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Author Topic: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020  (Read 1097 times)

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Offline Ri

Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« on: December 12, 2020, 08:06:56 pm »
The coming COVID-19 lockdown didn't hold any fear for me.

The first person to bring COVID-19 to Cape Town (SA?) probably worked in my building, because 2 - 3 weeks before the lockdown, we had a Covid scare and were sent to work from home. I have good internet, and my house was empty and - most importantly - QUIET, and would likely stay that way. Work/life borders blurred into non-existence as I started working into the early hours, focused on a problem, and slept later and later.

I had to remind myself to check in with loved ones, lest some cavalry broke down my door, expecting to find my rotting corpse. I had a taste of the lockdown life, and it was sweet.

Overnight my dream became a nightmare. My sister drove my mom 6 hours for a much needed knee operation, scheduled for Lockdown Day, to be turned away at the door. The operation was vital and so wasn't canceled, but postponed to the first available opportunity. My sister drove back home to her own personal hell of home-schooling, and I, childless, took on the care of a bad tempered and bed-ridden 81-year old toddler.

A carer looked after my mom every day, interrupting me to come soothe whenever my mom was being unco-operative or mean, which was all the time. I, who feel faint at the sight of blood, had to dress my mom's weeping knee sores every day, sending photo's to my sister, a degreed nursing professional. I, insomniac battling for a good night's sleep, now startled awake at the slightest sound, worrying that my obstinate mom crept to the bathroom unaided, and fell.

But the worst was that I, who can't keep a plant alive, had to suddenly keep my fussy mom from dying of starvation.

Now, I am not without skills - I can write a bit; I can play some instruments; I can maybe make you laugh - but they don't cover cooking or, some say, motorbike riding. But whereas I'm passionate about motorbike riding, I have zero interest in cooking, even though (or maybe because) I love good food. For me, meal planning is choosing a wine with dinner. And, sometimes, for dinner.

My hair turned white, my face turned grey, my nose and cheeks turned blotchy with rosacea. I scoured the internet for recipes even I couldn't mess up, with minimum ingredients and maximum acceptable taste. Well-meaning friends and family posted and emailed recipes, as if these words of whisking would turn me into Nigella Lawson.

Three weeks of lockdown grew into five weeks and longer... then, unexpectedly, it is over. My mom's knee operation is squeezed in on a quiet morning as lockdown lifts slightly, and my sister fetches her home for some proper rest and ratatouille.

I exhale. Lockdown stretches out in front of me, quiet, empty, and I resolve to social distance the heck out of it.

A WhatsApp pops up: have I heard of Wildwood Tours' regular Up The Creek weekend rides? It seems affiliated to KTM, so, no, but apparently all bikes are welcome. I hesitate. I'm desperate for a ride but I'm exhausted and not fit for human company, and we're still under lockdown. No worries, it's a 'conference' and we should be fine... theoretically. Gysmanshoek Pass decides it for me, and I put in leave for a long weekend, the fog over head and heart lifting slightly.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 09:53:59 pm by Ri »
 

Offline LouisXander

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Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2020, 08:10:45 pm »
As for the cooking, it sounds like me after my divorce

Take the break Ri, change is good as a holiday.

Even if it's just for that short time in space....
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 08:12:27 pm by LouisXander »
Don't dress for the ride,........dress for the fall!
 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2020, 08:33:06 pm »
As for the cooking, it sounds like me after my divorce

Take the break Ri, change is good as a holiday.

Even if it's just for that short time in space....

I unlearnt to cook in the middle of my marriage, when the ex started a company. He would tell me not to cook dinner because he was working late (again), and bring takeaways. This was in the early '00s and I still don't eat KFC, Wimpy, Steers, McDonalds or pizzas.

Second ex was a great cook. And since then ready meals have improved greatly. And since lockdown, I support a young chef who lost his restaurant so, really, it would be selfish to learn to cook :pot:

 

Offline LouisXander

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Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2020, 08:34:28 pm »
Sounds like a bargain to me....

And +1 on the take aways, I too try to dodge them :imaposer:
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 08:37:19 pm by LouisXander »
Don't dress for the ride,........dress for the fall!
 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2020, 08:51:00 pm »
The group plan to start from KTM in Cape Town, an hour's ride in the wrong direction, and a few guys arrange to meet them at the Peregrine Farm Stall. I arrive early and have a cup of coffee, becoming alarmed when time marches on and no one pitches up.




Then the group starts to arrive in drips and drabs, sans John Wildwood of Wildwood Tours - he has bike trouble. This doesn't bode well. Eventually he tells us to carry on without him, he'll catch up for lunch. Keith, ultraflight, takes the lead and we head towards Napier for lunch, skipping some of the gravel we were supposed to ride in order to be there on time. Still, it is a wonderful day, damp and slightly chill from recent rains but not cold, with intense blue skies overhead.


















 

Offline Offshore

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2020, 08:57:45 pm »
 :sip: :ricky: Nice Fodies
Current Bikes
KTM 790 R Rally
KTM 990
Harley Davidson Deuce
Aprilia Moto 65
 
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Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2020, 09:08:38 pm »
At Napier I meet the rest of the group. There are 14 riders and an eclectic mix of bikes.




There are 2 DR650s, my Blue and another piloted by @SamClark . I only see him at the start and end of each section, covered in dust, as he is fast and sticks to John Wood's back wheel like white on rice.




There are 2 KTM690s, 2 KTM390s, a KTM990, a GS800, a ST1200, and some other fast okes. They are a friendly, jovial bunch. Some have ridden with John before.


































 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2020, 09:12:25 pm »
:sip: :ricky: Nice Fodies

Thank you, but I can't take all the credit. I posted some photo's from our WhatsApp group as well, and there were some really nice ones. Order is a bit dodgy though, not sure where they all fit in.
 

Offline big oil

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Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2020, 09:36:14 pm »
Love your writing and peekchas.

The photos of the vast fields with the yellow and green are spectacular views of a lush and fertile planet. 

What is the name of the yellow plants?
 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2020, 09:46:11 pm »
The riding is fantastic, the terrain varying enough to keep me on my toes, and the views are spectacular. Oh, to be alive and riding a bike, here, on a day like this...!!

One of the riders is Luka, a young salesman from KTM, riding a KTM390. He likes the bike well enough, but doesn't seem too keen on gravel riding. He also seems a bit short on attention, missing a few turn offs during the weekend. Whether this is accidental or on purpose, only he knows.

I'm interested to hear that both KTM390 riders find the bikes bottoming out in dips. Luka is slightly chonky, but Keith is quite slender and I would not have expected him to have this problem. How soft, then, is this suspension?




Crawling along, barely kicking up dust, I draw the admiring glances of the bovine community on my sexy Blue :o






If I remember correctly, front left is Kallie, retired Dominee and now proprieter of the Springbok Lodge at Merweville.




We finally reach our destination, Up The Creek Camp, where the annual Up The Creek Festival used to be held. Plan is for it to continue in the future, and if it does, I am very keen to stay here again. It was absolutely lovely.




Bikes are parked, and accommodation is allocated (non-sharing chalet for the single lady, thankyouverymuch. Being the only female in a group has perks).












The river is just down the road.




We unpack and gather at the house for dinner, the most delicious lamb potjie I have ever tasted. We mop up every last morsel and when we are done, the pot doesn't even need cleaning. There is also a cash bar for the thirsty souls.






Then we gather around the fire outside, oozing contentment.




Nine o'clock I decide to turn in, but as I set foot off the patio, John hails me and orders OBS shooters for me and a few others still sitting around the fire. He is in a chatty, expansive mood and we discuss a wide range of topics, talking until 00:00 when finally even the John the apparently Everready Bunny is ready to turn in.

I wearily stumble to my digs - located conveniently next to the ablution facilities - brush my teeth, fall into bed, and proceed to toss and turn for the rest of the night.

 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2020, 09:51:30 pm »
Love your writing and peekchas.

The photos of the vast fields with the yellow and green are spectacular views of a lush and fertile planet. 

What is the name of the yellow plants?

Thank you Big Oil, but the lovely peekchas weren't all taken by me. Sam Clark, the youngster on the DR650, is quite the photographer, as are some of the others who contributed on the WhatsApp group.

The yellow plants are Canola flowers, which are processed into Canola oil and other food products. They have a lovely smell too.

There used to be an annual Canola Run around Caledon, where farmers would open up farm roads for plastics and bigger bikes, and our entry fees went to charity, and the town people got up early to serve us coffee and vetkoek. It was cancelled this year, but hopefully will be back next year.

There was drought in the area for quite a number of years, but this year had been a bumper rain year and the fields were in full flower  :toothy4:
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 09:55:03 pm by Ri »
 

Offline swakop_toe

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2020, 10:01:46 pm »
I have always enjoyed your writing style Ri.
Your reference to "like white on rice" is only the second time ever I have read/heard it.
The first time on the 2nd episode of Homeland with Claire Danes. I like that saying.

OT, are you related to "Skinny" that do the Tank Girls newsletters and RR's? Just curious.

Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk

 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2020, 10:45:24 pm »
I have always enjoyed your writing style Ri.
Your reference to "like white on rice" is only the second time ever I have read/heard it.
The first time on the 2nd episode of Homeland with Claire Danes. I like that saying.

OT, are you related to "Skinny" that do the Tank Girls newsletters and RR's? Just curious.

Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk

Thank you! I've heard that "white on rice" a few times over the years. There is an even better one in Afrikaans though: "Klou soos k.k aan 'n wolkombers" (stick like shit to a wool blanket)

No, I've never met Skinny. I know of her and her friend (Conchita?) and their DR650s, and I've read the news letters. They did a Puzey tour around the country, that must have been HUUUGE fun!! She seems like quite a character :ricky:
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 10:46:11 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2020, 12:01:20 am »
Looks like great fun, more please!

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2020, 01:58:02 pm »
Early the next morning I drag my tired body out of bed, don my riding gear and walk to the main house. Pieter, the friendly facilities manager, is apparently also the chef. Breakfast is served, and it is a feast, including yoghurts, flapjacks and French toast with honey. There is a wide selection of sausages to choose from, and eggs to order.














Keith chatting about his new KTM390. He is quite chuffed with it's capabilities (except the inevitable bottoming out)




I throw a rictus at my companions and head straight for the coffee, but the weak fluid doesn't dent my insomnia-enhanced peopled-out aggro. I grit my teeth and politely ask for a stronger cup of coffee. Pieter explains they've run out of coffee beans, sees my face and quickly retreats into the kitchen. He reappears with a jar of Jacobs from a personal stash held at arms length, a gift offering. He also quickly despatches an underling to town to buy stronger beans, pronto.

The she-beast sniffs at this meagre offering, and accepts on condition of two heaped spoons being used. The super strong coffee is duly produced. The ruffled aggro settles slightly as the caffeine kicks starts my self-control. I smile, grateful. My companions might survive this day.





The morning is misty and quite chilly. When we reach Swellendam, my hands are frozen, but as the day warms up, we all quickly start shedding under coats. It is another glorious day for riding and I start to sing inside my helmet. The patient Keith babysits me at the back, sometimes relieved by Kallie or John.




Two dusty DR riders












Our fearless leader, John Wood.




Father and son. It seems grandad was also supposed to join, but picked up motorbike problems. Sweet dreams are made of these :)




Frans on the left just recently bought his 800GS and this was his first gravel ride after many, many years. He had a small off somewhere, but no damage done.




Kallie is usually at the front on his 1200GS, but was lagging a bit on this stretch. Maybe his turn to babysit me?




I met Gary (on the right in the blue top) on this trip, but for some reason already had his phone number on my phone. It turns out I'd loaned his daughter some kit for a father-daughter ride to Cederberg Oasis. She had loved that trip, but had decided offroad riding is not for her.






Aaaaaah Gysmanshoek Pass. How I love this road!! Even though I've never fallen here, I don't yet have the confidence to tackle it on my own, which is why I'll join any group headed this way, but soon, my precious, SOOOOOOOOOON :o








Returning from a (dis)comfort break half a kilometre's trek away, because low bushes and few rocks.














Finally on our way again. WARNING: I stop for no reason photos.
















Miertjieskraal has many gates, but being an "agterossie", I just get waved through each one. You don't slow down a slow rider even more, by making them stop and open/close gates! (Even though I really want to do my bit too :( )






Our fallen heroes. So young!!

 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2020, 04:34:54 pm »
Lunch is at Koedoeskloof near Ladismith, and it is great to see @Veldbrand and @Veldblom again. Protocols are followed properly, with signing in, taking of temperature and sanitising our hands. As always, the food is great and I really enjoy the burger. It has been hard work getting here, and we have a little rest before heading back to Swellendam.













 

Offline 73 Peanut

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Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2020, 05:03:00 pm »
Stunning pics and always nice to read your ride reports .
 
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Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2020, 06:11:18 pm »
"Magie vol, ogies toe", as the Afrikaans saying goes. The trek back to Swellendam feels loooong...The adrenaline that kept me going has worn off, and I'm catching cat naps in the saddle. We gather at the final turnoff just outside Swellendam, and I ask John whether I can carry on so long.

It's a a lovely sweeping gravel highway, undulating between farms and over hills, and I switch on my high beam and spotlights as dusk creeps over me. With the waning light, the temperature also drops, and my body stiffens with cold. I set my chattering teeth and open the throttle, racing recklessly towards our camp, consequence be damned.

Gary catches me up on his KTM 990 and decides to ride next to me, keeping pace. The frosty night and my helmet and earplugs mute our bikes, and it feels eery. We glide quietly through the night, side by side, starting up silent owls who swoop away like majestic white ghosts. It is magical.

Back at Up The Creek, I defrost in the shower and then go check out dinner. Pieter has really outdone himself, and again we all dish up seconds and even thirds. If you ride with Wildwood, it is clear you won't suffer a shortage of delicious meals. I have a drink and then head for my cozy little coop, determined to get to bed early tonight.

My brain comes to the party, so to speak, and doles out a little more sleep. I wake up feeling slightly more human than the previous day, and quickly wash and dress for the final day's ride.

Breakfast is again a grand affair and the coffee is much better than the previous morning. Pieter is at hand to tell me what is on offer, and invites me to try the pork bangers. I'm not a fan of pork products apart from bacon and spicy processed sausages, and he says he isn't either. The small talk turns to cooking, and I joke about my love of good food but my total lack of kitchen prowess. Instead of laughing, Pieter earnestly emphasises how much he adores cooking, waving at the fresh baked rolls. Is he buttering me up?

Breakfast over, we say our goodbyes to our lovely hosts, and head for home over Ouberg and Theronsberg passes, through Montagu and down the Eilandia(?) road to Villiersdorp. It is really cold and starts to rain, causing a well-known dilemma: fogged-up visor or rain-stung eyes. At least I am toasty: my riding jacket can barely zip up over the puffy jacket and long sleeved I'm wearing underneath. I look like a GS rider.

Our first flat tyre of the trip makes its appearance. I offer my 17" spare tube but it is refused. They can make a 21" tube work on this 18" back wheel, la Enduro.






While they struggle with the tube, I take the opportunity for a discomfort break, and to shed a few layers of clothing, as the day starts to heat up. Then we carry onwards.








Road works at Montagu - yes, still... There seems to be progress though. A new bridge is in place and the road is looking broader.






A few kilometers further, the 21" tube gives up the ghost and the tyre deflates again. I hand over my 17" tube without a word and the experts get to work installing it. The rest of us relax in the balmy shade of the eucalyptus trees; kind riders share tasty snacks.



« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 09:47:10 am by Ri »
 

Offline Crossed-up

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2020, 06:22:12 pm »
Always so good to read your RRs. Go Ri!
 

Offline Ri

Re: Up the Creek without A Permit: 31 July - 2 August 2020
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2020, 07:18:28 pm »
We cross the Theewaterskloof Dam, almost at capacity and sparkling in the sun. It is beautiful, and a stark contrast to the white dust bowl it was just a few short months ago, and empty desert. Some riders turn right towards Franschhoek Pass, determined to get home. The rest of us turn left on the Van der Stel road towards Botrivier.




At Botrivier we take the track to the Old Houwhoek Pass, another favourite of mine with its beautiful views. I creep up the sandy little twee-spoor, shaking in my boots slightly, while everyone remarks on how much the 2-spoor has improved.








Some group photo's that belong earlier in the report:






At the top of Old Houwhoek Pass we turn onto the N2 towards Cape Town. The others pull away from me as we dodge the late afternoon returning traffic past Grabouw, and then we wend our way down Sir Lowrie's Pass.

As I round the final bend and approach the red traffic light, crawling around the backed up traffic, I stare in amazement as first the 1200ST, and then the cream coloured 800GS, head into the truck arrestor bed without flinching. Is this for the higher grade kids? Are we all supposed to ride through it? Nope, above my pay grade.

I don't see what happens to the ST, because the 800GS starts swerving in ever wider arches, kicking up thick clouds of dust. Just when it looks like Frans might save it, the creamy GS spins around in graceful slow motion and the bike sinks to the ground like the Dying Swan. Up ahead, almost in the middle of the arrestor bed, lies the ST, a beached whale.

Paul behind me and I stop to check up on Frans and Mike. Thankfully no one is hurt, and the bikes only picked up a few scratches. Yo! says Paul to Mike, you got far, you must have gone in hot! Mike and Paul push Frans over to the side of the arrestor bed and onto the kerb. They then push Mike through to the far end of the arrestor bed.

John turns back and stops next to me, mouth hanging open. What happened? I explain that for some reason they decided to ride through the arrestor bed. It turns out John had shot through the arrestor bed, and Mike thought he was meant to follow. As he says later, he's used to following John into some dodgy places. Frans, not knowing better, followed Mike.

Shoooo, says John, that gravel is very loose. Well, I reply, it *is* meant to stop a speeding truck. Didn't stop the 690, John says with a wide grin. But it did stop these two hippos, I say, and can't help laughing. It had been equally spectacular and comical.

The day starts to fade and as we continue through the traffic, the others pull away from me again. No matter, I am almost home and they still have a ways to go. At the R44 turn-off I hoot and wave to Paul, then head into Somerset West with a big grin on my face.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 09:44:19 am by Ri »
 
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