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Offline Bie

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2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« on: January 02, 2011, 08:32:05 am »
Towards the end of 2010 I had this urge to just get out of here, preferably on a bike. I tried to get some EC dogs to do a local ride, but I suppose my timing sucked. At the same time I saw the Southern Cape dogs planned a get together at Meijers rust and there was a newyears party in Kenhardt six days later. I could not really make up my mind which to attend, so I thought I would do them both. It was also to be the perfect opportunity to put faces to the names one sees on the forum. Not feeling like doing a 7 day trip on my own I asked for companions. Mark660 from Brackenfell said he was in.


Suddenly I had that childhood urge again, not being able to wait for Christmas, but it was more the fact that I was leaving the day after Christmas that was causing it. I have full panniers and topbox for my bike, but seeing that I have lost the topbox twice, and was lucky enough to retrieve it in both cases, I decided not to tempt fate. Looking around on the forum and elsewhere I settled on the Giant Loop Great basin bag and have to say there was no regrets. It fits my bike like a glove and never moves once it is strapped in place. Early Sunday 26th I was packed and ready to go.



DAY 1
My route went from Jansenville via Mount Stewart  and Steytlerville to Uniondale, then around the Kamenassie berge to De Rust and eventually Meijer's rust for the Southern Cape party. Total distance for the day - 317km.











At around 40km from De Rust my bike started to misbehave. While riding at a constant speed it would just cut out as if the throttle was closed off completely. If you the tap off and open it from scratch it would go again, only to repeat the same some distance later. I filled up with fuel at De Rust and the problem was gone. The road to Meijers Rust was interesting but not difficult. Here I met Mark660, my companion for the rest of the trip for the first time, we set up camp, got to know a few dogs and had a nice evening.
I will not expand on the campsite as there is a seperate thread on that, but I have to say it is an awsome venue.

Kom ons maak 'n stoffie.
 

Offline Skipskop

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2011, 08:52:13 am »
Thanks for sharing,looks like you enjoyed the day and good on you for getting out there and exploring ,nice area we live in for riding.
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Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2011, 09:02:05 am »
DAY 2
Early the next morning some of us emerged from our tents looking worse than the previous day. It might have been the liquid refreshments of the previous evening... The stunning views from the campsite however made up for that.



Mark and myself packed up, but before we could go he was hijacked by Rynet. She asked him to wait a bit before we leave as she wanted to do the trip down the mountain with us in the event that something went wrong. We waited for her to pack, someting that would repeat itself several times over the next few days.  :imaposer:

On the way down we met the farm owner and was invited for coffee. While there us three dogs started to chat and it appeared that Rynet was heading home - Cape Town.



When she however heared that we were on the way to the Hell she was tempted to come with us. Our plan was to go in via Prince Albert and come out again the next day via Calitzdorp and that settled it as she could carry on from there to Cape Town.





We set off through Meingspoort and stopped at the waterfall. From there it was off to Prince Albert for provisions and then we took on Swartberg pass. We stopped often to take pictures as we had ample time with only about 130km to do that day. Both of them have been to the Hell before, but this was my first.






At arrival we set up camp and went for a swim after which we had a good meal and quiet evening.
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Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2011, 09:41:26 am »
DAY 3

We were up quite early, packed and left the campsite at about 07h00. We took a ride as far as you are allowed down the Hell, stopped at the info centre and then left for Calitzdorp. At the top of Swartbergpass we stopped for pictures. Total trip length for this leg was about 230km.





From here we went down Swartberg pass towards Oudtshoorn, but took the dirtroad turnoff towards Calitzdorp. This is a beautiful area and we stopped frequently for pictures.





The previous evening we started to work on Rynet to go on with us for another day and then veer off to Cape Town from Laingsburg the next day. She had some banking stuff to sort out and continued with us. We did not have any breakfast in the Hel that morning, so we had a good lunch in Calitzdorp after which we again topped up supplies and set off for Seweweekspoort.





At the T-junction after Seweweekspoort we turned right towards Gamkakloof dam. There was not much to see, but now we have been there and done that.








It started to heat up considerably and my bike which ran fine the previous day again started to cut out like on the first day. Fortunately it was only a small distance to Seweweekspoort akkomodasie wehere we stayed for the night.



This is quite a good camping spot with lots of shade and excellent ablution facilities. While in conversation with the owner that evening it transpired that friends of Rynets have moved in just a couple of farms from there, directly on the route we were to follow the next morning, so we decided to pop in for coffee.
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2011, 10:04:24 am »
Die een kan lekker raak!! :thumleft:
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Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2011, 10:13:05 am »
DAY 4
We had 365km to ride that day with an early visit to Rynets friends which also set us back about an hour or so, so we left the camping spot quite early. After coffee at the friends we continued to Laingsburg where Rynet was supposed to veer off for Cape Town. We had some supplies to replenish and at the time to leave it appeared that our hints again hit home. Rynet was to go with us all the way to Kenhardt.

About 50 km out of Laingsburg Mark660 had a puncture, fixed it, but had to do it all over again as it was still leaking.





We enjoyed the rest and Rynet posed for a picture.



Soon the road got smaller and we encountered some gates.



Some distance later Mark had another puncture, this time he replaced the tube all together while Rynet had a nap in the sheep dung.



We went through Sutherland in the direction of Williston. By this time it was getting exceedingly hot, but due to the fact that I kept my fuel tank full as far as possible it ran fine. Just before Williston the combination of a half full tank and some heat had my bike problem reoccur. Fortunately it was not far to Williston and as soon as fuel was added, it ran fine again.



At around 3 the afternoon we reached our camping spot for the night. It is called Benouwdsfontein guestfarm which is situated about 35km out of Williston on the way to Verneukpan. We asked whether we could camp instead and soon had our tents pitched in the garden.





The two elderly people went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcome and soon we were relaxing in the pool. We enjoyed the stay so much that we only left at about 4 the next afternoon, using the time to do some washing, reading and a trip on the farm for the other two. At lunch that afternoon we were informed by the Tannie that she and the Oom were going to have a braai that afternoon and that we must join them. We had a delicious meal, icecream and all and by the time we had to settle our bill she would not take money for the meal, coffee and cooldrinks we enjoyed while camping there. We just left the money and took of. This is definitely an oasis to visit with good old plattelandse hospitality.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 10:15:58 am by Bie »
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Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2011, 10:35:34 am »
DAY 5

This section of our trip was only about 145km, but it was very hot even though we waited until about 4 in the afternoon before we left. Soon my bike was doing the same cutting out shit. There were quite a few sandy patches and you definately do not need a bike cutting out in a sandy stretch as that is exactly what you need to bin it. We arrived at Louis' (owner of the camp at verneukpan) house in time to pay, take pictures and set off for the campsite.

At his house we saw the wreck of Johan Jacobs' jet powered car in which he was killed on the pan in 2006. Rynet also found some springbok horns which was fixed to her bike in no time.







From here it was only a few kms to the campingsite where we met Mark Hardie and Malibu. We went for a ride on the pan, took some pictures and found the bell.







We then set off for the campsite to spend some time with Mark Hardie and Malibu before we again set out to the bell where we slept in the open. Actually we were planning to sleep at the bell, but it would be more correct to say we spent the night there.


The wind started howling across the pan and no one could close an eye. We were warned to get off the pan immediately if it started raining and with lightning to the north and the terrible wind sleep was not to come.




At about 05h00 I rang the bell and we were up to go clean ourselves up at the campsite.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 11:43:39 am by Bie »
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Offline JMOL

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2011, 10:37:59 am »
Cannot wait for more  ;D
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Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2011, 10:50:12 am »
We were nearing the end of our trip together as a group as the plan was to spend newyears in Kenhardt after which Rynet and Mark would leave for Cape Town and I will return on my own to Jansenville. I had spoken to Auto Luxus (BMW Upington) the previous day and planned on taking my bike there to sort out the problem after we reached Kenhardt. We were off at about 07h00 but soon it was my turn for puncture repairs.





We were soon on the road again and stopped briefly at the Quivertree forest just outside Kenhardt.




At Kenhardt we filled up, Mark660 and Rynet went to set up their camp and I asked them to reserve a spot for me as well. I left for Upington and was back at about 14hoo the afternoon, set back 2,5 grand with hopes that the problem was cured.



Our tents were pitched at the pool and during the afternoon more and more dogs arrived until we had a most enjoyable evening getting to know new people and putting faces to known names on the forum. That evening it started to rain, but by that time out tents were pitched, so we slept dry.
Kom ons maak 'n stoffie.
 

Offline BlueAlp

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2011, 10:55:01 am »
Beautiful part of the country to ride in Great pics  :thumleft:
 

Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2011, 11:19:14 am »
I woke the next moring to the sound of rain. Fortunately the rain abated for the period it took us to break up camp. I thought it was the end of the rain so I did not put in my waterproof liners. My route from there involved about 230 km of dirt to Carnarvon via van Wyksvlei. Mark and Rynet was going to take the same route we followed the previous day, past Verneukpan to Brandvlei form where they would make a dash for Cape Town. Rynet's rear tyre was on it last treads and she wanted to avoid tar as far as possible.

The road I had to take was quite wet at the Kenhardt end, but I still managed to do a comfortable 60-80 km/h with some spectacular slips from time to time.



Every few hundred meters there was a dam of water, slippery as hell on the edges.




Soon however the heavens opened up and it started pouring with rain. I fitted by jackets' inner but did not feel to get boots off in order to get my riding pants off to fit that liner too. Soon I was drenched and by the way, Sidi Criossfires are waterproof. They fill up almost all the way with no water leaking out. By then the road was extremely slippery and I rarely made it above 2nd gear.



A guy and his family in a Belville Prado came slipping past and stopped to ask whether they could assist me by taking some of my load. I thought this was very kind, but declined. Some distance further on he stopped again and offered something to eat and drink, but again I declined as it was now pissing with rain.





By the time I reached van Wyksvlei I was drenced from the waist down and stopped at the old hotel building. There I took off my boots and riding pants on the stoep to zip in the liner. From there on the road was equally bad to Carnarvon. At a point about 20 km out of van Wyksvlei a red Isuzu bakkie came from the opposite direction and flashed for me to stop. The diver suggested that I turn around as the road was very bad. I felt more inclined to tackle the remaining 50 km to Carnarvan than to backtrack the entire 180 km to Kenhardt so I pressed on.

Not 10 km further on I came upon this sight...





None of them were hurt and the bakkie also looked quite good, but it could not get back onto the road on own steam. I could not even get off my bike as the sidestand would just bury itself into the mud. I promised to let the police in Carnarvan know about their dilemma, took the two pictures and left. I reached Carnarvon at 13h05, six hours after I departed in Kenhardt only 230 km away, only stopping en route to put on rain gear. It is one thing to play in mud close to home but quite something else doing it far from home on a lonely road on newyears day. The only traffic I saw the entire 6 hours was the Prado, Isuzu and less fortunate Corsa bakkie.

From Carnarvon I decided to take tar only and 4 hours later I was at home.
Big word of thanks to Mark660 and Rynet for a wonderful trip. Looking forward to your reports and pictures of a wet Verneukpan on your way home.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 12:15:15 pm by Bie »
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Offline Sprocketbek

Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2011, 11:23:24 am »
Lovely report Bie. I'm completely green with envy.
I only managed to get 2 days off work so there was no chance to join you guys.

The problem with the 800GS fuel system is covered on another thread but I haven't really seen the solution yet.
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2011, 11:27:34 am »
The only wet spot on Verneukpan I see is behind Rynets backwheel!!! Who is the dog that peed behind her bike?!!!! :imaposer:
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Offline Bie

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2011, 11:32:17 am »
Quote
Who is the dog that peed behind her bike?!!!!

What happens on a trip, stays on a trip!  ;D
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Offline steady eddy

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2011, 12:43:13 pm »
Very nice report. been on that slip and slide road. Hairy memories/ flashbacks of that road. The karoo is always a lekker place to ride. :thumleft:
 

Offline Laban

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2011, 05:24:27 pm »


Thanks Bie!! :thumleft:
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Offline Heimer

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2011, 06:28:45 pm »
Lekker report. Rynet is easily swayed, I see.  :peepwall:

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Offline BMWPE

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2011, 06:33:33 pm »
Great RR  :thumleft:
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Offline GeoffB

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2011, 07:06:18 pm »
Thanks for sharing. Excellent report and pics.

I wish Rynet would write some ride reports.  Those that she wrote some time ago were very entertaining.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 07:07:10 pm by GeoffB »
 

Offline >>Thump°C

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Re: 2 Jacks and a Jill in the Karoo
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2011, 07:41:59 pm »
Lekker Ride and great report

Thanks
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