Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One night in Willowmore

Mrs.TR is realy starting to like the pillion thing so while the iron’s hot… Wink

Barely 2 days after our Gamkaskloof day trip we were on our way again. This time a one nighter to Willowmore.

We decided to take the scenic route (of course) so we headed for Knysna

and then an old favourite – Kom-se-Pad.

Once again Mrs.TR had the camera and got some good shots.

We rode slowly admiring the scenery when two Dual Sport bikes passed from the front: Another maroon TransAlp 700 (there sure are a lot of them around these days) and a grey TransAlp 650. Both had panniers, topboxes, riders and pillions. I’m so bummed we didn’t get a photo.

Some more scenery:

In De Vlugt we stopped for a bite to eat.

The rest of Prins Alfreds Pass:

In this section we came across a Aprilia Corponord.

And then between Avontuur and Uniondale my bike turned ten!

From Uniondale it’s a short hop on tar to Willowmore. We were riding with the wind in our backs and a song in our heart.

Then we came across another group of bikes. Honda Africa Twin, BMW 650 GS, BMW 1150 GS and this BMW X-challenge.

This is what these bikes should have looked like right from the start.

In Willowmore we met up with Yellowfever and Ponkie who were on their way back from a Lesotho trip.

The last watering hole

The next morning we had to wait for the petrol truck to deliver Unleaded fuel Cheesy Willowmore is an interesting little town. I liked these sawn-off trees that refused to die.

Before long we set off. We decided to take the Prince Albert road that would take us along 100km of gravel all the way to the North side of Meiringspoort.

The beautiful Great Karoo

It’s a different beauty than the day before. We are so privileged to have all these contrasting landscapes within a couple of hundred km.

Yellowfever’s GS looking good.

After this stop we set off again and got up to speed. Nice and easy gravel highways. The next moment (at about 100 km/h) a buck jumped out straight in front of us. I had the fright of my life. Heavy braking enabled us to miss it by inches. Once again the TKC tyres proved their worth.

It ran alongside us for some distance clocking a speed of 60 km/h

We rode quite a bit slower after this incident.

Posing with the BMW boys Grin

Then the amazing Meiringspoort.

Spectacular Pass – Meiringspoort

Named after PETRUS JOHANNES MEIRING, who owned the farm DE RUST which was situated at the southern entrance to the pass. In 1854 when the renowned roadmaker,, Andrew Geddes Bain, was trying to find a route for a road with which to link the Great and Little Karoos, Petrus Meiring drew his attention to the great ravine penetrating the range from his farm. Bain rode through the pass and considered it to be ideal. The entire ravine had been worn through the range by escaping floodwaters which resulted from occasional downpours in the Great Karoo. The draining stream, simply known as the GROOTSTROOM (great stream), had eroded for itself a reasonable level floor littered with giant boulders and overlooked by colossal precipices. Any road made through the ravine would have to cross and re-cross the stream 26 times, but the route was perfectly practical and just the type of pass which Bain loved: grand and majestic to behold, with brilliantly coloured sedimentary sandstone precipices, and the whole place full of odd rock shapes and echoes. On 3 MARCH 1858 Meiringspoort was opened to traffic and was considered to be such an asset to the farmers of the Great Karoo, who could now send their produce through the mountains to be shipped from Mossel Bay, that a party of 300 horsemen and 50 carts carrying ladies, made an opening tour through the pass. Meiringspoort remains one of the most romantically lovely of all South African road passes. It is 12,9km long from its northern to its southern entrance & scenically , is beautiful and interesting. There are many pleasant picnic sites & resting places where the motorist can pause a while and admire the towering cliffs with their fantastic patterns of warped and twisted rocks, numerous flowering plants and rugged piles of boulders. Three kilometres beyond the southern entrance to Meiringspoort lies the hamlet of DE RUST.

We tried to take some in-ride video through Meiringspoort. It's a first attempt and rather shaky, but here it is:

Riding through Oudtshoorn (check our reflection in the window)

Heading for Outeniqua Pass

The OUTENIQUA PASS takes you into the mountains and provides magnificent views. This modern pass was located by P.A. de Villiers, the National Road Board’s location engineer who will always rank as one of the great road builders of South Africa. Its whole conception & execution-bold & majestic-ensures its status as one of the world’s grand road passes & makes it a pleasure to use. The summit (799m above sea level) is reached 14 km from George.

A suitable end to a great breakaway.

I see a lot of pillion trips on the cards for 2009.


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