Friday, 1 May 2015

I Hate Dullstroom

Friday and the day we head back to the Highveld, back to the busyness, and back to the pollution of the Gauteng industrial giant. But to get there we had a full day’s ride bypassing the Machado and Middleburg Toll Plazas which charge a motorcycle R75 and R50 receptively which equates to nearly 3 tank fulls. What a rip off for bikers.

So we travelled an extra 50km via Sabie and Lydenburg to bypass Machadodorp which meant going through Dullstroom. Now Dullstroom sells itself as a premier destination for trout fishing but the town itself is on the slippery downhill slope. Riding the wonderful road between Nelspruit and Lydenburg was awesome with turns and bends in all the right places. We were warned that the road between Lydenburg and Dullstroom is known to be full of potholes and it never disappointed us but on a bike we weaved through them like a breeze although I would hate to do it at night.

Anyway on reaching Dullstroom by 10:30 we found the entire town packed with what seemed to be the entire Gauteng populace. Okay not quite but it was bursting with cars parked un-safely along the road and people just running across the main road with no care of oncoming bikers. And then in this premium town of Dullstroom itself, I hit my first pothole and one bigger than my front tyre itself. The Vespa shuddered as the bang of the rim hit the bodywork but luckily I was not going fast because of all the cars and people, I managed to keep the Vespa on two wheels. I pulled into the one and only garage to check front tyre and rim but being a public holiday the premium BP Highlands Filling Station did have its air generator on. The tyre and rim looked okay so all I could do was head for a garage in Belfast.

On it was on the Dullstroom and Belfast road that I began to wish that I stayed an extra day in the Slowveldt and away from the maddening crowds. I was nearly involved with not one, not two, but three near head on collusions caused by Gautengers overtaking recklessly trying to get to a ready packed Dullstroom. To compound the issues no one had done any road maintenance on this stretch with the grass on the road edges so long that it was dangerous going around curves in the road.

Matthew and I were just glad to reach the highway at Belfast. Yes it was now the boring stretch back to Johannesburg but it was much safer than going through Dullstroom. With sore bums after 1,148 km and 47 litres of fuel, we arrived safely back home after a wonderful road trip down to Mpumalunga and back on the Vespa. Okay I know that the Vespa GTS 300ie Super supposed to do 3.5 litres per 100km but with two of us on board, I got just over 4 litres per 100 km at an average speed of 120km per hour and don’t forget I have the Malossi engine performance kit on board which I am sure uses more fuel. Now I need to find the money for the service that is now due.

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