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Author Topic: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices  (Read 800 times)

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Offline Dustdevil

A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« on: December 18, 2008, 04:40:09 pm »
Recently on a trip through the Cederberg, we got stuck at the Oasis for an overnight stop and a meal. Later that night we got into some real deep discussions with the owner which eventually were leading of to the route we plan to follow the next day.
He forked out a Slingsby map and showed us an interesting alternative to our planned route.
This road started in the Bidou valley and end up crossing the Tra - Tra mountain to a place called Cobus se gat.
We only had one problem, we were not sure if we will manage to cross the Doring rivier. If this is the case we will have to backtrack all the way over the mountain again. Depending on the condition of this road it could take us all day to do this and we did not want to end up riding in the dark.
None the less, the owner of the Oasis sold us his older 2006 version of the Slighsby map and the next morning we left planning to see how the day turns out before we make a definite decision whether we should do it or not.

Leaving Wupperthal the next day it was getting a bit late so we decided it would be safer to leave this road for another day when we are more prepared and are a 100% sure that one can get trough the Doring Rivier.
5Km Outside of Wupperthal I noticed this steep road going up the side of a rocky hill. It looked well used and in a real attractive condition if you like difficult technical riding.
I was sure it was one of the roads that meet up with the road to Cobus se gat, this means that we can take a short detour and that we should be able to ride at least part of the road and end up in the Bidou valley.
I waited for Howard as he had the map and sure as hell, the road is clearly shown on the map and a short way up the mountain it meats up with the road to Cobus se gat.
We decided to go for it but halfway up I already started having my doubts has Howard have not been riding off road for to long and it was getting real heavy, climbing up staircase-like rocky sections.
The off road coarse Howard did recently was paying dividends tough and he made it to the top with ease.
We found ourselves on some sort of a plateau but it was evident that the climate is much harsher than down in the valley.
The road meandered of and suddenly started forking in all directions. I kept taking the left forks to keep riding parallel to the main road we have just left.
It did not take long before the road seem to fade away into a track that hardly see traffic. After a short while we ended up passing through some sort of dwelling with dogs and livestock held in small camps. It seems like there was life here after all.
The area around is very dry and harsh tough and it seems nearly impossible for anyone to make a living in a place like this. I stopped for some photographs hoping someone will show their face but besides the poor dogs and coats  the place seem to be deserted for the moment.

Offline Carnivore

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Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 04:47:14 pm »
Ah HA!! Here it comes..! An HPN epic!!  Go, Altus, go!
Old, grey, crafty...

You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait, the grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas. Enthusiasts are fighters. They have fortitude. They have staying qualities. Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. With it, there is accomplishment. Without it, there are only alibis.
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Offline GundaGunda

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Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2008, 05:22:19 am »
Man, I love that middle photo - it has amazing "feeling" - makes me want to jump on the bike and get there.

Retired from Adventure Riding.
KLE500 & XTZ660 Gone *sigh*
Now Scooter Commuter & Softroader Softie.


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Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2008, 09:14:54 am »
Baie mooi, nog asseblief

Offline Malibu

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Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2008, 09:26:00 am »
You are such a blimmin tease!  Come now... where is the rest...  :biggrin:
They call me Judy or Judes...

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Offline Dustdevil

Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2008, 01:28:54 pm »
Nobody ever showed up so I guess whoever lived in the small tin shack must be out working the farm. We continued along the "twee spoor" and shortly after it started dropping down into a small valley with another small house and some rickety barn.
Next to the house is a very large patch of dried up grass with a large stone right in the centre. I was thinking to myself wondering how many unsuspecting drivers have hit this stone as it is almost right in the middle of the road going through the deserted "opstall".
On the other side of the small shack the road started up a steep hill and for a moment I was not so sure about our direction any more. It was clear that the road is almost never used except for some tractor tracks made very recently.
Half way up the hill I stopped to look around to see if Howard is still following and noticed a man came out of the shack but I was to far up to bother to turn around.
The road by now was in any case so steep, rutted and washed away that it would be impossible to turn around at this point. I final reached the top and stopped to wait for Howard. It also became apparent that the road was veering of into a southerly direction, I am now really doubting whether we are on the right track.
When Howard arrived I continued but now we were weaving our way in between the dried up shrubs as the track suddenly became very sandy and on top of all the stress of being absolutely, completely lost I have to work hard to stay on the bike when hitting some of the soft patches. What makes it even harder is that you can't follow a straight line or pick up speed as the track is winding its way through the scrubby growth.
Finally I decided to stop and get the map from Howard. Studying it for a while I could identify some of the features in the landscape to locate our position but according to Howard's GPS coordinates we should be north of the Bidou valley. I knew we have not yet reached the Bidou valley yet so this is impossible and I was sure the position I located on the map using the landscape features must be correct. Howard was assuring me that GPS's don't lie so it must be correct. Being a borrowed GPS it didn't' take long to realise that the problem was not the instrument itself but operator error. The coordinates was indicating the cursor position and not our actual position. Once we moved the cursor over our location on the screen we could confirm that my old fashioned way of navigating was spot on. We were in fact to far east in an area where no roads are indicated on the map. I could make out the position of the road we were suppose to be on about two to three kilometers in front of us so I presume the track will lead us straight there. I was correct but as we reached the road I was surprised to see that it too was hardly used.
We headed of in a northerly direction again over a steep and extremely rocky ridge. The road was covered with big loose stones from cricket ball size to football size. The going was real tough but my trusty old HPN GS was doing it's thing and a big help was the short 1st gear combined with the shorter ratio gearbox and final drive of the older bikes. This as well as the super low torque of the 1043cc Mahle motor allow me to go at a near walking pace just above idle and it still have enough grunt to haul itself and my 100kg+ weight up any incline.
At some places the road became so rutted and washed out that the few odd souls traveling down here had to make alternative tracks to get around these obstacles.
We reached a small, dry river bed filled with large, loose stones but I could not make out in which direction the road is leaving the river on the opposite back that is rising up steeply from the edge of the river bed.
I had to stop at an uncomfortable spot and my average length legs was fighting to keep the tall HPN upright. After scouting the bank for a moment I saw signs of a track behind a bush right in front of me and pulled of......
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 01:53:25 pm by Dustdevil »

Offline BMWPE

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Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2008, 08:47:25 pm »
more more
and some more pics

Offline Jovan

Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2008, 07:37:20 am »
the suspense is palpable....

Offline Dustdevil

Re: A dated Slingsby Map, two GS's and some bad choices
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2008, 01:43:04 pm »
I just spend an hour writing a long piece and then lost it all when I accidentally try to fix a mistake in the preview window instead of the message window.
- Lesson learned write long messages in word and copy and paste.
Sorry guys I am so f$##%&@cked of now I can't write another word but I promise I will rewrite and add it here in a day or two.