South Africa Mystery Tour 2007

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Carnivore, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    SOUTH AFRICAN MYSTERY TOUR 2007​





    3 Greybeards Tackle Some Awesome Mountain Passes And Historic Scenery In South Africa.


    I have had a dream to go to hell, for 25 years. I finally went, along with two friends. Yes, they agreed to join me for the trip! Willingly, particularly when I promised no camping on the hard ground, and a hot shower each night. (I did say hell, did I not?) The “mystery” part is that only I knew where we were going…
    “The Hell” is more properly called Gamkaskloof (Valley of Lions, after the rare white lion of the Southern Cape region) and is a story of intrigue and mystery. Here is a much better account of the Valley, than I could possibly write.


    GAMKASKLOOF NATURE RESERVE​

    The lure of an isolated valley
    By: Engela Duvenage



    Once upon a time, in a secluded valley zigzagging the folds of a towering mountain range, a farmer worked his lands and raised his children within the sheltered confines of a community of 130 souls.

    Together with his wife, sons and daughters, he grew everything that the family needed to survive. Goats provided milk and butter, a pig slaughtered in winter added flavour to a hearty bean stew or soup on cold nights. Honey was found in the mountains, they fished in the river and built their home of clay, reeds and wood.

    To the farmer, his donkeys were a status symbol, just as 4x4’s are today. They were his means of travel, his tractors, plough machine, his silent companions when he left the valley on foot.

    Every few months the farmer would load dried figs, raisins and animal skins onto his train of donkeys and walk a few days to the nearest town to trade these items for coffee, sugar, material and hand implements with which he worked his fields.

    The farmer could have been any of a number of people – Jan, Piet or Andries. Maybe he was a Mostert, a Marais or a Cordier, even a Nel or Rheeder, for these were the names of the first families to settle in Gamkaskloof. The Hell, or the Valley of Lions, as it is also called, lies in an isolated valley between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert in the Swartberg mountains.

    The legend of Gamkaskloof has all the makings of a fable, of a real Afrikaner "spekskiet" story. However, the tale of how its people struggled for more than 150 years to tame nature and to cement a community with its own social structure, school and cultural traditions, is one of perseverance, but later also one of dreams abandoned as the area became depopulated.

    The Gamkaskloof story

    According to legend, a herdsman found the fertile valley when he went in search of missing cattle. By the 1830s, families came to settle here.

    There was no highway to the Kloof; rather, it was a road less traveled, and for more than 100 years the area was only accessible on foot or on horseback through the river gorge or over the steep mountains. Now and again journalists and other adventurers ventured into the Kloof, only to add more stories – some far from true - to the growing folklore that surrounded this isolated community.

    Nearly 60 years after the first automobile arrived in South Africa, a group of men carried in a Morris over rugged terrain to bring the Kloof its first vehicle. But it was only four years later, in 1962, that a proper gravel road was built, a real "highway" compared to the means of travel the Kloof’s people were used to. Another part of the Kloof’s former isolation was lost after telephones were installed in 1965, nearly 80 years after the first telephone rang in South Africa.

    Severe drought over the years, the challenges that modern life had on a subsistence lifestyle, the lure of life in a town, with churches, schools and entertainment, took its toll on the Kloof’s population. By the 1980s, many farms that had remained in the hands of the same family for decades were sold.

    By the 1990s, the greater part of the valley was incorporated in the Swartberg Nature Reserve and is now managed by Cape Nature Conservation.

    Many of the raw clay brick houses stood empty for years, slowly becoming ruins that seemed beyond repair. But in 1999, restoration work to the vernacular Karoo-style houses started in earnest. The plan was to convert the old homes into self-catering accommodation for visitors to learn about the spirit of this conservation tourism venture that lies within the Swartberg Nature Reserve.

    After an initial bumpy start, the Kloof seems to be back on the road to success. "The biggest challenge, however, is to conserve the soul and character of the Kloof," says Eureka Barnard, chair of the Gamkaskloof Advisory Committee

    The story of Gamkaskloof is the ideal teaser to lure visitors to the area with its natural beauty of fynbos and succulent karoo veld, rugged mountains and the diversity of animal and bird life.

    Among the various hiking routes criss-crossing the area is also an interpretation trail, which guides the hiker on a short tour of the history and nature of the Kloof.

    Freshwater angling (with a permit) in the Gamka River, bird watching and mountain biking along designated routes are also strongly recommended.

    All this makes it worthwhile to tame the steep slopes of the Elandspad road to the Kloof.

    Well there you have it. That’s the place they call “The Hell.” But it really is not… it’s gotta be a little piece of heaven. Here comes a photo account and what I hope is an interesting account of our ride.

    Jock has been my friend for 32 years. I have known Dave for 25 years, since my early days of riding endures and trails. I could not think of two better companions for our ride. I think Dave is one of the best riders in the country, having won national and local enduros since drums brakes were a novel idea, and has been riding steadily into his late fifties. Quite awesome to watch him pilot that 1200 GS up a stony path. Jock is pretty good too; he is a solid dependable rider who got the most amazing fuel consumption!

    Jock, Me Dave..
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    Lots of planning on Google Earth and MrSid maps gave me a track and a plan, with estimated average speeds etc and time to smell the sights and places, eat, drink etc. I prepared a route chart, made the necessary accommodation plans, paid the bucks and Friday 12 October dawned (well, actually we were up at 4:15..)

    My lovely lady Margie did the coffee and rusks thing,
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    and we were gone into the slowly lightening morning. I hope she is looking at me and thinking… “crazy man!.... but I love him”

    The morning air is special, and the Elands River road west of Port Elizabeth is a glorious place to be at 6 am. The smells of manure and farming, and the basic beauty of the land is a refreshing infusion of new energy and zest for life. We were already leaving the madness behind.
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    Of course, I had the first “off:.” A slow turn (really), a muddy patch… say goodbye to right side flasher and hand guard. I bent the brake lever back into shape, but the ego would take a little more work. Onwards, ye Merry Varlet-Slaying Knights Of The Order Of the Iron Horse. We stopped and chatted and told stories of previous rides. I had ridden this road 25 years ago for the first time, as we recce’d the ’83 Winterberg Enduro and it was a poignant (lovely word, hey?) experience going past all the farm turnoffs and remembering some names that were still there – Golden Grove, The Dell… dejavu stuff..
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    At the radio mast on the summit of this particular mountain range, looking back east into the rising sun the way we had come, I realized how much I had bitten off – could I chew it?
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    Well, there’s no turning back now… so we mounted up and continued to the first re-fuel in Patensie. The community was alive with tractors and trailers and fresh produce and the activities of a bustling farming area, and my hurting elbow could not dim the pleasure of “coming off the mountain and entering civilization again” that I felt as we waved to the friendly local folk.

    I planned a breakfast stop at the Baviaanskloof Lodge, and we were only an hour behind schedule, according to my roll chart. But we had fat in the schedule as I saw it so was not too worried. We duly arrived at this homely little place just before you enter the wilderness area of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve, and were WheatBix’d, bacon-and-egged, toast-and-marmaladed, fruit-juiced and coffee’d.fit for a king. Thanks Norman!
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    We entered the first, mystical forest part of the Baviaans and enjoyed the many fords across the river through “Poortjies” which I guess means “little cuttings” and the birds could be heard through my earplugs and above the thumper’s song. What a place!
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    And so we climbed out of the soft cool valley and up Combrinc’s Pass. The road is very rough and rocky, and the cliff on the right is deadly. There are NO guard rails here!
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    This area of the reserve has recently been populated with Rhino, so we were on the lookout for a horny fellow or two. It was sweltering by now, and only mid morning. The views are stunning.
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    Looking back...
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    The feeling is good. I am pretty chuffed that we are actually doing this, and I guess it shows.
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    Before banging down Holgat Mountain pass in the direction of Doodsklip, you can stop to view the old cableway, situated about 50 metres off the right hand side of the road. The cableway, constructed in the 1960s, spanned Waterpoort gorge providing a link between the Enkeldoorn and Bergplaas farming communities.
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    On we went, past the fantastic white river beaches at Rooihoek. What a paradox – white sand as fine as the best surfing haven anywhere in the world, right next to thorn bush and arid rock scrub…
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    This a truly beautiful place. Dave was leading at this stage, and when Jock and I came to Smitskraal (also known as Kruisrivier – “River Crossing”) we see the venerable Dave crouching beside his bike in the water, holding his hand over the exhaust pipe. Seems like there is this BIG rock under the water… At 80 odd kg, Davey is not about to pick up his machine alone, so Jock heaved and Dave hoed and the silver beast came out of the firmament like a phoenix from the ashes.. (Excuse the analogy, but you get the drift..!) Pretty sure that there was no hydraulic lock on top of the pistons, Jock thumbed the starter and a rooster tail of mountain stream issued from the tail of the GS. It was time for a swim and refresh.
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    So we continued and encountered the Grasnek Pass. I loved this one. It follows the tight curves of the twisty contours and is often in the shadow, which means a respite from the baking sun. These passes are hell in January (which is summer in SA, remember!)
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    View from the summit of Grasnek Pass
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    #1
  2. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    After Grasnek, the Baviaans now becomes technically easier, but just ……a …. Long………. Ride……..! The road meanders and undulates, and it mostly reasonable gravel. A good speed can be maintained for many kilometers on end, but you still have to be careful. A sudden change of direction and a drop through and over a water course can catch you out, and that means running out of road at 100 kmh.. So we traveled on, reveling in the freedom, which the open road and two friends, brings. Knowing that you are part of a close group doing a great thing is very satisfying! In the middle of this long scrub-sided sun-baked stretch of wilderness road, we came upon this little oasis – the police station at Studtis.
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    This was a good place to stop and fill the water bottles. Sweet water pumped out of the rock strata tasted so good. I mixed yet another litre of naartjie flavoured isotonic drink. In this dry heat, riding with an open necked jacket and any airflow can desiccate you in no time flat. It was very pleasant to recount the trip so far, in the shade of these brightly coloured trees at this little jewel place in the arid surrounds.
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    The last pass in the Baviaans system is the Nuwekloof, which took us up onto the plateau.
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    Here we encountered the fastest dirt section of the ride. Bowling along at 120-130 kmh, I was suddenly accompanied by some sheep that were convinced they need to compete with technology. I experienced a serious adrenalin hit and was extremely thankful to my maker that He made those sheep with a good idea of the rule of the road. They kept left and I passed on the right. (SA, remember…). My average velocity was attenuated somewhat, while I roundly condemned the stock owner who allowed his animals on a public road.
    And so, we joined the tar road, which joins Uniondale and Willowmore. I
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    t was a short but windy section into Uniondale to refuel and grab a coke or two. I did not take a photo of this little town, so I have taken the liberty of using one from Google Earth, taken by Stonemason.
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    This is predominantly a sheep, goat, seed and apple farming community.

    Dave had decided at this point that he would return to Port Elizabeth in the morning. He had recently lost his dad, and was needed back home to attend to affairs. So after some cell phone calls to put his plans in place, we left on a short tar road through the mountains into the last part of the Langkloof valley – more about the Langkloof later. From Avontuur, the road becomes the beautiful Prince Alfred’s Pass.
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    This is another of Thomas Bain’s masterpieces. Thomas was the Cape Governments Road Engineer for 40 odd years in the late 19th century. His road-building skills are embodied in about 25 passes and routes in SA, and perhaps his hallmark is the method of stone cutting and packing that form the retainers for the roadbed. This method is so stable and secure that his roads endure in their integrity 150 years later. We stopped to admire the view into the western setting sun. You can see for ever, range upon range of mountains. This was a lovely road, cutting down into the area of the famous Knysna forests, home of the Knysna elephant, of which there are very few left.
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    We stopped on a causeway for a final photos of the day.

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    T
    he Outeniqua Trout Farm was only a few kilometers further. Jock decided that this was a good place for a power nap.
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    The folk at the farm probably heard our bikes coming up the valley, because they were waiting to greet us as we crossed the river and came up to the house.
    [​IMG]Here we discovered a healthy mixture of Teutonic excellence and Afrikaans hospitality. Ingo Vennemann is a most interesting German chap, and his lovely little lady Naomi is as warm and friendly as anyone I have ever met. It was a great end to a great first day on the road, to be shown our log cabin, overlooking one of the trout dams.
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    We gathered at the little pub in the Old Mill House and enjoyed a trout paté and sundowners.
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    Ingo rides an 1150 GS Adventure, and is not shy to extol its virtues. Of particular interest to us as engineering types, were the old gears and works of the water mill, and Ingo’s home-grown hydro-solar electric setup. Perennial water from the mountains is collected in a cistern at a head of only 6 metres, and is fed tangentially into three of these Canadian Turbines.
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    The dc generated is supplemented with the power from a solar panel, and the whole works keeps a bank of batteries charged. This power is then inverted in a 8kva machine to feed the whole farm with 240 vac, for lighting, and fridges in the lodges. All heating and cooking is by gas.

    Supper that night was an absolutely amazing trout, served with creamed potato and onion bake, home grown salad, a bottle of their own wine, and followed by their own farm-style ice cream. We were finally ready for bed at about 1 am! Much merriment and not a little whiskey was experienced by all, and Jock decided that I must be in need of consoling… crazy man.
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    Early morning saw a leisurely start with us enjoying the sun-warmed deck and some coffee and oats. I love 2-minute noodles for breakfast on a ride. Yes, I know… but, well, humour me.
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    This is the road that we will ride out of the farm. It doesn’t waste time climbing out of the valley!
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    The Trout farm looks beautiful in the morning light...
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    The dappled areas of sun and shadow are difficult when the road is rutted and potholed, but for all that, these roads through the forests are so great to ride
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    We took a quick look at the world from the summit lookout point. Elevation here I guessed at 2500 feet. Jock’s GPS revealed… 2600 feet. I smiled.
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    It was just the two of us now, we having said goodbye to Davey earlier on. The view from here is stunning, and we were reluctant to leave. But we had a long ride in front of us and the most tortuous and difficult section was awaiting us at the end of the day. So we fired up the bikes and emerged into the coastal town of Knysna, famous for its boat building history and timber homes. Development and industrialization has eroded some of its charm, but it is hugely popular and not cheap! But we were not buying touristy things, just fuel, and so our stay was long enough to say hi and bye again at the petrol station to Dave who had been seeing an acquaintance, and check out a Buell on a Lazy-Loader trailer.

    South Africa Mystery Tour 2007 part 3

    So we started the mountain route to the town of George. This took us through little farming communities and the foresting town of Karatara. I must have dumped the photos we took here… sorry. We stopped at the little country church where my eldest daughter was married last December. Had a few quiet moments there…. Sometimes it’s tough being a Dad..!
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    Going through George, I saw some orange smoke coming from a school playground. We swung the bikes off the road and I whipped out my camera, and managed to get a quick movie of the second parachutist coming down on the target. There must have been some carnival display going on. Good timing.
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    We rode a lot of tar on this day, and I was very aware of the knobs on my rear tyre being eroded. Tyres, and in fact all bike spares and equipment, is disproportionately costly in SA, and I was loath to twist it. It will be interesting to say the least, to see what I get out of my Michelin T63. I have a TKC80 on the front, and it is a very nice tyre.
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    I notice that it has changed the front end feel. The bike does not fall into the turn as readily as it did with the Anakee I had on prior to this trip. But a little more pressure on the bars and the trajectory is true and predictable. I never felt any tendency to let go from that tyre. At the price, I would expect it to make coffee in the morning and bring me the newspaper.

    We arrived in Oudtshoorn around 2:30 pm. Oudtshoorn is the largest town in the Little Karoo region of South Africa. The town is also home to the world's largest Ostrich population with a number of specialized ostrich breeding farms. I had arranged for a kilogram of ostrich fillets to be waiting for me at the Co-op petrol station. The manager of the supermarket had included a pack of smoked fillet slices which were absolutely excellent with our tins of savoury tuna, and biscuits and coke, under a tree in the middle of this deserted commercial area.
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    Jock was experiencing some serious discomfort from an unwelcome something that had invaded his left pants leg and given him an ugly rash. It could have been an insect, or a spider. Anti-histamine cream alleviated some of the burning itch, but it was to plague him somewhat for the next 24 hours.

    We were behind schedule now, and we had to get moving. I had to collect the key to our accommodation by 5pm, at the end of a valley they called “Hell.” I knew we would never make it, so I resigned myself to a night under the stars. This would have made me mad as snakes, because our cottage was booked and paid for. Right, let’s go!

    So we rode out of Oudtshoorn towards the Swartberg Mountains,
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    and duly entered the Swartberg Pass. This could be Thomas Bain’s crowning glory. These photos just cannot convey the mind-boggling engineering genius that created this road hanging off the side of the mountain. Please read up on this man on the wwweb when you get a chance.

    Here are some pictures as we made our way up the south side of the pass. Note how the road has been built up from the base, rather than cut from the bank.
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    I made a movie, holding my camera in my left hand. Hope that Baldy can find a way to host the clip somewhere to share. The pass is not particularly difficult – not at all. It is just so impressive.

    On reaching the top, we could see northwards into the interior of the South African plateau, called the Karoo.
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    We would visit the picturesque hamlet of Prince Albert the next day, but for now, the lure of Gamkaskloof pulled us forward and we stopped again at the turnoff to the valley. 50km to go, and the recommended time is 2 hours. By now, it was 5pm. What the heck, lets enjoy the scenery.
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    I had a 5 litre jug of petrol on the back, and I cached it behind a rock under a shrub for use in the morning on our way out. There is only one road to Hell.
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    So we began the long winding undulating road through the wild and rugged Swartberg, crossing the odd stream and descending and ascending in a never-ending succession of switchbacks and climb-outs. At one stage I was almost sick from the g-outs. I decided that the deadline was long gone, and my self-imposed new deadline of 6 pm was not worth being dead from a mistake. So, I eased off.
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    The final descent into the valley is a sight to behold. Just go there. Don’t read about it. Just go there.
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    We made it to the bottom, to the gate of the Nature Reserve, to meet a most friendly couple in rangers’ uniforms. And, oh my gosh… the key to our cottage was safely in their hands. This forward-thinking lady had secured the key from the office deeper into the valley, knowing that the road into the valley was exhausting, and expecting us to be tired and late. Heaven will be populated with people like this, I swear..! So we rode the last 6 km....
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    to our cottage, called Meester’s Cottage. (Meester is Afrikaans for Master.)
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    This was the schoolmaster’s cottage, and has been excellently restored into an extremely comfortable and solid self-catering establishment. We were delighted.
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    The Skoolhuis (School House) next door, also fantasically restored..
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    Power for lights only is by solar panel and inverter, and energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps are used.

    A brand new gas stove, basic crockery, cutlery and pots and a kettle were begging for duty,
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    and so after discarding the riding gear and making the place a bit tidier, I started with the evening meal. I missed Davey not being there, and there was more than enough for two of us. I had been planning this for a long time… we were hungry!
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    Planning… it’s all about planning. I had arranged some ostrich meat, right? So, what about a decent recipe for this magnificent meal that I am planning for my buddies? OK, so on the Oudtshoorn Farmers’ Cooperative Supermarket website, I also get some nice recipes… Long and short of it – I asked a friend to make me a Peppercorn and Brandy cream sauce, and I kept this and my fresh veggies in a six-pack cooler bag with a single ice pack. Overnight in the freezer at the Trout farm, back on the road and that night everything is still cold. Great – there will be no upset stomachs in the morning from “off” cream sauce!

    The cottage had all the facilities necessary – so let the mission begin. Ideally, ostrich meat should be sealed fast, both sides, on an extremely hot iron pan, or very hot coals. I couldn’t get the iron pot hot enough on a gas burner, so ended up with a braised steak with onions. But man oh man, it was good!
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    Slept well that night!
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    We were up and at it by 8 am, ready to roll.
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    The road out was more leisurely, as we did not have that (unnecessary) deadline.
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    We were still pretty awestruck at the valley and its historic significance. For me, and for Jock too, mission accomplished.
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    So we rode out and recovered my fuel cache.
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    We turned left at the Swartberg road after a few more photos,
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    and headed north towards Prince Albert. We stopped to chat to a 1200 GS Adventure-mounted gent, and checked out some more amazing stonework from below.
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    #2
  3. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    And so we rolled into the little town. Prince Albert is becoming a cultural centre and a place-to-go. Artists, poets and hikers, nature lovers from the cities just love the place. It is quaint and has a tourism centre that knows what’s needed. Check out the website.
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    Parked off at the Café Albert for breakfast. It does not matter how much I eat for supper, the road always requires me to have a burger or sandwiches somewhere… it’s part of the ritual of travel! We met some interesting people who were pretty interested in us, with all our gear and dusty jackets and boots etc. I guess we must have looked like some intrepid global adventurers to the genteel folk sipping tea and delicately licking the cream off their manicured fingers… ahhh, the joy of sophisticated life in the village!

    Jock gave me a GPSIII+ and I was starting to get to understand it. So I set it up to record the breadcrumbs home… would it do it? Did I set it up right?

    Off we went. Today was going to be a day of tarred roads and some nice dirt roads through yet another wilderness area. As it turned out, I cancelled the last two dirt stretches due to really bad weather that was coming in as we approached the mountains in the east, and decided to take the Langkloof road home. Probably a wussy decision, but hey, if I get home in one piece and avoid a possible breakdown in a vast and lonely piece of Africa in a bad storm… I get to ride again, and the family continues to eat. Discretion is the better part of valour. (When I read of Metaljockey’s RR to Angola, I readily admit I am a wuss…. But then, he is 20 years younger than me..!)

    Before we left Prince Albert, Jock took me to a little museum called Mikes Memorabilia.
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    YOU GET THE PICTURE...!
    All sorts of stuff… Penny Farthings, old Harleys, pianos, a statue of Jack Daniels, drop tank from a fighter jet, old model cars, a gramophone, wartime uniforms, Wurlitzer organ, juke box, 1950’s coke vending machine (bottles..!) it was quite amazing. Mike is retired and just travels collects and buys-and-sells…!

    Off south, take the tar road to Klaarstroom and enjoy some Karoo scenery. At Klaarstroom, you are welcomed into Meirings Poort. This pass through the Swartberg has a fascinating history. Read it and check out the pictures on the website. We stopped at the info centre and Jock had another of his amazing power naps! Is there any place this man cannot sleep?
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    The wind screams through this gorge from the south, and the ride through the pass is very … tricky.
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    We emerged on the other side and re-fuelled in de Rust.
    #3
  4. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    I had planned to take a route alongside the Stompdrift Dam before joining the tar again (thinking of my knobbies) but decided against it because the whole place appeared to be a private concession, and I did not feel like a fight with landowners. So, the tarred ribbon beckoned and we heeded the call. We did turn off onto a dirt road through some remote farming area, that I had spied out on Google Earth, and it was amazing…. Those rural folk had laid out the road and the rail track exactly as it appeared on GE…!
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    My roll chart was exactly 10km off at this time, due to the cancelled stage and a few other adjustments made yesterday. It was gratifying to have the route through this section unfold exactly as planned.
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    Where’s the adventure, you ask? Fair comment. But sometimes it’s great to actually plan something and then make it happen. As it turned out, that 20 odd km was so enjoyable, we both wanted to go ride it again! The crisp dirt road and the sound of the thumper’s engine and the feel of the TKC gripping its way around and through the curves…. Glorious stuff!
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    I like this picture taken over my shoulder of Jock following.
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    I have to say here, ladies and gentlemen, that this friend of mine never complained about the dust. He was content to follow where I led him, and enjoy the moment. And I gave him a LOT of dust, especially on the road to hell. Actually, that must have been hell, because he did not have a peak on the integral helmet, and the western setting sun at times was straight down the road with no chance to shield your eyes. At that time I had let him go first, as I had a peak on my Airoh S4, and could actually make about a half-inch of shadow on my visor, to look through. By the way, the S4 is a tremendous helmet.

    This rather fancy farmhouse seemed out of place in amongst the poorer rural abodes that we had just ridden past.
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    I wonder how often the train runs here.
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    We re-joined the main tar road again,
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    which would have taken us to Willowmore for the first of our cancelled sections, but branched off south towards Uniondale again, where we donned some fleecy and rain gear. The sky to the east (towards home) was very ominous. I was actually glad to be bypassing whatever was lurking inside that system. Pushing on, we reached the turnoff to Mountain Pastures, one of the local venues for the BMW rider academy. We took a 20 km detour to check it out, but no one was at home! Ah well…. It was a nice road.
    #4
  5. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    On to Avontuur (again) and hang a left for the homeward stretch through the Langkloof.
    [​IMG]
    This is a major deciduous fruit farming area and is a nice bike road. Quite bumpy, but no potholes and the changing scenery between towns, and the nice mix of curves and hills and sweeps makes for an exhilarating ride if you crank it up beyond the speed limit, and a plain enjoyable one if you are more circumspect. Me… I hate giving money to the boys-in-blue…. And did I mention the knobbies?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At Kareedouw, we took a link road over the Outeniqua Mountains onto the coastal National Road, the N2. In my mind, I pictured us stopping off for a final burger and fries at the Storms River Restaurant and refueling there. Blast it! My mental image was about 8km out of kilter. We actually joined the N2 on the homeside of the River… and that meant we had to nurse the bikes to the next fuel stop. At this point, the injected motor of the GS returned a figure of just more than 3 litres per 100 km. Awesome! And so we pulled into the town of Humansdorp, where we decided that we would ride home in the dark, so that we could enjoy some chicken burgers and coffee.
    [​IMG]

    The waitress at the Wimpy was delightful and had a lovely sense of humour. She agreed to an instant date with me and there we sat, holding hands, while Jock got some blackmail dirty on me…!
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    40,900
    Location:
    NY
    Great report so far.
    I'm glad to see it's going to be all on one report now.:clap
    Time to re-read the first posts,:lurk
    #6
  7. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    80km to go, plenty of roadworks, stop-go controls and plastic warning cones in the road, made for an interesting ride home. Jock’s headlight was badly adjusted, and it took us a while to sort that out. It was well and truly dark by now, so we rode side by side sharing the lights. We worked out a regime for pulling back line astern if necessary, and it was quite exhilarating. Good discipline and throttle control gave us the chance to use both headlights and the effect was substantial. Being Sunday night, we stopped off at our church, to say hullo to Margie. The World Cup rugby quarter final was going to be screened on the video projection system at 9pm, but we decided to carry on to my home, and get unloaded and bathed etc. Jock had an early start in the morning, to get back to East London, 300 km away, and keep his business on the boil. We loaded his bike onto the trailer and got it all ready for a 5am getaway.

    So, the mystery tour came to an end. Overall stats are as follows (still have to refuel in PE to give me my final totals, but you can see the general trend).
    (See end of article..)

    I am very happy with my bike. It did not falter once, or miss a beat. I would never have thought that a 650 could go where we went! Now, I want to go to Ngorongoro rater and Kilimanjaro. Donations are welcome...!

    Thanks Jock, and thanks Davey, for a great ride. I will never forget the camaraderie and feeling of togetherness.

    To all other Adventure Riders out there.... get out there!
    #7
  8. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    Statistics of the trip...
    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #8
  9. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    Thanks for the compliment. It is my first time that I have posted a RR, so I got a bit crossed up. The darn preview kept telling me to shorten, so I was cutting and pasting into new threads as fast as I could. I was glad to see that all the tedious image insertion was also copied - that was a relief! Then I realised I could just reply to my own thread.... so 5,6 and 7 are all in the thread no 4. (realisation dawns slowly in my old greynium..)

    (greynium is my new word for a grey cranium - anything over 50 qualifies...!)

    Hope you enjoy this and perhaps even the next RR... ciao
    #9
  10. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    By the way.... here is a piece of information...

    The reason the character-count was excessive was the darn fuel/mileage spreadsheet. I t turned out to be about 20 thousand character.... yes, thats right! Seems like the RR format does NOT like an Excel table.

    So, I copied the table, and PAste Special 'd it as Picture-metafile into Power Point. You can then size it and save as image, which I did, and voila! Problem gone. This is a handy trick for posting tables in presentations...... and RR's!!!

    Off to sleep now... it's 2:56am where I live, and I am glad this RR is in the bag.

    See you all tomorrow!
    #10
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    69,939
    Hooray!! You've done it!! :clap All those PM's back and forth paid off :lol3 I had meant to start a new post within the same thread so the story stays together! Great pics and report.

    I'm going to merge all parts into one mystery tour report :thumb

    p.s. I might as well fix your font color to white instead of black on black, as most people don't like that.
    #11
  12. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    69,939
    phew... I fixed your report, so it's all in one place. I had to merge add Part 3 to the Part 2 post because it was initially posted after part 4, as per the time stamp on it.

    I think I got it all and reset the font to white. Thanks for the effort it took to post this fantastic mystery tour.. I know you've been working on this for days!! :thumb
    #12
  13. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    Thanks GB... hopefully now i have the hang of it.... the next time it will be easier and better. Thanks for all your help!
    #13
  14. kejago

    kejago Kev. Haute Savoie, France

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,176
    Location:
    French / Swiss Alps
    Nicely done boys. Good report!
    #14
  15. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    40,900
    Location:
    NY
    #15
  16. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    69,939
    If you need to add or edit to your posts, just click on Edit.

    I hope when I moved part 3 into the part 2 post, I didn't mess anything up.

    I know you lost some of the larger font formatting when I reset the font to show it all in white, rather than in black, sorry about that. :thumb
    #16
  17. duckbill

    duckbill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    170
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Aother great story from South Africa. Man, I have to go there.
    Thanks guys, :clap
    Bill.



    Gadget Boy, don't you ever sleep?:lol3
    #17
  18. Carnivore

    Carnivore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    PE South Africa
    Hey Gadget Boy.... no problems at all - you did good. It's all there, in order of events. Mebbe I'll just go fix some of the alignment of some pictures.

    Glad to see the responses... it does make it worthwhile if the lads enjoy the account. Why else bother, hey? Thanks for reading it. I see that there are many gaps in the pictures... ie where I should have taken photos. One time, we were running through these whoops on the road to the Hell, and it was a succession of dips and rises as the road had been constructed over the ridges, with no attempt to cut-and fill. It was straight into the sun... dust... would have been a hell of a photo...
    #18
  19. treysmagna

    treysmagna Bald is beautiful

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    684
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Awesome pics and report. Thanks a million for sharing.
    #19
  20. grizz

    grizz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    899
    Location:
    Rochester, KENT, UK.
    NOSTALGIA !!!!

    I come from Port Elizabeth, and know some of the routes like the back of my hand.
    Worked the Western and Eastern Cape areas with Garden Route for 12 years, and also rode bikes all over.

    Thanks for the memory flashback.

    Cool report guys. :clap :clap :clap
    #20