The number of public holidays in April gives us so many opportunities to get out on the bikes – to relieve the stress from running a business that is very quiet at the same time, so on Freedom Day April 27, we headed out into the Cederberg for a 3 day adventure.
The usuals (Paul, Erich, Ang and David) were joined by Grant Else, a Canadian Australian who is planning on travelling up through Africa on the Africa Twin that belonged to David for a short time. Stuart, rather inconveniently, had to work!
Day 1 started more leisurely than usual – the Nav is becoming soft – with an 8.30 departure from Richwood on an overcast and misty day. We tracked the back roads of Durbanville through to Wellington and up Bainskloof pass where a quick stop at the top to appreciate the view saw Erich attempt to self-destruct by unintentionally jumping off the top. Did the earth move for you Erich?
Breakfast at the Old Mill just before Ceres was great, and we were accompanied by the owner’s dog – a cross between a Great Dane and Staffie by the name of Tubeless! All our bikes have tubes. We headed on to Ceres for fuel before heading off on the R355 to the Tankwa Padstal. Erich’s day didn’t get any better as he and Grant rode straight past the Padstal with David and me frantically setting chase to catch up with them to turn them back to the Padstal. Not an insignificant feat on a KLR! We reached our top speed (+/- 135km/h), and that with overtaking two 4x4’s kicking up so much dust that we could hardly even see the road. Erich is now known as Blindspot Potgieter.
After a short break, we headed through Swartruggens, Katbakkies and onto Oasis in Ceres. Paul and the rest of the group were fortunate to be able to learn 1st world group riding techniques so generously shared by Grant. On these trips there are some interesting characters that you meet, and “Insane Wane” certainly falls into that category. Please don’t ever tell this man that an Africa Twin can get 20km/litre! Oasis is famous for Gerrit, the steak and ribs dinners, and Chantelle didn’t disappoint. Palleo can wait for another day. Early to bed in prep for day ahead.
We headed towards Eselbank on Day 2 after breakfast and reached the little village without incident. We were told that the road was bad, and it seemed that only Blindspot was listening as he decided to take a horizontal break in the sand. It appears that the demons from day 1 were still following him. In addition, his Suzuki DR is suffering from old age, and decided to jettison its starter button, so now Blindspot needs a screwdriver to short the contacts as well as move the ignition where the key has previously broken off. For the rest of the trip we were treated (with some amusement) to Erich trying to hold an ignition switch, a screwdriver and twist the throttle at the same time. Three hands were needed and occasionally someone would assist once the laughter had subsided.
A tricky decent into Wupperthal followed with the roads in poor condition, and down the 30km’s or so Biedouw Valley to the Doring River. A group of 4x4 enthusiasts were taking their time to get across as the river was quite deep. The Nav displayed the gung-ho leadership skills that he is famous for, and made it through without too much trouble. Paul and I followed, with Erich stalling in the middle. Now the screwdriver start method became an instant liability and the ageing DR having a distinct dislike for water meant that we had to pull the bike through. Grant got the Africa Twin through with a little help, and obviously the DR wouldn’t start. We resolved to push it to the top of a hill and tow it further in 3rd gear. Fortunately the bike fired-up fairly easily when towed by the Nav’s KLR, which was a good thing as the road got progressively worse from there.
The rest of the trip to Karoo Kitchen and Clanwilliam was through a very special part of the country, the Tankwa Karoo and Botterkloof. The DR managed to lose the use of its front brake and threw itself down again, clearly in an old-age tantrum. In fact Erich was responsible for another off when he got to a tricky section too fast, and without the luxury of a front brake.
We refuelled in Clanwilliam, and headed through to the Cederberg to Oasis where we arrived just after dark, after having witnessed a spectacular sunset, everybody hungry and tired after 10 hours in the saddle.
Day 3 -We headed to Citrusdal via Algeria, and through the passes back to Ceres, stopping to lubricate our chains which were getting noisy. A light lunch and a final stop at the Calabash was appreciated before we headed over Bainskloof and home our separate ways.
Both Paul and Eric’s speedo cables joined the junk pile, and Erich took the DR straight to his mechanic. Most people have a personal trainer – Blindspot has a personal mechanic!
The bikes do take a hammering though, and the Nav’s radiator broke again, while my bike also required some repairs and a speedo cable.
Day 1 - to Oasis via Ceres/Tankwa Pastall/Katbakkies
|Erich, the dirt rider!|
|ltr Erich, Grant, the Nav, Paul|
|unusual sighting - the 'whole group' in one pic...|
|Tubeless loving the attention from Paul|
|This tree had us stumped....|
|The petrol tanker|
|Bo-swaarmoed just after Ceres|
|We took a right....|
|Weather beaten sign|
|ltr Grant, Paul, the Nav - waiting for Erich...|
|finally got Erich aka Blindspot Potgieter back to the Padstal|
|Paul giving in to his 'inner child'...|
|Katbakkies, now aka 'uitkak' bakkies|
|Oasis in sight|
|the view from our balcony at Oasis... one of my FAVOURITE views ever!|
Day 2 Oasis to Wupperthal/Clanwilliam/Cederberg/Oasis
|Checking tyre pressures before heading off to Eselbank|
|next stop (for some) Wupperthal|
|Erich struggling to find a suitable parking spot for his DR|
|Oops.. I missed the tumble. Starting the search Erich?|
|A spring has sprung!|
|Paul's "inner child" coming out again? SUCH fun!|
|some fellow riders passing on their 200's - ideal for the sand no doubt!|
|Nic, the previous owner of Grant's Africa Twin shared this pic with us of his tumble the day after we went through the same spot! See Erich, you are in good company...|
|It now takes 3 hands to get the DR started|
|slow descent down to Wupperthal|
|Erich on his way to the Doring River via the Biedouw Valley|
|the Nav hot on Erich's heels|
|Grant on his Africa Twin|
|Capturing Erich's DR being pushed across the Doring River by the Nav|
|many hands make lighter work|
|It was "this deep" the last time David and I crossed this river in October last year, says Paul|
|the guys pushing the DR up the hill -what goes up.....|
|The Nav towed the DR and thankfully it started.....|
|and off he goes|
|the beautiful Tankwa Karoo|
|the Nav soaking up the energies of the Tankwa Karoo - spectacular views|
|looming sunset as we make our way back to Oasis|
|Paul in the distance|
|Paul closing in|
|The most SPECTACULAR sunset I have witnessed on my KLR - only in the Cederberg!|
10 more minutes before we reach Oasis!
|it might have been a blur but it was DELISH! Thanks Chantall & Gerrit!|
|Yum yum.... Grant tucking into the ribs|
|Paul deservedly tucking into his steak and chips after a long day in the saddle!|
Day 3 - Oasis/Algeria/Citrusdal/Oppie Berg/Ceres/home
|Paul, Erich and Grant stayed in the tented camp. Getting their bikes ready for the day|
|Could this be a sign for a trouble free day for the DR?|
|what a view!|
|last leg stretch as we leave the majestic Cederberg|
|We NEVER get tired of this view...|
An awesome weekend was enjoyed by all and we look forward to the next one.
Adventure riding doesn’t get any better than this that’s for sure. I can now tick off another destination from my bucket list - Eselbank/Wupperthal.
Thanks Nav for the amazing route planned for us and thanks guys for joining us on our adventures and for the memories made.
We look forward to the next one.
Till next time everyone…
“the brand is not important, but that you ride IS!”