have gone through. Yes they assure me, the road's good and gets used all the time.

1. I realised afterwards we may not have been talking about the same road.

2. After this day I will never again believe a farmworker if he tells me a road is good. See, they either walk or ride their bicycles. If there's some difficult parts, they pick the bike up and carry it. Therefor, to them, the road is always good, because it is passable.

There's a couple of Ou Baarde, I'm on a big bike and none of them say a word about me not being able to get through.

I get on my bike and head for the mountains, with a happy song in my head. This was why I was doing IT, and since years ago wanted to get off tar roads.
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #82 on: April 17, 2013, 01:05:49 pm »
For those that are clever enough, and interested, Google this pass though the Kammansie Mountains Reserve, that starts at Buffelsdrif in the South and comes out at De Rust towards the North-East.

I leave the farm though a beautiful road that winds though a tree lined valley and then it starts climb... and climb. The going starts to get rough and tweespoor, but its OK. Normal DS riding, I would gather, and nothing to be perturbed about.

Up against the mountain I can see the road in parts winding its way... and it goes UP to where I can't see yet. it looks inpenetrable and you have to admire these early pass builders.

I get to a closed but unlocked gate. No-one told me about this. There's a board that says I will now enter the Kammanasie Reserve and some other stuff, but nothing about me not entering or no bikes allowed, or it being ill-advised.

Now the road gets a bit technical in places, 4 x 4 country, but low risk. Some way in I encounter two uniformed rangers and stop to chat. I tell them I'm taking the pass to De Rust. No sweat ! Bikes go through there all the time( but what bikes I should have asked ) They have no problem with me continuing, but warn about the guy who farms his cows up in the hill. I must please close the gates. Its furhter reassuring that there is some civilization up there.

The road continues up. At the first gate I stop and phone Lyn, telling her I've strayed off the path. "Yes (resignation in her voice) just be carefull."

Its a magnificent ride, with undescribable scenery. I stop often to admire and just drink it in. I'm now on a mountain pass proper, winding up and down and along the ridges, but all the time I keep going higher, with no indication as yet that I'm getting accross.

After some distance I get to a fork in the road, to the right  gnarly gravel that drops like an Otis lift into a fearsome looking gorge, and to the left, better looking, but also steep road dropping around te mountain to valleys below.

I never take long to make decisions... of course I'm going to take the road into the gorge. I can always come back if it becomes impassable.
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #83 on: April 17, 2013, 01:46:01 pm »
The consequences of that decision, that follwed in the next five to six hours, would change my perspective on life. Like they say in the classics... what does not kill you makes you stronger !

I've often wondered whether I should have regretted the decision, but I don't live like that, I get on with it. Ones mind is a lot stronger than you think and deals with trauma, as it did, if you allow it to.

The road down was BAD. Big fist size stones. The bike hardly had any traction and I was going dead slow in first. Its a sharp twisty road and I'm slip sliding all the way down. Back brakes are virtually ineffective and I feather the front brakes.

Its hard work, hot midmorning, and I'm drenched with perspiration. It feels like the drop just won't come to an end as I twist my way down, but was probably a lot shorter than what I perceived. I get to the bottom and there's a gate. It was a tiring descent, I stop and open it and as I get on the bike and take it off the stand I just fall over.

I leave the bike, get some shade and have a smoke. I've never had to pick up the bike when loaded. When I'm ready I do it alla the book, by the handle bars, and fark its a heavy, dead weight, but I get it up. Unlike a GS an AT lies flat on the ground so you can't get under it to use the seat method for a pick-up.

A short way further I get to the river and a Ma se donga, about 15 m accross and deep enough. There's about a four foot slope on each side with a vertical lip of about one foot. The river bed is big stones and it looks rough. No water to worry about.

I park the bike and ponder. Given time I can do this donga ( its grade five 4 x 4) but it would take some serious road building to get a bakkie through there. At Countrytrax we did the donga training, down the lip, but not up. There's no indication that any vehicle had been through here in recent years.

I want to ride this pass. Its turn back up this hill or get through the donga. I don't fear things, there's always a way out given enough time and effort. But I gave myself little chance of making it back up that hill, without the risk of serious injury. If it was straight yes, but with those twisties, and the speed I would need to keep momentum, forget it. And I had a Mitchelin Sirac on the back. I want to carry on... so the donga it would be.

 

« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 01:52:48 pm by jupiter »
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline Kerritz

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #84 on: April 17, 2013, 02:08:09 pm »
Jy hou my uit die werk uit man......OK OK...ek kla nie....wag in spanning!!  :thumleft:
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Offline Dirt Junkie

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #85 on: April 17, 2013, 02:16:48 pm »
don't stop now
Something to think about...
When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept your it. All else is madness.

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Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #86 on: April 17, 2013, 02:19:07 pm »
I was rested and ready for it. First I had to do some road building. The sand of the riverbanks was reasonably soft, so I kicked an entry and exit point with my boots to make it less of a lip. The riverbed was rough and I tried smoothing it a bit to lessen the risk of being thrown off track and missing the exit point, which was only about a foot wide.

We were only two students when I did my course, so the instructor could work a lot with each of us. I worked hard and had blood blisters on my hands at the end of the weekend. So I knew, and had practised all the rules... now was the first time to test it.

There was no room for error. I was utterly alone and no-one was expecting me on the other side. If I bombed it, it would be tickets. They would not even know where to begin looking for me. These thoughts were put aside. Focus and don't hesitate.

I lined up and sat there, the bike idling, and went through the process over and over in my head, untill I felt that old familiar thousand yard stare focussing. (I've done stupid stuff before... and absolute relish the rush)

Then it was a simple matter of doing it,... enter, quick check that I'm hitting the riverbed on the right spot, and then look up and focus on the exit. It was smooth as silk and the bike left out the other side.

The AT is a big bike, but that day I would get respect for its abilities.

The relief was immense, and the adreneline pumped so hard it made my ears sing. It could not get worse than that, and I was now convinced I could make it through. You need to have the confidence when you do stuff like this.

I parked the bike and rested. Lets not forget, I was there to enjoy it, and it was majestic in that kloof. The silence and shear magnitude of it made me sit in quiet wonder.

I had no idea how far to go or what lay ahead, and even tough I reckoned I had plenty of time, I had to get going.

I made a promise that one day I will return to hike that kloof.
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline dirtyXT

Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #87 on: April 17, 2013, 02:20:08 pm »
I'm loving your wild, dangerous and risky side Jupiter!!! bring it on, the suspense if thrilling... hope you will compliment this with pics soon so we can gauge the time period.
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Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #88 on: April 17, 2013, 02:33:39 pm »
I'm loving your wild, dangerous and risky side Jupiter!!! bring it on, the suspense if thrilling... hope you will compliment this with pics soon so we can gauge the time period.

On my trip with Carrots last year, when we took the GSA up Sani pass, was the last time I intensionally put myself at risk. I miss the rush, but caution comes with age. Enjoy it while you can... and your bones are still young enough to heal  :imaposer:

Like I said, I no longer have the pics of this trip. They were on a PC, before WD and RR days, which got lost in the Blue Nowhere when it was thrown away. I never really thought I would tell about this trip, and therefor did not pay attention to preserving them. Its a great pity, because there were a few awesome pics.
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline 10Klr

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #89 on: April 17, 2013, 02:35:58 pm »
Subscribed.  Thank you for sharing this with us.  Personal accounts are always best.  

As I'm getting married in ten days time, i hope that i can write my own tales of adventure about my soon to be wife and my travels.  After all, we are here to share life together.

Respect
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 02:38:50 pm by 10Klr »
Love the one you are with
 

Offline Pietcoke

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #90 on: April 17, 2013, 02:47:32 pm »
F5,F5,F5,F5,F5,F5,F5,F5,F5 :lamer: :biggrin:

I'm hooked.... :thumleft:
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Offline Pietcoke

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #91 on: April 17, 2013, 02:49:56 pm »
Subscribed.  Thank you for sharing this with us.  Personal accounts are always best.  

As I'm getting married in ten days time, i hope that i can write my own tales of adventure about my soon to be wife and my travels.  After all, we are here to share life together.

Respect
Congratulations. :thumleft:

May you enjoy each other for many, many years. :thumleft:

EDIT: You can practice you writing skills by giving us a RR of the honeymoon! :lol8:
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 02:51:48 pm by Pietcoke »
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Offline edgy

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #92 on: April 17, 2013, 02:57:49 pm »
Enjoying :thumleft:
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Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #93 on: April 17, 2013, 02:59:58 pm »
There was an indication of a tweespoor between the long grass and I followed it, having no idea what lay in front and underneath me. Caution was the word. The only way I knew I was still on track was every time I got to another donga.

It was mind numbing and I had to fight dispare. It just would not end. The road just kept on winding through the kloof and everytime I saw it curve, and I think its the way out, there would be another donga. I would would cross the river and the road would wind back into the kloof again.

In all there was six donga's, if I remember, none though as bad as the first one. But at each I had to stop, gear off, check it out and do a bit of construction. None could be taken lightly and carried the risk of injury. The whole process was tiring and every time my rest stops got longer.

Ironicly, the point where I almost thought I might have to call it a day, leave the bike, to worry about later and walk out, was not a donga.

After one ofter the donga's I came to a rock, (not stone), strewn diagonal, river crossing, the type you would see guys do in enduro rallies. About 20 to 30 meters accros, the worst being say 15 meters. It simply looked impossible. My mind was slipping, I found some shade and sat there looking at it for I don't know how long.

There was not a chance of riding the AT accross it. After a long while I walked up to see what could be done. Remove the bigger rocks. I'm talking 20 to 30kg and smooth over the smaller ones to make some sort of path to walk the AT accross under power.

It was now HOT and it was tiring work. Finally I was satisfied it could be done. I got the bike going and started getting it accross, one rock at a time. It was energy sapping and I had to rest all the time.

How do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time and this is where I was beginning to get to. I stopped thinking of getting out and just focussed on going forward. My world started shrinking to the next obstacle.

That being so I kept going forward and then suddenly, after the last donga, I saw the spoor make a sharp climbing turn to the right. DONE... I'm getting out.

The relief was emmence. I had spent about two and a half hours covering 20km of the pass, since I entered the reserve, and did not know how far I still had to go, but I just had to get out that kloof.

...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #94 on: April 17, 2013, 03:04:48 pm »
Thanks Jup. This thread could not have come at a better time. It's this kind of thread that built WD into a success.
 

Offline Hanno @ Mad Macs

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #95 on: April 17, 2013, 03:07:14 pm »
Subscribe.

When I met Jupiter about two years ago he still had that Africa Twin.

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #96 on: April 17, 2013, 03:13:55 pm »
Gripping stuff!!!

 

Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #97 on: April 17, 2013, 03:17:51 pm »
Thanks Jup. This thread could not have come at a better time. It's this kind of thread that built WD into a success.

 :thumleft: Ironies nogal is dit jou write-ups wat my geinspireer het om my eerste RR te doen. Hierdie storie( van my en Lyn) is lank overdue om geskryf te word, en dit was om weg te kom van die kak en hare, wat ek nou begin skryf het.

Die trip se RR sou ek nooit geskryf het nie, maar ek moet sę dit bring verligting om te te doen en ook uitendelik uit die pad te kry.

Thanks aan die res wat dit saam geniet  :thumleft:
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline Gérrard

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #98 on: April 17, 2013, 03:18:52 pm »
What is F5 ?
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline Hanno @ Mad Macs

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Re: jupiter's travels - the story of a journey
« Reply #99 on: April 17, 2013, 03:21:32 pm »
What is F5 ?

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