Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Close to Cumming (GA that is)
Falls of many kinds
Trip Day 2: Augrabies - Port Nolloth (First Corner)
I'd been excited about seeing the big five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhinoceros) up close and personal during this trip, but what Mikie found in his bedroom when he woke up, although smaller, was almost as intimidating. A pretty healthy looking scorpion had made it's way into his room and I'm guessing a sting from this puppy would've put quite a dent in anyone's future plans. Not sure if there was any truth to the rumor that it was the hotel pet, but any enthusiasm we had for breaking out our camping gear was rapidly evaporating.
Breakfast anyone? Mikie's unwanted house guest posing for the camera
Before setting off for the day, it was time to visit the Augrabies falls (which had been closed the night before). Signing it right at opening time, it was hoped that we'd get a jump on the crowd, have breakfast at the park's restaurant, see the falls and be out of there in no time. However, as in the US, national parks and their employees don't seem to be in that much of a hurry for anyone, so it ultimately took a while to get going.
Breakfast/lunch at Augrabies.
Couple of shots of the falls at Augrabies.
Another member of the 'small' five? A Dassie at Augrabies
Once on the road, we still needed gas and that involved a few more wrong turns which put us in the hole -timewise - even more. However when we did finally get rolling. it became apparent that we were in for more flat/straight Nevada style riding that at least was good for making time. This area is known for being a high speed testing ground where a lot of the world's car manufacturer's come to prove out new designs. Therefore, with the chances of any hindrance from law enforcement being at a minimum there appeared to be even less regard for the nominal speed limits than usual (if that's possible).
Hmmm, more straight road, let's....
......take a few riding photos of us....
......look ma, no hands (at 100mph)
Can't think why we got no pictures of Paul and Cindy at this time...
The route continued down to Sprinkbok, where it turned right and headed to Steinkopf, subsequently taking a left towards Port Nolloth. Here we encountered the first real twisty roads of the trip at Anenous pass where the two smaller GSs for once were able to keep up somewhat, and the bikes handled well on the curvy roads. Both Gary and I had joked with our friends back home about not being too concerned about the local wildlife chasing us as long as we weren't the slowest in the group. Well.... However, the road soon turned arrow straight again as we headed west. Along this stretch of the road, the temperatures were 100F or better and the wind gusted quite forcefully, which made for some arduous riding conditions. Predictably though, as we approached the coast the temperature dropped considerably (low 70's) and by the time we hit the beach front at Port Nolloth, the wind had turned into a refreshing breeze.
Coming into Sprinkbok, Mikie spotted a roadside vendor selling 'Mini-Di's'. He bought one and she rode along on the top of the GS's pannier for the rest of the trip - dancing merrily the whole way.
A corner - earlier today.
The road to Port Nolloth was desolate and beautiful.
Koshik finally attempts to get a good pic of his true love - but Narissa ruins it (again)
Once on the beach front, we immediately located a pretty cool Italian restaurant - Vespetti's. We got chatting to the owner (Chris), who it turned out had done the same trip some years ago on a Vespa.
Legend has it that upon seeing Port Nolloth, he decided he was quitting his day job and opening a seafront restaurant right there. The ultimate biker makes good story? He claims he's got a Vespa mounted ride for charity through the whole African continent planned in a couple of years time. The food was good too.
Chris - the intrepid Vespa riding host at Vespetti's
Continuing our good fortune, a really nice beachfront cottage, capable of sleeping all eight of us was located a few hundred yards from the restaurant, for the princely sum of about $10 each!
Booking the cottage (no Flinstone jokes please).
They had a couple of small shipwrecked vessels washed up onthe beach, that were now 'tourist attractions'.
We dumped our gear and headed out to hit the first corner (Alexander Bay), which was located about 50 miles north of Port Nolloth. Unencumbered with luggage, we got the chance to test the upper reaches of the bikes' performance envelopes and in a straight line the little GSs hit 120mph without any trouble. They were stable enough at that speed too, although there was evidence of a slight headshake (nothing serious).
The last couple of miles was dirt/sand road, where the sanity of bringing a dual sport bike on a trip like this was starting to become apparent to the road bikers (probably not ). We even got the big GS briefly stuck in the sand at the seafront trying to maneuver it into position as a camera holder. Gary and I were tasked with transporting the passengers out of the sandy terrain, during which time I twisted my knee and was subsequently limping for the next couple of days (I'm guessing possible meniscus tear, but no Dr. visit so far)
A rare pic of Paul and I in the same zip code
A road bike - stuck...........
......oh go on then, one more...........
.....'Let's see, I could probably get 5000 Rand for this piece of $*^t, then buy a KLR' .....
The South African Formation Hernia team going for a world record of 35 simultaneously slipped disks, while moving the GS (aka 'tripod') out of the sand.
'This one's for you, Dave.' I found this sign on the beach and thought it'd make a good pic. However, it became oddly appropriate upon hearing that MotoBerlin's owner had suffered a total loss on a 1200ADV, when riding too close to the surf, getting the bike stick and having the tide wash it out to sea.
Ten second Mikie lives!
Eventually: FIRST CORNER COMPLETED
Back at Port Nolloth, we returned once more to Vespetti's, where some of us attempted to deplete their alcohol reserves over another excellent meal.
....and another so-so sunset at Vespetti's
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment....
Douf screwed with this post 03-25-2009 at 12:48 PM