Monday, February 21, 2011

Route 62


The Route 62 Rally is the annual Rally organized by the H.O.G. Cape Town Chapter. It has been held in Oudtsoorn for the last couple of years, but rumour has it that this was the last Route 62 Rally to be held at this venue.

We start our ride with the the Breede River H.O.G. Chapter in Worcester and will follow the Route 62 to the site of the Route 62 Rally - Oudtshoorn - a ride of 311km.

Route 62 is modeled after the iconic US Route 66, made famous by the Nat King Cole song in 1946, that runs from Chicago to California. In South Africa Route 62 spans 850km from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and offers a better, more scenic alternative to the N2 motorway.

(Map from this website)

It meanders through Worcester, by way of the Breede River Valley, through Robertson, Ashton and Montagu, to the Klein Karoo and beyond.

And what better way to ride a route modelled after Route 66 than on a Harley-Davidson?

Not only does this road follow winding and spectacular mountain passes, it's also reputed to be the longest wine route in the world:

(Map from this website)

As it happens, this wine route map details the exact part of Route 62 - Worcester to Oudtshoorn - we'd be riding today.

So with Head HOG Hennie making sure the chapter's colours are packed, we hit the road to nearby Robertson for breakfast.

This was my first experience of the Harley "pack riding" and I made sure that I got in no-one's way nor made any erratic movements, but in the end my worries were unfounded as the Pack Riding thing is not really different to the way we do it, albeit in a lot closer proximity than what we do on gravel. Some logical hand signals are used to warn riders of any road hazards and everybody signals from the front to the back. Great care is taken to ensure the safety of the less experienced riders in the group.

After about 50km of pack riding we stop at Bourbon Street for breakfast.

This restaurant has seating right on the street and all the time we see more and more Harley's heading past, contributing to the already festive mood in the group. Everything points to an excellent weekend ahead.

Lots of chit-chat and laughter and some energy drinks for the road ahead:

On the way here I quickly realized that riding in the pack in close proximity to other riders is not going to be conducive to me taking a lot of pictures, so I use the time here at Bourbon Street to talk to the leader and sweeper about getting out out of the group for photo opportunities. A Ride Report will just not be a Ride Report without pictures. And just like that I am set free to ride ahead / fall behind as the need arises and simply joining the rear of pack in front of the sweeper when I catch up again.

And so we hit the road again riding through Ashton to the interesting rock formations of Cogmanskloof just outside of Montagu.

Hennie leading the pack of his Harley XR1200. This is the same Harley that joined us on our recent Moordenaarskloof trip.

Cruising on the winding R62 on my Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. The feeling of this trip was really starting to sink in by now and I was thoroughly enjoying the new experience.

Next stop - the famous Karoo Saloon - a popular Biker's stop about 20km from Barrydale:

This was turning out to be a very social ride. And what a nice group of people I happened to be in!

I don't know what this guy died of...

...but around here it wasn't of thirst.

Hitting the road towards Barrydale - we weren't in a hurry at all, but Route 62 has many more bikers stops to stop at.

My favourite stop: The Country Pumpkin in Barrydale. I have stopped here many times before - their biltong pizza is to die for.

And it was clear that it is not only my favourite stop as lots of Harleys decided to stop here. All along the route the festival atmosphere was almost tangible, with lots of Harleys riding and stopping all over, smiles and greetings everywhere.

More Route 62:

"My" Harley. I was getting used to this beast.

And the highway pegs are great. I wonder if I could attach some to my TransAlp somehow...

This day was seriously heating up and the leather clothing was not helping. Luckily our next stop - Ronnie's Sex Shop - was only 22km outside of Barrydale.

Route 62 is a real biker's route with bike stops scattered all along the route. I have stopped at most of these bike stops before, but always in passing while on the various gravel routes in the area, so "doing the Route" was a first.

Ronnie's is well known for the woman's underwear hanging from the ceiling:

As it turns out we got there a bit late because a new item was added earlier today:

You could keep busy here for hours reading all the graffiti and stuff.

Harley on gravel - could this work? I wonder...

Hennie, known as Horsepower among the Wild Dogs, getting on the gravel for a bit on the way to Ladismith.

It's easy to spot us Dual Sport riders, especially in a group of road bikers.

Heading towards Ladismith for fuel - notice the thunder clouds forming promising some respite from the heat.

Next up Huis river Pass en route to Calitzdorp:

The name Huis River Pass is derived from the Khoi word for "Willow Tree". Around 1882 this route was identified as an alternative to the older route "Caledon Kloof", a truly frightning pass at the time. The Huis River Pass was improved again in 1950 and today it ranks as one of the scenic passes in die Cape Province.

Gentle twisties - a cruiser's dream.

Last stop before our destination - Neverbetter in Calitzdorp.

Regular readers of this blog will remember this from Kermit's recent ride report. This time we didn't play on the Play Station though.

Finally, after spending the whole day on the road, we rode into the Rally site in Oudtshoorn for registration.

For some reason I have no pics after this...

The Rally only starts tomorrow but we've had a good head start. We have plans for an out-ride over Outeniqua Pass to George tomorrow before we rejoin the rally for some proper partying. If today was anything to go by this was going to be one hell of a weekend.

Sources:; Route


1 comment:

Clare Westby said...

I’ve never yet experienced close proximity “pack riding,” so this post is definitely very useful to me. I’ve always believed that, no matter how big the pack is, motorbike riding is still a very personal experience because, more often than not, you’re alone on your bike. It’s not like a van with other people riding in back with you. It’s just you and the bike, and a lot of other people and their bikes. You’re together, but at the same time, you’re experiencing everything alone, because riding a bike is a personal, individual experience.