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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2020, 11:38:22 am »
I followed the track towards Val from Greylingstad. Past a family grave from the 1920's, Vermaas. Now sticking close to the railway line I had a waypoint marked that indicated some type of battle that took place, well that is what the Google earth image indicated anyway. I stopped and there it was next to the road, no signs whatsoever except for a plaque I could make out against an old small railway bridge about 40m from the road. If not for the waypoint I would have missed it completely. Well turns out every year the Val Hotel stages a Boer and Brit re enactment of the "Whisky Train" bombing. Not sure it was such a light hearted event as the plaque makes it out to be but who knows, maybe everyone was gatvol of war and just wanted to have a good time if only for a couple of hours. Besides the bridge and some ballast on top of it there were no sign of the old railway line anymore.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2020, 11:39:04 am »
Next stop Val for a well deserved beer and something to eat ! Even in the early 1900's it was a popular stop and place to rest for all. Apparently the town was called Waterval first then shortened to Val for whatever reason.

« Last Edit: June 03, 2020, 12:39:14 pm by sidetrack »
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2020, 11:40:01 am »
I planned a small loop from Val heading south east then coming back to end in the town again. I crossed the railway line and followed a dirt road to the east. To my right I could see the old sandstone pillars for what I imagine was the original bridge that took the railway line accross the river and then continued to Val and eventually onto Johannesburg. The river was quite beautifull here.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2020, 11:40:53 am »
All to soon the loop was done and I had to head home, the idea of riding home through Leandra and Delmas in the winter with the sun setting was not very appealing. I took some tar shortcuts on the way back and arrived in time to give the bike a quick wash. In total 420 enjoyable kilometers and some history lessons along the way as well. Thanks for reading.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2020, 11:40:53 am »
Lekker ken daai paadjies goed. Kyk by 3:25 op die video vir daai klip plaat waar jou foto geneem is

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2020, 11:50:40 am »
Lekker ken daai paadjies goed. Kyk by 3:25 op die video vir daai klip plaat waar jou foto geneem is


Lekker, lus en ry weer die naweek Val toe  :thumleft:
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #46 on: June 03, 2020, 11:52:09 am »
Kalahari 2017

Photobucket jou ma  >:(



So there I was sitting at the Van Zyls Hotel watching what can best be described as oil mist coming from the oil filter cavity instead of a gush of fully synthetic. My worst fear was confirmed, the pump was either blocked or close to being junk. I was now some 700 odd km's from home. But lets rewind a bit I have always wanted to ride to that little point that sticks up from SA towards Botswana, not sure why but it was something to aim for. Askahm was the obvious destination.



The basic route would be Pretoria - Marico - Zeerust - Bray Vostershoop - Mcarthys Rest - Van Zyls Rust - Askham - Hotazel - Vryburg. Well something like that, I had 4 days only. The idea was to stick as close as possible to the Botswana border. The first stretch to Zeerust I have done many times before not much to report although the Bokkekraal valley near Marico is a beautifull ride.



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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2020, 11:52:47 am »
The road from Zeerust to Miga was washed out here and there from the recent rain but still easy going. I did manage to get caught out in one of the few corners and ended up in the tall grass next to the road, luckily still on two wheels  :dousing: It was very green and looked totally different from when I was last here in 2015 if I remember correctly, almost looked like a desert then.



The first section from Miga towards Mogobistad is a great little sandy tweespoor, by far the thickest sand on the whole trip. Twisting and turning through the veld at one point a local was even waiting to open a gate and wave me through. Very enjoyable riding. It was bloody hot though but still like Zeesrust very green and lush. 







The track up to Mokgobistad is a very nice ride, it runs along the border for about 50km. I guess the road is used for patrolling the border but it was very overgrown. In some places it was difficult to see where it went. The thorn trees are also starting to take over so not sure how often this road is used anymore. Was just hoping to avoid a anthill or hidden rock.

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #48 on: June 03, 2020, 11:53:28 am »
The track is a tweespoor in most places. Quite green as said before.





The track was submerged in some places and one had to look for ways around which involved some bundu bashing.



Maybe this way ...


No this seems more like it



Then I crossed the Molopo, yes that is what the GPS said I checked it twice. During drier times there is no water at all only a riverbed. I got a wet boot and parked of for a lunch stop. I noticed one rear spoke had snapped, luckily it would be the only one for the whole trip. Cable tied it to the others and all seemed good.



Then a quick stop at Mokgibistad, although it was Sunday the locals made the most of the local shebeen. Was way to crowded so I headed on and stopped at a small shop for a cooldrink.



I now had quite a long straight run to Bray where I would camp for the night at Tapama lodge. Being gatvol of oil dissapearing from my dipstick I emptied the whole 500ml I carried with me into the bikes frame, it was weird the level would drop in as little as 300km. For that amount of oil usage the bike would have smoked like a chimney only it did not. The exhaust was nice and clean as well. I decided I would check again at Bray where the level stood. The road itself is quite fast with patches of sand here and there but besides a small amount of head shake the stretch went well.



Stopped at the same place on my previous trip here, they have added a beetle in that time.



I arrived at camp just short of 600km for the day, as it was Sunday the camp site was quiet with no one around. Eventually a care taker came by and helped me sort out the accomodation. The lapa's looked inviting but I opted to camp for the night. Couple of Castles and a quick swim in the pool I felt much better. Had a nice braai and setup camp for the night. Was very quiet with no other campers or riding buddies around. Watched the sun set and listen to the sounds of nature. This beat any day at work that is for sure ! Unfortunetly the level on the dipstick did not even register  :-\ I decided to turn in early and went to sleep around 8pm. The next day would take me to Van Zyls.



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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #49 on: June 03, 2020, 11:54:17 am »
Another camp pic for good measure  8)
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #50 on: June 03, 2020, 11:54:39 am »
Ok day 2 would take me to Van Zyls Rus, this would be new roads for me as last time we only went to Bray. The day before I spent adding oil and I was now out of supply. Plus on the dry sump motors you need to do a rain dance before checking oil level as well. As XT owners would know you need a babies arm just to get to the filler plug and then you need a small funnel otherwise half the oil runs down the side of your frame, wiring harness and radiator. I did not have a funnel ..... I stopped at the filling station in Bray to fill up and try and buy some extra oil. As I was running fully synthetic bike oil I knew my chances would be slim to get something simular so imagine my surprise when the guy came out behind the shelf with the excact same oil I was using ! This would certainly be a good day. I know had spare oil and new roads to explore.



I would take the road up north on the border.



The last bit of road leading to Bray is a bit sandy so I imagined heading west would become more sandy but it turns out it was good gravel, what I would imagine those dirt highways in Namibia will be like. The scenery was nice and I saw plenty of game next to the road especially on the Botswana side. Springboks, Oryx and Giraffe to name a few. Was quite something to see an Oryx in it's natural habitat.



Iphone on maximum zoom  :P



Vorstershoop I almost rode straight past, it was now midday I bought a colddrink and ponder my missing oil.



I had signal and googled XT low oil level, one thing that came up was that the older model Z's had a different crankcase breather catch tank that let some oil passs into the airbox. I knew I had the later design tank but low and behold the breather was full of oil. I opened the cap at the bottom of the drainage pipe and lots of oil run out of it. And this oil you could see spent some time in the motor not like the frame oil which was always looked brand new. It now seemed to me that whatever oil I added would gravity feed into the motor running of the dipstick creating too much pressure in the crankcase and pushing into the airbox via the breather. It seemed no oil was being pumped back into the frame though. I decided that I would rather have a closer look at the hotel later that evening instead of getting sand everywhere.

The track up north from Vostershoop was a nice one, at one point you turn right it looked like a farm road but I followed the GPS and it was indeed correct. Not deep sand just enough to be fun with nice scenery.





I will check later on Google Earth can't recall the name but it was some pan or another. Eventually you get to a 3 way split that leads to Molopo game reserve, Vorstershoop I came from and Mcarthys Rest where I was heading too. This too was really good riding as it had some sand and even a little bit of rocky sections where it climbed out the valley.





And I think this was the road to Alastairpan just after Mcarthys Rest. It is the Kuruman riverbed you cross.



Pretty far west by now still green with some famous red dunes appearing



I was now at Van Zyls and would overnight at the hotel in town. Shower first then to the bar, man that cold beer was good.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2020, 11:55:08 am »
So day 3 I decided to get up early and see what is going on with the bike, I set the alarm for 5am as I had planned to head north do the Molopo 4 x 4 track then further west to Askham before tuning back and down towards Hotazel (which I heard afterwards is actually hot-as-hell). Well 5am it was still dark so I snoozed a bit more and eventually at 6am I went out with tools in hand. Airbox had oil in but the filter was still ok not blocked. I then removed the oil feed going from the motor back to the frame and started the bike, well bugger all. No oil circulating. It is as I thought either the pump feed is blocked or the pump failed. Thing is I have been riding the bike like this in a previous Marico trip and now for 1000km allready. I did decide however to that I would not make it to Askham, what a bummer as it was the furthest point I was hoping to get to. The motor actually sounded ok considering it was only getting oil from the camchain I would guess ? I could leave the bike there and try and get back to GP someway else but decided I have made it this far I will just try and ride it back gently.

So off I went towards Hotazel then tar all the way back to GP, going to be a long stretch ! Well after about 40km I was bored allready and saw a nice looking dirt road heading in between some koppies, it was the Tswala nature reserve road. I did not have this section on my GPS but did have some waypoints in that direction and was hoping it would lead back to Hotazel. Went through a gate and spoke to some rangers, they did not seems convinced that this would be the best best to get back to Hotazel and my GPS showed no tracks here. They said it would lead to Deben but the only Deben I know was by the sea. I decided to continue for a bit and have a look from  on top of the hill, not sure what I was hoping to see  :biggrin: Man what a fun road, after mostly open flat stretches before this little road zig zagged through the koppies and had some fun rocky sections. Not knowing where I was going I decided that I'm pushing my luck know and eventually decided to turn back to the tar and do this road another day.



At Hotazel's OK Bazaar I did find a funnel eventually and I was now scavenging the oil from the airbox every 50km and putting it back into the frame. It was tedious but worked. I decided to keep to my original route which had me taking dirt from Hotazel to Vryburg.





This was my basic oil scavenging setup, water bottle to catch oil from the breather and funnel to chuck it back into the frame.



Well I rode the XT all the way back to GP and I arrived home at 23:30 that night but I made it, will now investigate and see what has caused the oil problem. I could not find a single incident of XT oil pump failure so I'm betting on a blockage somewhere. So XT owners rest assured even if your oil pump stops working the bike will still run, must be one hell of a tough motor  :o

Thanks for reading
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2020, 11:57:07 am »
The oil pump inspected at home, gears installed wrong way round not meshing. Mystery to this day but we know now XT's are moerofa strong running for 1000's of km's with little oil flow  :o
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2020, 12:00:32 pm »
Badplaas Mpumalanga February 2019

Was high time to do a ride again however 2-3 day trips are a rarity due to work and family so I decided to go see a place that I have never visited before but the catch being I only had 1 day. So I prepped Saturday and early Sunday morning I was off at 6am. I knew it was a push so decided to take the dreaded tar up to Middelburg to save some time. From there the N35 until the dirt started. Lots of rain the last couple of months so everything was green and dust minimal, perfect for riding. First stop somewhere between the R542 and the N11, ones mood quickly changes once the dreaded tar is left behind. From here I headed north east, the whole area covered generously with water and power stations ! The views were starting to get better and better with dirt roads as far as the eye can see.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2020, 12:01:37 pm »
I was heading to Badplaas then back via Chrissiesmeer, places I have never visited before. I was using a basic app called Maprika over which I just overlaid a route I imported from Gmail. This worked really well. The basic map is pre loaded so you use no data to scroll around and the phones GPS shows you exactly where you are. Now I just need a good phone mount. The further I went into Mpumalanga the more scenic it got. First rolling hills then mountains started to appear. This track was getting better and better. In the distance I could see it snaking through the mountain, to my right a small river running through the valley. At one of the bridges I decided it's time for a break, a 2nd breakfast so to speak. It's never a bad time to have some droewors and watch nature in it's green splendour. I saw some swallows diving scooping up some water from the stream no doubt getting ready for the trek to the Northern Hemisphere soon.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #55 on: June 03, 2020, 12:03:29 pm »
After a 30min rest I was off soon crossing another bridge before heading towards a place I have read about on the forum a long time ago, the Hamlet of Bonnefoi. On my way there another farm building of a bygone era. Bonnefoi certainly sounded interesting however I did not have it marked on my phone and almost rode straight past luckily I got a glimpse of the buildings to my right after a t junction turn off. Time for some exploring. Most buildings it seems dates from the late 1800's to early 1900's. The post office is closest to the road with the main house some way in between the trees, there was a locked gate so I could not get close to the house. I always try to imagine what the atmosphere must have been like back in the day, the post office it seems is built out of sand stone with cast iron pillars supporting the roof on the stoep. Inside not much left except for a small round table attached to a supporting beam. Some more info here

http://www.everard-group.com/page3.htm

The house garden still had some flowers in bloom most likely survivors from the original garden, colour in a sea of green.

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #56 on: June 03, 2020, 12:04:48 pm »
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #57 on: June 03, 2020, 12:05:50 pm »
From here I dropped into the valley heading south. I followed a track heading east through some plantation roads then heading up for some very nice vistas at the top. The weather could not have been better. From the plateau the road split left towards Badplaas right towards Chrissiesmeer. I would ride the same pass twice coming back, it was only about 32km in length so worth going through to Badplaas. I had no real plan for going there only to fill up fuel and get a bite to eat. Riding the pass towards Badplaas I saw some of the biggest Kudu's I have ever seen, never knew they liked hanging round the forestry plantations. Slowed the pace a bit imagining one jumping out in front of me ! Badplaas well I made it,  also it has a new name eManzana which explains why the heck I saw very few signs for it. The town itself quite small and well known for the hot springs.

The spring became very popular when gold was discovered in the De Kaap Valley (near Barberton). Prospectors would visit there on weekends to get away from their strenuous work of digging for gold. On 6 November 1893, the government claimed the springs to develop a health resort for public use in perpetuity.[3] It was proclaimed in December 1947.[3] The Protea Group managed this Aventura Resort for a time, but the resort has now been purchased by the Forever Resorts Group.[4]
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #58 on: June 03, 2020, 12:06:52 pm »
The Mpumalanga like most of us knows it with rolling green hills in every direction, beautiful and so good to be out and about on the bike on new roads. Keeping an eye on the clock it was now 12:30 and I knew it would take another 6 hours to get home. Bit of a rush but I was off again up the pass past Kudu Mecca towards my next stop Chrissiesmeer. The whole area is a natural wetland with about 270 lakes in total. It was not too long before the first lake came into view. I left the mountains behind and were now back on the plains again. Chrissiesmeer a small town with a NG Church and yellow clivias / Afrikaner flowers in it's garden. Does not get more SA than that for just about any rural town. One or two little shops in town where people put in some effort to make it look good and do some business while the majority of folk hang around in the street blink gedrink, quite sad.
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2020, 12:07:51 pm »
More at Chrissiesmeer
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