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Offline Red Adventure

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I am the night rider
« on: April 11, 2012, 05:40:59 pm »
See here for route planning and more detail.

I left Durbanville by 4am Wednesday morning to a setting full moon. It would have been great if the moon could light my way but seeing it set behind Paarl rock as I climbed Du Toits Kloof Pass was worth so much more. If only I had the camera equipment to have captured that sight the way it was.



I got to Robertson by 5am for my first cup of coffee for the day and to adjust all the niggily things, I also took a picture of the tyres for further reference purposes.




Got to Barrydale on time and filled up with +-16L giving me a consumption of +- 15km/l
Not bad considering that I was pushing for time. At this point I realized that my odermeter had stopped working and I was so thankful that I remembered to reset the one on my GPS.
Got off the bike to take this shot, there is a bit of magic in the background for those that know their mountains here.



Another fuel stop at De Rust as Outshoorn was a buzz with KKNK preperations so I just pushed through.
Just before getting to De Rust I stopped to take a picture of these beautiful red sandstone mountains.
Just for interest sake, I stopped at this exact spot on my way to Colcolan last year too.



A short distance past Willowmore as your pass through the mountains the landscape becomes bushveld, just like in Mpumalanga but only lasts for a short while till you out of the mountains. This picture just doesn’t do it justus.



Last year the Beervliedam was almost complete full, but now it was just bushes with a thin muddy stream running through the middle.




I got to Graaf Reinet by 11:15am and decided to have lunch at the local Wimpy. Strange that none of the petrol stations have eating places. It’s amazing the attention one gets when you park your bike packed with gear right out side a restaurant that you’ve just walked into. While there I got hold of Mr T and confirmed that we could meet up the next mornint to do Sani together.

After filling up with fuel it was a long stretch without stops to get back on schedule by the time I got to Queenstown as the Wimpy wasn’t all that efficient. Plan was to get to Queenstown by 2:30pm and I pulled in just a tad early. I love it when things workout.
Usually I’d just play it as it comes but I didn’t want to get stuck ridding in the dark through the old Transkie.



In Queenstown I filled up with +-19L giving me a consumption of 15.5km/l.
Man I love this bike…
The last time I’d been through Cala, it was gravel all the way from Lady Frere till the R56.
But now that has been tarred and what an awesome pass that climbs out of Cala. Awesome switchbacks and a good surface too.



Actually the road all the way from Queenstown till Matatiele was good ridding as long as you missed the few potholes. The flower on the side of the road mixed with the end of the day were a warm welcome at Matatiele.




1340km behind me I got some supper made arrangements to meet Mr T and his group and left my number for Noble Stead to contact me in the morning. Unfortunately in my tired state I gave him the wrong number.  :-[

Leaving Matatiele at 6am with the sun rising in my face was one thing, but that on a road full of potholes traffic and mist made quite an interesting start to the day I tell you.



The plan was to take a short cut from Cedarville to Swartberg, but the resent rain was still lying like lakes on the ground across the road. So it was all the way to Kokstat and then on the Underberg to meet Mr T and company by 8am which I just managed to do. Although the areas out not covered by mist made for a beautiful morning’s ride.



As I was saying I met Mr Tand company at the Shell in Underberg where we filled to the brim but still no sign of Noble Stead so the decision was to get to the South African border post and wait a while there again. The new tar section towards the pass really looks good but I’m sure it’s still going to be a long time before they get to the SA border.



This is what the road looks like that still needs to be tarred.



I decided to ride on ahead as the slower speed that Mr T was ridding made me feel all stuffy. I got to this beautiful waterfall and took some picture while waiting for the others.




Then when they arrived I decided to push on to the border.



Here we did the formalities and for the first time of many that I’ve crossed out of South Africa, my licenses disc was inspected.  ::)
We chatted for a while and then pushed on to tackle what lay up ahead. Again I rode on ahead till the first of the high hairpin bends.




As I wanted to launch off, a taxi came round the next hairpin bend so I backed off into the turn to let him pass. He rode right up to me before turning making me feel quite uncomfortable knowing there is a huge drop just behind my back wheel.



Two bends later I needed to let the clutch cool again, not to mention trying to catch my breath. Man this altitude gets you quick. See the three bikes just below.



With this still ahead.



The last turn and a bit is easier because the surface is more compacted. What a relief to be at the top. It really feels like the top of the world.



With Sani’s highest pub just over there.



I stood just before the Lesotho border talking to one of the officials for quite at while when finally he said I better find out if my friends were not in some trouble. So I decided to go through the boarder to get to Sani Top Chalets hoping to be able to see them from the wooded deck. This I could do and there was a spot with phone reception so could call Mr T just to be sure all the bikes were mechanically fine. Actually we could just shout down to each other thats how close they were to the top. See them in the picture.



I got my self a cold coke sat back chatting to two guys that cycled up the day before. They had to stash their bikes next to the road where the hairpin bends started for fear of the border closing before they got there. They then caught a lift down to fetch their bikes while I waited a while longer before I heard the sound of a 1200GS picking up speed as it came over the top. ;-)
I then made my way back to meet them at the border as from here we would be going separate ways and my day was still long ahead of me.
I came across two couples on Dakars that were heading for Sani and then Thaba Tseka the next day.
Well knowing now what that ride is like I wonder if the ever made it to Thaba Tseka two up and with all that gear.

Just after turning off the A1 onto the A3 I came across this gorge where I could see the road coming up the other side. I took a picture from both sides so you can see where I was taking the picture from, marked with a red cross.




Down below it the bridge over the river that runs through the middle.



Further on I passed St Jame’s Camp, took a picture for reference of what it looks like. It the building with the red roof, “camp”, yea I know?!?!



A while later I was starting to feel a little light headed so I decided to stop just over a ridge. Now I had already ridden a bit of the way down before I stopped. When I got off the bike I felt that breathlessness like on Sani, so checked the altitude on my GPS. Then I realized why I felt that way.



Down below in Khorong and although still far off I could hear some nagging wife and kids shouting at each other.



Just as I passed Linakeng I was reminded of why I was rather on my bike than in a taxi.



Down below is a river that flows into the great Thaba Tseka River, across the banks was some kid shouting, “Give me money”. How he thought I would get it to him fascinated me.



Next was the Thaba Tseka River itself. The picture just doesn’t allow you to see how big this river is up there.



At this point the road became pretty good and for the first time in Lesotho I was using 5th gear. But it didn’t last long as at Thaba Tseka I turned off the A3 to head for Katse and the road instantly became rocky again. I stopped to chat to another two cyclists that were cycling to Sani. What is wrong with these guys???

Thaba Tseka was busy so I rode through and stopped on the road out for a break.
I was now 3:20pm, to early to stay there but the 50km to Katse would take me over and hour more. I ate an energy bar while I decided what to do.



While the sun was shining strong the road was easy to read, you can see where the taxis drive and that is where less potholes are.



But when it gets darker it becomes more of a guessing game.



So I decided to push through and spoil myself at the Katse Lodge for the night and then at least the next day would be tar all the way.
It started to rain hard about 10km from Katse but I managed to get just ahead of it at the dam. Just enough time to take a photo of the dam and unload my bike before it showered for another hour again.



As I had paid for the bed more than I wanted to and the fact that breakfast was also included, my supper a bit more simple.



This was the view the next morning from my room.



And breakfast was better than last night’s supper.



A picture below the dam wall, see it in the top corner.



And a picture from above the dam wall



I’d been told about the road from Katse and how one can just scrape it all the way with the unending bends all the way. Well two back wheel step outs and I was ridding like wussy. The roads surface is rough so you can’t see if there is loose grit on it and then you come into a corner to find something like this



Or even this…



I had come too far without a single fall over to throw it all away now, so I choose a good pace and just enjoyed the scenery.
When I saw how huge this bridge was I then reminded myself that this is something like 25km from the dam wall.



Just to put in perspective how deep the water is here I found this picture on the net.



Here’s the bridge from the other side, if you look carefully you will see a taxi just to the left of the bridge.



Every vehicle that came from the front while I was climbing the back of the Mafika-Lisiu Pass smelled like a train as their breaks were burning away. At the lookout there is a sign indicating 3090m




Getting to the bottom valley I checked my GPS again and it showed 1875m, this was still on the road and not down at the river.

I then pushed through to the border picking up a Lesotho traditional hat for my daughter along the way. Whenever I go away for a few days she demands something from the place I’ve been to. (Sometimes she just gets a rock because there was nothing else there).

Filled up at Ficksberg very happy that the GS made it all the way on one tank, but not happy that I had bought the fuel bag unnecessary.
400km with a moving average of 47km/h, you can ignore the total time and overhaul average as the GPS was switched off over night.



Got the CMA National Rally by 2pm



That evening the Rally officially started and we had a great time.
The main tent.




And the band warming up for some good stuff.



Saturday morning they had the CMA stunt guys who didn’t fail to thrill the crowds gathered. Local aunties with their little cameras too.








Note the bottle on the ground that he landed the back wheel on.





Back at the camp I was not at all sure what this bike was meant to be…



But there were some better looking bikes too, any of you there?



Saturday night we had and awesome steak and pup for supper and then chatted around and awesome bonfire till late.



Sunday morning I left after the morning sermon at about 11:30am heading for Wepener.
Just outside Wepener I got onto the gravel road to Smithfield that passes the Welbedachtdam.



Then on to Smithfeild



Where I got onto the R701 to Bethulie to refuel again.



Followed the R701 to Gariep Dam. I would love to have a boat here with a lot of fuel for exploring this piece of water.



And then admired the Dam wall.




As I left Colesberg on the N1 I noticed the weather up ahead and a call to home confirmed that it was raining hard. The problem that I sat with was that if I turned off to Victoria West where I was to over night, I could possibly be faced with a muddy R356 the next day.
This 500km piece of gravel road had already see lots of rain the other day so I decided to cut my trip short a day and leave the 356 for another.
I reached Beaufort West at 6:30pm and decided to get some supper while the sun went down.



30km before Laingsburg it started to rain really hard and continued to do so all the way to Worcester but I was blessed with an open sky to ride the pass instead of that hot stinky tunnel



1200km From Clocolan for the day and I pulled into my garaged at 11:20pm

3100km over 4 days of ridding giving and average of 775 per day, what other bike can do this and ride up Sani pass I ask you.  :ricky:

Many people along the way asked me if I wasn’t worried to be travelling alone, each time I just replied – “Romans 8vs31”  :3some:
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 10:09:50 am by Red Adventure »
Cheers
Charl M Smit
Iron Butt Ride
Lesotho
 

Offline Gypsybaron

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 05:44:15 pm »
lekker!.....


EDIT: Ek het die RR op my foon gelees, nou eers na die foto's gekyk. Baie mooi wêreld waar jy gery het, maar daar deur Sani sou my hart kort-kort gaan staan het! Ek stem ook saam met jou oor nog 'n ding, daar is min fietse waarmee jy soveel km's in so 'n kort tyd kan doen sonder om 'n rugoperasie te kry na die tyd.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 06:48:20 pm by Gypsybaron »
“All education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child’s coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.” Louis L'Amour - The lonesome gods

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Offline Fiellie

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 05:53:10 pm »
Respect !!  :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 05:54:08 pm »
That is a lot of kilos in a short time!!!
Glad you made it home safe. :thumleft:
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Offline adv

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 05:59:13 pm »
Awesome... enige papwiele?
 

Offline subie

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2012, 05:59:37 pm »
Daai BMW is darem n mooi bike. Hou van sy paintjob  :thumleft:
Dankie vir die RR en pics.
Respek man   O0

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Offline Ouman

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 06:14:48 pm »
Fantastic! Pictures and RR! Love it! ;D
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Offline Snafu

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 06:25:50 pm »
Baie kilos, baie respek
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Offline poplap

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 06:50:02 pm »
Baie mooi RR en respek vir die kilo's. Wys jou net hoe ver jy kan ry as jou hart en gees aan die Here behoort. :thumleft:
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Offline Carrol

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 07:17:50 pm »
Very nice
 
 

Offline XXL

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 08:47:15 pm »
Brilliant..what a nice trip... :thumleft:
 

Offline Pistonpete

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 08:57:42 pm »
Lovely report...thanks for sharing! :thumleft:
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Offline JMOL

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 09:59:15 pm »
Baie nice en dankie vd share.  Het jou "Planning a Ride" die hele naweek dopgehou en het gewag vd RR.

Gaan oor 2 weke basies dieselfde roete volg - lyk my Sani is maar 'n bogger die jaar  :mwink:

Baie kilo's wat jy gedoen het.  Die nag ryery is nogal "scary" vir my . . . . .  ::) 

Moet dit nog gewoond raak, maar om eerlik te wees, ek is nie baie mal daaroor om in die nag te ry nie.
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Offline Bernoulli

Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 10:41:55 pm »
Beautiful photos, impressive distances, great bike :ricky:

Slightly mad rider (referring to distances and nightriding):mwink:

Thanks for sharing!

Offline ChristoffGS

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 10:50:05 pm »
Epic!  Thanks for sharing!
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Offline wolfman

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2012, 11:15:15 pm »
"I am the night rider?"

Jislaaik boet, you leave me breathless. Why are you in such a rush? We all know these GS bikes can do it - there's nothing left to proof - the bikes were all made in Germany! The Germans have done ALL the testing so that mortals like you and I can enjoy the ride...

You just put yourself in danger by pushing these ridiculous mileages, and may I add, missing the ethos of what adventure riding is about. Now you only have a couple of snap shots to show of a beautiful country that you've now managed to completely "not get". Ai man, you could have had it under your skin!

And you've just let your friend Mr T on his own while you're enjoying a Coke at Sani Top because he's too slow for you???? You are obviously the stronger rider - why didn't you stick with your friend? What about the whole cameradary thing?  Shit man, I hope I never have the misfortune of traveling a long road with you - you just miss the point completely.

Instead of clinging on to a Bible verse why don't you read something like Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon, or watch Charley and Ewan do the Long Way Round, -Down. All wonderful stuff... Make it a little bigger than just a  verse and a silly ego trip. Next time, when you through that right leg over the saddle, hopefully the ego stays behind and life begins!

"Am I the Night Rider?" Mmmm, I think not.

Bless you mate  :thumleft:




 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2012, 02:16:09 am »
Say What Wolfman ??.... have you read through what you just wrote ??  ... just a wee bit harsh me thinks ... each to his own my friend, that's what this forum means to me.


Moving on, great RR RA, what I get from this was the spiritual part of this trip, from the early morning departure, the Lesotho people, Sani as only it can be, to the tent with a 1000 other souls. A great return trip with rain, sunshine, some tricky decisions and still a safe and sound arrival after 3000 odd km.

Well done and thanks for sharing.

 8)  

 
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 02:21:29 am by Ian in Great Brak River »
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline subie

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2012, 03:25:32 am »

What is this "Ethos of what adventure riding is about" ???
Your ethos,mine or wild dog ethos ???  O0

 :ricky:



"I am the night rider?"

Jislaaik boet, you leave me breathless. Why are you in such a rush? We all know these GS bikes can do it - there's nothing left to proof - the bikes were all made in Germany! The Germans have done ALL the testing so that mortals like you and I can enjoy the ride...

You just put yourself in danger by pushing these ridiculous mileages, and may I add, missing the ethos of what adventure riding is about. Now you only have a couple of snap shots to show of a beautiful country that you've now managed to completely "not get". Ai man, you could have had it under your skin!

And you've just let your friend Mr T on his own while you're enjoying a Coke at Sani Top because he's too slow for you???? You are obviously the stronger rider - why didn't you stick with your friend? What about the whole cameradary thing?  Shit man, I hope I never have the misfortune of traveling a long road with you - you just miss the point completely.

Instead of clinging on to a Bible verse why don't you read something like Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon, or watch Charley and Ewan do the Long Way Round, -Down. All wonderful stuff... Make it a little bigger than just a  verse and a silly ego trip. Next time, when you through that right leg over the saddle, hopefully the ego stays behind and life begins!

"Am I the Night Rider?" Mmmm, I think not.

Bless you mate  :thumleft:





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Offline poplap

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 06:45:59 am »
Wolfman, it is not necessary to piss on another persons RR! Rather write your own and stop criticizing other people's RR's. It is comments like yours that will cause people to stop writing RR's. I still think it was a good RR. Sometimes you only have so much time to get to a place and back, so it is necessary to do those distances.
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Offline hayleyscomet

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Re: I am the night rider
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2012, 07:04:31 am »

Wolfman - It's PROVE not Proof you WALLY - Try using spell check on the Kak you write .

Charl well done Bud , superb RR and Great photos.

Look forward to that breakfast next week

Proud of you and glad you home safe.

Wayne