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Offline Brucet

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JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« on: February 25, 2019, 09:14:15 am »
I often fly down to CT for business and really hate having to fly so every now and again I go down by bike. I usually try and do it over three days and sometimes four.

We left JHB midday and planned to stay at Gariep dam that evening. It is a pretty boring stretch so wont spend too much time on it.

We arrived at Gariep Dam just before sunset and stocked up on some drinks, meat and firewood at a nearby shop.

Camp was set up Lets get this correct, Captains were poured, kit removed and replaced with shorts, fire was started, and tents where put up.

Life was good.
We did have some concern about the thunder and lightening in the distance but the dam was almost empty, and there was apparently a very bad drought going on so we were selfishly confident it wouldnt rain.....


« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 02:32:32 pm by Brucet »
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 09:29:17 am »
Boy were we wrong about the rain, just before the fire was ready for the meat, the wind picked up and we felt a few drops. We decided to put the lamb on the fire and hope that the rain would hold off. We also packed all our bits and pieces away and made sure our Captains were topped up.

Then as I put the last of my kit into my tent the heavens opened up. Massive rains and massive winds. We had no cover and basically stood in the rain trying to cook our meat. Tents around us were being blown away and people were tying down their gazebos. There was a couple camped close to us that just sat in their car and watched two idiots trying to braai in the commotion. 

The watered down lamb chops did not go down very well and the rolls were a bit soggie for some reason so we did not bother with them.

I took this picture from under a tree i was trying to hide under.  :lol8:

At least it wasnt hot anymore.

« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 09:32:20 am by Brucet »
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 09:44:37 am »
Saturday 2nd Feb:
After lots of rain lasting almost the entire night, we awoke to clear skys. I am really impressed with my tent and how it held up to the storm. No leaks at all and even with all the wind it basically kept its shape.
I really dont like packing wet things away so we moved everything into the sun to try and get them to dry out. Once dry and packed we headed to Colesburg for breakfast. 
We saw many bikes on trailers and many being ridden. Not sure if there was a rally somewhere but some of the guys jackets looked really weighed down with all their badges. I am also sorry to say but the Harley guys seem to be the most unfriendly riders on the roads. Maybe its because they have to hold on too tight, Im not sure.
We had a long trek to Oudtshoon via the Swartberg Pass ahead of us.




 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 09:45:50 am by Brucet »
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 01:43:28 pm »
We hit a bit of rain before Beaufort West but Beaufort West was dry. The people of Beaufort West are in dire need of rain as I heard on the way through that they are now down to 10 ltrs per person per day. Sadly for them we also hit the mother of all storms about 15kms south of Beaufort West. Was probably the hardest rain i have ever ridden in. It was so hard I thought it was hailing but fortunately my kit was able to keep me dry. Just as we exited the storm, probably the only guy to wave while ridding a harley on this trip, passed us heading towards Beaufort West. I wonder how they handeled the storm, as he and his female pillian were dressed in typical Harley style with leather "vests", piss-pot helmets, sun glass's and jeans. They werent carring much luguage either - just a single small duffel bag.

Prince Albert was basically deserted and we could only find one petrol station that was open. We didnt stay very long and it was clear that the storm had passed through there also.

Swartberg Pass was damp but not raining. It was great to see the stream at the entrance to the pass running as I have only ever seen it dry. The pass was spectacular as usual and an awesome experience to ride it on a bike. We stopped often.
The Prince Albert side of the pass is in excellent condition but the Oudtshoom side of the pass is in slightly worse condition but not too hectic at all.

 
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 02:09:09 pm »
Eventually we reached the bottom and re joined the tar. It was decision time, do we head along the R62 and find a place to stay or do we head to Mossel Bay and stay next to the beach? We decided on Mossel Bay being a good option.
As we left Oudtshoom, instead of mountains we could see a wall of dark blue water. Looked like a massive storm, so we decided to try and find a place nearby to stay at.

We decided to get off of the main road and headed west through De Hoop along the railway line. many of the ostrich pens looked more like rice paddies full of water. There was mud and water everywhere and as far as the eye could see.
Every B&B and campsite was closed. We even went to a Spar resort which offered us a camp site on some grass that was being watered at the time by about 10 very large sprinklers. We decided to pass on that and head towards Calitzdorp to try find something there.
We were unsuccesful so the only choice we had was to keep going towards Gordons Bay or find a bush camp and with everything flooded we decided, maybe stupidly, to just head for Gordons bay. We were only about 340kms away and it was only 6pm, and a comfortable been and no riding in rain on Sunday appealed to us. (More heavy rains were forecast for Sunday)

It got dark, very dark! We also stopped often as the Milky Way was unbelievably bright. I have travelled all over Southern Africa and have bush camped far off the usual beaten tracks but I have never seen it like that before. Possibly because it was pitch black. You may think I am exaggerating but i had to use my tourch to find my bike once as it was so dark. And I was only about 2 meters away from it. You could literally not see your own hand in front of your eyes.

We arrived at around 11:30 pm after a long day, and surprisingly I still felt good. The lights on the BMW were excellent, after I remembered about the switch to adjust them for when loaded - lesson learnt.
The first two pictures are of my view from the place I stayed in, during the day and sunset to prove its the same spot :)






 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 02:36:20 pm by Brucet »
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2019, 02:12:14 pm »
Some more pics in and around CT. Some very impressive restorations in the Gordon Bay harbour.
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2019, 02:13:42 pm »
And a very dirty bike outside our offices :)

Will do part two of the return tomorrow. It is a bit more exciting.
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Offline BLK

Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 02:14:13 pm »
Thks for the RR.Just remember sheltering under a tree during a storm is not always the best these days.

cheers
 

Offline Rockrider001

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 02:17:51 pm »
Thanks for sharing. ...enjoyed reading about your experiences and the trip details
 
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Offline Brucet

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie trip.
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2019, 02:32:00 pm »
Thks for the RR.Just remember sheltering under a tree during a storm is not always the best these days.

cheers

yes true but there were plenty around so we pretty much didnt have a choice but eventually you get so wet you actually give up on that anyway. :)

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Offline Pilchie

Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 05:44:37 pm »
 :sip:
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2019, 06:44:13 am »
Thursday 7th

I had two meetings to get out the way before we could head for the Tankwa Karoo. One in Grabouw and one in Ceres. Was a bit weird going to them in full gear and boots but fortunately one was with a fellow biker who found it very funny and the other meeting I was interviewing a prospective salesperson. Both Im sure will never forget those meetings. :lol8:



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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2019, 06:52:54 am »
We filled up in Ceres and finally left for Op Die Berg where we turned right and headed for Katbakkies Pass. There are some very interesting and unusual rock formations along this stretch of road.

From the turn off to Katbakkies Pass the road turned to gravel. I have done a lot of off road on motorcross bikes but very little on the GS and absolutely none on the GS with it loaded. I selected enduro mode and hoped for the best.
The dirt road is in very good condition but we still took it slow for a start and eventually built up speed as we got more confident.

I was a little disappointed that the pass was tarred but this was not a surprise as I had been told this before we left. We did not see another vehicle on this route.

 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 07:07:48 am by Brucet »
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2019, 07:05:45 am »
After the Katbakkies Pass it turned to gravel again as we headed towards Peerboomskloof pass. I really enjoyed this section especially the views to the Tankwa Padstaal. At the bottom of Peerboomskloof is a little, i would guess its called, an oasis with a picnic area. It seemed very out of place, miles from anything but looked like it could be a nice spot to take a break.

The temperature started to climb. We had, so far been riding in temperatures in the mid 30's but as we got to the bottom of the pass the temps started climbing and stayed between 43 and 45 C. Flippen hot!

Eventually we joined the R355, and arrived at Tankwa Padstaal where we stopped for a drink. I did not recognise the place at all and was reminded by the lady behind the counter that this was a new building as the old place had burnt down......to be honest I dont think it has the same "magic" as the original place, but its still a nice enough stop.

We did not stick around long as the thought of getting out of our kit as soon as possible appealed to us. Just after Padstaal you turn onto the track towards Bike X Cape. Around 7kms down the road and with temps hitting 46C we arrived at the entrance to Bike X Cape.  (www.bikexcape.com)


« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 07:29:56 am by Brucet »
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2019, 07:26:12 am »
Bike X Cape is absolutely awesome and one of the highlights of the trip. We were greeted by Michelle as we rode in, who pointed us out to a nice parking spot under a shady tree. She then disappeared leaving us there not sure exactly where to go.......she then appeared holding a tuppaware thing full of ice cold/frozen cloths to put on the back of our necks and ushered us to the bar area where she offered us drinks. Really nice touch and very thoughtfull!
Rael and Michelle own the place and they have huge passion for bikes and everything to do with bikes. They are really amazing hosts also. I highly recommend a visit and stay.

After our drinks Michelle asked if we would like to see our rooms. Bike X Cape offer tented accomodation and traditional clay cottages at very reasonal prices - in fact I was a little concerned at what we would be getting for the price but after being shown them I was very surprised how nice they were. Obviously there is no electricity but provision has been made for this with solar lights in the cottages and the main pub/entertainment area being run off generators and batterys IIRC.

I had pre ordered braai packs, so Rael started the fire and got to cooking the meat for us. Michelle said she was going to make a salad and disappeared.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 07:28:13 am by Brucet »
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2019, 07:42:55 am »
Michelle eventually returned with not only a salad, but the best potato-bake ive had in a long time and rolls etc.

I cant remember exactly what I was charged, i think it was R130 or R150 for the braai pack or possibly less, but I really did not expect all the extra stuff we got with it. I would happily have paid double. The braai pack was also very generous and the meat brilliant. I wish I had more space for the brilliant food! . After my 3rd helping of potato-bake I threw in the towel!  :lol8:

For some unknown reason I didnt take many pictures that evening. I can only blame the hosts who kept us entertained, fed us about 50 liters of water each and lots of Captain. What an awesome evening and I can not say enough about how much we enjoyed it there.

Eventually we all headed in different directions to get some shut eye.

A Cape Eagle owl visited and the resident donkey.



« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 07:44:58 am by Brucet »
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Offline Mikie

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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2019, 11:40:27 am »
Nice one Bruce, keep it coming.

You should have pulled into Ladismith and stayed over at Koedoeskloof,

Your mate needs pannier stickers  :pot:
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2019, 11:46:13 am »
thanks Mikie. I did tell him already :)

By the time we got to Ladismith we had pretty much set our minds to getting to Gordons bay so we only stopped there for a Steers burger.
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2019, 12:59:26 pm »
thanks Mikie. I did tell him already :)

By the time we got to Ladismith we had pretty much set our minds to getting to Gordons bay so we only stopped there for a Steers burger.

Do it more leisurely next time, you missed out on some very cool roads and passes  :ricky:
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Re: JHB - Gordons Bay (CT) - JHB - newbie (light) trip.
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2019, 01:13:44 pm »
Not really. Between here and CT there are so many places to visit you could not visit them all even if the trip was a year long, so basically what I do is everytime I go down I do a different route and have a place or road as a must do on that trip. I have at least 8 more trips to possibly decide on bike or plane this year. :)

This trips aim was parts of Tankwa and Swartberg. Still deciding on whats next but thinking Pella in NC, Malgas Pont and Agulhas.....obviously this will be a few days extra. 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 01:15:19 pm by Brucet »
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