Stop and smell the flowers (and taste the mud!)

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Challa

Race Dog
WD Supporter
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
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Bike
BMW F800GS
It was with great anticipation that I signed up for @ultraflight ‘s annual Nama Flower Tour as I did not have many riding opportunities during what felt like a very long winter. My last real trip was the annual EC bash which was also a wet and muddy affair.

Our planned route would take us from the Richwood Total via some back roads to Nama Bike Camp on Friday, onto Uitspankraal via Hel se Pad and back to Nama Bike Camp on Saturday, and back home via Oasis on Sunday. Plans are apparently just that, plans…

The general weather forecast was that Friday would be a slightly wet affair with sunny conditions for the rest of the weekend. As I load my bike on Friday morning all hell breaks loose with some gale force winds and heavy rains lashing my area. We anticipated some wet weather, but nothing like what I experienced on my way to our meeting point.

At our meeting point the rather large group starts to assemble, everyone sporting rain gear. The rain offers a brief respite and we are off. The tar back roads are decidedly humdrum and we meet the rest of the group at Malmesbury Engen. We hit the first real dirt roads at the back of Malmesbury and the “fun” has found us.

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The roads are muddy and snotty with an ice rink offering more traction. We have the first “off” of the day (with plenty to come) as the roads become worse and worse and the weather not showing any sign of easing up. Whilst we are slipping and sliding our way towards Piketberg I mumble some colourful words beneath my helmet. Let’s go see some flowers, they say…. It will be fun, they say… I have seen boggerol flowers !!!! The truck stop at Piketberg offers a welcome breather from the deluge as we enjoy a well deserved break and a hot cup of coffee.

Just outside Piketberg towards Eendekuil we have the first serious fall of the day with @ultraflight taking a nasty tumble and injuring his ankle in the process. Our initial thoughts are that his ankle is fractured or at best, seriously sprained. The bike has some scars to show for his efforts with the rear brake lever bent enough to give Uri Geller a hard-on and one rear brake pad completely obliterated. @ultraflight opts for self medication and a healthy dose of chutzpah . Onward!!!! The roads get muddier and more rutted and we decide to rather not tempt fate any further on the dirt and hit the tar towards Nama Bike Camp.

JJ did not get the office memo that we are going via tar and sticks to the original route. What a trooper!!!!

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We reach NBC without any other major hassles where a heated pool, cold beer and some delicious ribs awaits us. We settle in at the bar for some post-ride festivities and enjoy the feast of rugby. GO BOKKE!!!!

After a good night's rest and some clear skies above, it was time to enjoy some of the lekker roads the Namaqualand has to offer. Coordinating a large group of bikers is much like herding cats, as the plan is to have breakfast at Bagdad Cafe, but the group is scattered to the wind in an instant. The road just outside NBC is completely trashed as the big GS in front of me starts bobbing and weaving, dumping the rider and pillion unceremoniously into the mud. Eventually after some misdirection and detours we reach Bagdad Cafe for some skaapstert and roosterkoek for breakfast.

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After breakfast we have a group talk to reflect on the colossal stuff-up of getting to breakfast. We decide to split into two groups. Team “Proudly Teerkat” for those going to the quiver tree forest and Team Modderotter going via Hel se pad. I stick with Team Modderotter and we hit the road running just behind Bagdad cafe towards Hel se Pad. What used to be sand is now mud and sludge as we make very slow progress towards Hel se Pad. Ride paddle, ride paddle, ride paddle with the occasional tip-over. Distances meant to be covered in minutes turns into an hour.

Eventually we hit the mostly slate rock pass going over the mountain. This road offers a nice little challenge for adventure bikes with a good mixture of tweespoor and inclines to navigate. Somewhere on the pass I get ahead of myself with an over eager whiskey throttle just to drop the bike and perform my signature Interflora duikrol manoeuvre. I pick up the bike in disgust and carry on. The top of the pass offers a spectacular view of the Knersvlakte as we settle down for a water break.

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Over the mountain and on towards Nieuwoudtville we FINALLY see some flowers as the veld shows off its colours. After a quick fill up we head towards Matjiesfontein guest farm where we indulge in a sweet treat or two and some even opt for the afval (which was apparently very nice, I hear). Plans are just plans and it is evident that Uitspankraal and back to NBC is a bridge too far. We call it a day as we head back towards base via some back roads (that we were supposed to take in the morning).

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Back at NBC we head for the bar and the pool to reflect on the days riding and vistas. We are treated to a delicious lamb braai as the night closes in over the Namaqualand. Sunday morning is a familiar route back to the suburbs via the Cederberg, Ceres and Bainskloof pass.

Many thanks to @ultraflight for the lekker trip, smooth logistics and the group of riders that turned very challenging conditions into a very memorable trip.

See you on the road again some time!


P.S. I did not get the forum names of all the dogs on the trip. Feel free to add your chirps, anecdotes and photos here :)
 
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