PART 1 – A two thousand kilometre bike-trip is what happens when three friends with a combined age of over a hundred years are bored and looking for something to do over the festive season.
On 13 December 2014 Werner (on his Kawasaki ZX14R), Gerhard and Andy (both on Suzuki V-Strom 650’s), left in the early morning hours for the first leg of their journey to the Western Cape Province, leaving a cloudy and rainy Pretoria in their wake.
The fact that this trip is underway is a miracle in its own as a couple of months ago Werner had a small “spill” with his bike, when he dropped it in a slow corner on oil. But all worked out perfectly, cutting it down to split seconds with repairs as he literally put his bike back together the night before the trip.
Cruising at 120km/h they were off to a steady start on the first day of their journey down to the Western Cape. Passing through small towns such as Petrus Steyn, they made their first stop at Reitz, in the Free State where they stretched legs and made sure that all luggage was still firmly secured on the bikes.
For the true biker there are few things as relaxing and rejuvenating as spending some time in the saddle and conquering the long road…it does things for the soul that can’t be explained but rather needs to be experienced. Sooo…to get back to the story, these three “musketeers” soon left Reitz and were on their way to Clarens which is most probably the most picturesque area in the entire Free State Province.
Here they refuelled the bikes and enjoyed lunch before they headed off to Golden Gate close to Clarens where they pitched their camp. It seems as if the rain from Pretoria followed them to Clarens where their tents’ waterproof capabilities are put to the test by mother nature. Unfortunately Andy’s tent did not withstand the test as he is forced to sleep in his motorcycle rain suit in his leaking tent.
PART2 – So this morning, the senior member on the trip woke up first to brew a decent cup of coffee for his biker brothers.
The guys packed up & left Golden Gate around 08:00 to ride to Ficksburg where they arrived at 10:45.
Here they appreciated the little there was to see, filled the fuel tanks and soon got back on their iron steeds to head to the Gariep dam (30º37’25.43″S and 25º30’23.81″E). The Gariep dam is the largest water reservoir in South Africa and is situated approximately 208km south of Bloemfontein in the Orange River. The guys arrived there shortly after 16:00 this afternoon and enjoyed an uneventful and relaxed ride today.
And for super they are having the cheapest meal on the menu….vegie lasagne.
PART 3 – These guys are living the dream and they are enjoying every second and every kilometre of it. Werner got up very early this morning to admire and appreciate the stunning sun rise and clean air. There is absolutely no rush with this trip so whenever the opportunity presents itself to stop and stretch legs, they do it.
Doing a fuel-stop in Graaff-Reinet (32º15’08″S and 24º32’26″E) one is reminded of the European influence in some of the towns in our beautiful country. Graaff-Reinet lies on the banks of the Sunday’s River in the Eastern Cape and established in 1786, it is the fourth oldest town in South Africa.
The “Grotekerk” is probably the most famous building ins this town and it is clear that this stone church was inspired by Salisbury Cathedral in England. Sticking to the N9 highway the guys finally arrived in Willowmore where they will spend the night and enjoy a well deserved pizza.
Overall it was a good ride today with the elements challenging the guys on some stretches where they experienced severe temperature drops, fog and severe wind as they rode over and passed the “Sneeu Berge” (mountains situated close to Graff-Reinet).
PART4 – So today the three musketeers’ paths parted with Andy off to Port Elizabeth and Werner & Gerhard heading to Swellendam (34º2’S and 20º26E) in the Western Cape. Andy took the scenic R75 route to Port Elizabeth and went past some small towns such as Wolwefontein.
Wolwefontein is a small, quaint village situated between Jansenville and Uitenhage on the border of the Karoo. One gets the impression that this small town is stuck in time as it retained much of its early 1900’s heritage.
Andy arrived safely at his destination and enjoyed a quick swim in the south coast waters. In true South African style he’ll braai a juicy T-bone steak for supper.
Werner & Gerhard took the R341 route past the town of De Rust towards Oudtshoorn and eventually the legendary Route 62 where they made a stop at the famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop.
At last they ended up on the N2 highway towards Swellendam (their final destination). Swellendam was established around the 1740’s and lies about 220 kilometres from Cape Town. Its well known for its Dutch architecture and generally relaxed atmosphere and nearby Langeberg mountains.
TO BE CONTINUED – WATCH THIS SPACE FOR DAILY UPDATES