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Author Topic: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure  (Read 4595 times)

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Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2019, 08:03:45 pm »
Day 3 - Kenhardt via Verneukpan to Loeriesfontein

We are up early and have breakfast at our hostel/guesthouse , real 'koshuis kos' too haha! The plan was to hehttp://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smileys/default/lamer.gifad to Verneukpan and then sleep over in Calvinia. A spanner was thrown into the works though when Hinksding insisted we visit and stay over in Loeriesfontein.

We met Hinksding "Christoffel" at the Wilddogs National Bash at Molopo in 2014. Good times were had! He also accompanied us on the Honda Quest Trip, as an "instructor", making sure all the contestants got through the Koakoland and over VZP unscathed. Anyway, we had a lot of catching up to do and agreed to see him in Loeriesfontein.


The Molopo Bash 2014. I think we rode like 400km of sand getting there, thanks Orangeswifty. What an experience! :imaposer:


Christoffel and I in Windhoek, after we all successfully completed the Honda Quest in 2017.

Enough tripping down memory lane. Let's go to Verneukpan!



"Verneukpan is a widespread dry salt pan south of Kenhardt, between Swartkop and Diemansput in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Verneuk is Afrikaans for to trick, mislead, screw or swindle. The pan is used for aerotowing operations. During the rainy seasons many birds flock to the pans, when they contain water. The surface is completely flat, and is approximately 57 kilometres (35 mi) long and 11 kilometres (7 mi) wide.

In 1929 the pan was used by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who unsuccessfully attempted to break the land speed record in his Napier-Campbell Blue Bird.

This is also the place where Johan Jacobs South African land speed record holder and former fighter pilot died painfully on 27 June 2006. His jet car, Edge, went out of control and flipped while travelling at approximately 500 kilometres per hour (311 mph). This happened during a practice run for an attempt to break the 24-second world record for the standing mile over 1.67 kilometres."



The road to Verneukpan is pretty much the same as most in the Karoo, straight. Except with quite a lot of gates... The scenery around us starts changing again.





What a cool place! We bump into a nice coloured fellow at one of the many gates leading up to the pan. He just happens to be the new owner of the farm and the Verneukpan. He tells us they had 3mm rain just yesterday and the pan is wet. It is completely snotty with mud and won't be dry for 2-3 weeks. Basically if we go out there, we'll get stuck and have a bad time, BUMMER!

It doesn't stop us from having a bit of fun though and we play on the outskirt of the pan.


Beauty and the Beast? >:D


HSK with his beautiful 990.


Obligatory poser photos ::)






And of course, a visit to the pan is not complete without a wheelie :ricky: >:D
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 08:43:39 pm by Minxy »
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Offline Offshore

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2019, 08:14:10 pm »
  :ricky: What a Girl! :thumleft:
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2019, 08:43:06 pm »
We leave Verneukpan, it will be good to go back, maybe camp there under the full moon when we return again at a later stage.
Anyway, it's time to push on to Brandvlei where we'll stop for lunch. This trip has been quite the 'gastronomical' tour so far :imaposer:




Another change of scenery. The area has many small pans along the way to Brandvlei and we stop to explore one.


At Brandvlei we get fuel and stop at the local pub for something to bite. It's a really nice place and they even made us waffles with ice cream! :D


The endless dirt highways of the Karoo.


On our way to Loeriesfontein.


I literally had to turn around so I could pose in front of this sign. KATKOP!!!


Hondsekierie? Wait what!? :imaposer:

We make it to Loeriesfontein. We were worried a little bit about punctures on these roads. Lots of people mentioned the fine shale and rocks could cut tyres and cause punctures, but our bikes held up fine.
We were welcomed by our friend, who invited us to join them at their local school braai. We had a fantastic evening, with loads of catching up.


Eeeek that helmet hair!  :laughing4:

That's it for Day 3. We get to bed earlier than we'd like, as we still have to cover the distance to Calvinia and then tackle the infamous Postal Route on our way to the Cederburg as well.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2019, 09:26:49 pm »
Day 4 - Loeriesfontein to Cederberg Oasis via Old Postal Route and Esselbank / Wupperthal 4x4

We leave Loeriesfontein early and ride another Karoo dirt highway to Calvinia where we stop for a quick breakfast. We also full up with fuel (30L) on the Super Enduro and full tanks + 5L in desert fox baggie extra on the 990 (just in case). Today would be the most technical day of our trip with both the Old Postal Route as well as the Esselbank/Wupperthal trail. The Esselbank route we did a couple of years ago and I remember it being really scenic and fun, so wasn't too worried about that. We've never done the Old Postal Route and it is one of my personal bucket list items. It seems to have a bit more of a reputation with many people saying it's pretty damm tough, so we figured we'd take it easy as we were riding alone and the bikes had fairly heavy luggage. We leave Calvinia with no real idea of what lies ahead :P


"The R355 is the longest uninterrupted gravel road in South Africa and runs for 257kms, from Ceres in the Western Cape to Calvinia in the Northern Cape province." It would have been cool to ride the entire length of this road, maybe visit Tankwa as well. Next time! Today we'd be spicing things up again :ricky:


I stop and double check my GPS. Is this it? A random tyre marks the spot. There's a gate, and pretty much nothing else in sight. We blindly trust my gps route (which I all literally put together painstakingly the night before our departure) and start the infamous Old Postal Route.


The scenery starts changing almost immediately, the road also starts getting more and more rough.


We open and close quite a few gates, taking turns doing so.




The direction we are riding in takes us through the river crossings first. The route crosses two rivers, the Doring and the Tra-Tra. Lucky for us both of them were dry and we could get through with relative ease.


Stopping in the dry riverbed.


This is where you actually cross the one river. If there is water and you don't know the place very well, go a bit off track... you are going to have a very bad time :imaposer:


View from my bike. A very rocky crossing. Thank the pope Hilton Hayward setup my suspension before we set out on this trip ;D
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Offline Offshore

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2019, 09:33:33 pm »
Great Report, thank you, notice the beautiful Karoo Sky, we are blessed. :thumleft:
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2019, 10:18:28 pm »
And immediately after the river crossing, we get thrown right into the deep end of this lovely soft sandy tweespoor track. Very interesting with loaded adventure bikes :imaposer:
We took it easy here, a high speed crash, even in soft sand would be a very bad idea in a remote location like this. If one of us was to get badly injured It would mean the other has to ride back through rough terrain just to get to civilization  to get help. Very risky... Anyway we really didn't want to think about things like that and just focused on getting through. Luckily there are no spills and we get through the worst of the sand without too much hassle.






I tried to ride out of the track thinking it would be better. It really wasn't. Best is to stay in the spoor where it is more compacted.

     
I am a terrible judge of distance, I guess the worst of the sand went on for just short of a kilometer. There's an old building on the other side where you pop out. Very interesting, unfortunately we didn't have time to explore and had to push on.



From here on the road started climbing. Lots of ups and downs, I remember some pretty rocky downhill, more two track type of terrain, and some smaller rocky crossings. Again, I wish I could have stopped and taken more pictures, but time was limited as we didn't quite know what to still expect.
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Offline White Rhino

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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2019, 12:40:48 am »
Awesome guys - keeping the heart rate up. Another proper adventure for many - just another day in the life of Minxy & HSK  :lol8:
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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2019, 08:57:46 am »
Sub  :thumleft: :ricky: :sip:
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Offline katana

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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2019, 09:48:26 am »
Can you share your GPS track for the Postal Route please?  I don't recognize your route.
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Offline Matewis

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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2019, 10:02:01 am »
Sub!!!
Dont go where the path my lead  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2019, 10:25:22 am »
Another great adventure ride.

 :thumleft:
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Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2019, 10:32:49 am »
Can you share your GPS track for the Postal Route please?  I don't recognize your route.

Please send me your email address and I'll forward it :)
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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2019, 11:09:47 am »
 :sip:
 

Offline Fransw

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2019, 11:10:55 am »
Lekker RR! Ek is baie baie lief vir die Karoo. En dis eintlik op ons voorstoep, maklik bereikbaar!.. :thumleft:
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #34 on: June 05, 2019, 11:15:32 am »
After the sand, we do a bit more rock climbing. There was a fairly gnarly bit with lots of loose rocks that just climbed and climbed. It would be difficult to get going if you were to stop so we just climbed it out all the way. The views here were just spectacular.


Here we have the beautiful Karoo sky again.


This part is Karretjies Pass, I think? I wasn't quite eyeing the GPS as we really had to focus on the road. I'm pretty sure this route will be quite a bit easier in the other direction. It takes some confidence to ride up without stopping. All goes well though and we stop at the top for a photo or two :)


Another one of them pesky gates ;D


The photos don't really do the road justice. It is fairly rocky and steep in a few places.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 11:32:21 am by Minxy »
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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #35 on: June 05, 2019, 11:26:47 am »
That pass is called "Karre'tjies Pas" and it is quite an interesting pass to ride.

We did in in 2012 if I recall correctly and it was a beautiful day and all of a sudden we were in a thunderstorm with heavy rain and some lightning on that plato which  made things very interesting. One guy in our group stalled his bike going up that pass end he could get traction to pull away again and it cost about 4-5 of us to push down on his rear wheel in order for his bike to get to get enough traction to pull away again. Needless to say we had to repeat this exercise with all the remaining bikes to get them to the top again.

Your report brings back fond memories.  :thumleft:
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Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #36 on: June 05, 2019, 11:27:26 am »
The most technical parts of the pass were behind us and some twisty sandy roads followed. Lots of shale as well, making traction tricky in places.


We did it, we conquered the Old Postal Route, it's good to tick off another bucket list item. I do have to mention, just one week prior we did the 23 Rivers ride near Tzaneen, which was another bucket list item of mine. Much more technical, but good practice! So ja, I have been on a bucket list high the last while!!! :P I'll do a ride report on that once I have more time as there is so much video footage to work through.


I don't know what this pass is called. This is after the Old Postal route. Beautiful windy road down the mountain with spectacular views. It also pops out at a gate which connects to one of the more main dirt highways.




Some sandy tracks heading towards Esselbank.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2019, 11:42:47 am »
Thanks for all the comments etc so far. It is nice to read about other people's experiences as well :)
At the moment I'm trying to finish this part of the ride report quick (between work, packing, other preperations) before we set off this Saturday to do the return part of our trip. It has been nice telling the story with everyone following so far :D
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Offline Minxy

Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2019, 12:02:20 pm »
   
With Esselbank having burnt down not long ago (soooo sad!) we just rode on past and continued to the Esselbank/Wupphurthal 4x4 route heading towards Cederberg Oasis, our stop for the night.


We stop a couple more times for photos. It has been a long day and we are craving those famous ribs at the Oasis so we don't hang around too long :P


The route looks different. There's less sand that's for sure (awwww), it's also more corrugated. There seems to be more concrete on the switchbacks just after Esselbank as well?
Honest it was not that pleasant to ride, not with the road just being in an overall shitty condition. Not shitty as in technical, shitty as in terrible corrugations, shitty road surface, just not nice. I did this on my old SE back in 2013 and remembered it being more challenging, more fun as well. Not sure if anyone thinks the same?




It's good to pull into the Cederberg Oasis after a long days ride! Love this place.


Look at me trying to be romantic. J n B... Or B+J?!  :lol8:



Day 5 - IT'S RAINING!!! Guess we'll take a rest day.
We did want to include a rest day eventually. This would be it thanks to the cold rainy weather. The day was spent chilling, just having a real lazy holiday day in front of a cozy fire. The following day we'd be leaving for the Cape.
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Offline katana

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Re: Trans Karoo, Going Postal and a Return Adventure
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2019, 02:54:00 pm »
You are correct about the section around Eselbank being in a bad state. 
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