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Author Topic: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back  (Read 361 times)

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Offline El Lobo

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Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« on: November 16, 2015, 08:22:54 pm »
My son is sixteen years of age and I'm, well, a few years older.  :laughing4:

In March this year the joint decision was that we'd do a longish trip during the school holidays. Initially the idea was to point the bike north, but then I remembered about a place I didn't get to see during my trip around South Africa ... Coffee Bay! Youth dictated our leaving on the trip during the next holiday, viz. June / July, but experience prevailed and it was decided that the Sept. / Oct. holidays would be when our adventure was to be.

I'll confess that the planning of the trip is half the fun for me. My son, of course, showed far less interest. His main aim was to ride pillion with me; as far as possible and as fast (never happened - sorry, Emil!) as possible.

By the end of August most of the pivotal planning had been done and what remained was the rounding off of the whole planning exercise.

(ROUTE, DISTANCES & COSTS EXCEL SHEET ATTACHED)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 08:26:19 pm by El Lobo »
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Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2015, 09:00:02 pm »
DAY 1: 24 September 2015

Only Steve McQueen was able to just jump on his bike and roar off. For most, if not all, of us it takes a little longer (and sometimes quite a bit longer!)

We left home, after my realising that everything I planned to load was NOT going to fit. So ... I left the tent, sleeping bags, matresses, etc. (Yes, I know. But there's a different RR coming after the Dec. holidays).

Our route (as per the attached excel sheet) would take us to Hopefield, Malmesbury, Paarl, Worcester, Robertson and then Swellendam.
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Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, 09:06:20 pm »
For some or other reason we didn't stop at Juno's in Paarl. The young man seemed to enjoy the brief respite and an ice cold Coke wasn't too shabby either.

The Triumph ... Well, it was raring to go again.
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Offline subie

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, 03:50:38 am »
Waar is die res  :ricky:
As time washes by, our footprints are all for naught
 

Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, 04:55:34 pm »
Subie, Morpheus called (zzzz), but here's some more:

Worcester came and went, for I was intent on stopping at a certain place in Robertson. Strictly Coffee is an amazing coffee shop, discovered by fluke during a cage trip a while ago.

Alas, it was closed and my like turned into dislike (I'm told coffee is addictive  ;D and withdrawal symptoms are not a pretty sight to behold). The coffee shop was closed! Guess what I forgot? I started the trip on ... ? The 24th of September; a near - holy day! It was National Braai day and the owners were, like most other South Africans, braaiing!

So the Spur it was. A few photographs were taken, but none very exciting as it was all indoors.
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Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 08:20:39 pm »
Finally we arrived in Swellendam, found Swellendam Backpackers and settled in for a truly frustrating evening.

Frustrating, because it took a great deal of perspiration and maneuvering to get the bike through the truly narrow side entrance at an angle (huge pieces of slippery gravel covering the surface and the entrance), leading around the back to the room we were staying in. The width of the soft luggage and dusk didn't make matters any easier. 

Frustrating, as there was (other than at any of the Backpackers I'd stayed before the past three years) no complimentary coffee, tea, sugar, not even a teaspoon in the kitchen area. The TV was blaring in a little office cubicle; two very young children avidly watching a truly violent "SciFi" movie.

We went to bed. I've seen bigger rooms in my life. The size was perhaps irrelevant, but the inability to put our helmets and biking gear somewhere (anywhere!) was the determining factor: Never, ever again will I set foot in the establishment that calls itself Swellendam Backpackers. I know it sounds negative, but I've been to a number of Backpackers during my trip around SA in May 2013 and this ranks as the worst overnight stay in South Africa that I've ever come across - I'm not even making mention of the totally disinterested caucasian lady "on duty" when we got there.
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Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 09:56:37 pm »
DAY 2: 25 September 2015

Needless to say, we left Swellendam Backpackers as soon as possible the next morning. Yes, it did take another bout of wrestling with the heavily loaded bike to get it to the street without dropping it, but finally ... we were off!

Now we were looking for somewhere in town where we could have breakfast. My son suggested (where else? He's a teenager after all) the Wimpy. I was quite amenable to the decision, except when I noted that we wouldn't be able to keep an eye on the bike whilst having breakfast. Nope, the Wimpy didn't have windows facing the parking area. So a u - turn was in order and we ended up at a restaurant with the name "Old Gaol."

Now it started to feel like a holiday! We only had 171km to do before we'd reach our next overnight stop, so we took time to enjoy what was around us.
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Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 10:10:53 pm »
The plan was to pop in at ChrisL and Amanda's place at Stilbaai en route to our next destination just outside George, but I left contacting them too late, so we pushed on, enjoying what the Garden Route offered in terms of vegetation, beautiful vistas and lovely roads.

We arrived at Far Hills Hotel, were shown our room and duly trekked down to our accommodation with soft panniers and the top box. And what a lovely place it was! The room lead onto a small patio from where we had the most exquisite view across the lawns, plantations and mountains in the distance.

We were to spend two evenings here and were looking forward to putting our feet up for a little while. The deal (accommodation) was further sweetened by a good breakfast included in the cost of the accommodation. Surprisingly we were the only guests opting for enjoying breakfast outside while looking at the vista in front of us. I was pleased that my son enjoyed this as well, as an affinity for the electronic media and the involvement thereof usually feature quite strongly in the lives of teenagers.

All was well. Although little did we know what lay ahead ...
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Offline El Lobo

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Re: Vredenburg to Coffee Bay ... and back
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 10:53:25 pm »
DAY 3: 26 September 2015

It was a beautiful morning! Initially we'd decided to relax, but the desire to explore parts of the area soon got the better of us. During a previous visit to the area I "discovered" an interesting route and I was keen to ride it again. This time my son would be able to experience it as well.

After breakfast we donned our gear and left for Wilderness, only a few kilometres east of where we were based.

The ride was fantastic! The road surface was excellent (in other words, no potholes!); the route along the Kaaimans River picturesque and the view from the top before and soon after cresting it was spectacular!

We stopped at Flava restaurant where they serve really good coffee (super tasty meals as well!), ordered our drinks and sat back enjoying the outdoors in comfort (once again).

Shortly afterwards I fired up the Tiger and took the road towards Wilderness Heights. This is no hillock and I have great respect for any mountain biker who attempts and conquers this colossus. We kept going until it joined the historic old George to Knysna road. There we turned left and made our way along a beautiful winding road, passing numerous tree ferns and overhanging trees until we reached George. Along the route we happened upon the Silwerriver bridge where we stopped to take photographs.

We arrived back at our base, content after having ridden in such a beautiful area.
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