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Author Topic: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)  (Read 2860 times)

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Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #80 on: February 06, 2021, 09:10:55 pm »
I soon reach the turn off to Dorsland's farm, and in my mind compare it to the previous time I stopped here for tea, about 2 years ago.












I meet the visiting bikers, and accept a beer. We sit on the guest house stoep and shoot the breeze. It is so hot the crows yawn, and Johan invites us along when he goes to check the crew fixing camp wires. Still wearing my adventure boots, I join the group in the bakkie and head out in the heat. The farm is beautiful.

Boots or no, I slowly follow Johan along the path. I realise my mistake soon, and find myself limping back to the bakkie with an aching foot.
































The other visitors are happy to wait for us at the bakkie.






When we get back to the house, it's time to feed the boerbokke in the camps nearby. There are many kids around, and they are cute as buttons, demanding and headstrong.




Johan's handlanger walks around with a whip, keeping the goats in line before they take out Johan at the knees while he distributes their feed.








The baby kids have a feeding cage/restaurant. If you can fit through the bars, you can eat here.






The sun heads for the horizon, and it's time for me to head back to town. Still a touch lightheaded from the beer on an empty stomach, I decide to take the scenic road back. I ask Johan how long until the sun sets, and he reckons I have until about 18:30. It's 17:15 now, and Elandskloof road is about 50 km. I reckon I should be fine.

I wave farewell jauntily and head into the fading light, not realising how slow I'm going. I soon come to the turn-off that heads to the tar road sooner, but thinking I have enough time, I decide to stick to my original route and continue on the Elandskloof road.






The lovely road winds through the mountains, but here and there are unexpected bits of steep downhill washed out in the recent rains, rutted and covered in loose shale and rock. I gear down and hop on the pegs, very conscious of the fact that there's no signal out here, should I come to grief.






The road feels never ending, but the light quickly fades to nothing. Eventually I crawl along the twisting road in the dark, checking my position on MapOut sparingly because my cell phone battery is near its end. A gate appears in the dark, and turns out to be the border to a nature reserve. Thankfully I see a push button to open the gate just as panic sets in, and within minutes I finally reach the tar road, at 19:45. With the dying battery life on my phone, I send Johan a quick message to say I reached the tar road safely, and shivering with cold, I race towards Graaff-Reinet.





« Last Edit: February 06, 2021, 09:21:05 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #81 on: February 06, 2021, 09:50:38 pm »
Around 20:30, I cruise through the quiet, cool streets, trying to remember the number of the place I'm staying. Finally recognising it, I turn in and bring Blue to a gentle stop, closing the garage door behind me. When I walk into the yard, my host and hostess are waiting for me, limp with relief. My hostess tells me how she berated her husband for not getting my name and number to check up on me and make sure I'm OK. I appreciate and thank them for their concern, and feel foolish for not giving them my details before I left. I always assume I'll be OK, but I know not everyone is like me.

Then it's time for sleep in my lovely quarters.










I got such a kick out of this kind little gesture: a small pair of scissors, in case one couldn't manage the coffee packet tear-off:



 

Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #82 on: February 06, 2021, 10:31:27 pm »
Tuesday 27/10/2020

I take my time getting up, showering, cleaning my room and packing my bike. My host hangs around in rugby shorts while I pack, and we chat about living in Graaff-Reinet, house prices, careers, routes and the DRZ400 he used to own.  Next moment he is lying bare back on the garage floor, inspecting Hooligan's engine and bash plate, eyeing every bolt, tugging every wire and pipe, testing the tyre pressure. He reckons Hooligan's oil looks a bit low, and grateful for the thorough once-over, I assure him I'll have it checked when I fill up this morning. 

True to my word, I take a look at the oil levels when I fill up Hooligan, and notice that it's below the low level mark. I ask the attendant to add a small container of oil, and continue on my journey. It isn't super early but it is already hot when I leave Graaff-Reinet, and I decide to skip the ride around the dam Malcolm described yesterday.

I take the wrong left turn into what I think is the Camdeboo Nature Reserve, and end up doing an interesting loop through a picnic area, popping out in a dodging looking area at the far edge of the town.






I criss-cross through town until I again reach the fuel station I just filled up at, and head out of town again, ignoring all turn-offs until I find one saying "Valley of Desolation". The friendly rangers make me fill in and sign about twenty forms, themselves fill in about twenty more forms, take my entry fee, and shoo me into the park.










The tar road winds up into the mountains, opening to wide and breath taking vistas






Yes, in this heat and with my now-aching paw, in my hot boots, I clamber up this steep hill to look out over a map and the waterways of Graaff-Reinet.






The iconic stone fingers of the Valley of Desolation beckon.




















I ride up to the next lookout point, and visit the bathroom. It is clean, and I'm impressed that here in the middle of nowhere, rules for COVID is being followed, a forlorn hand sanitiser inviting a friendly touch.













Not content with the damage I've done myself so far, and probably half crazy with heat, I head out on the trail towards the stone fingers.


















It is quite a way down. This should be a spectacular route to walk in cooler weather, or much earlier in the day.






I struggle to take in all the beauty around me. This is a place that needs more of one's time, to be soaked in slowly. I need to come back.















A touch of the Antarctic in this hot, dry and desolate spot: the cap Tom sent me from Tristan da Cunha, with which I always travel. The glasses and frown make me resemble a bad tempered traffic cop. On this tour I feel like the poster child for rosacea. Everywhere I stop, people remark on my red nose and cheeks, and start lecturing me on wearing sun screen. I wear sun screen religiously, I tell them. The redness is due to an incurable skin condition called rosacea, which is brought on by stress, and worsened by heat, cold and wind. This is as good as it's ever going to be, especially since I love travelling with my visor open whenever I can.



« Last Edit: February 06, 2021, 10:33:34 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Tom van Brits

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #83 on: February 07, 2021, 06:52:48 am »
Awesome collection of pictures and good to see you have visited Dorsland.
Any reason why you have skipped Neu Betesda? I just can drive past that amazing village, so much to see and close to hart.
Thanks for educating me about 'rosacea and good to hear you are still taking precautions against the sun!
 

Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #84 on: February 07, 2021, 11:07:39 pm »
Awesome collection of pictures and good to see you have visited Dorsland.
Any reason why you have skipped Neu Betesda? I just can drive past that amazing village, so much to see and close to hart.
Thanks for educating me about 'rosacea and good to hear you are still taking precautions against the sun!

I would've loved to stay over in Nieu Bethesda, but changing my back wheel put a spanner in the works. Apart from taking too long, the owner wanted to know my plans and got involved, telling me what I should and shouldn't do. I didn't mind, but I confused myself with the conflicting plans and advice, as I do. I'll make a special trip to Nieu Bethesda, probably when I go camping in the Baviaans.

I didn't used to care much about sun screen, but I don't really like resembling an alcoholic with the ever-red nose. And yes, make-up covers a multitude of sins skin conditions, but I'm fussy about base on my helmet padding ::)  :imaposer:
« Last Edit: February 07, 2021, 11:08:48 pm by Ri »
 

Offline McSack

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Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #85 on: February 08, 2021, 09:34:58 am »
Another awesome RRi.
:D


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Offline skydiver

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #86 on: February 08, 2021, 11:54:50 am »
Nice pics
I should visit Valley of Desolation next time I drive past Graaff Reinett
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Offline Pilchie

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #87 on: February 08, 2021, 05:01:46 pm »
You are one brave woman - love reading about your adventures - thanks for sharing
May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live
 

Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #88 on: February 08, 2021, 05:09:38 pm »
Nice pics
I should visit Valley of Desolation next time I drive past Graaff Reinett

Thanks! You really should, but don't be in a hurry. The pics don't do the scenery justice, and there are a few well-marked hiking trails. I want to try get closer to those peaks next time :drif:


You are one brave woman - love reading about your adventures - thanks for sharing

Thanks @Pilchie ... I think the word you're looking for is "foolhardy"

...But I've come a long way since Paarl Nature Reserve :ricky:
« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 05:17:33 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #89 on: February 08, 2021, 05:16:37 pm »
.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 05:17:18 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #90 on: February 12, 2021, 08:38:23 am »
Feeling the heat, I leave the beautiful peaks and head down the tar road again.

Oh wow, Ouberg Pass, what an unusual name.








Not long after the Ouberg Pass sign, I find the Owl Route sign board and turn right onto the gravel, feeling a feathering of anticipation: what does this road hold in store for me? A man in a small Nissan bakkie passes me as I stop for the photo's, the last vehicle I see on this road.






The gravel road is beautiful, in very good condition and swerving around the low hills, the scenery a delight to my eyes. My heart swells again, joy and gratefulness welling up. It's hard to sing in a helmet with the visor up, wind in your face, and goggas taste very bitter, so I just hum in delight. How very lucky am I to be here? Admittedly the heat mutes my warbling a bit, and I perspire profusely whenever I stop. I wonder again whether I should ride with an action camera, but I want something to capture the beautiful scenery, not my fast crawl along a veritable gravel highway.












I reach a junction of roads, and it is decision time. I would love to visit Nieu-Bethesda, but it is now 13:00. Sight seeing and touristing is going to take time, and I'll still have to come back this way to continue my journey. Regretful, I turn my faithful bike towards Dassiesfontein. I'm definitely coming this way again some day, and staying over in Nieu-Bethesda.










The road is really in great condition, and I maintain about 100kph all the way. Then the road joins a more well-used and slightly corrugated road, a gravel arrow pointing towards the N1.










I round a wide bend and almost fall off my bike in shock: a dry pan lies to my left, covered in green fuzz from recent rains, and springbuck. Many, many springbuck. I gently slow Hooligan to a stop - it's too hot to be picking up bikes - and try to capture the scene, but the camera just can't convey the impact. I sit and stare for a moment, fervently wishing I had the right equipment and skill to do this justice.

Meh. I'd rather be riding. Come see for yourselves.












Karoo and more Karoo, an indescribable landscape.










I don't think I've ever stopped in Richmond in all the years I drove up and down the N1 to visit family in the Cape, except maybe once when we had a breakdown.

Today, the main road is again quiet, although there are a few people shuffling along the hot asphalt. I trawl up and down, looking for a place to rest and get something to eat. Eventually I stop and ask some pedestrians, but they just shrug, apathetic. On my second pass-through, I notice this sign board and decide to stop here. It turns out to be a fantastic decision.




























Perusing the menu, the omelette catches my eye, but it is long past 11:00, the cut-off time for breakfast. I ask the friendly staff anyway, on the basis that you never know. And true's bob, the lady says, "Dis reg, ek sal dit vir jou maak". Best. Omelette. Ever.


« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 08:44:02 am by Ri »
 

Offline Psycho Porra

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Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #91 on: February 12, 2021, 08:47:19 am »
I just caught up on this ride report and cannot wait for more, knap gedaan Ri.

All I remember about Richmond is all the bloody speeding fines from that camera on the N1 just south of town
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Offline elandsrider

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #92 on: February 12, 2021, 08:49:13 am »
Legend RR
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Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #93 on: February 12, 2021, 08:52:26 am »
I just caught up on this ride report and cannot wait for more, knap gedaan Ri.

All I remember about Richmond is all the bloody speeding fines from that camera on the N1 just south of town

Thanks!

Yes those darned fines...By the time you reach Richmond you are properly gatvol of the road and just want the be in the Cape already. And back in the day, you couldn't ignore them, they followed you home  :lol8:


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Not nearly, but thanks, I'll take it  :biggrin:
 

Offline Psycho Porra

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Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #94 on: February 12, 2021, 09:08:51 am »
KTM990, XT660R

"The brave do not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all"
 

Offline Lem

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #95 on: February 12, 2021, 09:17:26 am »
Ek kannie glo ek kom nou eers op hierdie juweel van 'n trip en report af nie  :thumleft:

Well done!  :deal:
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #96 on: February 12, 2021, 09:19:01 am »
I soon reach the turn off to Dorsland's farm, and in my mind compare it to the previous time I stopped here for tea, about 2 years ago.


Sien nou eers jou fred raak.

Dankie dat jy kom kuier het.  Ek moet verskoning vra dat ek nie 100% aandag aan aalmal gegee het, meer as 2 mense hier op die plaas dan voel dit soos Durban strand Desembermaand en ek raak benoud en gespanne.  :lol8:

Ons was nogal bekommerd toe jy die Pretoriuskloofpad aanpak toe dit al so laat was.  Hy is in 'n nog slegter toestand nou.
'Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind.

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Offline Ri

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #97 on: February 12, 2021, 11:05:29 am »
Slightly fortified but lazy from a full stomach and the singing heat, I face the last leg of today's journey, to Victoria West where I plan to sleep. The farm roads are in good condition, with here and there, signs of recent rains rutting the smoothish surface. Best not get your front wheel caught in one of those, it goes it's own way, not-so-gently guided by the subtle and sometimes unseen ridges in the road.










Here, the road crosses the railway and swerves to the left, following the railway line. I love railway travel.












Not far beyond the bend, stopped at a blockhouse, I find a truck loaded with sheep. I stop to ask whether everything is OK, because maybe I can organise for help when I get to Victoria West. A polite young trucker jumps down from the cab. Everything is fine, he says, "behalwe dat ek sukkel met hierdie ooie in hierdie hitte!" he says, exasperatedly gesturing at the carriage. I look at them without comprehension. The little I know about sheep, which is probably more than average since my sister married a sheep farmer, doesn't cover sheep transport.

It's his own truck that he recently bought. The young trucker has been driving night and day, dropping off one and picking up another load in East London and now back on his way to Victoria West with. The heat is affecting the load of sheep he is carrying, but I don't know in what way, and I don't know why he stopped if moving is probably going to cool them down more in an open carriage. Ah well.

The trucker, having said his bit, is suddenly overcome by the fact of me stopping to help, and starts thanking me profusely. He looks a sentimental sort, swinging between emotions quickly, like a child. Too hot and tired to bother with photo's, I wave goodbye and carry on, looking forward to coming to rest.

I ride down Victoria West main road with no destination in mind. The place has so many guesthouses and B&Bs, and when I stop and Google them, my eyes goggle at the rates. Good grief! Not aimed at the local tourist, much. An ageing gent approaches me as I stand in the middle of the road, cell phone in hand, and asks what I want. When I mention I need a place to stay, he points around at the pricey places and mention a few names. "Or you can stay with me! I've just opened a hostel, you'll be my first guest!"

It's on the corner right next to me, and he quotes me R100 per night, and I think, why not? He looks small and harmless enough. I manoeuvre Hooligan through the gate he  opens for me, find a parking spot I think I can get out of, take off a few bits of luggage, and follow him into the house.

And so I make the acquaintance of John Wagenvoorde, a self-described inventor and tinkerer, who lost his business or sold his house in Johannesburg or something. He'd bought this property with a few of the surrounding guesthouses, and was developing it into a cheap hostel. He did maintenance for the places around him as well.

The house is a historic building, and John had found a way to fix the mud walls, understandably a huge problem in these old properties, by mixing glue with mud, he said. I walked around, taking in the eclectic layout and furnishings. The house has huge potential, but it is going to take time to get everything in place. I put my stuff in the dusty room pointed out to me, with the bedding laying in wait.

Watch out for that springbuck skin, waiting to trip up unwary travellers...










John is happy to have company, and keeps jabbering away, pointing out this and that, explaining his plans. In the kitchen lies a dog on a pillow, breathing belabouredly. The poor dog contracted cat fever, and has been too weak to eat or walk now for 5 days. John gently strokes and talk to the dog, and squirts a few drops of water down its throat with a syringe. He seems like a typical verstrooide professor, with the beginnings of projects scattered throughout the house. The place is fairly neat but there is a thick layer of dust everywhere, something men seem to have a selective blindness to.




Crazy Scientist Central




















He tells me he needs to go to Jozi for a few weeks, and plans to ride up the next day on the little scooter on the stoep, same as he came down with. He has a friend/caretaker coming to look after the dog and the property while he's gone.




We are chatting on the stoep when I notice a man weaving towards us drunkenly, wearing filthy clothes, face covered in old blood and bruises. I walk back into the house, leaving John to deal with what I presume to be a beggar. John opens the gate and welcomes him in. This is his caretaker, the friend who helps at the vegetable market, whom I assumed arrived the next day.

John takes his caretaker to the kitchen and shows him the intensive care patient, explaining how he should care for this dog and the others. The caretaker waves him to silence and kneels down, stroking the dog with inebriated confidence to show he knows what he is doing. I stare, slightly appalled. I ask John sotto voce whether my bedroom door can lock. "Oh, you don't have to worry, I know him very well, he is nothing to worry about" he pooh-poohs me. A man I don't know from a bar of soap, vouching for a man who doesn't know a bar of soap.
 
I pull out my phone and hurriedly Google for the number of the person mentioned to me by the owner of the Vetmuis in Richmond. The lady thankfully has a room for me, and quotes me R600 for the night, discounted from R650 because I'm not a person sharing. It makes my eyes water, but I can't stay here.

I start gathering my things. Poor John is embarrassed. He asks his caretaker to go wash his face from the old blood still clotted on it, which makes his friend marginally more presentable. When it is clear I plan to leave, he tries to compel his caretaker to come back the next day, but the caretaker is so inebriated he doesn't catch John's drift, and stands there swaying slightly, smiling at me in benevolently creepy way.

I assure John that it's me, not him. I'm a scaredy cat and I don't feel comfortable in this situation. He is not to blame and please to keep the money I paid him for the night. He nods in acceptance, and opens the gate for me. I quickly ride away, thinking that either John is an astute judge of character who sees something in his friend that completely escapes me, or has amazing trust in humankind. I hoped, for the sake of that poor sick dog, that it is the first.
 

Offline Tom van Brits

Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #98 on: February 12, 2021, 11:08:35 am »
Ek verstaan nou hoekom hulle daai plek die vetmuis noem! Kyk al daai lekkernye.
 

Offline Dorsland

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Re: Licenced to Ride: Singles Tour (13 - 28/10/2020)
« Reply #99 on: February 12, 2021, 11:57:27 am »
Klink soos 'n tipiese akademikus. Veilig agter boekkennis waar als in teorie werk maar totaal oorweldig in die praktiese węreld hier buite. Hoop nie ons lees van die gawe ou oom wat 'n muis nie skade sou aandoen nie wat deur sy goedgelowigheid beroof of vermoor word nie.
'Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind.

King Lear