Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kaapsche Hoop - March 2009

Bikes: FJ1200, RT1200, DL1000, F650GS x 3.
Bikers: Danie, Avon, André, Jo, Trish, Mags.
Pillion: Elsa, Avon's better half.
Distance: Approximately 1250km

Day 1:

At around 07:00 on 5 March our group of six bikes (7 peeps) left Bapsfontein for the twisties of the Eastern Transvaal.

We made a short dash to the Steers at the Total stop on the N14, just short of Witbank. The service in the Steers is rather slow and most irritating for a biker in a hurry to hit the road for the mountains, but it was nice of Jasper and mate to stop by and say hi. They and their rides (Versys and WeeStrom) were on their merry way to Sabie.

We departed the area and soon left the long, boring straights behind as we got a taste of twisties between Carolina and Badplaas and then some more serious twist and turns between Badplaas and Baberton. The pass between Baberton and Nelspruit is receiving a serious working overt, but is more than passable. We endured a STOP-WAIT in one area, but we were in good spirits and actually enjoyed the unplanned stop. Jo dazzled the truck driver, first in line to go, with a smile and he allowed us all to go ahead of him. Nice of her. Nice of him.

From here it was a quick hop via Nelspruit to Kaapsche Hoop. A note on Nelspruit drivers. It seems they hate bikes, or just don't give a damn, but we all agreed that commuting in Johannesburg for a week was safer than a day in Nelspruit. Man alive! They will happily shove you of the road in that town!

We arrived in Kaapsche Hoop, booked in to the Backpackers, emptied the top boxes and a few of us hit the road for Ngodwana to get some goodies and groceries for the weekend. T-Bone steak comes at a measly R93/kg in Ngodwana, if anyone of you might be anti-bargain hunting, thisis the place to shop. We returned just in time to hide from the storm that moved in at the speed of white light! Great day with great riding! Yes Siree! That it was.

Day 2:

Friday morning early, the group (without Avon and Elsa) departed for the day's riding. Elsa had managed to earn herself six stitches by cutting her hand quite badly on a broken glass in the sink. They decided to take the day off so that her hand can rest and that Avon could go into town to fetch the prescribed meds. It wasn't their day as Avon picked up a puncture and had to detour to the BMW dealer for help. After some searching they found the tyre of his choice at a Suzuki dealer. BMW bought it out and fitted it for Avon. He seems happy, but every time you ask him what it cost he gets a strange far away look in his eyes and goes dead quiet!

The rest of us risked life and limb to follow the N4 through the center of Nelspruit and onward toward Mozambique. At Kaapmuiden we made a right and a quick right again. Through the boom gates we went into one of the most beautiful rides I have ever experienced. This is a teensy tarred road, twisting over the Mpageni (Also known as the Boulders) Pass in a complete tranquil, natural area. We returned to Nelspruit for a brunchie and then back to Kaapsche Hoop for some rest, relaxation, bragging and stuff bikers do when not riding.

Day 3:

We were at the Riverside Mall in Nelspruit early for the Cansa hair thing. Here we found some Nelspruiters who didn't hate bikes. The Mall makes provision for free parking by bikes, with bike parking right next to the mall security. In fact, they are so nice, that when we parked a bit away, security came and asked us to park in the spot where they are capable of seeing the bikes! Wow!

We did the hair mutilation drive for the Cansa Shavathon, representing Halfway Cuppa quite a longway from halfway. Directly after having our hair disfigured for this noble cause, we hit the road past White River to Hazyview where we chowed down on some pizza, before making tracks through The 22. I hammered it through the 22 and I believe I broke Dave Peterson's record, but I can find no confirmation that he ever walked the 22!

Up Long Tom Pass for a bit, hung a left toward Nelspruit and then a right toward Sudwala Caves. The bit down to Sudwala, and then back to the N4 is truly awesome and we all had a great cruise down this piece of road. Magic! Back at the N4 we did a bit of the N4 back to Ngodwana and up the mountain we went to the Backpackers at Kaapsche Hoop. From Ndogwana to Kaapsche Hoop is an incredible 1000m climb in just 11 kilos! Some lovely twisties as well. I enjoyed every second of this ride and really loved the bit riding Danie's FJ1200. Man alive! What a bike. They certainly build then good 20 years ago.

Day 4:

All too soon, it was time to return to the salt mines of Gauteng. We were all very reluctant to leave and some great excuses were thought up to stay. Some may well have worked!

We went down to Ngodwana, over Montrose and Sudwala back to Long Tom to do the rest of the pass. We stopped for a brunchie in Lydenburg, before we took off over the Steenkampsberg Pass for Roossenekal. Steenkampsberg Pass is my absolute favourite pass and I can not get enough of riding over it. As usual it was an awesome ride over the pass. Lovely, LOVELY, I say!

During our post-Steenkampsberg smoke break, Jo took Danie's FJ for a ride. Her first turn of the throttle resulted in a angry bark by the FJ, which was promply dubbed Fast Jo! She gave it gas and off they went. Sadly, that was basically also the end of the ride as the rest of the road is just another ride home. In Middelburg the cops pulled our advance guard (Danie and Jo) over, but they let them go even though one of then did not have a driver's license on hand. It seems it was safely stowed away at home. As they expected the rest of us, we were just waved through with a friendly wave.

The last bit went uneventful, apart from a small rain shower that tried to ruin our ride, but didn't really bug any of us.This was a great long weekend biking with great people. In there somewhere I even got to ride Avon's RT for a bit. I am sure he will tell all and post the pics to prove, beyond all doubt, that I actually had a ride on, what he calls, a decent bike.

Money! I need more money ..... and time ...

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