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Offline zagser

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A true Eastern Cape adventure! (Completed)
« on: October 20, 2010, 04:20:32 pm »
According to Antoine de Saint-Exupery "It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys."

Well, this trip would bring us Supreme Joys then. Join the journey and find out why...  8)

Day one saw us leaving Bloemfontein on a Friday morning heading for Zastron as our first stopover. Myself on Katy, and Fanie on the wife's F658.

The route we took, traveling a total of 277km.

Due to work commitments I could not get to cleaning the bikes after the previous weekends' outing, so we started off by cleaning the bikes so that we can at least start the trip on clean steeds.  :deal:

Packed and ready to go.

About 20km later we were loosening the muscles and already getting some dirt on the bikes.  :ricky:

We then joined the railway service road to Sannaspos. By this time the gravel that was used to surface the road was compressed by all the vehicles traveling there, so it was not too much work to keep the bikes going. Previously this would have been like riding sand for kilometres on end.

Some more photos along the way.

We stopped at the now disused station for a quick breather and to check  that the luggage is still in place and not moving around.

Fanie making some adjustments to his 'water protection' system. If we only knew...

Note the distance above sea level - 1350meters.

Then we cross the tracks and head for Dewetsdorp.

Notice the clouds? They would haunt us for the next two days!

Arriving at Dewetsdorp and stopping for some petrol and refreshments.
Notice rule no2. You think they had problems before?  >:D

We were not planning on eating there, but the smells were enticing and we settled for a large helping of genuine 'Slap Chips'!

Standing around I notice two things:

1. Who would have thought that you could name a street like that...  :biggrin:

2. We were informed by our hostess of this amazing 'Gatfees' in Zastron. The advertising posters would have had the SPCA and Extreme Velcro up in arms. Note the event listed on the bottom...  :patch:

Then we saddled up and headed in the general direction of  Zastron.
Just outside of Dewetsdorp we encountered some light rain and decided to suit up now, rather than do it while it was raining hard.

My pooratech GPS and its pooratech raincover. This GPS is hacked to enable it to record trails and I created custom maps of our routes and loaded it onto it in order to be able to follow it, although it is not routable.

Trying to keep the rain from stinging...

The now famous 2008 National Wilddog Bash bridge.

Some more photos.

Nice water crossing to get the feet wet...

And again a sign of what lies ahead...

Stopped in Zastron to stretch the legs and let the hostess know that we are on our way to the guesthouse, which is on a farm about 12km from Zastron.

Fanie still fine-tuning his mounting method with the luggage on the bike...

The view of the guest house from the outside.

And the inside.

This is not 5 star, but at R150 a night it sure was a bargain!

The view of our steeds from the balcony.

We then prepared to leave for this ROCKING Zastron Gatfees, but when we removed the headlight protector from the Beemer we discovered that the bolts were almost lost!

No worries, get the tools and spares and in a jiffy we fix the problem and we were ready to go have some fun. Or so we thought...

What a total disaster!
The stalls closed at sundown (the 4 of them that was erected) and the only tents open for business was the coffee tent, the bar and a hotdog stand!
We sat a while, had some of the most expensive coffee ever and left for what would be a very long day that lay ahead of us.

The entrance fee was R50 per person, and the coffee R20, so the total cost of these two cups amounts to R140! (The were clever, they had the entrance where you needed to pay about a kilometre from the site, so we only realised the extent of the festival when we already passed the gates  ::))

We went to bed and got a good night's rest.

Just a teaser on day 2:  :eek7:  :eek7:

« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 08:18:28 am by zagser »

Offline Crop Sprang

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2010, 04:24:45 pm »
Whatever you're thinking, think the opposite


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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2010, 04:25:23 pm »
Subscribed  :ricky:
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Offline letsgofishing

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2010, 04:58:17 pm »
Lekker! Looking forward to the rest
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.


Offline JMOL

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 06:28:10 pm »
Can't wait for the rest!!

Life is hard - even harder if you are stupid.

Offline edgy

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2010, 06:34:43 pm »
Looks good so far............

 BEER..."I drink it when I`m happy or when I`m sad. I drink it when I`m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. Trifle with it if I`m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I`m thirsty"

Offline ShaunF

Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2010, 06:41:17 pm »
LEKKER  :thumleft:

Offline Dorothee

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2010, 10:04:46 pm »
Looking forward to the rainy bits!

Offline Gat Slag

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2010, 10:06:27 pm »
Subscribe ;)

Offline BMWPE

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 10:20:04 pm »
Nice  :thumleft:

Offline Twister

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2010, 10:20:21 pm »
Nice one Zagster your teaser definitely works.

Offline Outthere

Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2010, 10:28:42 pm »
Glad you found your way hope the wheather holds out for you.

Hats off for the effort so far well put together.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 10:29:41 pm by Outthere »
If not Why not

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2010, 10:39:07 pm »
I'm in, this looks great!  :thumleft:
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Check out my website for free short stories!

Offline Pickle

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2010, 06:03:16 am »
Subscribe!!!   :thumleft:
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Offline rubiblue

Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2010, 06:46:26 am »
Lekker! Thanks
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Offline zagser

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2010, 04:01:49 pm »

Day 2:

This day's planning would cover 360km of hard riding.
We arrived in Elliot with 330km on the odo after we made changes to the planned route, but more on that later.

The morning started with the air being chilly, but not unbearable.
We got up early to have breakfast and re-fuel in Zastron before we left for the day.
The view from the balcony.

Can you spot the previous establishment where these umbrellas were used?

The breakfast was amazing! 'Mieliepap', cereals, toast, coffee, juice and a plate looking like this:

I love 'skilpadjies' (liver and sheep fat), and these were the real deal, not the trimmed down versions you buy at your local butchery. We ate like kings until our stomachs ached!

The F658 visible from the balcony where the bikes were left for the night.

We had carpeted undercover parking!

Wilddogs were here...

Fanie rolling up his trousers to keep them from getting whet under the rain suit. Function over form...

Ninja Wilddog, now you see me, now you...

We left for Zastron to fuel up and hit the road way later than planned. We were discussing the option of leaving Bastervoetpad for the next day if we find that we do not have enough time once we reached McClear. Little did we know...

Anyway, THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT AND BEST DECICION made for this whole trip was to carry a 5L red fuel container, and using it for the first time when I filled up at Zastron. Our next petrol stop would be McClear, about 250km of twin tracks and passes.  If I put my mind to it, I can easily ride 250 km before the petrol light comes on, so 5L would buy me enough extra miles to make it safely, right? Raaaaiiiight.

We left for Sterkspruit via tar.
The bridge over the Orange River just before Sterkspruit.

A few hundred metres after the bridge we turned left onto gravel to travel to the Tele bridge turn-off for Lundean's via Quimera. Wow, now the trip started for me! This follows the orange river for a while and then turns south next to the Lesotho border in the direction of Tele Bridge. If you ever go there in future make sure you take this road!

By now the day started to warm up, and we stopped to get rid of some of the warm clothes.

Then we continued towards Lundean's.

At the Tele bridge border you turn left onto the Lundean's road.

Avoiding cattle found along the road.
(I was amazed at the number of times we came across stray animals along the roads on this trip. And then I am not referring to animals who feed on communal ground, animals that were on the road's side of the fence which looked like commercial farmers' livestock.)

Then the road started getting rocky and I had trouble keeping the fuel container in its place on the back seat. We travelled just over 100km, so I poured it into the tanks which by now had enough space for five litres.

Not long after stopping we were greeted by a group of youngsters, snapping away at our ponies with cell phone cameras, and posing next to it. We felt like royalty.
But soon we opted out of the limelight and got going again.

Might this be the hole that the 'Gatfees' was named after? (We sure did not see any holes in Zastron)

And so we continued.

Arriving at the top we stopped for some pichas and refreshments.

We rode down Lundean's, and turned left towards Tiffendell past Halstone.

The Tiffendell entrance.

And starting the ascend.

Wow, this must be one of the steepest roads I have travelled on in a long time. Katy took it in her stride(I have a 16 tooth countershaft sprocket, so first gear is nice and strong), but the beemer was now showing one of the weaker points of her design parameters. First gear is quite long, and in order to keep the engine from stalling Fanie had to keep the revs above 4000rpm, and feather the clutch to prevent him from launching into space at the speed that first can reach at 4000rpm! You really had to hold onto the handlebars. I was in DS heaven!
But just as I was about to enter a state of permanent bliss, I was plucked back to mother earth in an instant. What I saw on the dash had me reach for the kill switch without worrying about the angle of the road or obstacles or any other such things!

Now what?!
Getting off I switched on the bike again. They say silence is golden, but at a time like this you want the fan to spin and push some fresh air through the radiator at a rate unknown to mankind.

Nice view eh?

Anyway, back to the bike.
I started fiddling and thinking what could be the cause for this.
First I checked the fuse block, but the fuse for the fan was fine, and so were the rest of them.
Off came the seat and out with the tools.
I dropped the bashplate to check the other fuses and to see if anything was obviously wrong.

Ag no man. I was just starting to really enjoy the trip.

We bridged out the connecter for the heat switch, but the fan just hung there like there was nothing to it.

Hmmm, I did splice into the fan wiring in order to fit the extra fan which only ran when tested on assembly and never after that. *FACEPALM*. Now what?
To get to the fan I need to take off the tanks, and that should take some time. Hmm, lets try the jumper again and then listen to when the fan switches on. And as we put the wire in the fan starts up!
It is then decided to jippo the switch so that the fan is running all the time. At least when it stops running I will know to stop and investigate.
The fan only affects the radiator, and uses a bit of power, so it is not like the bike is running too cold or anything.
So we close up everything to get going again after about 50 minutes of troubleshooting. Looking up I see something drop on Fanie's tankbag.

ICE! Ok, who's afraid of one drop of ice?
So we hit the road again, feeling chuffed with our fan jippo to prevent this trip from making an abrupt stop.

We need to go that way...

On top looking down to where we stopped.

So we continue our journey.

Stopping to get the rain suits out as the first drops of rain start to come down.

And setting off again.

We stopped at the gate to the Tenahead trail to get some lunch and decide if we were going to skip it and go down Carlisle pass to Rhodes.

Tiffendell in the backdrop.

The start of the trail.

Getting some fuel for the road ahead.

Take only pictures, and leave only tracks, and powerslides and ....

Then we saddle up to take the Tenahead trail.
Watch the clouds in the background...

And so we depart.

This is what we came for!

The picture does not do it justice, but there is snow on those mountains!

Interesting picture. Lesotho vs. SA?

We reached the highest road in the Eastern Cape. Remember we started off on 1350 meters above sea level...

Shortly after we came to this gate. Notice the notice?

On the horizon you will see a green structure. That is where the farmer's sheep herders stay. We entered and went to them to ask if it would be OK to use this trail. We got the go-ahead and so our journey continued. Wow, this is one exhilarating ride! Nice technical uphills with some rocks to keep you on your toes, with loose downhills and a lot of small stream crossings where it was washed out a bit. We were enjoying it so much that we did not notice the weather at all. At this point I must say that I was impressed with the performance of the F658. Up to now it went everywhere I went. I do also realise that 80% of that can be attributed to the nut between the steering and the seat, and it was evident that years of enduro riding was helping Fanie along the way with the low ground clearance and long gearing. But best of all it sipped petrol! There were times where he would fill up with half the number of litres I put in!

The rain started to come down, but nothing serious. We had a LOT of gates that had to be opened and closed. But that was a small price to pay compared to the ride and the views!

We entered the Tenahead reserve.

It is at this point in time that the weather went south, and fast. We had some ice rain on the way, but now it started snowing!

The rain and snow started to come down hard. Temperatures were below zero for most of the time from here on. Combine the cold and wet and what do you get?
Yes, misting visors and goggles and glasses!


Offline zagser

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2010, 04:02:24 pm »
All I could do was to leave the visor open and ride with wet glasses. Those of you who wear glasses will appreciate the fact that wet glasses are not of much use. So most of the time I was peering over my glasses, with ice and snow and rain hitting me in the eyeballs! But at this point in time I was still having fun, sort of. There are two or three steep inclines from that gate to the Tenahead hotel, strewn with big loose rocks and washouts. The mist and snow/rain and lack of glasses caused quite a few interesting moments. Imagine trying to ride, standing on the pegs, doing an incline only able to see at most one and a half/two metres in front of you! I am sure that this would have caused quite a few anxious moments and even laughs, would this have been captured on film. Not to mention the private conversations in our helmets as we progressed at a snails pace! But we were still having fun. After what felt like eternity, we reached the tenahead hotel entrance. Only to be greeted with this sign.

The last sentence indicating that visitors are only welcome by appointment! Ag sh!t! Ok, so we will continue our journey and find some coffee elsewhere.

We reached the Tenahead turn off on top of Naude's nek.

Do we go to Rhodes and in the process change our planned route?
Or do we go gravel(hah!) towards McClear?

The decision was made to go via McClear,  and then tar it to Elliot. Skipping Bastervoet for the day, but start off with it the next day. Boy, in hindsight was that a bad decision!

The weather at that point in time...

Ok, so off we went.

Along the way down Naude's.

Then things started to look better. With the rain subsiding and visibility increasing slightly.

But the rain already started to make things interesting.

But onwards we went.

Only 60 odd kilos to go, sweet!

Note that at that stage we were only 190 km into our journey, and time was running out.

But hey, only 60kms to McClear, and then a few kays to Elliot, we will be done in the next hour or so, before dark, easy! Yeah right!

Things starting to get interesting. Fanie paddling the beemer, as the front Heidi was not exactly confidence inspiring in the mud.
I on the other hand could not sit down as the bike would start weaving from all the mud.

The views were nice at least.

Then Fanie slowed down and started to go sideways! This patch of mud was like clay, and traction was minimal...

Notice the mud? It would come to haunt us on the next day, but more on that later...

We managed to walk the bike out to a point where we had traction again, and we set off.
Potberg pass along the way.

And from here on onwards everything was just one blur. The rains started to come down hard, glasses and visors fogging up, mud everywhere. And it started to get dark! So imagine, riding in the dark, without glasses, rain hitting your eyeballs and a rain jacket that was reduced to nothing more than a high visibility vest in temps below zero! The best I could do was get to second gear, and when I felt the bike squirm under me, I new I hit a mud patch and would gear down to get control and ride it out as I could not see more than a meter or so, so speeding up was not really an option.
Ant the best of all, about 30km before McClear my petrol light started winking at me!
It was one of those times where you are afraid you might die, but later on you are afraid you are not going to die! If I ever thought the piece of road in Tenahead took forever, then this was in a completely new time dimension!!!

We stopped to refuel and try and get some heat in our bodies, but there were no coffee to be found in this small town, and the only option was to push trough to Elliot, another 70kms tar.
I was wet to my skin, all over.
The 100 km from Naude's nek took us 4 and a half hours to complete.
And my bike used a total of about 23 litres of fuel over 260km. That 5l of fuel in the red can saved us a massive setback enroute to McClear!

We took to the road, again without visors and glasses, again with the rain bashing our eyeballs. Doing a max of 70 km/h. Just past Ugie that rain stopped and we could pick up speed. We stopped in Elliot where they saw no rain or snow at all for the day.
I got a hot shower, with pins and needles as the blood started circulating again in my skin. I organised my wet clothes in front of a heater and after having a succulent T-bone steak we went to bed. Sleeping like logs.

Day 3 would be the complete opposite in terms of weather, but not on drama...


Offline Dustdevil

Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2010, 05:05:06 pm »
It can't really be called an adventure if you have not SUFFERED >:D
Nice one, would love to do the road between Tenahead and Tiffendale one day.

Luggage in a blackbag? ???
Next time take one of these.....http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=55547.0


Offline JMOL

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2010, 06:29:48 pm »
Cannot wait . . . . .
Life is hard - even harder if you are stupid.

Offline Tosser

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Re: A true Eastern Cape adventure!
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2010, 06:40:01 pm »
Awesome trip. Awesome report. Can't wait for more.
Thanks for sharing.