2014-08-17 End of Winter Run - Darling, Moorreesburg, Malmesbury, Blouberg

We anticipated a small group for an end of winter ride up to the West Coast to see the beginnings of the flower season and just to get out and shake off the winter chills. It was an absolutely perfect day, and to our surprise we ended up being a group of 12 riders that left Table View at around 8am. It was really nice to have the Luden family (Buds, Yvonne, Robin, Kaylee) riding with us again and it was pleasing to see how Robin and Kaylee’s riding skills have improved. Well done girls!

We headed off to Melkbos and on the tar past Atlantis.  The first stretch of gravel helped give everyone a chance to test their skills on gravel and I quickly got into my groove.  Although the Nav and I returned from a 7 day tour on our KLRs a week ago, we couldn’t wait to get out on the bikes and were excited to be riding in our own backyard again.  Apart from the usual KLR’s there were some BMW’s, a Yamaha and a Zonshen 200 with road tyres and a very loud exhaust.  One of the KLR’s ridden by Eddie who by the way is a Steve Hoffmeyer look-alike (pictures never lie.. have a look below) – even shares the same birthday, had never done any gravel before, so it promised to be an interesting day.

Breakfast was efficiently served by Maggie and her crew at Briggs Barn in Darling and after coffee the group headed off to Moorreesburg on one of the lesser-used roads.  The road was quite bad in places with a shale covering about an inch thick.  We all had a splash at a puddle in the road, some bigger than others…  Miguel on the Zongshen must have been having a hard time, although he wasn’t complaining, instead looked like he was thoroughly enjoying those “on the edge moments”.  Steve (Eddie) on the other hand was a bit shaken when we got to the end of this slippery stretch of gravel road.    The Yamaha’s front brake calliper decided to fall off and Saffron, her hubby Stuart and Miguel had to ride back home at the first tar road.

The remainder of the group took a somewhat unusual farm road next to a railway track past Rust station and through a couple of farm gates, eventually coming out in Mooreesburg.  As expected, we were confronted by a few farm gates, luckily for the Nav they were all unlocked.  The Canola is in full bloom, and the daisy show is starting.  The planted wheat is green in the fields and the views are spectacular at this time of the year.  The midges around the canola are also something else and we made sure not to stop too often for fear of being attacked by these little critters.

We passed through Malmesbury and took the old bumpy road to Botterberg and back to Melkbos, eventually winding up where we started from with a further stop for an Eish cream at Tableview beachfront.  It was a welcome relief as by this time the thermometer had reached mid 20’s and we were all getting a bit hot in our riding kit.

The Route
The group met up at Table View beachfront
Gravel road between Mamre and Darling
trust the Nav to be the first to get going  again.....no wonder he is also known as Rolex
what a beautiful winter's day.. more like summer really!
Buds and Kaylee waiting for the rest of the Luden family to catch up
How awesome that mom, dad and daughters ride together?  The Ludens ROCK!
quite wet and sandy in places but not a deterrent for us duallies
not the usual Stuart...although they share a love for BMW's
Yvonne leaning in...
Yvonne keeping a safe distance behind daughter Robin
Eddie (aka Steve Hofmeyer) 
here comes Miguel
there goes Miguel
damp/compacted sand is better than dry sand... #justsaying
quite wet in places but nothing that the group couldn't handle - go Saffron!

Pannas & the other Stuart doing the sweep.. more like mopping...
not quite a duallie but the other Stuart managed well enough on his BMW - well done! 
someone has to stop and smell the wheat
Smile for the  camera Pannas!
Nice pic of yours truly - thanks Eddie!
Pannas and Shah (KLR Clanners) sure love their cammo gear! United by what they wear..(and ride)
Eddie on his blue KLR - another blue KLR to put a smile on the Nav's dial
The Nav leading the pack after breakfast in search of gravel roads to Moorreesburg
REAL horsepower
lots of water around

Shah looking on as Eddie makes a splash 
next up was Buds
OK, so not much of a splash from me this time!
not a bad attempt from Saffron who came a close second
hubby Stuart right behind his lady
 Kaylee gets first prize for the biggest splash

up next was Robin

not bad Yvonne!

last but not least - Pannas making less of a splash

The Nav and Shah enjoying the sunshine
Like father, like daughter (Buds and Robin) 
see that gravel road over there, that's where we are going next, says the Nav
a welcome leg stretch after 24kms of rather wet, sandy and slippery gravel
Steve, shaken not stirred, a gravel virgin no more....
Robin looking on as the last three riders approach the group - what took them so long?
and now we know... - spot the brake calliper strung up with a stretchy
Saffron's front brake calliper vibrated clean off her front wheel - thanks to the very corrugated gravel road no doubt!  Apparently not an uncommon problem for Yamahas (I googled it)
Saffron all smiles as Pannas gives her a big hug for coping so well
Saffron, Stuart & Miguel hightailed it back home on tar - good thing her hubby is a mechanic
On the road again with the Nav finding some off the beaten tracks (Rust farm Mooreesburg)
there was no road before we got there
another gate?  locked?  phew, thankfully not...

although I kick up a fuss at times about the 'unknown' (sorry Nav), I do so enjoy when the Nav finds new roads for us to ride, like this one!  
Yvonne doing a tight downhill turn on her beast - much respect! 
Steve, Buds, Pannas and Shah, the gate keeper
leg stretch just outside Moorreesburg
The Nav, all smiles and in his element!
The Swartland, a scenic paradise for dual purpose riders
my Pièce de résistance
BMW riders do it standing up... Kaylee giving the ride a thumbs up 
Robin hot on her sister's wheels
The Swartland, the topic of many a photographer's lens
Did you know? This incredibly beautiful, yet often overlooked, area is named for its wide fertile plains that, after the rains in winter, turn black (swart land means black land in Afrikaans). The wide, fertile plains are filled with golden wheat fields that have contributed to its status as the bread basket of the Cape. 
This is the closest that my KLR will come to 'canola oil'...
makes for a pretty picture though
wait, just one more pic....
Shah and I reckon that his Fugly must be the same vintage as the tractor in the background
wait up Nav!
shortcut to Malmesbury
back where we started
It was hot and we needed an Eish cream...

A perfect ending to a perfect day!
Thanks to all the riders for making it a fantastic ride.  Buds & Yvonne, Kaylee, Robin, Shah, Eddie, Pannas, Stuart, Saffron, Miguel and of course the Nav and I had a fantastic time out on our 2 wheels enjoying the splendour of the West Coast and the Swartland countryside.

Till next time, safe travels everyone

- Ang -
4 wheels moves the body, 2 wheels moves the soul 

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