06 July, 2013

Bike Ride 43 - Touring Mpumalanga - Day 2

Monday the 1st of July was day 2 of our touring the Mpumalanga area doing a few caches as well as visiting various towns and passes in the BMW Club Alphabet Challenge.

We both awoke early and set of for Steelpoort, but again I thought I knew better then the GPSr and followed my own nose. A little bit outside of town Trish saw some wild animal figures, and asked if we could go and have a look. Looking for a good, safe, place to turn around I saw there was a geocache justr over the bridge. We stopped there first and within 5 minutes I had signed the log book, and we were on our way back to the wild animal figures. I stopped right next to a $ sign (LOL). We took some photos, while trish had another puff, and set off again.

We were now travelling on the R36 from Lydenburg to Ohrigstad, and it was a lovely winding road full of beautiful scenery. We both thoroughly enjoyed. Half way through the pass I realised we were on the wrong road, but it was to late to turn around so we just continued to Ohrigstad. Once there we took a photo at the local church sign, and then decided to leave Steelpoort and Burgersfort, and just go to Pilgrims rest.

On the way into Pilgrims we logged our first Tar Pass in the @BMWMotorradSA #AlphabetChallenge at the Robber pass sign.

About 200 meters further I did my second geocache for the day at the Robbers pass memorial plaque. Then it was all the way down into the valley in with Pilgrims Rest lies. At first I was using my breaks quite a bit, but from the ADA day remembered that I should let the engine do all the work. The road down did have a few potholes but nothing to bad. 
Once in town we took a slow ride all the way through deciding which place to have breakfast at. In the end we decided to have it in down-town Pilgrims Rest. Trish ordered a coffee (or two) and I myself ordered some Rooibos tea to start off with. After breakfast I needed the loo, and took this (see below) picture in the "crapper". They also had a lovely African Grey in the shop which whistled and spoke a few words. I forgot its name. Made us long for Peanut back home (our African Grey).

Then it was a quick photo for the #AlphabetChallenge, and then we set off for Grasskop.
I just want to add doing Pilgrims Rest on the motorbike is a tick off my bucket list. I have always wanted to do that. Now its done.The other bucket tick lists, is doing Zwaziland, Leshotho, Cape Town on the motorbike. Slowly working towards that.
The road from Pilgrims to Graskop was not to bad, but a few big potholes were to be seen every now and then. The windy roads are lovely to ride. And we were steadily doing it a bit faster when the road was in good condition. At Graskop we attempted another geocache by the old train station, but it was to well hidden. But this allowed us to see the Graskop sign by the station so we decided to take our challenge photo there. Nice turn of events.
Then the highlight of the trip occurred for Trish as we let Graskop towards Kowyn's pass. As we rounded the one corner there was just green ferns all over the mountain. And a cool breeze, blowing over us. Lovely to see and lovely to feel. We rode a little but further down the pass to experience a little more of it, and turned around after we saw there would not be better photo opportunities ahead. Took our photo at an old dilapidated monument. There was also a small sand road going up to the top of the Telkom tower at the top. If we were two bikes I would have liked to attempt it. (And there is a geocache up there as well!!!). But by myself, and leaving Trish at the bottom was not an option this time around.

As we were riding from Graskop to Sabie where we were set to have lunch. I saw a earth geocache pop up on the GPS and wanted to do it. It turned out to be the Mac Mac falls. Trish has never been here before so it was a good stop. Paid our R10.00 per vehicle to get in, and soon walked in full bike gear down to the bottom to look at the water fall. Trish did not find it that awesome. I liked it and I get another smiley on my geocache finds (now standing at 1671 finds).
Then it was not much further on some lekker twisties to Sabie. First time we back after spending our first honeymoon night here just over 20 years ago.
Again we took a slow drive through town, experiencing the people and town, looking for a place to eat.
Both Trish and I prefer to try a restaurant that is not commercialised like Spur, KFC, McDonalds etc. It more interesting to try some of the local tastes and sounds. So we ended up at a restaurant which was in a old railway coach. As we were not very hungry we opted to share a plate of chips and a toasted sarmie. Drank lots of cool drink, after our Mac Mac falls walk.

The via some more twisties all the way to Hendriksdal, which is to be our first "Dusty Town" challenge done. Not much of a dusty town, as it has a sort-of tar road into the main part of town. Well town is more like 4 or 5 houses. Access road littered with pot holes. We did ride about 500 meters through town on "dust" to see if there was a good signboard to take the photo at. In the end the only sign we could find was at the main tar road leading off to the little town.
From there it was off to Witrivier. There were again some serious potholes every now and then and some roadworks on the go as well. A few cars passed us on the twisties. Obviously they know the corners. Not taking any chances on the bike though so I let them pass. Some roadworks also happening along the route. Nice thing with the bike ... one goes right to the front of the cue.
In Witrevier we took our challenge photo at the "Welcome to" sign (as well as at the post office). Drew some money at the ABSA ATM at a garage, and then went to visit some geocaching friends on the other side of Nelspruit.

Had a lekker beer with Andy and Lindy, a good chat. And as a bonus did the geocache right outside their house.

Before it got dark we left to get some take-away dinner, and then did he short ride to Crocodile Lodge just outside Alkmaar which Trish had booked for us. We had a lovely rondavel, small kitchen, and bathroom. Byryl who runs the place was awesome and made us feel right at home. She had two cats, one named "Cricket" and the other "Monkey". Strange names. Also had some dogs, and they made themselves at home on our front step and at time inside the little kitchen. We both loved this very homely place. We will be back.
And so ended day 2 of our Mpumalanga trip. We were both exhausted, and slept like babies.

Total Distance for the day: 270 km
Geocaches completed: 4 geocaches.
BMW Club challenges completed: 7

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