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Old 03-28-2009, 09:17 AM   #37
Douf OP
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Day 7 (continued):

From Agulhas we retraced our route back up to Breadasdorp and then carried on in a northeasterly direction briefly joining the N2 in the vicinity of Swellendam until it intersected the R324 to Barrydale. This stretch of blacktop took us up over the over the excellent Tradouw pass, where we did (at least for me) the most spirited riding of the trip so far.

I can't recall having to put quite so much effort into keeping up with my old buddy Gary in the past - either he's faster, I'm slower, or both - anyway I was just glad that he was riding up front, because I might have been taking a flying lesson riding alone at those velocities. The pass is pretty technical generally, but when we came over the top on a reasonably straight section we were riding at a pretty good clip and then we ran straight into a police checkpoint, our first face to face encounter with law enforcement of the trip.

Assuming they had a couple of spotters back down the road, where we'd obviously shot obliviously by, I feared the worst. The rest of the group by now had also pulled in behind us, and we were all busy showing documents to the law enforcement. To add insult to injury I produced a foreign license (technically legal, but potentially questionable) and a registration document for the rental bike which was a photocopy of the original. They weren't too happy about that (Gary's bike was the same way too), but rather than write us up, they just told us to make sure the rental guys made sure to leave the originals in the bike in future and they'd be less charitable with any further indiscretions from their customers. No problem.

After that though, rather than dragging us off to jail for gratuitous speeding, they started chatting about our trip and were interested to know what Gary and I made of their country. Contrary to some of the horror stories I'd read about South African law enforcement, these guys were really cool and soon enough we were on our way.

A short distance up the road, after refueling in Barrydale, the infamous Ronnie's Sex Shop came into view. The SA guys had mentioned this place on various occasions during earlier parts of the trip and I got the impression it was somewhat of a national institution (at least in biking circles).

Inside the bar at Ronnie's

Legend has it (tourist legend anyway) that 'Ronnie' had decided to open up a little store and had carefully painted 'Ronnie's shop' on the side of it. However, the night before the joint was due to open, his friends had added 'Sex' to the sign and so Ronnie's Sex Shop was born.

'Come on in suckers'

In reality it's a total tourist trap in the middle of nowhere and consists of nothing more than a small bar and a gift shop selling just about anything you can think of with 'Ronnie's' plastered over it. It suckered the majority of us in though, and we finally left the place having reduced their supply of t-shirts, hats and souvenirs considerably.

However although there's no actual connection to anything remotely sexual, ironically Cindy and Di both ended up on their backs with their legs in the air. The reality of this sordid tale though, is that Di jumped on the back of Cindy's bike (they were riding together after Mikie left) and with Cindy somewhat tired from the day's mileage, the whole plot tipped over in the middle of the road.

The 'Spa'

We were still intending to make it to Outdshoorn by the end of the day, which left about 150kms still to ride. However with fatigue already setting in, we located a spa just up the road from a recommendation at the sex shop . However since the was no reply on the 'phone, Paul set off to check the availability of rooms. He called from the spa shortly after, having reserved our accommodation for the night and so the rest of us set off. There were a couple of dirt kms to traverse before we got there, much to everyone's enjoyment, but regardless, everyone arrived more or less unscathed. The 'Spa' such as it was resembled something that the Griswalds may have found in their 'vacation' movie, with the accommodation being a selection of non air conditioned cabins.

Apparently the cabin doubles as a sauna during the middle of the day

The spa section was in reality a series of warm baths of differing temperatures, which I think was probably not what the ladies had been hoping for when they heard 'spa'. However most of the team jumped in anyway and enjoyed themselves before we had an excellent dinner (which I think was some of the first authentic SA style food we'd had on the trip) at the bar/restaurant.

It's all good after a day riding

SA cuisine - ground beef with bananas on top - pretty good stuff actually.


Douf screwed with this post 03-28-2009 at 09:40 AM
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