Sunday, December 23, 2007

Attakwas in the Wet...

On Saturday 22 December Captain Slow from the Wild Dog Forum handed over Fire-Bucket to me. Fire Bucket is a pewter beer mug that travels the country with Wild Dog DS bikers .

We planned a ride to Attakwaskloof but heavy rains were forcast for the next two days (what else is new?) Roll Eyes but we decided to push through anyway. Fire-Bucket will see Attakwaskloof come Hell or High water! (Little did we know…).

Things went wrong right from the start. Undecided Eisbein’s GS broke and he and Vicky had to pull out. When Rooipoot arrived early I went to fetch him at the meeting point and my CTX suddenly had a strange knocking sound in the engine. I know nothing of engines and Eisbein, Rooipoot and I decided that it would be foolish to risk the Attakwaskloof trip. It seemed like my trip was over before it started. Angry Nope – we were going! I asked if Mrs. TR and the kids could be ready to go camping with me (taking the cage Undecided) in 8 minutes. No problem! Grin Grin Grin

Then Slainche (WD forum member - BMW1200GS) phoned and said his wife had the flu and no rain gear. Would we mind if she went with their 4x4 Land Rover Discovery? Problem solved! Grin With a Landy to load Mrs TR and the kids as well as the luggage I could go by bike again taking Mrs TR’s NXR125. Grin

Next White Stripes and his American girl (Merry Can Wink) arrived with a very heavy laden DR200. After refueling we were off.

I was enjoying being on the light 125 again and despite some threatening rain the roads weren’t as wet as the previous WD Attakwas trip.

While going through the Game reserve we were lucky enough to see the Rhino really close up Shocked

As well as some other Wildlife Smiley

The going was much slower than Slainche’s BMW1200GS was used to, but he got some bursts of speed and power slides in when it was safe to do so. Grin

The road to Attakwaskloof is a beaut.

The DR200 was heavily laden with lots of luggage and 2-up Shocked

The section through the forest had some muddy sections, but no-one came off.

We arrived to the usual warm reception of Nico and Danette at Bonniedale and they placed us in the new “Die Krans” campsite. Nice and secluded!

Slainche pulling in:


Not 5 minutes after we pulled in it started bucketing down! Undecided

In circumstances like these you get to know people and especially the women. It’s cold, uncomfortable and everything is wet. We battled to make fire and there was smoke everywhere. All of this and a group of strangers to boot…
We got on like a house on fire! Grin It’s a good thing we had a Fire-Bucket… occasion14 Everybody got a turn.


Slainche and Mrs. Slainche:

White Stripes and Merry Can:

After lots of laughter we retired to our tents (that got erected in the rain).

When we woke the next morning everything was wet. We slept cold but everybody was in high spirits – men, women and children.

Some left over Mielies for breakfast:

Of course the gas geyser’s gas ran out and those that showered had to take a cold one. Undecided

Even the bikes were cold.

It took a while to kick start the 125 – it’s not used to sleeping outside.

When we departed Nico (owner of the farm) told us that a lot of rain fell through the night. The bikes could probably get through the Kloof but the 4x4 might battle. We decided to go for it. Nico decided to escort us past the two worst spots. It soon became clear that I would have lots and lots of water crossings today. Grin

The camera was in the 4x4 and out of the rain – well, most of the time.

Mrs. Slainche was doing a sterling job driving the 4x4 in the muddy and wet conditions. icon_thumleft

Then we reached the 1st “bad section”. It was so slippery that you could hardly walk it. Shocked

In the end we decided to take a route through the vegetation next to the road. We were all nervous but in the end we handled it like a breeze. Grin

The kids really enjoyed the ride in the Landy when Slainche took it up over the rocks and bushes at high speed.

Some more water:

Mud and ruts were the order of the day. The DR spun in half a wheel deep, but Merry Can jumped off and happily pushed them out. Grin

Eventually we reached the ghost town Woeska. I was having a surprisingly good time on the NXR125. I thought the road biased dual tyres would pose a problem but the 125 is light and sure footed.

Intrepid Attakwas Adventurers – The group photo.

Even in difficult conditions Attakwaskloof is a sight to behold.

Through the Kloof we turned South through Cloetes Pass. By now the rain became more frequent and intense. toothy2

In the next pic I raced forward to spray Rooipoot like he did me on the previous trip, but failed dismally. Your day will come… Tongue

Near Herbertsdale we said our goodbyes to Rooipoot and started traveling East to George via various Gravel roads. The rain just would not let up and I for one was drenched.

It rained and rained and rained. The roads were slippery and the going very slow. It was not fun anymore… I started to realize that some of the little bridges on the way to George might well be impassible. It was a day before Christmas and we had to get home. At a certain T-junction we decided to take the route to Brandwag. It’s a longer route, but the roads should be better and the water less, so we should reach George sooner…

Then we came across this…

The currant was very strong and I did not feel like dying the day before Christmas. The alternative turned out to be a fate worse than death… Taking tar to the N2 and the national road home. BangHead

Slainche and I decided to walk it first.

It was not too deep, I guess 300 – 400mm, but the currant was very strong. Furthermore the bridge seemed to be washed away in places leaving only enough space for about one car. This is not the time to be macho. The margin of error was to small for the 4x4 and if it got taken off the bridge with the women and children…

Nope. The 4x4 would head for the N2 and home. The bikes would ride trough. It was my idea so I went first.

Then the DR200 (2-up) and Slainche followed.

We made it! The cameras were in the 4x4 so no more pictures from here. We encountered more long water crossings and eventually got home cold and wet were Mrs. TR and Mrs. Slainche had hot coffee waiting. White Stripes and Merry Can took a quick bath and warmed up further with some Red Wine.

This certainly was a “baptism” for Fire-Bucket.

(Pictures in this report were taken by myself, Mrs. TR and Merry Can)

Just a few closing comments: Conditions certainly were less than ideal, but the women on this trip are exceptional. I’ve been on trips where “women vol kark” spoils the trip for everybody when the going gets tough. Mrs. TR got ready to camp within minutes when I asked her too. She, Mrs. Slainche and Merry Can organized a wet camp expertly and did so smiling all the time. Merry Can did the whole trip in the rain on the back of the DR200 and remained in the spirit of DS biking even when it was not fun anymore and everybody just wanted to get home (although no-one said so or complained). These are woman of fibre!

I am privileged to have been on this trip with you. icon_thumleft

(The CTX also turned out to be fine - the strange noise totally disappeared. Huh?)

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