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Offline lonerider

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A dash along the Southern Cape back roads
« on: January 12, 2011, 09:46:46 pm »
So I dashed through to Groot Brak on Tuesday to visit some old mates who were closer to Stellenbosch than usual. Had an excellent (although disagreeably short) time catching up with Ysterklip and his wife - goed om julle te gesien het, en baie dankie vir die gasvryheid!

The basic route was:
Tuesday 11 Jan: Stellenbosch - Franschhoek - Greyton (breakfast) - Riviersonderend - Swellendam - Suurbraak - Heidelberg - Riversdale - Stilbaai - Groot Brak.
Wednesday 12 Jan: Groot Brak - Eight Bells - Herbertsdale - Riversdale - Tradouw's Pass - Barrydale - Montagu - Bonnievale - Stellenbosch.

I lacked the available time skip the N2 altogether, and with the wind that was coming in from the southern regions had to make up time somehow. Still had a blast along some roads I hadn't travelled before, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing some eden-like parts of the South Cape.

Tuesday 11 Jan
Left Stellenbosch nice and early - not long after sunrise. Of course I had to stop for fuel and tyres, and then realised I had the wrong maps loaded on the GPS. Doh. So ended up actually leaving town half an hour later than I wanted to.



The view from top of Franschhoek Pass is always great, especially early in the morning.



On the way down the pass I caught up to a bakkie and had to tail it for a while. Near the bottom of the pass he started trying to outrace me and started cutting (blind) corners (idiot). I slacked off to give him space, then almost lost my cool when he cut another blind corner just after the little bridge at the bottom - and almost rode head-on into a biker. Fortunately the biker had the presence of mind to stick to his inside line and likely only had to change his underpants when he got home. I don't often wish harm on others, but this was one case where I did - I just hope that when he gets Darwined the bakkie driver won't take innocent lives with him. Unfortunately I forgot to note his registration...  >:(


Some deep breaths later I stopped on the bridge over the Theewaterskloofdam for some fresh air. The wind she was blowing!


Vented my frustrations on some unsuspecting gravel roads, then stopped in Greyton to fill the belly and subdue the inner beast.


Slowed down on taking pictures after this.

Took the R406 out of Greyton, heading toward Riviersonderend. The GPS told me there was a road running parallel to the R406 for the last bit into into town, so I opted for that route. Turned out to be a private road - but I did the right thing, stopped at the first farm office I came across and requested permission to continue. Very charming lady and her husband urged me on, saying the road had just recently been repaired and that it was a lovely ride. So on I went.

Except I got something wrong, and ended up on a riverbed, axle deep in dry, powdery sand. Oops.

Fortunately Jacob - a friendly and energetic fellow - saw me kicking up fountains of dirt and ambled over to assist. Between the two of we swung the pig's head around. Whilst catching our breaths, he told me I'd missed a little drift through the river - "die pad gaan net daar oorkant verder aan". Made my way back, found the drift, and continued along the road.

Jacob, after all the exertion.


Somewhere further along the private road I came across this old bridge.


Didn't sound to rickety as I crossed it, but hope they're not sending their fruit trucks along this road!

That was the last photo for the day. I was running late and still had some ground to cover, so motored on along the N2. Dropped in at chrisL to get some tips on routes to follow (sorry Chris, had to skip the coastal road - but Ysterklip rode it today on his way back to Grootbrak). Then made my way - against a horrendous headwind - through Mossel Bay to Grootbrak.




Wednesday 12 Jan
Ysterklip offered to accompany part of the way back from Grootbrak. I was glad for the company, and appreciated the time he gave up to join me for the ride. Dankie ou maat!

Unfortunately I can't clearly remember where all the photos were taken. I was so absorbed by the scenery we encountered and the new roads we were covering, that I would just stop when a shot seemed to present itself, take a picture, then blissfully continue riding until the next stop came up. Here's a random selection of pictures - have tried to put in captions where I could.






Ysterklip op sy ysterperd. :)






The beast (pig), and the beauty...


"Die Poort", bridge across the Gourits river.


"Ystering" along.


Somewhere after Riversdale, along the edge of a pine forest. Road was so washed away it was almost jeep track riding - fun!!


Ended up on this hill after (stupidly) following a detour sign off the main road. Very rocky, the road was just what you see in front of the bike and just disappeared at a fence. ??? Did make for an interesting diversion in the riding, and gave me a lekker view. Notice the wind blowing down the little mielies(?)...



Was getting late after this last picture, and the rest of the trip was done with no thought of the camera. Got rid of the last of the chicken strips on my tyres in the Tradouw Pass, then stopped at the Country Pumpkin in Barrydale to murder a thirst (and laugh at the poor girl eternally sweeping the leaves off the stoep that the wind kept dragging back). Hoiked it to Montagu then on to the N2 via Bonnievale and through to Stellenbosch.

Stopped at home 8.5 hours after leaving Grootbrak - tired, but happily so. Best way I've detoured to complete what would normally be a 400km/4.5 hour trip! :)

Thanks for reading - now get out there and explore! And if you find yourself somewhere long the Garden Route - get off the main roads, find the sheltered back roads, have a blast and appreciate the beauty our country provides.

(Edit: Minor spelling errors, some clarification of text.)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 08:08:03 pm by lonerider »
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: A dash along the Southern Cape back roads
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 11:00:00 pm »
I have NO idea were you are on the last pic!!
And those plants are not mielies but greengrazer. Green fodder for the livestock.
Thanks for the visit J.
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Offline lonerider

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Re: A dash along the Southern Cape back roads
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 12:15:41 am »
I have NO idea were you are on the last pic!!
And those plants are not mielies but greengrazer. Green fodder for the livestock.
Thanks for the visit J.

Pleasure was mine. I've been hooked - now have to try satisfy Karoo cravings as well as South Cape cravings! :)

The last pic was taken about 4 km before rejoining the Suurbraak road. I think. Will take a look at the GPS track over the next few days and figure it out. Road had signs for both directions indicating a detour up this overgrown and rocky road. Stopped and thought about it, decided to follow the detour, then dead-ended at a fence (draadhek that was closed). Tracks on the road didn't look too fresh, so turned around, made my way back down to the main road and carried on. Never did find out why there was a detour - no roadworks or other signs... ???

Thanks for the correction on the plants. Wasn't paying much attention... :)
[snip]
I do not think that dying is a good idea.
Living doing something that you love is a good idea.
Living until you die is a good idea. If living happens to kill you it means you made a mistake, but we are human, and humans make mistakes, so go for it, enjoy it, live until you die, rather than not living for your whole life.