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Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Mud monster in the Karoo?
« on: March 05, 2011, 10:45:49 am »
What do they say?   Better late than never!  So here it is…


Planned trip   :  Karoo trip and then up the West Coast.
Actual trip   :  Karoo trip and back to Gauteng...reasons will be revealed.
Time frame   :  14 December to whenever....
Reason    :

I’ve always been a fan of the Karoo...started when I was very young and my folks used to go caravanning at Swartvlei(Sedgefield).  At first the Karoo was just a hot boring place to get thru but later on in life I actually longed to go explore the Karoo for the quietness and desolation it promised, I was not to be disappointed.... :mwink:
Also, I wanted to experience a true solo trip where you tag along all your stuff all of the time and nobody else to talk to except strangers in small town bars!   :thumleft:

Prologue:

Writing a RR is harder than I thought it would be...!
Something about re-living the experience and kapping a bit of a depro because now you’re actually writing about it at work in office time...!

Anyways, I’ll give it a shot!

As with all trips I like my bike washed and packed the evening before I go.  Ordered my center stand from BikeGear and got it the day before I left...close call...! 
What an absolute bitch to get that thing on...!   :angry4:

But alas, I was ready...now I needed some beers to get me sleepy...Didn’t work...
Because of all the excitement I didn’t sleep well until an hour or so before my intended departure time of 05:00...


Day 1:  Centurion/Prieska (N12/R369/R357)

Tuesday 14 December, it was overcast and looked rainy...eventually got away at 05:30 after a lekker warm cup of coffee.  Was to nervous for my usual Weet-Bix...
I was all psyched-up and had somewhere to go and the little bit of rain around Joburg didn’t bother me at all...except when my crotch got wet but this was to be the first day of many wet crotch days...

Nothing much happened(except awfull cross winds) until Kimberley when  I stopped to go and check out the “Groot gat” and had a couple of beers.
I’ve never paid to check out a hole but the R20 was worth it...after all, it is a moer of a big hole!   :o











So after the beers it was about 13:30 and I was lus for some gravel and I had some time. So instead of going tar to Prieska I remembered that Boer suggested I go past Hopeville and turn right on a 100 kilo gravel road that comes out just before Prieska on the tar.

Off I went....and about 40 clicks out of Kimberley I ran into this...notice the light blue parts in the middle of the pic...



So I donned my rain jacket, I left the trousers at home cause I didn’t really expect any mayor rains...luckily I packed the jacket!!!!

And man, did it come down...buckets and buckets...wet, sopping wet crotch and soaking squishing boots....
At one stage lightning slapped the ground probably 300 odd meters to the side of the road and I nearly kakked myself! 
As you can see there is a lot of nothing around so I was the fastest and highest moving point in the area...great target practice for Thor!

Does anyone know of anyone on a bike being hit by lightning?!?!?

Got to Hopeville and it stopped raining.  There was hope!
Had to setlle my nerves with a cold one so a bottle store had to do.  There aint much in this little place.  Wonder what kind of Hope it gave back whenever?

So there I went again...looking forward to my first of many gravel and hoping the rain will stay away...notice the “slippery when wet” sign! 

Not too be...about 3 kilometers further the gates of heaven opened again and Thor was having fun with me again! 

I tried to go on but my speed dropped to something like 30 to 40 km/h....
Reason for this was all the water and mud on the road and the fact that I was trying to make myself as small as possible on the bike, not standing because I’m allready the highest point around! 

Hiding behind the visor...almost like:  “If I can’t see Thor, he can’t see me....”    :peepwall:

Then I couldn’t take it anymore...the rain was just to hard, the road became a river, the cross winds moved me around to much and Thor could see me very good....

I stopped and hid behind the bike for about 10 minutes until the worst was over...

Some pics after the fact...this was the first kind of mud I got to know in the Karoo. 
I, very originally, dubbed it white mud...it was a sandy consistency with bigger than sand kind of klippies in it...not that slippery.









The first +/- 8 km’s took me round about 30 minutes at this point so I was wondering what else I would get on the remaining 92 km’s!!

And then my luck turned for the better!  After about 30 km’s the rain stopped completely and the rest of the gravel road was just wet enough to not make any dust....not that dust was a problem as there were nobody on this road.   O0

But hell, what a lekker 62 km’s that was!  I got into the groove of things and soon was going along at 120km/h...the gravel was that good!
I had to slow myself down a bit to 100 to be on the safe side as I sometimes forget I’m alone and the roads are deserted.

Highway:









Arrived in Prieska at about 17:30 with a cellphone that didn’t work anymore because I had it in my pocket and forgot about it... :BangHead:

Church:



The people there advised me against sleeping at Die Bos camping site, apparently not very cosher since the new management.... :nono:

Rode around a bit and eventually someone pointed me to a place I can sleep, Old Waterworks guest house.  Nothing spectacular but a nice clean place with a little kitchen, 2 double beds and a TV.  Cost was R200 for the night, no breakfast.
Very friendly and helpfull people!

View from the yard of guest house:



Went for a couple of drinks at River View Lodge while the wind was pumping and retired happy, a bit drunk and tired to my double bed....

Distance travelled: 
683 km’s tar
100 km’s mud/river/gravel

Bits and pieces: 
It’s better to ride in the river than aiming for the “middel mannetjie”!  The river has sort
of washed away the soft mud sand that the “middel mannetjie” is made of! 
Downside is your luggage WILL get wet...mine was soaked and I re-packed everything into black bags the next day, lesson learned!   :thumleft:





« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 07:05:34 pm by SuperDave »
"If you have to think about it, maybe it's not for you." - Advert
 
BMW F650 Dakar
Yamaha XT 350
 Karoo trip report:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66157.0
 

Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2011, 11:16:58 am »
Day 2:  Prieska/Vanwyksvlei/Carnarvon via Meerkat projek
                                (R357/R361/Unmarked road/R63)

Wednesday the 15th of December...it had been raining the whole night.  Something that hasnít happened in Prieska in many months Iíve been told.
Everything is wet...and itís overcast and cloudy. 
Bonus of course is the temperature...itís still warm and humid but as soon as you get going itís actually kind of chilly...very welcome!

Tannie tumble dried all my clothes and she gave me a couple of black bags to re-pack my stuff...did I mention very friendly and helpfull people? 

Only got away at 09:30 that morning.
I heard last night from a different tannie, that operates the River View Lodge with her husband, that adventure bikers frequently go straight down from Prieska to Carnarvon.  So Iíll check it out...

Oh what a joy!  The Karoo has finally began...and it is pretty! 
Oh what a joy!  I notice the first flaw in my character as well...and itís less pretty!! 

I get to the turn-off in the road that goes straight to Carnarvon.  My original plan was to go Copperton, Vanwyksvlei to Carnarvon...so there the in-decision starts...got of the bike...had a smoke...checked out my road map...kicked a couple of stones...took some pictures....and off I went to my altered road, straight to Carnarvon.

Some pic-cha:



Now if you are traveling solo then in-decision is probably not such a big deal but even then for me it was!  Iím in-decisive in the real world as well...but it never came out so much as on this trip.   ???

So going about 10 kmís on this road, which was kak with all the corrugation, I turned around...eventually deciding to follow my original plan and feeling very proud of myself that it only took 10 kmís(20 kmís in total) to sort out my in-decision.

Bird hive:



Didnít see Copperton...but did about 20kmís before the gravel started again...fun, fun, fun!!   :ricky:

Gravel was nice and wet but nothing to scary...and I settled in...
After about 10 kmís it started raining so on with the rain jacket...nothing too hectic just a pain as my crotch was getting wet again...standing helped as the water went down and past my private parts then...thank God for wide foot-pegs as, unbeknown to me, today I would be doing a lot of standing...



Some wild horses came to check me out as I stopped for a smoke...the one in front was really brave and as soon as she took a long hard look at my neon yellow rain jacket she decided Iím not from here and mad a run for it...  :eek7:



Some random sheep waiting for better days but I fear they wonít be better than this... 



As I went on to Vanwyksvlei it gradually started pissing more...and more...
Some very round rocks, there were like gatherings of these every couple of kilometers...weird....   :dontknow:



Is that the vlei at Vanwyksvlei in the distance?



Roads getting more interesting...and slippery....this was a mixture of mud 1(white) and mud 2(black turf)... ::)



The vlei...more like a humongous mud bath if you ask me...





Itís actually mud and not really water at all...donít know if in the middle somewhere the consistency changes.

These roads are really deserted...I didnít see one single car from Prieska to Vanwyksvlei.   :)
Also, with all the rain the muddy/slippery roads really keeps you on your toes...there are different kinds of mud in the Karoo...3 types to be precise...of these I will learn later on...

Turn to Vanwyksvlei:



Looking back the way I came:





It finally stopped pissing as I entered the bar at the now defunct hotel.
Had a very quite couple of beers because the local girl was not really interested in my stories...  ::)





Then the oom that runs the bar came along to close-up...I think it was lunch time.  So I decided to have another beer with him and maybe heís got interesting things to tell me.

He did, and I listened intently.  The hotel is not functional anymore but he gets a lot of bikers up there and he lets them tent on his farm 40 kmís out.  Then he shows them around the next day while in the evenings they braai and piss it up underneath the stars.
Nice!!

He also explained to me how to get to the Meerkat project.  It was a bit out of the way but he assured me that where you go right to check the towers, you can go left to Carnarvon. 
7 Radio towers are completed allready and I thought, what the heck, the rain has stopped so Iíll go check it out!  Iíve got time...

So as I stepped out the bar it started pissing again...dammit! 
This was not going to put me of...I have had a couple of beers and Iím in no mood for my plans to see the Meerkat being influenced by anything....dammit!

Off I went.  Itook the Bloupoort, unmarked road:



....and then the heavens opened once more...what did I do wrong?  Or what am I still going to do wrong?  :eek7:
Raining like thereís no tomorrow slap bang in the middle of the Karoo?  Iím no expert but this for me was unreal...even more unreal than deciding to do a trip like this solo.

So there I am...fully loaded and I meet Karoo mud number 2...turf...and my, my, my....what a splendid introduction it was! 
This kind of turf is especially slippery...not as dark as the stuff up here but it varies a little.  The oom at the bar did warn me and said it can be very slippery...

Standing all the way I had to keep the bike round about 60 km/h just to have more forward than sideways momentum. 
There were a lot of places that I almost lost it...believe me, a lot...

 :o

So eventually, without warning Iím off the road on the left, in the bushes heading for the fence wire.  Funny enough, I wasnít panicking...well, not yet!  I just opened the throttle some more and went over a couple of bushes back into the shit thatís suppose to be a road. 

Problem now is Iím going at an angle across the road and I need to straighten up...
By this time I had a smile on my face allready...and started laughing! 
I was going to hit this silly stuff, it was just a matter of time!

So in trying to straighten out the bike I gave some more throttle and turned and the combination send the back wheel past me...or thatís what I think happened.
Luckily I was standing as I went down so I got thrown clear and rolled like a proper Ninja across the mudd...was doing about 70km/h at the time. 

Mud monster 1 Ė Superdave 0

This pic is taken back the way I came:





The bike was so full of mud on the left side, had to first dug it out with my hands...afterwards, before the reality set in, I was on the bike again.
Didnít bother with a smoke or anything, I just needed to get going...

Had a slight bruised right knee but nothing 2 serious.

Noticed as soon as I got going that the steering was out of line.  Left hand side was bend up about a 1cm or so.  Also, nothing serious...

So on I battled in the mud...all the while encouraging myself and telling myself it will get better....

It didnít...about 5 kmís later I got my introduction to mud number 3 which I called Red mud(I like being original)....

This pic is taken in the direction to where Iím still going:



...and from where I came...



...donít know what happened here but Iím sure it had to do with the mud!!
This stuff grabs your front wheel and doesnít let go if you ask it to...even if you ask nicely.
Luckily this crash wasnít such a high speed crash, but still, my confidence was quickly running out and I knew I still had a looooong way to go.

There is nothing and nobody on this road except mud and rain...and some more mud...and a whole lot of nothing-ness!

Picking up a loaded DS bike is no fun...doing this in slippery mud even less!
So this time I had a smoke and a lekker laugh after I dug out the mud from the engine again.

Ag, I was feeling good...nothing broken and Iím allright.  Iíll just have to carry on, what else can one do?  Itís not like thereís a nice B&B around the corner with cold beers and warm showers!

Off I went.  The rain was relentless...and so was the mud...had a couple more close calls but luckily thatís what they stayed. 
Eventually I got to the T-junction where left was Carnarvon and right, another 30 odd kmís, was the Meerkat project.

I chickened out.  Decided that Iím not going to tempt fate. I still had another +/- 80 kmís to get to Carnarvon. So I had a quick shaken up beer and a smoke and stopped a lady in her bakkie and asked her how far till Carnarvon and what the road conditions where.

Being a lady she wasnít sure how far but the road gets better...that for me was good enough news!

This was the only car I saw on the road till about 30 kís from Carnarvon.

...so on I went...it didnít stop raining, ever, but the road got better...



This looks bad but it really is a lot better than what I allready went thru.  Here you could get your speed up to round about 80 again.  Everything is allready wet so the rivers actually helped in cleaning me up a bit.

It was another 50 odd kmís of this and then I hit the tar for another 20 odd kmís.

Finally getting to Carnarvon Hotel...and the Blikkies Bar around 18:00...!  Cost was R250 per night without breakfast if I remember correctly.

After getting most of the mud of myself and the bike, with some help from the locals at the hotel to wash my back, I took off all my luggage and went to my room for a much deserved shower.

Then the Blikkies bar!!!!  Nice, cold, beers...and everything else under the sun!
The hotel has been in the family since it started like a 100 years ago.  The owner then started a blikkie collection and was part of the American blikkie traders...or thatís what the girl(also family) told me.  I was so busy rejoicing and drinking beer that I didnít pay as much attention as I would have liked to. 

I know there is about 4000 blikkies in the bar currently and another 5000 in storage.
Impressive!







Met some Joburgers and we had a blast!   :hello2:





So the next day the sun was out but it was still cloudy...and I had a moer of a hang-over! 
So I decided to take the day as a rest day and let the roads dry up a bit! 

Stayed in bed till about 12 and then went to the bar....again!  Met some other bikers from Joburg and somewhere in the Cape but they werenít so friendly so they are not worth mentioning....

Distance travelled:

+/-  250 kmís gravel
+/-    30 kmís tar

Bits and pieces:

There was times that I felt for a moment that Iím not going to make it, I wanted the mud to stop...!  I quickly replaced those thoughts with thoughts of the great experience this is turning out to be and that people are going to find it hard to believe that the Karoo can look like this, I know I did!
Iím sure you canít plan this kind of riding in the Karoo so this will really stick with me for the rest of my days! 








"If you have to think about it, maybe it's not for you." - Advert
 
BMW F650 Dakar
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 Karoo trip report:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66157.0
 

Offline Laban

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2011, 11:19:04 am »
Hopetown - Prieska R369, be mindful, you outride your guardian angel on that road!! :deal:
..."sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey, they don't need to, it's not for them"...Joubert Botha

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Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2011, 11:40:11 am »
Day 4:  Carnarvon/Loxton/Frasersburg/Sutherland
                            (R63/R356/Unmarked road that joins R354 about 15 kmís outside Sutherland)

Friday 17 December.  After lazing(read super lazy) around at the Carnarvon Hotel I was eager to get going again.  Unfortunately not eager enough to get up at 06:00...only left there at about 09:30 but hell, Iím alone so I can ride when I want!  

Soooo packed up and there I went!

Had some inside info that the direct route from Carnarvon to Frasersburg(R361) has some sharp stones and people in cages frequently get flats on that road.  So I decided to do tar to Loxton and get on the gravel there.

As I was taking this pic...



....2 guys pulled up.  One on a green KLR and the other on a borrowed KLE...!  For a moment I thought it was Groenie but this guy still had the original light and parts on his bike!

They wanted to know if Iím ok and where Iím going to and where is the rest of my group.  On hearing that Iím travelling solo the response was ďReally, out here?!?!?!Ē

Anyways, they said I must tag along if I want to because they are also on their way to Frasersburg.  
So I gladly accepted and appointed myself sweeper, it would be nice to have some company on the road...
I also remember thinking:  ďThey look oldish so this is going to be a lekker sight seeing trip!  Hopefully they donít go to slow because I still need to get to Sutherland...Ē

Hehehehehehe!  How wrong I was!  These guys were gunning it!  It started out with a moderate 100 km/h and gradually went up to 120 km/h...!!  

Probably not fast for a lot of people but it was for me on my loaded Dakkie!
When I do 120 on dirt itís normally for a couple of kmís only and only if I can see whatís cooking up ahead.

There were a lot of small hills and as you go over the hill the rain washed the gravel away to expose some nice rocks...down into ditches the road was either washed away by the rain with a moerse sloot or there is water and thick mud...or both!

The oke on the KLE was in front of me and he almost lost it a couple of times trying to go on the side to miss the mud...snaking was on order today!

Dude on the KLR lost his top box, underestimating one of the ditches!

But hell, what a ride to Frasersburg!  Riding out of your comfort zone is sometimes the only way to learn, especially if you are riding with people.  I wouldnít have done it if I was alone.

We got to Frasersburg in quick time and had a couple of beers at ďDie Kliphuis restaurantĒ.  So here we got chatting and I heard they were from Knysna doing a couple of days in the Karoo.  What a nice couple of okes!

Craig and Neville:



Admiring the view...



...the view...





So the borrowed KLE started giving fuel related problems...it was either starving or flooding so the bike will just cut out whilst riding.  They had this theory that hitting the carburator with a rock(later a tyre iron) that it would start...and sure as hell it worked!

The theory was that the needle and seat(diaphragm) got stuck and caused it to flood or starve.  At times there was petrol pissing out of the overflow...
This progressively got worse and it took us a loooong time to reach Sutherland.  Stopping every couple of kmís to hit the carb.  
It didnít feel right to leave them although they insisted but I only needed to reach Sutherland so I was in no hurry.

First of many stops:



The road goes right thru this farmerís front yard!!



...me happy...!   :mwink:



Another stop...Graig on his way to donner the KLR...   :imaposer:





...road going down...



...some weird, clever, big ants...I say clever cause they donít run around like mad like normal ants, these oneís all turn around at the same time and checks you out, then they move as one towards your toe or finger, ready to attack!

...clever little things...



Sutherland:



....tourists...



...the Hotel...



...church...



...my camping spot for the night...Sterland...R50 per night...also the very first night I camped!!   :D



So after pitching tent and changing clothes I decided to go into town to get some wood, meat and beer and have myself a braai....got wood and beer, all the places selling meat was closed allready!  Dammitttt!!!

So I loaded this big pile of wood in my top bag with the beer and went to look for a place to get something to eat.  
Then Iíll go back to camp and make fire and drink beer and gaze at the stars with the other folk that was there.  
They have high powered telescopes that they pitch there at the camping site every night and you can go and have a look see...

....then I discovered Jupiter guesthouse...glorious food, I had a lamb pie thing at it was flippen awesome!  
Then the shit hit the fan....I meet the owner, Theo....and heís also an avid off road DS rider.  
His latest ride is a 1200 GS...and he created a group, ODM in the Northern Cape.  Similar to Wilddogs but this was in the years before Wilddogs.

ODM means ďOrganisasie vir Dubbeldoel MotorfietseĒ...ekís mal oor die perfekte afrikaans!

Needless to say, I didnít make it back to my tent for quite some time....
We drank, and shared stories and heís friends rocked up...and we drank some more...and they decided at 24:00 to go braai at the one friends house.
They didnít take no for an answer so there I went...we sat outside under the stars with a fire and lots of beers!

I eventually left at 01:45 before they started braaing cause I really needed some sleep!

What a great kuier it was!  Yes, I missed the star gazing but I was actually in the mood for some company, and great company it was!

Distance travelled:
+/- 225 kmís gravel
+/- 75 kmís tar

Bits and pieces:

Itís great to travel solo, one of the big reasons for me is you ride when you want to ride and there is no specific time to leave, whenever you are ready, no rush!
If that wasnít the case I would have probably left at 7, missed Neville and Graig just outside Loxton, got in Sutherland in time to get meat and then never met Theo and his friends at Jupiter guesthouse.
Iím not, however, saying that vice versa would have been bad at all, just different!  

I would have really liked to go see the scope and all that but everything was booked out 3 days in advance!  Donít know how youíll get the timing right to book when you are travelling with a bike...but Iíll give it a shot again!
"If you have to think about it, maybe it's not for you." - Advert
 
BMW F650 Dakar
Yamaha XT 350
 Karoo trip report:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66157.0
 

Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2011, 12:03:21 pm »
Day 5: Ouberg pass/Tankwa/Gannaga pass/Middelpos/Calvinia

So the first night camping was great!  Slept well and felt refreshed, with a bit of a hangover but that I sorted out with a lekker breakfast at my new found friends place, Jupiter guesthouse. 

Got there at about 08:30 to find him looking worse than me!  He wasnít as outspoken as the night before but I think the reason was a mixture of being hungover, his wife(she was at the guesthouse and didnít look too happy)...and probably didnít sleep that well on the couch!

Anyways, breakfast was good and he explained a different road through Tankwa than the one I was going to take.  His route was a little shorter and ran next to the Roggeveld mountains the whole time. 
Apparently a service road used by some or other people, I forgot!  Itís at the bottom of Ouberg pass, the first place you can turn right.  He said thereís gates and all that but I can just open them and close as I went.  He also said Iíll know soon enough if the road is rideable because of all the rain...

So off I went, probably on the part of the trip I was looking forward most to!   :biggrin:

Finding Ouberg pass was actually pretty easy without GPS, the place is well marked. 
It was a glorious day, clouds in the air and it wasnít as hot as it could be, well not yet.

I really donít have words to describe this part of the trip, itís simply beyond me to describe the beauty...
Iíll let the fotoís do most of the talking and even the fotoís canít really do it justice. 

This really has to be experienced using all your senses... :drif:

Now, Iím a bit squeamish of heights and on a bike itís a bit worse!  It feels like Iíll be dragged down the cliffs by some invisible force...and Ouberg pass is REALLY high!!
To counter this I go really slow...and that helps to enjoy the scenery as well...!
The surface had a lot of loose stones of varying sizes, this was on really hard packed ground so it made it a bit slippery with some ruts from the rain here and there...!

Top of Ouberg pass:







...round the first bend and you can almost see the road all the way down....notice the stones in the foreground, this makes it lekker slippery especially on a steep downhill like this!   :o



Roggeveld mountains...





Some nice switchbacks on the way down...here I stopped because my back brake suddenly stopped working.  :-[ Why, I dunno...but there was nothing and this was a little scary for me.  Going downhill on a slippery surface like this a rely heavily on my back brake. 
But on I went, and I found that if I start pumping the brake it gets a little bit of grip back...



....scary stuff...but allas...a couple of kís further on it was fine again?  Altitude sickness?

The road explained to me by Theo thru Tankwa was a small road and the gate was open.  I went thru and immediately got into some thick slippery mud.  Didnít take fotoís because I didnít fall down! 
This went on with intermittant sludge crossings and luckily I didnít come down once!

Hereís a couple of pics in Tankwa...this place really is empty...and pretty...I saw one bakkie and it was a conservation bakkie...!
Apparently there is wildlife but I saw nothing...

Taking a break...itís hot when you stop!





...field of stones...















All too soon I got to Gannaga pass...





...some weird miniature Boabab...there are a lot of them on the mountain side...





...almost on top...the wind is amazing!  It wasnít pumping but just a consistent blow up the mountain the whole time.  So it never really was truly quite...



...ummm...



The top:





...I had to run for this one!



Back on the plato of the Roggeveld mountains...



The heavy stuff the farmers use to keep the pass in check...



So there I was, minding my own business and being very good at it when I came across mud number 3 again...The Red mud...

So having seen my ass in number 3 before, I was cautious to the tricks of this silly one... To my surprise most of it was dried out allready and only the top 5 or so centimeter tried to wrestle the front wheel from you.

Some places it was completely dry...and this made me feel more confident.

In the distance I could only just make out 2 people with bikes so I got excited and lost my concentration...took the wrong line and whadda...!!!  Down again!   :imaposer:
This time the mud was still nice and wet...!



After I picked up the bike I ride the 80 meters or so and stopped next to Jannesboos and his riding partner.  Imagine my surprise meeting fellow wilddogs in the middle of nowhere! 
His partner also took the wrong line and they had to man-hanle his adventure upright again.

Quick chat about conditions of the road further and of we all went on our separate adventures again.

Got to Middelpos without any incident and it was dead quite at the hotel.  Eventually found the famous ownerís wife and she called her son to come help me with a beer. 
He wasnít nearly as talkative as I was hoping and the beer went down flippen good while I tried to make conversation. 
Anyways, I was advised to take the road going straight to Calvinia and not the alternative route that I wanted to take.  Apparently the roads are all messed up close to the mountains.

And off I went...







Church in Calvinia





In Calvina I stopped at this big bar/restaurant kind of place.  Pretty neat.  Had a quick beer and chatted to the girl manning the bar to hear about accomodation. 
She showed me a wall of places that I can phone and suggested a couple.

Being a cheap skate, I phoned just about all of them to hear what the prices are.  Mostly they range around R250-R300...just to much for someone who just wants to braai a tjoppie and get on the road as early as possible. 
Eventually I found a neat little place for R150 for the night.  People were VERY friendly and offered to buy me wood while I race to get something to drink and my tjoppies.

So back at the house they helped me with the fire as the wood was wet and they didnít have any blitz.  So out came the tannieís nice candleís...egg boxes...oil...you name it.
She eventually got some fine wood from around there place. 
All this while the husband was standing about 10 meters away, out of the smoke and talking to me like thereís no tomorrow...friendly motormouth!  Hehe!

I eventually just finished my tjoppies before the rain started...and what good tjoppies they were!!  Had some more beers, watched some TV and eventually fell asleep.

I do not have an idea what my kilometers was for the day...around 300 if I should guess.

Bits and pieces:

It's really worthwhile to spend some time looking for a guesthouse, don't always take the first one.
Met that great friendly couple that way!


"If you have to think about it, maybe it's not for you." - Advert
 
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 Karoo trip report:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66157.0
 

Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2011, 12:40:54 pm »
Day 6 : Calvinia/Wupperthal/Ceres/Bains kloof/Wellington

I was up and out of Calvinia at a very early 8 oíclock...ish...
Seems like it rained the whole night...

36 kmís out of Calvinia on the R27 I took a left on the R364, direction Clanwilliam and Wupperthal. 

Botterkloof pass:









Doringrivier if Iím not mistaken...this was getting to be such a common site.  All the rivers were full and one wouldnít say that itís actually very dry there!



On the way down to Wupperthal...in the distance on the furthest mountain is the 4x4 track that I opted to take.  Didnít know how that river might look down in the valley...



Graveyard at Wupperthal:



This being a Sunday I was out of luck finding anything open except  the church.  So I couldnít actually enquire about the 4x4 track and so forth...did find a farmer eventually on his bakkie that advised me to rather go over the mountain.



I only stopped once the first part was done...big rocks and very technical.  A whole lot of fun!  Had to negotiate the cage as well and stopped for a beer...







Thick sand right on the top of the mountain...



Lots of small rivers...





...and then...out of the blue I saw this Oasis(Cederberg Oasis)...and a lot of bikes standing there.  There were 2 big groups there, most of them Wilddogs from the Cape.  Unfortunately they were leaving as I arrived. 
The oke and his wife, who runs the place, are very friendly indeed!  There you donít get served beer, you go get it yourself!  Hehe!  You have to remember what and how much you had when you paid.

This place is really special.  Very cheap accommodation(B+B for R150) as well and if you let him know beforehand that you are going to sleep over or do lunch then heíll get some of the best T-bones in the area!  :thumleft:







On the way to Ceres:







Bains kloof...here I took pics on the go...this road is very narrow and has great twisties!!   I managed to pass 2 cages and was enjoying the twisties so much that I didnít want to stop again...awesome!!!   >:D







....got to Cape Town discovered that I was pretty naÔve thinking that I can do a trip like this with about R300 a day.  Ok, you probably could if it didnít end up raining so much!  So yeah, staing in hotels and eating at restaurantís took itís toll.   :-\

I had a quick look...very quick...at my bank balance and decided to leave the West coast for another time.  In a way I was sad but at least I got to do the Karoo.  West coast would just have to wait...
Maybe better as well, as the heat was just sweltering!   8)

So just went round Cape point to check whatís up...amazing!  I also see they have a toll road there as well, Chapmans peak, R20...well, the roads are amazing and they are doing a good job to keep the rocks where they belong...!

Simons Town:



Somewhere near Misty cliffs



Somewhere else...



Houtbaai:





Blu Peter...some other day:






So then I woke up and packed my stuff and left Cape Town at about 08:30...landed in
Centurion at exactly 23:00....!! 
I just couldnít get myself to stop for a sleep over, by the time I got to Bloemfontein I was still fresh and decided to push on. 
What an experience!  Had some kak weather with rain around Kroonstad where visiblity in the night was at a bare minimum. 
And some dude riding at 40km/h with barely a faint glow from one of his taillights....idiots....

All in all it was such an experience for me!  I read somewhere on the forum that you get time to think about a lot of stuff in your life, maybe even clarify some of it...and then....then you think out all sorts of new shit!!  

Will I do it again?  Of course, I would have done it the day after I came back allready!! 

Packed:

Clothes:
3x t-shirts
3x Rugby socks for riding.
2x Mr Price long sleeved whicking shirts(those that dries quickly Ė only used 1 in the end.)
1x short
1x swimming trunks
1x jean
Plakkies
Fleece jacket thing.
Beanie.   

Tools:

Tyre weld.
Tyre levers/spanner combination.
Patching stuff.
Tyre bombs.
Extra tubes(front and rear).
Tools to take of the front wheel. 
Fake leatherman.
Hex set.
Pliers.
Some small spanners for the mirrors.

Camping:

3 leg chair.(Used once, most of the time I was sitting at a bar and they have better chairs.)
1 man tent(Used 3 times, once in Sutherland and twice in the Cape).
Sleeping bag(Small one from Outdoor warehouse.)
Self-inflatable matress...hulle praat kak, jy moet maar self blaas.


Other:

First aid kit
Tabart
Toletries(Tootbrush, toothpaste, decanted body gel).
Towel(Those incredibly small ones from Outdoor warehouse).
Q-Bond
Pratley steel putty.
Small hiking gas thingie.(Never used because of the rain.)
Iron coffee mug...to be used for everything.(Never used because of the rain.)
Map book.
Head light.

This all went in my Kappa soft side panniers(without extending them) and a Kaoko Weekender bag that sits on the back.  This is more of a 2 week bag than a weekender!!

In my humble opinion I wouldnít do what I did with hard luggage.  Yes, hard luggage keeps your clothes dry, but black bags did that for me. 
Thing is, all 3 times I came off  the bike fell on itís left side and that pannier had absolutely no damage.  If it was hard luggage I know they would have broken in some or other wayÖ

Thanxs for taking the time to read my first trip report, hope you enjoyed it! 
This was very special for me and I'm glad I could share my experience in some way with all of you!!   :thumleft:

Go here for some more pics I didn't include:

http://s1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee440/SuperDave7611/2010-12-14%20Karoo%20solo%20trip/



"If you have to think about it, maybe it's not for you." - Advert
 
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 Karoo trip report:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66157.0
 

Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2011, 12:42:58 pm »
Hopetown - Prieska R369, be mindful, you outride your guardian angel on that road!! :deal:

...hehe!  Yeah, so I've noticed...!  What a great stretch that was after the initial rain and mud....awesome!!!   :drif:
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Offline Duster

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2011, 04:48:42 pm »
Well done, SuperDave, this is whats called adventure riding. The thing is not to stop, then the adventure stops. I'm going to De Aar 1st week in April, and I also like the Karoo.  Will attend some of your visits, thanks for sharing with us.
"Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live!"   (Vittorio Alfieri)
 

Offline ģ©errie

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2011, 05:23:36 pm »
Really enjoyed your RR and pictures. Well done :thumleft:
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Offline Kenisis

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2011, 05:29:38 pm »
Awesome RR!


Thanks

Ken
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Offline edgy

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2011, 07:16:52 pm »
That buddy, was brilliant! Thanks! :thumleft:
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2011, 08:32:59 pm »
Excellent RR, some good idea you've given me.

Thanks   8)
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Offline Pote

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2011, 08:45:48 pm »
wow some great ride report there! and that is my white F800gs parked at oasis
 

Offline EtienneXplore

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2011, 09:24:34 pm »
Flippen awesome dude !!!


Hel, nou wil ek ook daar gaan ry !!!

 :thumleft: :thumleft:


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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2011, 09:40:48 pm »
Baie nice RR!!
 

Offline Pistonpete

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2011, 07:57:21 am »
Good stuff SD :thumleft: Going it alone on the mud takes a different mindset.. :)
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Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2011, 02:36:15 pm »
Thanxs a lot people!   :thumleft:

You guys in the West Cape have the best flippen backyard!  O0

wow some great ride report there! and that is my white F800gs parked at oasis

Cool!  I got there just too late to have a chat...you guys were already on your way...   :-\

Well done, SuperDave, this is whats called adventure riding. The thing is not to stop, then the adventure stops. I'm going to De Aar 1st week in April, and I also like the Karoo.  Will attend some of your visits, thanks for sharing with us.

Good stuff SD :thumleft: Going it alone on the mud takes a different mindset.. :)

...there were times that I really felt like just stopping...but alas, there was not a dry place to rest my bones...!   ;D

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Offline Hondsekierie

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2011, 04:18:23 pm »
Fokkit bra, dit was nou n lekker chilled trip en moet se ek like jou laid back skryfstyl :thumleft:

Jammer die zak het so vroeg opgeraak but wtf, jy't steeds n awesome trip gehad.  Bier is maar n bliksem as n ou solos doen :biggrin:
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There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
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Offline tankgirl

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2011, 06:13:46 pm »
goeie werk tjomma!! :) fanks for shÍring, ek het dit heavy geniet.
(as ek jy was sou ek 'n afrikaanse vertaling ook doen, of dan maar volgende keer met die sequel so maak...)

jou foto's is net so great, die reŽnerige scenery en wolke lyk awesome, het jy jou hele moerse nikon saamgevat?
 

Offline SuperDave (RIP)

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Re: Mud monster in the Karoo?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2011, 06:56:46 pm »
Fokkit bra, dit was nou n lekker chilled trip en moet se ek like jou laid back skryfstyl :thumleft:

Jammer die zak het so vroeg opgeraak but wtf, jy't steeds n awesome trip gehad.  Bier is maar n bliksem as n ou solos doen :biggrin:

Hehe!  Ja-nee kyk, ek was so bietjie naief(?) toe dit kom by die budget!! 
Maar glad nie spyt nie...net nog 'n verskoning om weer te gaan!   :mwink:
Thanxs buddy!   :thumleft:

goeie werk tjomma!! :) fanks for shÍring, ek het dit heavy geniet.
(as ek jy was sou ek 'n afrikaanse vertaling ook doen, of dan maar volgende keer met die sequel so maak...)

jou foto's is net so great, die reŽnerige scenery en wolke lyk awesome, het jy jou hele moerse nikon saamgevat?

...mmm...het gewonder oor die Afrikaans...dink ek het maar so gemaak vir die Ingelse!
Hulle sukkel soms met die taal... >:D

Thanxs!!  Ek het my moerse Nikon saamgevat maar hy was in die moerse sak onder 'n moerse klomp goed! 
Baie moeite om hom uit te haal en dit het basies die heeltyd gereen sou ek wou nie kans vat nie.

Het hierdie pics sommer met my mik en druk geneem wat ek heeltyd om my nek gehad het. Baie minder moeite.
Moet nog uitwerk hou om die ou "grote" nader byderhand te he en hom nie stukkend maak as ek omslat nie...!   ::)

"If you have to think about it, maybe it's not for you." - Advert
 
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 Karoo trip report:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66157.0