Very special Adventure ride from Bloemfontein to Kenton on Sea and back (3 Days)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Probie, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Probie

    Probie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    20
    Bloemfontein to Kenton on Sea (Shelly Bay) and back in 3 days.

    This ride report ain't like any other report that I’ve ever done before. This trip shouldn’t even be called a trip. This was an adventure ride to take my mom's ashes to the seaside to a magical place called Shelly Bay at Kenton on Sea. This adventure was an amazing experience and things that happened was just unbelievable. So let’s start at the beginning.

    Preparation
    So I decided to do this adventure solo (depending on how you see it) on my 2006 Honda CTX 200 Bushlander. Yes it’s only a 200cc and most of the time the speed doesn’t go above 90km/h unless it’s downhill or the wind pushing us from behind.

    I realized that I will be taking the scenic back roads for this adventure and I might be needing extra fuel. I made contact with Riaan a friend of mine who’s an expert on making things with steel. So long story short he made something after hours for me and I only had to make it more presentable by adding some paint and final touches. I also added a 12v socket to charge my phone on the road.
    The night before leaving on this trip he also stocked me with everything I might need on the road from fixing a tire to taking the motorbike apart. The frames was also done however not tested. So I’ve got the tools and limited knowledge so we're good to go I recon.

    This was also a bit unplanned so there were no budget to work with. I decided to use my kinda new tent as I only used it once as you would have seen on my previous trip around Lesotho. Well I’ve lent it to someone and got it broken back. So camping was out and I’m not going to ask someone for one. I asked on Wild Dog Forum for some advice on the roads and places to stay. As always the guys helped me and gave me numbers to phone. Well a bit more on that later.

    Tonight will only be packing the limited clothes to take with, and planning the road to Hogsback as I booked a bed for me at the backpacker “Away with fairies”.

    I'm doing this RR with my phone so hopefully I don't mess it up. Otherwise I will edit it a bit later from the laptop.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  2. Probie

    Probie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    20
    Day 1 (Bloemfontein to Hogsback)

    So why do this on the bike in the middle of winter and on a stupid 200cc bike you might think. Well my mom never liked the trips and adventurous stuff that I’m up to. So I promised her to take her on a real adventure someday. Well that never happened and this was my last chance.

    The morning started the as any other morning. Get up and get everything ready for school. Get the kids dressed and and, you know the normal stuff parents with two kids do.

    Well that set me a bit back in time. So the day started late. Well that might have been a good thing as I could not find my winter gloves and decided to take the normal GS gloves. It was really cold and there’s no fancy stuff on the Bushlander like hot grips or hand protectors. After 40km I had to stop for my hands and also do a check around the bike. Everything looked fine so we can push on.

    Bushy was running all over the road as the road was a bit sandy and I think with all the weight on the back the front wheel was running wherever it see fit. That got much better as I got use to it and very soon we were traveling at 80 - 90km per hour on any surface.

    I were running on the gravel roads next to the N1 on the way to Colesberg. Just after Springfontein I took the R715 to Bethule to make up some time on the tar. The roads were very very quiet throughout the adventure.

    Made a stop at the Bethule bridge and was shocked to see how small the rivers was. The last time we did the trip to Baviaans you will see how different the pictures looks.
    I pushed on, on the gravel road towards Burgersdorp (over the bridge you just ride straight with the R390 Gravel road).
    Burgersdorp was time for some fuel and took the gravel road to Molteno. Not sure what this road is called but it runs out of Kloofstreet if you look on the map. This is one magical road and every adventure riders must do this once. It’s very rural and no people in sight. Just you, the road, the bike and nature at it best. Stopped a couple of times just to enjoy the scenery. This is a must do.

    Because of all my enjoyment on the Molteno road I’m seriously late for Hogsback. So decided to run gravel to Queenstown. The road was still awesome and with the wind from behind us we were doing 100km/h easy. O and just for the record, I never open the throttle on full. Feels like braking the machine on any bike.

    Queenstown I took some fuel and made a run for Hogsback before dark. I think I saw the slowest drivers ever. I was passing them as I had to remember myself I’m on the 200cc and not on my previous 990 Adventure.

    Almost missed the turn to Hogsback. I pushed on the gravel road that was badly flushed and had potholes as big as my bike. Maybe I’m making it a bit bigger than it really was. But I was running in low light and at speeds I shouldn’t be doing on a road in such a state. I heard a weird sound from the back but everything looked ok. I only realized later that my frames came loose and all the bolts are gone. The frames with the fuel cells are only on the bike by the takedowns I used for holding the bag to the bike. Just as I got back on the bike a Mercedes SUV nearly ran me over as he were flooring it on the gravel road. He missed me my cm’s. Could not see who was behind the wheel but I do believe it was either a drunk person or a 16year old who was sent to buy something with the SUV.

    So I had to do some repairs the following morning because I had to find new bolts.
    Because of the darkness that set, I did not take any pictures. I treated myself with a castle light and pizza.

    The backpackers was packed with tourists from Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Holland and who knows where. I was the only South African. They decided to enjoy themselves in the bar and I made it a early night in my bed.
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  3. Probie

    Probie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    20
    Day 2 (Hogsback to Kenton on Sea)

    Woke up at 6 because that is my normal time to start the day. However this time I can’t do anything because I have to wait for 8am for the Hardware shoo to open. Got some headache pills from my firstaid kit as I woke up with it. Quick chat with a woman from Switzerland as she was making breakfast while I prepare my instant oats. She’s on tour for 3 months and still not sure what she’s going to do with her life. Was thinking to myself. I have to work all my life to go on a 3 months tour. Your taking one because you don’t know what to do with yours. Wow, life’s unfair and just smiled.

    So got to the Hardware store with very limited supply. Got some nuts, bolts washers and cable ties. I should be able to fix anything with a cable tie. So as I approach the backpackers with caution because when I left there was a moerse boerboel trying to have me for lunch. Not so funny when your on a 200cc motorbike and 1 and 2nd gear is as fast as my mother in law on a sick day.

    So the bolts did not fit however I used the nuts on the three bolts that I still have with cable ties. With the bag on top of the frame with strap down I recon it will be ok.

    Again the time wasn’t on my side so just gather all my stuff. Paid my bill and avoided the moerse boerboel. I even forgot to take some photos. I think I was still in shock and only realised after the nice ride down the mountain. So sorry, no photos of that part of the trip.

    Weird noise was coming from the bike and decided to stop after about 20km I think. The right panel was flapping in the wind because the bolt has fallen out. Luckily the bolts from Hogsback was a perfect fit and we are sorted. Because of limited time a decided not to do any gravel and really glad I did not. The wind was so strong that I really had to hold on to the bike as if it was a wild horse. When I hit the wind from the front and uphill , old Bushy did not want to go any faster than 50km/h. Yes the wind was that strong.

    So on the menu was Alice, Fort Beaufort, Grahamstown and Kenton. Really nice roads but took limited stops because of the wind. Roadworks after Grahamstown was a long wait. Almost got of my bike when a lady just behind me just threw a empty can of coke out the window. I nearly lost it. Ok but that’s another story for another day.

    Rotten on the Wild dog Forum kept me in the loop of things and can I just say that this was one of the nicest people I’ve met in a very long time. He helped me with accommodation and something to eat for the day. I could not believe there is still people who will go out of there way just to help someone else. John you are one awesome person with a great heart. You gave me hope again in mankind. You gave me hope for South Africa again. Thanks John for making this a very special day in my life.

    First thing I did when I got to Kenton was to look for the guesthouse. I was blown away with how neat and big this is. I’ve stayed in many guesthouses before but this one was by far the best. Check the pictures for more details as I would really recommend this one.

    The restaurant was awesome and got treated with the best view in town. Well the service was surely the best and so was the pizza. I’ve got a couple of pictures about the place.

    The rest of the afternoon was spend at the beach. Got back to the guesthouse and just enjoyed doing nothing. I did however sort some of the bike stuff.

    Spoken to the wife and decided that my trip will be shorten with one day. Pieter who is the youngest is sick again and everyone decided that it might be best to push the following day home. So I knew it’s going to be a long day.

    John joined me for a cup of coffee and had a good chat about bikes and all kinds of stuff. Was really nice meeting John for the first time face to face.

    The day ended with a good night sleep and the alarm set for 5am the following morning.
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  4. Probie

    Probie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    20
    Day 3 (Kenton on Sea – Bloemfontein)

    Alarm sounded at 5am and without thinking twice I was up and busy making coffee. Packed everything and loaded the bike very excited about the road to come. John also got up to say good bye and safe travels. I must be honest that I was a little bit sceptical about riding in the dark for the first bit as John indicated that I might find vlakvark on the road and that’s a dead stop for a bike. That things are solid as a rock.

    The road was easy and with a little Golf not to far in front of me it made the road very easy to see. Had a quick stop in Grahamstown just for a photo and to warm the hands. It was getting very cold the further I got from the coast. Grahamstown is one of the places that really surprised me. Everything looks in place and looks the a nice raise your family kind of town. The schools must be excellent to what I could see from the road. Who knows, maybe this town just might see more of us in the future.

    About 5km out of town I see this woman running alongside the road all alone. This must be a very safe place to train because you can’t dare to do something like this woman alone in Bloemfontein. I realized that the people of Grahamstown are very active because everywhere were people running, cycling or walking.

    I had a quick stop on beautiful bridge on the way to Bedford. My hands were freezing. I even struggled to take photos. This bridge had some history. Not going into detail as everything is detailed on the photos.

    Bedford was a nice friendly town and everyone came to me to chat and to ask where I’m going and how far have I done etc. Everybody was talking Afrikaans in this town. Even a very big pig was running in the street and came near me just to check out the bike. Maybe he or she is also a biker. Everybody told me to take the Cradock road however according to my planning I wanted to take the Adelaide, Tarkastad road to Hofmeyr. So I listed to the locals and before I can realise I stopped in Cradock for another coffee and trying to warm my hands.

    The little CTX200 is was doing great and I never had that feeling that I wish not to be on the bike. In fact I was getting worried that the road is now getting shorter by the minute and my adventure is coming to an end. Cradock to Hofmeyr and Steynsburg was a breeze as I started to think about life and everything that I would like to do to make a living besides my current work where I sit 8hours plus a day behind my laptop. Sometimes things sound so easy in your head but when you actually want to put in down on paper it nearly sounds impossible. Let see, maybe there is some market with the plans I’ve got. A lot of research are still needed before I can get excited.

    I quickly remember that if you want to fill your tank with the petrol cells that I have it’s going to create a big mess. So I had a quick stop as nature was calling because of all the coffee I was having to get warm and I notice the 2liter bottle besides the road. So quickly grabbed it and with some modifications to it with my knife we are ready for any refill. See photos of my masterwork.

    Hofmeyr was also a nice town and so was Steynsburg. Had a quick ride through the town just to see what is happening in these small weird towns. Took a couple of pictures and off I go to the Kafferskraal gravel road. Wow what a road with very nice scenery. This I will ride even with my car as its more like a highway gravel road with no traffic. This is a must do if your traveling between Steynburg and Venterstad.

    Venterstad was very quiet and no one around to ask about fuel. Got to this fuel station with the weirdest guy helping me. First he just wanted to put 3liters of petrol in and thereafter just R70. Still don’t understand his reasoning around that but I just asked twice can we please fill the tank as I need the fuel to get to Bloem. Well that was it and Venterstad was behind me with Gariep in the Horizon.

    Gariep was very nice as always and was amazed about the fullness of the dam. Day 1 I indicated that I was shocked about the rivers at the Bethule bridge. I decided to take the gravel road from Gariep to Springfontein. This was really one awesome road. I’m going to take some of my mates from Bloem in the near future and do this road again. Springfontein, Trompsburg was the same road as day 1 so it was a bit boring but still better than the N1.

    Just before Edenburg I decided to do a quick fill-up on fuel because I might run into darkness before I reach Bloemfontein. Just finished filling and in the process of strapping everything down again a realized my frames that we build for the fuel cells are cracked and split in two. That’s not good news as I still have 50 odd km of corrugated gravel road left. Well I used all my cable ties and straps to make sure that everything stays in place. So a lot of work is needed to fix and improve the frames for future riding.

    Got back home just before dark and was very happy to see the family. This was the first time away in 3 years for something like this. So it was a bit hard on everyone. The Ctx200 were excellent on this trip and never had any issues with the bike. Things that I will upgrade for the next trip: handguards, 50/50 tyres and better frames for the fuel cells.

    This was a true adventure for me and it made me realized a couple of things about life. This was planned as an adventure for my mom but it turned out to be a life lesson for me. Thanks mom for everything. You are the greatest mom ever.

    Rest in peace Mom and brother Pieter. With all my love.

    Mom Sus Marx: Died 29 June 2012
    Brother Pieter Marx: Died 12 June 2013
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    Nicknewb likes this.
  5. vaara

    vaara Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Nice RR! My condolences on losing your mom - this ride looks like a great tribute to her though.

    (I did have to look up what a "moerse boerboel" is - spoiler alert, it's a big dog.) :D
    #5
  6. Probie

    Probie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    20
    Thanks Vaara.

    Glad you looked it up as the words come from the Afrikaans language. But you are correct. It was one massive dog. Really upset with myself as I forgot to take photos in and around Hogsback. Beautiful place.

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