Monday, October 22, 2012

Memel again - September 2011

Riders and bikes:

André: BMW R1200GS
Danie: BMW R1200GS
Magda: BMW R1200GS
Wellesley (The Think Bike teddy bear mascot): Pillion on one of the above

Yep, it seems like a mini GS Challenge if you look at that list!

The three of us decided a short weekend away was required, so we booked the Ronderus Guest House again. We have been there previously and fell in love with the place. Located high in the Drakensberg mountains, the view is awesome, but apart from that, the facilities are excellent. There is a rondawel that sleeps 6 and a chalet that sleeps 8. Both are equipped with all that is required. They have also build a entertainment area containing another, larger kitchen, braai facilities and so on. Ronderus is also located in the perfect spot for duelie riders, on the farm Louisa, who like to do the off road thing.

Friday, 2 September:

We left on Friday late morning. The ride there is a tad boring as it is mainly on the long, straight roads through the Freestate. The fun usually starts at the turn-off to Ronderus from the main road between Vrede and Memel. This is a 20km dirt road ride and depending on the condition of the road, could be anywhere between fun, harrowing and sheer terror. Due to a seriously powerful wind blowing across the Freestate planes, today was a sheer terror day! We had to lean into the wind to prevent being blown off the road, yet the road was slippery and not conducive to leaning. Of course, it always feels a heck of a lot worse than it is and we all made it safely to Ronderus.

We unpacked and immediately started the braai. Or! Magda and Danie started the braai, while I removed my topbox to clean out two dozen, or so, eggs that had escaped their shells during the ride in! Blech! What a messy job! Next time, the eggs ride with someone else .....

Saturday, 3 September:

Danie and I were itching for a ride, but Magda had just received her brand spanking new Kindle book reader from Amazon, so she was leaning towards a day of non-riding. She needed to test read her Kindle. Danie and decided to go for a short loop instead as we did not have Kindles!

We left Ronderus taking the S226 to the R34 (main road between Memel and Vrede). We then cruised down the R34 to Vrede to get some charcoal and other requirements for that evening's braai. From Vrede we used the R34 back to Memel for a few kilometers, turned right onto the S57. We followed the S57 to Verkykerskop. This is an awesome dirt road for those who enjoy off-road riding. Neither Danie or myself are competent off-roaders, but after a short period of terror, we started enjoying the ride. There are some really nice valleys, with beautiful scenery on the route.

At Verkykerskop we had a bite to eat and something cold to drink at the local Post Office/General Dealer/Restaurant/Sports Bar/just about everything else. If ever in the area, this little spot is well worth a stop, even to just have a Coke.

We then rode back to Ronderus on what Mapsource and Garmin show as a tarred road. It is not. It is tarred from Harrismith to Verkykerskop, but just out of Verkykerskop, the tar must have taken a hike as it is all dirt, all the way to Memel. That being said, it is still a nice ride and if you stay within reasonable speeds, not too bad at all.

We arrived back, both having enjoyed the ride in time to start the evening braai.

Sunday, 4 September:

As with all these short weekend rides, this one came to an end way too soon. None of us enjoyed the packing and leaving for home, but sadly, unless filthy rich (none of us won the Lotto over the weekend), it was time to return to home and earning a living. The ride back was like the ride there. Sort of boring and straight.

All in all, we had a great weekend. See some of the images below.

Danie, Magda and Wellesley during a break on the way to Ronderus.

André and Wellesley at the entrance to Ronderus.

The three Beemers at Ronderus.

My bike on the road to Verkykerskop.

The two bikes (Danie, André) at a turn-off to Verkykerskop.

We found this small fountain just a few kilometers before Verkykerskop.

Welleseley having a bit of a tan on some of the sandstone formations around the Ronderus property.

The place to visit when in Verkykerskop.

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