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Author Topic: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012  (Read 1364 times)

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Offline Beemer Mike

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What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« on: April 12, 2012, 11:34:25 am »
One thing that I have learnt by riding solo is that your route is not cast in stone as changes happen.

Another thing that I realized is that the difference in costs between camping and lodging/ B&B are negligable.

Day 1.
I left Joburg on Wednesday and giggled as I passed everyone that was on their way to work. Just passed Alberton on the N3 an Audi passed me, doing some low flying. Bargain... so I climbed in behind him to save on traffic fines. This Audi had obviously done this trip often as he knew where to slow down for ALL the traps. I had planned to get off the highway at Harrismith and mosy on back roads down to Underberg and Himeville. When we got to Harrismith the Audi pulled into the first Ultra City, not that I needed fuel but a stretch would have been nice so I followed and topped up fuel as well.

As I left the service station I noticed the Audi in front of me so I once again climbed in behind him and rode with him till Howick where we waved and parted.

From there it was a nice chilled ride to Himeville Arms for lunch (They make the best prawn and chicken curry.). Whilst there another biker, Adrian, joined me at the bar. Adrian had just come down Sani on his GS 800. What a character, 79 years old and had just won 6 gold medals at the National Swimming Championships, and was on his way back home in Durban. All his trips between Durban and inland are done via Sani Pass and he gave warning...

From Himeville Arms I filled up with fuel and moved on to Sani Lodge Backpackers, situated on the new tar road before the pass, where I was booked in for the night. Just as well that I had upgraded from camping to a room (difference in price was R40.00) as the campsite was not accessible by bike.

Day 2.
After a generous breakfast I hit the road full of apprehension and adrenalin for what lay ahead. Stamped out of South Africa without any problems and thought that it is not that bad.... this dirt road is a walk in the park with really beautiful scenery. Little did I know!!!
The last 2.5 kilometers is where the fun starts. Loose rocks ranging in size between tennis balls and basket balls soon lost my stride and I found it almost impossible to keep momentum up. The switch backs were created by sadistic bastards and placed there by someone in a very bad mood. I had a side stand incident, laying the bike down on a very large rock. As I got off the bike to rest and pick it up it slid over the rock, landing upside down. As fear went through my mind about liguids mixing and getting into places that they shouldnt I managed to throw the bike back over the rock onto its side. As a result I have Sani houding in the form of a scratch and dent on the top of my bikes topbox.

Managed to get going but I stopped at just about every switch back corner for a breather and to let the clutch, now smoking, cool down. Even the air kept trying to elude me as I was more out of breath than Joost on his wedding night to Amore Vitone.

As I got closer to the summit the going became easier as it became more rocky and hard ground versus the loose bed of rocks. Once I summited the pass I stopped at the sign to rest, my moer meter now seriously in the red for putting my bike through that. It had taken me four and a half hours to get to the top!!!! I was now seriously pissed off... but it could be worse... I could be pissed on!

At the thought of doing yet another 140 kays of dirt, who knows how bad the condition, in a country wherein I really did not want to get caught on the road at night, I had to face the reality of it and decided to turn back.

I must admit that riding down is alot easier than going up and I soon found myself stamped back into South Africa. New plan of action was 1st priority: A cold beer at Himeville Arms and then a new two day route to Ficksburg, where I was booked in at the Tumbling Mongoose.

Unbeknown to me some sadistic bastard had decided to grade the dirt road to the SA border in my absence. If that wasn't enough he then went and chucked a truck load of water on top of that for some other sadistic bastard reason. I am convinced that my bike did a 360 slide before spitting me off again. Bastard!!!!! Luckily there was a Land Cruiser behind me and the two men got out to help me pick up my bike whilst through my helmet I heard the Tannie giving me grief for riding a bike, riding alone and I seem to remember something about my mother and the Faulklands war. Pissed off... well it could have been worse... I could have been pissed on.

Once I got to Himeville Arms and over the coldest of beers I plotted a new route to Fickeburg via Howick and Nottingham Road. Sorted.

In Nottingham Road, whilst looking for accomodation, I was stopped by a white guy in a bakkie. He introduced himself as Clive and told me to turn around and go to the Nottingham Road hotel, saying that he would phone ahead and arrange???

Upon arriving at the hotel the receptionist ran out to me in the parking lot and asked, "Are you Mike?"

"Yes I am." was my reply.

She said, "Good cos Clive phoned and we are expecting you... something about a clean room and a cold beer."

She took my luggage, had me sign in and showed me to a room that resembled a suite. She also told me to ride my bike round to the back of the hotel and park it inside an almost complete building to shield it from the elements. Costs for B&B was a mere R320.

A hot shower later and some clean clothes and I felt almost human. As I walked into the bar the Barman stood up and asked, "Are you Mike?" Upon confirmation that I was I had the coldest draught beer thrust into my hands. Sorted! It turns out that Clive is the owner.

Day 3.
Packed up and had an uneventful ride on the alternative roads to Harrismith and then down towards Ficksburg. Turn right some 10 kays before Ficksburg into the driveway of The Tumbling Mongoose. The owner, also a Clive, waved my round to the back of the house and wanted me to park in the lounge of the farmhouse which is the Tumbling Mongoose. I parked outside on a concrete slab.

With the greeting Clive explained that unfortunately he and his girlfriend has broken up a couple of months prior and so the Tumbling Mongoose was fast heading in the direction of a bachelor pad. I had no problem with that and was shown to a lovely farm bedroom with massive bed and new crisp bedding. Excellente!

Tumbling Mongooses pub had run out of booze so we jumped into his car and shot into town... and agreed that if he bought all the drinks that I would buy the meat for the night's braai. Done and dusted, his new lady friend joined us and nice chilled evening was had.

Day4.
Accomodation at the Tumbling Mongoose was R100 per night. Got up, packed up, paid and left, having made a new and great friend in Ficksburg. I had booked into Meiringskloof in Fouriesburg for the night (camping was R110 and the use of one of their caravans a mere R10 more) yet Fouriesburg was only a mere 40 kays away on sweeping Free State roads.

Once I got to Fouriesburg I decided that as home was a mere 450 kays away and it was still early enough that I would rather push on and go home.

Just before Bethlehem I came up behind a truck that was dripping liquid out of it's cargo bay area. Whilst getting close enough to overtake I managed to get wet from this liquid and as I overtook the truck I came to the realization that the truck was carrying a load of sheep. So yes it it may be better to be pissed off than pissed on ... but I had managed to get both on this trip.

Got home a few hours later with no further ado apart from the stark reality and welcome back to Joburg by stopping at an accident scene wherein a biker had hit a cyclist. Both evidently died on the scene.

Overview.
Having ridden through Lesotho on numerous occasions my main aim of this trip was to do Sani Pass. So tick that off the bucket list, but I was disappointed that I didn't continue the trip as planned. Next time I will take a friggin trials bike. lol.
The BMW 1150 GSA is farking heavy, but is bulletproof.
And most importantly: The general generosity and friendliness of South Africans towards others, especially bikers continues to amaze me and constantly reminds me that I live in the best country in the world.
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Offline mox

Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2012, 11:54:02 am »
Brilliant!
 

Offline Dirty Boy

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 12:01:34 pm »
Thanks BM, love your style of writing. had many a giggle.

It seems Sani has taken it toll on a number of bikers these last few weekends. The condition of the road varies from time to time and one never knows what to expect until you get there, I guess thats the ADVENTURE part of what we love to do.
 

Offline Frog

Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 12:04:02 pm »
Nice report. Only 27 more sleeps and I will be heading for Sani!
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Offline schummie64

Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 12:10:27 pm »
Awesome RR.
Makes me want to just pack the bike and head out for the weekend.
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Offline Gypsybaron

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 12:34:48 pm »
Lekker RR!

So you got pissed off in Lesotho, pissed on on your way back, and plainly pissed in the pubs ;)
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Offline da PEEG

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2012, 12:38:08 pm »
Well-written account of your adventure...

These bikes are not called "Adventures" for nothing !

And I agree, these R1150GSA "super-varkies" are seriously heavy and take a hell of a lot of effort to keep them upright on super-sized pebbles which tend to lie in wait to trip the front wheel...

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Offline Red Adventure

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2012, 12:42:07 pm »
 :thumleft:
Cheers
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Offline Kerritz

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 12:57:03 pm »
Nice report.....imagine jy het 'n helmet cam aangehad...toe daar op jou gepis is.  :peepwall:
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Offline Circlip

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 12:59:54 pm »
Lekker RR  :thumleft: , Best country in the world +1, now if we could only get rid of the farkers that cant drive.  :ricky:
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Offline subie

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 01:13:41 pm »
The Sani fear is building and your RR did not help   :mwink:
Nice RR anyway. Just next time can you please leave the gold medal swimming 76 year old toppies out of it. O0
I am 52 and in such bad condition I struggle to doggy paddle my bath but still a legend in my own mirror  :imaposer:

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Offline AntonDP

Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 01:23:34 pm »
Exactly.  Just came back from Sani and Lesotho.  Sani is pretty bad on the heavy bike, Lesotho dirt roads are k*k.
 

Offline Etta

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 01:45:52 pm »
Awesome  :thumleft:
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Offline Red Adventure

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 02:23:42 pm »
I am 52 and in such bad condition I struggle to doggy paddle my bath but still a legend in my own mirror 

Stop at every hairpin bend on Sani to catch your breath before you chose a line up :3some:
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Offline spoedvark

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 06:53:42 pm »
Friday 27 April cant come quick enough. Sunday 29 we attempt Sani. Have to make it as we going to Katse after that. Safety in numbers. 9 in total after we meet up with the 65 year old legend, David and his mate who are at present touring Zambia and will join up with us in Mtatielle for the Lesotho section.

The excitement is deafining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Great RR.

Mev. Visarend is gonna be the resident photographer hopefully??????
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2012, 12:58:02 am »
Lekker read BM, thanks for sharing.

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Offline Mark Hardy

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2012, 07:34:48 am »
Thanks for sharing , lekker report  :thumleft:

but where the pics  ???
 

Offline Beemer Mike

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2012, 08:50:08 am »
Thanks for sharing , lekker report  :thumleft:

but where the pics  ???

I had all intention to take lots of pics but I was waiting to catch the sadistic bastard that put all the rocks there first.  :laughing4: Dunno but the pics just didnt happen.
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Offline Malibu

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2012, 08:59:24 am »
Lekker RR!  Super enjoyable read!  Thanks.  ;D
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Offline charlw

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Re: What is worse than being pissed off? Lesotho March 2012
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2012, 10:16:19 am »
Nice report!
The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.  ~G.K. Chesterton