From the archives - This report took such an enormous amount of time to compile, reduce photos etc, I thought it worth putting on the new site, to wet your appetites for the September 07 West Coast Trip.
Oh yes, I added a few extra photos!
The BMWMCC West Coast Tour June 2007 has ended. Everyone survived in good health and some minor scrapes n bruises.
The group split up for the rides to their respective homes at 16H15 on Sunday at the Vlakvarkgat bush pub on the R27.
Most of the hardware came back intact but there are some bikes with some eina minor damage that adds up to a wack on the wallet. Ja, die manne van staal se staal het toe bietjie seergekry!
Andy's 1150GSA earned some good ‘houding’.
The Map of our planned trip, as drawn out by Geoff.
The weather was as great as the company. The Pea-soup thick mist on Friday start did cause a start delay, but soon the 18 bike team (with 4 lovely ladies on pillion) was snaking its way up towards Kardoesie on Piekenierskloofpas stretching their legs and getting clear of the mist belt.
1st stop Piketberg to get rid of the Swartland Engen coffee.
Some of us topped up fuel.
1st stop Piketberg
Piketberg again with Johnny in the foreground, double-checking his equipment.
Johnny making the "last" adjustments...
Beautiful scenery for a while from Piketberg onwards with intermittent pea soup.
Check the Pea Soup Mist on the left
Pea soup on the side – actually looks good on the side!
Leaving Kardoesie for the clear weather
Leaving Kardoesie, stretching our legs: Tyres deflated at Kardoesie.
At the stop on the pass, tyres were deflated and we took to the gravel.
For some, the weekend had finally started.
Miss Padlangs a deep breath... - in retrospect, she should have taken a deep look into a bottle of something. It took Miss Padlangs a while to get her bearings, being more-or-less a virgin on gravel.
The dirt at last!!: Some held their breath...
Anne looked around and found a patch of thick red sand to fall in and spread herself over the road. She was the first, but not the last…..
Hey, hey and away we go on the dirt!
The day developed quickly into a warm, sunny, clear day. The back-roads to Klawer and Vanrhynsdorp had many awesome unbeaten tracks through farmlands & wild mountains fast road stretches.
Anne took an escape route on tar and met us in Vanrhynsdorp lunch and fuel stop. True to form the service at the restaurant was incredibly slow but the grub was good.
Thereafter - The loooooooong road (about 80kms) to Bitterfontein. Siesta was pretty much weighing down our eyes and brains.
...and a "short" bit of tar after VanRhynsdorp
...and the gaps start to open up....: Everyone is thinking of siesta right now...
At each stop the group were getting to know each other better, chatting and sharing advice on tyre pressures and dirt riding techniques and gadgets.
What made this group interesting was the total mix of blokes from all walks of life and the great ladies that came along.
We had Annemarie in the back-up vehicle doing a lot of the driving with Neels, Anne was the only lady rider but Linda, Liezel, Miekie & Wilma riding pillion showed what they were made of throughout the weekend, coping really well with their testosterone charged male partners –who always need to be somewhere in the lead bunch.
I think Liezel definitely showed the most flare as pillion with her tight butt dancing left n right on the soft sand to deftly keep the rubber side down. This allowed Arno to rocket past anyone slower. Wonder how good he’d be without Liezel to correct his off balance moments
Top up & deflate at Bitterfontein.
Bitterfontein - Don't let your bike fall down!
Somehow Leon always looks so happy when he's about to hit the dirt...
Fuel top up and deflate
The last shade for a while!
Me on my 650GS and Philip with his Kanniedoodnie
General excitement & pandemonium with only 2 fuel pumps in Bitterfontein. They even accept garage cards there. A fuel stop in a small dorp can take up to half an hour. And you know how Geoff is about time...
It's TIME, ladies & gents!
When Geoff's helmut goes on - you MOVE!
By the time we hit the dirt tracks past Rietpoort en route to Kotsesrus, we were all in the groove.
Anne trudging along gamely with Chris Gilmer riding shotgun and keeping the pressure off her.
Min wind om die stof weg te vat
One of the very few cars we saw!
Past Witklip, line astern
En daar gaat hulle!
The two inseparables, Colin & Leon- stout manne wat hulle is, were constantly diverting off into anything looking wild and bumpy, their kanniedoodnie 1150GSA’s eagerly taking them on excursions off track.
Collin en Leon - jy kan sien hulle's stout!
At Kotsesrus, Anne gratefully loaded ‘Little Miss Padlangs” onto the trailer for the final haul down towards Silwerdoos, the sea and Jurg se Kaya- our home for the next two nights. By then she’d realised she needed to make a “call” and stop holding up the group. She also needed to “study” the road well from the safe comfort of the bakkie, as it was marked “tricky bit” on Geoff’s map.
Kotsesrus - last regroup
Kevin & Wilma
Brenda Buttercup - well what can I say? She had this love affair with the back of Geoff's bike...
She got quite upset when Little Miss Padlangs did the 1st section of road from Swartland Engen behind him!
Jacques still standing strong - can you believe it - he'd just returned from a trip to Namibia, slept a few hours and met us at Swartland Engen.
Jacques looking thoughtful
The look of "O d.ˆ.nner!" after Miss Padlangs has asked Neels to load Miss Padlangs onto the trailer.
Neels en Darth Vader luister Geoff uit...
Alex, Miekie, Hennie & Johnny
Anne wonders how & when to tell everybody she was going to make a "call".
Anne decides to go the last ent oppie trailer
Annemarie receives the "call" while she stretches her legs.
Annemarie rek haar bene 'n bietjie
Humph! Miss Padlangs really makes life difficult...
Chris, Colin n Leon rode shotgun for Anne up to here.
The 200metre drop down to sea level was an exciting fast ride with very short straights and lots of different dirt conditions, ending up in Pelican Pan Intersection (4 resident pelicans in the little pan) and the sharp turn with precarious ruts (which Anne studied very carefully) to the 3km sand traps.
Jacques marks his territory.
Jacques fluit vir oulaas..
These 3 bikes were never far apart. They even tried to sleep together…
BMW's best ever workhorse, eat your heart out baby.
The 4 pelicans study us.
Pelican Pan Corner
Regroup at Pelican Pan for the final few kms of heavy Sand: And I mean HEAVY! I think our tyres were deflated to 1 bar.
After falling twice, Andy resorted to paddling in 1st gear while better rider came charging past making it all look so easy. The pillion bikes faired better with the ballast well aft.
It was a tired and happy bunch that pulled up in leaguer at the kaya.
The sunset was amazing, followed by the full moon rising to illuminate the sea and paint it silver.
Silverdoos - full-moonrise
In the meantime, the mist was rolling in from the sea.
Silwerdoos after sunset
A very romantic setting, way out in the bush with a good party getting into the swing.
Jurg se Kaya - uitspan tyd
Hennie entertained us with his looonnng story about the ‘almost mis-kar drywer’ who could not read or write. The door was shut and a head count was taken. 25 in all at the start. 25 left at the end, but not all compus mentus….including Hennie.
Allan beur op - hier kom Hennie se storie nou..
Hennie se storie brei uit..................
Hennie se storie vat lank!
Almoet moet luister.
The story finally over, the party continued.
Chris het die vloer.
Hennie het weer die vloer
...en ons luister aan...en aan...
Hennie kannie ophou praatie… En die stories raak ook so bietjie meer duister, maar ons verstand raak net so duister….
...nog 'n Hennieverhaal!
Neels en Olaf lag saam
Jurg, our host fed us with DELICiousss smoked snoek and bread. We stuffed ourselves, not realising there were more courses of banana salad and lovely braaied yellow tail.
Andy en Jurg luister Geoff se storie
The next morning was absolutely superb weather once the mist had cleared. We couldn’t have asked for better. But…… everyone was thinking about the sand.
Teen 8uur het die mis bank terug see toe gesak.
Nog 'n heerlike dag het ons geseèn
Ope lug, skoon see en ookkie koudtjie.
Die Donkie (geyser) met die BackupBakkie in die agtergrond
The bikes are warming engines
Waiting for Geoff's 9am briefing
Geoff about to put his helmut on...
Wilma, Andy & Collin - reg vir die dag voor
Gladiators are you ready?
Gladiators are you ready for the sand?
Die manne staan reg
Phillip is reg
Neels & Annemarie is reg.
Neels en Annemarie is reg. Wilma ry saam.
Jurg stap bos toe...
The lead riders take off.
The lead riders silhoutted on the skyline
Little Miss Padlangs decided to stay on the back of the trailer. Anne pretending to ride her while she studied the sand section more carefully.
Die bakkie wil ry (met Anne agterop op haar fiets - ah nee ah!)
Neil found he had a puncture, and Leon patiently stopped to help.
Leon stops to help Neil.
L'il Miss Padlangs finds Sand very easy: (Ahem, it was actually a very bumpy ride - luckily all my teeth were still intact, but my eyeballs were vibrating!)
Very easy - se voet!
I think I discarded over 10 photos because every time I clicked the shutter, my chest would hit the handlebars - so I ended up with quite a few photos of my legs!
At Pelican Pan, she was off-loaded, butterflies (or buttercups) in her belly.
The Sandmen left for Groenriviermond on their route. The were quite a few bravehearts here.
A few others were on their own mission. Miss Padlangs “wound” it up to 60/70 kms/hr (much to Geoff’s frustration), while Andy misjudged her amateur movements and took a hard fall, having to brake suddenly at one point.
The road was still nice and damp. At the Groenriviermond turnoff, Geoff, having exhausted his patience with Miss Padlangs, made another “call” and gave Anne 3 options. She took the 1st and said goodbye to the group and headed off 14kms by herself to Garies, where she apparently kept herself busy with some liquid refreshment and a Sudoku book.
The rest of the group met up with the Sandmen at Groenriviersmond, winding it up to over 140kms/hour.
Several took several falls, and the bikes and egos were not as intact by the time they arrived at Garies Hotel.
Groenrivier (after lots of sand) - uitspantyd vir koffie en tee (of iets bietjie sterker)
Arno plays with his gadgets at Groenriviermond
Kevin & Olaf discuss the view
The Groenrivierpunt lighthouse
Grp-Arno, Liezel, Chris en Alan geniet 'n koffie saam.
The "facilities"; The cul-de-sac for the only car
Uitspan is baie lekker!
At Garies the absorption rate of liquids was definitely not lacking. The food was slow but good, which allowed more absorption time in between.
Yep, almal is nou op Garies.
Fantastic to see all the bikes in a row!
Garies - personifies life in slowmo
Garies comes to life for a while: Maybe that's why the food takes long - to extend the moment!
Geoff has finished his refuel (topup)
The main drag of Garies
Andy & Jacques sink 'n koue bier
At this point Anne, having been the 1st to arrive, finished her food 1st, so Geoff gave her the go-ahead to start off an hour early and head back to the kaya.
The rest of the pack caught up with Anne at a fast pace near Pelican Pan – myself, Chris, Allan and Kevin. By gate #8 my bubble burst when I realised I was in the lead because I opened gates, not because I was the more able.
Geoff insisted that Anne “try” the sand, which she managed without falling, be it very slowly. Olaf took quite a fall at his pace and was helped along. Several others took many falls, but humiliation and frustration make picking up the bike quite speedy. Nevertherless most riders bought a farm at least once!
When we arrived at the kaya, everyone headed for the shower. The donkey was ominously boiling and rumbling and looked as though it was going to take itself and the kaya off to the moon. When it stopped spurting and spluttering, Geoff gingerly stepped in and had a steam bath, while many others waited in the queue with varying degrees of cover.
Terug op Silwerdoos - almal veilig!: And the shower queue starts!
Olaf wag ook vir die stort
Yet again another brilliant sunset, which had those who were not in the shower queue reaching for their cameras. 1000 pics later…
So eindig nog 'n kak dag in Afrika!
So sak die son stadig oor die see
Daar is niks vir 100e kilometer (of so voel dit)
Die biere is reg en koud - reg vir NOG stories!
Annemarie neem ook fotos
...net nog 'n foto vir oulaas
Geoff contemplates his glass
...And getting more and more festive in the shower queue (Olaf without his designer BMW Underwear).
waiting and waiting
And we were ready for supper, which was starting to smell nice. For some reason some of the group had bought boerie & chops – not sure where they were going to braai it originally, but they ended up having to braai it then or throw it away.
But there was lovely bread and curry potjie.
Jurg se lekker warm potbrood
I think Allan made some excuse to go and fetch plates for the boerie & chops, but never returned, only to be found gobbling down some huge plates of curry….. Well the rest followed suit and there were leftover boerie & chops the next morning.
Hennie entertained us with a very summarised version of a long drop story which he’d apparently thought of while spending some time in the long drop.
Short end of a LONG story
Another stunning full moon rise, while the bikes quietly looked on.
The bikes gather in the moonlight 1
The bikes gather in the moonlight 2
Bikes in the moonlight
“Official” time – we all received caps and T-shirts, courtesy of CML RV & BMW Atlantic Motorrad.
Anne's "perseverence" award - a bottle of Amarula
Backup Neels looks back...
Olaf in good spirits
Rooikappie en Stoutgat!
Good Nosh and stories
The day hit most of us pretty hard, and only a few diehards were left standing to tell its tales.
Lights completely out! ....B
Jurg before his “pap wiel” the next day.
Jurg before his "pap wiel" the next day
He actually told me he went home with 2 pap wiele that night. A bad case of gout - never to be forgotten!
The final day dawned with lots of mist, which never cleared. Anne opted to start ahead of the pack again. Most caught up with her long before the salt pan.
Gorillas in the mist
Some fell many times in the treacherous sand along the way, and arrived there at the same time as Anne. The tortoise and the rabbit story springs to mind here…
An NDC Mining company security bakkie arrived very quickly with flashing lights, and made sure that we left very quickly.
NDC clearly states its terms
Jacques opted for a “teatime” break and refuelled himself, while Geoff knowingly shook his head.
Stop and catch a misty breath
Biker Gorillas in the mist
Last gate stop
There was not much scenery to be seen in the mist, but what we managed to see lead us to believe there was something stunning beyond. In the meantime, those darned sand patches kept appearing and we had to concentrate on those.
Brand se Baai
Gert du Toit se Baai
Rehab project – us or the dunes?
Anne trundling along (slowly but unsurely)
Hennie dink seker nog ‘n storie uit….die pad was lank met baaaaaaie draaie!
The Adventures always sticking together
What happens after a "tea" break
The lead riders set a good fast pace on roads getting better all the way. My confidence kept mounting and 140kph became ‘normal’. It was an exhilarating ride to Lutzville - refuel and inflate tyres.
Jacques can still stand!
Jacques kan nog staan!
Jacques se baaik is nou geel – gesandblast…
Lutzville fuel and inflate stop
Olaf worried about his tyre
Olaf worried about his slashed tyre
Neil Terry (one of the few photos of him)
Our last lunch stop was at The Cabin in Doringbaai. Fantastic food, slightly faster service, some good stories and we were soon back on the bikes heading for the long straight road (in very good condition) to Elandsbaai.
Enjoying good times at The Cabin. We all signed a CML RV cap and hung it up at the bar counter. Remember the cap next year guys…
Enjoying the good times at the Cabin in Doringbaai
The Cabin, Doringbaai
Anne & Charles – although Brenda does not tolerate Miss Padlangs easily, the owners/riders still get along!
Anne & Charles
Bike Park at Doringbaai
Jaques is too tired to drink!!
Waiting for Anne (as usual) and Olaf at Elandsbaai turnoff. The nice road cost us R20.00 apiece!
Waiting for Anne & Olaf at Elandsbaai (as usual for Anne)
The duo Col-leon diverted for another fun trip of sand and met us in Veldrif, where we refuelled for the last time and headed for Vlakvarkgat, where everyone enthusiastically replenished their bodily fluids. But as soon as the Backup Bakkie arrived, everyone retrieved their gear, said some happy good-byes and were quickly on their way.
Last fuel stop at Velddrif before the end of the tour at Vlakvarkgat
A big thanks to Geoff for a superbly-organized and brilliant trip, the culmination of a few months of planning.
This morning we awoke to lighting, thunder and rain, and we realised that Geoff had even planned the weather down to a T. Thanks Geoff!
We’re surely all looking forward to next year’s trip….