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Author Topic: Johannesburg to L'Agulhas  (Read 341 times)

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Offline Geriatrix

Johannesburg to L'Agulhas
« on: June 03, 2011, 06:21:00 pm »
A recent ride by Teresa, my wife, on her 650GS twin and me on a 1200GS.
Suitable for novices, if you are happy riding in strong winds on busy motorways, cold, rain, and having the black ice warning on. Temperatures were between 0 and 13 degrees. Left on Wednesday 25th May, home on Wednesday 1st June 2011.
The ride was made much nicer by the friendly and helpful truck drivers who pulled onto the hard shoulder so that we could pass easily, courteous car drivers, friendly rural people who greeted us as we rode past them, and the WARM guest houses.

I shall post some pictures after I have managed to tame the photograph hosting site, but since we were continuously trying to beat the weather we had little time to stop and take good pictures. Almost all my photographs were taken whilst I was riding.

The plan was to leave Johannesburg early on Wednesday 25th May and get to the Gariep Dam. Rain was expected so we changed that to leave after the morning rush on the N1 south and get to Bloemfontein later- good choice.
Easy traffic conditions, great road, perfect riding weather but lots of water around giving evidence of heavy rains until we got close to Bloemfontein, when the clouds gathered and the rain showers started in the south west. As we rode into Bloemfontein the rain started so we had coffee and booked a B&B:
 "At Home", corner Koos van der Walt Street and Gannie Viljoen Street Universitarif. This is close to the motorway via Nelson Mandela Avenue. Run by Ian and Etta Putter, 082 556 2223 www.athomeguesthouse.co.za   . Very biker friendly, and highly recommended. We had a locking garage for the bikes.

On Thursday we left and took the old road to Colesburg ( correctly spelt "Coldsburg ") to miss the construction sites on the N1. Edenburg looked like a run down dump but Trompsburg was in good repair and had several nice looking B&Bs. Shortly before the end of the town on the left hand side of Jan Street ( R717, the Philippolis road) shortly after turning right off Voortrekker Street there is the "Waterval Bakery " in a converted house garage - hot and strong coffe and tasty lamb and chicken pies.
Philippolis seemed to be tourist orientated with quite a few B&Bs.

There were a few potholes on the road to Philippolis, and some big ones before Colesburg. Very scenic and almost no traffic. Much more pleasant than riding on the N1.

Coffee at the Wimpy at Colesburg and the south on N9 to Graaf-Reinet.
Very good road for the most part, but a lot of construction. The wind was strong and gusty, with rain and heavy wet mist, and there were a few places where we had to ride slowly when the construction was on mountain passes. Impressive scenery at all points.

We were rather cold by the time we got to Graaf-Reinet and were lucky to find the "Aa'Qtansisi Guesthouse" 69 Somerset Street, run by Pierre and Ria de Lange 049 891 0243 / 082 617 1216. www.aaqtansisi.co.za    . The bikes were parked in a locked yard, next to our room.
We had some time to walk around the town before having pies bought in Trompsburg and some wine for supper.

On Friday we had a hearty and beautifully presented breakfast and left to go further south on the N9. We had been warned that the road was very boring, but since most of the distance was in heavy mist and rain, we could not see any scenery I cannot say for certain.
We had very good riding for much of the time. Turned right onto the R341 to Oudtshoorn, with a stop at "Sanita's Coffee House" in De Rust. Their ostrich burgers are extra-nice. The owner would like to start a collection of bikers' insignias - so please feel free to take something for the collection. After this we did a quick ride up Meiringspoort ( new Swartberg Pass ) and down again. About 28km each way and very worth while - a great ride. When we got to Oudtshoorn we rode straight through the town onto the R62 which is well worth the trip by itself - great riding and great scenery.
We stopped at the Boplaas Winery to buy some of their award winning Port ( this was polished off on our 35th wedding anniversary on 28/05/2011 ). We also stopped at "Ronnies Sex Shop" - OK place for tea, but nothing special to need a special stop.
Ladismith has a huge choice of guesthouses but luckily we chose the "Ladismith Country House". This is 7 km out of town on a good dirt road, warm and quiet. Run by Piet and Leida 028 551 1155  www.lcountryhouse.co.za   . There is almost no cell phone reception. Excellent supper and breakfast.


We wanted to do the whole of Route 62, but weather was coming in off the South Atlantic and we wanted to get to Cape Agulhas, so we turned south at Barrydale and rode through strengthening wind to Bredasdorp and got to the Cape Agulhas. The roads are excellent, traffic was light, and the winds strong.
After a couple of photographs we beat a retreat to Swellendam we we found the "Aan de Berg Guesthouse". Warm, friendly and cheap. I do not have their contact details, but can recommend it. On Bethal Street near Voortrek Street, which is the main road of the town.

Next day was a long day to Montagu, with a quick ride to Barrydale to complete Route 62 ( breakfast at "Clarke of the Karoo" ), back to Montagu, through the scenic Koo Valley to the N1. By this time the wind was getting fresh and very cold but we managed the N1 to Matjiesfontein and the R354 to Sutherland. The town is a wind swept, cold village but the barman at the Sutherland Hotel whipped up a pot of strong moer koffie in the wink of an eye - saved our lives, I think. The Hotel was rather bleak so we sniffed out the "White House Guest House", a basic but warm B&B and bar. Friendly service and good food. The bikes were parked in an open shed, out of the rain.
On Monday we wanted to stay in bed and out of the wind and rain but snow was expected so we had to trundle back down to the N1 after being warned of black ice on the road between the town and the escarpment. The ride was not pleasant with strong wind and worse gusts, rain, the threat of snow and possible ice on the roads. Heavy wet mist added to the chill. R75 for coffee and scones at the Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontein , was an essential cost.
The ride to the Karoo National Park was chilly but nice.
We were a bit worried that bikers are not allowed into the Karoo National Park but there was no problem other than being warned to be careful since there are lions around. The chalet and food were as good as NPB facilities always are.
We woke up to the sight of snow on the hills which warned us of the cool ride we would have to Richmond where the "Blue Lantern" gave us hot, strong coffee.
With a caffeine high we got to Colesburg and then via Philippolis, Trompsburg, and Edenburg back to "At Home" in Bloemfontein .
On Wednesday we had frost to speed us out of Bloem and home.

Arthur Morgan





« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 12:56:27 pm by Geriatrix »
Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
 

Offline daveh

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Re: Johannesburg to L'Agulhas
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 06:50:35 pm »
Sounds like a great ride, what was your total mileage?
AT
 

Offline Geriatrix

Re: Johannesburg to L'Agulhas
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 07:32:09 pm »
About 3500km. I did not keep a GPS running, which was stupid since there are things that would be nice to know now.
None of the days was too long, but riding in the wind was a bit heavy going at times.

High lights were seeing a Fish Eagle near Bredasdorp and an Aardvark in the Free State on the way home. Also having the correct clothes for the cold from our days in the mountains and canoeing.

Lesson to others - carry all the emergency kit so that if things go wrong we could stay alive until help got to us ( including being trapped by a storm in the South Cape mountains - THAT is a killer if you are not fully prepared ).

Big sorrow - not having a GPS and synchronised camera record.

Arthur
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 05:17:27 pm by Geriatrix »
Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
 

Offline Great White

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Re: Johannesburg to L'Agulhas
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 08:43:58 pm »
Well done and welcome back. :thumleft:
 

Offline Geriatrix

Re: Johannesburg to L'Agulhas
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2011, 07:35:46 am »
Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
 

Offline Geriatrix

Re: Johannesburg to L'Agulhas
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2011, 04:50:13 pm »

Loaded and on the road



Southern Free State



Southern Fre State


Near Willowmore


Near Willowmore


Near Willowmore



Near Willowmore



Near Willowmore




Near Willowmore

Near Graaf-Reinet


Graaf-Reinet


Teresa riding Meiringspoort


Meiringspoort ( New Swartberg Pass )


Ronnie's Sex Shop


Cape Agulhas


GOT THERE!!



Karoo National Park




Cold, and on the way home
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 04:56:36 pm by Geriatrix »
Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”