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Author Topic: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)  (Read 1647 times)

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Offline Mev Vis Arend

Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2021, 10:21:00 am »
Al wat ek kan se is "WOW"! 
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Offline Ri

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #41 on: August 15, 2021, 06:54:13 pm »
My sigh of satisfaction is cut short at the sight of the sign at the gate: it informs me I still have about 7 km to ride to my camping spot for the night... but the worst is behind me, right? Was-Gent and I get going again and the terrain starts to look like the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve - rutted 2-spoor, loose stones and looooooong sandy stretches greet my nervous gaze. I'm following a dry riverbed through the barren, scorched trees.

I try a new trick, telling myself with false bravado, "This isn't deep sand. This is just a little loose soil over firm terrain". But Not-Gent isn't listening and starts plowing through the not-sand like a not-scrambler. My tendency to twist his ear without prejudice when I'm tired kicks in, and his back end sways like an aggravated hippo. My shoulders freeze and my nervous hand won't relax its death grip on the throttle. I cling, swerving wider. Suddenly a short bend looms and Was-Gent jumps for the high sandy shoulder, comes to his sense and tips into the road sideways. I shout out anxiously "Lord! Help me!" Time stops and I find myself standing with one foot on the shoulder, the other in the road, having managed to somehow catch my 170-odd kg Gent's sideways tip. My mouth hangs open, then I breathe "Praise the Lord!!" I tip Was-Gent upright and continue more cheerfully to my destination.

Marina welcomes me to the farm and offers me a cottage for the night. I'm stunned, as it was all fully booked when I emailed, but apparently someone cancelled. I gratefully accept. I don't mind camping in the rain, but getting dressed and packing up in a tiny tent in bad weather is challenging.

The cottage is simply beautiful. I later see it is the same one Itchy Boots stayed in, but I'm not nearly as well prepared as she is in the food department, and the farm is short on products for some reason. Ah well, I have some lovely dry wors and fruit to eat, a few baby Snickers for dessert, and I buy a freshly-baked roosterkoek and jam from the shop for breakfast.








A book on the bookshelf echoes my belief.












After unpacking, I walk around a bit to take photos, and a friendly couple waylays me for a chat. Apparently I passed them when I entered Swartberg Pass, and they are pleased to find me here. I vaguely recall waving at people next to a 4x4 taking photographs at the first river crossing. They share some interesting information about the Donkey Ladder further down in the Kloof and we have a good chinwag before they greet me to go set up camp. I carry on with my sortie.

I would stay here again in a heartbeat! But then I want to spend a night at the next farm, and go see the Donkey Ladder, seemingly a single track of about 1 km of almost vertical climbing with a string of donkeys tied together, laden with baskets filled with produce from the fertile valley. If one foot slipped... I shudder. At the top is apparently a 4x4 route following the track used by the cart that picked up the Kloof produce. I wonder where it starts, and whether motorbikes are allowed there. Must speak to Veldtie... It seems a mountain bike race is held here and the racers carry their mountain bikes in or out of the Kloof along the Donkey Ladder.

Later on Rooikoos, Marina's husband, stops for a quick chat as well. I mention the sand and he says they use it everywhere to get rid of it, especially for building, but the sand is never-ending.








Some animals come to say "hi".












 ::)












Body needs some work but the tyres look great!






Even a pool!






The collie starts to gather the chicken, who takes refuge in the donkey's enclosure. It's apparent that the donkey and the dog are not friendly. The dog barks at the donkey and snaps at its nose, but carefully stays outside of range and on the other side of the fence. The donkey doesn't seem to give a rat's arse but his hind leg is carefully positioned for a strategic blow, should the snarling dog come within range. The dog finally pretends it was called and trots into the shop.






There's a succulents nursery as well!






Another doggy rushes over to declare undying love and friendship.






I turn in early, tired and nervous for what lies ahead tomorrow. Rain is forecast for the entire day tomorrow, but Marina looks up with a jaded eye. They aren't expecting much rain from this weather. I shower and tuck myself in under the sumptuous feather "bulsak" - no chance of me suffering a cold night!

I sleep fitfully and hear showers of rain cascade down through the night. At least those not-sandy stretches should be hard packed in the morning, I console myself, praying that the river crossings won't be too bad. I doze off again, lulled by the beautiful sound.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2021, 07:25:20 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2021, 09:28:19 pm »
The rain stops some time in the early morning, and I wake to a bright blue sky with little puffs of white floating along. The thirsty earth absorbed most of the moisture, and the road is dust and fairly mud free.

I am not in a hurry because today is again a short day, but I don't really have a reason to linger. This is the Hell - no breakfast is served. Due to no connectivity - the generator hasn't been started yet - I can't pay, and I take Marina's bank details to do an EFT transfer once I'm connected to the Global Village again. This is trust.

While packing up, I put the kettle on the gas stove to make myself a cup of coffee. When it whistles, I turn off the heat and grab the handle to lift it off the fire. I don't know why I thought the handle would be isolated from the heat, but I turn out to be disastrously wrong. The handle sears a path across my soft palm as I try to put it down hurriedly without dropping it. I'm so die moer in with myself, my desire for coffee sommer evaporates.

I continue to pack but my throbbing throttle hand hinders my efforts. I clutch a glass of cold water to try dull the burning pain, and eventually beg a few blocks of ice from Marina to put in the water. Thankfully no blisters formed, but the skin is burnt into little hard white scabs that throb dully. Would I be able to put my hand in a glove and ride like this? I'll have to try.

My medical aid kit yields a gel-soaked burn dressing sealed in a packet, too big for the wound, and I put it in my backpack along with scissors, not wanting to waste a whole dressing on the smallish wound, but realising I'll need it if the pain becomes worse. Bleak from lack of sleep and the throbbing ache, I put on all the gear, roll the bike around and make my exit from Gamkaskloof.

I scoot through the packed sand with more pace and surety than yesterday. My confidence always gets a boost from any successfully negotiated terrain, and often the road that seemed terribly technical going in is a relative breeze going out. At the top of the pass I come across the only other vehicle I'll meet until I reach the other side of Swartberg Pass: an oldish Opel sedan comes crawling over the pass, with an oldish gent behind the wheel looking grim, and a oldish lady sitting beside him looking slightly alarmed.

The beautiful surrounds and weather start to work its magic and my mood lifts and becomes jubilant and humble. I forget about the throbbing hand and just enjoy everything.










A last view over Gamkaskloof at the top of the pass. I'll be back.





« Last Edit: August 18, 2021, 09:32:39 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2021, 09:41:14 pm »

















Apprently it took the road builder and his team of handlangers quite some time and effort to move this huge rock out of the way, and it was subsequently named after him.






A funky looking little 2-spoor leads of to the side, drawing my eye, and I promise myself I'll check it out next time I ride this way.










The credentials of this pass.










Too soon I reach the junction where the Gamkaskloof Road again joins the Swartberg Pass Road. I sigh with satisfaction and regret, and continue my journey.





 

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2021, 10:08:29 pm »









I stop at Kobus se Gat for some proper coffee, and on a whim also order the pancake. When the pancake arrives, I pick up the plate to go show the owner, Kobus, the single pancake lying on the plate while the menu promises two. "Maar daar IS twee", he insists, "die een is binne-in die ander een opgerol."

 ???

I cut into the pancake and indeed, two pancakes have been rolled up into one. I don't understand the logic and I don't enjoy the execution. Thankfully the strong coffee improves my outlook a little.

Kobus tells me a group from Suzuki have booked with Kobus se Gat for lunch before they ride over the Swartberg Pass. I speculate that it must be a group of Jimnys riding over Swartberg Pass, as there aren't any Suzuki adventure bike groups. Then I hear the unmistakable roar of motorbikes and storm up to take a look:










I start chatting with the riders, who turn out to be motorbike journalists flown down for the weekend to test ride the new Suzuki 1100 VStrom. It looks to be a beast of a bike, and the riders are very impressed with its performance and handling. It is also has adjustable seat height and is exceptionally low; one rider invites me to take a seat, and to my shocked surprise my feet comfortably reach the ground. And this isn't even the lower seat option. Unfortunately the bike is so heavy that I can't tip it upright without help.

I mention my little DR650 nearer the entrance and the photographer nods, he'd seen it. He beckons one of the riders to park the new VStrom behind Gent for some new generation/old generation photos "for the files". While we chat, an older Jimny cruises in and parks next to the Gent, and the passengers start chatting with us as well. One of the Suzuki people jogs up to us and pushes a pair of Suzuki branded socks into each of our hands, and we're instructed to hold these aloft while more photos are taken. We grin like idiots. But I'm chuffed. I haven't seen much Suzuki-branded stuff around, and the socks turn out to be quite decent quality.




I wave my goodbyes and pull away, and soon turn towards Oude Muragie road. The road must have had quite a lot of rain recently judging by the deep ruts in the road, but it is fairly dry when I ride there. Too soon, I reach the tar road to De Rust and turn left to find my accommodation for the night.














 
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Offline Ri

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2021, 10:29:28 pm »
I'm staying in a guesthouse on the Main Road. The proprietors are lovely people, friends of a friend, and go out of their way to make my stay as comfortable as possible. This won't be a guest house for long, though, as they plan to turn it into a deli and restaurant.

They invite me join them in the back garden and we chat easily while I walk around taking in the hues and bright colours

Some beautiful hibiscus








There are chillies everywhere






And these beautiful deep red hibuscus








They offer me delicious Spaghetti Bolognaise for dinner and soon I head to my room to sleep. It starts to rain in earnest. I lie in bed and listen to traffic passing outside on the main road, audible despite my plugged up ears. Trucks drive down the hill towards Meiringspoort, then come steaming up the hill again an hour or so later as the poort is closed due to flooding. Eventually the rain stops falling and around 02:00 in the morning the trucks pass and don't come back again. I toss and turn, and eventually manage to snooze a little.
 

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2021, 10:06:24 am »
Daar is darem min dinge so lekker soos n solo trip elke nou en dan. Dis seker die introvert in my. Ek lees verder  :thumleft:
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Offline husky

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2021, 02:21:40 pm »
Great report, good work and I am envious of your trip. The top of the Donkey Ladder, Die Leer is accessible from the Bosluiskloof road but via a private 4x4 track and quite tightly controlled as there have been issues in the past.  Rich history; Slim Jannie Smuts was rumoured to have led (well, taken, maybe guided by locals) his men down there during the guerrilla warfare at the end of the 2nd Boer War.  The Freedom Challenge, non stop pushbike from Pmb to Paarl, goes up it each year. For me, down was quite enough carrying a bicycle.

https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w132334/die-leer-passage-into-the-hell/
 
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2021, 08:51:56 pm »
Ek geniet jou toer !
Die foto van jou fiets saam met die V-Stroms laat jou fiets uitstaan as die regte avontuur fiets. Hy lyk net reg  :thumleft:
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Offline Ri

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2021, 10:38:48 pm »
Great report, good work and I am envious of your trip. The top of the Donkey Ladder, Die Leer is accessible from the Bosluiskloof road but via a private 4x4 track and quite tightly controlled as there have been issues in the past.  Rich history; Slim Jannie Smuts was rumoured to have led (well, taken, maybe guided by locals) his men down there during the guerrilla warfare at the end of the 2nd Boer War.  The Freedom Challenge, non stop pushbike from Pmb to Paarl, goes up it each year. For me, down was quite enough carrying a bicycle.

https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w132334/die-leer-passage-into-the-hell/

Thanks for the extra information. I enjoy hiking, next time I'd like to stay at the next farm and walk up the ladder. It's on a private farm so no general access to it. And no, I won't be silly enough to drag a pushbike along :lol8:
 
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2021, 10:40:04 pm »
Ek geniet jou toer !
Die foto van jou fiets saam met die V-Stroms laat jou fiets uitstaan as die regte avontuur fiets. Hy lyk net reg  :thumleft:

Gent het maar bietjie scruffy gevoel teen die blink nuwelinge maar in my hart stem ek saam :ricky:
 

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2021, 11:03:13 pm »
Daar is darem min dinge so lekker soos n solo trip elke nou en dan. Dis seker die introvert in my. Ek lees verder  :thumleft:

Ek geniet bashes en byeenkomste baie, maar ek is ook 'n introvert, ek raak mensmoeg. Dit is lekker om alleen na of van 'n bash af te ry, dan recharge mens voor of na die kuier.

Dit moet lekker wees om in 'n klein groepie te ry of 'n biker buddy te hê, maar waar kry ek iemand wat dieselfde afgeleë terrein wil ry as ek, teen laer spoed? :imaposer:
 

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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #52 on: August 21, 2021, 01:21:42 am »
In the morning, not very refreshed, I drag myself out of bed and switch on the kettle. My hostess gave me the last of her Hug in a Mug sachets and I make a kickstarter coffee, amping  it up with a packet of Nescafé, and go sit on the stoep to drink it. My hostess joins me with a cheerful good morning; I offer to make her a cup of coffee as well, and she accepts gratefully. We sit on the stoep sipping our coffee, greeting and watching the world pass by.




I fetch my bike from next to the shop one house over where it was parked safely behind a locked gate for the night, and start packing. When I am done, I greet my friendly hosts, and tie up loose ends such as my jacket and my helmet strap. While I'm ATTGATTing, a GS1200 cruises by with a rider and pillion. A minute or so later, they roll up in the opposite direction and stop next to my bike. This is strange; usually my bike is invisible to anyone over 700cc :imaposer:

The rider asks me a question about a place to eat or something similar I don't quite catch thanks to my earplugs and helmet, and I shrug and say I don't know. Then the lady leans over and asks, "Are you..." ... I start laughing and tell her "No, I'm not." She asks, "Why are you laughing?" I explain that I'd been asked this before; that I know Noraly passed through here, but she went the other way and her bike is white and red. She is also covered in cameras. They nod and quickly pull away, hasty to be elsewhere. Noraly has spotlighted the single female riding a smaller bike, but I prefer to fly under the radar.

The day is grey and overcast, with here and there raindrops falling. I'm heading to Bonniedale Guest Farm to meet Ultraflight's group and to ride to the EC Bash in Baviaanskloof with them. I'm not comfortable yet riding through the Nature Reserve by myself. Next time.

I'm not sure what road I plotted, but seems it is part of the Prins Alfred Road, if I'm not mistaken? Remembering the downpour the previous night, I'm nervous of gravel, and I change my route to have a bit more tar than I would've preferred, but then I didn't get this old by being stupid. Before I get to gravel, I find a petrol station in a little town and after filling up and putting on my rain suit, I ask them about the best biltong in town. They direct me to a little butchery in a dodgy-seeming part of town, and it is humming with activity. I buy braai meat for tonight's dinner and head for uncluttered spaces again.

Soon I come to the gravel turn-off and just a few metres on face a water crossing. I gauge the water level and the road surface for a second, and then storm through without incident. Maybe I'm a bit more stupid than I give myself credit for. The rest of the road holds a few muddy surprises, and the adrenalin wakes me up good and proper.
























Then I reach tar and just in time, as the rain starts to come down more fitfully. It is really cold, and I stop to close up any gaps in my ATTGATT that is allowing the icy wind to steal my precious body warmth. 










I reach the turn off towards Bonniedale Farm at the Eigh Bells and enjoy this last gravel stretch for the day.












The road through the plantation delivers a few surprises as well, the most unnerving being a huge area where they were milling trees, which was covered in mud and wet plant material. I hug the side of the clearing and slide through unscathed.












I reach Bonniedale Farm, but the group I'm joining haven't arrived yet. I wonder whether I should worry. I meet the caretakers of the farm, a lovely couple who show me to our accommodation, the log cabin with 4 en suite rooms facing onto a little courtyard, and a kitchen and dining hall connecting them. We hear the group buzzing in from the other side of the farm, and the lady runs to fetch me a beer and help me pull of my jacket and shoes, to make it look as if I'd been here for quite a while already as a joke. The group arrives with tales of the bridge outside Van Wyksdorp flooding after they'd crossed it, the first time in many many many years. This rain is such a blessing...!

We braai and have a lekker kuier, and soon it's time for bed. I get a whole room to myself, adjacent to the room where Kenneth Daniels and his friend are sleeping. The friend has a lot on his chest/mind and I hear the drone of his voice through the log wall. I put in my ear plugs but the drone continues audibly, non-stop. Good grief, but the man can talk! Eventually I say, "Good night!" very loudly, and after responding with the same, the drone thankfully stops. And people say I'm talkative...?!!

One of the people in the group travels with a travel chess set and loves challenging others to a game.







« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 01:34:22 am by Ri »
 

Offline Slim Jim

Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #53 on: August 21, 2021, 07:07:04 am »
Awsome adventure so far  :thumleft:
 
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #54 on: August 21, 2021, 06:17:25 pm »
 :sip: Enjoying this. Awesome report and pics Ri.  :notworthy:
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Offline Lem

Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2021, 02:23:29 pm »
Enige verslag of foto oppad na, in verband met Oubergpas of daarvandaan raak eenvoudig nooit oud nie  :thumleft:

Dit is lekker dat jy jou tyd kon vat met hierdie trip  :thumleft:
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #56 on: August 26, 2021, 04:29:06 pm »
Great RR.
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #57 on: August 27, 2021, 12:20:08 pm »
Enige verslag of foto oppad na, in verband met Oubergpas of daarvandaan raak eenvoudig nooit oud nie  :thumleft:

Dit is lekker dat jy jou tyd kon vat met hierdie trip  :thumleft:
Quick ? for those in the know, Ouberg vs Gannaga which one would you rather ride ?
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #58 on: August 27, 2021, 04:21:31 pm »
Great pic`s and a well penned report.

WELL DONE.
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Re: No Spills: Jubilee Tour (2 - 10 May 2021)
« Reply #59 on: August 27, 2021, 10:50:32 pm »
Enige verslag of foto oppad na, in verband met Oubergpas of daarvandaan raak eenvoudig nooit oud nie  :thumleft:

Dit is lekker dat jy jou tyd kon vat met hierdie trip  :thumleft:
Quick ? for those in the know, Ouberg vs Gannaga which one would you rather ride ?

I prefer Ouberg Pass to Gannaga Pass. Gannaga Pass is lovely but you look down into a kloof so although beautiful views, it doesn't stretch all around like Ouberg does. When you are at the top of Ouberg and look back... immense. Probably only me but Ouberg makes me more nervous than Gannaga ever has.