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Author Topic: Cobham and Underberg trip  (Read 278 times)

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Online PapaDragon

Cobham and Underberg trip
« on: December 24, 2019, 06:35:50 am »
So, after a 5 day trip to Lesotho fell through, Simon, Pat and I decided to do a 3 day trip to Cobham and Underberg area.

I had ridden once with Simon before, and had not yet met Pat. Pat kindly offered to take his camper van with his Katey 990 in the back, so that we had a spot to lock stuff, and have a base of sorts. This proved to be a very good way of doing it, only thing Pat ended up with much less riding than Simon and I.

We met up at Van's in Umlaas Road on Wednesday morning, the weather was overcast, misty, but not raining. I assured Simon that the forecast for Underberg was good though, so we set off, Simon on the Katey 690, Pat in the van, and me on the KLR..
We had quite a misty ride up Town Hill between PMB and Hilton, and the took the Midmar Dam exit, and onto the old road to Nottingham Road. Stopped for coffee at Steampunk Cafe in Lion's River. In Notties, turned left onto the Lower Lotheni Road. Somewhere around here the weather cleared, and we were in bright sun for the rest of the trip.

The lower Lotheni Road is tar for the first 30 ks or so, and then onto the dirt.. the dirt is a lot of fun, no really bad sections, but the usual corrugations, ruts, exposed rocky bits here and there. In the dry it is very nice to ride, would be and is a different story in the wet though. If you ride this section, either know the road, or get, and USE!! a GPS track. We stopped for a water and vape break about 30ks from Himeville, and when i switch the bike off, my GPS goes off as well. If I have told it to use battery power that's fine, but if not, I need to re-load the track, get it on the map etc.. so I thought well 30ks to Himeville, straight road.. and just left it off.. anyway, I had forgotten that there is a sneaky turn to the right, which is actually the Lower Lotheni road, and the road that goes straight, which is Stepmore Road.

Anyway, it had become overcast, with low cloud again, and we (I, totally my fault) missed this turn.. only a fair way further on, did I realise that we were travelling away from the Berg, and not parallel to it.. By the time I had stopped Pat and Simon, who were in front of me, we were nearly in Impendle..
A friendly taxi driver told us that the best way to Underberg would be to the Bulwer road, but this was a long way.. I checked Google Maps, and my track, and decided that to backtrack was the best option. I think we did about 68ks extra, so 34 one way. Probably half of this was on fun dirt, and half on a brand new, very nicely constructed tar road. Fortunately, my new riding buddies were cool about all this, and we put it down to adventure.

Back on track, and we headed straight through to Underberg for some meat, drink, and other supplies, and then headed back to Cobham Campsite, which is another 13ks of dirt road from Himeville. I had been told that all the huge Cypress trees had been cut down, and was quite pleased when we got there to find that there were quite a few left, which provide good shade. These trees, though alien, are non-invasive, there are none in the surrounding wilderness area. Simon and I pitched tents, Pat took the 990 out of the van, and sorted out his bed. By the time we had camp sorted, we decided not to go for a ride, as we had nice dirt loop planned for the next day. Pat started the 990, let it idle for a while, then switched it off..

We were ready for an early start on Friday morning, anticipating a breakfast on the way, and a good dirt loop..
However that was not to be.. the 990 would not start.. so we got out the auxiliary battery from the van, and jump started it. We set off, and Pat was in the front, and a fair bit ahead of me, I came round the corner, and there he was, bike had cut out.. long story short, we tried to push start, eventually I went back and fetched the van. We jumpstarted, Pat rode and I went back to camp in the van to collect my bike, and we went to Himeville to fill up. Guess what, bike wouldn't start.

We had breakfast at Himeville Arms, with Pat's bike under a shade tree across the road. After breakfast, we decided to jumpstart the bike, and ride as far as we could.. we flagged down some very helpful EKZNW officers, who helped us jumpstart the bike. After a few minutes, the bloody thing died again.. Pat decided that Simon and I should ride, and that he would sort things out. It was already quite late. He started walking to get a lift to Cobham, to collect his van. Anyway, after getting ready, Simon and I started riding towards Underberg. I saw a car flash lights, but didn't think much of it..

We went through Underberg, turned onto the Bushman's Nek road, a nice gravel road.. also corrugated, rutty, and rocky in places.. Imagine our surprise when after a while while Pat comes roaring past us at a helluva speed. He had got a lift to Underberg, bought an auxiliary battery, and started his bike.. so we had a good ride to Silver Streams trading store at Bushman's Nek, and had refreshments there. We then rode a bit up the road, and parked at the KZNW offices, Pat and I walked to check out the waterfall.

Then had a good ride back to Cobham Campsite, the 990 started at Silver Streams and the KZNW offices. We had taken out the fuses for the lights, and disconnected all the wiring for the GPS. Had a pleasant evening with a braai, and some liquid refreshments.

The next morning, we loaded Pat's bike, and he got off for an early start on the tar route the whole way. I was keen to do the dirt again, Simon unsure, but eventually he decided to join me on the dirt. We stopped off for breakfast at Himeville arms, and had a good ride back to Nottingham Road Hotel, where we had coffee/cooldrink and ice cream. It was very hot at this stage..
Then onto the old main road, and back toward home.. when we crossed the N3 at Midmar Dam, Simon took the freeway, and I continued on the old road.. It was very hot, and my GPS and cellphone were both overheated..

About an hour after I got home. we had huge storms, with pelting rain.. just in time!!

Thanks guys for a good 3 days, despite all not going according to plan, and thanks for your advice, help and tips, and putting up with a newbie rider..

See my pics here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IdcwKru3xH9cqfN7jP_T7stOGmH8kXY3
« Last Edit: December 24, 2019, 06:38:39 am by PapaDragon »
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed with the things that you didn't do, than the things you did. Mark Twain

Offline LouisXander

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Re: Cobham and Underberg trip
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2019, 09:59:03 am »
Ah, the KLR, one of the most trustworthy scoots around.
Don't dress for the ride,........dress for the fall!