Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gourtis Ride Take 2


On our previous Gourits Ride we did not finish the ride. We had one minor off, 2 bikes ran out of petrol and I had to be towed, much to the delight of the other riders.

All of this meant that we had to cut our trip short halfway through as we ran out of time. Today we planned to finish what we started! We'd pick up our route at this point:

I planned a nice scenic route to get to that point, from where we'd cross the Gourits and follow it all the way to the Indian Ocean.

On today's ride:

Myself - TransAlp700
Dr.Drit - KTM990 Adv
Gryph - Africa Twin
De Waal - TDM850
GravelTravel - Dakar

A beautiful spring day - great day for riding.

I stopped (and took the photo above) at a turnoff a short way into the ride to make sure the next rider knows to take this turnoff. We have a system where every rider is responsible for the rider behind him. You check to see if you see his light every so often. If you don't you stop and wait till you see him. If he doesn't arrive you turn back and go look for him. That way the guys in front of you will also stop and come back eventually. Furthermore everybody stops at a "T" or turnoff and makes sure the rider behind him knows where to go. It's a system that works well. Most of the time.

I sat here waiting and realized nobody was coming along. I rode back and eventually we regrouped.

Gryph, our sweeper, missed a turnoff and he was heading to Great Brak. He ended up in dust behind a truck and missed a turnoff. The rider in front of him saw him, but Gryph did not see him.

Well, a phone call later and we agreed to meet up with Gryph again at a certain point. The ride is back on! Lets go.

Two kilometres down the road I wait at the same turnoff again and this time I make sure that all 3 riders approach - which does not happen.

This time the new sweeper, Dr.Dirt, is not approaching. He was just there, two minutes ago.

So I head back again. This is what I find: A KTM with a flat battery. Dr.Dirt had huge laughs when I got towed last time... This is a opportunity I was not going to miss.

Dr.Dirt borrowed a piece of washing line from the nearby labourer's cottage while I got my camera out...

One of my new favourite pics:

With the KTM restarted the ride was back on - again.

We met up with Gryph and continued on our route. And what a brilliant route! This ride included a piece of road I have not ridden before and what a gem it was! Incredible that after all these years and all these rides I still discover new routes regularly. The Southern Cape truly is Dual Sport heaven.

Look at this!

This new section will definitely be included in a future Pillion run we're planning in the Southern Cape.

Some more scenery en views:

Mossel Bay in the distance:

A quick rest stop at a favourite spot:

(Photo by GravelTravel)

Haelkraal road:

The gravel roads heading to Herbertsdale:

We were having a brilliant ride (hence all the pics!). All this and we haven't even linked up to our previous ride yet!

(Photo by GravelTravel)

(Photo by GravelTravel)

Once in Herbertsdale we stopped for some refreshments.

(Photo by GravelTravel)

We decided to stop at the crossing where we'd link up with the previous ride for a rest and a cold one. Deal.

De Waal and I headed off but barely 1km down the road I realized the other 3 riders were falling behind. I stopped and waited and soon enough I saw them approaching... and take a turnoff and ride off in the distance. Now where are they going?

We waited for them to turn back.

We waited and waited. They did not turn back.

GravelTravel mentioned earlier that he still had the previous track on his GPS and on the previous ride we took that turnoff. I realized that they'll get to the crossing where we'd agreed to have a rest (via a LONG detour) so De Waal and I headed to the crossing.

It had much less water than last time.

We stopped, rested, waited and played:

And then we played some more. I love water crossings!

And still no-one arrived. Protocol dictates that when in doubt, everybody head back to the last point we all saw each other. So we rode back to Herbertsdale. Nothing. I phone Mrs. TR. She has spoken to them (they phoned her) but she was uncertain where they were. I gave her a point where we'd wait for them (the Gourits bridge on the N2) and she messaged them while we headed off.

Some more scenery:

There were no fences here, just open land, so we rode next to the road for a bit. Freedom.

While cruising along I happened to hear my phone ringing - it was the other group! As it turns out they were only a couple of kilometers from us! All's well that ends well. And what a cool group! In a situation like this you can easily find riders that become grumpy. No-one here did. We were on our bikes and if this was considered a problem I'll take problems like these every day.

Today we finish this ride!

Soon we were at the next crossing:

The old bridge is closed though.

This used to be a popular bungee jumping spot until the bridge was closed.

The national road between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth crosses the river 34 km west of Mossel Bay on one of the longest (219 metres) and highest (61 metres) bridges in South Africa, built in 1892. Construction of a new double-laned road bridge to replace the old bridge was begun during 1972.

The railway line between Riversdale arid Mossel Bay was opened in 1906 and crossed the river over the old road bridge, but a new railway bridge was built in 1931.

We were running late, but we only had one crossing left and the mission would be complete.

We hit the last piece gravel heading South to the Gourits River mouth. I slowed down for a photo at a scenic spot when I happened to hear my phone ringing... GravelTravel fell. Man, is this route jinxed or what!?

Luckily he was OK. He fell in the parking lot after his front wheel went flat while we were here.

Gryph was very proud that he's not the one with the puncture this time!

The tube was torn beyond repair and no-one had a spare 21" tube. Now what? A few quick phone calls and Berm_Rooster was on his way from Mossel Bay with a replacement tube. No questions, he left everything and came to help immediately. That's biker camaraderie.

De Waal took a power nap while we waited.

GravelTravel and Berm_Rooster with the official "Handing over of the Tube".

Berm_Rooster you tha' man!

By now we all realized that this ride was over. It was too late, we'd have to try and finish this mission on a 3rd ride. Talk about a jinxed route!

We hit the N2 and started to head home, but barely a few kilometers down the road... Dr.Dirt ran out of petrol!

You can guess what happened next... Dr.Dirt, who teased me for being towed for petrol had to be towed for petrol - by me! And everybody had their camera's and video camera's ready!

Karma's a bitch.

After we had our refills we finally headed home, but not before a quick stop at C-plaas.

Dusty and Pad, who had spoken to Mrs.TR, met us there.

Another eventful day. Once again we did not finish this ride, but we will dammit! We will be victorious!

We hope to ad Part 3 soon.

Our Route for today:

Download the tracklog here. Thanks Garmin and Tracks 4 Africa for making this possible.


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