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The Solo Scooterist

Documenting my travels on a Vespa

Author: Michael Strauss (page 1 of 22)

11 days and we are off

DSCN2142 DSCN2140 DSCN2138 Louw  and Chris at Vespa

Louw at Vespa about to start the major overhaul

Louw at Vespa about to start the major overhaul

Time has become a rare commodity of late and 24 hours in a day just is not enough. So much still to do , but damn exciting. The to- do list is a never ending reshuffle of priorities. Slowly but surely.  Since the last post much has happened , much has been achieved and much still has to happen.

A big thanks to Vespa. I have been spending time with  Louw  who has been prepping the scooter for me and instructing me on the mechanical workings of Victoria , as well as how to keep her on the road come what may. We have done a major service and are currently replacing all the wear and tear items so that by the time we hit the road she is almost new. New tyres , clutch , brake pads , filters ,oils and lubricants and so the list goes on and on. I am feeling really confident about the scooter and her current state of mechanical well being .

I have a very busy week ahead finalising things at the office and doing last minute administration like the Ethiopian visa and taking on the ever- elusive to do list . I am hoping that by the end of next week most of the outstanding things are done and I can focus on the bike and the trip in preparation for the first of May launch date.

 

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No days just hours

Finally I can sit down with a cup of tea. The day is done and the office hand over complete. The frantic last  goodbyes said , the instructions passed down , the scooter packed and prepped for the morning departure .

I felt a quick post appropriate just to let you all know that the clock has run, and that Time has delivered me to the eve of  what seemed a life time away –  the start of this journey .

I found this in my cd collection – the words and artwork an appropriate start to the adventures of  ” The Soloscooterist”.

Goldfish album cover 'Get Busy Living"

Goldfish album cover ‘Get Busy Living”

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Day 1 the City to Vryburg

What a  day ! Johannesburg gave me one of those beautiful clear crisp Highveld mornings. The perfect send off and yet my eyes were covered in a  mist of emotion. The goodbyes were really difficult. To leave loved ones for adventure is damn hard.

The send off from all my fellow scooterists this morning was incredible and very heart felt. Thank you one and all for your effort and your company –  it was much appreciated.

I took it slow. Victoria and I love the open road and  that smell of Veld  just cleared my head… and we were off!  I must admit it is not often that so many different vehicles pass me but at least I managed to get past a Combine Harvester . We could have fitted into the tyre valve it was so gigantic.

The stats for the day might interest some – so 430 km was covered;  Victoria sipped 13,11 litres of 95 high octane –  she is a snob that way. The only  heart stopper of a moment  was when the engine started with a few splutters… but after a while all was well and we were’ Cruzin’.

As you can see I stopped to smell the roses.

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Day 2 Vryburg to Augrabies Falls

 

 

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After a great rest at Lavender Lodge , with great company from the Strydom family and friends , I set off on day 2  feeling great. I was on my way to meet up with my parents in Namibia on day 3 . The scooter was running superbly. I took the Kuruman , a very busy little town with a hive of activity.

From here I travelled through Kathu , a mining town that is amazing in that the amount of development is huge! There are newly built homes as far as the eye can see. The whole area is covered in this fine dark burgundy chocolate powder that has altered the look of the whole area.  As I was riding through I found the  landscape  so alien – the huge mining equipment standing in the distance – a very harsh looking environment.

 

Kathu skyline

Kathu skyline

From here it was on to Upington , Keimoes , Kakamas and to my final destination – the not so mighty Augrabies Falls. The landscape had changed dramatically with the mighty Orange feeding and nurturing the farming areas around it. There are vineyards as far as the eye can see and the most beautiful gardens lush with greenery and alive with colour. Very different to where I had come from.

 

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After riding over 530 Km I arrived at the falls totally exhausted at sunset. I managed to get the last chalet,  a few great pictures of the falls and then took the scooter and gear off to the chalet. Being so tired and with not concentrating , the next thing I knew , the bike and I had fallen over. Luckily we had fallen into a wall so the bike only fell halfway, breaking the mirror off. I managed to get it up with a bit of effort. Damn the scooter is heavy .

Augrabies Falls

Augrabies Falls

Sunset over Augrabies

Sunset over Augrabies

 

 

 

 

 

 

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South Africa in my rear view mirror Day 3

Woke up at 5 am to try and repair the mirror. Tried Pratley but the set time was too long,  so out came the trusty duck tape that kind of held the  mirror.  I would  have to repair it before I took the 460 odd kilometres to Vioolsdrif on. It is very nerve wracking riding with only one . I rode back to Kakamas to refuel and luckily for me found a father & son-owned workshop called WP Trekkers. These guys where fantastic , drilled the broken  bolt out , and called Jaco the expert welder to come in and help .

 

 

The mirror men

The mirror men

 

I was back on the road within 2 hours and on my way to Namibia. Once again I was overwhelmed by  the generosity of total strangers that I met only a few hours before , who spent so much time and effort repairing Victoria only  to refuse any payment. Thanks guys I really appreciate all your help.

The workshop

The workshop

Back on the road it was down the N 14 to Aggeneys , Pofader ,  Springbok and then  N7 to the Noordoewer  border . It  was a long day with very few cars but those that did pass had no regard for the speed limit. Some were trying to break the sound barrier .

 

A nice break from the arid landscape

A nice break from the arid landscape

Kilometre after kilometre the straight road took me towards the Orange and my first border crossing . It was getting late and I was worried about spending time getting myself and the scooter across before sunset .

 

Saying goodbye to SA

Saying goodbye to SA

The crossing was a breeze it took less than 30 minutes for both sides. The next thing I knew I was crossing the Orange river on my way to meet my parents at Felix Unite for 2 nights together before I took on the vast Namibia.

Crossing the Orange

Crossing the Orange

10 Km down the road was Felix ,  and a very welcome sight it was after many hours on the road – 454 Km under my wheels.  Luckily mom managed to organise 2 tents in a place that had no accommodation when they  arrived from Cape Town .  We had a fantastic meal together and the spent the next day just relaxing and catching up .  I was tired after the long rides that  got me to the crossing. 1416 km in three days on a scooter is a lot .

Day 4  was spent next to the river relaxing and route-planning with dad so I could show them my plans through Namibia .

The oasis along the Orange . Felix Unite

The oasis along the Orange . Felix Unite

Our " Last supper "

Our ” Last supper “

 

 

 

 

 

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