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The Solo Scooterist

Documenting my travels on a Vespa

Page 3 of 23

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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Day 5 Vioolsdrif to Hobas

I had a very emotional start to the morning having to say goodbye to my parents , It was very difficult and I left with a very heavy heart  to what was going to be a very, very difficult day out .

 

 

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All started superbly with a great road down to Aussenkehr. As I came over a rise,  the tar fell away and was replaced by a extremely corrugated gravel road that made the scooter buck like a bronco. I had to slow down to around 5 km per hour to get through this section and then all seemed fine for a while. The gravel smoothed out and I was able to get the speed up to around 40 kmph , forever having to hunt for the best line to take.

Yes it does go on forever

Yes it does go on forever

Where no one can hear you scream

Where no one can hear you scream

The road down to Ai Ais was slow and long. I came across a land cruiser on the side of the road with a lacerated tyre and the husband hard at work trying to change it.  I think that this might have been the first time in history that a Vespa offered to help out a cruiser in the Namib. The road got worse by the kilometre  and by the time I got to my first fuel stop at Ai Ais I thought there is no way I will get to my destination without been thrown from the scooter. The powder and ruts just kept coming and I was really having to concentrate and fight the different surfaces , but as they say in the classics all bad roads come to an end , just not yet.

 

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At one point I was sure I heard Victoria scream out, ” I am no Lancet bike I don’t deserve this “.  By the way the bike was handling , I know that when Malossi designed my shocks they only had tar in mind and definitely not so much weight.  Around Hobas and down to the Fish river canyon the road improved dramatically and fun was had by all whizzing down to the canyon.

Go pro selfie

Go pro selfie

The canyon is breathtaking . Ones eyes can’t take it all in. What a worthwhile  ride to get here.

 

The fish river canyon , vast and ancient.

The fish river canyon , vast and ancient.

From here it was off to the roadhouse about 25 km away for my nights’ stop. What a treat after so many hours trying to stay on the scooter!

Great accommodation , great food and wine , terrible internet.

Great accommodation , great food and wine , terrible internet.

I organised a tent , washed the days woes off with a piping hot shower, sorted my stuff out and met Ashley from Melbourne who is also solo on a KLR. We had a great catch up. He has been on the road for 7 weeks already,  so it was great to exchange notes.

Inside the roadhouse

Inside the roadhouse

I had to promise Victoria that I would never allow this to happen to her.

I had to promise Victoria that I would never allow this to happen to her.

Enjoyed a great meal, had a deep sleep surrounded by stars, space and more stars and space.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

 

 

 

 

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Day 6 Roadhouse to Aus

After a fantastic breakfast, our new destination is Aus and an easier day as only half the road is  gravel and the rest  slick  tar.  After yesterdays 216 grinding kilometres,  I was looking forward to a easier ride.  The ride today started far less eventfully with only a Gemsbok running in front of me and the lazy lizard resting in the road.

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The ride changed about 80 km from Aus with extreme  winds pumping off the plains! I had to slow down dramatically in places as the gusts felt like they were pulling my jacket off . The wind effect is further compounded by the fact that the scooter has the aerodynamics of a block of flats with all the baggage,  so the 254 km had its’ moments of fear but I arrived in Aus happy and unscathed.  I could only find accommodation in the local hotel which is beautiful and old world with a wonderful patio to blog from.

Bahnhoff hotel in Aus

Bahnhoff hotel in Aus

I have not decided where to tomorrow yet but I will let you know when I get there.  My communications will be erratic due to the route thatI am riding. What I have noticed out here in the wilderness is that it is far easier to find a red bull than a reliable internet connection. I might only get back on line in Swakopmund but will try where I can.

Just a quick thank you to all for the overwhelming support and well wishes. It really has been amazing and beyond all expectation. Thank you with all my heart.

Until we meet again

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just Pics

The great fish river canyon

The great fish river canyon

words are lost , eyes lust

words are lost , eyes lust

where in the world

where in the world

not alone

not alone

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