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Author Topic: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!  (Read 8389 times)

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Offline Ri

EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« on: May 22, 2018, 07:34:57 pm »

In 2016 I attended the EC Bash in an SUV, and have since wanted to attend it on my motorbike. Last year I was booked and paid up, but had to cancel on the day I would've left due to ill health in the family.  So when the bookings for EC Bash 2018 opened up, I was one of the first to book and pay. Nothing would stop me this year! I posted notices far and wide to family members to please reserve ill health and death for different dates, and started checking out routes.

Tony the Boney invited me to ride along with him and Odd Dog, and enticed me with tales of the Kamanassie river roads. This suited me, because it satisfied my wanderlust and desire to ride solo (I still had to reach Mossel Bay by myself) but I'd have good company from there. I contacted a few friends and asked for route suggestions to Mossel Bay, with a strong emphasis on gravel. hje phoned with some decent suggestions, and my plans were set.

Then things changed. I was persuaded to join Hardy de Kock's tour to Damaraland and Kaokoland, and things quickly and suddenly fell in place to make this possible. Now the EC Bash trip wasn't just a bucket list item to tick, it was also a test to see how I'd fare in more technical terrain, in terms of coping as well as in terms of endurance. My adrenaline spiked and I was dry-mouthed for the entire 2 weeks leading up to and including the Bash.

The Bash would also be a test for the Purple Hooligan, newly minted, super-tanked and valved as a thank you for being my long-suffering little workhorse in learning to ride. He would be showing off his new colours and sweet, sweet suspension tweaks  :ricky:
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 07:36:03 pm by Ri »
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Offline Tom van Brits

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2018, 07:41:07 pm »

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2018, 08:06:33 pm »
Thursday 10 May 2018 - Day 1

Thursday morning rolled around. As per usual I stayed up too late, and battle a bit to get up and be away by the time I'd planned. Thankfully I was so excited about the trip, that the Hooligan had been hampered with pannier bags earlier in the week, and stood saddled and ready under his cover. I eagerly open the choke and start the motor to warm him up. To my dismay, a thick black cloud of smoke streams from his exhaust, and keeps it up for some time.

In a panic I phone the Hooligan Handler, Dux, to confirm that Hooligan is indeed road ready, and he assures me it was because of the various things done and some condensation, as Hooligan has been standing still for a while. And sure enough, once I'm on the road and the choke is closed, the smoke disappears.

The route for the day is from Stellenbosch over Franschhoek Pass to Villiersdorp, then onwards towards Worcester but taking the Scherpenheuvel turnoff. From there via various twists and turns I would reach Bonniedale Bonnievale, and from there on to Swellendam. From Swellendam I could choose tar or gravel to Vleesbaai, my destination for the day.

The day is bright, crispy and clear and I talk to myself and the Hooligan and to God. Before reaching Franschhoek, I turn right on to Robertsvlei Road, a pleasant detour of the busy town centre. One day I'll go look at the dam wall too, but I'm always just short of time for that extra detour.

Robertsvlei Road

I think these are workers housing for Molenvliet or some such estate.

Newly sparkling Hooligan - sexiest bike of them all. It's going to be a while before he is this clean again...

This beautiful wedding chapel (presumably) stands on an island in a lake, and workers were busy building the wide lane leading up to it.

Franschhoek Pass is always beautiful and a joy to ride, but it is also chilly. I follow some speed bikes up the pass, but don't stop at the look out point as everyone else does. I swing dreamily around the tight turns towards Theewaterskloof Dam, slowed down by some cars ahead of me from doing something stupid. Passing Theewaterskloof Dam, it is encouraging to see more water - apparently it is now 20% full, and this is before the winter rains. With a heart swelling in gratitude, I turn left and head towards Villiersdorp.

Entering Villiersdorp, I see a Padstal and decide to have breakfast. I don't eat much when travelling, but I haven't had coffee yet and only a thin veneer of civility hides my morning grumpiness. I ask for the strongest coffee they can give me, and an not disappointed - this coffee promises murder  >:D

The breakfast is delicious and too much for me to finish. The home baked bread especially is very tasty  :drif:

« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 10:47:37 am by Ri »
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Offline woody1

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Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2018, 08:07:54 pm »


Ducati 100cc Mountaineer, Honda 550 K3, Suzuki Gs1000E, Suzuki Gs1000G, Suzuki 1100 Katana, BMW R1100RT, BMW R1150RT,,,,,All gone. Only 2014 ST in the garage at the moment... And Honda XL 600

Offline Knucklhead

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Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2018, 08:09:58 pm »

Offline Tony the Boney

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Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2018, 08:44:46 pm »
Daarsy!  :thumleft:
The older I get, the earlier it gets late

Offline edgy

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Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2018, 08:45:07 pm »
You write very well :thumleft:

 BEER..."I drink it when I`m happy or when I`m sad. I drink it when I`m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. Trifle with it if I`m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I`m thirsty"

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2018, 09:00:35 pm »
Having made only the sketchiest notes of hje's detailed route instructions, I turn off at the Scherpenheuvel sign and stop to check my notes for directions. A friendly GS'er stops to check up on me - he's on his way to Montagu for the GS Trophy. Instead of just following him, as I realise afterwards we were probably doing the same route, my independence kicks in and I wave him on.

Chilly morning mist lying on the mountains ahead.

I check my notes again, hit the start button and pull away. After the low water bridge, as instructed, I turn left towards Scherpenheuvel and the road becomes gravel. I barrel along merrily, passing many youths lolling next to the road who should probably be in school. A few kilometers further, hitting tar again, I habitually start to second guess myself, and turn around to continue on the road I had previously shunned. This road also quickly becomes a lovely sweeping gravel road but then worryingly starts to turn in the wrong direction. However when I see a board indicating that I'm on my way back to Villiersdorp, I stop and interrogate my sketchy notes and sketchier GPS app again, sigh, and turn around again.

Back on the original route again, waving at the indolent youths as I pass - yet again, feeling a little foolish, I find that I had turned around 5km shy of my next turn-off. Ah well, the turn added a beautiful 50kms to my ride for the day, and with a huge tank filled almost to the brim, even a thirsty Hooligan would be content.

The next turn-off was described in some detail, and I'm happy that I'm on the right track.

At Bonniedale Bonnievale Cellars I turn right towards Stormsrivier Stormsvlei, but it turns out that my sketchy note taking had deserted me. Apparently I should've turned left and taken some turns through Bonniedale Bonnievale onto a road that ended up at the back of Swellendam. However, I only manage to reach Stormsrivier Stormsvlei near the N2.

Time is no longer on my side, as I am further away from Vleesbaai than I expected to be. I let my family know that I'll arrive about an hour later, turn onto the N2 and open the Hooligan's throat to roar down the highway like a purple... well... hooligan, passing all obstacles and slow moving trucks in my way and praying that the speed cops are snoozing.

At Riversonderend Buffeljagsfontein I turn off at the garage to fill up the thirsty Hooligan, as I can SEE the fuel level dropping in my high speed chase against time. There are quite a few Beemers about, presumably on their way to Montagu, and I park a little to the side and out of the way and head for the ablutions. When I walk back to the Hooligan, a GS is parked right behind it and I think to myself, "Bet he recognised the Hooligan from WD".

I walk up to my bike and start to kit up, when a GS pulls up next to me and the friendly rider enquires about my plans. He buzzes off with a few other GSs, but the GS behind me is still patiently kitting up. When the others are gone, he walks up and asks whether I'm on WD. I say yes and start to laugh, and ask him whether he recognised the bike from the forum. He laughs too and admits that yes, he's seen the bike, my avatar, on some threads. He's from Gauteng and on his way to Montagu, but he's relaxed and rides at his own pace, even though he is there with a group. They had been taking a slow ride down the coast, and would be riding back over a few days as well. It sounded fun. We greeted each other, and then we were each on our way again, me with a smile inside my helmet. I love being part of the Wilddog community!

Then the race against dusk is on again, and finally I pass Albertinia. I stop by the side of the road between the turn-off to Gouritzmond and Vleesbaai to confirm with the family that I'll be arriving soon, and the address I need to be at. I also check the Sygic app, because I have a feeling that instead of turning at the Vleesbaai turnoff, I can also take the more (hopefully) scenic road to Gouritzmond and hopefully score a bit of gravel.

Sygic gives my suggestion the thumbs-up, and I throw a semi-confident U-turn and take the Gouritzmond turn-off. It's a lovely long downhill, but I'm chased by a few huge and hasty SUVs. I make some space for them to pass me, and turn off in the direction of Vleesbaai. It turns out to be mostly tar road, but at least it isn't highway and it is beautiful. Then suddenly Sygic directs me to turn right onto a little gravel road, and my heartbeat accelerates. An unexpected little gravel backroad to Vleesbaai, perhaps? I eagerly turn off and follow Sygic's directions for a few hundred meters, only to confronted with an open gate with a big sign saying no vehicles are allowed, as this is an ostrich breeding area.

I sigh a little disappointedly, and paddle the Hooligan around. On the way back I run into a flock of sheep, and pull aside for them to pass.

Then I head down the tar road again and soon arrive in Vleesbaai, where I disturb the unnaturally quiet and serene mini-neighbourhoods with Hooligan's loud Bossun pipe, fed by his thirsty carb, as I trundle up and down unexpected dead-ends, having completely forgotten my directions again. By a stroke of inspiration I manage to find the right road, and soon pull in at the family for some great food and wine and excellent conversation deep into the night, catching up the missing years. Then it's off to bed for an early start, grateful for all the blessings heaped upon me  ;D
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 10:49:44 am by Ri »

Offline LeonDude

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Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2018, 09:18:10 pm »
Great news, my book 'Sniffer' has seen the light of day on Amazon Kindle!
Check out my website for free short stories!

Offline Oubones

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2018, 09:36:32 pm »
Thanks for an excellent RR as per normal for you!
Waiting for the rest. :sip:
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Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2018, 09:57:58 pm »
Friday 11 May 2018 - Day 2

It is still dark when I get up, have a quick shower, get dressed and shove back in again the few things I took out of the pannier. The cousin makes me a tasty cup of coffee and then we head off on our various ways, into the tardy dawn.

I turn in at the Mossel Bay Engen 1-Stop to find Tony (the Boney) and Brian (Odd Dog) waiting for me. We head off to George immediately.

The plan is to have breakfast at the Wimpy in George, a tradition for these Dogs, and I ask whether we're riding gravel or tar, hoping for gravel, but Tony decides on tar. However, when we reach Klein Brak he has second thoughts and to my joy we turn off onto gravel roads until we reach George behind the airport. Here Brian takes the lead and we follow him down a delightful little gravel road that meanders around the outskirts of George until it spits us out up the road from the Wimpy where we'll have breakfast. I'm grinning ear to ear with glee - what an excellent start to the journey!

Route conversations

Day awakens

Breakfast of Wimpians!

A young 800GS rider arrives and hangs around the Wimpy while we prepare to leave, regarding us with great interest but keeping his distance. I almost make a fool of myself as I battle to paddle back the heavy Hooligan from his parking spot, but through sheer bullheadedness I manage a bit of a push, and turn him to squeeze his nose past the bumper of the car next to us with millimeters to spare, giving the watching Brian a few anxious moments. I roar off, triumphant in my tiny victory.

The route for the day is up Montagu Pass, then on to the Paardepoort Road, then following the Kamanassie River, then through Uniondale and turning into Baviaanskloof from the Willowmore side.

Montagu Pass is really beautiful and there is always traffic on it. With the twists and turns, I find myself looking back at Tony and on impulse stop to take a photo of his ascent into the corner, but my stop is too hurried and the camber sides with gravity, and next moment Hooligan gracelessly slides to the ground. Tony rounds the corner, stops and jumps of his bike, concerned that I'd fallen, but I assure him this was only a side stand incident.

We stop at the bridge for photo's, and realising that I had completely overdressed, I duck behind a pillar to take off my tights - a delicate operation next to the slippery stream, resting my warm rump against the cold cement - while Tony obligingly turns his back.

Brian rides ahead to get some shots of me and Tony riding up the hill, and I give him my camera to take along.

After he leaves, we hear heavy wheels and squealing overhead - a tram had crossed on the tracks above and come to a stop. This looks like it could be a fun outing!

Beautiful mountains around George

A rider appears...

Kyk hoe kyk sy vir my! With all the weight, Hooligan is so low I sometimes battle to put the shortened side stand down, and I have the novel experience of sitting on my bike flatfooted with knees slightly bent!


Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2018, 10:13:49 pm »
We carry on the scenic ride, Brian and Tony in turns patiently shepherding me along even though the day is quickly heating up, as I carry on in fits and starts, taking pictures at almost every corner.

"What the heck is she even looking at?"

Tony really likes the look of the Hooligan, and after hearing of all the improvements, is keen to take him for a spin, so we swap bikes for a few kilometers. I'm a little hesitant to ride other people's bikes, because they're usually a little tall for me, but Tony's Husky TR650 is a well-behaved little beast and I have a blast.

Then it's onto the Paardepoort Road and we're on our own steeds again. Tony is very impressed with the Hooligan's stability and road holding. I'm sure the weight helps, but those front valves has also clearly made a difference, as the nose doesn't dive anymore when braking hard. Man I love this bike!!

Blue cranes in the distant fields

I'm surprised at the relative quality of this shot, considering I had to zoom in and hold steady



Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2018, 10:14:38 pm »

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 10:14:53 pm »

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2018, 10:15:12 pm »

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2018, 10:15:29 pm »

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2018, 10:16:13 pm »
Trying to make this thread go to the second page so it's not just a long wall of pictures, but don't know how many posts a page takes. Sigh.

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2018, 10:23:14 pm »
Now there's a beckoning road

Lunch break looking over the Kamanassie River and the farms around it.


Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2018, 10:23:37 pm »

Offline Ri

Re: EC Bash 10 - 14 May 2018: Purple Hooligan Rides Again!
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2018, 10:23:52 pm »