Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 1 - Heading to the Bash!


As it turns out the weather man was wrong (or not). I left home on a beautiful sunshine day - only to find thick fog only a few blocks from my home.

The fog was so thick in places that I could hardly see 10 meters in front of me. This meant slow speeds and me arriving in Knysna 10 minutes late, but Bojangles did not seem to mind.

Check out her "Vuka Adventure" sporting Wild Dog paws all over

It was here that I already realized that our plans and route would have to be adjusted. I forgot the permit we'd need to sleep in the Baviaans wilderness area at home. A quick call home and Mrs. TR solved the problem by faxing the permit to the Hotel in Willowmore, but it did mean that we'd have to adjust our route to go fetch it.

We headed out towards Kom-se-pad and as soon as we started riding up the mountain we rose above the mist. Looking back at the Knysna Heads:

Some last checks as we hit the gravel.

Early morning in the Knysna forest - beautiful!

Sometimes the road rises to give you these beautiful views...

...just to dip back into the forest afterwards. As far as scenery goes this route is one of the best.

In certain sections of the route the forest canopy closes and the forest swallows you whole. You can feel the temperature change, you can smell the earthy forest floor.

And as soon as you exit the "tunnel" you feel the sun on your skin and the air heating up again. You don't experience your surroundings like this in a car (cage).

Riding past the forestry station:

BoJangles making good time. With all my photo stops I had to try and catch up more than once

And just at the Plett turnoff LGF also caught up from behind.

Some more scenery on the way to De Vlugt:

Pit stop at Angie's G-spot for a cold one and lunch.

The great thing about Prince Alfred's Pass is that even after all that scenery we rode through, we still had kilometers of scenery ahead as we rode towards Avontuur.

Past Avontuur on the way to Uniondale I stopped at the Anglo-Boer War monument commemorating Gideon Scheepers' last battle.

Commandant Gideon Scheepers was born on 4 April 1878 in Middelburg in the Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek. At age 16 he joined the Staatsartillerie in the Transvaal Republic and was soon a first-rate telegraphist, heliographer and later in the SA War a scout that the Boer leader, General Christiaan de Wet, prized. He took part in the Battle of Magersfontein and escaped capture when General Piet Cronje surrendered at Paardeberg.

At age 22 he got the rank of Commandant and led a commando of 150 men who took on the British in the Cape Colony. He had several successes and his bravery was legendary. His mere presence in the Cape Colony inspired more Boers to take up arms against the British.

On 10 Oktober 1901 Scheepers became ill and asked to be left behind near Prince Albert. The British captured him and jailed him in Graaff-Reinet. During his trial the British refused him his rights as an Officer and charged him with war crimes under martial law. After the court accepted some suspect testimony about the alleged war crimes he was sentenced to death and executed in 1902. He was 23 years old.

His remains was buried in an undisclosed location and the grave leveled off as you would when you bury a dog.

The British thought of him as a brigand, but among the Boers his memory lives on as that of a hero and a martyr.

An inscription at the monument quotes some of his last words:

"Een troos het ek darem gehad, dat ek my regering tot op die laaste oomblik getrou gedien het en dat ek alles in my vermoë gedoen het om ons regverdige saak op die regte wyse te steun."

Another inscription reads:

In Middelburg se kerk staan duidelik in die doopregister sy geboorte aangemerk. En, soos waneer jy tussen vinger en die duim die wit son rol en skitter in 'n diamant, sou hy deur Vrystaat en Transvaal se leiblou ruim uit spieëls ons stryd laat blits en straal van rant tot rant. Maar hy moes sterf: Die Dood het self hom eers gejag deur kou riviere van die Kaap, dwarsoor Anysberg tot in die buitekamer op 'n plaas waar hy een nag in koue sweet moes lê. En na die skyn verhoor het hulle hom vertel... voor Graaf Reinet se sel. O Graaf Reinet se sel!

Hy was gewone kryger, Heer en geen rebel.

Uit: Gebed om die gebeente: DJ Opperman

I had to push on and catch up to BoJangles and LGF who were refueling in Uniondale. BoJangles' Vuka needed R11 to fill it back up Next stop - die Laaste Watergat in Willowmore.

The two barman are my brothers-in-law. Good contacts to have!

And finally to the Bash Campsite were festivities commenced. It was great to see all the familiar faces again and meet some new ones.

Some video footage shot by Michiel of the WD forum.

(Both photos above also taken by Michiel)

It was clear from the start that this was going to be a very good weekend indeed!


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