Monday, October 12, 2009

Floriskraal dam


Time for a another ride? But of course!

This ride was a rather impromptu ride. My friend Bakkie came to visit from PE. During a braai the previous evening he mentioned that he's never been to Ronnie's Sex Shop. It also so happened that a friend of ours was spending her weekend in Prins Albert. So the plan was set. Tomorrow we head for Prins Albert - The Long Way Round!

Prins Albert is North of George but we headed South. We had a 500km+ route planned today! We headed towards Riversdal and Garcia Pass. Totally the wrong direction we know

A quick stop to document this pass for my quest:

And then we hit the first dirt! Man this is so much better than the monotony of tar!!!

We arrived to find lots of other bikes also there. Apparently there was a Rally in Oudtshoorn somewhere.

Proud moment:

I used the occasion to celebrate by bike's 20th birthday!

After lunch we headed out towards Seweweeks Poort. Our route was almost all dirt from there.

What a majestic dirt road this is.

There's a gravel road from Floriskraal dam to Prins Albert. Neither of us have been there before but luckily Bakkie's GPS had "Tannie Karin van Garmin" installed, so how could we go wrong?

The turnoff to my first unknown gravel part of the trip:

This was much better. After some high speed runs we were now relaxed, riding "rustig", looking around and taking in the scenery.

I was amazed at the beauty around us. I have ridden around the Southern Cape extensively and yet there are still such beautiful spots around every corner.

We were told that this road has quite a few gates that has to be opened and this was the first:

But is was not long before we found the road totally washed away. Even 4x4's had turned around. Now what?

Lets get directions from the nearest farm.

Turns out we're not even on the right road! I have yet to do a trip with a GPS present where we didn't get lost. Give me a map any day.

We backtracked and got on the correct road () and soon found a gate that was supposed to be the entrance to the Floriskraal dam ()

This road (jeep track) started to deteriorate right from the start and before soon we were riding in a riverbed.

Pulling away after I took the photo above my bike spun into the sand so deep I thought I'd have to dig it out I sure was missing my 200cc right about now.

Luckily I got to the other side without any mishaps leaving only a huge "snake spoor" behind.

First sights of the dam:

This is a lovely spot!

In sections this trail was no more than a cattle track. What fun! I wouldn't mind coming back here some time. I'm sure you can stealth camp around here somewhere...

After negotiating more sand and loose rock hill climbs we reached the "bigger" road which, as luck would have it, was graded recently...

The road seemed nice at first, but the gates! This is a 100km stretch and in some cases the gates are less than 2km apart

(Photo by Bakkie)

Some of the gates take you through game farms. We didn't see much game, but this ostrich was determined not to let me past. This thing was huge! I stopped and he made some gestures with his wings. I revved and hooted, which seemed to aggravate him even more... I reversed some and he came forward I realized that if I back off he'd storm. So I "stormed" him. He turned just long enough for me to get past and I swear he chased me a bit. Bakkie got the whole thing on film from a safe distance:

He later told me that he had to ride right off the road to get past.

More gates:

A nice Karoo house. I've started noticing all these rural houses and their different styles on recent trips. Very interesting indeed.

More gates:
(Some great Karoo scenery though!)

(Photo by Bakkie)

(Photo by Bakkie)

All the stopping puts a serious dent in your travelling time. The road surface wasn't helping either. You be riding along merrily and suddenly find yourself in thick loose sand. On one occasion I was riding along at about 100km/h when I hit a HUGE patch of sand. It was quite unexpected and I found myself with a tankslapping bike at speed Ek het my koud geskrik!!! I got up, leaned back and gave it all the throttle I had. The bike was all over the place! Faaaaaaaark!!!!!! 20 000km trouble free kilometres and now this...

And somehow I managed to stay on top.

This is the closest call I've had since I bought the bike. Sheez it was close. This incident destroyed my confidence for the rest of the day. I slowed right down. So much so that Bakkie passed me twice which meant that he opened 2 more gates than I did. The difference in sand between 'n light bike with WP suspension en my bike was cruelly exposed this afternoon, not to mention the apparent difference in riding skill

And some more gate stops...

(Photo by Bakkie)

I was battling through some more thick sand when Bakkie stopped next to me and told me were weren't on his Tracks 4 Africa map anymore... Then where the hell are we? Come to think of it, the "road" we were on didn't even seem like a road anymore...

Lets just head North! The N1 must be there somewhere. You can hardly miss it. I think...

And we rode... and battled... and rode sum more. And there it was! The tarred N1 filled with trucks and traffic and roadworks and smog. How wonderful!!! Not a single spec of sand! Am I crazy? I sound like Charley and Ewan But I really did battle in the end. Fatigue can be a bastard at the end of a long day...

We emerged 30km from Prins Albert Road, which meant that after travelling almost 90km of the hundred and something distance we had to travel on this section, we were still 70 km from our destination.

We rode into Prins Albert just as the sun was setting with my bike running on fumes. We travelled 560km in total to a destination thats only 100+ km from my home.

First stop was the Bush pub to fill up. What a day's riding. We were exhausted but relaxed. This was just a quick trip, but with all the gates, sand and the Ostritch this ride was one of the best. The rides where you battle some, those are the ones you remember. We'll come back one day and see if we can find the correct route

Thanks Bakkie Till we ride again.

But wait...

Some more pics of my freaky friend:

Go well crazy man


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