What do you do when you have a new bike , a son that turns 14 and a long weekend ahead of you ?
You make plan and arrange a weekend getaway trip of course.
And so it was that I made my way to Fishoek on Thursday evening after work to go and pick Jaco up for the weekend. The plan was that he would sleep over at my place and that we would then take my new Super T out on Friday morning. We got home and after a quick bite to eat we proceeded to pack the Super T and make sure she was ready for the trip.
By six on Friday morning we were rearing to go and after a nice cup of coffee and something to eat we were on the road. As we approached Gordon’s Bay Jaco asked me what the lights up on the mountain above Gordon’s bay were. Well , why not go and show him ? We had all day to ride and look at the sights.
We went up to the Steenbras dam entrance and both proceeded to take some photos.
Then it was off down Clarens road towards Hermanus . As we approached Rooiels JAco complained of being ‘carsick’. I explained to him that he should rather look over my shoulder in the direction we were travelling. This seemed to help ’cause he did not complain again. In Hermanus we stopped to enjoy a solid breakfast at Savannah Cafe.
I was planning to ride to Aghulas via Baardskeerdersbos and Elim but as I turned onto the road to Baardskeerdersbos I noted a sign that stated the road was closed. Now normally a sign like that would be an invitiation to ride the road on an adventure bike and see how the obstacles can be overcome , but this time around I decided not to take any chances with a novice dirt pillion and a bike that was heavily loaded. So I made a u-turn and continued towards Aghulas via Gansbaai.
Eventually we turned right onto the dirt road towards Aghulas. As we started on the dirt I explained to Jaco the fundamentals of riding on the dirt and what I needed him to do with regards to body postion when we went through turns etc. I also briefed him on how we would handle hard braking situations and then did a few hard emergency brakes with him so the could get used to the feel and not get a fright if we needed to to brake hard for real. He took it all in his stride and quickly we found a nice rhythm and pace on the dirt.
Of course we stopped a lot for photos.
Jaco saw the ostriches and badly wanted a photo. The zoom on his camera is not as powerful as mine and so I also took a pic for him.
At Aghulas I first went past the southern point and took him to the boat wreck.
At some point I looked for Jaco and found him on his knees with the camera.
We went to the Southernmost point where a friendly tourist offered to take a photo of us at the stone cairn.
And then after a quick stop for photos at the light house …
we proceeded to ride towards Bredasdorp. I stopped at the filling station in Aghulas to fill up and I must say that I was quite happy with the fuel consumption Tene’ was giving me. At around 130 on the tar and around 100 on the dirt we were getting 17km/l. quite a few kilos per liter less than what Jemima used to give me , but with the added grunt and smile factor it is a price I am willing to pay.
From Bredasdorp we took the road towards Swellendam and the turned off towards Malagas. Ever since I moved to the Cape nearly four years ago , I wanted to travel via the pontoon and this was going to be my day.
Along the way I saw this scene and as per usual hit the brakes for a photo.
I have noticed that the hipbelt strap on my pants was starting to fray on a previous trip but in my optimism I believed that the strap would at least last one more trip before needing repairs. I was wrong. As I got of my bike I had that pants on the knees feeling as the strap gave up the fight. Jaco found it hilarious and for the rest of the day I could hear him giggle over the intercom every time we stood on the pegs for a bad piece of road and my pants would drop away from their designated area.
At the pontoon I took some pics including the obligatory pic of the stickered sign.
A few kilos away from Malagas we came across a fork in the road. The road to the right would take us to the tar road where we could then continue to Swellendam. The road to the left would take us to Swellendam but would be many kilometers more of bumpy dirt roads. Normally I would not even think about the choice and I will always pick the dirt above the tar , but this time I offered Jaco the option of what road we should take , explaining the difference to him. Without thinking about it he chose the dirt.
I smiled broadly inside my helmet and pointed Tene’ in the right direction.
The scenerey in Tradouw pass is breathtaking.
I did also catch my breath when I saw Jaco out on the edge like this for a photo.
In Barrydale we stopped at the Country Pumpkin for something to munch. eventually we decided on a Pizza to share. And what good choice that turned out to be. I have not had such a fien pizza in a very long time.
As we planned to leave Jaco needed to visit the loo and while I waited for him I took some pics of the Tene’ in front of the Country Pumpkin
as well as a pic of Jaco’s seating arrangements. After our previous trip to Paarl mountain I knew that not being Bike fit Jaco would not have managed a full day on the bike and so I put my Airhawk on his seat. This made all the difference and Jaco did not complain about his bum being sore once in the whole trip.
At Koedoeskloof we set up our tent and I spent the next hour or so with an old enemy of mine called Murphy.
The Super Tenere has a built in ‘lighter socket’ and as I plugged in and switched on the little blower pump I thought about the size of the fuse (3A) at the same as the fuse gave up the ghost. This left me to McGuyver a different connection from the spotlight relay in order to inflate our mattress. The McGuyver rig was then also used to assist three fellow bikers who had planned to blow up their mattresses by mouth.
I was feeling very chuffed at beating Murphy when I noted that our mattress was going flat. Some investigation proved that the inflation plug had rubbed a hole into the side of the mattress. In my minds eye I pictured a long and painful night lying on the cold hard ground. I took a chance and with some crossed fingers I patched the hole with a borrowed bicycle patch and the last of my solution.
We spent a delightful evening with some fellow visitors to Koedoeskloof and of course enjoyed the famous Koedoe burgers. Jaco told Debbie in no uncertain terms that they could make money if they sold these burgers as it was much better than Wimpy or Steers.
Back at the tent I was relieved to find that the patch job had worked and we had a good night’s sleep in spite of the chorus of snores from fellow bikers all around.
Saturday morning after breakfats saw Jaco heading off with his camera in hand while I headed off to Ladismith to fill up Tene’s tank and buy a sewing repair kit and some new vulcanising glue for my repair kit.
Back at Koedoeskloof I spent about half an hour sewing the strap back to my pants. While I am sure that my handiwork will give even the worst of needle women nightmares I am confident that while a strap on the pants may come loose again , it will not be at the spot where I tested my sewing skills.
Eventually we also packed up our goodies and after a quick pic of Mr and Mrs Visarend’s ‘Karretjie’ we took the road towards Laingsburg turning left towards Ouberg pass (one of three in SA) and Montagu.
I have a thing for old houses in the Karoo and I stopped for a pic of this one.
We ran into a driffie a bit too quickly and I quickly stood on the pegs to save the suspension without warning Jaco. Just before we hit the driffie I felt him standing on the pegs behind me holding on to me and bracing his knees for the jolt through the bump. I commented on the fact that he was so quick to react . A few hundred meters later I felt his hands reaching for me as we approached a driffie and I realized that he saw the warning road sign and was already setting himself up in case we needed to stand again to save the suspension . This time I was ready for the driffie and nice firm squeeze of the brake lever quickly checked the Super Tenere’s speed.
I must comment on the brakes on the Super Tenere. When Yamaha launched the Super T in 2010 one of the big selling points was the ABS that was capable of working on gravel roads. One of the biggest criticisms of the Super T in the media was that the ABS could not be switched off for dirt road use. My take on this as follows : I believe that a Pro would be able to achieve shorter stopping distances on a bike with ABS switched off in a planned emergency stop than with it switched on. Although I suspect not by much. Sadly most DS riders are not pro’s and when they do emergency brakes it is not in a controlled planned environment but in a panic brake situation. With that in mind I believe that the Super Tenere’s brakes are unbeatable. A few times over the weekend I purposely grabbed huge handfulls of front and rear brakes from speeds of around 100km/h on a dirt road and the way that heavily loaded bike stopped in a very short space was mindblowing every time. Even though my bike was fitted with an aftermarket ABS switch by the previous owner I am convinced that I will never turn the ABS off when on dirt. There you have my opinion – let the flaming begin.
and now back to our regular programming :
On the plateau we stopped for a short while to have something to drink , water a fence pole and just marvell in the all encompassing silence that only the Karoo can afford its visitors.
After another of those glorious Karoo highways where we passed two couples on 1200GS’s coming from Montagu side we entered Ouberg Pass.
Somehere in the pass Jaco must have gotten a bee trapped inside his jacket and as we stopped to take a pic of the rock formations at the bottom of the pass the bee made his presence known by stinging Jaco on the arm. I felt very sorry for him as he clenched his teeth coping with the burning pain.
Montagu was a mad house and I was glad that I did not need to stop for fuel as Tene’ still showed lots of fuel in her tummy.
I promised Jaco that we would stop at the hole in the mountain between Montagu and Ashton.
The sign says ‘Old English Fort’, but I have never managed to find said fort.
Jaco went off exploring and I stayed close to the bike , taking some photos of my own.
It was Jaco’s sharp eyes that spotted the fort and he pointed it out to me. And then asked permission to climb up to the top to go and view the fort. I gave him permission and stayed with the bike as I did not not want to have some of my belongings reissued to new owners in my absence.
Eventually he came down from the fort all sweaty in his bike kit and we made our way to Ashton where we grabbed a quick bite to eat.
From Ashton we headed to Robertson and a distance outside Robertson turned left towards the Breederivier valley.
A quick stop at the Breederivier crossing
And one more photostop for this pic on the road between the river and Villiersdorp
Before we stopped at the padstal in Grabouw for a drink and some biltong.
From there it was a quick little run home. Although the trip down Sir Louwreys pass was not without incident. As we started to descend the pass I became aware of a very definite second life form making its presence known inside my helmet. Something was crawling around inside my helmet!
Being on the pass I had no option but to keep my calm and ride all the way down before pulling off safely and removing my helmet. I took off my buff and shook it out. I saw an unidentified bug fly out of it. I guess it must have crawled into my buff at Grabouw.
Of course for the last few kilos home my scalp was itching all over.
At home we unpacked and I washed the bike before making something to eat and the falling asleep. What a fantastic way to spend a weekend with a very special young man. He turns 14 today and I am so very proud of the young man he is growing up to be.