My maiden bash

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Race Dog
WD Supporter
May 18, 2018
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Ever since the lockdown began the daily monotony of getting up, getting dressed, and moving over to my study to commence the day’s work was starting to get to me. I had a short break in December, but it was filled with family and things to do around the house. I had to get out. Out of the house. Out of the city.

When the opportunity arose to attend the EC bash, I signed up immediately even though I hardly knew anybody, bar some faces I’ve seen at an Oasis spitbraai or a group outride.

In the meantime, I join a Whatsapp group of folks attending the bash and I decide to join them just before Baviaans as I needed the initial solo ride to clear my mind.

As the days move closer I assemble all my bags and gear, start planning a route and wrap up the last bits of development work for the current sprint. The excitement and anticipation of the upcoming road trip are palpable. I keep on reading mixed reports of some unruly weather, but I do not pay much attention to them. Big mistake.

The day before my departure all hell breaks loose in the Overberg. My original plan was to visit [member=8769]Vulcan[/member] in Struisbaai, have a couple of whiskeys, a braai and just generally catch up ever since they moved out of the city (Dis Hemel op die Platteland). He sends me footage of the massive storm battering the area and it seems like any moment Noah himself will be sailing down Struisbaai Main road. To put this into context, [member=8769]Vulcan[/member] and I have a standard joke that if we want it to rain in the Sahara I should just plan a road trip there. On every single trip that I have planned and he has tagged along it has rained cats and dogs. The last trip to Oasis was no exception where we got drenched and froze our backsides off.

I devise a backup plan by avoiding the storm and slabbing it all the way to Prince Albert via Ceres and Touwsivier, but remain hopeful that if the storm passes I will still be able to stick to my original route. No such luck. The morning of my departure there are still massive disruptions and flooding in the Overberg. I phone up a guest house in Prince Albert and sort out accommodation for the evening, load the bike, and head for Ceres via Wellington and Gouda.

The road all the way to Prince Albert is uneventful and boring, my eyes are firmly fixed on the tarmac and my mind a million miles away from the office. The open road exposed to all the elements has a serenity that only fellow bikers will understand.

I reach Prince Albert, check into the guest house, slip into some comfy clothes and walk down the main road to get the blood flowing. I buy some take-away dinner head back to the guest house and just chill out by the pool, feeling slightly guilty about doing “nothing” during the week. The guilt quickly subsides as a take a couple of sips from my flask.

The next morning I head to the Lazy Lizard to grab some breakfast. I sit at one of the tables on the sidewalk to keep an eye on my bike and luggage (city paranoia). A chap walks past me and asks if I’m going to Baviaans. I nod and he introduces himself as [member=2052]Heimer[/member]. I attempt to shake his hand but he has some sort of injury. With breakfast done and dusted I head out to De Rust via Meiringspoort, Oudtshoorn, and Uniondale to join up with the Whatsapp traveling group.

Brief introductions occur, we fuel up and head out of Uniondale towards the entry of Baviaans. As the afternoon progresses we are treated to some spectacular dirt roads, rock formations, and scenery. We reach our destination at Doringkloof and everybody is eager to set up camp, get into some comfy attire and grab something to eat and drink. Complements to the catering team for the curry and rice!

As the evening progresses my rubber arm gets twisted and the refreshments keep flowing. We discuss how great and how crap KLR’s are (most of us are former/current owners so we are allowed to), but everybody agrees that trading your Africa Twin for a KTM is a rubbish idea. At some point, we call it quits and head back to our tents and I keep wondering if someone actually caught that bloody pig (Kom ons gaan varkie vang!!!)

The next morning I wake up slightly worse for wear and I don’t know if it’s just a hangover, dehydration, the onset of a bladder infection, or all three. Breakfast offers a very welcome respite and we contemplate a “hair of the dog” option to compliment the generous breakfast. A slight drizzle moves in. The group is keen on an outride, but I decide against joining as there will still be many miles ahead come Sunday and Monday.

The day is quickly filled with repairs to a neighbour’s KLR, watching Stef kicking everyone’s backside with chess, general musings about bikes and road trips, and having our fill of food and drink. Whilst everyone is chilling or riding the catering team constructs the spit for the festivities of the evening. The spit was magnificent and the catering team should feel very proud of themselves.

At dawn it was time to say our goodbyes to our neighbours and new acquaintances and head out towards the reserve. Once again we are treated to spectacular scenery, wildlife, some challenging dirt sections (I still consider myself a novice rider), and the infamous Smitskraal. I clear Smitskraal without incident with some sage advice from the more experienced riders in the group and feel quite accomplished as it was my first “water crossing”. Most of the Kloof’s riding happens without major incident bar one or two slow-motion tip-overs from some members in the riding party. The scenery mesmerized me to such an extent that I hardly took any pictures. We exit the Kloof and hit some more dirt towards Humansdorp. At this point, we are way behind schedule for our arrival in Wilderness and we skip Kareedouw and slab it towards the old Bloukrans pass. The old pass offers us a stark reminder that regardless of what humans build mother nature will eventually reclaim what is rightfully hers.

We exit Bloukrans pass and proceed to complete the first half of the 7 passes. Somewhere in the 7 passes one of the members in the riding party has an off. He is intact and uninjured, but the bike has some battle scars to show for his efforts. We arrive at our lodgings for the evening, attempt to book an Uber (I guess uber hasn’t arrived yet in the garden route) to the restaurant that Stef booked for us. Alas, no Uber, so we get on the bikes again. The food at the very unassuming Eatz in Wilderness is excellent, but after a long day in the saddle, we are all eager to chill back at the Flyers Lodge with a couple of drinks and coffee. Back at the lodge [member=23621]ultraflight[/member] is out to bamboozle us with his card tricks. Witchcraft I tell you! The full day on the road is starting to take its toll and we head off to bed. Tomorrow will be another long day in the saddle.

The Monday morning we head out to complete the second half of the 7 passes and from Klein Brak hit some more dirt to Mosselbaai where we stop for breakfast. At this point, half of the party needs to head back directly to Cape Town. Some take the coastal route via Stilbaai, Vermaaklikheid, and Witsand to where they can no longer carry on due to the badly damaged roads, whilst the other half slabs it back on the N2 where I split off towards Bredasdorp and Struisbaai.

The damage to the roads on my way to Struisbaai is quite extensive, but I manage to get through the still heavily flooded roads without any incident. That evening I am treated to some of the best fish and chips from Agulhas and the catch-up with [member=8769]Vulcan[/member] proves to quite a memorable one, with some reminiscing the good old days, moving to the platteland, and a variety of whiskeys to quench our thirsts.

The next morning after my Struisbaai pit stop I head back to Suburbia and reality.

Many thanks to all the guys and gals that made the trip a memorable one. ([member=23621]ultraflight[/member], Kenneth, Dewald, [member=18545]Ri[/member], Jaco, Henry, Albie , Stef and Katherine).

A special thank you [member=23621]ultraflight[/member]for meticulous route planning and ever so patient riding tips.

See you some time again EC Bash!

Below, the posse from the Relaxed Adventure Rides group



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