4 Corners of South Africa - via the internet.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Douf, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    The strange mystery of Mikie's dangling nuts has been solved. All will be revealed (fnar, fnar) on day 12. :evil

    Douf
    #81
  2. picoda

    picoda Dalmatia

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    Fantastic report! :thumb :thumb :thumb
    #82
  3. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Thankyou sir. However, after just checking out your Dalmatia thread, I'm feeling kinda inadequate. Wow! that place looks just beautiful. Put it on my list of places to visit (near the top too). I'll just pop over to your thread, give it a bump; then it's off to do some Dalmatia research. :thumb


    Douf
    #83
  4. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Day 12 (am): Tembe Park

    Since this morning's game drive was scheduled to leave at 6:30am, both Gary and I were up bright and early (despite my previous post :evil). After getting shit, showered, shaved and shampooed, we packed our bags as much as possible and then headed off for a quick breakfast. Since both of us were religiously taking the Malaria medication in our typically quaint anal retentive fashion, the main purpose of the food was to wash down the drugs as per the dosage instructions. In addition, we'd both sprayed on enough insect repellent to wipe out the entire African Mosquito population, but in reality I didn't find the local insects to be that bad (and certainly not even in the same ballpark as those little bastards in Alaska). However, they say it's the ones you can't feel that carry the disease, so who knows? :deal

    As expected our stunt driver was ready and waiting at the prescribed witching hour, but having only just clocked in for the day, on this occasion he maintained a pace more conducive to both game viewing and survival. Indeed, in the cool breeze of the early morning hours this initially moderate pace was more than welcome. :thumb

    After cruising around the sandy trails for quite some time, Patrick explained that the afternoon drives often proved to be more fruitful in terms of the amount of animals typically on view, and after some further distance devoid of any wildlife, the customers were getting restless. Patrick took us to what seemed like every damn water hole on the entire property, but as far as I could tell, someone had given all the animals the day off. :evil Trying to inject some interest into the proceedings, we were treated to the knowledgeable Patrick's dissertation on the habits of dung beetles, which up until that stage had been the only wildlife on view. The apparent interest
    in their behavior shown by one of our German friends only added to the tedium, and his ability to by fascinated by what seemed to Gary and I like insignificant minutiae was beginning to piss the pair of us off. :stfu As he trotted out question after inane question, I was mentally consoling myself with having at least seen a pretty good selection of wildlife the previous day, so the whole experience hadn't been a total waste of time. However, just as we were hoping to spot a hungry lion looking for a tasty German breakfast, :evil Patrick alerted us to a small group of giraffes up ahead and things started looking up. About half a dozen of them were grazing just off the trail to the left of our approaching vehicle, and although obviously aware of our presence, they remained indifferent enough for a satisfying encounter. :thumb

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    some...............................................Giraffes :deal

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    ............and the lesser spotted two headed variety :evil

    A short while after, we were heading along the trail and Patrick suddenly diverted our attention to some bushes on the right of the vehicle. 'Look at the balls on that monkey!' he exclaimed, without any apparent hint of irony. :eek1 I squinted into the undergrowth and at first couldn't see the well camouflaged primate, but, on further inspection managed to focus on an animal which did indeed have a very impressive set of testicles. :deal

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    'Come an' get it, bitches' :evil

    Never having seen such a specimen our group was quite fascinated with this creature - certainly much better than the pile of beetle infested crap that had previously captured our attention (at least I'm certain that's what MOST of us thought), :deal however I don't remember Patrick having much additional knowledge to impart in this case. (I guess his PhD must be in crap).

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    An impressive set, although apparently needing a little touch up in places :evil

    However with a little subsequent background research, the internet scuttlebutt claims that (obtain pinch of salt before reading further): the blueness of a particular monkey's jewels is supposed to be a direct reflection of his standing in monkey society, and amongst other things entitles the owner to preferential sexual treatment with the local ladies. :viking I came across a rather excellent college study, where (all in the name of science of course) a sorry specimen from a captive troop's proletariat, was taken from the enclosure and then had to suffer the indignity of having his obviously unimpressive set of gonads painted a shocking shade of blue by the attendant professor. :eek1 After being returned to the enclosure, the academics were amazed to discover that the other monkeys were obviously very impressed with our little friend's new and improved appendages and subsequently treated him with a good deal more respect. :bow If only it were that easy in real life (er, maybe it is - plastic surgery). :lol3

    Anyway, discovering this little nugget of knowledge, has resulted in somewhat of a testicular epiphany on my part. :deal Therefore, on the basis of the aforementioned anecdote, I can conclude that the blueness of the plastic testicles hanging from the rear of Mr. Michael Defreitas' GS is not just intended to be sympathetic with the bike's color, but also obviously supposed to convey some inherent level of super human potency on the part of its' rider. Well Mikie, old son, I hate to bust your bubble, however......

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    That set of balls on the GS might be impressive, but.....

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    ....... you're somewhat compromised..........

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    ....... by your apparent inability to......

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    ........keep it up :lol3:lol3:lol3

    Moving right along then..... :evil

    And we did; in fact we were almost having Black Rhino steaks for lunch (probably illegal I'm guessing), when the truck rounded a corner and immediately confronted an ornery looking specimen right in the middle of the road. A little collective Naugahyde sucking inevitably went on as the beast took a few quick paces towards the vehicle in what looked like the start of a full on charge. :eek1 Fortunately though, he soon thought better of that maneuver and instead charged off into the woods to the right of the vehicle in classic Rhino fashion. In other words: before anyone could get a picture of him. :baldy

    We got a bit luckier at the 'hide' though. :deal

    Not long after this incident, we pulled up at the custom built hide on the property which is at the site of a large water hole. They have a web cam there too: it's at www.zulucam.com Here, it's possible to view the animals as they come and go without them being aware of anything untoward. This was immediately apparent as, upon our arrival there were two of the thus far elusive Rhinos hanging around the edge of the water. They loitered long enough for us each to get a good look at them through the binoculars before finally they wandered off into the bush. :thumb

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    According to Patrick, these were White rather than Black Rhino's. Now I'm not much a Rhino expert and to be honest I couldn't tell them apart. :huh In fact the only difference I could see was that the Rhino's now standing in front of us weren't blurred. :lol3

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    A solitary Elephant presently wandered into view and we all watched as he took a drink from the water there. He lingered at the water's edge for a while before also lumbering out of the picture. Presently, after watching some other animals and having a few refreshments, we climbed back into the truck and Patrick, apparently still being satisfactorily remunerated for his time, drove us carefully back to the lodge. :clap

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    Upon arrival, there was quite a spread laid out at the breakfast area; :dg but rather than eat, the pair of us, mindful of the mileage ahead if we were to rejoin the rest of our traveling friends by the end of the day, decided to skip breakfast and hit the road. Quickly packing the rest of our belongings, we said goodbye to staff, endured/enjoyed a farewell song as we loaded the luggage and paddled our way behind Patrick's truck back up the sandy trail to the front gate. After a brief farewell, we were back on the road.
    :thumb

    http://www.tembe.co.za/

    A short, but memorable experience. Great staff too. :clap
    #84
  5. MikieSA

    MikieSA Adventurer

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    I just fell off my chair. Phil you dog, the blue balls are supposed to give me more respect :rofl :rofl :wink:
    #85
  6. Koshik

    Koshik Adventurer

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    tsk tsk .. and I thought that bigger rod for the 'plenty of fish in the sea' comment was the last of Mikies man-hood!... but Phil does it again!

    freakin hilarious!

    btw phil... its easy to tell the black rhino from the white rhino ... by the balls .. guess which are smaller!:augie
    #86
  7. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Hey Koshik,

    I'd forgotten about that 'rod' comment and consequently missed another excellent opportunity to give Mikie some crap :baldy Thanks for reminding me, and if you spot any other opportunities to further deflate the lad's healthy ego, please don't hesitate to chime in :lol3

    Re Rhino balls: Ha! Ha! Ha! :thumb

    Assuming the genital status-quo in Rhinoland is as out of balance as the comparable human inadequacies that we unsatisfactorily endowed white boys have to endure: then I'd have to guess the Black Rhino's gonads are comparably huge. :evil

    Reminds me of that old nugget: 'What's white and twelve inches long?'
    Answer: 'Nothing!' :lol3

    Douf
    #87
  8. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Sorry Mikie: you know I'm laughing WITH you really :deal

    In reality though, as I've been writing this report, I've missed your enigmatic presence on the ride, so I took this opportunity to drop in a little Mikie folklore. :evil (you've got a few more references coming up too and, believe it or not, some of them aren't totally disparaging :scratch)

    In my defense though, I'm at least holding my fire somewhat: just think, that Cape National Park moon shot should have certainly gained internet infamy by now. :eek1 I had the perfect tie in at corner #2 as well: when describing the well defined crack separating the Indian and Atlantic Oceans which is chiseled in the rock at the ocean's edge :deal

    Wish you'd have ridden the rest of it with us buddy. Really! :wave

    Douf
    #88
  9. Sprocketeer

    Sprocketeer - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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    Fantastic! Looks like you are all having a terrific time -- fun group, great photos, wonderful trip. :clap
    #89
  10. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Day 12 Part 2 - The Riding Bit (Tembe Park through Swaziland).

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    Back in the saddle again and heading away from the Game Reserve, not far down the road we came into Jozini, riding over a quite spectacular damn at the entrance to town. To me it felt good to be back on the bike again, however it was almost midday and there was still the small matter of 550km and two border crossings to address before reuniting with the crew at Sabie. :deal

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    Some water - earlier today

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    Downtown Jozini was another of those medium sized settlements that oozed humanity from every community pore. At the typically grid-locked petrol station I felt significantly more vulnerable than usual without my armory of South African outriders for comfort. :eek1 But in familiar fashion, after filling up the bikes, grabbing a drink and chatting with a couple of inquisitive locals, the ride continued. Besides - they welcome tourists. :thumb

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    'Yes, tourists and..................more importantly, your money' :evil

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    A veritable hive of activity

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    The pulsating metropolis that is downtown Jozini :deal

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    The local market sells many exotic foods..........and in the background, for the less adventurous: KFC :huh

    Heading out of town after a brief ascent, the twisty road dropped into the basin of the Pongolapoort Lake via an excellent stretch of blacktop that clung to the side of the surrounding cliffs. At lake level, the route turned right (quite where was a matter for brief debate since our respective GPS intelligence wasn't particularly consistent) and we continued onto Swaziland Border at Lavumisa.

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    The lake at
    Pongolapoort - beautiful :thumb

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    Bikes at the Swazi border

    And then the fun started. I got my passport stamped on the SA side, after which the nice lady there notices my passport has less a couple of days less than a month to run (I was initially made aware that this might be a problem upon departure in Atlanta, but they let me out of the country anyway). :deal

    'You'll have to get this fixed in Swaziland (at the British Embassy in Mbabane - miles from our intended route), or you won't be able to get back into SA' :huh

    'Give me my passport back then we'll just go around Swaziland instead' (not much of a detour, in reality, but we wanted to get the extra country in if possible).

    'You can't do that, I've already stamped you out. You'll have to get it fixed' :baldy

    Shit! With the possibility of being stuck in Swaziland sorting this mess out, we considered our options and decided to go to the nearest northern border, and then, if we had a problem there, hit all the others until (hopefully) we got through. As it turned out, we were admitted at the Swaziland side without an issue and at the subsequent border posts, I continued as though nothing was out of order and no one said any more about it. :thumb

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    'Actually I'm 46 not 40, but thanks anyway' :D

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    'Siyakwemukela Eswatini' - English translation: 'Eat shit, white boy' :deal Eventually though, after a fashion, they let us in.

    As our intended route continued along the eastern portion of the country (up through Big Bend, Lukhula, Nokwane and Tshaneni), we traveled along mainly straight roads for a good portion of the journey. However, apart from the uninspiring nature of the blacktop, it was striking how well developed the agriculture was in this area. In a country about the size of Wales, I guess they've got to make good use of what they've got, however there was a level of organization here that certainly took me by surprise. Most of the farming looked like it was being done on a corporate level, rather than the small traditional holdings stereotypically thought of in these parts and there were thousands of acres of carefully cultivated crops (a lot of sugar, if I remember correctly) lining the roadsides. (Just off the road at the edge of a field around this time, we also spotted the gruesome scene of a large overturned tractor with its' driver, apparently pretty badly injured, lying on the ground beside it. Quite a number of people were already on the scene providing assistance before we came along though, so we didn't stop.) :eek1

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    Unsurprisingly, as in reality we were just up the road from Tembe and still in 'game reserve' area, we noticed numerous animal related warning signs as we rode along. My personal favorite was an earnest little item warning cyclists to beware of Elephants and Lions. :eek1 Cyclists! I concluded that if I got a flat on my MOTORCYCLE, there's no way in hell I would have stopped around there to fix it: I'd have square wheeled it to somewhere safer before even remotely entertaining the thought of pulling over. :deal Unfortunately, we didn't see any of the animals, but I did notice a couple of abandoned bicycles in the area. :evil A little while later however, we did spot a giraffe walking down the road, which I think in retrospect was the highlight of my game viewing; as that moment, in my mind, was the only truly spontaneous game interaction on the whole trip. I appreciate that the wildlife at Tembe is essentially in its' natural habitat, but with the organization of the game drive, the guide, and everything that went with it, I found it difficult to shake off the personal perception that the whole experience wasn't somehow contrived: that anyone could do it. But riding along the road on my bike and a Giraffe suddenly wanders past? At that moment it was just me and the giraffe; it was our special moment, and no one could pay a safari company a bunch of cash to do the same trip tomorrow. :thumb


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    'They'll take anyone in Swaziland' - Child friendly restaurant :deal

    Presently, refueling requirements (rather than group nicotine requirements) dictated a gas stop, but after having filled the bikes, choked down a quick snack and taken a personal pit stop, the pair of us just kinda looked at each other. :pain At the outset of the trip I think we'd both been secretly worried that (compared our normal 'ironbutt-esque' riding habits) the pedestrian progress a group ride inevitably entails would soon test our patience. Remarkably though, it appeared as though we'd both fallen into our new 'carefree' riding habits fairly easily and in fact we missed the group social interaction at each stopping point that was an integral part of this journey :cry - (Mikie, who left us at Cape Town and subsequently did the trip back to Jo'burg solo, related in his report some similar experiences). So after a few moments of 'dead air time', we headed out. :ricky

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    'Now, a brief message from our sponsors..............' :deal

    On a positive note, the significantly shortened and infrequent gas stops were a definite plus in terms of progress - as I mentioned we were now riding tank to tank (>200 km) :ricky rather than smoke to smoke (around 60 km). :bmwrider However, time saved in this area was being somewhat offset by our moving average, which had automatically dropped considerably without the rapidly disappearing General and his troops to contend with. :pynd In the absence of our peers we'd adopted what to us was a comfortable speed of 130-140km/h that, since we no longer had to endure the constant buffeting of high velocity cruising, made the resultant riding experience enjoyably relaxing and we motored along happily taking in the sights of this foreign land. :thumb (I never did come to appreciate the attraction of blasting endlessly along a dead straight road, wide open for hours on end - just makes my neck ache and fatigue sets in that much quicker. :scratch Some might say I'm just a pathetic middle aged old fart and I need to get a life (and they'd be right :deal ). The twisty bits are another matter though. :evil I guess since they sell plenty of Hyabusas and the like, obviously plenty of folks do enjoy that kind of riding: each to his own I suppose. YMMV). Oh, one final point, for the first time that I can remember on the trip, we were (almost) riding at LEGAL SPEEDS. :gerg With that in mind then, how ironic is it that around this time we finally got pulled over for speeding. :huh

    Somewhere around the border area (I think it must have been on the Swaziland side, since the uniforms worn by the cops in the significant cache of us+police photo's we'd taken by now were different to those that these guys were wearing :deal) we came into another small settlement and, contrary to our group's normal approach of completely disregarding any posted request to moderate our rate of progress, we made a token gesture to legality and slowed down to about 80 km/h (speed limit was 60km/h IIRC), which felt almost stationary compared to usual. :evil A short distance into town, and before we had a chance to slow down any further, we came across a small group of roadside cops who this time obviously weren't just checking documents, as the first one I noticed has a laser gun pointed directly at me. :doh They motioned to us to pull over, which we did, then took off our helmets and started chatting, hoping to get away with the by now familiar document check routine. They were friendly enough, but the solitary male officer in the group was already starting to fill in the paperwork, and any feeble requests for leniency were disregarded. :bow To add insult to injury, being the first one through the trap, I was the one getting the ticket - which further added to the irony, as today was the first time on the trip that I'd been leading for any significant amount of time (reason: only I had the detailed SA info on my GPS). However, as I stood there resigned to my fate, I looked over at the laser gun they were using and immediately did a double take. :scratch

    'Guys, I've got to get a picture of you using this equipment. I used to work with the guy who designed it!' :deal

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    Local law enforcement - foreign hardware. Busted by a US laser gun. :baldy

    This IS a true story. The company is located in Norcross GA (www.lasercraft.com) and the guy I was referring to left his job at the facility at which we were then working to form a company making laser rangefinders and consequently he founded this one. Our friendly law enforcement agents were not only convinced by the truthfulness of my anecdote, but also suitably impressed by the sheer implausibility of the scenario and, after expressing their total incredulity at the entire situation, told me not to worry about the ticket. :D Excellent! :thumb Consequently our new friends happily posed with us for the obligatory photographs, following which we waved goodbye and hit the road. :wave

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    All's well that ends well. :deal

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    'OK, now let's just get one more of the bride and groom' :wink:

    (Looking back through the photo archives, it would appear that the border area sting is fairly commonplace, since in another part of Swaziland the South African contingent ran into a similar operation. Although, maybe this one was only a document check, as I find it difficult to imagine they wouldn't still be looking through bars if a Laser Gun had been involved.) :whip

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    Elsewhere in Swaziland - Law enforcement deja vous. :deal

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    After losing his cavity search virginity a few days earlier just outside Kokstad, Paul appears to relish a rematch..........:viking

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    .........and although enjoyable, the experience left him limping for the next three days. :eek1

    Finally for the Swaziland portion of the ride (as mentioned earlier), given the tenuous nature of my passport's expiration date - and attempting to leave the country by any exit possible - we approached the border crossing just north of Tshaneni and thankfully rode back into South Africa without any problem. :thumb
    #90
  11. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Thanks for taking the time to at least look at the pictures. :thumb (I can't imagine anyone not directly involved with this odyssey has really wasted their time actually reading through all this self indulgent crap - well maybe my folks, but they're 'obligated'). :evil

    Douf
    #91
  12. gary138

    gary138 Adventurer

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    Somerset,Ma.
    Hey Phil, cool picture. But it's off by 8 years, for the jack and cigarettes anyway :clap
    #92
  13. tenderfoot

    tenderfoot PRJ

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    I just want to come to the defence of the poor maligned Wimpy franchise chain. At least they're honest, you know what you'll get and on many a cold winter's morning those mega coffees were heaven sent.
    #93
  14. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Can't disagree with any of those points, but I could have stayed in the US and found more than enough of that. Maybe my SA trip friends were looking for something different, but in considering my motivation for this ride: I was hoping to find something inspiring, questionable and maybe a even little bit dangerous. :deal
    Besides, the trip report would've been more interesting if I'd be shitting my brains out the whole time, :eek1 and I never did get to find out just how effective those industrial strength intestine blockers (that my Dr had prescribed and very carefully warned me about taking just enough to do the job) would be. :evil
    Having said that, on the last trip I did in Colorado, I got food poisoning and it wasn't a lot of fun. :lol3

    Douf
    #94
  15. MikieSA

    MikieSA Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Johannesburg, South Africa
    :D You know I can take it :1drink
    You have no idea how much I would have loved to do the rest of the trip with you guys but I really couldnt, I am now still feeling the after effects But I will survive
    #95
  16. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Rest up.........for the U.S. :clap

    Douf
    #96
  17. Mika Meyer

    Mika Meyer V-Strom gives you wiiings

    Joined:
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    Awesome trip report, Douf. Thanks for taking us along. How'd you like the 800GS? Looks like you broke it in nicely.


    Did you get to take the 911 out for a spin? :evil

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    That Porsche sure would be FUN here. Woohoo, that'd be some quick 150 clicks!!

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    #97
  18. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Sorry for the lack of progress. The Weather's been too nice for the past couple of days to be sitting in front of a computer. :deal

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    Went for a ride with my buddy Michael - U.S. launch of Fluid Film :evil

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    Did the bicycle thing over the 'magic triangle' (motorcycle heaven in North Georgia's mountains, that only compounded my misery as the constant stream of bikes ripping through the curves put my painfully slow progress in a little more perspective than was really necessary), riding with my personal cycling nemeses Doug and Jon (sorta)
    :deal

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    Here's the elevation profile for the ride - looks like fun, huh? :eek1

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    Even got Douf wife to go out for a few cool down miles afterwards. :clap

    Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

    Douf
    #98
  19. Douf

    Douf Limey Bitch

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    Hey Mika,

    Thanks for checking out my ride report :thumb

    I didn't get to drive the Porsche unfortunately, although given the state of the Jo'burg traffic, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. Actually, one surprising thing about the area of Jo'burg we stayed in was the amount of exotic car dealers in the area. We weren't that far from the Kyalami racetrack which might have had something to do with it, but in sharp contrast to the general level of poverty in the country, there are apparently enough extremely wealthy people to support a healthy trade in these vehicles. :deal

    In my opinion, the GS was a great choice for this trip and in retrospect, given the option of any machine, I'd still have picked the BMW. It didn't feel anywhere near as heavy as it really is; in reality I found it felt more manageable off road than my 950 (probably a combination of lower seat height and, with a smaller expanse of bodywork viewable from the riding position, it gave the perception of being smaller too). Although I was fortunate enough not to crash it, it seemed like it'd be pretty durable in terms of general wear and tear, whereas I'm always wary of wiping out the 950's expensive plastic. I'm kinda anal about most of my bikes, which I think also extends to the 950 unfortunately, but I've also got a KLR which gets treated like an appliance rather than an object of desire (:lol3) and consequently gets ridden as intended. I think I could treat a GS in a similar fashion, which is a good thing. :thumb Not sure if any of this is helpful or even makes any sense, :scratch but there you have it.
    Gary liked his rental GS so much that he's looking for one to replace both his V-Strom and KLR.
    :deal

    Cheers,

    Douf

    #99
  20. Koshik

    Koshik Adventurer

    Joined:
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    JHB SA
    Actually Phil ... "Go Connect" was lost in translation ... if translated directly back into Siswati it's true meaning is "Go F#(!< urself"