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Online Ri

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Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« on: September 27, 2017, 01:04:03 am »
Prologue:
After the Minion proved herself a capable and hardy pillion, Dux's horizons opened up and he was keen to extend her range. He suggested a weekend trip to the Cederberg and Tankwa Karoo under the guise of "stress-testing" the newly tuned Hooligan. I'd mostly survived my previous attempt at the Eselbank-Wupperthal road, and hadn't ridden the Biedouws Valley road yet, and thought it might be fun to join.

The route:
In Dux's words: "Hoofed it along the N1 and took the R44 to Wellington and Hermon where the road changes into the R46 all the way into Ceres with obligatory meerkat viewing on Michells pass :-) , continue through Ceres after refuelling and over Theronsberg pass till we hit the dust enveloped R355 and turned off to go over Skittery and Katbakkies passes, less dust more scenic, and then right onto the rollercoaster road to Oasis, last bit in the dark till Oasis, home of the best ribs.
Saturday head north to Eselbank and the Wupperthal via the waterfalls, through Wupperthal and turn east into the Biedouw valley, follow this road until we hit the R355 again , then 40km south till we turned east again for the Tankwa tent camp which is 6km down the road.
Sunday we slabbed it back to Ceres and onto the N1 via the scenic Slanghoek road and over Du Toits kloof and final stretch on the N1 till workshop."




Brackenfell to Oasis
Around mid day on Friday 1 September, I met Dux and the Minion at his workshop, and our epic weekend trip started.




The sun was shining but the chill of winter was still in the air;  the season hadn't received the memo yet that it was Spring Day. It was a fairly leisurely ride, the DR 650 being the epitome of comfort and speed. We took the "wide" way round to Ceres, passing by just short of Gouda and missing out on the opportunity to to get some of Vaalbaas' epic chili bites  >:(

On Mitchell's pass there was a bit of traffic, but on the slimlined DRs we easily passed the cars. Then I noticed a Beemer zooming up behind me, and swung inward to let him pass. Dux up ahead saw me give way, and also made way for the big bike to pass. As soon as it registered that a BMW 1200 GS had just passed him however, he was off in an instant, giving chase. He stuck close by the big bike, Minion and all, not giving an inch.

When I saw Dux take off, I accelerated as well until I remembered my Gydo Pass moment, and my throttle hand eased up. Just as well - after a few bends I caught up with them stuck behind a truck, and the Beemer rider, inexplicably, immediately assumed the default BMW stance: meerkatting. On tar. In heavy traffic. I started laughing in disbelief.

Sanity returned and when the BMW took off again, Dux reluctantly conceded and kept his pace, later citing recollection of a friend having a nasty fall on that corner over the train tracks. We filled up in Ceres, and Dux gave me the option of Gydo Pass or Katbakkies Pass. Are you kidding me? So off we went on the R46.

Dux says he usually stops to photograph this dam, and had never seen it so empty




We soon found ourselves facing glorious, dusty gravel in the form of the very dry R355




After the long and boring straits of the R355, just short of Tankwa Padstal, we took a sho't left towards Katbakkies Pass.








Neverending vista's of the Karoo










Just past the highest point of Katbakkies Pass




A car in the distance






At the T-junction, we turn right towards the Cederberg and Oasis. The sun is sinking fast now and dusk is falling.




I never get tired of this road and these views






Almost there! Not.




Amazingly, the sun still shines on the Oasis side of the mountains, and we score a few more minutes of daylight to admire the other bikes hanging around. Here's a knobbly Harley-Davidson




Two VERY sexy DRs as well...




The rib dinner is amazing, as always, and too much, as always, and we ask for doggy bags. We are Dogs, after all.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 03:06:31 am by Ri »
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Online Ri

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 03:00:21 am »
Oasis to Eselbank
The Minion enjoys exploring an Oasis, and rocks up with an orange she picked (up?) somewhere, very impressed with the fact that there were actual live fruit to handle, if not actually eat. I like oranges, and am happy to give this one a try.




Not a frivolous affair: Dux and the Minion take their breakfast very seriously




Dux gave a deadline of about 09:00 for leaving Oasis, and soon we are tying our stuff to our bikes. Then a friendly BMW rider offers Dux about half a liter of fuel left over from filling up his 1200 GS. Dux starts chatting with him, and it turns out that Lance and his pillion June are headed on exactly the same route as we are. Dux invites them to join us, and they decide to do just that. 






We soon head out towards the first challenge of the day: Oasis to Wupperthal via Eselbank. I think of those long sand banks and tremble inside, but put a brave face on it. It's a beautiful day, and soon warms up quite a bit.










My attempt at an action shot of Lance and June failed when they came to a stop beside me  :lol8:




Lance is the most chilled rider I've ever seen, crawling along at speeds June is comfortable with in some of the more dire terrain I've had the misfortune of trying to get through in the upright position. Much kudos to Lance for taking a pillion, and to June for sucking it up and going along! Huge respect  :biggrin:

Off they go again




Dux's sand song and dance, I presume?










As I ride the seemingly endless kilometers of loose gravel and rocks, I keep thinking: I don't remember the road being this long? With some slips and slides we eventually reach Eselbank. Dux finds out that these children are visiting on vacation from Cape Town...  :eek7:




Lance and June arrive in style  :biggrin:



« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 03:07:33 am by Ri »
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 03:01:12 am »
Eselbank Waterfall
We quickly regroup, then head out to have a proper break at the Eselbank waterfalls. I'd heard about the waterfalls, but last time I went by here, there was no time to visit them. I'm amazed at the amount of water and the beauty of the setting. They should have a camping spot here!
















Lance and June head towards the waterfall lookout point




The waterfall lookout point





« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 03:09:04 am by Ri »
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 03:02:21 am »
Eselbank to Wupperthal
After some time refreshing ourselves at the cold water pools, we don our hot gear and take on the heated road again. I keep an eye out for the fearful sand patches, but apart from a deep little patch that I fly through, there is nothing :patch:

I'm amazed - last time I rode through here, there were three long, deep sand patches and I managed to scream through two before I bought a patch in the third one, when the Hooligan hit a sand hump in the middle of the road. The wheel twisted sharply to the left and the Hooligan jumped the sand wall to coming to a standstill against the wire, and tipping over slowly until I caught and righted it.

Lucky for me, that time there was an older gent in a 4x4 behind me, berating me for riding so fast. I told him, "Maar Omie, op 'n bike MOET mens vinnig deur die sand ry!" He clearly didn't believe me, but his two teenage sons had no trouble whatsoever man-handling the Hooligan back into the sandy groove, and I made a quick getaway.

This time the sand presents only a short, deep challenge, and then I'm on the descent towards Wupperthal and my next challenge - eroded roads with marbles, marbles and more marbles. Dux reckons it's easier to ride over the marbles at speed, and is soon a mere speck in the distance. I don't feel confident to ride at his speed, and crawl along.

Then suddenly I need to level up: a convoy of 4x4s are coming up from Wupperthal direction. As soon as I can, I pull to the side, then see a better spot up ahead and decide to roll forward a bit so I can give them more space to pass. Bad move! The Gentleman promptly tips over and smashes my ankle against a convenient rock. The elderly 4x4 drivers jumped out to right Gentleman and ask if I'm OK. The Gentleman is fine but the rear view mirror has come lose, and I ask one gent to chuck it in my back pack. They carry on towards Eselbank. When they are out of sight and no more 4x4s appear, I continue riding again.

Over the next bump I see the first cement strip up ahead, and gingerly crawl down towards it. The next moment, the Gentleman slides off the side of the road into a rut and chucks me off in such a way that I roll over my shoulder, tap the cement with the top of my helmet, and then roll upright again like a weighted blow-up punch toy.

Gentleman at rest:






I sit cross-legged in the road and weigh my options: there aren't many. Dux is long gone, having a cool drink in Wupperthal - I'd mos said I'd ridden this way before. Lance and June are behind me but I don't know how far away. Unless I untie my luggage, I can't lift the bike by myself; I really should investigate quick luggage release systems.

Then a 4x4 rumbles into sight from Eselbank direction, and stops. The passenger gets out and checks that I'm OK before helping lift the Gentleman. He tells me that Lance and June tipped over in the sand, but that they said they were OK and didn't need help. He then, incredibly, manages to push the Gentleman backwards out of the rut he's in, with me sitting on top and pulling the brake to stop Gentleman rolling forward again. Amazing!!  :bueller:   I wave them on, but they insist on driving behind me to check that I'm OK. I fire up the bike, relieved, and carry on crawling down the hill.

Barely 10m further the Gentleman starts dancing on the marbles again, and, unnerved and unable to put down a foot, I grab a handful of everything. The Gentleman's backside slides out and we're both down again, entangled in the dust. The 4x4 grinds to a halt again and the passenger jumps out to right us both again. Then Lance and June roll into view, and kindly tell the 4x4 that it is welcome to carry on, they'll look after me.




I stomp around, mad at myself, shouting: "I can DO this, I can DO this, I KNOW I can, I've done it before!" Lance and June look at me a little askance, but refrain from commenting. They suggest we relax for a bit. June nervously asks how long this bad marbly road carries on, and I'm happy to assure her that the cement strips start again just up ahead. Still, I quail at what I have to conquer to get down this mountain.




Then I pull myself towards myself, scrape together my scattered wits and leftover courage, and gingerly start up the Gentleman. I try to paddle down but the road is too eroded, and nervously I open up slightly, pick up my feet and aim for the next strip of cement. I reach it without incident, perspiring and hot with adrenaline, say a silent but fervent prayer of thanks, and start to painfully slowly roll downhill.

I reach the bottom without further mishaps, followed by Lance, and find Dux and the Minion waiting at the low bridge. Dux takes one look at my face and wisely swallows whatever comment he was about to make. We stop for a quick calm down, catch up and refreshments, and then head out up the Biedouw Valley road
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 02:36:06 pm by Ri »
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 03:37:01 am »
Nice one, I like the detail.

Thanks  :thumleft:
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 04:04:03 am »
Sub......
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 07:38:51 am »
Nou wanner moet ek werk as hier sulke lekker verslae is om te MOET lees?

Dankie vir die mooi!
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Offline LanceC

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 07:47:13 am »
Hey Ri
What a lekker write up and awesome foties !!!
That ride was really top class and I am so keen to do it again.
Keep us in mind when you go exploring again...we'll tag along if we can ride with.
til next time..
Lance
 

Offline Dux

Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 08:10:15 am »
This has always been one of my favourite rides and in the past I have always done it solo and usually as a day ride , I can think of worse ways to travel 740km .
Over the last few months Ri and myself have built up a good friendship and along with my darling daughter I couldn't think of better company to do the ride with , and of course stretching it over a weekend so we could take our time , see more and photograph more . And then having Lance and June accompany us was a really good unplanned and much appreciated addition to our little group .
Ri has already mentioned the route and terrain so I won't bore anyone with that , other than to mention the section between Oasis and Wupperthal , I have done this section a lot of times and this is my first time this year , and it is by far the most deteriorated I have seen this area , presumably a combination of the fires and the drought , but it looks to me as though the topsoil has been blown away leaving more rocks sticking out , bonus is that the sandy sections are no more , double bonus because I am not a sand lover but thrive on rocky terrain  :biggrin:
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 08:16:40 am by Dux »
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 08:52:01 am »
Lekker write-up and pics guys!
 

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 08:59:03 am »
Thanks for posting
I always enjoy your RRs
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Offline the ruffian

Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 09:52:55 am »
Very lekker ride report, Ri.

You have that rare self-deprecating ability to appeal to the everyman rider, those of us who have never been talented steedsmen, who are ironically blessed with our own mediocrity, those of us for whom the smallest challenges take on triumphant meaning. And you do it so well, merging the external landscape, beautifully described and photographed, with your own inner landscape which you have invited us into as fellow journeyers.

Very interested, Dux, on your commentary on how the drought affects road conditions...
 
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Offline Dux

Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 10:38:27 am »
Very lekker ride report, Ri.

You have that rare self-deprecating ability to appeal to the everyman rider, those of us who have never been talented steedsmen, who are ironically blessed with our own mediocrity, those of us for whom the smallest challenges take on triumphant meaning. And you do it so well, merging the external landscape, beautifully described and photographed, with your own inner landscape which you have invited us into as fellow journeyers.

Very interested, Dux, on your commentary on how the drought affects road conditions...

Don't know if I am right or wrong , but I suspect a combination of the fire and the drought , now there is no wind protection at all from the fynbos and of course even a little bit of moisture helps to keep the soil together , it is very dry there , having said that we crossed a few streams but that was all from the melted snow in the mountains .
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2017, 11:01:48 am »
Great report - thanks for sharing.

the esselbank/wupperthal route is one of my favourites.
 

Online Ri

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2017, 02:28:00 pm »
Hey Ri
What a lekker write up and awesome foties !!!
That ride was really top class and I am so keen to do it again.
Keep us in mind when you go exploring again...we'll tag along if we can ride with.
til next time..
Lance

Always welcome to join if you can! Will most definitely keep you and June in mind.  :thumleft:
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2017, 02:42:01 pm »
FANTASTIC REPORT
THANX GUYS
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 

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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2017, 04:56:46 pm »
 :sip:
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2017, 07:46:28 pm »
Hey there Ri & Dux

Really nice RR :thumleft: :thumleft: Thanks a lot for sharing this awesome experience with us. The entire Cederberg area will forever have a special place in my heart & I'll never grow tired of that place.  ;D
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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2017, 11:32:34 pm »
Wupperthal to Doring Rivier Crossing
Just outside of Wupperthal, we find some of my four-legged friends








At the bottom of mountain, we turn right onto the Uitspankraal Road and find gates. Many gates... I'm sure no one ever mentioned all these gates before? The day grows hotter and the road rolls out all its marbles as we take turns opening and closing the gates. Lance has biggest advantage, with June hopping off to open the gate for him, and Dux is a quick second because I take too long to park my bike... the disadvantage of short legs  ::)







We ride into Uitspankraal and waste no time parking and seeking shade and something cool to drink. We meet Black Widow and Matthew, who immediately put out an ice filled bucket full of coke, and show us around the property. They've been building onto the current farm building, and are slowly making plans and improvements. It is quite impressive, and we all agree that we would love to come camp here.














Black Widow has an impressive selection of toys  :ricky:








The original window of the original farm house. It is beautiful.




Proper little Aga for the winter months  :biggrin:




These art works caught my eye - they are beautiful! Black Widow says they were painted by a German artist friend. The writing table is also lovely. I like this place.




Work in progress  :peepwall:






There's an impressive canal system in place, and Black Widow has restored it after it fell apart from many years without maintanance.





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Re: Cederberg - Tankwa Karoo: A Minion, Marbles and Mountains
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2017, 12:04:07 am »
SAS Wildehond II across the Doring Rivier
After our thirsts are slaked, our heated bodies cooled and our curiosity calmed, it is time to commission the SAS Wildehond II for the trek across the Doring River. Matthew kindly accompanies us as guide and helper, for which we are very, very grateful. The crossing would have taken much longer without his help - thanks Matthew!

He explains that the Wildehond had been mishandled over time, and tends to take on a bit of water with each trip, causing it to list. We decide that the elephant 1200 GS should cross first, before the Wildehond takes on too much water. We take off our gear and shoes, and pack as much as we can on the raft with each trip. But first we walk through the river to find the path of least resistance stones and see how deep it is.




Then Lance with some trepidation carefully rides the GS onto the Wildehond, while Matthew and Dux hold it steady and gave advice.






With the GS duly tied down, we drag it across the river, simultaneously pulling forward and up to make sure it doesn't tip the bike into the river. Many a toe is stubbed as we feel our way forward carefully. The water is almost waist deep for me, a welcome coolness after the hot ride and river crossing. Then we go back and load the Gentleman, a doddle compared to the GS as Dux merely pushes it onto the raft.




No bridge over this kwaai river...






Unloading the Gentleman is also fairly easy, and I'm thankful, again, for my slender little bike.










Catching a Spring tan  :biggrin:




Off to fetch the Hooligan








Can you spot the Minion sitting behind the bike? She would have loved to walk across but Dad said "No!"  :xxbah:










Dressing to continue the ride. After the cold water it was almost a relief  :lol8:




Time to say good bye. I look forward to coming back here soon (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=215528.msg3917654#msg3917654




Apart from the stubbed toes, I also somehow manage to cut my foot on something, and pick up the business end of a thorn - there's a reason this river is called Doring River, after all. But a few plasters soon put me to rights and we are on our way again.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 12:11:39 am by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3005,00 - R1,600 for steel purchase