Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going  (Read 8050 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ri

The early light is breaking
The morning sun is waiting in the sky
And I think I'm gonna break away
And follow where the birds of freedom fly
I need to give, I need to live
For the world is slowly turning
And the lights of love are burning in my eyes

Caravans, oh my soul is on the run
Overland, I am flying
Caravans moving out into the sun
Oh I don't know where I'm going
But I'm going

Wish I had the wisdom
To find some simple words to make you see
The things that mean a lot to you
Don't always seem to mean a lot to me
I need to breathe, I need to leave
When the sands of time go drifting by
I may be on my own
But I'll be free

Day 1

I lie in bed late morning on Monday covered by my Cuz's animals. My bike is loaded, I have an idea of roads I want to ride, but really there is no urgency. No one is riding with me, and I haven't booked any accommodation. I haven't even filled the tank yet. The only place I need to be is Rooiputs for the Tankwa XC Rally, and that's only the next weekend.

Lethargy lies on me as heavily as the overweight daschhund.

I stir my lazy bones and WhatsApp a friend in Bettysbaai, telling him I'm stopping by for some advice. I hop on the bike and kick off. Once I get going, I know I'll keep going. And maybe he offers me a couch to sleep on for the night.

When I get there, the overloaded Panther waddles like a whale and I realise I need to rethink the weight distribution. My friend is no help on routes or the offer of a couch, but his girlfriend makes a mean braaibroodjie and bolsters my courage with some Chenin Blanc. I repack the Panther and leave a few things behind. Astonished passersby stare at the puffy windblown blonde stuffing tins into pannier bags with fierce focus.

My friend suggests Villiersdorp, where we have a mutual friend, and I head off, finally hitting gravel at Van der Stel Pass. I always forget how beautiful this valley is, and my spirit soars. I'm on the road! My vacation has begun! I'll worry about accommodation when I get there. (Any person acquainted with my controlling OCD self will probably faint on reading this, but I learnt a lot about going with the flow on my last trip in June with @the ruffian).
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 04:52:15 pm by Ri »

Offline Black_Hawk

  • BackroadRiderZA
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW F800GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 3,865
  • Thanked: 335 times
  • Follow our blog: https://mytownsatoz.wordpress.com
    • My Towns A to Z
Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2019, 04:15:48 pm »
Hier kom nog 'n baie lekker RR.....  :thumleft:
Follow our blog: https://mytownsatoz.wordpress.com

2010 F650GS (Sold), 2009 BMW F800GS, 2002 BMW F650GS (Sold), 1982 Honda XR200R, 1983 Honda XL600R
The following users thanked this post: Ri

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2019, 05:01:50 pm »
On this first day, Panther reaches a milestone:

I roll into Villiersdorp to find a message from the mutual friend saying they can't help with accommodation, and suggesting a B&B. I decide to contact my BIL's cousin who farms in the area, and whose wife and I had hit it off right away on a previous visit. In the meantime I stop at the Alwyn Vintcent Farm Stall for some strong filter coffee, as (shock! Horror!) I haven't had any yet.

The cousin's wife immediately invites me to dinner and to stay over, but she'll only be home later. I take a ride through town and then back to the farmstall to wait. Here one of the "Stadsvaders" comes across me and we fall into conversation. He is part of a consortium that bought out the Alwyn Vintcent farmstall and is developing it into a venue for markets and shows. They have big plans for the town.

He also takes me to see the steamer, the Alwyn Vintcent, for which the farmstall was named. It was bought in 2012 restoration started on it, and eventually it will serve as a stage and backdrop for the developed farmstall complex.

Not the steamer:

The steamer:

My friend calls me up and I head to their home. She is happy to see me, as her husband is working late and she needs some help with her computer. "Jy is mos 'n IT boffin!" she says, plying me with Sauvignon Blanc (not my favourite). We hit the PC and soon things are sorted out. Her husband arrives and they realise there is no food in the house. No problem! I grab 2 tins of smoked mussels from the overloaded Panther, glad to lighten his load, and we dine on fine wine, crackers, cream cheese and smoked mussels. The simple meal is delicious. We chat deep into the night, and I'm invited to stay the next day for tea and a guided tour around the plantations on their DR200s.

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2019, 05:35:44 pm »
Day 2

I wake up at leisure and find the dogs presenting their tummies for skritches. I'm not a skritchy person, and have to laugh at the tiny daschund trying to grab a share of the attention.

My kind hostess helped organise the tea for a Cansa initiative, and I was invited along as thanks for my IT labours. The tables were beautifully and creatively decorated.

A presentation was made by a lady who got involved with impoverished Venda ladies in the far north. She managed to create earning opportunities for them by having them embroider scenes from their folklore. The beautiful handiwork is sold all over the world as she was invited to more and more quilt and handiwork markets internationally.

The most touching thing for me was reading the stories of the ladies who did the embroidery, about what the project meant to them, included with each piece. One lady mentioned having money left after all her expenses to buy herself a little something: Dawn body lotion. I admit to shameless overspending. I would have bought up all their stock if I could have somehow fitted it on the bike.


Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 05:37:46 pm »
Day 2 (cont'd)

After a midafternoon nap, we hit the hills with the DR200s. Following my hostess' informal dress code, thinking the ride won't be too technical, I only don denims, takkies, gloves, riding jacket and helmet. The terrain soon mocks my laissez-faire attitude towards dress - my knees and ankles are in imminent danger! I suck it in, and the ride is a blast. We may only be two not-too-overweight ladies on these dapper little bikes, but we head into every nook and cranny, pushing and pulling each other out of tight spots. We have an absolute blast, and arrive home covered in dust and bonhomie.

Immaculate little machines

Not me

High above Theewaterskloof Dam

Dead end

Oops! No more road here either

I join my kind hosts for Bible study in the evening, and after a delicious roast chicken, I fall into dreamless sleep.

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2019, 06:01:07 pm »
Day 3

I wake up late-ish again, and after a leisurely coffee with my good host I pack my bags and take my leave, promising to stop by there again. I have to, as I had to leave all my newly purchased embroidery on the farm. To aid me in my resolve to get a move on, I make a booking with Bike X Cape for that night, warning Michelle I have no idea what time I'll arrive, and that I'm travelling alone by bike.

I have a quick look at MapOut to see what gravel is available, and a chat with an omie at the fuel station sets me on another roundabout - Koppies road just down the pass, which leads to the Scherpenheuwel road going to Robertson. I'm happy to take the Koppies road, as there is a stop an go on the pass and who knows how many ahead. Koppies road meanders far and wide and I smile wide inside my helmet.

Beautiful scenery entices the eyes and soothes the soul

My plan is to ride from Montagu to Touwsrivier via Ouberg Pass, then follow Pienaarskloof Rd to Patatsrivier Rd. From there I want to see whether I can find a shortcut to the R356.

After trawling through Robertson and Montagu, I head for the hills again. There are, as always these days, quite a few stop-'n-go's in the Montagu pass, but I cruise to the front and make a quick getaway each time. Love this bike!

« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 04:21:32 pm by Ri »

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2019, 04:44:52 pm »
Day 3 (cont'd)

From the turnoff from Montagu to Touwsrivier is long, straight, boring gravel highway, and I give it stick, reaching supersonic speeds of up to 110kph...!! I try to stick to 95kph because I know this is very fuel efficient, but so very boooooooring  :o. I fill up again at Touwsrivier and head for the Karoo. Just outside town I find the road I've been looking for:

It's not a long road, but nice and a bit winding, and soon it reaches the Patatsrivier road.

The road I *should* take to the left towards Karoopoort and the start of the R356

There is a big wind farm building project going on, and trucks thunder past.

I, however, decide to play "Padvindertjie" and carry on straight across the intersection, intent on finding a shorter route to the R356. The road is very good and recently scraped. I even pass a few scrapers still on the road.

The road keeps heading in the right direction, and although becoming ever so slightly steeper, is still in good condition.

I pass signs reading "Gatsrivier" and wonder why the name looks so familiar? No matter, I forge ahead fearlessly until I reach a gate that says:

I think to myself, perhaps they say that to dissuade any passers through, such as myself. Undeterred, I push on. The road immediately becomes a bit rougher, and I pass an old omie with a dog in his old 4x4. He gives me a royal wave of the hand, not stopping to ask me my business, and heads off towards the gate. I assume this is a kind of "go ahead" and carry on. At some form of camp intercom I try to make contact with the local wildlife, but they don't answer the bell.

I decide to carry on.

The road turns away from my intended direction towards the R356, and starts to run parallel to it. Its condition also takes a turn for the worse, and suddenly I'm hopping rocks and dodging ruts.

Then 2-spoor starts turning into a narrow sandy track. MapOut shows my position on the map, nowhere near any form of road. Self-preservation kicks me in the metaphorical nuts and reminds me that it's 17:00 and I'd better turn around if I still want to find a bed for the night. I fly back over the previously quake-inducing terrain, elated to find it a breeze now that I've conquered it. On the way back a memory stirs... wasn't this where the WC Bash was held earlier this year? And didn't people remark on the challenging access road? Hmmm.

After a 25km detour I'm back on the Patatsrivier road, racing against the dusk towards Karoopoort. 50km later I turn right onto the R356, heading towards the road that connects the R356 and the R355, another 50km along.

Night falls and I race on, headlights on bright and my spotlights switched on. I love riding at night, the Karoo swishing by quietly makes me feel like a bird of prey: weightless, fierce and free. There hasn't been any other traffic for a while now, but that is the reason I prefer the gravel roads.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 04:48:44 pm by Ri »

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

  • Forum Vendor
  • Castrated Dog
  • ******
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 32,135
  • Thanked: 833 times
    • dustriders.co.za
Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2019, 04:58:38 pm »
Op daai laaste foto was jou sidestand net net uitgeskop, n omtip was naby!! :o

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 05:04:27 pm »
Day 3 (cont'd)

I find the road I'm looking for, and turn left towards where I hope Bike X Cape lies. I crawl along the road, finding some open gates and some shut gates. Then a dim sign catches my headlight: I've apparently reached my destination. I turn right into Bike X Cape, which is chillingly lightless, and cruise around aimlessly. Suddenly a few lights come on and the diminutive Michelle strides towards me dressed all in white, eye-catching in the dark. Rael follows. They point me to a parking spot, and while I disrobe and dishelmet they switch on the bar lights. It is 19:00.

"You aren't the girl we met at Gannaga Lodge 2 years ago, are you?", is the first thing Michelle asks, and I laughingly confirm that yes, that was me.

Michelle serves me a welcome fortification and we start to catch up as Rael walks around, preparing a tent for me and making sure the ablutions are ready.  When I made my booking Michelle warned me that they didn't have any braai packs or food, and I said that isn't a problem, as I don't need anything.

My tent for the night is only R200! I really look forward to visiting them again.

Highway to the Danger Zone (a.k.a. ablution facilities)

Dayamn these are NAAAAAAICE!

I really enjoy these quirky little touches - a gear lever to close the door


Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2019, 05:05:18 pm »
Op daai laaste foto was jou sidestand net net uitgeskop, n omtip was naby!! :o

Moet die angle van die foto wees: as ek EEN ding op hierdie trip geleer het, is dit hoe om die bike behoorlik staan te maak :o

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2019, 05:14:42 pm »
Day 4

During the early morning hours I hear strange noises outside, and wonder whether baboons are trying to break into the ablution facilities for some bizarre reason. When the early dawn breaks, I stick my head out of the tent and notice dark shapes on the bar's roof, and wonder what the heck the baboons are doing on the roof, until I realise those aren't baboons... I go back to bed and try to sleep again.

The peacock obviously has great taste, fêting my Panther 8)

The females also admire this superior specimen

The ablutions in daylight. A very neat, good looking setup

You may disagree, but I reckon I didn't pack too badly for a 2-week trip.

Every animal on the property has a story

Michelle is trying her hand at a vegetable patch, and seems to have good success


Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2019, 05:24:30 pm »
Day 4 (cont'd)

When I met them at Gannaga Lodge December 2 years ago, Michelle and Rael shared their beer with me, invited me along for dinner, shared their red wine, and the next day gave me some fuel and lubricated my bike's chain. How could I forget them? They were kind and generous to a fault.

They were on their way to open up Bike X Cape. Things didn't work out where they rented at first, and they moved to a second location, and Bike X Cape turned into much more than they had anticipated.

They do group tours through the Tankwa Karoo, with Michelle riding backup in the 4x4. They also teach people to ride, and you can rent bikes from them. They developed the little houses they found on the property into beautiful en suite bedrooms. Before I leave, Michelle shows me around, and I am really impressed with what they've achieved in the short time they've been there.

Every room has a F1 theme, but not in a flashy in-your-face way. It's the little touches - the door numbers, and a framed poster in each room, that proclaims its chamption.

The shed, where every thing is kept in top shape

The following users thanked this post: Rynet

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2019, 07:18:06 pm »
Day 4 (cont'd)

The Tankwa XC Rally participants (and spectators I presume) gather tonight, and I've booked to attend the whole event, so I should probably be there this afternoon. I also heard that Gerrit at Cederberg Oasis has finally had his hip replacement and is doing very well, and I'd like to go say howzit. I'll ride to Oasis, and then figure out my route to Rooiputs from there.

I leave Bike X Cape at about 10:00 and head for Skitterykloof towards Katbakkies Pass. Early on I pass some people sight seeing on a rock, their bakkie parked next to the road with a bike or two loaded on. I guess they're also heading towards Rooiputs, but via a more direct route. They give a friendly wave as I pass. Later on, I stop for my own sight seeing on a rock. I usually never stop here because riding here is such fun.

Sight seeing salamander on a rock

I reach Oasis in the heat of day, braving the trench of a road scraper on the very steep last pass down, and find out to my dismay that Gerrit is in Ceres. I buy a beer, then a coffee, and 10l of fuel. While I'm sipping on the beer, a man approaches me and excitedly asks about my bike and my riding. He rides a road bike, and is touring the Cederberg in a 4x4 with his "kleinniggie" whom he grew up alongside, to visit some places from their childhood. I always marvel at what people share off the cuff, but I'm interested nonetheles. We wish each other a good journey after the coffee and they head off.

Jacques shows me the road to Calvinia from Wupperthal via the Biedouw Valley.

I top up my fuel, gird my loins, and aim the bike towards Wupperthal via Eselbank, a road I haven't yet followed without dropping the DR. Apart from my 3l water bladder, I also carry an ice-filled 2l plastic bottle. I'm ready for this!... I think.

I'm a bit nervous tackling this on my own, but if I'm going to fall, I'l going to fall and I'll deal with it when it happens.

The road doesn't look too bad, and my confidence has lifted a bit after my successful Gatsrivier trek the previous day.

I don't ride at high speed, but then I hit those crappy little black marbles overlaying the loose warm sand in a corner. I fixate on the corner thinking, "I'm going too wide, DON'T OVERCOOK IT!" - I grab some brake and the next moment the wheels slide beneath me. I land softly in the deep side wall next to the road, the bike trapping my foot. Turning over, I see that t's on the soft pannier bag that captured my foot, and I kick it off with the other foot. I take a look around.

Good grief, in the easiest of corners I put down the bike through sheer nerves. I cuss myself softly.

Stupidly, I waste some precious energy trying to lift the loaded bike even though I KNOW I can't. After the second try, I loosen the panniers and manage to lift the bike. Then comes the laborious task of fastening everything again. Soon though I'm ready to tackle the rest of the road to Wupperthal. The worst has happened, now I can relax and enjoy the ride :ricky:

The rest of the road is a doozy by comparison. After the recent rains the dust is minimal and the sand packed down, and even the long sand stretches hold no threat. I coast over them, only almost wiping out at the end of the second long stretch.

The swerving S of my front tyre should still be visible around that thickening patch at the end.

While I'm running around taking photo's, I also grab the opportunity for a comfort break. I've become much more relaxed about them, opting for hygiene and kidney health while maintaining some degree of fastidiousness.


Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2019, 07:24:50 pm »
Day 4 (cont'd)

In what feels like a fairly short time, I reach Wupperthal, only to be faced with the next obstacle:

Hell no I'm not going to walk that; I'm sure both Panther and I will be submerged in no time. I look at the newly built pedestrian bridge and decide that it will do me very well, thank you.  I turn Panther onto the narrow path towards the bridge, only to be faced with three shallow steps onto the walkway. I suck in my breath and coax Panther onto the first step. He climbs up quite gently, then onto the next one. The third step is a bit more of a challenge; my feet are on tippy toes now, and I know I just need to give it a bit of throttle and we'll be on the bridge.

I fail to give enough throttle, and Panther rolls back in slow motion. Miraculously I manage to keep a foot on the ground, but I'm unbalanced. Panther slowly falls over, launching me off the platform in a bollemakiesie stopped by my helmet.

I swear at myself again; I'm too old and the weather is too warm for this graft. Again, stupidly, I try to life the bike without loosening any luggage, and only manage to waste energy I don't really have. Then my cunning takes over; I only loosen the upper pannier bag, and still manage to lift the bike. I must be stronger, or angrier, than I thought. My face is a shade of puce that would put any eggplant to shame.

I refasten the pannier while passersby gawp at me from afar, not offering help. A 4x4 crosses the puddle and I see I was right, it is quite deep, Nevertheless I'll have to find a way through or around; I clearly didn't have the guts to mount these shallow steps, and I don't plan on lifting the bike again today.

Facing the puddle again somewhat dejectedly, I notice a footpath to the left of it. It is quite narrow in places, but thank the Heavens I have a very narrow bike. I crawl past the puddle on the slippery slope, and soon I head through town and up the pass towards the Biedouw Valley.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 07:25:44 pm by Ri »

Offline punisher

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 4,958
  • Thanked: 461 times
Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2019, 07:34:24 pm »
great RR thus far

uhmmm will you marry me ?  :biggrin:
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
The following users thanked this post: Ri

Offline Black_Hawk

  • BackroadRiderZA
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW F800GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 3,865
  • Thanked: 335 times
  • Follow our blog: https://mytownsatoz.wordpress.com
    • My Towns A to Z
Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2019, 07:48:00 pm »
Awesome Ri, keep it coming  :thumleft:
Follow our blog: https://mytownsatoz.wordpress.com

2010 F650GS (Sold), 2009 BMW F800GS, 2002 BMW F650GS (Sold), 1982 Honda XR200R, 1983 Honda XL600R
The following users thanked this post: Ri

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2019, 09:37:54 pm »
great RR thus far

uhmmm will you marry me ?  :biggrin:

Wait.... whut?! Why?  :imaposer:

umm also flattered thanks  :redface:
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 11:09:25 am by Ri »

Offline Ri

Re: Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Oh I don't know where I'm going
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2019, 10:17:52 pm »
Day 4 (cont'd)

I notice missing parts and some scratches on my brand new Shoei helmet, but what can one do. It did its job of protecting my empty head, at any rate.

Through the Biedouw Valley I head out on the R354, through Botterkloof Estate (for sale), until I reach the turnoff to the Soutpan Road.

With no traffic in sight on this weekday, I chance another comfort break. Then I take off again, and keep at 80-95kph to be economical, but it is booooring. I spot a small tortoise crossing the road from right to left, and head to the right to pass behind it. However in a split second it turns on a toenail and is suddenly heading back in my direction. WTF?!! I slam on all the brakes and skid to a shaky standstill as the tortoise realises its faux pas and  drops down, pulling into its shell right next to my front wheel. I shakily reflect that many bikers are killed by road users making unexpected u-turns.

Deep in thought I carry on, and catch sight of an unusual dsplay at the entrance to a farm. Not paying attention, I badly overcook the corner and head into the stoney veld, swearing and praying at ths same time. But my Lord is a gracious God, overlooking the swearing and helping me to an uneventful standstill.

Shakily I park the bike and walk off the adrenaline, taking photo's.

How the heck did I miss that?!

Hit the rock but kept it together, amazingly

Path of destruction continues

Who knows what happened here... airborne?

How I got here without spilling I don't know, but I am so, so grateful

Back on the road again I proceed with more caution

After a sandy patch that I almost overcook again (it's been a loooong day, OK? and I lost my ice-filled water bottle somewhere, probably at Wupperthal  >:( ) I notice that my bike isn't tracking very well. Then I see that my back wheel is flat. I try to inflate it, but I hear the air hissing right through some hole in the tube. I decide to risk the 35km ride to Rooiputs - after all, I have only a theoretical knowledge on how to change a tube and it's getting late.

I crawl along the Soutpans Road at 40-50 kph, trying to keep the tyre from climb off the rim, and finally reach the R355 without further incident. In fact, the very flat tyre works well on the sandy sidewall of the road where I ride to avoid the uncomfortable, and probably damaging, corrugations.

I turn left for the last 3,5km towards Rooiputs cautiously, and pull away slowly, ignoring a child shouting at me that my tyre is flat. As if I don't know...  ::) I roll into Rooiputs incongruously on the very visibly flat rear tyre, embarrassed. I make contact with Jolene, the secretary of WCOC, who quickly gives me the low down and points me to the unclaimed tents. I sneak into the first one, only to later realise there's a black bag in it that I don't know. Eventually I just grab the furthest tent, which really is available, and offload into it as quick as possible. The place is crawling with mechies, hopefully someone can help me sort out the flat back wheel soon, or I won't be doing any spectating on this Rally :o

People seem surprised that I arrive at a motorbike rally on a ... motorbike.

After dumping my stuff in my tent, I go back to the stoep, or as it is now referred to, Race HQ or Race Control, hoping to find someone I know so I feel less like an alien implant in this scene. To my great surprise and joy I immediately come upon @Crossed-up, arguably the sweetest person in the known world. He is one of the timekeepers at the Rally, and knows everyone. He points out all the role players and most of the participants, and introduces me to everyone who comes our way. In true Ri-morra style, I latch onto him as my guide and encyclopaedia for the duration of the Rally.

Despite me crowding him like a gambolling over-excited puppy, @Crossed-up doesn't give any sign of irritation or impatience, gently and stoically accepting my offers of assistance. I bring him dinner and buy him a cool drink while he answers queries and sorts out the GPS devices.

When the riders assemble for briefing, I gratefully head for a warm shower, and then to bed.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 11:43:15 am by Ri »

Offline Ri

Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2019, 12:49:38 pm »
Day 5 - Day 1 Tankwa XC Rally

Sleep comfortably evades me for most of the night and I am exhausted when the day dawns. I lie awake listening to the early morning racket of the Rally participants, fuelling up, warming up and finally taking off, and then try to snooze. Crossed-up knocks on my tent around 10:00 as he hasn't seen me around. I languidly get dressed and head out to face the day blearily. John carries on with his rally duties and I try to bum some hot water for a cup of instant coffee. It is too late for breakfast, but I still have many unopened tins and snacks in my bags, as I don't really eat much while I ride.

I start chatting to the cameraman, Carel, and ask whether they have space for me to join them to watch some of the Rally action. He seems to think there's space but tells me to ask Clive (@Offroad2). Clive says sorry no can do, and arranges for me to join John and Robert for the afternoon special at Halfway House. In the meantime I walk around spectating - generally, being in everyone's way, annoying people and taking photo's.

@Buff arrives back and seems in high spirit, very happy with his green monster's performance

@Crossed-up in the foreground, and the dashing David Ellis in the background.

John swans about.

@EDDY2RACE has shown up in full force, and the setup is something to behold.

Sadly no one I know from Yamaha Helderberg is here this weekend (admittedly I only know the Paardeneiland branch)

@Offroad2 and @Yami Super 10 near the latter's crawler or "side-by-side" as it was called.


Offline Ri

Tankwa Trek (16 - 30 Sept 2019): Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2019, 12:56:27 pm »
Day 5 (cont'd)

Others still setting up camp

@Offroad2  and @Crossed-up

This eye-catching tent is my favourite sponsor for the entire event. Later on at a DSP the team supported their racer with unequalled passion, excitement and volume

My not-so-shiny-brandnew-anymore Shoei. Ah well, such is the price of my passtimes :-\

It also seems I've bent the top joint of the fourth finger on my right hand in that last fall at Wupperthal. It was becoming uncomfortably stiff and a little painful when I bent it which, considering that I'm right handed, is all the time. It isn't sore enough for meds, and I consider taping it to the next finger, and then forget about it until the next time I painfully grab something ::)

Time for the special comes around and we head to Robert's bakkie to drive out to Halfway House. John insists on sitting in the back, compelling me to sit up front. I hoist myself into the high front seat, wincing at my crooked finger's complaint. Robert turns to John and asks a little brusquely: Who is she? John replies with a small smile and a tiny hint of malice that I'm a well-known solo rider who writes about my trips, and I burst out laughing, asking, well-known by whom? This is really my first real and completely solo trip.

We slowly make our way 50 km down the tyre chower R355 towards Halfway House. It takes little less than an hour but it feels like forever, and I'm very glad I avoided riding it down from Calvinia. At the Halfway House, we ride through the property and out the back gate.

John greets the young proprietor of the Halfway House padstal.

« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 04:25:42 pm by Ri »