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Offline Rynet

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A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« on: January 04, 2011, 07:11:25 pm »

Warning . Do not attempt to ride at Verneukpan after or during the rains. It is wet, muddy and slippery ! And we were told afterwards that our tyre marks will scar the pan for up to two years. Apologies to the ones who come after , the tracks we made are not pretty.  And we risked having a very long and hot walk for help and to inconvenience someone else to tow us out . Anyway I cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube so I might as well share it. Toothpaste anyone? ……………So …….Mark 660  and I had just finished the 2 Jacks and  Jill trip through the Karoo which ended at the Kenhardt Hotel with the Wilddogs New Year’s Bash .
( See http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=62115.0 )

We said a sad good bye to our fabulous travelling companion up to then , Bie,  who left for Jansenville , and then a little later Mark 660 and I left the Kenhardt Hotel camping spot just before 8 am intending to ride dirt as far as possible to Cape Town as both our rear tyres were pretty shot. Our plan was to ride from Kenhardt PAST the Verneukpan turn –off and ride DIRECTLY to Williston . Riding through Verneukpan was not even a speck of dust of an idea on the horizon of my brain, , but it seems that Mark and my impulsive ( reckless ) nature got the better ( or worst) of me………………

It rained for most of the 24 hours we spent at Kenhardt , the weather gods stopping pouring just long enough to be kind to us while we packed up camp.





We entered gravel just after we left Kenhardt and road was unbelievably muddy and slippery, especially in the red clay bits , and we started struggling almost immediately. Just then it started to rain again and we stopped so I could put my rain suit on.



I would have preferred riding in front because Mark was going much slower then I would have, and in addition making deep ruts for me to fall into or over , but my curiosity got the better of me and I plodded along at the back quite happily ,amusing myself as he slipped and slid along in some places . I also created some pretty wild snakes, but of course it was more fun watching someone else doing it  . The best was when he did a spectacular snake up an embankment and made a rather hasty exit of the road  , but to his credit and my amazement he did not fall.

Mark has only been riding for 6 months and has not done any riding courses. He has not learnt the “correct way “ to ride i.e. to ride with your feet and body, but clearly he was born with talent, common sense and a steadfast resourcefulness as he just kept that Tenere 660 of his steady and upright in almost all  circumstance. And admittedly the further I rode behind Mark the more I appreciated his sensible slower speed in the wet muddy conditions . I noticed that I had much better control to be able to prevent falls and even to stop a slide once it started , and we had no offs ……………..until the Pan that is .

I also saw fresh tyre tracks from a car having left the road reminding me that even cars were not immune in this kind of slippery conditions.

But I was not worried. I am  an eternal optimist ( illusionist?) as long as there were no very steep down hills or thick sand. So I was enjoying the ride and the challenge of staying upright and feeling quite restful and unrushed and in control .  The red clay was slippery as hell and caught you out at unexpectedly, but we were doing great at our own sedate pace .

Just past the turn –off to Verneukpan we stopped .



Unbeknownst to innocent lil (big) me , naughty Mark had been toying with the idea of riding through Verneukpan all along. It must have jumped from his head to mine by osmosis, because as I sat there staring at the Verneukpan turn-off the thought of actually crossing the Pan popped into my head from nowhere. Perversely I savoured the thought , and turned it round and round in my head as a tongue would do to a loose tooth. Much as one would re-play a nasty bike crash , watch a Matador being gorged by a raging bull or watch a violent force of nature like a name brand cyclone or earthquake wreck destruction in its path . The thought repulsed me and attracted me at the same time. But since it was just a thought I thought I could just flirt with it in my mind and remain free to not engage .  But of course thoughts lead to ideas and ideas lead to possibilities and once that mind of mine engages in a reckless idea only lightning is faster. Mark did no more than pick up the butter knife. He only uttered two short sentences in that calm voice of his, being :” if the road is really bad we could always turn back”….. and the deal clincher: “we only get to live once” and before his words were even cold I had made a U- EE and was at the starting blocks raring to go ride  The Verneukte Pad. So much so that all along the ride I thought it was my idea! It was only when we down –loaded the photographs yesterday that he admitted it was on his agenda all along. Clever man Mark for making me believe it was my idea , which made me work harder at wanting to succeed in finishing it.

We  knew upfront that that there would be at least two places on the way to the Pan that would  be impossible to ride through, as there were thick and deep ruts, but when we rode it the day before there were alternate detour routes off the path. Easy Peasy !?? Ha! Not !

Ok , first gate and first mud. So far so good. We outwitted the first bit of water and crossed it and recrossed it ,as we couldn’t turn in the water and the gate was in the way.











The alternate route was very muddy also, but nothing toooooo serious. Nothing to warn us of our little mis-adventure to come . We innocently carried on and did another detour and then a few more . I did notice that the detours seemed to get just a tad muddier and sticker and mmmm just more difficult, but it was a subtle change . Verneukpan once again conspiring savouring the chance to cheat and verneuk another human being out of a life or limb or bike .





BACK ON THE TRACK
















My freebie boots of a year was the first thing to go



But Duct Tape is always handy :




At some point Mark stopped to take a photo and of course not having his superior Selous Scout sixth sense of what all the different coloured terrain meant, I stupidly rode right into the waiting arms of the enemy without suspecting a thing and instantly the trap closed around me . I got stuck and started sinking , the wheels , the bike , my feet…..my heart ……. Everything. The mud quickly turned into a mass of quivering quicksand. It was alive . The more I tried to leave , the more it grabbed  me. I rolled backwards and revved to try and get out , but every backward roll just caused me to sink back more ! .I was going nowhere but down  .Mark rushed up and pushed and pulled, but to no avail , the tractor she was well and truly stuck. I gave Mark permission and we threw her down and dragged her around on her pot , (you know she secretly quite likes being manhandled , that one)  , but even after getting her up we struggled with finding a dry spot and I kept getting stuck and she kept being thrown down till at last she made it. By this time we were drenched in mud and sweat and blood ( me from trying to put thorn branches down underneath the tyres )










Luckily clever Mark could avoid the troubled spots and took the higher dryer way.  This little mishap cost us at least an hour and loss of valuable energy and many liters of  body fluid . At this point we both decided  it may very well actually be easier to ride IN the water ( which used to be a road -at least till yesterday . You may not believe it but its true -I saw it with my own two good eyes just yesterday  ) We figured ( rightly as the owner Louis told us afterwards ) that IN the water we had the least chance of getting stuck . Everywhere off the road is a Death Trap . And the further away from the road the worst it is . You can’t believe your eyes . What looks like drier land is actually the worst quicksand ! Its Verneukpan verneuking you .Veneukpan hadn’t had a victim this year, but she was determined to start the year off by having having us.  In the road you don’t have any grip on the tyres ,let alone on our bald tyres, but that was better than sinking in mud as thick as raw chocolate cake mix and being devoured alive by the Mud Monster .Swimming- sorry I mean riding – in the road leads to risk of falling every meter you ride  , because it is so soapy slippery that in most places you can’t even walk without falling, but at least it’s a nice soft landing and still the lesser evil compared to the Monstrous Mother of all Mud.

Looking a tad tired there ?




“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. 

“It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
 
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 07:14:41 pm »
Here we took our last detour off the watery road. This was Real Evil Green Slimy Mud that grabbed your tyres and would not let go.  Here we both started tensing up a bit as we knew that to get stuck here would be fatal . We knew that over this stretch we could not afford to fall , or  stall or stop . We had to ride Even Stevens or suffer nasty consequences . Fortunately we both kept both our heads and heads steady and by now we had learnt a trick or two and had gotten the hang of the mud riding somewhat – as much as one can get the hang of the Verneukpan Mud Demon.









 Mark had explained to me earlier that the best way to ride this freak of nature was to find the sweet spot in first gear just seconds before you choke off. So to ride very very very slowly , very consistent , no jerking , and under no circumstances to stop or choke off or rev or spin the tyres  .Just consistent light pressure going forward ever so slowly as to be hardly moving so as to fool the enemy. I figured it was a bit like becoming a tracker yourself , you flow with Nature , become one with her, not aggressively going against her  . I also quickly found out to my despair that standing on the pegs was out like cookies in an orphanage. It was just too slippery and you had no control over the bike at all, whether standing or sitting. Standing simply meant you had further to fall.  I had to copy Mark and ride sitting down with both legs stretched out and skiing with my feet.  Mark said that also acted like a brake and slowed you down some more and made you more steady.  He had his feet skiing on top of the water , but I preferred solid ground underneath me and I had my feet stretched out in front of me pushing at the  bottom of the pond.  And also my legs are longer . Two wheels or two feet were simply never going to work , it was too slippery , you needed four “oars/ anchors’ ” in the water , all at the same time.

But for me I can only really control my bike by standing , riding like this for some 20 km was nearly impossibly difficult . I was basically riding the bike with my stomach, with my feet acting like training wheels, and my stomach has no riding skills whatsoever . But a girl has to do what she has to do to survive and if I had to ride that tractor with my stomach then so be it . I would do or die .( Ouch my stomach is still so sore every punch of the keyboard hurts.)







I must say the Tenere was the clear winner in this competition between Verneukpan versus us humans . As much as I am in love with my GS1200,  the smaller Tenere was definitely the superior bike to have in these conditions. Actually in almost all conditions on this 8 day trip it was the better bike. At the start of the trip I was a decidedly a Non-Tenere Fan ,but grudgingly my admiration and respect for the Tenere 660 grew day by day .The only time it compared less favorably than my GS1200 was at high speeds and windy conditions , but in both of these cases I discovered that slower riding is safer and more enjoyable anyway ( especially when you have no brakes ).  Of course no other bike in the world is as hardy and indestructible and reliable and safe and stable as the GS1200, which is handy if your name is Rynet, but methinks the Tenere is probably not far from that perfect ideal.










Anyway back to the more serious task of getting out of the Pond alive .After the first few comparatively smaller crossings ( haha I can’t believe I am calling it small ), it felt like things were improving somewhat, and we could not possibly be very far from Louis, the farm owner‘s farm , he who partly owns the Mystery that is Verneukpan. But when we came to where we thought the worse was over we had a bucket – no a ton – of cold water thrown over our heads as we saw to our shock water stretched endlessly to the horizon to the front and to the both sides as far as the eye could see . Uh Uh!  . My heart sank in my boots. Water , water , water everywhere .














But Mark being a man of action we did not ponder the philosophical aspect but jumped right in and rode the beast . We tried crossing what looked like a muddy cesspool by riding the side wall . At this point I had to stand as it looked very tricky and uneven , but I ended up in a fat track left by a 4x4 and had the choice of falling in the crooked spoor or fall out of it. Fall I was going to do either way and fall I did. Mark came to help me up , but I made sure I pulled my weight ,by picking up at least  20% of the bike’s weight of which I was mighty proud.   Often no Normally in the past I would get my breath back and let the guys pick up my bike after a fall , but there were only two of us and I was determined not to be more of a liability on Mark than I already was . I knew that he carried the bulk of the responsibility being the more no only mechanically minded person of the two of us and the  stronger one too . I tried my utmost to make things easier on him .


Did I mention that I was having fun?




 I was having more fun than I ever have had in my entire life. And the next few kilometers were the most fun of them all. I was riding in front again and it was just water and water and water and more water front , back and sides. It was not as slippery and I was standing again and enjoying the challenge of control over the bike and staying upright and also drooling over the spectacular feast for the eyes of water water everywhere  . I was like a little girl in a toy store.   I kept pinching myself and giggling with disbelief and glee and sheer unadulterated excitement at the wild thrill of riding in water as far as you could see . The beauty and splendor is a sight and that will stay with me forever. I will never forget it. I wonder if a day will come that I won’t turn it around and around in my mind and  savour and delight in it for  the wondrous majestic miracle that it was.  







At this point Mark also fell but picked up his bike himself.  At one stage I couldn’t see Mark in the mirror and stopped to see if he needed help. HA! As I sat my feet just slipped wider and wider , there was just no grip on my soles, so either I was getting split in half or the bike had to fall. Once again Mark helped me pick her up. Thanks Mark you were a star!






























« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 08:34:13 pm by Rynet »
“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. 

“It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
 
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 07:17:26 pm »
A bit further along I executed the fastest elephant turn you ever saw, it would have made Leon of Country Trax proud, well at least the first part of it. One minute I was heading South , the next I was heading North and then I was heading Down. This is the photo evidence of after the fact . Pity we didn’t catch the actual U-Turn.











 We don’t of course have any evidence of Mark’s fall as he only fell once, and besides it was his camera. And he was on the Tenere. Have I mentioned how great that Tenere was yet ?













So after miles and miles of water we arrived at the Verneukpan Camp turn –off. We swam – rode - across to the sign . You can see on the photo where Mark is posing that he is standing very wide legged. This is not because he thinks he is John Wayne. It is because he can’t actually stand , there is no grip , it’s just too slippery .











At this point we were still very optimistic and happy and chirpy , well maybe realistic Mark who carried more responsibility a tad less so than me………..





I now knew it was only about 5 km to the farm. How hard could that be ? I mean really! We had stopped earlier on some tiny sliver of a deserted island for a 5 minute food break for some Pro Vita ( Mark ) and a tin of tuna ( me) , and typically I still had enough tinned food to last the South African army a week , and me a day,  and we were close enough to walk to the farm. And we had lots of water , at least 2 liters in bottles and at 2 million liters at our feet.?  There was even lots of squirmy worms to eat in case we got hungry . We probably even have had cell phone reception by then , but this was not going to be used.  Mark and I had decided early on that we would not call on help ,in any shape or form .We got ourselves into this situation and we would rely only on ourselves to get out of there. Come hell or high water we would not make it anyone else’s problem and that was that.

So how do I start explaining the last 5 km? I need a cup of tea to give me nourishmen in trying to write about this last very trying 5 kilometers. This part will be very boring to everyone else except me and Mark , as it is quite philosophical, so feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.

Let’s digress by talking about the water . Did I mention the water?  You know how you leave sacks of grain and when you open them up they have rats in them. Well this pan was dry as a desert just yesterday and today it is under water, like a huge dam .  Where did the water come from out of nowhere? And this from 15 mm rain? The mind struggles to absorb information like this….. well mine does. Here are some pics of us in the desert JUST YESTERDAY, if I may be so vain as to add a photo of me looking ok for a change!




And of course Mark being more humble than me here is a nice one of his Tenere. Have I mentioned how much I like his Tenere yet ?

Tenere in the dry the DAY before :


 
And his Tenere in the wet , the next day , at the same Pan ( now a Dam)








Ok let me not put off this part. Ok so the last 5 km , have I mentioned how difficult this part was?  For a start I was running out of energy , being more of a sprinter than a long distance athlete . It would have been ok if things had continued in the same vein. And logic dictates that it should have or that is should have become better as there was less water. But for some inexplicable reason the mud now really got bad . It got worse and worse by the meter ,and progressively so . It was impossibly slippery and sucked the life out of the tyres , it gripped them in a death –like vice grip like hundreds of  Octopuses grabbing on and anchoring you . Maybe the reason TrailRider has not been able to find the Watermeid is because she is hiding in the Verneukpan Swamp and waiting to claim her next victim?  At the time I had lost my ability to think anymore but thinking about it now , it appears that as the mud dries it becomes worse . It was still raining on the Kenhardt side of the Pan, but on the farmer Louis’ farm side at Reception it was already sunny and the mud had started drying up ……...I had thought that we had been riding in the worst mud I ever saw but yes it could actually get worse and it did. I started becoming more and more tired and fell over twice more ( now total of 4 falls and one side stand all in the Pan) . But the mud just didn’t want to let you go. It was a nightmare. We literally had to manhandle the bike one step back and two steps forward. I wouldn’t even call it riding , it was more trying to wake and carry a wild Rhino. There were no half measures , this was a battle for our lives and our pride .We were conquering the mud a centimeter at a time . It was also scorching hot, especially in my full ballistic jacket and big knee guards . We were fast losing our sense of humour and everything else too. All that remained was that utter focus to get to the gate.

Funny how things never look as bad on a photo, but here are the innocent looking fotos :















Then about 300 meters from the gate Mark gestured that it appeared dryer and I should again attempt to leave the ruts . Because I was not even moving as millimeter , I was fast losing the battle. Once over the lip we discovered the mud was only marginally better and even worse we now had the added problem that in addition to the weird magnetic mud holding you with a stranglehold , our front tyres were also no longer turning. So we left my bike and went to try and recover Mark’s bike. His bike was 50 meters from the gate, but wild horses could not have moved it . But as they say in for a penny in for a pound . I changed into a mad woman and walked ,even though my muscles were screaming from having been used as anchors , they walked towards Mark’s bike and then I pushed like I have never pushed before. I had clumps of clay being squirted into my mouth and all over my body . Damaged my good pair of R50 sunglasses , most I ever paid for a pair . As I was pushing the tiny sliver of mind that still could think wondered at this super women that was now being so physical . I did not know her. But this was a life and death situation at least where our babies -our bikes- were concerned, because the dryer the mud the less chance of getting them out. And by this time Mark had become my blood brother and getting his bike out was even more important to me than getting my own bike out.  I still ( mistakenly) felt responsible for getting us into this mess ( I had not yet learnt it was his plan all along) . His bike moved a meter and stopped, and so we started pushing again . And so it went , two meters forward one meter backwards . At times I was holding his bike up against the entire force of gravity . The last few meters to free Mark’s bike took us about half an hour to do .\














 But sweet success,  at last his front wheel sprang free and he rode the last few meters to freedom!!. Now he was on dry land and we could see the farm house not 1 km away . Freedom for him at last , now we had hope again for my bike.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 08:43:49 pm by Rynet »
“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. 

“It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
 
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 07:19:32 pm »
Now we had to walk to my bike about 300 meters away . Here I must just add that if I had not done my one year’s national training including 5 months basics I doubt I would have had the reserve and resolve to walk back to my bike. I don’t know who walked back to my bike but it certainly wasn’t me. Every step was punishment ( even as I write this every inch of my body is in agony ) Every step felt like a mile. When I got to my tractor Mark was already kneeling at the front wheel and scraping off the fast drying mud.



 He would meticulously scrape off the thick mud that had caked up into my tyres and  underneath the mud guard and then turn the wheel back. Then ask me to stand on the foot pegs and ride so the weight was forward on the bike. I actually want to cry just writing this remembering how much pain I was in . I could no longer stand ,let alone hoist that muddy feet of mine onto the slippery wet foot pegs only to try and balance the bike and roar away trying to rip the front wheel loose only for the front wheel to dig in and throw me off violently . I don’t think Mark realized that what he was asking me to do was impossible. I had real fear of hurting myself and of simply dying of exhaustion . I no longer acted for  myself, but only did it so that Mark could get out. I almost didn’t care if I made it or not. I just didn’t want to let Mark down. It was 5 minutes prep to go 60 cm forward every 5th try  , stop ,and repeat the whole process. Haul my ass off the bike while we ( Mark) cleaned the mudguard for 5 minutes again , turned the wheel  back and then me back on the bike , jump on the foot pegs to give it front weight and nearly fall off a minute later. So it went . Minute by minute . Centimeter by centimeter.



Mark then asked permission to rip off the mud guard and I actually started laughing out loud when he did. It was freeing . After that it got slightly better and after about an hour my bike had moved about  4 meters away. By that time the front wheel was becoming more loose and I jumped on the pegs and she ran wild and free . Yippee. My exuberance was short –lived as I got stuck in more looks –deceiving swamp. There was really no end in sight. Mark became a harder task master , he kept saying aim for the gate. But the gate was in the opposite direction as of course to get the front wheel loose you had to point the wheel straight, and as soon it was free, you had to do a wild U-turn whilst trying to not get sucked in the mud or stuck onto a thorn bush , whilst your feet and your shoes and foot pegs were as slippery as a mass of squirmy earthworms. By some miracle , stroke of luck ,God , the mercy of Verneukpan,  Mark’s stubborn determination and me pushing through what I had previously through to be my own ceiling  , I made it to the gate.


CHECK THOSE TYRE MARKS !! They were made with blood sweat and nearly tears too!!





Getting back onto the road and riding out of there side by side Mark gave me the biggest smile and thumbs up I ever saw. I will never forget his grin of  happiness and relief. For both of us the never ending ordeal was over .




 But I would never have been able to do it without Mark’s help. And he would have done it much easier without me.  But he was so calm , he never hurried me or lost his patience or temper. For some strange inexplicable reason Mark had thought I was a good rider and a brave companion to have with him on this trip to both Heaven and Hell. I wasn’t to start off,  but his belief that I was this brave warrior made me so. As much as Verneukpan has a special meaning to each and every person who is touched by her magic, what I took from her is a sense of  personal victory , that I could be this person that was so brave and strong and calm and determined. Verneukpan touched me and changed me.

 Before Verneukpan I always used to think that if I could make it through my army year nothing would ever be that hard again. But Verneukpan took this to a higher level. Now for the second half of my life I will think that nothing I do will ever do will be as hard as the Verneukpan Crossing. And besides Verneukpan is a much nicer memory then the Army ever was !

And for my riding partner Mark you were absolutely wonderful , a rock of support , the best companion on that trip I could have wished for.  We only met each other a week before Verneukpan, but that one day Verneukpan trip forged a solid friendship between us.

When we arrived at the very nice farmer Louis’s house he predictably told us off , albeit in a very mild way . He said he could not believe when he saw the bikes arrive and that we had actually made it through the mud. He frowned and said it was not funny . He said he had to leave his 4 x4 on the Pan many a time and walk home and it was an Isuzu, the only four wheeler to have in these parts. We were told of movie trucks becoming stuck and of the tractors who came to haul them out being stuck as well. We were told of people getting lost in Verneukpan and of course the man dying trying to speed through the Pan. We would not have died trying to speed through Verneukpan . We took 8 hours riding from Kenhardt to the farm house, which is all of 115 km ! And we only had one 5 minute break to eat . The rest was moving moving moving . After the mild ticking off Louis stayed and chatted to us for the 20 minutes it took to get our breath back. He then smiled a wicked smile and said he must just inform us the a man who rode a bicycle through Africa took only 6 hours to ride from Kenhardt to his farm house. He then doubled over with laughter and we all had a good giggle.

After we had shedded a few tons of mud , we left to raid the store outside Verneukpan.

The Bar One and Coke store outside Verneukpan:

 


Between us we bought a whole box of the 43 g Bar Ones and within 5 minutes flat I had eaten 8 Bar Ones and Mark had  6. He also downed two large cokes and I had one . Feeling more energized we left to carry on to Williston. To our shock the road was very bad and every 20 to 60 meters there was a rutted mud bath right across the tracks. At the Brandvlei turn –off I suggested we  rather take the Brandvlei Road. It took us nearly 3 and a half hours to ride that road. The road was full of holes made by the trucks who make their way to Prieska, but after Verneukpan this was a breeze and our exhausted bodies coped with the road quite well, although it was slow going.  Although compared to Verneukpan this was a walk in the park as one had a large measure of control at least .





See also the great report of 2 other Wild Dogs Peat and Jacoboos, their fotos was pretty accurate of the conditions in the Karoo at this stage  , and on the first post there is a pretty spectacular off on a GSA : http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61922.0

 We took a short break 15 minutes later next to the side of the road to eat some more Bar Ones, and change our route to Brandvlei, ons is moeg !









Outside Branvlei we saw a horse drawn cart with some adorable kids . The two pretty girls were called Noelene and Laurika . See Mark standing behind the cart.








LAURIKA and NOELENE




In Brandvlei I discovered that the Hotel had dropped its somewhat murky standards even further and we were lucky to be snapped up by the nice man Koula ? owner of the Guest House opposite. He insisted that we had to post him fotos of our swimming in the Pan , as he said he grew up in the area and had never seen such a spectacle as was on Mark’s camera.

As said earlier if I had been stronger and on a smaller bike it would have been easier on both of us, but with the raw material that we had to work with I think the two of us did a bloody good job ( with the emphasis on bloody ) And yes it makes me proud and happy to have done the trip, but I would not dream of going anywhere near Verneukpan in the wet again. But Verneukpan in the dry will see me again and not soon enough , what a breathtaking and magical place where anything and everything can happen , what memories , what mystery , what a force of Nature. And ten out of ten for our two very durable and reliable bikes .

“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. 

“It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
 
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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 07:19:47 pm »
wow, great story, lovely to see that area so wet. :thumleft:

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2011, 07:20:14 pm »
Hard work the two of you did.
Im very happy the farmers had some rain in that area. :thumleft:
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2011, 07:24:24 pm »
CLANWILLIAM DAM






After the Battle of Mud Bath I had no more front or rear brakes and  I rode with no brakes all the way from Verneukpan to  Cape Town . We had to go tar as I could not risk wild animal and dongas in my path . I put plenty of following distance between me and the next person ahead , planned my line carefully and it was surprisingly fine, other that Van Rhynsdorp Pass felt steeper than usual. I had to practiced my emergency braking techniques in my head every 15 minutes : Jump on the foot pegs whilst dropping 2 gears , drop the clutch and lock the back wheel.( well that’s in theory anyway) Fortunately I did not have to put this to test. Amazingly I rode over 700 km without stopping at a single stop street or traffic lights ,even though I live in Gardens and have to ride through the city center to get home. Amazing how much more control you have riding so much slower . I never once exceeded 120 km /hr and averaged 110 on the open roads . And in the towns I would just about crawl. I had not the smallest incidence till a youngster skipped a stop street 2 streets from my home ! Fortunately I was in first gear and at least he kept his head and sped off out of my way with the speed of lightning. I have always admired someone who when creating a crises at least had the presence of mind to correct it again . He even apologized as he sped away . But it would have been ironic to have made it this far only to be hit so close to home. Home safe and after dropping a ton of mud on my entrance floor I was in the shower and off to mommy for some yummy food. Now to get my body and bike working again, and my nails clean of Verneukpan mud. Meanwhile my mind dreams of a Mystical Pan far away …………………..

Our last stop was at Blouberg Beach for a last chat and photo session. The Australian man who took the last photo said his home town in Aus has just been flooded too.

SMOOTH TYRES







SMOOTH TYRES




SMOOTH TYRES






FINISHED  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:










« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 11:13:16 am by Rynet »
“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. 

“It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
 
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Offline Fenderbender

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 07:55:20 pm »
Great stuff Rynet  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline Lotta

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2011, 07:58:33 pm »
Baie nice. Gelyk na groot sports. Thanks for the rapport.
 

Offline Bie

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2011, 08:11:58 pm »
Wow that looks wild!!. I am glad and sad at the same time that I was not there with you guys. All in all a wonderfull trip, wonderfull companions and hopefully lasting friendship. Just think about it, slightly more than a week ago none of us knew each other. May 2011 have many more such fun trips for all of us dogs!!
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2011, 08:28:29 pm »
Wow that looks wild!!. I am glad and sad at the same time that I was not there with you guys. All in all a wonderfull trip, wonderfull companions and hopefully lasting friendship. Just think about it, slightly more than a week ago none of us knew each other. May 2011 have many more such fun trips for all of us dogs!!

Yes Bie we missed you too , and will visit you in Jansenville soon  :thumleft: :thumleft:
“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. 

“It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
 

Offline N[]vA

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2011, 08:30:58 pm »
awesome stuff :D
So much of win it hurts! ^.^


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Offline BMWPE

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2011, 08:43:03 pm »
Awesome report  :thumleft:
Well done
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Offline tau

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2011, 08:43:52 pm »
I was there yesterday.......some bikers had some scary moments........ :imaposer:

will post pics later
 

Offline Sithe

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2011, 08:44:40 pm »
Wow ... massive respect to you ... especially the lady on a 1200 nogal
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2011, 08:56:31 pm »
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, something you will never forget.  A once in a life experience.  Well done to both of you.
Great stuff.
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Offline GroenMamba

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2011, 09:00:48 pm »
Welgedaan Rynet en Mark. Dit lyk na baie harde werk, ek is so 3 of 4 dae voor julle daar deur, toe was daar net die paar half opgedroogde poele wat julle ook gesien het.
 

Offline Malibu

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2011, 09:12:24 pm »
You nut jobs.  But hats off!  Awesome RR and love the story!  Well done for conquering that. Wow!
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Offline Goose

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2011, 09:16:19 pm »
STUNNING and well done..... dunno if any more words are needed!

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Offline philgil

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Re: A Wet New Years Day at Verneukpan ( 1/1/11)
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2011, 09:20:42 pm »
Brillian RR. Thanks Rynet