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Thread: Tour through the Fairest of Capes

  1. #41
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    Day 7 (eventually!)

    The day dawned bright and cold, I think the forecast was 7°C, giving us our first real view of Langebaan since we had arrived after the sun had set the day before.

    Fri27 a.jpg

    A few of us quickly popped into town to find a hardware store as the KTM and Yamaha were in need of some chain lube. The trip was successful and when we returned the others were already packing their bikes for departure.

    Fri27 ab.jpg

    Soon we were on our way and after a few kilometers popped in to Club Mykonos to check the place out.

    Fri27 b.jpg Fri27 bb.jpg

    We took our time as we knew that today we only needed to cover about 200km to reach our next destination in Citrusdal.

    And so, on we went around the Saldhana bay and went into the port for a look see.

    Fri27 c.jpg Fri27 d.jpg

    From there up to Paternoster where we had coffee and cake at the quaint Paternoster hotel which is only separated from the beach by a sand dune. The bar is reminiscent of Ronnie's shop but it seems that they do not approve of hosting any bachelor parties, I wonder why. It seemed strange that the locals walking the streets gave us group of bikers odd looks...

    Fri27 eb.jpg

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    IMG-20171027-WA0019.jpg Fri27 e.jpg

    Heading back the way we came, we passed a very tired old windmill again.

    Attachment 83635

    We turn left and headed North towards Velddrif, over the flats and the Berg river at Velddrif and on to Piketberg passing what seemed to be hoards of bikers going in the opposite direction for a rally somewhere on the West coast. From Piketberg we headed toward the mountains and arrived at our sleepover, the Citrusdal Country Lodge.

    This was the only hotel that had not been scouted by the Cape members of our group and so we were a little skeptical of what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness and luxury offered in the large rooms. The Lodge itself is full of quaint memorabilia and had a spacious area with swimming pool around which most of the group relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, a pleasant break from the hard riding we had done on the previous few days.

    Fri27 ef.jpg

    While the rest of the group were relaxing and eating pizza I decided to find a supermarket whe re I could buy a liter of milk. It was payday for the local community and the streets were crowded with the local farm workers doing their shopping. Most seemed to have been trucked or tractor trailered in from the surrounding farms.
    I soon discovered the the Bottle Stores in town outnumbered the supermarkets about 4:1...

    Wandering the streets out of the town center, I came upon an interesting little house called the Sandveldhuisie country shop just as the owner was closing and was sorry I could not have explored it further.

    Fri27 f.jpg

    That night we overindulged on an excellent dinner before posing for a last group photo around the old piano before heading off to bed.

    Fri27 fb.jpg

    This had been a very relaxing day, a good break for what we knew was going to be the BIG DAY according to our travel schedule; we didn't know just how big the following day was going to be...
    Last edited by SandyN; 30-03-2020 at 09:48 PM.
    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  2. #42
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    Day 8 (Part 1)

    We awoke in the quiet of the pre-dawn quickly preparing the bikes to leave as we knew that we had about 788km to cover this day to reach our overnight digs in Hopetown. The skies were clear with a forecast of 10-23°C with South Easterly winds of 40km/h, gusting to 65km/h. Because we knew we would be leaving early and would be too early for breakfast, the Lodge had prepared sandwich packs for each rider.

    We bid fond farewell to the Cape contingent and soon the rumble and buzz of eager motors broke the silence and we were on our way well before the Sun could peek over the mountains that shielded the town in the East.



    We rode slowly through the sleepy town and soon took a right turn on the N7 heading for Clanwilliam. This is a beautiful section of highway winding its way Northwards and we were quickly up to the speed limit enjoying the quietness and solitude of wending our way through picturesque scenes as the Sun made its appearance over the mountains. This idyllic state was soon over as we turned into Clanwilliam for a planned a fuel stop.

    Unfortunately we arrived there before 07h00 and there was only one petrol jockey on duty who was busy filling a Landcruiser fitted with additional long range tanks and another vehicle in the queue before us. The fuel pump itself seemed to have a hangover from the night before and its fuel delivery was lethargic at best. Upon enquiry it was established that there was no other fuel station open in town so we had to wait our turn...

    We eventually hit the N7 again slightly irritated by the event and continued on our way not knowing that the fan was about to hit...
    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  3. #43
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    Thanks for that update. Good reading again and cannot wait for the rest.
    Thanks.

  4. #44
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    Day 8 (Part 2)

    To keep friends and family updated on our progress, as well as to share photos with them, we had created a Whatsapp group before we left. This resource has been very useful in recreating a timeline and refreshing the memory of how events unfolded on this day as I recount it more than 2 years later. Having said that, there are some memories of this day that are still fresh in each rider's memory and will never be forgotten.

    We had left Citrusdal at around 06h10 and ridden a beautiful piece of tarmac through awesome scenery and gone on into Clanwilliam for fuel where we left at about 07h00 as the day shift petrol attendants were arriving. From here, the N7 runs North parallel to the Oliphants river for about 50km by which time the group had settled into our touring pace enjoying the scenery.

    This came to a halt at a stop/go section just before the bridge that crosses the Oliphants, and we had to wait briefly for oncoming traffic to clear before we could proceed. As we settled back into our pace, heading up toward Klawer, unexpectedly and without warning, a gust of wind, like a charging bull hit us from the right, as if trying to give us wings. To me, it felt as if the bike's wheels had been blown out from under me as I counter steered violently into the gust almost dragging my knee on the tar on a perfectly straight road.

    As one of the group later messaged on Whatsapp, "I saw Glen's life flash in front of his eyes today. Big High Five to him; I don't know how he did it...". Glen was riding a GS with huge panniers and top box mounted; we had been teasing him about them most of the trip and now, with the wind, they increased his "sail area" making him more susceptible to the gusts and were causing huge drag. Glen stopped, which turned out to be a bad idea as, even with his side stand down, the wind threatened to blow the bike over.
    Below are photos from Google maps showing the location and topography. Note the escarpment which caused the massive turbulence.

    Untitled.jpg

    Klawer Escarpment.jpg

    Being in the lead, I did not see this happen, but I had slowed right down and two of the group passed me and informed me of the problem. I did a U-turn and went back to where Glen was stopped and in the company of our sweeper. There was a suggestion that we turn around and take shelter at the Engen garage at Klawer but I insisted that we carry on, that we were safer if we were moving; standing still we would be at the mercy of the wind, but with some speed and momentum we'd have a better chance as you can use that to counter steer and apply power against the gusts. We caught up to the other two bikes who had also stopped and gave them the same advice.

    I was fortunate being on the Fazer with it's lower profile and lack of panniers, but even so, riding at 40-50km/h found it difficult to keep the bike running in a straight line and on numerous occasions, as the gusts came rolling off and tumbling down the escarpment to our right, feel as if the wheels were being blown out from under me: a weird feeling riding along a perfectly straight road at 40km/h with your knee down... Hats off and respect to my fellow riders on their top heavy adventure bikes.

    And so, we carried on, each rider fighting his own battle and survival instincts at 40-50km/h, in 1st or 2nd gear for the next 15kms (I subsequently measured the distance on Google maps) until we turned a corner and took refuge in a shallow cutting. Here we took a break, recounted each one's experience while breaking open and enjoying the breakfast packs that the Citrusdal Lodge has graciously provided. The Whatsapp timeline shows this was at 07h55.

    Sat 28 a.jpg

    Thus refreshed, we carried on our way. As can be seen from the satellite photo above, the distance between the road and the escarpment increased which made the wind, and the reduced strength of the gusts, more manageable, and so we were able to pick up on speed. At Vanrhynsdorp we turned right and headed toward Nieuwoudtville and soon came to the Vanrhynspass. Nearing the escarpment the gusts became more evident and the pass had to be taken with some circumspection as the wind could suddenly hit the bike from the opposite side making it unwise to try and clip the apexes of the turns. There is a laybye halfway up the pass where we stopped for our next rest. Timeline 08h50.



    Sat 28 b.jpg

    Sat28 c.jpg

    From there we proceeded on to Nieuwoudtville where we had planned a stop at the Protea Garage with the idea of having a look at the classic bike collection reputed to be housed there. Alas, although the pumps were open the building was not and there was not much we could see through the dusty windows. A bit disappointed we were soon on our way. Timeline 09h10.

    Sat28 ca.jpg

    Turning East out of town on the R27 put us straight into the teeth of the bitterly cold wind, (you may have noticed the wearing of rainsuit tops to keep out the cold) much better than having it hit us from the side. The estimated windspeed was 60-70km/h and we could comfortably manage only up to 80km/h on the bikes. Consequently we rolled into Calvinia, only 70km away, an hour later at 10h15 according to the timeline, where we stopped at the Trokkie Stoppie for a cup of coffee from a confusing vending machine and a snack. There is a golf course to the left of the road as you come in to Calvinia, which, as a testament to the drought, had the brownest greens and dustiest fairways that I have ever seen.

    At this stop, considering our slow progress, concern was expressed that we may not reach our destination in Hopetown before dark and we considered some alternatives, but decided to keep on moving and keep our leg stretch stops as short as possible and see how far we had progressed by 16h00 before looking at alternative accommodation.

    Williston was the next town down the line along the R63, 120km away, but the wind now seemed to have moderated and we were able to comfortably maintain higher speeds arriving at Williston at 11h30. During the ride it was sad to see that the countryside consisted mainly of dried brush and shale; nothing seemingly edible for any livestock. We stopped at the R63 1 Stop in Williston where we encountered an individual who insisted on cleaning our windscreens for money despite been warned several times not to touch the bikes. It took a show of force from some of our group to dissuade this fellow. Poverty in these small towns was another thing that was evident in conjunction with the fact that many of these towns only had electricity during certain hours due to non-payment by the municipalities.

    We were escorted out of town by a friendly local resident on a small bike after he had seen us and stopped to say hi.

    Carnarvon seemed a long way off as we traversed the brown countryside, still into the wind, on good tarmac, and the challenges of the day started taking their toll on some of the group who, after indicating the need to stop, were given some rehydrating gel and were soon ready to continue the journey. It may have been somewhere along this stretch of road that we noticed, in the far distance, a bright neon pink blob, which, as we came closer, turned out to be a rather large woman jogging in her tracksuit, seemingly in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

    We were forced to a stop 15km before Carnarvon by aching buttocks and lack of circulation and after some stretching exercises arrived at the Carnarvon Hotel for lunch. Timeline 13h25.

    Sat28 fa.jpg

    As I recall, there were no pub lunches available in the old style, wooden floored building, but a plan was made for us and we ate chips (french fries) and something. Members of our group ordered two extra servings of chips which were given tyo the hungry looking lads outside who were looking after our bikes. Upon fillng up here I noted that the Fazer's fuel consumption had dropped from its normal 21km/l to 17km/l due to the heavy headwinds we were encountering. Timeline 14h00.

    During the planning stages of the trip Google maps showed that this next section had a section of gravel and if you check, it still does but the road is now tarred. Back on the road we stopped at the turnoff to Vosberg for a leg stretch (Timeline 15h10) before hurrying on to Britstown where we also stopped for a break.

    Sat28 g.jpg

    Sat28 h.jpg

    The section on the N12 between Britstown and Strydenburg is lost to memory in a fatigued blur and the timeline shows a refuel in Strydenburg at 16h45. Hopetown was only 55km away and the timeline shows that we arrived at our digs, after getting slightly lost and having to phone for directions, at 17h30, bright eyed, bushy tailed and smelling like daisies... We had successfully covered 785km in 11.5 hours; the toughest day of the whole tour by far.

    Sat28 i.jpg

    Hopetown was also one of the municipalities where the electricity was being rationed by Eskom and only came on from 18h00 to 20h00 each day, and so was off when we arrived. We discussed supper options with our hostess Frida, and she suggested a local establishment called Die Stalle and kindly offered to take us there in her car and fetch us once we had finished. There were five of us and only 4 could fit in her car, so I opted to follow by bike. Needless to say, the evidence of a dysfunctional municipality was evident in the amount of potholes encountered in the dark...

    The guys treated themselves to an excellent supper before returning with our hostess to well deserved welcoming beds at her establishment.

    To best description of the day would be to say that it had been a breeze...
    Last edited by SandyN; 02-04-2020 at 04:54 PM.
    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  5. #45
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    I really like your story and almost feel like doing it myself again.
    During September 2019 my BIL and me did a bike tour from Margate, KZN via Clarens, Bloem, Port Nolloth, Garies and the same stretch from Vanrhynsdorp, Nieuwoudtville, Middelburg and back home to Margate and we also encountered heavy winds on the R27. So much so that we could not proceed and booked in at the Groenrivier gasteplaas in Nieuwoudtville to wait out the storm, and what a delight that was. Unfortunately we only then realised that my BIL's Yamaha made a terrible clapping noise which we could not identify at the moment and rode further with the clapping noise. The noise could fortunately be dampened with some very thick muti and reached home two days later.
    Unforgettable memories and experience and will do it again at a whim.

  6. #46
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    Day 9 ( The last day)

    To me, there's something about riding home, whether it be just a day ride, a weekend away, or a longer tour like this one. I know of someone who likes to take his time riding home, taking the scenic route, almost as if he doesn't want the ride to end and never get home. For me home is a destination, and I want to get back as soon as possible, not quite like a horse bolting back to the stable, but I ride with intent. I'm probably my own worst enemy but the ride home always seems like a slog, taking too long.

    Sun29 a.jpg

    As had become our custom we were up early and were loading the bikes by 06h00. We did not see our hostess as all our accommodation for the trip had been paid in advance and there was nothing to be settled. Our planning model had generally been to have a breakfast stop about an hour into the day's ride, and today's breakfast would be in Kimberley. With the complimentary coffee and rusks supplied in the rooms warming our bellies we were soon heading, once again, directly into the cold Northeast wind blowing down the N12.

    One thing I neglected to mention from the previous day was the noticeable change of scenery as we moved East through the Karroo, from the flats covered mostly with shale and dry scrub, to flats covered with sparse grass and strange looking piles of boulders that could almost be described as koppies that looked like dinosaur dung heaps. Now as we headed toward Kimberley the landscape turned to greener savannah grasslands dotted with thorn trees and one saw occasional wildlife through game fences.

    Nearing Kimberly a few superbikes flashed past us in the opposite direction, probably doing their Sunday thing, and we arrived shortly before 08h00 and headed for the nearest shopping complex only to find that the breakfast establishment of choice was closed. We decided we could not afford the 20 minute wait for the Wimpy to open and so enjoyed a good breakfast at MacDonalds.

    Sun29 b.jpg

    Winding our way through the streets of the diamond city we headed toward Boshof buffeted now from the left by an unpleasant 30km/h side wind. By sticking to the 100km/h speed limit the ride was quite bearable and enabled us to take in the surrounding scenery and the occasional glimpses of wildlife on the farms. We refueled at Boshof and were soon on our way.

    Sun29 c.jpg

    The road here turned away from the direction home but, just short of Dealesville, we turned back into the wind on the Southern most point of the R59 which would take us all the way home. Our experience of the R59 to the South of Johannesburg was of a mighty highway, but here it is just a narrow country road and was devoid of any other traffic. Soon we were in Hertzogville where we took a short break before moving on.

    Sun29 d.jpg

    On we went through Hoopstad and into Bothaville, where I remember seeing a local riding his GS in his shorts while some of us were still wrapped in rainsuit tops to keep the cold out. However, it had started warming up here and we subsequently removed our tops at the fuel station and asked a willing petrol jockey to take a photo.

    Sun29 e.jpg

    If memory serves me correctly, it was somewhere near Viljoenskroon that the road surface deteriorated very badly and the start of the bad section made itself evident just over a blind rise, taking us by surprise, in the form of potholes that could easily swallow a motorcycle. Not nice if you're doing 100km/h!! This section lasted for quite a distance and required a lot of concentration, hampering our average speed somewhat.

    Once again fatigue was starting to take it's toll, and, just short of Vredefort we stopped for a short break at the request of one of the riders who started falling asleep... We were soon on "home turf" in Parys where we stopped for a last snack together, the favourite of the trip; waffles and ice cream. The difference in presentation between a Storms River waffle and a Parys waffle was quite obvious...

    Sun29 x.jpg Sun29 z.jpg

    And so, after two days and 1400km, after having the wind smack on the nose, it was a pleasure turning off toward home and having it at your back... The trip was one of those that each one of us will remember forever; a great adventure - so many good memories, a few scary ones, but no bad ones.
    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  7. #47
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    The lovely lady who accompanied us, Bev, is a lady with many talents. In addition to making all the arrangements and bookings for our Cape section of the trip, which happened seamlessly and without a glitch, she also asked each rider to upload all photos and videos taken into a Dropbox account and used these to make a short video of each day's ride.

    Many of these photos and videos were not included in my write up. Here goes Day 1...

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  8. #48
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    Day 2 Video

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  9. #49
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    Day 3 Video

    By now, if you're watching the series, you may want to turn the volume down...

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  10. #50
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    Day 4

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  11. #51
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    Day 5

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  12. #52
    Evil Biker Scum SandyN's Avatar
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    Day 6

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


  13. #53
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    Day 7 (Last Video)

    Riding a straight and smooth road does not make a skillful rider.


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