Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Close to Cumming (GA that is)
Riddle me this: What weighs a ton and hates sand?
Trip Day 3: Port Nolloth - Lambert's Bay.
Bright and early we departed Port Nolloth and set out for Lamberts Bay. The first 50 or so miles was backtracking the previous day's mileage up over Anenous pass and back to Springbok (where we would continue south on the N7). However, things proverbially went south in a hurry as Cindy, Gary and I hit Steinkopf pretty much in unison, but the rest of the group failed to show up. We waited and waited but still no sign. Eventually, just as we were about to backtrack, the rest of the group appeared. Apparently Di had left her purse at the cottage in Port Nolloth and had gone back to get it.
'Purse? Oh, Crap!'
With that mini-crisis behind us, more of the same fairly straight roads led back into Springbok, where breakfast was served at the inevitable Wimpy.
Wimpy - our daily shrine to all things bland and inexpensive......
Loving the ambiance.
Cindy and Mikie checking on their Wimpy stock prices - probably.
Once breakfast was choked down we remounted and set off in some seriously hot weather (100F and more). I was hoping we might be getting close to the coast line in order to enjoy some of the cooler temperatures there, but apparently this part of the country is home to a large portion of the diamond mining industry, so for some reason they don't have too many roads running through there.
Further south, we stopped at Garies, which Chris at Vespetti's had recomended for some excellent Biltong (a South African style beef jerky - although it's not necessarily made from beef). However, quite why my local friends were so keen on partaking of this alleged delicacy when they seemed quite happy to endure the daily Wimpy was entirely beyond me. YMMV
The stop did provide the ultimate opportunity for our resident road sign afficionado though. It doesn't get any better than this, eh Gary?
Further South the road bikes parted company from the GS's and carried on down the paved road to Lamberts Bay. There appeared to be some good off road alternatives, which by this stage more closely followed the coastline; so we thought it'd be a good idea to try those
We rode a few kms of easy twin track gravel until we got a little closer to the coast and then the road turned back to paved. Blistering hot conditions were prevalent to within a hair's breadth of the coast, but at that point the temperature subsided a little.
It was rather hot....
I saw some beautiful coast line real estate and came across a number of idyllic seaside towns. For some reason I hadn't really considered the amount of coastline that's possesed by this country (duh!), but it has some of the most beautiful coastal scenery imaginable.
The scenery made up for the heat......
Wine Country anyone?....
Eventually the road turned back to dirt and at a fork in the road, we were presented with an option to hit a coastal stretch that was marked 'suitable for 4x4 vehicles' only. Seemed like a good idea at the time, so the three of us carried on down this route in a fairly uneventful fashion until we came through a gate with a sign that warned of sand up ahead. The trail immediately turned to pretty deep soft sand. I was a bit nervous about my knee, since it was still a bit sore from being tweaked yesterday at Alexander Bay, but both Gary and I managed to keep the smaller GS's going despite being on knob-less DS tires. The bigger bike wasn't so fortunate however, and with the added burden of a passenger, Mikie and Di were soon pitched off into a sand bank in what looked like a pretty good get off. Gary and I walked back to the bike and fortunately both rider and passenger were OK. After getting the beast upright, we continued on through varying depths of sand, but despite Gary's urging that 'Speed is your friend' Mikie was having a difficult job keeping the thing upright. Di bailed off a couple more times before she decided that further progress on foot was safer (and probably faster too). I was sent up ahead to check the subsequent road conditions and managed to ride to a sign which promised the relative safety of a washboard surface (at least I think that it was - could've been sand dunes!) . It looked like it was getting better, but the guys had already decided to turn 'round by the time I got back to where they were waiting.
Team Mikie #1
Team Mikie #2
Team Mikie #3
'Forget You! Team Mikie'
Gary bravely offered to pilot the big GS out of there and did a great job of manhandling it back to the fork in the road without any further mishaps. Mikie rode Gary's 800 out of there, and fortunately for Gary, he succeeded in keeping it upright and therefore not jeopardizing the 30,000 Rand insurance excess required by the rental company. As I recall Di was happy to remain on foot, whenever she got the opportunity.
At the fork we stopped some guys in a passing truck who'd just come up the road we were intending to go down. With assurances from them that it wasn't any problem, we made pretty good time down some fine gravel/sand washboard until we came to a T-juction. Mikie valiantly managed to locate one small patch of sand at the T which was enough to pitch him and Di off one last time.
'One more for the gipper'
Not knowing what the subsequent road would offer, Gary once again offered to carry Di out of there and so the four of us set off once more and made time down some not particularly taxing twin track at speeds of 70-80 mph. All seemed fine and we re-joined the black-top without any further incident. However when Di took off her helmet, she was in tears. I guess repeatedly falling of the big GS and then jumping on the back of Gary who was riding that much faster, had put the fear of God into the poor girl. 'Speed IS your friend, Di'. Fortunately we were only a few kms from Lamberts Bay at that point, which was a good thing as my GS pulled into the next gas station with 1km showing on the 'distance 'til empty' meter.
The roadies had already checked us in to a couple of beachfront appartments complete with locking garage parking for around $7.50/person (via Koshik and Narissa, who were by this stage acting as fixers for anything that required a financial negotiation).
They were relaxing and enjoying the ocean breeze when we rolled in, all four of looking rode hard and hung up wet. Far from questioning the sanity of riding a dual sport bike on a trip like this, I'm sure a couple of 'em must've been wondering why anyone would choose to sweat their ass off struggling down a sandy jeep trail, when there was a perfectly good paved road to the same destination. Ah, but that first beer tasted good though.
Our Triumphant ride into Lamberts Bay
'Koshik, I thought the view would've been better for $7.50/night.'
Koshik demonstrates Mikie's sand riding technique - now that's just cold.
Paul grilled some excellent steaks on the apartment's Barbecue (Braai) and we spent the rest of the evening eating drinking, and once we'd had a few beers, discussing world politics.
'Did I mention sand sucks?'
Another rough day at the office.
Douf screwed with this post 08-13-2010 at 12:35 PM