Full - Dads & Lads do Namaqualand & Karoo (South Africa)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Archangel_SA, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Copying and pasting from our local Wild Dog Adventure Riding Forum in South Africa, so please bare with me as I do so.

    Originally posted here...

    You'll find several terms and sayings in Afrikaans, I'll translate as much as reasonably possible.

    The ride report is simply titled "Full"

    Full of thanks for being able to do this ride, fathers & sons.
    Full of holes (luckily mostly the tires), leaving our bank accounts not so full.
    Full of joy that we all finally made it home in one piece.

    Featuring:
    Sidney "SidPitt" Pittaway riding a R1200GS
    Charles "Spiekman" Pittaway (Sidney's eldest son) riding a XT660Z Tenere
    Brent "Brentpitt" Pittaway (Sidney's youngest son) riding "Oom Chris se" R1200GS
    Johan "MellowJo" Kroes riding the R1150GS called "Great White"
    Godfried Kroes riding his Honda CB250 (Johan's younger brother)
    Gabriel "Archangel" Kroes (Johan's only son) riding Johan's R1150GS called "Oupa" (Afrikaans for Grandpa)

    I'll try to do this thing in something that resembles chronological order, so we'll start with the planning or prologue part, coming soon to a forum/thread near you. :ricky:

    Some brief teasers...

    Some of this
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    A bit of that
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    Ouch, some of these guys
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    More of this
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    But mostly, a lot of this...
    [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

    Joined:
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    The group was made up of two smaller groups. Team South included myself and my Dad (Jo) from Melbosstrand (Cape Town) and Team North from the Freestate Area (Spiekman from Pretoria, Sid from Kroonstad & Brent from Bloemfontein)

    Friday 14 June - Day 0

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    Spiekman left Pretoria at roughly 10h30 and sent us all this pic of him hitting the gravel road towards Kroonstad.

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    Which prompted a flurry of pics that resemble work, but actually shows very little productivity.

    MellowJo approving some invoices
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    Brent printing some last stuff,
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    Counselor Pittaway in his meeting
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    and myself trying to look busy!
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    Weather was looking frisky... (That's Deg Celsius)
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  3. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Before I continue, I'll take a moment to reflect on the riding situation here and thank the Dads part of this trip.
    Both Brent and Charles Spiekman were riding bikes that technically belonged to Sidney and I was riding a bike that belonged to my Dad. So here's a big THANK YOU for being awesome Dads. :clap

    That said, for the sake of sanity and not being overly grammatical about this, I'll refer to each bike associated to the rider, with the exception of Brent, who's 200k km, R1200GS happened to run big end bearings the week before the trip. As it happened, Sidney's helping out Oom Chris and they came to an agreement and Bob's your uncle, Brent was riding Oom Chris' R1200GS for this trip. Or at least the first part of it... :D

    We also realised that at this point in time, Brent was the only "Lad" left, as the rest have all become Dads since our last trip. Should we rename the group to "Dads & Lad" ?
    #3
  4. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Some of the other pre-trip work included a new rear wheel bearing on Jo's 1150.

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    Packing arrangements

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    Helmet repairs

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    And "Should we bring a tent" was discussed at length...

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    #4
  5. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Spiekman made it to Kroonstad and helped Sidpitt to load two R1200GSes on the back of their trailer and clapped it to Bloem where they would meet up with Brent.

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    Now this trailer has a rich history as far as "Dads & Lads" go, including a proper breakdown and repair in Lesotho.

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    Luckily, "a boer maak 'n plan", which meant that it was fixed.

    Arriving in Bloem (yes, they made it), you can see some "organized chaos" commencing...

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    Brent just wanted to check that he fits in his sleeping bag!


    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Saturday 15 June - Day 1

    The plan for the day was for all to meet at Carnarvon.

    Team South finally made it out of the gate.

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    And our planned route for the day (that last dot on the map is Carnarvon).

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    Breakfast at Ceres, snack at Tankwa padstal, them up Oubergpas, Sutherland, Fraserburg and on to Carnavon.

    First stop was over the Bergriver at Zonkwasdrift

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    Stopped for a pic or two

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    Quick pic at the Tankwa Padstal

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    And then Jo got his first slow puncture heading towards Oubergpass.

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    The leak was small enough to just pump up with the idea of fixing in Sutherland, so we kept moving without much delay.

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    From there, we made some good ground to Sutherland where Jo quickly plugged his tire.

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    This was the first time we had cell reception since leaving Ceres, which meant that we sent messages to all interested parties, letting them know that we're safe and should reach our destination by around 17h00.
    #6
  7. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Meanwhile, Team North started their route travelling South West for the day.

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    Oranjeville bridge over the Vaal dam

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    Quick stop for a beer, somewhere between Luckoff and Hopetown.

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    Dual Purpose Drinks: For Liquid Courage and for Fighting the Cold.

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    40 km from Prieska, making steady progress...

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    Apparently almost there...

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    And then Brent had his first puncture of the trip on a 400km old Heidi, starting a topic that ran throughout the remainder of the trip and is yet to be settled.

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    Apparently these tubeless tires can be fixed quickly and efficiently next to the side of the road? :hmmmmm

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    But without too many other hiccups, they made it to Carnarvon by around 17h30, which was the designated central meeting point for teams North & South.

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    Reward for the day was found in the "Blikkies Bar" (Cans Bar).
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  8. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    As quickly as we left Sutherland, Fraserburg popped up and we briefly stopped to ask a lady how far the T-junction towards Carnarvon was from the town. Taking the only real road leaving town towards Loxton/Carnarvon at around 16h with the sun setting behind us (winter sunsets in this area is around 17h45), we had our hopes on being in Carnarvon within the hour. Being a bit tired of the fist day's riding (it turns out we're unfit and the daily commute doesn't quite work the same muscles) and with the road in the seemingly good condition, we unintentionally upped the speed to shorten the last stretch.

    We were so close, I could almost taste the beer! So much so that I actually started driving like I was drunk, weaving from side to side on the road. Or wait, maybe my rear wheel is flat? Jip. Our 3rd flat for the group on the 1st (2nd?) day.

    Needless to say, there's no cell reception on this road between Fraserburg / Loxton /Carnarvon, so we couldn't really give the rest of the team a heads up on our delay.

    We fixed what we thought was the hole, pumped it up and went on our merry way, which lasted an entire 300m, before it was completely flat again.

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    I parked the bike on a little ridge to gain some height for the tire repair. During this 300m stretch, I also realised that when pushing the bike of the centre stand, the front wheel dug into a sand ditch and broke the speedo cable, so this was the last time on the trip that I had an odometer or speedo. :fpalm

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    And so commenced the process of what we thought would be another 5 min stop to plug the next hole. But it wasn't to be...

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    And so, as the shadows were getting longer, with Carnarvon turnoff in the distance...

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    We made a call that Jo would ride to Carnarvon to go a get help, as this tire was obviously beyond repair. No amount of plugs would keep air in this tire. :becca
    #8
  9. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    So I think to myself, it's about 17h15 when Jo left to find help and it's approx. 110km to Carnarvon, so I'm guessing he'll get there at around 18h30 (riding the last 30 minutes in the dark), get a tire or tube or bakkie or something, leave at around 19h and hopefully be back at the intersection at around 20h.

    Having time to kill and not much else to do, I pushed the bike down to the T-junction.

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    Note the helmet behind the bike, as I recently learnt that this is the internal distress signal.

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    It doesn't help much if nobody passes by though... [​IMG]

    These high flying business guys didn't want to stop for me either.

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    Nothing even remotely close to here...

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    And without any big announcement or even somebody to share the Karoo sunset with, it was very dark and very quiet.

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    At this point, the temperature dropped very quickly and after moving my bike to a safer spot out of the road, I unpacked my gear, got into my sleeping bag and realized that I can't actually remember the detailed plot of Racheltjie De Beer.

    A brief logic test of my vulnerability yielded the following:
    It's too cold for snakes.
    There are no people in a 30km radius, so human threats are limited.
    Wild animals in this area include small dear, tortoises, hares, foxes/jackals and sheep, none of which are real threats to humans.

    With the safety factor settled in my mind, I thought about what else I could do to better my situation. Statistically speaking, waiting at the agreed place yields the best results and provides the most likely opportunity of being helped. Could the other guys see where I am on the GPX files? Or was it the kml file? What's the difference between kml and kmz anyways? And why do they use three letters to denote file types, such as pdf, exe and so on? 26 letters in the alphabet yielding 26 to the power 3, or 17 576 different file types. And somewhere on my way to that number, knowing that I couldn't do more to aid my own situation, I fell asleep.
    #9
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  10. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    On the other side, things were not so peaceful, as they had a rescue mission under way...

    Sid, Spiekman and Brent obviously realized that something was up and Sid was pacing up and down the Carnarvon hotel, trying to figure out what to do. Spiekman tried to calm the situation, but by 18h30, Sid was ready to get on his bike and hit the road to come and look for us.

    Meanwhile, Jo has been in town from about 18h20 and the people at the petrol station pointed him to the Carnarvon hotel where they said the other bikers were staying. But when he got to the Carnarvon hotel, the music was pumping with a local 21st birthday party and there were no signs of bikes, so back to the garage where he could pull out his phone and look at the messages. Jip, back to the hotel and as he stopped there, Sid happened to come out the front door, almost ready for his "Search and Rescue" mission.

    A quick evaluation of their options pointed towards getting a recovery vehicle, as tire repair or replacement options were unfruitful. "You can use my bakkie", says the lady behind the bar, who also happens to run the hotel. "It's very high, but it goes well. You just have to fill it up with petrol." It's an early 90's single cab, 1 Tonner Nissan Hardbody bakkie with high railing (like those used to transport sheep) all around the bak and lifted suspension. Lifting the bike onto the bakkie would be a mission, so they wanted as many guys as possible, but they can't all fit into the cab and sitting on the back was likely to result in hypothermia. The executive decision was made and Jo would take Sid with on the recovery drive, leaving Carnarvon with a full tank at around 19h.

    PS. Afrikaans word of the day: Bakkie - Common term for utility vehicle; Ute in Australia; pickup truck in the States. Bakkie literally translates to bowl and the same word is used for something to dish up porridge or soup.
    #10
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  11. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Not wanting to leave me out in the cold for too long, some of the communication was quite cryptic and as a result, Brent and Charles didn't really get the picture of how far Sid and Jo had to drive to come and retrieve the hampered steed and it's rider. By 21h the conversation between Spiekman & Brent went something like "Gab, Sid & Jo are the 3 most resourceful people we know. If they can't fix it or bring it back, there's no way we can change that. Our only option is to take sleeping bags, coffee and sandwiches, so they are hot, fed and don't sleep out there alone" [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, Sid & Jo rocked up at the T-juction at just after 20h and rudely woke me from my peaceful sleep with a "Looking for a lift?"

    [​IMG]

    They scouted a spot and drove the bakkie over a side of the road into a bit of a ditch, so that we can use the road sidewall as a ramp to get the bike onto the back.

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    It worked like a charm by roughly 20h30, we were loaded and ready to hit the road back to Carnarvon.

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    So we jammed three people (totaling well over 300kg) onto the front bench-type seat. Jo was driving with his right arm only, I was in the middle with my legs over Skoonpa Sid's legs towards the passenger side and I had to lift my but for every gear change, but even with lifting, we could only get 1st, 3rd and 5th. As it turns out, those Nissans don't have great lights, but the lifted suspension made up for the lack of vision. Even so, it was the longest 100km's I've ever had to endure. Just before 22h we rolled into Carnarvon and the ceremonious beers and steak welcomed us at the hotel. Finally the bulk of the crew was together, only missing Godfried that would join us the next day.

    [​IMG]

    The welcomes were quickly replaced with stories of "what could have been" if things didn't work out or "what we should have done" to prevent this from happening. All in all, this trip started true to the theme of any Kroes/Pittaway holiday:

    It's not an adventure, until something breaks.
    And that, ladies and gentleman, concludes Day 1 of our trip, including a mere 4 punctures (give or take... [​IMG] ), a complete breakdown, sleeping next to the road, and finally the recovery.

    Did this trip peak too early? Or was there more adventure to come?
    #11
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  12. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Random Info:

    I had a TKC80 on the rear and we knew that this would be the last trip for this tire, but on Day 1, it was still in relatively good condition. Brent's Heidenau K60 Scout was brand new and Jo's Heidi K60 was probably about 60% spent, but still in OK condition too. I guess the roads just had many sharp rocks and perhaps we were a bit unlucky. [​IMG]

    Anyways, after my flat, Jo's comment was "Get a Heidi", not knowing that Brent already had a flat on his brand new Heidi. [​IMG]

    I've mostly tripped with tubed tires (KTM 950 & Husky TE610), and my feeling was they can generally be repaired. Sure, it takes more time and effort, but you are less likely to be stranded next to the side of the road like this. I had a spare tube at home, but after all the promises of what tubeless tires should be, I tried to embrace it and left the tube at home. This was my first trip with tubeless tires and they confirmed what I have long feared... [​IMG]

    So for all those believers in tubeless tires or for those who claim that tubeless is a game changer in ADV bikes, my take is that they are in fact a game changer in the wrong direction IMHO. But hey, that's just my take on it...

    On the other hand, Jo has only had maybe 3 punctures in the nearly 200k km of gravel and each time it was plugged in 5 mins. On our Lesotho trip in 2015, we didn't have a single puncture with the same types of tires.
    #12
  13. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    After the late dinner and beers, we called around for tires, tubes and whatever else we could find, but it was 23h on a Saturday and most people would either be babelas (Afrikaans word for hung over) or in church the next morning. Jacques from KVB offered to help us fit whatever we could find at around 09h30.

    Sunday 16 June - Day 2 & Fathers Day in South Africa

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    Before morning broke on the 16th, we were up and about, speaking to Jacobus who owns one of the garages and has M&M Wheels and Tires just around the corner from him. Turns out the first M was for Marius, who lives just about 100m futher up the road. He knows that only BMW rider in town, called Pieter Snyman and he'll ask whether Pieter perhaps has a spare tire that we could use. Finally Marius comes back with Oom Pieter's number and the message that he has a tire for us.

    The lady who runs the hotel was also trying her level best to help out where she could, so she gave me a lift to Oom Pieter.

    Oom = uncle, it's customary to add "Oom" as title when speaking to a person older than you as a sign of respect.

    When we got there, the deal soured a bit, as Oom Pieter realized that we were quite desperate. Suddenly instead of "having to anyways replace his rear tire", the wording changed slightly to something in the line of "I'll give you this one from my bike, but you'll have to pay for a new one that I'll now need to fit" and apparently the new tire of his liking was R2500 ($170), so I ended up having to pay him on the spot for his old Anakee. As perplexed as I was, I didn't have much of a choice. Maybe I'm just not used to being taken advantage of when I'm in a desperate situation?

    Oom Pieter smiling all the way to the bank...

    [​IMG]

    The the hotel lady (I somehow can't remember her name) was so pissed off with Oom Pieter for ripping me off, that she wanted to redeem the town and conveniently remembered that Kef who fits tires for Jacques at KVB still owes her money. She doesn't know where he lives in the informal settlement, but she knows what car he drives. She didn't give me much of a choice, so I accompanied her to go and find Kef at his house, which we did without much trouble.

    So now I have an overpriced rear tire and an underpaid fitter. All we need is for Jacques to unlock his posse so that the job can get underway...

    [​IMG]

    You'll also see the BMW of Jacobus (from the garage) who popped in to check that we're getting the help we need. All in all it was a town effort to get us underway again (and a lesser extent fund the Snyman Trust).

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    This lady is the salt of the earth!

    By 10am we were fitting the new tire...
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    Note the "man-kini" hanging over my bars. I had to wear that for causing all the previous day's trouble.

    And by 11h we were full of hope with a tire full of air and a bank account full of nothing, ready to leave our tire troubles and financial woes behind with the prospect of long dirt roads leading to Verneukpan! The planned route for the day:

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    Not too many stops.

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    Swartkop Cash Shop

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    From Swartkop on, there are loads of gates. The roads are public roads that cross over farmland (mostly sheep farming), so the gates keep the sheep in the desired camp.

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    We grabbed the keys to the Verneukpan from the little hosue at Reception and made our way towards the flats

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    #13
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  14. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    FYI: Verneukpan

    Verneukpan is a widespread dry salt pan south of Kenhardt, between Swartkop and Diemansput in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Verneuk is Afrikaans for to trick, mislead, screw or swindle. The pan is used for aerotowing operations. During the rainy seasons many birds flock to the pans, when they contain water. The surface is completely flat, and is approximately 57 kilometres (35 mi) long and 11 kilometres (7 mi) wide.

    In 1929 the pan was used by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who unsuccessfully attempted to break the land speed record in his Napier-Campbell Blue Bird. Andy Green visited the pan during 2008, while investigating surfaces for use by Bloodhound SSC.
    [Wikipedia]
    #14
  15. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    The gate going into Verneukpan was apparently cut by some people the night before. :dirtdog

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    But it doesn't take away from the view when you finally get there!

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    The first order of business was to go and grab some firewood before sunset, so back to the reception, but there was nobody around. We ended up collecting whatever odds and ends we could scavenge.

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    In the meantime, Godfriend made it to the Camp.

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    Jo admiring the sunset in our official team gear. :-)

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    The Boma where me made fire and cooked our meat.

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    The campsite or "trailer park"

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    Panorama-rama
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    For whom the bell tolls

    And then off course... BBRRRAAAAPPPP!!!

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    #15
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  16. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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  17. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Monday 17 June - Day 3

    This day was Verneukpan -> Kenhardt -> Pofadder -> Klein Pella

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    Exiting Verneukpan to the North has even more gates until we finally get onto the "main road" towards Kenhardt/Keimoes

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    Apparently some people are worried about bad driving and road conditions.

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    In Kenhardt, we stopped for fuel and quick breakfast. It was also the firs time we had signal. Jo wasn't feeling great and opted for a simple piece of toast. [​IMG]

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    By this point, I've become quite accustomed to this new slick tire of mine and was happy that I've had a day and a half without any punctures. [​IMG]

    After our Kenhardt brekkie and getting rid of the excess clothing, we hit the road towards Pofadder.

    Something else to mention: We were all expecting severe cold and kitted for the Artic every morning and every morning (except for the fist and last mornings) it wasn't as cold as we expected it to be.

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    Local wildlife include these small tortoises

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    #17
  18. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    [​IMG]

    Riding into Pofadder.

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    Random Info: Pofadder is Afrikaans for Puff Adder. And yes, they're frequently found here.

    When we got to Pofadder, Jo gave these instructions: "Koop 'n bruinbrood, botter en 4 Powerades... Naartjie flavoured."

    By the look on his face, I wasn't sure if he's going to make it to Klein Pella, as he might be giving birth to another Klein Pella on his way there. [​IMG]

    The remainder of the crew stopped at each and every store we could find open on a public holiday to buy some meat and beers. And ofcourse the bread and naartjie Powerades. [​IMG]

    The road from Pofadder was a stretch of tar before we turned right towards the mountains and Namibian border. This last stretch is an absolute pleasure to ride, with twisty bends, rises and dips etc.

    We got to Klein Pella and found Jo in his undies with a relieved look on his face. It was evident that he'd just made it and was doing much better. [​IMG]

    This was initially one of the places we'd camp, but a late change to the guesthouse meant that we slept in luxury! [​IMG]

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    Note the double roof system. Summer months (December & January), temperatures rise up to mid 50's (deg Celsius).

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    Days 2 and 3 were mostly without hiccups and we were kinda getting into a nice groove. While braaing at Pella, the conversation turned to me getting left in the dark, but luckily it didn't require medical attention, which led to discussion of what to do when something does go horribly wrong. How many people stay at the crash site, who goes to look for signal, what medical equipment we're carrying and what first responder actions should be taken.

    It was generally agreed that one of the things leading to accidents are a few days riding without troubles, leading to confidence, combined with fatigue and some complacency.
    #18
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  19. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

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    Tuesday 18 June - Day 4 & Brent's birthday

    Breakfast celebrations
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    And the man-kini for the day...

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    The plan for day 4 after breakfast was Klein Pella, Aggeneys, Gamoep, Kammieskroon, Hondeklipbaai.

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    But first, we had to check out the River Camp on the orange river with Namibia on the other side of the bank.

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    And the "date" plantation. (Cue jokes about Brent being single... [​IMG] )

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    Random Info: Klein Pella export around 95% of their dates to the Middle East and North Africa, with the remaining 5% going to Woolworths. The demand is way too big and they simply can't keep up with production. Trees take about 5 years before they start bearing fruit and fully grown, they carry around 120kg of dates per tree per season.

    The day's riding was started off great with the little stretch south, back to the tar road and then a short stretch of tar to Aggeneys where we stopped to refuel, as Jo (in his haste of the previous day) didn't fill up in Pofadder. But fuel was always good, as we didn't know if and where we'd get fuel again.

    Some areas had these quiver tree "forests" [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From Aggeneys we hit the gravel again in a South Easterly direction before turning West again towards the coast.

    The going was so good...

    [​IMG]

    Spiekman was riding in front and was looking for a place to stop. The general agreement was roughly every 100km or every hour. This day had no wind, so dust was a bitch and we kept a big bigger gaps between the bikes. You could sorta see the orange light in the distance, but it often disappeared behind the rises for a few minutes.

    [​IMG]

    Spiekman and I stopped at a T-junction and waited for the rest of the crew to rock up, which they didn't... Mmm, after about 5 minutes we turned back and rode about 8km before finding Brent lying on the ground with Sid and Jo crouched over them. Just when we stopped, Brent jumped up with a "Gotcha!" [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Spiekman wasn't impressed by the joke, but apparently we were a bit too flexible and 108km was beyond the agreed range and we were too far ahead of the crew... [​IMG]

    So out comes the droewors and cokes for a quick pit-stop.

    Droewors:
    Droëwors (/ˈdruːəvɔːrs/; Afrikaans literally "dry sausage") is a Southern African snack food, based on the traditional, coriander-seed spiced boerewors sausage. It is usually made from dunwors (Afrikaans for "thin sausage") rather than dikwors ("thick sausage"), as the thinner sausage dries more quickly and is thus less likely to spoil before it can be preserved. If dikwors is to be used, it is usually flattened to provide a larger surface area for drying.

    The recipe used for these dried sausages is similar to that for boerewors, though pork and veal are usually replaced by beef, as the former can go rancid when dried, mutton fat replaces the pork fat used in boerewors. Drying makes the sausage ideal for unrefrigerated storage.

    Droëwors is unusual among dried meats in being dried quickly in warm, dry conditions, unlike traditional droge worst Italian cured salumi, which are dried slowly in relatively cold and humid conditions. A further difference is that droëwors does not contain curing agent as found in a traditional cured sausage. A direct result of this is that droëwors should not be kept in moist conditions as mold can begin to form more easily than would happen with a cured sausage.

    This product is related both in name and in nature to the Dutch droge worst a.k.a. metworst.
    #19
    TM1(SS) and flei like this.
  20. Archangel_SA

    Archangel_SA Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Melkbosstrand, Cape Town, South Africa
    From there we pressed on to Gamoep

    The sign reads: "Careful Children"
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    We should've listened to the sign.

    But headed with speed towards Kammieskroon.

    [​IMG]

    This little twisty track was perhaps one of the highlights as far as roads go on this trip.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In Kammieskroon, we fueled up again and grabbed a bite.

    [​IMG]
    #20