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Author Topic: Seeing the snow – the long way round  (Read 1377 times)

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Offline Zanie

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Seeing the snow – the long way round
« on: June 14, 2020, 04:45:20 pm »
Video overview for those too lazy to read:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/kz2ggjpZ-ww" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/kz2ggjpZ-ww</a>
Credit: Lance

Thanks to lockdown, it was a long, long, long time (sense the sadness?) since we were out on an adventure ride. Since March, the furthest we were from our home in Table View was a shopping trip by motorbike to Durbanville, since – obviously – of all the bicycle shops, we had to choose the one furthest away.

Yesterday we cracked. It was time to get out. The whole world wanted to go to see the recently-fallen snow. A quick check on Google Maps, with the traffic layer activated, showed that there were some big snarl-ups at Bain’s Kloof Pass and Michell’s Pass. Roadblocks. Ceres, thanks to being a Covid hotspot, was a no-go zone.

Our motive was not really to go prance about in the snow or return home with a fine. A glimpse of snow-capped mountains, far from the madding crowd, was all that was needed for mental health.

We left home at 8:30, heading north via the N7. The highway was eerily quiet and actually enjoyable as a result.

We were wrapped in layer upon layer of warm stuff: thermal underwear, down jacket, thick socks, internal rain-layers in both jacket and pants, and winter buffs – in Lance’s case, three buffs! We didn’t unlayer for the entire day, because, it remained frigid. The temperature hovered somewhere between 7 and 12 °C for most of the day; only touching the mid-teens when we got back to Cape Town.

Citrusdal was cloaked in a cloud bank.



Fuelled up, we headed out of Citrusdal via Middelberg Pass.







The ground-level snow was gone, but every tall mountain peak had a dusting of white. It was incredibly pretty.







Lance, as usual, decided on a short off-road excursion.



In the background in the photo of Katbakkies Pass below, you can spot another bike. We did see other bikers out there, but it was always in twos: either two bikes or two people 2-up on one bike. There was plenty of room for social distancing in this vast landscape.



On Katbakkies, we found some patches of leftover snow in shady alcoves. Lance decorated my bike with small samples of it, before he decorated my person with a last flurry. At that point, my smile disappeared.



Eastern side of Katbakkies:



At Op-Die-Berg, we hit a road block. Thankfully, we never planned to ride straight on to Ceres. The cops were happy to wave us through once they saw we were heading elsewhere.

Roadblock illustrated as a yellow dot on the map:



The R355, South Africa’s longest gravel highway, was actually far busier than the N7! Yet, whenever we saw parked vehicles, it was almost always just one, pulled off randomly on the side of the road, with a family on their own outing mission.

Eventually we jumped off the R355 to explore around Droelandskloof Pass.







We were on a small road that peaked our interest due to the “waterfall” sign-board, when we spotted two bikes. Why had they stopped here, so far away from what seemed to be a chalet?



Oh, right. I understand. There’s no way we were going to tackle such a dodgy “bridge”. The drop was about 2m; enough to do considerable damage to bike and person if things went south.



Heading back:















Baviaan’s style concrete strips; apparently not great if you’re directionally challenged, but fun if you can keep a line.



Dam wall, to hold back non-existent water:





We did find some water, at a lapa lookout point:





This was a great spot for a lunch of boerie rolls and mini-potatoes; leftovers from a braai the previous night. It was freezing the previous night, you say? Your point? We are Safricans. We braai, no matter the weather.





Needing to extricate the behemoth, as we head back:



The speed was low, but the puddles were deep:



Chocolate anyone?



Droelandskloof Pass did not disappoint; with beautiful snowy backdrops.



The sun halo is caused by high-level ice in the atmosphere.









Watch out for the buffalo!



The last leg of gravel:



The sun looked like a meteorite, with tail, as well as its halo.



We reached Ceres at 4pm. It was crawling with cops, but they were more interested in people heading in the opposite direction, i.e. away from Cape Town.

The remainder of the day was a hard slog, pushing my little bike as fast as it could go, in order to reach home before dark. We managed; arriving one minute after sunset, at 5:45pm. For those interested: 140 km/h indicated speed on the Honda Rally equates to 132 km/h actual speed – roughly its limit.

My body ached from the cold and the long day in the saddle (540 km!), but my soul was jubilant. The ride was a mental health reset. It is possible to see the snow, if you are willing to ride a massive detour!
 
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Offline Crossed-up

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 06:27:01 pm »
Great day out! Well done, Zanie and Lance on getting out there while the rest of us shiver at home.

I've never been on Droelandskloof Pass. It looks beautiful.
 

Offline Splash

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 06:27:37 pm »
Amazing ride - your pictures are beautiful.
Have bike, will ride.
 

Offline Zanie

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 08:41:30 pm »
Great day out! Well done, Zanie and Lance on getting out there while the rest of us shiver at home.
Says the person who rides almost every Sunday, with the weather only being a minor consideration. ;)

I've never been on Droelandskloof Pass. It looks beautiful.
Stick it on the bucket list. I really enjoy it, because it's rougher than your average gravel pass and the scenery is fantastic. We found it using this website: https://www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za/find-a-pass/mastermap.html.

Amazing ride - your pictures are beautiful.

I have Lance to thank for the photos. I choose them (or create them from the video footage), but he edits them. The difference is really night and day. I've attached an example of what one of the fotos looked like before and after editing (the before version is at the bottom).
 
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2020, 11:45:47 pm »
Stunning area you've been in. Wonder what the name of that dam is?
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Offline stcomza

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 07:52:01 am »

Awesome, just awesome  :thumleft:
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Offline Crankshaft

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 08:47:03 am »
Wow awesome.  Dankie vir die RR
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Offline Mother

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2020, 08:49:58 am »
nice RR thanks for sharing  :thumleft:

enjoyed the video........looked very cold....

next time dont edit the mud crossing and the wooden bridge  :biggrin: :thumleft: O0

« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 08:55:58 am by Mother »
mother ....only half a word ;-)
 

Offline the_BOBNOB

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 09:23:48 am »
Nice ride!

Need to get out to that part of the world myself  :ricky:
 

Offline GeelKameel

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 09:48:55 am »
Baie dankie Zanie!
Great report, great fotos  --  soos in al jou tripreporte
 :)
 

Offline Bryan42

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2020, 10:12:50 am »
These pictures are fantastic! This route is going straight onto my list! Thanks for sharing.
 

Offline Sheepman

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2020, 10:30:51 am »
Brilliant  :thumleft:
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2020, 11:21:09 am »
What a fantastic ride Zanie.. awesome shots as well.

VERY jealous.. looks like you had a great time, those roads look in good condition as well after the storm.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2020, 02:58:52 pm »
Nice one  :thumleft:
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Offline blackbird

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2020, 11:01:46 am »
Lekker RR, al lyk dit bitter koud.
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Offline Oubones

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2020, 11:11:17 am »
Nice ride!
Jealous. :drif:
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Offline MRK Miller

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2020, 11:19:45 am »
Very nice. I hope that dam gets filled well when the snow starts to melt
I would rather fall a thousand times, and keep riding, than to stop riding and never fall
 

Offline Battlestar

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2020, 11:57:25 am »
Great RR

I seriously live in the wrong part of the country. A ride like that under current conditions would do me the absolute world of good

Pass this way once!
 

Offline HB 9

Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2020, 07:44:47 am »
Great RR and awesome pictures!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Tread lightly
 

Offline caconcepts

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Re: Seeing the snow – the long way round
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2020, 07:50:55 am »
That's looks awesome..... :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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