Thursday, April 29, 2010

Riding Home


Today I woke up refreshed and ready for the ride home. But first I rode through Graaf Reinet one last time.

Graaff-Reinet, also known as “the gem of the Karoo”, is the oldest town in the Eastern Cape and the fourth oldest town in South Africa. It started as the site for a “Trek Boer” (migrating farmer) magistracy and was named after Governor Cornelius Jacob van de Graaff and his wife Reynet. The town has nearly 300 national monuments, more than any other town in South Africa. Furthermore the town is surrounded by a nature reserve.

If the Church is the "face" of a town Graaf Reinet has to be one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa. The 1886 Dutch Reformed Church with its neo-Gothic lines strongly resembles England’s Salisbury Cathedral and it is said that the vault of the church houses a priceless collection of Cape Dutch silver.

There is so much to see around here. I can definitely confirm that I will be doing a tour of the Camdeboo area at some stage in the future.

I hit the straight roads of the N9 riding past Aberdeen towards Willowmore:

Not many photos today. Just me, the roar of the bike, the wind in my hair and the open road.

A quick refuel in Willowmore and I continue past Uniondale towards the Potjiesberg Pass where the conditions change into this:

This is not the greatest conditions to ride in. Little visibility and it was bitterly cold. Almost 100km of this along the Langkloof road.

And then just before George riding through Waboomskraal suddenly it cleared.

Waboomskraal is known for its Hop production (as seen in the left of the panorama).

Hops are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer where they impart a bitter, tangy flavor.

From here it's a short hop over the Outeniqua Pass and home!

What a nice ride.

This was my first Rallye Raid. Will I go again? But of course! But I will be better prepared and will know better what to expect.

I really enjoyed the camaraderie and lack of "brand consciousness" among the riders. The organization was excellent, as was the food and entertainment. But you also have to see the event for what it is. It's a more "hardcore" event and my idea of riding the passes and taking pictures was way off the mark. Within the first couple of km's I was the last rider with the sweeper already hurrying me up. On this event you will be riding with a lot of other bikes through some breath taking scenery. But it is a ride, not a leisurely tour. Keep that in mind.

It was COLD. As were all the Rallye Raid's before this one. Invest in a good sleeping bag! The one I had did the trick beautifully. The link in the report (Day 3) to the sleeping bag's specs has the price of the sleeping bag pegged at R894.00. Here's a tip: Phone Hein Alberts at Tuinroete Agri at 044 6011 213 and buy yours at approx. R520.00 VAT included! One of the best gear buys I have ever made.

Thanks to all the guys that made this ride memorable. You guys are aces!


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