Sunday, 9 October 2011

SA/Namibia 2011 - Day 10. Springbok to Calvinia.

View 10th Sept: Springbok to Calvinia in a larger map

Day 10 was a very early start - dawn wake up in fact. Two South African guys called Andre and Piet kind of teamed up with us.

 Piet on the left. Andre on the right. 'Why don't you team up with us for a while?'

Piet: 'Man I just go with the flow.' Andre: 'Ja, that would be nice!'

We had met them in a bar the night before. Two 'characters' for sure. Andre was full of zip and pizzazz. Piet looked like Noah - flowing blonde hair and Buffalo Bill beard. They hail from Randfontein just west of Johannesburg. 


Andre in foreground behind my Tenere with his BMW1200GSA. Piet on right chatting with Andrew and Graeme.

Piet and John M.

The idea was to ride to Garies 116 km south of Springbok and stop there for breakfast. Getting up early and putting 100 km or so behind you really gets the job done.

Garies - ToeristeStal

So we pulled in to this delightful cafe/shop and ordered 8 breakfasts. We sat inside for the egg and bacon, but then moved out onto the stoep for some extra coffees before firing up and moving on. By now the sun had some warmth to it and we just enjoyed basking for a little while.

Enjoying the morning sun.

A SARTours coach pulled in and a lot of old people got off. Shame. Most of them were nearly as old as US!

Graeme fired up first, in fact, and went down the hill to the petrol station. He demonstrated an impressive wheelie on his way back up the hill to join our formation, but in doing so, we soon discovered, ripped his valve askew (the wheel's that is) which meant some emergency improvisation - in the form of tyre mousse - and high pressure inflation. Andre had spotted the 'flat' tyre as Graeme was joining the N7. The 'repair' was effected after a return to the garage. Well spotted Andre. Graeme was now riding on about 50 psi - but it didn't seem to phase him. The tyre gave no more trouble, but a few days later in heavy rain on Franschhoek Pass, Graeme found keeping grip on the tarmac, with the added complication of a Toyota Fortuna up his  exhaust pipe, somewhat tricky - but he came through!

We were heading for Vanrhynsdorp (refuel and koeksusters) from where we would be departing our re-traced northbound track and taking the R27 northeast to Nieuwoudtville and then east to Calvinia.

N Khoisan Project

How could I not stop to photograph this unusual structure? Isn't it beautiful? As I have said before, the N7 is my favourite road. I think that it is one of South Africa's best kept secrets. Note the flowers too. We are some way south, and the flowers are still adorning the veld en masse. But we hadn't seen the best yet!

A tortoise humouring Andrew!

N7 approaching Vanrhynsdorp. 

....... 'Brights' is good!

Just about to turn off to Vanrhynsdorp.

...... 'Brights' mean people (cars, trucks, other motorbikes and tortoises) can usually see you coming!

After Vanrhynsdorp ........ a great little town - and where we stayed with Heila Brand northbound at Aan't Dorpseind. S 31 36 32 E 018 45 02. Remember? ..........

Aan't Dorpseind

....... we turned onto the R27 for the 122 km run to Calvinia our destination for today. I had previously ridden up Vanrhyns Pass (Ride Report: February 2010) and I wanted Tony, Mike, John, Andy and Graeme to experience this magnificent ascent. Andre and Piet decided that Cape Town and not Calvinia and beyond was to be their aiming point.  We would miss them.

The sun was shining and we could see the mountain range ahead. I think that it is called the Bokkeveldberge.  

Beauty ..... everywhere.

I love this land. I was kind of bonding with the motorbike too. It never missed a beat in all 7 494 km.

 Our position is confirmed.

 The scenery is wonderful.

We rode up here.

Vanrhynsdorp is back there ..............

 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 6. All present and correct half way up the pass. 10-sec timer worked more or less.

 Mike F - nearing the top.

 The penultimate bend before the top and the plateau to Calvinia.

Pretty much the top of Vanrhyns Pass.

Now riding more or less due east to Calvinia. The camera is unable to do this array of colour justice. But it was lovely.

 Tony E thought so too - maybe his picture will be better.

 The flowers and the colours between Nieuwoudtville and Calvinia were absolutely brilliant.

 Sheep in the flowers.

 What's not to like about this?

  I am a tough biker - really!

Graeme W taking a photograph from the saddle of his blue Tenere. Tony's BMW 650 parked behind.

 More riding .........

 ........ more stopping.

 This is not a five-bar gate, but it has a charm of its own.

 These flowers were just beyond the gate.

 We got to Calvinia in the Hantamberg at about 16h30.

The place that I had booked accommodation was Steenkamp's Gastewoonstel.

We pulled up outside.

Steenkamp's Gastewoonstel is pink ..... and green. Nice!

Self catering accommodation.

 We parked at the back ......
(I have cheated - this pic was taken last year!)

....... which was charming.

 The view from the front was good.

 The view of the front was good.

 The view of the stoep was good.

There are two apartments. This is Mike at No. 2.

Myl 250 Restaurant

Across the road stands the Myl 250. We went there for a few drinks and dinner. We met some lovely local people and we had a very pleasant evening. 

 Karen - from Namibia originally. Her husband was not far away - surprisingly! 

 John K took this very artistic picture........

......... and this one.

It was time to hit the hay. We like Calvinia --- a lot.

Distance Today: 392 km. 244 miles.
Trip Total: 2 702 km. 1 679 miles.

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