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Author Topic: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass  (Read 21672 times)

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Offline DASKOP

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A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« on: January 18, 2014, 03:43:12 pm »
Monday 16 Dec 2013

I was planning on doing a trip to Botswana for the December holidays, but I was warned of the unbearable heat, combined with sand, not a good idea. But (just a poor excuse for justifying a long trip), I need to start practicing riding, with all I will possibly need, to prepare for my trip to Tanzania in June 2014.

I now have no idea where I am heading, so the decision is to just get away from the rain. It is raining in all directions, along the Garden Route, towards East London and the first section towards the north. My best chance of getting out of the rain is to head towards the Karoo, or one of them at least.

ABSA first so that I can fund my "Going somewhere relatively slowly" excursion in search of the sun.

On the national road, I decide to head towards Uitenhage and then take the Cockscomb gravel to Steytlerville. Once there I can decide where to next.

The clouds look menacing, but it seems to be clearing towards the north west. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But it does not look good to the north as I head out of Uitenhage. I stop at the start of the gravel road just to finally consider my options.

As I ride down the gravel road, I can see the sheets of rain ahead and to the left of me. This does not look promising.





« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 03:49:31 pm by DASKOP »
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Offline westfrogger

Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 04:03:40 pm »
 :coffee:
 

Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 04:06:30 pm »
I am enjoying the opportunity to do some gravel and for a moment the threatening rain is forgotten and I am starting to get lost in my surroundings.

But the threat of rain remains obvious ahead of me. Maybe, just maybe, it will pass to the left of me.

About 2 km down the gravel road, there are some scattered rain drops and I stop to waterproof myself and my tankbag, which contains all the technical damageable stuff. Just in time, as shortly after that the rain catches me. The road turns into absolute snot. I can feel the bike starting to lose traction and I am struggling to just keep the bike upright.

It is too early into the trip to take any chances, so I slowly, gingerly and with great care and difficulty, first get the bike to a standstill and then turn around doing a 42 point turn. I manage to get ahead of the rain and then hammer it back to the tar.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 04:10:26 pm »

Then it is onto the tar towards Kirkwood.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 04:21:36 pm »

It is wet in Kirkwood as well, so after unsuccessfully trying to find a replacement memory card for my new camera (the manageress at the Kirkwood Spar is very helpful, she phoned around to try and help me), I decided to head for Graaff-Reinet.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 04:24:18 pm »

Seems like someone in a cage had a fight with the tree. The tree definitely won.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 04:39:54 pm »

Eventually........................the skies were clearing and glorious sunshine was flooding the country side.

What a beautiful country we are privileged to live in. How much better to do it on a DS bike.         :ricky:
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Offline COLES

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 06:48:08 pm »
very good pic,s great writing
 

Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 07:20:18 pm »
By the time I get to Graaff-Reinet, the morning showers are a distant memory and the heat of this Kamdeboo town rises quickly to the point where I am experiencing severe loss of body fluid and the riding jacket is discarded for body armour and light weight top. It is summer in the Karoo.

I found a memory card for my camera at one of these Asian shops, not realising that it was going to prove a costly mistake.

I head out of town on the R53 past the dam, over the Oudeberg Pass and turn off onto the gravel road that leads to Nieu-Bethesda. Never been on this road before, so I am excited to discover some new gems of the roads less traveled.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 07:44:18 pm by DASKOP »
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Offline Knucklhead

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 07:23:27 pm »
Mooi
 

Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2014, 07:25:41 pm »
From tar to gravel.................the adventure biker's transition to bliss.
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Offline spoedvark

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 07:28:30 pm »
Lots of water in the Graaffies dam!

Keep it coming!
Go Big!
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2014, 07:30:07 pm »
Eastern Cape beauty.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2014, 07:31:50 pm »
Lots of water in the Graaffies dam!

Keep it coming!


There was evidence of lots of water passing at some stage everywhere, as you can see in the picture where the road was washed away. Made for some interesting riding.  ;D
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 07:52:08 pm by DASKOP »
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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 07:49:54 pm »

The road to Nieu-Bethesda ticked all the adventure biking boxes.
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Offline The Badger

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 07:55:45 pm »
Lekker pics and rr...... thanks.  :thumleft:
Good friends and fresh mud......

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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2014, 08:07:51 pm »

And it was hot.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2014, 08:14:52 pm »

Amazing gravel traveling. There was even a sign board welcoming me.             

Wamkelekile.
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Offline DASKOP

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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2014, 10:23:58 pm »

I considered driving to Nieu-Bethesda, but it was still relatively early, so Richmond became my next destination. That meant turning onto the Groenvlei road.

It proved to be an interesting road with mud holes, thinly disguised mud films, washed out ruts, narrow dried out wheel tracks...............it was fun.

(I think another dog posted a RR about this road, also done recently)
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Re: A chance Wilddog encounter in the Swartberg Pass
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2014, 10:26:21 pm »

On to Groenvlei.
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