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Old 09-21-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
Carnivore OP
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: PE South Africa
Oddometer: 65
South Africa - Some dirt, some tar..!

Dodge City 400 – Dirt and Tar declare a truce in the interests of a Great Weekend!

About a month before the event, my buddy declares a non-negotiable fact of life.. “you WILL be here on Friday night, and we WILL be traveling to Aliwal…”

Yessir, you are de boss.!!! The next weeks were spent in counting down… most mornings I would get a sms declaring “7 more sleeps…” etc…

So, on the Friday, I left for work on the White Horse (I work 50km away) packed and ready, GPS on zero. Left the salt mine at about 3pm, stopped for coffee with my Brother-in-law in Port Alfred, and layered up because it was starting to get darn chilly – not to mention the usual headwind that I encounter on these 300km between PE and East London – irrespective of the direction I am going!

Well, I never know what bike Jock will have borrowed or begged (but not stolen…) for any particular ride.. this time he had secured the services of a nimble silver F800GS. But, it seemed that an additional aerodynamic device was required to lessen the buffeting… and said device had a curvature which was contradictory to the fluted shape of the GS’s windscreen.


Right.. 180°C in the oven, let it sag.. cool down…

some delicate socket work and voila! Eet ees done, M’sieur.!

Not all animals think I am gonna eat them.. Tiger is a most loving, soppy feline fellow. We have this relationship.. whenever I visit Slumtown, he, um, well, sort of sleeps with me.

Fueling up at Beacon Bay Motors in East London, we welcomed the other riders of our Group.

Lee, a New Zealander who seems to have fallen in love with Inneke (a young SA Lady), and is sticking around till she is ready to head off into the wild blue yonder.. riding the Red Pony G650GS (which is in my sights, if the White Horse finds a new owner…)
Bruce and Veronica on their 950 Katoom – she apparently is to be found waiting at the bike if the keys are rattled..
Brett, riding a 950AdvS, like it was stolen.
Jock, on aforementioned GS800..
Me, on the venerable White Stallion, the oldest chronological combination of rider and mount.

And so, we set off with a fair amount of tar, heading for Queenstown. I turned off after about 30 km and found a nice bit of dirt road through some early morning farmland.

We were rewarded with sightings of skittish bushbuck. One fellow stared at me for about 10 seconds, before hopping over a 5’ fence like he was stepping over a brick..! I think someone whispered my name to him… He was gone in a wink.

Lee and Inneke in fluid unity on Red… his MX history was to become evident later in the mountains… excellent combination.

Bruce and Veronica coming through the crispy morning chill of the sleepy hollow. Some temperature inversions were experienced of around 3°C…!

We came out of the gravel into the little hamlet of Kei Road, where logic said, turn right and rejoin the N6…. No, I knew this little trail that was a bit of a joint loosener.. needed to get some kinks out and waken the senses. Having conquered some cattle ruts and dried mud bogs, we regrouped at the N6 and dissected the ride thus far. I think they though I was mad… what else was in store?

Well, from here on, I only had my Map60Csx to turn to, because the rest of the dirt for the weekend was equally unknown to me.

Looking good .. Lee and the Lass.

Looking good too .. Bruce and Veronica.

Brett, champing to get moving again.

Jock, my buddy, whom I love and respect very much. We’ve been messing around with cars, bikes, aircon and engineering projects for 35 years…

Me, and Horse.

Jock sent me this peecha, which the caption, “..A peecher sez a 1000 words !” True… it is so great to be on the road!

We hit Queenstown… 100m before the Caltex Grudge, my Horse went haywire! I though I had broken a fork tube or something. I had 15 degrees of left lock just to stay straight and the bike wallowed all over the place.

It was the fastest, most instant deflated front tyre I have ever experienced… caught me totally by surprise. We bought a new tube at Auto Motorcycles, and the main guy at Hi-Q gave us his workshop space and some gentlemen to assist… many thanks to him and them!
I started to get slack with picture-taking.. here we are on the outskirts of Dordrecht

.. an hour behing schedule. We missed out on the coffee, rusks and chit-chat of the official start of the Ride – organized by the Queenstown chapter of the Ulysses Club. We hoped that we would meet up again with the rest of our team… understandably, the two KTMs were probably in Barkly East by now, where lunch was to be had, and viewing some Big Screen Rigours of Rugby. But we still had 95km of mountain to traverse.

The two KTM’s adventure – pics supplied by Veronica, who has a rather spiffy Canon..

Which way, José..?


Brett on the way up the Pass, heading for Barkly East.

Back to us..
We met Lee and Inneke who had waited for us, knowing that we must eventually come this way. And so, we turned onto a dirt road..

..which turned out to be an absolutely stunning road to Rossouw.

They even have a library!

And a church..

People live there… but I don’t know what they do…

It looks really dry.. which way, Rob..?

Come, this way!!

There are plenty of little streams, going this way..

.. and that way.

.. and nice little bridges..

The brown terrain is probably the winter grass… there seems to be a lot of water gathered in little dams and streams.

We entered Barkly East and took over the Pub ‘n Grill.. kit all over the place!

Not many bikes here yet!

..which was eventually overrun with Riders and Partners, from the odd Harley to all manners of sport bike to our Adventure bikes. The place was festive to say the least… and the right team won!

Lee, our New Zealander, was quite happy with the rugby result..!

This young lass was run off her feet! Snake, egg and chips, this way.. over here… over there, medium to well done, medium rare… eggs sunny side up, … eish! She coped magnificently! And the Carnivore was happy!

After lunch, we met up again at the turn off to Joubert’s Pass, about 40km up the road towards Aliwal North. This is 47.1km of absolutely magnificent mountain pass. It is a must-do.. guys, really!

Here we are (a much expanded group, by now) at another stream..

Brett having a private moment!

The ladies comparing notes… while Lee captures the moment from across the river…

..while the boys do their own story-telling..

And Veronica tries to get Bruce up and in the saddle again… “Come on, Baby… pleeeeeeeeeeezzz!”


Farmer-boy and Pretty-young-thing come through on a kwat.. helmet-less, of course..

Pretty country, slow and peaceful.

A sort of wintry softness on the land..

And so, up to the summit of Joubert’s Pass… 7340 feet a.s.l.

My bike.. the White Stallion.


Jock and I really enjoyed these two young people. Young Inneke is a Physiotherapist, busy with her Comm-Serve year. My middle daughter is also a Physiotherapist, and I was able to chat to Inneke with a snippet of understanding. I was so impressed with her compassion and her quick wit and intelligence.. I predict that she will do well. Lee seems to have his head screwed on right and has a nice balance of fun and responsibility. There is hope, with young people like this around.

We found an open (unlocked) gate, and scooted up to the radio tower, but were thwarted by another locked gate.. ah well, jus’ go down again. This is a tricky track, when this little tar strip ends, with an almost magnetic attraction to go off the twin paths and get hung up in the rocks!

The climb up to “Die Nek”, seen from the Radio Road.

On the road again, heading for Lady Grey. There can be no better feeling, surely, than having your Lovely on the back, riding through this amazing land!

The road down into Lady Grey.

Looking back, enables you to go forward..

Nice NGK as we entered Lady Grey.

After some personal refueling was done at the Lady Grey Hotel..

..we slabbed it again to Aliwal North, where we checked into the Welgemoed Chalets next to the Spa.

The evening was perfect, and to ward off the Cold Monster, we summoned the assistance of Mr Sedgewick and two kitchen tumblers. Apparently, Jock’s glass had a leak and so needed some work from the Topup Repair Kit..

Prize giving/lucky draw was beneficial to moi – furthest distance travelled (871km) got me a welcome li’l envelope, thanks to Weir’s Toyota. Many thanks, guys!

Well, Sunday dawned perfectly. We climbed on the N6 southwards, heading for Queenstown..

.. where we invaded the Ultra City for brekvis. Here we are having a coke break on the side of the road.

Re-fuelled, and on to Whittlesea (more fuel – just a top up, but better to always be full of fuel than run out with ten km to go..) and we turned right into the mountains again

past Sada and the dam,

..heading for the Katberg Pass and the Devil’s Bellows Pass.

The youngsters.. 1000km and not a bleat from her, of discomfort or distress. Very impressive ride from these two – she is a total newbie!

The Horse and me..

Regroup at the top of the hill, overlooking yet another dam.

The road starts to get serious!

Windswept heights..

Jock climbing up to the summit..

Brush fire at The Devil’s Bellows..

The road seems to lead to an even more lonely and desolate place. We know that this road has a destination, but there is still a sense of the unknown.. what a great feeling to ride over these places.

Climbing higher..

AT this point you can turn off for Tarkastad, if you like, or even Adelaide, if you prefer.. it seems like a veritable network of tracks over these mountains.

We were poised to descend the Katberg Pass..

Mmm.. as every amateur geologist knows, white gold is to be found in the remotest places..!

Us, being a happy band of Adventure Souls..
Jock, Veronica, Brett, Bruce, Lee, Inneke, Me

Jock, Lee and Inneke..

The road down into Katberg.

I can smell the moist, sweet air as I write this..

A pair of 650’s – old and new..

After a fast dice down to the tarred R67, we turned left for Seymour, and took the Mountain Track through Michell’s Pass, heading for Hogsback. As we were riding, I was telling Jock (via our BT headsets) about my night ride through here, after the EC Bash. As I was relating how I had gone through the first rutted section, and the second, and was thinking how easy that was, and then, the BIG Monster appeared.. well, where was this Monster now? Heck… the road has been repaired!!

Brett had stopped, with his hands raised and shoulders shrugged in consternation… “Where’s the darn road gone?” “Glad you rode it, Rob.. just to confirm that it was here..!!”

Ah well, as Irish said on a another thread

It won’t be long and we will have erosion restore the status quo again!

Well, here we are, on the last stretch of Michell’s..

… at the Hogsback/Cathcart Junction..

.. and the day, and the ride, is drawing to a close… but some coffee and scones are on the menu..!

After Hogsback, I picked up the Wolf River Trail – 37km through forest and over scrubby heights, to the Sandile Dam at Keiskammashoek. There we met some local youngsters, and Lee entertained them with one of their own wire karretjies… They were so chuffed.

We took some more gravel, in the dusk of the day, down to the R63, turned left and made a dash for KingWilliamsTown. We then split up, each going back to separate parts of East London. Jock and I swopped bikes, and I rode the 800 back to EL – quite a nice machine! I found the steering very sensitive and precise, and enjoyed the smooth motor.

I have no pictures of the last kilometers of the Ride, but it was essentially a tar run into East London, and supper at his home.

I spent the Monday in a semi-consultancy mode at a Pharmaceutical Factory, and finally left for PE at about 5pm.

I had an enjoyable ride home, arriving at my home at about 9pm.

Total distance on my GPS since Friday morning was 1668km. Thanks to the Team for some lovely company and a really great ride. Looking forward to seeing you guys again.

There is NO SUCH THING as a big steak... or a big trailer.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #2
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Cape Town,RSA
Oddometer: 312

Nice trip report with very good pics and nice to see the EC again.Thanks
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:23 PM   #3
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Ontario, CANADA
Oddometer: 936
Thanks for sharing . I like your light set-up on the horse.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:58 PM   #4
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Joined: Aug 2008
Oddometer: 174
Nice report and pics! Looks like you had a fun crew to ride with.
Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s
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Old 09-25-2009, 04:49 AM   #5
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Garden Of England
Oddometer: 17

As an ex-baaienaar this RR brings back a lot of memories
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:59 AM   #6
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
Oddometer: 2,494
Thanks for sharing, great to see a riders perspective of an area I'll probably never visit (but would certainly like to).
R1200GS Ural Patrol KLR650 DRz400 XL185
Austria '08
Back to the Alps in '11
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:45 AM   #7
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Gtown,SA
Oddometer: 489
Nice one bud,on my doorstep!
`08 KDX200
`08 SE950R
`11 KTM690
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Old 10-09-2009, 05:15 AM   #8
on a bright side of life
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: in front of Mare Nostrum
Oddometer: 2,347

Great RR !

I like this one very much !

Vita brevis, ars longa, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile
08 R1200GSA Red 21" woody's
morocco 2006 | morocco 2007 | Traces of Kimangao: An HP2 in France, Spain and Italy | Morocco 2008: a F800GS test ride | where the destination is Anamur - Turkey via Greece...
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