The day arrived. Everything was packed for the “recce” ride to check out the route and accommodation for the “Big ride” of the 6th of April.
Trailrider (me - CTX200), Snap Crackle Pop (NXR125) and Paramed (Tenere 600) met at a Garage in George to fill up before we set out.
We crossed the Outeniqua Mountains via the Montagu Pass.
At the top of the pass we stopped at Amanda’s grave. The views are spectacular from here and already we could feel it’s was going to be a HOT day – 44 degrees were forecast for the Langkloof (and they weren’t kidding!).
We rode through the ever changing Flora and into the heat of the day. Surprisingly the seemingly mismatched bikes rode well together. Keeping your concentration in this heat is not easy. SCP overshot a tight turn but managed to recover before coming off. Close call!
We reached Uniondale in the heat of the day and stopped at the local watering hole for refreshments. Swanze Gat:
From here it was the last push to Baviaans. We were hot and tired and the attention span was not what it should have been. I was leading, but at the same time constantly making sure that my fellow riders were still behind me. At one stage SCP rode in my blind spot and I could not find him in my mirror. While trying to locate him I rode of the road and suddenly it was just bushes, rocks and ditches. The front wheel was veering from side to side and the barbed wire fence was approaching FAST! I tried to keep the bike in a straight line while handling what was coming my way. After straightening her out I managed to get her back onto the road. Phew! Another close call. No damage to the bike or rider apart from a love bite on the seat…
From here I decided to ride at the back. SCP was in front, followed by Paramed. 5 km’s on Paramed hit a thick sandy patch that SCP managed to avoid. Suddenly he was all over the place. This was the first time I saw some-one “duck walk” a big bike at 80km/h. Man it was funny! He too managed to recover the bike without having an off. Eventually we started seeing the signs that Baviaans was getting closer. It was about time. We really needed a cold one!
Paramed explaining to SCP how to duck walk at high speed…
Two close calls in this stretch, but we beat the odds! How come the skinny bloke is on the bigger bike?
Approaching the Baviaans.
Eventually we reached the cave that was going to be home for the night. It was primitive, but it had a braai & grid. What more does a man need?
We started to unpack when SCP heard a weird hissing sound in his petrol tank. It sounded like his petrol was about to boil! We had to get the bikes out of the sun and into the "garage". Man it was hot!
We unpacked, had an ice cold “refreshment” and pitched all 3 tents in the cave.
Mine was to the side. Snoring in a cave might "amplify" the problem…
A little later we decided to go explore some of the Kloof. We forgot the camera’s so unfortunately there are no pics of this part, but suffice it to say we were feeling way better.
When night fell the festivities commenced. Dry wood, fresh air and the great Karoo skies. What could be better than this?
Another tough day in Africa…
We organized this trip with Paramed without having met him before. He’s a Scott and turned out to be a heluva guy! You’re welcome to come and ride with us again any time.
As the evening progressed the stories got funnier and funnier. This is Paramed’s Crazy Frog impression of SCP’s close call on the 125.
We all had sosaties. Paramed only brought one. Guess which one… Think he’s compensating for something?
After a great dinner we turned in. The minimum temp was a very nice 18 degrees. I was up bright and early the next morning. Nothing beats a Karoo sunrise.
The shouting baboons entertained us for a while, but the thunder was much more threatening. Rain was approaching.
What do you do when it starts raining? Well, you have Milo or Cappuccino of course. After a brief shower the storm clouds blew over and we packed. An awesome route waited.
We rode back out towards Uniondale.
From Uniondale we took the road to Avontuur and De Vlugt. It started getting colder as we traveled south. After a few km's we had to make a quick “Pit stop”. It was very cold by now, but after a “brief” search the guys found what they were looking for.
Over the pass we literally had our heads in the clouds.
As we descended on the other side the mist cleared and we were treated to the most amazing views.
During this time Paramed's rear brake failed. He rode down the passes (with tight twists and turns) with front brakes only. He wasn't holding us back either. This man can ride!
In De Vlugt we met a DS couple from Prince Albert and of course told them about Wild Dogs.
We rode over the magnificent Prince Alfred’s Pass and to “Kom se Pad” featured in the latest “WEG” magazine. Apparently there are no wheelies allowed.
This truly is a magnificent road. You actually expect to see an elephant around the next corner. At times the forest canopy closes overhead.
It’s a dusty job, but some-one got to do it.
The next stop was the Crab Shack in Knysna for lunch and a drink with BoJangles!
Not only did they have a great menu, but they also knew where Jaqhama was!
Only seven passes left to do for the day – here’s two. Phantom Pass:
Lots to see on this route. This is the only surviving iron bridge on this road. The iron was imported from London to Mosselbay and brought to this spot on 14 wagons. The trip from Mosselbay took 2 months! It was opened for traffic in 1898.
This was one amazing trip. I wish I could post all the pictures. It had everything from Kloofs to Passes to Karoo vistas to Lush forests. Ever-changing scenery and plant life, contrasts between heat and cold, dry and wet areas.
Strong word this, but as far as DS biking goes this route must be close to perfection.
Paramed & SCP, thanks for making it such an enjoyable trip.
To the Wild Dogs joining the 6th April trip - This is going to be an epic!