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Author Topic: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)  (Read 558 times)

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Offline Ri

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2021, 02:56:33 pm »
The car soon arrives and Ouma is hustled inside. I jump to get her her tea while everyone orders their breakfasts, and am waylaid by the next table, where the father of the group is very interested in what we're doing and where we are going. They are a group of people spending a few days in the Karoo. Finally the man tells me "be careful and go slowly". I'm not sure what he means until I find myself creeping down Gannaga Pass a little while later.

Breakfast is great and service is good. Ouma is at peace with tea in hand and soggy egg on toast. The lodge is quite busy, and more people arrive while we eat. This was a good idea!

Then it is time to get going again, and bikes are allocated. Niece is done riding, which means Nephew is on call again, leaving us short a driver for the car. Bro-in-law decides to leave one bike on the trailer (which incidentally saves him from having to fix the tube) and takes the other big DR. Nephew scores the little DR, and Sister is driving again.

Bro-in-law loads my other niece onto the DR650 in front of him - something I've never seen. She also gets her a turn on the bike, but she's too short to reach the controls and she is a terrible pillion, so she sits in front. Hats off to her; I don't know if I could have sat like that if I had to!

I wait at the top to capture everyone riding down, but they take so long that I'm very far behind and have to race to catch up. I find them at the little circle in the Karoo National Park, waiting for me. My bro-in-law points us in a direction and we carry on. When we reach the exit gate, we stop to wait for the car, but it doesn't appear. Eventually my bro-in-law turns around to go look for them, followed by Nephew.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2021, 03:21:14 pm by Ri »
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2021, 03:01:11 pm »
 O0 :thumleft:
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 

Offline Ri

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2021, 03:05:29 pm »
Niece and I wait. The oppressive heat sings in our ears and the "muggies" buzz at our mouths and noses trying to get at the moisture. I don't know which is worse, and finally put my helmet on again to escape the latter, and lie down on the ground.

What feels like hours later the men reappear; the car had a puncture less than 1km back, and they had to fix it in this heat.

Niece is loaded into the car, and we carry on, simmering gently.

Along the way we meet a cyclist scratching in the veld. We stop and ask whether he needs assistance, but he says he is fine. He is a German, I think, and he is cycling from Calvinia to Gannaga Lodge. Our eyes bulge at this insanity. He laughs ruefully - he did not expect this heat, and perhaps underestimated the distance. We give him cold water, sincerely wish him well, and carry on our way.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2021, 03:16:03 pm »
We reach the R355 (this time it really is, @windswept  :biggrin:) and realise we'd taken a wrong turn back at the tiny traffic circlet. We should have carried on straight to the R355 further away from Calvinia, and turn onto the road that goes to Niewoudtville. Instead, we were not very far from Calvinia. I was keen to turn left and ride back, convinced that the turnoff we were looking for isn't far, but my bro-in-law wouldn't hear of it. He didn't think the DR200 tank had enough range.

It occurs to me that I'd ridden stretches of the R355, but never the whole of it. I hope I never will, it must be the most boring stretch of gravel in the entire Karoo.

It is my sister's turn to ride again. We get to the top of the pass, and again the car doesn't appear. Nephew gives his mom the DR200 and takes the DR650 to go check up on the car.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2021, 03:17:32 pm »
My sister and I carry on towards Calvinia and find sanctuary under some trees next to the road, where we wait for the rest of the cavalcade. Again it takes forever for them to arrive - the car had another puncture. They are miffed that my sister and I didn't continue towards Nieuwoudtville, "maar gedane sake het geen keer". We'd had a nice little chinwag under the tree.

Crazy glue.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2021, 06:49:48 pm »
Since we have only 3 street legal riders, we swap around again. Sister is back behind the steering wheel, Bro-in-law rides one DR650, I ride the other, and poor Nephew has to slab it on the DR200 from Calvinia to Nieuwoudtville. There is a strong headwind, and he struggles to make headway on the little bike. I try to provide a slipstream for him, but because we're both inexperienced in slipstreaming, it doesn't really work. Eventually we reach Nieuwouldville where we take a quick break.

Bro-in-law takes pity on Nephew and gives him the DR650. Soon Nephew is only a faint streak of pale fumes on the horizon. I stick with Bro-in-law, and we try the slipstreaming thing again. It is interesting: I ride close to him, keeping my speed constant. My slipstream shields him a bit from wind resistance, and the little DR200 picks up a smidgin of speed. Bro-in-law then ekes past me, until the speed starts to drop again and he waves for me to slip in front of him again. Thus we crawl all the way to Vanrhynsdorp.

Vanrhynsdorp is the final fuel station before we hit paradise, as the road up to Gifberg Guest Farm leaves the tar here. My sister takes her last opportunity to ride the DR650 and Bro-in-law takes the wheel. Nephew does the final stretch on the DR200, and on the perfect gravel roads he is soon a dust streak again.

I ride slower, keeping an eye on my sister, but she is doing fine until almost the last stretch, where a patch of sand is her undoing. First she careens off the road into a bush, and when I try to park the bike to go back to help her, I almost drop the bike on myself. Before I have the bike standing firmly again, the cavalry arrive and they drag the DR650 out of the bush. Seeing that she is chaperoned again, I carry on ahead, missing her next fall in another patch of sand, barely 50 m further. She hurts her leg a bit, and she and Bro-in-law switch again so that he rides the final few kms to the farm.

I of course buy myself a little plot on Gifberg Farm on the very last bend barely 100m from our accommodation when I take the turn too wide and end up tipping over in the thick sandbank to the side. I pick up the bike quickly and no one sees my fall, leading to the question: did it in fact happen? :imaposer:

I head down the steep downhill and gun it carefully up the steep uphill, parking on the lush lawn next to our home for the week, unaware of the humiliation waiting for me.

My family arrive in the car but oh dear! It doesn't have the power to pull the laden trailer up the steep hill. My brother arranges with the farmer to tow my car with the trailer up the hill. I am mortified - et tu, Ecosport? :-[
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2021, 07:00:14 pm »
We quickly unpack and settle into our digs - and an uneasy peace - with the In-laws. Everyone knows the programme: we are all here for the love of family. Suddenly a few sacrificial lambs puppies appear; belonging elsewhere but enamoured with the children and attention, they can't get enough of us. No matter who fetches them, every morning they are at the door, or even sneak in during the night, to spend time with us.

This little cutie loves fruit; my mom feeds her the litchies that my mom herself adores, much to my vexation, having had to hunt down shop for those litchies. They're MUCH more expensive than puppy food, Mom. She also eats watermelon. Real little sweet tooth on a health kick, this one.

A slower visitor, also loveable but not so cute, catches my eye.

The holiday begins, in a wonderful spot that I can't commend enough. There are also other holiday options on Gifberg; I think I'll visit them all. This mountain is magical  :love5:
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 07:07:04 pm by Ri »
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2021, 04:51:32 pm »
I hang out with the extended family, going for walks and making turns to provide delicious meals for everyone. We all score here - as all the Laws and In-laws are excellent cooks, outdoing the each other with every meal. I don't cook but I provide refreshments, taste tests and moral support. We all delicately navigate the family-in-law politics, trying not to step on any toes or sensitivities. It is exhausting.

My brother's eldest also unexpectedly joins us. Knowing his love for weed, I joke about finding a source nearby, and he is keen to borrow my car and go into town, convinced that he'll not come back empy-handed. I believe him - the young man is a genius at making connections and sourcing party material. Soon he sidles up to me and whispers behind his hand that he doesn't need to go into town as he found a source much closer - in the family...!! - and if I care to take a stroll with him just before bedtime, I'll sleep like a baby. I'm agog, but he refuses to reveal his sources to satisfy my curiosity >:(

The surrounds is really beautiful, with short and long hiking trails laid out everywhere, and a 4x4 trail down to the river. Suitably inspired, Bro-in-law commandeers the Nephew and they fix the DR200's puncture. Then Bro-in-law and the Nephew take the DR200s through deep sand down the 4x4 route and come back shaking their heads in disbelief that the 4x4 vehicles camping by the river could get back up there again. I'm invited along but when I hear the s-word, I politely decline.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2021, 04:58:24 pm »
Even though there is drought and the water levels are low, there is still enough water in the river for swimming which is very welcome in the beautiful hot weather we have the entire week.

During the week of our visit, a group of 4x4 vehicles and then a group of big bikers (of the GS-family) camp out on the lovely camping terrain, apparently both regular visitors here.

The ablution facilities are being upgraded.

Spot the hen and chickens under the tree  ;D
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2021, 05:06:33 pm »
Looks "diep lekka", thanks for the updates and amazing pics. Best of luck with the rest of the route through the devil's back yard.
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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2021, 06:49:36 pm »
On Day 5 I tap out. My mental reserves are thin and I grit my teeth not to snap at anyone. I grab one of my mom's myriad Mills&Boon-type books and clutch out. My family know and love me, and graciously allow me to hide behind the book with no call for auntie duties for a whole day, God bless 'em.

Did I mention there's a fabulous pool on the property? It is in the enclosure behind me, and it was well used every single day of our visit. This is apart from all the swimming holes in the river, which are equally fabulous but much colder.

My niece, an animal lover of note, takes a liking to one of the puppies running around lapping up our affections. I'd worry about lice and things but she embraces the doglet and takes him to heart and hearth. To be fair, this is THE cutest little puppy you've every met, choc full of personality and looking for an owner. He almost came home with us but sanity (and lack of space) prevailed.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2021, 06:58:15 pm »
The next day we visit Strandfontein. Bro-in-law and I are relegated to bikes to minimise the number of cars needed, so the women can go shopping. I'm on my own for the ride, Bro-in-law and the car having left before me, and I take the time to stop for more photos of the Gifberg road. The views are simply stupendous, and the road is a joy of sweeps and corners.

 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #32 on: July 12, 2021, 06:59:20 pm »
.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2021, 07:02:07 pm »
It is a fine warm day until I reach Strandfontein, which for some reason has a bit of winter going on. 5km outside Strandfontein I need to stop to put on more layers of clothes, and two pairs of gloves, as it suddenly becomes flipping cold. I assume I'll ride through the cold cloud but it isn't going anywhere.

I sit in the misty misery for a while, watching my brave family prevail and even wet their bodies in the wintry waves ("Come in! It's not that bad!"), and then decide to take a long gravel route home.

 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2021, 07:09:29 pm »
Nice one, Ri. In your usual inimitable style.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2021, 07:15:02 pm »
I take various backroads that I remember from my visit to Nama Bike Camp, and stop to fill up at Klawer for my return journey home the next day. Here I meet 2 other lady riders, on street bikes, going to visit the one's mother in Lambertsbaai or somewhere, for the day. We chick chat excitedly for a moment, and then go our separate ways.

I decide to stop in at Nama Bike Camp to say "Hi" to Wayne. When I arrive at the closed gate, there are already a queue of 3 4x4 vehicles, and another one pulls up behind me after I stop. We wait a bit, hearing the dogs bark, but no one comes to open the gate. The 4x4 owners get out of their vehicles and we all start chatting. They are on an impromptu off road trip without any bookings. One of the guys had stayed here before and thought they could get accommodation again, without booking.

I offer to phone Wayne, and it turns out Wayne is away on vacation. He is most apologetic about not being there to receive us. The 4x4 owners scratch their head about where to stay next, and I Google few options for them. (Doesn't anyone else have a smart phone or data?!) They weight their options and make a few calls. Soon the little interlude is over and we all get going again. As they pass me on the road, the guys hoot and wave good bye.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2021, 07:20:21 pm »
I have to stop for photos again on the ascent up Gifberg. I'll definitely visit here again, maybe when eventually I do my Richtersveld Ride.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2021, 07:21:02 pm by Ri »
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2021, 07:22:43 pm »
.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2021, 07:23:43 pm »
.
 

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Re: Infernal Interlude: Crazy Glue Family Ride (December 2020)
« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2021, 07:26:32 pm »
The puppy doesn't make the grade to sleep over in Niece's arms again last night, but this is a resourceful pupper, and he finds another comfy space to sleep in someone's luggage. He carefully watches to see whether I'm going to kick him out, but I don't care, it's not my luggage :imaposer:
« Last Edit: July 12, 2021, 07:27:25 pm by Ri »