After the great time i had in the Graskop area it was a bit of a shock to hit the high life of Pretoria. I booked into a local B/Packers, but it turned out to full of the younger set, not a lot of sleep or rest for me. The second nite it got that bad that i moved my gear to the driveway where my bike was and slept there, rather nice. Was even better when the owner didnt charge me for the nite.
While in town i caught up the the local bikers at the Dros pub again. Had a nice nite of beer and food. I still to this day dont know how i found my way there or back, not because of drink, just lack of road knowledge.
In Petoria i took time out to get my movie fix, saw 2 movies in one day, nice.
While in Pretoria i did the movie thing at the local cinema and booked my plane flight to Ireland. The Story with Ireland is that i find i need a break from my travels in Africa, so Ireland will be it from early June.
A few days break in Pretoria and on the road again. The first day out id not even got out of the general area and i came across a bike race meeting. It was free entry as it was just a local club meet but for several hours i had a great time watching the locals do their stuff and checking on the machinary in the pits.
After the race meeting i arrived in Potch taking a room near town to sort out some washing etc.
Back in Potchefstroom, i caught up with the locals id meet 3 months previous. I took time with Anton at his bike shop 'Bikes Paradise", to do a general service on my bike. Was great to have a place to work out off and chat bikes, drink beer, read bike books and generally just hang.
I also went to see Kobus at the Elgro Hotel, took me 2 goes to find him in but finally we got to have a chat. Whitey the elderly barman had a stroke not long after my last visit. I was very sad about that, the stroke has meant he is unable to work, well at this stage, so i missed seeing him.
At Potch i also made a new friend at Anton work shop, Tony. Tony is the general helper at Antons. Tony and i got along well so i went to his place for the nite, but not before we had been to his local to down a few. At home i meet his sister and Brother in law and got see Tonys colection of posters and assorted models. Nice nite.
All roads headed north, well they would if only id follow them. My plan was to leave Potch and go directly north to cross the main hwy.N4 at Rustenburg. But no Brians that silly he just follows his nose and gets himself bush wacked for half the day. Mind u i did get to where i wanted so u could say i did OK.
GOD BUY ME A GPS.
I think that would make a nice song. LOL.
That nite i camped at a nice camp ground, just north of Thabazimbi, just south of my destination, the Wildlife Rally at Ellisras.
My first Rally in South Africa was to be an education. The Rally is not like im used to, being held in/at a lodge/game park. Very different from the bush Rallys i do in Australia. Nice just the same, but loud. Music 24/7 and drink. The boys up there can drink, i spent 3 days with them and the next 3 days getting over it all.
I got a mention at the awards and meet so many many people. I was welcomed extremly well. I had some much free it just blow me away. Not that i didnt pay for it in all the jokes that where put on me being a "Sheep rooter" and other such lovely things.
Part of the weekend was a pub run. Now to me this is crazy, but boys will be boys so off i went with them to the pub. We, as in Motorcycles took over the town. It was fun but rather dangerous, with all the crazys doing high speed racing with all the people just walking around. I did hear a lad did die that same day, very sad but after what i saw not surprising.
Love Kimberly, even more so as they had tyres for the bike. The tyre id had on the rear that i bought in Lasarka in Zambia, was throwing of the knobs and running very badly indeed. This combined with the wearing-out front made the bike do some very weird things, rather dangerous actually. A more reasonable person would have changed them there and then but this is me, i just tied them on the back, feeling comfort in knowing i had spares. Well i figured, what could go wrong.
Had u there, u thought some thing went wrong, well it didnt, thank god.
In Kimberly i stayed at the same Back packers as before. If i like a place or a person i go back. In Kimberly i did a bit of a walk got a hair cut and generally looked at the town again.
Kimberly to Carnarvon, nice country side, cleaner, neat homes and friendly smiles from the locals. Great dirt roads, lots of fun, even on my bad tyres.
At Carnarvon i took a camp spot in a van park. One other occupant. Great showers and spacious grounds, R20 per nite, what a bargain. Well thats what i thought before my so called sleep. Would be the loudest town ive ever known, dogs, donkeys, cars, people, all nite it kept up, and the park is actually on the outskirts of town.
I know ive said it before, but its funny how things happen.
Was in a small town just north east of Vrendenal, taking a break from the heat. There i was just sitting out side a shop drinking my fanta. Car pulls up a couple get out. Where are u from the say, i go into the usual story, gee they say do u know theres a Bike Rally just down the road. Funny how it goes.
That nite i was at the Rally, free entry,free 'T' shirt, badges,won longest distant rider( and that was because i actually did more than any other that day) not because i was Aust.
Also meet some local boys from Cape Town and was given food, booze and conversation. Great Rally, Great nite.
From the Rally i headed towards the coast, all a nice day and my tyres where still hanging in. At the coast i saw something completely new for me, mind u it did look like a scene from a movie. Its was the mist/fog rolling in from the sea. I just stood there fixed and amazed by the site. Before i realised the mist/fog had hit land and i could see no more than a few meters. I took photos but not so sure how they will look. The fog/mist lifted in some spots so i road on still rather amazed at w3hat i had seen.
That afternoon i got to Lamberts Bay, well i could not see the bay as the mist/fog id seen earlier had taken over the town. It was not till the next morning, after a great nite with DSTV, that i saw the Bay in all its glory. Sorry, DSTV is like cable/satilite TV where u get lots of movie channels, love it.
I realise now that the Photos have not come out well. Ill be looking into them and hopefully get them nicer. Basically the 4 here are of the rode nth of Cape town, my tyres distruction, the pass south towards Hout Bay, and a shot of Table Maintain.
I didnt spend a lot of time in Cape Town, no real reason just didnt appeal to me. I found a Caravan Park at Hout Bay that had all that i needed and wanted. Funny place actually, the Van park, it was actually an animal farm. There where all manner of animals, ducks, sheep, horses, goats, dogs, cats and many more besides. U had to be carefull where u stood and walked for all the droppings.
Here i did tyre changes, oil/filter and general check over of the bike. Its was also at Hout Bay that it started to rain and get rather cool. So for the first time this trip i used my leather pants, where as before id ride in my denims.
I took a day out site seeing down at the bay, had a great feed of rollmops and fish. I was sitting at a bench enjoying my meal when a hobbo came up and sat there with me. He kept looking at my food so i shared it with him. I asked him how he got to be in such a state in life, he just kept eating, so i was none the wiser. After the shared meal he begged for money, i quite bluntly said no and left him to his world.
Thats me at the southern most tip of Africa.
From Hout Bay its a great great ride east along the coast. I made for Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa and where 2 oceans meet. One ocean is cold water and the other warmer, so they tell me, i did not jump in to test. The weather was rather cold and very windy, im not sure if thats quite normal, for that part of the country.
I booked into the local Backpackers in Cape Agulhas. After the last few days of heavy drinking i was to take time out. I did a walk to town and had a lemon squash at the local pub. Other than that Cape Agulhas was rather quiet, being the off season.
Heading east it was rather windy and rained slightly, nice mountains and mist was the order of the day. Talking about mist, i was having a bit of a problem with my motorcross goggles, they had lost most of their foam and the lenses where rather scratched. Try finding googles in George, i went to every bike shop and where where they, yes the last one in my search. At the bike shop i was served by a very helpfull lad, he even did an add-on sale of tear-offs for the googles. Great invention but i personally found them a bit noisy.
Something about being a lone bike rider, everyone wants to ask u how u do it by yourself, dont u get lonely, what if something goes wrong. It was no differant at the bike shop. Just love talking to people like that, LOL, realy makes my confidence collaps. Seriously though, its nice to have people interested in what im upto, i dont mind repeating the same words day in day out. Ive not had one bad experiance in all my trips and if i have ive now forgotten.
A nite in George then nth. to Graaff-Reinet, where in the center of town is a big old church, well worth the time to look. From there i took a dirt side road to a historic town, Neiu-Bethesda. Very original type of town sort of hidden in the ranges to the west of the hyw.
My main goal was to reach Colesburg and attend the Ulysses Rally, and what a waste of the word Rally. It was not so much a rally as a country fair that motorcyclists where invited to. The only up side was the great people i meet and the country feel of the fair. I watched sheep dog trials, strong man comps and the like but nothing to actually to do with motorcycles. I was disapointed i think ill hand back my Usless club badge. I was also the only person not to stay in a motel, what a bunch of girls. I did win the rat bike award, so i gess there was some motorcycle stuff.
From Colesburg i headed on to Venterstad, Ladygrey and into Rhodes. Nice day, in Rhodes i took a spot at the caravan park, i was the only gest. That nit i joined the locals and others at the Bar at the hotel on the hill. A cold walk back to the tent and an even colder nites sleep, well i was warm in my Bag but it was cold going to the loo.
From Rhodes i took a very windy, rocky, slow ride up and over a mt. pass in to Maclear. The pass was such great fun but boy was it cold and then cold. I took lunch in Maclear at ' Lisas kitchen' very nice it was. Rather funny when an old lady, local, came in and started stipping, i thought thats my luck, why was it not a nice young lady. From what i gathered she was a little crazy and this is not uncomon, the joys of travel.
Maclear led me to Kokstad then down into Durban, the Indian capital of South Africa. I took some tourist drives of Durban and did a little internetting while there. Checked out the beaches then moved on to Underburg where i got a nice cabin and spent the nite with the local farmers at the pub. Cold nite.
Underburg is not far from the SaniPass. This was also one of my goals.
The joy i felt on arriving at the top of Sani Pass is something i hope i remember for a long time. 7klm of rocks, sharp bends, wet/ice corners, changing light, and passing 3/4x4s going the same way while all the while going up hill. No room or want to stop, put the foot down or even slow down to much. I found it rather nerve racking but joyfull at the same time. This done fully loaded with gear and fuel, and no one to help me pick it up if something had gone wrong, the joys of solo travel.
After the ritual of a beer at the pub, highest pub in Southern Africa, so they say. I was into Lesotho propper. Slow going generally, keeping an eye out for the locals on horseback and the great views.
I spent one nite in Lesotho then down into Bloomfontein. Bloom as they call it is a nice city of resonable size, i gess the most noicable thing for me is all the students, and student accomidation. Lots of places where full so i took the caravan park, this turned out much to noisy, being near the hyw, and had no washing facilities. I moved the next day to find a small room in a large complex of unites at a fair price. I stayed around Bloom for a few days doing general stuff including a service on the bike. I meet some lovely people at the local Kawasuki dealer that where very happy to let me use some of their floor space. I like going to dealers to do my services, serves several purposes, gives me a place to off load oil and gets me to meet new people who are into bikes. I find the bike shops generally dont charge, but as a curtisy i generally buy them some beers or what ever.
Windy and cold as i moved on from Bloomfontein. I kept to the side of Lesotho, going through Brandfort, Ficksburg, Bethlehem to find a motel in the coldest town yet, Clarens. I meet a local who took me out on a drive, in his warm 4x4, along some back roads, it was a very pleasurable morning but very cold.
I spent the other part of the day going to every shop in town, very touristy but nice enough. Seems im in the place at the correct time of year as its not high season, they tell me u can not move for people in the peak times.
The next day at breakfast i had a veiw looking to the east at some mountains, and what do i see, Snow. I never new that there was snow South Africa, how travel broadens the mind.
Pleased i put the new tyres on in Cape Town as they have been a great asset on the windy roads ive been on in the last week or so.
From Clarens i went nth/east to where some war sites are ,BLOODRIVER, (from the Zulu/Bore wars) well thats what i got out of it. I saw the wagon train memorial that they've built there, bloody amazing, thick sheets and beams of copper, the cost had to be out of this world. It always amazes me how much we put in to remembering the dead but still go on taking the lives of the living, strange us humans.
The following weekend brought me to another Rally, at 'White Mountain' on the eastern edge of Lesotho, but still in South Africa. Meet and made some nice friends, some who ran the food stalls for the Rally. I joined in on the slow race and the engine tossing competition. No prizes but great fun just the same.
It was at this Rally that i was interviewed by a couple who regularly put articals in Bike Magazines. After many questions and a few photos, they said they had enough to go off. I hope to see my lovely picture in a mag., sometime.
Thats my cruze control, actually not my idea, stole it of a mate, thanks Chris. Its so simple and cheap, one hose clamp, one 4" nail, one small washer, little hit with welder, and one cruze control.
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