My Epic adventure – a journey to all emotions!!! *

Tarryn Beretta's picture

Points: 24

My Epic adventure – a journey to all emotions!!!

Roundtrip: 16 - 18 June 2016
Home to Oasis to Middelpos and back again
943 kms!

What a roller coaster ride this turned out to be. Some parts I wish to forget, and hence the delay in speaking out about it. I just couldn't get myself to accept that the discipline I've come to love so much, and thought was all sunshine and roses, has brought me back down to earth with a serious thump!

Photo: Just other side the Du Toits Kloof Tunnel 


Day 1: started from home, with a nice group ride with the BMW club to Worcester, where I turned off to Ceres and headed to Oasis on my own. With the rain still falling, and being told of high water levels in the area I was expecting much worse than I got. 

The roads to Oasis were perfect, and getting there after a measly 216 kms for the day, I was somewhat disappointed and felt robbed (I will NEVER complain again!). 

Photo: At Mount Ceder's water crossing

Photo: 3kms to the right of Oasis

Photo: 3kms to the right of Oasis


My friends arrived at 5pm, we had a great evening and all was well. We spent the whole evening contemplating what our route would be out of there as we received reports that Wupperthal and Eselbank were washed away and the river levels very high.

Photo: This photo was doing the rounds, of Nuwerus close to Oasis


Day 2: I had to change my plan to ride with my friends as the road conditions higher up were NOT good, they advised me to take the easier option as they would be trying the Doring river and the technical hill thereafter.

We heard of many 4x4’s who were forced to turn around or take Kromrivier exit, and that wasn’t even 3kms from Oasis not to speak about the CanAm that went for a swim and had to be rescued/recovered the next day (just as I arrived).


Photo: 3kms to the right of Oasis


Photo: The CanAm that had to be recovered 3kms from Oasis


So, I chose the safer route, and my friends tried their luck with the original route and the plan was to meet in Middelpos.

Photo: Heading out from Oasis


I was to experience as rough a day as I’d ever want to ever again.

I will definitely think twice again about riding ALONE in areas I don't know and that without a PLOTTED route on the GPS because my route changed unexpectedly. The stress was crazy and that turned to panic a few times,

I went over Katbakkies, past Tankwa padstal in search of Tankwa tented camp to fill up.


Photo: Katbakkies pass


I was told to take the first Sutherland turnoff and Tankwa Tented camp would be on the left before the Sutherland via Ouberg turnoff. 

Tankwa Tented camp never came, but the Ouberg turnoff did.  So I took it and went through the Tankwa Karoo National Park. 


Photo: Tankwa Karoo National Park stunning scenery


The road surface was crazy, being hit by washed away sections and deep ruts across the road as the water had rushed down the mountains. Some sections had drop offs which I had to jump with the flippen F800, no time to brake or think you have to DO it.  The depth and size of some of those ruts were insane.

Unfortunately I was diverted twice because of high water levels on this route while trying to get to Ouberg pass (Tankwa), I had to put on my big girl panties and cross a few deep crossings all on my own, but luckily I had the presence of mind to walk it first and find the right line as there was NO visibility!


Photo: The deep water crossing, zero visibilty


Photo: More Water!


When faced with the last deep and muddy river crossing I realised I was buggered. Having ridden 174kms already on that tank, I thought of turning back and going to Tankwa Tented camp, it would be on that road I turned off from (luckily I didn’t do this as I saw on the GPS the next morning that I was nowhere NEAR the tented camp, the turnoff to Sutherland I took was quite a few kms below the correct turnoff, I would have run out of fuel and I would still have been stuck there!)


Feeling quite desperate at this point, faced with 3 options at a T-junction, a raging river to the left, the option of turning back or the unknown road to the right, I went to the first place that seemed as if there may be life! Opposite to where I had stopped, I found a kind gentleman, a manager at Blaauwhoek (?) River rafting farm who after exchanging a few words, sold me 5l of fuel (93 and 95 pre-mixed for their boat engines, I was sceptical but he assured me it would be fine) and directed me to the nearest tar road.

30kms down the unknown road to the right, over another river and you’ll get to the tar road 40kms outside Sutherland, I hauled ass and was never as relieved to see a tar road as I was at that stage!


I thought the stress was over! 

From Sutherland to Middelpos was a further 80kms on gravel (I didn’t know it was that far) and it felt like an eternity. The road surface was tricky after all the rain and the hidden water driffies around a blind corner or just over a little hill made for 3 very close calls, skidding in and hitting them at speed or at an angle as a result, hoping not to go down.  I nearly went off one and over the side into the river below as my front wheel slid out. I left them in the disrance, shaking from the adrenaline, but just told myself to breathe!!! 


Photo: the two driffies that caught me out (photo taken the next day heading back)


Photo: the two driffies that caught me out (photo taken the next day heading back)

I had to keep going as at this stage I was chasing the sunlight too. 

Stopping to ask how far it was still to Middelpos was as demoralising as not knowing, as everyone told me it was further than the last guy. The GPS was as useless, or maybe that was just in my stressed state that I couldn’t get it to focus.

I was extremely anxious and by this time quite scared with a 0% sense of humour left (I think I lost that leaving Sutherland on yet another gravel road, I thought at this stage I’d seriously had enough), it was 16h30 and the sun was setting before my eyes. 

Being on the bike since 10h00, with no refreshment stops either, I was starting to feel the cramps in my legs. The water just wasn't enough anymore.


I finally saw this strange looking bunch of houses, thinking it was a farmstead but carried on past it.  Something told me that there were maybe just too many houses there?

So I turned around and took the road that leads to them, only to drive past a small school with the words Middelpos Primary. No signage, no indication from the road I was on and that could once again have been my doom as it was another 80kms to Calvinia.

No words!

Riding up to the hotel my heart sunk to my feet when I saw my friends were not there yet, I was praying that they were safe and knew it was going to be a lonely night.  


Photo: Middelpos Hotel


After contemplating whether to stay and feeling the panicked need and urge to leave, I realised I had no choice and finally after 45 minutes,  making peace with the fact that I was stuck there, I started unpacking.

My friends called at 7pm from the landline in Wupperthal, from the place they managed to find an overnight spot at, they got across 2 of the 3 rivers, the 3rd unmanageable. Forcing them back over the 2 they struggled over initially.

They had to turn back at 4pm, 53kms from Middelpos and me, so close yet so far ... I was devastated but relieved that they were safe and sound.


Photo: The river they had to go across with their KTM1190's (twice)


Photo: The river they had to go across with their KTM1190's (twice)


Well, with no choice and having done +- 500kms for the day, I settled in at the Hotel, had a good supper, a sherry for the cold and a whiskey for the nerves and went to bed.

Photo: Oh my shattered nerves, be still

I woke up once, and that was the next morning at 06h00. I didn’t even have a chance to worry about the ghosts in the hotel as I was out before my head hit the cushion.


Day 3: I was going to head home via the gravel Ceres road, over Gannaga pass, past Tented Tankwa camp and the Padstal, via another unknown road but in the morning my friend persuaded me to rather go straight to Sutherland and home via the easier tar route.


Photo: A chilly Middelpos at 07h10


Normally I do not change my mind or backoff that easily but after yesterday and the “adventure”, I’ve learnt a lesson and decided to listen.


The road home was very uneventful and 80% tar, BUT I’M NOT COMPLAINING I know where that got me on Friday.

Photo: Coffee break in Matjiesfontein


Photo: BMW break in Matjiesfontein, looking prettier than the beef eater. This BMW is a terrain eater, YEAH BABY!!!


I got some rain before the tunnel and all the way home, so I got dished a full plate of “let’s see just how much this chick can take” this weekend and yes, I’m pleased to say I MADE IT.


I still feel this glitter of disappointment, sadness and anxiety in the base of my stomach, not so invincible after all hey, but I am sure I will eventually get over it.


Many lessons learnt the hard way yes, but unfortunately and yes I will be the first to admit it, it is often the only way I will listen and NOT follow my own stubborn ways.


So, when is the next ride???

* Winner of the Ruslamere Trip Report of the Month 2016/07




David ffoulkes's picture
Joined: 2015/02/19

You are so brave! - Great report and thanks for sharing.

David ffoulkes

Committee: Vice Chairperson/ Clubs Africa/ Membership/ Ride Captain

Mwendo's picture
Joined: 2011/04/13

Well done Tarryn! -  on the ride and the report, both!

I think you'll look back on this experience, in time to come,  as one of those "moments" one learns the difference between knowledge and experience.



The only problem with hindsight, is you don't see it coming!

Joined: 2007/06/25

To me, this is the great part of biking, just when you think you've got it ace'd that's when one realizes that we are not invincible. smiley

Think before you ink.

Trust is the most valuable asset.

I have the rest of my life to get old.

Froggy's picture
Joined: 2014/01/15

Thanks for sharing Tarryn, it shows how easily events can take you out of your comfort zone especially when your riding on your own.


I am sure your next trip will be  breeze!




Garth Hewitt's picture
Joined: 2011/02/07

RESPECT. Big up!

Thanks for sharing, great read.yes

Garth Hewitt

2010 R1200GSA


Tony's picture
Joined: 2008/08/24

I am sure your next trip will be  breeze!

Sure it will be - especially if there are no double cold fronts hitting the Cape during the trip cheeky.

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown

Tarryn Beretta's picture
Joined: 2015/08/26

Haha Tony, what were we to do?  We couldn't cancel everything?

That being said, I never thought it would ever have had such an effect on those remote areas ... its the Karoo afterall surprise.

Regards Tarryn

~ 2016 BMW F800 GSA - My dream come true!!! ~

Tarryn Beretta's picture
Joined: 2015/08/26

Thank you for all the lovely comments and wise words of wisdom offered guys, it is much appreciated.

I am finally starting to feel better about this whole ordeal.

Wisdom is something I am still gathering through all the trips I do, 10 000 kms done in less than 5 months thus far, so it is coming quick and fast.

 wink yes

Regards Tarryn

~ 2016 BMW F800 GSA - My dream come true!!! ~

Trevor H's picture
Joined: 2016/01/24

Enough to put one off riding ever again, but your bravery, grit and perseverance shines through all of the challenges. You must be a very good rider. Nowhere does it say that you crashed or got swept away. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

Trevor Hayes

Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22

Tarryn, it's about the journey, not the destination.

In a short time, you will look back on it as a great solo trip. 

Experience is a great teacher.

I will help you with some GPS tips on Saturday.

well done 

Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

fish_man's picture
Joined: 2016/06/16

At least you have a great story to tell :-)

Awesome report!!

Tarryn Beretta's picture
Joined: 2015/08/26

Thank you all, much appreciated blush

Regards Tarryn

~ 2016 BMW F800 GSA - My dream come true!!! ~

Happyfeet's picture
Joined: 2010/02/12

Well done Tarryn!

I must admit, the longer I ride the more cautious I get and doing the solo thing is getting less and less appealing. Especially in the Boendoes. Respect!

Jinx Louw

I don't suffer from insanity, I love every minute of it!

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