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Author Topic: How about South Africa?  (Read 3061 times)

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Online Mrs. DantesDame

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #100 on: March 28, 2020, 02:43:26 AM »
Leaving Lady Grey behind
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Goats!
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Deeply eroded river channels
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It was in this region that I noticed the appearance of octagonal houses. They all seemed of fairly recent construction and I could not figure out why this design would be preferred over the standard four-walled house. They were not prevalent, but they were common enough to be seen as a regional thing and not just a singular event.

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And standard four-walled buildings
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It was a fast ride to the border: the roads were open and in good condition. We routed around the few towns that we saw; there was nothing to slow us down!

Heading for the border
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Cubed water tower (I think)
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Car washes were the South African version of "US Nail salons" - so many of them!
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Entering the town of Sterkspruit
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Parasols! They were everywhere
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Sterkspruit was a happening place!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #101 on: March 28, 2020, 02:43:47 AM »
And back into the open
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A more traditional hut
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Always something walking along the roadside
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Jonathan is giving one of the locals a riding lesson
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I'm gonna take my horse to the old town road (this guy was flying!)
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Lesotho has entered the game
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #102 on: March 28, 2020, 02:44:28 AM »
The crossing into Lesotho was a breeze! We parked our bikes and walked over to the South African border shack, where only six other people were in line ahead of us. The South African border guard put my passport on the scanner and then inked the exit stamp onto the paper. Then it was back on the bike, rode across the river, and walked up to the Lesotho border station. This was an even easier process: the guard there took my passport, flipped through the pages and then just added the entry stamp to my collection. I was in!

We found out later that Jonathan had taken a photo at the border and was firmly dressed down by one of the border guards. We tease Jonathan for the rest of the day about this; everyone knows that you can't take photos at border crossings! Or if you do take photos, be more clever about it.

Welcome to Lesotho! (crossing the Telle River)
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Border toilets - very specific
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First view of the country
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #103 on: March 28, 2020, 02:45:12 AM »
As stated earlier, Lesotho really is a poor country. The houses were not grand, there were limited vehicles on the road - and most of the ones I saw were fairly old - and there was almost no evidence of standard Western-style consumption. The countryside was clean, which I assume was due to a lack of there being limited things to be tossed around by the wind. But who knows? Maybe the people of Lesotho have more respect for their land than their neighbors do.

Decoy road - I thought for sure we'd go that way
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But instead we went this way
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And this way went up!
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Looking back at the road
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #104 on: March 28, 2020, 02:46:16 AM »
We climbed up the arid mountains, Dan and I agreeing that it reminded us somewhat of the American south west, in a vague sort of way. The roads were smooth, which was a surprise. I assumed that a poor country would have poor infrastructure, but I was very wrong. Even the engineering was remarkable, with well-cambered corners and nice sight lines. And then we crested the mountains and it got even better.

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This little foal raced back to his dam when he saw me coming
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #105 on: March 28, 2020, 11:02:08 AM »
I had to find out more about these round huts. It turns out that they are the traditional dwelling style of the region and are known as "mokhoro" (in South Africa they are called rondavel). Most traditional huts are built of local materials (usually stone) and almost always roofed with thatching. Even more recently built huts are topped with thatch simply because constructing a rounded roof out of anything else takes considerably more skill and money.

Architecture lesson over - back to the landscape!

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #106 on: March 28, 2020, 11:02:26 AM »
There were so many interesting distractions in this region. I noticed (usually too late to photograph) many small-scale brick makers. They were really small-scale, to the point of maybe four people working on the process at any given time. There were also numerous animals - even more than we saw in South Africa! Because Lesotho is such a poor country, I think that people still rely heavily on their own animals for transportation and food production.

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #107 on: March 28, 2020, 11:02:49 AM »
Today was just amazing riding. Every direction I looked held such beauty, and every corner brought out new vistas. The camera did not leave my hand very often. And keep in mind: I shared a lot of photos here, but this isn't just because one section of the road was particularly nice. No - the entire day was particularly nice.

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A more modern roof type that frequently popped up
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #108 on: March 28, 2020, 11:03:16 AM »
(I told you there were a lot of photos from today!  :popcorn: )
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #109 on: March 28, 2020, 03:08:13 PM »
Zooming in on a village on the other side of a valley
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An enthusiastic wave from a shepherd
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More animals than cars
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Kids!
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White Wellies (the boots) were really common
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Hand-planted corn rows
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Bricks and donkey
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Typical agricultural setting in Lesotho
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Oops
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #110 on: March 28, 2020, 03:09:00 PM »
The VIEWS!
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New roof installation
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Moving a plow, using just one tire
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Another zoom across another valley
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #111 on: March 28, 2020, 03:09:19 PM »
The landscape changed slightly but was still wonderful to behold. The clouds were just the icing on the cake. The roads had been empty for the most part - other than the frequent donkey, horse, goat or sheep. The temperatures were perfectly comfortable and the bike felt great under me. This day had climbed to the top of my "best day riding ever!" list.

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Crossing the Senqunyane River
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And into the mountains - and clouds!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #112 on: March 28, 2020, 03:09:45 PM »
The clouds on the horizon had been looking threatening for quite some time, but not really knowing which direction we were heading meant that I didn't know if we'd come into contact with them. After crossing Senqunyane River, the road climbed rapidly and directly towards the darkest, blackest clouds we could see. It wasn't long before the flash of lightning lit up the landscape around us. I think that we were going to get wet.

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I tried to catch the lightning - and failed
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Waiting for a ride
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I'm guessing they had some pretty heavy rains recently
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While looking around on Google for interesting tidbits to share in this report, I saw the aerial view of this region. It is amazing! It is truly artistry which could never be fully appreciated from the ground.

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What it looks like from the road
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #113 on: March 29, 2020, 10:04:15 AM »
 :wave:
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #114 on: March 29, 2020, 10:04:42 AM »
Cloud fingers
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This wasn't the only burned out car I passed
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The inevitable drops of rain started to fall and the riders in front of me pulled over to put on their rain gear. I scoffed at the idea: it wasn't cold (20° C) and I figured that I'd dry off just as quickly as I might get wet. Besides, my gear was in the truck. Not very clever I know, but the weather had been so nice, rain never even seemed like an option. But then David pulled up with the truck so I figured I might as well put on the rain jacket. And I'm glad I did.

Dan contemplating life as we put on our rain gear
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The drops had started to fall before we even put our side stands up, and by the time I rounded the next corner, I knew that the rain jacket had been a good idea.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #115 on: March 29, 2020, 10:05:09 AM »
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The rain started gently, but didn't take long for the clouds to open up and soak everything under them. Beautiful, glorious rain!

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But if riding in the rain, in the mountains, on unknown roads isn't challenging enough, we ran into what seemed like the Lesotho version of "rush hour". There were dozens of groups of shepherds guiding their flocks up into the mountains, using the same road we were on.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #116 on: March 29, 2020, 10:05:29 AM »
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They were very accommodating to our passing, trying their best to move their animals out of the way, and waving as we went by.

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Fluffy clouds and periodic rain
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And yet more animals!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #117 on: March 29, 2020, 10:05:51 AM »
We pulled off to the side of the road. Before us was a deep, lush canyon, with waterfalls pouring their contents into the river at the bottom. This would be our last stop before lunch. We had been riding for a while - about five hours - and lunch would be a late one, with us not stopping until almost 2 pm.

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Jonathan goes off, looking for a better view
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #118 on: March 29, 2020, 10:06:41 AM »
The rain let up for our entry into the town of Semonkong, which was fortunate as that allowed me to more fully appreciate the "local flavor" of the town and its people. We were heading for lunch at the Semonkong Lodge, down along the river and in the middle of the town. There were many people enjoying the drier air on this side of the mountains.

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Bricks! 'an stuff
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A happening place
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I finally had the chance to check out the saddle type that they used here - very interesting
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Parking lot
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We had threaded our way through the town and then took a pot holed dirt road down a short hill and across the river. It was lunch time at the Lodge!

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Crossing the Semonkong River to Semonkong Lodge
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #119 on: March 29, 2020, 10:07:10 AM »
The lunch was good (I had a great burrito; not exactly what I was expecting in Lesotho!) and while we waited for our food, I was entertained by an endless parade of people and animals going by.

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Traditional clothing
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Heavy traffic
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When we stood up to pay, one of the other riders made a terrible discovery: sometime during the morning his wallet had fallen out of his pocket. He still had his passport, but he had no other means of identification or - just as importantly - money. As there was no real way of figuring out when this loss might have happened, it was decided that he'd just have to soldier on for the rest of the trip as best he could. Hana and David, in a true testament to how much they care for their customers, made arrangements to loan him some money, so that he could still enjoy the remainder of the trip. Not that there was much to pay for: the rooms, breakfast and dinner were already covered by the tour. But now at least he had the option to eat lunch and buy any little incidentals that he might need along the way.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #120 on: March 29, 2020, 10:07:38 AM »
After lunch the clouds - and the rain - came back
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Most of the day's riding had been tackled and now it was just a matter of getting to tonight's lodging. Or so I thought. Instead we went through more mountains, more rain, and more herds! And more lightning, too. It was almost constant flickering in the clouds above us, with frequent bolts shooting down to the distant ground. It was real "weather"!

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I noticed an interesting situation on one of the corners: there were two young boys madly urging their sheep across the road and out of our way. They wore the comfortable-looking clothes that I had seen on the people of Lesotho and they seemed quite pleased in their success in clearing the road. Then just a minute later I saw half a dozen kids walking down the side of the road all dressed in their smart-looking school uniforms. I wondered at this point how much more privileged the school kids were, compared to the shepherd boys, and how different their futures might be because of this difference.

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It had cooled off considerably, with the temperature gauge reading 12° C. That, along with the rain, made for a dampness that would have invaded my bones, if I hadn't brought along my rain jacket. Regardless, I was really enjoying today, rain or no rain.

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #121 on: March 29, 2020, 10:08:45 AM »
Remember all of those herds that were being guided along the road before lunch? Bah! That was nothing! NOW we had really run into the madness of Livestock Rush Hour!

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I thought that we had passed a lot of herders before lunch - it just got crazy after lunch!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #122 on: March 30, 2020, 12:47:34 PM »
I guess I'll keep posting, and assume that you guys are enjoying!  :couch:
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #123 on: March 30, 2020, 12:47:51 PM »
We finally left most of the furry rush hour behind, but not the mountains. Oh no.... we still had more of those to enjoy before our day was over!

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The rain came and went, and came again
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The red soil of the region was really beautiful
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #124 on: March 30, 2020, 12:48:16 PM »
The end of our riding came rather abruptly. We turned off the main road, rolled through some green fields and then turned again onto smaller and smaller roads.

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Our lodging tonight was the Botleng Hotel in the town of Makhoathi. It was strikingly European and seemed entirely out of place considering the types of housing I had seen today. The grounds were planted with flowers and bushes, and the buildings were nicely spaced and designed. It was a fairly quick process to sign in and get our rooms, and I admit that I was looking forward to a relaxing evening. It had been a long and wonderfully beautiful day!

We ate together in the restaurant on the grounds, our group just one of a handful there. The restaurant had a really nice buffet set up and I enjoyed the chicken, rice, and vegetables that they had on offer. After our meal, Dan and I went back to our room, which was set up almost like a house: there were three "rooms", all opening onto a central living space and full kitchen. And as typical for this trip, I tried to get online from the comfort of my room, but the wi-fi signal was too weak. The wi-fi signal was always too weak. But I guess I should be grateful if there was any wi-fi at all. Besides, I was on holiday!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #125 on: March 30, 2020, 09:30:44 PM »
"furry rush hour"  :lol:

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Online Mrs. DantesDame

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #126 on: March 31, 2020, 11:38:23 AM »
"furry rush hour"  :lol:

   :popcorn:

I have never shared the road with more animals that I have that day - it was insane!!!  :o

One guy almost hit a goat! Dan has it on video, but the video sorting comes later, I guess...
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #127 on: March 31, 2020, 02:15:14 PM »
February 4 - Tuesday - Clarens

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Our room had an air conditioner but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to run it. Instead, we left the windows open for a cool breeze. This turned out to be a mistake: mosquitos! I noticed the first one just after midnight, and woke up a few more times throughout the night, aware that Dan and I had many tiny winged creatures in our room. Eventually, we turned on the lights, Dan figured out the A/C and I went around the room and smashed the mosquitos that had settled on the walls.

The previous evening our group had deliberated about our start time, proposed route and the weather forecast. There was heavy rain coming in the afternoon, but would we have enough time to complete the planned route before it hit? Clearly the previous day's ride showed that riding in the rain itself wasn't a problem, but today's route included 50 kilometers of dirt roads. And dirt roads in the rain would not fun.

The end result was that we chose to have an early breakfast and an early departure. It was probably one of the quickest departures that we had made so far on this trip: we were on the road before 8 o'clock!

A shot of the Botleng Hotel in the morning light
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View from the grounds
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We stopped shortly to fuel up - here is a surreptitious shot of the guards in the background
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Brick-making!
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Cemetery
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #128 on: March 31, 2020, 02:16:58 PM »
Regardless of the afternoon's forecast, this morning's weather was excellent. It was a comfortable temperature, the winds weren't too strong, and the blue sky was dazzling. The road conditions continued to be excellent and the scenery pleasing. This would give yesterday a run for its money for Best Day of Riding (Ever)!

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You can still see the original bridge down below
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More hand-planted corn fields
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Terraced fields in the distance
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More brick making
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #129 on: March 31, 2020, 02:17:21 PM »
We were crossing back in towards the center of the country, traversing more mountains and enjoying ever-better views. There was very little in the way of human civilization here. What we did see were primitive but tidy homes and periodically a cheerful shepherd or two.

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House ruins with a cemetery plot in the background
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That's a big 'un!
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Wide open views
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Sheep pen
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The roads just kept on going, always offering up great curves and vistas
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Fascinating geology, too
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #130 on: March 31, 2020, 02:17:45 PM »
The mountains that we were riding on now were wide open with long, lazy corners and sightlines that went on forever. There were few buildings, and surprisingly little in the way of agriculture or livestock. Sure, there was the random herd of goats of sheep, but with such verdant slopes I expected to see more pastureland.

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Currently on top of the world
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This went on for hours
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Never let your guard down
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A glimpse of the internal roof structure
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #131 on: March 31, 2020, 02:18:10 PM »
The beautiful road brought us down the mountain to the small town of Thaba-Tseka (population 15,248!). And even though we had descended, our elevation was still over 2,200 m. We were sailing through the Kingdom in the Sky!

At Thaba-Tseka we stopped again for gas and re-grouping. From here we would be on dirt roads, followed by a picnic lunch. The gas "station" was a small shack in the middle of a sloping field of dirt. Only two bikes at a time could be filled so I had plenty of time to look around and watch the goings-on. The owner of the station looked to be a young Chinese guy and he seemed to have a good handle on his business and his employees.

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Using a calculator to show the cost of a fill up
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I love this guy's blanket
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The weather looked like it was holding up and rain wouldn't be a problem. Time to turn off the ABS and stand up on the pegs!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #132 on: March 31, 2020, 02:18:29 PM »
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The outskirts of Thaba-Tseka
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Eventually the group spread itself out on the dirt, with Dan hot on Hana's heels and me right behind him. The other guys settled in behind us, finding their comfort zone and enjoying the day.

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #133 on: March 31, 2020, 02:18:56 PM »
For as poor as the country was, there was a remarkable difference to what I had seen in South Africa. Dan and I agreed that the people of Lesotho, while poor, seemed happier with what they had than their neighbors. It looked like they took more pride in their homes and yards, and the people looked generally content.

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Uh oh! Looks like weather!
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Re-grouping
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Hana and Dan had stopped ahead of me and when I rounded the bend, I saw that a long, muddy stretch was between me and them. Hana motioned to me to slow down - or was it "maintain speed"? - and I just smiled as I powered my way through the mud. Fun times!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #134 on: March 31, 2020, 02:19:38 PM »
I pulled over to chat with them and was in time to watch Tom come along and slide into the mud, putting his motorcycle on its side. Oops! We rushed over to help him right the bike and push it onto the dirt. Other than the potential for a couple of bruises, Tom was OK. A small crowd had gathered from the neighboring homes to watch the excitement. I can't imagine that this must happen very often, as we really were in the middle of nowhere.

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The group distribution had shifted greatly after this point, and Jonathan and I were now following Hana. Dan was somewhere behind me, our Senas' connection coming and going as we went around mountains and lost line-of-sight. No worries: Dan loves riding on dirt roads and I was sure that he was having a fun time back there. And then it started to rain, ever-so-slightly. Hana stopped to wait for the others and motioned for Jonathan and I to go ahead, being careful and waiting for the group when we reached pavement.

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It actually wasn't that far to the pavement and Jon and I had time to relax while we waited. Jon had also dropped his bike on this road and had quite a layer of mud on his gear and bike. He grabbed a spoon (it was the closest thing he had) and started to pry off the larger chunks.

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We were at a T-junction with just a couple of buildings, one of them a bar with a (very) loud sound system and someone with a taste for some pretty hard-rocking music. A few people wandered by, but we didn't seem to cause much of a stir with our presence. One local approached us and went on for a while about needing someone "on the inside" in the US. in order to get a foothold on a way "in".  Jonathan was more patient than I was and gave the guy his email address to see if he could help once he was back home.

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Waiting for the rest of the group to arrive over that hillside
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Milan and Georg pulled up and explained the delay: Dan had a moment of "too much fun" and crashed his bike in a corner. Um... what? Georg said that he wasn't sure how serious it was, but the bike had been loaded on the trailer and the truck should be here soon.
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Online viffergyrl

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #135 on: March 31, 2020, 04:16:20 PM »
Ruh-roh!!

Keep it coming! Love it!  :smiley_thumb:
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #136 on: April 01, 2020, 03:10:47 PM »
Dan is resilient and I wasn't too worried about him. Sure, he might be sore and bruised and riding in the truck for the rest of the day, but he's Dan: he'll bounce right back.

Except that when the truck finally pulled up, he didn't look ready to bounce at all. It had been a pretty hard fall and Dan looked shaken. But on a positive note, he wasn't bleeding and no bones were sticking out in awkward places. This was incredibly fortunate, seeing as we were still in the middle of no where.

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All this and it wasn't even lunch time yet.

After digging out some Aleve and bottles of water for Dan and making sure that he was as comfortable as possible, the group continued the ride, this time on pavement.

Below the Katse Dam
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #137 on: April 01, 2020, 03:11:15 PM »
We hadn't gone very far when we stopped again. This time we were to have a picnic at the side of the road while overlooking the Katse Dam. I didn't really get a chance to enjoy the view, as I was helping Dan out in the truck, making sure that he got something to eat and drink. He was in some pain and it was frustrating not to be able to do anything more for him.

But the best thing we could do was to keep on going and get to our hotel. We still had a long way to go.

The threat of rain had disappeared - for now
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Still beautiful roads and scenery though
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Heading into the darkness
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Crossing the Malibamat'so River
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Safety first! The red flag is to warn oncoming traffic of the current road work
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #138 on: April 01, 2020, 03:11:41 PM »
Dan and David in the truck; I like to think that David appreciated the company
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I still haven't gotten tired of this country - so beautiful!
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We had climbed up gentle slopes, ever closer to the dark clouds. But then we crested the top and had an amazing view down a long and fairly narrow valley. The feat of engineering to get a road down there was incredible.

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The first of many sharp corners
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Getting to the valley floor was fast - but fun!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #139 on: April 01, 2020, 03:11:58 PM »
Of course, being in the valley didn't mean that the fun ended
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Now that's using your head!
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Our route passed through some small towns, but for the most part, Lesotho remained a largely agricultural and green land. We still had a ways to go before we reached our hotel for the night and I was hoping that Dan was doing ok back there in the truck.

Poor guy.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #140 on: April 01, 2020, 03:12:25 PM »
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Modern machinery - what a surprise!
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Random road check to see if our registration was up-to-date
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Getting closer to the South African border
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Friendly and happy locals!
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Approaching the border
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Crossing into South Africa was really easy, and it didn't take us long to get our passports stamped out of Lesotho and into South Africa. Dan was able to get out of the truck and stand in line when leaving Lesotho, but when the truck pulled through to the South African windows, we decided to leave Dan in the truck and I took both passports for stamping.

No one seemed to notice or care.

Welcome (back) to South Africa!
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #141 on: April 01, 2020, 03:13:00 PM »
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Mechanically planted corn!
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We were about fifteen minutes from the town of Clarens - and our hotel - when the skies opened up. It felt good, especially knowing that we'd be at our hotel soon and could change out of our motorcycle gear. I was anxious to get there and have a longer talk with Dan and see how he was doing. The guy has a high tolerance of pain, but just how badly was he injured?

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We pulled into the Protea Hotel in Clarens. Hana made sure that Dan and I got our rooms first, so that we could get our stuff unloaded and plan what to do next. She asked the desk staff about a hospital in town so that Dan could get checked out, but it turned out there were not hospital in Clarens. The nearest hospital was 36 km away, in the town of Bethlehem.

The hotel staff agreed to call a taxi for us, which showed up about 40 minutes later. The drive to Bethlehem was fast and the driver dropped us off at the MediClinic Hoogland. From there, it was a blend of paperwork, routine checks, IV pain killers - and an x-ray. The x-ray confirmed that there was more damage than just a few bruises: he had broken four ribs, two of them in a couple of places.

Now came the time for deliberation: do we stick around for the next 24-48 hours (as the doctor suggested) so that she could monitor for severe muscle spasms and further complications? And in doing so, get left behind by the tour group and thereby leaving us stranded in this inhospitable town? Or do we go back to the hotel tonight, pick up prescriptions in the morning and continue on with the tour, with Dan keeping David company in the truck?

I left this decision up to Dan; I would make it work either way. Bethlehem had an airport and there was a hotel nearby. I could go to back to Clarens and pick up our stuff tonight, get a room and wait there until Dan was safely discharged from the hospital, using the time to arrange for a flight back to Cape Town on the 12th. But Dan determined that with the proper drugs he would be fine. And if he wasn't fine? Then he'd ask David to drop him off at the next nearest hospital. While the doctor naturally preferred Dan to stick around, she did not try to dissuade him, and she made the necessary arrangements for Dan to have his prescriptions and paperwork ready that night.

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The staff at the Clinic were all amazing. They did their best to give us everything we needed and were great in helping me when I was trying to sort out what our options were. One thing that was really striking was their reaction when I said that I needed to get a taxi back to Clarens. The woman at the desk was adamant that I should not, under any circumstances, use public transportation or flag down my own taxi. If I needed a ride back to Clarens, I should call the hotel and have them send someone. So that's what I did. The taxi arrived 30 minutes later with not just the driver, but with an employee from our hotel in the back seat. Dan and I arrived at our hotel at midnight. It had been long, long day.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 12:38:18 PM by Mrs. DantesDame »
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #142 on: April 01, 2020, 04:39:49 PM »
Whoa. Don't make Dan laugh I guess.

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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #143 on: April 01, 2020, 05:46:36 PM »
Whoa. Don't make Dan laugh I guess.

 :popcorn:

Or sneeze or cough.Getting a cold/flu right now would doubly suck for him. I guess it's been a few weeks, so he is probably healing up by now.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #144 on: April 01, 2020, 07:13:31 PM »
Whoa, that's gotta hurt.
Hurts just looking at the X-rays. :crazy:

  :popcorn:
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #145 on: April 05, 2020, 10:40:26 AM »
Thank you for sharing this report. It certainly changes my opinion about the possibility of visiting SA (still not sold but thinking). Sorry to hear of the lay down and injuries. That seriously looks painful. Hope recovery has gone well.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #146 on: April 05, 2020, 12:32:28 PM »
Thank you for sharing this report. It certainly changes my opinion about the possibility of visiting SA (still not sold but thinking).

I can recommend it. I'm glad that we didn't go on our own though. We learned a lot on this trip and being part of a tour was helpful  :thumbsup:
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #147 on: April 05, 2020, 12:33:05 PM »
February 5 - Wednesday - Piet Relief

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Even though (or perhaps because?) we had such a stressful evening and a late bedtime, I slept very well. Dan slept well, but I think that this was drug-induced. We had been in contact with Hana the previous evening, grateful for her support for us. Of course they couldn't delay the rest of the tour for the full day that the doctor wanted, but they were more than willing to delay this morning's departure by an hour. This extra hour would give Dan time to fill his prescriptions at the pharmacy across the street. Dan would continue to keep David company in the truck and the motorcycle would get a ride on the trailer.

Morning view from our hotel room
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The bike
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Just a "little" bit of damage
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After a very nice buffet breakfast at the hotel, we (I) hauled our bags down the from the hotel room and into the truck. Everyone in our group was very interested in how Dan was doing and sharing how glad they were that he was still here to continue the journey. It was a good group of people we were with, and I was really glad that we could continue to travel with them.
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #148 on: April 05, 2020, 12:34:32 PM »
Hana had a surprise for the group almost as soon as we left Clarens: the Golden Gate National Park. Covering an area of 340 km², the park butts up against the Lesotho border and showcases and amazing display of "golden, ochre, and orange-hued, deeply eroded sandstone cliffs and outcrops" (wiki). It was a nice way to start the day.

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We're missing a bike!
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Golden Gate National Park welcome center
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Re: How about South Africa?
« Reply #149 on: April 05, 2020, 12:35:00 PM »
The first part of the park was winding and cut through high sandstone rocks, and the second half passed through rolling, open country. It was a nice mix of landscapes, the weather was great, and I was just glad that we were able to still enjoy the South African countryside.

The stone posts were frequent enough for me to notice; boundary markers, perhaps?
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A sign proclaimed that they were working to improve the wetlands here
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Still got to keep on your toes!
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Outside of the park we continued on some fast roads, passing by Harrismith and then on to Ladysmith.

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Fuzzy trees! (and look at that road!)
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The fast roads got faster as we hit the South African highway system. Traffic was very light although there were a few interesting trucks to catch my fancy.

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The Mystery Load
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