Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 1 - Ride to Hell


Trailblazer is on an epic 3-week ride currently. Some South Cape Wild Dogs and I would be privileged to join him for 3 days and show him around our neck of the woods. The plan was to take the scenic routes and sleep over in Gamkaskloof (The Hell) and Attakwaskloof.

We met up with Dr Dirt (and his exquisite black KTM990Adv) at the designated rendezvous point and headed out direction Montagu Pass.

Everything on this trip, every kilometer, would be a first for Trailblazer so we took it slowly to let him soak in as much as possible before the inevitable sensory overload set in. This meant lots of photo stops

Dr Dirt at the Old Toll House:

In days gone by Dr Dirt would have to pay 2 pennies for each wheel before he could pass here

Some more Montagu Pass scenery:

Over Montagu Pass we ride through Herold and on to Paarde Poort:

Paarde Poort spits you out in the Klein Karoo proper. Here we met up with GrysAlp from Outshoorn who rides a very nice bike indeed!

The route takes us past Dyselsdorp that boasts a licorice factory and a very nice church.

Dysselsdorp started in 1838 as a mission station. In 1877 John X Merriman (who later became prime minister of the Cape Colony) gave the land to the 148 coloured families that lived there. Dysselsdorp's most interesting feature is a Roman Catholic Chapel at the top of a Hill. The road to the Chapel "zig-zag's" up the hill and represents the different "stations" next to the "Via Dolorosa" en route to Golgotha (Calvary).

The view of the Swartberg Mountain Range from Dysselsdorp:

We have to sleep in those mountains tonight. Seems we might be in for a cold night... Dr Dirt was not surprised at all to find that, after Western Province utterly humiliated the Bulls, Hell has indeed frozen over!

We carry on past De Rust and into the majestic Meirings Poort. I was almost jealous of Trailblazer who was seeing all of this this for the first time. I was leading and GrysAlp was sweeping, freeing up Trailblazer to enjoy the surroundings. What a beautiful country we live in

A quick stop at "Herrie se Klip"

and the Meiringspoort waterfall.

While Trailblazer went to photograph the waterfall we enjoyed the great scenery around the car park

In Klaarstroom we spotted this chap

Dr Dirt tried to chat up some of the local lasses

We had to get a move-on. We're supposed to meet Eikeboom (from Somerset West (KLE500) the guy we we met on the RLT ride at Cederberg Oasis) in Prins Albert for lunch and as it happens we arrived in Prins Albert mere minutes apart. Lunch at the Swartberg Hotel it turned out to be - lamb, sweet potato, rice and veggies. Regte boerekos

After lunch we tackled the magnificence that is Swartberg Pass.

(Pic by Dr Dirt)

At the Hell turnoff we sadly had to say goodbye to GrysAlp who only joined us for the day. He rode ahead back to Oudtshoorn while 4 merry men took the broad way straight into Hell

What a pleasure this road turned out to be. The road was graded and improved recently with all stones removed and all potholes fixed.

Some water crossing fun:

And there she lay:

Even the road in the kloof itself is a pleasure to ride. We rode through the length of Gamkaskloof right to the property at the back were we would stay for the night. What a great spot!

The drinks and ice were unpacked first. We washed away the dust of the day discussing the marvelous ride we had and the routes that lay ahead. The fire was lit under the big pepper tree and the conversation carried on well into the night. It set the tone for what would be a wonderful weekend to remember.

(Pic by Dr Dirt)


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